99 Problems... Coming right after possibly the greatest disappointment of Dean and Castiel's lives, neither of them are themselves and Sam is also barely holding it together. Dean is very seriously considering what Pamela said last episode: "So they all die... is that such a bad thing?" Sam knows there is something seriously wrong with this town and Joshua's warning prepares him to see there is seriously something wrong with Dean too. Despair, despair, despair. That's all there is, really.
"Too Hot to Stop" by Marc Ferrari and Steve Plunkett (plays when Sam and Dean are in the town bar)
The episode beginning is a rare scene and very interesting for that - Sam and Dean are running from demons - a whole load of them. It seems they saw a ton of demon omens and came to figure out what was going on, only to find themselves slam bang in the middle of a nest of them - more than they have dealt with at once before. Trying to get away from them in the impala, they have to stop for a burning truck in the middle of the road and are rescued by townspeople shooting holy water from what looks like a fire hose and doing a very short exorcism.
The townspeople are reluctant to tell Sam and Dean what they are up to even after they show them that they are hunters and only there to help. But finally the townsfolk are convinced to take them back to town and show them. First of all they lead them into the church where a whole bunch of people are getting married. More interesting is everyone is holding a weapon, which must be filled with salt rounds.
After the wedding, the pastor comes and shows them around, where they see kids loading salt rounds (which actually reminds me of Good God Y'All) and the pastor is also carrying a gun in a harness. The point here is that demons are pinpointing this town and people have been forced to defend themselves. We know that it's all because of the "Whore of Bablylon." She has been orchestrating all the demon attacks and telling the demons what to do when they hear the exorcism. It is actually probably the same old demons attacking over and over again in different bodies (until Sam comes along with his demon knife anyway). The pastor is hesitant to tell them how they know where and when the demons will attack until his daughter Leah, whom we know has been taken over by the WoB, tells him it's OK, that they are the Winchesters, and "they are safe."
She tells them that the angels told her all about them - but I guess we can pretty much say that she heard about them from the demons, not angels. She tells them that the angels will not know they are here because of the carvings on their ribs... but here arises the question why would she have hidden them from the demons? Did she? Is she working with Lucifer, or just on her own? Did Lucifer tell her to let them "swim," just like he told Meg before? If he "knows" that Sam will say yes, anyway, he's not in any hurry. And she can tell by looking at Dean's soul that he has all but given up.
Now Dean asks her here about migranes and visions but he asks her in a way that already assumes she is a prophet. If he had been suspecting something fishy, he would have asked her how she had the visions, and let her describe it, but he doesn't. She pretends to be a prophet as they think she is.
Dean and Sam are at the town bar and Sam is trying to get ahold of Cas and we have a funny little voicemail that makes Sam doubt whether Cas will get his message or not LOL.
But here we also have an indication of Dean's state of mind as they discuss the demons attacking this town.
DEAN:We’re all gonna die, Sam. In like a month—maybe two. I mean it. This is the end of the world, but these people aren’t freaking out. In fact they’re running to the exit in an orderly fashion. I don’t know that that’s such a bad thing.
SAM :Who says they’re all gonna die? What ever happened to us saving them?
Then before they can discuss that further, they are called to the church where "Leah" has had another vision. She tells them of another demon nest and a few people, the same few that saved Sam and Dean before, volunteer to oust them. There is a prayer where we see everyone bowing their heads except for Paul who is blatantly drinking from his flask during the prayer which Sam and Dean notice (because they are not particularly pius either.)
Sam and Dean join them and there follows a cool action scene. The townspeople are getting rid of the demons with holy water or salt bullets with the shortened exorcism while Sam uses his demon knife. Note the lack of devils traps which the WoB would have been sure not to tell them about. But Sam and Dean find it exciting to be hunting demons as a larger team.
I like this shot <3
And some teamwork between Sam and Dean. Sam throws the knife at one demon, Dean takes it out of his back, and stabs another in the chest. That was a pretty cool scene.
SAM:I guess that’s what it’s like, huh?
They are all celebrating after the successful hunt and Sam and Dean are getting out the beer as usual, when Dylan, Jane and Rob's son, asks them for a ride. They agree, and the others go ahead. Dean throws him a beer and tells him not to tell his parents, but as Dylan turns around to drink, a demon grabs his legs from under the impala and kills him. The funny thing is, the guy's parents took him along on the hunt, they would have taken him on the understanding that he might get killed at any time, the towns people and pastor as well.
DEAN:Ma’am, we’re just, um, very sorry.
JANE:You know…this is your fault.
But they are overly shocked by his death - even the pastor is like, I can't give you a good reason why this happened. It's unbelievable.
PASTOR GIDEON:I wish I knew what to say. But I don’t. I’m so sorry, Jane, Rob. There are no words. Dylan… I don’t know why this happened. I don’t know why any of this is happening. I got no easy answers.
And I'm thinking, um yeah. You took him along, didn't you? But maybe they were so secure in their little exorcism and salt bullets/holy water that they didn't really stop to think of how dangerous these hunts were? Maybe until now the hunts had seemed relatively safe? Sam and Dean were also feeling overly safe because of this incredible "backup" they had never had before. To orchestrate a death like this may all be a strategy by WoB to get them to listen to her and do as she says in the next phase.
This time, she tells Dylan's parents that Dylan will come back at the end, and it will be paradise on Earth and all their loved ones would be with them - IF they follow the commandments. The commandments themselves sound pretty normal, except this time they have the possibility of losing "paradise" hanging over their heads if they don't keep them. And despite the fact that they outlaw 90 percent of his personality, Dean is not bothered by it.
SAM:No drinking, no gambling, no premarital sex. Dean, they basically just outlawed ninety percent of your personality.
DEAN:Yeah, well, whatever. When in Rome.
SAM:So, uh…you’re cool with it?
DEAN:I’m not cool. I’m not, not cool. I’m just, look man, I’m not a prophet. We’re not locals. It’s not my call.
Well, there you go. He's not a local so he has no say and he's not affected either. He also probably just doesn't care about drinking, gambling or "having fun" anymore. But he wants to talk to someone about what would happen if he said yes to Michael, and if that would actually be better for everyone or not, so he leaves Sam to talk to our "prophet" Leah the WoB. You can hear his brain screws turning here if you listen for it.
DEAN:Don’t take this the wrong way but…are you on the level?
LEAH:What about it?
DEAN:I want to know what the angels are telling you. Everything.
DEAN:You can skip the rainbows.
LEAH:There’s gonna be a prize-fight. And…it’s gonna get bad. But after we win—and we will—the planet gets handed over to the chosen. And…it’s finally peaceful. No monsters, no disease, no death. You’re just…with the people you love.
And I think - whether the WoB actually manipulated Dean or not - this is what is important to Dean. People being with the people they love.
DEAN:Of course, that’s if you can get past the velvet rope. Must be nice—being chosen.
LEAH:Well, Dean…you’re chosen.
DEAN:Yeah, more like cursed.
LEAH:Must be hard. Being the Vessel of Heaven and having no hope.
If all this talk about paradise is true... then it seems a lot better than life as is, doesn't it? No monsters, no disease, no death... just with the people you love... Isn't it wrong for him to try to maintain this life for everyone, when they could have so much happiness just by him saying yes?
While that's happening, Sam has gone to the bar and is having some whiskey with Paul, the owner. Interesting that Sam actually drinks hard liquor here - which is pretty rare aye? You think that's an indication of his state of mind? In any case, Sam has noticed that Paul is not necessarily the praying type, just has Paul has noticed that about Sam.
PAUL:Look, there’s sure as hell demons. And maybe there is a God. I don’t know. Fine. But I’m not a hypocrite. I never prayed before and I ain’t starting now. If I go to hell, I’m going honest. How ‘bout you?
SAM :What about me?
PAUL:Not a true believer, I take it.
SAM :I believe, yeah. I do. I’m just. Pretty sure God stopped caring a long time ago.
Sam, the man who prayed everyday is gone. You'd have thought it would have hit Sam harder than Dean - to find out that God didn't care. He's the one that believed and had had hope before. And maybe he's just hiding it really well for the sake of his brother - which would explain the whiskey.
When he gets back to the motel room, Dean is sitting on his bed reading and Sam tells him about the crazy commandments that included curfew, the fact that cellphone/internet satellite connections had been taken down so that the whole town was cut off from everything outside... Which sounds very familiar doesn't it? Sam is very worried about this becoming like a cult. Dean doesn't care about anything.
SAM :At what point does this become too far for you? Stoning? Poisoned Kool-Aid? The angels are toying with these people!
DEAN :Angel world, angel rules, man.
SAM:And since when is that okay with you?
DEAN:Since the angels’ got the only lifeboats on the Titanic. I mean, who exactly is supposed to come along and save these people? It was supposed to be us, but we can’t do it.
SAM:So what? You wanna, you wanna just want to stop fighting, roll over?
DEAN:I don’t know, maybe.
SAM:Don’t say that.
SAM:Cause you can’t do this.
DEAN:Actually, I can.
SAM:No you can’t. You can’t do this to me.
SAM:I got one thing, one thing, keeping me going. You think you’re the only one white-knuckling it here, Dean? I can’t count on anyone else. I can’t do this alone.
So here's maybe what Dean is thinking - they have no way of killing Lucifer so even if Dean can resist Michael for ever there is no guarantee that Sam will resist Lucifer. Sam has always left him for something else in the past. Where does that leave everyone? A future like he saw in The End. So isn't it better if he just says yes to Michael? Then it wouldn't matter whether Sam said yes or not. They would have the prize fight and these people would go to paradise, while others could go to the "hollodeck" upstairs. Maybe that's not as bad as the alternative?
But it is soooo painful to hear Sam plead with Dean here :( Dean leaves to get some fresh air - despite the curfew.
Meanwhile at the church, Leah has "had another vision" and she has a tear stained face.
It seems that some people are not keeping to the commandments and because of it, they are not going to be able to have paradise. Jane, and Rob cannot let that happen so they are off to talk with Paul - to get him to leave town.
Paul refuses to leave and they get in a scuffle, which Dean comes in just in time to stop, but while that's going on Jane takes matters into her own hands and shoots Paul.
Everyone is shocked, and Jane is worried that she might have made things worse but she couldn't let anyone stop her from seeing her son again. Does this whole thing remind you of how the demons, like the Magnificent Seven and Sin City as well as with Sam and Ruby, how they just pushed people gently in one direction and people would go down of their own accord? Here it is happening again. And WoB encourages it and tells Jane that the angels understand.
Now she has them so firmly under her grasp they will do anything for her. They start rounding up people that were supposedly angering the angels. The pastor knows that something is wrong, first when the WoB encourages Jane and then when the WoB starts reading names off the list, but he can't do anything because the WoB has these people so strongly under her grasp that one word from her would make them kill him as well.
While that's going on, Cas gets to Sam and Dean's motel room... and he's DRUNK (LOL) No. I shouldn't be laughing because poor Cas has just gone through a very shocking trauma and he's trying to escape the real world but ...
SAM :What’s wrong with you? Are you…drunk?
SAM:What the hell happened to you?
CASTIEL:I found a liquor store.
CASTIEL:And I drank it. Why’d you call me?
SAM:Whoa. There you go. Easy. Are you okay?
CASTIEL:Don’t ask stupid questions. Tell me what you need.
As Sam tells Cas what they had found, Cas is able to clarify that Leah is not in fact a prophet and then they figure out that really she is the WoB and that she is manipulating people into spilling innocent blood. Some funny quotes here...
DEAN :Where the hell have you been?
CASTIEL:On a bender.
DEAN:Did he—did you say “on a bender?”
SAM:Yeah. He’s still pretty smashed.
DEAN:What about the demons attacking the town?
CASTIEL:They’re under her control.
DEAN:And the Enochian exorcism?
CASTIEL:Fake. It actually means, “you, um, breed with the mouth of a goat.”
CASTIEL:It’s funnier in Enochian.
(I love that little inside joke. HEHE!)
So they have the stick to kill her with - Cas got it for them from some far off place - but they need a person, because the person has to be a "true servant of heaven" and None of them are that, unless Dean has decided to be the vessel in which case he fits the bill.
They decide to ask the pastor to kill his daughter (good choice lol) and I love how Cas brings him to the motel off the street - how the pastor doesn't believe him when Cas tells him he's an "Angel of the Lord" and Cas just zaps him to Sam and Dean and Dean's like, "He's not lying about that Angel stuff."
They lay the situation out for him and although it is a big shock and at first he refuses because it is his daughter, Sam reminds him that it is not her any more, and they go to kill the WoB.
We have a scene here where Cas is sitting on a bench outside, basically holding his head in pain because of his hangover. Dean comes and gives him a bottle of pills.
DEAN :Heads up.
CASTIEL:How many should I take?
DEAN:You? You should probably just down the whole bottle.
DEAN:Yeah, don’t mention it. Yeah, I’ve been there. I’m a big expert on deadbeat dads. So…Yeah, I get it. I know how you feel.
CASTIEL:How do you manage it?
DEAN:On a good day, you get to kill a whore.
And that reminds me of Dean's speech to Sam in Windego <3 That's what hunting is to Dean. A way to deal with the hurt and disappointments of life.
They go in and Cas holds the WoB from back so that the pastor can stab her, but he hesitates of course, and in that time she uses her power and WOW she's pretty powerful. She does some kind of spell on Cas so he falls down squirming with pain, flings Sam and Dean as well as the pastor and then runs out to tell everyone that the pastor is a demon. The pastor runs out to get her and is caught by the fanatics. Sam and Dean go to help while Cas is still on the floor in pain and they get the pastor away from the people but Sam and the pastor are busy trying to stop Jane and her husband from setting fire to the little storage room with all the innocent people, and the WoB attacks Dean, flinging him with her power and choking him. The stick is almost within his reach and the WoB makes fun of him saying he's not the true servant of heaven and he's pathetic etc., etc., and I guess he makes the decision on the spur of the moment, because if the WoB could tell he had no hope, she should be able to tell when he'd decided to say yes.
LEAH:Please. Like you’re a servant of Heaven.
JANE:Let me go!
LEAH:This is why my team’s gonna win. You’re the great vessel? You’re pathetic, self-hating, and faithless. It’s the end of the world. And you’re just gonna sit back and watch it happen.
DEAN:Don’t be so sure, whore.
The stick works for him as he pushes it inside the WoB's chest and all this black smoke starts coming out and whush! it dies or at least leaves the body with a blast of air that leaves everyone's hair a mess - especially Sam's <3
Jane is all sad that they can't have paradise and Dean tells her that they were going the other way for sure. Then they carry the pastor and Cas out of there to treat the pastor at the motel - maybe because of the mayhem that was expected at the church now that "Leah" was dead.
As they stagger out, Sam asks Dean why it worked for him. Wasn't it only supposed to work for a servant of heaven? And Dean makes a remark about how he was just lucky. And at the car, Sam asks again.
SAM:Are you gonna do something stupid?
SAM:Like Michael stupid.
DEAN:Come on, Sam. Give me a break.
Then, as Sam bandages the pastor's hand, Dean asks the pastor a question.
DEAN:How’s the head?
PASTOR GIDEON:I’m seeing double. But that may be the painkillers.
DEAN:You’ll be okay.
What I notice about this conversation is that "You'll be okay" is not a question. It's a statement. Either he is telling himself that, or he's thinking if he says yes to Michael then everyone will - be okay. He suddenly makes to go to the impalla and Sam gets all alarmed - for good reason. Dean tells him he's just getting some more bandages but he revs up the engine and is gone, Leaving Sam holding his head in anguish.
The first stop he makes is at Lisa's house to say his goodbyes to her. Lisa also senses there is something wrong and she tries to stop him from leaving but he won't stay. He gives her a kiss on the cheek and leaves. That's all it is, really, but this is the part that pains me the most in this episode - the fact he goes to her and tells her how when he imagines himself as happy, it is with her and Ben, ...that life he had given up long ago, but kept for his dreams... and Lisa pleading with him to come in just for an hour because she wants him to stay and not do whatever it is he has to do and the tear from her eye as he kisses her cheek and just his FACE.... all the expressions just KILL me.