Well, we’re back from hiatus and we’re definitely rolling toward the Apocalypse. “99 Problems” was a snap back to the reality of all that these boys are facing. The world is falling apart around them. They have angels and demons on their tail and no real allies to count on except for Bobby, Castiel, and each other, sort of. And on top of all these problems, they also have to face the fact that they’re vessels in an apocalyptic war that they don’t want to be a part of. It seems too much for any sane person to handle.
The episode began in the midst of a chase scene between the boys and some angry demons. Already off to a good start. But I definitely wasn’t expecting a Lutheran demon-fighting army to show up. How ironic that Sam and Dean come across a God fearing group of hunters after finding out that God, their last hope in this fight, doesn’t think the Apocalypse is really his problem anymore. Although, I still think God is testing these boys but that’s just a side note.
We were introduced to Leah, the so called prophet, and at first was thinking these boys had finally found a group of allies to help them. I should know better by now. This “whore of Babylon” definitely came at a different angle than we’ve seen before; Fake exorcisms, fake visions and worst of all, false hope. I really felt bad for the town. These people are just desperate. With the apocalypse looming on the horizon they’d do anything to ensure a one way ticket to paradise. This episode did a great job of humanizing the apocalypse for us. Who couldn’t see themselves in the shoes of the poor mother who lost her son and would do anything to see him again? And now it seems she's damned.
The pressure is definitely mounting between these brothers. Dean lost any shred of hope he had when he realized that God doesn’t care about him or Sam or anyone else for that matter. It seems he’s had enough “dead-beat dad” drama to last him a while. Meanwhile, Sam is trying desperately to hold it together. You could see his worry and reluctant mis-trust of Dean building throughout the episode. Sam knows that Dean has given up but it seems like he's refuses to give up on Dean. It was heartbreaking to watch Dean confess his feelings to Lisa knowing that he will never have a chance to be happy the way he wants to. And I felt so bad for Sam when I heard Dean’s car start up. Sam seems to have known for a while that he may loose Dean to this battle and I don’t think Sam thinks he can resist Lucifer on his own. It's more difficult to watch knowing that Sam and Dean are both justified in feeling the way they do. But it doesn't seem like they can both get their way. Dean can’t really think that the angels with accept his ground rules. Even if they do agree to keep Lisa and Ben safe, there’s no way they’d agree to a guideline that keeps Sam protected. It seems like a selfish decision on Dean’s part. He’s too willing to sacrifice himself for the ones he loves. And every time he does, he ends up leaving them in more danger and alone.
So we walked away with a few questions this episode. How is it possible that Dean was able to kill the "Whore" when it had to be a warrior of heaven? My roommate and I were discussing the possibility that Dean has already consigned himself to being the vessel. He may not have vocalized it, but he’s had a change of heart so maybe that’s all it took. Another thing I’m trying to decide is when the turning point was for Dean. When did he decide he was going to say yes to Michael? Was it the conversations with Pamela in heaven? Was it after he found out that God wasn’t going to help him? Or is he just looking for quick a way out?
The first half of the season has been a little back and forth when it comes to the importance of the apocalypse from episode to episode. Some weeks it seems to be the main focal point of the episode and other weeks it’s been present only in the background. With the way things are shaping up, and only six episodes left in the season, it seems like it will take a leap to the forefront. It should be an exciting season finale and I only hope the boys can stick it out!
Thanks for reading!