Supernatural: 99 Problems

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

"Must be hard being the vessel of heaven and having no hope."

Sam and Dean are speeding down the highway, obviously being chased by something or someone. Sam is bleeding badly when Dean spots a fiery roadblock up ahead and makes a hard stop. The demons catch up, leaving Sam and Dean caught in the trap. The demons break through the windshield when out of nowhere an old red fire truck pulls up and starts spraying the demons with holy water while someone recites an exorcism incantation. I guess these guys got the memo about the apocalypse.

After Sam and Dean convince the Rob, played by Michael Shanks from Stargate SG-1, his son Dylan and their friend Paul they are cool, they are taken to the town church. While inside, the boys notice how almost everyone there is packing heat while listening to the sermon. The brothers talk to the Pastor Gideon after the sermon who introduces them to his daughter Leah, a prophet who speaks to angels and knows all about Sam and Dean.

Later on at a bar, Sam and Dean talk about how everyone in the town knows about the apocalypse and how the angels are using them but strangely, Dean doesn't seem very concerned since the world is going to end anyways. Before they finish their drinks the church bell starts ringing and Pastor Gideon tells everyone there are more demons that need to be stopped. At the hunt and after another failed sneak attempt by Dean, all hell breaks loose. Everything actually goes well and the demons are taken care of until Dylan is dragged under the Impala and killed in the post-hunt celebration.

The church is now hosting Dylan's funeral where Dylan's mom blames Dean for his death. After a few short words, Leah has a message for the people: that Dylan is coming back and will be resurrected on judgment day but that is only if everyone follows the angel's commandments. There is always a catch with the angels.

Dean later catches up with Leah to find out what she knows about the angels. This leads to how he believes he is cursed to be chosen by the angels but Leah says "It must be hard being the vessel of heaven and having no hope." Back at the empty bar, since alcohol is on the angel's banned list, Sam has his own faith talk with the bartender but is "pretty sure God stopped caring a long time ago."

When Sam meets up with Dean at the hotel, he is concerned the town is being turned into a "fundamentalist compound" with all of the new rules. Dean still doesn't care since "the angels got the only lifeboats on the Titanic" but Sam doesn't think he can do it alone without Dean's help. In response, Dean leaves to get some air.

At the church, Leah comes in crying because the angels are angry and someone has to pay. Back at the hotel, a very drunk and annoyed Castiel has the best line of the episode "I found a liquor store...and I drank it." Unfortunately for the townspeople, he knows Leah Gideon is not a prophet.

When Dean shows up to the bar looking for a drink, he finds the townspeople trying to kick Paul, the bartender, out of the town. Dean and Pastor Gideon try to calm everyone down but Dylan's mother manages to shoot the Paul during the confusion, killing him instantly.

In the morning when Dean gets back to the hotel, Sam and Castiel are waiting to give him the bad news. As it turns out, Leah is the Whore of Babylon bearing false witness to condemn as many souls to hell as she can and can only be killed with a stake (which they have) and by a true servant of heaven. As Castiel puts it "Not you (Dean), not me, Sam of course is an abomination. We'll have to find someone else."

Time is running out for the Winchesters when Leah tells her congregation judgment day has arrived but there are still more sinners to be dealt with. When her Pastor Gideon takes a walk he is approached by Castiel and taken to Sam and Dean who explain his daughter isn't the bundle of joy he thinks she is and must be stopped – by him. After they convince him we find out the town's "sinners" are about to be burned alive in the storage unit.

Just before the flame is lit, the boys, Pastor Gideon and Castiel try to take down The Whore by surprise but she overwhelms them. Sam manages to stop the fire from starting but Leah attacks Dean during the fray and in a strange twist, Dean kills Leah using the stake. Even though Sam asks how Dean how he was able to kill her Dean says it was just a run of luck. Once the town is saved and Sam is helping out Pastor Gideon, Dean takes off in the Impala and leaves Sam behind while he drives all night and into the morning. When he finally stops in front of a house he knocks at the door to find Lisa Braeden standing inside the house. After a heart to heart talk and his confession of how much he cares about her, he tells her he is going to make arrangements to keep her and her son safe and whispers in her ear and leaves as the show ends.

This episode was unfortunately just ok. There was nothing inherently great or terrible about it and it was surprising that it had not been done earlier in the season or series. It also had a very familiar feeling to the episode Good God Y'all since the townspeople were being turned against one another while their souls were being condemned to hell in the process and in turn made the plot feel stale.

A surprising factor in this episode was its poor use of guest stars. I have been a long time Stargate SG-1 fan and it was disappointing how underutilized Michael Shanks was considering he had been on that show for ten years and came back as the character in the spinoffs as well. Why was he not playing the role of Pastor Gideon? Although we have seen him as previous characters that were emotionally conflicted with moral decisions before, he always adds an intellectual aspect to his characters rarely seen by others.

Thank God for Misha Collins (pun intended). He stole every scene he was in and managed to add some much needed humour to a show in desperate short supply. His delivery of dialogue as an intoxicated, self loathing angel gives such excellent pacing to the show that it almost makes you forget how depressing it has been during much of this season. I only wish there has been more of this throughout the season to break through some of the heavy emotion.

If I was a betting man, I would say Dean might just say yes to the angels. This season has been painting Dean deeper into a corner since the start and his actions are not a surprise but the show has been treating his every step like a suspenseful move when it hasn't been. This is not the initial direction I thought the show would take but I am glad they are taking a stance. If Dean goes to the angels, I hope they take the story in a different direction and not hold back rather than teetering between a "should we" or "shouldn't we".

Tags: Supernatural, Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Castiel, Misha Collins, Michael Shanks

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