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09 April 2010 @ 05:02 pm
SPN: "99 Problems" Episode Review + Meta  

Supernatural 5.17 "99 Problems"

Like the previous, the episode starts off completely with a bang. We immediately jump in the middle of the action with the Winchesters being chased by a gang of demons, when it appears they are cornered they are saved a band of other people who are also hunters, not just this group but the brothers learn the townspeople have also joined in by warding off demons from their residential town. They meet a young woman who claims she's a prophet and has been given visions and orders from the angels, however when the girl's visions start to become questioning in terms of what is asked of the townspeople, their suspicions rise. Castiel appears, rather thrashed after downing an entire liquor store due to dealing with his inner woes, telling them that the girl isn't a prophet but rather the Whore of Babylon, an embodiment of evil that appeared once Lucifer had risen and is manipulating the townspeople to do its bidding. The only way of killing it is with a particular stake and only one that is a servant of Heaven can complete it.

As it turns out, despite the implications that it has to be the town's preacher, it is Dean that ends up successfully killing the Whore of Babylon, bringing forth the notion that Dean very well is the exact instrument that can help stop the Apocalypse because, for better or for worse, he is the chosen one. But perhaps it's not what he thinks. The end gives a rather interesting take, whether you believe its of a random left field note, where we're given a prelude to what Dean plans on doing next. As he seriously contemplates giving into the angels and saying "yes" to Michael....

Supernatural dives straight into the hurt zone with the character angst of not just Dean but with Castiel as well, two characters who are now in a similar place. The only one stable at this moment is Sam. Can our Sammy bring Team Free Will back together?

Dean Winchester: Heaven's Pawn or The Chosen Savior?

Since the mythology expanded into the realm of theological arcs, I've been very fascinated with the roles both brothers are playing and not just with the vessels aspects. Once it was established in the beginning of season four that Dean had a larger role to play in the overall plot of the show, I began trying to draw parallels between Dean and his destiny and what this could mean if said parallels were to give us clues to what could possible happen for our boys towards the end.

From these last two seasons now I have believed, given everything known of his character, that Dean holds both a martyr and a Christ-figure complex, and adding in that he's the chosen vessel for the archangel Michael to defeat Lucifer? That's some heavy weight right there, and something that he's been struggling with all this season. But in this episode, we saw something that wasn't orchestrated by Zachariah and the rest of the angels pressuring him to accept their terms, but just a matter of recognition of what has been weighing on his mind for a long time now. By killing the Whore of Babylon Dean realized something about himself, about his so-called destiny, that he needs to face.

Though I think what he needs to understand and realize is, by killing the Whore of Babylon it proves that it's he that holds the tools of stopping this war. He's the key, not Michael. At least that's how view it.

Now granted, Dean might need more help than just himself, but as I've stated many times before I firmly believe that it is themselves and humanity in general that will stop and defeat Lucifer and ceasing the apocalypse. Heaven versus Hell is a fascinating arc indeed, but Supernatural has always been about the resilience and strength of humanity and about family, and while I enjoy a great theological battle it should be about the brothers finding common ground and working together. Dean may think he has little choice because of all they've attempted at trying to escape destiny, but I truly believe his destiny isn't the one the angels are pointing towards. On the contrary, Dean Winchester has a completely different destiny that will shock even Zachariah; because once again, God really does care and does have a plan, he just cannot assist anymore than He already has. It is up the Dean to figure out what that is. This is what I believe and I hope Dean soon realizes, because from the end of this episode he seems to have hit that rock bottom hard, knowing that if he doesn't do something now it'll be too late. Let's just hope he doesn't forget where he comes from, who he is and understands that there is a silver lining. He just has to regain faith and hope in what he believes in best; saving people. Hunting things. Making a difference, no matter how great or small, in such a fucked over world.

In any case, Heaven might think that Dean is going to do whatever they say no matter what, but I think he has a greater purpose to fulfill, and even though he's at a loss now I hope he comes to understanding what this purpose is, or realize that he shouldn't need to become Heaven's pawn in order to successfully be part of his destiny.

The Left Field Ending: Not As Random As You Think

Okay. I've read plenty of reactions and opinions about the last few minutes of the episode, and I have to admit I felt that it was out of place as well. It was almost in the "Do Not Want" category...until I thought it over and reread some other comments about the meaning behind why Dean went to visit Lisa in the first place.

I believe that the last scene was a representation of what he's giving up for, symbolism of the innocents of the world that he's willing to save because of what happened earlier with him ganking the Whore of Babylon and giving him some new insight to what he needs to do. While we don't know whether Dean is going to fully go through with consenting to the angels or thinking there's a Plan B, with his conditions he plans on making if he does say yes, it's clear from his implications of his words to Lisa that this is what he plans on doing. He's always sacrificed everything for others, always given and never taking, always with the selflessness and with everything that has been attempted and failed and knowing that he might as well be the one to stop all this ("the one who started it is the only one who can stop it") he's going to take it up, whatever he can to help save others, to save the world and humanity. To me, he didn't go to Lisa because he thinks about happiness with her, but rather that Lisa and Ben are the representation of normalcy and a functioning family, something he can never ever have, something he is fighting to protect because that's what he and his brother do for a living. They fight evil, save people's lives. That's what I see in this scene, now looking back on it.

So it's not Lisa specifically that makes him happy, seeing as how she was just a random one-night stand that just happened to have a kid that Dean is fond of, it's more of the image of family, of security, of a mother and child; of something he longs and has longed for a long time. It's something he's fighting for because he knows what the future holds, what this Apocalypse means, and I feel like the show needed to have that connection between Dean and someone else to prelude to his decision and into the next episode, especially with Lisa going "you do have a choice." That's the entire message.

It probably wasn't the greatest example in the world, but I understand what they were reaching for.

Castiel, Our Shattered Little Angel

I need to write this out because as much as I love whump!Castiel he's hurting my heart too much. D:

The more these episodes go by the more allusions we're seeing from "The End"; while certain events have changed others have not; Castiel has lost his faith in God, he drank an entire liquor store and Dean practically told him to down an entire bottle of Aspirin, which is almost like saying "to numb the pain, take drugs" and that is precisely what future!Castiel did frequently with taking amphetamines. I was actually afraid that when Castiel had asked how Dean managed to get through the pain, Dean would respond with his typical "booze and women" because that's how Dean always tends to numb his troubles, and that would definitely be damning Castiel to turning what his future!self had become, which I desperately DO NOT WANT, ever. I want our Castiel, optimistic and faithful and hopeful and badass and without drowning himself in the decadence of humanity. That's my Castiel, and with only a five episodes left I surely hope they can avert that from happening to him.

But this has me wondering, did Dean ever tell Castiel about what Zachariah had shown him in that possible future? Because the allusions are there, subtle as they are but there nonetheless. I hope that Dean acknowledges it because he specifically said the words, "Don't ever change." That was very important to his relationship with Castiel and understanding that he doesn't want his angel to turn into the mess he saw in the future, because he likes Castiel the way he is.

I just hope that Dean realizes this and turns things around and helps Castiel to regain his faith and hope again, or that Sam helps both of them because this? Is all just fucking depressing me, goddamn. D:

But it seems that although Castiel is disappointed in God, he's not given up fighting the good fight. He had believed that God would help him and this is his way of coping with these emotions, a mechanism learned from Dean of course, and he was letdown by God saying to back off. While I hope he realizes that it doesn't mean God doesn't care, I think his anger might be fuel to fighting more aggressively in the future. Right now he's more mourning in his sorrows because it was such a huge blow in the gut for him, particularly since he believed so hard. But I think once he's back on his feet that Castiel will find a way of being more productively aggressive with winning this war, especially with Dean contemplating saying yes and everything. I know nothing about the upcoming 100th episode, but I know for sure that Castiel is not going to allow Dean to give up that easily, not after everything Castiel has given up to fight by his side.

This has been one hell of an episode to see, and great continuity from the previous even if it hurts seeing my bb angel hurt this much. I love this kind of direction and development for his character, sad and gut-wrenching it is to watch, I have been watching for more substantial Castiel-centric material since the beginning of the season and thankfully, they are providing just that. I just hope he heals soon because I hate seeing him in such a depressed and sorrowful state. :((((
*hugs Cas like whoa*

Memorable Moments of the Episode:

++ Once again, starting off the episode right in the middle of the action. I am loving this new trend, it's quite a difference from their standard openings. Whee. \O/


++ I find the hunting community very interesting, this town seemed different than other hunting communities but that's because I think it's because these people were just newly recruited into the hunter-esque gigs thanks to the Apocalypse. And the fake!prophet daughter, of course, orchestrating most of the things that occurred there. Because if they were truly hunters for a while they would have known who Dean and Sam were, given the evidence that many other hunters are out gunning for them. But I've been wanting to write my own thoughts about hunters in general and how they relate to each other.

++ "I don't understand why you want me to say my name..." CAS/CELL PHONE OTP4EVAH!! <3

++ "Are you...drunk?" "No!....Yes." Oh Castiel, ilu and you're failed attempt at lying.

++ "Don't ask stupid questions." <33333

++ "Where the hell have you been?" "On a bender!" Oh OTP, you're bickering is so much love.


++ I love how Castiel gets very snappy and sarcastic when he's kinda drunk, which is contrasted by him being all sad and angsty when sobering up. I wish we had this snarky!Castiel all the time, just making comments like he did to Sam about being an "abomination" and the like, lolforever.

++ "...It's funnier in Enochian..." LOL AWKWARD CASTIEL MOMENT IS AWKWARD! I love his failed attempts at cracking jokes; it's what Misha said, Castiel is the straight character of all of them and that's when he's his funniest, when he doesn't mean to be. But when he tries to attempt humor he fails, but that too is also funny because it's just so endearing. <3 <3 <3 <3


++ Castiel with a book = my other kink. Bookworm!Castiel. LUFF. <33333

++ BTW, I bet angels have the worst sobering hangover ever. Poor Cas. :((((((

++ DEAN/CASTIEL BONDING MOMENT! About their daddy issues, but still. And of course we have Dean carrying Castiel back to the car after everything was finished just, awwww. OTPOTPOTPOTP!!!! :DDD


++ When I saw Castiel lying on the bed with that look on his face! D: D: D: OH CAS BB DON'T BE HURTING IT WILL BE ALRIGHT. I half-expected Dean to sit down with Castiel, or have Castiel appear in the car after he'd driven off. Just because they are like that with each other. BUT SAMMY HAS TO FIX BOTH OF THEM BECAUSE HE IS THE ONLY ONE RIGHT NOW THAT HAS HIS HEAD STRAIGHT WITHOUT THE EXTRA ANGSTING! It would be awesome to see Sam do something productive in his redemption, and this is it.


Overall: Not as fantastic as the previous episode, but it was pretty damn good considering. Mostly it was because of the character angst, particularly where Castiel and Dean are concerned. Misha and Jensen knocked their performances out of the park yet again. It's always like that with those two, I mean they do great by themselves but when you get them together on the screen it's like, whoa. Not that Sam didn't have great scenes too, I liked his speech towards Dean, but yeah. It was all about Castiel and Dean and their epic pain. ♥ I just love with what they're doing, even with whumped!Castiel that makes my heart ache so much for him. And then with Dean, and his destiny and what he has to do, or thinks he has to do, just yeah. The MOTW wasn't that bad, and the cult implications of a town turning against each other is definitely creepy because it hits close to home for a lot of people (religious fanatics influencing and controlling others through fear and God's word), but I felt it fit with what they're dealing with. Times are fucking scary, and it's about to get scarier and even more fucking depressing. Just, goddamn show. FIX OUR BOYS. D:

I know nothing about the 100th episode, I don't wanna know since I'm staying spoiler-free, BUT I AM SO FUCKING EXCITED BECAUSE FROM WHAT PEOPLE AREN'T TELLING ME I AM GOING TO BE SQUEEING LIKE MAD. :D :D :D


Castiel: *looks up*
Dean: Comfort sex time now? *raises eyebrow*

This show, it has broken me. Perhaps more than it meant to. But I love these characters so much that I just, I can't not be emotionally invested with what is happening to them in the story. THEY HURT SO PRETTY AND SO GOOD.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Bear McCreary ft Raya Yarbrough - Apocalypse
Just a story in the end.: ~ where do I turn?wingsunfurled on April 10th, 2010 01:55 am (UTC)
I really shouldn't read this on the train because you are making me relive Castiel's angst and I am tearing up just thinking about it. God this show knows how torture your heart. Caaass... ]'=
Renée: Castiel. Whumped :(rogueslayer452 on April 10th, 2010 06:23 am (UTC)
I know, I completely understand bb. :( I just hurt so bad for Castiel, like everything he's going through just tears me up inside. I spent hours after the episode aired, same with the previous episode, just my heart sunk in my stomach. It hurts so much. My heart just aches for him that all I wanna do is hug him and tell him everything will be okay. :(((
Kevin Jonesmulder200 on April 10th, 2010 02:43 am (UTC)
Misha and Jensen really shined in this eps. What talented actors they are. Their chemistry is great.

I totally loved how Dean was able to kill the Whore not just because she was evil but it totally proved how truly incredible he is. He is truly God's chosen. Plus, I have a kink for ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Ah! Poor Cas! It is both funny and tragic that he drank an entire liquor store. Funny because he did it and tragic because it shows how far he has Fallen. Still, I love that even though is depressed and faith shattered, he is still willing to fight. Now that's BAMF!
Renée: Castiel. Guardian angel.rogueslayer452 on April 10th, 2010 06:04 am (UTC)
I find that out of all the actors on this show, Jensen and Misha are completely top-notch whenever they're challenged with these kinds of scenes. They play off each other so well, and just knock everything out of the park and give it their all. ♥

Plus, I have a kink for ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

This, exactly. I love how this shows he's not just some kind of pawn for Heaven, but there is something really truly special about him without being "special", you know? He can really beat this thing if he starts believing and having faith in himself, because I think that's one of the missing links. He really is incredible as himself, not as a vessel or anything like that, but just him and him alone.

Broken!Cas and BAMF!Cas coming together as one, I can't wait to see that unfold. I don't like the idea of fallen!Castiel because I want him to remain as he is and have his faith regained. But it's always interesting to see characters get knocked down only to get right back up again, even if all odds are against them like they are now for Team Free Will.
ashley: tv; supernatural » in need of savingkitsu84 on April 10th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC)


Also. Cas/Cellphone = Ultimate OTP. Just sayin'.
Renée: Castiel + Cell phone = OTP.rogueslayer452 on April 10th, 2010 05:50 am (UTC)
It's funny because even though I didn't watch much of Stargate, I recognized him immediately, lol! He just has a knack for taking on a role where he dies, so YAY HE DIDN'T DIE IN SPN! A FIRST I THINK! :D So both he and his wife have been on the show this season, which I don't think is much of a coincidence. ;)

I find Castiel trying to understand modern human technology incredibly endearing. ♥
cheerful_earl: dean/cascheerful_earl on April 10th, 2010 05:15 am (UTC)
Though I think what he needs to understand and realize is, by killing the Whore of Babylon it proves that it's he that holds the tools of stopping this war. He's the key, not Michael. At least that's how view it.

Yes! This. Dean is the key; he's the one who can stop it. I cannot buy that he was brought back just to be a meatsuit and I don't want him to buy it either. Humanity was always Dean's answer. He still wants to save people (see Left Field Ending) but I think he needs to get the fire of "Lucifer Rising" back.

I agree; Cas totally made the episode. Best part, hands down, IMO.

Your gifs kind of kill me. :( :(
Renée: Dean/Castiel. Between us.rogueslayer452 on April 10th, 2010 05:44 am (UTC)
It just seems like everyone is pressuring him to become a vessel, even Pamela in Heaven was like, "what could it hurt?" But this is DEAN WINCHESTER we're talking about. He's for humanity, he's a representation of the strength humanity is, and while he might not get it yet I hope he does because all this "you're say yes no matter what" and being a meatsuit just isn't what I think he's purpose is at all. He does need that fire back, and hopefully after next week's episode he'll regain it again. *crosses fingers*

Whenever Castiel appears suddenly everything is 100x better for me, because I love him so dearly. ♥ fandom has been spoiled by Misha, I swear

THEY KINDA KILL ME TOO, BB. :( Here, has some Castiel + cell phone adorableness:

cheerful_earl: Team Free Willcheerful_earl on April 10th, 2010 05:54 am (UTC)
EEEEE. <3 Remember in LA how Misha said sometimes the "Cas is awkward" gags get old? The cell phone one DOES NOT. Cas + cell phone = WIN ALWAYS.
Renée: Castiel + Cell phone = OTP.rogueslayer452 on April 10th, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)
Castiel being awkward will never get old, never ever ever. Especially him with his cell phone. SO FUCKING CUTE! His social awkwardness is just so endearing, that's one of the things I love about him honestly. He's just too precious trying to "fit in" but failing so adorably. *draws hearts all around him*
cheerful_earl: Team Free Willcheerful_earl on April 10th, 2010 06:25 am (UTC)
YES! I love his adorable awkwardness! I love how he can be clueless and trying to explain an Enochian joke in one scene and a total BAMF in another. Cas! *joins you in drawing hearts all around him*
Renée: Castiel. Adorkable.rogueslayer452 on April 10th, 2010 06:31 am (UTC)

Shonaille: Watchmen Avenging Angelkalikahuntress on April 10th, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC)
Aww so cute.:)
Shonaille: Aaliyahkalikahuntress on April 10th, 2010 01:54 pm (UTC)
I was so blinded by the sloppiness of the last three minutes that I forgot how much good stuff happened in the ep. Thanks for this review.

I know that they meant to show what Dean secretly wanted but they didn't a good job of it, could have been done better IMO.
Renée: Castiel + Cell phone = OTP.rogueslayer452 on April 10th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it was definitely sloppy writing. I get where they wanted to go with it but, honestly? As much as I love the show sometimes the writing can just be so WTF and completely sucky, that was one of those moments. :/

However, despite that this episodes was pretty amazing, especially once Castiel appeared. That may be my bias, but even if an episode is fantastic on its own Castiel kind of makes things even better. I loved them going further into seeing his despair, both him and Dean really. Which makes me anticipating next week's episode because there's going to be SO MUCH with them and just, yeah. I haven't gone into spoilers but from what I can tell, it's gonna to be absolutely amazing. :D :D :D
goldenusagigoldenusagi on April 13th, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC)
It probably wasn't the greatest example in the world, but I understand what they were reaching for.

This, I think. I get what they were trying to do, but I'm not sure that Lisa was the best way to do it. And I still think Dean driving to see her was random.

Fandom seems to be very split on this.

Castiel to turning what his future!self had become, which I desperately DO NOT WANT

DITTO. I like seeing how Castiel could become that, if the world got bad enough, but I want it to stay only a side of his character, and not to become his character. But I think he will pick himself up after this episode. I think there's still plenty of fight left in him. Even if his faith in God is gone, he still doesn't want the Apocalypse to happen.

I do see the writers giving us that parallel to The End with Dean giving Cas the pills, but I have to wonder if Dean sees it. Probably not. He's so messed up right now.

And ditto to all the wonderful drunk!Cas quotes!
Renée: Castiel. Guardian angel.rogueslayer452 on April 13th, 2010 11:11 pm (UTC)
Yeah, there's definitely a split of opinions on that and whether it was smart of the writers. It could have worked in different context, but as far as Lisa being there as such a representation it was just randomly awkward, tbh. It made no sense, and the only way it makes sense is drawing the conclusion that Lisa and Ben are representations of something he wishes he could have, and that's pretty much it. *shrugs*

I think there's still plenty of fight left in him. Even if his faith in God is gone, he still doesn't want the Apocalypse to happen.

Yep, exactly. I mean, poor Cas. He had such high hopes about God and they were completely crushed, so yeah he's kind of in mourning and depressed about that. But it's not like he's given up. He's still in the fight for the good guys. I think that once he's sobered up that he'll return to being Castiel again, just with more cynicism towards God (even though I hope that not only will that fuel his anger to beat this thing however possible, I want God to not be a deadbeat father to him and that his faith will be regained by the end of the season).

Both Dean and Cas are so whumped, but the thing is Castiel can bounce back from this with a little help. Dean has been shattered and broken for some time now, and this episode was like the last straw for him. I think that's why I can't wait for Thursday...

And ditto to all the wonderful drunk!Cas quotes!

bold_seer: faintbold_seer on April 14th, 2010 11:33 pm (UTC)
When I saw Castiel lying on the bed with that look on his face! D: D: D: OH CAS BB DON'T BE HURTING IT WILL BE ALRIGHT.

The look. :(

And pretty much everything you said. (HUGHUGHUG-gy Bear?)

Friday, you are my favourite day - obviously I'm going to say that, and I'm a Friday's child - be here soon!
Renée: Castiel. Whumped :(rogueslayer452 on April 14th, 2010 11:55 pm (UTC)
He looks like a kicked puppy! D: I just wanna pet him and give him a huge hug, letting him know things will be alright. :( Would've given anything to see Dean crawl into the bed with him, or at least give him a comforting hug. DAMMIT BOYS, YOU NEED TO HUG NOW!