“Are You There God, It's Me, Dean Winchester”
--Robin's Rambles by Robin Vogel
 
A hunter named Olivia lies sleeping on her sofa. Her TV, tuned to the Three Stooges, goes haywire, and she quickly realizes she has a ghost problem via her EMF meter and her own frosty breath. Despite quickly laying down a salt line, grabbing a gun and apologizing to the male ghost who gazes malevolently at her, a female ghost appears, reaches inside her body and brutally kills her. Bobby was calling her on the phone, but she was too busy trying to defend herself to answer.
 
Bobby's house - Sam and Dean are arguing about Castiel, Dean insisting, "I was NOT groped by an angel. Wouldn't a hunter have seen one?" "You just did," points out Sam. Dean prefers a theory with a little less fairy dust on it--he won't believe they're dealing with an angel of the Lord just because Castiel says he is one. Bobby calls the two "chuckle-heads" over to see something. He has books of lore that state ONLY an angel can lift a soul from the "hot box." Sam,thrilled, suggest "Maybe you were saved by one of the good guys!" "Then there's a God?" concludes Dean. "Vegas money's on yes," answers Bobby. Dean doesn't take this as proof that there's a God who "gives a crap about me, personally?--I don't buy it." Sure, he's saved people, dissed chicks, stolen, but he's just a regular guy. Apparently, says Sam, a regular guy God cares about. This creeps Dean out; he doesn't like being singled out at birthday parties, much less this. God wants you to strap on your party hat, says Sam. Bobby hands Dean a giant stack of books about angels to peruse. Dean orders Sam, "get me some pie!"
 
Sam, on his cell with Dean, stops the car somewhere outside. He's promising Dean he'll get the chips and "when have I ever forgotten the pie?. . .exactly. . ." Then Sam spots Ruby and says he has to go. Learning that an angel most likely DID rescue Dean, Ruby says, "Bye, Sam," and turns to leave. "I'm a demon," she reminds him, angels smite first and ask questions later--she's never met one, but doesn't want to--they scare the holy hell out of her--"Watch yourself, Sam." "I'm not scared of angels," he says. She just gives him a look as if saying, "You should be!" and flounces off.
 
Singer Salvage Yard - When Sam pulls up, Bobby leans through his passenger side window and explains they're going to visit Olivia Lowery, a hunter he hasn't been able to reach in three days. They'll follow Bobby. Dean climbs into the driver's seat, checks the bag Sam has brought back, and NO PIE! 
 
Olivia's house - the three men enter, guns in hand, and find Olivia on the floor, a hole in her body where her heart was, blood everywhere. Bobby goes outside. The brothers find the salt line, the "rockin' EMF meter, and the damage to Olivia, which looks like it was done by a ghost on steroids. Sam surveys the body with his hand over his mouth and sorrow in his eyes. Bobby re-joins them. He tried to call some nearby hunters, but they aren't answering their phones, either. Something is up! 
 
Jed's house - The TV is on, nothing but snow. There is salt all over the floor, blood, a gun, a salt round, and a dead man, his entire ribcage exposed. Dean's voice comes over his answering machine: "Jed, we're just calling to make sure you're all right."
 
Dean and Sam are leaving Jed's house. Dean, on his cell, explains to Bobby that Jed looks worse than Olivia. Bobby checked on two other hunters; both have re-decorated--in red. They decide the Winchesters had better go to Bobby's while they figure out why ghosts are ganking hunters. (Later) Sam makes a stop at a Save and Gas. He fills up the Impala while Dean is asleep in the passenger's seat. Sam goes into the men's room to wash his hands. The air turns cold; the mirror in front of him frosts over. Sam clears a spot with his hand; behind him stands Victor Hendriksen! "Hiya, Sam. It's been a while," he says. Sam apologizes; if they had known Lilith was coming. . . "You wouldn't have left half a dozen innocent people to die in your place," finishes Victor. "YOU did this to ME--she was after you and I paid the price! You left us there to die!" He pushes Sam into the lockers and begins beating him up, slamming his head into a mirror and the sink. While being beaten up, Sam notices a weird brand on Victor's hand. Dean enters and fires a salt bullet into Victor's ghost, which disappears.
 
Bobby's house - Lights flicker, his radio goes haywire, Bobby's breath appears in the cold, he hears the sound of giggling little girls. He looks all over, an iron fireplace poker in his hand. A red, white and blue ball bounces downstairs, and when he turns, he's faced by twin girls with malevolent faces. 
 
Back in the Impala, Dean hasn't been able to reach Bobby and is frantic. He plays doctor to his brother, asking how many fingers he's holding up. None, says Sam, irritated, I'm fine. Dean asks what Hendriksen wanted. Revenge for getting him killed, explains Sam. The brothers enter Bobby's house, guns drawn. They find the discarded fireplace poker at the foot of the stairs. Dean tells Sam to check outside; he'll take the house.
 
Singer Salvage yard - Sam calls Bobby's name. The twins have Bobby trapped in a wrecked car, a hand over his mouth so he can't reply. House - Dean searches a hallway and finds all the doors closing--but one opening. "Come out, come out, whoever you are!" he says, moving forward. His breath goes cold. Behind him, Meg Masters materializes. "Dean Winchester, still so bossy," she teases. He remembers her as she used to be, with short hair and call-girl clothes. "You don't recognize me?" Meg asks. "This is what I used to look like before that demon cut off my hair and dressed me like a slut." Dean remembers what happened to Meg in the past, and the brutal exorcism they conducted on her just before she died. "Meg?" he asks, incredulous. "Hi!" she says, almost flirtatiously, but the hate is in her eyes is clear.
 
Dean points the gun at Meg. She holds up her hands and assures him, "I'm not a demon." "You're the girl the demon possessed," he says. "Nice to talk to you when I'm not choking on my own blood," she says. "I'm just a college girl. I was walking home one night when I got jumped by all this smoke. Next thing you know, I'm a prisoner, in here." (She points to her head.) "I was awake! I had to watch while she murdered people!" "Sorry," says Dean, clearly shaken. "So sorry you had me thrown off a building?" she asks. She reminds him that she was trapped in there, screaming, "You're supposed to help people--Dean, why didn't you help me?" He repeats, "I'm sorry," which infuriates Meg into punching him, sending him to the floor. She kicks him when he tries to speak. "We didn't know!" he gasps.  "No," she says, leaning in close to his face, "you just attacked--did you ever think there was a girl in here? No, you just charged in, slashing and burning." Dean notices a brand on her hand, the same Sam saw on Hendriksen. "Do you know what it's like to be ridden for months by pure evil?" she demands,."while your family has no idea what happened to you?" "We did the best we could," he says. She kicks him again, pissed off by his lame response.
 
The wreck Bobby's being held in - One twin asks Bobby, "Are you scared? We were, when the monster came for us. We couldn't scream. You were there, so close! You could have saved us, Bobby!" Sam, breath cold, is searching every wreck, prying open trunks with a crowbar, calling Bobby's name. "You passed our door," accuses the twins, "the monster had us, and you didn't''t find us, and now, they won't find you." 
 
House - Dean crawls across the floor, suffering more verbal and physical abuse from Meg. "I had a little sister," she says, "she worshiped me. You know how they are, how they'll do anything for you? She was never the same after I died. She just got lost. And when my body was lying in the morgue, beat up, broken, do you know what that did to her?" (She kicks Dean again.) "She killed herself! Because of YOU, Dean, because all you were thinking about was your family, your revenge and your demons! Fifty words of Latin a little sooner and I'd still be alive   My baby sister would still be alive. That blood is on YOUR hands, Dean!" "You're right," he says. Meg viciously kicks him again. 
 
Salvage yard - Noticing frost on a side-view mirror, Sam finds Bobby and the twins. They send Sam flying, and he falls against another wreck, landing hard on his back. When he finds a twin right in front of him, he disposes of her with an iron rod. Bobby does the same with the other twin. 
 
House - Dean drags himself down the hallway, Meg follows. He pulls out a gun. "Did your brain get French-fried in hell?" she asks. "You can't kill me with bullets." He shoots at the light fixture above her head, which lands directly on her and makes her disappear. "Iron," says Dean, and lies back painfully.
 
Bobby's den - "So they're all people we know?" asks Sam. "People we couldn't save," adds Dean. Sam draws the brand he saw on Hendriksen's hand, matching the one Dean saw on Meg. Bobby takes it to look it up, but when he hears a sound, tells the Sam they're "going someplace safe, ya idjit."   Bobby takes them down to his panic room, which contains Devil's Traps and is constructed of iron completely coated in salt. Learning that Bobby built this panic room during a weekend off, Dean says, "You're awesome!" They spot Bo Derek's poster on the wall; Dean just says, "Oh!" They start putting together massive amounts of salt rounds. Dean discusses why he can't get behind God--"Where is He when all these decent people are being torn to shreds? How does He live with Himself, why doesn't He help?" "I ain't touchin' this one with a 10-foot pole," remarks Bobby. He found out what the brands mean--"None of them died ordinary deaths, they were FORCED to rise, they woke up like rabid dogs, in agony--someone rose 'em, on purpose. Whoever it was used a spell so powerful it left a brand on their souls. Whoever did it had big plans--it's called 'the Rising of the Witnesses,' ties into an ancient prophecy--from the Book of Revelations--this is a sign, boys--of the Apocalypse." Sam and Dean look solemn and worried.
 
"Apocalypse?" asks Dean. "As in Four Horsemen, pestilence, five-dollar-a-gallon gas apocalypse?" "The Rise of the Witnesses is a mile-marker," says Bobby." "Road trip," says Dean, "Grand Canyon, Star Trek Experience, Bunny Ranch." "How about we survive our friends out there first?" asks Bobby. "How?" asks Dean. "Besides staying in this room until Judgment Day?" Bobby has a spell to send the spirits back, but it has to be cast over an open fire--"The fireplace in the library," says Sam. The boys take the rifles. "Cover each other," orders Bobby, "aim careful, don't run out of ammo till I'm done, or they'll shred ya." He opens the panic room door and they exit, shotguns pointing in all directions. Sitting at the top of the stairs is Ronald Resnik, the poor schlub who believed in mandroids and was shot at a bank due to his own stupidity during one of the Winchesters' cases. Dean talks to him like they're old pals. "I am dead because of you," accuses Ronald. Bobby shoots him, and he disappears. "If you're gonna shoot, shoot," says Bobby, "don't talk." They race to the library and put down a salt line. Dean quickly lights the fireplace while Bobby sends Sam upstairs for a hex box. The twins appear, Dean shoots them away. Bobby sends Dean to a kitchen drawer with a false bottom to get wormwood, hemlock, opium.  The twins re-appear. "Bobby, you walked right by us while that monster ate us up," accuses one of them. "You could have saved us," says the other. Bobby reluctantly shoots them.
 
Upstairs hallway - Sam finds the hex box in a closet. Meg appears and starts the guilt trip: "You saw how I suffered for months!" she accuses. "I thought I died for something. What you're doing, with that demon, Ruby? How many innocent bodies has she burned through for kicks? How many girls just like me? And you don't send her back to hell? You're a monster!" Sam shoots her in the face. In the kitchen, Dean is trapped with Victor, who tells him, "You think you left and Lilith came and we all died in a blast of beautiful white light? For over 45 minutes, Lilith wanted to have some fun. Nancy, the virgin--Lilith filleted the skin off her piece by piece, and made us watch. Nancy never stopped screaming. I was the last." Victor thrusts his hand into Dean's chest and grabs his heart. "Tell me how it's fair that you got saved from hell and I died! Why do YOU deserve another chance, Dean!" Dean gasps in pain as Victor squeezes his heart. Sam arrives in time and shoots Victor. Dean falls to the floor, NOT all right, but Bobby needs them, and they hustle to the library. Ronald appears, threatening to eat Dean alive, but Dean's no cheeseburger, and he's ready to shoot Ronald, who disappears before he can. The windows open by themselves and wind rushes in, turning the pages of the book Bobby's using. It doesn't interrupt his Latin, however, as Dean and Sam cover him, shooting each ghost like ducks in a shooting gallery--Meg, Victor, Ronald. Shotgun shells hit the floor and smoke fills the air; Bobby continues the ritual. Victor gets Dean's gun away from him, but Dean dispatches him with something made of iron. Sam, trapped behind a roll top desk, yells, "Cover Bobby!" The twins appear on top of the desk to guard Sam. Hearing Bobby cry out, Dean turns to find Meg has her hand buried in Bobby's back, grabbing some major organ. Bobby drops the bowl; Dean makes an amazing catch. "Fireplace!" Bobby gasps. Dean throws the bowl's contents into the fire, which turns blue. All the ghosts disappear. Bobby sinks to the floor, Sam pushes the desk away, and the brothers rush to Bobby's side.
 
Sam lies asleep on the sofa, Dean on the floor. The latter awakens to see Castiel in the kitchen, and rises to go speak to him. "Excellent job with the witnesses," praises Castiel. "You were hip to all this?" asks Dean, angry. "I was. . .aware," says Castiel. "Thanks a lot for the angelic assistance," says Dean sarcastically. "You know I almost got my heart ripped out of my chest." But you didn't," Castiel reminds him. "I thought angels were supposed to be guardians--Michael Landon--not dicks." "Read the bible," advises Castiel, "angels are warriors of God. I'm a solider." "Yeah, what do you fight?" asks Dean. "I'm not here to perch on your shoulder--we had larger concerns," says Castiel. "When all this is going on," says Dean, "where the hell is your boss? Where's God--if there is one?" If there's a God, what the hell is He waiting for, genocide, the freakin' apocalypse--when is He going to help the poor bastards that are stuck down here?" "The Lord works. . ." begins Castiel.  "If you say mysterious ways, so help me, I will kick your ass!" threatens Dean. Castiel throws up his hands; he doesn't have a reply. "So Bobby was right," says Dean, "about the witnesses, this is some sign of the apocalypse?" "That's why we're here," says Castiel, "big things afoot. The Rising of the Witnesses is one of the 66 seals. Those seals are being broken, by Lilith. Think of the seals as locks on a door. When the last one opens, Lucifer walks free." This scares Dean. "Lucifer? There's no such thing." "Three days ago," says Castiel, "you thought there was no such thing as me. Why do you think we're here, walking among you, for the first time in 2000 years?" "Well, bang-up job so far," says Dean, "stellar work with the Witnesses." "We tried," says Castiel, "there will be other battles--some we'll win, some we'll lose. This one we lost." Dean sniffs arrogantly. "Our numbers are not unlimited," adds Castiel. "Six of my brothers died in the field this week. You think the armies of heaven should just follow you around? There's a bigger picture here. You should show me some respect. I dragged you out of hell. . .I can throw you back in." Dean finds himself alone, and awakens from sleep. Sam exits the kitchen, sits on the sofa, and slips into his shirt. "What's wrong?" he asks Dean. "So," he asks Sam, "you got no problem believin' in God and angels?" "No, not really," answers Sam. "So I guess this means you believe in the devil," says Dean. "Why are you asking me all this?" says Sam.  Dean just shakes his head and doesn't reply.
 
1.                   Castiel gets pretty testy with Dean at the end here. Is he justified? Dean seems to feel Castiel should have helped him, but Castiel and his angel buddies are out there trying to prevent other seals from breaking, or at least Castiel thinks so—remember that Uriel wants Lucifer back in power.
 
2.                   This ep seems a comedown from the previous episode's exciting season opener, but how could it not be? It just wasn't as good, IMHO. What did you think?
 
3.                   On the other hand, I was thrilled to see the return of Meg, who is ALWAYS excellent, Henriksen, who returned to his old villainous status, and Ronald, who was the weakest of the returnees. He could have mentioned the mandroids or something, but he just whined about not being protected, and that was lame. The twin girls (shout-out to THE SHINING?) were kinda cool, and sad, but there are always those who can't be saved. Poor Bobby.
 
4.                   The hunters' deaths at the beginning are pretty brutal, with a high ick factor. Good job on that. What did you think?
 
5.                   What did you think of what Meg said to Sam? Do you think she made him feel guilty about what he was doing with Ruby? How about what she said to Dean? He sure allowed her to hurt him for quite a while before shooting the lighting fixture down on her head. Seemed like she made him feel pretty guilty about what he did to her, even though he didn't know much about demons at the time.
 
I'd rate this one about 6 out of 10 on my love-meter.   How about you?