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99 Problems
--Robin's Rambles by Robin Vogel
I need to buy stock in a tissue company. Seriously. Kripke has killed me again, my heart, my tear ducts, everything. It's obvious that Dean's sweet, tearful farewell to Lisa (and let's face it, although he saved her son who might be his), their affair was only an affair, and while she is surely grateful to him and would have kept him around as a daddy for Ben and a highly satisfying lover afterward, I never thought of her as Dean's true love. She appeared in his dream, yes, and even mentioned Ben being at baseball practice, like she did here, but I just never got that TRUE LOVE vibe from them. They make a gorgeous couple, no doubt about that. It would have been more emotionally satisfying (with a different ending, probably), if she had told Dean Ben was his. Then again, maybe not. Dean has made up his mind to accept becoming Michael's vessel. I wonder if he realizes what that means for Sam, who he left nearly tearing out his gorgeous hair back at the hotel?
How exciting was that first scene, with Dean and Sam being chased by the demons, Sam all banged up, begging Dean to drive faster? Then the demons got them and were dragging Sam from the car?  The contraption on top of the saviors truck was something I recall Jensen mentioning at one of the fests—a giant sprayer on top of a truck? That was GREAT!
So the brothers encounter a nice little town that knows all about the apocalypse and demons thanks to a false prophet with only evil in mind. She tells them stories that get young Dylan killed (and he loved the Impala, poor kid), get Paul killed by a former friend, turn the townspeople against even their holy man by calling him a demon. It's frightening how easily people will trust someone like Leah, who appears to be innocent and wise, one of their own. It took a great deal for her father to realize something was very wrong with the creature who had his child's innocent face, but her willingness to burn children alive definitely gave him pause. Meeting Castiel, a true angel of the Lord, sealed the deal and enabled him to at least try to kill the Whore of Babylon with the special stake.
Speaking of Castiel, this dark episode needed some comic relief, and he definitely provided it! From the moment he staggered into Sam's hotel room, complaining that Sam's voice is grating, that he drank a liquor store (which must be how much it took to get him drunk), and grabs Sam's head to whimper in his ear not to ask stupid questions, I was just so glad to see that angel! 
I understood Jane's grief over her son, I truly did, but her shooting Paul was wrong. She took Leah's promises too far, but that's what Leah's kind seeks to do, make everyone crazy, like religious fervor gone too far, creating mob rule. She does the same thing by naming people who are not living up to the rule of the angels, making the righteous burn those who are not. Fortunately, Sam, Dean, Cas and Gideon were able to stop that, but it could just as easily have gone down the same way Dylan and Paul did. 
Now, about Dean—isn't he a servant of heaven? Didn't he give himself over a while back, swear an oath to Cas that he would obey heaven as he had his own father? I'm guessing that's why he was able to kill Leah. Perhaps Cas assumed (ass out of everyone) that since HE was on the outs, so was Dean because he'd given him the oath, but apparently, Cas was WRONG! Dean was able to slay Leah, which makes him the right man for the job! So HA, Leah, all that nasty stuff you were spouting was fake, untrue and shove it up your ass!
Sam knows Dean better than anyone, and after all the fighting they were doing in the hotel room, it was clear Dean didn't care about anything anymore. â€œAngel world, angel rules,” says Dean, standing.   â€œAnd since when is that OK with you?” demands Sam, incredulous. “Since the angels got the only lifeboats on the Titanic,” says Dean. â€œWho is supposed to save these people; it was supposed to be us, but. . .” â€œAre we supposed to stop fighting, roll over?" asks Sam. “I don't know, maybe,” says Dean, pouring coffee. Upset, Sam stands. “You can't do this--to me--you think you're the only one white-knuckling it here?--I can't count on anyone else--and I can't do this alone.” (Brings back memories of Dean saying the same thing to Sam when he went to him at Stanford years ago.) This scene just broke my heart. 
So when Dean had Gideon and Castiel safely in another hotel with Sam, he cut out in the Impala as quickly as he could and went to Lisa, where this scene unfolded: 
Dean drives in the night, arrives in daylight at someone's door. He knocks, Lisa answers, surprised to see him. He asks about Ben. He's good, at baseball, she says. You moved, notices Dean, nice house, but Lisa knows he isn't there to discuss real estate. "You all right?" she asks, looking at his downcast face. "Not really," he says, "look, I have no illusions. I know the life I live, I know how that's going to end for me, whatever, I'm OK with that, but I wanted you to know that when I do picture myself happy, it's with you, and the kid." He smiles, then gazes down sadly and adds, "You don't have to say anything." "I know, I know," she says, "I mean, I want to. . .come inside, let me get you a beer." "I wish I could," says Dean, "take care of yourself, Lis." "No, wait, wait," she says, "you can't just drop a bombshell like that and then leave!" "I know, I'm sorry," he says, "but I don't have a choice." "Yeah, you do," she says, "you can come inside and let me get you a beer, we can talk. . ." He stops her and says, "Things are about to get really bad. Next few days the things you're going to see on TV are going to be downright trippy. Scary, but I don't want you to worry, because I'm making arrangements for you and Ben--whatever happens, you're gonna be OK--the people I'm gonna see next, they're not gonna get anything from me without agreeing to a few conditions." "Just come inside, please," begs Lisa, "and whatever you're thinking of doing, don't do it." He holds her hand in both of his. "I have to," he insists. "You can stay an hour," she says, "at least say goodbye to Ben." "Nah, it's better if I don't," says Dean, a catch in his voice. She nods, hating this. Dean presses a long, long kiss to her left temple as a tear slides down her cheek. "Goodbye, Lisa," he says. Sadly, she watches him climb into the Impala, leaving her life--and perhaps life altogether.
One thing Leah said to Dean rings true: Must be hard, being the vessel of heaven and having no hope.
Oh, Dean. I am crying for you, and for Sam, and the world. Why don't you just kill me?   


# Sablegreen 2010-04-09 16:41
I forgot about Dean's comment to Sam at Stanford. The shoe is on the other foot now. Think Sam is begining to understand what being Dean is all about.

Thanks Robin.
# elle 2010-04-09 17:40
I too was reminded of the scene with Dean and Sam at Stanford when Dean said he couldn't do it alone, and Sam told him he could, but Dean replied "Well, I don't want to." Interesting role reversal here.
Thank you, Robin!
# Freebird 2010-04-09 21:01
Hi Robin, thanks for writing this! I just saw the epi twice, this one's going on my favorites list :-)

I also was thinking that Lisa couldn't be The One, after all she and Dean only had a weekend affair. Cassie was supposed to be the one girl he loved, right? But then I figured that Cassie turned him down twice - first when he revealed to her what his job was, and second when she actually saw him do the job. Dean suggested to Cassie that he'd be back, and she basically said there's no future together for them. Lisa, on the other hand, even after seeing his job, offered him to stay. So, I do understand why Lisa is in Dean's happy-life-dream.

The townspeople so willingly following the false prophet, well, I found myself yelling at them "What the hell is wrong with you? How can't there be anyone - anyone! - who sees the insanity of this?" But then again, just turn on the news and you'll find examples of such insanity all over the globe. People are just willing to believe and do anything when desperate and scared. Jane's a good example, and I don't really wonder why she acted like she did.

Dean the servant of heaven? Ha, I totally forgot about that oath, thanks Robin for mentioning it! You are so right. Thou I do believe this is the opening to another twist right out of Kripke's genious mind. I believe there is much more to it and that it will be a big surprise. On the other hand, I always thought of Dean as being the rightous, actual believer. He may not be the downright pious type, but he wouldn't do what he does if he didn't have at least one little driblet of faith in him. I think he's more of a believer than many pious people are out there, his actions prove it.

I felt for Sam in this epi. He is desperately trying to keep things together. His repetitive "Are you alright?" he's been asking everyone throughout several epis now, was beginning to get on my nerves - Castiel's "Don't ask stupid questions" was as if he had read my mind and told him that for me :-) I think Sam feels the back-up of his team is slipping away. He didn't reach Bobby, he's not reaching Dean and Cas anymore, I can only imagine how it is to try to keep the ship from sinking when the enemy seems to hold the lifevest and your crew doesn't care anymore. Sam calling out for Dean when he drove away was heartbreaking!

Such a sad epi, but the comic moments were priceless! And they came from Cas! "I don't understand why you want me to say my name" got me laughing hard all the way 'till Sam's "I left him a message. I think" which got me laughung harder for minutes. Cas drunk was priceless, basically he was funny through almost all the episode. Is there any show out there that combines tragedy and comedy in such an amazing way that it doesn't make you uncomfortable? I can't think of any.

Okay, Robin, I usually don't write this long comments, but tonight I'm just in a writing mood and I loved this epi. And I'm going on a 2-week-hellatus , will be travelling with limited or no internet access, and it's bad timing for it is clear that the denouement of the apocalypse-arc has started, and I don't know how I'll survive this. Well, will have to keep myself buisy with new impressions of an unknown country, which isn't that bad actually. Gonna go watch next week's preview now, to make me feel better. Or worse.

Robin Vogel
# Robin Vogel 2010-04-10 06:33
Trust me, Lara, I've seen a couple of next week's previews and I don't think they're going to make you feel better. After viewing one of them (no spoilers), I reached for an empty tissue box, because it made me cry!

You're so right about this show's skillful ability to combine comedy and tragedy in such amazing ways. I find myself laughing along with my tears sometimes, which is very weird--but cathartic!

On the other hand, worrying about these fictional characters makes me worry that something is seriously wrong with me!
# Randal 2010-04-10 11:04
Ah, yes, Robin, the Sam and Dean conversation certainly mirrors the Pilot, a cyclical system going on here, Dean being the rock, now Sam, John sacrificing himself for Dean, Dean for Sam, Sam for everyone (yes, I agree with Dean that what Sam did last year was from good intentions, highways to hell be, er, damned.)

I'm a bit in agreement with cassi on the Lisa being/not being The One, because given such an itinerant and dangerous lifestyle, I wonder if there ever will exist such a woman, but semiotically, she's certainly the prime example; we saw that all the way back in 3.10. She represents what he wants above all else.

Now, what I would *love* to see down this stretch run is the gang using the angels' own red tape against them. Hell is known for such shady politics, and you know damn well heaven is as well. Mucho hierarchy, thus loopholes aplenty ripe for exploitation. Plus I just wanna see Zachariah fume when he knows he's been bested by a lowly human. Muah.
# Jasminka 2010-04-10 18:28
Ah, beware of religious fundamentalists , they come in all colours… this was not unlike a witch hunt in the middle ages, it made my stomach turn. I should have thought earlier that Leah couldn’t be a real prophet, but then again so much b.s. had been done in the name of God over the centuries that everything was possible.

This episode broke my heart also, Robin, I need to stock up badly on tissues, you’re right.

It broke my heart (and it doesn’t get better after a second viewing) to see Dean break apart and Sam holding on to hope by such a thin thread and the fear that must imprison him like nobody’s business…

We all need to buckle up, I guess, the coming five episodes will undoubtedly be nasty. Damn you Eric Kripke. Dean has been cleaning up his dad’s messes for such a long time (remind me to slap John when I meet him), by that enabling Sam to feel free to go, I believe. He took the blows so that Sam could do his thing (although Dean certainly didn’t plan on that), because with Dean’s protection Sam was able to grow a confidence that Dean never achieved…
And even if Lisa was not 'the one' for Dean, in his dreams she is which makes it the same for him - he feels as if she was the one he would have been happy with. This notion, however, probably increases his pain.

Heartbreaking, really. Thanks for this, Robin,

Love Jas
# Raincrystal 2010-04-11 09:35
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# faye 2010-04-12 10:54
I think you guys are all missing the boat with the Dean/Lisa thing. I thought there was something disturbing about the whole thing. Why was she not surprised to see him? How did he know where she had moved? Why did she keep asking him to come in?
When we 1st saw Lisa, Dean was doing his 10 greatest hits, and she was the KamaSutra girl. What hooked Dean was BEN. At that point he couldn't afford not to believe when she said he wasn't Dean's kid. He was going to hell and he wasn't coming back.
But it's pretty obvious that the boy is Dean's. One, the boy acted like Dean, and the only reason he would is if she subconsciously shaped him into his father (looking for certain behaviour and encouraging it). Two: her friends knew who Dean was. Lets face it, what was your son's father like is a much more natural conversation than what was your most memorable one night stand with a guy we can't even imagine because he doesn't live around see my point?
Anyway, I think when he killed the whore of Babylon, Dean had a sort of epiphany: One, he actually was a servant of heaven, like it or not, but, two, and the kicker, that if Ben was his son, he was also a vessel.
I wonder if the Angels, who would certainly be keeping track of the great bloodline, were lying in wait inside the house, knowing that Dean would know where he is truly vulnerable.
Anyway, I hope we're all prepared to cry our way to the end of the season, not too many laughs left, I'm thinking.
# Michael 2010-04-12 22:45
I totally agree, Faye. Ben is Dean's son. In The Kids are Alright, Lisa tells Dean that he's off the hook because she did a paternity test. But even if she actually had a one-night stand with a biker, and if she managed to track him down and submit to a blood test, this would only prove that he *could* have been the father (based on blood type). It certainly doesn't let Dean off the hook -- since he didn't also submit a blood sample, she has no way of knowing whether or not he's the father. But I believe she was lying to him because she didn't want him to enter into a relationship because he feels trapped. The way she kisses him when he tells her that he would've been proud to have been Ben's dad says it all.
I hadn't thought about Ben's being a potential vessel. Wow.