Reviewbr> "Not you. Or me. Sam of course is an abomination. We'll have to find someone else." - Castiel
Sam and Dead are both heavily injured and are driving at speed away from unknown enemies. Unfortunately they find the road blocked by a burning truck and are soon facing a bunch of demons with no doubt nefarious purposes. In the nick of time they are saved by a truck of hunters who use a hose to douse the demons with holy water and then use the traditional Enochian chant to exorcise them. The Bros discover they have been saved by members of the Sacrament Lutheran Militia, who are preparing for the apocalypse. Thankfully the Winchesters are taken back to the centre of Militia operations, a church in the small town of Blue Earth, a small town in Minnesota.
Once they reach town the Bros find the locals are fundamentalists supposedly being led by Pastor Gideon, but who in reality follow the visions of Leah Gideon who claims to be a prophet. The Boys call in Castiel, who has been on a bit of a bender since Gold left the building. The angelic one can inform the Boys that Leah isn't a prophet, he knows all the prophet's names, and it soon becomes apparent that team Winchester are facing the mythical Whore of Babylon who is actually working to condemn the townsfolk to hell by appealing to their baser natures. Only a servant of heaven can kill the Whore, the Winchesters are all out of servants but perhaps they can convince the Pastor to kill his own daughter to save his parishioners.
Surprisingly for the first time in five seasons we get a Supernatural episode starting in an entirely unique fashion. We never do learn who or what the Winchesters are fleeing, but they clearly bit off something more than they can chew, but as they say out of the frying pan and into the fire, as a legion of demons set upon the Bros. The sudden appearance of the truck chock a block with Hunters had me glued to the screen right from the get go. Nicely built opening sequence with some shock value and some cool ideas. You just have to give two thumbs up to a show that is out to rock your viewing world.
The apocalypse might be upon us but fundamentalists are going to be fundamentalists
Getting to our monster of the week, yes the episode does fit into the overall season arc, explained shortly, but pretty much its team Winchester versus a supernatural evil, welcome back to season one y'all. We're dealing with the Whore of Babylon here, for those that aren't up on Christian mythology the full title of the Whore is "Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations of the Earth", and common biblical thought is we're talking about a place rather than a person. Anyways she is definitely associated with the Anti-Christ and the apocalypse, speaking of which the Anti-Christ hasn't made an appearance as yet, maybe something to look forward to later in the season or perhaps as the big bad next season. Julie Siege seems to have her biblical sources mixed up a tad but to be honest we can forgive a few mistakes if they keep the plot flowing and add some depth to things. For those interested the Whore has previously appeared in such diverse movies as Damien: Omen II (1978) and Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac (2013).
Anyways, and moving along, seems that team Winchester are taking the news that God has left the building in entirely different fashions. Castiel has surprisingly been on a bender, and one wonders just what the hell amount of alcohol that would involve, Sam seems to be getting desperate but isn't giving up hope on finding a solution to putting Lucifer back in the battle, and Dean seems to have come to some sort of fatalistic state of mind. The older Winchester Bro is definitely thinking in terms of finally surrendering to Angelic demands, witness the need for a servant of Heaven and that being Dean surprisingly. Clearly this is going to play out next episode, have the Winchesters hit rock bottom or can the floor fall out further from here.
Not entirely sure scribe Julie Siege isn't making comment on dooms day cults and religious fundamentalists. She certainly was pointing out how religious belief can be twisted into something infinitely more dark and savage than religion aims for. Everyone got committing mortal sin in the name of religious belief is still mortal sin right? Anyways Siege makes a good example of how one leader, who supposedly speaks for God, can drive cult members to commit acts of extraordinary moral darkness. Not saying all religion is bad here folks, simply those cults who look inward and develop an us and them attitude. Hey are we developing something of a sub plot here or should we move on and leave that sort of thing to sites that eat out on this sort of thing.
Okay so 99 Problems does explore that old time religion and we do get a Biblical monster in the form of the Whore of Babylon but that is kind of where the horror overtones reach their crescendo and drop off the radar. If you are after victims, besides the one dude who falls to religious mania, then you are out of luck, this episode is more to do with manipulation and false prophets. But hey don't get me wrong, still a decent enough Supernatural experience.
There's only one track listed for the episode, which I got to say is lean pickings for those of us who enjoy the mullet rock aspect of the franchise. We get Marc Ferrari and Steve Plunkett rocking out Too Hot to Stop, and that's all she wrote amigos.
99 Problems was in fact the 99th episode of Supernatural, holy crap that means we are almost at a hundred reviews for this alone! Hey I'm ready to rock the next hundred episodes, bring them on MacDuff. Anyways back to the episode at hand, I had a good time with it, always up for an excursion into the winter wonderland of religious fundamentalism. The episode starts well, we never do learn who or what the Bros were running from, and keeps rocking the aisles with its sermon on the dangers of following someone in the name of God who may not be what they claim to be. You don't really need to have been following the entire 98 previous episodes to enjoy this one, but probably wouldn't harm your enjoyment. Recommended, one of those episodes I pretty much don't remember from season five original viewing. I could give you 99 reasons to watch this show but you really only need one, its excellent television viewing folks.