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Reveling in the fickle nature of fangirlishness

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99 Problems: "I can’t do this alone."
Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss. It is necessary to have wished for death in order to know how good life is to live -Alexandre Dumas

A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair. -Abraham Joshua Heschel

There are laws for everything except the harm families do. - Sue Grafton

Okay, I was wrong AGAIN. Won't be the first time and I have a feeling with the way things are going, it won't be the last too. Just when I think they couldn't drive me any further down into despair, they rip me to shreds! This episode left me DEVASTATED! So I wouldn't expect much from this blog except abject grief and complete and utter shock.

The episode as storyline was fine. False prophet, Leah, driving a whole town of people into degradation and ideally, their souls to Hell. It was great to see Michael Shanks from Stargate-1 again even if he didn't have nearly enough to do. The episode does a great job of stringing you along, making you believe that there might be factions out there that know about the Apocalypse and who want to be on the front lines fighting, but like all Supernatural episodes, nothing is as it seems. Turns out it's just another setback, a Whore as a false prophet.

We're also strung along with Dean. At first you think his distance and anger is all about Sam (and a lot of it is), where things left off last episode, but we learn that it's more than that. Unbeknowst to everyone, Dean's made a decision that we all didn't want him to make. How Heaven knows this is still a mystery, but we get our first suspicion in a struggle with the Whore of Babylon who can only be killed with a cypress branch by a "servant of Heaven". Dean kills her even though Cas so much as says he can't:

"The Whore can only be killed by a true servant of Heaven."

"Servant like...?"

"Not you, or me. Sam of course is an abomination. We'll have to find someone else."

I was fooled into thinking it would have to be Pastor Gideon, but it turned out to be Dean and instead of feeling great about him killing something evil or that he was a servant of Heaven, a deep dread seeps into me when that happens. It feels more like Dean has made his choice and it hurts to believe that Dean could come to this. It doesn't seem possible that Dean would break, but on second thinking, after what happened with Sam, it dawns that how could it NOT happen?

There were other sad and shocking moments that were unlike the Dean we know, like his uncaring attitude towards the fate of the town. It's a stark comparison to the Dean who defiantly faced down Uriel to save another town from being smited just because of the actions of one witch then proudly declaring to Cas that he had no regrets and that he would do it again to save the townspeople, giving equal credit to Sam for the accomplishment. Despite what is seen on the outside, I know that deep down Dean is fighting an ingrained instinct. Once again, Jensen does a great job at showing the subtle expressions that make you see beneath the surface of what seems obvious. Another of many "How does Jensen do that?" moments.

I think the most heartbreaking and full circle moment is Sam's speech to him:

"I got one thing, one thing, keeping me going. You think you’re the only one white-knuckling it Dean? I can’t count on anyone else. I can’t do this alone."

It's a speech that makes you see Sam in a complete role reversal. Kudos to Sam for stepping up, for gripping the thin thread and holding tight. What I love about Sam's and Dean's relationship is that whether they know it or not, when one is suffering, the other manages to know and pick up the slack, to step up. In the last line of Sam's speech, you hear the echo of Dean's speech to Sam in the pilot. Full circle. They can't do this alone and as a hopeless romantic, I don't think they should.

Sam is also doing a wonderful job of pushing his lessons learned onto Dean by pointing out how running away has been disastrous for him so he knows what he's talking about and can authoritatively tell Dean how wrong he is to do it himself.

You also feel Dean's defeated spirit in his discussion with Leah.

"'Course, that's if you can get past the velvet rope. Must be nice--being chosen."

"Well, Dean... you're chosen."

"More like cursed."

It's all the more painful that Leah turns out to be yet another harbinger of the Apocalypse. You can't help but think that Dean was hoping for a little lifeline from her or perhaps that by then knowing what he was planning to do, questioning her about Paradise in the hopes that knowing it was a better place, would somehow make the decision easier for him. For me, it showed that Dean was still thinking about humanity, caring about its fate because it was in his hands, that he felt responsible for making sure most of it would be okay. Still you wonder if Dean had made his decision or was close to it by then, why Leah hadn't known because she taunts and laughs at him later that he's not a servant of Heaven so he couldn't kill her and yet he manages to, surprising her and us.

Though it seems obvious to make the leap that he must have made some kind of decision otherwise how could he have killed the Whore when even Cas said that he couldn't, I think it would be just as logical to think that maybe Dean's been imbued with something that no one knows about that has nothing to do with his choice or that some one might have empowered him unbeknownst to all. I think it would be cooler to think that. I just can't reconcile the timing because making a decision to become a vessel isn't the same as actually becoming one so Dean is still human until he's taken over, at least that seems to be the rule so how can he be a servant of Heaven based on just a decision? I don't think he can be, so I think that he has already been one all along from when he had vowed to serve God in When the Levee Breaks:

“Do you give yourself over, wholly, to the service of God and his angels?” Castiel asked

“Yeah. Exactly.”

“Say it,” Castiel insists.

“I give myself over wholly to serve God, and you guys.”

“Do you swear to follow His will and His word as swiftly and obediently as you did your own father’s?” Castiel asked.

“Yes, I swear. Now what?”

“Now you wait, and we call on you when it’s time,” Castiel replied.

I think it's this moment that made him a servant of Heaven and he has been one ever since. But I guess Cas doesn't seem to think that counts or at least he doesn't remember that it happened because he seemed to think that Dean couldn't kill the Whore.

The most poignant and heartbreaking moment, second only to Sam practically begging Dean to stick with him, that he wasn't the only one "white-knuckling" the choice to NOT give in to becoming a vessel, was Dean going to see Lisa. Before I forget to mention it, was it just me or did it seem like Dean was whispering something into Lisa's ear? Not that I didn't love the lingering and downright chaste moment between them, I thought I saw Dean saying something to her. Probably imagining it though.

Anyway, as usual, I digress. I loved that Dean thought of Lisa and Ben and their safety. It shows how deeply he felt for them and how he didn't want them to become casualties in the pissing match that he was soon to take part in. It not only showed that Dean still cares for people, specifically Lisa and Ben, but that he considered them the family he wished he could have, feels he can never have and because of that, he would protect them as he has protected his own family all his life:

"I have no illusions. I know the life that I live. I know how its going to end for me. Whatever. I’m okay with that. But I wanted you to know, that when I do picture myself happy, it’s with you. And the kid."

It's so heart wrenching! Dean is saying good bye and it hurts so much to see Dean surrender. Even Lisa, not even knowing what Dean is doing or going through, but suspecting it's something very bad, begs him to stay with her and keenly feels like she's losing him and doesn't want to. A testament to Jensen again for bringing out such pain and pathos in Dean that you can't help, but want to reach out and stop him from doing what clearly seems to be dangerous and life threatening, soul ending. Cindy Sampson playing Lisa again is great and believable and setting aside my DeanGirl jealousy, I think she's the right woman for Dean. Ben is the perfect carbon copy if not genetically. He would be happy in that family. It's not hard to imagine and you desperately want it for him.

It was an upsetting episode without question and lately that's all it's been with these episodes. With episode 100 this week, I fear there will be more rock bottom to reach before anything uplifting begins and I caught a spoiler glimpse of what might push Dean even further towards becoming a vessel (my lips and keyboard are sealed). Still, I know redemption one way or another will happen because I will never give up on Dean. Like in times past (and I know people will complain that Dean still hasn't "grown up" about not becoming a martyr, is a hypocrite, that he's feeling like no one cares if he lives or dies especially Sam so why not surrender, but like hope, despair can be just as paralyzing) Dean will overcome his despair, that the right moment will give him the courage he is so lacking right now. He was chosen not just because he broke the first seal, but because he's a righteous man. That is his strength and he will discover it again.

Thanks for reading and let's celebrate 100 episodes with Point of No Return!!! A fantastic achievement for any show! Well-deserved longetivity for a show that keeps bringing us back over and over to invest our hearts and souls to the brothers Winchester.

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