Episode 8.19

“Taxi Driver” Review
By Annie Kenney

This week’s episode – where do you begin?

Despite the fact that there were a few glaring plot holes (which I will attempt to address as we go along!) this week’s episode was one of my favourites and one that will be revisited more than once or even twice! It was also one of those episodes that grabs you and keeps you there from the gory start (poor old Kevin) to the shock ending (poor, poor old Kevin!). It was super Supernatural and you can feel the tension building and building as the season draws to a (no doubt) explosive conclusion.

The effects were absolutely wonderful and so cool – the graffiti merging into Sam’s doorway to hell – being one of the highlights. It was a real shock when Ajay left Sam in Purgatory and an even bigger shock when Crowley appeared in the back of Ajay’s taxi and ran him through. My heart was in my mouth and the sudden realization that Sam was trapped down there was genuinely unnerving.

And so to the first – rather glaring – plot hole. Crowley and Castiel spent most of Season 7 looking for a way to get into Purgatory and yet – within minutes – Ajay had taken Sam there and explained that there was a backdoor to hell hidden within. It is difficult to believe that Crowley – King of Hell – didn’t know it was there and it will be interesting to see if the show explains it away somehow or – as with other plot holes – chooses to ignore it.

The second plot hole was Sam in Hell. I was on tenterhooks waiting for the experience to send Sam a little bit mad. In fact I fully expected him to have one of his Hell flashbacks, however he seemed to be completely fine (a little disturbed obviously!) but fine. It is a shame that the writers didn’t go there but maybe they thought there was enough angst in this episode without Sam having even more trauma to deal with.

Hell was suitably creepy and the suffering souls creepier still. I like the way Hell seems to change from season to season. Meat hooks and torture in Season 3 (No Rest for the Wicked), a long, long waiting room line (in Season 6) and more meat hooks and chains in Season 7 (Meet the New Boss). It was really weird and odd to see those poor souls pleading with Sam and so sad to see his guilt on not being able to rescue them.

So brilliant to see Bobby again and so sad to hear that his daily torture were hundreds of demon Sam & Dean’s. A welcome touch of humour was Sam using the things Bobby told Dean during ‘You Can’t Handle the Truth’ and the relief when Bobby recognised him was palpable. It was a shame that getting out of Hell appeared to be so easy – however it was amusing that Bobby killed demon Sam on a 50/50 chance!

Meanwhile, back on Earth it was agony to see Dean struggling to convince Kevin (in his own – not that helpful Dean way) that he had to suck it up and get on with it so to speak. Again Dean didn’t get to eat his pie (I am sure that will be Dean’s happy ending!) but it was even worse when Dean had to go to Benny and beg for his help. I had genuine tears in my eyes as Benny just seemed to give up and sacrifice himself. As an audience we know that Dean is always going to choose Sam but he was so obviously fond of Benny and he still felt he owed him for his freedom. The part when Dean chopped off Benny’s head was terrible and there was some fantastic acting from both Ty Olsen and Jensen Ackles in that scene.

Back in Purgatory we saw Bobby’s reaction to Sam not looking for Dean. Like the audience, Bobby didn’t understand why Sam didn’t look for his brother and there wasn’t much of a concrete answer from Sam. I am still hoping that there will be more of an explanation for why Sam didn’t search high and low for his brother. It still appears out of character for him not to and Amelia wasn’t a strong enough reason. Every now and again the show seems on the verge of an explanation (Meg started to ask Sam before they were attacked by demons) and then draws back. Maybe there isn’t anything else but I, for one, hope there will be more of a story to tell.

As the episode drew to a close there were a spate of character deaths that may (or may not) spell the end of a storyline. Benny appears to sacrifice himself for Sam (and Bobby) but Dean doesn’t burn his bones. Crowley (in an incredibly disturbing final act) appears to have killed Kevin’s mom but we don’t see her die and we only hear Kevin’s cry of despair. Bobby – with help from the increasingly slimy Naomi – goes to heaven (but we have already heard him tell Sam he is up to working with the brothers again so we don’t know if this is actually goodbye). All we do know is that Kevin and the tablet are gone and the chances of the brother’s finding him are very, very slim. Has he run away? Or has Crowley taken him prisoner again?

It is also clear that Sam is getting weaker. He looks pale and thin now, bags under his eyes and the strain of the trials showing on him. Even if the brothers do find Kevin it is hard to know if Sam will have the strength to complete the last trial (whatever it is). There is also the mystery of Castiel and the Angel tablet. Naomi is obviously still after the angel and her creeping around Dean is obviously part of her ploy to find him. There are a lot of interesting lose ends at the moment and it will be exciting to see how they all tie together.

All in all this was a 10 out of 10 episode – setting the audience up for a tense wait (oh why is there another two week break – it is too painful to endure!) – and asking lots of questions to which there are no answers as yet!