“Road Trip” Review
By Annie Kenney
Show you are killing me – it’s official.
After eight full seasons some shows might creep along quietly and not go to a lot of trouble to keep their loyal fan base. Not so Supernatural. Last night’s episode was truly epic and it made my heart ache from start to finish and left me, I’m not ashamed to say, with tears in my eyes.
Following directly from Holy Terror this episode starts with Dean giving Kevin (oh how I miss his sweaty nerdiness already) a hunter’s funeral and then having a complete and utter meltdown. It’s interesting and gives the viewer an overview of exactly how guilt ridden Dean actually is. We haven’t seen him break down like this since he beat the Impala in Everyone Loves a Clown and it hurts to see it.
Meanwhile Gadreel (still riding Sam) goes off and kills a pop idol who may or may not be Justin Bieber (sorry Jared!) because he was the angel who tortured him and his friend in Heaven’s lock-up.
At this point it is prudent to say just how wonderful Jared’s acting has been this season (carrying on from the awesomeness at the end of last season). I really, really believe that Gadreel is a totally separate person and there is nothing of Sam in this performance. Jared makes us feel sorry for Gadreel, his eyes are so sad and I found myself feeling compassion for someone who is not a very sympathetic or nice character.
At the bunker Castiel is back (in his trench coat yay) and Dean confesses to him. Castiel suggests that they try to hack into Gadreel and find Sam but for this they will need help and the only person they can turn to is the King of Hell himself!
Great to see Crowley again; he is one of the best characters on television by a mile. Mark Sheppard has made him likeable, funny and strangely attractive; I often find myself rooting for Crowley and I’m glad that the writers haven’t tried to kill him off yet.
As usual even in its darkest moments Supernatural never forgets to make us laugh; Dean’s Road Trip with an angel and a demon in the back of the car (and this is the second time Dean has had that combination in baby – the first being Ruby & Anna right back in season 4). Castiel and Crowley’s fight over who is riding shotgun was laugh out loud funny and, even though we know what is coming isn’t going to be pleasant, there is a lot of amusement to be had.
And now I come to one of those strange – this would never happen in real life – type coincidences that make me smile a little. Metatron is in a bar which is tended by Gadreel’s original vessel (hurray he is hot). What are the chances of that actually happening? Is it a coincidence or does Metatron know something we don’t?
Gadreel appears with both tablets and reports his successes back to Metatron. It is clear that Gadreel does not relish killing and, again, the viewer feels some sort of sympathy for him. Metatron hands him a napkin with his latest victim on it and, reluctantly, Gadreel goes off to kill again.
Crowley’s contact (a really great performance from this actress and why was she killed so soon?) tracks the Impala down and the Three Amigos go after it. Meanwhile Crowley’s contact explains that most demons are waiting to see if Crowley or Abbadon wins the battle for hell and that she isn’t taking sides until she is sure of the victor (I think I might know who it will be though!)
Gadreel finds that his next victim is an angel who was his friend in heaven’s lock up, not only that but he now has a wife and a family. I found this the most tragic and disturbing scene in the whole episode. It was almost uncomfortable to watch this redeemed angel talk himself into a certain death. Listening to him tell a reluctant Gadreel that sometimes you have to make sacrifices to get what you want made my heart sink. It was clear that Gadreel didn’t want to kill him but the poor man actually talked him into it.
Gadreel is washing his hands when Dean finally finds him and assumes Dean should be grateful that he let him live (as Dean says MISTAKE). While Dean distracts Gadreel, Castiel knocks the other angel out and they take him back to the bunker.
At this point my heart was in my mouth and I actually felt physically sick; watching Crowley try to hack into Gadreel and then hearing ‘Sam’s’ screams of pain. I think most viewers felt as bad as Dean did at one point. As well as being gut wrenching this scene was also chilling. Gadreel’s affirmation that he would sit in the chair for decades and not break, Crowley’s offer to possess Sam, Castiel burning off Sam’s anti-possession tattoo (and will he have it inked back? I would think so after this experience). It was all terrible and desperate and my emotions were all over the place. It is fantastic that a programme can do this to you, move you and frighten you. Supernatural really does have the power to move me in so many different ways and that is why it has lasted as long as it has.
But I digress; Crowley possesses Sam’s body and – finally – we see Sam again. A Sam who thinks he is happily investigating a case involving ghouls and cheerleaders. When we do see Sam the viewer is – again – reminded just how good Jared has been. This is Sam not Gadreel and it was such a relief that he was ok.
Using Sam & Dean’s code word and then shooting him Crowley finally gets Sam to believe what is happening to him. After a dramatic fight with Gadreel Sam ejects the angel from his body. This was one of my favourite scenes, Sam all bad ass and determined, telling the angel to get on out of his body. The special effects team had a field day too by the looks of it, bright angel light and Crowley’s distinctive red smoke flying out of Sam’s mouth and very, very convincingly!
After a very amusing scene between Crowley and Abbadon (the world’s angriest ginger) we finally get to see Sam confront Dean about what has happened to him. Sam is obviously angry but he seems resigned too, weak and tired of it all I just wanted to hug him. I wanted to hug Dean too and then slap him. As usual Dean took all the guilt on himself but – for once – I think he was right to do so (this might be a controversial opinion but we’ll see). Sam kept telling Dean he wanted to die and Dean kept telling Sam he wouldn’t let him. As a viewer the problem is clear. Dean isn’t saving Sam for Sam; Dean is saving Sam for Dean…
And so the brothers are separated again; this is something I hate but, at this point, it seems necessary. Watching Dean walk away and seeing Sam’s slumped form just made me cry. I have no idea what is going to happen next but I am sure it is going to be emotional.
This was classic Supernatural and classic TV. If the season carries on like this I predict all of us will be complete gibbering wrecks.
Bring it on…