Supernatural 8.19 Review: Through the Rabbit Hole

SupernaturalThere were quite a few really great things about this week’s Supernatural and quite a few aspects that could have used some improvement (primarily the mythological aspects of the show), but overall I thought “Taxi Driver” took care of the second trial and moved the overall plot along (if in a rushed manner that probably could have been avoided), while also delivering up quite a few surprises.

The Next Step

Kevin returned this week with a scary new problem: Crowley’s voice inside of his head. While the Winchesters insisted that it was merely a dream or a stress-induced hallucination, Kevin was convinced that Crowley had indeed found a way to communicate with him, which terrified him to no end. It’s somewhat surprising that Sam and Dean seemed so resistant to the idea that demons can communicate with humans via telepathy. We know that angels have appeared in Dean’s dreams, so would it be so surprising that demons could have a similar method of communication?

Despite Kevin’s concerns, he admitted that he had translated the second trial, which involved ferrying an innocent soul from Hell to Heaven. After torturing a Crossroads Demon for information, the boys went looking for a renegade reaper. They found one by the name of Ajay, who spilled the beans that he had stolen Bobby’s soul from its true path towards Heaven and delivered him to Crowley in Hell. Despite Dean’s reluctance to let Sam travel there alone, Sam convinced him that he needed to do this. And off Sam and Ajay went.

The Way In

Only Ajay didn’t book Sam on a one-way ticket to Hell, because he brought him to Purgatory first. Apparently trying to sneak a Winchester straight into Crowley’s domain would have ended badly for Ajay (in fact, it did end badly when Crowley got wind that the reaper was up to something, interrogated him and then killed him). Strangely, despite the fact that Purgatory was actually *connected* to Hell, Crowley and Castiel spent so long searching for it back in season 6. Normally I don’t mind small plot holes (because this is a fantasy show and some leeway is occasionally necessary) and I’m willing to over look the retconning powers of angel blades (which can apparently now kill both demons and reapers), but this whole Purgatory-to-Hell business seems like a glaring plot device. I understand the fact that the show didn’t actually know it would travel to Purgatory back in season 6, but I would have appreciated even a throwaway line to explain this oversight. Maybe only the reaper knew about it, or the way in wasn’t readily available until Castiel broke through the barrier first. I would have accepted any explanation for it, but it would have been nice to hear one.  Further, given Sam’s own experiences and knowledge of both Purgatory and Hell, it’s surprising he didn’t remark about this plot hole, or the fact that it seemed so incredibly easy to get in and out of both dimensions.  Why didn’t anyone think of hiring a reaper before when Castiel and his angels fought so hard to raise Dean from perdition, for example?

The Welcome Return

The hole aside, let’s focus on the return of Bobby! BOBBY! Normally I don’t like to hold on to grudges, but I will never forgive the Supernatural producers/writers for killing off Bobby…not just once, but twice. To me, Bobby is one of the core characters on the show and his importance cannot be overstated. He filled a huge fatherly hole in the boys’ lives and became a staple of the show. Over the years he’s grown into a character with his own backstory (scarce though it had been until “Death’s Door”) and his own wonderful personality. I’ll admit, I had no idea Jim Beaver was returning. Apparently there were paparazzi photos of him arriving in Vancouver, but I was either sleeping or on vacation that day and honestly thought his so-called “reappearance” in the previews was simply a ruse by Crowley in an attempt to kill or capture the Winchesters.

spnSo imagine my surprise when my beloved Bobby had returned! I’m not too proud to admit that I shrieked in happiness at my television screen. Oh, Bobby, how I missed you and your “balls!” and your love of the boys. But mostly I missed how Bobby would put the boys in their place and makes them fess up when they screwed up. He did it with Dean back in the season 4 finale and now he did it with Sam, calling him out for failing to look for Dean. Bobby was right, he dies and everything goes to Hell (literally).  But every time they continue to bring up Sam’s failure to look, I have to wonder if there’s something more to it.  Sam’s face during this conversation seemed to give away the presence of another explanation, but if that’s not true, then they should stop bringing it up at this point.

It’s clear that the show isn’t necessarily eager to let Bobby go now. Despite Sam explaining that he needed to return to Heaven in order for him to complete the trial, it’s obvious that Bobby isn’t eager to “retire”, as he said. He wants back in the game. Could the angels find a way to bring him back, despite his burned bones? After all, they returned Anna’s human vessel to her after it was destroyed, so I’m hoping that there’s a way to work Bobby back into the show going forward.

Manipulation of the Highest Order

Naomi also decided to pop in and cause a little bit of trouble this week. After losing Castiel and the Angel Tablet, it’s clear that she’ll go to any lengths to find him and that involved a visit with Dean. She came off as perfectly cordial, even telling Dean that Sam was traveling through Purgatory in an attempt to gain his trust, but it’s clear that Dean doesn’t trust any angel besides Castiel (and, sometimes, even Castiel). Oh, Naomi, you should have done your homework. Please look up “Zachariah” for some history on Dean’s giant trust issues with angels. I thought her attempts to get on Dean’s side were obvious, although I’ll admit she came off as the most pleasant we’ve ever seen her. But will Dean trust her? I’d say no. It’s clear that he’s confused and hurt by Castiel splitting on him with the tablet, but it’s also clear that he suspects Naomi is up to no good when it comes to Cas and has no intention of trusting her, no matter how many nice deeds she does.

Concluded on next page…


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