Supernatural season 8 episode 19 review: Taxi Driver

Review Caroline Preece 7 Apr 2013 - 14:00

Supernatural ventures into Hell in this week's episode. Here's Caroline's review of Taxi Driver...

This review contains spoilers.

8.19 Taxi Driver

The boys are short on cases to investigate this week, so it’s time for trial number two – saving a soul from hell. Which soul? Well, Bobby’s of course! Yes, Jim Beaver was back in action for a brief time this episode, and boy was it nice to see a friendly face.

As we need the Winchesters to be disagreement eighty per cent of the time, Sam is the one to go down and get Bobby while Dean stays up top and takes care of an increasingly unstable Kevin. I realise that they’re off doing important things most of the time, but someone really needs to start keeping an eye on that kid. With Garth out on hunting trips just as much as Sam and Dean are, who’s stopping him from leaping off the roof? I mean, he had a mini-stroke a couple of weeks ago and they grumble when he calls them over for a chat?

Down in hell/purgatory/wherever the writers want it to be, Sam wanders around the not-too-bad surroundings until he finds a soul ready for saving. Apparently, when Bobby died and the boys burnt his bones, that didn’t mean an end to his suffering. Since Crowley can now sidestep the essential mythology of the show whenever the story demands, Bobby has actually been trapped in hell all of this time. His punishment? Seeing fake Sams and Deans all of the time. Is it just me or has Hell gotten a lot nicer lately?

And, as lovely as it was to have Bobby back, there’s something about when shows use old characters over and over again that sometimes cheapens their deaths. Death’s Door was one of the best hours of season seven, and sent him off with as much gravitas and dignity as the character deserved, but the way the writers have used him since then has been a bit hit and miss. Why would Bobby, an advocate of leaving well alone when it comes to matters of life and death, want Sam to take him back to the world, for example?

But we can at least rest well knowing that he’s finally made it to heaven. And his saviour came from an unlikely source when Naomi helped the Winchesters out at the end of the episode. With Castiel and the angel tablet gone missing, the ambiguous angel has seemingly turned her attentions to Dean. At first I hoped he wouldn’t be stupid enough to believe her claims of innocence, but helping Bobby out changes things. If you want to get a Winchester to trust you, you just need to appeal to their belief in family. The question for fans to ponder is: is Naomi as bad as she seemed with Castiel, or is the face she’s showing to Dean the real one?

And now they have to deal with the sizeable problem of a missing prophet, as Kevin finally ups sticks and leaves after being tormented by an imaginary Crowley. I really feel sorry for that character after being treated with so much indifference by those supposed to be protecting him, and he’s proven himself capable of taking care of himself before now. Where has he disappeared to? It’s left as the episode cliffhanger so I guess we’re not going to find out straight after the mini-break, but there are only a couple of weeks left before the boys have to close the gates/fail miserably at closing the gates.

But one character definitely not returning for the time being is Benny, whose story was neatly resolved in this episode. His final act as Dean’s friend was to save Sam from purgatory, but his inability to find a place on Earth meant that he chose to stay there instead. There could have only been one ending for this relationship, since fans don’t usually like it when one of the Winchesters has a friend outside of the family, but this felt satisfying for me. I was a big fan of what he brought to the show in the first half of the season, but his story was already kind of done when Sam chose to leave Amelia behind.

The bad news is that Supernatural won’t be back until April 24th, but the good news is that it’ll be returning with Felicia Day in tow. Add that to the prospect of a video-game themed episode, and that three-week wait feels even longer!

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, Freaks and Geeks, here.

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Not really sure that Kevin was imagining Crowley, because it was more than a tad similar to the imaginary Nick\Devil that Sam had to deal with a season or two ago. Also, he seemed very clued up about the Reaper taxi driver, even though he had a tail on him. Anyway, I'm sure we'll find out. What's with all these damned mini breaks this time, anyhow?

i'm pretty sure that while it wasn't Crowley himself appearing to Kevin, it was in fact Naomi pretending to be him. We know that place wasn't warded against angels, since she appeared there herself, and as an angel she can certainly trick him into thinking he's seeing the King of Hell. As to where Kevin is, assuming Naomi's not pulling his strings and he left of his own accord, I think he probably went to find his mother, to assure himself she was not, in fact, killed for her smartphone.

That certainly sounds logical.

Course, the other thing is the 'temp' demon, who only appeared once. Could she be imitating Naomi somehow? (Although that doesn't deal with the wards).

Raphael allowed people into Heaven that didn't belong (Ken Lay) in season six, so I suppose Crowley could also 'sidestep' if he wanted to, it doesn't break show rules.

The temp demon? The crossroads demon that Sam and Dean called up? They killed him after torturing him, he said he'd rather die than have Crowley find out he'd told the Winchesters about renegade reapers.

Supernatural is great of course, but can somebody tell me why there is such a bieberesque vibe going on when Felicia Day pops her head around the corner. Same thing happend on Eureka. Have I missed something?

I think RobotChubby was referring to the demon talking to Crowley and was giving the task to read half of the tablet. The one Crowley venting his frustration on.

This episode trampled over the Supernatural mythology thanks to the "Racist Pickup" writers striking again.

It totally destroyed previous seasons of plot and ruined the Reaper beings. Crowley and Cas jumped through ridiculous hoops to get to Purgatory last season but now there are apparently obvious doors in and out through Hell that have been there a long time and Reapers standing around who can take them there and back with no effort. Reapers who previously only appeared to the dying and could only be killed by Death's Scythe, considered themselves above demons and had no fear of anything beyond Death himself. Speaking of which. Shouldn't he care that his previously-spooky operatives are just hanging around on street corners looking for fares?

Angel daggers are now the most powerful weapon on Earth, capable of killing almost anything. So why are Sam and Dean not permanently armed with the ones they continuously come across?

Why are demons scared of the nice woodland glade in Purgatory? Just find out the location of one of the exits first and they can go straight back to Crowley. Cas had to fight his way through Hell to pull Dean out. Should have just asked around first Angels. Apparently it was common knowledge and a literal walk in the park.

And Bobby. Poor never-dead Bobby. At this stage the show should just not bother "killing" anyone since more often than not they will be resurrected over and over and over. The emotional investment just gets hollow now.

you just addressed my entire issues with this poor excuse of an episode but may I also add.. Sam is on h is way to hell so Dean decided to cook eggs for kevin??

The writing team needs some major changes if they want season 9 to be decent!

Why didn't demons just attack Dean prior to his deal? He was the vessel of Michael and the Righteous Man. They didn't need to deal with him...they only needed him dead and dragged to hell.

Agree with Arkweld that the writers have messed with a lot of the SN mythology, treating it so loosely as and when they please that a fan of the series will be left saying 'wt$#'! Kripke's idea of Hell and the reapers had created a sense of dread whereas this episode made it a laughable thing! Benny was one good thing this season. Hope Naomi's story is worth some thrill as it has promised so far.

All you need to get into hell is a taxi? Yet the angels stormed hell in season 4 to save Dean and many died? How insulting was that episode almost a FU to the fans. I am not excited about a Charlie episode due to the fact that her character oozes cheese and I am sick of filler episodes. Perhaps the writers really did give up on season 8. Also why isn't Kevin in the bunker built by the Men Of Letters? I do like Naomi:)

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