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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