Supernatural Season 9 Review “Road Trip”

Once again, Supernatural has ripped my heart out and stomped on it. Thanks, show. Thanks a lot. I am such a glutton for punishment. Robert Louis Stevenson once said that everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences and in the Winchester universe, that usually means that something has come back to bite you in the butt. Dean certainly reaped the consequences of his choice, but he wasn’t the only one. “Road Trip” made me feel so many different things simultaneously that I’m having difficulty verbalizing it all, but I’m going to give it my best shot. This might get long. You have been warned.

It’s no surprise that Dean feels monumental amounts of guilt about Kevin’s death. Carrying around a metric ton of guilt is a primary aspect of Dean’s character, but this is different. Dean’s guilt this season has been much more specific and has played out in a much more compelling way than the glossing over it got back in S7. I’ve said before that Dean’s decision to trick Sam into accepting angel possession is the first time in Supernatural history that I’ve felt like Dean was just plain wrong. I completely get why he did it, and I think it was completely in keeping with Dean’s character. But that doesn’t make it any less wrong and Dean knows it. That’s why he’s been visibly uncomfortable around Sam, constantly lying to the people he cares about, and isolating himself from the people who care about him. Kevin’s death was pretty much the straw that broke the camel’s back. Dean feels more personally responsible for Kevin’s demise than any other. That is saying something considering that Dean always feels like it’s his fault when the people he cares about die. However, this guilt is different from what he’s carried around about Bobby, Ellen, Jo, Pamela, Ash, etc. In those instances, even though Dean felt like their deaths were his fault, somewhere way in the back of his mind, I think he knew they weren’t. He knew that each of those individuals chose to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. He knew that each of them chose the life (and to a certain extent the death) that came to them. Kevin, however, never actually chose the life so much as he resigned himself to it. Kevin surrendered to the fact that he was never going to be able to go back to what he had before. He knew he was forever going to be hunted by both angels and demons, but instead of choosing “the life,” Kevin chose Dean. Kevin chose to trust Dean. That’s what makes Kevin’s death so painful for Dean. Dean knows that his actions directly caused Kevin’s death, and that is going to eat Dean up for the rest of his life. Metatron and Gadreel certainly bear the majority of the blame, but Kevin died because Dean wasn’t ready to let Sam go.

When the Boys separated at the end of the episode, it was one of the most heart wrenching moments of the show, but it was also one of the most mature moments too. I know people get upset when the brothers separate, but in this instance, I think they needed to. Sam has a lot to process. He’s just found out that he was possessed by an angel and his brother has been lying to him for months. What’s more than that, though, he just realized that his body was used to kill someone that he cared about. One of Sam’s primary concerns when he was talking to Death in the season premiere was that no one else would ever get hurt because of him, and now he finds out that Kevin is dead and it’s his fault. Of course it’s not really his fault, but I don’t think Sam can see it that way. Sam is, quite justifiably, angry that Dean tricked him and angry that Dean lied to him, but unlike in times past, Sam didn’t try to punish Dean by running away. Sam told Dean how he felt, and he was ready to confront the situation head on because however much pain Sam was in, he seemed to be able to recognize that Dean was hurting too. This time, though, it was Dean who ran away. Dean is in so much pain and filled with so much shame that he doesn’t know what to do. He’s been carrying around the weight of his lie all season, and now he’s also carrying the weight of Kevin’s death and Sam’s disappointment. He may have said he was leaving to protect Sam, but he’s really leaving because he’s hurting so much. He’s ashamed that he got duped by Gadreel and he’s angry at Gadreel (but mostly himself) for lying to him and killing Kevin. That’s what Sam was trying to tell Dean as he walked away. Sam, probably for the first time, truly does understand how Dean feels. Sam more than anyone understands what it feels like to know that you have betrayed the ones you love and caused innocent people to die all because you felt like you were making the only choice you could. Sam let Dean walk away not because he was angry, but because he knew that Dean needed to go. And Sam isn’t the only one who understands the pain Dean is going through.

Cas came when Dean called, and he listened as Dean finally explained everything. Cas tried to comfort his friend, but it was mostly to no avail. Cas tried to make Dean see that even though he may have been wrong, he was coming from a place of love and that counts for something. Dean just can’t hear that yet though. Cas’s understanding that people make mistakes comes as a result of the numerous times he was so focused on fixing his mistakes that he just makes more, even bigger ones. Cas’s journey over the course of the last couple of seasons has actually almost been a mirror of Sam’s. Cas may share a more profound bond with Dean than he does with Sam, but Cas is more like Sam than he even realizes. I’ve always believed that’s a big part of the reason Dean has such a soft spot for Cas. Cas’s exploration of his humanity and his journey back to a form of faith have given him a perspective that Dean isn’t able to have just yet. That journey has allowed Cas to begin walking the road to forgiving himself for his mistakes. It was nice to see Dean and Cas back on the same page after so much time apart though. Dean is going to need Cas to help him work through all that he’s going through, and I have no doubt Cas will do whatever he can to help his friend. Just as an aside, I wonder how it’s going to affect Cas since he doesn’t actually have HIS grace. I wonder whether an angel’s grace is like a human’s soul. It belongs to one person and one person only. Or, is an angel’s grace like blood? As long as you have compatible blood types, you can transfer it without complications. There wasn’t much mention of it in the episode, and other than Cas not really being able to pop into and out of places, I don’t see as there are really any negative effects. Also, I don’t understand why Cas doesn’t have wings. He didn’t fall like the other angels did, so his wings should be in tact now that he’s got his grace back. Maybe someone could help me out with that one.

Oh Crowley. What can I say about Crowley? Crowley is cunning and resourceful, but he’s more of an opportunist than anything else. He’s always looking for the opening so he can slide in and move up the food chain. He’s definitely evil, but for the most part, Crowley can be counted on to look out for Crowley. It was a pretty ingenious move to essentially pit himself against Abbadon in a political race. I don’t think Abbadon saw that one coming. Gotta give it to Crowley; the guy is creative. That kind of sucks for Abbadon though because she’s playing checkers while Crowley is playing chess. Let’s see if she’s up to the challenge.

Metatron and Gadreel are officially on my ‘off with their heads’ list. Metatron strikes me as the kind of angel who was pushed around and pretty much ignored in Heaven. He was a frightened little wiener who never had the backbone to stand up for himself. However, much like Crowley, Metatron is an opportunist. After he found out that all the Archangels are dead, he saw his opportunity to weasel his way into power and get payback on all the angels who said he was just a nobody. He wants to be large and in charge, but he can’t do that with powerful, smart angels running around, so he’s trying to eliminate those angels that pose a threat to him. He’s also feeding Gadreel the same line of crap that he fed Cas and that Ruby fed Sam way back in S4. It all boils down to the same thing: using someone’s deepest shame and greatest failure to manipulate them into doing what you want. Metatron is using Gadreel as is own personal assassin, but Gadreel is so focused on redeeming himself that he can’t even see he’s being used. But a more important question is, does he care? I’m not sure what the answer to that question is, but I do know that once Gadreel killed Kevin, there was no going back for him as far as I’m concerned. I’m really looking forward to Team Free Will taking Metatron and Gadreel out.

All in all, very solid episode. Jensen Ackles continues to amaze with his wonderfully nuanced performance. Ackles perfectly portrayed Dean’s fear, anger, guilt, sadness, and loneliness all without saying a word. His facial expressions and body language spoke volumes. Kudos to Jensen Ackles for excellent work. Andrew Dabb’s script was packed pretty full, but it moved along at a decent clip. There was a moment at the beginning that felt slightly odd though. When Dean and Cas went to the dungeon to ask for Crowley’s help, he started talking about how to tap into an angel’s head before anyone said anything to him about it. It felt like they cut some lines or something there. That little blip aside, this was a very good hour and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next week. So what did y’all think of this week’s Supernatural?

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