Let's dive right in...
We begin with Kevin, who is having REALLY FUCKED UP hallucinations. Geeeeeeeeeeeezus.
And then the Winchesters arrive! And they're like "be cool, Kevin, it's all good." But it is not all good. It is not all good at all.
Well, it's partially good, Kevin's deciphered the second task. Sam has to save an innocent soul from hell, which means that he must first go to hell.
Time to trap a crossroads Demon! So, apparently you CAN summon a demon directly into a devil's trap. Why is this the first time they're doing it? I don't know. Poor demon is having a bad day, first the Winchesters complain that he's not a hot chick, and then they tie him to a chair and torture him for information. What I found interesting though was that the demon was willing to talk to them as long as they promised to kill him afterwards - fear of Crowley outweighs fear of death, which I think is a mistake on Crowley's part, personally. But then, maybe this particular crossroads demon has a little bit of a death wish to begin with.
Apparently there are freelance Reapers... or rogue Reapers, who for a price, will ferry souls to different afterlives. Sam and Dean run off to find one said Reaper, Ajay. Ajay is a middle-eastern man who drives a Taxi, which immediately mad me think of the Ifrit in American Gods by Neil Gaiman...which, in my mind, was the best short story in American Gods. Sadly, Ajay is not an Ifrit.... he IS a freelancing reaper though.
This is where Americans will have to confirm something for me... I'm assuming a "Coyote" is someone who maybe smuggles illegal immigrants over the mexico border? Because I didn't know that reference, and that's my best guess.
Ajay drops the bombshell that he was the one who took Bobby to hell. I was so busy thinking about how this finally answers the question of where ghosts go when they're bones are burnt, that I completely missed the information that BOBBY was in HELL.
Now, I know a lot of people, after seeing last week's promo about rescuing an innocent soul from hell, were like "ADAM!!" but Adam is in the Cage people. It might be hell adjacent, but it's not hell. So, no, in this case, Bobby is their perfect candidate for an innocent soul in hell. Bobby's hardly innocent by most religious people's standards, mind, but by Supernatural-Universe standards, he is one of the good guys who does not deserve to be in hell.
So, it's time for Sam to follow a strange man into an alley and touch in the dark... uh... I mean, they have to hold hands.
Oh, before we get to that part though - Are Sam and Dean REALLY that shocked when a supernatural being already knows who they are?! A REAPER no less? Though, there WERE things about this reaper that irked me...a LOT of things, actually, but I'll get to those later. Here, I just wanted to say that I really love when the Winchester's reputations precede them.
Anyway, back to Sam touching strange men in alleys....
I LOVED the VFX of the graffiti melting and swirling together and towards the door. Really neat.
And this is where we find out that the Reaper's back door to hell is through purgatory. Now, THIS was a cool addition to reaper lore - the fact that the reapers knew exactly where purgatory was the whole time S6 was going on.
PURGATORY! SAM IS IN PURGATORY! Super cool. He's told to follow the stream to find the gate to hell and he does... meeting monsters along the way and finding his own purgatory weapon. Very cool.
Meanwhile, on the outside, Dean goes back to check on Kevin. Kevin is not doing so well. He's taken to hiding in the closet under the stairs like some sort of paranoid version of Harry Potter. Dean tries to give him the "power through it" speech, but um, I don't think Dean really has the best strategy when it comes to Kevin... everything he does seems to be the opposite of what that kid needs. Kevin steals Dean's pie and hides back in his closet.
And that's when Naomi shows up. Ooooooooooooooooo....I hate her so much! (In the way that I'm supposed to hate her, which means that Amanda Tapping is amazing and playing that character very very well.) She tries to lie to Dean about CAS! Like it's CAS that's crazy and it wasn't her intention at all to kill Dean, and URG! HOW DARE SHE! Thankfully, Dean doesn't trust angels, and he's not buying what she's selling... but damn, I think some of what she said sowed seeds in his mind. I mean, she's so emotionally manipulative! GEEZ. I HATE HER.
And the worst part is that when Dean says he doesn't trust angels, she points out that he hasn't warded the boat against them... and that they both just want Cas to "come out of the cold" and ...oh man, sadness forever, because Dean in genuinely worried about his friend, but Naomi is just a manipulative jerkface. Rah.
Luckily she leaves.
At some point, we cut to Crowley who is chatting with some girl about what the Winchesters could possibly be up to and why hasn't she found him Kevin yet? And...well, is that girl a demon? Because she's wearing a very nice suit... and we all know what species wears very nice suits in this world. That being said, if she WERE an angel, well, the boat's not warded against angels... but then, maybe that doesn't mean anything either...but we'll get to that.
Meanwhile, Sam's found hell. It's very stereotypically hell-like. He manages to find Bobby and gets a punch in the face for his efforts.
As well he should, because Bobby has been tortured by Sam and Dean look-a-likes for close to 240 years, if we follow Dean's estimate of hell-time. All things considered, he's looking pretty good... but that's probably because there's no reason to break Bobby quickly, like the demon's needed to do with Dean... maybe time is under the demon's control too, and they it's actually just been close to 2 years for Bobby rather than 240... we don't know.
I LOVE how Sam convinces Bobby it's him - Tori Spelling, the pedicures - "You made Dean swear never to tell another living soul!" - and I love how Bobby is just like IT IS YOU! Because OF COURSE Dean told Sam, and Bobby knows it. It's just... so Sam'n'Dean. "I can prove I'm me, because remember that time you told my other body that...."
It's HUGGY TIME! And then it's FLEE HELL time! I loved the two Sam's in the corridor, and Sam's nervous "You could tell somehow it wasn't me, right?" and Bobby's like "uh, no, 50/50 chance."
Mostly though, and I'm going to sound like a complete Sam!girl for this, which I'm not (I love everyone equally, thanks), but I LOVE the fact that it's SAM who got to be the rescuer and it's SAM who got to have another meeting with Bobby. Sam gets such little interaction with anyone who is not Dean that it can get a bit annoying.
That being said, this episode is also about how Dean's bromances come to the rescue! :)
Because, while Sam is fleeing through hell, Crowley has tracked down the Ajay. And THIS is where I get a little annoyed....
1. Reapers are not supposed to be visible to the living, let alone moonlighting as taxi drivers.
2. Reapers answer to death, not demons, Ajay should NOT have been afraid or had to justify himself to Crowley.
3. You can't kill Reapers unless you have Death's sickle.
So, yeah, get your facts straight, or rename your supernatural being, thanks. It REALLY pisses me off when there are such blatant continuity mistakes in the mythology.
Anyway, poor Ajay dies.
Which means that DEAN IS FREAKING OUT! I forget how the hell he finds out that Ajay's path to hell was through purgatory... was that Naomi? Crowley? Seriously, I completely forget. But, the fact remains that Dean finds out that Sam is stuck in purgatory and DOESN'T EVEN KNOW HE'S STUCK.
Because that's the main problem. Dean knows there's a way out of purgatory for Sam, but he also knows that Sam's not going to start looking for it if he doesn't know he's trapped... furthermore, it took Dean months to find the door. Which means that Dean's going to have to call in a favour...
The phone conversation with Benny was SO WELL done. I'm giving Jensen major kudos there, because the whole time they're on the phone, Dean has that quality to his voice - you know the one - the tone of voice that people adopt when they're trying to be all casual, but they're hearts racing and they think they might cry, and they're super nervous and scared, because they don't know what to do... god, it BROKE MY HEART.
And it also broke my heart because Benny is like "HEY! It's so nice to hear your voice! Does this mean you aren't breaking up with me anymore?!!? :D :D :D"
But Benny comes to the alley and Dean explains... and "When Dean Winchester asks you for a favour, he really asks you for a favour..." Benny is the only one who can help Sam, because he'll go straight to purgatory when he dies and he knows right where the door is.
At this point, I said "He probably wants to go back. Earth sucks, and he was doing really well for himself in purgatory" and my friend chimed in with, "yeah.. got himself a pretty boyfriend..." And we laughed.
But we weren't actually off the mark. Benny agrees... and it's obvious that he's decided then and there to make it a one way trip. Revenge was the driving force for coming back, and he got that... and that's the problem with achieving your dreams really. What's next? It's even worse when you're a social pariah with an addiction to human blood.
He doesn't tell Dean though, he lets Dean have the lie that Benny will ride out with Sam and meet Dean in Maine. I suppose you could call him a coward for not saying goodbye, but I think he recognized that unless he let Dean believe he was coming back, Dean probably wouldn't behead him.
It's also interesting from a spatial perspective how the entries and exits to purgatory work. It's as though Purgatory is another world overlaid over our own. Benny arrives in Purgatory right where Sam is, because Dean killed him in the alley where Sam disappeared. Which makes me wonder what city they were in - because if they were in Missouri (where Garth's boat is) than that's a VERY long walk to Maine... unless the spatial dynamic inside purgatory are different, and you can walk from Missouri to Maine in the time it takes Dean to drive the same distance... this is all time-lining stuff, of course... just how long was Dean waiting in those woods? How long did Sam, Benny, and Bobby walk through purgatory?
I'm getting ahead of myself though... Benny shows up and Sam recognizes him and stays Bobby's hand. Bobby has a huge problem with the idea that Dean befriended a vampire.
Oh hey, before that though... Bobby's talking to Sam about the fact that he didn't look for Dean, and HE has a problem with it too - saying that he helped the Winchesters MAKE the agreement not to look for each other and even he knows it's a non-agreement. This all raises the question of: If you're the only one that actually honours an agreement, does that make you the bad guy? Or, in D&D terms, is Sam's problem that he's the one lawful good character in a chaotic good family?
Also, a word about Bobby - man, Bobby REALLY has a problem with the whole "letting go" deal, doesn't he? I mean, this whole episode, no matter how many times Sam corrects him, Bobby still talks as though Sam and Dean should be finding away to bring him back to the land of the living ASAP. Bobby's refusing to go into retirement tooth and nail. The thing is though, I don't think going to heaven necessarily HAS to mean retirement for Bobby. Can you imagine the havoc Bobby and Ash could cause if they teamed up? And you know they're probably going to team up... maybe the most strategic place for Bobby's help IS heaven. But yeah... the whole "when it's your time, go!" speech when they burnt his flask? BOBBY SHOULD LISTEN TO IT. That being said, that was when Bobby thought that he was about to enter an atheists afterlife, so I'm not surprised he changed his tune when he discovered that like it or not, his soul is eternal.
Anyway, Benny shows up to lead Sam to the portal - and he does.
But when the time comes for Sam to transport Bobby and Benny out... Benny refuses to jump on board. He prefers Purgatory to the living world. It's kind of heartbreaking though, because I think Benny was just lonely. He seemed to be happy when he had Elizabeth... and now I'm thinking that him calling Dean and asking him to meet him for coffee wasn't about stamping down the urge to drink humans, it was about him being lonely and depressed and wanting a friend. So, yeah, it makes me super sad now. It was easier before to be like "Dean doesn't have time to be someone's A&A sponsor!" But now I'm like "Dean! You're friend was super lonely! Why didn't you go visit him!?!" :P
Sam staggers out of the portal and into the Maine wilderness where Dean is waiting for him. And really, wow, I can't believe Dean remembered what part of the woods the portal let him out into. And we get a you-just-got-back-from-hell/purgatory HUG!!!! Yay! HUGS FOR EVERYONE!
And then Sam has to break the news that Benny decided not to come back... and I'm pretty sure Dean is wondering why the hell his boyfriends keep abandoning him for purgatory... this is not going to help the abandonment issues.
They free Bobby's soul, but he gets attacked midair by a demon! CROWLEY is there! Oh no! All Sam's hard word for nought! But then Naomi shows up and saves the day...which really annoys me, because she is BAD NEWS, and I don't want Sam or Dean to feel like they owe her one or think that she might not be bad. She's obviously bad! She's also obviously an angel - so there goes those fan theories.
As they drive away, Dean tells Sam that he buried Benny, instead of salting and burning him. Sam says it's okay if Dean wants to "leave that door open" and he admits that he misjudged Benny. Awww...
Meanwhile, back on the boat, Kevin suffers another Crowley attack! This time the windows blow in and Crowley arrives in person to tell Kevin that they killed his mom (NOOooooooo!) and found the address of the boat off her phone, because she wouldn't give up his location under torture. And now Kevin has to come with Crowley...
Dean and Sam arrive sometime later to the boat to find it abandoned - INCLUDING ALL KEVIN'S NOTES!
BUT...the windows are intact. So, was Crowley actually there or was that another dream? This is my current theory - and this is where that girl with the suit comes in... if the boat isn't warded against angels, than I'm pretty sure only angels knew where Kevin was... and if only angels knew where Kevin was, then perhaps it was actually ANGELS that were messing with Kevin's head. Angel's messing with people's heads, does that sound familiar?! I'm wondering if Kevin and the Winchesters are stuck in the middle of another unholy alliance between heaven and hell, just like back in S4, when we discovered that both sides were working towards the apocalypse. That being said, Naomi and Crowley DO seem genuinely antagonistic with each other, so I'm not sure my theory holds water...but I guess time will tell!
All in all, really jam packed episode, and really good. My one complaint, if I were to complain, would be that I think this would have been even more awesome as a two-parter, so that we could relish and breath in the scenes a little more, and spend a little more time with the characters. As good quality as the stand-alones have been this year, I think we could have easily lost one of them in favour of having this episode take place over 84 minutes instead of 42.
Anyway, with Kevin gone, I suppose I should be most concerned about Kevin... but I'm actually most concerned about Sam. I really think they need to figure out what that third trial is before Sam dies of TB (or whatever the trials have done to him)... though, this is Supernatural, and there's another season... so... are they really going to do the third trial? Or is failure inevitable?
Sadly, we have to wait another three weeks before we find out what happens next! :(
As usual, let me know what I missed, or what you'd like to discuss further, in the comments!