Saturday, 18 January 2014

Review - Supernatural 9.10 "Road Trip"

The Sweet, Sweet Agony of Supernatural...

The opening scene of “Road Trip”… I’d played that out in my head. I’d imagined that hunter’s burial. I’d imagined Dean’s pain. I’d had 6 week’s to ponder it and ponder it I did.

When we finally got to see that moment, it was even more emotional than I thought it could be. Because, the pyre. I looked at that pyre and I thought; Dean had to cut ever piece of that wood. Filled with grief and anger, he had to go out and chop wood to honour Kevin. Every swing of the axe filled with more anguish and fury. Dean would have been emotionally destroyed, exhausted, broken, in agony over the events that just unfolded and yet he had to find the strength to cut all that wood. Then he had to place each and every log into position. Carry Kevin’s body from the bunker. Place it in the structure. Pour fuel on it and watch it burn. Hear it. Smell it.

And all of this, he did alone.

I thought about this scene a lot. The scene we didn’t see.

I loved the opening of “Road Trip”. It grabbed me by the throat and tore at my heart as only Supernatural and Dean Winchester can do. The sheer devastation. The violent outburst in the bunker. The confusion and rage and deep, aching sadness that comes along with the realisation that someone you care for is gone forever…and there is nothing you can do about it. Helplessness.

Of course Dean had the added emotion of knowing that he was partly to blame for this horrible turn of events, because this is one death that he may well have been able to stop. He didn’t place the offending hand on Kevin and burn him from the inside out, but he might have been able to prevent that happening. If he’d told Kevin the truth, if he’d got Kevin to a safe place when he realised he didn’t know who the angel was that had taken hold of his brother… 

And all of this, every last bit of this torment, anger, regret was etched into Dean’s face and weighted in his body. It was in every action. All to Bob Seger’s “Famous Final Scene”. What made this scene even more powerful as it played out in front of our tear filled eyes was the lack of sound effects. The silence. Just music. As Dean tore up the bunker, all we heard was music. Magnificent. Crushing. Heartbreaking. Perfect.

Supernatural was back with bang…the kind of bang only our show can deliver. The kind that you feel for days.

During “Road Trip” I cried, I laughed, I yelled at my TV, at one point I literally stood up and watched what was unfolding from a standing position in the middle of my lounge room, with my fists balled into my face. There was a moment where it all got too much for me to actually stay seated! I’d spent the day in rapturous anticipation. As the US started watching, I felt my phone buzzing on my desk as various tweets came through. Then Jared started live tweeting (along with just about the whole cast and crew). Buzz buzz buzz! It was torture. Knowing that most of my friends had already watched it. Desperately trying not to crack and look at twitter! I raced home. Threw some food at my dog and put on the episode. I didn’t even get out of my work clothes! I was just that desperate. Oh Supernatural. Only for you.

As much as I’d enjoyed that Gadreel/Sam storyline, I was ready to have it end. I was ready to get Sam back. I felt the same with Soulless Sam. I loved him. Then I didn’t. I needed Sam back in the world. I need his balance.

I sure wasn’t ready to hear Dean say to get the angel out of his brother he was prepared to end Sam, but I understood it. He didn’t want his brother walking around out there either being suppressed or totally burnt away by the halo. A Sam shell. He’d rather Sam be dead, because that’s how Sam would want it. It takes a while for Dean to get to places sometimes… We saw this with Soulless Sam too, that moment when Sam was in the panic room and you saw the realisation drift across Dean’s face that he might have to kill Sam if there was not another option. Thankfully there’s always another option! Surprisingly it comes in the shape of Death or this time, the King of Hell!

Ah Crowley, how I love you so. Mark Sheppard is a treasure. Pure and simple. I think we’re incredibly blessed to have him. The way Crowley knows every button to push. He can get at Dean in a second by talking about Sam. He can get at Castiel in a second by just being annoyingly funny! Cas has never been great at understanding the subtleties of humour! Plus flirty Crowley is charmingly infuriating. But what was so beautiful about Crowley in this episode was the lingering results of the trials and the indication that he’s still being affected a little by his humanity. Not just in his interactions with Sam, whilst inside Sam (it got crowded in Sam!) but also his statement to Abaddon that he knows that the way to win the battle for Hell is via hearts and minds, that the demon’s have a choice. Not through the fear tactics of Abaddon (gosh I love her too), but in ways that appeal to the demon’s selfish needs. I think this is something Crowley has always understood, but I feel like there was another layer to how he said it in this episode. He has a different understanding now with his pesky humanity still hanging around. One thing I did wonder about was all the exposition around Castiel and his season plight. Is this something that Crowley is going to use against Cas? The stolen grace issue? Or is it purely of interest to Crowley, as in many ways him and Cas are dealing with similar issues in getting in touch with their human sides.

Castiel never gives up on humanity and that’s something I’ve always loved about him. He has made catastrophic errors of judgement but like he said, everything he did he did for the right reason. That’s not an excuse and he knows it, but I think this is why he can understand Sam and Dean so well and I think it’s also part of the reason he’s so drawn to them, because he sees in them this need to always do the right thing. Even though they so often fail, they keep trying. It’s the most human of traits and one that Castiel, regardless of his angelicness, has always had.

The interactions between Cas and Dean in “Road Trip” were a tour de force of nuanced performances from both Misha and Jensen. A lovely recognition of the friendship and understanding between the characters. I like Dean and Cas’ friendship a lot, when it’s represented as it was in this episode. There has been a lot of water under the bridge for them both, but they’re still able to maintain a friendship and you can see a genuine affection between them. The scene where Dean asked how Cas was doing was particularly moving. It was even instilled with the tiniest bit of humour, which we so often manage to do in our darkest moments. Andrew Dabb’s script was spot on.

I’ve admitted before that I’m not particularly interested in the angel war. I think this is because we don’t really get to see any of it and we aren’t given long enough to engage with any of the characters introduced, except Metatron and Gadreel. Metatron is a manipulator that manipulates and the fact that Gadreel doesn’t see he’s being used shows that the angel is a dumbass! I have the distinct feeling these killings are being requested of Gadreel as more than just a show of faith. There is a reason to them. Whether it’s as simple as just getting rid of possible enemies as Metatron positions himself to take over as God, or whether there is some other more nefarious reason, I’m not sure. But there’s more to it and Gadreel is an idiot to go along with the megalomaniacal angel who is determined to be in control of the BIG story.

Gadreel. Let me just say straight up, Jared has done a spectacular job with this character and continued to do so in “Road Trip”. I didn’t even see Sam when we saw Gadreel. Not once.

There was something in Gadreel that seemed intrinsically good when we first met him, I had such high hopes and even as he fell under Metatron’s spell, you could see that what he was doing did not sit right with him. But things seemed to have changed. I think the killing of Abner took Gadreel to a different place. He killed a friend. For no reason he knew of other than to remain in Metatron’s good graces so that he could finally clear his name and retake his place in Heaven. There is such a selfish, arrogance in the angels, it’s just… I really don’t like them. It’s hilarious that Supernatural has totally changed my take on angels! I like demons way better! Maybe Gadreel will still get his redemption arc…but at this stage, I really don't care.

When we finally got Gadreel bound in that chair I think his true nature came out and it was nasty. Damaged. Full of anger and threats and hatred. I mean, what the hell. He was busted. He could just bug out and go back to his old vessel (which ended up happening), what was the point of hanging on to Sam at that stage. He was being poked at and prodded with pointy objects. Why was that in his best interest? Other than he’s simply an arrogant ass. Probably that. I kept thinking, just get out of Sam, why are you keeping him now, the jigs up, why go through this, just out of spite and general nastiness? Did I miss something, because once caught, I couldn’t see the point of hanging around in Sam any longer. He could jump Tahmoh Penkett’s character again (does he have a name?) and still be incognito. Get out you winged dick! Though I guess he thought being in Sam might have protected him from Dean (yeah right!) and it did make for one of the best scenes the show has ever done, so from that aspect alone, I’m glad Gadreel dug his nasty assed angel heels in.

Yes this is the scene I stood up in. Gosh, the torture of Gadreel/Sam was horrific. I was with Dean, I couldn’t watch. Jensen throughout this episode was beyond amazing with how he demonstrated to us Dean’s emotional state. I felt everything Dean felt. Everything. Every look on Jensen’s face, every movement of his body, the tone of his voice…it all hurt. When Dean had to leave the room as Sam screamed… *wibble to infinity and beyond* 

Dean’s eyes were full of tears as he asked Castiel to humour him and tell Dean how he was doing. Man, he’s a powerful actor is our Mr Ackles. He makes me feel all the feels. Wonderful ones and hurty ones.

The moment Crowley went into Sam is when I jumped to my feet. I just couldn’t sit for a moment longer! I was yelling and screaming and my fist were squished into my face and my goodness it was wonderful. 

I think Crowley likes Moose; I actually think he quite likes Squirrel too. Not that he’d ever admit to either, but I think he has a begrudging respect for the Winchesters. I loved the moments between Crowley and Sam in Sam’s head, (or body I guess), particularly when Crowley told Sam that Kevin’s death was not his fault. There was a level of trust between them in that moment that I think goes back to their connection during the trials. How could that not change at least a little something in their relationship. They saw each other raw and broken down. Oh my gosh, it’s just all so delicious! And Sam kicked serious ass when he pinned Gadreel to the dreamland bunker floor and told him to get the hell out. Sam can be as bad as his badass brother when he wants to be.

Okay, let’s talk about Sam and Dean and that final scene. 

As difficult as I found this scene to watch, I also found it immensely satisfying. I didn’t expect Sam to be full of anger, more hurt and disappointed and that’s what we got. I didn’t expect Dean to apologise, because saving Sam is something he’s never going to stop wanting to do, that’s so ingrained in him anything else would have felt wrong, so that’s what we got. Plus a little space and distance is probably what Sam needs as he continues to heal. Their faces though. Oh my poor boys. Jensen and Jared killed that scene…and me. In that moment, Castiel watching the brothers as their sorrow unfolded, represented us. Watching helplessly as two people we all love, ache and hurt more than words can express.

I liked the moment where Dean owned that it was who he was to save Sam if there was any way to do so. That it’s not in him to let Sam die. If he had apologised, it would have felt in genuine. Because regardless of the overall outcome and regardless of his self loathing and regardless of how Crowley’s words have finally taken root inside him and regardless of how he now thinks Sam looks at him, his brother was standing upright in front of him, living and breathing and that’s all Dean wants, even if Dean thinks he can no longer be around Sam to enjoy that, it doesn’t matter, Sam’s got another chance to live his life.

When Dean said he was poison and had to go, oh the agony. I think he expected Sam to stop him. I wanted Sam to stop him so bad. So, so bad. But Sam was in no place emotionally to do that. It reminded me of the end of “Good God Y’all” when Sam left because he felt he was a danger to Dean and Dean let him go. Sam looked surprised. In “Road Trip” you saw that same surprise cross Dean’s heartbroken face as Sam told him he wouldn’t stop him leaving. Oh…boys… ACK!

But what I think was really going on was that Sam was disappointed that Dean said he was going to leave and go after Gadreel alone because…Dean wasn’t considering Sam. He simply decided that he was not worth being around, that Sam would be safer, better off without Dean and that any retribution was on him and he would to do it alone. Once again he didn’t give Sam the choice. Dean chose the brother's course. I think that’s why Sam let him go…

And therein lies the rub.

I’ve always felt that Sam was only ready to die because he believed there was no other way. He asked, in his own head to the Dean side of himself, what’s the plan? When it became clear there wasn’t a plan, Sam faced death and realised he was ready, if this was his path, he was cool with it. He didn’t want anyone else to be hurt because of him. No more resurrections. That was supposed to be his ending. It was his decision. And Dean took that from him. And more people died.

Not that I don’t understand, Dean's actions. I do. It’s who Dean is and that’s a big part of what makes me love him so much. If it was Dean lying in that hospital bed and it was Sam making that decision, I have a feeling it would have gone the same way. We’ve seen Sam go to extreme lengths for Dean too. Sam may be quieter in the ways he shows his need for Dean, but that need is most definitely there. It shows itself in his need for Dean’s acceptance and approval and this right here is the big problem.

How Sam sees Dean seeing him is not how Dean sees himself seeing Sam. Does that make sense? That’s why Dean looked shocked at Sam’s reaction at the end of “Sacrifice”. He knows he’s kicked Sam when he’s down, but he didn’t have any idea he was making Sam feel like he was a great big disappointment, because that’s not how Dean sees his brother. He loves Sam. There have been things Sam has done that have disappointed Dean (and visa versa) but that does not mean that Sam is a disappointment to Dean or that Dean doesn’t believe in Sam. He does. I think Dean is proud of Sam and who he’s become. You can see it in him. But Sam does feel like he’s a disappointment and when Dean makes decision on his behalf, that just compounds things. He feels like Dean doesn’t trust him, doesn't believe he is capable and I don’t think Dean will ever come to understand this, because somewhere inside, he still thinks the sun shines out of his little brother.

“But don’t go thinking that’s the problem because it’s not”

Cryptic much? But I think that Sam’s parting shot was about all of this. People dying around Dean is not the problem. Walking away is not going to solve what the problem is. For Sam, I think it’s about Dean not respecting who Sam is and not respecting Sam’s choices. Consistently. It’s not the lying; it’s the lack of trust. Sam sees it as a lack of belief in him, even if that’s not where it’s coming from, from Dean’s perspective. 


I think this is what we’re going to be looking at in the brother’s relationship as we move forward into the season. Dean’s inability to let go, to allow Sam to grow up. Essentially, his inability to let Sam make choices that are good for Sam, which might not be good for Dean. “Sometimes you got to do what's best for you, even if it's gonna hurt the ones you love.” That’s what Dean did. He knew Sam wasn’t going to be happy, but the alternative was unacceptable to Dean and who Dean is. 

Of course…I could be way off base.

I feel like this is the last big hurdle for the brothers and if they can jump it, they will settle into a good place. Carver has said that he wants the brothers to react like the mature men that they are. That they’re not 22 and 26 anymore. That they have grown and matured and that has to be reflected in their relationship.

He brought them to a place where they admitted to having different views on their futures. Allowing one to want something different from the other is not a bad thing. It’s interesting. It doesn’t mean they want to be apart. It means they’re different. They’re different men and having different needs is important to creating their own individual stories with each other. We shouldn’t be scared of that.

He brought them to a place where they committed to one another. They chose each other over everything else that’s ever been important to them and in doing so, they opened up and told each other how they both feel in a way they’d never done before.

If Carver can have them finally talk out the bigger issues... Of how Sam feels Dean treats/sees him and find a way to have Dean change enough to allow Sam to be the grown man he is and make life choices for himself that might not always be in Dean’s best interest, (emotionally speaking) and find a way to allow Sam to accept who Dean is at his core, that Dean will always fight for Sam no matter what and that his brother really, truly loves and believes in him and that maybe some of the self doubt is coming from within rather than without. Perception. Right now neither fully accepts who the other is, or maybe wants to be. If we can ever get them to that point…oh man. Can you imagine? Rainbows and Unicorns and Winchesters, oh my! Confetti, it’s a parade! As a friend said to me the other day, I'm writing fan fiction again aren't I.

I’m hoping this where we’re heading (not the rainbows and unicorns bit...though...). As much as the ending to “Road Trip” hurt, it felt like it could be the beginning of a something that may get the brothers to where we all want them to be. On the same page. Fighting side by side. Respecting each other. Caring for each other. Being Sam and Dean.

It’s okay, you can snicker at me. I will always see this show with hope in my heart, because that’s what the Winchesters always manage to give me. Hope. No matter what.

Look at how gorgeous this scene was. Kudos to Bob Singer and Serge LaDouceur for their wonderful work.

“Road Trip”; it was ouchy, but in the very best way. I'm busting to see where we go next and praying to any deity we’ve ever met that our gorgeous Winchester boys have a bloody good talk and start to try to understand each other…both of them. I need them reunited. Stat!

One good thing though… Sam went home. Sam. Went. Home.

*tiny voice* Sam went home. 

Sorry this was so late. I’ll try better next week!

Postscript: Just looking back at my screencaps...sad and self tortured Dean is a thing of beauty. GAH. you were.


  1. love your reviews! they are the only ones I read because I truly appreciate how much love you have for this show and it makes me so happy to read them. Keep up the great work! :)

    1. Thank you! And thank you for reading and your support :)

  2. I had a slightly different take on what Sam might have meant when he said "don't think that's the problem cause it's not". The look on Sam's face when Dean said he was going off alone was incredulous. I think Sam thought here we go again. Once again you (Dean) think you have to shoulder the weight of the world alone, again you aren't going to turn to me to help carry the load. Which kind of brings us back to the church in Sacrifice Sam wants to be his own man but he also wants to be the trusted brother. Sam, I think was to weak and hurt (and angry) to really get into it with Dean right at that moment. And how beautiful was that last final scene. It was acted and directed to perfection.

    1. I think you're right about the trust thing. In that moment, Dean still wasn't trusting Sam enough to allow Sam to have the choice. Dean just decided for them both that he was going to leave. It does all come back to what was said in Sacrifice and that thought process was never allowed to continue because of what happened to Sam. But maybe now we and they have that chance.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Love you review Amy!! And I agree "Road Trip" was heartwrenching and sad, but like you I feel hope for our boys. I love the growth and maturity we are seeing and I'm hoping(like you) that this will lead to a relationship of respect and that Sam will see that Dean does love him and trust him but because of the love he doesn't want to be without him, but Dean needs to accept that Sam is a grown man and he has to make his own choices. It really makes me sad that because of what Dean did(choosing to have an angel possess Sam) that others have died(Kevin..Abner) at the hands of Sam(well not really Sam but Gadreel) and that was the one thing Sam told Death he didn't want. He didn't want anyone else to die because of him and now Kevin's gone. I know Dean carries the guilt of that but Sam does too.'s Sam of course he does. Now that Gadreel not in Sam I'm anxious to see where we go from here with the boys. I was ok with a little time apart but I know it won't last long and that talk is coming. Love this episode and I'm excited to see next weeks..look awesome!!
    Take care,

    1. Yes, poor Sam. He's got a hell of a lot to deal with too!

      I'm so excited for the next few episodes. I need to get them here in a hurry! I need to see what happens next for our boys!

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Jane :)

  4. Omg thank you! I get it now. I've been puzzling over the meaning of Sam's words at the end, coming up with theories of what he meant. But I think you're right. What got them into this whole mess was Dean NOT respecting Sam's wishes. It was Dean thinking "Sam would probably prefer to die now.... oh well" and saving him anyway. Dean, as always, took the blame and the guilt for everything that happened as a result, but his decision to leave showed us (and Sam) that he hadn't actually LEARNED anything from the experience. He didn't ask for Sam's input or give him a choice in the matter, he just decided to go. He did the same thing he did at the beginning of the season, just under different circumstances. Dean can't see that, because he's Dean and Sam was too tired of it all to say anything more than his cryptic "that's not the problem" thing.

    Sorry if I basically paraphrased what you said, but your review gave me a sudden clarity on the whole issue.

    1. I understand why Dean did what he did. He's in an incredibly bad and dark place. Sam wouldn't know the half of it because he hasn't seen it. He just saw Dean being Dean without the horror show of emotion we'd just witnessed.

      One thing about Sam is he's incredibly forgiving and understanding. And because of that they'll get there. Because Dean will only want to be with Sam, even if right now he feels it's best to walk away and if Sam reaches out to him, I think that's all he'll need - though I bet he fights it a bit.

      I think we need to remind Dean of "The End" Him and Sam, that's all they've got, but it's more than that, they keep each other human. Dean needs Sam right now more than ever to hang on to his humanity.

      They'll get there. Hopefully they'll talk. And we'll hurt less!

      Thanks for readin and commenting! :)

  5. Amy, you made me cry! I loved how you talked about what Dean went through BEFORE the pyre scene. Made it even better. It just amazes me how a show can make me really 'feel' for them. Dean oh Dean. Of course the mama in me was talking out loud through the entire episode. Oh Sammy, Oh Dean. They are like my babies!

    You hit everything and I could read and reread your reviews for hours. I too could not sit during the entire episode. I went from the couch to the floor, to standing, back to the couch, pacing and of course with gasping in between. When it came up that Crowley could enter Sam I gasped out loud in excitement over a wonderful twist, but at the same time let out a 'NOOOO!'. This show knows how to deliver.

    I had one question that no one seems to have pondered here or on WFB. Why would Gadreel's previous host say yes so quickly again? That seemed odd to me. I listened carefully and he said yes just as the angel swooped back in.

    I love how the boys are maturing. Having 3 boys myself in their 20's makes it so real to me. I watch my own sons as their relationships mature, change and morph into something quite different from when they were in their teens. They are 3 VERY different individuals. However, finding their way to understanding that each wants very different things. And remarkably enough they aren't necessarily wanting now, what they thought they wanted 5 or 6 years ago. Surprising things have developed for each of them that I didn't expect. But they have a bond, as demonstrated by them getting together for a weekend in Chicago for one of their birthdays. As their mother it totally warms my heart to see them connect without me there or the planner. Okay, sorry, I digress. But this show is all about mama me watching 'my boys' grow up.

    Jensen and Jared just knocked it out of the park and the episode was beautiful in so many ways. The crew works magic. That last scene was soooooo sad. Watching Cas was like watching me watching them. It was simply beautiful. I accepted all of it as the natural progression of things and necessary as well.

    Thanks for writing because I feel I get my expressions out in your writing. You are always on my wavelength.

    1. I guess we don't know anything about the other Gadreel vessel. Do we even know his name? My thought was that maybe he's a devout man. Though as he didn't remember being possessed by Gadreel first go round, I'd assumed he had been taken by force. Maybe now there's some kind of connection? But yes, he definitely said yes!

      Thanks for reading and commenting, and as always, for all your support :)

  6. As always I absolutely love your reviews. You and I watch this show the same way!!! Thanks for such an amazing review!

  7. I have trust issues with Carver when it comes to the relationship between the brothers. I want to think that he gets it, but I am not so sure. He keeps talking about maturing them & their relationship & I do not know what he means by that.

    If he means the brothers no longer lying to one another, and being honest & trusting in one another & providing one another with the rock that the other so desperately needs, I am all for it.

    However, if he thinks maturing them means unravelling the bond & the need the two have for one another, no thanks. I don't want to watch a show where Sam & Dean have "matured" to the point where they won't do everything in their power to save the other. I would then feel like I was no longer watching Supernatural - I think the lengths they are willing to go for one another is so ingrained in them (as Dean said, letting Sam die just wasn't in him) & so much a part of who they are as individuals that "growing out" of that need to have the other would feel very, very wrong. And it would not be a show I would want to watch any other.

    It makes me nervous because used the word "maturing" to describe the brothers relationship when he was promoting Season 8 - the beginning of Season 8 was painful for me to watch. Sam not looking for Dean was not if that is the kind of maturing Carver wants, again, no thanks.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I had no issue with the beginning of 8 and I think it's part of what brought us to Sacrifice. It's all part of their journey together. It's all pieces of a puzzle. I'm happy to wait and watch those pieces come together along with the brothers.

      I want the brothers to have that bond they've always had, that's the show. I think they can be grown men and have individual needs and still be deeply bonded to their brother. I don't see these things as independent of each other.

      Carver has said, even very recently, that the show is about two brothers. They are the heart. He knows that. There has been more heart between these two in the past season and a half than there had been in the two seasons before. There's a lot to fix between Sam and Dean to have them be the men and the brothers we know they can be. I trust Carver is getting us there.

      I'll also remind, this blog is a place of celebration, not negativity. It's my blog, my rules. No slagging off the show, the writers or the show runner. Your comment was nearly wholey from a negative view point. I'll let it slide this time around, because I wanted to address it and I know you want what all of us want for the brothers. But I'm here on my blog because I want people to have a haven to celebrate the show. Please remember that. Constructive balanced criticism is welcome. Purely negative commentary is not.

  8. Loved your review! I have watched the episode 4 times and every time I watch I am amazed at what this cast and crew can do. The sequence of scenes from when Gadreel/Sam is captured through Crowley's confrontation with Abbadon is pure perfection, and I think they may have just become my favorite scenes of the entire series. Let's face it, any scene with Jensen and Jared is awesome, but when you include Misha and Mark, you can't go wrong. Everyone gave an excellent performance, but Jensen broke my heart. Someone needs to give him a hug. :)

    1. It must have been great to have all four of them on set together for such an extended scene! Wouldn't you have loved to be there!

      Thanks for your comment.

  9. Amy, your review is wonderful and we're definitely on the same page!

    I loved Road Trip and have watched it four times. Every minute is stellar. The acting, the lighting, the camera work and the VFX. Just stunning all round. The chemistry between Jared, Jensen, Mark & Misha is like gold. I hope we get a few more episodes where they are all working off one another.

    You've described the moments that had me (if not jumping out of my seat) feeling so emotional (and at times sick to my stomach). The scene when Dean had to leave the room while Gad/Sam was being tortured. I really didn't blame him... I could barely watch. It wasn't Sam, but it was... and it hurt! Jensen was brilliant in that scene. Man, he killed it there. He's in such a dark place. But I'm SO looking forward to seeing his interactions with Crowley in the next episode.

    I loved the scene that played out in Sam's head (body). The screen shot you've used captured my favourite/saddest moment. It was the close up camera work at the moment when Sam asked Crowley if he'd killed Kevin. Damn Jared, that was also incredible acting. First the shock... and then the heartbreak flashing across Sam's tired face. And Crowley... telling him that it was Gadreel, not him. I love Mark Shepherd so much.

    I think the opening and final scenes of this episode were perfect book ends. I knew you'd love the opening as I'd read your wonderful fan fiction on this subject (thanks again). The choice of music was great and the lack of any other sound brilliant.

    The final scene was so beautifully lit and left me feeling crushed for both the brothers. I agree with you in regard to what Sam said: "“But don’t go thinking that’s the problem because it’s not.” I think Sam is thinking about Dean respecting his choices... and also Dean trusting him to make his own choices. It'll be very interesting to see how much Sam opens up to Cas in the next episode. But I'm betting it'll be Sam who reaches out to Dean and tells him to come home (I live in hope, like you).

    Thanks again for another wonderful review. Yours is the one I look forward to reading every week :)

  10. I was just looking at the screen caps again thinking that they tell the story without words - incredible - and then I noticed something in the photograph of Metatron and Gadreel. Is that a devil's trap on the wall behind them? I wonder if that is significant. After all, it's where Metatron has chosen to meet up with Gadreel... and it's also the bar where Gadreel's former (current) meat-suit works. I hope we find out more about this guy's back story.

    1. Thanks for your comment Karen, it was such a wonderful episode with amazing work from the actors and the crew. Gorgeous lit scenes. Spectacular.

      I think that's just a star behind Metaron. Like a neon beero logo or something. I'll have to go back and take another look at the scene.

      Thanks so much for reading and everything! :)

  11. I had steeled myself to accept that this ep and the mid-season finale were going to tear my heart out and stomp on it. Even prepared, Show continues to surprise, shock and enthral me in ways I can never anticipate. I can see why Jensen said this was the most difficult episode he's filmed. The raw emotion from Dean was so strong you could hold it in your hand. Job well done!

    This episode was amazing. How the show can continue to deliver episodes that just get better and better every season is testament to the talent - production, writers, crew, and especially cast.

    You have hit all the right notes in this review, Amy. Yet again. I love your insight into both boys, and the other characters. In the opening scene, Jensen conveyed all the extra bits we did not see, and that you described would have happened. During the gathering and building of Kevin's pyre, Dean would also have been desperately trying to cope with the fact that an angel had run off with his brother, after saying that there was no more Sam. Dean's grief would be astronomical, thinking that his brother might also be completely lost to him. Which is also why I think Dean was fully prepared to end Sam in order to gank Gadreel.

    It was a measure of Dean's desperation to do anything to try to get Sam back that he was prepared to trust and work with Crowley. At least we know with Crowley that he does keep his deals. Sometimes a little back-handedly, but nonetheless he is 'honourable'. And Dean will use any resource he can. I think that at this point he figures he can't go much lower than what he has already done and has nothing to lose.

    The scene where Crowley is trying to get into Gadreel's head is excruciating to watch, and hear. Jared screams so well, he tuly conveys how much agony his character is enduring. And a quick mention that he is flawless at presenting the other entities that have taken over Sam. Brilliant work! Jensen does a brilliant job again, Dean's pain at hearing Sam scream. It's unendurable and the way he talks to Cass, wanting to talk about anything other than have to think about what was happening. Outstanding.

    The scene inside Sam's head where it's Sam and Crowley is f'ing brilliant. Then add Gadreel. Oh my. Crowley gets that 'he's behind me, isn't he' look on his face when Sam clearly telegraphs that Gadreel has shown up. Sam taking control and the pure anger he shows when he finally expels Gadreel. Sam can be one scary dude.

    The final scene killed me again. The weight of what he'd done to save Sam has almost broken Dean. His 'selfishness' in not being able to let Sam die, and the consequences it continually reaps would fell a lesser man. He's said it before, they are each other's weak spot. Something will happen to make him go back to Sam, to realise that the other thing that was said is also true, that they are stronger together.

    I think I know why Sam was able to let Dean walk away. He's hurting, deeply. All Sam has ever wanted was to call his own shots and he has never been given the chance. Even when he thought he was in control of his own life at Stanford, he found out he was being played by Azazel. Finally, his one moment to do something that was his decision (to die) was again ripped away when he was manipulated, this time by Dean. So painful to watch him trying to process that, and so soon after the events in Sacrifice.

    Oh my heart hurts for those boys. I just want to gather them in my arms and make their pain go away.

    Why Jared and Jensen (and the show) continually get overlooked for peer industry awards is beyond me. These two (and their supporting cast) have more talent in their little fingers than some of the big name Hollywood actors have in their entire bodies. I can only assume that others feel they are a threat.

    Okay, I have to end on an utterly shallow note or I shall be down all day. I am so loving Jared's hair this season!

    1. It was a deeply layered, emotional episode, that's for sure. I can't wait to see what happens next.
      Thanks for reading and commenting, Kim!

  12. Amen to each and everyone of your words. It´s almost scary how you say exactly the things I think about Road Trip, the characters, and the actors (only in much better words).
    Just wanted to add a few things:
    Crowley, who I´m secretly (well, not THAT secretly maybe) in love with from his first appearance on, told Dean he´d leave Sam´s body as soon as things ´d get tricky, or dangerous for him. And he did NOT. Instead, he punched Gadreel nice and nasty (not to much effect,but hey! what a gesture!). He put himself in the line for Sam. I think he´s changed through the trials as much as Sam, even if he might not be aware of the extent (yet). Same goes for him standing up against Abaddon AFTER having the Winchesters and Castiel safely leave through the back door. sure, this is his fight and all; but to me, he almost seemed eager to have them all out of harm´s (Abaddon´s) much Abaddon and Crowley differ in their understanding of politics and leadership is maybe best shown in how they treat Cecily ("Not only a pretty face" Cas-fangirl) the NSA-tech (btw, bow to the writers for that line of thinking LOL). where Abaddon just sees a disposable, unloyal employee, Crowley sees opportunities and talents to use for his own best interests.
    And then, hey, he says he loves Dean. How can we NOT love him for that ;-) Aside from the fireworks of quotes he releases on us during the whole episode. Mark Sheppard, you´re the King!
    Cas. OH, Cas.
    Cas punches a fellow angel.
    And he looks pretty smug afterwards.
    Cas owns a car - heck, a LINCOLN CONTINENTAL.
    Cas is more understanding, and forgiving, and supporting than ever. I think this whole being human experience was like his own trial. I´m thrilled to know how that stealing a grace-thing turns out for him.
    The Crowley-Cas connection is probably the most promising new turn: fountain of funny quotes and scenes I hope. And we´ll need them (gosh, I still tear up only looking at your screen shots). Misha and Mark seem to enjoy themselves and each other very much at work ;-)
    Metatron: Heaven´s biggest douchebag is scary in his manipulative, almost dismissive arrogance. I think in his arrogance lies his weakness. Great villain, with this educated, cold blooded, logical and well planned kind of cruelty.
    Gadreel. There was a point (in fact, a few) where I thought there was still hope for him. but then, when his friend (best friend!) was on the floor, throat slit, and he washed his bloody hands in the next room...I don´t know. Guess I was wrong. Although - I can´t get rid of the felling that Gadreel will play a role in taking Metatron out of the equation. To me, he seems to use M. as much as Metatron uses him, maybe not as consciously so. When he was introduced, he said something like the crime he suffered so much for was not what everyone believed (if I remember correctly). But maybe I´m just fantasizing here...we´ll see, right?
    After having watched the ep a few times, I´m (as always) amazed how many layers the show offers each time. From the basical philosophical questions of mankind to the core of what makes us humans human, to a discussion of the manifestations of politics and leadership, right to the question if your car tells more about you than your resume (Cas, you´re excused. You couldnt possibly know).
    How do we learn to forgive? How do we learn to accept forgiveness? How can we start to forgive ourselves? Those were, for me, the core themes of this episode.Sad as it was, it was also immensely beautiful, and wise, and true.

    1. Thanks for your wonderful comment. I laughed because Cas picked a car the same colour as his old trench coat! :)

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  14. I wonder is Abner dead? His throat was slit but his eyes were not burned out and he was not stabbed. Could Gadreel have taken his grace? Maybe it is stored somewhere in Sam. I still think Gadreel is not what we think. Still can't get past killing Kevin though. I am with Dean, won't forgive him for that no matter what. Just watched this ep for the 4th maybe 7th time. It was perfection.

    1. Hmm. It was odd, the throat cut. But I feel like we would have seen more if Gadreel was indeed joining forces with him. I think Gadreel is so focused on his own plight and getting his good name back that he would just about do anything. Well, look, he would do anything. Look what he's already done. I'm not sure what Gadreel is. I hope he surprises us, but I'm not sure he will.

    2. It's interesting that the only angels that are surviving life on earth are those who seem irredeemable (not including Castiel of course). I had hoped Gadreel would be one of the good guys but now that he has killed his best friend, I can't see it. We've only had a glimpse at a couple of angels who looked like they were going to be good - Muriel and Abner - and they were both killed instantly. I might've cared about the angel's fight if we got to know a bit more about some of these types - shades of light and dark - but at the moment, like you sweetondean, I don't care.

      Maybe Castiel will find others that want to help him as the season goes on & I can get more invested in the angel war.

    3. I can't find any interest in the ongoing angel battle for control. The factions are busy fighting each other when they should be trying to find a way to undo Metatron's spell. Hopeless bunch of morons. The battle for leadership of Hell is far more interesting with Abaddon using blunt force and Crowley seeing it as a popularity contest - if he can manage to stay one step ahead of Abaddon.

      I think that eyes only get burned out when it's a 'hands-on' killing, not when an angel blade is used. I may be wrong. I also think that if Gadreel had taken Abner's grace, we would have seen him when Crowley got inside Sam's head.

  15. Yes thinking on it further Cas said he couldn't enter Sam without permission so Abner couldn't be in Sam. I was just wondering because we didn't see the kill like the others. But you are right the blade makes them light up but doesn't burn out the eyes.
    By the way I am so happy that I found Sweetondean and her wonderful reviews. My SPN life is complete.

    1. There is something about him cutting his throat that seems even more brutal. I wonder if that was the point, to show that Gadreel has now crossed a line.

      Thanks so much for you nice words! Hope to see you around!

  16. Oh Amy. You get our show. You truly do.

    And once again I think we're totally on the same page. Sure, Dean did something that took away Sam's agency and choice---again---but I think you've nailed it. Sam and Dean have to both look at where their relationship breaks down as individuals and as brothers. If they don't look at where their own hang ups are and share those with the other, they'll continue to trip over the same bump in the road and fight and make the same mistakes. It's crucial they both soul search, and I think Sam knows they must do that. He's run for the same reason in the past.

    I have to agree with you on Castiel. He is such a hopeful character and he gives us and Dean some hope---that while doing what Dean did for the right reasons isn't going to wash away everything---it doesn't mean everything is lost, either. I am hoping that as we see Sam and Cas have to work together that he'll share the same truth with Sam, allowing him to understand what it is that makes him and his brother such amazing men.

    I'm also amazed and pleased by Crowley in this episode. He clearly cares about each Winchester in some fundamental way. He really turned cheerleader for Sam and I think he knows that Sam gave him something he had been missing during that Trial. I am hoping we see him as more ally going forward.

    As for Gadreel and Metatron, I'm intrigued by what they're doing, but I'm wondering how they'll make this element crash with the world of the Winchesters---beyond Dean going after Gadreel.

    Thanks for this great review!

  17. I just want to say that I adore your blog. So much feeling is put into your posts and its simply wonderful.