Supernatural is back from its mid-season hiatus with the tenth episode of the season: Road Trip. Written by Andrew Dabb and directed by Robert Singer, Road Trip gives Supernatural fans some of the things they were expecting to see, like the consequences of the heartbreaking ending of 9.09, Holy Terror. WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!
One might think that the origin of the title came from the trip that Dean, Castiel and Crowley take to find Gadreel. But after watching the episode a few times it becomes clear that it probably had a much more metaphorical sense to it. Yes, we see cars, roads and bridges. But above all we see choices, we see decisions, we see pathways opening in front of our characters’ eyes. Especially in front of Dean’s.
But let’s start from the beginning. The episode opens with quite a depressing musical sequence (Famous Final Scene by Bob Seger) in which we see Dean dealing with Kevin’s death: giving him a hunter funeral, destroying part of the bunker in a sudden attack of rage…
Meanwhile, we see Gadreel visiting the Justin Bieber version of an angel in Thaddeus (Wesley MacInnes). Thaddeus was a guard in charge of torturing Gadreel and Abner when he was in Heaven’s prison. Abner, whom Thaddeus refers as Gadreel’s “boyfriend” is later seen in the episode as well. Gadreel wastes no time in killing him for revenge (and because, as we later find out, Metatron told him to).
Back in the MOL bunker, Castiel enters the rom. Because Cas, despite how much Dean hurted him for kicking him out of the bunker, actually steals a car and drives all the way (who the hell taught him how to drive anyway?!?) to the bunker even before knowing the reason why Dean called him. Well, that’s a friend you can rely on! Dean explains to Castiel everything he had been kepping to himself: Sam’s recovery, not!Ezekiel, the reason why he kicked him out… (that must’ve felt good!). “God, I was so damn stupid”, says Dean. “You were stupid for the right reasons“, replies Castiel. And Castiel knows what he’s talking about. He, like Sam, has a phd in making mistakes for the right reasons. They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions after all. They both decide to go to Crowley’s dungeon for help: how to track down Sam/not!Ezekiel and get to talk to Sam without not!Ezekiel finding out (good luck with that!). Even though Cas isn’t very fond of the idea (hello S6 Castiel), they finally agree to the deal: Crowley helps them find Sam, and he gets to actually breath some fresh air in return.
We are introduced to a bar scene in which we see Metatron and oh, what a coincidence! Gadreel’s vessel (Tahmoh Penikett) is working there as a bartender. Gadreel joins Metatron and gives him the angel tablet. Perhaps the most interesting thing Metatron says is that he’s “flipped a switch upstairs” and that “there will be no more prophets“. Wow, is it that easy? Let’s hope they tell us more on that in the near future.
After tracking the Impala for Crowley (we assume that not!Ezekiel can drive too), Cecily, a demon, calls Abaddon to notify that she’s found Crowley. However, we later see that Abaddon isn’t very happy with the fact that she had helped Crowley and proceeds to kill her. It is then made clear to us that that there’s no blurred lines with Abaddon: you either play for her, or you’re dead.
Gadreel finds Alexander Sarver, the person who Metatron had told him to kill next, and he finds out that he’s possessed by Abner (Dan Payne). We see Gadreel’s face change as he realises that task that is before him: killing his best friend/lover, who’s found a new life in the human world with a wife and a child. Gadreel realises how much Abner has changed: he talks about second chances, forgetting the past. “The key to happiness is getting the one thing you want most and never letting it go”.
That doesn’t convince Gadreel, though. Cause as Castiel and Dean later enter the house, we see Abner’s bloody body on the floor. And after knocking Gadreel off, Castiel, Dean and Crowley proceed to tie Sam’s body and talk to the angel posseessing him. But not!Ezekiel doesn’t break, so Crowley does what we saw him doing to Samandriel in 8.10 Torn and Frayed (quite a difficult scene to watch). After lots of screaming from Sam and suffering from Dean, Crowley gets to hack Gadreel as he starts speaking in Enochian. Castiel translates for them and says that he’s Gadreel. “It’s his fault. All of it. The corruption of men, demons, Hell… God left because of him. The archangels… the Apocalypse”.
So their plan changes to Crowley possessing Sam in exchange for his freedom (and boy are they gonna regret this in the future). Inside Sam’s head, Crowley quickly tells Sam the shocking truth and tells him to remember (“Did I kill Kevin?”, “No, you didn’t. He did”). After a fight with Gadreel in his head, Sam is able to cast him out.
Gadreel goes back to that bar and possesses his old vessel (yay! love Penikett!). Sam, Dean, Castiel and Crowleyhardly even have time to breathe before Abaddon, accompanied by two demons, storms into the room and Crowley tells Dean, Sam and Cas to quickly get out. We see the very highly anticipatedconversation between Crowley and Abaddon. While Abaddon is more of a fighter, Crowley is more of a business man and it’s both funny and interesting to hear Crowley talking about Hell elections.
Out of there, Team Free Will are finally together and standing on a bridge. It’s the moment of the truth. The moment in which we get to see Sam’s reactions to Dean’s lies. And despite of what we could have expected (or what we saw in 9.09 when Gadreel was playing Sam), Sam doesn’t start a big fight over it. Sam seems… resigned. Just sick of it all. “I was ready to die, Dean”, he says. “I know”, replies Dean, “but I wouldn’t let you because that’s not in me”. It’s the truth. Letting Sam die isn’t in Dean’s “system”. Dean was “programmed” by his father to always protect Sam and keep him alive and safe no matter what. Dean still isn’t able to see that. He considers himself “poison” when what is truly poisonous is his attitude towards Sam. “Go. I’m not gonna stop you. But don’t go thinking that’s the problem cause it’s not“, says Sam.
And he’s right. Dean isn’t the problem. Dean worrying about Sam isn’t the problem. But Dean taking control of Sam’s life until the point of taking irrational decisions that get other people killed and don’t allow him to be happy is the problem. Dean doesn’t get it yet (he’s not ready to cross that bridge yet). But he’s slowly getting there. He just has to hit rock bottom first and have some alone-time to come clean with himself so he can later reunite with Sam and Castiel. And this is why I think this is the beginning of Dean’s road trip.
Check out the promo and the sneak peek of next week’s episode, First Born, below!