What on earth did I do to deserve an episode of Supernatural featuring the return of both Bobby Singer and vampire Benny? Seriously, I was in tears by the end of last night’s "Taxi Driver" and I couldn’t decide if they were happy tears or sad tears. I was happy that both Bobby and Benny ended up where they wanted to go (Bobby in Heaven and Benny in Purgatory — no, seriously, Benny wanted to end up back in Purgatory), but incredibly heartbroken that both Winchesters had to say goodbye to their loved ones all over again. We know that goodbye never means goodbye forever on Supernatural, but both send offs last night felt pretty permanent.
Benny and Bobby returned as a result of the second trial to close the gates of hell: Sam had to free an innocent soul trapped in Hell and deliver it to Heaven. While that could be seen as just a great way to save someone, it turned out to be a huge gut punch to Sam and Dean: they found out via a Hell coyote helping Sam find a backdoor to Hell that Bobby was trapped in the pit. Even though the boys gave him a proper hunter’s funeral and he should have gone to Heaven, Crowley isn’t one to let things go. Bobby had screwed up enough of his plans that the King of Hell held a grudge and blocked Bobby from entering the pearly gates. Sam and Dean knew instantly that he was the soul they would rescue, no arguments.
Crowley found out what the brothers were doing after Sam entered his realm, so he killed the coyote to trap Sam from leaving with Bobby. Thankfully Dean had a plan B ready to go. He found Benny and asked for the biggest favor he’s ever asked anyone — Benny had to die and go to Purgatory the normal way, through death – in order to guide Sam to the portal out (since the only way out of Hell was to travel through Purgatory). The moments before Dean decapitated his friend were absolutely heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. Benny and Dean shared so much with just their eyes, both knowing that Benny wouldn’t be coming back. Sure, Dean hoped Benny would make good on his promise to ride Sam through the portal, but he knew deep down that Benny was struggling too much in the real world. He belonged in Purgatory with the constant fighting and bloodshed. Being "sober" was taking its toll, and this was their final goodbye.
It was also beautiful when Dean refused to burn Benny’s bones, thus leaving the door open for Benny should he ever choose to find his way back into the world. He wouldn’t give up hope on his friend. And even more heartwarming? Sam agreed! He understood finally that Benny really was a good person/vampire (of course, after Benny sacrificed himself to get Sam out of Purgatory it was a given Sam would trust Benny. Sacrificing yourself to save a Winchester is the ultimate show of loyalty on Supernatural).
Thanks to Benny, Sam was able to escape Purgatory and deliver Bobby’s soul to Heaven with a little help from angel Naomi after Crowley tried to block Bobby’s soul from leaving. Naomi is trying to convince Dean she’s on his side in order to find Castiel (and the angel tablet), so helping Bobby wasn’t just a good deed. She is definitely still trying to manipulate the Winchesters, and we’ll have to wait and see if they fall for it.
So the second trial is completed, Bobby’s soul is in Heaven, and Sam finally accepts Benny as a good person. Another unexpected benefit of Sam finishing the trial was that he finally understood what Dean had to go through living in Purgatory for a year. Hopefully this will compel Sam to properly apologize for not looking for a way to save Dean when he was stuck down there, since they haven’t really resolved that issue yet. It’s kind of been swept under the rug.
The downside to all these good things happening? Prophet Kevin Tran lost it. He went totally bonkers. This was to be expected, of course: guzzling coffee, anti-depressants, and crappy food while spending every waking hour translating the word of God and also suffering from extreme paranoia for months on end isn’t exactly the recipe for good health. Kevin started hallucinating (?) Crowley’s voice, so he hid the demon tablet and ran away. Or was he kidnapped by Crowley? Or Naomi? Whatever happened, Kevin Tran is gone — and with him, the tablet. With only one trial left to go, Sam and Dean lost their prophet and the instruction manual. Not. Good.
The best quotes from "Taxi Driver:"
Sam: Where’s Garth?
Kevin: On a case, at the dentist, I don’t know!
Crossroads Demon: It’s secret!
Dean: We promise we won’t tell anyone.
Kevin, taking dinner into his room: I’ll be in my room, let me know when there’s a good day.
Dean, looking so incredibly sad: But that’s my pie.
Sam, after Bobby killed the Sam imposter down in Hell: You knew somehow, right?
Bobby: Took a chance. 50/50.
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[Photo Credit: The CW]