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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: The CW]
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It's that time of year where everyone is making their lists and checking them twice. Not just Santa, but every film critic – from the film editor of the Walla Walla Picayune and Register to the tween who runs ILikeMoviesSoMuchICouldPuke.tumblr.com – who feels the need to express his or her opinions about the Top 10 Movies of 2012. Everyone thinks they have the final word on taste, but so few of them agree with one another. With the entries on these lists landing all over the place, how do we determine what the best flicks are? Well, we ask every damn critic and figure out where they agree. Yes, this is the Ultimate Top 10 Movies of 2012 List comprised only using lists other critics made.
I took 53 different lists from sources as varied as the New York Times to MySpace (yes, they apparently have someone writing for that treasure trove of embarrassing high school pictures we can't figure out how to take down) and tallied them all up. For each list, the top movie got 10 points, the second best movie got nine points, and so on down the line. For wimps who just listed their top movies alphabetically, each film got three points, because I'm not rewarding those jerks who can't make up their minds. All those points were added up, and those with the highest points win! Well, I included everyone, so there aren't any real losers except for those that didn't make the list at all.
Only lists for movies in general were included, so there's no genre fare like the 10 Best Action Movies, the 5 Scariest Horror Movies, or The 11 Best Joseph Gordon-Levitt Movies That Came Out in August. If there were more than 10 movies on any list, movies 10-20 (or 10-33 if you're the slideshow-happy Huffington Post) were ignored. If you can't narrow it down to 10, then you're just doing the world a disservice. And I only included lists that were actually, you know, a list. Yes, David Denby of The New Yorker, I get that you're so much smarter than the rest of us that you can't be bothered to enumerate your enormous insight into the annual state of the cinema, but reading the whole damn article was just not conducive for my little experiment.
Without further ado, here are the Scientifically Indisputable Top 10 Movies of 2012
1. Zero Dark Thirty: 291
2. The Master: 202
3. Argo: 170
4. Amour: 152
5. Beasts of the Southern Wild: 132
6. Lincoln: 156
7. Moonrise Kingdom: 152
8. Silver Linings Playbook: 109
9. Holy Motors: 104
10. The Dark Knight Rises: 74
Most of these weren't surprises. Zero Dark Thirty was on practically every list I surveyed. For every list Amour or Holy Motors wasn't on, it was in the top spot on another list, thus driving these obscurities up the rankings. The only surprise in the Top 10, really, is The Dark Knight Rises, which jumped into the final slot thanks to prominent placement on several lists, including ones that seemed to favor those that were commercially successful rather than the critics' darlings.
The surprises were really in the films that didn't do better. I was shocked that early favorites like The Sessions didn't get more attention, and documentaries like Queen of Versailles or How to Survive a Plague didn't fare better. Many lists filled their final slot with either a documentary or a foreign film to let the reader know how cultured they are and don't just like popcorn munchers. Either that, or it's a kid's movie to show just how wide and varied their idea of quality is, going beyond weird indies that people lie about seeing at cocktail parties. The most popular cartoons were ParaNorman and Frankenweenie. The latter only got a score of nine but it was probably on as many lists as anything else. The 10th spot doesn't do anyone any favors.
Here are the rest of the movies I found on my adventure.
This Is Not a Film: 70
Life of Pi: 71
The Avengers: 63
Django Unchained: 56
Cabin in the Woods: 35
The Lonliest Planet: 35
Les Miz: 33
Perks of Being a Wall Flower: 28
The Deep Blue Sea: 26
Anna Karenina: 25
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia: 22
Killing Them Softly: 21
Searching for Sugar Man: 20
Rust and Bone: 19
21 Jump Street: 18
The Gatekeepers: 17
The Hunger Games: 17
Magic Mike: 17
Oslo, August 31: 17
Seven Psychopaths: 16
The Grey: 15
End of Watch: 14
How to Survive a Plauge: 13
The Imposter: 13
Cloud Atlas: 11
The Kid with a Bike: 11
Pitch Perfect: 11
The Raid: Redemption: 11
The Turin Horse: 11
The Impossible: 10
Killer Joe: 10
The Amazing Spider-Man: 9
The House I Live In: 9
Not Fade Away: 9
Jeff Who Lives at Home: 8
Queen of Versailles: 8
Sound of My Voice: 8
Waiting Room: 8
Your Sister's Sister: 8
Dark Horse: 7
Monsieur Lazhar: 7
Oki's Movie: 7
Room 237: 7
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2: 7
Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present: 6
Middle of Nowhere: 6
Miss Bala: 6
Take This Waltz: 6
Ai Wei Wei: 5
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 4
In the Family: 4
Invisible War: 4
Wreck It Ralph: 4
5 Broken Cameras: 3
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: 3
The Dust Bowl: 3
Goodbye First Love: 3
It's Such a Wonderful Day: 3
John Carter: 3 (stupid Houston Press)
Safety Not Guaranteed: 3
A Simple Life: 3
The Color Wheel: 2
Keep the Lights On: 2
Neighboring Sounds: 2
West of Memphis: 2
Wuthering Heights: 2
Friends with Kids: 1
Premium Rush: 1
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning: 1
Sources (some outlets like AP, New York Times, and EW had more than one list): New York Magazine, LA Times, E! Online, Guardian, Screen Crush, Access Hollywood, Cinema Blend, Time, Village Voice, BuzzFeed, Atlantic Wire, AP, MTV, New Yorker, SF Gate, Brietbart, The Atlantic, Guyism, EW, AV Club, Time Out NY, Film Comment, Arizona Republic, New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Next Movie, The Movie Minute, NY Post, Slant, HitFix, IndieWire, Total Film, Rolling Stone, AARP, Movieline, San Jose Mercury News, IndieWire, AFI, New Jersey Star Ledger, MySpace, Boston Phoenix, Time Out Chicago: Times Two, Houston Press
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A series pilot about a secret agent who is armed with skills learned by a computer-brain link-up -- lasting only seventy-two hours at a time -- and is sent to rescue a Russian submarine commander, a defector who has been kidnapped by an agent for another nation.