Supernatural: No Rest for the… Taxi Driver

Only two Supernatural episodes this week.  Tuesday on TNT was dedicated to a Rizzoli and Isles pre-season premiere marathon.  And the CW is once again showing Cult on Fridays. It should feel like a vacation, but this week’s episodes were pretty heavy, significant ones.

No Rest for the Wicked (316)

This episode gets 4 starsSeason finale means “Carry On, My Wayward Son” by Kansas.  Always a nice way to start the show.  It also means “Written by Eric Kripke” and “Directed by Kim Manners.”  Oh yeah, and for season 3, we’re left with the most frustrating cliffhanger ever!

Dean and Sam prepare to take on Lilith in hopes of saving Dean from hell.
The Winchester way? Silent and stoic.

The whole season has been building up to Dean’s date with destiny, hellhounds, etc, and here it is.  Sam tells Dean at the beginning of the episode he’s not going to let Dean go to hell.  But, like so many Winchester promises, he fails.

Ruby’s comments to Sam turn out to be much more prophetic than we ever could have thought possible at the time.  She tells him his demonic psychic powers are dormant, not gone; that she can help train him to use them; and he is the only one who can stop Lilith.  Of course, she fails to mention it involves drinking demon blood, and that killing Lilith also signals the beginning of the apocalypse.  (But then, Dean hasn’t broken the fist seal to set the wheels in motion yet.)

Lilith tries to kill Sam with her white light.
Katie as Ruby as Lilith

This is the last of Katie Cassidy as Ruby, and she makes the most of it, delivering a pretty good performance.  Her fight scene where she almost gets the better of the brothers is pretty awesome.  And she slips from Ruby into Little Girl Lilith without missing a beat.

In the end, Sam mysteriously survives Lilith’s white death ray, the Katie Cassidy-Ruby vessel is gone, Dean dies a most horrible and bloody death, only to end up even more horrible and bloody in hell, with meat hooks slicing through his flesh and screaming for Sam.  Like I said, most frustrating season finale ever.  Damn you, Kripke!

– Written by Eric Kripke; directed by Kim Manners
– IMDB rating 8.5 (out of 10); TV.com 9.0 (out of 10)

Taxi Driver (819)

This episode gets 4 starsTaxi Driver should have been a two-part episode.  It might have fleshed out the tenseness the situation deserved, as well as explain a few things that just seemed to hang in the air.  Like, what is a rogue reaper?  Is it a reaper who can be seen without going to the “astral plane?”  (Or is it “plain?”  Even the thesaurus doesn’t help.)  And the price for the trip to hell should have been spelled out more clearly.  Emotionally, I was glad the episode wrapped up in one, since I hate cliff-hangers.  But for dramatic and story-telling purposes, the episode would have been better if it hadn’t been truncated.

Sam and Dean summon a crossroads demon.
Summon a crossroads demon; learn how to enter hell.

Hindsight being what it is, more things made sense.  Kevin’s “preemptive move” of hiding the tablet plays out well in later episodes.  And  we got answers to the big questions we had.  Did Crowley really take Kevin?  Yes.  Did Crowley really kill Mrs. Tran, or he was messing with Kevin’s head?  Apparently it’s the former, although I still hold out hope for the latter.

The appearance of the fabulous Bobby Singer was a wonderful surprise, since the name of the even more fabulous Jim Beaver didn’t appear in the guest credits.  Rewatching the episode also emphasized Bobby’s desire to get back in the fight.  Perhaps he was expelled from heaven along with the angels in  the season 8 finale.  At least, that’s what I’m wishing for.

Speaking of guest stars, just this week I saw Ty Olsson (Benny) in a Hallmark channel movie.  It was nice to see him play a regular guy who smiled and joked—and didn’t talk with an unintelligible Southern accent.  (I always had to turn on close-captioning when Benny was on.)

Sam visits purgatory on his way to hell.
Pretty in purgatory:  Sam looks good!

But the highlight of the episode was the scene where Sam and Dean are reunited in Maine.  Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki are at their best when playing the brotherly emotion with each other.  Their voices break, tears well up in their eyes.  You genuinely feel their love for each other.  It’s the heart of this show, and it’s what has made the series such a nine-season success.

– Written by Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner; directed by Guy Norman Bee
– TV Fanatic fan rating 4.5 (out of 5); IMDB rating 8.5; TV.com 8.4

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