Supernatural Season Eight Episode Nineteen “Taxi Driver” TV REVIEW
Writers: Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner
Director: Guy Norman Bee
THE ONE WHERE Sam has to bust an innocent out of hell to pass the second trial.
VERDICT Bobby! Over the years we’ve had our fair share of moans about how spoiler-packed Supernatural ’s opening re-caps and “guest starring” credits cast list can be, but props to whoever kept any whiff of Bobby away from both of these because his return came as a genuine surprise to me. A thrilling one at that.
It’s got its problems (more on those later) but “Taxi Driver” packs so much into 42 minutes you can’t help but be swept along. From Kevin’s graphic opening hallucination to the brothers’ confrontation with the king of hell in the 100 mile wilderness, it’s a breathless episode.
With just four episodes left the arc plot is the order of the week, and all the major players are on the field (minus Cas). Predictably Crowley is the man of the match, cutting down minions left, right and centre with his acid tongue. Jim Beaver’s return performance as Bobby is admirably restrained. He's a tired, but not quite broken man and he tones down Bobby’s caustic manner accordingly. Kevin puts in an enjoyably kooky turn as the genuinely broken prophet too… heck, everyone is superb. We challenge anyone who’s watched Supernatural for this long to make it to the end without misty eyes making an appearance, particularly after a trio of heartbreaking man-hugs (Sam/Bobby, Dean/Benny, Sam/Dean).
There are also two significant character deaths this week. Well, maybe. This is Supernatural after all, but as far as we’re aware Benny and Kevin’s mum are toast. Both are gutting in different ways. Benny’s because Sam sees he finally been doing right by Dean all along (*sniff*) thanks to his noble sacrifice, and Kevin’s mum’s because of the heartbreaking way he finds out. It's clear the loose ends from the first half of the season are being tied up in the home stretch.
It’s an episode that’s full of niggling plot holes and problems though. For starters, cramming so much in is all well and good, but it feels WAY too rushed. In year’s past a storyline which involved Sam infiltrating hell might have been given time to breathe over two episodes – not anymore.
Speaking of hell, is that it? There are two delightfully grisly victims that stick in the memory (see above), but one kinda grimy corridor? Every glimpse of hell we’ve had so far has been unfathomably large, how come Sam was able to find Bobby so easily? And getting into hell seemed far too easy in the first place. If Crossroads Demons know a way into hell (via purgatory) how come Crowley didn’t use the same door before he spent all that time torturing monsters in season six?
But despite all these problems I enjoyed this episode immensely because I can overlook the odd plot hole/inconsistency when it resonates emotionally, and “Taxi Driver” did that throughout. Bobby doesn’t have a scratch on him after a year in hell? And his cage is unlocked? Seems unlikely, but who cares! My heart was too busy doing backflips.
SPECULATION It’s more than likely that Crowley does have Kevin, but even if Crowley knew where he was, isn't the ship warded against him entering? And if Naomi knows where Kevin is (the boat isn't warded against angels after all) why didn't she come to his rescue? My longshot theory: Crowley was Naomi in disguise. Or Crowley is an angel.
DID YOU SPOT? The crossroads where the brothers trap the crossroads demon is the same one featured in the Supernatural Shake .
Crossroads Demon: “ I can't, its a secret.”
Dean: “We promise not to tell anyone.”
SAM’S EXPRESSION OF THE WEEK
TITLE TATTTLE This episode takes its name from the classic '76 Scorsese film. If you haven't seen it get thyself to a DVD player forthwith!
AMERICANISM’S EXPLAINED Sam and Dean describe Ajay as “Coyote”. A Coyote is someone who smuggles people over borders.
BEHIND THE SCENES The bumper sticker on the back of Ajay’s cab reads: “How's my driving? Call 1-555-GO2-HELL”, as co-executive producer/"The French Mistake" guest star Jim Michaels points out on Twitter.
A bumper sticker on the back of the taxi! twitter.com/TheJimMichaels… April 4, 2013
Crowley : “Patience isn’t one of my virtues. Well, I don’t have any virtues, but if I did I’m certain that patience wouldn’t be one.”