Sigh. Trust this show to render its own history ridiculous and insignificant. They took what should have been an epic journey and turned it into a slapdash affair that not only made for a poor story this time around, but weakened some epic moments from its own past.
Kevin Tran, God's Most Skittish Prophet, is convinced that Crowley has found him, due to hearing his voice in his head all the time. He's most likely just off his nut, but he calls the Winchesters in a panic. He wants to be done with all this tablet business ASAP, and so hands over the instructions for completing the second Trial. All Sam has to do is go to Hell, find an innocent soul and then ferry it back to Heaven. "Wow," you may have thought to yourself, "I bet that will be really difficult and take a long time, based on what we've learned from past episodes!" Ha! How wrong you were! The brothers trap a crossroads demon and torture him until he tells them they can get to Hell with a rogue Reaper, who just happens to be working as cabbie in some unidentified city.
The cabbie agrees to take Sam to Hell in exchange for an as-yet-unnamed favor to be determined later, and the boys are like, "Sure! That won't come back to bite us in the ass at all!" The cabbie also mentions that he's the one who took Bobby Singer to Hell. Say what? Turns out Bobby is in Hell instead of Heaven because of Crowley's wranglings. So he whisks Sam off to Hell, but oops! They have to get there through Purgatory! "Wow," you may have thought to yourself, "I bet that will be difficult, considering how hard it was for Dean, and even Naomi had to send a bunch of angels in there after Castiel!" Ha! Sam makes his way through P-Town quite easily and finds Hell's backdoor entrance in less time than it takes the average person to find his or her car keys.
Now all he has to do is find Bobby. "Wow," you may have thought to yourself, "I bet that won't be easy, considering how many millions – if not billions – of souls are down there, and how many angels had to die just for Castiel to grip Dean tight and raise him from Perdition!" Ha again! Sam finds Bobby on, like, the third try, and Hell looks like a tame S&M dungeon as opposed to either the surreal Hellraiser landscape from Dean's time, or the DMV nightmare of Crowley's fashioning. They get through Hell after killing just one demon, and then make their way through Purgatory with just a minor scrap with monsters. Strangely, the rogue Reaper isn't there to take them back to the mortal plane as scheduled, and that's because Crowley has discovered his dealings with the Winchesters and killed him.
Dean finds the dead cabbie and realizes Sam is now stuck in Purgatory. He calls Benny and asks for a huge, huge favor: "Can I kill you so you can rescue my brother who hates you?" And Benny's like, "Sure, I didn't like living up here much anyway!" It's more emotional than that, but just barely, because the show just rushes past that. So Dean beheads the Best Friend EVER and Benny finds Sam and Bobby in absolutely no time, and escorts them to the portal like it's a trip to the bus stop. No biggie! He decides to stay behind and fight monsters instead of returning to the body that Dean has carefully stashed for him. When Sam returns to the earthly realm and tells Dean what's happened, Dean's like, "Well, that's sad, but we're almost out of episode, so we can't dwell on it!" Crowley tries to stop Bobby's soul from getting to Heaven, but Naomi intervenes. Dean's suspicious of her, but she's trying to win him over so he'll help her find Castiel.
At the end, Kevin has fled the houseboat in a fever dream of paranoia, and taken the tablet with him. No doubt it will prove harder to find him than it is to find a specific soul in Hell or a storyline with a decent payoff this season. Sigh. Stay tuned for the full recap.
THEN! Dean learned that someone named Naomi has been controlling Castiel since she rescued his favorite angel from Purgatory. Speaking of Purgatory, Dean met a furry vampire named Benny while they were both trapped there. Benny led him to a escape hatch in exchange for letting him hitch a ride on out of there. Sam was super pissy about Dean having a vampire friend, even though said vampire totally saved his brother's life. Dean the Doormat broke with Benny and didn't even have the courtesy to do it in person. Kevin Tran, God's Most Annoying Prophet, decoded his half of the Demon Tablet and told the Winchesters how to shut the gates to Hell. Dean was raring to complete the necessary trials, but Sam inadvertently stepped all over his martyrdom and ended up passing the first trial himself. Meanwhile, Kevin echoed many a viewer's sentiment when he declared, "I need this to be over!"
NOW! Nighttime. Kevin, fast asleep in the houseboat that really isn't, hears the familiar rasp of Crowley's voice. "I know what you're up to," Crowley says. "I know what you're up to, working with them -- with those Winchesters." Kevin wakes with a gasp only to find himself alone. He checks under the bed, just to make sure. "I'm in your head, as well as everywhere else," Crowley says. Except under the bed, as we've established. How hilarious would it have been if Crowley had really been down there? Lying amid the dust bunnies, cupping his hands around his mouth to make his voice sound echoey. Alas, there's not to be any mirth in this episode. "Last time you irked me, you lost a finger," Crowley says. "Imagine what will happen this time." Kevin looks down at his hand, or at what used to be his hand and is now a bloody stump. Kevin screams. His legs disappear from under him, leaving him sitting on the floor in a pool of blood and suddenly too-long jeans. Supernatural!
Daytime. Dean and Sam bang on the door as the episode's title appears on the screen. The writer must have been pressed for a title, because the episode has very little to do with the taxi driver. Kevin opens the door, wielding a frying pan that's roughly the size of his torso. The good news is that he's wielding it with his hands, which appear to be as extant as ever. (When I say "good news," I mean for Kevin; I don't particularly care.) "What's with the SOS?" Dean asks. Maybe he needed a spatula? "It's him... Crowley," he says, ushering the brothers inside. "He's in my head." Kevin points to his skull, just in case the Winchesters were wondering where that might be. Sam and Dean dismiss Kevin's concerns as bad dreams instead of finally whisking him off to the Lair O' Letters. "Look," Dean says, "if Crowley knew where you were, he'd do a lot more than mess with your head." Why doesn't it occur to the Winchesters that even though Crowley doesn't know where Kevin is, he could still mess with his head? Or, failing that, why doesn't it occur to them that even if Kevin is just imagining things, he wouldn't do himself harm in some way? Why? Because the plot of this stupid episode requires stupidity. Everyone has to be dumb for this thing to galumph its way across the finish line. Anyway, Kevin has a throwaway line about Garth being out doing goodness knows what. Again, it's plot-necessitated crap.