"Taxi Driver" was ultimately about the second God trial that Sam needed to complete in order to forever close the gates of Hell, but I was left far more focused on the characters swept up in the particular task than the actual undertaking itself.
I mean, Bobby Singer was back!
It's been a while since we've seen Jim Beaver in the role with his last appearance in Supernatural Season 7 episode "Survival of the Fittest," and although we've had mentions of Bobby here and there, it was nice to see him back in the flesh.
I know, I know, technically it was Bobby's soul, but actually seeing his face when he turned around in Hell was a surprise. I thought it might have been some other poor sap stuck in the eternal dungeons.
The character has always had a great personality, that gruff exterior but loving interior, and getting Bobby back into action was a treat, even if it was short lived. Similarly, it was good to see him commenting about the brothers going off the rails with Sam not looking for Dean and Dean having a vampire Buddy. At least the brothers are more back on track now.
That said, it was awfully convenient that Bobby happened to be the soul that Sam was taking from Hell to send to Heaven. I guess the explanation that Bobby couldn't go to Heaven because Crowley said so was alright... but it felt as far too coincidental as that the reaper Sam and Dean met up with was the one who took Bobby to Hell.
It just seemed to fit a little too perfectly into place. Sure, I guess I was able to look past it because it was Bobby, and maybe having a random soul would have had less of an important impact on completing the trial.
Which, going in line with important figures in the Winchester's lives, it only made sense that Benny would be called upon to help Dean.
It was a pretty emotional moment for Dean to ask his friend for assistance to save Sam. A life for a life. A brother for a brother. And it wasn't like Benny would just take a short trip, he had to die in order to get to Purgatory. Even so, Benny was willing to do what he could.
On top of that, the rescue mission - which did turn Sam's mind around on Benny - left the vampire friend on a sacrificial course for the Winchester cause. I'm bummed Benny's time was up this episode, but he went out like a champ. Even with his blood urges, the guy never really wavered on being the good guy.
It really made Sam's return bittersweet. Dean was so happy to have his brother rescued, but Benny NOT coming back clearly hit another emotional spot. First Castiel and now Benny. It's tough being a Winchester friend.
RIP Benny, you will be missed.
Unfortunately, Bobby had to make his farewell (but clearly, goodbye is never the end) while also bringing out the battle between Crowley and Naomi.
I still don't trust Naomi and don't buy her good guy return, even if she is an angel. Yes, she may have helped put the fast track on Bobby's soul out of Crowley's clutches, but did she really do it for him? Or rather, is it safe to assume, she's helping out for her own selfish reasons?
At least with Crowley, he's always up to no good and definitely this season he's been far more evil than usual. Killing off the taxi reaper, allegedly killing Kevin's mom, and now torturing the young prophet are just more things to add to the King of Hell's villainous list.
I feel bad for Kevin, who looked even more worse for wear this go around, dealing with going crazy, before falling right into Crowley's grasp. It's going to make completing that third trial even harder.
Although Hell looked pretty scary with the screaming souls in the dungeon, it seemed a little bit easier of a task than say killing the hell hound in "Trial and Error." Yes, he went through a backdoor, but I thought maybe it would have been a bit tougher to go through Hell. At least the anticipation of the whole event kept me engrossed.
I can only imagine what the third trial will be (I predict we won't find out until the Supernatural Season 8 finale), but I'm curious to see not only what it will mean for the gates go Hell, but also how it affects Sam. These tablets, trials and the consequences of using them will probably be the set up for next season.
Now, can Kevin survive? Can he survive long enough to help Sam and Dean? I'd like to hope so, as I also am holding out that Kevin's mom is still alive.
There's something pretty fascinating about the trials and the tablets, and yes, I'm a sucker for the mythology stuff, but what really made the episode of Supernatural stand out was having Sam, Dean, Bobby, Benny, and Kevin involved. That emotional toll in addition to the dark tone that surrounded the hour has me looking forward to seeing how it will all play out. Hopefully, it will be a great payoff rather than a major letdown.
What did you think? Were you glad Bobby was back? What about Benny's sacrifice? What's in store for Sam and Dean? Sound off below!
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.