Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S08E19 – Taxi Driver

In the nineteenth episode of the eighth season of Supernatural, NOOOOOOPPPPEEE. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural. 

Trigger Warning: For discussion of gore/body horror, ableism/stigma.

Ah, I love it when I ask for something or criticize something, and then BAM. I AM GIVEN WHAT I WANT. Oh, there’s so much to talk about here, y’all.


Kevin Tran is too precious for this world, and it distresses me.

What I wish for him is some sympathy or empathy, any sort of behavior that shows him that he’s not alone. As his hallucinations (likely spawned from lack of sleep, stress, and his poor diet, though speculating beyond this is not really something I’d like to do) get worse, he’s met with Dean Winchester, the one person who is least equipped to deal with issues involving sanity or mental illness. Straight up, I don’t think Dean understands mental illness at all, nor do I think he is prepared to help anyone deal with their own problems with their sanity. We’ve seen that in his behavior towards Martin and in his reaction to Sam after Sam got the wall put into his head. He reacts poorly to any perceived lack of sanity, and he’s quick to discount or dismiss anyone with any sort of mental aberration that he perceives. So when Kevin clearly is showing symptoms of some sort of break, Dean does not comfort him in any substantial way that actually helps Kevin. Getting some burgers (and pie!) for Kevin doesn’t help. That helps Dean, and that very well could be one of his coping mechanisms. Which is perfectly fine!

But Kevin needs his own coping mechanism. He needs his own way to deal with the chaos of his life and the emotional toll it’s taking on him, and I don’t see him getting that here. It just makes me sad because I really adore this character, and I’m worried about his future role in this show. I JUST WANT KEVIN TRAN TO BE OKAY, IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK. Well, this IS Supernatural, so it might be.


LOOK. LOOK. I WAS SO CURIOUS TO FIND OUT HOW FAR THIS SHOW WOULD TAKE THIS CONCEPT AND I AM STILL REELING FROM THIS EPISODE. We saw Hell. WE SAW INSIDE OF HELL, AND IT WAS FUCKING AWFUL AND HORRIFYING AND GORY AND I’M STILL NOT OKAY FROM IT. In the past, Hell was represented in brief flashes. We saw Dean in chains and got glimpses of Sam’s time there, but it was never something that allowed us to truly understand the physical arrangement of the place. There’s a part of me that wishes that Sam’s attempt to find Bobby was a bit longer. Not that I needed to see people covered in blood, suffering eternal torment. It just felt a little too convenient to me, that he located him so quickly after entering the prisons of Hell. And I wanted to see more. We’ve seen Heaven and parts of the holy bureaucracy; this was our first chance to see what the same organization was like down in Hell.

At the same time, less is more, and what little we see is so upsetting that it does the trick. I was utterly horrified by Hell. And that shot where Sam comes up behind Bobby, and we see the tally marks on the wall and EVERY SINGLE EMOTION I’VE EVER HAD FOR BOBBY COMES BACK TO ME, it was just too much. This whole journey was too much, y’all. Sam knew going into that portal with Ajay meant that he could die along the journey. He knew that if he succeeded, it would still take a toll on his body. He knew that he could fail anyway. But Sam Winchester, who so frequently puts others before himself, did it all anyway. I mean, I knew I wasn’t going to be okay with this fucking episode once Ajay revealed that he’d ferried Bobby’s soul to Hell. I HAD ALREADY MOURNED HIS LOSS. DON’T. DON’T DO THIS TO ME. So yes, I spent a good deal of this episode clutching my face because THIS IS BOBBY SINGER. HE’S RIGHT THERE. I MISSED HIM SO MUCH.

(Somewhat related, did anyone think of that moment in Buffy where Buffy and Giles reunite in season 6 and he finds out everything that has happened in the interim and he just laughs? I half expected Bobby to do the same thing when he heard what the Winchesters were up to.)


I SPENT WAY TOO MUCH OF THIS EPISODE FEELING EMOTIONALLY RAW. Seriously, my clairvoyance for plot twists is so worthless because I always end up asking for this show to do something and then it happens and it’s like I didn’t even ask for it in the first place. This whole episode is just leagues above most of season eight and for all the right reasons. Oh, was bringing Bobby’s soul out of Hell and into Heaven not enough for you? THEN LET’S ALSO BRING BENNY BACK TO THE SHOW AND ALMOST IMMEDIATELY KILL HIM OFF. Okay, that’s a reductive view of his role here, which is SO FUCKING UNFAIR. Just… Dean’s face??? Misty-eyed boy talk is back, except this time we’ve got Dean asking Benny to let him behead him, all so that Benny can bring Sam back. What an utterly heartbreaking turn for this friendship, made even more sad when Benny reveals that he’ll do it, no problem, because he can’t fit anymore. He tried, y’all, and Dean knows he did. Dean also expresses regret that he didn’t help Benny more, and fucking hell, how is all of this happening in one episode?

I don’t even know how to talk about this without simply saying THIS SUCKS. I get that Benny’s story served its purpose. Like every secondary character in this show, they eventually die, leaving the Winchesters behind. That worries me, of course, because of characters like the Trans, Sheriff Jody Mills, and Garth. How long until they’re killed off, too? PLEASE NEVER, IT’S NOT FAIR. I just really liked what Benny brought out in Dean, especially since this season has been so light on Cas. (Does Cas ever get to be a full-time castmember? Don’t answer that, just wondering out loud.) I liked that this show gave us a vampire trying to be moral and succeeding, though it came at great cost to his well-being. And at the end, Benny sacrifices himself all so a man who wanted to kill him can go home to his brother. I can’t imagine a more moral act, y’all.


Naomi and Crowley

Okay, can they battle at some point? Yes? PLEASE? Jesus, I love so much that this show has given us these two antagonistic forces at once. Amanda Tapping is just too good here, and I loved seeing how she tried to manipulate Dean into helping the angels. I don’t know that she actually succeeded, though. She tries by allying herself at the perfect time. She is honest with Dean about Castiel, thinking it’s a gesture of good will; then she tells Dean where Sam went, giving him the idea to go after Benny. At the end of “Taxi Driver,” she arrives at just the right moment to counter Crowley’s attempt to send Bobby back to Hell. It’s all very convenient, isn’t it? I believe that Dean sees right through her charade, honestly. Does she really think he’ll start trusting the angels now? They’ve got to do a lot more work before that happens! And this is not really going to help, you know?


The video for “Taxi Driver” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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