Congrats, you survived the holidays, the Polar Vortex, the television hiatuses, and the seventeen "I don't have anything prepared!!" speeches at "The Golden Globes." Your reward is this week's stunning episode of "Supernatural." "Road Trip" was the intensely poetic and extremely timely conclusion to the first half of the season in which Sam finally learns he's been touched by an angel; Dean deals with the consequences of his impulsive and desperate decision to save his brother; and Kevin Tran is still dead.
Admittedly, I wasn't happy with the reveal that Sam was once again possessed by a sinister angel, and that anger has festered during the break. I am violated on Sam's behalf and wonder if he'll ever catch a break. But the matter at hand is to rescue Sam from the monster in his own body. "Sam is strong," Castiel reminds Dean. "If he knew an angel was possessing him, he could cast the angel out." The only way to do that is to track down Sam and beseech Crowley strip the angel to his factory settings. Crowley demands an outing in return, so the three of them head to a NSA Listening Post disguised as a trendy corporate firm.
The industrious king of hell planted a quirky demon in its ranks and uses her to fill him on what's happened while he's been held captive and to find the Impala in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Everyone piles in Castiel's pimped-out ride to make chase. (Tragic Note: Dean did not let anyone ride shotgun). While Redbull will give you wings, another angel's grace does not.
Meanwhile, Gadreel is still working through Metatron's hit list. After gleefully murdering an angel wearing Bieber-esque pop singer with hair so douchey, it makes my teeth hurt, he must kill Abner, his former cellmate from angelic prison and professed "friend." The two talk, and while Gadreel is emboldened with righteous rage, there is a large part of him that just wants to be redeemed, and doesn't want to hurt anyone. As much as I don't trust Gadreel, he's not evil, just desperate. Sound familiar?
Abner, the angel possessing an abusive husband, speaks of righting old wrongs. He boasts that to obtain happiness "there is always a price, but it's worth paying." To a half-crazy angel, that sounds like permission to finish the deed, so he can be second-in-command of Metatron’s elitist heaven.
Luckily, Dean and Castiel ambush him, and drag him to the nearest torture-ready warehouse.
It's stomach-turning to watch Crowley tear into Sam's brain. Jared Padalecki has turned in phenomenal performances this season, especially when considering the complexities of the characters he’s played, but I almost wish he wasn't so convincing during these scenes. Dean stands it for longer than I could. He walks away and asks Castiel how he's feeling. This was the most heartbreaking scene of the episode for yours truly. Not only because of the half-sobbed, "I want to talk about anything that's not a demon sticking needles into my brother's brain”; but also because of the fact that Dean just needs someone to big brother. Castiel also looks off-kilter. The trenchcoat he's wearing is the perfect metaphor for his grace. It's ill-fitting and too dark. It's not his, and it shows.
Fortunately for this blogger, who is half under her coffee table because Sam's animalistic screams are far more horrifying than anything I’ve ever seen this season, the torture isn't working. The trio quickly poke holes in Plan B (Castiel possessing Sam) and move right on to Plan C. "Demons can take what they want," Crowley brags. Of course, Crowley wants his freedom in return for saving Sam. Dean instantly agrees.