I know, the ending of "Road Trip," featuring yet another example of Winchester brother mangst, separation, and silent treatment, was frustrating in that no one is ever happy when Sam and Dean's great and terrible codependency backfires and they split up—but bear with me, because unlike previous adventures in brotherly emotional warfare, I think that in this case, the time-out is actually completely justified and necessary. The consent and control issues surrounding the whole Sam-Gadreel debacle are just too big to handwave with "BUH DEAN LOVES SAM," and while I'm by no means advocating for a long, drawn out estrangement between the bros, I am glad that Supernatural has made it clear that it understands why Sam's forced angel-possession was kind of a WTF... but Dean doesn't.
We've talked before about how Dean's been programmed since the age of four to play the hero in every situation ever and, as a result, has a big ol' bag of issues when it comes to famiily and his and Sam's respective roles within theirs. To Dean, heroes save people, and they especially save the people they care about. Always. At all costs. Even if the person in question doesn't actually want to be saved. We can probably all think of someone we know who has some problems and who has a personal history that overwhelmingly explains the "whys" of those problems. It's important to have these insights, lest we judge too harshly; Dean Winchester isn't a bad person and I wouldn't even go as far as to say that he does bad things, but he does do problematic things, and understanding why he does them isn't the same thing as excusing them (nor should it be).
Which is why this most recent Winchester break-up is a little easier to accept than those that came before. No one has brought this on but the Winchesters. Even if the Gadreel plan had ended up working exactly as it was intended to, Dean's role in getting Sam to consent would've still been appalling in its disregard for Sam's autonomy (which also makes the solution to the Gadreel problem alarming when you consider that they really only traded one possession for another, albeit temporarily). Conversely, Sam is (or was, as we haven't really explored his post-Gadreel feelings yet) suicidal. Like, actual suicidal and not charging-into-the-vampire-lair-to-save-the-children suicidal. That's a problem, and I'm sure leaving several dead bodies in his angel-possessed wake is only going to add to his issues given that part of Sam's whole rationale-for-death was to stop getting peeps killed and can we talk about how the only person who tried to make him understand that it wasn't his fault was a freaking demon? Dude is gonna go straight-up Lady Macbeth at the powder-room sink one of these days. Ugh Sam. Ugh Dean. Ugh Kevinnnnn.
I don't think we've quite reached Season 5 levels of audience emotional abuse, but we're getting there. Help. #SoExcited
So the Winchester brothers are on the outs again, but it's gonna be okay. In the meantime, Crowley is out of the demon dungeon and busy being absolutely perfect and I love Abaddon, I do, but Crowley's vision of hell is just so twisted and he was going to such waste just locked up in the basement. I was so nervous when he was poking around in Sam's giant moose-brain, you guys, SO NERVOUS, and then when he was just chillaxin' in the torture chair waiting for Abby? Look, I'm all for noble, redemptive deaths for bad dudes—and I suspect this is probably Gadreel's fate, considering how conflicted he's been about smiting everyone and how, at the end of the day, he just wants to be a hero (no wonder he and Dean hit it off so well at first), but, eh, I like Crowley. Mark Sheppard makes me laugh. We're getting into the binge-drink-until-you-don't-feel-feelings segment of the season and we need all the chuckles we can get.
To recap: Sam is angel free but now sans-demon-warding-tat. Dean is flying solo. Crowley (my king) is tasting sweet, sweet freedom. Abby is pissed. Cas doesn't wear a tie anymore. Kevin is still dead. Also Tahmoh Penikett is back and Boogertron likes girly drinks. All in all, "Road Trip" was a strong return for the second half of this CW veteran's Season Fiiiiine. Way to live up to the name, Supernatural!
– Smart Winchester sighting: Go words! I missed the go words!
– "A say, a virgin, and all the entrails you can eat. VOTE CROWLEY." Yesssss.
– "Your phallus on wheels just ran a red light in Somerset, Pennsylvania."
– That was way too sunny to be Somerset, Pennsylvania.
– "Really? What are you, a pimp?" "I like it."
– No new prophet because Metatron turned off the prophet-making button.
– "Bitch, did I stutter?" Glad that one got smote early on.
AIRED ON 10/20/2016
Season 12 : Episode 2
AIRS ON 10/27/2016
Season 12 : Episode 3