Supernatural Season 9 Episode 10: “Road Trip” Review
Abner: (Fallen Angel possessing Alexander): The key to happiness is getting the one thing you want and never letting it go.
Gadreel (Fallen Angel possessing Sam): What if there’s a price?
Abner: There’s always a price, but it’s worth paying.
This brief conversation between two fallen angels expresses the essence of “Road Trip.” Each character must decide what makes him happy and understand what he is willing to do to achieve that happiness.
Abner, imprisoned in Heaven with Gadreel, has found happiness on earth. He admits he was a terrible angel when he deserted his post. He deserved his punishment and was grateful for Gadreel’s help in Heaven. However, he has taken a vessel and is able to realize a dream he never knew he had- he’s happy as a human. He is a husband, father and customer service worker. It’s a second chance for him to rectify his wrongs.
Gadreel, eager to prove his loyalty to Metatron, doesn’t absorb the message behind Abner’s words. When Gadreel questions Abner about the price for being happy, he doesn’t seem to understand that Abner is willing to pay the price for his happiness. In this case, it is unfortunately death, as Gadreel, blind to anything but Metratron’s demands, kills him. Abner, became a better man than he ever was as an angel. In all likelihood, Abner did not perceive Gadreel as a threat. He probably believed Gadreel would see with his own eyes how one can change his life for the better.
But Gadreel remains loyal to Metatron. Has Gadreel ever considered what might make him happy? Will he ever realize what he is compromising by assisting Metraton? Gadreel seems representative of those angels, who Castiel described in Season 6. They do not understand free will. By using Metraton’s moral compass instead of figuring out his own, Gadreel’s actions increasingly show his capacity for evil.
Dean is happy when Sam is physically, emotionally, and spiritually well. Dean will do anything possible to ensure that. Why else would he have allowed a seemingly “good” angel to possess Sam? Sam’s happiness and safety have been the two things Dean has never compromised on since the first season. This is the price Dean has repeatedly paid since we first saw him as a four year old carrying an infant Sam from their burning home.
Cas wants what is best for Heaven and he wants what’s best for the Winchesters. Repeatedly, Cas has held on to the belief that he can “save” Heaven and reconstruct it. He consoles Dean after Kevin’s death and his words to Dean are words that reflect his own choices. When Dean says, “I was so damn stupid,” Cas replies, “You were stupid for the right reasons.”
More than once, Cas knows he has made bad choices for the right reasons. He has paid for those choices and yet continues to try to reunite Heaven.
After Crowley enters Sam’s mind and tells him he’s being possessed, Sam is able to kick out Gadreel. When he talks to Dean later, Sam admits he was pissed at Dean’s decision to allow a psycho angel to possess him. He reveals again to Dean he understood the consequences of the trials and he was ready to die. Sam knows he will be missed, but he is willing to pay the price. In “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here,” Sam asks Death if he dies, will it be finally over? He asks whether or not anyone else will have to suffer for what he has done. When Death admits Sam’s death will end any retribution, Sam is willing to die. Now, although he knows he was possessed, Sam will carry the burden that it was his touch that killed Kevin.
And Crowley. What is he willing to do for happiness? He’s been sitting in the Winchester’s dungeon for months and is willing to conspire with Dean so he can be set free. What’s the price? He keeps his part of his bargain, enters Sam’s noggin and vexes Abaddon when he refuses to play by her rules. He is willing to gamble that he is the smartest player on the chessboard, when he tells Dean, “I’m the goodest guy you got.” Crowley is willing to play any side he can that will enable him to once again resume his position as king of Hell.
Many times when we head off for a road trip, we know the destination. We may even anticipate any possible roadblocks and plan so carefully that we can avoid them. We map out places to visit, rest and eat. The best road trips often provide us with a sense of satisfaction when we arrive at our desired destination. Some road trips unexpectedly exceed our expectations. Others leave us arriving at a destination we had not foreseen, experiencing things we had not anticipated.
“Road Trip” provides our main characters with destinations they had not foreseen, despite their best efforts to control the outcomes. While Metatron may seemingly be well on the way to achieving his desires, Sam and Dean have traveled many more roads than he and will eventually thwart his efforts. In the final scene, Sam is willing to allow Dean take a road trip alone. Not only does Sam need time to recuperate, but he understands Dean, too, needs to recuperate.
What, ultimately, is the price Dean is willing to pay to do that?