Following Kevin's death, Dean is a wreck. He knows it's his fault but rather than sit around and sulk he plans on taking that angel down and getting his brother back, whatever is takes.
Not content after having killed the prophet of the lord, Gadriel is back stage at a pop star's concert. Apparently the star of the show was Gadriel's jailer while he was a prisoner in heaven and he is next on his list. Back at the lair, Castiel goes to see Dean and the two fill each other in on what has happened during their time apart. Castiel doesn't blame Dean for what he did but says that the two of them are too trusting and it leads to their downfall. Dean wants to get his brother back and Castiel has a plan. If they can somehow get around Gadriel's defense, they can talk directly to Sam and allow him to expel the angel; but there's a catch. The one person that can get around an angel's defenses isn't another angel, it's Crowley. The former king of hell is more than willing to help as long as Dean and Castiel will make a deal and take him out for a stroll. Out of options, Dean makes the Deal with Crowley and tracks down Gadriel. After trapping Gadriel, Crowley's method of getting past the angel defenses doesn't work as Gadriel is just too strong. Out of options and refusing to let his brother be trapped any longer, Dean makes another deal: let Crowley go free if he can possess Sam and free him from Gadriel's control.
Back from the hiatus, Supernatural returns with a solid episode in Road Trip. The strongest aspect of the episode was how the Sam/Gadriel possession storyline was finally resolved. For quite some time the story was feeling redundant with Sam's life being saved by Gadriel every other week and Dean having to make his brother forget what happened. It was too convenient and erased any threat of consequence. I was expecting Sam to lay into Dean in the final moments of the episode but the fact that it didn't happen just further shows that Supernatural is ready to move on. In another surprising twist, Crowley is now free and the second half of the season is about to get a lot more exciting.
Though the story for Road Trip was quite strong, not everything measured up. Jared Padalecki's performance as Gadriel has been incredibly one note for quite some time. Don't even get me started on the interrogation scene, it was laughably bad as Crowley stuck more needles into Sam's brain. Gadriel's waling was ridiculous and it took me out of the moment entirely. Luckily, Tahmoh Pinikett has returned to the role of Gadriel and Padalecki won't have to be both characters any longer.
While Padalecki struggled in the role of Gadriel, Mark Sheppard was fantastic as Crowley. Crowley is a wonderfully evil character who you can always root for and Sheppard's wit and charm were in full force during his confrontation with Abaddon. Crowley has no hope of defeating Abaddon in a fight, but he can win in a campaign. It's a delightful twist that could not have possibly been written better.
Overall, Road Trip had some missteps but it was a solid return for Supernatural. Hopefully the momentum continues to build in next week's episode, First Born.