As Sam and Dean race the clock on a high-stakes mission, Bobby seeks the help of an unlikely old friend to solve one of the most personal cases of his life. Robert Singer directed the episode written by Sera Gamble.
This show really knows how to smush my heart – my feelings are less like beads on a wood floor and more like the middle car in a 12 car mash up. I’m so sorry I’m late to the party with this episode, but I promise I had a really good reason. I hope those of you who read this Ramble are still out there a few days after the fact because this is an episode that requires discussion. Or reaction, at least. Don’t leave me alone out here, guys!
Before I get into the specifics of the episode, I wanted to share a few impressions. And because I’m watching this well after the fact, and have just finished a rather life-changing experience, I may wax a bit personal/philosophical throughout this. Fair warning. Also? I was a tad bit spoiled for this by Twitter – not specifics, but more impressions. I was prepared for tears and for a Really. Long. Hiatus. I haven’t read anyone’s thoughts, reactions, etc., so I apologize in advance if I end up walking down a well-worn road.
Overall, I thought this episode was a collection of amazing performances from all three men – Jensen, Jared, and Jim; very realistic reactions to grief and trauma as well as fantastic editing and pacing of a life flashing before one’s eyes. I loved how the scenes in Bobby’s mind shifted from moment to moment without warning or connection; that effect really drew me in and had me invested in each moment, each memory.
Two personal experience were triggered as I watched the boys be hit by these events, which I’ll get to as I work through the recap part of this, but the overall effect of this stuff had me rubbing my heart for Bobby – the life he lived, the memories he jumped to, the way he loved our boys, the hero he was – and for our boys because he was definitely a father figure to them when they needed one most. And I say was because – and I can’t believe I’m actually going to say this – unless the entire show hits a ‘reset’ button and everyone gets another chance at a peaceful life, I think I know what I want Bobby’s answer to the Reaper to be.
I love this character. Partly because I adore Jim Beaver as the self he is, and partly because of who Bobby’s been to the boys. I said last week that losing Bobby would devastate Dean. That he wouldn’t be able to take it. And that might still be true. It’s hard to wrap my mind around their lives without Bobby in it. Dean’s voicemail haunts me, and the way he just seems more relaxed when Bobby’s around. I think about how he was after John died, when he lost his general, his leader, when his compass was spinning. I think of how he pleaded his case to Bobby on the dreamscape and how he named the ShifterBaby after Bobby. I think of Dean’s grief and my heart just breaks.
But then, as I was watching the episode, I thought of James Malone from The Untouchables and his parting line to Elliott Ness, “What are you prepared to do?” His murder galvanized Ness into action he didn’t previously believe himself to be capable of. It gave him the fire in his belly that he needed to keep swinging and hit hard. It motivated him to do what had to be done to get the bad guy, once and for all.
Sure, I know the Leviathans are a bit more complicated than Al Capone, but the thought process (for me) is the same. Both boys have lost so much. So much. And they’ve saved the world twice over now. Sam’s got his happy place system, but as of last episode, Dean was ready to hang up his spurs. He wanted to let the bus go over the cliff, because what was the point, really? No matter their sacrifice, no matter their struggle, something always came up to try to end it all.
But maybe now…now the bad guys have gone too far. Now they’ve messed with too much. I really believed Dean’s threat to Dick in the car. I felt it, man. And I want him to do it. I want him to win. I want him to dig deep one more time and figure out what he’s prepared to do. And I have to wonder if he’d have it in him to do that one more time without this loss.
Plus…this could be a way they end the secrets and lies and arguments that have driven wedges between the brothers. The “theme” of the season was Butch & Sundance, and in the movie, even Etta had to leave them eventually. This would have the boys truly on their own, dependent upon only each other once more, determined to end this fight. No quick phone calls to Bobby to figure out who the bad guy is and how to kill it. No angel to heal their injuries. Just two hunters and the fight of their lives.
And Bobby…all the things the Reaper said about him were true. As strange as it sounds, I think I’d be okay if Bobby chose to go with him. I would be heartbroken for the boys, but as far as the character of Bobby Singer goes, I think that I would be honored by this death. Nothing took him over, no deals were made. He fought, he was shot, he struggled to give them one last message – the message that you know is going to be the turning tide of this Leviathan battle. He saved them one more time. And if this is the end of Bobby, I’d be okay with it – plus…no one ever really dies on Supernatural.
We’ve seen John, Mary, Ellen, Jo, Ash, Pamela, and Rufus post-demise. Not flesh-and-blood real, not of this reality, perhaps, but they’ve returned. And they’ve helped in their own separate ways. Plus, Bobby’s had to survive the loss (and return) of both ‘his’ boys. And he’s been dead and resurrected himself. I don’t want to cheapen what we saw, what Bobby did for them – all he’s done, all his life – by a magic-wand healing. If his memories, all that makes him him, are truly gone, then he wouldn’t be Bobby anymore. And I don’t want that. I think death needs to have merit again. Be real. No Hail Mary this time. No deals, no miracle saves. Let it be real. Let him ‘return’ Obi-Wan style if need be. But let it be real.
I know there’s been talk about taking so much away from the boys and leaving such a hopeless situation in the gap. I have been guilty of lamenting about the loss they suffer. But when I look at it from a story perspective, this…stripping away of connections is a great catalyst for finding their True North, finding their own way, finding out where they stand the core of it all. Deciding who they are and being that the best way they can.
Okay, so I had to get that out of my system because I sat for the majority of this episode looking like I was saying the Pledge of Allegiance, my hand on my heart. There was just so much here to love and to absorb and to appreciate. And I’ll admit that I could be trying to “make the best of it” because I do love Bobby and I want to be ready for however they handle things in January, but even still, I stand by the I think I’d be okay with it assessment if Bobby goes.
Still want recap and thinky thoughts? ‘Cause I still got ‘em. I mean, as long as you’re here, may as well read on, right? *grins*