Back in Bobby’s head, Bobby and Rufus are searching Bobby’s study for an old King James Bible where he’s stored a big cross fixed to a rosary. He tells Rufus that Sam and Dean have come up against Reapers a time or two and he’s picked up a few tricks. Rufus is all, let’s work some mojo.
In the real world, Dean is getting hospital coffee and sees Sam across the way watching Bobby. He goes over to him, drawing Sam’s attention.
Sam: Hey, what’d that guy want?
Dean (shaking it off): Nothing. Insurance mook.
I know it wasn’t the truth, but I was glad he spared Sam the Organ Donor talk. Sam would have been in the better frame of mind to handle that conversation, but he didn’t need to carry Dean’s pained reaction to it. Dean tells Sam that Dick was outside and Sam straightens up, wanting to know what happened. Dean tells him that it was basically a staring contest. He wants to know what’s going on with Bobby. Sam says they pulled the breathing tube out because he was fighting it and he’s breathing on his own, but that they’re not going to try to get the bullet out yet.
Dean wants to know what that means and Sam tries to explain what he obviously barely understands himself. All he knows is that the doc isn’t sure surgery is worth the risk and he pulls Dean away from others so they can talk.
Dean (looking genuinely curious): Talk about what?
Sam (resigned): You know what.
Dean (horror of realization setting in): No. We’re not having this conversation.
Sam: We need to.
Dean: He’s not gonna die!
Sam: He might!
Sam: Dean, we need to brace ourselves –
Sam: Because it’s real!
He’s got a good point. This isn’t a spell or a curse or getting choked by a witch or thrown around by a demon. A real person (more or less), with a real gun, shot a real bullet into Bobby’s head. This is stuff that happens to regular people – like car accidents or drowning in a pool. They weren’t going to be able to find a solution to this. Sam knew that, but he could see that Dean was just clinging to the he’s always all right mindset, refusing to think about any other possible option.
Dean: What do you want to do? You want to hug and say we made it through it when Dad died? We’ve been through enough.
Dean walks out and Sam sits down, looking about four years old, near tears, and rubs his scarred hand, keeping himself present. This is a great illustration of the different ways people deal with grief. Some have to take action, blocking out the actual events impacting them with motion. Some have to talk it out to get past the pain. Some ignore it completely because it’s too real to comprehend. Some get angry, some get teary. It’s so very personal and it’s so easy to hurt each other as we work through our own variations.
About a month ago, my 88 year old Grandpa got very sick. When the docs gave the news of what was wrong and that sometimes, people don’t survive this, my mom called me up. I come from a family of talkers – we have to work through our feelings with words in order to make them make sense to us, and a lot of the time we end up bleeding our feelings all over the listener so that they’re saturated and can’t figure out where our feelings stop and theirs begin. That’s what happened here, only for some reason, I turned my back on my ‘talking’ heritage and became an ignorer. I listened to her and absorbed her pain, but all I could think was he’s not dead yet, he’s survived worse, he’s going to surprise them all and live another 10 years.
He’s okay right now, but looking back, I saw her ‘bracing’ herself, preparing to lose him and talking through it so that when it happened, she’d be ‘okay’ and could make it through what she had to. I wasn’t ready to do that. I didn’t want to say goodbye so I wasn’t going to. Not until I had no other choice.
The way Sam and Dean both reacted in that hallway, in that moment, the way they each chose to deal with their fear and grief was not only very true to their characters, it was very real. And I love that this show that’s about the impossible, the unbelievable, the supernatural can be so very realistic and grounded in visceral reactions. More so than many of the shows that are supposed to be based in ‘reality,’ in my opinion.
Back in Bobby’s head, Rufus and Bobby are getting ready to stop the Reaper, but things are starting to disappear from Bobby’s memory – contents of a closet or a drawer. The light outside going dark. He sees a memory of his ’89 self on the phone with John Winchester explaining that he didn’t take Dean out to shoot because Dean needed a chance to be a kid. He yells that he knows he isn’t their dad before he hangs up. Off that memory, he looks worried, but tells Rufus that they still need gold, hemlock, and mace.
Rufus: So, pretty basic, then.
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