Supernatural: Weekend at Bobby’s (Review)
Castiel’s return gives us perspective into the chaos going on in Heaven. Raphael’s trying to gain control and bring for the Apocalypse that the Winchesters prevented. Some of Heaven’s most powerful weapons are missing and, presumably floating around in our world (thanks to Balthazar). Sam continues with the uncharacteristically emotional distance from everything…
Not too often in genre shows (or television in general) are the primary character(s) relegated to background status for an entire episode. This was the soup of the day in this week’s episode as the Supernatural world’s most important lynchpin commandeers the show with a “Move over, Winchester boys…your Uncle Bobby (Jim Beaver) has the floor!”
Picking up on one of the major subplots in last year’s late season trek to take down Lucifer, Bobby does a summoning to bring our favorite silver tongued demon, Crowley (Mark Sheppard) into the fold. Like any self respecting hunter, Bobby’s not too keen on having his soul not under his personal ownership. He demands that Crowley fulfill his promise and cut up the papers on Bobby’s soul. Does anyone really have to ask just how this conversation was going to go? Not Bobby, who sets a trap for the Crossroads King only to be forced into letting him go when the demon’s big, invisible and halitosis having hellhound “shows”, waiting on its master’s word before partaking in ‘Operation: rip to shreds’. Bobby’s lease on life is ten years before Crowley will be back to collect though the stodgy old hunter won’t be giving up that easily.
After getting a call from Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) on murders in Wisconsin, we are treated to a snippet to just what Bobby does when the boys call looking for answer to the tune of “The Gambler”. It’s such a well done piece a truly gives us a glimpse at the man behind our favorite two hunters. But the Winchesters are the background this time around and we quickly get back to the primary story. Bobby’s holding a demon (Sharon Taylor) hostage, interrogating her to get Crowley’s human name. He doesn’t use the staple items of torture (holy water, salt) this time around; instead, he uses a torch to sauté what we later find out are her bones. It has a very similar effect on her as it would any ghost. She confesses that with Lucifer gone, Crowley is the new king of Hell.
After a brief hiatus on the torture, courtesy of Bobby’s neighbor (who is less than subtle with her advances), Marcy Ward (Jennifer Aspen), Bobby gets right back down to business and finds out that Crowley was, in a former life one Fergus McCloud.
We are then treated to a brief respite highlighting another aspect of Bobby Singer’s everyday life; fielding calls and playing the role of “ultimate authority” for whichever federal agency his fellow hunters require validation.
Enter Rufus Turner (Steven Williams). Last seen in season five’s “Good God, Y’all” the eccentric hunter shows up on Bobby’s doorstep requesting assistance in burying a body—an okami, to be exact. Between the Japanese demon showing up in Montana, and the boys’ tussle with the lamia in Wisconsin, Bobby knows that there is something seriously strange going on. I would tell him welcome to the world of Supernatural but I’m sure he knows this a bit more intimately than the guy writing this review.
Not long after Rufus departs, Bobby gets a visit from an FBI agent (Shaw Madson) and Sherriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) who is looking for the recently departed Rufus. The agent does a bit of snooping a finds the hole where the okami was buried, emphasis on the “was”.
Rufus calls a bit later and provides Bobby more information on Crowley’s human life, the most important of which is that Crowley’s son, Gavin McCloud’s ring. Bobby plans to summon Gavin’s ghost. He interrogates Rufus on his tactics on killing the okami, and it confirms that it isn’t dead yet. Rufus tells him the demon feeds on single, white females and Bobby rushes to Marcy’s house, not even bothering to knock before kicking down the door. Though he is sorely lacking the official hunter’s tools needed to kill the demon, like any good hunter, Bobby makes use of his surrounding environment, leveraging Marcy’s wood chipper to provide the coup de grace for the female monster.
After a shocked Marcy, drenched in okami gore, declines Bobby’s assent to take her up on a movie, he gets a call from Dean. The elder Winchester touches on what we’ve all noticed; just how different Sam is since his return from Hell. Bobby understandable has some important things on his plate and temporarily tosses Dean to the side as he answers Rufus’s call. He’s obtained Gavin’s ring but won’t be able to get away from the cops. Thinking fast, he swallows the ring before being taken into custody.
Dean berates Bobby for his seeming lack of concern for the Winchesters’ plight and after a shot of whiskey, Bobby let’s them have it, spilling out his frustrations with them and his own predicament.
The boys offer their assistance and Bobby goes to Sherriff Mills, asking for her help in getting Rufus extradited from Maryland to South Dakota. Refusing at first, she comes through in the end, bringing Rufus to Bobby’s doorstep.
Ring in hand, Bobby summons Gavin for a “nice, long talk”. Ensnaring Crowley in a demon trap, Bobby brings out Gavin as his primary weapon. Crowley chuckles at Bobby’s failed attempt at garnering sympathy for his son but the new king of Hell whiffs on Bobby’s intent. With Gavin’s cooperation, Bobby has directed Sam and Dean to Scotland where they are awaiting word from him on whether to torch Crowley’s human remains. Having no choice but to relent, Crowley rips up Bobby’s contract (though the hunter makes sure provisions on his ambulatory status remain in tact) before reclaiming his bones as a part of the deal.
Soul firmly in place, Bobby thanks the boys and after apologizing for his earlier words, goes about his business as the lifeline for hunters everywhere.
While this episode may have only a limited contribution to the season’s current direction and relegated the Winchester boys to secondary status, “Weekend at Bobby’s” is my favorite episode on a season that has not quite had steadiness generally associated with Supernatural. Not that it’s been bad by any stretch (though, in hindsight, the B– I gave the season opener, was a touch generous) no episode has yet to encompass the soul of what Supernatural truly is until now. Great dialogue, laugh out loud moments and my two favorite guest stars in the entire series run (Jim Beaver and Mark Sheppard) gives me hope that the new forces behind the scenes are starting to hit their stride. It’s definitely early on but if the rest of the season can maintain the soulful momentum started this past Friday, Supernatural will definitely be back to where we expect it to be.
- Mark Freakin Sheppard! (Okay, his middle initial is ‘A’, but who freaking cares!?) This guy is one of the best actors around, with the gift of gab and timing only a few in the business have and are able to maintain no matter their character. His interactions with Bobby are superb and worthy of second and third viewings.
- Not too far behind Sheppard in this episode was Steven Williams as Rufus. His off the wall banter with Bobby would have normally been a show stealer.
- Bobby putting our favorite hunters in their place was classic. As much as I love Sam and Dean, they have, at times, come off as whiney brats (though based on what they go through, it’s not surprising to want to sulk from time to time).
- While not necessarily a bad, we really don’t get a furthering of the season’s direction. Yes, strange happenings with monsters showing up in places they haven’t before and Dean touches on Sam’s despondent attitude but overall, we do stay in place.
- Now that Crowley has given up possession of Bobby’s soul, does that mean the end of Mark Sheppard?! Being that he’s the new king of the Basement, I don’t think so but the thought that this was his last episode is not a fun though.
- The introduction of monsters we’ve never seen before is definitely a welcome addition to the show’s mythos. I am very curious as to what other new creatures we may see.
- Just how will the politics and in-fighting that’s going on in Hell play out and how will it spill over into our world?
- A new way to kill demons is now available, though it’s hardly practical. Still, it does provide the Winchesters with a secret weapon if necessary. And as much as he’s fed up with demons (and that his bones are safe) I don’t think Crowley will be spreading that information around.
– Darryl (follow @djasper07 on Twitter)