Supernatural Review: Bobby Runs From Death's Door
This week’s mid-season finale for Supernatural was a doozy. A doozy because I can’t decide whether I’m happy or sad that we still don’t know if Bobby Singer is really moving to the after life or stubbornly sticking around. The last episode was a shocking cliffhanger in itself after fleeing from Dick Roman and the other leviathans; Bobby gets shot in the head. Now the old hunter is in the hospital with Sam and Dean desperately waiting to find out if their adoptive father is going to make it through. Situation is looking grim.
Bobby is still unconscious, but in his mind it’s kind of like Inception where he struggles to find a way out of this dream world and wake up to tell the boys about the Leviathans’ big bad plans. He gets help from Rufus whom he’s conjured up to be his partner one last time. It was pretty fantastic to see those two reunited and spouting cranky old men banter. Rufus lets Bobby know that he has to face his deepest darkest fears if he wants to get out of there. So the two go from door to door as we see important moments in Bobby’s life. It’s incredibly bittersweet to see him throw a baseball with a young Dean instead of shooting practice, as John Winchester had wanted, just to give the kid a chance at a normal afternoon. We learn that a few days before he had to kill his own wife (because she became possessed by a demon) that they had a terrible fight because Bobby didn’t want to have children and it broke her heart. He didn’t want to have kids because he was terrified that he would end up like his father, a mean drunk who beat up his mother.
There is a race against time as a grim reaper is inside Bobby’s dream world trying to find him, plus there is still the bullet lodged in his brain that is slowly but surely killing him. Rufus and Bobby manage to trap the reaper in a spell but he explains that there really is no place to go because the bullet is destroying all of Bobby’s memories and there won’t be anywhere to hide. The hunter struggles with going with the reaper or staying behind and becoming a ghost. He knows full well that the latter option is never pretty. Bobby’s incredible stubbornness to not let go of his life is driven by his need to keep Sam and Dean safe. Will those two idiots be fine without him there?
Bobby manages to wake up for a few seconds though after he finally confronts his most feared memory, the night he killed his own father. Old Bobby tells young Bobby a valuable lesson: they never thank you after you’ve helped them. Still the young boy did what he had to do. Just as the reaper reaches him he ducks out of the door with light on the other side and is awake long enough to write something on Sam’s hand (the evil leviathan plan) and then smile and say idiots before closing his eyes and flat-lining. I think the Supernatural producers want to give me a heart attack.
Back in dream world, Bobby is in his house where he grabs two beers from the fridge and hands them to a bickering Sam and Dean who are on the couch arguing about snacks. It’s a very ordinary and even quiet moment in the lives of hunters but it’s an incredibly treasured time for Bobby. The reaper appears telling the old hunter that this is his last bastion and there is nowhere left to go. Bobby answers that he’s glad he’s saved the best for last then. The episode ends with the reaper asking him whether he’s going to stay (and become a ghost) or let go and leave because he’s done more than enough already.
This was an incredibly intense, heart wrenching, and touching episode. I loved that we finally get to see more of Bobby’s background but it’s so bittersweet because this could be the end for him. In the Supernatural world death doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t come back (how many times have the Winchesters come back?), but it makes me nervous because Bobby may leave in peace knowing that because he’s raised the two idiots well and they’ll manage without him. Bobby’s possible death (I am not ready to say he’s really gone dammit) is worse than John Winchester’s without question. We never really got to bond to him the way we have with Bobby, who’s really been the brothers’ father throughout most of the series. Jim Beaver gives a stellar performance portraying the hard headedness of his character driven by love for two boys that he didn’t even know he wanted. It certainly wasn’t in Bobby’s plan to become a dad but he became one anyways and did a phenomenal job raising two heroes.
Throughout season seven Dean has been repressing his feelings while Sam has emerged to accept the circumstances he finds himself in. With this latest setback, their attitudes remain the same with Dean in complete denial while Sam is preparing himself for the possibility of Bobby not making it. It’s so heartbreaking to see yet another tragedy fall upon the Winchesters after everything they’ve already been through.
I don’t know whether to be upset or relieved that we still don’t know whether Bobby lives or not. The cliffhanger has been prolonged to two episodes and a part of me feels that if it’s really the end for the hunter then I’m grateful that we got this Bobby-centric episode. We see how much love he had for Sam and Dean and find out how he turned out the way he did because of key moments in his life (growing up with an abusive dad and the regrets he had after losing his wife). On the other hand it’s unnerving not to know what happens! They already killed Cas this season and my poor heart cannot take Bobby leaving as well.
We’ll have to wait until January 6 to find out. Till then I’ll take a cue from Dean and be in complete denial.
Season 7, Episode 10: Death’s Door (originally aired December 2, 2011).
Fridays at 9/8c on The CW
Photos Courtesy of Michael Courtney and The CW