Well. So. . . .that happened.
Caveat: I don’t watch the show live, so please don’t mention anything in the teasers for the next episode – all of my speculations are based solely on what has been seen in the episode. I say this only because I don’t know if the teasers for this week point to what happened to Bobby and I don’t want to know!
This was a great episode for misdirection. Written by Ben Edlund, who has become known for bringing the funny to Winchester life, and a beginning that mocked glamour campers (glampers), it seemed as if this episode would follow the past few, being light on mythology and heavy on humor. At the very least, I thought we might be seeing Supernatural pay homage to the first season episode of The X-Files entitled “The Jersey Devil.”
Initially it was heavy on humor. Dean’s love of food, somewhat reminiscent of Brad Pitt’s character Rusty in Ocean’s Eleven, is always good for a laugh or two, especially when it involves reaction shots of Sam and Bobby. When that food, a Pepperjack Turducken Slammer from Biggersons, turns out to be tainted and results in a stoned Dean, it becomes hilarious.
A stoned Dean meant a Dean who really doesn’t care about much of anything. “I’m not that worried about it.” Seeing this guilt-free Dean was a momentary relief, except that it was caused by the funky chicken in the TDK Slammer. “If I wasn’t so chilled out right now, I would puke.”
Of course it ended up being so much more than tainted food and a stoned Dean – it was the Leviathans. That actually was a surprise. Our doctor friend from earlier in the season is using humanity’s sloth and obsession with fast food against them, turning them into TDK addicts, slowing their metabolism, causing weight gain, and dampening their emotional range, making them complacent and unaware. Unfortunately, for the baddies, the concoction results in some people turning hyper-violent, like our poor Biggerson’s waiter Brandon, who early on tries to bait Dean into fighting him. (Dean is too stunned to really fight back.)
Yet it wasn’t Dean’s consumption of the “formula” that we needed to worry about. We should have known that Bobby was the one in peril. The scene where the boys reminisce with Bobby about their childhood adventures with him, the fact that Bobby is smack-dab in the middle of the action with the boys (unlike his usual role of mentor and guide), Bobby’s affectionate take on Sam always being a “deep sum-a-bitch,” these are the more subtle clues that jump out in a re-watch. Yet it’s when Bobby chastises Dean for his “everything-is-doomed” attitude, ending with the admonishment of “You die before me and I’ll kill you,” that it became blatantly apparent that bad things were on the horizon for our beloved Mister Singer.
The final crisis, with the boys and Bobby facing off against head Leviathan, Dick “friggin’” Roman, had Bobby making more than a few lucky escapes, with escape and peril so densely plotted that there wasn’t time to feel relief, only an escalation in tension. In the closing scene, when Bobby runs to the van with Dick Roman on his heels, there is a brief moment where you think, “of course Bobby escaped any real danger. . .Supernatural can’t kill Bobby,” only to realize that the fact that the camera won’t show Bobby means that something is wrong – that something being a hole in his head.
So the real question is whether Supernatural will really kill off Bobby. Can they do it? I’m of two minds here. If the show was truly brave – truly headed down the path of despair that I discussed in my last article – then they would do it. They would leave Dean with nothing but a brother with a fractured brain. But I don’t think they can do that. I’m not necessarily saying that’s what I want. The fan in me wants Bobby alive to the end. I can’t imagine the show without him – as I’ve said before, he’s now the third Winchester – the surrogate father. However, the part of me that loves dramatic narrative feels that Bobby’s death would take the boys to a point that they haven’t experienced before – a place where they have nothing and no one. In the battle of good vs. evil, it’s the place where most heroes have to go.
This is all complicated by the real-world problem of season eight. If the cast and crew have decided that they don’t want another season, that this should be the end, then the writers have so much more creative license to bring about an end game. But if there is a season nine on deck, then you have a problem getting rid of Bobby. The writers and audience have invested so much in the character, that giving Sam and Dean new people in a new season will prove difficult. The Supernatural audience is passionate and problematic. The response to Cas’s “death” has been vocal and not really that unexpected – although the level of vitriol spewed against Sera Gamble is a bit distressing. I’m not sure that the writers have enough support from the fan base to kill off Bobby Singer – unless it’s the final season. Even then. . . .
Maybe Bobby can be an angel.
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As this was a Ben Edlund episode, there are a ton of great moments. So many that I could probably just cite the entire script. Here are some of my favorites:
Brandon’s nicknames for our trio are hysterical – Big Bird, Ken Doll, and Creepy Uncle. Awesome.
Bobby: “Brandon’s got his flair all up in a bunch.”
“You don’t shoot Bambi jackass. . . .you shoot Bambi’s mother.”
Dean: “It’s like the perfect storm of your top-three edible birds.”
“Man I liked Rick.” (if only for the reaction shots of Sam and Bobby)
“I think you pissed off my sandwich.”
“You know now it’s all making sense. Remember when Crowley kept going on about hating dick? I thought he was just being general but, [pointing at laptop] psish!”
Random Politician: “Roman is ruthless, but good-looking. I think he’ll make a great candidate.”
Dick: “Sam, that is not how we communicate from a place of yes.”