Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bobby's World

Due to my son's birthday party (and the ensuing cleanup) I didn't get to watch "Weekend at Bobby's" until this morning. In order to get you the recap (so, obviously, SPOILERS) sooner, I tried to watch the episode last night and fell asleep shortly after someone was fed through a wood chipper...which, as you might guess, does not lead to sweet dreams.

But enough about me! Let's focus on Bobby...which is exactly what Supernatural did. Now, since Jensen and Jared are a major part of why I tune in every week, it would have been possible for me to be less than invested in this episode, but that wasn't the case (which is a tribute to both the writers and the actors of the show). And I know Trish was probably excited to see this episode because when we saw Mark A. Sheppard at DragonCon, she cut right to the chase asking him if Crowley (the king of the crossroads demons) still had Bobby's soul and if we'd be seeing Mark again in season 6? (He assured us that the answer was yes on both counts.)

In fact, we see Mark right at the beginning of the show, flashing back a year (right after Sam sacrificed himself to save the world) when Bobby tries to get Crowley to uphold his end of the bargain and give back the soul that Bobby didn't so much sell as "pawn" (gaining in the deal use of his paralyzed legs). But it turns out that Crowley isn't giving it back (shocking, isn't it? A demon who can't be trusted!) Crowley, with the help of a hell hound, ends the encounter with the upper hand but we know that Bobby isn't going to stop trying.

Then we get into Bobby's present day life. Although it does include Sam and Dean (who, in keeping with seasons past, call him for help), we see that Bobby actually helps lots of Hunters. You remember that phone bank we saw in a previous episode, all marked so that Bobby knows what to answer as the FBI, CDC, CIA, etc? When we saw it before, it was comical. Now, it was sort of deliberately sad--this man who once was forced to kill his wife, helping all these people and yet still largely alone. Not only was the continuity in this show great (bringing back the female sheriff and referencing Dean's fear of flying), so was the emotional resonance. Jim Beaver did an incredible job--throughout the whole episode, I just wanted to give the poor man a hug. (And of course, giving the boys less screen time probably made it much easier for Jensen Ackles to direct an episode that, ultimately, I thought did a great job of tying up loose ends from last season while still contuining to set up problems for this one.)

We normally see the boys' interactions with Bobby through their end--with Bobby often being the voice on the other end of the phone, dispensing wisdom and occasionally humorous insults. This time, we stay with Bobby and see what his life is like after he hangs up the phone. In this case, that life includes torturing a crossroads demon to get information on Crowley. When he has what he wants (Crowley's original human name), Bobby kills her, by pouring the mysterious contents of a bag into a fire. But prior to that, she offers up the information that Crowley isn't just the king of the crossroads, he's the king of hell. So is he the new big bad now that Lucifer's in the box? While I don't want a rehash of last year's angels v. demons, I would be totally okay with more guest appearances by Sheppard!

Meanwhile, we see another aspect of Bobby's life--the chipper blonde neighbor of six months who's still trying to get to know the single man who lives next door. She brings him a ginger peach cobbler. And now that I've finished typing that sentence, I realize that use of the word chipper may have been a Freudian segue. When Bobby attributes the screaming from his basement to a horror movie, blonde baker invites him over to watch "Drag Me to Hell" (Loved his response that, actually, he was trying to avoid that.) With her horror movie gambit having failed, she asks him to come over some time and look at her wood chipper, which has stopped working. It's obvious she was a crush on Bobby, not that he has time for such things because his phone his ringing again.

In addition to Sam and Dean periodically calling for help with a monster whose plot line is so peripheral that I've forgotten its name already (much less how to spell it), Bobby gets an in person request for assistance from fellow Hunter Rufus Turner, who has been in one or two episodes previous to this. Just like Sam and Dean hunting something previously not seen outside Greece, turns out Rufus has just "killed" something that's never before been seen outside Japan, prompting the funny observation, "Is it just me, or are monsters getting weird?" Bobby helps Rufus bury the body, only to have law enforcement come looking for it later (including the female sheriff played by Kim Rhodes we saw in "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid." Now that she's hip to paranormal goings-on around her, she's a lot less eager to arrest Bobby. She even tries to help, although she makes it clear that because of her job, there are limits to what she can do.)

The law goes poking around in his yard to look for the body, which--luckily--is gone. Or, not so luckily, if you're Bobby's neighbor who lives alone. When he bursts into her house with a gun late at night to save her, he asks if she's seen anything strange. "Besides you?" But she quickly sees that she's in danger and Bobby gets into combat with the Japanese demon, who ends up going through the wood-chipper. Which, ew, ew, ew, but the scene was actually pretty well done and inappropriately funny...and also a bit sad. "I thought you said it wasn't working," Bobby says of the wood chipper, clearly at a loss for how to explain everything. Pan to neighbor in her white nightgown, absolutely covered in blood. "I only said that to get you over here." Bobby, belatedly realizing that she likes him, offers to come back over some time, which she rejects, looking now appalled by him. "Story of my life," he says. Awwwwww.

When Dean calls later to confess his worries about Sam (giving this episode a clear through line to the rest of the season even though the boys are mostly off screen), Bobby tells him he can't talk right now. Dean makes the mistake of calling Bobby "selfish," as he is the only person Dean can talk to. Bobby then demands that Dean go get Sam and then gives them an earful over the phone about how selfish they are and how no one seems to be batting an eyelash that Bobby's headed for hell at the end of his contract. While the boys did have that coming, I thought Sam made a good point when he said, "If you need help, all you have to do is ask." (Earlier in the show, Bobby the cantankerous loner actually rejected Rufus' help, so there's a fair point that it's a two way street. If you want people to be there for you, you have to be willing to occasionally reach out.) Rufus comes through with a way for Bobby to summon the ghost of Crowley's son (who, as it turns out, loathed his father and gives Bobby information about where Crowley's bones were buried.)

The episode comes full circle. We once again find Bobby and Crowley in a stand-off over Bobby's soul, only this time Bobby has an ace up his sleeve (which reminds me--LOL at the playing of the Gambler earlier. It was such a change from Sam and Dean's usual AC/DC or other classic rock that it helped set a definite tone for a different type of episode.) Anyway, the boys are now in Scotland ("We've gone international."), poising in the graveyard over Crowley's bones. Turns out, that mysterious bag earlier in the ep? Held the demoness's bones, and you kill a crossroad demon by burning their mortal remains. I loved Bobby's scathing comment to Crowley that demons think they're all that, but really they're just "ghosts with ego." Crowley is clearly pissed, but also clearly has no choice. Bobby gets his soul back and gets to keep use of his legs (yay!!!) Afterward, there's a phone call between Bobby and the boys that I loved not just because of the gruff affection between the three of them but because the teasing between the boys (Sam's smirking that Dean "white-knuckled his way through four puke bags" on the plane) seemed like the most natural, brotherly interaction they've had so far this season.

Of course, this is Supernatural, so instead of just ending it when Bobby got off the phone with a sheepish, "Let's roll credits on this chick flick," they had to go just a minute further. We see Bobby try to sit down with his ginger peach cobbler (again) only to be interrupted by the phones (again!) and realize that when you're trying to save the world on a daily basis, your work is never done. And that no matter how many hunters are in his life--and who genuinely care about him--at the end of the day, Bobby Singer is still alone. Awwww!

And then previews, which I don't even want to think about. What are they doing to my Dean???? Apparently, he becomes some kind of monster with a hunger for human flesh, so I am torn. Normally, if Jensen is on the screen, I am unable to look away. However, this is seeming like something best watched in tiny spaces between my fingers. Guess we'll know more in a week!