Saturday, April 21, 2012

Review – Supernatural 7.19 “Of Grave Importance”

Warning: Contains episode spoilers

I needed to help 

Not if it means you have to… be this 

At the risk of sounding repetitive, I’m really enjoying the old school vibe of season 7. I’m enjoying the stories, the style of hunting, the emotional connections, the boy’s banter and relationship, the way they’re talking to each other and leaning on each other. The only other thing I really need is the Impala back…..though I have a sneaking suspicion I’m going to have to wait for the season finale for that character to return. Boo. 

And you all thought I was gonna lead with the shower scene didn’t you? You think I’m that shallow? Oh you know me so well. I probably shouldn’t tell you how I spent way too long last night, discussing the attributes of said scene, I mean what else is a Dean-girl supposed to do with her Saturday night………… Anyhoo I’ll get to it later, I promise, because I think it speaks to where the boy’s relationship is at, so I’ll wax lyrical about wet Dean, errr that scene, in a bit. 

You know what? I liked “Of Grave Importance” I know quite of lot of people didn’t, but I did. I liked it more than “Party On, Garth” for example, which I enjoyed but to me would have fallen on it’s ass, had it not been for the brother dialogue and Bobby reveal. But then, that’s me all over. I’m always going to go for something with emotional resonance over laughs. I’m much more likely to throw in a heavy myth-arc or emotionally fraught episode to re-watch than a comedic one. As much as I thought “The French Mistake” was genius, I’m much more likely to watch “Appointment in Samarra”….you know what I mean? So “Of Grave Importance” hit some really solid emotional notes for me and I’ll tell you why.

First off, let’s start with the story, which of course was just wrapping for the story. I like a good ghost hunt, give me a salt and burn and I’m a happy camper, so straight off the bat I liked the setting for this episode. The fact that a couple of horny teenagers got ganked in the opening scene was just icing. I mean, that’s every single horror movie I grew up with, except her boobs weren’t on display. Of course, unless you’d been under a rock, we all knew that this was going to be an episode about ghost Bobby, something I sit solidly with Dean on, I ain’t feeling good about it. I thought giving Bobby’s reintroduction a haunted house setting was a good (you can say convenient if you like) way to allow Bobby to explore his ghostly traits. The rest of the story about the psycho-killer ghost and Dexter, his not psycho offsider, nice slight of hand with the name there, just didn’t matter. So I’m not going to worry about it, it was simply a tool to let us see what Bobby’s in for if he sticks around in his current state. He’s going to become a shadow of his former self and quite possibly, a screaming Banshee. Bugger. I’m glad he got to see that. He needs to seriously consider the outcome of his decision before it’s too late. He also got to have his Swayze moment and learn the ghostly tricks of the trade, as with Dean in “In My Time Of Dying” and both Sam and Dean in “Death Takes A Holiday”. We’ve always known that it’s not easy moving things around when you first become spectral, that’s pretty much lore, so it was good to see Bobby struggling with that, being knocked out for 2 weeks because he tried to move a book, tumbling through a coffee table. The fact that he got a handle on it all so quickly was…okay I guess, given that Bobby is one smart cookie and has always been a quick study. To say he had to get his Zen seemed right, I’ve always seen Bobby as very Zen. 

I’m also pretty happy that they gave Bobby a friend in this unfriendly environment. Poor Annie, but let’s face it, she slept with Sam and we all know that means curtains! I liked Annie and not just because she banged both of the Winchesters, though seriously, I think that might make her my hero or something! Annie seemed like she had guts when she was alive, not much sense going into that house alone, but then I guess that’s probably how she’s been hunting her entire life. Having Annie present not only gave us a ghosts-eye-view of the afterlife, but it also allowed Bobby to work through some stuff without breaking out in a soliloquy or something. It also gave her the chance to speak some sense to him, about the ‘life’ of a ghost being somewhere between existing and not. The more I write about this, the more it hurts my heart. You know…how can Bobby stay like this, as a ghost, in amongst other ghosts, when they’re the thing he’s fought most of his life? Existing but not existing. While the boys have their lives and can go anywhere and do anything. Bobby might be able to be with them, but he’s not WITH them and if they leave that flask…. I’m sorry, I digressed a little there but it just popped into my head. How do you make that concept work? How do you get right with that? If I can’t wrap my noodle around it, how can Bobby? How can the boys? Gah.

I enjoyed seeing Bobby’s growing frustration manifest itself in snarky comments, but it also made me go…hmmmm. Because a frustrated ghost is going to be a cranky ghost and a cranky ghost is only a boo away from being an angry spirit. It must have been a hell of a few months, dealing with not being heard, screaming at the boys, trying to move stuff. Poor Bobby. I do wish he’d stop bagging them out though. I mean, Sam and Dean CAN solve a case without Bobby and the whole, they can’t do this without me attitude really got on my wick. This is one of the things I’ve been harping on about. Stripping the boys of all their support, as much as many seem to think that was an error on behalf of TPTB, allowed Sam and Dean to reclaim their true roles as hunters, to show that they’re smart, self reliant men who don’t need to run to an Angel or a father-figure for answers at every turn. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for those people being in their lives, but I was really over how Sam and Dean no longer seemed to solve a case without outside help, when once, they were running rings around evil things. I think it made them appear impotent, in a hunting sense only of course, and I’ve enjoyed the return to clever Dean and looking for answers Sam. (I’ll excuse him not putting two and two together with the flask because his melon has been a tad jumbled). I’ve enjoyed a return to the guts of who the Winchesters are with their skills nicely on show. So please Bobby, I know you’re saying all of this because you want to feel needed, but…. I don’t know what I’m trying to say here, I just really hated his little asides about them having got slow without him being around. I know it’s his way and I love him to pieces and of course he’s a great help to them, but they can do the job without him, they’d just prefer to do it with him.

And then there was the big reveal. The CW, once again in all their wisdom, popped this in the promo….really, I want to get my hands on that promo department and teach them how to do their job so bad….so I wasn’t surprised that all of a sudden Sam and Dean could see Bobby. The mechanics of that, really, I don’t care. I just can’t get bogged down in the minutiae that way, it saps all the enjoyment out of what is essentially entertainment, I say essentially because let’s face it here, Supernatural is way more than entertainment to me. I will always have a wee ponder on the how, but usually just look to the why. They had to see Bobby at some stage and as we only have 4 more episodes until the season end, there was no reason or time to drag it out any further. We had to get this big emotional arc out on the table. If you’re looking for the how, maybe it was the evil ghost’s mojo, or maybe it was because Bobby had just come to and wasn’t thinking, or angsting as the bar ghost said, but I don’t care. There he was and the boy’s faces said it all.

So about that. Man, have I been reading some things about Dean…. Straight up…a show of hands from anyone who would actually want their loved one to be roaming the afterlife for eternity, getting more bent up as time goes on and turning into some screaming, evil creature. Hands? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Yeah, no-one right? So why the big surprise that now that Bobby has been revealed to Sam and Dean they ain’t jumping for joy? Dean said it all, Bobby was supposed to be drinking beer at the big Harvelle’s in the sky and the boys know it’s there, because they’ve visited it. I’m sure that’s how they’ve been picturing him. Instead here he is, stuck in his not so great afterlife. I felt every ounce of Dean’s pain over this. I don’t want that for Bobby either. Sure Sam and Dean had been wishing they could see Bobby again, but wishing for something that you don’t believe will ever happen and having it stand up in front of you are two totally different things. To play this scene out with anything other than deep emotional conflict would have been total bull. Thank God they didn’t all try to hug or something awkward.

The other aspect of this of course is that both these guys have been grieving terribly for this man. Slowly but surely trying to move on. Sam said it when he asked Dean to put the flask away because it was just reminding them of Bobby and Dean said he’d thought about it, but he wasn’t ready yet. Sure they knew it was Bobby for reals once he wrote on the shower mirror, but still. Imagine the shock of actually seeing him. Just imagine that. Are they going to have to go through saying goodbye to Bobby all over again? Damn. It’s not right. Dean knows only too well about the natural order of things. After all, he was Death for a day and he learnt the consequences of not following the plan. He’s also learnt that bringing people back from the dead never works out well (Sam excluded). He lives, his dad dies, Sam lives, he dies….yadda yadda yadda. I was happy when they didn’t try and find a way to bring Bobby back to life. I thought, finally, they’ve learnt something. These two have matured a lot and I think we’re seeing that growth very nicely throughout season 7. So how were they supposed to react? Was Dean too harsh in the way he spoke? There’s no doubt Bobby’s feelings got hurt, but Dean spoke from his heart, openly and honestly and that’s how he’s always spoken to Bobby. That’s who he is. He spoke through grief and through shock and through deep sadness that this man he loves so much is now stuck in this non-existence and by his own doing. I didn’t hear anything but pain and concern and shock and as Sam didn’t jump in and try and sugar coat it, I’d say he’s feeling exactly the same way. I think this is exactly how they should have reacted. Anything else would have been a jip. I’m sure I’ll cop loads of commentary on this, so, shoot.

The whole thing is tragic and as Dean said, what are the odds this ends well? What are the odds? When have they ever had any kind of real luck in areas like this? I’m going to go out on limb however and say, this might be one of those rare occasions because surely this can only go one of two ways, they have to put Bobby to rest again and this time for good, or he becomes corporeal. Ghost Bobby just doesn’t work, not for me anyway. It’s all too, The Ghost And Mrs Muir or something. Of course, I can always be swayed, if the writers can make it work well within the story, but…yeah…nup….real Bobby or no Bobby, those are the two scenarios currently working for me and I guess I’m rooting for the former (kinda like Annie did….that’s a gag for my Aussie readers!). Though my one fear is that resurrecting Bobby diminishes the significant emotional impact his death has caused. I do love that Sam is trying to find the silver lining though, maybe they can make it work…. That’s the other thing here; this goes against everything they do for a ‘living.’ Ouch. My heart. It’s very sad for all three of them. My heart was breaking all around and Bobby riding there in the backseat….listening…. Man. Buckets for my tears.

Ok on to my favouritist thing, the Winchesters. So my three favourite scenes were the one on the non-Impala at the beginning. I just liked that they’d pulled over for some tacos and sat on the bonnet of the car. I was picturing them looking at the stars again. Then in the restaurant, when they figured out that they’d both foxholed with Annie! Sam’s look and no soul excuse, Dean just kind of rolled with it. I thought that was gold. A beautiful moment and really grow’d up of them I might add! Then Dean “Are we being stood up” Haha! What’s the one reason you’d miss a date with both the Winchester boys? Yep, you’d have to be dead! Then, of course….there….was….the….shower….scene.

I didn’t know quite what to do with myself when I heard the shower running in the background. I was like, nooooo, really? Really? Yes yes yes! Ok…we only got a glimpse of a perfectly toned left arm…always the left arm…go look, every time Dean’s shot and reveals an arm for bandaging, it’s Jensen’s left arm. Even Cass grabbed the left one! Even in MBV it was the left one! It was pointed out to me that we do get to see the right one in the back seat of the Impala action scene and thankfully it matches, but when an arm is specifically featured, it’s always the left. Ummm, I’ve over thought this haven’t I…..

ANYWAY… what I really loved about the shower scene was not the arm reach, wet hair tussle, glimpse of towel in the steaming mirror, it was the fact that Dean showered with the door open and that Sam and him continued to yell at each other room to room. Why did I love that? Because it showed a renewed level of ease, comfort and intimacy between the brothers. All of these things, the car dinner, the funny convo in the diner, the yelling at each other through an open bathroom door, is all stuff that smacks of being comfortable with someone and it smacks of trust and these tiny things are what I’ve been noticing more and more as the season has progressed and I really like it. It makes me happy. It’s the little things…and the shower scenes. 

Of course, we’re still dancing around the Leviathan issue. We’ve not seen much of them of late…but I’ve been thinking about this. If you cast your mind back to all the big bads, we rarely saw any of them and more often than not, they’re mentioned only in passing as Sam and Dean go about their day job of saving people and hunting things, while trying to figure out how to save the world and defeat the latest evil. The big bad generally takes a back seat to their every day. It was the same with Azazel, Lilith, Lucifer. They were all present, but not present and the boys did a lot of other work in between figuring out what to do about the big picture problem. So, at the moment, I’m ok with how the Leviathan thing is timing out. But I do want to know what they’re digging up all over the place. But that’s the point right? I want to know. 

“Of Grave Importance” may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I liked the tone. The creepy house story and emotional thread gelled for me. I was happy with how they positioned Bobby in the story and I was happy with, if desperately saddened by the honest and realistic response to his appearance to the boys. I don’t like him being a ghost and I can’t imagine ever being in a place where I’m cool with it, but I’m damn well intrigued with where we’re going with his story, with Cass’ story and whether or not the Leviathan are toast this season or get carried through? I mean, technically, this is a storyline carried over from season 6, so who’s not to say this isn’t part of a larger arc. Only time will tell. I also have a sneaking suspicion now that the boys have Bobby back, they ain’t gonna want to let him go, but I also have a sneaking suspicion the worst is yet to come for ghost Bobby Singer. So much to look forward to and only 4 damn episodes left. Can you believe that? Even with all the horrible breaks, this season has flown by. I like season 7 a lot, especially this second half. I can’t wait for 8… ANNOUNCE ALREADY!

Thank you for reading. Feel free to let fly with your comments.

See you next time…

Please enjoy this gratuitous towel in the mirror shot (It’s a gap right? In the towel? I told you I studied this scene for hours…..) 

And here's the promo for next week's episode 7.20 "The Girl With The Dungeons and Dragon Tattoo"