Supernatural is such an interesting show sometimes. It’s probably the most perfect blend of mythology and procedural. There are a great many mythology episodes that are stellar and outstanding, but every once in a while a standalone episode comes along that dazzles you. Not because it’s big and showy (although sometimes they are), but because it’s heart-warming and heart-breaking, two qualities that Supernatural has in spades.
The Very Definition of Awkward
The Winchesters are chilling on the side of a road, eating burgers on the hood of their car (She Who Shall Not Be Named Because She Is Not the Impala) when Dean gets a call from an old hunter friend named Annie. He immediately brightens, obviously pleased to be chatting with her. She expressed her condolences about Bobby’s death and said she would be happy to meet them to pass along some of Bobby’s old books.
But then Annie pulled up to a large house, where two teenagers are having a little party inside…a make-out party. Unfortunately for them, their make-out is short-lived, because they encountered a ghost and ended up dead moments later. That’s when Annie walked in and…met the same fate. Oh, Annie, we hardly knew ya!
The next morning, the boys are chilling again, this time in a diner, waiting for Annie to show up. Sam is all “hey, you know that Annie slept with the guy who is like our father, right?” Well now, Annie, isn’t that interesting. Dean, who can never be shown up regarding sexual conquests, just had to slyly throw in the fact that he too knocked boots with the lady. And guess what? So did Sam. On the one hand…go, Annie! On the other hand…that’s kind of gross, right? Sort of incestuous in a purely non-familial incestuous sort of way.
Let’s fast-forward through the part where the boys realized that Annie was probably working a job at the old Van Ness house (she was), because the important thing is that Bobby is still sticking around, but he’s growing increasingly frustrated by the fact that he can’t really communicate whit the boys. Making even a curtain move is an exhaustive task.
The boys headed to the Van Ness house and while the EMF meter was going haywire, only we see the truth…the house is full of ghosts. Bobby followed the boys inside because he’s tied to the flask Dean always carries in his pocket and he can see all of the ghosts, although most of them seem more content to stand and stare than interact with him.
Bobby soon saw Annie and has the unfortunate task of telling her that she’s dead. She seemed to come to terms with it, although she wants to figure out what’s going on in the house and finish her last job before moving on. While the boys blundered about, trying to find Annie, Bobby and his lady friend managed to interact with another ghost who tried to give them lessons in how to move objects. There’s two ways: (1) either you do it calmly, or (2) you unleash a terrible burst of anger like a poltergeist. Bobby kept getting frustrated when his repeated attempts don’t yield results.
The boys headed out to learn more about the house and the Van Ness family, while Annie wa left behind on her own, witnessing the death of two more visitors. She managed to interact with a friendlier ghost, who warned her not to cross Whitman Van Ness, because he is keeping all of the ghosts hostage until they anger him enough to kill them.
Back at the motel, Sam was browsing the case file while Dean showered. Supernatural completely failed in one respect this episode when it didn’t deliver the obligatory towel scene that should have followed the shower scene. Instead, Dean put on a t-shirt and spotted a message that Bobby had left on the mirror, saying Annie was trapped in the house. When the boys realized someone was in the room, Bobby managed to draw his name in the steam and Sam quickly realized he was tied to the flask.
Sam and Dean raced back to the house and eventually realized (through Annie and another ghost’s help), that it was Whitman who was terrorizing the house. Off they went to salt and burn his bones, and it was just in time because Whitman nearly made Bobby go up in a poof of ghostly fire.
That’s when the brothers returned to the house and saw Bobby. I actually shouted out “yes!” when that happened. That’s the second episode in a row where I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a turn of events (the last one being Bobby’s return). Bobby told the boys they needed to burn the bodies of the other ghosts in the house, including Annie’s. But once that was complete, Sam and Dean questioned Bobby about what happened and he told them that he chose to remain behind.
Sam seemed cautiously optimistic about what could happen with this situation, but Dean seemed dead set against it. A lot of fans seemed angry with Dean after Supernatural concluded. He told Bobby that he shouldn’t have made this choice, that he should have chosen to move on to Heaven. “We’ve still got work to do,” Bobby insisted.
“It’s not right. You know that,” Dean replied.
Bobby disappeared in a fit of anger and, as they drove away, Sam suggested to Dean that they could make it work. “Everything is supposed to end. He was supposed to…,” Dean explained. “What are the odds this ends well?”
Cue the anger. On one hand, I can understand why Supernatural fans might be upset about Dean’s less than open-armed welcome of Bobby back to the show. On the other hand, I think it’s important to understand where Dean is coming from. Back in season 6, Dean had an opportunity to play Death for a day. The lesson of that day was to show Dean the consequences of messing with the natural order of the universe. By the end, he fully understood it.
If this situation had happened to Dean in an earlier season (any time between seasons 1 to 3), I believe he would have happily taken Bobby in his life any way that he could have him. Back then, he chose to mess with the natural order and bring his brother back from the dead. But season 7 Dean is not as naive. He’s hardened by life’s lessons. Not only does he now understand the importance of order, but he’s also been to Heaven. What kind of a person wouldn’t want Heaven for their loved one? For Dean, hunting is now a thing that he does because he has nothing else to do. There’s no real purpose behind it besides a job, an occasional desire to do some good and protect people, and a need for someone to do it. Dean’s fatalistic because he believes that he deserves a rest after the sacrifices that he’s made.
And a rest is precisely what he wants for Bobby. It’s not that he’s unhappy that Bobby stuck around, it’s that he doesn’t want this kind of an existence for someone he loves. Bobby paid his dues, as far as Dean is concerned, and his time to work is over. I don’t think we should be angry with Dean, because I think his choices are shaped by his experiences. I do, however, think he’ll come around, or the boys will find a way to bring him back to life. That may very well be the end goal here. The only real question is how Bobby reacts to Dean’s opinion. It’s clear he stayed behind because he loves his boys and wanted to help them. He clearly feels sad and dejected, thinking Dean doesn’t want him around. This could make him into an angry, vengeful spirit which would, frankly, reinforce Dean’s belief and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Let’s hope a big development occurs before that happens.
On a side note, I’ve never had much of a problem with the fact that Supernatural is clearly a male-dominated show. But I do so enjoy when they present us with a fun and strong female character like Annie. In many respects, she reminded me of a younger Ellen. They both have a no-nonsense policy that I admire. I was very sorry to see Annie go, even if she was kind of stupid to hunt alone.
This was a great episode of Supernatural that kicked off five episodes in a row until the finale on May 18. The focus will soon turn back to the Leviathans, but it was nice to have an episode where we got a far better understanding of ghosts, which have been around this show since the very beginning.
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