Oh, Supernatural. You always pull me back in. To be fair, I was never really out. I didn’t even hate last week’s episode with Becky as much as many people seemed to (maybe I was the only one). But tonight’s episode, penned by fan favorite Ben Edlund, was the perfect mix of hunting, humor and disgust. In other words, classic Ben Edlund.
What’s Worse Than a Motel 6?
Dean begins the episode by grumbling about their current lot in life. Sure, the Winchesters must have seen some pretty sketchy places over the years – what with never really having paying jobs – but now they are really down on their luck. The killing spree that their doppelgangers went on a few episodes ago mean they are still forced to stay off the grid. You know, despite the fact that Becky was tweeting the name “Winchester” last week and introducing Sam to everyone she’s ever met in her life. But whatever, I digress.
The point is that the boys are currently squatting in a shack (without even a TV!), bringing Bobby up to speed on a new case that involves the disappearance and death of campers. Sorry, “glampers”, which is apparently “glamorous camping”. They decide to head to the Pine Barrens to speak to the local law enforcement.
This Is Why You Should Never Go Camping
The boys meet up with Ranger Rick – who seems pretty laid back considering people are dying – at the local Biggerson’s restaurant. He and many townspeople think that a real Jersey Devil is eating people in the woods, so the trio head out to investigate. They eventually come across one of Ranger Rick’s deputies. Or, more specifically, his really dead deputy who is hanging from a tree. When Ranger Rick arrives to investigate, he still seems pretty blasse about the whole situation. Right up until he himself is eaten by the creature.
Fortunately, Bobby manages to shoot the creature (but not before we’re subjected to the horrible sounds of Ranger Rick getting eaten). After they bring it back to their little shack, they realize that the “creature” is basically a mutated man who is now craving human flesh. Bobby and Sam hunker down to do an autopsy, while Dean chills out on the sidelines. After the autopsy – which proves that the man creature will eat just about anything – they head back to the restaurant at Dean’s urging to grab dinner. He enjoys another one of Biggerson’s signature sandwiches and Sam and Bobby quickly realize that something is off. Dean, and the other restaurant patrons, are all acting very, very weird and “stoned”. Sam and Bobby quickly realize the sandwich is to blame.
To figure out what’s up with the sandwiches, the boys do some recon, following around the food delivery truck later that night. It leads them back to a warehouse and they -quickly realize that the leviathans are involved. As it turns out, the doctor leviathan we met in earlier episodes is in charge of creating these special sandwiches, which basically makes people really complacent. The problem, however, is that some of the test subjects went crazy and started eating people. Edgar comes by to warn the doctor that Dick Roman is on his way to check on the progress of the experiment. Bobby recognizes Roman and warns the boys that he’s on the fast track to wealth and power in the country.
Dick’s pleased with the complacency part of the tests, but is very angry about the test subjects who went crazy and caused stories to appear in the newspaper. As punishment, he makes the doctor leviathan eat himself (try and figure out the logistics of that – I dare you). Bobby, who was listening in on the conversation inside the building, ends up getting captured.
Bobby’s in Danger. Again.
The Winchesters quickly realize Bobby’s been captured by Supernatural’s newest big bad and just so happen to spot a cleaning supply truck, so they storm the factory armed with the leviathan-burning borax. When Dick goes to investigate, Bobby quickly goes through his files, trying to learn Dick’s plans (which basically seem to involve taking over everything). Fortunately, the brothers manage to escape and Bobby jumps into the van at the last minute. Only Dick has chased them down with his newly purchased gun and he manages to shoot Bobby. In the head.
It doesn’t matter how many times the show gives me a cliffhanger like this – I fall for it every time. And yes, it’s true that we were in this exact same situation at the end of episode 7.02 when Bobby’s house burned down and he turned out to be just fine. So fine, in fact, that no one really felt the need to explain how he didn’t end up dying in the fire. But that’s okay. And I know that Jim Beaver is probably contracted to be in more episodes this season and probably won’t be dying in the December 2 midseason finale, but I’m still a bit freaked out. I had months to prepare for Castiel leaving the show, but I’m not ready to deal with losing Bobby. So let’s hope the old coot gets back on his feet soon enough. Although, you know what would be awesome? If an angel came and healed him. Just saying.
“You’re Not a Person”
What I failed to mention previously, but what was clearly important in this episode, is the conversations Bobby had with both Sam and Dean. When Sam expressed concerns about Dean’s state of mind, Bobby rightly pointed out that all the Winchesters do is worry about each other, and doesn’t Sam have problems of his own? As far as Sam is concerned, he’s dealing with his hallucinations because he knows what he’s dealing with.
Let’s contrast that to Dean. Later, Bobby confronts Dean, who is clearly floundering. And Bobby, being the wise man that he is, shuts down Dean’s complaints pretty fast. Why is Dean whining about how terrible hunting is? After all, Dean tried to be a normal guy, as Bobby rightly pointed out, with Ben and Lisa. And look how well that worked out. Here’s the truth of Supernatural: Dean can never be a normal guy. But right now he’s very frustrated with being a hunter. Because, as he’s said time and again, it’s cost them too much. Sam has accepted his lot in life, but Dean hasn’t.
This season is supposed to be about Dean struggling with his inner demons, but what it’s really about is Dean having to accept his lot in life. Not the crappy motel rooms, but the fact that he is a hunter. Unfortunately, that may be the only thing he’ll ever be. Bobby was right – Dean can’t be normal, so if he doesn’t just accept that he’s a hunter, he’s probably going to end up dead. And with two people who clearly don’t want him to die, it’s up to him to suck it up.
It seems harsh to say that, especially considering John basically drilled the “suck it up” mantra into Dean his whole life. But it’s the truth. Hunting is what Dean is good at. It’s a job that the world literally needs him to do. The price he’s had to pay is so high, but it’s his cross to bear.
Ben Edlund is a Gross, Disturbed Man
Overall, this was a great episode, especially leading in to what could prove to be an emotional Supernatural midseason finale. Like I said before, Edlund knows how to weave a monster-of-the-week, a season-long arc, humor and complete grossness into a single episode like nobody’s business. No one does cannibalism like Ben Edlund, which doesn’t seem like something you’d want to be known for, but there you have it. Compare tonight’s episode to the opening scene of “My Bloody Valentine” (which he also wrote) and you’ll see my point.
Dick Roman is quite the smarmy guy, isn’t he? Sure, he’s not up to Crowley levels, but he’s kind of a pseudo-Crowley with his love of the finer things in life and his desire to basically take over everything. This is probably why he and Crowley will never get along. It’s good to see the big bads actually have a plan that doesn’t just involve killing a bunch of people. Sure, maybe the leviathans aren’t yet up to Lucifer, Lilith and Azazel’s abilities to put into motion a plan that unfolds over decades, but the leviathans are working their way up the food chain.
I’m excited for the Supernatural midseason finale on December 2 (watch a trailer for the episode and browse through photos). I’m pretty sure they’re not going to kill Bobby, but I’m going to be very tense until I see that he’s okay. Like Sam and Dean, we’ve already lost too much.
In honor of tonight’s episode, check out this week’s Supernatural slide-show: the most memorable monsters and creatures.