Supernatural Midseason Review: What We Think of Season 7 So Far

Supernatural Season 7Dean’s Emotional Struggle. This is another debate among the Dean fans. Some people have bemoaned Dean’s “lack” of a storyline this season. At first I think many fans wondered whether Dean’s Amy secret would turn into a season-long burden, but that didn’t happen. Dean is still floundering, though. He’s bringing up how the loss and betrayal of Castiel has impacted him and (for several seasons) he’s been struggling to find a reason to do the things he does. Bobby’s method of yelling at him in “How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters” may not have been the ideal way to get through Dean’s emotional issues, but I don’t think he was wrong. Dean doesn’t belong in suburbia and he does need to find meaning in what he does. Originally, he hunted for the same reason he father did: to get justice for Mary and to help people. But the price of his heroism has been so great, I don’t think anyone can fault him for no longer finding meaning in his quest.

However, I do agree that Dean needs a purpose. What struck me among the emotional resonance of “Death’s Door” was the scene between Dean and Dick Roman outside the hospital. For a few moments, Dean wasn’t consumed with grief. Oh no, Dean was furious. Dean was murderous and hell bent on revenge. Dean was on fire. Alice was disheartened to see Dean “limp along in these episodes, getting more cranky and complacent with circumstances (not to mention drinking a lot more) rather than angry and fired up.”

Well guess what? Dean’s fired up right now. And he’s out for blood. While I would hate for Dean to find his purpose in revenge (like John did), I almost feel that’s where we’re headed. Protecting Sam will always be Dean’s number one goal in life, but if Bobby dies, vengeance will be his second goal. In the end, revenge (if he achieves it) will likely leave him empty, although there will likely always be monsters to kill. Dean will eventually need a new purpose. But until that happens, I think we should be prepared to see the powerful and driven Dean we’ve seen before.

Supernatural Season 7Bobby: Should He Stay or Should He Go? As much as I loved “Death’s Door”, I am personally horrified at the prospect that we might be losing Bobby for good. After Castiel’s death, it seems like too much pain for the Winchesters – and the fans – to suffer. A lot of fans and my fellow writers believe it would be very bold if Supernatural killed Bobby and should probably do so after the previous episode. Laura argued that “As much as I adore Jim Beaver and love the nuance and color he adds to the show, Bobby has been serving as a deus ex machina for Sam and Dean ever since season two. The pair never need to research because Bobby always has a book or spell to solve their problem, and if the writers chose to remove Castiel just so that the Winchesters didn’t have an angel on their shoulder to magic them out of a tight spot, the same should hold true for Bobby. As the producers have emphasized, this season is supposed to be adopting a back-to-basics approach for Sam and Dean, with all of their old tricks, hiding places and resources stripped away from them.”

Personally, I would argue that the angels have always acted as an easier fix than Bobby did. Sure, the boys could call him up for answers, but what’s the alternative? Having them spend 10 minutes of every episode in the library? Or being killed by a siren because they don’t know how to defeat it? Bobby serves as the knowledgeable character to our heroes and most genre shows have a person who fills this role. For me, as much as I can intellectually appreciate the boldness of killing Bobby, my heart can’t deal with the emotional resonance. I don’t believe the cliffhanger presented a resolution one way or the other. Even if Bobby did end up brain dead, he can still be saved in the next episode. I don’t think that would cheapen his death (more on that below). I honestly just cannot let go of him.

Nor can I contemplate the emotional messes that Sam and Dean would be in if he died. Dean’s reaction to the season 2 death of John would be nothing compared to the more recent death of Bobby. And if Bobby really does die, then what’s left for Sam and Dean besides each other? How to reconcile the emptiness of their lives with the struggle to soldier on? While Laura argued for those who believe that killing Bobby might be the right choice, she does see my point of view: “The only question is, can the show truly go to such a dark and defeated place and actually bring the brothers back out the other side in a realistic and convincing way? Many fans have complained about how depressing the show has become in its last two seasons, and I do worry that seeing them hit rock bottom might make Supernatural unbearably bleak.”

SupernaturalBobby vs. John: A Debate Between Fathers. I’ve noticed a lot of people being upset about the show’s insistence that Bobby has taken over John’s role in the boys’ lives. This obviously isn’t something new, but the point was really driven home in “Death’s Door”. I don’t really see the problem with it. I explored the differences between Bobby and John as father figures in my review of the midseason finale. The point is that both men and their parenting styles were a direct result of their circumstances. In fact, both men got into the hunting business in the exact same manner: because of the mysterious deaths of their wives. But John was out for revenge and he needed Sam and Dean to help him in his quest. Unfortunately, that made him more distant at times, but I have never doubted his love for them. Bobby seemed to embrace hunting, but didn’t go on a vengeance kick. And because Sam and Dean weren’t his biological sons and weren’t connected to his wife, Karen, he never really needed to use them for revenge.

I see no reason why there even needs to be debate between John and Bobby. Is it because they’re both meant to be father figures? Why can’t people simply look at the situation this way: in “traditional families”, most children only have one father, but most children also have two parents. I think the better way to look at the situation is to place Bobby in a more typical motherly role. John was obviously the stricter parent who taught the boys skills when they were younger, while Bobby has always been a bit more nurturing and indulgent, despite his gruff exterior. And even if we don’t consider Bobby a “mother”, there’s no reason why the boys can only have one parent. The truth is, they’re the men they are because of the influence of both John and Bobby, as well as the sum of their experiences and relationships with other people. The contest between the father figures doesn’t need to be a contest at all.

Concluded on next page…

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