The Winchesters' papa-by-proxy learns how to ask for help in the Jensen Ackles-directed "Weekend at Bobby's"
We sometimes take our support systems for granted, forgetting that they should function as two-way streets. Last night, we explored this concept through the eyes of the Winchesters’ papa-by-proxy Bobby Singer. In fact, this week’s episode of Supernatural (directed by Jensen Ackles!) showed us that more people depend on Bobby than we realized — audience included!
(Psst…much more on first-time episode helmsman Ackles in a bit.)
As you remember, at the end of last season, Bobby sold his soul to Crowley (current King of Hell) in exchange for information about death’s whereabouts and a pair of fully functioning legs. We learned this week via flashback that he had tried to get it back after Sam’s swan dive into hell. (Does anyone else still get a lump in their throat referring to that scene?). His efforts to reclaim his soul were unsuccessful, however, because he had overlooked some precariously placed fine print in his contract. Crowley — being a demon and all — went back on his word and told him he had ten years to live. (By the way, Bobby’s mocking of Crowley earned him five cool points. Too bad they were revoked after he killed the “Balls!” joke, salted its bones, and set it aflame.)
Back in present day, Dean was digging through guts in broad daylight as children played nearby. (Dark humor, how I love thee.) He found a claw inside the body and promptly mailed a picture to Bobby (who still has dial-up!) for ID. After hours of tireless research and a few eff yous from life (all played hilariously by Jim Beaver), Bobby discovered that the claw was from a Lamia, a Grecian creature that — until then — had stayed in Greece. The oddness of the situation continued this season’s Monsters Go Nuts storyline.
By now, I think we all have to acknowledge the presence of a pattern — monsters are not acting as they usually do. I wish the writers would realize it’s not necessary to take several episodes to beat a point into us. Supe fans are smart and catch on quickly to plot set-ups and overarching story arcs. It’s about due time for some answers, no? Any kind of movement is appreciated. I’ll even settle for a hint.
Meanwhile, Bobby would have settled for a simple Thank you from Dean and Sam for his efforts, but much to his annoyance, those words never came. He didn’t have time to ponder his anger too much, though, since he had a demon in the basement to attend to. He tortured a scantily-clad hell bot for information on Crowley by burning her bones with a torch, which apparently affects demons much like it would a ghost. (Burn the bones; they burn, too.)
It struck me as a little odd that they played this as a big mystery in the episode. When Bobby said “These are yours,” I assumed he meant bones and wondered why they hadn’t shown them. Then, I realized it was supposed to be a build up to a big reveal. At that point, I became a little annoyed that this was such a sudden, fairly large change in the mythology we know about demons. Anyone else have a similar response?
Also strange was the cobbler-baking neighbor’s crush on Bobby. In fact, Bobby seemed as perplexed as I was by the whole thing. I had gotten so accustomed to his surly front, that I never really thought of him making a love connection. Caught me by surprise — but in good way. I liked Marcy. I secretly hoped it was her calling Bobby at the end of the episode. He did, after all, save her life.
NEXT: When blood-spray horror happens to white nightgowns.
Yes, aside from helping the Winchesters (and an entire network of hunters) via phone, Bobby was also busy helping Rufus and saving people. It all started when Rufus (who we last saw in “Good God, Y’all”) came into town with the body of a Japanese Okami in tow. He and Bobby buried it, believing it to be dead, but it wasn’t. (Always stab a few extra times, just to be sure. And you can catalogue that advice under “Things that should only be repeated in Supernatual context.”)
Instead, the creature rose from the grave and went to feed. It preferred white females with a side of Dijon. Cue Bobby (and a wood chipper) to the rescue! He saved Marcy, but, um, apparently ruined his chances for a date after the creature’s blood splattered Marcy. (Did anyone else get a chill-inducing Mary Winchester vibe from seeing her stand there in a blood-covered white nightgown?) So she didn’t approach him again and that was sad. Bobby deserves a little happiness.
Meanwhile, Dean and Sam ran into Lamia troubles. The priest who was supposed to bless their dagger ran into some, well, death and couldn’t complete his task. Despite dealing with his own troubles (in the form of a visit from a fed who was looking for Rufus) Bobby helped them out of the scrape.
Then came Bobby’s turn to start asking others for help. He asked Rufus to help him obtain a ring that belonged to Crowley’s son, who was born to pre-Demon Crowley, then-named Fergus MacLeod. At first, we thought he wanted to summon Crowley’s spawn as a bargaining chip, but Bobby had a more clever idea.
Later that night, Dean called Bobby to air his mounting concerns about Sam. I’ve always been a fan of the Dean-seeking-Bobby phone calls, and this was no exception, especially when Bobby told the brothers off.
You see, Rufus ran into some troubles while stealing the ring from an exhibit, and the cops were on his tail. He called while Bobby was on the phone with Dean, who was “baring his soul like a freaking girl,” and Dean was annoyed by the interruption. After hanging up with Rufus and returning to petulant Dean, Bobby laid the smack down on the brothers via speakerphone. “Sam, Dean, I love you like my own. I do. But sometimes — sometimes, you two are the whiniest, most self-absorbed sons of bitches I’ve ever met…”
The whole scene was fantastic, with highest marks going to Sam for his reaction to Bobby’s statement that he’s tired of them calling to bitch about each other. Without saying a word, you could see Sam say to Bobby, “…but, I’ve never called you to bitch about…oh.”
In the end, the boys told Bobby that all he had to do was ask for their help. “Anything you need, we’re there,” they told him. We knew that to be true; we knew how the boys felt about him. But Bobby needed to hear it. Sometimes, you just need a reminder. We found out later that Bobby cashed in that favor in a big way.
Rufus was extradited to South Dakota on a fake murder charge so that Bobby could get the ring from him — and disinfect it, as it had taken a tour of Rufus’ intestinal tract. He used it to summon MacLeod Jr. and get valuable information on Crowley — not to trade him as we had been led to believe. Bobby learned — among other unsavory information about what Crowley asked for when making his deal hundreds of years ago (Hint: size mattered a lot to Fergus MacLeod) — where Crowley’s bones were buried. In fact, Dean and Sam were IN Scotland ready to torch them if Crowley didn’t give Bobby is soul back.
NEXT: Let’s talk about Director Jensen Ackles.
Supernatural went international!
Needless to say, Bobby got his soul back (and kept his repaired legs!). Crowley went to Scotland to retrieve his bones. And we learned that Dean still does not like flying.
Now, on to first-time director Ackles. First off, let’s face it: Even though he was sitting behind the lens during this episode, it was — at its core — supposed to be a seamless transition, and for the most part that was the case. He did a good job of staying true to what he and the fans know the show to be, and at the same time, he added a tiny piece of his point of view. For that, I’m glad. Had the episode seemed dramatically different in any way, it wouldn’t have felt right. He didn’t try to make this about making his mark; he made it about the show, the art. I loved that!
That said, I felt like there were more cutaways than I was used to seeing. The camera was a bit all over the place during the fight scene in the church and during the wood chipper scene. Those were tough scenes in general. But to be honest, I think I only noticed because I was paying extra attention. That couldn’t be helped — the Ackles factor was sitting in the back of my mind just as I’m sure it was sitting in yours.
The only other thing is that I would have liked to see a little thank you to the fans in the episode from Ackles — in the form of some gratuitous nudity, of course. But I suppose that is asking a lot. Overall, I give him an A-, and not because he’s Jensen Ackles. I genuinely enjoyed the Bobby-centric episode more than I thought I would.
Getting back to the episode, I have some more questions: What did you think about the episode? Did you, too, enjoy it more than you thought you would? How would you rate Ackles as a director? What are your thoughts on King Crowley? Mythology-wise, did the bone-burning bug you a little? And most importantly, do you love when people call Sam “Moose”? Weigh in below.
Bobby: I’m a little busy.
Dean: Then kick Bo Derek out of your bathtub. We got a case here.
Neighbor Marcy: Hey, have you seen Drag Me to Hell?
Bobby: Trying to avoid it.
Fed to Bobby: Have you seen this man? Rufus Turner, aka Luther Vandross, aka Ruben Studdard?
Bobby: Do I look like Dr. Phil to you?
Crowley: A little.
Crowley: I’ll save you the recap. In fact, I’ll do the shorthand for you. [Imitating Bobby] I want my soul back, idjit. [As self] Afraid not. [Imitating Bobby] But I’m surly and have a beard. Gimme! [As self] Blah blah blah. Homespun cornpone insult. Witty retort from yours truly. The bottom line is, you get bupkis.
Dean to Crowley: Did you really used to wear a skirt?
Crowley to Sam: I don’t need you to fight my battle for me, Moose.
Dean: You’ve been cleaning up our messes for years, Bobby. Without you, I don’t even want to think about where me and Sam would have ended up.
Bobby: [Pause] Okay, then. Let’s roll credits on this chick flick.
Gush with me about the preview for next week on Twitter: @EWSandraG.
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