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Welcome back Supernatural!
As much as I’d like to help one of my favorite shows ring in 2012 with good tidings and cheer, “Adventures in Babysitting” was a lackluster episode for those of us hoping the show would address Bobby’s apparent death at the end of “Death’s Door” in an emotionally satisfying way. Yes, we found out within the first 10 minutes that Bobby had indeed passed away (R.I.P. to a character who’ll be sorely missed). Unfortunately the show took the Winchester approach and buried any kind of appropriate emotional response. At the very least, I expected the Winchester brothers to burn Bobby’s bones like they did with their father. Instead we got the typical “all business” approach from both brothers, who also indulged their second favorite form out coping – splitting up to tackle separate jobs. Sam and Dean realize they have nobody left to save them, right? Hopefully their days of splitting up are ending after this week’s outing with a couple of blood-sucking vetalas.
Speaking of sucks… I miss Bobby.
I don’t mind the standalone episodes that have allowed Supernatural to fill 22-episode seasons for over six years now. For the most part the show has done a nice job of developing interesting “case of the week” stories that also advance the main story arcs in some form or fashion. But after “Death’s Door” and the heavy material it delivered, I had a hard time getting into this week’s case. Maybe it was the sloppy handling of Sam and Dean's frail emotional state – since not one but two people opened up to Dean about losing family members in brutal fashion – or the fact that I wanted Bobby’s death to be the first item of business for this episode. When I saw the hunter sitting in the diner after our “Road So Far” montage, it was frustrating. The show played it’s only gut-punch card and totally mishandled it.
It would be out of character for Sam and Dean to sit around talking about their memories of Bobby and coping like normal human beings. Just the mental image of them doing that makes me shudder. I know the brothers want to move on; it’s the viewer that needs more time to cope. As best, I can remember (and when you watch 18 shows in one year, things start to get a little jumbled), Bobby has only died and been brought back once on Supernatural, meaning his death still held some weight. Call me crazy, but I expected to see a Bobby-shaped hole in this episode and it just wasn’t there.
Nothing like the death of a surrogate father to chum the waters.
I hate to sound down on the seventh season only halfway through its run, but I’ve struggled to get into the Leviathan storyline. Compared to the villains we’ve had in the past – Azazel, Lillith, Lucifer – Richard Roman doesn’t stack up. If you’re looking for a reason why Bobby was killed off, there it is. I think the showrunners knew their big bad was a lame duck so they threw some collateral damage into the mix. By having Richard kill Bobby, the writers set up the second half of this season as a revenge mission. Now there’s something at stake besides the usual “save the world” dynamic we’ve gotten every season. If the brothers fail this time, they don’t get to avenge Bobby’s death. How tragic that would be.
Let’s throw some creatures in a blender and see what comes out.
When you showcase different creatures for six-and-a-half seasons, you eventually run out of intriguing options and have to get creative. The vetalas felt like a cross between a vampire, a Leviathan and the Goddess of Truth, Veritas (thanks mainly to their eyes). They were serviceable as standalone villains but as usual they were more interested in talking than actually, you know, being monsters. Had the dark-haired vetala shut up and eaten Krissy when she had the chance, she might have avoided that knife through the heart. But I digress; it was nice to see a hunter survive a monster encounter for once.
Speaking of hunters surviving – I’m worried about where the show seems to be going with Bobby. When Dean’s beer mysteriously went from full to empty, my first thought was: “Oh no, they’re going to bring Bobby back as a ghost.” I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thinking this and I know I’m not the only one who can’t stomach the thought of “Bobby the Friendly Ghost.” Supernatural had an episode in the fourth season entitled “Jump the Shark” that was of course a bit of meta humor given the introduction of Sam and Dean’s half brother. Should the show choose to bring Bobby back as a ghost, it will truly jump the shark. There’s no coming back if you drag Bobby’s memory through the mud like that.
Line of the week
Krissy: “We’re so lame.”
Dean: “Yeah we are.”
Next week on Supernatural
This show always delivers the goods when it comes to time travel. I expect big things next week.