SUPERNATURAL: S11E16

SAFE HOUSE – 7/10.

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Supernatural returned to our screens this week after a short hiatus with yet another ‘case of the week’ for Sam and Dean to solve. While a hunter episode means zero progress in the Darkness/Castifer storyline, the episode actually ended up being a lot of fun thanks to the involvement of some familiar faces. Dead rarely means done in the world of Supernatural, as such beloved cast members can often pop up long after they have shuffled off their mortal coil. When it comes to beloved characters there are few people higher on the list than that lovable idjit, Bobby and his useless partner in crime, Rufus. So we got to enjoy a bit of tandem hunting as Sam and Dean faced off against the same soul feeding monster that their mentor had battled in the past.

The episode itself was fairly unremarkable as Sam and Dean investigated a haunted house whose residents had fallen into a coma after a paranormal attack. After visiting the house they are informed by a nosey neighbour that some particularly grouchy FBI agents investigated a similar incident four years ago. It doesn’t take much to work out that she is referring to Bobby and Rufus, and Sam and Dean hit Bobby’s journal to find out what it is they are up against. The journal doesn’t have too much information and when the boys dig up the graves of some potential poltergeists they find nothing but the burnt ashes left behind by Bobby and Rufus. But some old fashioned research soon reveals that they are dealing with a particularly nasty creature called a Soul Eater.

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A Soul Eater traps its victims’ souls in a nightmare world called ‘The Nest’. While their physical form decays in a coma, the Soul Eater tortures them with horrific visions while it feeds off of their soul until the host eventually dies. Bobby and Rufus had managed to trap the Soul Eater with an ancient sigil, but this was only a temporary solution and the beast had been set free when the new owners broke the seal whilst redecorating. Sam and Dean discover a more permanent way of dealing with the Soul Eater, but it involves one of them drawing the sigil inside The Nest while the other remains in the real world. Of course nothing goes to plan and Sam finds himself battling against the Soul Eater who has seized control of Dean’s body.

While Sam battles the Soul Eater, Dean finds himself trapped inside of The Nest with the spirit of the young daughter of the homeowner and the devoured souls of its past victims. The Soul Eater attacks Dean but he is able to fight it off and finish off the sigil inside The Nest, killing the creature for good and throwing his and the young girl’s souls back into their bodies. What set this episode apart was its very special format, we got to watch Dean and Sam and Bobby and Rufus fight The Soul Eater at the same time thanks to a series of very entertaining flashbacks. Having earlier explained that time and space functioned differently inside of The Nest, there was the briefest of moments where Dean and Bobby were actually able to see each other. It’s just a shame that they didn’t get to interact.

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It’s always nice to see Jim Beaver and Steven Williams, and the Bobby and Rufus flashbacks were without doubt the most fun part of the episode. Truthfully not a great deal happened here and it really was the bog standard “beasty of the week” episode, but the high quality of the banter between both duos helped to elevate it to a whole other level. Bobby and Rufus bickered like an old married couple about everything from digging up graves to what kind of monster they were going up against. But the episode also had an awful lot of heart, which is unsurprising as Jim Beaver always managed to infuse his character with a gruff lovability. Bobby truly loved his boys and the Soul Eater chose to torture him with visions of their deaths, which is why he never wrote about it in his journal.

With both Rufus and Bobby having been dead for quite some time it was only natural that the show would tackle the issue of mortality. Rufus repeatedly made reference to the Hunters’ oldest rule; not everyone gets to live. Sam and Dean have lost a lot of people along the way and aside from their father Bobby might possibly have been the hardest loss. As much as Dean may not want to admit it there is a high chance that they will have to choose between saving Castiel and defeating Lucifer. This will mean another hard loss for the Winchesters, maybe even the hardest. When considered in this light the episode becomes less of a throwaway monster hunt and more of a reflection on the sacrifices that heroes are forced to make… then again maybe I am just reading too far into it, idjit.

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POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Absolutely loved Bobby choosing the fake names of Riggs and Murtaugh for himself and Rufus. It’s a reference to the Lethal Weapon films just in case you didn’t get it.
  • It was funny to hear Bobby referring to Lilith, those days seem so far away but also hugely relevant thanks to the return of Lucifer. It also highlights the recycled storylines in a show that has been running for 11 seasons.
  • Dean really doesn’t have a great win/loss record when it comes to Rock, Paper, Scissors, at some point you’d think he would just stop playing and maybe try arm wrestling instead.
  • Bobby’s journal entry on the incident was limited to one sentence “possible ghost hunt with Jackass.” Hopefully this won’t be the last we see of Bobby as we never found out if he was punished for helping Castiel to sneak Metatron out of heaven.
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