Episode 10×17 or “The One With The Bobby Feels”
So far this season: Dean’s been cured from demonism; Crowley was his BFF; Cas was losing his grace until Crowley saved him; and Sam has done his best to reign in Dean’s homicidal tendencies. Claire Novak has also reappeared and swears she doesn’t need a father figure. Cain has confirmed that there is no cure for the Mark. And Crowley has a mother? Spoilers ahead.
This week’s Supernatural was a big departure from the previous two episodes, and, if I’m honest, it was a welcome one. “Inside Man” brought back Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) and the SPN family was very happily reunited with one of its favourite characters. This episode made me laugh, made me cheer the characters on, and it made me cry. In short, it’s the best Supernatural episode I’ve seen in a long time. So, this is me, trying very hard not to squee through this entire post.
The episode wasn’t the most complicated in terms of plot. The Winchesters weren’t on a case; the plot devotes itself to finding a solution to the Mark of Cain. While Sam secretly teams up with Cas to find a way to Metatron, Dean struggles to resist the growing temptation to succumb to the Mark’s evil grip. By having such a singular focus, the audience is allowed to engage with the characters that they know and love, but the pull of the narrative is not compromised through its simplicity. Rather, it’s Andrew Dabb’s well structured composition that perfects a blend of “old school” Supernatural with new characters, themes, and story arcs, bringing us the best parts of a show running for a decade.
As the episode lights up in the bunker, the viewer is immediately reminded of early, season one Winchesters, with the brotherly banter about French cinema, and later, Dean’s insistence on messing with things in Sam’s room (if you have siblings, you’ll know that it’s your obligation to mess with their things after they expressly tell you not to). The subterfuge under which Sam travels with Cas to Heaven’s backdoor is something we know the Winchesters for, as is the way that Dean lies to Sam about “laying low” when he heads to the bar, and ends up hustling some frat boys at the pool table (which is also very reminiscent of an early seasons Dean).
The true heart of the episode is in uniting Cas and Sam in an effort to save Dean. The two together are a force to be reckoned with, and when Hannah (now occupying a male vessel) refuses them entry to Heaven, they quickly regroup and decide to have a psychic perform a seance to contact Bobby. (Btw, Dabb, I’m still laughing about the atheist psychic joke). The glimpse at Bobby’s heaven tugs at our heartstrings, and yet his willingness to risk it all to help Sam reminds us that family, indeed, don’t end with blood.
Bobby agrees to escape his Heaven to help Castiel break out Metatron from heavenly jail. The strangeness of Sam’s request doesn’t phase Bobby. “Just another day at the office for you boys, huh,” Bobby quips to Sam. The dialogue’s flow is so natural that we almost forget that Sam is communicating via psychic.
“Remember when this job was just chopping up some fang and tossing back a cold one?” -Bobby
After Bobby helps Castiel infiltrate Heaven, and the angel escapes with Metatron, Sam and Castiel hold some leverage over the Scribe. Namely: his grace. Payback’s a bitch, Metatron. The team turns Metatron mortal to help inspire him to cooperate with their quest for a solution to the Mark. For the first time this season, it looks like Team Free Will might be closer to a cure.
Bobby’s final act was to give a letter to Cas for Sam, and yeah, there were feels.
So, this is weird, huh? Look, I just wanted to say that Cas told me what you’re doing for Dean and I’m not asking you to stop but if you going behind his back ain’t the best idea. Your brother, he can be stubborn but I’d think he’d understand. And I know it’s the life, doing a little bad so you can do a lot of good. Sometimes the bad is real bad and the good, it can come at one hell of a price. I ain’t there on the ground and whatever you do I know you’ll make the right choice. You’re a good man, Sam Winchester. You’re one of the best, and I’m damn proud of you, son. I was content up here, but getting a call from you, it’s the happiest I’ve been in forever. No matter what it costs. So stay safe, keep fighting, and kick it in the ass.
I’m not crying; you’re crying.
The Big Picture
But where was Dean, you ask?
Well, a certain Queen Mother pays a visit to the bar where Dean was hustling pool. Now, we’ve learned that Rowena has eyes on the Men of Letters bunkers for the magical artifacts it contains, and she’s been playing her son in order to get what she wants. She bewitches some poor frat boys into attacking the Winchester, and for a horrible second I envisioned a repeat of the bloodbath in “The Things We Left Behind.” Dean shows admirable self-restraint though, winning the fight yet causing no death, and what’s that I feel? Dare I say I feel hope for the hunter?
Rowena crawls back to her son to beg for vengeance for her injured pride, and during a heart-to-heart between the King of Hell and a cursed man that borders on friendly, Crowley discovers the depth of his mother’s manipulations. Rowena’s out on her ass. This effectively sets her up as the major threat for the last stretch of the season, but it also places her as a source of MoC information. It’s “just a curse,” according to her. And if we pair that with the tidbits of information gleaned from Metatron, it’s a curse that can only be lifted with Lucifer-level magic.
Oh, I’m sorry, I can’t continue typing because SQUEE.
Until next time, hunters. In the meantime, will someone write me an AU with Sam and Cas as the Boondock Saints?
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