Supernatural Recap: “Safe House”

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Banner by the Collected Mutineer

Episode 11×16 AKA “The House That Will Eat You”

Well, the hellatus is over and Darkness is unleashed on the Earth in the form of a woman. Sam has hair glorious enough to rival season 8; Dean has a weird not-quite-consensual relationship with the Big Bad; and Castiel’s not here right now. I’m guessing the Winchesters won’t be getting sunshine and puppies anytime soon…Warning there be spoilers ahead.


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“Safe House” lights up on a mother and daughter, who have presumably recently moved into this house that came straight from The Amityville Horror. The woman’s wife is out of town on business, leaving her and the young child alone. The little girl complains that there is something in the house, and when the mother leaves the room, the little girl is attacked and left in a coma, with a handprint on the girl’s leg as the only evidence of her attacker.

Sounds like a case for the Winchesters.

When Sam and Dean arrive at the house to investigate, a neighbor informs them that a couple of FBI agents had visited there a “handful of years” earlier. The neighbor, describing the other agents as unforgivably rude, is noticeably skeptical of the Winchesters. Figuring that the other case was Bobby and Rufus, Dean and Sam use Bobby’s journal to shed some light on the case.

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In a flashback to Bobby and Rufus’ case, we see a very similar attack on a child and mother. It’s a time before the Apocalypse, and a younger Bobby is very, very worried about his boys. It’s an interesting parallel to the season 11 Winchesters, who are once again facing the end of the world and very worried about themselves and their friends.

After the possibility of ghosts have been ruled out, the boys turn to the Men of Letters archives and to other, similar, unsolved cases to discover that the big bad is actually a soul eater, a creature which (surprise) eats souls and creates a nest outside of space and time.

It’s all very Whovian.

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The Men of Letters journals reveals that the only way to kill a soul eater is to draw a sigil inside the nest as well as in the house, meaning that one of the Winchesters will need to become its victim in order to destroy. Dean loses the game of rock/paper/scissors and is taken into the nest.

In a wibbly wobbly, timey wimey turn of events, Bobby is also taken by the soul eater, and because the nest is outside of time, they are both there at the same time, although they have no interaction. Outside of the nest, both Rufus and Sam are confronted by the possessed bodies of Bobby and Dean.

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The soul eater tries to bargain with both the men left on the outside; to Sam, it promises to protect him from the Darkness. It would be a tempting offer, if Sam wasn’t so keen on keeping his soul intact. In the end, Dean and Bobby catch a glimpse of each other on the staircase before the sigil is completed and both are returned to their timelines. Bobby returns to a world where he worries about the safety of his two boys, and Dean returns to a world where he worries about saving Cas (oh and resisting the Darkness too).

The Big Picture

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Although “Safe House” is a MotW episode, the appearance of the soul eater and its nest gave a pretty big clue as to how to defeat the Darkness: throw Amara into the Void. The Void was first mentioned in the opening episode of season 11, and while I assume that the writers are misdirecting us in order to give us a shock factor in the finale, the soul eater’s nest functions like how I imagine the Void would. It exists outside of time and our dimension, and you can trap entities in it indefinitely. Sounds like a good place to toss the Darkness into, right?

It’s a pretty solid breadcrumb that Robbie’s laid out for us, and I’d bet my right clavicle that is where someone is going to end up in the season 11 finale.

Robbie Thompson (AKA my fav AKA my hero AKA a god among mortals) also sets up some overt parallels between Rufus, Bobby, Sam, and Dean. The parallels are not heavy-handed, however, as Robbie’s skill with a keyboard is as mighty as Serena Williams’ with a tennis racquet yet as deft and precise as Michelle Kwan on ice skates (okay so maybe the athletic comparison are heavy-handed, but Robbie Thompson I am not).

In “Safe House,” we see that both Bobby and Dean are worried about what’s to come, and while Bobby attempts to internalize his worry, Dean is forthcoming about his anxiety (oh, hey, look! character development!). Perhaps more astute are the comparisons between Rufus and Sam, as they are both depicted as the “rock” for their worried companions and as the voices of reason.

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In fact, it is Rufus who says, “Oldest rule of hunting, Bobby. You can’t save everyone.”

Over the past few seasons, the Winchesters have wavered on their family business motto of “saving people and hunting things,” but regardless of the mistakes they’ve made, they don’t like to leave anyone behind. They’ve learned the hard way that they can’t save everyone: Ellen, Jo, Bobby, Kevin, Charlie, just to name a few. However, Rufus’s advice sounds like foreshadowing to the audience, and we can all only shudder and wonder who is next on the chopping block.

Until next time,

-The Collectress

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