We're back from hiatus! It's time to talk about he episode! I've been drinking. I've only seen it once! Things aren't going to be remembered exactly, but unless it's super important or I ask you to, don't bother correcting me. Same goes for spelling, since my spellcheck doesn't work and I've been drinking.
We begin in Grand Rapids, MI, where there is a woman speaking on an iPhone earbud+mic, and it looks as confusing on television as it does in real-life. Is she talking to herself? To me? I don't know why that particular piece of technology creeps me out, but it creeps me out EVERY SINGLE TIME. It doesn't make sense.
She's getting rid of wallpaper. This is where we first paused the episode to discuss the fact that she should be, at the very least, wearing a mask, because old wallpaper used to have arsenic in it. This launched into a discussion of when that was vs. how old the house looked, and then another friend piped up that regardless of the age of the house, the wallpaper was a modern pattern, so if it was supposed to be old wallpaper it was anachronistic... this friend turned out to be the most right out of all of us. For those curious, however, it was green wallpapers made in the 1800s, until the 1870s-1880s, when people decided it probably wasn't safe. Also, I estimated, mostly by the wainscotting/molding design, that the house would have been built no later than the 1930s, but more likely around 1910-1930. All this is moot, because we find out the wallpaper is from 2008/2009, but NOW YOU KNOW HISTORY ABOUT WALLPAPER AND ARCHITECTURE!
There's something UNDERNEATH THE WALLPAPER - but then her kid screams! Oh no! Her kid is cute! Also, I realize, I am seeing an Asian family on TV who are not walking stereotypes and I REJOICE!
But then the kid gets attacked and I am sad.
To Sam and Dean! They are eating at the Tomahawk, a popular family-run/owned North Vancouver restaurant. They have filmed there before in the episode Bad Boys, where Dean at their both as a kid and an adult. Anyway, they've removed some, but not all, of the First Nations art/sculptures/artifacts, and they're using the Tomahawk's crockery.
There is no news on Amara or Cas, and Dean is bummed. Sam tells him to keep being optimistic, because Dean made that big speech last episode about how they were going to win - and Dean was like "THAT WAS TWO WEEKS AGO! AND WE HAVEN'T YET, SO I'VE GIVEN UP HOPE!" which is pretty typical of Dean actually...his hope has got a short-attention span.
Also, this bit of information helps me timeline! Unfortunately, I don't have a date for the episode, but I can tell you that it's been approx. 3 weeks since Dean traveled back in time to that WWII sub and found out that Cas is possessed (those two events are mutually exclusive), and that THAT trip happened sometimes after February 18th... so, we're around lined up with present day by my books.
Sam is like "let's do this case here, until things get better and your hope returns" and Dean is like "yeah, okay."
TO THE HOSPITAL!
We find out that non-stereotyped Asian mother is also queer! She's either gay or bisexual, either way, she has a wife who is away on business. YAY!! Super awesome representation of the diverse reality of human experience. Or... perhaps it's pathetic and sad that I cling so desperately to such minor characters thrown out so sparingly to the starving masses of underrepressented peoples.
TO THE HOUSE!
Nosy neighbour lady tells Sam and Dean about how the FBI came to the house YEARS AGO under SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES! Who were those mystery FBI agents?!
RUFUS AND BOBBY!!
Flashback time! Bobby is sleeping in his car and Rufus wakes him up and is like, "why are you sleeping in your car?" and Bobby is like "IT'S THE APOCALYPSE!" Which also helps me timeline, because this means that Bobby could have ONLY gone on this hunt in S4. Because he both needed to KNOW it was the apocalypse and also be able to walk - and those two things were both only true in S4. Unfortunately, I can't narrow it down further than that.
It's the Sabbath, so Rufus can't work, which is why he called Bobby. Bobby points out that Rufus drove here, and Judiasm also forbids that on the Sabbath, but Rufus is like DON'T ARGUE WITH ME ABOUT MY OWN RELIGION! Which, you know, is kinda the American way, so fair play to him.
Also, we find out that the only year Rufus was nice was 1985, so that's going in my timeline even if he was being sarcastic.
SAM AND DEAN
Dean happens to have a bunch of Bobby's old journals in the car! What?! Dude, that car is magic, and why? And... well, actually, I can figure out why, I mean, I bet hunter journals are a LOT more succinct records than a lot of the heavy MoL lore books and also might have info newer or more local than the lore books...and since Sam seems to have digitized the MoL library? (WHEN DID HE DO THIS?!) and put it on some server somewhere, probably it's just them literally carrying around AN ENTIRE LIBRARY EVERYWHERE THEY GO... only for some reason they never bothered to digitize Bobby's journals? Dudes... if you were real, I'd totally apply for that job. I spent 6+ years digitizing historical records of cultural/actual genocide - so I got a lot of experience - and hunting journals would probably actually be uplifting in comparison.
BOBBY AND RUFUS find a hotel.
So do SAM AND DEAN....not only that, but they rent the same room, for luck!
Apparently, Bobby's notes on the hunt consist of "possible ghost-hunt with jackass" and that's it, so that's no help!
B&R - Rufus is convinced it's a Japanese Bakku... which...doesn't that just mean Monster? ....baka is stupid.... maybe I'm getting confused. All of my Japanese knowledge comes from Naruto. So, yeah, if anyone who knows Japanese wants to correct me, feel free!
Bobby says it isn't one of those, because he knows what those are because he and Rufus hunted one in Alaska. I'm always super curious when Hunters talk about hunting things in places that are over boarders (unless one takes a very long boat or a flight)...because how do they get their weapons there reliably? Maybe hunters are just lying at the Canadian border all the time and saying that there are no firearms in their cars.... actually, am I ever asked that at the Canadian border? I don't even know. Maybe they do just take their chances at the borders.
S&D - if it's a ghost, then it's either one of two deaths at the house - a guy who chocked to death or a guy who died some other way that was more murdery... so, Sam and Dean decide that maybe Bobby and Rufus burned one and not the other, though that's unlikely since Bobby is usually so thorough.
I LOVE the switch back and forth between these scenes, where Sam and Dean have their little shovels and are digging for hours and exhausted, and Sam's like "there must be an easier way to dig graves" and then it cuts back to Bobby and Rufus and they've got a backhoe!
Bobby tosses Rufus a shovel and reminds him that the no-work-on-the-sabbath rule only extends until sundown, and Rufus must concede that point.
Rufus presses Bobby about the sleeping in the car thing and Bobby talks about how he's worried about "my boys" and the whole apocalypse thing, and Rufus tries to point out that they aren't actually HIS, but Bobby tells him to shut-it (or implies he should shut-it) and then Rufus settles for trying to warn Bobby that he might have to prepare himself, because it's the oldest rule of hunting that not everyone lives.
Sam and Dean, meanwhile, have exhaustingly dug up BOTH graves only to find that Rufus and Bobby WERE thorough. So, that's a bunch of physical labour for nothing.
Then non-stereotyped queer mother is victim #2 NO!!! But hey, at least they don't die, just go into a coma, so we can assume this is a shtriga-type scenario where recovery is possible.
TO THE HOSPITAL!
There's a retired doctor who has come in to be like YES, THIS HAPPENED YEARS AGO! (Dude, it was just 2008/2009, so, 7 or 9 years ago, depending on how you tell time in SPN) HA! I bet that's why Robbie used the date footnote of "A Handful of Years Ago" and then used contextual clues for WHEN it was, because he knows - HE KNOWS - that the writers purposefully/accidentally f*cked up the timeline twice. (Once before Robbie started working there, and then once after, unless I've got his resume wrong.)
Anyway, Bobby and Rufus' case was with the Hendersons. We find out through a flashback that Mrs. Henderson was in some sort of nightmare for two days and then just woke up inexplicably, and then was told by two FBI agents not to touch the wallpaper in the kitchen. Sam and Dean check under the wallpaper and sure enough SYMBOL!
RESEARCH MONTAGE! Not only that, but it's a DOUBLE RESEARCH MONTAGE IN TIME AND SPACE!
Turns out it's a soul-eater. It can't be killed - or so Bobby says. Bobby fought one before, and Dean starts telling the story the way Bobby wrote it down in his journal and it's pretty epic!
CUT TO PAST: Rufus tells Bobby to stop exaggerating and tell him what REALLY happened...and Bobby says that he was so scared he nearly shit himself. Ha! I love that Bobby built up his own mythos. I love that Dean and Sam probably BELIEVE IT! I love that Bobby totally would have wanted it that way - to be a big damn hero to the boys.
Bobby tells Rufus that he sealed the soul-eater away, but the victims (his friend Harv being one of them) never work up.
SAM AND DEAN - joke about how Bobby and Rufus would have made cool grumpy ol' men of letters. Sam finds a similar sigil that will kill the soul-eater... only it has to be done in both reality and in the pocket dimension "nest" outside of space and time where the soul-eater stores it's victims while he slowly consumes them. Both Sam and Dean say "not it" at the same time, which means it's a battle of ROCK PAPER SCISSORS! And Dean's momentarily victory on our earlier season this year is NOT A NEW TREND. (Also, now that I think about it, I find it really amusing that the one time Dean wins, it's because Jensen adlibbed the whole thing...so, technically, the writers always stick with canon on this one and it's Jensen who is like LET HIM WIN ONCE GEEZ!)
Then we get a LOT OF BACK AND FORTH CUTS, so I'm going to copy my notes and hopefully you can follow along.
R&B - Bobby is nervous, Rufus asks if he wants to hold his hand. It's cute.
S&D - I forget what the mirror was here, but I'm sure it was cool. Dean goes up stairs to try to get taken by the soul-eater, and says "Come and get me you, sonofabitch"
R&B - Bobby has also gone upstairs, but says, "stay away from me, you sonofabitch."
S&D - Dean gets taken. As per plan. He sees Dead!Sam on the ground, but he knew going in that the thing messes with his mind, so even though the sight is jarring, he closes his eyes and gathers himself, and when he opens them Dead!Sam is gone.
R&B - Bobby is also taken. He looks down the staircase and sees dead Sam and Dean - and he didn't know what would happen going into this, so he is very jarred, but again, he blinks and the bodies are gone. He then finds the young Will Henderson. Will can see the "sad people" who are also trapped in the nest. THEY ARE SUPER CREEPY YOU GUYS!"
-Out in Reality, Rufus comes up the stairs to find Bobby in a coma. He sights the "oldest rule" and goes down to finish the sigil, leaving Bobby, extensibly, for dead.
S&D - Meanwhile, Sam had dragged Dean's body down into the kitchen...I guess because he wanted to be near his bro? I don't know, why.... but I love Sam's muttered "I'm getting too old for this."
- Dean finds Kat, the little girl. She also sees the SUPER CREEPY PEOPLE OH GOD!
R&B - We find out that the soul-eater can POSSESS PEOPLE'S BODIES! "Bobby" goes to convince Rufus to join him in the nest and not to finish the sigil.
S&D - Dean also gets possessed, and tells Sam that he better stop "fingerpainting, boy." - BOY!?! I'm not sure if that line creeped me out or turned me on, but either way, strong emotions were had!
- "Dean" offers protection from the Darkness in the nest.
FIGHT TIME! SIMULTAENOUS! IT's a LITTLE TOO JUMP-CUTTY. Rufus ends up shooting Bobby and Sam and Dean kick the shit out of each other until Sam beats Dean up with a chair until he stays down. Ouch.
Rufus finished the sigil and so does Sam.
Dean sees the souls leaving from the nest - and one of them is Bobby's! And then Dean wakes up and gets hugs!!!....probably in apology for the massive bruises that chair-beating is going to cause.
This is also where we paused the episode to figure out why Dean saw Bobby's soul in the nest. At first, I was confused, "was Bobby soulless for 3 years and NO ONE NOTICED?" but then I remembered that the nest was outside of space and time, so basically, they were in their simultaneously, and the only reason Bobby survived is because Sam and Dean killed the soul-eater in the future (and Bobby's soul hadn't yet been consumed) so it returned to his body while the body was still alive.
RUFUS AND BOBBY - or, maybe just Bobby, hanging wallpaper, confused as to why Bobby is alive, but not looking a gift-horse in the mouth. Rufus calls from the hospital to tell of the Henderson recovery, and then tells Bobby that he should ignore the oldest rule, because the oldest rule sucks (or words to that effect). And then he gives him a bottle of whiskey with a note...and it's the same bottle of whiskey that Sam and Jodie find and end up drinking after Bobby's death in S7! Cool!
SAM AND DEAN - tell the awesome family, now with returned-from-business-trip wife (MULTIRACIAL AWESOME QUEER FAMILY) that their home is safe, but they're like "yeah, I think we'll sell anyway, that was creepy."
BOBBY - Bobby is in his car, about to elaborate on "possible ghost-hunt with jackass" when S4!Dean calls him and tells him to get off his ass an help them with something, so Bobby never has a chance to actually write up the hunt. Unfortunately, Robbie was clever, and he had Dean say that they were wrapping up a hunt in Reno....since the Winchester's have NEVER had an onscreen hunt in Reno, I can't use that information to date the episode. Dean also says that Lilith might be in Maine, but we've also got no instance of Lilith being in main either. :P
SAM AND DEAN - contemplate the idea that Dean and Bobby were actually just in the same place. Then they decide that they better go to Tennessee and kill that soul-eater too (the one that killed Harv), since that one is also just locked up, rather than taken care of.
Sam then asks Dean what he saw in nest. Because Dean said he saw "things" - Dean said that he saw Sam dead on the floor...and Sam chuckles and says that their lives are weird because he finds that comforting. My beef with this is that Sam's chuckle and his explanation actually cut off anything Dean might have listed AFTER that. Did he really see only Sam? Did he see anything that even WE weren't shown as the audience?!
Anyway, really fun episode. It's cool to have Bobby and Rufus around again. It's always really fun to see a different hunter partnership dynamic!
Next week looks pretty epic.
As per usual, let me know your thoughts in comments!!