Saturday, December 3, 2011

Be In Peace, Bobby Singer...

Whenever a show like Supernatural devotes an episode to shining a light on a supporting character and his or her own personal demons, you know it isn't going to be good. Well, it's going to be good in the sense that it's an interesting look at the character we don't know much about, and nine times out of ten it's thoughtfully written (with the tenth time being "Season Seven, Time For A Wedding"-- yikes!), but it isn't going to be good for said character's fate. With Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver), it has been one thing after the other since fans fell in love with him, giving him more close calls, and ultimately lives, than a cat. Going into the fall finale, "Death's Door," after he took a bullet in what I thought was the chest but turned out to the be the head (!) in the previous "How To Win Friends and Influence Monsters," it seemed pretty evident that this was Bobby's swan song. Even though an actual episode entitled "Swan Song" yielded no important deaths. But Bobby is different, and that's why, despite the "cliffhanger" of whether or not Bobby will actually make it out of his surgery a-okay, I am convinced he won't. Here's why:

Bobby Singer is a strong man. He can fight demons, vampires, giant monsters, and even an angel or two, but at the end of the day, he is only human, and it would just be poetic that what stopped him was something man made-- a bullet-- even if it was fired from a monster's gun. Bobby is a hunter. Hunting accidents happen all the time in the real world.

"Death's Door" dealt with Bobby taking a literal walk down memory lane, but this was no version of heaven; there was no clear road to follow, nor were the memories all bright, shiny, favorite ones. Though Rufus (Steven Williams) told Bobby the only way to find a way out was to go down deep-- dark-- into his worst memories and find a door, personally that sounded like misinformation. Not that Rufus was necessarily intentionally trying to mislead Bobby so he would stay with him, but that the journey Bobby was going to take was going to reap different rewards than waking up from his coma and walking out of the hospital with Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles). After all, when you face your worst memories-- actually, not only face them but make peace with them-- that is when you should be able to move on. The door Bobby opened in his family kitchen after finally watching the dinner scene all the way through had a bright light behind it. Had he just watched the scene with no words, maybe that would have signified he wasn't fully ready to move on. But because he stepped into it and confronted his parents and then comforted his younger self, it seemed he had a turning point. He could walk into the light without burden in his heart.

Bobby completed his mission, and he knew it. He said it himself when he yelled at his abusive father. He raised two boys, and he did it well.
Bobby said he raised heroes, but he was a hero, too. They still rely on him, but they really don't need to. Just the way Castiel (Misha Collins) became an easy go-to (crutch) for help last seasons, so was Bobby. They love him, sure, but they really can hunt without him. We saw as much in the early days, when they were on the road looking for their dad. It's funny, really, how that first season set up themes that so perfectly still circle the boys today. They've always been looking for a father figure-- someone to guide them, help them, maybe even make their work a little easier-- but they're not the scared little boys they may sometimes feel inside. They're grown men, clearly capable of being that father figure to other, younger hunters now.

Yes, Bobby did his job, and he even got his last good-bye. On his terms. In a perfectly fitting "Bobby way." He gave the boys the numbers they needed-- that one last bit of help to set them on their way to gank the bad guy-- and he squeezed out an "Idjits" for good measure. But really, above and beyond anything on the page, the look on Beaver's face in that hospital bed said it all to me. He was getting his one last look at these boys; he was proud and sad all at the same time. He had gotten them this far, and now it was up to them to go the distance, and he wanted to see what happened next.

That same pride carried over in his mind when he watched them squabble over licorice until they literally disappeared before his eyes. When they faded away, the look on Beaver's face changed to show a bit of fear-- what would life be like without them? But life isn't really an option. Though his Reaper ultimately asked him to make the choice, what choice is there, really? If all of Bobby's memories-- including and especially the ones of Sam and Dean-- have faded, if Bobby chooses to wake up in his body, he won't be Bobby anymore. Not really. The boys would be thwarted in their mission because they'd want to nurse Bobby back to health, to make him remember who they are, what they do, the fact that monsters and demons are real-- hell, maybe even who he is. The love and admiration they feel for each other now would fade, too-- into frustration and resentment because the Leviathans would be free to wreak their havoc with no Winchesters breathing down their necks. This show wouldn't be Supernatural anymore, it would be Samantha Who? mixed with a soap opera.

I love Bobby Singer. I love Jim Beaver. "Death's Door" was one of my favorite episodes ever of this series because above and beyond its production value and strong script and gripping, emotional performances by everyone involved, it finally gave Bobby and Beaver the respect those two men deserve simply by giving them a story. And a beautiful one at that. But sometimes when you love something, you have to know when it's best to say good-bye. And after seasons of fake-outs with this guy, I believe it is finally time.


annielicious14 said...

This epi was so perfect......any other ending would be wrong.

Jenna said...

love it. made me cry all over again.