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May 27, 2015

'Supernatural' Season 6, Episode 4 Recap

by Maureen Ryan, posted Oct 17th 2010 3:45PM
['Supernatural' - 'Weekend at Bobby's']

Here's a pitch for the CW Network: Three cranky dudes, one of them a demon, two of them demon hunters, share a ramshackle old house in the middle of nowhere. When not fending off/fomenting demonic destruction or pursuing/ruling demonic creatures, they trade quips, barbs and irritated banter about the shortcomings of everyone younger and less competent than them.

Call it 'Golden Ghouls.' And I believe we got a preview of that show -- complete with a heaping helping of awesomesauce -- on Friday night.

To hell, quite literally, with any kind of deep analysis of 'Weekend at Bobby's.' This episode was pure fanservice at the highest level, and I loved almost every second of it.

Sure, if I wanted there to be any depth to this review, I could talk about the deeper meaning of the episode -- the moral of the story. But as far as I can tell, the moral of the story is that if you are Bobby Singer, you never get to enjoy delicious peach cobbler! And that's kind of a drag! I mean, as hard as Dean works, he at least gets to stop for pie once in a while.

There was only a tiny amount of Different!Sam and Concerned!Dean. There was no family trauma, little in the way of dark analogies or demons as metaphors for painful situations. This was just a wonderful showcase for three of my favorite 'Supernatural' actors as well as the kind of comedic outing we get at least once a season -- now with fewer (but well deployed) Winchesters! All in all, 'Weekend at Bobby's' was just about perfect.

Here are some of the Most Awesome Aspects of 'Weekend at Bobby's':

1. Bobby/Crowley scenes. I seriously died laughing at Mark Sheppard's recap of a Bobby/Crowley conversation: "I want my soul back, eedjet!" "'Fraid not." "But I'm surly and got a beard! Gimme!" Seriously, that was one of the funniest 'Supernatural' moments ever. And there were so many great lines between them, among them, "I had very athletic calves" and "Oh no. What am I going to do?" Bobby and Crowley's sometimes angry, sometimes resigned, always funny bromance is just delightful. I want more!

2. Bobby/Rufus scenes. I've always been a big Rufus fan, and when I saw before the episode that Steven Williams would be in it, I did a little happy dance. Even better: We saw a more jaunty Rufus than the rather somber hunter we've seen in the past. For me, it makes sense that Rufus would be a bit lighter with one of his best and oldest friends, and Williams simply killed in all his scenes. "What am I, a heathen? I know what Craig is!" "I know what I want for Hannukah!" Bobby and Rufus as Grumpy Old Hunters was hugely entertaining and I want more!

3. The barely glimpsed Lamia fight that Sam and Dean were engaged in. As everyone reading this probably knows, Jensen Ackles directed this episode, and I think he absolutely nailed it. Not just because everything about the episode was competent and fit in with the usual 'Supernatural' aesthetic. More importantly, he nailed the comedy, which is no small feat. No matter how good the material and the performances, comedy can be mangled by bad direction (if the timing, camera placement and rhythms are off, the comedy often dies a painful death). But the way the Lamia scenes were shot were economical and concise and Ackles' handling of it wrung all the potential comedy from the way in which the boys were being thrown off their game by this former Greek hellraiser. (Sam being thrown into a pillar in the church was particularly hilarious). When it comes to the episode as a whole, kudos to Ackles for making the most of an excellent script by Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin. And I must mention the episode's editor, Anthony Pinker, and director of photography, Serge Ladouceur, who did a great job of making the scenes flow and the rhythms pop.

4. Getting to see life from Bobby's perspective. OK, happy spazzing aside, there was actually a worthwhile point to the episode, which made the Winchesters realize that Bobby is not simply their servant, there to deal with all their emotional needs when he's not doing their homework for them. Who didn't vicariously enjoy Bobby's verbal takedown of the boys, one that has been years in coming? Sure, yeah, maybe he was overreacting a bit, but every human being has their limit and it's surprising that he hasn't reached the end of his rope more often with these sometimes self-absorbed eedjets. Jim Beaver did a sensational job, not surprisingly, with both the comedy and Bobby's understandable frustration. "Do I sound like I'm done!?" A classic (and overdue) Bobby moment, one that was nicely contrasted with the boys' justified gratitude to their mentor and almost-father toward the end of the hour.

5. Bobby's cleverness. Practically speaking, Bobby having sold his soul was one bit of Season 5 business that the show needed to take care of this season. It was done in a very entertaining fashion, and Bobby's solution -- to get Crowley's son to spill the beans on the location of his dad's bones -- was sheer elegance in its simplicity. But I call a bit of shenanigans on the whole burn-demon-bones-to-kill-the-demon business. Holy bejeebus, that would have come in handy during previous seasons, eh?! I mean, until Season 3, the show's mythology held that only the Colt could kill demons, but now with this bit of retconning, apparently there's a Plan B available (the invaluable SuperWiki notes that there are few other methods of killing demons out there as well). Ah well, if this weren't one of my favorite comedic episodes ever, I might be inclined to complain about the fact that Bobby never shared this particular bit of lore with the boys before. But I'll let it go.

6. Bobby's super-fun "date night" with the nice neighbor lady, which inevitably ended with a murderous critter being spewed out a woodchipper and the neighbor covered head to toe with blood. Yeah, movie night at Marcy's is not going to happen any time soon.

7. More random fun: The MacLeod reference (clearly a 'Highlander' shoutout); "Balls!"; "Rufus Turner a.k.a. Luther Vandross a.k.a. Ruben Studdard"; "I'll be damned if I'm going to ... be damned!"; "jack with a side of squat!"; the reference to 'Drag Me to Hell,' which also had a crazed Lamia running around.

In case you couldn't tell, I enjoyed the hell out of 'Weekend at Bobby's,' which managed to reference a few Season 6 concerns this season (Different!Sam, Bobby's soul, the odd stuff going on in the supernatural critter realm, etc) while providing a nice respite from the rather melancholy vibe of the season. I can be hard on 'Supernatural' at times, but only because I know it's capable of knocking it out of the park. This comedic yet entirely deserved tribute to Robert Steven Singer was a real treat, solidly constructed and deftly delivered. Well done, one and all.

A few final thoughts and questions:

* So a deal's not a deal for Crowley, who decided not to honor his pact with Bobby, but Sam did want to honor the deal they'd made with Crowley. Why? It's not as if Crowley is Captain Ethics. I'm not sure what Sam was thinking there, but I can see the benefit of keeping Crowley as the king of Hell. He is, after all, the devil you know. Well, almost-devil.

* Crowley appears to be dealing with as much insanity and wackiness as the hunters are these days. Clearly we haven't gotten the full story on why creatures are appearing way outside their native habitats and why the normal order of the creature/demon universe just isn't quite what it used to be. As Bobby said to Rufus: "Monsters lately. Is it me, or is it weird?" It's not just you, Bobby.

* What is this "new way" that Crowley is trying to teach the demons? And I love the fact that the show is portraying him as having quite a bit in common with the Winchesters and Bobby. Like them, he's not a particular fan of demons and finds dealing with them trying and frustrating. The tentative alliance this group had in Season 5 might well continue, given the weird problems that keep cropping up in all their lives (and yes, I want the alliance to continue partly because I love what Mark Sheppard brings to the role of Crowley, plus Sheppard and Beaver are just terrific together). Despite protestations on both their parts, I think Bobby and Crowley kind of like each other. I'm telling you, a demon-human bromantic comedy between these two would be golden. I smell Season 7!

* Here's a question that keeps occurring to me: If Bobby is hooked in to almost every hunter network out there (as we saw from his constantly ringing phone), how plausible is it that he wouldn't have come across the Campbells? Thoughts, fellow fans? Might we find out down the road that Bobby did come across them now and then? There has to be more there than meets the eye. Sure, Bobby knew John Winchester, but what about other members of the Campbell clan? If they've been hunters for hundreds of years, it stands to reason he's come across them or stories about them.

* Who is Garth? He's clearly not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

* Why am I not surprised that Bobby appears to have a dialup modem on his cranky old computer?

* OK, I have one miniscule nitpick on the direction of the episode: In the final confrontation scene with Bobby, Crowley and Crowley's son, we didn't get a clear sense of the eyelines among the characters. Crowley's son Gavin appeared to be staring into space, rather than glaring at his dead dad. Maybe he was supposed to be staring into space, but the static nature of the almost-silent character who appeared to be staring into nothing wasn't really spooky or threatening at all. But seriously, that is a tiny nitpick.

* Ha! The sight of Dean driving a cramped car in Scotland (or rather, Photoshop Scotland) was mildly hilarious.

* Fergus McCloud selling his soul in order to get into double-digits, er, down below. Why does that not surprise me?

* I really love the rapport between Bobby and Sheriff Jodie Mills. Clearly Bobby's lifestyle limits his dating options, but Jodie knows what Bobby does, she has a grudging respect for him and she even appears to enjoy (a little) the crazy shenanigans he brings to her town. In a show that regularly kills off its female characters (and too often the ones I like most), I'm glad that Lisa and Jodie are on the scene and I hope they're not killed off in predictable "Oh no the girls are in danger!" scenarios (I'm not anticipating that, but I'm just sayin'). In any event, I would love a Bobby/Jodie romance. Come on, ladies love the gruff but lovable guys who may not be fashion plates but know how to slay demonic beasts. And bury them with heavy machinery!

* OK, if you're not a fan of 'Golden Ghouls' as a name for the Bobby-Crowley-Rufus spinoff, how about 'Hell's Angels'? 'That's the Spirit'? 'Grumpy Old Hunters'? 'There's No 'I' in Eedjet!' Please feel free to leave your suggestions below!

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