Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beaver, Jamie Luner, Anthony Cupo, Elysia Rotaru
Writer: Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming, series created by Eric Kripke
Director: Tim Andrew
Network: The CW, Fridays @ 9 PM
Original Airdate: April 20, 2012
SUPERNATURAL has its conventions (i.e., plot devices, though it also has fan gatherings, but that’s another story). Some of these are good, some of these are bad, and some make many of us want to smack the TV screen. Among these last is the tendency among main characters to overlook everything that’s happened in the past seven seasons so they can come to a conclusion that seems strictly there to create unnecessary angst.
This brings us to “Of Grave Importance.” Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) continue to mourn their friend and father figure Bobby (Jim Beaver). What they don’t know is that Bobby is still with them, as a ghost, doing everything in his presently limited power to make them aware of his presence. Sam, however, has rationalized the manifestations as him and Dean wanting to believe Bobby is still with them. This is minor smackable moment number one, which could be ignored, if not for the bigger ones that come later. It turns out that Bobby is tied to his old flask, which Dean now keeps as a cherished possession.
Fellow hunter Annie (Jamie Luner) calls Sam and Dean, as she still has some of Bobby’s old books and would like to meet up and give the tomes to the boys. However, when Annie goes to investigate a haunted mansion in Bodega Bay,California, she doesn’t make it out alive.
When Sam and Dean go in to investigate, Bobby comes along as well. He meets up with Annie – they can see each other as both are ghosts. Bobby and Annie had a romance once. We find out from Sam and Dean talking to each other about this that Annie also had brief flings with both of the boys – Sam while he was in his soulless phase – but Bobby doesn’t know about this. Bobby and Annie learn from the ghost of prostitute Victoria (Elysia Rotaru) – the place was once a brothel, then a speakeasy – that Van Ness (Anthony Cupo), the spectral master of the house, kills visitors to the house, then either feeds off their spirits or keeps their shades around for his amusement.
Bobby, having learned a little about how to manipulate objects, is able to steam up the boys’ motel room mirror and write “Annie trapped in house” and “Bobby” on the bathroom mirror. When Dean and Sam return to the house, they can finally see and hear Bobby. Bobby keeps the flask so that his essence can remain in the house and help Annie find her own body and those of Van Ness’ other victims while the boys go off to burn Van Ness’ bones in the local cemetery.
Van Ness secretly places an object on Dean so he can accompany the boys out of the house.
Annie and Bobby find the hidden room where Van Ness stores the bodies of his victims – when he burns the corpses in the fireplace there, it causes their ghosts to vanish, scaring the heck out of the remaining spirits. Annie asks Bobby what happens once ghosts leave the Earthly plane – Heaven, Hell, or nothing? Bobby says he thinks it’s nothing.
Right, because Bobby hasn’t seen Dean and Sam both come back from Hell and hasn’t been hanging around with the Archangel Castiel from Heaven – oh, wait, he has. Bobby seems to be trying to motivate Annie to stick around, but when Annie insists she doesn’t want to be a ghost and just wants the peace of oblivion, there’s no reason not to come clean. As soon as the bones are burned, Annie will find out that there’s something, so Bobby is either lying for no evident reason, or else he means what he’s saying and has therefore been ignoring major plot developments over most of the show’s seasons. Either way, slappable moment number two.
Van Ness then tries to kill them by attempting to cause a car crash. Sam and Dean find the object and destroy it by shooting it. This causes Van Ness to zap back to the house, where he almost kills Bobby’s ghost by shredding him (yes, BEING HUMAN reference, but it is a very similar technique). The boys save the day by burning Van Ness’ bones.
Sam and Dean burn the bodies in the house, including Annie’s, giving her the hunter’s funeral she wanted. Dean berates Bobby for not having gone with his reaper – Bobby could be in Heaven right now, taking it easy. Bobby says since life wasn’t easy, why should death be? They still have work to do. Dean protests this isn’t natural. Bobby, understandably annoyed, disappears, and Dean throws the flask in the trunk. Sam suggests maybe this could work and Dean again says he’s never heard of something like this working, it’s against the natural order, it won’t end well.
This is either slappable moment number three or punch-in-the-face moment number one, depending on how one does the math. Really, Dean? Because your dad making a deal for your life, you making a deal for Sam’s life, Castiel pulling you out of Hell, Sam coming back, Sam getting his soul back and on and on and on – okay, everybody should be dead and the Leviathans should inherit the Earth.
The sheer amnesia or illogic required aside, it is one of SUPERNATURAL’s less appealing qualities that there periodically needs to be angst, sulking and contrariness for its own sake. It’s particularly infuriating here, when Dean has been using his grief about losing Bobby as an excuse for heavy drinking, only to treat both the possible practical benefits of having Bobby back and Bobby’s own clear wishes in the matter as dark portents.
This aside, it is a pleasure to have Beaver back and Luner is a fine, grown-up guest star who has good presence individually and strong comradely chemistry with Beaver. “Of Grave Importance” does have a lot of forced gravity, but it has some worthy and even delightful moments as well.
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