Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jim Beaver, Steven Williams, Janet McLean, Holly Elissa, Michele Scarabelli
Writers: Robbie Thompson, series created by Eric Kripke
Director: Stefan Pleszczynski
Network: The CW, Wednesdays @ 9 PM
Original Airdate: March 23, 2016
Jim Beaver’s father-figure character Bobby Singer died back in Season 7, but this being SUPERNATURAL, that’s not necessarily a goodbye. Bobby has since turned up as a ghost and then in Heaven. In the Season 11 episode “Safe House, he’s seen mainly in flashback, as he and fellow Hunter Rufus (Steven Williams) investigated a haunted house a few years back. Now Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) are looking into a similar incident on the same spot.
The entity responsible for the “haunting” isn’t a ghost, but rather a Soul Eater that puts its victims into comas. The victims are then transported to a “nest” between worlds that looks exactly like a scary version of the house, where they are trapped with the Soul Eater as their mortal bodies die.
In his time, Bobby is worried about the boys (they’re all in the middle of a pre-Season 7 crisis). In the present, Sam and Dean discover that Bobby and Rufus came out here years ago, though there’s no reference to it in Bobby’s journals.
In both cases, similar events transpire. The Soul Eater possesses Bobby, who attacks Rufus; later, the Soul Eater possesses Dean, who attacks Sam. As Dean, the Soul Eater tells Sam that it will protect the brothers from the Darkness – all they have to do is come with it, and they can stay safe forever in the nest. No surprise, Sam doesn’t accept the Soul Eater’s deal.
Bobby has discovered a sigil that banishes the Soul Eater. In their time, Sam and Dean read about the sigil in the Men of Letters’ literature. The challenge is that the sigil needs to be painted on the wall in the house – and painted simultaneously in the same place inside the house in the nest, outside of space and time.
Bobby and Dean separately let the Soul Eater capture them so that they can get into the nest to paint the sigil. This means their bodies are comatose and dying in our world. As they manage to fight off the Soul Eater and paint the sigil, Bobby and Dean see one another.
Bobby and Rufus successfully painted the sigil in their time – but when the house was sold, the sigil was marred, allowing the Soul Eater to return. This time, Sam and Dean do a better job. Dean believes that, as they were in a realm where real time does not exist, he and Bobby really saw one another.
We haven’t seen Bobby this season, and “Safe House” has an ingenious way of bringing him on without a bunch of complications. For that matter, the whole structure of Robbie Thompson’s script, with how the sigil works and the particulars of the Soul Eater’s universe, is nicely done. It’s detailed, it keeps us curious, but it’s not so intricate that we lose track of it.
Finally, given the difficulty of putting Bobby and the boys together these days, the moment when Bobby and Dean see one another is honestly affecting.
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Article: TV Review: SUPERNATURAL – Season 11 – “Safe House”