Sera Gamble can write a brilliant episode and she did with this one.  Unfortunately, Sera also kills the characters off and she did that here too.

There was a movie in 1977 called A Bridge Too Far which was an adaptation of the novel by the same name; it was about a World War II military operation by the Allied troops; the operation failed.  The book/movie title comes from a comment made by one of the generals (allegedly) in which he suggested, while the plan was being formulated, that they may be ‘going a bridge too far.’  For me, Supernatural (and by proxy, Sera Gamble) has gone a death too far.

I’m going to discuss this episode itself as well as what it shows me about the state of Supernatural.  The episode is beautiful, the only flaws are in the ‘real time’ interactions between Dean and Sam for they tell the tale only too well of why it is dangerous and, for me, fatal that this show has decided to shrink its universe down to two characters only.


For a swan song for Jim Beaver this episode delivers!  (I don’t even *need* to say that Jim Beaver delivers but oh, how he does!!!!)

I love that we had so much insight into how Bobby came to be, filling in so many blanks of his childhood, why perhaps he clashed with John as he did (not just in this episode but also as in how we first met him in Devil’s Trap), why the death of his wife has even deeper grief for him… “We never got to get past this.” Oh, the agony!  We got to spend time with Bobby and Rufus (how I miss you, Rufus!) and I so enjoy the interplay of those two characters.  (Need I even say Rufus’ death last season was pointless and unnecessary?  No, I’m sure I don’t, some will agree with me, some won’t; however, I stand by my initial thoughts after his death, there was no point in it.  Rufus died simply because Supernatural kills off characters.)



I love the memories of Bobby in his interactions with Sam and Dean, teaching Dean to play catch, listening to the brotherly bickering over movie night and the snacks…sob!!!!!

I find it distinctly poignant to realize that Bobby’s memories of Sam and Dean are clearly the memories from years in the past.  There is a lightness to both Sam and Dean in those scenes that to me states loud and clear that those events in no way occurred after Sam’s return from hell, for there was no lightness and joy in Season 6 for either brother.  I also do not believe that those memories could have occurred in Season 5 and find it doubtful that they occurred during Season 4 either.  To me this is symptomatic of how dark, depressing and desolate Supernatural has become.  And here is where I turn my thoughts to what this episode means for the state of Supernatural.

Do I believe Bobby is dead?  Yes, wholeheartedly (and sorrowfully) I believe Bobby is dead.  I believe the first inkling of Bobby’s death was in the destruction of Bobby’s house (never properly lamented) to the desperation and suicidal moment with Dean’s phone call (never properly acknowledged or built upon) to Bobby’s lame attempt (lame because of writing, not the character or the actor) to get Sam and Dean individually to ‘better’ places.  This was all ways for the character to be seen as loosing everything and ‘putting things in order’ (ie Sam and Dean.)

In seasons past Supernatural had writers (of which Sera was one of them) that knew how to get at the core of the emotional issues and bring them out in beautiful ways, sometimes through humor, sometimes through gore, sometimes through chick/flick moments.  For far too long however this show has decided to take the path of least resistance and simply bury the issues down, sweep them aside, gloss over them or simply pretend they never happened.  Bobby’s house burns down, no worries, Sheriff Mills plays clean up for an episode and Bobby has all his books stashed at Rufus’ old hideout.  Never mind that Bobby’s house was where he grew up, where he was married, where he killed his wife, where he met the Winchesters, where they at times lived…it was due a memorial in some manner; at least a few passing words.  Nope, pretend it never was.  Same thing with Dean’s near suicidal phone call to Bobby at the end of Episode 7.02; Dean gets a pat on the cheek and all is well.

Sam’s wall fell (thanks to Cas)…let’s just gloss over that.  A few moments of true brilliance but then, because the writers set themselves up for this epic fail of a storyline back when they planned (?) season 6, we’re all left with the occasional glimpse of a slightly wilted Sam pressing on his scarred palm.  I was never a fan of the storyline because it could only ever be this awful upon execution.  Sam never should have stayed in hell for multiple reasons:  SPN writes its own rules on heaven and hell, thus it simply should have been God/Chuck delivering Sam from Lucifer’s cage, not a ‘confident’ Castiel – horrible retconning of all it took to break Lucifer from the box in the first place.  I’d have rather explored the idea that a fully intact Sam decided to leave Dean to the apple pie life only to return when he realized the hunt was coming for Dean.  That conflict would not have been great but I believe it would have come from the heart of Sam yearning for his brother to have some normalcy…as misplaced as allowing Dean to grieve Sam’s death would be it would have played better (to me) than this debacle.

I won’t even go into the mess of the Amy storyline but to say that the writers should have had Sam and Dean work together (with Dean only laid up with broken ribs for goodness sake, that would be slightly more believable) and Sam be totally truthful about letting Amy go and Dean being entirely honest and saying he trusted Sam and actually do it…TRUST.  End of Amy…she’s out living with her son with fair warning that the Winchesters (Sam in particular) are watching.  They let the witches live just a few weeks later, why not Amy?

The writers have found their niche in setting up ridiculous tension between the brothers and never truly clearing the air.  I love Bobby and know that his attempts to get the brothers to be closer and heal would have been much better handled were they handled as they had been in the past.  Bobby of all people knows that Sam and Dean are each other’s strength.  Rather than counseling Sam to take care of himself and not worry about Dean he should have supported Sam’s concern for Dean.  I know from experience when I am in despair and hurting I find healing and comfort when I can look past my own problems and help someone else in need.  I’m comforted by being able to be useful and the sharing of pain truly does ease mine own.  Also, Bobby, rather than shouting at Dean in anger telling him to ‘find a reason’ to get in the fight he should have known that Dean is always reached best when it is a near chick/flick moment.  We saw such moments in AHBL II in the salvage yard, as well as in DALDOM when he thanks Dean for saving him from the dream root nightmare and again in The Curious Case of Dean Winchester when Dean opens up to Bobby about how important Bobby is to them…Bobby knows that deep down Dean like the gentle emotional moments and in those he responds.

Similarly the writers need to stop blocking Sam’s attempts but rather push through and have Sam actually be able to reach Dean; this would require the writers to also alter their writing for Dean and have him not so walled off and blocking and denying Sam’s every attempt.  Sam reached Dean in “Everybody Loves A Clown” and “Croatoan” by being honest about his own pain and earnest in his desire to help Dean…we’ve not seen that in a long time.



“Death’s Door” showed such a contrast between Sam and Dean, Bobby’s memories of the boys are warm, sweet, tender, happy memories.  Contrast those to what was shown in the hospital as the brothers barely looked at each other, were on opposite sides of the room at times, had Dean walking away in his helplessness and anger and Sam sitting down in his agony and hallucinations.  Sera can say that the brothers are ‘tighter, stronger, more in step than they have been in a long time’ until the cows come home; it does not translate to what is shown on screen.  



Supernatural (Sera) killed off Bobby Singer.  Why?  Because she can.  Because she thinks it’s great drama.  Because the Winchesters are up against the worst possible evil there is.  Sorry, Sera, it’s one death too far.  The brothers are now alone in the world just like in Season 1 but this time there is no hunt for Bobby like there was for John; because Bobby is dead.  There’s no purpose, kill the thing that killed mom, because the Leviathans can’t be killed (and frankly the Leviathans can’t kill Sam and Dean either or they would have done so already, so they aren’t even that scary).  I’d stay with the show even with the silly Leviathan story, but you killed Bobby simply because you could.

Sorry, Sera, it’s one death too far. 
 

 

Comments  

fanotheboyz
# fanotheboyz 2011-12-05 01:56
I couldn't agree more. Great review.I can't see the purpose in having Bobby gone, either. He was a great mirror of reality and a grounding influence on Sam and Dean. I didn't want to believe they'd kill him, but looking back on all the clues, I think they have (or SHE has).

Bobby got his one-on-one moment with each "son" in the van. Whether we like the way it was written or not. I have conflicting views on that, but he got his moments. Then he told Dick he was old and near his end and why not just kill him. Then we have a few father-son moments with Bobby and the boys and him actually referring to them as "his boys". Then we had the final memory the reaper allowed and Bobby's final word- "idjits". I think it's pretty clear they wrapped him up with a pretty ribbon and are sending him off. I sooo wish it weren't so.

I agree it would be more meaningful to have the guys together in this as opposed to being on opposite sides of the room, but here I think is the set-up for each self-destructin g. Perhaps they'll realize they have a choice to support eachother and not implode with Dean's anger and Sam's sadness and hallucinations, . I believe that is what the writers are setting up. Otherwise, why the brimming over anger we saw from Dean, and the continued references to the "Denver Scramble" of Sam's mind?

Personally, I think the brothers could have been "tighter, stronger, and more instep" with Bobby as a catalyst for that change. He had been shown to be insightful with them from time to time. Sera threw out a big opportunity here. She chose to kill another beloved character instead of working out the path that Bobby could have taken to facilitate the boys working out their issues. And, sadly, I believe you are right; she chose to kill him because she could.

I can only hope that now they steer the ship toward some meaningful, and possibly emotional, healing and stability for these two. I would have loved to see Bobby be a part of that. Jim would have delivered beautifully, as he did in this last ep and always has. I am saddened to see him leave.

Oh yes, I know it's cheating, but I think from Jim's social media that he is at home and that J2 are in Vancouver, as they put out the "pantsless" "please vote" video! So apparently, they are there filming and Jim isn't.
cwolff
# cwolff 2011-12-05 09:31
As much as I don't want to I haveto agree that Bobby is dead. Similar to 'fanoftheboyz', I think Jim's Twitter posts are very revealing, especially when he said that this is the first full episode his daughter has watched. It would make sense that he let her watch his last episode. If true, I think it is a mistake. He has become as much a part of the show as Sam and Dean. I will miss him and his interactions with them.
Cathia
# Cathia 2011-12-05 09:55
Great review!! Yes, I survived Castiel's death because the angelic storyline became boring and it was high time to end it.
But Bobby? He was the only one solid point in the show.
Because Sera can...
elle
# elle 2011-12-05 14:56
I have faith he isn't a goner yet, elle2. I appreciate where you are coming from though, as always you articulate very well in your review. I hope the show keeps him alive. I could only see it fitting to truly end a character as beloved and special as Bobby if we were approaching the final episode of the series. I don't think this is the end though.
Geordiegirl1967
# Geordiegirl1967 2011-12-05 15:10
Sorry Elle, but I strongly feel that until we know Bobby's fate - and at the moment we don't - you should not be criticising sera for killing him 'just because she can'. I'm not denying that there have been needless character deaths in the past; Rufus definitely, Balthazar, maybe Gabriel. But others that really meant something like Ellen and Jo, John.

If Bobby IS dead then I'll be torn over which list to put him on; needless or meaningful. It was a wonderful, moving and fitting send off. However I don't want to lose him and I don't think the boys should have to lose him. BUT we do not yet know what will happen to Bobby. Yes it looks grim, but if it was definite it wouldn't have been a cliffhanger. So I find your preemptive criticism of Sera - whose writing here was IMO absolutely outstanding - pretty unfair.

On your comments about the bleakness, and the fact that the boys are a bit closed off from each other - I agree. But I think it is a believable aspect of where are and what they have been through. And actually I thought they did, quietly, support each other in the ep. Again, until we see how they deal with aftermath of losing Bobby (if they do) it is hard to judge.

I sense some bitterness infusing your review which I just don't share. I am loving s7. For me it is the best the show has been since s5, and FAR more enjoyable than s4 which I found much bleaker than this season.
rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2011-12-06 00:06
I totally agree with you,Geordiegirl 1967. I'm loving S7 and think it's great. I put it up there with S1 which is my favorite.

Elle2, I also feel that this review, while written well, is filled with bitterness which I don't share. Characters and actors return all the time to Supernatural. As it was reported tonight, Misha Collins is returning for 3 episodes. That's certainly great news. I don't really care if he returns as Castiel or another character as I know that Misha is a great actor who can bring such life to any character that he plays.

Bearing that in mind, who's to say that Bobby is dead! If he's not physically alive to interact with the boys, this can still be accomplished through flashbacks, etc. (although I will be sad if he does die) So, he will never be truly gone, just like Ellen and Jo and other great characters that have appeared on Supernatural.
rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2011-12-06 00:19
Plus Jim Beaver just tweeted this tonight:

Just because someone doesn't like the idea of someone dying doesn't mean someone DID. Settle down! ;-)

So Keep the Faith!
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2011-12-07 14:20
I agree with you and Geordiegirl. We don't really know yet if he is dead, and on SPN, the dead have a habit of coming back...hello Rufus! And although I like your reviews Elle2, I felt sadness while reading it. Sadness because I feel bad that such a fan of the show feels so let down. I am loving season 7 and I have great hope for the rest of it.
Belinda
# Belinda 2011-12-19 23:56
Characters and actors returns to SPN all the time is nowadays used as a crutch and excuse to placate the fans really. Just because characters can come back doesn't make it okay to kill them off in the first place. It doesn't change that it happens. And honestly, the whole Cas/Misha returning thing was something they needed to do after the crappy exit they gave him. But even a return isn't permanent and it certainly doesn't mean some epic storyline. The show nowadays is simply killing off characters because it can, just so Sam and Dean can be alone and have their story and that's sad because I for one am really not interested in just seeing Sam and Dean running around, it's those side characters whose interactions that brings something great to watch, and new layers for the boys. When you take all that away, the show is simply left with nothing and nowhere to go.

Sam and Dean may be the center of the story but why have their world be so claustrophobic? And even if characters come and go, all we ever gonna see are some token 5 min return like we saw with Ellen and Jo, it will never be some full return, and it's not enough.
Chevy
# Chevy 2011-12-05 17:14
Spot on. Really. You summed everything up perfectly and explained exactly how we all feel about it. I do believe that they killed him because they could. Because it made drama. Im curious to see where the show will go. Theyve lost eveyrone. They boys are completely alone now and up against a pointless monster that cant be destroyed. I dont see any real point to this season in terms of overall storyline and Im worried that if it gets picked up for another, what will they do then? I dont want it to turn all X-Files on us.
subwoofer
# subwoofer 2011-12-05 18:02
Yeah!
Dawn N
# Dawn N 2011-12-05 19:03
I'm torn over the idea that Bobby is dead. After watching the short clips for the Jan. 6th episode they just don't ring true for an episode that would follow such a profound death. The guys look okay and when Sam asks Dean "so, what's the plan" Dean's response is "not die." That doesn't seem like Dean is riding the razor's edge after Bobby's death. I fully agree this is "a death too far". I'm tired of this step being used and irritated that it was Bobby.

Perhaps, if he isn't killed off there is a possibilty that Jim isn't in Vancouver filming right now because Bobby is in a coma or maybe a rehab facilty for brain injuries. Maybe, they aren't going for the miracle fix or the death route. Imagine if the brain damage is such that he doesn't remember the boys,"his boys" that could open up some growth for the boys, too. They still have the connection but Bobby's doesn't, but there is the hope it could be regained some day. Or, perhaps, they plan to make new ones with Bobby.

I just can't wrap my mind around the fact they won't be able to revive Bobby in the ER and get him to surgery. I don't want a quick fix but I don't want him dead either. Plus, based on the random clips shown for ep 11 -- I can't believe the episode looks so non-mourning, the guys look okay despite the fact Sam is getting munched by what appears to be a vamp chick and Dean looks like he's gone back in time. It's confusing. If Bobby is dead then the follow-up episode appears to be doing a disservice to his death and Sam and Dean's grief process. Of course, sweeping under the rug does seem to be the way of SPN, as of late.

If Bobby is dead and Sera put out the kill order then I will be irritated, as there are plenty of other options rather than to dump yet another great loss in the boys lap, like another death. There are other fertile options out there. Hope springs eternal that Bobby is revived, but unless any major spoilers leak before Jan. 6th we'll just have to wait.
Joanne  Davies
# Joanne Davies 2011-12-05 19:21
I was so upset by Bobby's death. I truly wish it had not happened. But in the world of storytelling that is magic that I should mourn so much over a fictional character..that I feel he is real. And sadly death is real. I will keep watching Supernatural while I care so much. The most important part of Supernatural is Sam and Dean's story. Like Bobby I care about Sam and Dean. And care that they learn how to live their own lives side by side as two adults who love each other. The reason they cannot stay in the same room when they are both upset like they were in this episode is the overwhelming responsibility and co-dependence they both experience. Amazingly written. I work with trauma victims and people suffering grief and so many loving families are separated at such times. And Sam and Dean have had a lifetime of trauma. They each reflect trauma through different lenses too. Of which I am also so impressed with the writer's work. 9not to mention the actor's ;) But it can be healed. So besides loving the telling of a supernatural story that is kick-ass and complex but not, and never, descending into the extraneous puzzles that x-files did sometimes (though I watched that till the end cause i needed to just know!) I watch because I care about Sam and Dean...and I also have an inkling that Bobby will not leave their lives.
paintgirl770
# paintgirl770 2011-12-05 20:39
I believe that Bobby is dead, but that he said no to the reaper in order to be able to "stick around" and help his boys. The numbers - they could indeed be coordinates, or they could be some kind of combination to a lock or a keypad type locked door - probably in Roman's stronghold.
Regarding Sam's hand rubbing in the hospital, he cold also have been rubbing it just hoping against hope that the whole scene was a hallucination. Both characters were spot on, in the writing and the acting.
Man, it's going to be a long wait until January. Oh and Dean likes licorice and Sammy likes peanut butter and banana sandwiches? How did we know know this?!