I haven’t been an extremely happy camper for a lot of Supernatural season five. There’s been some standout episodes, and then stuff that felt mostly like filler. Much as I love filler when Alyson Hannigan sings about it, (“I think this line’s mostly filler” – Willow Rosenberg “Once More with Feeling” Buffy the Vampire Slayer) I don’t love watching it. But last Thursday’s “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” episode gave us core material to love. Not only did the episode deal with the current situation of Angels/Demons/Lucifer/Michael/Aaah but it also brought us back to one of the defining aspects of a main character’s life. That character was Bobby Singer, and Jim Beaver delivered for us.
The episode revolved around dead people rising from the grave. In a word: zombies. But rather than arrive in their full-on grotesque “Let me eat your brains, and your little dogs’ too!” glory, they blew into town with patience and received acceptance by their loved ones. I mean, they didn’t eat your brains – they made you pies and gave you back what you’d missed so much! But in the end, the zombies got hungry and needed to feast upon human flesh. This gave us one scene where a tender little boy rises up from his Dad on the floor, his mouth and chin covered with blood, a piece of his father’s intestine dropping from his hands. Truly disturbing. Within the moments of heartbreak was humor, at least (one word: “Fargo”). And the brotherly bonds of how Sam showed up for Dean and Bobby at the last moment? Fantastic. The way Bobby seemed like a father figure to both of the boys, how Bobby was targeted by the Angel of death, the way the townsfolk were protecting the zombies, and how Bobby called Digger the town drunk when it was actually he who was – all of it was great.
My favorite scene hands down was Bobby and Dean fighting off zombies in Bobby’s junkyard. I don’t usually like action sequences, I’ll zone out. But this was just amazing. My problems are few and far-between: How does a wheelchair bound Bobby create a fire area to burn his wife and put her in there? (If Dean/Sam helped, why did they leave and come back. It’s clunky, but you can rationalize it pretty easy anyway) The message from Death, and the reason for targeting that town was to demonstrate that it was easy to get to Bobby. But uh, that just seems like a lackluster message. If you’re death, I pretty much assume you can get to anyone. And if you’re Death and you fail, that isn’t building up your reputation too well. Finally, how did my thumb become so sore? I didn’t thumb wrestle anytime recently.
At the end, Bobby’s silence rises up and creates a more powerful statement than any amount of words. He can’t explain whether his spirit is broken, won’t admit the price he just paid. I think this weakens him mostly temporarily, but then gives him that steely resolve. But if we see the end of Bobby this season (I think we might) methinks he’ll feel guilt (to leave the boys/the fight) but glad to go. And it’s hard for someone to say “yes but also no”, so – we get uncomfortable, “don’t even ask” silence. Powerful writing and acting right there, ladies and gents. That’s our show. That’s why we love it.
We have seven weeks of new Supernatural episodes until the finale on May 13. I cannot wait to see what they do for Supernatural‘s 100th episode (airing April 15th, 2010). My guess is that we won’t see much of Lucifer until season six. But what do you think?