I'm going to go on record that the opening of this episode was the creepiest thing I'd seen since the changelings. The minute the mom scraped that red paint off behind the wallpaper I knew something bad was going to happen. But that hand?? Reaching out and grabbing the little girl's ankle from under her bed?! Get out. That had me reaching for my pillow and curling up into a ball. Creepy. As. Hell. Add to that all those "sad people" trapped in the Soul Eater's nest later in the episode and they get bonus points for making me want to stand out in the sunshine when I was done watching.
Plus also cementing the reason our new house will be a new built structure. *shivers*
"Safe House" did absolutely nothing to move the primary story arch forward and I didn't care one bit. With 23 episodes a season, it's hard to keep focus on the primary goal every single time at bat and I thought the way the boys -- both now and a 'handful of years ago' -- recognized the fact that there was Something Big happening that they didn't have a resolution for yet so they may as well hunt what they could when they could was really well done. Like a nod to viewers that they realize we want answers--so do they!
This episode had feelings confetti scattered liberally throughout -- from humor to angst to nostalgia to longing, it had me exclaiming aloud more than once. I thought the pacing and editing was really well done, shifting easily between Dean and Sam in the Now and Bobby and Rufus back Then. After I hand-waved the plausibility of Sam immediately (and conveniently) thinking of Bobby and Rufus when the neighborhood watch lady mentioned two other FBI Agents coming by a handful of years ago, I simply sat back and enjoyed the way the boys retread the footprints their older counterparts had previously made.
And I loved how the writers created lore that literally folded the space-time continuum so that Bobby and Dean could have conceivably been in "the nest" of the Soul Eater at the same time. The moment they saw each other in that nest!house, I was emotionally compromised. Not even kidding.
There isn't much to recap/review about the plot itself, really. I mainly think Sam was desperate to get Dean out there and active and engaged because he could see the dangerous lows his brother was slipping to with no positive leads on Amara or Casifer. Saving Cas was prevalent on Dean's mind right up until the hunt got real. Sam probably has his paranormal radar going 24/7 just in case something that fits their kind of weird tweaks it and they can try for a distraction until a solution to their bigger problem presents itself. I liked that in the flashbacks we could immediately see Bobby was Dean and Rufus was Sam in the way they were approaching the hunt.
Man, I've missed Bobby. I loved that they set the Bobby-Rufus hunt right around the end of Season 5 when they were trying to stop the apocalypse and Bobby was worried about 'his boys'. I loved the rugged banter between Rufus and Bobby, the way they could convey they cared about each other without actually coming anywhere close to words of that effect. I enjoyed the subtle layers of their relationship that we were privy to in their conversations--such as Rufus refusing to dig graves during Shabbat or that they'd once hunted a Baku in Alaska.
I found it interesting that Rufus and Bobby didn't realize the same thing that Sam and Dean did about the Celtic sigil they used only 'trapping' the Soul Eater and not expelling the souls. Made me wonder what might have happened if the boys had never stumbled across this hunt years later. Since the Soul Eater's nest existed outside of our space and time, and since from that we are to (essentially) assume that Dean and Bobby were in the nest at the same time and Dean putting the sigil on the inside of the nest the same time Sam was on the outside was the act that killed the Soul Eater--thereby saving Bobby, the mother and son Bobby and Rufus were trying to save, and Kat and her mom...if the boys hadn't been there, Bobby would have died and so, so much would have been different.
I love it when they can time trip like that in a story and it actually works. Not like the pocket watch in Somewhere In Time (don't get me started). I also like that we stuck to the boys, the hunt, and the flashbacks. They didn't have The Darkness bleed into things beyond the Soul Eater using it as a ploy when he had control of Dean's body. Dean didn't see Amara or a Casifer or a giant dark cloud or anything when he was trapped in the nest. It felt clean that way. And I think that's what Sam meant when he said it was reassuring that all Dean saw was an image of him dead. Not something worse. Because they both know now that there is and can be worse.
All in all, this was a fantastic episode, full of nostalgia and heart and harkened back to the early seasons of the brothers' relationship and hunting--from the EMF readers to rock-paper-scissors to hunkering down in the motel room pouring through lore to figure out what the plan of attack should be. It was a good way to come back to the fold from hellatus and get us remembering why the brothers are so important to us, and why we need them to 'win this one,' as Sam declared. Because sometimes, we all need a reminder that the Oldest Rule isn't the best rule.
I think it's time for lists, as the first group will be mighty long. And I vote for more flashback episodes where we can see Bobby and Rufus again. Because.
- The creepy factor of the Soul Eater, from the ghost-like cold spots and lights flickering, to the disembodied footsteps, to that shriek-worthy hand grabbing at the ankle of the victim and hauling them away. *shudders*
- "Keep your head up. We're gonna win this one, remember?" Atta boy, Sammy.
- The label on the flashback reading "a handful of years ago."
- Bobby and Rufus as Agents Riggs and Murtaugh! HAHA! I cackled. lovinjackson - you know I thought of you! *grins*
- "It means it's officially none of your damn business. Ma'am." I missed you, Rufus
- B: "Were you ever nice?" R: "1985. Worst year of my life."
- "Do not religiously persecute me, Bobby."
- Bobby's journal reading, Possible ghost hunt with jackass.
- The boys mistakenly thinking that Rufus and Bobby didn't fight about what it was they were up against. Oh, the faith we have in our elders, forgetting occasionally that they're just as human as we are.
- Dean saying Son of a bitch. Just. Period. I will always and forever love how he says that.
- D: "There's gotta be an easier way to dig graves." --> transitioning immediately to Bobby using a convenient piece of heavy machinery to start the hole.
- Rufus claiming he doesn't dig graves on the Sabbath. B: "It's after sundown, so get to digging." R: "Good catch."
- Bobby confessing that he's worried about his boys. *rubs heart* I remember, man. I remember.
- R: "Not everyone is going to be that bus right home. Sacrifice, greater good, all that jazz. Oldest rule of hunting: you can't save everyone." So ironic to be hearing that from one of the ones who wasn't saved.
- Dean to Sam: "You were right, for once."
- The boys speaking in unison. I love it when they do that. I'm too easy to please. "This has happened before. You first."
- Love that Bobby and Rufus told Mary Henderson to never touch the wallpaper in the sitting room. That alone would be worth the bankruptcy in walking away from the mortgage.
- The research montage to (a very young sounding) Willie Nelson's "Night Life."
- Dean telling Bobby's story about facing the Soul Eater with his hunter friend like it was an old western.
- Bobby referring to the old Celtic sigil like a "break glass in case of emergency" sign.
- Dean saying that Bobby and Rufus would have been the "Grumpy Old Men of Letters."
- Dean immediately calling 'not it' when the boys realize one of them has to go inside the nest. And the ensuing game of rock/paper/scissors to settle on who it is.
- D: "We are never settling anything with that stupid game again." Haha!
- B: "Things are about to get hairy." R: "You want to hold my hand?" (And Bobby actually reaching for it at first! HAHA!)
- D: "Come and get me, you son of a bitch!" B: "Stay away from me, you son of a bitch!"
- Dean calling for Sam the moment he wakes inside the nest, having to close his eyes when he sees and image of Sam dead on the floor.
- Bobby's shocked, despondent gasp when he sees an image of Dean and Sam dead on the stairs in the nest. *rubs heart*
- Sam hauling an unconscious Dean into the kitchen with a tired, "I'm getting too old for this," exhale.
- Dean seeing Kat in the nest and immediately getting onto her level by introducing himself so that he's no longer a stranger to her.
- "I can't see her; it's too crowded in here now." Creep. Ee.
- Rufus to the Soul Eater!Bobby: "Why? So you can show me a bunch of messed up stuff in there while my fabulous body rots out here?"
- The Soul Eater!Dean vs Sam and Soul Eater!Bobby vs Rufus fight. Well done, both ways. The Sam v Dean one was especially rough, poor boys. Including Sam breaking a chair over Dean's back. Gah.
- Sam finishing the sigil and Dean in the nest seeing the people vanish one-by-one as they're set free. I swear, you guys, the moment he looks up on those stairs and he sees Bobby and Bobby sees him, I gasped and...goosebumps. All over.
- BEST MOMENT: Dean waking all groggy and aching (because, hello, chair) and Sam pulling him up into his arms to hold and support him with repeated whispers of, "You're okay, I gotcha." *heart explodes into feeling confetti*
- "Forget the oldest rule, Bobby."
- Rufus leaving Bobby the bottle of Johnny Walker. I have to wonder if that was the same one Bobby poured over his grave.
- Dean and Sam talking about the space-time continuum and Bobby and..."Let's get drunk and never think about this again."
- "How messed up are our lives that you seeing a vision of dead me is kind of comforting?"
- Both sets of hunters, in both times, driving away listening to the Allman Brothers' "Take It On the Road."
- That we don't get more episodes like this one. Seriously, there wasn't anything I couldn't hand-wave. I just sat back and enjoyed.
- What were the boys' FBI alias' this time? I thought I heard "Riser" and "Bean" but it didn't ring any music-related bells for me. I hate it when I don't get the inside joke on the alias names...help a gal out?
Because I had to watch this on my Kindle (our DVR freaked out on us while we were away in London, so I missed getting it recorded), I didn't see any previews, so I have no idea what to expect next week. With the way this season has been so far, though, I expect good things. Hope to see ya'll around!
Thanks for reading. Slainte!