THEN: Rufus!!!!!! And Bobby!!!!!!!
Guys, I made a wish - a wish for old Bobby - and it came true. Bobby and Rufus are back. Not dead, not angels or ghosts or angry spirits or figments of anybody's imagination. Just good old Rufus and Bobby.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
A woman is scraping wallpaper and just as she reveals some ominous-looking red lines, she hears her daughter scream. The lights are flickering and the kid's room is cold and she hears footsteps and then my own daughter, who is a lot older than this kid, covers her eyes. Which is a good thing because the kid hides under her bed and gets dragged out by something gripping her leg and who hasn't had nightmares about that?
Swirly title card of darkness!
The boys are at a diner, and finding nothing on Amara or Cas. Sam tells Dean to keep his head up, which is exactly what he told the kid with the lousy dad in the last episode, isn't it? (I started to type "last week" but jeez, it's been almost a month.) It's been two weeks in Winchester time, so Sam thinks it's time to take on a hunt. Dean doesn't think they should take their "eye off the prize," but Sam says they can't just sit around and do nothing, and a win would be nice, and ironically, this is also a conversation they had in the last episode, except they've switched sides.
We next see them at St. Eligius hospital, and wasn't that the name of the hospital in St. Elsewhere? Which I didn't watch but, like Cas, I've absorbed some knowledge about it? Would that be meaningful at all? The mom whose daughter was dragged out from under the bed (eeeee!!!!) tells us her wife is on her way home from an out of the country trip, and somewhere, someone probably says "That's your problem, you dang lesbians, you angered God with your lifestyle choices." She doesn't know why the FBI cares about her case and the guys don't really have a good reason but she tells them where her house key is hidden anyway and dang, they look nice in their suits, don't they?
But I do have to say, the orange tie is a bad lifestyle choice, Sam.
(And also? If you haven't already seen it, look for "The Internet Thinks You're Crazy." Though I imagine you've already seen it, if you're here. If not, google it. No, I'm not going to do it for you. Have some self-respect.)
There's a mark on her daughter's leg where she was grabbed (eeeee!!!!) and of course no one knows she was grabbed, and I guess that's why no one notices it looks like fingers. You know who leaves marks like that when they grab you and drag you out of Hell? An angel. Not that this case ends up having anything to do with angels, but that's where my head went at the time. (Spoiler alert: my head went the wrong direction in some pretty major ways.)
The guys arrive at the house and are accosted by the woman next door, who is the head of the neighborhood watch so of course she knows two other FBI agents - rude ones - visited the house "a handful of years ago." The fact that there were two of them and they were rude is all the information Sam needs to guess that it was Bobby and Rufus, and normally I'd be giving the side eye here, but I'm going to handwave anything hinky about this episode because it just makes me So. Fucking. Happy.
Flashback to "a handful of years ago," which we will soon determine is season 4. Bobby is in a suit, dozing outside the very same house in his crappy Chevy Nova, or whatever it is, and didn't that thing used to be blue? With a white stripe on the hood? Rufus shows up and it turns out he asked Bobby to help on a case. He wonders why Bobby is sleeping in his car, but Bobby refuses to answer, and he's annoyed that Rufus roped him into a normal hunt when the apocalypse is on the horizon. Rufus points out that they don't have anything that's going to help them with the apocalypse right now, and a win would be nice, so I guess we're setting Bobby and Rufus up as Dean and Sam, respectively. Well, Rufus is taller. Also, he needs Bobby to help him with the heavy lifting, since it's Shabbat. Lord, I love these two. I think I want a Bobby/Rufus spinoff even more than I want a Wayward Daughters spinoff.
"Less talking. More hunting."
The neighborhood watch lady stops them, just like she'll stop Sam and Dean a handful of years later. Bobby identifies them as Riggs and Murtaugh (heeee!!!!!) and Rufus tells her it's officially none of her damn business and he is both awesome and accurate.
They knock on the door, and then we see the door from the inside, but it opens to reveal Dean and Sam entering, and you know what? I just love little visual gimmicks like that. I don't care if it's a cliche, it makes me happy. Their EMF meters squeal madly throughout the entire house. They wonder if it's too much of a coincidence that a house Bobby and Rufus investigated would have a second ghost, but luckily Dean's got some of Bobby's old journals in the car (seriously? handwaving that one too), so they'll read up on it.
Cut to Bobby and Rufus interviewing the mom in their case. It sounds a lot like the current case, except she did recognize the strange mark as a handprint. Rufus then asks about affordable motels, because unlike Bobby, he's not going to sleep in the car, I suppose.
At the same affordable motel, Sam says he found out two FBI agents stayed there years ago and he got the same room for luck, and really? I'm going to have to handwave this too, because it's kind of stupid. They don't need an excuse to be in the same room. Just put them in there. We'll figure it out, guys. We're smart.
I love this shot of Dean leaning against the Impala. Just one more reason I've handwaved three things so far.
Back to Bobby and Rufus, and Bobby still refuses to say why he was sleeping in the car. Bobby has a realtor's report on the house because, according to Rufus, you have to disclose who died in a house when you sell it. And I don't think that's true? But that's not even a handwave. Just a "whatever."
Back to Sam and Dean (sorry, this is going to get old.) There were two deaths in the house, Sam reports - a murder, and an accidental choking.
Sam is adorable and also appears to not be wearing a t-shirt under this.
Bobby's entire entry on this hunt is "possible ghost hunt with jackass," which isn't helpful. They don't know which death is the ghost. Dean's immediately convinced they'll need to dig up two graves to salt and burn, but Sam thinks that's suspiciously easy.
Rufus is definitely Sam in this episode, because Bobby's accusing him of trying to make things too complicated. He also thinks its suspiciously easy, and suspects it's a baku, and they bet a bottle of Johnnie Walker on whether it's a baku or a ghost.
Sam and Dean dig up the first grave and discover it's full of ashes, so obviously Rufus and Bobby got to it. (Then why does the coffin still have a lid? Don't they destroy those when they do a salt and burn? Handwave #4!) Poor Dean is worn out and complains that there's got to be a better way to dig graves.
Yes, there is, and Bobby's operating it - he's excavating with a backhoe. (Handwave #5 - in Weekend at Bobby's, which would have been after this incident, Rufus is surprised at Bobby's backhoe, like he never thought of using one.) Rufus claims he can't work because it's the sabbath, but he can't fool Bobby, who knows it ends at sundown. While Rufus digs, they have this conversation:
Bobby, can I ask you something?
Long as it's not about why I was sleeping in my car earlier.
Why were you sleeping in your car earlier?
Bobby finally admits he's been researching all night, trying to find a way to stop the apocalypse, because "I'm worried about my boys." (MY BOYS!!!!!) Rufus/Sam reminds him of the oldest rule of hunting: Even if you're successful, not everybody makes it out alive. You can't save everyone.
Cut to his boys opening the second coffin (and I love the coffin POV) and finding it also full of ashes, and Dean's "aw, come on!" brings me joy. But this means they're not hunting a ghost, so what is it?
Meanwhile, the mom in the current case goes into her daughter's room and whoops, gets dragged under the bed. Back at the hospital, Dean talks on the phone and Sam walks down the hall fast enough to make his hair move.
And it's a good thing.
Sam drags Dean over to talk to a doctor who worked on the first case. The mom and son in that case were in comas, with their vital signs failing, until they spontaneously came around. They go talk to the original mom, who tells them the other FBI agents warned her never to touch the wallpaper. And that while she was in her coma, she had a nightmare that she was in the house, but it wasn't the house, and everything was dark and faded and she saw things, like her husband being dead. She closed her eyes and when she opened them, he was gone, and then she saw other spirits. And then they abandoned the house, which I guess is why she couldn't warn the current owners to leave the damn wallpaper alone.
Back at the haunted house, Sam discovers a damaged sigil under the partially-removed wallpaper. Dean says he "vaguely" recognizes it, and they start researching, and we flip back and forth very nicely between Sam/Dean and Rufus/Bobby doing the same thing. One of the books they use is on fallen angels, so I think again that it might be an angel thing, and once again I'm wrong. Bobby and Rufus determine it's a soul eater, and I ask The Kid if that's something from Harry Potter, and she says kind of but not really. I wouldn't know. In Supernatural, a soul eater is something that exists in a place outside of time and space, and that's where it builds its nest. The nest looks and feels like the house it's in. The soul eaters yank a victim's soul into their nest. As Sam says, "the soul eater messes with the victim's head, shows them things they love, parts of their soul in distress; it keeps the victim's soul vulnerable." Okay, now I see where they're going with this. Dean's going to get yanked into the nest and he's going to see Amara, because we have to be reminded once again that he's bound to her, and I'm kind of tired of that. (Spoiler alert: Remember when I told you I was wrong about many things? Mostly this.)
The remains of all the souls stay with the soul eater and move with it from nest to nest. Like cud. Rufus is right; it sounds perfectly awful. Bobby says they can't kill a soul eater, but they can trap it, because Bobby's done it before, in Tennessee. He had an old celtic sigil that traps monsters and hey! Where have we seen an old celtic sigil that traps monsters before? It would be cool if this looked like the other one, but it didn't. Oh well. Bobby was able to trap the soul eater, but the hunter he was trying to save didn't make it, and Rufus reminds him again of the oldest rule in hunting.
Sam and Dean don't quite understand how the earlier victims escaped if the soul eater was only trapped, not killed. And honestly, neither do I (handwave!). Sam hypothesizes that trap forced them out of the nest, and then finds really quickly (like, really, really quickly) that the MoL had figured out how to kill soul eaters. It's a more complicated sigil, and they need two of them - one person needs to paint it in the house while the other paints it inside the nest. Which means someone has to get nabbed by the soul eater and go in the nest. Dean immediately says "not it," which is a little weird for Dean, since he's usually the one trying to push Sam out of the way of the speeding bus. Sam doesn't want to do it either, so he challenges him to rock paper scissors and we're back to normal, i.e., Dean losing.
We cut back and forth between the past and the current, with Rufus/Sam painting their sigils and Bobby/Dean investigating weird noises, and it's creepy as fuck. Dean knows what's coming and that he has to let it happen, which probably makes it worse. And which is why he says "come and get me, you son of a bitch," while Bobby says "stay away from me, you son of a bitch." They both get grabbed and dragged. We see Dean wake up first, in the nest version of the house - it's even darker and creepier, which I wouldn't have thought possible. He opens the door to the room where he left Sam and finds him dead on the floor. That's right, Dean sees Sam!!! The thing he loves, the part of his soul in distress, it's not Amara, it's Sam. Oh, Robbie Thompson. I'm sorry I doubted you. Heart eyes all around!!!!!!
And is it a coincidence that this reminds me so much of All Hell Breaks Loose?
Dean stops, and closes his eyes, and it wasn't until rewatch that I realized it's not just the closed-eyes-and-swallow of despair, but he's deliberately doing what mom #1 did when she saw her husband dead. It's still very distressing. And lucky for me, Tumblr is all over it.
Lucky for ALL OF US.
Bobby, on the other hand, wakes up in the dark creepy nest and finds Sam and Dean dead on the stairs, and he doesn't know they're not real, so he's shocked and heartbroken. But he closes his eyes and they disappear, and then he finds the boy who was stuck there. The boy tells him about the "sad people" he can see, and damn. These people are more spooky than sad. They're the victims who are dragged from nest to nest by the soul eater, and Bobby can't see them yet. Meanwhile, Rufus finds Bobby's meatsuit unconscious (and soulless) on the floor, and reminds him once again of the oldest rule of hunting before he scurries off to finish the sigil.
Sam, on the other hand, doesn't care about the oldest rule of hunting - he carefully drags Dean's body into the kitchen where he's working, and mutters that he's getting too old for this. And we're getting a lot of references to the Winchesters getting old this season and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Sam then continues painting while Dean, in the nest, works on his own sigil. It's taking both Sam and Rufus a lot of time to paint what seems like a fairly simple sigil. But. You know.
The little girl victim shows up in Dean's part of the nest, and she can see the sad people too. Bobby and the boy look for mom, and suddenly Bobby can see the sad people. And also a guy in a hooded robe (stay away from the dog park!) who touches his chest and makes his eyes turn white. SoulEater!Bobby then shows up to attack Rufus. The same thing happens to Dean, except it's much hotter.
No, I don't know why I find this hot. Don't act like you didn't know I have some pretty serious issues.
SoulEater!Dean tells Sam he can't let him finish his fingerpainting and then punches him. And this reminds me of a story about In My Time of Dying which you might have heard... When Tessa is possessed by the yellow-eyed demon, the actress was actually wearing contacts. And she couldn't see a damn thing. So she was supposed to whirl around and touch Dean's forehead, but since she couldn't see, she kept missing. I have a feeling Jensen must be wearing contacts here, because look how high his aim is. It's like he's trying to punch Jared in the forehead. Which means poor Jensen thinks of Jared as being, like, a foot taller than him.
Watch out for his widow's peak!
SoulEater!Dean tells Sam that if he comes with him, he can keep him safe from the Darkness. So once again, even the monsters are aware of the Darkness. He also tells Sam his brother wants to go to the Darkness - can the soul eater read minds? They fight each other pretty violently, and Sam putting up a hand and trying to talk to the Dean inside reminds me so much of his confrontation with Demon!Dean in Reichenbach.
"Yes, I know my hair looks bad here. Stop making fun of me. It's not my fault."
Sam whacks Dean across the back with a kitchen chair, which doesn't seem like a good way to knock someone out, but, well, I've never done it. Maybe it works really well. Rufus/Sam finally complete their sigils, and Nest!Dean sees that everyone caught in it is leaving. And he sees Bobby! Because the nest exists outside of time and space, so they were there at the same time! And my heart cracks open. But what happens next shatters it into a million little pieces, because Dean wakes up in the kitchen and Sam holds him and pats his arm and touches his head and says "I got you" and can we see a couple more minutes of this scene? Please?
No, but at least I can give you a gif. Thanks, Tumblr.
Afterward, we see Bobby pasting wallpaper over the sigil - the same wallpaper that mom #2 is going to try to remove in a handful of years. He gets a call from Rufus, who's at the hospital. Rufus says everyone's waking up, and it was a baku, and Bobby owes him a bottle of Johnnie Walker. He also notices Bobby seems upset, and asks him what he saw in the nest. And here's the thing. If Bobby saw Dean in the nest, and he knows it exists outside of space and time, then he knows Dean must have been trapped after he was, right? Which means Dean probably survives the apocalypse? I'd think that would make him hopeful, not sad. But I'm probably missing something important. Anyway, Bobby tells him he saw his boys, dead, and Rufus tells him to forget the oldest rule. And if Rufus is Sam, that means Sam's not going to leave anyone behind. But we already knew that, didn't we?
And Robbie Thompson has one more gift for us, because do you remember this? From Time after Time? When Jody finds the bottle of whiskey in Bobby's things, with a note from Rufus?
Well, guess what Rufus left in Bobby's car. (More heart eyes coming your way, Robbie Thompson!)
Don't you love it when we see evidence that a writer actually watches the show?
(Excuse me for a minute, I'm dealing with some pretty serious Sam/Jody feelings right now.)
Then Bobby gets a call from Dean, who has a possible lead on Lilith, and he drives away from the house to the tune of "Midnight Rider."
As Sam and Dean leave the house, they try to figure out if Bobby was really there, and I get a good dose of adorably befuddled Sam. But not before Sam decides they need to go finish Bobby's earlier soul eater case in Tennessee, and Dean says this time Sam's going in the nest, and is something going to happen? Are we going to get a follow up??? Is something going to happen to Sam in the nest? No, don't tell me. You know I don't want to know. And we also get Dean saying "Let's get drunk and never think about this again," which ranks right up there with "don't know, don't care; we got any hand grenades?" as a line I'll feel compelled to use over and over until you're sick of it.
Sam needs to be befuddled more often.
Then Sam asks Dean what else he saw in the nest and I really, really expect him to say "nothing," or "I'm not sure," or, you know. Typical Dean deflection. But he says "I saw you. Dead on the floor." And Sam says "How messed up are our lives that you seeing a vision of dead me is kind of comforting?" Oh, Sam. It breaks my heart that you're still seeking confirmation that Dean loves you.
Then they drive off, also to the tune of "Midnight Rider" on the radio. ("I've got to run to keep from hiding." Does it mean anything???? Don't tell me. You know I don't want to know.)
So, what was my handwave count? 6? 7? I don't care. This episode is precious to me. I love, love, love seeing Bobby and Rufus in action again. I love the intercutting between the two stories. I love that the MotW is really fucking creepy. I love Dean and Sam working so well together and talking and you know, the whole "part of your soul in distress" thing. I love the callback to an earlier episode. I just love. What about you?
No spoilers (including the previews) in the comments, please!