I have to admit, when I heard that Jim Beaver was returning to Supernatural, I laughed with joy. Yes, his constant use of “Idjit” and gruffy-but-folksy ways can get a little grating. But the show was just better with him on it. He was the father the boys needed, when they needed one, and always provided a grounding touch on a series that, let’s face it, constantly balances on the edge of credulity. I should have read the articles announcing his appearance more closely. You see, I had assumed that, if they were bringing him back again, it would be to interact with the boys on some level. Instead, “Safe House” has the Winchesters—Dean especially—and Bobby living a weird parallel to the LadyHawke curse: existing in the same space but temporally out of sync. Except we’re the ones who suffer since they are pretty much oblivious to what’s happening. The house is the extra-dimensional Nest of a Soul Eater, a creature who—you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise—traps but doesn’t really seem to do much eating of souls. Or at least, the souls seem to be more like bubblegum than food since there’s no evidence that any of the ones trapped in the Nest ever really expire; the physical bodies they have been stolen from, on the other hand, wither away without their souls and die. And it’s those bodies, found collapsed in comas both in the Sam and Dean’s current moment in time and at some moment in Bobby’s past, in the same house that tie together the two storylines in “Safe House.” The premise is a good one with plenty of potential, as Dean and Sam struggle to solve the same mystery that Bobby and Rufus (played by Steven Williams) face in their own time. Bobby has run into a Soul Eater before and the Winchesters have the knowledge of the Men of Letters to draw on, leading both teams to split up, one member entering the Nest to place one sigil while the other remains outside to place the other which will trap (or hopefully kill) the Soul Eater. The possibility for playing between and off of each time should have made for some real fun and some real heart. Instead, we get a lot of pointless repetition with some cute character moments thrown in. Very little new information, for example, is revealed in the Bobby/Rufus storyline that isn’t just as easily garnered (or outright repeated) by the still living witnesses to the first incident that Sam and Dean interview in their own investigation. And while the episode has Dean and Bobby trapped in the same extra-dimensional plane for about a third of the time, they catch only a brief glimpse of each other, exchange no words, and are half-convinced that what they saw was just the Soul Eater messing with them (even though the sighting was after the creature was dead—Dean and Bobby were never much for critical thinking). The entire thing comes off more like one of those cases where one of the stars of a show is off shooting a film and so the writers have to develop a storyline to explain why he’s in the story but never actually in the room with any of the other characters—because of the logistics of having to have him shoot all his scenes weeks before or after everyone else to accommodate the movie’s filming schedule. This is a show where people regularly return from the dead or the living blithely visit heaven and hell. Why on Earth go to the trouble of bringing Jim Beaver back if we’re not going to get even a single scene with him and the boys in the same room, at the same time, in the same dimension, and actually aware that it’s happening? One of the interesting things about “Safe House,” however, is, as I said, the character moments. One of the ones I liked was when Dean reveals that the Soul Eater did show him Sam’s dead body in the Nest as a way to torment him. Sam points out how twisted it is that the very idea that he was dead—he might as well have said “merely dead”—was actually comforting rather than distressing. I’m not sure that that was supposed to be a lead-in to “Red Meat,” but it sure felt like it. Because dead, or at least apparently so, is precisely how Sam ends up in the werewolf tale. Of course, dead is hardly out of the ordinary for either Sam or Dean, and that’s part of the point of “Red Meat.” Writers Robert Berens and Andrew Dabb were obviously making a point of this, as was director Nina Lopez-Corrado and editor Nicole Baer, who chose to include Billie the Reaper in the “Then” opening sequence. Billie’s made it abundantly clear that she takes personally the sheer number of times the Winchesters have cheated death, and she’s not about to let them do it one more time on her watch. So when Sam and Dean stumble into the lair of some pureblood werewolves (or, rather, are directed there by what is obviously, from almost her first line, the den mother) and save a couple of dewy-eyed victims only to have one of those victims turn on Sam and kill him because—in his wounded state—he’s slowing them down too much as they try to escape the remaining pack, Dean does what comes naturally to a Winchester: he kills himself (temporarily) in order to have a few last words with his brother. Except, Billie gleefully informs him, Sam isn’t dead, but she’s only too pleased to reap him since he’s kind enough to deliver himself to her so easily. Of course, Dean isn’t stupid, and it’s just at that moment that the doctor he asked the girl he saved to bring to save him in return manages to pull him back from the brinks. Billie must be pissed. In the meantime, it turns out that the guy who “killed” Sam partly did so because he got bit and so had (probably) already started turning the requisite evil to allow him to murder Sam in cold blood with his bare hands. Now fully in his wolfie glory, he kills not only the doctor who tended to the woman he loved enough to commit homicide to save but the cop who got them out of the woods. Dean was next on his hit list until a very-much-alive Sam turns up and kills him, leaving his mousy but completely sympathetic girlfriend to both grieve him and be shamed by him. If it’s unclear what the point of all this is, you’re a Supernatural fan. In other words, you’ve seen the two points made so often, you barely notice them anymore: First, the Winchesters are seriously dysfunctional when it comes to each other and will literally get themselves killed trying to save the other. Second—and regularly illustrated through a parallel relationship—this tendency will often lead them to go to length that not only endanger themselves but get other people killed…sometimes even lead to them actively killing other people to get what they want. If any of this was new to you: welcome to the Supernatural family! You’re gonna see this storyline a lot. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.