Episode Title: "Death's Door"
Writer: Sera Gamble
Director: Robert Singer
Previously on "Supernatural":
In the aftermath of their escape from Dick Roman (James Patrick Stuart) and the other Leviathans, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) realize that their mentor, Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) took a bullet to the head and they race him to a hospital. In Bobby's fever dream, he flashes back to their last case when they discovered a body hanging from a tree. Bobby notices blood from his head wound and he realizes that he's dreaming. Bobby soon finds himself face-to-face with his wife Karen (Carrie Fleming) on an intimate occasion before he flashes back to a job with his old partner, Rufus Turner (Steven Williams).
Bobby also notices a young boy (Collin MacKechnie), who greatly resembles a much younger Bobby before Rufus is attacked and badly wounded by a ghost. Bobby takes out the ghost by burning her bones and he soon finds a Reaper (Henri Lubatti) in his mindscape, attempting to take Bobby to the afterlife. In reality, the Winchesters watch over Bobby as the doctors try to save his life. Back in the dream, Bobby greets Rufus coming out of the hospital and he recalls that Rufus described his near death experience in a way that closely matches what is happening to Bobby. Taking the chance, Bobby explains to Rufus that what's happening isn't real and asks for his help getting out.
In particular, Bobby has a set of numbers that he wants to pass on to Sam and Dean to warn them about the Leviathans' plans. Rufus tells Bobby that the only way out is to confront the memories that he's buried and doesn't want to deal with. At the beginning of their journey together, Bobby and Rufus find themselves back on the pivotal night that he broke Karen's heart about having children… three days before she became possessed and he had to kill her. Bobby acknowledges this as his greatest regret before they move on to a scene where Bobby bonded with Young Dean in 1989 over a game of catch.
When Bobby brings up the subject of his own drunken and abusive father (Edward Foy), Bobby and Rufus find themselves even further in Bobby's past as young Bobby and his mother (Chelah Horsdal) live in terror over Mr. Singer's violent temper during a family dinner. Rather than confront the issue, Bobby leaves the scene behind. He also comes up with a way to slow down the Reaper that is pursuing him. In reality, the doctors tell Sam and Dean that the bullet didn't fragment but there was definitely brain damage, and Bobby's survival is matter of his own will to live. Frustrated when one of the hospital staff tries to get him to sign over Bobby's organs as a donor, Dean lashes out and exits the hospital.
Outside, Dean finds Dick Roman lurking in a car and he challenges the Leviathan to fight him now. As a crowd gathers and begins filming the confrontation, Roman demurs to Dean that he's a very good shot and in turn, Dean promises that he's coming to take Roman out. In Bobby's mindscape, he and Rufus are able to recreate a binding spell for the Reaper; which actually works. But the Reaper points out that Bobby's memories are being destroyed by the bullet and once his memory of the room goes, the Reaper will be free. Realizing that the Reaper is right, Bobby finally returns to the tragic memories of his parents.
Bobby confronts the visage of his abusive father and says that he adopted two young boys who grew up to be heroes. Young Bobby also kills Mr. Singer after the older man violently strikes his wife, but Mrs. Singer isn't thankful and she tells Young Bobby that God will punish him. But older Bobby tells his younger self to bury their father behind the woodshed like they did before. Bobby then manages to wake up and briefly pass on the numbers to Sam and Dean before slipping back into his coma. Back in the mindscape, the Reaper tells Bobby that he has only one memory remaining: a night he watched action movies with his surrogate sons, Sam and Dean.
Satisfied that he saved the best memory for last, Bobby takes in the Winchesters' banter before they too fade away. The Reaper then gives Bobby one last choice to leave this world or remain to potentially die or be trapped in his broken body.
It's not always convincing when a TV series puts the life of one of its lead characters in jeopardy. But this week, "Supernatural" pulled it off.
Jim Beaver may not technically be one of the stars of this show, but let's face it: "Supernatural" just wouldn't be the same without Bobby Singer. And Beaver successfully carried this episode with another great performance.
The return of Steven Williams as Rufus Turner was also a nice touch and a great narrative device to explain why Bobby was having these particular flashbacks. Rufus was an entertaining guide and partner to Bobby; so much so that I wouldn't mind if the writers came up with an excuse to resurrect Rufus permanently. He's just too much fun as a character to leave him on the shelf for too long.
I haven't been that impressed with the creative directions chosen this season by "Supernatural" showrunner, Sera Gamble. But Gamble stepped up as the writer of this episode with some particularly poignant scenes between Bobby and his father, his wife and his surrogate sons. I don't recall if Bobby has previously recognized that he loves the Winchesters like they were his sons. Given the circumstances, it even makes sense why Bobby would shout that he had heroic sons towards the shade of his own father. There were also some great emotional beats between Bobby and his wife, Karen as well a few between Bobby and Rufus.
Out in the real world of the show, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles both convincingly played the anguish of the Winchesters. Dean's anger was particularly interesting to watch. Unfortunately, the lame Leviathans are still lurking in the background as the big bads of the season. I'm just not impressed by James Patrick Stuart's Dick Roman or any of the Leviathan characters. I don't hate them because they're great villains or they're intended to be hated. Instead, I hate the Leviathans because they are so incredibly annoying. Was losing Castiel really worth this?
Regardless, "Death's Door" had a very strong cliffhanger for the midseason finale and it made a compelling case both for keeping Bobby alive and for killing him off. If Bobby lives, he could further embrace his role as a father for the Winchesters. And if he dies, it will crush them.
But if this was the end of Bobby Singer, then it's hard to ask for a better way to go out.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.