This review may contain spoilers
As we feared, at the end of the last episode, Bobby (Jim Beaver) was shot in the head and it is very bad. At the hospital we spend a little time with the boys being sad. Sam (Jared Padalecki) wants to prepare for the worst but Dean (Jensen Ackles) is in complete denial, providing his brother no emotional support.
At one point, Dean goes outside to find a mocking Dick Roman (James Patrick Stuart). They have a confrontation ending with Dean loudly threatening to kill Dick that is filmed by a large audience of bystanders on their phones. One expects this to have repercussions later. Mostly, though, we are inside Bobby's mind.
Bobby relives three important events from his past plus recent events that he quickly realizes are not real. Bobby knows that he was shot in the head and that he is dying. A reaper (Henri Lubatti) comes for him, but because they are in the landscape of his mind he has some control over events.
A clue from Rufus (Steven Williams), who suffered a near fatal head wound while on a hunt with Bobby, says that if he can find "the door" buried within his worst memory and go through it, he can escape death. One of the important events is this hunt, and the aftermath, with Rufus.
The first candidate for worst memory is a confrontation with his wife, Karen (Carrie Anne Fleming). Three days before he was forced to kill her, they had a big fight. Even though Bobby knew she wanted children, it has now come out that Bobby refuses and this breaks her heart. Even more than killing her he regrets that they never had the chance to heal this breach. But that's not really his worst memory.
His worst memory is of an evening with his parents back when he was perhaps 10. His abusive father (Edward Foy) had totally cowed his mother (Chelah Horsdal), whose entire existence at this point was focused on creating a perfect home so that there would be no spark to set off the violence.
When little Bobby (Collin MacKechnie) accidentally spills his milk, his father loses all semblance of reason. Interspersed with historical events, Bobby has his chance to speak to his memory of his father. Dad was a cowardly bully. Bobby was so afraid of turning into his father that he never had kids, but he adopted two boys and they turned out great.
When Dad begins beating on Mom, little Bobby, who had been sent out for a broom, returns with a rifle and kills his father. His horrified mother tells little Bobby that God will punish him. Bobby reassures his younger self that the right thing was done, people saved are often not grateful and to bury Dad behind the shed. Of course, this memory is where his door is.
Bobby, whose real world condition had been fluctuating in accord with what he had been reliving, was stable and the boys happened to be with him when he wakes. Bobby tries unsuccessfully to speak, but Dean provides him with a pen and he writes on Sam's hand. His task complete, he is clearly at peace and says "Idjits" with a smile then flatlines.
It is an apt ending to a life well lived. Internally, Bobby is reliving a comfortable and happy moment with the boys when the reaper beckons. This is Bobby's last chance to move on with the reaper or become a revenant.
Fade to black to the sounds of the reaper's ticking watch as we look at Bobby's indecisive face.
Points Of Interest
1. Bobby's father, Ed, was an alcoholic, wife and child beater.
2. During Rufus' near death experience, he also had been locked within vignettes of his life. Unlike Bobby, when he escaped through the door within his worst memory, he lived.
3. Sam holds the correct opinions on the edibility of licorice (no) and Jet Li's superiority over Chuck Norris as an action hero (yes). Dean does not.
4. When the boys were young, Bobby would occasionally do normal things with them like play catch. Their father, John, felt that a moment not training was wasted and would fight with Bobby over this.
5. There is a glyph, charged by a spell, that traps a reaper, not unlike a devil's trap.
6. While waiting, Sam makes a gesture with his hands that reminds us of his Hell-coping mechanism. Has Phantom Lucifer appeared? Or is he just hoping that Bobby's imminent death is just an illusion?
7. As Bobby was dying, or more accurately as parts of his brain died, his internal world grew darker and more empty.
8. The information that Bobby absolutely had to give the boys was a number: 454895.
Even though Jim Beaver plays Bobby as a closed off kinda guy with a dry sense of humor, this episode's performance was extremely powerful and touching.
In confronting his father, Bobby finally says out loud (well, to himself at least) what we've all thought. He considers Sam and Dean his adopted sons.
What Didn't Work
I don't particularly object to men with earrings, but Rufus' was ugly, dangly and distracting. Bleah.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
"Death's Door" stars Jim Beaver, Steven Williams, Henri Lubatti, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Collin MacKechnie, Chelah Horsdal, Edward Foy, Carrie Anne Fleming, James Patrick Stuart, Nicolai Guistra. "Death's Door" was written by Sera Gamble, and it was directed by Robert Singer.
"Supernatural" airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.
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