This is another episode that I was having trouble deciding how to review.
Let me say this first of all: The whole “live just long enough to pass a plot coupon” is an old cliche, so kudos to SPN for actually devoting an entire episode to explaining just that event. Well done on that.
And let me also say that I do adore Bobby Singer as a character and Jim Beaver’s skill as an actor (plus, Jim seems like a genuinely decent guy).
But part of this episode did bug me, and I think it highlights the cultural disconnect between urban and rural peoples (or maybe more of a south-midwest vs coasts thing). It really hit home when the show made a point about Bobby playing catch with a young Dean instead of taking him shooting. Where I grew up, a lot of kids would have LOVED to go shooting (heck, I would have preferred that over catch myself). So when Bobby has an argument with John about Dean “needing to be a kid” I was a bit confused – getting to enjoy guns isn’t being a kid? Not to mention that this whole “kids should be kids” idea is a rather recent (and modern) invention. In more severe situations and primitive cultures, kids have to help out with survival, it’s actually a bit of a sign of how well off a society is that kids have the luxury of being kids. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m VERY grateful that our kids have that luxury, but it just comes off as weird having that being put forth as a moral right.) Plus it makes one wonder, isn’t this still pretty close in Dean’s life to his mother’s horrific death? Wouldn’t he want to train in guns just to make sure nothing like that happened again?
Finally, where I grew up I was surrounded by extended family and friends of said family. I used to joke that I had multiple moms and dads and I didn’t mean in any sense of gay marriage or divorce or whatever. So it comes off as strange that the show seems to imply some kind of competition between Bobby & John as the boys’ father, when it should be. Plus it kind of comes off as a bit of a retcon. Consider that in season 2, “What is and What Should Never be” Dean, needing moral guidance, goes not to Bobby, but John’s grave. While John was undoubtedly more absent than he should have been (though I wonder how much of this is the real life absence of Jeffery Dean Morgan writing the show), he was still in the boys’ lives and played a role. This episode really came off like they were trying to life Bobby up by pushing John down – which isn’t necessary.
I was disappointed that Bobby didn’t even try to negotiate with the reaper to deliver a message. And for continuity hounds, the scene with Dick Roman really has the feel of an episode that ran short so they shoved an extra scene in. One that doesn’t make much sense since Dick tries to downplay the boys’ importance when the leviathan have been trying to kill them for several episodes. Yeah, not doing a good job of convincing us they’re not important, guys.
All in all I have to give this episode…
Not exactly average, but the good parts were kind of dragged down by the bad parts so it all averages out.