Last night's episode of Supernatural, "Death's Door," was emotionally grueling for anybody who loves the brothers' recurring father figure Bobby Singer. He's been shot in the head by Dick, and has to outwit a dapper Reaper to save his own life . . . but can he do it? Spoilers ahead!
Two weeks ago, the evil turducken episode left us dangling off a cliff, as we wondered how badly Bobby had been shot by Dick, the evil entrepreneur/motivational speaker who leads the Leviathans. Well, it's really freakin bad. He's got a bullet in the head, and the boys have to rush him to a hospital in the middle of nowhere while Dick gloats outside. (There's a weird moment when Dean rushes outside, full of freakout over Bobby's condition, and confronts Dick loudly while everybody films them on their mobiles just in case the famous Dick Roman does something newsworthy.)
The old Eternal Sunshine bit
Meanwhile, Bobby is trying his best to figure out what the hell is up, and find his way back to the boys. He's wandering through slightly hazy scenes from his past, and quickly realizes that he's in a dream world cobbled together out of memories. Luckily, one of those worlds contains Rufus, in Bobby-is-still-my-pal mode. And Rufus offers Bobby some advice, based on his own experience crawling away from death's door. He tells Bobby to "go deep," into the worst memory he's got, and then "open the door." He means that literally — Bobby moves into each new memory by opening doors.
Unfortunately Bobby's Reaper has other ideas. He firmly explains that Bobby's time has definitely come, and running away won't do any good. But Bobby decides to run anyway — he wants to stay alive for the boys, but even more importantly he wants to get them a mysterious number that we assume he got from Dick's Secret Plan files. So he wanders through memories both happy and sad - times with the boys when they were young, times with his wife (more on that in a second), and times with Rufus. Plus, the bad times.
Oh by the way, here's that number Bobby wants to deliver.
Make of it what you will.
Deep inside Bobby's psyche
Turns out most of Bobby's good times were with Sam and Dean, as well as his best friend Rufus (who later got seriously pissed off at Bobby before he died). When Rufus advises Bobby to go back to his worst memory, we also see something we never knew about Bobby's wife. I was assuming that his worst memory with her would be him having to kill her to stop a demonic possession. But in fact it was the fight they had three days before she was possessed — where Bobby told her that he didn't want kids because he "breaks everything he touches." And she screams that he's broken her heart because she always wanted kids.
As all this is playing out inside Bobby's head, Dean is going nuts with grief. Sam seems to be much more accepting of what's going on, urging Dean to face what they'll need to do if Bobby dies. And Dean just keeps insisting that Bobby will live. He even tries to punch the guy from the hospital who asks if they would consider donating Bobby's organs. It's this punching moment that leads to Dean's showdown with Dick in the parking lot outside the hospital. As Bobby has said many times, Dean is kind of a whiny bitch. That's definitely on display here.
Learning to kill monsters
Even though Bobby has faced his terrible memory of telling his wife that he doesn't want kids, he doesn't manage to open a door out of death. Instead, he winds up in a memory where he's babysitting young Dean and playing ball. So obviously there's a memory even worse, which we've gotten hints about already. There's a scared kid running through Bobby's memories — a scared kid whom we've seen sitting down to dinner with a nervous mom whose hands practically shake as she gets food ready.
Yep, you guessed it - the kid is Bobby. And when he finally faces the memory, with Rufus' help, we understand why Bobby became a heroic hunter instead of a guy who (as his Reaper puts it) dies of liver poisoning while watching Barney Miller re-runs. When little Bobby comes in to dinner, his dad is already drinking and glaring at his trembling mother. And when Bobby knocks a glass of milk off the table, he loses his shit, screaming about how Bobby "breaks everything he touches" (sound familiar?) and that it's all his mom's fault. There's a great showdown between adult Bobby and his father, where he tells his dad off for being a selfish dick — and then his dad really starts beating the crap out of his mom. That's when little Bobby comes back in, with a shotgun.
"You're not man enough to use that thing," his dad sneers, holding his mom by the hair. "I'll deal with you later." And that's when young Bobby shoots his dad right in the head, in exactly the same place Dick has just shot him. "What have you done?" his mother shrieks. Adult Bobby turns to his young self and says sadly, "You did what you had to do. This is where you learn that they pretty much never say thanks when you save 'em." It's an incredibly moving scene, and fills in the final bits of Bobby's backstory that we've always wondered about.
Now Bobby is able to duck through a door and get a brief reprieve from death. In the hospital, he opens his eyes and starts trying to talk. Sam and Dean are right by his side, trying to find a pen for him to write with. He manages to scrawl the mystery numbers on Sam's hand, before looking at both boys and saying fondly, "Idjits." And then his heart stops beating.
Showrunner Sera Gamble wrote this episode, and she's firing on all cylinders here. Our farewell to Bobby is moving, funny, and dark — just like the character was.
And now it's time to process our feelings
This scene, where Sam and Dean argue over whether licorice sucks, was Bobby's favorite memory - the final memory he has before the Reaper called last round. Yes, it brought a tear to your eyes unless you are a terrible person. Will Bobby go quietly with the Reaper now, or stick around as a ghost with curdled custard between his ears?
I think it's time for Bobby to go out peacefully. That will leave the brothers without Bobby and without Cass, trying to save the world all by themselves. Will anyone help them on their quest to destroy ancient proto-monsters who control a financial empire and are trying to pacify the world with fast food? Maybe not. I'm ready. Bring on the desolation.