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Bobby's Rough Ride

Bobby: I'm old and broke-down, and I can't...I ain't a hunter no more. I'm useless.  And if I wasn't such a coward, I'd've stuck a gun in my mouth the day I got home from the hospital.

For all that Bobby has been a steady presence in Sam and Dean's lives, he hasn't had an easy go of things, especially in season 5.  He got into hunting because he killed his wife, who was possessed by a demon.  He didn't know it at the time, didn't know what was wrong with her, but when she turned on him, he defended himself and killed her.  He was still guilty enough about it that Jeremy used it against him in "Dream a Little Dream of Me," and that's no surprise, really.  Who wouldn't feel eternally guilty for having to kill a loved one even when they didn't have a choice?  Bobby went to a pretty dark place when Dean was in hell, turning to liquor for comfort.  Sam was gone, too, so he had no one to help him through the pain of losing Dean.

But season 5 has really put Bobby through the wringer.  First he gets possessed by a demon, which, really, how the hell did that happen?  Bobby? Possessed by a demon?  Ugh, handwave for plot, I guess, because I just cannot believe that one.  At any rate, he gets possessed and has to hear himself cut Sam out of his life, which had to hurt so much.  Then he attacks Dean, but he manages to fight back just enough to not kill him, taking the knife and stabbing it into himself instead.  That costs him the use of his legs, which pushes Bobby into a very bad place.  Dean tries his best to reassure Bobby that they can still fight, can still do something to stop Lucifer and Michael and Heaven and Hell, though he doesn't really believe it himself.  But Bobby needed to hear it, so Dean said it.

Bobby is not handling the loss of his legs very well, as we see in "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester."  He feels like his whole purpose for living, being a hunter, is gone because he's been relegated to the sidelines due to the wheelchair.  The world is falling apart around him, literally, and he feels like there's nothing he can do to stop it.  He's so hopeless that he even tells the boys he'd be better off dead, which doesn't sit well with them at all, especially Dean.  At the end of the episode, Dean again does his best to reassure Bobby, telling him he's doesn't stop being a hunter just because he's wounded, that he's family, and that Dean can't keep on going without Bobby.  He needs Bobby and hates to see him in so much pain.  I think his little speech helped, but just how much remains to be seen.

"Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid"


Bobby: She was the love of my life.  How many times do I gotta kill her?


Oh, Bobby.  This episode was just so hard on him.

So, what did we learn about Bobby in this episode?  For one, he's considered the town drunk.  I wonder when he gained that reputation?  We've seen him turn to alcohol in times of crisis, like when Dean was in hell, so it wouldn't surprise me if he gained it after his wife died the first time.  He wasn't very popular with the town sheriff, seeing as he had racked up a number of drunk-and-disorderly and mail-fraud charges.  Really, though, considering what he has to do as a hunter, that's not too bad.  Well, bad if you're the sheriff, but just look at how much trouble Sam and Dean have gotten themselves into.

We also learned that Bobby has good taste in women.  Karen Singer was awesome!  I know she was a zombie, but she was great.  I mean, how can you not like someone who feeds Dean pie? She was sweet, a little feisty, smart, and she obviously loved Bobby a lot.  And as hard as it was for Bobby to have to kill her again, I am so glad that the show didn't have her turn on him and attack him again.  Karen just wanted to protect Bobby, whether it was not telling him she remembered being possessed and that he killed her the first time or about Death's message for him.  She just wanted to see Bobby happy, to see him smile.

Speaking of Death and his message for Bobby, that was pretty brutal.  Minion of hell and all, but still.  Lucifer is really starting to use some underhand tactics here.  Direct pleas to Sam aren't working, so how about going after the people who are helping him say no, such as Bobby?  It would be easier to just kill him and be done, but going after his spirit, trying to break him is so much worse.  That way he's not only incapacitated and not helping Sam directly but Sam will have the added guilt of knowing that Bobby's broken emotional state is because of him.  And Bobby is really close to the edge right now.  I'm really not sure how much longer he can keep going.  Sam and Dean both need him, but will he be able to help when push comes to shove?  I really hope so, but I'm worried for him.  Just how much can one person take?

The Man Behind the Curtain


I just want to take a moment here to praise Jim Beaver because I truly believe without him, Bobby Singer wouldn't be nearly as good a character.  The first time I saw him in anything, or became aware of him as an actor, maybe, was in Deadwood.  He played Whitney Ellsworth, the most decent man in the whole town of Deadwood.  He was brilliant on that show, just incredible.  So I was so happy when he turned up as Bobby Singer because I just knew that he was going to make him an incredible character.  And he really has.  Jim has such great chemistry with Jared and Jensen, and he really just nails every scene he's in.  He's a wonderful addition to the cast.  I love seeing his name in the credits because I enjoy every scene he's in.  His contribution to Supernatural is invaluable.  So thanks, Jim, for kicking so much ass and for making Bobby Singer such a fantastic character.

Well, as you can tell, I really love Bobby Singer.  I think he's a fantastic, superbly acted character, the rock in Sam and Dean's wayward lives.  You can always count on Bobby to be there when you need him, no matter what or where the job is.  I really hope he makes it out of this season alive because if Bobby dies, I am going to be devastated.  And I know I won't be the only one.  So, I tip my trucker hat to you, Bobby Singer!  Now pass me a beer, preferably not spiked with holy water, would ya?

Comments  

Karen
# Karen 2010-03-29 09:18
Hi Ardeospina

Loved the article and what you had to say.
I don’t know how anyone could not love this character.
What a wonderful friend, mentor and lifeline he has been for Sam and Dean.
I am starting to get really fearful for Bobby and his state of mind.
Although Dean has expressed how important he is to them and has tried to give him much needed pep talks. The fact is they are not there all the time… Bobby is alone most of the time and that gives more time to dwell and for depression to set in.
And with this last experience, this will also start setting in resentment.
I can’t help think what Pamela had said to Sam when she was dying, cursing Bobby for introducing her to the Winchester. I hope Bobby is able to stay strong and be there for the brothers.
Thanks again for this wonderful article.
Julie
# Julie 2010-03-29 10:57
Thank you so mush for this wonderful article.
How could anyone who knows anything about this show not love Bobby Singer.
I think everyone should have a `Bobby` in their life, I certainly wish i did. You just know that you could totally rely on him always, even to give the advice you really dont want but do need.
Like you I loved the scene in the yard in AHBL 2 it breaks my heart when he holds Deans face in his hands every time I see it, but the scene in Lucifer Rising with the wonderful rant when he apologises for hurting princess` feelings and then tells Dean he is a better man than his father ever was is just awesome. i have never loved Bobby more than at that moment!
Yes, I too am worried about where he is at the moment but surely nothing can happen to Bobby, could they be that cruel to us? I guess going by past records, yes they could, I just desperately hope they are not.
Just a word about Jim Beaver. it takes a very special man to play such a wonderful character and that he certainly is. I would urge anyone to beg steal or borrow his book as, although it is by no means an easy read, it is absolutely inspirational. At some point everyone in their life will have to go through tragedies of their own, and the way he is able to share the lessons he learned coping with his own will prove invaluble, believe me.
elle2
# elle2 2010-03-29 12:17
I really enjoyed your insights into Bobby, especially the part where he took the time to learn about Sam and Dean individually and acto accordingly. Great analysis.

:-)
Britt
# Britt 2010-03-29 12:44
Wow, I just stumbled across this fansite today, but I'm a huge fan of Supernatural. This article has really helped me to understand more about the relationship between Bobby and the Winchester brothers and about Bobby in general. I didn't much like Bobby at first, but after watching so many of the episodes and then reading this article, I gotta say... he really is an intense and interesting character. I understand his characterizaion a bit more, now, and well... this article has changed my perspective of him.
Freebird
# Freebird 2010-03-29 17:53
Love your article, Ardeospina, thank you for sharing it!

Bobby is one of my all time favorite tv-characters. I would really, really hate if he got killed. The deaths of Ellen and Jo have been devastating enough, but Bobby getting killed ... no, no, no, that is not acceptable! Ardeospina, you described him so well, I have nothing more to add.

Jim Beaver I haven't seen in any other show besides Supernatural, but Harper's Island, and I watched that one only because of him. I certainly will catch up on Deadwood, Jim points his role in that show always out as being one of his favorites. I'll be watching every show/movie he's in, and if I get lucky also theater play. Because he's an awesome actor!
Randal
# Randal 2010-03-30 08:52
This kicked all kinds of ass, covering every facet of his strength, his importance. I have to second elle2 on the psychoanalysis bit. There's a hell of a lot going on underneath that filthy trucker cap.

I suppose I'll have to forgive you for rooting for the Steelers. 8-)

I still want to know what form the lie took in Devil's Trap. "Sure, officer, it's not *that* out-of-the-ordi nary to find a battered, broken corpse in one's home."

Can one really earn enough of a living from salvage to afford such rare books? Maybe the creepy, Central European dealers need their Yugo fixed. :D
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2010-03-30 19:16
Thanks for all your very kind words, everyone! It was quite a process for me to write this since it's so different than what I usually do, but it was fun, as well, and I'm glad you're liking it.

Dany, that's very sweet of you to say! And isn't Deadwood fantastic? Loved Jim in that so, so much.

Karen, I'm worried for Bobby's state of mind, too. I really hope he can tough it out, but I'm curious to see where his journey will end up, too.

Julie, I completely agree that everyone should have a Bobby in their life! How handy would that be? Maybe we can talk to someone about cloning...

Elle2, thanks! I figured the difference in relationship had to be a decision by Bobby and not just a writer's whim, right? :-)

Britt, welcome to the site, and thanks for posting! I highly recommend you poke around in the archives because we have a lot of fantastic writers here who have done some amazing work, and it's really fun to read. And I'm so touched that my article helped you understand Bobby more and come to appreciate him. Thanks so much for posting that, and I hope to see you around the site more often.

Freebird, if Show does something horrible like killing off Bobby, we'll have a crying party together because I'll be a mess. Must. Not. Happen.

Randal, thanks! I have a very high opinion of your work, so I'm really pleased that you liked some of mine! And yeah, he could really use a new trucker hat that's not so grungy. Maybe for season 6!

And don't hold it against me that I live in Pittsburgh! I grew up in Cleveland, so I'm a total Browns fan and always root for them. I will root for the Steelers when they're not playing the Browns, though, since it's kind of hard not to in this town. Still, go, Brownies first and foremost! And if you still can't forgive me for rooting for the Steelers just a little but, too bad!
;-)
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-03-31 10:14
Fantastic! Bobby is one of my favorite characters and you depicted him beautifully. Great article!!!

For what it’s worth, Bobby maybe down, but not out. He, above all, won't let the devils get to him. I just hope he is around after the apocalypse.

Thanks so much for the article.
Randal
# Randal 2010-03-31 13:59
Ardeospina, I don't buy your excuse. Would a Liverpool fan root for Manchester United even if he/she lived in Manchester? C'mon, English SPN fans, back me up here. :D
Julie
# Julie 2010-04-01 16:02
Randal the answer to that question is NO!!!!
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2010-04-01 16:27
Randal, you had to go and bring real football into it, didn't you? Fine! I'll admit it: it's much easier to root for a team that actually, you know, wins sometimes. But the Browns will be better next year... says I every year.

Also, go Arsenal!
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-04-08 15:52
Ardeospina, thanks so much for this great article on our beloved Bobby. He is as awesome a character as it gets, and Jim is indeed a great, great actor to bring all those nuances across you captures so beautifully. I was happy to read this, as Bobby is one of my all-time fave guys on this show, and finally someone took to writing a piece about him. Kudos to you, and thank you again!
Hugs, Jas
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2010-04-08 20:19
Thanks, Jas, and you're welcome! I do love Bobby something fierce!

Hugs back!