The hubby and I were all settled in, watching “Weekend at Bobby's” when about half way through my husband casually said something I haven't heard from him in a while. “I really like this”. I wholeheartedly agreed.  It's not that my husband doesn't enjoy "Supernatural," he does, but this episode was so pleasantly different. That's what makes “Weekend at Bobby's” so extraordinary and so entertaining.
 
 
'Pleasant' isn't a word you associate with "Supernatural," especially in the last two seasons. Sure we care immensely about the characters, sure we hang onto every aching aspect of their doomed lives, sure we cry and despair over their constant tragedies, but it's draining. Every once in a while a comedy episode will come along to relieve that pain, but with the apocalypse in the latter half of season five and now post-apocalypse playing out, it's been a long drought. The angst and drama has been great, but every time we've been left wishing that once, at least once, wouldn't it be nice if our guys could come out on top without horrific ramifications? Wouldn't it be great to see that the worst thing that could happen is Bobby never gets a chance to eat that homemade peach cobbler rather than Sam spending an eternity in a cage in Hell with Lucifer?   

It's strange that the best episode of season six so far has about five minutes of Sam and Dean in it but it also makes perfect sense.  Maybe that's due to the fact that their story has been hard to watch. The brotherly rift is too uncomfortable, Sam is too damaged, the Campbells are too weird, Ben and Lisa are too much of a change. Bobby has always been the stable rock and putting the focus on him for once was the change of pace we desperately need. He's getting on with his normal life which is pretty darned hectic. In between it all though, he's not letting Crowley keep his soul. Lucky for him, he had more than the year Dean had in season three. Lucky for Bobby, he's getting well earned payback for all those favors he's done through the years. To use one overdone cliche, he gets by “with a little help from his friends”.   

I'm being harsh though, for season six hasn't been bad.  In it's execution, it's been very good actually.  Even the stories of monsters acting strangely for both Sam and Dean and Rufus is very interesting.  However, we needed to come up for some air. Lucky for us, so did Jensen Ackles, who finally got his chance to step behind the camera. He couldn't have gotten a better story. "Weekend at Bobby's" is evenly paced (not too fast, not too slow), humorous, suspenseful, and loaded with character chemistry, the one thing that has been sorely missing from this season.  Jim Beaver, in his first full spotlight episode, delivers a major career gem here. 

Chemistry usually thrives when the characters are allowed to be themselves and that was so the case here. Strong directing and writing pushes that chemistry, usually through comfortable story telling. Kim Manners as a director was the master of great story telling and Jensen obviously has a role model there. There isn't a lot of director's tricks or fancy angles. He let the actors and strong dialogue work for themselves and boy did they. His job was to use the camera to bring out the most from the story and he did awesome.   

The character dynamics haven't been this strong in a while, but it helps to bring together the perfect mix of established characters. We knew Bobby and Rufus were friends, in a cranky antagonistic sort of way, so enter the golden opportunity to bring that out more.  It is every bit as great as we thought it would be. Bobby won't ask for help and Rufus won't stop helping. Enter Sheriff Jodie Mills from “Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid”, another strong character who's experiences with the irascible Bobby Singer are vague. Her protection of him now is endearing and it's nice to see Bobby gain allies like this. Bobby also gets a new friend in the sweet neighbor Marcy, who must be a woman that adores mystery. Once she sees the other side of that mystery though, she has enough. “Story of my life,” Bobby says after she rescinds her offer that he come over for dinner. Sure, being sprayed by monster juices by her wood chipper is a good reason to be put off. We're left to wonder how many times that's happened to Bobby throughout the years.  

Even dastardly ole Crowley is brilliant in his scenes with Bobby, though his problems have multiplied hundred fold now that he's the King of Hell. He's not quite the terrifying evil we had seen before and combined with last week angels, demons, and humans all seem to be on even ground these days.  The best dynamic though exists between Bobby and Sam and Dean, for we finally get to see if from the other side. Bobby has his own problems and Sam and Dean are not the center of the universe. There are other worlds out there beside the one called Winchester. We learn Bobby has the patience of a saint too, especially when Dean calls twice for a quick answer and doesn't stick around for more details, although he is excused the second time given Sam's perilous tossing by monster. Bobby never gets a thank you, despite all the trouble that went into finding out information, including a break-in at the local library. Bobby's rant at the brothers is long overdue and I do wonder if his point that their knowledge about each other calling Bobby to bitch will get them talking. Nah, that's wishing too much. 

Continuity rules, and as with their other episodes writers Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin did their homework. Aside from the afore mentioned extensions of established characters, they did remember Dean's fear of flying and Sam again got to make fun of it. There's the crossroads demon in the black dress, Bobby's interrogation being interrupted with some familiarity to “A Very Supernatural Christmas” (“Are you going to get that?”) credit to Ashke for that one), Rufus' affinity for fine alcohol, Crowley realizing that other demons are pretty stupid (a depiction that was done quite a bit last season), and Crowley calling Sam “moose”. There's also Marcy wearing a white nightgown, although I think that was done just because the red blood looks better spattered on it.  My absolute favorite though is Rufus finding Gavin MacLeod's (the Love Boat captain?) ring at The Maritime Museum in Andover.  Sound familiar? Yes, the very same museum that Sam, Dean and Bela infiltrated in "Red Sky At Morning." That's a strange callback.  I'm sure I'll find others for the recap.   

There are also numerous nuggets in this episode for the fans. I get to cross another item off my "Supernatural" wish list. How does Sera Gamble know what's on it? Sam and Dean take an international road trip! To Scotland nonetheless! I've been to that part of northern Scotland before and it's beautiful. The castle in the background though looks a lot like Doune Castle, where they filmed Monty Python and The Holy Grail. However the landscape doesn't match, but only us ignorant Americans and Canadians wouldn't know (right Suze?)  Ah well, Scotland is Scotland and it's not Ohio for once.  We even get a scene with them driving on the left side of the road crammed into a European compact car. It certainly gives us the perfect picture how large the Impala really is. 

Other Random Notes

The hubby and I as you all probably know are computer people. We do that for a living. We found it laughable that Bobby is still using a Windows 3.1 PC and getting great pictures that fast over a modem. I get the sentiment that Bobby uses old things, but that was a bit ridiculous. Dean's cell phone has more juice in it. 

As was mentioned in many other places (including Robin's review on this site), the voice on the news report from Galveston was from Alan Ackles. Yep, the actor father of this episode's rookie director and show's star. 

So, Bobby has a theme song now! I can't think of a better one that Kenny Rogers' “The Gambler”. We know Dean's is “Smoke on The Water”. What's Sam's you think?

Ooh, speaking of Sam, what was up with that exchange with him and Crowley in the graveyard? Dean threatens to burn the bones anyway and Sam stops him. What does that mean “A deal's a deal”? What did you do Sam? The mystery deepens, although luckily it was the only one we had to ponder this week. I'm a bit mysteried out these days. 

Normally when reviewing and grading an episode, I give thorough attention to the perfect combination. I give high marks to the ones with the best blend of acting, writing, directing, set decoration, VFX, SFX, and even score. With “Weekend At Bobby's”, that normal rule book is being thrown out the window. I'm giving it an A. Why? Because it made me feel good.


 
 
  
 

Comments  

sablegreen
# sablegreen 2010-10-18 17:55
I agree completely, Alice. It gets very tiresome watching the boys 'hurting' every week, and happy ending are far and few between, but rumor has it that there will be less 'sadness' in season 6 so hopefully we see more of these types of episodes.

As you said, we haven't seen such a high quality episode for 2 years and it was far over due. This episode was a ‘gem among gems'. I wish we had more episodes of the brothers just being brothers like they used too. Bobby and Rufus should have a spin-off of their own! Bobby could carry a series all by himself really.

There wasn’t anything about this I didn’t like, and Jensen hit a homerun with his directing. I know the ratings were good for CW for a Friday night, but I really hoped they would be higher. Maybe when the word gets around that SPN is back to producing such high quality episodes, more people will tune in.

Loved this episode!!!!!!
det_coverdale
# det_coverdale 2010-10-18 23:08
Firstly, well done, Jensen. Rightly or wrongly, the fans kind of had high expectations for Jensen's first time in the director's chair, and he lived up to those expectations, so no one's surprised.

I liked this episode because it was different. As you mentioned, Alice, the crap that is constantly piled on Sam and Dean's shoulders, and their broken relationship, weighs down on you sometimes, and it's nice to have episodes like this to break it up. I liked watching 'a day in the life' of Bobby; seeing the other side of the coin. Who knew he led such a hectic life?

It was good to see Jim carry the episode, even if it meant less screen time for Jensen and Jared. I liked Rufus in this one, too. It was funny watching the grumpy ol' men together.

When I saw the scene in Scotland where Sam said "A deal's a deal", I figured that Sam's motivation was that they may need Crowley again sometime in the future, and that could be a bargaining chip (we could've burned your bones but didn't...). I dunno; that's just the way I saw it.

Last thought? Bobby falling in through the library window. Balls! lol
Suze
# Suze 2010-10-19 06:56
Yay! Feelgood sums it up nicely. About time too, one was getting a bit punchdrunk with all the doom'n'gloom, Woe, woe, woe and a bottle of glum ( to quote Mr. Gum )

I'm glad they didn't torch Crowley, he's too much fun to roast just yet. He's starting to remind me of Satan in " Old Harry's Game " ( a radio sitcom set in Hell ) beset by squabbling hoards of idiot demons obsessed by health and safety regulations ... And as Tim the Enchanter pointed out elsewhere, Bobby and Rufus ARE Shrek and Donkey. Classic stuff!
CitizenKane2
# CitizenKane2 2010-10-19 09:51
I enjoyed reading this review, and I completely agree that "Weekend at Bobby's" is a stellar episode. :-)

The concluding paragraph of the paragraph is particularly insightful - I do think we need a little more "feel good" moments in Superntaural. :-)

I had completely missed the reference to "The Maritime Museum in Andover" and "Red Sky at Morning" - thanks for pointing that out. :-)
ErikW
# ErikW 2010-10-20 13:08
The castle was Eileen Donan castle. I have stood right where the picture was taken but the graveyard was added for the scene.
Ashke
# Ashke 2010-10-20 14:15
Great review as always, however I can't take credit for the AVSC comment. I only mentioned that Dean "had a fork" since he feels naked without weapons.

I've come to the realization that the writers are just as big geeks as we are. I can just see them sitting at the computer giggling madly to themselves saying "I know, let's make Dean have to get on another plane".

The one thing that I loved which wasn't really touched on (because the ep was so much fun and well written & directed) was the introduction of new canon. Demons can be killed if you burn their bones, huh? It makes sense if Demons were once people but does anyone think that this has something to do with the season's arc?