Supernatural S11E16 “Safe House” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- While taking down old wallpaper in their new house, the new owner Naoki accidentally cuts a sigil in half, releasing an evil into their home that sends her daughter Kat into a coma.
- Sam and Dean pick up the case, having no leads on Cas or Amara. Signs point to a poltergeist, so the boys go to investigate the house to learn more.
- Turns out it’s not the first time the “FBI” has visited the house in question. The agents? Bobby and Rufus. Cue a flashback! Bobby and Rufus talk to a mother who had an experience matching Naoki’s.
- The Winchesters investigate, and as they thought, the EMF levels are through the roof. We flick between the two sets of hunters as they investigate what looks to be the same case – the Winchesters even have Bobby’s notes to help them.
- It seems like a cut-and-dry ghost case to Dean and Bobby, but Sam and Rufus are convinced there’s something deeper going on. That night, Naoki gets taken and thrown into a coma, joining her daughter.
- A nurse who worked on the case back when the “FBI” was Bobby and Rufus explains how it’s not a coma, per se, and that last time the affected family members woke up within a day.
- The Winchesters go to visit the lady who was affected the first time. She tells them how she dreamt about the house in her “coma”, and how she saw the dead there.
- Sam discovers the sigil behind the wallpaper, but it’s not one they’ve seen before. It’s research & pizza time!
- Bobby and Sam discover that it’s a “soul eater”, existing outside of time and space in a nest of their own creation, where they store souls, leaving the bodies to wither and die in the real world. Turns out Bobby’s been trapped in a nest before.
- The countermeasure is to draw out a blood sigil, trapping the soul eater in its nest. The sigil Naoki broke. But someone has to go inside the nest to draw a second sigil. Rock paper scissors decides who – and of course, Dean loses.
- Bobby and Dean are taken to the nest, putting them outside of normal time and space, and into a world where their worst fears manifest in front of them and lost souls are trapped.
- The soul eater possesses Bobby and comes for Rufus, trying to bring him into the nest – and the same happens to Dean in the present. Fights ensue as the soul eater tries to stay alive in both timelines.
- Despite the beatings, Sam and Rufus finish their respective sigils, banishing the soul eater and freeing the souls from the nest. As they fade, Dean and Bobby catch a brief glimpse of one another.
Writer Robbie Thompson knocks it out of the park again! This time he’s brought back a couple of fan favourites: grumpy old hunters Bobby and Rufus.
The premise for this episode is something that Supernatural has never done before, but does it well. Sam and Dean pick up a case that Bobby and Rufus solved years before, and we see the two sets of hunters solve the same case side by side in the past and the present. Part of what makes this episode so spectacular is the transitioning between Sam and Dean and Bobby and Rufus’s hunts; it’s flawless enough that it occasionally takes a second to realise it’s transitioned between the two!
Thompson’s script is wonderful; Rufus’s bitingly sarcastic quips at Bobby are a joy to watch in particular. (“Do not religiously persecute me, Bobby!” and, “…while my fabulous body rots out here?” are highlights.) It’s clear that the two are firm friends, not giving a damn what they say to each other but still caring what happens to the other.
In Bobby’s case, it’s particularly interesting to see his weaknesses when it comes to hunting. Whilst it’s clear that he upped his bravado in regaling his hunting stories to Dean, he confesses to Rufus that he gets far more scared than he likes to admit. A particularly striking moment takes place when Dean and Bobby are using themselves as soul eater bait, and we get Dean’s “come and get me, you son of a bitch” versus Bobby’s “stay away from me, you son of a bitch.” Guess it’s clear to see why Bobby decided to stay behind-the-scenes most of the time!
Seeing Bobby and Rufus back on Supernatural and hunting together is a joy, and Thompson’s writing makes it all the better. It’s another solid episode – although we hope the arc plot gets rolling again soon!
- Robbie Thompson’s script is quality throughout. Rufus in particular steals the show with his one-liners!
- It’s very nostalgic to have an episode partly set in season five era, when the apocalypse was looming!
- Mostly when Bobby is brought back to Supernatural nowadays, it can feel a bit cheap. This is a fantastic way to bring him back without having him be a ghost. Again.
- Sam whacking “Dean” with the chair! A throwback to last week’s wrestling episode, perhaps
- The transitions between Dean and Sam’s hunt and Rufus and Bobby’s hunt are extremely well done.
- The idea of a soul hunter is a good, original one in a series where even new monsters can feel a bit stale.
- Plus, the idea of the nest being outside of our perception of time and space adds a whole other layer of the supernatural to the episode. It’s certainly unique!
- It’s not a complaint, per se, but those “sad people” were creepy as hell!!
And the Random:
- Sam and Dean’s FBI aliases this time are “Rizer and Bean”, the main characters from video game Contra.
- Is this Robbie Thompson’s drawing of a soul eater? It’s pretty cute, all things considered.