I'll say it right now; I love this episode. It starts out with a flashback to last year- Bobby is just finishing up on a spell to summon Crowley, who still holds his soul. Crowley is as smarmy as ever- they've stopped Lucifer, so he's been out celebrating. And no- you don't want to know how someone like him gets his party on.
Bobby offers him a drink, but Crowley turns him down, the may have "saved the sodding world together", but that doesn't mean he has to drink the swill that Bobby calls booze.
Crowley, through with the pleasantries, moves on to the real reason Bobby called him down here- the deal with his soul. Crowley had promised to return Bobby's soul after Lucifer had been defeated, but it looks like Bobby didn't read the fine print (which Crowley graciously sets into his skin); Crowley only needs to make his best effort to give Bobby back his soul- which means that waving his hand around and grunting totally counts. In ten years, Bobby's going to know first-hand how Crowley gets his hellish party on.
Bobby's no idjit- he was expecting something like this to happen, which is why he went all 'Dateline' on Crowley, with a Devil's Trap that can only be seen under backlight. Smart plan, Bobby- only problem is, Crowley's got his hellhound Growley at his beck and call; one snap of his fingers, and Bobby's face will be puppy chow. Bobby isn't left with any choice but to break the trap and release Crowley, but he promises that this isn't finished. Crowley is well-aware, and he's looking forward to the games to come.
Back in present time Sam and Dean are checking out a dead body next to a playground; Dean finds a strange claw in the victim's torso, and as the boys always do when they don't have the answer to something, he calls Bobby, whose currently in the middle of some very important…torturing. Bobby doesn't recognize the claw, but says he'll look into it. Even though he's kind of busy at the moment, Bobby does what he always does for those Winchesters- he drops everything to help them. In a great Bobby montage (appropriately set to Kenny Rogers' 'The Gambler'), we get to see first-hand how Bobby always seems to have infinite amounts of Hunter trivia lodged inside his head.
Bobby starts by hitting his own books, but when he can't find anything useful in them, he heads out to the University library-passing his cute neighbor on the way. When he reaches the library, it's closed; locked doors and set hours are no match for Bobby Singer though- he just breaks a window and finds what he was searching for.
Book in hand, Bobby heads back to his car, only to find that it's stalled. I'm assuming that the library must be pretty far from home, because it takes him until about one in the morning to walk back. When he gets there, he's obviously exhausted, but Bobby is too awesome to sleep, and instead researches what it is the boys are hunting. In the meantime, it looks like Sam and Dean have gotten a good night's sleep and have hit a burger place; Bobby passes along the info (it's a lamia, by the way), and that Dean Winchester doesn't even bother saying thank you, instead hangs up after finding out the easiest way of killing it.
Bobby is in real need of some shut-eye, but he's still got that torture business to get back to; he heads down to the basement, where he has a crossroads demon tied to a chair. She's playing coy and won't give him Crowley's real name, so he pulls out a bag of goodies, something that apparently used to belong to the demon. Whatever he's going to do, she tells him is only a myth. Judging by how fast she begins to burn when he lights it on fire, I'd say she was misinformed.
The demon still won't talk- it's not because she doesn't want to, it's because she's afraid of what Crowley will do to her if she does. See, he's not just the King of the Crossroads, not that Lucifer is gone, he's the King of Hell.
Demon-girl is saved by the doorbell, and Bobby leaves her to go see answer it; it's Bobby's cute neighbor Marcy, and she's brought him her famous ginger-peach cobbler. The demon can be heard yelling in the basement, and when Bobby tells her it's a horror movie that he was watching, she invites him over to watch 'Drag Me to Hell'. He seems a little reluctant to do the whole dinner-and-a-movie thing, so she's tries the cliched 'my woodchipper broke' excuse. Oh Marcy, you have it bad for Bobby.
Bobby heads back down to the basement, and the sweet, awkward Bobby from just a few seconds ago is gone; as soon as the demon starts taunting him about Marcy, he's back to making her burn. She finally gives in and tells him Crowley's real name- Fergus MacLeod. Now that he's got the name, he doesn't need to keep her around. A little added light fluid, and demon-girl is nothing but a pile of bones and ash.
Back in the day-to-day life of Bobby, he's fielding calls for hunters and putting his wall of various government agency phones to good use. If you're a hunter involved in some sort of illegal activity, Bobby is a good person to have on your side.
Rufus shows up with a body in his backseat and the police hot on his tail. He had been hunting an Okami- something that no hunter had seen outside of Japan. That, coupled with Sam and Dean hunting the Lamia- something that they never expected to see outside of Greece- and Bobby's thinking something weird is happening with the monsters.
They get the body buried and Bobby tells Rufus about his trouble with Crowley. He's going to search for his original body, and after Crowely had mention that he only drank Craig, he's narrowed it down to Scotland. Rufus- a bit of a scotch enthusiast himself- narrows it even further. Rufus has a few contacts in the area, and even though Bobby refuses to ask for his help, he's going to see what he can find out.
Bobby is finally about to cut into that cobbler from Marcy when Dean calls, needing another way to kill a lamia. This is what happens when you don'tbother to listen to all of your options, Dean.
While still on the phone, Bobby gets a knock on his door- the police are looking for Rufus, and he was last seen heading Bobby's way. Bobby tells Dean what he needs to do, before turning back to the Sheriff Mills and Agent Adams. Highway patrol had seen Rufus (aka Luther Vandross, aka Ruben Studdard) pull into Bobby, a body in the back of his truck. Adams wants to take a look around, and Bobby's not about to let him do that without a warrant.
Sheriff Mills tells Adams that she has a bit of a history with Bobby and will look around if he waits outside. She knows what it is Bobby does, and figured that he wouldn't want a fed snooping around in the house. She's partly right, seeing as how there's still a few remains in the basement, but there's also the freshly dug hole from the Okami right outside.
Bobby and Mills hurry outside, but Adams has already discovered the burial site- only now, it's sunken in and obviously empty. Bobby passes it off as an exploded septic tank, and Adams buys it.
As soon as he can, he calls up Rufus- the Okami is still alive, and Rufus is already two states away. Bobby berates him for not killing the Okami properly, which Rufus takes offense to- he used the bamboo dagger, he had it blessed by a Shinto priest, he even stabbed it the five times. Bobby mostly can't believe that he's surrounded by so many idiots- it's seven times. If you don't stab it seven, you might as well not bother.
Rufus tells him that the Okami had been targeting single white females while they slept- the closest person to Bobby's house who fits that description is Marcy.
Bobby humorously breaks down Marcy's door, shotgun in hand, and asks where her bedroom is. He rushes down the hall, and Marcy is pretty sure he's a crazy person until the Okami jumps down from the ceiling and throws him through a window. During their fight, the 'broken' woodchipper gets turned on and Bobby is inches away from becoming slush. He manages to turn the tables on the Okami, and she gets fed to the chipper, covering poor Marcy in Okami-juice.
Bobby thought her chipper was broke, but Marcy admits to just saying that to get him to come over. Bobby finally gets that she was after more than just a handy neighbor or a movie buddy. "Oh. Well, I guess I could come over for dinner some night. Might be fun." Yeeeah, it doesn't look like Marcy's too into that idea anymore. Bobby can't blame her though, "Story of my life." Poor Bobby, you save her life, and you can't even get dinner.
Rufus is impressed by Bobby's mad woodchipping skills, but even more importantly, he's found out that Crowley had a son, Gavin MacLeod (oh show, I see what you did there), who had died when his trading ship went down. His body was never found, but his signet ring was; it's on exhibit at a maritime exhibit, and being the best friend ever, Rufus is already on his way to steal it (a fact that he keeps from Bobby until after the most stubborn man in the galaxy manages to ask for help).
Rufus has an inkling about what Bobby's planning on doing- summoning Gavin's ghost and exchanging him for Bobby's own soul. Bobby admits he's planning something like that; whatever the plan is, it sounds like it's going to be pretty dangerous on Bobby's part.
Bobby once again tries to get a piece of that cobbler, but that of course is when Dean decides to call him, all worried about Sam being 'different'. Bobby rolls his eyes, and we all roll with him.
Bobby gets another call, and even though Dean's unhappy about being put on hold when he's in the middle of getting his angst on, Bobby answers anyway. It's Rufus, and while he's got the ring, he's also go the police right behind him. Bobby tells him not to swallow the ring, but he's already got it in his mouth. Bobby hears Rufus pulling over and getting arrested, and exasperated, he switches back over to Dean, who's still whining about getting put on hold. When he tells Bobby he's being a little selfish, Bobby's had enough and tells him to get Sam.
Once he's on speakerphone, he tells the boys something that they've really needed to hear-mainly, the fact that they're whiny idjits. "Sam, Dean- I love you like my own, I do. But sometimes…sometimes you two are the whiniest, most self-absorbed sons of bitches I ever met! I'm selfish? Me?! I do everything for you- everything! You need some lore scrounged up, you need your asses pulled out of the fire, you need someone to bitch to about each other- you call me, and I come through every damn time! and what do I get for it? Jack with a side of squat!" Bravo, Bobby- Bravo.
Bobby goes on to berate the boys further- reminding them that even though they have their issues, they aren't the center of the world, and other people-including him- have their own problems to deal with. You know- like Crowley still owning his soul? He asks them to get over the drama for long enough to help him for once, and Sam just replies "Bobby, all you gotta do is ask." Dean chimes in, telling him that anything he needs, they'll do. Those Winchesters- they can be so dim at times, but their hearts are in the right place.
Bobby asks Sheriff Mills if she can get Rufus extradited to their county on murder charges, where he would presumably manage to 'break out'. She refuses- Bobby has helped the town and her more times that she probably even know about, but to do something like that would ruin her entire career.
Bobby doesn't know how he'll be able to pull this off without Rufus and the ring, but somewhere along the line, Mills has had a change of heart. She shows up on his doorstep, angry, but with Rufus in tow.They've got an hour before she reports him missing, but thankfully Rufus has already passed the ring, and now all that needs to be done is the summoning spell. Once it's been performed, Gavin appears in the salt circle Bobby had formed, and the two have a "nice long chat."
Bobby again summons Crowley, and again he's trapped in a Devils Trap. Crowley is looking a bit disheveled- something that the impeccably dressed demon never is. Apparently, ruling Hell is a lot harder than you'd think it would be- the problem with demons is they're demons; "evil, lying prats- the whole lot of them. Try to show them a new way- a better way- and what do you get? bugger all!" Crowley enjoys having someone to rant to (and really- about now, Bobby just might be the closest thing to a friend he has, as depressing as that thought is). but Bobby has called him here for more important reasons that playing therapist.
Crowley thinks he knows where this is going, but Bobby pulls out his ace in a hole- Gavin. Crowley acts suprised and grief-stricken, like any father would at seeing his long-dead son, but even he's not a good enough actor to keep that going for too long; truth is, he hated his son. Any trade that Bobby is looking to make just isn't going to work.
Bobby though, is one step ahead. During his nice chat with Gavin, he's learned all sorts of wonderful tidbits about Crowley- not only does he know that the demon sold his own soul for three extra inches below the belt, but he also know exactly where his bones are buried in Scotland, and he's got Sam and Dean ready and waiting to light them on fire.
Crowley is actually surprised at what Bobby's managed to do, but he also tells him that burning his bones isn't going to do squat. Bobby begs to differ- it worked pretty well when he did it to the crossroads demon earlier. "You demons- you think you're something special. But you're just spirits- twisted, perverted, evil spirits, but the end of the day, you're nothing but ghosts with an ego."
Crowley sees when he's been beat, and he exchanges Bobby's soul for his bones, keeping in the part about Bobby keeping his legs. That's right, Bobby Singer has managed to out-con the King of the Crossroads.
Crowley appears behind Sam and Dean to collect his bones, and after the exchange, the Winchesters are on their way back to the airport. That's right- not only did Dean fly, but they apparently have good enough fake passports to even make it onto a plane.
Bobby sits down, finally ready to bite into that cobbler he's been trying to eat all weekend when the phone rings. Aww, Bobby- it's not easy being the go-to guy for every hunter worth his salt.
An entire episode dedicated to the awesomeness of Bobby Singer? I don't think I could give it a rating any lower than that. The episode gave us a never-before-seen look into the every day life of Bobby, and it also tied up the loose ends that we were left with regarding his soul. Jim Beaver is absolutely amazing, and Bobby's interactions with Crowley Rufus, and the Winchesters only furthered my belief that a Bobby spin-off would be the greatest idea they could ever have.
I loved seeing the return of Rufus, I always enjoy seeing some of the older hunters out there, still kicking monster butt. It's pretty obvious that Rufus is Bobby's best friend, even if the two of them refuse to admit it. They have that wonderful 'Grumpy Old Men' vibe going between them, and I would gladly watch the two of them on a weekly basis being snarky and curmudgeonly together.
Any time that Crowley is onscreen is a good time, and this was on execution. Mark Sheppard is one of those actors that appears in absolutely everything, but I would have to say that his Crowley is one of my favorite of his rolls. His interaction with Bobby is always golden, I love every second that those two share screen time.
I really appreciated the fact that the episode touched on how much the boys take advantage of Bobby. How many times have they called him to complain about each other- especially over the last two seasons? Every time they have to hunt something they don't recognize, they turn to Bobby rather than researching themselves like they used to. Sure, they'll do the random internet search, but it's been a good long while since we've seen either one of them pick up a book and find their own answers. Some people will probably be angry that Bobby chewed them out like he did, but it's something that I feel they've desperately needed, and that speech alone secures Bobby's place in my heart as 'best character ever'.
This episode was also Jensen Ackles' first time behind the camera, and I really think he did a wonderful job directing. So kudos to him- hopefully it's only the start of his work behind the camera, I have a feeling we'll see him there a lot more throughout the years.