“Supernatural’s” winter hellatus (as the fans affectionately call it) gave me a lot of time to hypothesize where the show could go from the last moments of “Death’s Door,” where Bobby seemingly headed into the great beyond: Crowley could appear with the last-minute save like the badass King of Hell he is. Castiel could emerge from the waters of the lake, a fully redeemed angel of the Lord, and heal Bobby’s brain. He could've survived but suffered personality-altering brain damage and anemsia. Sam and Dean could have hunter’s funeral, a body burning on the pyre. It's “Supernatural” after all.
However, “Adventures In Babysitting” started far quieter than I imagined, with Sam and Dean holed up in Rufus’ cabin, staring into oblivion in bereft silence. Three weeks later when the shock of Bobby’s death began to subside, Sam wondered if they should “call Bobby’s people” to inform them of his death. The Winchesters have fallen into their usual roles of grief: Sam takes care of the messy details, keeping them going, while Dean lashes out, thirsty for liquor and blood.
Dean picked up his full beer while Sam intercepted a phone call from a scared teenager, looking for Bobby. Sam bristled and told the girl that Bobby wasn’t there, and she hung up. He leapt at the chance to actually help someone, as he does when his own life is spiraling into uncharted depths of suckage. Dean gaped at him in disbelief. “Frank’s been working on the numbers Bobby spent his last breath on, and you want to back burner that?” They agreed to split ways on Sam’s one condition. “If Frank is just spinning his wheels, then you bail out on crazy and come meet me.”
Dean agreed, then griped at him for drinking his beer. Sam pointed out that his was sitting on the table and that the drunk probably didn't remember drinking it. Dean stared at the bottle in confusion. If you’re a longtime fan, you know that little things like this add up to something big, paranormal and awesome.
Sam tracked down the young girl who called—a teenager named Krissy (Madison McLaughlin) who lived in a depressingly brown apartment with little furniture and crumbling walls. She appeared to believe that her father was a “salesman,” not a hunter, and Sam did his best to preserve her ignorance by sending her out of the room while he searched it. He found the accumulated evidence of the last case Lee was working before he disappeared in the back wall of the closet. After assuring Krissy that he’d do his best to find her dad, he gave her Dean’s number to call in case he didn’t check in.
Meanwhile, Dean took his latest car and tracked Frank down. It had been weeks since he’d given him the numbers Bobby gave his life to pass on to Sam and Dean (45489) and Dean wanted answers yesterday. Frank ("Pirates of the Caribbean's" Kevin McNally), the conspiracy theorist we’d met in “Slash Fiction,” had been put on red alert, thanks to the Winchesters. He greeted Dean with a loaded shotgun and a twitchy trigger finger. “You’re not a Leviathan. Dick Roman’s not a leviathan. Gwyneth Paltrow’s not a leviathan,” he grumbled, disbelieving Dean. If Paltrow is a leviathan, that would explain her heinous fashion sense among other things. This, of course, boiled down to both men arm cutting their arms to prove that they’re both “red-blooded Americans” and not Purgatory’s finest.
I liked Frank when his character was first introduced in “Slash Fiction,” and I loved him in this episode. Knowing that he was on Dick's radar, he stashed his equipment, weapons and psychedelics into an RV, essentially creating a mobile Roadhouse! Now, I’m wondering if Frank with his cynical, thorny sarcasm and kind heart will become the boys’ surrogate Bobby.
“You think it’s easy to see this deep into what’s real and also be bipolar with delusional ideation. There is no pill for my situation. [The Leviathan] tentacles are everywhere, bankers, military high-ups.” Frank said that he did the best he could since Dean called him “four days ago.”
“I called you four weeks ago!” Dean was outraged because he paid Frank $15,000 for his services, after checking everything from bank accounts to lottery numbers with no success.
Frank, being more technologically savvy than Bobby ever was, had created a program to search for more than five numbers, and discovered that “454893” were coordinates to a parcel of land in “Cheeseville,” Wisconsin that had recently been purchased by Willman, Inc., a subsidiary of Richard Roman Enterprises. Dean wondered what they should do. Frank replied, “if we’re stupid, we got there and set up surveillance.” I sense costumes in Dean’s future!
Sam, who’d found a severely chewed, bloodless body in the Dodge City morgue, made sure he wasn’t doing anything reckless by going to Wisconsin (trust me, he’s not). To which Dean answered, “It’s a field, not the death star.” Then promptly climbed into a cherry-picker he had no idea how to operate, wearing some very fetching coveralls and a hard hat. I forgot how much I loved the Winchesters in costumes. Dean filled those coveralls out in all the right places.
Both hunters realized that there was heavy surveillance around Dick’s entire parcel and that they had to tap into their surveillance feed and…wait for something to happen. Frank volunteered to take the first shift, because Dean “looked horrific.” If Dean’s beautiful face equates to horrific, I’m striving to look that awful! Dean passed out before Frank could finish the sentence.
Sam left Dean a voicemail stating that the monster that snatched Lee was a Vetala or vampiric “mal-adjusted loner type” that knock a man out and feed slowly, according to John’s research. “It’d be nice to get this girl’s dad back to her, ya know?” Sam said, dropping the stoic hunter persona for a second. When Sam’s hurting, he does he best to give others what he’d lost, and I love him for it. “I could use your help,” he confessed and I doubt he only was talking about the case.
Sadly, the kindhearted Sammy made the same mistakes Lee did, investigating at truck stop, talking to the ironically anemic waitress. She directed him to Sally, world’s skinniest hooker. Sally, doing her best “Pretty Woman” impersonation immediate tried to help him. “It’s not safe here,” she muttered with a tremulous smile and led Sam through the labyrinth of truck trailers, away from the highway and wtinesses. The waitress appeared, her curved teeth bared. It almost felt like early season of “Supernatural” with Sammy getting his ass handed to him by two waifish monsters. They took him down like lionesses on a sickly gazelle. Sally (“Once Upon A Time’s” Meghan Ory) sank her teeth into his neck, drinking that sweet, tainted Sammy blood and tossed all eight feet of him hard onto the pavement when he was unconscious.
Thirty-six hours later, Dean roused from his much-needed slumber. Frank updated him that a Roman employee, Amanda Willer, in a very fetching (or angelic?) trenchcoat, has been at the property, that they’re preparing to build something, but they have to wait to find out what it will be.
Frank offered some unsolicited advice by telling him to quit hunting because he was running himself into the ground. “That’s not even an option. I’m not walking out on my brother.” I think it’s odd that Dean thinks it’s Sam who won’t leave the job.
Frank’s voice deepened and he offered this: "Do what I did when I was 26 and came home to find my wife and two kids gutted on the floor. Decide to be fine until the end of the week. Make yourself smile because you’re alive and that’s your job. Then do it again the next week. I call it being professional. Do it right. With a smile. Or don’t do it.” At this point, after the boys had lost everything, I really, really want them to quit before they lose each other permanently. I’d definitely watch a show about two hot ex-hunters who own a diner in upstate New York.
Dean finally and received the message that Sam left him. His spidey sense tingled as he realized that something was insanely wrong before Krissy called to report her brother was missing too. I loved the eerily close-up on Dean’s horrified face that spoke of his heightened and poorly disguised fear. Kudos, production team!
At monster central, a bloody, poisoned Sam finally met Lee Chambers (Ian Tracey), a wasted weak version of the man in the cold open. He explained that the vetalas are a tag-team, that the venom knocked the victims out and they feed slowly, three or four times before you finally die from the blood loss and their venom. There are corpses of men strewn about the lair, and Lee was only one more hit from being another. Later, when Sally comes back to feed, Sam bravely provoked her into snacking on him to spare Lee’s life.
Dean met Krissy, who knew exactly what her father did for a living. Their scenes together were my favorite in this episode, because Dean never treated her with kid gloves or even manners. My highlights: “I’m a fun guy. I’m actually awesome, but right now I’m not in the mood. I’m neck deep in some serious crap and if this wasn’t an emergency, I’d drop your ass off at the nearest mall.”
When Krissy wondered how a monster took down her father and Dean’s brother “who’s the size of a car,” Dean explained that their information was misleading. Dean knew that vetalas actually hunt in pairs from a solo hunt while Sam was at Stanford. But John Winchester had taken out a loner years ago and Sam used his journal. Hunters are very meticulous about their journaling, as it’s the only reliable information unless you count fairytales and centuries’ old myths, so I wonder why Dean never bothered to update Dad’s journal or why he doesn’t have one of his own.
The climax of the episode was actually hilarious, because Sam and Dean didn’t save the day: Krissy did. She got out of her handcuffs, despite Dean taking her lockpicks and ran into to save her father. There was a brief stand-off, where Krissy did some impressive crying and reaching for her father before she whipped out a second knife from her the sheath concealed by her sleeve and killed Pretty Woman. She then freed Sam who wasted the pale-haired waitress.
Sam and Dean convinced Lee to quit hunting for the sake of his daughter. Krissy, the future Stanford-alum, bid Dean farewell with stifled smiles and “lame” fist bumps that were actually adorable. The fact that she can actually talk to someone who looks like Jensen Ackles’s Dean without blushing and giggling like an idiot impressed me more than anything. I felt that a scene where Krissy picked Sam's brain about college life was glaringly absent.
In the end, Sam and Dean were comforted to leave a job where they know the family might actually thrive. Sam declared that he wasn’t remotely okay and he just wanted to work. But there was a weird tension in the air that was spelled out in too-long silences and pinched facial expressions. I think that they’re both hanging in for the other, and maybe, after Bobby’s death, they both want to stop hunting. Sam popped in a tape, Traffic’s Mr. Fantasy (which is so going on my iPod), and tried to sleep. In the darkness, Dean tried to smile as Frank had encouraged him. It yanked too hard on my heartstrings to watch it crumble and tremble, tears shining in Dean's eyes.
It’s obvious that Sam and Dean will never recover from losing Bobby. I was a bit baffled as to why this quiet, slightly tedious episode followed “Death’s Door.” It made Bobby’s demise feel unfinished and underwhelming. There were no graveside tears, no brothers clinging to each other, no packing of boxes, no finality. But then I think about all of those wonky happenings—Dean’s empty beer; the discrepancies in time—and I can only hope that it’s not over, because Bobby’s ghost still around, mustering up the power to haunt the Winchesters. I guess only time will tell.
Let me know what you though of tonight's episode. Did it feel like Sam was barely in the episode? Did you like Krissy's major 'tude? Do you think Bobby's really gone?
Dust off your tommy guns and fedoras! Next week we're going back in time to 1940s Chicago. Check out the preview!