I think it’s a pretty safe bet that a good time was had by all at Supernatural the week “Weekend at Bobby’s” was filmed (at the beginning of season six). The directorial debut of series co-star Jensen Ackles, the episode was a pretty by-the-numbers exploration of what Bobby gets up to when he’s not on an active case with the boys, and the man needs a nap, and a headset.
We pick up with a flashback to Bobby’s deal with Crowley (which involves a newscast of a Texas hurricane narrated by Papa Ackles) and, once the Apocalypse has been rendered moot, his attempt to get Crowley to hand his soul back to him. The short version is no dice, so Bobby sets about trying to find a workaround. In the middle of that quest, he’s bombarded by calls to his various phone lines – and Ackles opts not to show us how each phone is labeled; instead letting Beaver do the heavy lifting with the dialogue. He is pulled in a couple of times by the boys, who are working a case (offscreen) on a demon that’s not supposed to be in United States, potentially seduced by a lovely neighbor, Marcy (Jennifer Aspen!), bearing peach cobbler, and then Rufus calls in a pinch trying to lose a body (of another demon who’s geographically in the wrong place).
Meanwhile, Bobby has yet another demon down in the basement and he’s torching something we can’t see to coerce info from her on Crowley; that leads him to a ring, which Rufus fetches, swallows, and um, produces. He’s arrested midway to bringing it, so Bobby pleads with his deputy friend to extradite Rufus and she declines, but later turns up with Rufus anyway. There’s a funny exchange in there that’s consistency police item #1, where they’re discussing Crowley’s place of birth and Rufus knows it because of its affiliated whiskey. Bobby gets the ring and summons the ghost of Crowley’s son, as it happens, not to elicit warm fuzzies from Crowley but to instead gather dirt (and bones) on the family history. Before you know it, he has Crowley trapped and the boys are in Scotland ready to salt and burn Crowley’s 17th century bones if he won’t return Bobby’s soul. That’s enough of a threat that Crowley relents, and then he wooshes to Scotland to gather the bones himself and keep that from happening again.
In other news, the boys get a talking to from Bobby for their bitchy, whiny self-centered ways when Dean makes the mistake of trying to confide in him his concerns about Sam. Bobby’s too busy to hear Dean out so Dean calls him selfish and Bobby lets the brothers have it with both barrels (over speaker phone). The consistency police item #2 is recognition by Bobby that Dean made it to Scotland despite his abhorrence of flying (and hee on the scene of them in the car where Dean’s driving on the correct – right – side). Marcy begs off her proposed date with Bobby when he ginsus Rufus’s not-quite-dead demon in her wood chipper. We also find out in the episode that Crowley is the new de facto head of Hell and he’s not loving the authority. At the end, before Bobby can finally sit down with his cobbler and ice cream, the phones start ringing again. But, Bobby gets his soul back. And we learned his phrase du jour is “balls.”
The highest compliment I can pay Ackles is that this wasn’t a glaringly obvious newbie director interloping on our show. It was a little heavy on phone exposition, but Ackles knows the rhythms of the show because he’s been there since the beginning. A dear friend of mine was an editor on a long-running network show in the early 90s, and when they’d let one of the cast members direct, she’d say that at that point the show could direct itself. I don’t really think that’s true. I think there’s something much more intimate about it when an actor wants to switch gears and tell a story about the characters they know better than anyone. Here’s hoping Ackles gets to direct whenever he wants.
Kudos to Andrew Dabb & Daniel Loflin on a breezy script, Jim Beaver, who worked his butt off (and seemed to have a grand time doing so), Mark Sheppard (snarky as ever as Crowley), and the always-awesome Steven Williams as Rufus. Next up, douchey vampires!
Photo Courtesy of The CW