A child screams. “Something bad is in the house”. The room is cold, the lights go off, the door slams shut. Anybody getting “Home” flashbacks? And then there’s that hand, silent, hideous, and reaching in the dark, like “Something Wicked”. Another scream. What the “Bloody Mary” hell is going on?
Supernatural is back from hiatus with a brand new episode, and this one is glorious! The Winchester brothers get back on the road in “Safe House”, and my second favorite hunting duo returns: Rufus Turner, Mister Johnny Walker Blue himself, and Bobby Singer, the man who never should have left in the first place. Smell this excitement in the air? I’ve missed that feeling. Welcome back show!
Present time. Sam and Dean, on the road again: “Meantime we hunt.”
After two weeks of fruitless research on Amara and Lucifer, Sam convinces a dispirited Dean to take on a new case, a hunt they can “win”. Naoki Himura’s daughter, Kat has fallen into a coma after she was attacked in her room by an entity. As they investigate the house, the brothers learn that another team of FBI agents visited it a few years ago, a team they’re well acquainted with.
“A handful of years ago.” Rufus and Bobby back in the day: “I thought a win would be nice.”
Similar to Dean, Bobby is preoccupied with the bigger picture which in this case, is a looming apocalypse. Like Sam, Rufus reminds his partner that there are still monsters that need killing, a fight they can “win”, in the midst of looking for a way to defeat the bigger enemy. Rufus expresses concern over Bobby solemn mood and Bobby confesses that he’s worried about the boys.
Team Winchester and Team Grumpy Old Men : “Think Bobby and Rufus wasted any time arguing about this kind of crap?”
The monster is the same and so is the house. The years are different and there are two sets of victims, always a child and their mother. The scenes go back and forth between the past and the present and show the hunt from start to finish as a continuous story.
Team Winchester starts off with the EMF sweep, Team Grumpy Old Men interviews the first victim’s mother. Both teams bicker about the identity of the culprit, the Deans (Dean/Bobby) trying to expedite the job by pinning it on a simple ghost, and the Sams (Sam/Rufus) convinced it’s more complicated. Indeed. When in both cases, the mother returns home to pack for the hospital, she too is attacked by the entity and falls into a coma. The teams figure the monster is a Soul Eater, a creature that drags its victims’ souls into its nest and feeds on them while their bodies die in the real world. Dean/Bobby made a trip to the nest while Sam/Rufus fight to bring them back.
Team Winchester benefits from the experience of its elders. Bobby and Rufus found a way to trap the Soul Eater and the first set of victims survived. When the mother explains that the FBI agent told her not to touch the wallpaper in the sitting room (a wallpaper Bobby put up himself), Team Winchester realizes that Naoki broke the seal while she was renovating. Sam finds a more permanent solution in his newly digitized Men of Letters library. A sigil must be painted in blood inside the house, and another one inside the nest. Dean loses at rock paper scissor and ends up bait for the monster.
The nest: “The nest exists outside of space and time.”
The nest exists outside of space and time. It also shows victims things they love, to keep their souls vulnerable. Dean sees Sam’s lifeless body and Bobby sees dead Winchesters. They get possessed by the Soul Eater who uses their body to attack Rufus and Sam outside the nest. In the case of Team Grumpy Old Men, one sigil in the house is enough to trap the Soul Eater. In the case of Team Winchester, each member manages to draw the sigil in his respective realm, thus completing the spell. The monster dies, and right before they’re freed, Dean and Bobby catch a glimpse of each other as souls, inside the nest.
Overall grade: 9/10
How sweet it feels! I haven’t given out a grade this good in a while and trust me, I’ve been wanting to. It was a great episode with an intricate and clever hunt. I enjoyed the opening scene. The attack had such a season 1 feel (the feel of perfection) with, the thing in the house, the cold spots, the flickering lights, the door slamming shut, it put me in a great mood right from the beginning of the episode.
I was saying in the “Into the Mystic” Report how much I love a good symbol. Two symbols? Even better. Two symbols in two different realms. Genius. I like a new monster, especially if it doesn’t look human in its true form. If the monster can possess/transform into Jensen Ackles and give him scary eyes à la Shapeshifter from “Skin”? 10s across the board. The “sad people” in the nest reminded me of the ghosts inside the Van Ness House in “Of Grave Importance”, another episode in which Bobby was also trapped with a creature that fed on its prisoners.
Let’s talk about the comeback kids! I was ecstatic to see Rufus again. I’m a big fan of his. I love his sense of humor. His response to Bobby’s “Were you ever nice?” was brilliant. “1985. Worst year of my life.” I also love the no-nonsense way in which he moves through life, his dedication to his faith (especially when it gets him out of digging graves) and the fact that he still cares enough to nag Bobby about the reason why he’s miserable and sleeping in his car, even after Omaha (obligatory: “But what happened in Omaha?” mention).
As for the other legend, some of you know how much I love Bobby Singer. He’s my third favorite character on Supernatural and as far as I’m concerned, his death caused an imbalance in the show and some irreparable damage to its overall dynamic. They keep finding every reason under the sun to bring him back. That’s because he should still be there. To me, he’s that old, comfortable, warm sweater that fits just right and nothing else will do. Hearing him say “idjit”, and talk about his ‘boys” with all the tenderness a “mean old coot” (his words) can muster without getting mushy, made me sad he had to leave again.
Fake FBI agents Murtaugh and Riggs (nice Lethal Weapon reference there) are great separately but an absolute gift when you put them together. This episode even went further than just giving us good Rufus and Bobby moments. It explained the bottle with the handwritten note (“Fine, you ass. You win for once. Enjoy. R.”) Jody and Sam found in Bobby’s boxes in “Time After Time.” Now we know it came from the time Rufus admitted he was wrong about the monster being a Baku.
On to the boys. How proud was I to see that librarian!Sam has started digitizing the MOLs library? He was also a caretaker in this episode, watching over Dean’s vacated body while his soul was in the nest, and welcoming him in a protective embrace when he came back disoriented. He also did his best to lift his brother’s spirits up. “We’re gonna win this. Remember?
Dean was indeed quite pessimistic about their situation in the beginning of the episode, weighted down by his sense of failure in regards to the Amara and Lucifer situation. The hunt gave him a chance to focus his energy on a new challenge which resulted in several souls being saved.
I was amused that his luck at rock paper scissors was short lived but I prefer it that way. His victory spin in “Into the Mystic” was classic, but if he starts winning too often, it changes the story and we lose another endearing characteristic of his personality. I like my “always with the scissors’ Dean who gets super intense with every game and reacts in a hilarious fashion when he loses.
I particularly loved Jensen’s performance as the Soul Eater. Threatening and devious with a side of bewitching. I also loved the fight scene. Episodes gain a whole point when the Winchesters start throwing each other around. Jared and Jensen are really good at this, and they’ve been blowing my mind since they went Krav Maga on each other in “Skin”.
Let’s talk about OldChesters. I liked Sam’s humorous “I’m getting too old for this”, another Lethal Weapon reference, after he was done dragging Dean’s limp body across the room. This episode is also the second this season where Dean complains about digging graves (first was “Into the Mystic”). The boys still have a couple of things to learn from Bobby and I wonder how long it will take them to invest in an excavator like Team Grumpy Old Men did.
I thoroughly enjoyed the format of the episode and the way the scenes changed from past to present in a seamless transition. One theme of “Safe House” is definitely be ‘mirrors’: the teams mirroring each other and also the characters based on their attitudes and roles during the hunt (Sam and Rufus versus Dean and Bobby).
Visually, this mirror theme gave us the great scene where Team W and Team G are researching and eating on that same orange table in that same motel room, years apart from each other.
Final point. I’ve been vocal about my frustration with Amara’s continued absence. She didn’t show in “Safe House” but something relevant to the Deanmara enthusiast that I am happened. I am invested in this dynamic and I want to see where it’s going. The monster told Sam, “Your brother wants to go to The Darkness. He needs to go.” “Into the Mystic” revealed that Dean was longing for Amara. “Love Hurts” confirmed his weakness for her. In “Safe House” the monster not only says Dean wants to go to her, which we’ve known for a while, but that he “needs” too, the same way Amara said she couldn’t be resisted. Still, up until now, Dean has tried. Is he’s losing his fight to hold on to his mind and free will? Will he get to a point where he seeks her out himself and surrenders to her power? I’m left with only questions since she’s nowhere to be found but this development will tie me over until the next episode.
In the “Thin Lizzie” Report, I called Amara the Soul Eater, so it was interesting to have another Soul Eater talk about her in this episode. In the “Into the Mystic” Report, my theory was that the Banshee was a parallel for Amara. The Soul Eater is another obvious one. Amara consumes souls and they become part of her. She wants Dean to be a part of her and I’ve talked about the fact that she seems to be draining him of something. His mind, his strength, his ability to sleep, the control he has over his life. At the end of the nest experience, Dean disappears. While it means freedom in “Safe House”, the visual of him vanishing into thin air made me shudder. I wonder if this is indicative of what the future has in store for him. A shadow of his former self, absorbed by Amara, and sucked into the artificial world she wants to create for him and the rest of humanity. A world of “No pain. No prayer. Just bliss.”
Best Dean moments
“Just come with me, into the nest. I can keep you safe, from The Darkness.”
I also watch for the plot and the acting and I loved Jensen as the Soul Eater. He plays evil-charming-bewitching so well. Another great Dean moment.
Best Sam moments
I mean… ( * sings * “If you don’t know me by now…)
Somebody hold me. Protective gentle giant Sam is the my favorite. Don’t mess with him though. He’ll break a chair on your back.
The hug. The gentle pat on the head. The sheer relief from Sam. Again. “I got ya.” They are killing me softly, but what a way to go.
The best mirror moment of them all.
”The nest shows you things that you love”.
We know Dean loves Sam but I saw something else in this scene. Now that I’m done panicking about that whole Lucifer cage business, I remember that other threat we were worried about in the beginning of the season. Billie is waiting in the wings, for the right moment to strike. Why bring up the Empty if there’s no chance she will try to drag Sam into it. This vision of Sam feels like foreshadowing. The nest shows the victim things they love. Keeps their soul “vulnerable’. This word again. Dean is already vulnerable, and I wonder what will happen if Billie comes after Sam.
“Safe House” was a great episode. I enjoyed the season 1 feel of the opening scene, the hunt, the lore, the juxtaposition of past and present scenes, the mirror effect with the characters and the teams. I loved that a double sigil had to be used in order to defeat the monster. Nothing pleases me more than a problem that can only be solved by a Winchester team of two, like the enchanted Werther box that needed the blood of two legacies in order for the curse to be deactivated.
I loved seeing Rufus and Bobby again, and the call back to that Johnny Walker Blue Bobby kept like a collector’s item in one of his boxes. Gives yet another layer to his complicated and very enjoyable relationship with Rufus.
I loved how protective Sam was of Dean during the episode. That pat on the head was such a big brother thing to do. It’s another sign of the role reversal that started in “Love Hurts” when Sam decided to take on the burdens Dean could no longer carry alone. He even repeated the same word. “I got ya” (“I got it”). Be still my heart.
I cheered at the fight scene in Naoki’s kitchen. Winchester legs flying, chairs landing on derrieres, this is the kind of top notch wrestling this girl wants to see. I also loved Jensen’s performance as the Soul Eater (whew mama!) and the range emotions he packed into the look he gave Bobby when they saw each other inside the nest. Sir!
I’m grateful for the Amara mention. There seems to be an escalation in the situation as Dean went from being drawn to her to needing to go to her if we believe the Soul Eater. I do. Why would he feel the need to lie? He probably read Dean’s mind and simply communicated what he saw.
I see foreshadowing in Sam’s dead body in a dark realm and in Dean vanishing scene. Billie is hovering, ready to reap Sam and probably reach over and snatch him if he’s dandling from the edge. As for Dean’s storyline, while I deplore the lack of Amara, I appreciate the clues sprinkled here and there that keep me on edge and wondering what will become of him if he gives into his bond with The Darkness. All in all, a magnificent return from hiatus!
I loved “Safe House”. Best episode we’ve had in a while. Do you agree?
XI : Winchester Brothers Report
11.01 “We Broke It, We Bought It”
11.02 “That Giant, Crazy Fart”
11.03 “And I have a fake badge”
11.04 “We’re home”
11.05 “That whole sensitive verbal massage”
11.06 “She overpowered me, end of story”
11.07 “What do you mean, killer bunny?”
11.08 “The family that showers together”
11.09 “If Sam’s not safe, it’s not happening”
11A Midseason Report Card “So, lock and key?”
11.10 “Sam can’t talk cause he’s waxing…”
11.11 “All that’s ever mattered is that we’re together”
11.12 “And when you mix it up with the potatoes and the beans”
11.13 “I can’t help it if I’m a hopeless romantic.”
11.14 “Non, je ne regrette rien.”
11.15 “Groupie, much?”