Supernatural: Season 11, Episode 16 – “Safe House”

The show returns from spring break with a nostalgic monster-of-the-week episode as it deals with its ever-present past.

Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) is perhaps the most beloved character in Supernatural history, sometimes even surpassing Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) with some fans. His interesting backstory, easy chemistry with other secondary characters, and deep familial bond with the Winchesters made him (and the actor who plays him) an integral part of the show, and many fans are still sore about the character’s controversial death back in season seven.

At least one episode in every season since, however, has managed to bring him back in one form or another, whether it be as a ghost, a figment of Dean’s imagination, or at last check, a spirit resting comfortably in Heaven with all the other Singers.

The latest episode, “Safe House”, splits half of the action between season five, when Lucifer (Mark Pellagrino) first roamed the earth and the crew was dealing with a world-ending apocalypse, and now (when Lucifer [Misha Collins] is out of his cage and wreaking havoc again). Bobby and his hunter pal Rufus (fan favorite Steven Williams) worked on the case of a soul-eater (a creature whose soul-sucking, dream-inducing M.O. is awfully similar to the jinns featured in several previous episodes) who traps people unlucky enough to move into a specific house. In the present, Sam and Dean find themselves turning to Bobby’s journal for help in dealing with the same creature in the same house.

After moving into an old “fixer-upper” house, a woman (Jane McLean) finds herself knocked out by a mysterious force as her daughter (Emily Delahunty) falls into an unshakable coma. With stylish shifts back and forth from the present to the past, Bobby and Rufus hatch a plan to save the house’s previous residents, including a young boy in a coma. In the previous case, Bobby used a Celtic sigil to trap a soul-eater inside of a house, so he worked on freeing a boy trapped inside of its other-dimensional nest while Rufus painted the sigil in blood on a wall. The soul-eater comes after him in the guise of a white-eyed Bobby, while Bobby dealt with visions of the Winchesters’ dead bodies. Rufus manages to overpower the creature with a salt-filled shotgun and saves the day.

Back in the present, Sam dealt with a Dean-disguised soul-eater, as Dean found himself strangely comforted by a vision of Bobby. As he later pointed out to Sam after the two were thanked by the rescued child’s mothers, he might have seen the actual Bobby while in the creature’s nest, since it was previously established that the creature’s nest doesn’t exist in any specific time or place.

Overall, while it was a little surprising that tonight’s episode didn’t deal with the ongoing Castiel/Lucifer situation or, as its promos suggested, the threat of Amara (Emily Swallow), it was just as watchable (yet predictable) as a typical Hollywood poltergeist movie. Bobby and Rufus offered up the necessary amount comedic relief, with Rufus’ response to a nosy neighbor the highlight of the episode.

The great news that Supernatural has been renewed for a record-breaking twelfth season, means that we can look forward to the Winchesters fighting on until at least early 2017.

In next week’s episode, the Winchester brothers encounter with two dangerous werewolves leaves Sam in the hands of Billie the reaper (Lisa Berry). Given her warning to Sam in “Form and Void”, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

RATING 7 / 10