[Warning! Spoilers Ahead!]
It’s been more than a month since the Winchesters have graced the small screen. More than a month of waiting for what we’ve all known in our heart of hearts.
Through weeks of hope (and staying spoiler free) many ‘Supernatural’ fans waited for confirmation that the closest person remaining alive to Sam and Dean is no more. No longer do the brothers have the lifeline Bobby offered as a friend, a confidant and, more important than anything else, family. They are all each other has though, as “Adventures in Babysitting” shows, sometimes help comes from the most unlikeliest of places.
After an unidentified man is drugged by a monster posing as a waitress, a three week montage of the brothers after Bobby’s death starts with them sitting in quiet reflection in the first week. Weeks two and three have them working in earnest on the numbers Bobby left them as he died. They’d even enlisted the aid of Frank, Bobby’s extremely unstable contact though he had yet to get back to the brothers. In a Sam being Sam moment, the youngest Winchester asks Dean if they should contact Bobby’s friends to let them know he died. Dean wants nothing to do with it, instead focusing on the mission. His refusal to deal with anything else is further shown when a kid calls looking for Bobby. Sam decides its best to investigate in case she’s in trouble while Dean is adamant on tracking down Frank.
Using Bobby’s address book, Sam meets Krissy. Her father Lee, a ‘salesman’, like the Winchesters (i.e., hunter) hasn’t contacted her in several days. Sam agrees to help, finding information on Lee’s latest job in his office closet. He tells Krissy to sit tight and gives her Dean’s number in case Sam doesn’t get back to her. A recipe for disaster if there ever was one, the Winchesters often find themselves in trouble when riding solo and Sam’s dive into the unknown is no different. He comes across Lee’s last location, a trucker bar, even talks to the waitress. She points him to the truck stop trollop who, using big doe eyes lures Sam out of the open. (I shall interrupt our currently scheduled review to ask “What the hell are you doing, Sam?” These brothers have seen all sorts of hell, literally. Good and bad people, demons and the like. I know some people are great at acting but what happened to the good old fashion spidey senses, Sam? Warning bells had to be going off somewhere in that noggin of yours or were you so intent on saving the damsel in distress that it overrid your intuition). Needless to say, Sam is double teamed by the monsters (known as Velata) and trussed up with Lee and a litany of drained bodies.
For his part, Dean finally tracks Frank down. Though only our second exposure to him, Frank has become a character I look forward to seeing. His gruff attitude is not dissimilar to Bobby’s—though Frank sprinkles in a touch of bipolar paranoia in for good measure. For the duration of their time together, he and Dean constantly assault one another with blistering retorts. In a way, it’s a hollow reminder of what the brothers once had with Bobby but I’m not sure any familial bonding will ever be able to be formed with Frank, though I’m positive this isn’t the last time we see the off kilter cyber genius.
Moving the story along, Frank determines the numbers Bobby gave was missing a digit. After letting Dean know what helping them had cost him—simple inquires into the Leviathan leader, Dick Roman, has Frank on the lamb in a similar situation as the brothers—he discovers that it’s a field in the middle of nowhere. The two unlikely companions investigate and find the Leviathan surveying the area to build something. Just what they are intent on building remains a mystery, but there is no doubt this field is central to their overall plan for our world.
Returning to Frank’s Winnebego lair, the two mull over what they’ve just seen before Frank tries to offer up his own disjointed reflection of Bobby’s death. When Dean tries to shut Frank down, we see a depth of the hired hand’s character. He understands the grief of losing someone so close and so suddenly. Dean’s problems dealing with what his life has become has continued to affect him. Never one to truly share his feelings, Dean has become even more introverted in the wake of Bobby’s death. Frank, for his part sees that and asks Dean what he wants to do. Quitting is not an option so Frank offers Dean some much needed perspective a tough love. It’s the exact position Bobby would have taken with the elder Winchester and while Frank will not replace their gruff Uncle Bobby, his advice to Dean of “being professional” is something he truly takes to heart.
After their conversation, Dean checks his voicemail from Sam detailing the hunt, he knows his brother may be in trouble, having the incorrect information on the monsters he and Lee were hunting. Before he hangs up, Krissy calls and Dean goes to meet her. He’s not as lucky finding the information as Krissy, not trusting another person to leave her by the wayside, destroys the info, forcing Dean to let her tag along. This is where “Adventures in Babysitting” gets its name. Providing a much needed reprieve for the episode’s general melancholic mood, Krissy comes to be a handful as a female version of Dean. Smart, witty, sarcastic and thinking she’s got all the answers, Krissy becomes quite the headache for Dean, though in truth, some part of him is welcome for her youthful exuberance and innocence. It’s this innocence though that reaches something in Dean, walled up long before Bobby’s death. Talking with her and thinking about the few years that Sam stepped away from the life, Dean sees the same potential for Krissy to do the same. Yes, she’s tough and resourceful—hell, she even saves the day by killing one of the Velata and cutting Sam free to take care of the second one—but she’s still just a kid. Dean tells as much to her dad as he lay in the hospital recuperating. She has a chance to live a normal life, something neither of them ever truly had. It’s a testament to Dean’s own stray thoughts of what if someone had done the same for him and Sam at that age. He’ll never know what he could have become but just maybe he can put those thoughts to rest knowing Krissy will get that chance.
As they drive into the night, Sam and Dean know that things are not the same with Bobby and they have a long, dark road to travel. Watching Sam rest in the passenger’s seat, Dean takes Frank’s advice to heart and forces a smile on his face. It doesn’t come easy and his eyes shine with tears but he knows that Frank’s right; if he can’t do it with a smile, he better not do it at all.
The aftermath of Bobby Singer’s death is handled as well as any other ‘Supernatural’ and is a reminder to death and its reality. Life doesn’t stop just because those around us die. Yes, we need time to gather our wits, but other times we need to plow through, to soldier on and though the grief remains tangible, we have to make the decision to move ourselves along, no matter how much it hurts. For our sake, for our sanity, and for those depending on us. It’s by no means easy, but as Dean has come to find out, nothing ever is…
- The dynamics between Dean & Frank and Dean & Krissy are the highlights of the show. Both challenge the older Winchester in a way that Sam really is unable to do. Being outside of Dean’s normal everyday life allows the two guest characters to reach a part of Dean he’s kept shielded from Sam.
- The Leviathan plot is background noise. While there is mention of the Leviathan and a hint that they do have an end-game in mind, the action is more along the monster of the week flavor—and the monsters in this one were uninteresting at best.
- Several weird things happened to Dean throughout this episode. The empty beer bottle, Dean sleeping for 36 hours, and Frank swearing Dean gave him the information days, and not weeks ago, hints at something screwy going on. While too early to have a solid theory, my first guess is that someone’s manipulating time or people’s perception of it.
If you missed the previous episode, be sure to check out our ‘Supernatural: ‘ recap to catch up.