The end of the world is looming. Two hunters need a win, a layup. That’s the gist of the Wednesday, March 23 episode of “Supernatural,” 11×16, “Safe House,” for both Sam and Dean and Bobby and Rufus.
While Bobby is striking out in terms of something to help stop the apocalypse – back in “Supernatural” season 4, as Dean calls him with a lead on Lilith at the end – Sam and Dean are at a loss about Amara and Casifer in the present. And just when everyone could really use an easy win, they think they’ve found one, in a case possibly involving a vengeful spirit. But it’s so much more complicated than that, even if Rufus wants to think it’s something they’ve dealt with before, and due to the nature of the creature they are actually facing, it’s possible for Bobby to have a very brief moment with one of his boys.
Since they’re coming up empty on Amara and Cas, Sam thinks they should do what they usually do: hunt. A mother in Michigan says her daughter was attacked by an entity, and while the girl’s in a coma, the only mark on her is a handprint on her ankle, from where it dragged her off. After the mother tells them that her daughter’s room was cold and the lights were out and their EMF meters get hits all over the place, they assume they’re dealing with a ghost. Houses have had multiple ghosts before, and after a neighbor tells them about two other FBI agents a handful of years back, they figure out Bobby and Rufus were there and must have taken care of the bones of one of the two deaths that had occurred in the house. The two pairs of hunters work the same case – and stay in the same motel room – in the past and present, but since Bobby and Rufus burned both bones, Sam and Dean know they’re not dealing with a ghost.
Meanwhile, Rufus pressed Bobby on why he was sleeping in his car when he first joined him, and Bobby admitted he’s been busy looking for ways to stop the apocalypse. His boys were in the middle of it, and he was worried. But as Rufus reminded him, it’s the oldest rule of hunting: “You can’t save everyone.” Even if they found a way to keep the world spinning, not everyone would necessarily make it through. Sacrifice and the greater good and all that jazz, something that Sam and Dean are likely going to have to accept when it comes to the Darkness and Lucifer.
After the girl’s mother ends up in the same position, Sam and Dean talk to the doctor who oversaw the cases from the past. The next day, mother and son woke up perfectly fine, and it looks like that could happen here too. Sam and Dean go to talk to the previous victim, Mary, in hopes of figuring out what happened then, and she tells them that when she woke up, one of the FBI agents told her not to touch the wallpaper in the sitting room. When she was in the coma, she had a nightmare, like she was in her house but it wasn’t the house. She saw her husband, dead, but he was gone after she closed and opened her eyes. Then she saw spirits.
Going off the sigil they find in the sitting room, Sam and Dean get to researching as Bobby and Rufus did in the past. It’s a soul eater, an undead creature that feeds on souls and exists in a place between their world and another. Once the soul eater moves into a house, it creates a nest, a place that exists outside of time and space. That nest looks and feels like whatever house it’s in, and so Mary was in that nest. The nest messes with its victims’ heads, shows them loved ones in distress to keep the soul vulnerable, hence Mary seeing her husband. In the real world, the victim withers and dies. When the soul eater moves on to another house, it keeps the souls from its previous nest, so how come Mary and her son woke up? Especially since Bobby told Rufus a story of another hunter dealing with the same thing and not waking up when he drew the only sigil he could think of, a “break glass in case of emergency”? Could that sigil have forced the souls out when Bobby and Rufus drew it in the past?
Well, it’s a good thing Sam and Dean have the Men of Letters’ research, as they found a way to kill a soul eater: drawing a sigil inside the house and inside the nest. Though Dean tries get out of going into the nest with rock-paper-scissors, everyone knows how he is at that, so he’s the one who goes in. And as Bobby’s dragged into the nest in the past and finds the victims and other spirits, Dean too finds the girl and her mother – and the house full of spirits – as he gets to work drawing the sigil. But also in both cases, the soul eater possesses their bodies, so that Rufus has to fend off Bobby and Sam has to stop Dean as they try to finish their sigils. Both succeed, and in Dean’s final moments in the nest, he sees Bobby before both return to the real world.
As Bobby put the wallpaper up over the sigil, Rufus called, sure that he had been right about what they were hunting and that the sigil pushed the souls out of the nest. Case closed. But Bobby saw things in there, his boys and…something else. Before he could finish his entry in his journal on it, however, Dean called with a lead on Lillith for him to follow up on.
Meanwhile, Dean wonders if he actually did see Bobby due to the place existing outside time and space. When Sam asks what else he saw, he tells him he saw him dead on the floor, and Sam wonders how messed up their lives are that him seeing a vision of dead him is actually comforting. Yeah, that’s just their lives.
“Supernatural” season 11 airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of episode 16 “Safe House”?