I love Bobby lecturing the boys in the car - Telling Sam not to worry so much about Dean, and telling Dean that he has to just live day by day and stop trying to find bigger meaning to his life. These talks are even more special when we think of the fact that they are his last words to them. The talks also have to do with Dean and Sam's state of mind at this point and are in a way in continuation of the talk between Sam and Dean last episode.
It is also one of the most heart wrenching episodes as well, as it is where Bobby is shot. I don't know how many times I've rewatched this, every time I can't help but sit on the edge of my chair, willing Bobby to move faster, and close the door of the van faster :'(
Well, I'd better start form the beginning.
The episode starts with the MoTW scene. People Dean calls "glampers" (high-end campers) are sleeping in their modern tent, powered by their power generator and equipped with TV, a double bed and electric lamps by their bed. The only thing that's different from being at home is that they are sleeping in sleeping bags on top of their bed sheets. The guy totally does not appreciate the real nature sounds around him. Instead, he turns on his music player to listen to OCEAN SOUNDS!! The "Jersey Devil" strings him up in a tree by his legs... or sleeping bag maybe, while he is sleeping, and eats him through the bag.
Sam, Dean and Bobby are holing up in a dump and Dean is not happy. He's hot-wired the electricity, but it ends up going out anyway, and Dean talks of how he's just sick of living like this, running from Leviathans.
DEAN:That's just great. This is stupid. Our quality of life is crap. We got Purgatory's least wanted everywhere, and we're on our third "The World's Screwed" issue in, what, three years? We've steered the bus away from the cliff twice already.
SAM: Someone's got to do it.
DEAN:What if the bus wants to go over the cliff?
SAM:You think the world wants to end?
DEAN:I think that if we didn't take its belt and all its pens away each year that, yeah, the whole enchilada woulda offed itself already.
BOBBY:Stop trying to wrestle with the big picture, son. You're gonna hurt your head.
It's pretty obvious that Dean has not recovered from his depression, ever since Cas and Sam got Lucifer in his mind. It's even worse than we've seen it before. And Sam is very worried about him as we will see later. It reminds me of Dean right after Amy and Sam is tiptoeing around him, worried about why Dean is drinking so much - well the situation hasn't changed much since then has it? Keeping the secret from Sam was only part of what was bothering Dean. Dean's nightmares were not just born of his guilt of not being able to tell Sam about Amy. They were also about Cas being taken over by Leviathan, and also Sam's incident and the whole "mind taken over by Lucifer" and the guilt he is feeling over getting Sam into hunting in the first place. All through these eps of Season 7, Dean has been going through his own hell while Sam suffers Lucifer and, despite his own problems, Sam can't help but notice it. Not just Sam, though. Bobby also has noticed it and is thinking already that he really needs to have a talk with Dean before he gets himself killed.
But this note by Dean that maybe they should stop trying to save the world is an interesting one. If you think about it, the world was supposed to end at the end of Season 5. In a sense, they are now living on borrowed time because the world still wants to end - that was and is it's destiny. Destiny continues to want to push forward, and Sam and Dean are pushing it back, or at least diverting it. And that takes a lot of constant effort because the world keeps wanting to get back on track. If they stopped trying for one second, it would swallow them up. Dean's situation is similar to Season 5, wondering if maybe he should just say yes to Michael, isn't it? He's getting a bit suicidal.
The question is, is Dean right when he says they should just stop and let the world take it's course? To say he is would be the same as saying that they should have said yes to Lucifer and Michael to begin with. It all comes down to whether free will is worth constantly fighting for, and whether life itself is worth fighting for. I want to come back to this later if I can.
I just had a thought about Sam and how he is OK with having Lucifer in his head. I wonder... if that constant battle, for him, is proof that he is alive. I'm just trying to understand how he's changed and interested in going camping by himself, and training every day. I mentioned earlier that maybe it is his way of trying to deal with Lucifer. Eating healthier, exercising, wilderness survival... sounds like something one would do to gain some control over one's life in a sense. But maybe this constant battle to stay above water gives Sam a sense of being alive, and that's why he's OK with it. So while Dean is questioning whether life is worth fighting for, Sam is viewing the fight as proof that he is alive. Does that make sense?
This also reminds me of something Sam said last episode at the church when he was explaining why he was marrying Becky. He quoted the Roman Poet Horace "Carpe Deim" or Seize the Day, which is very interesting coming from Sam. The phrase is well known from Dead Poet's Society, and I actually just posted about a song in Newsies by the same name so I guess this has been on my mind since I saw the episode. Until now, Dean has been the one enjoying the moment, seizing the day. He found enjoyment in the little things in life. Food, girls, etc., while Sam was always more interested in killing the big bad and completing their objective. But their roles seem to have reversed. At least the only thing Dean can see is the unthanked, impossible sounding task of sending the Leviathan back and saving the world- the big objective - and whether there is any meaning to that, while Sam seems to be finding meaning in his constant everyday struggle for sanity. It maybe because Dean's small pleasures have been taken away from him. The Leviathans are gaining in on them and they can't go into public for worry that they will be found. They've been eating crap, staying in crappy rundown houses. I know that the Turducken burger affects everyone with it's addiction, but Dean is especially susceptible to it because of his love of burgers and food in general and how he needs "good food" to enjoy life in a sense. (I can understand that.) Another little pleasure though is spending time with Sam during Vegas week and I think that Sam going off on a camping trip during Vegas week was terribly disappointing to Dean because that is one of the small things he looks forward to and makes his life happy.
Now, lets go back to the story at hand and the high-end campers who are constantly looking for something other than the situation they are in. They can't enjoy nature/life as it is. They are constantly wanting something else. Sam says "Some people just don't know how to live," which is very meaningful coming from him, because for some reason he is able to enjoy life as it is, even though it sucks - and maybe because it does. The question is, WHY did the writers pick these people to be strung up and eaten? I don't think the monster particularly cared if they were glompers or people who actually enjoyed nature. I wonder if there is some meaning to what Chief Ranger Rick says about mother nature?
Anyway, let's go on.
Where was I...
Sam and Dean are at Biggersons, questioning Ranger Rick - Chief Ranger - who is eating a Turducken Burger and sounding pretty stoned.
RANGER RICK: You gotta respect mother nature, or she's going to string you up and eat you through the gortex.
DEAN: So... you think it's... mother nature?
I'm going to keep this "mother nature" in mind for a bit.
They then go to talk to Bobby who just came in the door, and decide to have lunch there. But ... what is he if he's not a "host"?... is overly rude and Dean is funny :D.
DEAN:Hey! Uh, Brandon. We grab a booth?
BRANDON:Hey, uh, douchewad, a hostess will seat you. Do I look like a freaking hostess?
DEAN:Do you want to look like a hostess?
SAM:That didn't really make sense, what you... said.
At first, they don't see it as too weird, just hoping they don't get him serving their table. But they of course do and we have another funny scene here.
BRANDON:Sidewinder soup and salad combo goes to Big Bird.
BRANDON:TDK slammer to Ken Doll.
BRANDON:And a little heart-smart for creepy uncle.
Sam and Bobby are busy talking about the case, but Dean is too intent on his burger. Love this little conversation with Bobby!
BOBBY:Bunch of birds shoved up inside each other. Shouldn't play God like that.
DEAN:Hey, don't look at me sideways from that -- that Chinese chicken geezer salad there, okay? This is awesome. Like the perfect storm of your top-three edible birds.
(I think it's pretty interesting how Bobby is eating just a salad like Sam here, despite "starving." Which may mean that that's normal fare for him aye?)
The rude waiter mouths off at his boss and then quits and storms out. Dean watches what happens but then goes back to "bigger and better things." He is already addicted to his sandwich.
They decide they have to go out and comb the woods for this "monster." This is another great scene as Bobby leads the expedition through the woods and they start reminiscing about whhen dad used to drop them off at Bobby's and he used to take them hunting.
(I love that picture.)
DEAN:You used to take us hunting. Remember? Dad had a case, he'd just dump us on you. Shoot, you must have taught us most of the outdoor tracking we know.
Each time I see this scene, I'm also reminded of how John was disapproving of Bobby "playing" with them, like for instance, playing catch. Every activity had to be useful to their survival I guess, so hunting must have been one of the few activities they could do "for fun" in a sense. But Sam and Dean as kids did not want to kill any deer, and we have a hilarious but thought provoking line from Bobby here -
BOBBY:Yeah, what I could get to stick. I never could get you little grubs to pull a trigger on a single deer.
DEAN:You’re talking about Bambi, man.
BOBBY:You don't shoot Bambi, jackass. You shoot Bambi's mother.
I love the way in which he says that.
This is exactly how I see the reasoning in killing an adult monster but leaving the child to go free. It's a hunting rule carried over. Baby animals and baby humans alike are made to be cute and adorable and hard to kill. You have to be pretty vicious to kill a baby. This is actually nature's way of ensuring that a certain number of babies will survive. Leaving baby animals alive enables nature to continue it's cycle of life. I think most monster hunters just cannot kill kid/baby monsters for the same reason. They are made to look vulnerable and cute and create pity in the hunter. But, by keeping the child monster alive, hunters are enabling nature to continue it's cycle of life in the supernatural world, as explained by Eve: "The natural order. My children turned a few of you, you hunted a few of them" and a balance is kept between humans and monsters so that the world is not overrun by either.
I always thought that if Sam and Dean had been successful in closing the gates of hell in Season 8, that something dire might have happened. Closing one hole may have created too much pressure so that another hole would have been created somewhere else, if that makes sense. I think that monsters in the Supernatural universe are there for a purpose just as all living things in our universe are here for a purpose.
The "mother nature" idea fits in here nicely. Basically, the glampers do not pay attention to nature. Therefore, they don't see danger when it's coming and become the victims of the cycle of life. Sounds very similar to Bobby's lecture to Dean later on.
In any case, while they are going through the woods, they find the body of the Ranger that had been missing. They call Ranger Rick to ID it. Ranger Rick is more stoned than before, but so is Dean. They both react in the same way to the body.
RANGER RICK:Hey. I think we found Phil.
DEAN:That's what I said.
They are not concerned about the fact that the person is dead at all.
While Ranger - Chief Ranger Evans - is phoning it in however, he gets snatched too and the three hunters rush through the woods to try to catch the mystery monster. They come to a tree where Bobby hears the sound of munching and they can't see anything. Bobby asks the boys to turn the lights off of their rifles as he listens for the monster's location.
BOBBY:Damn thing’s eating Rick.
DEAN:Man, I liked Rick.
And Bobby and Sam look at Dean wondering what's up with him.
Bobby shoots, and the monster falls - Dean and Sam are in awe!! Such a cool scene. The monster is gross, and Ranger Rick is already a bunch of body parts. They carry the monster back to their hideout to try to figure out what it is. When they get it home and lay it on the table, remarking on how one shot killed it, it suddenly wakes up again!! That is a great "horror flick moment"! They are all carrying and unload their guns into him until he finally seems to be dead.
Dean takes a peek in the guy's pocket and finds the guy's wallet:
DEAN:Oh, that is just gonna ruin the leather.
BOBBY:Are you feeling okay?
DEAN:Yeah, I feel great.
Sam takes the wallet from him and finds that the "monster" used to be a human man, but big in stature, while now he is terribly thin. When Bobby pokes a stick into a bullet wound, he gets gray goo so they decide to open him up.
While Sam and Bobby are opening him up and all disgusted by the enlarged adrenal gland and the gray goo inside, Dean is drinking whiskey and telling them he's hungry and wants to eat!!
(I love their expressions here!)
They are wondering what on earth has happened to Dean to make him so unconcerned with everything other than food. But finally they give in to all his nagging and are off to Biggersons again.
Dean of course chooses his favorite burger again and while Bobby and Sam are discussing the case, is completely oblivious and concentrating on his burger. When asked what he thinks, he totally sounds like Ranger Rick.
SAM:Dean. Uh, so, what do you think?
DEAN:I'm not that worried about it.
DEAN:That's funny, right? I could give two shakes of a rat's ass. Is that right? Do rats shake their ass, or is it something else? Eh.
Then Bobby and Sam think to look around the restaurant and see that everyone else in the restaurant is acting exactly the same!! They take the burger away from Dean and take it home. Love seeing Dean act like a little boy here when his burger is taken away!!
They open it up and while they are talking about it, Dean tells them how he feels.
BOBBY:There's something wrong with you, Dean.
DEAN:Are you kidding? I'm fine! I -- I actually feel great. The best I've felt in a couple months. Cas? Black goo? I don't even care anymore. And you know what's even better? I don't care that I don't care. I just want my damn slammer back.
He tells them straight out that he doesn't care anymore about Cas or Sam or anything and he feels awesome. The burger is acting like a strong antidepressant for Dean. (Does it remind anyone of Demon Dean in Season 10?) He's been worried and sad and depressed for so long and now every care is just blown away. He feels happier than he has for a long time.
But then he sees the goo come out of the sandwich.
SAM:Okay, so whatever turned Gerry Browder into a pumpkin head... and is currently turning Dean into an idiot --
DEAN:I'm right here. Right here.
BOBBY:Is in the Turducken Slammer at Biggerson's.
So they are staking out Biggersons to find out where the meat comes from. Dean is in the back sleeping the turducken off and SNORING!! He's so cute<3
SAM:How's he doing?
BOBBY:He's sleeping it off. Tryptophan coma.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that people think there is especially a lot of in turkey (but actually not more than any other poultry). There is also a mistaken idea that eating lots of turkey causes drowsiness because of the high amount of tryptophan thought to be in it - hence "tryptophan coma" but this is actually false. It's more probably the carbohydrates eaten with the turkey that induces drowsiness. Most interesting is that tryptophan creates an antidepressant seratonin in the body, which is why if you are feeling blue, eating something with tryptophan, like poultry, might help. Thought that was interesting that the show uses turkey in the sandwich that makes humans "happy" - kind of making fun of the whole tryptophan/seratonin affect and confirming the antidepressant effect on Dean.
And Bobby and Sam have their little talk.
SAM:Good. So you don't worry about him?
BOBBY:What do you mean? Before the Turducken?
SAM:Yeah. Yeah, I kind of mean more like, uh... more like ever since my head broke... and we lost Cas. I mean, you ever feel like he's -- he's going through the same motions but he's not the same Dean, you know?
BOBBY:How could he be?
SAM:Right, yeah, but what if --
BOBBY:What if what, Sam? You know, you worry about him. All he does is worry about you. Who's left to live their own life here? The two of you -- aren't you full up just playing Snuffleupagus with the Devil all the live long?
SAM:I don't know, Bobby. Seeing Lucifer's fine with me.
SAM:Look, I'm not saying it's fun. I mean, to be honest with you, I-I kind of see it as the best-case scenario. I mean...
SAM:...at least all my crazy's under one umbrella, you know? I kind of know what I'm dealing with. A lot of people got it worse.
BOBBY:You always were one deep little son of a bitch.
I love Sam so much for how he has sensed the difference in Dean and wanted to help him even with his own problems... which makes me wonder again why Sam left Dean alone to go camping on this annual Vegas weekend. Maybe he thought that Dean would be happier on his own and not having to worry about Sam? What if he went off because he wanted to make Dean happy? What if that is why he said those words at the end of Time for a Wedding? He thought he was making Dean happy by leaving him alone, or reassuring him that he was OK when really, Dean is happiest with Sam?Yikes.
Another thing. Here, again, Sam is pressing on his scar from the wound he got a while back. Which means Lucifer's right there saying something to him and he's making him go away.
Anyway, Bobby tells Sam that Sam has to stop worrying about Dean so much. Which is rather meaningless advice. They are never going to stop worrying about each other. But it's kind of the same as what Sam said to Dean in the previous ep too - that now he doesn't have to worry about Sam so much he can live his own life. I don't really know the meaning to this theme, except to suggest that that is exactly what Sam did at the end of Season 7... ug. I really hate that idea.
As Bobby and Sam are talking, they see the meat van pull up to Biggersons and follow it back to where it came from. While they are doing that, the crazy waiter almost attacks a lady and is picked up by the Leviathan Edgar who takes him to the building where the three hunters are staking out.
Sam and Bobby watch, they see Edgar take the guy into the building, hooded. We see what happens inside too. The doctor from Suioux Falls is now in charge of experiments for Dick's plan to make humans more pliable and like cattle for consumption. By keeping them happy and stationary and fattening them up. The humans are so stoned that they don't even notice when a person dies next to them.
I've heard that the Leviathan story line is meant to be about corporate America feeding people foods filled with additives to make them stupid and more pliable to their wishes. I think this is true, but to me it also looks like what we as humans do to cows, pigs and other farm animals to fatten them up for consumption. The Leviathans, in other words, have taken over the top of the food chain and want to harvest humans like cattle. Sam goes out to check something, and now it's Dean's turn to receive a lecture.
BOBBY:I've seen a lot of hunters live and die. You're starting to talk like one of the dead ones, Dean.
DEAN:No, I'm talking the way a person talks when they've had it, when they can't figure out why they used to think all this mattered.
BOBBY:Come on, now. You tried to hang it up and be a person with Lisa and Ben. And now here you are with a mean old coot and a van full of guns. That ain't person behavior, son. You're a hunter, meaning you're whatever the job you're doing today. Now, you get a case of the Anne Sextons, something's gonna come up behind you and rip your fool head off. Now, you find your reasons to get back in the game. I don't care if it's love or spite or a ten-dollar bet. I've been to enough funerals. I mean it. You die before me, and I'll kill you.
So, this is what I wanted to come back to - the whole Is it worth it to keep fighting for free will and keeping the world afloat or not. Bobby tells Dean that he isn't a "person" - he's a hunter and hunters don't have the time to be worrying over the big picture. If they stop to think about things like that, they're likely to get killed. Hunters just need to take it one job at a time. It reminds me of Dean's speech to Sam in Yellow Fever - how they are crazy to be doing what they are doing, running toward danger instead of running away. It's true that from the view point of a "person," it is pretty crazy. And in that crazy sort of life, again, there is no time to be theorizing on the meaning of life. Just live from day to day, one job at a time. Seize the day!
Another thing I get from the speech though of course is that Bobby loves Dean and he's not going to see him get himself killed. He's asking Dean to just stay alive for the people who love him. It reminds me a lot of how Dean got Bobby to keep going after he lost the use of his legs. Their arguments of course are different but the meaning is the same.
And we have a cute line by Dean about getting Bobby a condo so he can pretend he's not overly affected by the chickflick moment, and Sam comes in. And, as they watch, Dick Roman and some other Leviathans drive up to the building and go inside. Now they finally know what Crowley was talking about when he was talking about Dick.
I love Leviathan Dick's speech:
DICK ROMAN (during press conference):I believe in good old American values, like unlimited growth. But it's like I always say -- if you want to win, then you got to be the shark. And a shark's got to eat. Well, that's a great question. Yes, we have made new acquisitions. I don't believe in hostile takeovers. I believe in merging... and coming out on top.
In other words, eating humans, "merging with" or possessing humans in order to come out on the top of the food chain LOL Very funny.
So, Bobby gets out the surveillance equipment and they start listening in on the conversations going on inside.
Bobby sees and hears as the doctor doing the research is made to eat himself as an example, because they broke the golden rule which is "there are no monsters." The turducken burger doesn't work on everyone it seems. It makes some people severely angry and hungry for a bit more than turducken.
While Bobby is listening in, however, he is found by a Leviathan and taken inside. Sam and Dean find out and don't know what to do until they just happen to see a cleaning van drive up. Armed with Borax they enter from the front of the building. Meanwhile, Bobby wakes up and has a little talk with Dick where Dick threatens to use him as bate for Sam and Dean and Bobby tells him they wouldn't come and he could die worse. Just then Sam and Dean barge in and Dick leaves Bobby to deal with them - also leaving one of his new guns from Sotheby behind (don't ask me why - I guess he thinks he is invincible. Bobby of course doesn't heed Dick's warning to stay in his chair. He grabs the gun and files on the Leviathan locations and runs out the door only to be stopped by Susan, Dick's secretary. He shoots her to gain some time and successfully gets out the door.
He comes up behind Dick as he is closing in on Sam and Dean and shoots him in the back, giving them the chance to get away, Sam and Dean run for the car and bring it up front to wait for Bobby. Bobby finally comes running, Dick coming after him and shooting that damn gun.
Bobby dives into the van and they close the door - seemingly just in time, but Bobby doesn't answer the boys' calls and the cap that Sam picks up has a bullet hole... :'(