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This is set to be less a review and more an expression of the fact that my head hurts. First off, let’s make no mistake, “Death’s Door” was about one thing and one thing only: Bobby doing his best to hold off a Reaper in his mind, whilst trying to get a message to Sam and Dean in the extra-cranial world. When you look at it simply as that, the narrative by itself wasn’t what go me turned around. We’ll get to what did in a few words, but for now: the story.
Essentially, what we got with “Death’s Door” could probably best be described as Bobby’s greatest hits. There was an element of confusion initially as we dealt with both the present timeline outside of Bobby’s head as well as some time jumps going on inside, but once things settled down, it played out true to form. Although they’ve only made a few appearances in the show’s run, Sam and Dean have picked up some tricks to deal with Reapers and Bobby is obviously no fool as he figures out that his reality isn’t all that real almost immediately upon entering it. When he comes face-to-face with his Reaper, he refuses to believe that it is his time and spends the rest of the episode battling to bring himself back from the brink.
In a memory involving now dead hunter Rufus, Bobby recruits him to the escape-the-brain cause and it just so happens that the memory that they’re in is one in which Rufus had just managed to avoid death himself. With his white-light experience at the forefront, the duo determine that the only way for Bobby to get back into the real world and awake from his coma is to face his darkest memories and push on through them. While the idea doesn’t exactly scream originality, once you accept it, it plays out pretty nicely. As Bobby tries to work out which corner of his mind is the darkest, the child version of himself keeps popping up to shepherd him in the right direction, although it takes him a while to figure that out.
Pre-figuring however, the Reaper does catch up to Bobby and Rufus to give us just a hint of mythology - something that we haven’t really had in a while. In an effort to give himself more time, Bobby uses a spell that he learnt from Sam and Dean to trap his pursuer, who informs him (and us) that while it is a neat trick, in the scheme of things, you really can’t outrun a Reaper. The more time that passes in the coma world, the more things slip; the memories fade and the person who has them slowly, but surely becomes confined to one final memory in which they must face their choice. While it’s not technically news to us, an absolute explanation on how those that choose to stay behind would eventually go insane is always good. This brings us, of course, to the part that makes my head hurt.
As I understand it, at the very end of “Death’s Door”, Bobby is dead. He faces his worst memory that allows him to come out of his coma despite having a bullet in his head, and spends just enough time on the outside to write some numbers on Sam’s hand that have something to do with a sinister Leviathan plot. As his heart stops beating in the real world, he falls back inside his head to his last-best memory - watching a Chuck Norris marathon with Sam and Dean - and the episode fades to black when the Reaper poses the question “stay, or go?” What I don’t understand is why? By why, I mean why did the episode end that way.
We’re not getting any new Supernatural for about a month now and with such a big actual world time period being passed, I can’t really imagine the next episode picking up immediately after that scene, in which we find out what Bobby’s decision was. If that’s the case, the third most important character in the entire show’s run just died somewhat out of nowhere, and we didn’t even really get to see it unfold. Sam and Dean have some sad faces on when we last see them, but the doctors are still fighting, so things aren’t really done. If Bobby chooses to go then maybe fade to black nothingness is appropriate, but if he stays, surely there is a chance that he can be brought back? It would not be the most bizarre thing to happen on this show.
With so many what-ifs hanging in the air, I just can’t fathom the decision to have the mid-season finale end the way that it did. After the last episode I said that it was about time that Bobby should probably die and that the writers should commit to the story, but they didn’t even manage to meet my mediocre expectations of what “Death’s Door” was going to do. Instead, we just have questions. One of those is of course the outside chance that Bobby isn’t even dead and that the doctors might magically save him somehow, but with the returning episode being entitled “Adventures in Babysitting,” I don’t see that as likely. It wasn’t a bad episode. Rather, it was one that evoked a feeling that I can’t spell: a combination of confusion, apathy and anger.