Supernatural season 11, episode 16, “Safe House,” featured flashbacks of Bobby and Rufus running parallel to the case of the week.
With no news on Casifer or Amara, the brothers decide to check out a nearby case of a girl who was attacked by an invisible assailant and is now in a coma. When they head to the victim’s home, they learn from the neighbor that they aren’t the first “FBI agents” to visit the house — and they quickly make the connection to Bobby and Rufus.
We see flashbacks of our favorite grumpy old men working the case a handful of years ago while the brothers work the job in the present day. The phone call Bobby receives from Dean at the end about a lead on Lilith implies the flashbacks took place during season 4.
Rufus and Bobby make such a delightful pair, and seeing them work this case together is a reminder of what the show is missing by killing off these wonderful supporting characters. Whenever Bobby returns to the show in the later seasons, things click back into place and everything feels right again. Without him, there is definitely something missing. And Rufus is just so damn fun and charming in his gruffness.
In a nice bit of continuity, we also discover this case was the origin of the bottle of alcohol Jody and Sam shared in season 7’s “Time After Time” that they found among Bobby’s things with the note, “Fine, you ass. You win for once. Enjoy, R.”
Eventually, both pairs of hunters realize they’re dealing with a creature known as a Soul Eater that, as its name suggests, feeds on the souls of humans. It has created a nest in the house. While Bobby and Rufus sealed it in the house when they worked the case, the new family that moved into the house broke the seal while renovating, unleashing the Soul Eater again.
We see a parallel between Dean and Bobby as they both end up in the nest while Sam and Rufus hurry to complete the banishing sigil while their partner is possessed by the Soul Eater. While in the nest, Dean and Bobby see some pretty creepy things; Bobby sees a hallucination of Sam and Dean (his boys, as he calls them while I whimper with emotion) dead while Dean sees Sam dead.
The Soul Eater shows its victims the worst happening to those they care for the most, so we see that Bobby cares for Sam and Dean the most (which we already knew from them being Bobby’s last memory before he died, but it never gets old) while Dean cares for Sam the most. Sam, for his part, is relieved to hear that Dean saw him — implying that he was concerned Dean might have seen Amara instead.
Both Rufus and Sam eventually finish their sigils and eject the Soul Eater from their partners’ bodies. However, while Rufus and Bobby sealed the Soul Eater, Sam and Dean used the knowledge of the Men of Letters to kill it. They decide to find the Soul Eater Bobby says he previously tangled with as well and kill it so there would be no unfinished business.
Overall, the episode has the creepiness of the early seasons of Supernatural while the inclusion of Bobby and Rufus and a classic rock soundtrack give it an old school feel. The continuity of the bottle of whiskey only adds to the seamless reintegration of these two characters into the world. “Safe House” was another strong outing in a season that has had some excellent standalone episodes.
More importantly, can we get a Bobby and Rufus spin-off?