A mostly so-so episode has a pretty jarring ending leading into the mid-season finale.
****Spoilers right off the bat, so be warned.****
This just in: while we have no independent verification, the writers of Supernatural seem to really be into the 1985 Michael Moriarty classic, The Stuff. Oh, and Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) takes one in the dome, is probably dead.
If you skipped out on this week's episode, you might be forgiven for thinking that it was probably going to be another monster of the week bit, given how slow-going season seven has been in tackling the new villain(s) that make up Purgatory escapees Leviathan. But in a pretty interesting bait-and-switch, the boys' attempts to track down a monster related to a small town's new sandwich sensation puts them right back in the path of the new baddies. While I have my qualms about how the story is essentially, "and then Sam, Dean, and Bobby accidentally wandered into a Leviathan story," I have to say it's at least an improvement over the season's seemingly steadfast efforts to not deal with Leviathan in any real meaningful way for the last few episodes.
And thankfully, we finally get a bit of background on the meat suit that the head Leviathan bad guy is wearing, businessman Richard "Dick" Roman (James Patrick Stuart), a politically-connected billionaire businessman and author who seems harder to hurt than your average Leviathan henchman. As has been hinted at since their first appearance, Leviathan is creating some kind of network of agents around the country to do... something, and Dick wants them to continue keeping a low profile so that they can execute whatever the grand plan is. I can't say I wasn't a little disappointed to see that their grand ambition will be something along the lines of "kill/subjugate humanity" but at least we finally have some idea of what's going on with them.
And then Bobby gets shot. Now, Jim Beaver's longtime father figure character for Sam and Dean has ad a target on his back a few times now, even getting crippled at one point, selling his soul to Crowley in another, and dying in the midst of the apocalypse at another point still. So, it'd be easy to assume that this is a death that won't quite stick. But something from this episode makes it seem pretty evident that the character is off the board for the time being: killing Bobby gets Sam and Dean motivated to deal with Leviathan in a way that they haven't been throughout the rest of the season.
It actually plays into a conversation that Dean and Bobby have earlier in the episode where the latter tells the former that he's seen too many hunters go into the hopeless place where Dean's been for the last few weeks, and those hunters usually end up dead. Bobby says something to the effect that Dean needs to find something to get him motivated--anger or whatever--if he's going to survive. I think the show loses something essential with Beaver's (presumed) departure, but at the same time, it might be a chance to change the dynamics of the series up in a way that it hasn't in years, making the tone and feel of the series a bit more lean, more focused on two desperate and dangerous guys on the road as compared to the home base and extended network of connections that have developed over the last few years.
Here's the preview for next week's episode, "Knocking at Death's Door":
Supernatural airs Friday nights at 9 on the CW.