'Supernatural' season 11 episode 16: 'Safe House'
I always get a perverse pleasure when any of “Supernatural” ’s episodes are set in Michigan. “Safe House” begins with a woman, Naoki Himura (Jean McLean, “Defiance”), complaining on the phone to her wife about the state of their newly purchased home (in Grand Rapids) while she strips the wall paper. She is interrupted by her daughter, Kat (Emily Delahunty, “Scout & the Gumboot Kids”) screaming. She swears that she heard footsteps and she’s cold. She asks for a glass of water, but as soon as her mom leaves to get it, the lights go out and she is grabbed by a mysterious hand.
At a diner, Sam (Jared Padalecki, “Gilmore Girls”) and Dean (Jensen Ackles, “Smallville”) lament their lack of leads on both Amara and Cas. Despite this, Sam is remaining positive. He suggests that they look into Naoki’s case. Kat has been left in a coma following her brush with the mysterious entity. Dean thinks it could be a vengeful spirit and Sam hopes it will be an essay case. They could do with a win.
They meet Naoki at the hospital and she explains, frustrated, that no one believes her and even the Internet thinks she is crazy. With Naoki’s permission they go to check out the house. But, before they can get there they are interrupted by a neighbor who proclaims that she is the leader of the neighborhood watch. She wants to know why the FBI keep coming back to the house. Sam and Dean inquire after the previous visit and discover that their old family friends and former hunters Rufus (Steven Williams, “The Leftovers”) and Bobby (Jim Beaver, “The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy”) had visited the house a few years ago on a similar case.
The scene cuts to Bobby, circa season 4, sleeping in his car. He’s awoken by Rufus who invited him on the hunt. Bobby is upset because Rufus is asking him to hunt a ghost while he is trying to prevent the Apocalypse. Rufus believes that they could use and easy win and they aren’t getting anywhere on the Apocalypse (sounds familiar, no?). Also, Rufus needs someone to dig up the graves since he can’t work on Shabbat. The two approach the house, and are interrupted by the neighborhood watch woman (Barbara Pollard, “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour”. Rufus tells her that “it is officially none of [her] damn business.” Apparently Rufus was only ever nice for one year of his life. They enter the house.
Sam and Dean run through the house with EMF meters which go off in every single room of the house. It’s one seriously haunted house. They can’t figure out what’s causing it, so they turn to one of Bobby’s old journals for help. In the past, Rufus and Bobby interview the homeowner, Mary Henderson (Molly Elissa, “Whistler”) who tells nearly the same story as Naoki. Her son was placed into a coma the exact same way.
The brothers check into the same room that Rufus and Bobby did, for luck. Bobby’s journal is less than helpful, it just says “potential ghost hunt.” The house’s history reports two deaths: one man choked on a chicken bone and the other was murdered. The Winchesters assume that Bobby and Rufus burned one body and it’s the other ghost that’s acting up. Sam thinks it’s something more complicated than that, Dean doesn’t. Bobby and Rufus are having the same argument. Rufus bets Bobby a bottle of Whiskey that the ghost is actually a Baku.
Bobby, Rufus, Sam and Dean dig up the graves — but Bobby is smart enough to use an excavator rather than dig by hand; I guess when the Apocalypse is looming you don’t care about getting arrested for grave desecration. Also what religion does Rufus practice? Is it all religions? Because yesterday your excuse was Shabbat and today it’s Sabbath. Rufus inquires as to why Bobby was sleeping in his car earlier. Bobby tries to divert but admits that he has been up for days on end looking for ways to stop the apocalypse and protect Sam and Dean, protect his boys. Rufus reminds him that even if they save the world, not everyone is likely to survive. He calls it the oldest rule of hunting: You can’t save everyone. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean discover that both the bodies have already been salted and burned, so it isn’t a ghost.
Noaki is attacked in her home and placed into a coma alongside her daughter. In the past, Mary Henderson also falls victim. The same doctor (Michele Scarabelli, “Seven Little Monsters”) speaks to both pairs of hunters. The victims’ vitals are rapidly falling, and the doctor hopes that the same miracle recovery occurs for the Himura family as did for the Herndersons. Sam and Dean decide to talk to the Hendersons. Mary has very little new information except to explain that one of the FBI agents told her to never touch the wallpaper in the sitting room. Additionally she remembers a nightmare which was full of “spirits or something.”
The brothers investigate the wallpaper and discover a sigil which is broken. Both pairs of hunters spend the night researching sigils to the tune of Willie Nelson’s “Night Life.” The end result of both hunter teams is a monster called a Soul Eater. The monster chooses a house and builds a nest. The nest looks and feels like whatever house the Soul Eater is in but it exists outside of time and space. When the Soul Eater attacks they yank their victim’s soul into the nest, while their bodies wither and die.
Bobby can’t find a way to kill the Soul Eater, but they know a sigil to trap it. Unfortunately, trapping it won’t save its victims. However, Sam has access to the Men of Letters research and they are able to find a sigil to kill the Soul Eater. But to use it, one of them has to enter the nest and paint a matching sigil in there. Dean draws the short straw.
Dean is yanked into the nest, and so is Bobby. While inside they see all the victims of the Soul Eater, including the children they were searching for. They also see images of their worst nightmares. Bobby sees Sam and Dean dead (season 4 versions of them which is interesting to see) and Dean just sees a dead Sam. They also both have a run-in with the Soul Eater who takes control of their bodies in an attempt to stop the hunters from completing the sigil. Ultimately the attempt fails. First Rufus is successful in trapping the monster and then Sam is able to kill it. The souls are returned to their bodies, but in the brief moment before they return, Dean and Bobby see each other. And then they both wake up in their own time.
Both pairs of hunters wrap up their cases. Bobby and Rufus can’t figure out why the souls were released. He is confused about seeing an older version of Dean. Rufus tells him to, for once, forget the oldest rule. Sometimes, you can save everyone. And the good news for Bobby is that Sam, Dean and Bobby do survive the Apocalypse. And perhaps Sam, Dean and Cas will survive the Darkness too. Bobby goes to update his journal entry but a phone call from Dean with information about Lilith interrupts him. Man, it is weird to hear 2009 Jensen’s voice over the phone. 2016 Dean, meanwhile, thinks that it's possible he really did see Bobby because the nest exists outside of time and when they killed it the souls in the past were freed too. But both of them decide that thinking about it too long would be detrimental to their sanity.