Safe House is the 16th episode of Season 11. It aired on March 23rd, 2016.
A dangerous creature was accidentally released into an old house, attacking a mother and her child, leaving them both in a coma. Sam and Dean learn that Bobby and Rufus once tracked the same entity so the Winchesters look to the past to come up with a plan to catch the monster before anyone dies.
A woman, Naoki Himura, is scraping old wallpaper while talking on the phone with her partner about the progress on renovating their "fixer-upper" of a new home. She hears a scream and runs up to her daughter's bedroom. The girl tells her mother that there is something bad in the house, and complains about how cold her room is. After the mother leaves to get her a glass of water, the lights in the little girl’s room go out and her door slams shut. The child hides under her bed, watching the shadow of someone walking in front of her door. The door is suddenly opened, followed by a pale hand snatching the child away.
The brothers are having breakfast at a café, discussing their frustrating lack of leads on Amara and Cass. In the meantime, Sam suggests they take a case, showing Dean an article about a little girl in a coma after some sort of attack. The only sign of trauma is a handprint on her ankle. It seems like a vengeful spirit -- an easy case to solve, something Sam thinks they could use right now. They arrive in their fed suits at the hospital and question Naoki. She reports the flickering lights and cold spot in her daughter's room. Sam and Dean ask if they can go take a look at the house, and she consents, letting them know where the spare key is hidden. After the boys are gone, Naoki turns to check on her daughter and covers the child’s calf, where we can clearly see a bruise in the shape of a hand. When the brothers arrive at Naoki’s house, one of the neighbors, identifying herself as head of the neighborhood watch, stops them, asking why the FBI keeps showing up. When she sees the puzzlement in the boys’ faces, she tells them that a handful of years before there was another pair of FBI agents checking the house. She describes them as older men who were very rude to her, and Sam and Dean share a look of recognition.
A handful of years ago, Bobby and Rufus meet up in front of the house. Rufus pulls up behind Bobby's car and finds him asleep in the front seat. Bobby explains that he's been working on finding a way to prevent the apocalypse, and he's irritated that Rufus asked him to put that work on hold to come help him with this case. Just as Rufus and Bobby are walking to the house, the neighbor stops them, asking them why they're here. Bobby explains that they're FBI agents working on special case. Rufus brusquely tells the woman it's none of her damn business why they're there.
In the current year, Sam and Dean enter the house with the spare key. They investigate and find that the whole place gives off high EMF readings -- too high for a simple haunting by a single spirit. Dean suggests that they take some time to dig through Bobby’s old journals and the history of the house to try to get a better idea of what they're dealing with.
In the past, Bobby and Rufus sit down with a previous resident of the house. She tells them that her son called out for help in the night, saying he heard footsteps. By the time she and her husband got to his room, he was unconscious on the floor. She also mentions flickering lights and a cold spot in her son's room. As with the case in the present, the doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with the child apart from a strange mark on his ankle that looked like a handprint.
Sam and Dean check in to a local motel. Sam discovers that it's the same motel where Bobby and Rufus stayed, and he asks for the same room, for luck. In the past, Rufus asks Bobby why he was sleeping in his car and Bobby evades the question. Sam finds that there were two deaths on the house, one accidental (a man choked on a chicken bone) and the other a murder (a husband shot his wife). Dean finds the entry for the hunt in Bobby's journal, but it's short and unhelpful, suggesting only that they believed it to be a possible ghost. He speculates that Rufus and Bobby probably dealt with only one of the two spirits and that the other one is now haunting the house. They just need to find and burn the other set of bones, and the house will be clear. That feels too easy to Sam, but Dean is now ready for a nice, easy case so they can deal with it and get back to hunting Amara and saving Cass.
In the past, Rufus and Bobby argue over the case. Bobby believes it's a simple ghost case while Rufus now thinks it's a baku. They bet a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label Whisky on it, then head off to dig up some bones. On two separate nights, two pairs of hunters are digging up the same graves. Sam and Dean open the first casket and find that the bones have already been burned. Dean complains that there should be an easier way to dig graves. In the past, it is revealed that Bobby and Rufus made use of a backhoe for their hunt. While taking his turn at digging, Rufus again asks Bobby why he fell asleep in his car. Bobby finally answers that he's been overworked, staying up late trying to find a way to stop the apocalypse with Sam and Dean. He says he's worried for his boys. Rufus reminds him of the oldest rule of hunting: you can't save everyone. Back in the present, the brothers reach the second casket and find only ashes within. Apparently they're not hunting a ghost after all.
Inside the case house, Naoki is packing some of her daughter's things to take to the hospital, when the light suddenly goes off and the sound of footsteps approaches. She falls to the floor and is grabbed and dragged away. The next day, Sam and Dean are back in the hospital, checking on Naoki and her daughter, now both in unexplained comas. Sam finds the doctor who was treating the family from Rufus' and Bobby's case. In flashback and in the present day, she confirms the details of the case -- mother and child found unconscious, each with a strange mark on the ankle. She says that the patients' vital signs had failed rapidly and they'd come close to death, then somehow both woke up the next morning, perfectly fine. She says that Naoki and her daughter show the same failing vitals and she expresses hope for the same sort of recovery.
Sam and Dean go to speak to the family from the past case, the Hendersons. The mother, Mary Henderson, is shocked to see a pair of FBI agents at her house. She asks if it's happening again, if her son in danger. The boys reassure her and ask for any information she can give them, even the smallest detail. She describes a dream she had during her coma, a nightmare in which she was in a darker, faded version of her house. She saw her husband's dead body, and then it was gone. She tried to leave the house but couldn't. She saw spirits all around her. She says that after she woke up, one of the FBI agents told her never to touch the wallpaper in the sitting room.
The boys return to the house. Sam looks closely at the wallpaper that Naoki had been removing and sees a bit of red peeking out from underneath. When he peels more of the wallpaper away, he reveals a sigil painted on the wall. Naoki had unknowingly deactivated it by damaging it while she was scraping off the old paper. The boys don't recognize the sigil, and dive into the research to try to figure out what they're dealing with. In the past, Bobby and Rufus do the same.
Bobby figures out that they are dealing with a Soul Eater. Sam reaches the same conclusion in his own time. Both pairs of hunters discover that Soul Eaters are undead creatures which feed on souls. A Soul Eater moves into a house and builds a nest, a place that exists outside of space and time. It yanks its victim's soul into its nest, which resembles the victim's own house and feeds on it, showing it visions of loved ones in distress to keep it weakened. Meanwhile, back in the real world, the body withers and dies. According to the lore Bobby is consulting, Soul Eaters cannot be killed, only trapped. He recalls a similar case from his earlier days, where he was able to trap the monster with an old Celtic sigil. In his time, Dean finds Bobby's case from Tennessee, in which a hunter named Harvey called Bobby on a potential poltergeist case but couldn't find the bones to burn. According to Bobby's journal he went in, "buckshots, guns blazing." However, in the past, an unconvinced Rufus demands the truth. Bobby admits that he found Harvey lying on a house floor, apparently having been in a coma for days. Sensing an evil presence in the house, he quick drew the Celtic sigil, trapping the unseen monster before it could get him. Unfortunately, Harvey never woke up after that, and Rufus reminds him again that not everyone can be.
In the present day, the boys wonder how the Hendersons' souls were returned if Rufus and Bobby only managed to trap the monster. Sam finds information in the Men of Letters archives that provides a way to kill the Soul Eater -- two sigils, one in the house and one inside the nest. A game of Rock, Paper, Scissors determines that Dean will be the one entering the nest. In their respective times, Rufus and Sam each begin painting a sigil on a wall of the house. Bobby and Dean each get pulled into the nest, although only Dean was expecting the trip.
When Dean wakes up, the house is dark and gloomy and he sees Sam's bloody body on the floor. Remembering the lore, he closes his eyes and when he opens them again, Sam’s body is gone, to his relief. The same thing happens to Bobby -- he sees Sam and Dean dead, blinks his eyes and shakes his head and they're gone. Both Dean and Bobby find the children from their respective cases inside the house, and while they are talking and trying to help them (and Dean is painting his sigil), Rufus and Sam are doing their best to finish their sigils in the outside world. Rufus hears a noise and runs upstairs; he discovers Bobby's unconscious body and leaves it in place, once again mentioning the oldest rule of hunting. Sam drags Dean's unconscious body into the kitchen with him and props it up against the refrigerator.
The longer the hunters stay in the nest, the more spirits they see there. Bobby encounters the Soul Eater itself, which occupies his body in the real world and tries to coax Rufus into the nest and keep him from completing the sigil. The same thing then happens to Dean. Rufus and Sam each struggle with the Soul Eater inside the borrowed body of their hunting partner while also trying to finish the sigil. Eventually they succeed, and the souls begin disappearing from within the nest, freed across time by the sigils that Sam and Dean painted. As the souls vanish, Dean looks up the stairs and sees Bobby looking back at him. Their eyes meet, shocked, and then they each flicker out and return to their own times.
The next day, in the past, Bobby is covering the sigil with wallpaper while Rufus is checking on the fully recovered Hendersons at the hospital. Over the phone, Rufus asks Bobby what he saw inside the nest. Bobby mentions the vision of Sam's and Dean's bodies, but he hesitates to tell Rufus that he saw Dean, alive, as well. Rufus tells Bobby to forget the oldest rule, because they actually can solve a case without casualties. Good news also comes in Sam and Dean’s time -- Naoki and her daughter are awake, Naoki's wife has arrived safely, and they’re selling the house.
After he finishes with the wallpaper, Bobby goes back to his car and finds the whisky from Rufus, with a note. As he's about to write more in his journal about the hunt, his phone rings. It's Dean, asking for Bobby’s help tracking Lilith. He puts his journal down and starts his car.
Back in the present, Sam and Dean, are talking about what Dean saw in the nest. They don't understand why Dean saw Bobby there, but speculate that it might have something to do with the nest existing outside of time. They decide to head to the location of the other Soul Eater case that Bobby mentioned, to kill that monster as well and tie up those loose ends. However, Dean tells Sam that this time he'll be the one going into the nest.
- Michigan Soul Eater
- Tennessee Soul Eater (mentioned only)
- Naoki Himura
- Mary Henderson
- Will Henderson
Featured Supernatural BeingsEdit
- Based on the conversation between Bobby and Rufus about the apocalypse and Dean mentioning Lillith over the phone at the end of the episode, Bobby and Rufus' hunt takes place at some point in season 4--after Dean has been resurrected and before Sam kills Lillith.
- During the flashback scenes, both Bobby's flask and Bobby's car can be seen.
- The source of the Johnny Walker Blue that Sam and Jody Mills found among Bobby's things in "Time After Time" is shown.
- Sam and Dean play Rock, Paper and Scissors again to decide who will go to the Soul Eater's nest. Dean loses again.
- The scene where Dean and Sam speak to Naoki in the hospital is part of the gag reel. In it, Jared and Jensen are shown fooling around and ignoring the script.
- Dean encountering Bobby in the nest marks the first time Dean has had any interaction with Bobby since Bobby's soul went to Heaven in season 8 episode Taxi Driver. Its also their first face to face meeting since Dean burned Bobby's Flask in Survival of the Fittest.
- Rufus said he was nice in the year 1985, coincidentally the same year Anna Milton had removed her grace and fallen to Earth, before being reborn as a human in December of that year.
- During the airing of this episode, Jared complained about being stuck with Misha for filming. His misery stemmed mostly from this episode being one of those he really liked.
- Rufus: It's officially none of your damn business, ma'am.
- Bobby: Were you ever nice?
- Rufus: 1985. Worst year of my life.