Television Recap: Supernatural S5.15 Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid – But Women Dye Their Hair & Change Their Names

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When dead folks in a small town start rising up from their graves and returning to their homes and begin living their old lives like they never left, the Winchester brothers are fairly sure its another sign of the apocalypse.  However their fears about apocalyptic events take a backseat when they soon realize that their good friend and ally Bobby Singer (guest star Jim Beaver), who lives nearby, is personally affected by the ‘homecoming’ of the newly risen dead.

Yes, Bobby Singer is definitely affected by the events of this episode and in one pivotal moment at the end of the episode as they are watching his wife’s funeral pyre burning, he says to Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester: “She’s the love of my life, How many times do I have to kill her?”

Very poignant  and heartbreaking right? Except for the fact that, by all established canon, Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) now seems to have TWO dead wives. The lovely brunette Lisa from S3.10 Dream A Little Dream of Me and the lovely blonde Karen in S5.15 Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (written by Jeremy Carver).

That’s just one of the two major things that, for me, kept this episode from being the best it could be.

SUPERNATURAL

Before I sat down to write this recap/commentary on the episode, I wanted to make sure I was remembering right about Bobby’s dead wife having not only a different hair color when she died but more importantly that she had a different name in the S3.10 episode Dream a Little Dream of Me.(written by Sera Gamble and Kathryn Humphries). Anyone who wants to check this out for themselves will find the information in the scene when, inside of his dream, Bobby is trying to get back in the storage room and Dean who is with him, sees the woman for the first time. The dialog goes as thus:

Dean: “Bobby, who’s that?”

Bobby: “That’s Lisa, she’s my wife.”

And there in lies the crux of why I am again disappointed in an episode that could have been great. The crux being the total disregard for continuity between the past seasons and the present one. How the writers/producers and directors seem to be changing things at a whim to suit the needs of the present without realizing fans still remember the past. How hard could it have been for them to research back to season 3 and make sure that Bobby’s dead wife in season 5 had the same hair color and most importantly the same name as they gave her back then. When the writers don’t pay attention to this kind of thing, they make their characters look bad. I mean come on how are we suppose to believe that Bobby’s dead wife was the ‘love of his life’ when he can’t even remember that her name was Lisa not Karen.

lisakaren

The second major thing that made S5.15 Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, less than it could have been was, in my opinion, the totally unwise choice to air it out of filming order. This episode was originally intended to air before S5.14 My Bloody Valentine. Which explains why Sam is showing no signs of having gone through the horrors of withdrawal from demon blood addiction and Dean seems not to be concerned about him at all. To me, it threw the dynamic off between the brothers to have aired this episode out of order. Not only that but to have seen this in it’s rightful order would have added even more impact to Dean’s emotionally charged plea for help at the end of S5.14 My Bloody Valentine. We would have understood even more clearly why Dean was at the end of his rope because we would know what happened to Bobby that has had an adverse affect on him being an ally for the brothers.

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The saving grace of this episode is the emotional dynamic between Bobby and Dean and Sam.

Jim Beaver gives an outstanding performance as the emotionally conflicted Bobby Singer who, on one hand, is overjoyed to have the love of his life back yet on the other hand knows what she will eventually become. Jensen Ackles hits it right on the mark as the overly protective and overly pragmatic Dean Winchester whose only concern is that he not lose another ‘father’ to a monster. Ackles scenes with the Karen Singer incarnation of Bobby’s dead wife (Carrie Ann Fleming) were very powerful and gave the audience even more of sense of the depth of Dean’s attachment to Singer as a father figure. I do have to give some kudos to Jeremy Carver for keeping the continuity of Dean being the one to yet again attempt to save Bobby from being to overcome by his emotions and guilt regarding his part in his wife’s death to see the consequences. I also like that this time Bobby was strong enough to handle the situation but that he was still grateful to have Dean and Sam there for him.

What I don’t like is that Sam seemed to get the short end of the stick in the episode as far as getting to see his emotional attachment to Bobby. Yet Jared Padalecki manages to make the most of what he is given and makes the material written for his character stand out more than it might otherwise have done. His scenes with Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) and her realization of what has happened to her family and his taking responsibility for killing what was once a child were some Padalecki’s best in the episode.

I liked Sheriff Mills a lot as a character and I think that the casting of Kim Rhodes was an excellent choice to play this role. Mills was very down to earth and had a solid background as a character. I wouldn’t mind if we find out that she decided to become a hunter and she shows up in season 6 to help the guys out with a case or two. I liked the interesting twist of Death resurrecting Bobby’s dead wife to deliver his message to Singer about the consequences of helping the Winchesters and keeping Sam from saying yes to Lucifer. That was a well crafted plot element and a good play on messing with the psyches of the characters.

My favorite line in the whole episode?

Dean Winchester’s sarcastically delivered line of “Awesome, another horseman. It must be Thursday.”

Overall this episode did convey the emotional storyline that it intended, but for me it was lessened by the choice to air it out of filming order and by the glaring mistake in continuity with Bobby Singer’s dead wife. As I said, it bothers me when writers/producers and directors don’t bother to make sure they weren’t doing something that makes good characters look bad. Yes it’s very clear that Bobby Singer’s dead wife is the love of his life, but I could have did without the burning question of which dead wife.

An all new episode of Supernatural season five titled Dark Side of the Moon airs this coming Thursday, April 1st at 9PM on the CW Network. EclipseMagazine has an exclusive interview with one of the guest stars of that episode so check in on Wednesday to see who we chatted with(and was being cagey about the spoilers).

5 thoughts on “Television Recap: Supernatural S5.15 Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid – But Women Dye Their Hair & Change Their Names”

  1. Hey, just wanted to let you know. Bobby's wife didn't have a name in season 3. Bobby said to Dean, stuttering, "She's, she's, she's my wife!"

    I do agree with the continuity thing though. That was one of the first things I said to myself. Why is Sam out of the panic room, and why are they acting like nothing happened!

  2. I'm sorry, but the dialogue you quote above from DALDOM where you say Bobby says his wife's name is Lisa is not at all what I hear there. Dean says, "Bobby, who is that?" and Bobby says "She's . . . she's my wife." Nowhere does he say that her name is Lisa.

    And the change in actress didn't bother me a bit. This show is good about bringing the same actors back for the 2nd or 3rd time, so I can only assume that the initial actress was unavailable. But the actress in this episode was amazing and I never once thought the episode was diminished because of the same actress wasn't used.

    I do, however, agree with you that the change in ep order was unfortunate. Not because I didn't think Dean was broken enough and felt such despair at the end of MBV to have asked for help even without the added burden of what happened to Bobby. It was more about Sam having no apparent side effects and them not talking about it at all that bothered me such that I was relieved to hear that the eps had been aired out of order as it meant they hadn't juist glossed over the whole addiction thing.

    Thanks.

  3. To change the order , and to choose that it would be this ep. directed before My Bloody Valentine that would be aired , who have decided this ? Eric or CW ? I agree that it was weird to see Sammy & Dean totally okay when we remember what happened in the ep. we last seen .

    I liked the ep. but not loved it . BUT I found Dean really , really hot and man , when he was watching Bobby's house , just WOW ! I was glad to see him eating pie . Glad to see so many people being shot , now I hope the one of the week will be better 😉

  4. I listened to that dialog 5 times and I still heard Bobby say "that's Lisa, she's my wife. I remember when DALDOM first aired I thought it was interesting that Bobby's wife and Dean's exgirlfriend who he was dreaming about had the same name and I thought Dean was dreaming about her like he did because it was leftover residue from tapping Bobby's feelings about wanting his 'white picket fence' life back with his wife Lisa and not really Dean's own feelings about Lisa Braedon.

    But I could be wrong about what I heard.

  5. Good review. After watching this episode 4 times I finally decided that it was a really good episode. There were MOTW or should I say monsters, the coming war getting closer and how Death is helping Luci, great acting from Jim especially and Jared and Jensen. Like others when I found out the DMDWP & MBV were aired out of order, made this epi make more sense. But the impact wasn't the same had we seen them in proper order.

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