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Most of all, while we are horrified by their monstrous behavior, we're also given a moment to laugh. It gives us that breather before they "Pumpkin-and-Honeybunny'd a diner there." That is horrific and chilling, reminding us that while these monsters may wear Sam and Dean's charming faces, they are vicious and cruel monsters nonetheless and they will do horrible things to people not just because their boss, Dick Roman, orders it, but because it's fun.
In the other storyline of "Slash Fiction," we see Thompson write a human story for Bobby and Jody. He grasps their characters well, giving both a warmth all the while tugging on our heartstrings. We can sense a "wrong place, wrong time, but right intentions" about the two of them. Despite being on opposite sides legally at one point, the Sheriff and Bobby have made a fast alliance through their experiences. There's a great humor in watching Jody simply accept the fact that Bobby has yet another monster chained up in the basement---and she states it best when she says,"So I won't go downstairs."
Is in their exchanges that we see the humanity that contrasts with the monster in Chet. Jody wants to thank Bobby any way she can---from cooking to making a sandwich to sprucing up the cabin---and true to Bobby's nature he just won't accept. There's a gentleness between them. Gratitude is in every gesture of Jody's, in the tone of her words and in her gentle smiles. Bobby is all gruff on the outside, but we can tell that he's only brushing off her praise, especially in the line, "Just doing my job, which nobody pays me for."
While Bobby exhausts everything he can on Chet, it is Jody's mishap with soap that sets up one of the greatest moments for these characters. Bobby is stunned when soapy water drips from the ceiling, landing on Chet, who screams in agony. Once he rushes upstairs, he finds Jody wringing out a rag---and in a moment of spontaneity, Bobby takes his chance to thank Jody---by kissing her. Jody is surprised and almost pleased---and it leaves us the viewer as breathless as the Sheriff.
At the same time, much like Sam and Dean have to face monstrous versions of themselves, Bobby must face Chet wearing his face---and confront some of his darkest thoughts. Bobby handles this with his usual poise and gruff exterior---and yet we can tell that it bothers him a bit more than he lets on. Chet opens up some old wounds, poking at a sensitive subject with the line, "You and Dad. Now, that's a can of scorpions." But what's fascinating about Thompson's writing here is it's Chet that also defines that human intangible in Bobby. He tells Bobby, "But, you know, deep down inside... you're no cynic. You still hope." In this exchange, Thompson has really summed up the complexity of Bobby's character without cheapening or downplaying it.
That doesn't mean Bobby doesn't get his own shot in. He tells Chet, "'A man's reach should exceed his grasp.'" Bobby has lived this long by understanding what that means. And while Chet may be able to declare it "lovely" and understand that Bobby still hopes for the world, he will never understand it---nor will any of the other Leviathans. They are so certain in their superiority, their strength that they don't realize the peril they place themselves in until it is too late to stop the Winchesters in "Survival of the Fittest."
Of course, we are left with Leviathan Sam and Dean pulling the trigger on their best bullet. They know the secret that Dean has kept from Sam---killing Amy---and while the act itself isn't the problem, it is the trust and lack there of that makes this a dangerous topic. Leviathan Dean tells Sam that Dean did it simply because, "Dean... thinks you're nutballs. He thinks you're off your game." This bullet lodges its way into Sam's heart, and it is the wedge the leviathans need to push the brothers apart---albeit temporarily.
Thompson's debut episode captured so much of the show's story, character, and tone. The episode's success allowed him to claim a spot on the writing staff. About that, Thompson states, "They had a slot open and I was lucky enough to do get it. [sic]" I'd say, as fans, we were lucky, too.
In the second half of this profile, we'll be looking at the rest of his episodes, and how he's brought his own stamp to the show in the process.
Profile on "Supernatural" Writer Robbie Thompson, Part 2
Profile on "Supernatural" Writer Robbie Thompson, Part 3
He hasn't given us a lesser episode, instead always raising the bar and giving us what we expect from the Winchesters and yet surprising us in delightful ways with more than we ever dreamed of. He is the master!
Thanks for spotlighting his talent. I always get excited when I hear we are being blessed with another one of his scripts! Oh, and I would be remiss to fail to mention one of my fav things about Robbie! Like Ben Edlund before him, he knows how to dress our hero Dean! Yes, LARPing Dean is a fav! But that crown belongs on Robbie's head too!
With Edlund now gone, Robbie is my favorite writer on the staff and I cannot wait to see what he brings for us in Season 9. I agree. Robbie does know how to dress Dean. We've had a couple great uniforms that make Dean real pretty. And one that makes him look silly!
We'll get to "LARP and the Real Girl" in the third part of this Profile. I hope you'll enjoy my take on that, too.
I do appreciate that he took time to watch all the episodes. On this show I don't know how you can write a episode without doing so but I think at least a couple have. It shows in Thompson writing.
Look forward to the next part!
I was really happy to hear he had watched the series in full, too. It makes his scripts all the richer for it!
I've enjoyed most of his work, so I'll forgive him for Bitten.
Looking forward to Part 2!