The Winchester Brothers (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki) have encountered every variety of ghoul, ghost, and goblin in 11 seasons of Supernatural. And facing down that many monsters and hellions is no small task. That’s why it’s nice to have a little help from time to time. In addition to their angelic pal Castiel (Misha Collins), the brothers sometimes seek assistance from a small group of dedicated hunters.
Season 11 has put Sam and Dean to the test once again. With a soul-sucking demigod on the loose, the Winchesters could use a little sage council -- or at least a good right hook. That’s where an old chum will once more lend a hand, as it was recently announced that Bobby Singer himself, Jim Beaver, would be returning for an episode during the current season.
Although Beaver hasn't been a regular for some time, he has returned to the series for the occasional special story. His most recent appearance was in season 10’s 'Inside Man,' which continued the character's adventures in the afterlife. And now, as reported by TVLine, come episode 16 of season 11, Beaver will don the old trucker's hat at least one more time, but there's a catch -- Bobby's return will be relegated to a flashback.
And while that's not the same as having Bobby Singer riding along with the brothers in Dean's trademark 1967 black Impala, affectionately calling them "idjits," at least he won't be going ghost hunting alone. It seems Bobby’s former comrade and hunter teammate Rufus Turner (played by Steven Williams) will also be featured in the episode's flashback storyline. Executive producer Jeremy Carver offered an explanation as to how the episode would bring the former partners together again:
"[The Winchesters] are going to be investigating an old case that was once investigated by Bobby and Rufus [in what would have been season 5]. There’s a lot of great throwbacks to things that happened [including] the wonderful relationship between Bobby and Rufus. That’s going to be a really neat episode."
Season 5 is considered by many to be the high-water mark for the series, so a return to that specific period in time may afford some interesting storytelling options for not only Bobby and Rufus, but also Sam and Dean. After all, as Carver said, there would be "a lot of great throwbacks" in the episode, which might present the two with the challenge of dealing with certain memories they had thought were remanded to the past.
At any rate, whatever the episode has in store, it will be good to see Beaver back in the role Supernatural fans know and love. Keeping a fan-favorite like Bobby Singer on reserve is a smart move for the producers; his continued presence may help draw in viewers and help keep them around, awaiting his next appearance. Even though his role on the show as of late has felt like a bit of deus ex machina, it sounds as though his appearance here may be more of a standalone episode, than one that ties directly into the season's main storyline.
That being said, this season’s overarching storyline does include one of the most intriguing "villains" in recent years. Amara’s development and her attachment to Dean provide a lot of hellraising potential, which hopefully the producers will take full advantage of. It remains to be seen whether or not the revelations from Bobby's old case will help the boys take down Amara directly, indirectly, or at all, but no matter what level his involvement in dealing with the season's big bad, it will be great to see Jim Beaver on the show once again.
Supernatural will return to The CW on Wednesday, January 20th, 2016.