Death has never been much of an obstacle on The CW's "Supernatural" (Fridays at 9 p.m. ET), where our two lead characters have both been to heaven, hell and back again without missing a beat.
So when the cult hit chose to kill off one of its most enduring and beloved characters, Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver), earlier this season, our mourning was tempered by the hope that we might see that trademark trucker hat again sooner rather than later.
The show returns tonight (April 20) with the first of five uninterrupted episodes leading up to the May 18 season finale, and by the looks of things, dearly departed Bobby isn't letting his ghostly transformation get in the way of his hunting prowess. HuffPost TV caught up with Beaver to discuss what's coming up for Bobby now that he's no longer in the land of the living, and the difficulties he's encountered while trying to obey the "ghost rules."
How did the producers present the news of Bobby's demise to you? Did you always know that your absence was only going to be temporary?
They presented it to me in the classic "we have good news and bad news" format. They started with the bad news. Then they tried to mellow it out a little bit with the good news, but it didn’t help much because they were pretty vague about the good news. They said, “We’re going to kill you, but you’ll probably be back.” They said that I would be back in the last episode or so. They weren’t sure how much or in what state, but not to worry about it, that they loved me, and they’ll never get rid of me. I didn’t believe any of it. [Laughs.] I was pretty nervous. But once again, this is the second series in a row where I managed to get the Viking funeral. I’ve been killed off on two shows now; in both of them I got really, really great sendoffs. So, the great thing about "Supernatural" is that demise never means demise. Never say forever.
After such a great sendoff in "Death's Door," were you at all concerned that your return would lessen the emotional impact of Bobby's death?
Well, I never quite felt they should have left me dead! [Laughs.] I’m way too fond of my paycheck as well as the people I work with. But I’ve always thought that one of the amazing things about this show is that they’ve managed to maintain the dramatic power of death even with people experiencing it more than once.
That's true -- we just get to cry more often.
Yeah -- I’m not sure how that works, but I think the people who put "Supernatural" together have figured out a miraculous way of holding on to the audience’s attention and sense of concern. I’m glad, because I can imagine a show that kills off its main characters and brings them back as often as this one does not being successful at it. But somehow or other, the threat of death still carries a lot of weight on this show, even though we’ve found ways to at least temporarily put it off on occasion.
Actors seem so tactile by nature -- has it been difficult trying not to interact with props and with Jared and Jensen when you're not supposed to be able to touch anything or be visible to them?
Well, Spencer Tracy said the secret to acting is to walk in, say your lines, and don’t bump into the furniture. I’ve really found that advice very useful in this particular situation, because I don’t have to say as much stuff because nobody can hear me. So, I can put more of my concentration into not touching anything. It’s weird. There have been some acting challenges that I never thought about having. In some ways it is easier, in some ways it’s confusing. I don’t know all the rules of being a ghost so they can say, "Oh, you can’t do that." In fact, there was a scene in [this] episode that we had to reshoot because it turned out I broke a ghost rule and didn’t know it. We had to go back and do it again like a month later. Somebody said, “No! Haven’t you watched this show? Ghosts can’t do that.” I went, “Oh, okay.” Nobody caught it when we were doing it. Like I said, it’s a new game with new rules.
We know that this week's episode involves a haunted house, so can we expect to see a little ghost-on-ghost action once Bobby's inside with the boys?
Oh, absolutely. A lot of the story is the boys trying to get up to speed on what they ought to do about what’s going on in this haunted house, while Bobby is going about the business of doing what ought to be done. So, it’s a bit of a job for Bobby that ends up kind of dovetailing with what the boys are doing. They’re kind of lagging behind -- but that's usual; those idjits are always lagging behind.
Next week's episode summary mentions Bobby wanting to help Sam and Dean, but that his rage towards Dick for killing him is getting in the way. Can you expand on that at all?
Well, first off, a lot of what we see in Bobby’s new state is his frustration with not being able to do what he used to be able to do and having these new ghost rules that he’s not used to. But at the same time, he’s got this intense anger at Dick for what Dick did to him. And he finds that ghosts have a lot more trouble controlling their anger than people do. So sometimes it gets in the way. Sometimes it’s something he can manage and use to his advantage, but sometimes it gets in the way of what he wants to do.
We've seen from previous ghosts and reapers that if Bobby sticks around as he currently is, there's a good chance that he'll end up becoming the kind of monster he used to hunt. Is that going to be a primary concern in the last few episodes of the season?
That’s definitely going to be a concern as the last episodes of the season play out: Bobby trying to swim against the tide insofar as what ghosts are destined to become. We’ll see how well he swims ...
Are you glad to have Bobby back? Do you think he'll succumb to his ghostly impulses as the season progresses, or do you think he'll end up alive again (despite the cremation)? Weigh in below!
"Supernatural" returns with an all-new episode tonight, April 20, at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.