Episode 09×04 AKA the Episode where Charlie (once again) Proves She is Awesome
After last week’s episode, I think the wisest decision the show runners could have made is to bring back fan-favorite Charlie Bradbury. The fans were a little, errrrr, “upset” about “I’m No Angel,” and I for one was very relieved to see that Robbie Thompson and the Singer/Kripke duo were in charge of “Slumber Party.” (Side note: Thompson also wrote “LARP and the Real Girl”, “The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo,” and “Pac-Man Fever”…all Charlie episodes).
Charlie’s Best Line
“I took down a teenage vampire and a ghost. Which sounds like a YA novel when you say it out loud.”
After sucker-punching us in the feels last week, the SPN creators decided to give us a break and give us a light whimsical romp through the land of Oz. Yeah right.
The episode begins with a glimpse into the Men of Letters‘ bunker back in the 1930s…in which Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz is actually a hunter, and she brings the Wicked Witch into our world because she hopes the Men of Letters will know how to kill the b**ch. No such luck, so Dorothy and the Witch go genie-in-a-bottle, trapped until opened.
In the present day, Dean and Sam are taking a break from hunting. They have a little tea time with Crowley (who I just love to hate), and just when I thought we’d maybe make it to the 15-minute mark without getting kicked in the feels, Sam mentions a possible way to help Cas.
Sam expresses his confusion about Cas’s abrupt departure (we’re still confused about that too, Sammy boy) and Dean says, “No one wants Cas here more than I do.” [cue yelling at telly] Dean, stop scuttling your own ship.
Moving on before I go on a tirade.
Sam thinks they can use the archives in the bunker’s computer to locate angels and warn Castiel before he gets attacked again. But for all their talents, the boys know nothing about computers. Especially really old ones of cavernous size.
Cue the entrance of one adorable redhead with fantastic IT skills.
She updates the bunker’s computer system lickety-split, and the boys discover that the chica’s been hunting. By herself. [insert Dean’s protective big brother streak] But she calms them with her charm and soon they’re having a slumber party and watching HBO’s Game of Thrones. Charlie actually suggests that they should “braid each other’s hair” and I have to admit, Charlie, that I have the same natural urge to want to play with Jared Padalecki’s hair. But I digress.
The camera flashes to the jar of creepy blue sludge, which someone conveniently left on top of the computer. Because that’s such a safe place to store it for 50-something years. (C’mon, Men of Letters, you were supposed to be smart). The jar tips over, the sludge pours out, and BAM! We have a Wicked Witch and a Dorothy of Oz in the flesh.
Turns out the Witch can’t die, which is why Dorothy bound her and the Witch in the jar in the first place. AND there is a key that will turn any door into a doorway to the merry old land of Oz. Charlie figures out a way to stun the witch (poppy bullets, who knew?) because she’s ridiculously brilliant. With a witch on the loose in the bunker, the Winchesters split up. Dean and Charlie pair off, and immediately Dean tries to convince Charlie to hide in the dungeon where it is safer (ironically). Charlie refuses, because, well, she’s Charlie and inherently bad ass and quest-worthy.
The key is in Dean’s bedroom, so Dean and Charlie race to get there before the Witch does. They do, but the Witch corners them and attempts to Avada Kedavra Dean. Charlie leaps in front of the curse, exhibiting a Winchester-level of self-sacrifice. And for the second time in two weeks, one of our favorite characters has died, and for the second time, Ezekiel brings a character back to life.
Charlie, newly resurrected, goes with Dorothy to find the ruby slippers (is that a new ship I see on the horizon?). The Winchesters attempt to slow the Witch down, but instead become Imperius-cursed to do her bidding, namely, kill the girls.
Dorothy fights off the Winchesters while Charlie saves the day, which she does by stabbing the Wicked Witch in the back of the head with Dorothy’s ruby high heels. Yes, folks, high heels are more than just fashion statements. In the end, Charlie leaves with Dorothy to travel through Oz, and I can’t help but be ecstatic that Charlie found her adventure of Tolkien proportions.
What This Episode Reveals About the Winchesters
Charlie is another honorary member of the Winchester clan. If Dean’s reaction to her temporary death is any indication, he views saving her life to be more important than trapping an evil witch. Family always comes first to the Winchesters. This is a big growth for the Winchesters, because a few seasons ago, could you have pictured either Sam or Dean risking the possible destruction of the world for someone other than each other? No? I couldn’t either.
On the other hand, there is trouble in paradise. We’ve seen quite a bit of Domestic!Dean since the boys moved into the bunker, but it appears that Sam isn’t settling in as well as his brother. “This isn’t our home. This is work,” Sam says. “What’s the difference?” asks Dean. Over the course of the episode it is revealed that Sam hasn’t ever felt like he’s truly had a home–every time he settles down, bad shit happens. By the end of the episode, however, Sam admits that there is “no place like home” (cheesy line, but effective), and I can’t help but wonder if he should have knocked on wood after saying that. Dean, unlike Sam, can remember a home with their parents, but unfortunately, in the years since, he can no longer distinguish the difference between what is home and what is work. For him, the family business is all that exists, and that makes me cry more than a little bit inside.
The Big Picture
This episode was a lot of fun, and as always, I really enjoyed Felicia Day’s guest appearance. In this episode, she was a stark contrast to the Winchesters in almost every way. With her (gorgeous) bright hair, brightly colored clothes, and adorably quirky personality, Charlie is almost the exact opposite of Sam and Dean.
This time, however, it was her attitude toward “the family business” that stood out more than anything else. When Charlie firsts admits to hunting, she acknowledges that it is not what she expected–she expected adventure and quests and clearly drawn good versus evil a la Tolkien. She’s disillusioned with the hunting life because it’s not the epic quest she envisioned. Put her side-by-side with Dean and Sam, and you have flip sides of the same coin. Charlie, new to the hunting business, still quests for adventure (one can’t help but remember the LARPers at the SPN convention in season 5), and is disappointed when reality doesn’t meet her expectations. The Winchesters have been in the family business for so long that any sense of adventure has dissipated, and they both know better than to have any expectations at all, because reality is continually disappointing to them.
In one of the 1930s flashbacks, Jenkins, a Man of Letters, says, “You were right. There’s nothing worse than adventure.” The Winchesters may agree, but when Dorothy and Charlie stroll down the yellow brick road into the unknown, I can’t help but think that Jenkins (and the Winchesters) are absolutely wrong.
Charlie, adorable Charlie, is the embodiment of looking at life as a glass half-full. The Winchesters could learn a thing (or twenty) from her.
One of My Favorite Scenes
I loved every scene with Charlie…but I love it when SPN makes references to former seasons. And fanfiction. (Keep on with the meta!)
Until next week, my hunter friends, when we will see Dean barking at a mailman. I can’t wait.