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Rewatch S8: 8x11 LARP and the Real Girl

And I'm back to rewatches! I'm going to try to do one of these today, even though I'm SUPER tired. I'll try to do another on Tuesday or Wednesday if I can, and then there will probably be an absolute flood of them next week and the week after. Since I want to get as much as I can done during my Christmas break (which is really only a break from one of my jobs).

Anyway, after the heaviness of the last few episodes, it'll be nice to have a fun one... and who's more fun than Charlie!

We start off with the teaser death. A gamer dude/LARPer is fighting on the phone, then goes to sleep, only to be drawn and quartered. So gross, so very very gross......and a horrible way to die. Man, medieval times were brutal. Let's not go back there.

Dean: "Look, we have both had a rough go over these past couple of weeks, and I know what you gave up wasn't easy. Maybe we ought to take the night off. Go see a flick, hit a bar, or two - go have some fun. You remember fun, don't you, Sam?"
- I like Dean trying to be understanding and helpful. He knows he messed up and now he's doing his best to make sure that Sam doesn't regret choosing Dean over his other life.
- Also, Dean has been trying to get Sam to have fun since S1, eventually, you'd think he'd realize that it's a losing battle! :P Well, that's not true, because we know from Swan Song that Sam and Dean DO have fun when they get a chance. So, I think Dean is trying to remind Sam that Hunting isn't all horribleness and heartbreak, it can be fun times with your brother too! Dean found that in purgatory with Cas and Benny, PTSD aside, and he wants it with Sam now too. Dean and Sam have to reconnect and the best way to do that is to have fun together.

Sam: "It's bad enough that you're tracking us, it's even worse when you say we've been garthed."
*Dean smiles*

- I like how genuinely Dean likes people as soon as he decides to like them. Garth is Dean's friend, so now his more annoying habits are adorable-annoying rather than annoying-annoying.

Sam: "Okay, we've gotta lose the GPS on our phones, because Garth has been tracking us - and other hunters, apparently - to assign cases."
Dean: "That's smart. Total Bobby move. What's the deal?"

- I also like this exchange, because Sam is all like "rar! Privacy!" and Dean is actually looking at it practically and admitting that it's a smart move. I also like it because it reinforces the fact that Garth is alive because he's intelligent, even if he doesn't always come across that way on first impressions.

Sheriff: "He lived alone, which is a real shocker, considering his place is full of toys."
- Awww, nothing wrong with toys. Actually, I really really love painting those miniature models. I used to do it for a friend of my brothers back when I was little. I know there are some people who are so good at it that they can make a living off of it, or at least, a partial living. I'd love that, but you have to invest a LOT of money and practice in order to get a business like that up and running.

Sheriff: "..we didn't find any hoof prints. She probably heard a TV, or had a bad dream, or she was high as balls."
- So, I think this is the funnest sheriff that they had in S8. I love the fact that they sometimes imbue their local-law enforcement with different personalities, rather than just having them be rather generic. It makes for a richer world.

Sheriff: "These kids today with their texting and murder."
- A surprisingly quotable line! My friends and I are always using this one....and scaring the "mundanes" around us.

Lance: "No, they were from me, but they weren't from me me!"
Dean: "Did you really think that sentence was going to clear things up?"

- I just love Dean's line here - not, "what do you mean?" but more just questioning the guys logic all around.

Dean's coffee cup is the same as they used to use for coffee at Mac's, a chain-convenient store, for those that don't know. I'm sure it's just "generic coffee cup" supplier that Mac's happened to use...but man, seeing that coffee cup brings back memories of my mum driving us to school... anyway, um, back to the show....

Lance: "...He was Lancelot to my Merlin."
Dean: "Ah."

- Can I say that I love the fact that Dean and Sam are familiar with Arthurian legend... I know, I know, who DOESN'T know about Arthurian legend? But, I like that it comes up later in the season in a more personal context... this line just reminded me of it.

Sam *reading website*: "Welcome to Moondoor, Michigan's largest LARPing Game"
Dean: "And I thought WE needed to get out more."
...
Dean: "Huh. Actually looks like of awesome."

- I also like how Dean goes from judgy to embracing of LARP in this episode. Because it does follow his journey from not understanding it to realizing WHY people do it and enjoying it himself. The thing is, it's just like Dean says here - it's a way to get OUT. You leave your house (or Impala) and you talk to people other than your brother for a day or two, have fun, and for a little bit you don't have to worry about your job or anything else.

Another gruesome death. Super gross.

Can I just say that I love their trench coats...because I love their trenchcoats.

MOONDOOR! Part me wonders whether, if I had still been signed up for possible extra work, if I would have gotten a call for this episode. That would have been awesome - though, unfeasible, since the reason I'm not doing extra work any more is because I don't have time for it. Also, they probably called people who had costumes at home already, and I do not.

Dean: "Excuse me, you are a LARPer, right?"
Boltar/Jerry: "I prefer the term interactive literaturist."

- This was your first clue, boys.

As much as I think it's cool that someone called out the fake badges, I don't think that the guy should have been able to notices the discrepancies from just a glance (which is why the badges work.) But whatever! Also, how does he know that the seal is from last month? I mean, what does this guy do on the weekends, research how to counterfit FBI badges?

CHARLIE!

Charlie: "...in their absence the honour guard is weakened. To join... oh blerg."
- I love this pan and reaction shot. Because we get to see the Winchesters from Charlie's POV and just what seeing them MEANS to her. It's not, at this stage of their acquaintance, a "My friends!" moment. It's very much a "I've seen an omen of danger" moment.

Dean: "Charlie?"
Charlie: "Charlie Bradbury is dead. She died a year ago, you killed her. My name is Carrie Heinlein, oh and guess what - now you killed her too."

- It's interesting that Charlie is blaming the Winchesters. Saying THEY killed her... even though it was her own choice to help them, just as this time. They didn't kill Charlie Bradbury, Charlie did.

Charlie: "...Now you're here. And if you guys are here, monsters are here..."
- And this is very much what I was saying before, about the Winchesters being an omen of bad things. If you see the Winchesters, there's either a monster they are chasing or a monster chasing them, it's always one or the other and either way - monsters.

Charlie: "...Why do I have such bad luck? What am I, some kind of monster magnet! Is there such thing as a monster magnet? You know what, don't answer that. I don't care. What I care about is not getting my other arm broken or dying. So, I'm dropping my sword and walking off the stage, bitches. Have fun storming the castle."
- Princess Bride reference! Woo!

But, Dean gets her back by telling her that her compatriots are dead and they need to ask her questions.

Dean: "You know, if you, uh, move your archers back and your broad swordsmen to the west-"
Charlie: "Oh, fight the warriors-"
Dean: "Yup."
Charlie: "-yeah, good call. What about the southern wall?"
Sam: "Guys!"
Dean: "Yeah, right sorry" *moves pieces while Sam talks...*

- Again, I just love this. Not much to say besides that.

Dean: "The point, which is usually yours, is that she should get somewhere safe and go back to a normal life."
Charlie: "Hey, I am right here, and I want to leave."
Dean: "Thank you."
Charlie: "But the Queen, she has to stay - Sam is right, people are dying, that can't happen on my watch. And you know what, I am tired of running, I like my life here - I'm going to stay and fight for it."

- A few things to say here - firstly, I love how Dean and Sam are always arguing different sides. Even when Sam is arguing Dean's usual side, Dean will switch and argue Sam's usual side. They're great devil's advocates for each other.
- Secondly, I also like the fact that Charlie speaks up and tells them that she's right there and makes the decision herself. Mainly, because stepping back for a moment and looking at it through a feminist lens - you have two guys arguing about what a woman should be doing, and the woman is just like "I'm gonna do whatever I damn well want to. Idiots."
- Thirdly, this was also the decision that Charlie made last time - even before she was Queen. She WANTS to run, but she has a very strong sense of what is right and wrong (probably from reading so many fantasy novels as a child) and that means that what she wants doesn't matter, what matters is what she sees as the morally right thing to do.
- Fourthly, the thing that HAS changed from the last time is the fact that Charlie knew then that if she helped, she would have to give up her life...so, when she made the decision, she sacrificed the normal life she knew. This time, the decision to fight with the Winchesters is about protecting her normal life, rather than giving it up.

Sam: "...his body showed clear since that he was killed by Belladonna."
Dean and Charlie: "The porn star?"
Sam: "The poison."
Dean and Charlie: "Oh."

- I just love Sam's face. Also, I love that Dean and Charlie are such bros. I remember that when she was first introduced, I kind of wanted her to be more bros with Sam, because they were both techie...but the fact of the matter is that Charlie has more in common with Dean in terms of lifestyle/dorkiness. Sam might be a techie, but he's a non-womanizing jock techie... whereas Charlie is a dork and a player, who just happens to also be a hacker.

Sam: "Charlie, I'm going to need to borrow your laptop."
Charlie: "There are no laptops in Moondoor"
*Sam's face!*

- I just love Sam's reaction. "What do you mean NO LAPTOPS! WHY ARE YOU HERE?!" Hehehe... Sam is me. And again, this drives home the difference between Charlie and Sam, Charlie can fathom an entire weekend away from her computer - Sam cannot.

Charlie: "Okay, I'm going to need the full Wiki on where you guys have been. But first! You're going to have to ditch the suit if you're going to walk and talk with the Queen."
- I like Dean's little smile.

Charlie: "You sent Sam a phantom text from his ex? Dick move, sir."
Dean: "Yeah, not my finest hour."
Charlie: "So, he found some normalcy with this chick and now it's gone, again, thanks to you."
Dean: "Yeah, well, now he's more committed than ever! So there's that... trust me, this life, you can't afford attatchments. You just gotta...let go."

- I must admit, despite Charlie and Dean clicking like bros, I was surprised Dean actually did tell her everything. Then it occurred to me that Bobby isn't around anymore... and Dean really doesn't have anyone, besides Sam, to talk to - which means that he doesn't have anyone to talk to ABOUT SAM. Bobby always filled that role before, but despite Dean's acceptance of Garth, he's not comfortable around him enough (ie: Garth is too emotionally open). Whereas Dean knows that Charlie prefers to keep conversations light-hearted and non-emotional, so she's the perfect person to vent to - she won't push him to talk about his feelings, and she'll undercut everything with humour and keep Dean feeling comfortable if he DOES want to talk about his feelings.
- Also, I find it interesting to see things from Dean's point of view, now that we know the end of the season. Because Charlie got the story from Dean, we can assume that her wording is a result of the story as Dean told it - meaning, that the way Dean sees it, he came back and interrupted Sam's normal life. Whereas, the way Sam saw it, his normal life was an illusion that couldn't last, and what's worse, by trying to keep it anyway and ignoring who he was, Sam once again let down Dean.
- Which brings us to Sam being "more committed than ever" - because he's trying to make it up to Dean?

Charlie: "Are we still talking about Sam, or did you break up with someone too?"
Dean: "Me? No."

- Yes, you did, Dean. You broke up with Benny, because he and Sammy didn't get along and Sammy always comes first. Bro-break-ups are still break-ups.

Charlie: "It's an escape. I mean, in here I'm Queen. A hero. Out there in the real world, I'm just hacking out code and chugging coffee all day long."
Dean: "Now wait a second. If it wasn't for you, we would have never been able to take down Dick Roman. Out there, in the real world, you ARE a hero."

- Charlie also makes an interesting study in what happens when you're brought up on fantasy literature and then thrust into fantasy scenarios. Charlie's background as a fantasy-genre nerd and path to Hunting later in life makes for an interesting contrast with Sam and Dean. For Charlie, she's used to heroes being RECOGNIZED as heroic. The Return of the King sees the tattered ranger ascending to his rightful place on the throne to be bowed to by the kingdoms of men. The hobbits are paraded through the city and thanked for destroying the ring and Sauron... Han marries a princess and Luke becomes the galaxy's most recognized bad-ass Jedi. The fact that Charlie saved the world, but nobody knows, means that Charlie doesn't feel like a hero at all. Whereas for Dean and Sam, the whole goal is for no one to know - what they're saving people from isn't really the monsters, it's the KNOWLEDGE of monsters. The more people that they can keep "innocent" the more successful they are at their jobs. Yes, they feel good when they are recognized and thanked for their hard work, but whether that happens or not, they still feel like heroes - albeit, at times, horribly flawed, tired, and reluctant heroes. Of course, other times, they're just trying to clean up their own mistakes, so they don't so much feel like heroes as perhaps a little less than a complete failure. :P

Dean: "I notice a lot of these maidens checking you out."
Charlie: "What? I can't shut this down. It's good to be queen."

- So, for those who may not have read Vicki's Threesome Handbook, there's a line in there about where to meet potential thirds/couples, and one of the suggestions is "Renfaires or Sci-fi conventions" because "there's a major crossover between the sci-fi fandom and polyamory." Anyway, yeah, I loved that they kind of had that in here too.

Sam: "It's all just part of the game."
Maria: "Genre mash-up, cool."

*proceed to discuss real people with real gruesome injuries all connected to Moondoor, using confidential case-files.*
Maria: "I've never done genre mash-up play before, that was fun."

- Um, Maria, I think there might be something wrong with you...did you really not question the confidential files or the fact that you KNOW those people and something seriously f*cked up is going on? Because, yeah, I would not buy the excuse that Sam was working on a "genre mash-up."

Sam: "First time for everything, right?"
Maria: "First time for a lot of things if you want to come find my tent later."
Sam: "Another time."
Maria: "Your loss."

- Yeah, again, the Renfaire quote comes to mind.

Dean: "Lead the ways to the orcs, Bolty."
Jerry/Boltar: "Speak when spoken to, handmaiden."

-Hehehe. I have to say though, that I love the fact they gave Dean a woman's title and that Bolty just went with it. Seriously, I think that Renfaire/LARPing/Sci-fi people are more into polyamory because they're just used to being more open-minded in general.

Charlie: "Dark magic"
Shadow Orc: "Ah! My eyes! The sting of your attack burns my very soul!"

-Hehehehe... this is made all the more awesome by the fact that I KNOW that guy! He's great... and was very happy to have a scene with Felicia Day. We've since complimented him on his fine loping skills as well.

But then Charlie is still kidnapped!

Sam: "Nice outfit."
Dean: "You love it."

- I love this whole exchange, because Dean doesn't let Sam make fun of him. He just doesn't rise to the bait, and THAT'S what makes Sam realize that Dean really does love it, I think.

Charlie: "Wow, real magic, that is really cool, if not mostly terrifying."
- I think that would be my reaction if I ever discovered there was real magic.

Charlie: "I'm just an IT girl, standing in front of a monster, asking it not to kill her."
- I love this reference too. Adorable.

Charlie: "...I just want my old life back!"
Gilda *takes off mask*: "That is all I want as well."
*Charlie discovers the monster is a hot chick.*

- Haha, I love that reveal and Charlie's reaction. Monsters, she doesn't know how to handle, but good looking women? Yeah, Charlie suddenly has her confidence back.

Dean: "I swear if anythings happened to her-"
Sam: "Dude, we checked all the tents, we'll talk to these guys. We'll find her."

- Again, when Dean decides to love, he commits to it. He's decided to love Charlie and Charlie gets the "I will kill everyone if she dies" treatment.
- Sam, I have to say, is remarkably cool-headed... but then, I think it's probably in reaction to Dean NOT being cool-headed. The brother's always compensate for each other.

Jerry/Bolty:"Now, before we continue, a few announcements - there's a peewee soccor game... if we don't want to freak out the mundanes, we're going to have to move to-"
- So, I have to say that I love the term "the mundanes" and I think it's PERFECT in describing people who aren't geeky about anything, because from the perspective of someone who IS really geeky about something, the idea of NOT having that level passion just seems...mundane.

Shadow Orc King: "My name is Max Helby, I'm an attorney. I don't know where the Queen is, but if you let me go right now, I won't press charges. I promise."
- Well that's one way to not get arrested!

Gilda: "My name is Gilda, I'm from the hollow forest of arkmor. I'm a fairy."
Charlie: "Swoon."

- Hehehe, I just love Charlie. Also, neat that we got to hear where Gilda was from - I wonder if there is only one fairy world...because....[Spoilers for 9.04]SPOILERS in S9, when Charlie goes to Oz, I wonder if she might meet Gilda again. After all, Gilda was the good witch, wasn't she? I'm not up on my Oz, but it'd be really neat if part of Charlie's adventures in Oz would be to reconnect with Gilda.... and I do mean reconnect! :P END SPOILERS.

Gilda: "...but I was brought here to do his bidding."
Charlie: "His bidding? That's never good."

- Again, from a feminist point of view - I absolutely love Charlie's line here.

Gilda: "A hero must take my master's book and destroy it, thus breaking the spell."
Charlie: "Gilda, my name is Charlie Bradbury, and I am here to rescue you."

- Another favourite reference of mine. Back when I first saw Star Wars, probably when I was around 6, I got a massive crush on Luke Skywalker based on that line alone... which, yes, I realize feeds into the whole "women need to be rescued" trope, but who cares, maybe I just like people who declare their intentions. :P
- Also, interesting that Charlie chose to use the name "Charlie Bradbury" as her "true" name. Obviously, I guess that alias has been the one that she's used the most since she was a teenager. But technically, it's not her real name... though, I guess at this poiint, it has become her real name, if it's the one that she connects to the most.

Jerry/Bolty: "A handmaiden and a time-traveler rescue the queen. I think not, kind lady."
- I love the fact that he's referring to Dean as a lady...sorry...just, awesome.

Charlie: "Dudes, if the tent is rocking, don't come a knocking."
- Oh Charlie...

Jerry/Bolty: "I came here to be different, to get away from my crappy life and be a hero, and guess what-"
Dean: "What? You were a loser in the real world and you're a loser here? Shocker."
Jerry/Bolty: "Would a loser track down a real book of spells and get a fairy to do his bidding."
Sam: "Depends, how'd you get it?"
Jerry/Bolty: "Ebay."

- I like the lesson here too - that who you are day to day is who you ARE. If you feel like a loser in your real life, the answer isn't escapist fantasy, it's to figure out where you are going wrong and fix it, otherwise that suckiness is just going to follow you into your escape too.
- Also, I love the fact that Sam gives him the benefit of the doubt - who did he come across the book? Did he go on some epic quest for it? Nope. There was no quest to test it mettle or make sure he was true of heart, or teach him that he might have to sacrifice things in order to get what he wanted and therefore have him re-evaluate was more important in his life. He just bought it off eBay.

Jerry/Bolty: "Gilda, the big one!"
- I just love the fact that Sam is just described as "the big one."

Charlie: "Hey Jerry, I'm the one that saves damsels in distress around here!"
- Woo! Another great line from Charlie, and an excellent feminist hero. There's still a damsel in distress, but it's not Charlie.

Gilda: "I'm free of the spell. You saved me. The hollow forest is forever in your debt. I must return to those green hills now. I will take my former master with me. He must face a fairy tribunal for his sins."
Charlie: "Wait."
*MAKEOUTS!*

- So, makeouts are awesome, but I'm actually interested in the fact that they just trusted the fairy to take Jerry away. I mean, I know he killed 2 people and that Gilda is technically good...but wow, I have a feeling fairy tribunals are probably way more vicious and punishing than human tribunals.

Charlie: "No more replacement characters for me. I've gotta face reality from now on. Sadly, reality also includes monsters, but what are you going to do. If I can ever be of help to you guys, let me know."
- I also like this, because it tells us that part of the reason that Charlie came to Moondoor, when she "came back" from being on the run and started up her new identity, was because it was an escape into a reality where not only was she a hero, but she was a hero in a reality without monsters - or, at least, only fictional ones, depending on what you think of orcs.
- Also, this meeting has left Charlie feeling affectionate towards the Winchesters, rather than bitter. She was a hero, got the girl, all in all, a good day for Charlie. Whereas in their first meeting, Charlie ended up terrified, injured, and having to be rescued herself.

Charlie: "Smell you later, bitches."
- I also love that she calls them bitches... I sort of take it as the whole "jerk/bitch" thing. It's her being affectionate - Dean style.

Dean: "So, what's next, because no fun, right? Before you say anything, I get it. No amount of fun is going to help you get over what you gave up, you just, uh, you need time, right?"
Sam: "Yeah, thanks. And you're right, having fun won't help me - it'll help both of us. Shall we?"

- And I like that Sam has realized that they DO need to have fun. That he didn't just give stuff up, he gained something as well. Just like Charlie is facing reality and not hiding behind replacement characters, so too is Sam. He's hid for a whole year from his failure to save Dean, from the world of monsters, from being alone... and now he's got Dean back and has chosen to return to the world of monsters, and he has to figure out what that means for him.
- Mainly though, I think Sam realizes that he and Dean have been really shitty to each other the past few months and they need to reconnect and be brothers again - and a great way to do that is to indulge in being goofballs together.

*Dean gives braveheart speech*
Charlie: "Is that the speech from-"
Sam: "It's the only one he knows."

- What I love about this is the fact that Sam KNOWS that speech is the only one Dean knows, meaning that Dean has probably given it before... and yeah, that amuses me.

I also just love the ending - Sam with his ponytail, them running into battle... so hilarious and awesome.

Cut Scene
Arriving at the police station. The sheriff shows them Lance's stuff, which includes a bag of wolfbane that Sam identifies by sight.... then they run through everything that they know that it isn't, and are confused.

Sam chatting with the girl in the tent. The girl is an EMT who uses Moondoor to destress...explains, I guess, why she was so keen and not grossed out by the pictures of the gruesome injuries on Sam's computer.


As always, let me know if there's anything you want to discuss in comments!

In other news: One of my jobs is as a cat-sitter and one of the cats I'm looking after this Christmas happens to live in a house that was used on SPN once. Fun! Only the exterior was used, but still, pretty neat!

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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
missyjack
Dec. 9th, 2013 04:59 am (UTC)
So much to love in this episode! Oh i must sometime scan in the map of the larping location we got on Russ' tour.

I love particularly the way Dean goes from "lets have some fun" at the start of the episode, to "ok i get that a bit of fun isn't what you need". He DOES listen to, and udnerstand Sam's feeling. i remember in S1 after pushing him to hookup, he finally got that bc of Sam's grief for Jess that wasn't going to help him.

Also this line "Okay, I'm going to need the full Wiki on where you guys have been." - Robbie T said I had permission to consider that a shoutout ;D
hells_half_acre
Dec. 9th, 2013 07:41 am (UTC)
Awesome shout-out!

And I completely agree about Dean listening to Sam and trying his best to be what Sam needs and waiting for Sam to give him the cues about how they should move forward.
supernutjapan
Dec. 9th, 2013 05:13 am (UTC)
I do like this episode. I remember when it first was aired I watched it through two times. I guess after all the heavy stuff it was just nice to have a light-hearted Charlie one thrown in and Sam and Dean acting silly at the end - that was a first.

I liked your comparison between Dean and Sam viewpoints here:
- Also, I find it interesting to see things from Dean's point of view, now that we know the end of the season. Because Charlie got the story from Dean, we can assume that her wording is a result of the story as Dean told it - meaning, that the way Dean sees it, he came back and interrupted Sam's normal life. Whereas, the way Sam saw it, his normal life was an illusion that couldn't last, and what's worse, by trying to keep it anyway and ignoring who he was, Sam once again let down Dean.


I thought it was also interesting that Charlie reinforces the idea that it is better to face reality than to hide in a "dream" world.

Thanks for the fun read!

Edited at 2013-12-09 05:23 am (UTC)
hells_half_acre
Dec. 9th, 2013 07:37 am (UTC)
Yeah, I was happy that I left off rewatches before this one, it's a nice one to come back to after the heaviness of the S9 mid-season finale too.

And very true about Charlie reinforcing the "face reality" theme.

Glad you liked the post! :)
supernutjapan
Dec. 9th, 2013 11:47 am (UTC)
it's a nice one to come back to after the heaviness of the S9 mid-season finale too.

hahaha... Guess the episode I did a rewatch of right after... IMToD... Double punch in the gut.
borgmama1of5
Dec. 9th, 2013 05:46 am (UTC)
Love how Charlie bonds with the boys but especially Dean in this ep. And boys having fun!!!
hells_half_acre
Dec. 9th, 2013 07:36 am (UTC)
Agreed. The first episode was an introduction, this one actually cements them as friends.
painangrrfear
Dec. 9th, 2013 08:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this post, I loved that episode (former LARPER, here) and it was fun to revisit it with your commentary.

BTW New to this comm, hello!
hells_half_acre
Dec. 9th, 2013 10:08 pm (UTC)
Hello! Welcome!

Not many rules around here - I just like keeping things positive. :)

I'm glad you liked the post! :)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )