'Supernatural' Recap: When Charlie Met Dorothy
October 30th, 2013 9:15am EDT
It's hard to believe that "Slumber Party" is only the fourth episode of "Supernatural" of the season. I'm already emotional wrung out from Castiel's exile, Sam’s near-death, and Dean’s secret, so it's refreshing that this week's installment welcomes back honorary Winchester Charlie Bradbury (Felicia Day) and went back to its roots of exploring classic monster tales. And what's more scary than a portal to another dimension that's home to a wicked witch, flying monkey and a man made of tin?
Grab your ruby slippers and let's dive in, shall we?
The episode was peppered with black and white flashbacks that were beautifully shot, impeccably scored and well acted. In the two Men of Letters members—a veteran named Hagarty and a rookie named Jenkins—a holed up in the bunker for an assignment. The starry-eyed Jenkins believes that the lair is the "last true beacon light in a world that's gone topsy-turvy…the epicenter of the ultimate chess match between good and evil." But even that rosy perspective wilts from months of boredom. Dorothy arrives with a tongue-less Wicked Witch from Oz. She had captured her and returned in our world to figure out how to kill her after beheading, bullets and fire didn't work. She cut out her tongue to keep her from casting spells.
Our haggard old witch lives up to her name and reputation by escaping her bonds and possessing poor thriller-seeker Jenkins. Hagarty kills Jenkins and Dorothy, who is infinitely more badass than the Judy Garland variety, binds her soul with the witches force eternity. Or, at least, 78 years when Sam and Dean knock over the jar containing their souls when they attempt to fix the magical supercomputer that powered the Batcave's lockdown when the the angels fell.
Our precious, bighearted Sammy still doesn't understand why Castiel left (Dean's explanation of "he felt like he'd bring trouble down on us" didn't hold water) and is searching for a way to help him. He figured out that the table and map lit up, and marked the locations of clusters of angels when they fell in last season’s finale. Sam wants to "hotwire" the computer so it can track angels. Even Dean is impressed by the idea, however I wonder if he should be alarmed that the computer’s first discovery might be the angel camped out in Sam's healing fine bod.
They boys enlist the services of their favorite hacker, Charlie. She quickly raves about the computer, which has some kind of encryption, tracks "global badness" and has no discernable energy source. Maybe it runs on the power of souls or the angst of “Supernatural” fans?
After a lot of "Game of Thrones" and even more beer, Charlie discloses that she's been hunting monsters that would make for a great YA book series, a ghost and a teenaged vampire, and while it was "intense," she didn’t’ find it magical. “Where are my whitewalkers and volcanoes and a magic ring to throw in the damn thing? Where's my quest?"
Sam is no stranger to supernatural trials and admits that they are "all deadends” and that they “suck.” I would love for Sam to share more about how he’s mentally recovering from the trials, because he's barely mentioned it, but if that happens I might need Zeke to revive me.
"Slumber Party" finally reveals Sam's spartan bedroom. Sam is still living like a squatter with his belongs in easy to pack piles. His reasoning: "This isn't our home. This is where we work." Methinks there's more behind this than Sam's letting on.
Fortunately, Dorothy just fell out of the egg sac of evil, and the Wicked Witch is loose in the bunker. Currently, she’s flirting with Crowley, who’s still held captive in the dungeon. Their meet-cute is a study of the bizarre. She hisses from across the Devil’s Trap. He puns and snarks from his shackled seat. I feared that Wicked would help Crowley escape while the Winchesters were battling flying monkeys, but the dungeon is warded against everything, including fugly witches. With the paper and crayon Sam left with him at the top of episode, the witch reveals she’s looking for a key that can “turn any locked door until a portal to Oz" so she can go back and finish destorying it. After saving the world a few times, it’s good to change it up a bit and save other dimensions, right?
Crowley shares his intel with the Winchesters only after they “air him out” which in Dean-speak means shooting him in the lung.
While Sam and Dean search for the escaped witch, Charlie and Dorothy make eyes at each other. Dorothy reminds me more like Hollywood’s representation of famed and doomed pilot Amelia Earheart. She’s brash, brave and beautiful, and wears a leather pilot’s jacket and pants, not petty coated frilly dresses here. She’s also got major daddy issues. You see her father was L. Frank Baum, a Man of Letters who was obsessed with Oz. Charlie points out that Baum wrote the Oz books as a way to leave clues for Dorothy, the hunter. Hagarty also worked the case until he retired. He managed to get ahold of some Poppies from Oz, and Charlie makes bullets laced with them, which will stun the witch. Unfortunately, everyone only gets one bullet each and the bullets barely do anything.
Thanks to some fantastic continuity from last season’s “Goodbye Stranger,” Dean remembers that he put the key in his room after doing inventory. He and Charlie search for it. The porn, of course, is very organized, but the magical, priceless artifacts are just dumped in a box. Dean finds it just in time for the witch to funnel down in a tornado of nefarious green smoke, snatch it and toss Dean into a wall. Charlie leaps in front of Dean, taking the jolt of green light, and saving Dean’s gorgeous ass.
Unfortunately, Charlie is dead. It’s beyond touching to see Dean whimper and pet her limp face and red hair, but infuriating that he doesn’t at least attempt CPR. I'm not new to "Superantural," I know she'll be healed in a few minutes, so there's no need to clutch my pearls with horror. Sam hurries into the room. Dean wastes no time. “Zeke, you have to help her!” The angel instantly appears through Sam. “She is gone,” he announces. I’m sure when he took this deal, he didn’t think that he was going to be a personal genie in a bottle. He was forthcoming before, but now he’s reluctant to grant Dean’s wish. “I'm barely back to half strength. Every time I have to use my power, it weakens me which means I have to stay in your brother longer than we both want. I can help with the witch or save your friend." It’s obvious from Dean seems to think of Charlie as a little sister, so the choice is simple: “Save her.”
And so the song remains the same: Zeke resuscitates Charlie. He slumps over unconscious and awakens with the danger abated. Lather, rinse repeat, right? Maybe not. Sam and Dean hurry after the witch, and then it happens. Sam uneasily asks, “Who’s Zeke? Before I got zapped, I thought you said the name Zeke.” Dean writes it off as Sam still being “punchy.” I am screaming. FINALLY!
You know Dean is desperate when he actually initiates the chick-flick moment. He asks Sam why he hasn’t moved into the bunker. “I never had what you had with Mom and Dad, okay? I don’t have any memories of home, and whenever I’ve tried to make a home for myself, it hasn’t ended well.” It's not “Supernatural” if they don’t find a heartstring or two to yank on it without mercy. Sam won’t allow himself to call the bunker home because every time he’s tried to build one with at Stanford, with Jess, Bobby and Amelia, it was always tragically and bloodily ripped away from him. Poor Sammy. And hanks to all the whacks to the head and the angelic pacemaker, Sam is an easy target for the witch, who all but climbs Sam like a tree to grab him by the neck.
Dean tackles them both and they careen over the table before both the Winchesters are put under her nasty possession spell. This is when an episode packed with one-liners and whimsical fun descends into depths of cracky bizarreness I didn’t know existed. Sam and Dean croak in sinister baratones that would make Christian Bale jealous: “Find the girls. Kill them both.” Charlie and Dorthy are in the bunker’s epic garage packed with classic cars and motorcylces, retrieving slippers that do not remotely sparkle. I’m fine with all the liberties the show has taken with “Oz” but the ruby slippers are the most iconic of Oz’s horcruxes. They must sparkle! But then Sam actually growls, “I’ve missed you, my pretty.” And I literally fall off the sofa laughing. I love this episode.
I don’t know whether I should admire Charlie and Dorothy for not running when 13 feet of witch-possessed hunter advances towards them or think that they are the dumbest broads this side of the yellow brick road. Surprisingly, Charlie and Dorothy put up a damn good fight. “Sorry about your nards, Dean,” Charlie winces before kicking Dean deftly in the jewels. Dorothy follows the theme of this season and whacks Sam in the face with a metal pole.
Dorothy tosses Charlie the disappointingly sequin-free shoes and promises to hold off both Sam and Dean so she can go kill Wicked, who has opened the portal and is summoning her flying minons to earth, happy to destroy this realm. The camp is palpable, and I’m happy to watch "Caprica's" Maya Massar chew on the scenery like a cow does cud. Charlie appears in the nick of time to dispatch her with the magic stilettos. The day was saved, despite all the ladyparts.
It dawns on me that Charlie wasn’t looking for a quest. Hunting for her wasn’t fun because she didn’t have a partner. So when Dorothy asks her if she wants to join her in Oz, she instantly agrees, much to Dean’s horror. He pouts and grouses as she says goodbye. Like any little sister, she wordlessly keeps the secret of her death from Sam simply because he asked her too. But she can’t help but tease him about it: "Am I a zombie now? Do I need to eat brains?”
As they walk into a gorgeous shot of Oz, Dean wonders if she’ll be back (the F/X team is the true winner of the episode, from Wicked's funneling smoke to the shots of Oz, it's all insanely seamless). Sam grins, “Of course. There’s no place like home.” With baby in the garage and Dean at his side, the episode ends on a rare happy note with Sam realizing that he deserves a home, everyone still alive and Charlie finally gets her best friend and an adventure. It’s about time “Supernatural” took a break from the angst and allowed us to have a lot of fun. This episode felt like the adventure Charlie craved and still managed to push the mythology compellingly forward.
What did you think of "Slumber Party"? Are you disappointed no one braided Sam's hair? Did you like seeing the Winchesters relaxing? What was your favorite quote of the night? Hit up the comments section below.
Next week, Sam finally gets a dog...Dean!
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