Supernatural S8 Ep20 – Pac-Man Fever

Dean and Charlie undercover
Charlie dressed up in her game-dream

Do you wanna date her avatar? She might shoot you.

Now that’s how you do it! Felicia Day returned in this episode as Charlie Bradbury, everyone’s favorite tech-geek-turned-accidental-hunter, but there was more to it than the typical fun and games that we’ve come to expect in her episodes. Yes, this one was funny, and yes it had Charlie and Dean trapped within Charlie’s dream of a super soldier vampire video game. But we also got a deeper look into Charlie’s life and a final scene that made me cry (usually when I say something made me cry, that’s hyperbole, but this time I actually mean it).

This was one of those Monster of the Week, “let’s take a case to take a break from the main story arc after a major episode to fill out the rest of the season” episodes, but this one actually worked. As I said way back at the beginning of the season, focusing on characters and their relationships with one another is what I love about this show, and what I think makes for the best episodes. This one took pretty much my entire wish list for an episode with Charlie and made it come true. Trying to put this review into some form of coherence was a trial (no pun intended). As ever with episodes that are this good, it can be hard to write a review without just quoting the whole thing, but I’ll try to keep my quotes to a minimum. So grab the salt and get ready, we’re going in. WARNING: FEELS.

Sam looking like crap

The majestic moose awakens from his slumber.

All right, let’s get this started. Sam was looking pretty bad after the second trial. Some sort of extra special crap must have happened after the second one, or maybe the effects of the trial build up in the system. Maybe the third one will make it even worse and kill him. Or he’ll turn into a butterfly, I’m not quite sure how it works. But during Sam’s recovery, Charlie contacted them about a case nearby, one that involved victims with liquefied insides. I know that’s how I love to spend my time off, checking out dead bodies. Sam was not up for it – at least according to Dean. Sam failed to hit a target in the Men of Letters’ shooting range, his aim completely off. Charlie, on the other hand, made two shots to the head, so Dean let her tag along as Special Agent Ripley (I see what you did there, Supernatural). But first they needed to get her suited up. What followed was the greatest montage I’ve ever seen on this show, in which Charlie tried on various outfits and Dean had the best face ever. But Dean generally has the best face ever, so that’s nothing new.

Charlie holding her badge upside down

Special Agent Ripley

That was the initial set up, during which we were all still expecting another fun adventure, like “LARP and the Real Girl.” But what this episode sneakily turned into was something else entirely. In terms of the monster plot, I felt things were pretty obvious–okay, I didn’t know it was a djinn until Dean said so, but you could see who the monster was and what she had up her sleeve fairly easily. When they ended up in Charlie’s video game dream, it felt almost like an afterthought. But that’s because this episode wasn’t about monsters, at least not the kind Sam and Dean hunt. This episode was all about Charlie and the reason why she drifts from place to place, with no real name, no real connections.

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