This week’s episode of Supernatural, “Pac-Man Fever,” was written by Robbie Thompson and directed by Bob Singer – a formidable team – with the added bonus of a return of Felicia Day as Charlie Bradbury. Thompson has written all three of the episodes featuring Charlie, and I sincerely hope that this is a match we keep seeing. Charlie is one of the best written female characters the show has had. The episode had some great one liners and pop culture references, but also had a strong emotional core.
We learn that the Bunker has its own gun range, which Dean uses as a testing ground for both Sam and Charlie. It’s hilarious when Sam misses the target and when Charlie tags off two nice headshots. Obviously, Dean hasn’t played enough video games to realize that they are a great place to hone your mad shooting skills!
Overall, having Dean take Charlie under his wing was just what each character needed. Charlie is wistful when she remarks it must be nice to have a brother to watch your back. She avidly wants to soak up all the “broments” that she can. It’s clear by the end that Dean very much considers her the little sister that they never had. Unlike most of the others they’ve encountered who wanted into the hunting life, they don’t really actively discourage Charlie from continuing to hunt. It’s not really clear, however, whether she intends to keep hunting.
The episode actually continues this season’s tradition of looking back to previous seasons and episodes, creating a real sense of authentic continuity. Charlie has somehow stumbled upon the Carver Edlund books that we first learn about in season four’s episode “Monster at the End of the Book.” We have a new kind of Djinn, but there’s references to Dean having been sent to his “happy place” in season two’s episode “What Is And What Shall Never Be.” They also try the antidote to Djinn poisoning that Samuel Campbell taught them about in season six’s “Exile on Main Street.” When they discover that Charlie still won’t wake up, Dean enters her dream world via the African Dream Root, which they learned about in season three’s “Dream A Little Dream of Me.” Sam having to punch Dean twice, due to his weakness from the Trials, is quite hilarious. Perhaps best of all, however, is when they are looking for information on the monster, the answers come from what appears to be John’s Journal – not the Internet and not the massive library of the Men of Letters. A hunter's journal is still state of the art when hunting monsters.
This kind of Djinn likes to feed off of people who are afraid. She describes their blood as being more bitter. This is an interesting parallel to what the Leviathan tells Sam in “Slash Fiction” in season seven. The Leviathan using Dean’s face tells Sam that he likes to eat people whose blood is bitter too. Interestingly, the Djinn tells Charlie that she smelt fear on Dean too. Dean’s fear isn’t of the Djinn, however. Dean’s greatest fear, as it’s always been, is losing Sam and that’s why Sam is a patient in the video game too: that’s Dean’s nightmare.
Dean visits Charlie’s mother in the hospital. I thought it interesting that Dean calls her “Mrs Middleton.” Obviously, that’s her name, but it felt very much like he was a teenager addressing a friend’s parent – there was a weight of respect there. Almost as if he senses Charlie’s desire to make peace with her mother, he tells her she’s “got one hell of a daughter” and he promises to find Charlie. That scene reminded me very much of both Dean’s plight in season two’s “In My Time of Dying” and season three’s “Bedtime Stories” about the coma patient. In both instances the person attached to the body was still hovering around. Perhaps, Dean realized that Charlie’s mother would be tethered in some way to her body and therefore able to hear him.
What did you think of the episode? I liked it, and I can’t wait to see Charlie again. Are you eager to see her back? I’m also happy to see the brothers united to face the last trial, but I have to wonder if Sam is going to keep fighting Dean’s help. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.