In the twentieth episode of the seventh season of Supernatural, everything is perfect. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
Looking back on this episode, it’s kind of astounding to me how much happens in forty minutes. It’s absolutely ridiculous that the first five minutes of this whole affair starts with Bobby, finally able to openly communicate with the Winchesters, telling them exactly what Dick Roman has planned for the world: SLAUGHTERHOUSES. He’s going to turn the entire human species into a lethargic and complacent form of cattle, FREE OF DISEASE (oh my god oh my god that’s why they wanted to heal them), and perpetually feeding the Leviathans. It’s so fucked up and the show spends BARELY ANY TIME focusing on this because THERE’S SO MUCH ELSE TO DO. And I actually love that this massive plot reveal is treated like it’s nothing because Charlie. Right? It’s perfect. PERFECT.
I don’t understand the hunk of clay, though. Why is that so important? Oh god, please don’t let there be something worse waiting for me. PLEASE, NO.
As if the tension and suspense laced within “The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo” wasn’t enough, I had to spend a great deal of this episode worried that Bobby would turn into a vengeful spirit. (How would you have explained that to Charlie??? Nevermind, she would have rolled with it, that’s just the kind of person who she is.) The odds were heavily stacked in favor of this happening because… shit, it’s the creature responsible for his death. And while we get a taste of the potential for Bobby Singer, Ghost Hunter (GET IT???), it’s constantly tainted. The writers remind us that Bobby is so close to becoming something to be hunted, and it’s clear that they’re going to have to deal with him. Soon. THANKS FOR CRUSHING ME, SUPERNATURAL. I’ll just start preparing for his second “death” right now. UGH.
What can I say that hasn’t already been said by probably everyone ever in this fandom? I imagine that Felicia Day wouldn’t have been keen on taking a role that didn’t celebrate geekiness like Charlie’s characterization done. Supernatural is a mixed bag when it comes to depiction fandom itself, since it generally veers towards parody (the cruel kind) more than adoration. But Charlie Bradbury? Oh my god, y’all. She loves Hermione and Arwen and Robyn and IS SHE ME? HOW ARE WE NOT BEST FRIENDS RIGHT NOW? Look, it’s not just that Charlie is likable or that she likes the “right” things. (She loves Hermione the most, so let’s be real, that’s the “right” opinion.) Charlie’s depiction is one that is respectful. When she makes her nerd references, they’re generally on the same par (or better) than all of Dean’s nerd references. They’re not there to make us believe she’s weird or uncomfortable. She’s treated like these aspects of her personality matter, and that’s a huge deal to me.
Well, of course it’s not as big of a deal as the reveal that CHARLIE LIKES GIRLS. Like??!?!?!?!?!?!?! THERE ARE ALMOST NO JOKES MADE ABOUT THIS AND THE ONE THAT IS MADE IS IMMEDIATELY CRITICIZED BY CHARLIE AND ?!?!?!?!?! Her sexuality is addressed and confirmed and immutable within canon, and I AM SO THRILLED. I’m thrilled because it affects the plot in a significant way, but it’s not done in a way that’s crass. I’m thrilled because unlike practically every queer or gay character prior to this, she’s actually alive at the end of the episode. (And yes, it is kind of immensely ridiculous that it took this show seven years to give us a character like Charlie.) I’m thrilled because she exists in the narrative in a way that centers her experience and elevates her. Even if they’d not revealed that she was a lesbian, I could tell that she was going to be an important character within Supernatural canon. It just means that much more to me that she’s not straight.
Charlie’s role in this episode also fulfills one of my favorite tropes in the universe: a character being introduced to a secret “world” within theirs for the first time. Charlie’s reaction to the world of leviathans and monsters and hunters is… pretty much perfect for her character. There’s horror, revulsion, and disbelief, but she very quickly just accepts that this is her new world. That doesn’t mean she’s now a perfect fighter, which is one thing I DEEPLY APPRECIATE about how this episode unfolds. She’s terrified of Leviathans and of Dick Roman. She is a genius on a computer, but the writers don’t do that thing where they flip a switch and she’s suddenly a perfect fighter. That’s not who her character is, and it’s so incredible to see how she navigates this new world. There’s a lot of awkwardness, particularly when she has to pretend to be straight, but she also has to improvise her way out of a couple disasters. None of them are physical. She uses her mind and her heart, AND IT’S SO GREAT TO SEE THAT.
Oh gods, y’all. This episode was scary and funny and absolutely one of the best episodes of the whole show. It’s a mythology-heavy story, and yet there’s enough space to give us a brilliant chance to know Charlie and to fall in love with her and to IMAGINE WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE IF SHE WAS IN EVERY EPISODE. It would be perfect, that’s the answer. But I’m thankful that she’s alive, and I even think it’s the most realistic ending to this adventure. This isn’t her world, you know? While she hints at the end that she’s used to moving around and changing her name, that doesn’t mean she’s ready to start fighting monsters. So she bids the Winchesters goodbye, and she urges them to never contact her again. It’s the best option for her.
Though I’m going to CONSTANTLY HOPE THEY DISOBEY HER BECAUSE I NEED MORE CHARLIE IN MY LIFE.
The video for “The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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