The Super Sleepy Dispatch

Recap and Review: Supernatural 10:11 “There’s No Place Like Home”

By P.S. Griffin

“There’s No Place Like Home” was a miss for writer Robbie Thompson probably because it featured his insufferable avatar Charlie.  She’s the worst Mary Sue ever, and if the world of Supernatural was real, she would not last five minutes.  I love that she and Dean get each other… or used to… but please stop making her the hero of this story.  

Also, in no universe could Charlie best Dean… please!  She could not overpower him if he were asleep. Again with emphasis! She doesn’t belong in their world.  If this is what Thompson wants to write give him his own spin-off: Supernatural- Sparkles, Sunshine and Flowers.  Also the heavy dialogue anvils were painful.

The episode opens with a person in peril who is being thrashed soundly by a shadowy assailant that terrifies him. We are surorised to see that it is Charlie.  For the sake of clarity let’s call her Dark!Charlie. She looks the same as normal Charlie,  however she fights like a badass, dresses like a stylish Goth and talks pretty much like a mean beyatch. 

She tells her victim that even though he’s told her all he knows she’s going to torture him, “who doesn’t love a little torture?”  Yikes!  She apparently found more than she bargained for down the yellow-brick road. In fact this reminds me of Post-Purgatory Dean’s love affair with decapitation, “… I can’t help but ask myself, when is decapitation not my thing?” (“Southern Comfort”).

Meanwhile, at the bunker they are still on high alert about Dean’s Marked state.  Sam is on the phone with Cas, and the books are out.  The Winchesters and Dean’s angel are focused on removing the Mark using Cain, Crowley and/or any resource necessary.

Oh oh.  Dean is serving up egg white omelets.   It seems that he’s finally taken Kate’s advice to heart (“Paper Moon”); and is embracing the clean, wholesome life as a means to controlling his bloodlust.  Yeah right… Dean isn’t Dean without his vices.

Apparently he’s eating healthy and hasn’t had a drink in a week.  Sam raises his eyes in surprise, however Dean assures him that, “Sooner we get rid of this demonic tramp stamp, I’m back onto booze, burgers… and more booze.”

In an episode written by Thompson you can be sure that all roads lead to Charlie Sue. Sure enough Sam has found footage of Charlie torturing the person in peril from the opening sequence.  Sam seems to accept that Charlie is the perp because the footage doesn’t lie.  However Dean is horrified by Charlie’s apparent violence and believes that there must be a reasonable excuse, “Our Charlie?… Yea high… wouldn’t hurt a hobbit… practically sparkles?” Yes she does sparkle because she’s the writer’s avatar.  Anyhow Dean comments, “You know what we do. Taken out of context, it doesn’t look that much different. She could be hunting.” 

That’s a nice bit of self awareness on Dean’s part.  He’s picked up one of the lessons of the season.  Hunters may be heroes but they are also the bad guys in someone’s story.  Ha!  I also congratulate myself for beating the writer’s to the punchline (my reviews of “Reichenbach” and “The Things We Left Behind”).  Demonic Dean and/or Marked Dean can channel his bloodlust into hunting without skipping a beat.  Torturing, maiming, killing… these are all in a day’s work for a Hunter worth his salt.  Dark Dean get his kill on by hunting, stay balanced by maintaining a healthy amount of inner demon, and stay connected to humanity through his key relationships.  You know… demonic people need people…

Of course the Winchesters decide to investigate because for some inexplicable reason they have adopted the annoying Charlie as their de facto little sister.  As Dean packs his bag he cannot help but unsheathe his favorite knife.  The sight of it makes his hand quiver like the First Blade used to.  Perhaps it’s as good as the First Blade after his recent bloody massacre (“The Things We Left Behind”).  Perhaps any old weapon excites the Mark once it bloody has obtained a bloody history.

I think there’s a joke in the the fact that the entire episide plays out in Kansas; remember the iconic line from The Wizard of Oz, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”  If so it’s far more subtle than most of the script.

Once again they pose as FBI agents. The person in peril from the opening, an attorney, tells them that the perp was interested in an old hit and run case that never went to trial.  Dean susses that the victims were Charlie’s parents having learned her tragic history in “Pac-Man Fever”.

The attorney denies knowing anything else, saying that all of the old case files are missing. All he has is Charlie’s child services file.  She was troubled (DUH!) and her real name is Celeste. Celeste obviously means heavenly as in celestial. Funny… to me an episode with Charlie is hellish.

Dean pushes really hard, scarily hard for the truth. For a moment I thought Dean might finish the guy. Sam looks worried and tosses out a few concerned bitchfaces, yet he stays strangely silent. 

It turns out that the attorney was paid to drop the case. Oh! and he gave his attacker a name, much like his name was given to Dark!Charlie by the previous torture victim, a court stenographer.

Sam keeps busy reading Charlie’s file whilst Dean  drives. Sam notes that it’s obvious that her endgame is revenge for her parents’ deaths.  My guess is revenge by death. Dean concurs, “We’ve got to find her before she does something nobody can walk away from.” Awww.  Dean wants to keep sparkly Charlie’s soul as pure as the driven snow… unlike his own soul which he fears is permanently blackened by his choices and actions.

They head to the next stop on the Dark!Charlie torture and kill party tour. She’s a city council woman and she’s not talking.  

Their aliases were Gabriel and Collins who I think rather lame choices for the brothers.  I don’t think Dean would consider Genesis real rock.  I am not surprised that Thompson is a fan.  They’re a nerd guys  band.  Of course post-Genesis Peter Gabriel is sublime. In fact “Shock the Monkey” would work very well on the show about now (

They stake out the uncooperative council lady’s house in Baby until they hear screams. Dean is suffering through a kale filled wrap.  He might as well be eating leaves.  Poor baby.  

Sam is still reading Charlie’s file.  He’s concerned with the contents.  Of course Dean points out that files on them at that age would be similar.  Angry teenagers acting out and all. “Dude, if a shrink interviewed us at that age, you think the report would be all kittens and rainbows? Come on, she’s a good kid. There’s got to be an explanation for this man, there’s just got to be.”  He is very desperate for the worm not to have turned darkly for poor Charlie.

They break in to find Dark!Charlie holding the council woman at knife-point.  Both Winchesters are shocked.  Dark!Charlie is sooo NOT Charlie.  She is mean and an unvarnished truthsayer.  Nobody likes the unvarnished truth. 

Dark!Charlie has more bite than Crowley these days, “Should’ve known Rocket and Groot would track me down.” Dean wants to know what happened in Oz. Dark!Charlie says,  “Everything I wanted…. an adventure.” Methinks she picked up a cursed object.

She then proceeds to deconstruct the Winchesters individually.  She sees Sam as no threat, “Oh Sam, you’re adorable. You’re not gonna hurt me, in fact that’s your problem. All good guy code…no bite… what a waste.”  She sees Dean as a kindred spirit who is held back by his brother, “And you, always letting this albatross hold you back.”  Sam bristles at being called Dean’s burden and curse.  I guess that zinger hit a little too close to home.  Charlie is adept at mining the years of Winchester angst and cruel.

Dean tries to reason with her, “We don’t want to hurt you, kiddo, but we’re not going to let you do this.”  Dark!Charlie would rather get physical.  She bests him in a ridiculous Bond Girl fashion which makes absolutely no sense given their disparity in size and strength.  Even if Dean didn’t actively fight back he shouldn’t be nearly incapacitated by her (LOL his “crap”).  Dream on Robbie! It feels like a joke that doesn’t belong.  I wish that Thompson would remember the show he’s writing for and the iconic hero he should be writing for. Bah humbug!

She runs away after a final kick to Dean’s head despite the fact that she’s winning.  I guess that this means she doesn’t really want to hurt Dean; although she uses her new sword on Baby’s tires.  Dean runs after her, sees his precious car, starts to explode (“Son of a bitch!”) and is shocked into silence as uber sweet Good!Charlie drives up in her cute yellow ride in a super cheerful mood… sparkles, sunshine and flowers personified.  By this time Sam has made it outside as well.  After seeing their stunned faces she realizes that they’ve already met her alter ego and suggests they go somewhere to catch up.

The trio winds up at a bar of course. Good!Charlie explains that there are two Charlies. Dean states, “Dick you is some sort of a ninja?”  Charlie concurs, “She is a badass, yeah.”

Good!Charlie explains that there was a war for Emerald City which the good guys were losing.  The Wizard of Oz helped her change the tide of rhe war.  In short “(she) had to unleash my true darkness, which he meant literally,” and won the war singlehandedly. 

The downside…  Dark!Charlie is BAD. She also has all of the darkness leaving Good!Charlie with none.  She can’t even hack anymore.   Being sparkles and sunshine and flowers 24/7 is dullsville!  As Charlie describes it, “Bottom line, she’s bad and I’m good. And let me just tell you being good is really annoying. Normally at a place like this, I’d be pounding Harvey Wallbangers and checking out the bartender’s ass. Now all I wanna do is sip club sodas and send her to college.”

Oh! Also the two are still physically connected so both experience each other’s pain.  And if one dies they both die.  This last one causes me to perk up. Please please please please please please please please…

Interestingly, Dark!Charlie wants a relationship with Good!Charlie; however, Good!Charlie cannot forgive the things that her counterpart has done.  The revenge quest is Dark!Charlie’s all out effort to win her better half back. Yeah!… more anvils for poor Dean who currently cannot accept his darkness either.

Yes… this episode is all anvils and mirrors!  Thompson and company clearly have been drinking the same Kool-aid as me.  Human Dean needs to accept his dark, demonic side and things will get a lot easier for him.  Of course I pointed this out in my review for “Black”.  Sigh.  Why so slow Supernatural?

Anyhow, Charlie recognizes that “she is me” yet she cannot accept that part of herself despite the recognition that “she” is the one going medieval on people all over town.

Funny ha ha… Dean disagrees with her interpretation because he’s no where near there regarding his own dark self, “It’s not who you are. It’s a twisted version (of you).”  Oh Deano!  No wonder you are in so much pain.

Charlie wants to lock up her dark self however the brothers don’t think that this is the right move. Both Dean and Sam agree that Humpty Charlie has to be put back together again, especially Dean who must understand on some level that Charlie is an in your face mirror for him; even if he doesn’t see that this is the solution for his problems as well. Does his head hurt from these falling, especially heavy anvils as much as mine does?  Based on his stressed out face… yes indeed!

Still, like Charlie, Dean’s first inclination is to fight his dark self, not embrace it the way he did in Purgatory and immediately Post-Purgatory.  Remember how strong and happy you were way back then; when you knew what you were good at (killing), you liked it, you had a comrade in arms that supported you (Sweet Saint Benny!), and you made it your life’s work. Hunting things! saving people! The family business…

Dean is particularly angsty.  Poor guy, he’s visibly dealing with Mark related DT’s, and probably booze related DT’S as well. It can’t help that he went cold turkey on the booze and is eschewing all food related pleasures whilst trying to force his beautiful round supernatural body into that square human hole.

Dean suggests putting the girl back in Oz to put her back together. Unfortunately big bad Dark!Charlie has already broken the key.  According to Charlie there’s no way back to Oz without a working key. Oh no!

Dean is getting refills, non-alcoholic presumably, whilst Sam tries to get Good!Charlie to follow the money trail. Unfortunately Good!Charlie cannot hack anymore because hacking is BAD and Good!Charlie is GOOD.  Sam suggests that she tell him what to do hypothetically because he has no problem with the hacking.

Dean is still at the bar.  He’s eying the hard booze something fierce, yet he still manages to resist its siren call.  Suddenly the bartender grabs a bottle allowing Dean to see his reflection in the mirror flanked by a dark liquor on the left and a light liquor on the right.  I momentarily channel Claire with an inner “wow… deep” accompanied by a fierce eyeroll.  No really it’s a nice visual metaphor for Dean’s current state.  It’s the dialogue anvils that make me roll my eyes this episode. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the information and the head nod to Dean’s current hybrid status since my money’s on the fact that he’s still partly demonic. It’s just that I am tiring of the constant subtext in lieu of real actions with real consequences. 

Dean looks away clearly troubled by the mirror’s image.  His hand is trembling again.  It’s only a matter of time.. 

Okay.  Sam finds the source of the pay-offs… some high falutin realtor.  Since Good!Charlie gets upset because lies are BAD the brothers are honest.  Dean doesn’t want Good!Charlie anywhere near the person in peril or Dark!Charlie. Sam wants to focus on finding a way to fix the situation rather than trap Dark!Charlie. 

This makes sense because Good!Charlie is dullsville.   The girl can’t even appreciate a nice piece of ass let alone go for it.  She’s a sparkly, delicate flower that’s too precious for this world.  In other words, she’s the very worst of Charlie. Sam tells her, “She may be dark, but she’s still a part of you.”

Funny thing Sam… you didn’t really accept dark Dean so readily.  Baby steps I guess.

Anyhow, Sam stays with Good!Charlie.  They head to the MOL lair to sort out whether there is a way to fix the key or get her to Oz.

Dean is stuck guarding Dark!Charlie’s potential target.  He’s not wild about that because the guy’s a douche; however, he realizes that he’s helping his Charlie in the big picture. Good!Charlie reminds him that, “If Dark!Charlie gets hurt, so do I.”

Forewarned is forearmed!  Too bad Dean’s forearm has a mind of its own.

Dean leaves first. His body language and distracted attitude prompts Good!Charlie to ask if he’s alright. Sam indicates he will explain things during their little road trip.  She’s likely to be sympathetic because she also said yes to a supernatural boon for the greater good with unforeseen problems.

Poor Dean is staked out in front of the realty office waiting for the dick of the day to show.  He’s listening to self-help tapes and munching almonds.  He’s denying who he really is and it’s making him miserable.

The dick arrives in a Delorean or some other high end car whose doors open upwards.  Dean goes inside and pretends to be Mr. Presley who is interested in a high end party palace.  The alias makes sense because Dean has a permanent reservation in “Heartbreak Hotel”.

He ends up being the last client which leads to a funny bit where Dean is engrossed in a ladies fitness magazine that appears to feature scantily clad fitness models.  Maybe the answer to controlling the Mark is SEX.

Finally it’s Dean’s turn to be serviced, although he’s rue to leave the wonderful world of ladies fitness and um… mammograms!  Realty Dick is rude because of the way Dean is dressed, “Judging from your cheap shoes and your faded jeans, I’m guessing the only house you’re in the market for comes with wheels. Now look, I’m a busy man. My time is extremely valuable. I prefer not to have it wasted by some hayseed.” Seriously… maybe this “fine gentleman” doesn’t deserve to live.

Dean tries the truth instead, telling him about the sad tale of Celeste’s parents dying in a nighttime encounter with a drunk driver, as well as the cover up.  Realty Dick remains in denial and tries to call security; however Dean stops the phone call prompting outrage from Realty Dick.  Dean says in a hard voice, “I’m the guy who’s going to save your life.”  Yeah… Dean isn’t enjoying himself today. Then the lights go out and the phone line goes dead.

Meanwhile at the MOL bunker, Sam and Good!Charlie have discovered that Clive,  the former MOL operative that Frank L. Baum rescued from Oz, is still alive and in witness protection with a new name and new digs.  They figure that he can help fix the key. Of course he’s close by and a Kansas boy.

Dean goes into the lobby to confront Dark!Charlie who is looking very hard and very serious playing with her little pointy sword; in fact she’s looking very much like Dean at the moment. Dean wants to talk.  Dark!Charlie wants to be an evil beyatch; she darkly quips, “You Winchester boys and your talk. Blah, blah, blah, repressed feelings. Blah, blah, blah, passive aggression.”  Blah, blah, blah, Charlie. Blah, blah, blah, BAD writing.

Despite the psychological barbs Dean is playing nice, telling her that she really doesn’t want to kill the dick.  Charlie swears to him that this isn’t about vengeance, and things simply got out of hand with the violence and the torture; “This was never about revenge… I want him to see my face. I want him to see what he did to me. To us. That’s all.”  

To punctuate her sincerity she gives Dean her sword.  For some reason he allows her to enter the office.  Dean is usually smarter than this.  I think he wants to believe that she can control her dark urges for Charlie’s sake and for his own.  Dean plays with the weapon in the same way Charlie did, flipping it in his hand repeatedly and carelessly.

Realty Dick recognizes “Celeste” immediately and apologizes. His demeanor has changed from the haughty man of industry; he’s emotional and penitent as he tells Dark!Charlie, “I’m so sorry. What I did… I was young. I was stupid. What I took I can never give back to you. But what I did after the accident? That never should’ve happened, and I wasn’t drunk for that. I was stone cold sober. It was selfish and wrong. And I should pay for it. And I will pay for it.”  Yes you will Mr. Realty Dick.  It’s an eye for an eye on Supernatural!

Dark!Charlie looks purposeful and replies, “You took everything from me,” causing Realtor Dick to start apologizing again. Dark!Charlie looks at Dean who nods in return, then quickly slams the door shut and secures it with a chair. She glides up to the desk, grabs a letter opener and stabs her quarry without hesitation whilst staring him in the eyes.  All that is missing is a coldly delivered, “Look at me bitch” (“Alex Annie Alexis Ann”). What a badass beyatch!

Dean’s more than a step behind.  He breaks in to find Mr. Realty Dick extremely dead and the window open. He calls Sam and gives him the heads up. In return Sam tells Dean that he and Good!Charlie are heading to find the other living Oz returnee in this realm. 

Good!Charlie is devastated and blames herself for the murder even as Dean assumes the blame.  Both of our darkness shadowed peeps feel sad. Awww… so noble.  Sam cuts the self flogging and guilt angst short by focusing attention back onto their immediate goals: find the old MOL retiree, get to Oz, put Charlie back together.

Dean badly needs a drink so he heads back to the bar where he sits and stares longingly at a glass of dark whiskey.  Dark!Charlie stops by to flirt, bond and gather intel.  More mirrors and anvils!  Yeah!?

Dean’s mad because she lied.  Charlie says Nah nah dude, “You lied to yourself. That’s kind of your move.” Actually  it’s not. Dean’s move is to blame himself for everything bad that happens,  even if he’s not the perpetrator.  Oh well…

Dean darkly notes, “I’ve made mistakes. But I’ll pay for mine. And you’ll pay for yours.” Dark!Charlie is adamant that she’s not the monster; that role was played by Realty Dick (RIP) who “got what he deserved.”

Then Dark!Charlie launches into a lecture on the joys of being the big baddie, “You know what I learned about being dark? It sets you free. And part of you knows that’s right, too.”  When Dean refers to her as Dark Charlie she rebukes him, “Grow up. There’s no right, no wrong. Just us… and them.”  She sounds a lot like Demonic Dean (“Soul Survivor”) in this moment, “Oh it’s the real me alright, the new real me, the me that sees things for what they really are. Winchesters. Do-gooders fighting the natural order. Let me tell you something. Guys like me, we are the natural order. It’s the way it was set up.” Yawn.  Okay… I get it.  Blah, blah, blah, mirrors and anvils.

Yes.  Dean loved the freedom and purity of Purgatory (” It was bloody, messy. Thirty-one flavors of bottom dwelling nasties. Hell, most days felt like 360 degree combat. But there was something about being there… it felt pure.” from “We Need to Talk about Kevin”) and he loved the freedom of being a demon because he was free of that crippling sense of responsibility and guilt (“You notice I tried to get as far away from you possible? Away from your whining, your complaining. I chose the King of Hell over you. Maybe I was just… tired of babysitting you. Or always having to yank your lame ass out of the fire, since… forever.” from “Soul Survivor”).  He is currently actively fighting an eventual losing battle with the bloodlust and kill urges elicited by the bloody Mark of Cain. This is old news frankly.

What is interesting to me is that Dark!Charlie is drawn to Dean because she knows of the character’s inherent darkness, even before he received the mark.  This is the character that entered the show as a literally the thing that goes bump in the night in the “Pilot”.  The idea of introducing Dean as a monster of the week was repeated in the opening sequence of the season 8 premier “We Need to Talk about Kevin” when he re-enters our realm in an otherworldly flash of light to scare the bejeesus out of some campers in his feral, blood soaked state..

Dean has always been shown to enjoy the violence and killing. Remember our horror at Dean’s season 2 bloodcurdling, brutal kill of a vampire in “Bloodlust” (the titular bloodlust was his own)… Or his talent and love of torture (“On the Head of a Pin”).  One of my favorite lines of the series shows Dean’s enjoyment of violence, “Because, Sam, Kevin’s in the wind, okay, you’re sulking around like a eunuch in a whorehouse, and I can’t help but ask myself, when is decapitation not my thing? (“Southern Comfort”). Yes I just quoted it for a second time; I love it that much.

The idea of Dean accepting himself fully and assimilating his darkness is one of the reasons that I am so enamored with the Mark of Cain storyline. So I am happy with the anvilicious subtext even if I find it all a bit heavy handed.

Anyhow Dean is not liking the comparisons because he’s clinging to a life raft heading down that proverbial river in Egypt. He is clinging to the idea that he can be cured,   that the darkness is something that can be removed or locked away without him having to acknowledge.  You know… the way he handles everything with which he doesn’t want to deal.  It’s a great coping mechanism until that proverbial last straw and the floodgates open, the levee breaks and all hell breaks loose.

For some inexplicable reason Dean decides to taunt her with actual information rather than his usual flirtatious taunts to female adversaries or his cutting pop culture quips. He actually tells her that Sam and Good!Charlie have found the MOL guy that will help Good!Charlie find the Wizard. Dean cruelly points out that, “Yeah, well, there’s not gonna be a you for very much longer.” Dark!Charlie assumes that “princess” Charlie found a way back to Oz. Dean taunts,  “That’s right. Yeah, a former Man of Letters, retired, in Grantville, two towns over. They’re gonna fix the key to Oz, find the wizard, and put you back to where you belong.”  . 

Dean gives the wrong town but it’s still not a very smart move… and it’s one of the things I dislike about Thompson’s writing. He will dumb down the Winchesters to facilitate the plot (or make his avatar Charlie even more super sparkly special).  It stinks.

“Back into Charlie?  Is that where I belong? Well… Hmmm… We’ll just see won’t we?” Charlie then excuses herself to hit on the bartender in another room.   Of course she sneaks out and steals Baby.  Please!  Dean is not this dumb.  It’s so not his first rodeo.  And of course he wants the Charlie’s put back together.  He wants his Charlie back and he is desperate to keep his own darkness from taking over.  I really don’t need this stuff spelled out. again and again, especially in an episode primarily written to promote Charlie.

After Dark!Charlie saunters away, Dean really looks like he’s going to slam back the booze he’s been eying throughout their conversation, but before he can wet his whistle the bartender returns to tell him that his friend went out the back.  

Somehow he hears the rev Baby’s engine inside the noisy bar (demonic hearing?). He rushes outside to find Baby gone.  Cue quick tantrum (“Son of a bitch.”) before he calls Sam to give a heads up that Charlie will be heading his way.  He boosts a car and drives to the rendez-vous point.

Speaking of which, the retired MOL guy tries to lie about his identity but quickly caves, probably because lying is BAD.  Yep.  He’s been split in two too and his alter-ego is the wonderful Wizard of Oz who is a really really bad guy. His story is actually provocative, “A coven of witches grabbed me. They used the inner key on me, unleashed my id. He was awful. He killed all the witches and went into a tantrum. Was power-hungry, crazy. He became the wizard of Oz.”  The power of witchcraft and magic this season… hmmmm.  Maybe they can use the Spear of Dynasty (“Goodbye Stranger”) to carve the Mark off *OUCH!), or maybe Rowena can do something to mitigate it if push comes to shove..  and I believe that it will!

Charlie is upset because this uber baddie is Dorothy’s right hand man.  Yikes!  The former MOL sadly tells Charlie that he can’t fix the key.  However he has an idea of how to summon the Wizard.  He pulls out a gun from his desk and shoots himself, “If I am mortally wounded, he’ll have to come back here to save us both.”

Charlie protests because suicide is BAD; however Clive has been hiding for too long, “What he’s done is my fault. After all, he is me, and I am him.” Yes and likewise Charlie and likewise Dean… Blah, blah, blah, yawn.

Sure enough, a green light emanates from behind a mirror which breaks into floating shards before healing once the masked Wizard is in the room.

Dean arrives in time to hear the gunfire but before he can run inside he hears the dulcet tones of Baby’s purr.  He stays outside to confront Dark!Charlie (the beyatch), “You’re not going anywhere near her. I’m not going to let you corrupt her.”

Like the Mark has corrupted you?

Anyhow, Dean stands his ground for all that’s good and sparkly, “You take one more step, I’m going to put you down.” Dark!Charlie coolly coos, “There’s the Dean I love.”  Me too esp now that he’s going to beat the saccharine smugness off of her face.

This next sequence is punctuated by shots of Dean pummeling Dark!Charlie.  The Wizard speaks abusively to his better half. Sam pulls a gun only to be magically restrained. Good!Charlie screams in pain because Dean has started to fight back.  Dean had had it with the taunts and the beating he has willingly taken to protect Charlie.  He is angry because Dark!Charlie has hurt his friend original flavored Charlie. Her response is designed for maximum damage, “I learned it by watching you.” 

Now he’s really angry and once he starts giving it his all Dark!Charlie is no match.  He quickly bloodies her face in a barrage of punches and breaks her arm deliberately and brutally.   It’s cold, however to some extent it was also necessary because Dark!Charlie had to be stopped.  The problem is of course that Dean doesn’t stop once he has incapacitated her.

Whilst Dean’s beats Dark!Charlie within an inch of her life, Good!Charlie screams and winces in pain like a helpless kitten being tortured by a future sociopath. Sam begs the Wizard to free him do that he can help her; however the Wizard shows no compassion or mercy, “Your friend wanted to be a hero. And you know what happens to heroes? They die.” The Wizard punctuates this sentiment by magically strangling Sam.

The imminent murder upsets the GOOD guys and spurs them to action. Good!Charlie is upset and whimpering.  Clive surreptitiously points to the gun indicating she needs to finish him off to save Sam. Despite her pain she manages to shoot Clive in the head at his behest, after she apologizes and he forgives her.  This kills the Wizard too.  Of course she’s a crack shot despite the broken right arm.

The vigorous beating that Dean is visiting on his dark adversary and dark mirror(!!!) is stopped by Sam calling Dean’s name.  Sam is carrying Charlie who looks bloodied, limp and frail.  Dean looks guilty to see her like this on his watch and by his hands.  

Sam lays her next to Dark!Charlie and gives Good Charlie the key.  Dark!Charlie looks at her better half with pride and affection, “You did it, didn’t you? You killed the wizard. I knew it. The magic was in you all the time, Celeste.” Is she happy that her antics turned sweet Charlie into a killer?  Is that what our dark selves always want in these kinds of situations?  These questions make the moment less touching for me.

Also note that this scene is a big clue that Dean needs to fix himself by loving, accepting and embracing his darkness.  It’s kind of the whole point of this ridiculous episode.

Anyhow, Dark!Charlie turns into shimmering light and merges with Good!Charlie’s body. Sam hugs Charlie as she cries.  Dean awkwardly stays away.  He looks truly horrified by what he’s done and guilty as sin.  But hey!  That blood covered hand is holding steady.  Oh yeah… that was just what he needed.

The guilt isn’t from fighting Dark!Charlie. The guilt is from crossing a line.  The beating was extreme for the circumstances.  He was angry at her and angry at himself.  He was trying to beat the darkness out of both of them. Of course the Mark factors in as well.  Thankfully the sound of Sam’s voice stopped him. Yeesh.  Doesn’t Dean have enough to feel guilty about.  He sure does wear angst well though.

We cut to the Bunker.  Dean is a bit bruised and battered from his encounters with Dark!Charlie.  He’s trying to research.

Sam and Castiel are talking on the phone about his condition. According to Sam, “He’s calmed down now…. We gotta find Cain or we gotta find something…I hear you. You got it. Thanks.”  So Castiel is finally focused on Dean’s Marked state. It only took one massacre, some righteous torture and a grand beatdown to make it a priority. Yeah Cas!  I reckon that he’s volunteered to find Cain.

Charlie comes into the room and she’s a walking mess with an arm sling.  Of course the pink cast is tots adorbs!  Dean is horrified and ashamed all over again. 

Sam asks how she is to which she replies, “(Am I) good? Bad? I think I’ll just settle for balanced.” Charlie wants to know how the Mark research is going.  Sam shows her a citation for a book in an Italian library that might me useful (“The Book of the Damned”) which she agrees to check out.

Oh and apparently Dark!Charlie is “quiet”.  Charlie says, “I just got to keep moving forward. We all do.” She glances, at Dean still huddled at the table as she says this.

She walks over to Dean and tells him with absolute conviction, “We are going to fix this. I’m not going to let what happened to me happen to you.”  I applaud that she is adamant about helping him and sees it as their battle. However I am nearly apoplectic that Little Miss “Charlie Foxtrot” Sunshine now ranks mytharc status. Fire Robbie Thompson now! I jest of course but y’all know what I mean.

Sam chimes in that Cain managed to control his kill urge.  Of course Dean knows he was only able to control himself “after centuries of murder”. Pretty sure it was after millenia of murder but who’s counting.  I can’t help but wonder if Thompson thinks Dean is too stupid to know what “millenia” means.

Anyhow Charlie is totally there for Dean, telling him that, “There’s one thing you have that he didn’t… you’re a Winchester.”  Well actually he’s Dean Winchester that righteous man that rewrote the script on the Apocalypse!  But yeah…

She also tells Dean that she forgives him; although she doesn’t bother to apologize for what Dark!Charlie did to him. Grrrrr.  Of course he does not forgive himself, prompting a trite observation from little miss sparkles, “I know. Kind of your move. How’s that working out for you, huh?”

Dean doesn’t really want the pep talk so he gives her an inner eye roll. I want Claire to say, “Eat me Sandra Dee”! All the same we get a really emotional Dean/Charlie hug.  He apologizes, “I’m so sorry, kiddo.”  She tells him to prove it in response.  

It’s a weird thing to say.  I guess she’s telling him to overcome his darkness, to be strong. Sorry Charlie!  Dean’s problems aren’t as easy as yours was to fix.  Cain’s had the bloody thing for millenia and the fact that Cain considered Dean worthy of the Mark (“First Born”) just emphasizes Dean’s inherent darkness and his extraordinary talent at killing. Dean clearly needs love and support to overcome the Mark’s influence and not passive-aggressive pep talks or recriminations.  Sometimes family just sucks. 

Of course Charlie always sucks because she is written to be always right and the best little sparkly Mary Sue ever. I suppose if I were a tween she would be tots adorbs. I’m not and I really dislike her hijacking my show.  Why in the hell is that red headed strumpet co-opting Dean’s storyline.  Why has she been set up to become a key player in the season’s endgame of trying everything to fix Dean.  It stinks. Bobby she ain’t.

Sam and Charlie hug.  She promises to let him know what she finds. Then she’s off with a nauseatingly cheerful ” Arrivederci bitches.”

After Charlie has gone Sam wants to know if his brother is good. Dean is surprisingly honest and succinct, “No.”  Hey it’s time for another pep talk! Sam tells him, ” She’s right, Dean. You can do this. We can do this.”  Dean’s reply is a variation of those infamous words first uttered in the “Pilot” (“We’ve got work to do. “)… “Then let’s get to work.” Dean’s hand isn’t shaking at the moment.  However Dean’s face suggests that he has no hope at all of winning this battle.  I wonder who he will take a suicide run at this season. Oh well. At least Sam is concerned, supportive and proactive this season! Oh… and ruthlessly determined.  Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Additional Thoughts:

I am ambivalent about this episode. I dislike Charlie in principle because in no way, shape or form does she fit in their world.  Imagine what might happen to writer Robbie Thompson if he was flung into an alternate realm with relentless killer angels a la “The French Mistake”.  He would be dead in five minutes… his guts splattered across the pavement.  It’s the  same thing with Charlie.  She might have worked as the new “Ash” (who actually fits the definition of fan favorite). Unfortunately she became the bestest little hunter in the whole damn world without any training.  AND Mr. Thompson has repeated written one or both of the brothers as incompetent or stupid to ensure that she’s the shining star.  The only thing that I actually liked about her waa her relationship with Dean and now he’s ruined that for me.

There was some really trite, heavy handed dialogue.  Several of the pop culture references seemed forced.  Why can’t y’all let a dark episode be dark.  It’s what made the early seasons iconic and season 4 a masterpiece.

As far as the completely split personalities… I thought that the concept was potentially one of the best monster of the week parallels for Dean’s struggle with the Mark of Cain. There were some lovely visuals such as, Dean framed by the light and dark bottles.  The whole Dark vs Good Charlie’s was a great visual as well.  However Thompson really overdid it on the pointed dialogue.

It would have been better without Charlie.   A take on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde could have given us some great gothic scaresscares and/or steampunk flourishes.  This was too silly, too heavy handed and a missed opportunity for dark horror. I also don’t like that Thompson and the show are more interested in shoehorning teenaged thespians and his favorite sparkly avatar into the show rather than focusing are on developing the mytharc and storylines for the main characters.  No wonder Charlie had to go to Oz for some action.

I tipped my hat off to Mr. Thompson for “Fan Fiction”.  This time he earns a scowl and a bill for a bottle of tylenol.  Too many heavy handed anvils are headache inducing dude!

Without a doubt, some of my ire is due to my need for more dark Dean.  I am starting to really resent the way they are keeping this storyline in the shadows and using subtext to make their points.  It’s especially annoying because this far the auxiliary plots have been boring.

Again we have Thompson’s clunky subtext telling us that Dean has to accept his darkness to control it.  He needs support and love from his family and friends to help him accept himself. Finally, I remain sure that Dean’s altered state is permanent. I also am sure that Cas and Sam will try anything to fix Dean.  This isn’t new information frankly.

Powerful magic, a magic item, restored the expressed darkness within Charlie to make her whole again.  Likewise powerful magic split her in two much as it much split Clive to create the Wizard of Oz.  This follows upon the introduction of Rowena’s demon purging hex in “Girls, Girls, Girls ”. Does “The Book of the Damned” sound like a magical grimoire to anyone else?  Let’s throw the implied importance of the Witch Rowena into the mytharc mix too. 

Altogether they give me the idea that powerful magic will be explored as a means to fix Dean.  I am not opposed to this in principle, although I think something older than lore, used by a powerful archangel and possibly originally created by God should not be removed by magic.  I suppose the Mark’s effects could be mitigated in a way that allows Dean to control the carnage and channel the bloodlust into hunting.

The thing that worries me is Sam getting sucked into black magic as a means to an end and throwing all caution, common sense and basic morality into the wind as a result.  This is the guy who was okay with virgin sacrifice if it benefited him in “Jus in Bello”, willing killed a possessed human to obtain more power in “Lucifer Rising” and willingly risked two human lives to trap a crossroads demon in “Soul Survivor”. Sam has been corrupted by power before and appears willing to do anything if he feels the ends justify the means.  Machiavellian is an understatement.

Well.  I guess making bad choices is the Winchester way!

Initially I was confused by this attitude that Dean needed to be forgiven for defending himself against a cruel and violent attacker. Finally I realized that he actually does go overboard in the beating about when he breaks her arm execution style (if there’s such a thing) and continues to beat her nearly senseless until Sam calls his name.  So yes… he lost control and he liked it when he gave into his urges.  He sated the Mark with Charlie’s blood. I liked it to my dark prince.

I hate that it has added to Dean’s guilt complex; and most likely his guilt and his, fear of injuring loved ones will isolate him, which is exactly what the Mark needs to thrive.

I will admit that The story outline and the anvils hit the right points. It was just too much blah, blah, blah, Charlie; blah, blah, blah, anvil; blah, blah, blah, BAD Dean.  I also think that if Charlie wasn’t the focus of the story, we wouldn’t have had so much nauseatingly clumsy dialogue to sledge hammer home those large anvils.

The good news for me is that this review is done.

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