Last night's episode of Supernatural was complete fan service, which turned out to be a very good thing. Mostly because it involved LARPing and the return of Charlie, the geeky, girl-crazy hacker played by Felicia Day. After helping to dispatch the Leviathans last season, Charlie had to skip town and start a new life accurately, an imaginary life as the queen of Moondor in a medieval fantasy LARP. Unfortunately her guardsmen are dying in extremely strange circumstances, and that's where the Winchesters come in.
The episode begins in the usual monster-of-the-week way, with the brothers remarking to each other that there is a plot arc going on with tablets and demons and shit, but we're not going to deal with that because Dean always wanted to dress up like Mel Gibson in Braveheart and indulge in a little cross-genre play. That's how these things go.
They're dispatched to a tiny Michigan town by Garth, who is apparently using Lyft.com to track the locations of all his hunters. He's rigged their GPSes to show up on a map so he can assign them to jobs that are close by. He's sent Sam and Dean to find out why local LARPers are being injured and dying of strangely medieval (and gory) accidents, like getting drawn and quartered (in a bedroom where there are no horses) or getting hobbled (without hobbles). Clearly magic is at work. So they hightail it out to LARP central, where they discover that Charlie is the queen of all she surveys — which is a whole lot of hot girls in medieval garb. There is nothing better than watching Charlie and Dean trying to mack on women together.
The scenes with Charlie are so charmingly awesome that they almost make up for the tired jokes about LARPers trotted out in this episode — they live alone surrounded by toys, can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality, are loveless losers, and are all trying desperately to date Charlie because they somehow haven't noticed that she's sleeping with every woman within a kilometer radius. Of course, my irration with this evaporated as soon as Sam and Dean got out to the park where everybody is in costume and swinging swords around. It was a pretty respectable representation of SCA life. Dean gets a big grin on his face and says, "This looks kind of awesome actually." Ah, Dean. You start with the anime and pretty soon you're a LARPer. That's pretty much always the way.
So after a lot of shenanigans with Charlie — including watching her swordfight and getting a bunch of fantastic one-liners — the brothers figure out that the murders are the work of a fairy. And that's just about when Charlie is captured by a scary cloaked figure with a goat skull for a head. Who turns out to be a complete babe of a fairy in costume, begging Charlie to rescue her from the evil man who conjured her and is forcing her to kill for him. But who would do such a thing? And why would he be targeting Charlie's LARP buddies?
Um, we don't really care about those questions because the fairy is so grateful for Charlie's help that the two of them immediately start making out. Until the brothers rush in, breaking everything up and leading to the best line of the episode. "I can't believe you guys blocked me from banging a fairy!" Charlie seethes later.
But before those fairy regrets, they have to destroy the spell book that's been used to bind the fairy. It turns out that another one of Charlie's soldiers has been killing off her buddies because he wanted to be her closest retainer but she picked two other characters — and those characters were played by guys who cheated by using real money instead of WOW gold or whatever. Anyway, there's a scuffle and of course Charlie saves the day by stabbing the spell book with her knife and setting the fairy free. "Call me . . . maybe!" she riffs wistfully as the fairy disappears.
Can I just say how much I love this character? Charlie manages to be badass, ribald, nerdy, and adorable all at the same time. I realize that this is sort of Felicia Day's schtick in general, but she brings together all her likable awkwardness in this role and nails what's wonderful about being a geek.
Once the danger is gone, Dean gives in to all his LARPing urges, and does a Braveheart in order to lead the queen's army against the elves, orcs, and fighters of the realm in their annual competition. Nice to see Dean and Sam going full gamer. Again, it was fan service but it was for a good cause. And by "good cause" I mean SCA kingdoms everywhere.
Now that she's saved the damsel in distress, Charlie is feeling a lot better about her role as the Winchester's occasional hunting pal. The episode ends with her telling them they can call on her again if they need anything, and mighty gods let's hope they do because this show gets about 200% better when Charlie is there.