Supernatural goes meta again...and this time, with a relatively light hand. I mean, unless I blinked during a Kansas reference. They did a tidy job of working a pre-existing story into the world of Supernatural, and plucking at a couple heartstrings I didn't know were exposed. Light episode, by and large, with cute FX, and a couple nods of the head to ongoing issues. Show deets below the jump...

Starting out with what I don't like: Return Of The Angelus Ex Frater. But more on that later. Hmmph. I get it, but I don't have to like it.

Anyway. Onto story:

The episode is, unsurprisingly, about home, and about adventure, and what they mean to different people. Also no surprise—opinions differ.

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The episode starts with a couple ungrateful Yahoos Of Letters who don't get the magic of the Batcave—a jaded old hand, and a rookie who wants something more than sitting around and honing his long game. How does that wish get fulfilled?

When a sassy dame named Dorothy shows up with a tale of a witch (wicked) and a plea for help to shut her down. Okay—so this is only subtle for Supernatural. We all know exactly who this is, but she's not wearing blue gingham and an apron. She's more of the Amelia Earhart mold.

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The episode starts off in present day by showing how both boys are not happy about Castiel's absence. Sam doesn't understand it, and Dean's regret plays sincerely.

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When Sam suggests that maybe the map table can be used to detect angels and therefore help protect Cas, they're both eager to trace the controls back to the source, which is an old school room-sized computer downstairs.

While discovering that this old technology is beyond their capacity to manipulate, Dean manages to fire Chekhov's handgun without even noticing it exists.

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THESE GUYS NEED MAGIC PROTOCOLS. SHEEIT. I mean...oopsie.

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Back in 1935, the recently-tongueless wicked witch (Dorothy has been immediately established as a badass, and a bit snotty about it to boot) escapes her bond, possesses the rookie of Letters, and escapes within the bunker.

What was I saying about oops?

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The IT issue gets escalated to the most appropriate genius (Kevin's on shore leave, since he may already have had a break with reality—hope he likes country music, because that's what's in store for him offscreen) and Charlie is back in the hizzouse (bitches).

She invokes Ada Lovelace (word to the mother!) and then explains that the flobotinum is attached to the magical tachyon inverter, reveals that she's been hunting solo, and outs Becky as the leak that got the unpublished manuscripts into the world at large.

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Somehow, this seems to be on Sam. Charlie is sheepish about hunting solo, but also disillusioned. Unsurprisingly, the reigning monarch of Moondor feels there's no mystique about the reality of it all. They adjourn upstairs while her Microsoft Surface (as if) decrypts the uploaded Men of Letters digitised databanks.

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Next up is an oddly stiff scene which reveals them to be Game Of Thrones (Dean bought Sam the DVDs to cheer him up—Sam's still reading the books, and for some reason Dean the Vonnegut fan is confused by this choice) fans as they marathon season one. It doesn't get back into the flow until we get to discord between the brothers—Dean's taking it personally that Sam's not at home here—Sam might be happy that they have a great office now, but we've seen that Dean's bought memory foam for his mattress and put up pictures—sleeping down the hall from the conference room is a dream come true for big bro. Sam doesn't dream of home anymore, he conveys quite bitterly.

Back in the server room, Chekhov's flask has grown a cocoon on the wall. With a continuing lack of decontamination protocols, Dean slices it open. At least they point their guns at it. Because bullets kill such a huge percentage of the things they hunt.

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But out topples Dorothy, and thankfully we're spared the conversation where they learn Oz is real, and just tune in for Charlie squeeing. THIS is what she was talking about. Turns out that Dottie had bound herself to the witch since they couldn't kill her (and the witch can't kill Dorothy either), much to the confusion of the remaining letterman. But now that Dorothy is out, so is the tongueless harridan.

Oops.

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She finds the one other person in the expansive bunker quite quickly, and he conveniently asks here what she's looking for. This episode is kind of a waste of Sheppard—they need to go somewhere with him soon. Tie Cas down in the bunker instead, dammit.

Sam and Dean go running off to find the witch, leaving Charlie to work out how to stop the witch. It takes her zero seconds, wasting more time defending Frank L Baum to his daughter than anything else, to determine the solution is poppy bullets (will they put everything in bullets this season?). I don't know if the bunker has an intercom, but Charlie doesn't seem concerned with updating the hunters on her plan just yet.

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They're chatting with Crowley, who trades the piece of paper that the witch wrote her goal down on for a chance to stand up. For inscrutable reasons, he sent her to the kitchen to find this "key" she wants so badly. Dean is not happy about his domain being invaded, and Sam is still a bit unsympathetic regarding his totally valid angst.

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Charlie distributes the bullets as the boys explain the key goal. Oh noes!

This is a picture of the key to Oz, and if Wicked Witch gets back, she'll finish terrorising the place, to the detriment of "all that is good in Oz." There's no hesitation to save a place they thought was fictional three hours ago, and I think that's more than sweet.

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Dean tries to convince Charlie to sit this one out (in the dungeon with Crowley???), but she comes with him to his room where he put the key after doing inventory (which is what he calls opening everything and licking it—only the scientists on Prometheus had less of a self-preservation instinct than this six foot one toddler). Maybe she heard about his vintage porn collection.

Stank ass witch storms in, tries to zap Dean, KILLS CHARLIE. Ayup, dead meat.

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Poor Deano—four episodes in and he's had to look at losing Sam, Cas, and now Charlie. Two of them died died, and Sam did the dance of flatlining.

To Jensen's credit, he doesn't undersell this third go round at the mortality square dance.

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As soon as Sam round the corner into his room, Dean calls Zeke to the forefront and chooses resurrecting Charlie over Zeke's help with the witch. Zeke points out that if he keeps doing this, healing "will take longer than [they] both want". But...Charlie. Yeah, so maybe I would have too. Resurrection it is.

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He fast talks explaining to Sam why he passed out after hearing Dean yell someone else's name, and the merry chase continues.

Eventually they end up in the garage, by Dorothy's bike. Garage?? Yeah, me neither. But how sweet are those vintage cars? Sheeit.

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Charlie has worked out that the Oz books are code to help Dorothy, and so they're looking for the ruby (SILVER) slippers, which turn out to be more stilettos than Mary Janes.

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The witch has possessed Sam and Dean, and they're poised to kill Dorothy as Witchie Poo opens a door back to Oz and flying monkeys rush towards our reality.

But sassy Charlie is on the job, and she puns awfully and stabs the witch in the skull with the fuck me pumps, and the boys come back to themselves before all is lost. Yay!

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Wait, no yay...Dorothy is going back to Oz to finish the revolution she started, and she asks Charlie to come with.

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This is the sort of questing that she's been looking for all this time, and despite the heartbroken look on Dean's face, she walks off down the yellow brick road with Dot Baum, and a new ship dawns on the horizon. Darlie? Chorothy? Whatever makes you the happiest.

However, before she left she learnt that she'd not been knocked out, she'd been killed by the witch's blast, and maybe because Dorothy played it off (real Oz, much harsher than storybook Oz (which was harsher than the movies in its own right)) she's more concerned with the mystery of it than any existential angst about the paper-thin nature of mortality.

No fear that she can tell the secret, because as noted—she's off to see the wonders. Bye Charlie! But she will be back. And with the gimme quote (they've been quite restrained, these writers—very unlike them), maybe Sam's coming around—"There's no place like home" he assures Dean.

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This episode had a lot of emotional continuity for me. Here are some of my callbacks:

  • Swap Meat: Where Sam says he doesn't want a white picket fence after all, with a distinct air of not deserving it anymore.
  • The Real Ghostbusters: Where the LARPers tell Dean where the romance is in his story
  • As Time Goes By: Where we learn that John resented his absent father (with the overtones of course of Sam resenting John) for failures that weren't all he thought they were—mystically, the fathers were looking out for their kids as much as they could.
  • Dark Side of the Moon: Dean's abandonment complex.

Poor Dean. Your big fear is being abandoned, and you stuck an angel into Sam to stop it, you sent your best friend away to stop it, and you delayed his healing so Charlie would stick around (she got as far as heaven!), and she toddles off, because she's a wanderer with a dream. You do what you do because this is all you are confident about, because it's what your father taught you to excel at, because helping people gives you value you don't feel you have inherently. So all these people who want togetherness or adventure...poor Dean doesn't get it.

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What I need:

  • Someone to learn Dean's secret
  • Someone to learn Zeke's secret
  • For Dean to be sending Cas care packages
  • To work out which of the "Dean regretfully sent Cas out into the world" fics are gonna be Kripked.

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What I have:

  • Current and upcoming pain.

What I have and do not want:

  • Angelus ex Frater (no, I don't remember enough Latin to tidy that up). You can't keep calling on Zeke to resurrect people unless you're playing Joss rules, where apprehension of the cost in the short or long term of having done it replaces the fear of dying, for either us or the characters, or both.

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DON'T FAIL ME NOW, CARVER.

End note: peep this alternate title card they had Jared release (and a server crashed as a result..)

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. If I can find a better res version I will supply it, but basically the paragraph on the left is thanking SPNfamily for getting them this far. Go team us! Rah! Rah! I hate you less than last week, even you!