Review - Supernatural - S08E20

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Like superheroes every hunter has a sad story that leads them into the nomadic life of fighting ghosts and demons. For Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) it’s the death of their mother and in this weeks episode “Pac Man Fever” we learn all about fan favourite Charlie Bradbury’s (Felicia Day) tragic past.

Charlie emails Sam and Dean – who are currently hiding out in the “Men of Letters” batcave – informing them of a nearby case. Sam’s still struggling with the side-effects of the trails so Dean and Charlie head out on their own. There’s a makeover montage, and some on the job training, as Dean turns Charlie into a real hunter. Turns out it’s a Djinn that feeds on fear. When Charlie is captured, Dean has head into her video inspired dream to save her. But really it’s up to Charlie to save herself, she has to let go of her mother who has been on life support since Charlie was twelve. Charlie let’s go, Sam kills the Djinn and everyone hugs… it’s beautiful.

Having what is essentially a monster-of-the-week ep showcasing a guest star this close to the season final is massive risk. But Felicia Day’s Charlie is one of the best supporting characters to be introduced since Castiel (Misha Collins) and there was just enough of the series arc to maintain the momentum in the lead up to the final.

This episode is a perfect example of everything Supernatural does right: an intriguing mystery, a last minute twist, quirky humour, shout-outs to previous episodes and plenty of angst to go around. The interaction between the Winchesters and Charlie is endearingly sweet. She really is the little sister they never had. After all this show is about family, but family don’t end with blood. It’s nice to see Sam and especially Dean opening up to someone new (the Han Solo shout out at the end was perfect).

This show was in desperate need of new blood, but the with a difficult fanbase it has been hard for the powers-that-be to find the right balance in their support cast. Charlie is a fantastic addition especially considering Supernatural doesn’t have a great track record with female characters. It seems they’ve finally hit the nail on the head with Charlie and the casting of Felicia Day was inspired. She’s just the right mix of geeky humour and feminine strength (not to mention the fact that she’s a lesbian prevents her from becoming a romantic threat).

Although Charlie shines in this episode, she doesn’t detract from the most important relationship on the show: the bond between Sam and Dean. There are plenty of brotherly moments in this episode that range from cute, Dean had a go at Sam’s hair, to heartbreaking, Dean grabs Sam into a tight hug realizing that he has to let go of his little brother.

Anyone that watches this show religiously will know that this episode was just a little too happy. When things go this well you know the next episode is going to hurt… a lot. Considering we’re at the pointy end of the season, my guess is it’s all down hill from here.

Next week sees the return of Naomi, Castiel and the tablet storyline: brace yourselves, it’s about to get real.

Review by Yvonne Popplewell

More of Yvonne’s works can be found at her blog.


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