Who do you call when your ancient magically self-sufficient computer goes on the fritz? Well, your friendly neighborhood uber-smart, super-geek hacker and true ‘Woman of Letters,’ Charlie Bradbury, of course!
Supernatural cool quote #1
Men of Letters Peter Jenkins upon his arrival at the bunker and hearing Men of Letters James Haggerty call it a dump: “Dump? Dump?! Are you kidding? Do you realize where we are? This — this dump is the last true beacon of light in a world gone topsy-turvy. This dump is the epicenter of — of the ultimate chess match between good and evil.”
Jenkins, six months later: “What a dump.”
Now, more often than not, when we see a seemingly lighter episode like this, we tend to moan and groan and complain about “filler episodes.” But, more often than not (yes, we all remember last season’s “Bitten” — sorry, Robbie T, but you did redeem yourself with “LARP and the Real Girl,” giving us Charlie Bradbury, and now “Slumber Party”), Supernatural tends to use these episodes to move the overall story along while entertaining us with some new and interesting characters. Who are the new and interesting characters this week? None other than Dorothy of Oz (Kaniehtiio Horn) and The Wicked Witch of the West (Maya Massar), not to mention a couple more Men of Letters, Peter Jenkins and James Haggerty (Andrew Jenkins and Gildart Jackson) circa 1935.
In the flashback to the MoL of yore, we find out that what we thought was the fictional Dorothy of Oz is actually a real person based on the daughter of the author. Not only is she real, but so is Oz and all of its inhabitants, except a lot darker than the books portray them. There was a really nasty war and Dorothy has found that there is no easy way to kill the Wicked Witch and she has brought her to the bunker. The Witch wreaks havoc, taking over the minds of the two MoLs on duty and Dorothy does the only thing she can do — traps herself in a magical vial with the evil hag.
Fast forward to present day, where Sam and Dean’s attempt to “fix” the aforementioned super computer to track the fallen angels results in that magical vial falling over and the witch eventually escaping (unbeknownst to the boys) — but more of that later. When Charlie comes to the boys IT rescue, she admits that she recently lost her job (“Turns out the company I was working for was outsourcing to child labor, so I took a big WikiLeak all over that.” Supernatural cool quote #2); and she has started doing some hunting of her own on the side (“Okay. It was just a couple little cases. I took down a teenage vampire and a ghost — which sounds like a YA novel if you say it out loud.” Supernatural cool quote #3). But true to our Charlie’s nature, she found the hunting experience a bit wanting — wishing it was just a bit more “magical.” And speaking of magic, Charlie works her tech magic on the uber computer and before long she has gained access and made it workable for the brothers Winchester. But the guys circle back to the whole hunting thing and express their discomfort with Charlie hunting alone. She admits that the Supernatural books say it is wrong — what?! Hey! Damn you, Carver Edlund! Oh, and damn you to the person who uploaded all of the unpublished works, one “beckywinchester176.” Charlie wonders if that name rings a bell for the guys? Sam is tongue-tied. Um, time for a change of subject — how about a Game of Thrones marathon?! Charlie later admits that GoT has that magical element that is missing for her in this earthbound hunting world.
When our intrepid trio return to the computer room (Room 28), they find more than just some downloaded software and files — they find the mysterious Dorothy encased in a black cocoon plastered against the wall! Charlie is beyond excited when they find the file that explains that Dorothy is the first case investigated in the bunker (Charlie: “This will never stop blowing my mind” Dean: “OK, pace yourself, Toto!” Supernatural cool quote #4). Dorothy wants to find the Wicked Witch while Sam wants to find out more about the situation. But Dorothy still has a 1935 feminist chip on her shoulder which the boys (“we’re hunters!”) and Charlie (“who are you calling a secretary??”) shut down right away. Dorothy is impressed that there could now be a Woman of Letters and realizes she can trust these three. She tells them of the binding spell she used to tie her soul to the witch’s and trap them in the vial. But if she is awake now, then so is the witch and time is of the essence.
Elsewhere in the bunker, the witch is searching for something and comes across the resident demon in the basement, Crowley, who recognizes her right away (“Big fan. Love your work.”). WWotN has a bit of communication problem, though, since Dorothy cut out her tongue back in Oz. She can only grunt and hiss (Crowley: “What’s the matter, darling? Cowardly lion got your tongue?” Supernatural fun quote #5) He urges to write down what she is looking for and he will help her find it.
Dorothy is insisting on searching for the witch alone because she is protected from harm by a spell (which Charlie knows all about, since she has read all of the Oz books). But the gang convinces her to work as a team. The brothers go to look for clues in the bunker and Dorothy stays to help Charlie suss out their options on killing the witch via the super computer. Charlie goes a little fangirl on Dorothy, but Dorothy shuts that down (Charlie: “You were much nicer in the books.”). Charlie is amazed that Dorothy’s father is the author, L. Frank Baum, who was also one of the Men of Letters. But when Dorothy belittles him as a sad, old librarian, Charlie puts her foot down (or up, if you prefer) and knocks that feminist chip off Dorothy’s shoulder by pointing out to her that these men in her past may have been sexist, but they were also wicked smart and she should try learning a thing or two from them before dismissing them. It seems MoL Haggerty never gave up on trying to find Dorothy and solve her witch problem and though he never found her, he did find a way to kill the witch.
Supernatural cool quote #6
Charlie: “Do you remember the poppy fields in the first book?”
Dorothy: “That’s not actually the way it happened, it was much bloodier–”
Charlie: “Stop. ruining. my childhood.”
Charlie explains that Haggerty made a deal with a fairy for some poppies — and with that, she is off to make some poppy bullets whether Dorothy is with her or not.
Dean and Sam’s search for the witch leads them to Crowley’s chamber. Cue Crowley whistling “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” (“Well, if it isn’t the scarecrow and the tin man.” Supernatural cool quote #7). I could include this whole exchange as another cool quote but I won’t. I will just say that Crowley’s relaying of what the Wicked Witch said to him is… priceless. Crowley uses his knowledge to leverage a short release from his chains and then reveals that the witch is looking for a key and that he sent her to the kitchen to look for it. Dean and Sam meet up with Charlie (poppy bullets in hand) and Dorothy in the ransacked kitchen (Dean: “Dammit, I just cleaned in here.”). Dorothy realizes that the key the witch seeks is the key that turns any locked door into a portal to the land of Oz. And if the witch gets back to Oz, the land is doomed. Dorothy has a sketch of the key and Dean recognizes it. They make a plan to get the key and defeat the witch.
Sam and Dorothy encounter the witch first and wing her with one of the magic bullets. She flees in a tornado of green dust and next appears in the room where Dean and Charlie have just found the key. She grabs the key from Dean, flinging him against the wall (why don’t these boys have more broken bones??) and just as she is about to zap Dean with her killing spell, Charlie jumps in and takes the hit instead. Dean shoots the witch with another magic bullet and she whisks away in a cloud of green, key and all. Dean rushes back to Charlie, but it is too late. Charlie is dead.
After an excruciating commercial break, we return to a devastated Dean leaning over Charlie’s dead body. Sam comes running into the room, calling out Dean’s name and Dean calls for Zeke. Instantly, Sam is gone and Zeke is in his place (major kudos to Jared Padalecki who is rocking the instant Sam/Zeke changes ). Dean implores him to save Charlie like he did Cas but Zeke explains that these healings take too much out of him and will only prolong his stay in Sam. He can use his strength to help with the powerful witch or save Charlie. Dean must choose. “Save her,” Dean states. “As you wish,” is Zeke’s solider like response and presto change-o, Charlie is revived. Zeke collapses and comes to again as Sam and he is, once again, clueless. Dean quickly explains that the witch zapped Charlie and dinged Sam and disappeared after Dean shot her with a poppy bullet. Dorothy arrives to say that the witch is not dead and still at large. The boys go after the witch with the final magic bullet and Dorothy stays with Charlie. As they search, Sam asks Dean about “Zeke” — the name Sam remembers Dean calling out when he entered the room. Dean dismisses it as Sam’s confusion after being knocked out, but the seed of a question remains. Boy, when this #$% hits the fan, it is not going to be pretty.
Charlie is telling Dorothy about the weird dream she had after the witch’s zap knocked her out. Dorothy tells Charlie that it wasn’t a dream — she died. (Dorothy: “But don’t worry about it, though. You’re not a real hunter until you’ve died and come back again.” Supernatural cool quote #8). Apparently, being killed by the Wicked Witch of the North is something they have in common. Dorothy goes on to tell Charlie her version of the Wizard of Oz which is familiar, yet different at the same time. When the witch came to this world, Dorothy became a hunter and her father wrote the books. She thinks of the books as revisionist history her father created to try to undo everything that happened to her in Oz. Charlie sees the books as a way for Dorothy’s father to leave clues for her about Oz, the witch and how to defeat her. Dorothy has an epiphany and realizes they do have a weapon to fight the witch — the ruby slippers!
For the third time in the episode, Sam is asked why he hasn’t settled into the bunker as his new home. He explains to Dean that he did not have the experience of a real home with family that Dean had and every attempt he has made to have that has not ended well. Once again we see that despite their strong loyalty to one another, each brother has a very different view of happiness and family.
The Wicked Witch attacks the brothers and takes over their minds, willing them to find Dorothy and Charlie and kill them. They find the ladies in the garage where they have retrieved the ruby slippers. Dorothy runs interference with Sam while Charlie escapes from Dean (“sorry about the nards, Dean”) and runs off with the shoes to find the witch. Meanwhile, the witch has gathered everything she needs to open the door to Oz, but her plan isn’t to go back, but to bring her armies and assorted evil to this realm!
She gets the door open and the flying monkeys are seen in the distance, when suddenly she gets a ruby stilletto to the back of her head, courtesy of one Charlie Bradbury. And with one more heel to the forehead, the witch is dead. Sam and Dean come running up, guns drawn and are greeted by a smug Charlie, swinging a ruby red slipper, “Ding-dong, bitches!” (Supernatural cool quote #9).
As Dorothy prepares to leave, Charlie pulls Dean aside and confronts him on the whole dying and bringing her back from the dead situation (“Am I a zombie now? Do I need to eat brains?? Supernatural cool quote #10). Dean tries to deny it, but he can’t BS Charlie and he assures her she is OK and asks her to keep it between them for now. She reluctantly agrees — for now. It’s time to say goodbye to Dorothy and Charlie is over the moon when she asks her to join her in Oz. Dean tries to convince Charlie to stay, but this is the magical hunt that Charlie has been waiting for and she is not letting it pass her by. Dorothy opens the door with the magic key and we watch as she and Charlie walk down the yellow brick road toward the Emerald City.
Dean wonders if Charlie will be back. “Of course,” Sam replies, “There’s no place like home.”