So. Fun. Have I mentioned that I love our show? I have? Well, it's worth repeating. But I'll do so below the cut.
First -- thanks for coming by and reading. I know this Ramble is late and we've basically 48 hours until the next episode, but it would be a shame to not write something up about this episode. Plus, having recently received a PM letting me know that a former reader has chosen to go elsewhere to read reviews as it appears we no longer see things the same way, I want you to know how much I appreciate your time, and if you take time to share your thoughts, I thank you. :)
Okay, so in the past 24 hours, I've returned from Disneyworld (nothing like seeing magic through the eyes of a 5 year old), answered about 200 work emails (my penance for taking a few days off work), watched Castle take on a zombie horde (Nathan Fillion can do no wrong), finished the last 2 episodes of Game of Thrones S1 (because the hubs gave me the puppy-dog eyes and I cave easily for a good story), and caught up with our boys. Not necessarily in that order.
With that, this ramble will be shorter than usual, but no less heartfelt as I really enjoyed this episode -- even though we seem to be playing a bit heavy on the guest stars' stories of late. I can't help but think that means we've been saving up an inundation of Winchester for the final 3 episodes. I like these guest stars, though. I like how we get to see our boys through their eyes -- or get to see the boys play off of different characters, giving them different motivations and circumstances to react to.
And I have liked that several of the recent guest stars have been strong women. Like the muchly adored (by me, and I'm sure many others) Sheriff Jodi Mills, Annie, while doomed, was tough and smart and unafraid. And Charlie? Charlie was fun and interesting and believable. And kinda reminded me of me, with her geek side. So, Powers That Be? Please to not be killing Charlie, either. *puts protective bubble around Charlie and Sheriff Mills*
Because, basically, this episode was all about finding what currently appears to be red clay. Getting to the bottom of the digs Roman is funding. Which could have been handled with a two minute aside, but was instead entertainingly rolled out with a bit of a caper and some fun interactions with a new character who could potentially be returned and I wouldn't mind seeing again.
Having the focus be on other aspects of the story instead of spotlighted on the brothers has given me a chance to breathe a bit and really appreciate the talent we get to watch every week. Jensen’s portrayal of Dean Winchester has always amazed and enchanted me. He takes a written character and breathes such life into him that no other hero has really quite matched up to him since 2005. He can break my heart and put it back together again, the cracks worn like battle scars, within the same episode. He’s flat-out perfection.
And Jared’s Sam has fluctuated from frustrating to heart-rubbing over the season, culminating in a soul-bruising portrayal of nearly-lost sanity just a few episodes ago and now…now he’s back to the little brother who questions and forgives and follows and hopes and he is wonderful in this role. He is Sam.
Lastly, I apologize up front for what will surely be an infusion of asides throughout this ramble -- this is what happens when you catch me on the flipside of an immersion into magic.
So! THEN we have Dead Frank and Ghost Bobby. Caught up? Cool. NOW we are in the cabin in the woods (also a decent Joss Wheden flick) which has become the boys' hide-out-away-from-home. They are researching the archeological digs that Dick Roman has been funding, trying to figure out what he's looking for. Dean takes a drink from The Flask and just then the lights flicker. The boys instantly go on alert, looking tense, putting their hands on their weapons and searching the room. Bobby flashes in and they both pull their weapons, but relax the moment they see it's Bobby.
Why they didn't just automatically think it was Bobby, I'm not sure. They'd already connected him to the flask and Dean had the flask out.... Maybe they're still getting used to the idea. *shrug*
Dean: How's this work? I lift the cap off and you just genie your way out?
Bobby: Wish it were that easy--
And Bobby blinks out. The boys look around, at each other, both like WTH? Then Bobby flashes in again and says he's still worn out from his zen ghost battle. The look on Dean's face felt familiar. Like he couldn't decide if he still missed Bobby and felt guilty about his own doubts -- he didn't really want to admit it, but he didn't want Bobby there...especially when he can pop in and out seemingly at random.
Anyway, there's a bit of a flashback montage as Bobby is telling the boys that he saw more than just those numbers -- and it's no surprise. In fact, I think we covered it in the ramble for 7.16 - Out With the Old. Basically, the Levi's are creating a world-wide slaughter house. They heal us of our diseases, make us fat and docile with turducken sandwiches (which are more wide-spread now than just Biggersons), then funnel us through the processing house, noshing away. The only thing the boys -- or Bobby -- don't know is what Dick is digging for.
Just then, Sam gets an email...from Frank. We see a flash of a girl with red hair and green eyes hacking into something and then back to the boys reading the email: Sam & Dean, if you're reading this, I'm dead...or worse.
He goes on to say that the email was sent to them because someone is trying to hack into his hard drive and unless it's them, they've got trouble. His hard drive is filled with compromising information, like their new alias, hide-outs, where they stored the Impala (prompting a worried squeak of, "Baby?" from Dean...awww...and I MISS THAT CAR!!!). He tells them that he planted a tracking device on the hard drive, so Sam does some hacker-fu of his own and GPSs the thing.
Dean: Great. It's in the middle of the Death Star.
Ha! Okay, another aside? I loved all of the Star Wars references in this geek-fest of an episode. When we were at Hollywood Studios, I heard the Star Wars theme before we'd actually reached the Star Tours ride and you would have thought someone had hit 1986 on the way-back machine. I was 12 years old again, grinning and telling my 5 year old daughter about Walkers and AT-ATs and how many languages C-3PO is fluent in and where Chewbacca was from and how Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon. Mo Chuisle drank it in like she does with every story I tell her, but I thought the hubs was going to combust from geek overload. *laugh*
I liked the different ways this episode was put together with the time-jumps and split screen. I love the our show does different things like this to keep it new and interesting. I mean, yes, the story adds to the 'keeping it interesting' aspect, but there are times when fun little elements -- like the fake 'SucroCorp' commercial -- just makes watching the show fun.
So, we skip to five hours prior and meet our heroine, Charlie. I have to say, I adore Felicia Day. She is just made of win. And I love how fresh Charlie was. She fit all stereotypes and none at the same time. A computer something-or-other working at Richard Roman Enterprises, Charlie shows up for her work day, dressed casual, with her cross-body shoulder bag and her iPod playing "Walking On Sunshine." She breezes past security, gets in the elevator, glances around to see if anyone's looking (it's a glass elevator) and breaks out dancing in what can only be described as Willard-esque (and if you get that reference, 10 points for Griffindor).
She sits down at her superhero-adorned desk and shares pics of her 'hook-up' at a reproductive seminar (I think) with her cube-mate co-worker while simultaneously sending company funds into an animal donation fund (I think...again). It all happened really fast, but the gist is, she hacks for the good of the underprivileged and she is having a good week...so far. Just then her boss (looking Totally Freaked Out) calls her into his office and Charlie's (slightly adorable) co-worker gives her a worried look saying, "I love you." Charlie responds with a wry, "I know," before she heads to the bosses office. HA! Nice little Star Wars shout-out there. *grins*
She heads unconcerned into the bosses office...only to come face-to-face with Dick Roman and his eyeroll-worthy double-entente's that really only mean something sinister to those of us who know he's a monster who eats humans and make him sound simply pompous to everyone not in on the joke. He hands her Frank's hard drive and wants her to hack it -- he's utterly unconcerned about her hacking into the company funds for donations to adopt-a-pet or whatever. Thinks that is adorable. He wants to know why she's so hard to copy.
Charlie tells him that she has a problem with authority, so to get away with being her, she makes herself indispensable. I like it. Unfortunately, so does Dick.
Dick: You're kinda completing me right now, Charlie.
Charlie & Me: Um, eww.
He tells Charlie she has three days to hack into Frank's hard drive or she's fired (and by fired, we all know he means eaten) and then leaves. She looks at her Totally Freaked Out Boss and asks, "Is this real life?" He's basically like, why are you still sitting here? Go!
Heading out to her cube, she runs into Cube Mate Guy and tells him that Dick Roman just gave her an assignment, which means that, "The Eye of Sauron is on me."
Cube Mate Guy: If you need anything, I'll be back in the Shire.
Hee. I would totally get along with these guys. It's...kinda scary.
Charlie sits at her desk, then looks at her figurine of Hermione Granger for a brief pep talk before starting to hack into the hard drive. Aaaaannnnddd....go!
Aside? In the Orlando airport, there's a Harry Potter store. And Mo Chuisle saw it. Now, I've only let her see up to the 3rd movie and we're currently reading book three, but she's totally hooked. I just have to wait until she getsa little older before I introduce Dementors because...well...nightmares. But she and I saw that store at the same time and the hubs was basically like, "Ach, I've lost them." We headed inside and squeed over the clothes and candy but then...she saw the wands. And whose do you think we walked out of there with? Yep - Hermione's. And Mo Chuisle spent the whole first night at Disney casting spells around the hotel room.
Anyway, Charlie's busy hacking away when suddenly the computer greets her as Professor Falken and asks if she would "like to play a nice game of chess." LOVE IT! War Games. HA! She thinks she found her way in when she gets a "Nice try, Zero Charisma." *laugh* I was doing a lot of chuckling through this part.
Back with the boys, they're planning the Winchester equivalent of the Trench Run to get to the hard drive and Bobby wants to go into Dick's office, but the boys are like, um, yeah, no. Not a good idea. Sam's the one who vocalizes their worry that he'll go vengeful spirit on them, though by Dean's expression, he totally agrees. They make Bobby "ride the pine" and He. Is. Not. Happy.
Cube Mate Guy finds Charlie dozing at her desk the next morning, realizes that she's been there all night. He offers to get her coffee -- laced with crack. Ah, so that's how it's done, eh? He returns with her Wonder Woman mug and his Batman mug, both wondering where Totally Freaked Out Boss went...which we see. Down in the parking garage, Dick and a henchman confront him, basically tell him he's totally replaceable, clone him, and then eat him. Buh-bye boss man.
Charlie finally hacks the hard drive, sees a Dick Roman file, channels her inner Hermione and opens it.
Charlie: What the frak's a Leviathan?
First -- that's my go-to swear word when little ears are listening and second -- she finds out all she could possibly want to know about Levi's thanks to Frank's meticulous record keeping. Understandably freaked out, she heads home to...get stuff (I was unclear on that front), gets a call from her boss and blames her absence on a "lady thing" -- HA! As she's getting ready to go, she notices her Darth Vader bobble head bouncing, hurries for the door, but Dean suddenly stops her, saying he isn't going to hurt her. She grabs a replica sword (not sure what it's a replica of, but I'm guessing a Lord of the Rings thing) that she had on display and calls him a shapeshifter.
Sam basically materializes out of nowhere, saying they're not shapeshifters and she hits him with the sword, breaking it. Whoops. Dean -- apparently guessing she read Frank's file -- proves that they're not Levi's by pouring Borax over their hands, then makes her do the same. Okay, so everyone's human. They sit down and tell her who they are -- which she summarizes down into Monster Hunters...not really wanting to know what other monsters are out there. That is a bit much to swallow all at once.
She wants to know how they found her, so Sam shows her that Frank hacked her webcam with the same code that sent the email. I'm not really clear on how that showed them where she lived, but I didn't really focus on that point, chalking it up to Hacker Stuff That I Don't Understand And Just Go With For The Sake Of The Story (I need to pick a different title for that category). They tell her what the Levi's plan is and that they need to hack into Dick Roman's email to find out why he's looking for at these archeological digs.
And if I may go a bit surfacey for a moment? Dean's face after he says, "...and we're the meat".... UNF. I need a screen cap of that. Please? Someone?
Charlie laments that "everything was coming up me" before the Winchesters happened to her life, and she goes to her laptop (with its Arwen from Lord of the Rings wallpaper) and tries to hack into the email only to realize it's on a separate server. D'oh! That's about when the boys break it to her that she's never going back to her old life. Either she's toast, or she's on the run, because Dick Roman has his sights on her and that? Ain't good.
Charlie: These things are going to eat everyone I know. What kind of douchebag stands by for that?
Atta girl. So, the boys sit down with her to plot and scheme a break in to Roman's office while ghost!Bobby watches from the unseen shadows. A bit later, we see the boys in a van (reminiscent of The Van from White Collar) looking at Charlie's laptop with four squares of video feed -- which Sam can loop to give Charlie 15 minutes of security. Charlie, apparently, told Sam that if she can't hack into Roman's laptop in 15 minutes, she deserved to be eaten. Heh.
Dean's commenting how much he likes Charlie, and then his expression changes and he utters a low son of a bitch! He and Sam peer at the screen and see Bobby’s flask in Charlie’s bag.
Dean: The hell’s he thinkin’?
He gets on the phone with Charlie (who has a BluTooth in her ear) and hears her singing “Walking on Sunshine” really softly.
Charlie: I sing when I’m nervous! Don’t judge me!
Dean: Judgment-free zone.
He tells her about the flask, which she pulls out and takes a swig from, thanking him for his good idea. Ha. Dean says that it’s a family heirloom and a good luck charm…so don’t lose it. Oh, Bobby.
Charlie says she’s ready to go, but is having a hard time moving. Sam, bless him, grabs the phone from Dean.
Sam: Who is your favorite Harry Potter character?
Charlie (slightly surprised): Hermione.
Sam: Did Hermione run when Sirius Black was in trouble? Or when Voldemort attacked Hogwarts?
Aside (I warned you)? I’m currently reading HP7 for the 4th time. I recently discovered I could download them on my Kindle and it was too tempting!
Dean (giving Sam a look only an older sibling can get away with): Seriously?!
Charlie: Of course not!
Sam (totally ignoring Dean): What did she do?
Charlie: She kicked ass! She actually saved Harry in pretty much every book (totally true, that) and then she ends up with the wrong—
Sam: Stay on track. She kicked ass, right? So what are you gonna do?
Charlie (with a grin): I’m gonna kick it in the ass.
*LOVE* I loved the Kim Manners shout-out with that line.
Sam: Good girl.
Dean: You go, Dumbledork.
So, the boys watch Charlie on the monitor, poised to shift to the camera feed loop when she gets out of the elevator on 4 (where she’s supposed to go) then gets back in to go to 11 (where Dick’s office is). Bobby’s riding the elevator with her (of course). She gets off by Dick’s office, only there’s a big ass guard blocking the way, sitting down to read the paper.
Dean takes the phone from Sam and tells her she’s going to have to flirt her way through. She’s like, he’s not my type. Dean tells her to play through it. Only the thing is…not her type? Means he’s not a girl.
Dean: Oh. Oh. Pretend he has boobs.
I love how smooth and seamless his transition was there. Not even a stumble.
She says that makes it worse and Dean scrambles, thinking, then asks her if she has any tattoos. Give him a sneak peak. All tat’s are sexy. As someone with three, I agree.
Charlie: Mine is Princess Leia in the slave bikini straddling a 20-sided die.
Dean and Sam exchange A Look. I really like this girl. *laugh*
Charlie: I was drunk! It was ComiCon.
Dean: We’ve all been there.
Ha! Love it. So, they go to the split screen so we can see Dean’s (OMG, seriously, shouldn’t be legal) profile and Charlie working through what Dean’s telling her. He says he’ll walk her through it and his words propel her forward. The way he says those words would propel me forward, I can tell you that much.
Dean: Start with a smile. Relax. You just got home and Scarlett Johansen is waiting for you.
I love Dean Winchester. The man is velvety-smooth.
Charlie exchanges small talk with the guard about going to the gym, Dean feeding her lines through the BluTooth earpiece.
Guard: I’m trying to get back down to my fighting weight.
Dean/Charlie: It shows. You look amazing.
Sam is barely suppressing a grin. Dean pulls the phone down and shoots him a glare, hissing, This never happened. HA!
Dean/Charlie: You do anything else with your free time? Like take a girl out for a drink? Stop laughing, Sammy.
Whoops! Although, love that he said ‘Sammy’…that made me grin.
Charlie (quickly recovering): You don’t know that bar? Stop Laughing, Sammy?
After a few more (hilarious) flubs, she plays with her hair and manages to get the guard to agree to a drink, then let her past to use the ladies room to powder her nose. As she moves down the hall, she whispers, “I feel dirty.”
Dean: You and me both, sister.
She heads into the office and the boys are left to just wait. Using gloves (good girl!) she does her thing, downloading the email on her jump drive, but then the security guard gets suspicious. Bobby tries to “Yoda this” thing (ha!) and locks the door, buying Charlie some time, but the guard gets in. Charlie pretends as though she’s coming out of Roman’s bathroom, plays off the mixed up direction and writes her phone number (or a phone number) on the guard’s hand before snagging the jump drive and heading out of the office to her cube.
Back in the van, Dean is anxious x 10 as he waits for Charlie to contact them.
Dean (tense sarcasm dripping from his words): This is awesome. Y’know what? New plan. Let’s just stay in the van and send the 90 pound girl in.
Sam (who is making Borax bombs – and really? it’s about time…I think someone on the ramble brought up Super Soakers about 10 episodes ago…why aren’t they loading guns of some kind with Borax?) says she’ll be okay…or they will go in and get as far as they can.
It makes me feel both proud and sad that they’re willing to wade into this Leviathan mess as far as they can, knowing they probably wouldn’t get out of it. The first time I saw the hubs tear up in a movie, it was BlackHawk Down. Two Marines willingly went into the warzone to protect the pilot of one of the downed choppers, fully aware they wouldn’t make it out alive, but also knowing they were the only chance their wounded comrade had. That’s the feeling I got with Dean’s we’ll get as far as we can statement.
Charlie gets to her computer and sends the files to the boys, Dean’s face showing his relief at hearing her voice. Charlie’s “monster boss” (she can tell he’s not himself by the way he’s not acting Totally Freaked Out) checks on her and instead of heeding Dean’s advice and getting out of there, she stays to “get this over with.”
They find out that Dick stopped digging because he (apparently) found what he was looking for – something was being shipped in a case to him from Iran. My mind immediately went to Sunday school. Iran = Mesopotamia, Fertile Crescent, Garden of Eden, something Biblical….
A courier was set to pick it up in 42 minutes. Dean says that he needs one more thing from Charlie and then she can go…next thing we know, she’s standing up but Dick Roman is right behind her desk. *gulp*
An airport, a private jet, a package being picked up by Levi’s and the boys standing at the trunk of a…Pinto? Sam says, “Now what?” And it looks like they’re too late because Dick Roman is opening a case in his office looking gleeful. Until his glee changes to horror and then to anger as he sees a Borax bomb triggered by a cell phone timer aaannnddd BOOM!
Two hours earlier, we see that what Dean actually asked of Charlie when he said he needed one more thing from her was more time. So Charlie sends a ‘package is delayed’ email to the Levi courier peeps and the boys pull an Ocean’s Eleven caper dressing up in airport duds, swapping out the real case with their case (however, I did have to wonder a bit at their case matching the Levi case…I mean, how in the world would they have known what the Levi case looked like? Ah, well. *hand wave*)
Case appearances aside, I loved them getting into “costumes” (as Frank called them once) and playing a role, working together seamlessly as they had in seasons before. These are our brothers. *grins* Love it.
When Sam says, “Now what?” Dean responds by seeing what they ‘won’ and opening the case. It…looks like a piece of red clay, but only because they don’t have time to explore further, worried about why Charlie hasn’t shown up.
Well, Charlie hasn’t shown up because Dick Roman is at her desk asking her to show him what she found on the hard drive and she’s doing her best to play off the big “nothing” that’s now on the hard drive after she wiped it clean. Dick is impressed that she was able to break the unbreakable and she comments that “nothing is safe if you poke it long enough.” Dick is pissed (but smoothly so) that she can’t be cloned and then he gets his call that the package has arrived.
Charlie high-tails it out of there, but Dick isn’t taken out by the Borax bomb and manages to lock down the building before she makes it to the front door. Bobby is in the lobby when Dick and Charlie’s Monster Boss show up. He ghost-cracks the front doors, weakening the glass, and then turns, throwing the Monster Boss out of the way as he makes his way toward Dick.
Unfortunately – and purely unintentionally – his toss of Monster Boss sends the Levi directly into Charlie, crashing her against the wall and breaking her arm. Bobby doesn’t notice, though. His focus is solely on Dick. The boys show back up at the office, front-rolling through the weakened glass (pretty cool stunt, that) and pause as they both see Dick.
Charlie yells to Dean that Monster Boss is one of them and Dean throws Borax on him. Sam picks up Charlie and they both pause again, staring with utter hatred at Dick – who is trying to pick himself up off the floor from Bobby’s hit.
Dick (to Charlie): You’re hanging with the wrong crowd, kiddo.
Bobby throws Dick again and Dick laughs, roaring a challenge to Bobby to show himself. Bobby holds him down and Dean and Sam get away with Charlie in the…Pinto.
Dean: Charlie? Talk to us. You okay?
Charlie: No. Why didn’t you kill him?
Sam: We can’t. Yet. But we will.
Charlie: The really evil ones always need a special sword.
She passes out then, but that got me thinking about whatever that red clay thingy was…could that be the “special sword” that could defeat Levi’s? Dick was really, really pissed when he found out the boys had it. Mad enough to um, well…eat the messenger.
And then I got to thinking – and I know this is TOTALLY implausible and won’t happen – but wouldn’t it be cool if the “special sword” (assuming that potentially throw-away line has any special meaning) was Michael’s Sword? Just…y’know. Sayin’.
Later, the boys are walking Charlie to a bus at Cook County Bus Terminal – her broken arm in a cast and sling. She tells them to thank her by never contacting her again. They smile grudgingly, telling her to keep her head down out there, and she scoffs saying this isn’t the first time she’s disappeared.
Charlie: You think Charlie Bradbury is my real name?
I admit it. I googled Charlie Bradbury. Didn’t come up with anything, though. She gives them the Vulcan sign and tells them, “Good luck saving the world,” and she’s gone.
Dean: She’s like the little sister I never wanted.
Sam: We gotta talk.
Dean: You mean, like, before we get back to the car and the flask?
Sam brings up the fact that Bobby going after Dick Roman got Charlie hurt. Dean defends him a bit saying that Bobby didn’t mean to and if he’d gotten a free swing at Dick, he’d have taken it, too.
Sam: If he really goes vengeful, he won’t be Bobby anymore and we won’t be able to pull him back, and then what are we supposed to do?
Sam sounds all of five there, like a kid who just realized that the people who told him Santa wasn’t real weren’t lying to him. It’s a sad change from his hopeful, “Do you think this could work?” from last episode. And Dean’s reply is sad, soft, and resigned. He knows. He’s always known. That’s why he was so hurt and upset when he found out that Bobby dodged the Reaper. That’s why he said “what are the odds this will end well…” He knows that it’s probably going to come down to them “taking care” of Bobby…and he’s already done it once.
Can he do it again without it destroying him in the process? I don’t know if even he knows.
They decide to figure out what the red clay thingie is first, then figure out what to do about Bobby. Because, sure, Charlie was an accident, but Sam’s right…what if there’s a next time? And what if that next time it’s not an accident? And what if they have to vanquish their friend, mentor, father-figure...Bobby?
What will that do to them?
But then again…what if by figuring out the red clay, they figure out how to end the Leviathans and help Bobby finish his unfinished business…and what if that helps it end well?
I think that might be what Dean’s hoping for…against all odds.
Thanks for reading! The first of the final three of the season starts in just 48 hours – hope to see you after that!