That? Was the most fun I’ve had all week. Yeah, there are still issues. But there’s always going to be issues. After the week I’ve had, I was ready to smile. And boy, did they make me smile.
I have some random thoughts. Indulge me, won’t you?
I recently become momentarily obsessed with a movie I saw while flying home from Tokyo a few weeks back: Warrior starting Nick Nolte, Tom Hardy, and Joel Edgerton (don’t worry, this is going somewhere). My friend Terry says I get obsessed with everything I like. She’s mostly right. The obsession never lasts long – with the one exception being Supernatural.
Anyway, the movie was so great, I desperately needed more. Vids, fic, whatever. Gimme. I began searching for some stories (and found maybe one or two decent ones, but that’s it) and discovered something. Did ya’ll know there are currently 71,741 fics on Fanfic.net for Supernatural? And that’s just ff.net –doesn’t begin to cover LJ or the other sites we can post to.
That is amazing, don't you think? That this one show has generated so much emotion inside of us that as a collective fandom, we’ve produced over 70K stories? It doesn’t matter if the stories are good or…well, not-so-good. What matters is that we feel enough to spend time putting words down on “paper” just to keep the story going – for ourselves or others.
In the last round of Ramble comments, I answered at least four different people by quoting song lyrics that in one way or another reminded me of one of the boys. Now, this fact may only draw attention to the possibility that my brain is comprised of 60% song lyrics and 40% movie quotes, but that’s beside the point. It just made me think about how much emotion this show generates within me – and within all of you who read this Ramble and any of the other reviews/commentaries/rants that people post.
Music is my mainstay, my go-to for generating a certain emotion or crafting or enhancing an experience. And when a show calls up song lyrics like that, it’s only because that show triggers feelings I don’t easily find outside of my own imagination.
One of the reasons I became momentarily obsessed with Warrior is that it made me emote. I was sitting on a plane, tears running unchecked down my face, as my heart slammed against my ribs and my whole being ached because of the story I was watching unfold. There aren’t a lot of movies these days that make me emote like that. Don’t get me wrong, I like plenty of movies. Some I’ll watch repeatedly because of certain actors or specific scenes. But these days, it takes something special to get me to react like that and when I do, I’m sunk.
It’s no different with TV. I enjoy watching the cleverness of Neal Caffrey, I anticipate the Shakespearean tragedy of Jax Teller, I wait with bated breath for the fate of Daryl Dixon and Rick Grimes, I smirk at the ruggedly handsome Rick Castle, and I’m beguiled by the gorgeous scenery Steve McGarrett offers, but it’s Dean Winchester and his brother Sam who have knocked my legs out from under me. Who have made me emote more times than I can accurately recall over the last 7.5 seasons. Who offer me the true escape that I look for when I sit down to watch TV.
I’m not me me when I watch Supernatural. I’m Gaelicspirit. I’m the person who can live inside a world where werewolves and vampires and banshees and spirits are real – and I know how to fight off each of them. I’m the person who knows what the rumble of a 1967 Impala sounds like, or how to pack rock salt into a shotgun shell. I’m the person who thinks about the wisdom of having the hero throw a knife at a demon, knowing it could pull it out and use it against them.
The people I work with hear me talk about the value of selling services to partners and have no idea that at night I research Celtic lore or that I know why Dean Winchester sleeps with a Bowie knife under his pillow. If they did, well…let’s just say I wouldn’t put that on a resume. You guys know that about me and that’s why you accept me.
It makes me feel a part of something – even though, in all reality, I’m really on the periphery of this fandom in that I don’t venture out much past this Ramble and the stories I post. Still, I could meet up with a fellow SPN fan and our conversation would be such that no one else would have a clue what we were talking about.
It’s liberating. So, even when – as with last week – the storyline is painful or I don’t particularly like a direction something seems to be heading, I won’t go anywhere. I’m addicted to the emotions generated by watching Dean and Sam Winchester and identifying with their situations or reactions in a way that doesn’t really even make sense…but is still true.
This show? Writing fanfic? That’s my escape. It may not be LARPing, but it’s as close as I’ll probably ever get. I have friends who have written in Role Playing games – and they’ve tried to explain to me how it works, but I could never quite catch on. And in high school, I had friends who were quite into Dungeons and Dragons, but they never asked me to play.
Outside of watching a few Civil War reenactments (that’s basically, LARPing, right?), the closest in RL I’ve come is going to the Renaissance Festival each year. Mo Chuisle loves the Ren Fest. One year, we’ll probably dress up and play a role, but she’s still pretty little. Last year she discovered an affinity for archery – more Merida than Katniss, but still, smitten is smitten.
ANYWAY. I digress. The point is, I can totally see the appeal of the escape LARPing offers those who have what are often considered mundane – albeit necessary – jobs like IT techs, accountants, and insurance adjusters. We all want to belong to something; we all want to feel as though we’re leaving a mark on this world (or on a world). Some of us won’t ever get that chance in RL. If we’re lucky, we find a place – like Moondoor, or fandom – where our options aren’t limited by the perception of those who are planted too firmly in reality.
Now, all that sunshine and roses aside, I do still know when to turn off the make-believe and focus on RL. Not everyone, it seems, has the catalyst to do so. Taking us to tonight’s episode.
I know that a few of you have taken to reading this first part and possibly the loves/likes/mehs and more-or-less skimming the recap part, and that’s just fine, but with this one, I think I’m going to have to go through the recap to get many of my reactions out. Still, I’ll try to give it a go here.
I think this was a clever way to give us that relief of a laugh or smile we needed while not completely dropping the thread of angst that was woven so tightly last episode. The boys simply fell into their roles: the protector, and the protected.
Those of you from a big family, you ever notice how everyone always sits at the same seats when the family comes to the table? In my family – growing up, that is – there were seven of us. And no one ever assigned seats, we all just sat in the same chairs every night at dinner. It was simply understood because of the roles we held in the family – instinctive, almost.
That’s what I saw with our boys in this episode. Dean moving into the space of ‘big brother,’ pushing aside any pain he’s still feeling about a good many things – saying goodbye to Benny, Sam not looking for him, Purgatory – and focusing instead on Sam’s pain and sorrow from leaving Amelia and from letting go of his dream of a normal life away from hunting.
It’s easier for Dean to do that than it is for him to cope with his own issues. It’s instinctive for him to step into the role of “watch out for Sammy” – and that way, he doesn’t really have to explore too closely what it might say about him that he turned his friend loose. And he doesn’t have to deal with the heart-bruising betrayal of being left behind. And he doesn’t have to figure out if 360 degree combat was actually easier than navigating the emotional waters of humanity – nor does he have to determine what kind of a person that means he is. *rubs heart*
Focusing all of his effort on Sam or on a hunt puts him out of the direct path and that’s just fine with him. Shove it all down. Bury it deep inside until it’s so far gone only a tragedy or a spell could bring it back to the surface again. I do think at some point he'll either be forced to deal or decide it doesn't matter. And I think he's got the strength of will to decide it doesn't matter and leave it back there.
The thing about Dean, though, is that he never really had a childhood – so the kid in him bubbles up when the weight of his adult reality is shoved down. And I absolutely adore the way he finds pleasure in the smallest things. He tries to squash it, tries to mask it – keep that tough-guy persona securely in place. But there’s no mistaking that little-boy grin. For all his talk – and I believe him when he says it – about the world ending bloody, and being ready to face it, Dean still finds the delight in the little things. He finds ways to enjoy things someone like him should have no reason to enjoy.
And that makes me love this character even more.
Just as Dean needs to focus on Sam to deflect the attention from him, Sam (I believe) needs that attention to help him categorize his feelings. Growing up, he was always the protected one, cared for, guarded – and while that doesn’t work for every situation he’s been in as an adult, it’s prevalent in his life where his brother is concerned. Sam’s made his choice to return to hunting and not entertain the notion of a “normal life,” but he’s still walking wounded. This is twice now that circumstances beyond his control – the life he was born into, basically – have forced him to give up his dream.
And it’s not like it’s a grand dream. The guy doesn’t want to go to space; he just wants a regular life. Wife, home, kids, career. But it’s too late and too much has happened. So even if he sees the wisdom of this choice and even if he registers that no one made him choose hunting, he’s hurting. And he needed Dean to move on instinct and to be understanding about that so that he could find a place to put it inside of him and truly move forward.
Some people just need that extra care – that person who knows that’s how they are and makes the extra concession for them. My sister M was (and probably still is) always like that. I’d go from resentment – why should I make allowances for her all the time when no one ever makes allowances for me – to understanding – all she needs is someone to make her feel like she matters and she’ll be okay – sometimes in the space of a heartbeat.
The thing is, though…the stuff Dean’s burying? That’s not going to stay buried. Tragedy is always one hunt away and even if he doesn’t outright deal with it, it’s going to color his perceptions and reactions. And Sam’s not a kid anymore. Once he licks his wounds, he really needs to step back and take a look at the big picture. He’s not the only one who lost here – regardless of his opinion of his brother’s friend. Dean still lost someone. Dean still went through hell (well, Purgatory, but you get my meaning). And no one has told Dean that it’s okay – they understand that he just needs time.
So, my hope is that once Sam feels a bit healed from this latest loss, he is able to find a way to carry his brother (figuratively…though, literally would be kinda cool, too) through what (I feel) could be a crash of emotion -- the point where Dean is forced to deal with a few things he's stuffed down. I really want Sam to let Dean off the hook with his “wrong doing” and acknowledge that he wasn’t without sin in all of this – even if it’s not in words…even if it’s just in action. And he took a big step in that direction with the end of this episode. I’m grinning just thinking about it.
Okay, let’s get to it.
Things I loved:
- Dean. In. Chainmail. I can’t even….
- The multiple movie lines from some of my favorite movies:
- Star Wars:
- “I love you.” “I know.”
- “…your worshipfulness.”
- “My name is Charlie Bradbury and I’m here to rescue you.” (Okay, that last one was paraphrased, so it’s more honorable mention.)
- Princess Bride: “Have fun storming the castle!”
- And of course Braveheart
- Star Wars:
- The shout-out to Beverly Hills Cop with Agents Taggert and Rosewood
- Dean suggesting alternative battle options with Charlie’s army
- Dean and Charlie’s dual reaction to the word ‘belladonna’
- Dean’s little grin as he watched the vid on Moondoor in the police station
- Sam’s little grin when Lance mocked Dean’s question about a real magic wand
- Sam saying that having fun would be good for both of them
- The boys. Faces painted. Playing with fake weapons. Charging the enemy. Loving every minute of it.
Things I liked:
- Having a MotW story
- Charlie. I dig the completeness of this character and how she’s not a typically crafted love interest/damsel in distress.
- Getting a hunt from Garth (and not the paper or just stumbling across it) and thereby keeping the continuity of him as a hub with other hunters
- Baltar calling out their fake ID’s and then pointing out how he knew
- Sam’s stare down of Baltar in the faerie tent
- Sam’s pony tail at the end
- Baltar calling ‘hold’ so he could help the orc in stocks put his teeth back in
Things that were meh:
- Sam’s line to Garth about it “being Garth’d” – that was a little overkill
- If pressed, I’d say the faerie/Charlie hook up was a bit forced, but I didn’t even mind that so much. I was just in the mood to like something, so like it I did.
Things to add to my list of questions:
- Okay, what was the name of that song playing in the Impala at the beginning? It’s one of those songs I know I know, but I sing it wrong all the time and realized today that I don’t know the actual name. I always sing, “Whoa-oh! Diamond Row!” Help. It’s making me nuts.
THEN – Remember Charlie? And the fact that the brothers chose each other? Okay, you’re good.
NOW – Guy (Ed) on phone, talking to friend (Lance) about not cheating, that it’s just a game. He moving through his apartment, giving us a view of his D&D set, his LotR’s poster, and other paraphernalia that is (apparently) typical of your basic geek.
A bit later, he’s sleeping, sprawled out in bed, when an image of a tree appears on his arm like a tattoo. I know you won’t believe me now since I’ve seen the whole thing, but I knew when I saw that tree it was from Celtic lore. Hey, I told you I research it at night!
He wakes to the odd feeling of the tat appearing and then suddenly there’s the sound of horses and hooves and invisible ropes tie around his wrists and ankles. In moments, he’s screaming, drawn, and quartered, blood everywhere. Gah.
Elsewhere, inside the Impala, the boys are listening to THAT SONG I CAN’T THINK OF. Dean glances at Sam and asks him if he’s okay. Sam’s basically just frustrated that they have the most powerful weapon against demon kind they’ve ever had and yet they can’t use it.
It took me a minute to realize he meant the tablet. Or, well…half the tablet.
Dean reassures him that Kevin’s on it and until they get something from Kev, they wait.
Dean: Look, we’ve both had a rough go over the past couple weeks. I know what you gave up wasn’t easy. Why don’t we take the night off, go see a flick, hit a bar. Or two. Have some fun. You remember fun, don’tcha Sammy?
We don’t get to find out if Sam remembers fun because his phone rings and it’s Garth with a hunt. Apparently he’s been tracking them – along with other hunters – via their GPS in their phone. Sam wants to remove their GPS, but Dean thinks it’s kinda smart…and with a small grin says it’s a total Bobby move. *smiles at reference*
The case is not far from them – Farmington Hills, MI – and is, as we all know, the guy torn limb from limb inside his locked apartment.
Dean: That’s not good.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the understatement of the year.
Sam: Working a case…as long as we’re waiting on Kevin, that’ll be our fun.
Dean gives Sam this sidelong glance and his face just…UNF. .gif me someone. Seriously.
They show up at the guy’s apartment, suited up, and introduce themselves to the local Sheriff as Agents Taggert and Rosewood. As is typical in our show, the local PD is more than happy to hand it over to the Feds, just gives Sam the tour while Dean looks around on his own – surreptitiously scoping for EMF. The dead guy – Ed Nelson – is 31, an insurance claims adjustor, lives alone, and has a fine collection of chainmail.
Sam: Anything missing from the body?
Sheriff: You mean, aside from the arms and legs?
During his inspection, Sam notices the tree tat on the arm…which is on the floor, far from the body. The Sheriff tells him that the neighbor downstairs reported hearing horses, but he figures she was “high as balls,” so didn’t put much stock in that. He also tells them that Ed’s last call was from Lance Jacobson, also 31, and accountant, also living alone.
While the Sheriff is reporting this, Dean steps into the room, meets Sam’s eyes and gives him the no EMF head shake. The Sheriff tells them that Lance sent a bunch of angry texts last night, too, consisting of phrases like, “…you shall bleed for the crimes against us,” and, “…I am a mage; I will destroy you.”
That last perks the boy’s ears up and the exchange a glance.
Sheriff: These kids today with their texting and murder.
Dean = Buzzahh?
The PD brought Lance in for questioning and helpfully let the boys get the first crack at questioning him. Seriously, only in SPN would this happen. *laugh*
Lance, poor guy, is a blubbery, bawling mess over Ed’s death. It sets the boys back on their heels a bit.
Dean: Lance…just breathe. You’re fine.
Sam (frowning in more of a weirded out way than a concerned way): We just need to ask you a few questions. Try to…calm down.
Dean asks him about the texts.
Lance: They were from me, but they weren’t from me me.
Oddly enough, I totally got that.
Dean: Did you really think that sentence was gonna clear things up?
Lance goes into this long explanation (during which Dean’s expression is completely blank) about how he’s Greyfox the Mystic and Ed is Fargrim the Difficult --- their characters in the LARPing game Moondoor.
Dean (understanding finally dawning): Right. LARPing. Good times.
Yeah, last time they ran into LARPers…the dudes were pretending to be…them. *laugh*
Lance tells them that there’s a website and they can see that he was at the feast all night last night. He tells them that he’s a very powerful mage in the game and that Ed was basically Lancelot to his Merlin. He and Ed were named the honor guard for the Queen, but Lance thought Ed cheated and called him on it. He challenged him to a duel – wands and swords at dawn.
Dean (carefully picking up his cup of coffee): When you say “wands” do you mean…magic wands?
Lance: No. Un-magic wands, Agent. (Sam’s expression here is PRICELESS) Because what I really want in a duel is an un-magic wand. YES! Fake wands. It’s a game! (lifting eyes to the sky and wailing) Oh, ye gods! Fargrim the Difficult has fallen!
He dissolves into weeping and the boys carefully stand up to leave.
Dean: Hang in there, champ.
Outside the interrogation room, but in the bullpen of the police station, Sam turns to Dean.
Sam: You believe Dungeons & Dragons?
Dean: Unless he put a whammy on us. Those weren’t crocodile tears, man. That’s not our guy.
Sam wants to know what he thinks this is.
Dean: You saw the chainmail. This could be 50 Shades of Greyfox for all we know.
Sam chuckles…then uses the police computer to look up the Moondoor website. There are pics of the feast and introductions of the different factions: those who support the Moon Queen, Elves, Warriors of Yesteryear, and Shadow Orcs. Sam clicks on a vid and Dean watches with interest, Sam with disbelief.
Dean has to work to wipe the smile from his face, but it’s clear he thinks the whole thing is kind of cool – and I expect it’s for the very reason others are drawn to it. It’s escape – playing a role. Just like the boys do every day, but with this? No one ends up bloody. It’s an adventure. A release.
As they’re watching the vid, they see someone they know: Charlie, sitting as the current Queen. Dean leans in closer, then pulls back, staring at Sam. Sam looks back with an identical expression of shock.
Back to Lance who is scratching his arm. The tree tattoo appears and suddenly Lance is coughing up blood followed by screaming, then spontaneously bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and then death. Yeesh!
As his body is being wheeled out, the boys are shocked. The helpful Sheriff shows them the tape of the interrogation room so that they can see Lance die, and Sam hones in on the tattoo on Lance’s arm. Since the only connection Lance and Ed have is LARPing, they decide to start there. Off to Moondoor!
It’s like Ren Fest x 10. I would so get a kick out of this. Seriously. My hubs would want to find a hole and hide in it, but I think having the confidence to pretend to not be yourself for awhile would be incredibly appealing. As the boys make their way through the tents, they come across an Orc in stocks being confronted by a soldier. At one point, the Orc’s teeth fall out and the soldier holds action so he can help the guy put his fake teeth back in. So funny.
The boys confront the LARPer – or as he prefers to be called, “Interactive Literaturist” – but before they can ask him any questions, he totally calls them on their fake badges. Sam protests that the badges are real and the soldier schools them on just how he could tell they were fake. He just rolls with it, though, saying that this is a straight Moondoor weekend, not a genre “mash.”
They want to see the queen, so he tells them that she’s on the lookout for new squires and is overseeing several on the pitch at that moment. Next thing we see are two “squires” battling with foam swords and one yields (apparently because the other severed his legs) and the victor removes its helmet to reveal – it’s the Queen! After quoting the most famously frustrating declaration of love in the history of ever, she sends him off to the medical tent to attend to his severed limbs. As she addressing the rest of the squires, she spies Sam and Dean in the crowd – sticking out like sore thumbs in their FBI “costumes.”
She hastily says she needs some “royal me” time and scurries off to her tent, the boys following. Dean picks up a foam sword and mutters, “nice balance.” Sam turns, arms out, and is all, “Dude!” Dean hurries to catch up. Hee. Funny.
They stand inside her tent, watching as Charlie is furiously packing her stuff, talking about how she’s not Charlie anymore – she buried herself – became Carrie and now has her life back, but now they’re here and if they’re here, monsters are here and she’d really rather not get dead, thank you very much, so she’s grabbing her sword and walking off the stage.
She drops her crown on Dean’s head and starts to head out, saying, “Have fun storming the castle!”
Dean calls her back and – still wearing the crown, of course – says that Greyfox and Fargrim are dead. That gives her pause, so they sit at her royal table and give her the details. Showing her the tree tat she says she’s seen it before – it’s a Celtic magic symbol in her favorite video game. She then reveals that Ed and Lance were two of the best in her ever-shrinking army. Several had accidents at home, one got both ankles broken, etc.
The only thing they all had in common, though, was the game. As they’ve been talking they’ve gotten up, moving around the tent and Dean and Charlie end up side by side before her RISK-like map of the kingdom showing the different factions that are gearing up for the epic battle that weekend. Dean studies it and just casually mentions that she should move her archers back and send the broadswordsmen to the west to flank the warriors.
I have to say – I loved that. How his soldier/strategy/battle tactics are just right there and he can put them to use in a game. It’s both endearing and toe-curling. And a little sad.
Charlie: Good call…what about—
Sam (exasperated): Guys!
Dean (chagrined): Right, sorry.
Sam says that another faction got a hold of real magic; they just have to figure out who. Dean wants Charlie out of there and safe. Sam says they need her – people are dying.
Dean: The point, which is usually yours, is that she should get somewhere safe and get back to a normal life.
*rubs heart* I know both guys like Charlie – she’s a likable person. But Dean’s protective instincts I mentioned earlier seemed to have spilled over from Sam to her. It was as if he couldn’t bear for something to happen to another friend if there was anything he could do to prevent it. It wasn’t so blatant in this scene – it was more so later in the episode when Charlie goes missing – but this is the first indication that he just wanted her safe, end of story.
Charlie tells them that she wants to leave, but the Queen has to stay. And…she’s tired of running. She likes her life there and wants to fight for it. Sam’s phone rings – it’s the toxicology report on Lance. Nothing. But…the coroner said the body showed clear signs that Lance was killed by belladonna.
Charlie & Dean (with identical shocked/confused expressions): The porn star?
Sam (his face saying very clearly porn star – really?): The poison.
Charlie & Dean: Oh.
Just like with the ropes on Ed, the belladonna was invisible. So, Sam heads to the tech tent to dig into the accidents and Dean and Charlie “canvass” the kingdom.
Charlie: I’m gonna need the full wiki on where you guys have been, but first you’re gonna have to ditch the suit.
Dean grins. I grinned. I love that grin of his.
Outside the tech tent is a sign: Beware – this is a gateway to the future. I tell you what, I kinda love Moondoor. *laugh* Sam finds an empty computer next to a pretty blonde – Maria, aka Galadria the Wicked (I think).
Dean is finishing getting dressed and OMG. Just. Seriously. I mean....look!
The leggings, the boots, the chainmail. He looks like he could step into Robin Hood (the cool-looking one with Kevin Costner, not the Men in Tights one) and fit right in. I love that he’s the first (and sometimes only) one to dress up when they find themselves in these situations: old west, 1940’s, now medieval. *grins*
While he’s changing, he’s apparently been confessing to Charlie about the fake text and Sam leaving Amelia. No mention, it seems, of his going to Purgatory or of what he’s been through. Just what he did wrong and how Sam’s dealing with it. But, he says that Sam is now more committed to hunting than ever. He turns to face her, his expression serious, mouth grim.
Dean: Trust me, in this life…you can’t afford attachments. You just…gotta let go.
Charlie (watching him closely): Are we still talking about Sam? Or did you break up with someone, too?
Dean (surprised, pulling his head back): Me? No!
He was still talking about Sam, but that’s what I mean about things not staying buried. They slip to the surface the moment his guard is down and color his words, emotions, actions….
As they leave the tent, Dean exchanges the foam sword for a wooden one, clearly liking the way that one felt on his belt. Charlie is talking to him about preferring tabletop for role play, but she followed a guy friend here and stayed for the girls. She likes the escape – here she’s a queen, a hero. In the real world, she’s just hacking out code and chugging coffee all day.
Dean (stopping her, face dead serious): If it wasn’t for you, we would have never been able to take down Dick Roman. Out in the real world? You are a hero. (She smiles) I notice a lot of these maidens checking you out.
Charlie: What? I can’t shut this down. It’s good to be Queen.
Meanwhile, Sam’s searching through the accidents – all have the tree tat and their injuries are medieval. Hobbling, beaten with a mace, that sort of thing. The blonde helps him, thinking it’s a “genre mash up” and intrigued by the tree tat.
Charlie and Dean show the picture around and through process of elimination determine that only the Shadow Orcs can tell them what the frak that tree is. Sam, however, finds out that it is Celtic Magic – it’s the tree of pain and those who are tagged with that mark are victims of faerie magic.
Dean takes Charlie to the Orc in the stocks and gets him – through unconventional use of wooden sword – to tell them that the tree is the Shadow King’s family crest and he’s in the Black Hills (which is really the forest behind the playground).
While Sam is dodging an invite to the blonde girl’s tent, Dean and Charlie run into the soldier from the beginning – Baltar – on the path to find the Shadow King. Okay, how many called at that moment that that there was something hinky about Baltar? I mean, why was he all alone on the path that led to enemies of the Queen, eh?
Panicking, Charlie introduces Dean as her new handmaiden (proving that you truly can be anyone/anything in this make believe world). Baltar says that this place isn’t safe and she should return to camp.
Dean: He’s right…your…worshipfulness.
He gives Charlie his phone and tells her to go find Sam. After she leaves, he tells Baltar to lead the way to the Orcs, but is reproached and told only to speak when spoken to. Heh.
Charlie heads back down the trail, but it’s soon clear she’s being followed. A random Orc guy darts out from behind the tree and throws a bean bag at her, which she dodges. She throws one at him, hitting him, and calling out “black magic.” He rambles something about his soul burning or some such reaction to her black magic and runs off. But then she turns and there’s another Orc-like creature standing behind her – this one wearing a stag’s skull as a mask.
Stag Skull is not thwarted by her bean bag magic and Charlie's taken captive.
Dean and Baltar return to the camp – unsuccessful at finding the Shadow King. Baltar suggests getting the Orc from the stockade and doing a prisoner exchange to lure them out and then attack. Dean approves and Baltar heads off just as Sam walks up all, “nice outfit.”
Dean: You love it.
Sam (smirking): Right.
So, they both know that the mark belongs to the Shadow Orcs, but Sam tells Dean about the faerie magic. They figure they have to find out who is casting the spell and take them out. Dean fills Sam in on the whole prisoner exchange plan – then notices that Charlie isn’t with Sam. He heads to her tent – not there either. He tells Sam to call his phone, but nada as there’s no service where Charlie wakes up…
…which is inside a faerie tent.
She gets up and looks around the spacious room and sees that Stag Skull is there all menacing and silent. She tries to make nervous conversation, then tries to leave and discovers that by exiting one room she basically re-enters it. Walking through a door on one end of the room has her entering through a door on the other end of the same room. I like that effect -- it was in an episode of X-files once and I 'borrowed' it for a part of my story "Wearing and Tearing."
Charlie: Wow. Real magic. That’s really cool. And also terrifying.
She’s trying to figure out what the Stag Skull dude wants, basically asking it not to kill her. As the Stag Skull dude approaches, Charlie panics and says she just wants her old life back. Just then, the figure stops, the skull is removed, and it’s a pretty woman saying she wants the same thing. Charlie blinks all, okay that was unexpected.
At night, in the woods heading to meet the Shadow King for the prisoner exchange, Dean’s worried about Charlie – his tone is tense as he mutters, “If anything happens to her….” Sam starts to say she’ll be fine when Baltar stops them and greets the ‘heretics’ – the Shadow Orcs. Before they do the exchange, Baltar and the Shadow King start talking about moving locations of something LARP event because of a pee wee soccer game and Dean loses it. He pulls out his Colt saying they’re going to do this the old fashioned way.
Dean: I need real answers. This is a real gun. See?
*POW!* He fires it into the ground. Everyone freaks out as Dean demands to know where the queen is. The Shadow King says he chose the tree as their crest after it appeared on his arm one day – he got sick, but then got better and once his doc confirmed it wasn’t malignant, he thought it was cool. He tells Dean he’s an attorney and if he lets him go, he promises not to press charges. Dean tells him to get going, then turns around to see Sam’s Seriously?! face and is basically like, “Oh, what?!” Totally knowing he was out of line, but shrugging it off as both necessary and needed.
The Orc prisoner they were going to exchange tells them that there’s a weird tent down by the creek – he “harbors an epic crush on the queen” and wants to help. Too bad he’s not her type.
Inside the tent with Charlie, she’s talking to the pretty woman – Gilda a Faerie from a hollow forest of Ock Moon (I think…I kinda got lost in the names by this point) – and finds out that the faerie was summoned here by a spell and her master is making her hurt people.
Charlie: Someone is taking this game way too seriously.
She explains to Gilda that in this world, all of this stuff – clothes, names, roles – is just a game. Gilda says that she needs a hero to find the master’s spell book and destroy it. Well, Charlie is all over that, man.
Meanwhile, Dean, Sam, and Baltar are looking for the “weird tent.” Dean wants Baltar to go back.
Baltar: A handmaiden and a time traveler rescue the queen? I think not.
Sam: This isn’t a game.
But Baltar refuses to leave the queen in peril. Just then, they come upon a small, square tent. They head inside and it’s like a scene from Harry Potter – gigantic interior compared to the diminutive exterior. They are shocked to see that not only is Charlie not in peril, she’s macking on the faerie. But before Charlie can get too irritated about having her supernatural make-out session interrupted, Gilda recognizes Baltar as her master.
Ha! I knew it! Who else called it? Raise your hands.
The boys pull their weapons at the same time (I love it when they do that) but Baltar tells Gilda to get rid of them and the guns *poof* turn to feathers.
Dean: Well, now what, Jerry?
I’m not sure how or when he found out Baltar’s real name, or if he was just doing his Dean thing and giving him one. But either way, Baltar is all, “I’m Baltar the Furious!” Yes. Yes, you are.
He says he plan was to win the battle – after eliminating his competition – and convince the Queen he should be the King…but then the boys showed up and he was forced to improvise.
Sam: Why’d you go from hobbling to murder?
Baltar: Greyfox and Fargrim were cheating!
Dean: And using magic isn’t?
Charlie: What is your problem? This is just a game!
Baltar: This is no game! There is only Moondoor!
Yeah, so this is what I meant by drawing a line between fiction and reality. It’s fun to escape, as long as you’re clear what you’re escaping from and why you need to come back.
Baltar: I came here to be different. To get away from my crappy life. To be a hero. And guess what?
Sam is staring holes into Baltar – he really does have a pretty menacing stare-down.
Dean: You were a loser in the real world and you’re a loser here? Shocking.
Baltar: Would a loser track down a real book of spells and compel a faerie to do his bidding?
Sam: Depends. How’d you get it?
Sam: It doesn’t have to be like this. We can work it out.
Baltar: It will work out after I remove you from the playing field and wipe your memory.
He has Gilda turn his foam sword into a real one. Sam dives to the side – I think to get a weapon? – and Gilda had a suit of armor trap him in its grip, slowly choking him. Dean grabs a shield, but his foam sword is quickly cut in half. He’s fighting Baltar and gets a good hit in, managing to knock the spell book out of Balty’s belt. Charlie gets to the book, says she’s the one who saves damsels in distress around here, and stabs the book, ending the magic.
Dean knocks Balty out, Sam is loosed from the clutches of the suit of armor, and Gilda is free from the spell. She’s going back to her realm and is taking Balty with her to face a tribunal. Charlie kisses her goodbye and she and Balty vanish.
Done and done.
Later, the boys are in regular clothes and walking through the kingdom with Charlie. She says she’s going to face reality from now on – and instead of saying never contact me again like last time, she offers her help in the future if they need it. With her customary I’m geek-cool, so I have to say something obnoxious yet witty departure line, she heads off, leaving the boys to face each other.
Dean: So…what’s next? ‘Cause…no fun, right? (Sam half-smiles) Before you say anything…I get it. No amount of ‘fun’ is going to help you get over what you gave up. You need time, right?
Sam: Thanks. And…you’re right. Having fun won’t help me. (Dean looks down, accepting) It’ll help both of us.
Dean looks up all huh? His hesitant, hopeful little smile is classic. Sam’s all, shall we and Dean tries to keep his grin from getting too wide.
And then? EPIC. BATTLE.
Dean – wearing a long, blonde Braveheart-like wig, face painted like a Scottish warrior (though it’s red and white, the colors of Moondoor, rather than the blue from the movie), carrying a broadsword (I think) is pacing down the line of soldiers, perfectly reciting William Wallace’s stirring pre-battle speech. Standing in the line, among the soldiers listening to Dean, Sam – his face similarly painted, his hair in a ponytail, and wearing similar garb to Dean – is next to Charlie. Charlie’s all, “Is that from…?” Sam says it’s the only speech Dean knows.
It's also perfectly appropriate. What else was he going to quote -- the locker room speech from Hoosiers?
Dean: …and dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days -- from this day to that -- to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take –-
Someone calls hold! A guy runs between the two warring armies to grab his Frisbee. Someone calls continue!
Dean (with perfect pitch, not missing a beat): --our FREEDOM!!
Charlie’s army yells back at him in fervent agreement and Sam and Dean are side by side as they charge forward into battle. The image freezes on the boys with words scrolling up on screen dedicating the battle to those elves, warriors, orcs, etc., who gave their lives in the Battle of Moondoor.
Now that’s what I call having fun. I love love LOVE that Sam instigated that – doing it for Dean as much as for a need to let loose and just…be a kid for a moment. They looked like they were having a blast and I am still grinning thinking about it. Way to go, boys. *slow clap*
Next week’s looks fantastic – and that’s pretty cool as it happens to air on my birthday! *grins* I hope you’ll be back to discuss with me the familial angst will be brought to bear with those circumstances.
As always, thanks for reading.