Well, we’re halfway through the season and a definite theme has emerged at this point. Also, tonight showcases the return of Charlie Bradbury and I I got a bad feeling about this. I’m probably one of the few people who actually likes Charlie. I think I fell in love with her just a little bit, the first time I saw her dancing to “Walking on Sunshine”, in an elevator. That song has since become one of my favorite “happy dance” songs.
Tonight is Dean vs. Charlie and since I do not enjoy seeing family members beating the crap out of each other, I’m going to go out on a limb, and propose the idea, that this isn’t actually Charlie. (C’mon! You know you were thinking it.) If it is her, then SHE has gone horribly wrong.
There’s a frantic chase scene, as some guy stumbles through his house. He’s confronted, in his front yard, by someone who looks like Charlie Bradbury, who promises to torture him.
In the Bunker, Dean claims he’s on a 12-step program of goodness, featuring egg whites, lack of drinking and early bedtimes, all of which, he hates. He’s taken Sam’s advice to heart about fighting The Mark, at least. It’s good to see him at least trying to follow Sam’s advice. In the past, he almost never did and look at the outcome. Is Dean is finally learning? Maybe the reason he’s listening to Sam now, is because heeding only his own advice, since Bobby’s death, has been a huge disaster.
While researching the Mark, Sam comes across a video of Charlie assaulting someone. Dean actually acknowledges, that, taken out of context, what they do looks very much like assault and serial killing, too. I’ve always wondered about that myself. And, off they go.
Charlie is investigating the death of her parents. Dean threatens to assault her assault victim, until the guy gives up a name.
It turns out that Celeste Middleton is Charlie’s real name.
They visit the name on their list. The woman isn’t cooperative, so they stake her out. When they hear screaming, they run to the rescue and find Charlie, with a blade pressed to the woman’s throat. They ask her what happened to her in Oz and why she’s doing what she’s doing and she just taunts them, which is kind of creepy, because this person claims to be Charlie but isn’t even trying to act like her, at all. She sounds like a demon. She escapes by beating up Dean, who I guess is holding back. He’d take off after her if she hadn’t slashed his tires.
And SURPRISE!! The real Charlie rides up to help lead the chase. So…shapeshifter? Demon? Or something new?
At a bar, Charlie explains that the other is her double and evil. She claims Oz was awful and she made some kind of deal with the Wizard, to unleash her inner demon, (so not a shapeshifter or demon, exactly. Just Charlie’s bad side.) It was Dark Charlie who, singlehandedly, won the war in Oz and when Good Charlie got mad at her for the way she did it, she decided, the way to win good Charlie back, was to avenge their parent’s deaths. Neither of them can get back to Oz because Dark Charlie broke the key.
Dean has promised himself no liquor but he’s experiencing obvious withdrawal, whether from the Mark or alcoholism, is unclear. It probably makes little difference. The Mark has always been coded as an addiction.
The investigation leads to another name. The drunk driver who killed her parents. Sam takes Charlie back to the bunker, to find a way back to Oz or repair the key, and Dean stakes out the next name on their list, waiting for bad Charlie to show up, while posing as a Mr. Presley. The man is pretty shitty to him and Dean barely holds back from killing him, when the lights go out.
Sam and Charlie’s investigation leads them to another name on the list, a former Man of Letters.
Yeah, this is angry, mad, hurt Charlie. And Dean can’t hurt her. If he does, he hurts Good Charlie. Dark Charlie confronts her parent’s killer. He seems genuinely contrite but, I still suspect, he’s only sorry because he thinks she might hurt him and is only saying what she wants to hear. She locks Dean out of the room and kills the man and escapes through the window. So, there’s Dean, trying to be Mr. Good Guy, suffering from some kind of withdrawal and underestimating Dark Charlie’s willingness to be a dick. It’s exactly the sort of thing Dean would have done, but because it’s Charlie, who he has attached himself to and romanticized, he keeps getting blindsided by her ruthlessness.
Dean calls Sam. They agree to meet at the former Man of Letter’s home. Bad Charlie meets him in a bar and isn’t he supposed to be on his way to see Sam, instead of sitting in this bar, trying to resist drinking. Yeah, Dean, you’re an alcoholic. Dark Charlie walks in, senses something different about him and I guess her purpose on the show tonight, is to tempt him to the dark side and give voice to Dean’s inner demons. (This seems to be a tactic, the writers like to engage in, when a character goes bad. Have someone else dictate what they’re thinking, during their moral crisis.) Dean tells her the plan to get rid of her, so predictably, Charlie sneaks off to kill the guy. He is so off his game tonight, that she’s just running rings around him. In his effort not to engage his own dark side, he just doesn’t see any of her shit coming. Hell, I saw that coming, so I guess I must be fully integrated with my dark side, unlike Dean.
The old man can’t help Good Charlie. He also says there’s no way back to Oz and claims the same thing happened to him when he was there. His id was released and became the wizard of Oz, who is now ruling in tandem with Dorothy. He proposes to summon the Evil Wizard by hurting himself and in the process save Dorothy from whatever Evil Wizard is up to, in Oz. So now, everyone is in place, the Charlies, the Wizards, Sam and Dean, even though Dean lied about the location. (So, he hasn’t completely lost his senses, altogether.)
Naturally Sam gets subdued and tied up, but at least he’s not unconscious or been hit on the head, yet again, while Dean dukes it out with Dark Charlie in the front yard. Good Charlie has to make a decision to do a bad thing. She kills the Good Wizard, which kills the bad one, (who was totally Vadering Sam, btw). I think I see where this might be going. If Dean doesn’t stop himself, he’ll kill both Charlies.
He stops himself. Barely.
The second key they retrieved from the Evil wizard is used to mend Charlie’s two selves back into one body, but both she and Dean are traumatized by this experience. She has all of Bad Charlie’s memories now, so is intimately familiar with both brothers mental states, saddled with memories of having done horrible things, in horrible places to the occasional horrible person. Sam and Kevin, DemonDean, and now Bad Charlie.
Sam and Dean are back in the bunker, with Sam giving Cas the lowdown on what just happened with Dean. (Once again, Charlie doesn’t get to meet Cas. One day, the two of them are going to be in an episode together and the universe will cave in on itself.) She goes to Dean and says she forgives him and sweet talks him that he’ll get through this because he’s Dean, but he’s not buying it. He’s still no good, but at least his hands have stopped shaking and that’s a good thing.
I guess I’m one of the few people who actually liked this episode. Once again, not a favorite, but watchable and coherent. Some nice parallels were made between Dean and Charlie’s situation, the nature of addiction, including Dean’s reference to AA’s 12-Step Program, and the plot stayed on point with minimal holes. Not a great episode but not bad either. Although, once again Charlie saves Sam and I know some of the fandom hates that. I’m alright with it though. I’m alright with this episode, really.
I’m looking forward to seeing more of Little Dean, next week. That should be very interesting.