In typical "Supernatural" fashion, the playful "LARP and the Real Girl" was a tonal 180 from the emotionally fraught events of "Torn and Frayed" -- which is liable to give anyone marathoning the show emotional whiplash at a later date, but probably comes as a relief for those of us who are still reeling from last week's intense installent.
At the top of the hour, the show acknowledged that Sam and Dean have both been through the wringer the past few weeks, with Dean expressing his desire to have a night off and see a movie or hit a bar; playing at normalcy the way the Winchesters can tragically only ever accomplish in small doses. Thankfully for Dean, their latest case unexpectedly managed to combine work and play, as the brothers investigated the whimsical world of Live Action Role-Playing.
Also in typical "Supernatural" fashion, neither brother seemed particularly eager to talk out their feelings (at least not with each other, although it was implied that Dean indeed gave Charlie the "wiki" on what they'd been up to since they last saw her), which meant a lot of distracting themselves with the job. It illustrated that when Sam's head is in the game, he's a darn good hunter, and proved Dean's earlier point that Sam needed to be all in or all out in order to be reliable.
Although the brothers clearly have plenty of issues still to work out, this was the first episode all season (and arguably in the last three seasons) where we got to see Sam and Dean letting loose and having fun. Hell, I might even go so far as to say that they actually seemed to be enjoying each other's company. While that's a tragic indictment of how far they've fallen, it's also realistic and surprisingly poignant, given all these two have suffered. These two have been through so much, apart and together and as a result of each other, that it's nice to see them both slowly fumbling their way back towards that brotherly bond that made episodes like "Hell House" (remember that?) so enjoyable.
While Sam initially seemed stuck in brood mode at the beginning of the episode, it was a relief to see him stop focusing on his own loss and realizing that Dean was in desperate need of a change too -- finally agreeing that having a little fun would do them both good and allowing for the hilariously insane scene at the end of the episode which saw Dean gloriously recreating Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" speech.
As Castiel pointed out earlier this season, Dean is the kind of guy who takes the burdens of the world on his shoulders, whether they're his to bear or not, so I don't blame him for feeling drawn to the escapism inherent in being a LARPer. Once again, Jensen Ackles did a spectacular job with the episode's comedic elements, from his enthusiasm for playing dress-up to his enviable skill at advising Charlie about where best to place her fictional army. That boyish enthusiasm is one of Dean's most charming traits, and despite the boys' bemusement about LARPing initially, it was fantastic to see both brothers embracing the hobby without judgment by the end of the episode.
I've seen a few people on Twitter complaining that Charlie's observation, "So, [Sam] found some normalcy with this chick, and now it's gone again, thanks to you," was the show's way of blaming Dean for Sam's decision about Amelia, which wasn't what I got out of that exchange at all (although I can understand the interpretation).
To me, given that the only thing Charlie knows about the events of the past few months is whatever Dean told her in this episode (conveniently off-screen), our infuriatingly self-loathing hero probably painted himself as the villain of the piece, despite the fact that Dean actually did the mature thing in "Torn and Frayed" and offered Sam a guilt-free escape route, allowing him to make his own decision about his future with Amelia and resolving to support him either way. For someone who has historically proven himself to be terrified of living and hunting on his own, that was a pretty huge step for the elder Winchester.
Still, even though Dean's penchant for taking responsibility for things that aren't his fault is another indication of his terminally low self-esteem, he was pretty zen about pointing out that Sam's break-up was an inevitability. While he did admit that sending Sam a phantom text from Amelia was a dick move, he didn't admit that Sam ditching Amelia was wrong (or that he was wrong for encouraging it a few weeks ago), only saying, "trust me, this life ... you can't afford attachments, you've got to let go."
Charlie clearly didn't make Dean feel ashamed or victimized in that exchange, which was a refreshing change for the show, especially compared to Seasons 6 and 7, when Dean's depression was mocked or minimized by everyone from Bobby to Frank, even when the guy was arguably a suicidal alcoholic. Charlie and Dean's relationship seems to be one of true equality, with her unafraid to speak her mind and him able to hear her wisdom without feeling defensive. This was later emphasized when Dean returned the favor for Charlie, insisting that she was a hero in the outside world for helping them to take down Dick Roman, and that she had no reason to disappear into LARPing to find a sense of purpose.
Our tech guru is also not a very reliable person to talk to about normalcy -- she clearly feels bitter about the fact that her introduction to Sam and Dean ruined her comfortable life and forced her underground and into a new identity at the end of last season, so it's logical that she would chide Dean for "ruining" Sam's chance at a normal life (even though we all know that such a life is completely impossible for either of the Winchesters or Charlie, knowing what they know), which is probably another reason why Dean didn't seem offended by the accusation. We also don't know how Sam would've reacted to Charlie's words had he been in the tent -- or whether he actually blames Dean for the end of his relationship with Amelia (which he shouldn't, since Sam made the choice of his own free will and, oh yeah, she's married).
I'd like to give Sam the benefit of the doubt on this one and think that he would've agreed with Dean in that moment, especially since it seemed like both brothers were actually trying to be sensitive to what the other was going through in this episode, at last.
Charlie also perceptively noticed that Dean was quietly dealing with his own loss (which Dean shrugged off) asking him whether he had suffered his own break-up recently. Obviously, Benny wasn't dating Dean and their split has now robbed Dean of his only chance for a picket fence or a rescue dog, but living through a warzone with someone and becoming a literal blood brother with them is no small thing either. Dean is also entitled to mourn for losing that relationship, even if he seems determined to keep it quiet and not let Sam know that he even cut ties with Benny. I also wonder how much of that moment had to do with Dean's worries about potentially losing Castiel again, given that the Winchesters now suspect that the angel has been compromised and Dean spent the first few episodes of the season angsting over abandoning him in Purgatory. Either way, a lot of fascinating character dynamics to ruminate on in that scene.
While Sam still seems to be pretty guarded (and once again internalizing his feelings about Amelia), the episode did show him beginning to relax more than we've seen from him thus far this season. In a lot of ways, Sam and Dean really don't seem to know how to be around each other anymore, after their long periods of separation due to Hell, Purgatory, Sam's soullessness and his hellucinations -- we've hardly seen Sam and Dean being Sam and Dean since Season 3. Despite their tentativeness with each other, this episode seemed to show Sam starting to unclench, and actually seeing him let loose along with Dean at the end of the episode was a welcome change. Dean asking Sam whether he still remembered what "fun" was seemed to be a pretty valid question, since the younger Winchester has hardly cracked a smile in the present-day all season.
Both brothers obviously have a long way to go before all the damage of the past few years is repaired, but "LARP and the Real Girl" seemed to be the first step on the road to recovery, proving that the Winchesters truly can enjoy each other's company and just be brothers again, if they try.
The other highlight of the episode was the return of Felicia Day as Charlie -- undoubtedly one of the show's best ever creations, and one who offers a wholly unique dynamic compared to any of the random hunters that the series periodically introduces. Much like Castiel, Benny, Kevin and even Garth now that the writers have found a niche for him, Charlie allows us to view the brothers in a new way, and as a lesbian, can interact with both brothers without the specter of sexual tension looming.
There are disappointingly few characters on primetime broadcast shows that unabashedly embrace their sexuality while simultaneously refusing to be defined by it -- Max on "Happy Endings" and Anne on "Go On" are the only two that immediately spring to mind -- so it's fabulous to see "Supernatural" utilizing a character whose sexuality is treated as a non-issue, just as a heterosexual character's would be.
It's sad that the realistic treatment of LGBT sexuality is still rare enough to merit special notice, but until there's more equality in the representation of queer characters, "Supernatural," Felicia Day and writer Robbie Thompson deserve commendation for their portrayal. Charlie is just as much of a flirt as Dean, and her brief fling with the fairy wasn't filmed to objectify the actresses or titillate the audience, which is especially rare in the representation of lesbians in the media. Fingers crossed that this kind of writing will become mainstream enough that we no longer have to single shows out for good behavior, but until then, kudos to the team for making it happen.
There were so many hilarious lines that it was hard to single any out, although "these kids today, with their texting and murder..." was probably a favorite, along with Dean and Charlie's identical reaction to Belladonna -- alas, the poison, not the porn star. The boys' reaction to learning that their FBI badges were no longer accurate fakes was also hilarious, and Thompson's episodes are always deliciously stuffed with pop-culture references for eagle-eyed viewers, so I'm looking forward to hearing your favorites in the comments.
Overall, "LARP and the Real Girl" was just what "Supernatural" needed after "Torn and Frayed," both as a palate cleanser for the fans after a particularly heavy episode, and from a character perspective as Sam and Dean work to regain their footing with each other. It proved to the characters -- and the audience -- that they're still capable of having fun, and that's especially important after 10 episodes of discord and miscommunication. And from what I saw on set for next week's episode, things are only going to get more epic from here.
"Supernatural" airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on The CW.
What did you think of "LARP and the Real Girl"? Were you glad to see Charlie again? Weigh in below!
LARP and the Real Girl
Air Date: October 3, 2012
Air Date: May 15, 2013
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Air Date: December 5, 2012
Air Date: November 28, 2012
Air Date: November 14, 2012
Air Date: November 7, 2012
Air Date: October 31, 2012
Air Date: October 24, 2012
Air Date: October 17, 2012
Air Date: October 10, 2012
Air Date: October 3, 2012
8.11 LARP and the Real Girl
Ed Nelson enters his apartment talking on the phone. He is having an argument about the game. When he hangs up, he starts getting text messages. Later that night he is asleep in bed and the image of a rooted tree appears on his forearm. He wakes to the sound to horses; and then is drawn and quartered by an invisible force.
Sam and Dean are driving and talking about where they are at with the demon tablet and how to use it. They are frustrated and Dean thinks they need to take a break – have some fun. Garth calls, giving Sam and Dean a case. He had been tracking them and matched them to assign it.
At the crime scene, Sam and Dean split up. Dean uses the EMF and Sam speaks with Sheriff Jake Miller over the body. Sam finds the tree on the victim’s forearm and chainmail armor. The sheriff tells Sam as Dean walks up about the texts the victim received that night. They were strange threats sent by Lance Jacobsen. Sam and Dean take first crack at Lance’s interrogation. He is an emotional mess, but manages to explain to the Winchester about the LARPing game Moondoor. In real life, Lance and Ed were friends. The texts were sent while the men were playing; their characters were angry with each other.
Sam and Dean research the game on its website and see a video of the Queen. She is Charlie Bradbury. Still in the interrogation room, Lance feels a tree symbol appear on his forearm. It is the same one as Ed had. He coughs and vomits blood as his eyes bleed and he dies. Sam and Dean watch the security footage playback and decide to check out the game.
At Moondoor, Boltar the Furious is punishing a Shadow Orc. Sam and Dean interrupt, but Boltar tells them that their FBI role playing isn’t allowed. He knows they have fake badges. Regardless, he takes them to the queen – Charlie Bradbury who is now known as Carrie Heinlein. When the boys find Charlie, she has just won a battle and is speaking about Greyfox and Thargrim’s disappearance. The three of them all head to her tent, and she is angry to be drug back into their world of monsters. Charlie starts to leave but Dean tells her that Ed and Lance are dead.
Going over the details of what happened, Charlie is able to identify the tree on the victims’ forearms as a Celtic magic symbol. Also, other members of her army have been suffering freak accidents. The Shadow Orcs are a common enemy among all people in Moondoor. Charlie shows the boys her map of the game and explains. Dean helps her strategize. Sam and Dean then argue about Charlie’s future involvement, but regardless, she insists on staying to help. Sam gets a phone call from the lab telling them that Lance was killed by belladonna, a poison, but there was no trace of it in his system – just like how there were no ropes found in Ed’s apartment. Sam splits to do research while Dean and Charlie prepare to canvas the area for clues.
Dean tells Charlie about what they have been going through lately, even admitting to the text he sent Sam pretending to be Amelia. Dean and Charlie head out and ask around about the symbol. The last group they need to ask in the Shadow Orcs, so they head to the player Dean saw in stocks when he arrived. He tells Dean the tree is the Shadow King’s family crest.
Sam heads to the technology tent and with help from Maria aka Gholandria the Wicked, finds the other victim profiles. Maria tells him the tree symbol is connected to the Shadow Orcs, and that they are the only group to not be affected by these accidents. Sam finds the tree symbol online. It is part of evil fairy magic. Sam thanks Gholandria for her help, but declines her offer to spend more time together.
Looking for the Shadow Orc King, Dean and Charlie run into Boltar in the woods. He convinces Charlie to head back to camp where it is safer; the two of them will continue the search. Charlie is kidnapped on her way back to camp by a tall black caped figure with a stag skull head. Dean and Boltar find nothing and head back to camp. They decide to collect the Shadow Orc prisoner from earlier to use as bait; Dean finds Sam, but not Charlie. Charlie wakes up on a bed in a new tent. The stag skull figure is there. She tries to leave but real magic will not let her. The figure comes closer to her and Charlie screams that she just wants her old life back! This make the figure stop and she removes the stag skull head. The figure is a beautiful woman – a fairy, and she tells Charlie that she too just wants her old life back.
Sam, Dean, Boltar, and the prisoner Shadow Orc head back into the woods and draw out the Shadow Orc King. Dean becomes frustrated waiting for information and pulls out his gun, threatening the king player. The Shadow Orc King turns out to have the tree on his forearm, he was the first victim, and still has no idea where Charlie is. The prisoner Shadow Orc, now realizing the real severity of the situation, pipes up to say he noticed a new tent earlier on the path that they hadn’t checked.
Gilda tells Charlie she was summoned by a spell, brought to do her master’s bidding, and is forced to hurt people. In order to break Gilda free of the spell, someone must take her master’s book of magic and destroy it.
Sam, Dean, and Boltar head to the tent. They walk in on Charlie and Gilda making out. Gilda reacts – Boltar is her master. Gilda is commanded to destroy Sam and Dean’s guns. They turn to feathers. Boltar explains himself. He compelled Gilda to help him win the Moondoor battle and convince the Queen to make him her King. Gilda forms a sword for Boltar, and they all begin to fight. Dean fights Boltar when Sam is strangled by a knight. Charlie finds and destroys the book of magic, freeing Gilda and rendering Boltar powerless.
Charlie says goodbye to the Winchesters. She offers to help them if they ever need her. She is ready to stop running and face reality, even if it includes monsters. Dean asks Sam what they should do next. He understands that Sam needs time after giving up Amelia. Sam responds that that is true, but having fun will help both of them. Sam and Dean head in to the battle. Dean readies the troops with an inspiring speech and they fight. The Queen of Moons is victorious.
- "China Grove" by The Doobie Brothers
- (plays in the beginning when Sam and Dean talk in the car)
Sam: We have the most powerful weapon we've ever had against demons, and we can't find a way to use it.
Dean: Yeah, well, Kevin's on it. And when he finds something, he'll call. So we wait. Look, we have both had a rough go over these past couple of weeks. And, uh... I know what you gave up wasn't easy. Maybe we ought to take the night off – go see a flick, hit a bar or two, have some fun. You remember fun, don't you, Sammy?
Sam: Look, it's bad enough that you're tracking us, but it's even worse when you say we've been "Garthed."
Sam: Huh. So, anything... missing from the body?
Sheriff Jake Miller: You mean aside from the arms and legs? Uh... [chuckling] nope. All there – twig and berries, too.
Sam: Weird how?Sheriff Jake Miller:Like, uh... "You shall bleed for your crimes against us," followed by the emoticon of a skull. And, uh, this beauty – "I am a mage. I will destroy you." These kids today with their texting and murder. My men just brought Lance into the station for questioning.
Lance: Those texts weren’t from me. They were from me, but they weren’t from me me.
Dean: Did you really think that sentence was gonna clear things up?
Charlie: So, I'm droppin' my sword and walkin' off the stage, bitches.
Charlie: You sent Sam a phantom text from his ex? Dick move, sir.
Sam: Nice outfit.
Dean: You love it.
Dean: Oh, and using magic isn't?
Charlie: If the last 24 hours have taught me anything, it's that escaping isn't what it used to be. No more replacement characters for me. I got to face reality from now on. Sadly, reality actually includes monsters, but what are you gonna do? If I can ever be of help to you guys, let me know.
Charlie: Apart from the fact that you blocked me from banging a fairy and I’m about to go lose my crown in battle thanks to my army being decimated, yeah, totally good.
Trivia & References
The episode title “LARP and the Real Girl” is a reference to the 2007 movie Lars and the Real Girl starring Ryan Gosling, about a guy who develops a relationship with a Real Doll.
LARPing previously featured in the episode 5.09 The Real Ghostbusters.
Dean and Sam use the aliases Agents Rosewood and Taggart, which are characters in the 1984 Eddie Murphy comedy Beverley Hills Cop.
- Dean makes a play on the famous phrase "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" which was typed many, many times by Jack Nicholson's character Jack Torrance in the 1980 movie The Shining.
When Charlie takes off her helmet and shakes out her hair it recalls the image of Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
Dean: He didn't put a whammy on us. Those weren't crocodile tears, man. That's not our guy.
- Dungeons & Dragons is a tabletop role-playing game, where characters are sent on imaginary adventures/quests.
- Crocodile tears are an insincere display of grief.
- Dean is making a reference to the BDSM romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. The book had its origins in Twilight fanfiction.
Dean: A Tim Burton movie? Aside from the, uh, mark of the creepy here, the only thing these guys have in common is LARPing.
- Reference to the image from the posters for the movie Big Fish.
- This saying indicating annoyance or frustration was popularized by Tina Fey's character of Liz Lemon on the TV series 30 Rock.
- According to writerRobbie Thompson, Charlie's aliases are made up of the name of a Stephen King character for her first name and the surname of a famous science fiction writer.
- Carrie Heinlein refers to Carrie, the eponymous hero of Carrie and Heinlein refers to writer Robert A. Heinlein.
- This is a quote from the 1987 movie The Princess Bride.
- The Geneva Conventions outline humanitarian conditions that should apply during war, first ratified in 1949 signed by a number, but not all, countries.
Charlie and Dean: The porn star?
Sam: The poison.
Charlie and Dean: Oh.
- Belladonna is a porn star actor and producer. Amongst her films is My Ass Is Haunted
- A wiki, such as the Supernatural Wiki, is a comprehensive, multi-authored source of information presented in a readable and often entertaining way. Totally a shout-out.
- Charlie is referring to a number of tabletop role-playing games, which are played with a multi-sided dice. In 7.20 The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo, Charlie revealed that she had a Princess Leia in her slave girl bikini astride a 20-sided die, which she got at Comic-Con.
- Cthulhu is a supernatural tentacled deity created by H.P. Lovecraft.
Charlie: What? I can’t shut this down. It’s good to be queen.
- This is a riff on the line "It's good to be the King" from the Mel Brooks movie History of the World Part I.
- "Bee tee dubs" stands for by the way (btw).
- This is a twist on the quote "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her" spoken by the Julia Roberts character in the romantic comedy Notting Hill.
LARPer: I love you.
Charlie: I know.
- The lines are spoken between Leia and Han Solo as he is about to be frozen in carbonite at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. Watch it here. It is also said between Charlie and one of her co-workers in 7.20 The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo.
Dean refers to Charlie as "Your Worshipfulness" which is a Han Solo line from Star Wars, where he says to Leia "Look, Your Worshipfulness, let's get one thing straight. I take orders from just one person: me." to which she replies "It's a wonder you're still alive!"
Charlie: My name's Charlie. I'm here to rescue you.
- This line was originally spoken by Luke to Leia in Star Wars "I'm Luke Skywalker. I'm here to rescue you." Watch it here.
The call of "Kuh-Kaah!" that the Orc LARPers do in the woods, is a shout-out to the call used by Dignan (played by Owen Wilson) in the 1996 Wes Anderson comedy Bottle Rocket.
Charlie destroying the spellbook by stabbing it is a reference to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, in which Harry Potter destroys Tom Riddle's diary in a similar manner using a basilisk's fang. Harry Potter is one of Charlie's favorite series.
- "Call Me Maybe" was the title of a song by Carly Rae Jepsen which was a smash hit in 2012.
As she did in 7.20 The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo, Charlie makes the Vulcan salute popularized by Spock in Star Trek when she farewells Sam and Dean.
Dean's speech to Charlie's army is taken from the speech given by 13th century Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace, played by Mel Gibson, in the movie Braveheart. You can watch the scene here.
Andrea Brooks, who played Maria / Gholandria the Wicked, previously played Katie Burns in 2.06 No Exit.
Michael Teigen, who played Max Hilby / Shadow King, previously played Teacher in 1.05 Bloody Mary and Teddy the Suicidal Teddy Bear in 4.08 Wishful Thinking.
- Ed Nelson 31, Insurance claims adjuster. Lives alone. Game name: Thargrim the Difficult. Drawn and quartered.
- Lance Jacobsen 30s, Accountant. Lives alone. Game name: Greyfox the Mystic. Poisoned by belladonna.
- Phyllis Morton. Hobbled
- Jaime Parker. Beaten with his own mace.
- Max Hilby. Attorney. Game name: King of the Shadow Orcs. Became sick.
- Michelle Bump
- Matt Karlson
- John Fraser
- Jennifer Robinson
Ed was killed on the night of January 23rd, the night the episode aired. Dean's birthday is on January 24th as was Jessica Moore's.
The shot of Ed's phone, with a message from Lance, was actually a shot of VFX Coordinator Ryan Curtis's phone with a text from colleague Adam Williams after he changed his name (and the date) in his phone. It was then shopped onto the phone the Sheriff is examining.
When Sam is in the technical tent -- which has the sign "Beware, this is a gateway to the future" on the outside -- some of the LARPers can be seen to be playing Dragon Age 2: Mark of the Assassin, a fantasy action role-playing video game. Also seen is the character of Tallis, an elven assassin based on the appearance of, and voiced by, Felicia Day who plays Charlie. The character originated in a web series called Dragon Age: Redemption written by and starring Felicia Day.
Over recent seasons, as the length of Sam's hair has increased, many fans had speculated (wished?) that he may eventually end up wearing his hair in a ponytail. In the final scene, during the Battle of the Kingdoms, this finally happened. See Sam's Hair for a pictorial map of the evolution of Sam's hair.
- "This episode is dedicated to the men, women, elves, demigods, magi, druids and chamber pot servants who gave their lives fighting and winning for the Queen of Moons in the Battle of the Kingdoms. Go bravely into the next world, fallen soldiers."
This episode was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award in the "Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character)" category in 2013. However it lost to an episode of Elementary.
LARP and the Real Girl
LARP and the Real Girl is the 11th episode of Season 8. It aired on January 23, 2013.
|There was something about being there... It felt pure.|
This episode summary is an official CW press release. It may contain errors.
DO NOT CHANGE!
Sam and Dean investigate the mysterious deaths of two LARPers (Live Action Role Playing) who were playing a game entitled Moondoor. The guys are thrilled to discover the Queen of Moondoor is none other than Charlie (guest star Felicia Day). The three learn that a fairy (guest star Tiffany Dupont) has been commandeered to harm people and the only way to stop her is to find her master.
A young accountant, Ed Nelson, enters his apartment, arguing over the phone with his friend Lance Jacobsen about cheating in their game. Unseen by Ed, Lance texts threatening messages of revenge, as Ed wakes up with a burning sensation in his arm that tattoos the logo of a mysterious tree. Ed suddenly hears the sound of galloping horses, before an invisible force pulls his limbs in all directions, drawing and ripping him apart. Elsewhere, Dean notices that Sam's mood seems off, and invites him to forget his troubles with a night of fun before Garth calls them with a case in their area. Later, Sam and Dean enter Ed's apartment in their FBI guises; Dean finds no evidence of the paranormal and Sam observes the mysterious tattoo on Ed's severed arm. The sheriff reveals that they found his friend's text messages, and took Lance into custody as a precaution. Down at the station Sam and Dean interrogate Lance, though the man reveals the threatening texts were only sent as his Moondoor LARPing character. Sam and Dean balk at the crying co-player's excuses about the two being appointed to the queen's honor guard, but photos from the Moondoor website confirm that Lance was elsewhere at the time of the murders, as well as the presence of Sam and Dean's old friend Charlie Bradbury as the game's queen! Unseen by Sam and Dean however, the same tree logo burns itself into Lance's arm, and blood spurts from his every orifice, leaving him dead in the interrogation room.
With no other lead but to investigate the LARPers, Sam and Dean visit the sprawling camp to find "Boltar the Furious" in character torturing a "Shadow Orc". Boltar quickly sees through their FBI guises, but directs them to the queen in the midst of a demonstration. Charlie easily bests another knight in her display, but quickly panics once she spots Sam and Dean. The pair follow Charlie to her tent as she laments how the boys ruined her previous identity, but Charlie halts her exit when she learns that neither Ed and Lance are absent, but dead. After catching up on the details, Charlie reveals that a number of others in her camp have had mysterious accidents, though none as serious as the recent deaths. Having many enemies within the game, the three find no real leads, but Charlie ultimately elects to investigate, against Dean's arguments, rather than simply run away again. She outfits Dean in medieval garb to blend in, while Sam heads to the "tech tent" to do more research on the mysterious tree sigil.
While Charlie and Dean walk through the camp catching up on her new life and investigating the symbol, Sam finds that the symbol is actually the "Tree of Pain", a symbol of faerie magic. A conversation with the captive Shadow Orc also reveals that the "Shadow King" has also been using the symbol as his family crest. Dean and Charlie meet Boltar in the woods to find the Shadow Orcs, but Dean sends Charlie back to be with Sam. On her way back however, Charlie encounters a robed figure with a stag skull mask, who kidnaps her out of sight.
Dean and Boltar return to camp with no luck, but decide the captive Orc can lead them to his team in the woods for a prisoner exchange. As Sam and Dean realize that Charlie never returned, she awakens in a strange tented bedroom to find the masked figure standing wordlessly before her. She tries walking Unable to leave, Charlie is surprised to see the masked figure.
Sam, Dean, Boltar and the captive confront the Shadow Orcs out in the woods, but Dean quickly breaks up the game by firing off his gun. The leader reveals that he only used the tree symbol after it mysteriously appeared on his arm, and the captive Orc offers to lead them to a mysterious tent not belonging to any of the players. When asked why he is being so helpful all of a sudden, the Orc admits that he harbors an epic crush on Charlie and hopes they'll put in a good word for him. Dean bluntly tells him that he's not her type; he misunderstands, assuming that Charlie's not into Orcs. Meanwhile, the woman reveals herself to Charlie as the fairy, Gilda, kept prisoner by one of the Moondoor players to do his evil bidding, which recently went as far as the two murders. Charlie explains the nature of the LARP game, as Gilda explains the only way to free her is to destroy the master's spellbook. Grasping Gilda's hand, Charlie tells that she's the heroine who's come to rescue her.
Finding the tent, Sam, Dean and Boltar enter to find Charlie making out with Gilda. Getting Charlie's attention, she becomes annoyed that they disturbed her moment. Suddenly, Gilda recoils in horror at the sight of her master, Boltar. He has Gilda disarm the Winchesters, and explains how he plotted to use Gilda to secure his place as Charlie's king. But then the hunters showed up, forcing him to improvise by having Charlie kidnapped, where he plans on rescuing her from the Shadow Orcs and kill the Winchesters. When asked why he escalated to murder, Boltar explains that Ed and Lance secured their place on the Queen's honor guard by paying off other players with real money instead of Moondoor currency. The LARPer goes off the rails explaining how Moondoor is no longer a game to him, that it's an escape from his miserable real life. Dean mocks that he's a loser in both Moondoor and the real world, but Boltar retorts that he obtained a real spellbook off eBay and compelled a fairy to do his bidding. Sam tries to reason with him, requesting the spellbook and promises to work something out. However, Boltar decides to kill them both and wipe Charlie's memory and orders Gilda to turn his sword into a real one to attack Dean while a suit of armor comes to life and strangles Sam. Dean manages to knock the Book of Spells out of Boltar's robes, and Charlie stabs it to end Gilda's imprisonment, resulting in her magic being negated and Dean knocking Boltar out. Gilda thanks the three for her help, and Charlie steals another kiss before Gilda returns to her realm, taking Boltar with her to face faerie justice.
Afterward, Charlie explains to the brothers that she no longer intends to run from her problems, and they can call her if they ever need help going forward. As Charlie leaves, Dean apologizes to Sam for thinking a harmless bit of fun could get him over Amelia, but Sam has an idea for what just might.
In full LARPer garb and makeup, Dean delivers the speech from 'Braveheart' to the Followers of the Moon on the battlefield, and following a brief Frisbee interruption, leads Sam, Charlie, and his fellow players into battle against the opposing side.
- China Grove by The Doobie Brothers
Featured Supernatural Beings
- The episode title is a reference to the 2007 movie Lars and the Real Girl which is about a guy who develops a relationship with a real doll.
- This is the first episode to feature LARPing since The Real Ghostbusters.
- Robbie Thompson revealed that Charlie Bradbury's aliases are made up of the name of a Stephen King character for her first name and the surname of a famous science fiction writer.
- This episode was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award in the "Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character)" category in 2013. It lost to an episode of Elementary.
- Jacobsen said Nelson was the "Lancelot to his Merlin." this could be referenced to the BBC television show Merlin.
- In the computer tent scene, a player can be seen playing Dragon Age II on one of the computers (specifically, the DLC featuring the character Tallis from the Web series Dragon Age: Redemption). This is a reference to Felicia Day (the actress playing Charlie Bradbury) who voiced and gave her likeness to said character.
- German: Blutiges Spiel (Bloody Game)
- Hungarian: Szerepjátékosok (LARPers)
8 episode 11 supernatural season
'Supernatural' Season 8, Episode 11 Review - Knives Destroy Books?
Sam and Dean role-play through their strangest adventure yet in 'Supernatural' Season 8 Episode 11, 'LARP and the Real Girl.'
It's an off-week for Supernatural, to say the (very) least. In this episode, titled "LARP and the Real Girl," Sam and Dean play pretend and face-off against a spell book purchased off of eBay. Fortunately, knives destory books.
After two live action role-players mysteriously end up dead, Sam and Dean attempt to track down the source of the strange mark connecting the victims, leading them to a game of LARPing in Michigan, where Charlie Bradbury (Felicia Day) is "Queen." With the help (and weight) of LARPing royalty, Sam, Dean and Charlie split up and venture deep into the forest of the Shadow Orcs to find the person behind the horrific deaths. But when the Queen is suddenly taken captive by a strange creature, the mystery behind the deaths are revealed, and Sam and Dean face off against its master to protect fairy love.
Although Supernatural has previously traversed geek culture to much success, this week's episode - which presents an awkward mixture of forced "geek" terminology and a role-playing setting - may be one of the oddest, most uncomfortable episodes of the series to date. To its (sole) credit, "LARP and the Real Girl" has no attachment to the overall series storyline, giving fans some hope that this episode was simply an unfortunate experiment.
A returning character; a new environment for Sam and Dean to explore; iconic references from movies – in theory, this episode should work; however, it doesn't. Here's the "wiki" on why that is: Even though Charlie Bradbury is a returning character, her original appearance wasn't as memorable to the series as it was accommodating to the last season's Leviathan storyline. And filling Charlie's dialogue (and storyline) with many geek and lesbian references only helps to drive home the fact that the depth of this episode is actually non-existent.
Additionally, in a series in which all religions and all monsters can exist in a single, surprisingly coherent storyline, having Sam and Dean make a one-off stop to defeat someone wielding the force of "Buy It Now" on eBay doesn't exactly speak to the promises of returning the series "back to its origins" that were made before the season began. But still… the episode should have worked.
In this instance, at least, Supernatural's downfall appears to be that the want to tell a geek-themed episode outweighs the need to actually tell it. And yes, while this structure has worked many times in the series past, the fact that Supernatural is an ageing series makes it more difficult to execute such niche episodes – especially when excitement for the overall seasonal storyline is currently waning.
In a scene which perfectly represents the problems of this episode, Sam and Dean are facing off against their fairy-wielding foe, and Charlie must destroy the book that is binding the fairy to their enemy's command. Before her is a fireplace and a knife. Since the book must be destroyed, Charlie picks up the knife and stabs the book… destroying it.
While it's highly unlikely that the quality of this episode is a sign of things to come, longtime fans are still taking mental notes about how this season is unfolding, continuously wondering if Supernatural will reach its season 10 goal. More importantly, fans are wondering whether or not they'll still be watching if it does. Hopefully, subsequent episodes will inspire a confident "Yes," from fans.
Supernatural returns next Wednesday with "As Time Goes By" @9pm on The CW. You can check out a preview of next week's episode below:
Timothée Chalamet Was Told Never To Do A Superhero MovieAbout The Author
As Screen Rant's television editor, Anthony gets yelled at by fans of every television show on the air. It's not his fault that your favorite show is terrible. Kidding! (kind of) e-mail: [email protected] Twitter: @anthonyocasio
ABOUT SERIES "SUPERNATURAL SEASON 8"
SUPERNATURAL SEASON 8 SYNOPSIS
A year has passed since the clash with the leader of the Leviathans, Dick Roman, and the disappearance of Castiel and Dean. The latter reappears alone in the middle of a forest, a strange stowaway in his forearm answering the first name of Benny. Once at Rufus' refuge, he finds his brother Sam and is amazed to learn that he has not looked for him and has stopped the hunt.
For his part, Kevin Tran has been hiding from Crowley for a year following his escape. He teaches them that there is another tablet containing the Word of God, which indicates how to close the gates of Hell forever. Dean, Sam and Kevin will do everything to succeed in putting an end to Crowley and his demons in order to live a normal life.
SUPERNATURAL SEASON 8 CAST
Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester
Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester
Mark A. Sheppard as Crowley
Osric Chau as Kevin Tran
Liane Balaban as Amelia Richardson
Ty Olsson as Benny Lafitte
NOW YOU CAN WATCH FULL EPISODE SERIES SUPERNATURAL SEASON 8 ENGLISH SUBTITLES ONLINE AND FREE ON XEMOVIE.COM
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Supernatural (season 8)
Season of television series
The eighth season of Supernatural, an American dark fantasytelevision series created by Eric Kripke, premiered October 3, 2012, and concluded on May 15, 2013, airing 23 episodes. It is the first season headed by Jeremy Carver as executive producer and showrunner. It aired on Wednesdays at 9:00 pm (ET) on The CW. The season was released on DVD and Blu-ray in region 1 on September 10, 2013, in region 2 on October 28, 2013, and in region 4 on September 25, 2014. The eighth season had an average viewership of 2.12 million U.S. viewers. In the season, Dean reunites with Sam after escaping from Purgatory and team up with the prophet, Kevin, to complete a series of trials that'll allow them to close the gates of Hell for good.
Special guest stars
Special appearance by
See also: List of Supernatural episodes
In this table, the number in the first column refers to the episode's number within the entire series, whereas the number in the second column indicates the episode's number within this particular season. "U.S. viewers in millions" refers to how many Americans watched the episode live or on the day of broadcast.
It was announced on April 4, 2012, that showrunner Sera Gamble was leaving the show to work on developing other projects. Jeremy Carver, a longtime writer on the series, took over as showrunner for the eighth season. On May 3, 2012 The CW officially renewed Supernatural for an eighth season. It aired on Wednesdays at 9:00 pm on the CW. Series star Jensen Ackles directed the first episode to be produced for this season but the third to air. "Trial and Error" was the thirteenth episode to be produced this season but the fourteenth to air.
Ty Olsson was cast as Benny, a dark and dangerous vampire who helps Ackles' character Dean Winchester escape from Purgatory, where he ended up at the end of the seventh season. Olsson previously appeared in Supernatural as the vampire Eli in the second season episode "Bloodlust". Liane Balaban was cast as Amelia, a love interest to Jared Padalecki's character Sam Winchester.Amanda Tapping appears in seven episodes as the angel Naomi, described as being different from any other angel to have appeared in the series so far. Even though Khaira Ledeyo played the role of Kevin's mother in the seventh season, Lauren Tom was cast in the role for season eight.DJ Qualls returned as the hunter Garth in "Southern Comfort".Felicia Day returned as hacker Charlie Bradbury in "LARP and the Real Girl" and "Pac-Man Fever".Jon Gries returned as Martin Creaser, a hunter and old friend of the Winchesters, in "Citizen Fang", he previously appeared in the fifth season episode "Sam, Interrupted".Jim Beaver reprised his role as Bobby Singer in "Taxi Driver".
"Why use flashbacks? Because fans usually hate it when the brothers are separated, so that's why they're being reunited quickly."
The season features two flashback stories in parallel to the episode's main story, one showing Sam's relationship with Amelia and another showing Dean's time in Purgatory. Jeremy Carver said he will keep the "evil always forward" at least for a few more years. Originally, series creator Eric Kripke planned only five seasons, but Carver drew up a plan which would carry the series through a total of ten seasons. With the ending of the Leviathan story arc, the Winchester brothers will again deal with angels and demons. However, Carver says this approach to angels and demons is completely new. Executive producer Robert Singer described the inspiration for the season as "Raiders of the Lost Ark".
Critical reception to the season has been mixed to positive. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 67% approval rating, with an average rating of 7.35/10 based on 9 reviews.
Diana Steenbergen of IGN gave the eighth season an 8.5 out of 10 and called it an improvement over the seventh season, writing, "What we got was a solid season-long mythology storyline, some great supporting characters, and of course, a lot of the always reliable backbone of the show – Sam and Dean Winchester." She commented positively about the return of the demons/angels storyline and addition of new recurring characters such as Benny, Naomi, and Metatron, but criticized Sam's "regular life" storyline that got "fizzled" and dropping the tablet trials at the last minute.
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