Recap and Review: Supernatural 7.20: The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo

This entry is part 20 of 23 in the series Supernatural Season 7

By Paula R. Stiles

[spoilers ahoy for several seasons]

Tagline: Dick acquires Frank’s hard drive and orders a geeky hacker to crack the code. Enter Dean and Sam, who are determined to keep it out of Dick’s hands.

Recap: Recap of the short, unhappy career of Frank Devereux and Ghost!Bobby’s reappearance (with a strong emphasis on Dean’s unhappiness about Bobby’s ducking his Reaper). Cut to Now and a crappy shack (Inside, it looks like Rufus’ hidey-hole). Sam is talking on his cell phone to someone about Dick Roman’s public appearances, while Dean has been trying to figure out what the archaeological digs were looking for. They’ve got nothing, no patterns or anything. Sitting down on the edge of the couch, Dean pulls out Bobby’s old flask and drinks from it. Soon after, the lights fritz and the brothers come alert, pulling out their pistols (What the hell happened to salting the doors and windows, show?). The ghost that appears is Bobby, calling them “idjits” (That word needs to be salted and burned out of the writers’ vocabulary, along with “balls”). He fritzes out soon after, coming back to say that he’s exhausting himself. Dean commiserates in a neutral tone.

Bobby proceeds to unload the biggest infodump outside of a horse farm. First, he recaps the numbers that he saw in Dick’s office before he died (which he wrote out wrong on Sam’s hand, but apparently, we’re suppose to not notice). Then he talks about how he saw that Dick’s big plan is to build a slaughterhouse on the plot at the coordinates Dean and Frank staked out. The Leviathans have now started building, since it’s April. The plan (such as it is), is to go all “Soylent Green” on humans, make humans into dumb cattle with stuff like the Biggerson’s Turducken, cure them of all diseases, and then send them off down to slaughterhouses in complacent herds to be eaten. That’s actually not what happened in Soylent Green, but whatever. So, then…well, that’s all there is to it. It’s not a terribly complex, intelligent, or even scary plan. The writers unsubtly having Bobby compare it to the “one percenters” doesn’t make it any scarier.

I sure hope that when Carver comes on board, we’ll get back to horror. This is not horror. It’s not even intelligent social or political commentary.

At that moment, Sam gets an email on his laptop from Frank, while we get cuts to a young woman tapping on a keyboard. The email tells the rest of Team Free Will that Frank had a hard drive that has been captured and compromised. Someone is trying to hack into it. Fortunately, there’s a tracking device on said hard drive and it leads the brothers right to Dick Roman’s own office building in Chicago.

Cue title cards.

Cut to Five Hours Earlier (The show really needs to stop relying on random time-jumps to shore up weak logic in its plots). A young woman with red hair arrives at her office building at Rick Roman Enterprises on a cute little yellow scooter. Putting on headphones and playing “Walking on Sunshine” (I like that song, but playing music and walking past people at work without acknowledging them is hellaciously rude), she heads through the foyer, where she’s identified by security as “Charlene Bradbury” then keycards herself into a glass elevator. Once the doors are closed, she looks around to make sure no one is looking and starts dancing around as if she’s having a seizure. As soon as the doors open, she stops and walks out onto her floor, all smug at not being caught dorking out.

My God, I hate her, already.

At her desk, which has a large collection of PEZ dispensers, dolls (like the Hermione bubblehead on her desktop), one of those old official Lord of the Rings desktop wallpapers (I still have that free CD somewhere), and – Good God, did that woman actually rip covers off her comic books and stick them on her office wall? What comic book fan desecrates her collection like that? What else does she do for fun? Shoot horses? Kick dogs? Drown kittens? For shame, woman!

Then she immediately starts hacking into the website of the Republican presidential candidate and has the campaign make a large donation ($10,000) to an animal rights group. And when her obligatory “Too fat and ugly to get a date” geek buddy comes over from his station to ask her what she’s doing, she brags about her exploits to him, which include attending a “reproductive rights function” (Oh, is that what we’re calling pro-Planned Parenthood rallies these days? We used to just call it “pro-choice”) the night before to hook up with another lesbian (You’ll find out in a bit that Charlie is gay). ‘Cause, golly, no business these days has software that tags your every move. And your workplace friends would never, ever rat on you, right?

And no, show, quoting the geek classic, Real Genius, does not make you cool by proxy.

After referring to her boss as a “teddy bear” and an easy mark, Charlie is not dismayed when he calls her into his office. Smugly, she walks right into a meeting with Rick Roman. Now that wipes the smile right off her face. As soon as Dick starts talking about being around “since before the dawn of Man” and how “the world is my dinner plate” and other such loaded phrases that the audience knows and Charlie has no clue about, Charlie cracks like an egg and admits to her hacking skills. Dick already knows about them and thinks they’re cute. He says Charlie has a unique “spark” that some humans have (She really doesn’t, but let’s roll with that for now) and that can’t be “copied”. How has she managed that, being a high-school dropout and all? Charlie admits that she has a tendency to flout authority, so she’s always tried to circumvent this character fault by making herself “indispensable”. Dick responds by giving her a job – to crack the encrypted hard drive of “one Frank Devereaux”, who tried to take down the company. Charlie eagerly agrees to do so and doesn’t even look shocked when Dick tells her that if she doesn’t do it in three days, she’s fired. Why? Because she’s not really a rebel, just a poseur. Otherwise, she might wonder what happened to Frank Devereaux and why the company now has his hard drive. I sure would.

I suppose one could complain that the show takes loads of potshots at Conservatives in this episode, but considering the nitwit they have as the stereotypical Liberal, I’d say it’s equal opportunity.

Back Charlie goes to her desk, whining about her new assignment and having the “Eye of Sauron” on her to her work colleague (Yeah, why not blab all about that confidential meeting to her workmates?). She starts typing in code to her DOS program computer and promptly gets mocked by Frank’s program. She stays there all night, wrestling with the thing, until one of her programs gets through, cracking the password and ending up with an ordinary desktop and easily named files. This puzzles me. Why wouldn’t Frank password-scramble his folders and files on top of the whole system, and name them weird things instead of straightforward stuff like “Dick Roman Enterprises”? For example, back when we had an IT guy who liked to snoop through our files while “upgrading” computers in our office in grad school, I used to encrypt my files and name the folders things like “Sheep Follies” and “Princess Leia’s Pleasure Palace” (I still have those old folders, about five computers later). That way, he’d know he’d been made without being ever able to accuse me of insulting him – or being able to snoop through my files.

But anyhoo, since Frank has helpfully provided only one way to confuse anyone who is after his files, we instead get a Frank voiceover babbling about Leviathans and predicting doom and gloom for the world. Charlie’s reaction is to go for coffee and whine to her work buddy some more that she’s hacked into the hard drive of a “lunatic”. She asks said buddy where her boss has gone and he says the guy disappeared down to the garage for a cigarette break. Down there, the boss is being accosted by Dick and a flunky. Dick tells the boss that he, unlike Charlie or Bruce Springsteen, has no spark (He’s more of a Joe Biden or Tim Tebow) and can be easily copied. Dick then orders his flunky to chow down on the boss right there in the parking garage and copy him (So much for keeping things under the radar). Charlie happens to see this. Of course she does.

She immediately heads back to her apartment and starts packing. Yeah, this kid is a real smooth operator, even answering her boss’ call and claiming to have “lady problems” as her reason for going home early. I do not know what this show’s obsession is with menstruation, but it needs to let that one go.

Getting off the phone, she is ambushed by Sam and Dean (The latter slams the door before she can get through it). When she tries to fight back with a sword, she whacks Sam with it and accidentally breaks it on his arm. It’s a plastic Lord of the Rings prop. Oy. Dean, looking like a total MOTW (and, thankfully, giving me a moment of sheer hotness in the middle of this episodic desert), informs her that they are not Leviathans. To prove it, he and Sam pour Borax on their hands, then have Charlie do it.

Cue a rather clever ad for “Sucrocorp” that’s a really obvious slap at Monsanto. Its effectiveness stems from the way it uses sappy, patriotic music and symbols (The American flag is everywhere), and the recurring motif of corn, to look like a real TV ad for some kind of soulless multinational, while cueing us in that the Leviathans are targeting America’s food supply. This show is unsubtle enough to make the actual food be the corn shown in the ad. Maybe it’s a reference to the fact that America uses high-fructose corn syrup in sodas as a way of subsidising the corn farmers. In Europe, they use cane sugar for similar uses and reasons.

Cut to Charlie being brought up to speed by the brothers. She rather stupidly asks them how they found her and Sam shows her that Frank’s program had hacked into her webcam. When Sam asks her how long it took her to hack Frank’s hard drive, she says, “A day or so,” in a dismissive tone, then acts all smug when Sam asks if there’s anything she can’t crack. I guess I’m supposed to be impressed by her mad hacking skillz instead of snorting derisively at how neatly Frank set her up. Somebody tries to hack his hard drive; he has a program on it (probably a Trojan Horse) that sends a warning to the brothers, including all the info they need to track the hacker and eliminate her/him. In fact, I’m kind of surprised Frank didn’t take the opportunity to put in a deadman’s switch kind of virus or even worm aimed specifically at Rick Roman Enterprises, in the event of this possibility.

Charlie then has to be informed that Dick is the head of the Leviathans, even though Frank’s hard drive files already told her that. ‘Cause she’s a little slow. She looks incredulous when Dean tells her the “endgame” is that humans are food. Dean just gives her his usual “Welcome to my crazy world” look. She quickly realises that she was doomed the moment Dick decided to give her the assignment.

She agrees to hack into her company server, but discovers that Dick’s office email is on its own server and can only be hacked from inside his office. She volunteers to go back into his office, grab and erase Frank’s hard drive (which she apparently did not do before), and leave with none the wiser. I wonder why the brothers can’t engineer a power surge for the office building and knock out the generator, and/or just plunk a big old magnet down right next to Frank’s hard drive and Dick’s computer. And Charlie should volunteer, seeing as how her cockiness nearly put that info in Dick’s hands in the first place.

While the three of them plan, Ghost!Bobby watches from invisibility with a pissy look on his face (I’ll try not to get started on my unhappiness about the show turning him into a perpetually angry toddler by way of Old Yeller). Later, while the brothers hang out in a van outside the office, and Charlie psychs herself up on the sidewalk to go inside, Dean spots Bobby’s flask in Charlie’s satchel, which Bobby snuck in there. Dean calls Charlie over her Bluetooth to warn her about the flask, but she assumes the brothers put it there and drinks from it (Lawd, she is dumb). Incidentally, only in America could you park a van outside a big office building in a major city like that and go unremarked. The IRA used many car and truck bombs in London, two of them in 2001, alone, so that scenario wouldn’t work so well there.

Even after a few swallows of Dean’s liquid courage, Charlie freezes, so Sam talks her in through the door, using the example of Harry Potter’s Hermione (She actually uses Kim Manners’/Ellen Harvelle’s “Kick it in the ass” line). I’m not entirely sure why a woman who just hooked up at a reproductive rights function a few days before is having so much trouble going into her own office building, but moving on. Inside, she nervously walks past the desk guard, briefly pinging his radar, and enters the elevator, where invisible Bobby rides up with her. Black Widow she ain’t. At least, this time, she doesn’t seizure-dance. Up at Dick’s office, she finds a night guard on that floor. Dean tells her to wait him out and she impatiently says it’s not working. So, he advises her to flirt her way in. She complains that she’s a lesbian and doesn’t know how. Since when does being a lesbian mean you have no social skills?

So, Dean talks her through the flirtation, having her mention that the guard works out and simper (Yikes) before excusing herself off to Dick’s executive washroom. But not before completely embarrassing herself by repeating everything Dean says, including telling Sam to shut up when Sam laughs. Which makes everybody look like a moron.

In Dick’s office, Charlie sits down and starts downloading all of his emails, which include references to the archaeological digs. One in Iran apparently hit paydirt several days ago, so all digs have been halted and the workers “terminated”. The object is now on its way back to Chicago that night (11:15pm), via Saudi Arabia, Paris, and a private jet borrowed from Donald Trump. Charlie is nearly discovered when the security guard gets suspicious and goes to the main executive washroom (where she said she would be). Bobby closes and bolts the door (Charlie had forgotten to do this). This alerts the guard, who opens the door to see Charlie’s forgotten pack on the desk. Charlie then comes out of the washroom. The guard is angry with her, but she flirts her way past him long enough to download the rest of the emails onto a thumb drive (Really, how long does it take to download email?) and head out the door.

Unfortunately for her, Dick has just got the call from his airport contact, Victor (Darcy Laurie, who played Bob Tremblay in Intelligence), about the stone and then comes to check on her, where she is busy at her desk, scrubbing Frank’s drive of any info on Dick or the brothers, and sending them Dick’s emails.

Then we see Victor pick up a suitcase at the airport that he brings back to Dick. It turns out to be a bomb. Could that have anything to do with why the brothers are at the airport with their car trunk open, while Sam says, “So, now what?”

Cut to two hours before, where we see Victor at the airport and then we see two baggage guys that keep nearly running into him. They turn out to be Sam and Dean, pulling a switch with the briefcase and walking off with the real one, helped by a forged email from Charlie faking a delay in the flight. Back at their vehicle de la semaine, they open up the briefcase to find a large chunk of red clay. When Sam wonders what it could be, Dean says they can always find out after they’ve put a few thousand miles behind them (Gas prices? What gas prices?). Dean wonders what is going on with Charlie.

Back at the office, Charlie nervously takes Dick through the scrubbed hard drive, while a ghostly Bobby stands behind them and drives down the temperature in the room, trying to control his rage at Dick. Dick asks her loaded questions about whether the files could have been deleted (and then retrieved) and hints that he knows she did it. A very nervous Charlie stumbles through her answers. Dick then gets the call that the suitcase has arrived and tells Charlie to wait at her desk. Unsurprisingly, she flees downstairs as soon as he leaves. We get a reprise of the bomb scene, this time with the BOOM. While Victor lies unconscious on the floor, a somewhat-eroded Dick steps over him and calls security to lock down the building.

Charlie hits the outside doors but not before the lockdown. Trapped, she turns as Dick and her Levboss come down the elevator and the front desk security guard comes from somewhere that’s not his desk. Ghost!Bobby cracks the glass of the doors. When the Levboss comes after Charlie, Bobby sends him on his way with an extra push. The Levboss collides with Charlie, knocking her down and breaking her arm. You’d think Bobby would throw him in the opposite direction if he were trying to protect Charlie, but that’s not really his objective. He then tosses Dick across the foyer. That’s his objective.

Sam and Dean dive through the weakened glass into the foyer and splash Charlie’s Levboss with Borax (which we had previously seen them loading up in the van). Bobby briefly appears to them while Dick is down. Not having seen Bobby, Dick taunts Bobby to appear, but instead, Bobby knocks him backward again. Dean, shocked by Bobby’s actions and Dick’s proximity, hesitates while Sam picks up Charlie and urges Dean to flee. Dick isn’t hugely impressed, but the brothers are able to rescue Charlie and flee, though not before Dick recognises them.

Afterward, the brothers take off with Charlie, while an uncharacteristically angry Dick finds out that they have the suitcase. Then he eats Victor. Bye-bye, Darcie Laurie [is a little bummed]. This is pretty much the only time in the show Dick actually seems like a monster to me.

At the bus depot, the brothers see Charlie off. She is bitchy about it (even though Dean carries her bag for her) and tells them not to contact her ever again. I’m pretty sure they had no intention of doing so, anyway. Goodbye, Charlie! Don’t let the bus door hit you in the ass on your way out of this episode!

As she leaves, Dean tells Sam she is like “the little sister I never wanted.” Hear, hear, Dean. How I wish this had actually been one of those terrible “little sister” fics you see all the time on Fanfiction.Net and not an actual episode.

Sam briefly smiles at Dean’s humour and then says, “We need to talk.” Dean immediately twigs to Sam’s intentions, asking if he means before they “get back to the car and the flask [Ghost!Bobby]?” Sam says yes. He tells Dean that he’s worried that Bobby is losing it. He broke Charlie’s arm and flipped out on Dick. He’s turning into a vengeful spirit. Far from arguing with Sam, Dean agrees with his brother, but says that their options are limited. First, they need to figure out what they just stole from Dick. Then they can “figure out what the hell to do with Bobby.”

Review: Holy Irritating Mary Sue, Batman!

The episode itself is not that bad in spots. In spite of myself (because the reveals for the mysteries this season have been underwhelming), I’m curious about what’s going on with the big rock the brothers stole and it was clever of the brothers to steal it like that. Frankly, the way they did that was far more clever than anything Charlie did in the episode, so why was it so glossed over?

I also liked that the brothers didn’t just accept Ghost!Bobby back with open arms, but what’s with switch-hitting which brother is unhappier with him each episode? Last week, Sam was all for having a Ghost!Bobby as their ace in the hole, over Dean’s objections that Bobby would eventually go rabid. This week, he’s all shocked that Ghost!Bobby is turning rabid (as Dean predicted), while Dean just wearily admits that, yeah, the situation is, as usual, SOL. It seems as though Dean can’t catch a break. Whatever position he takes is wrong, especially when he’s right.

Regarding Charlie, a great deal of your enjoyment of this episode depends on whether or not you love Felicia Day’s geek shtick. If you do, this is the episode for you. If you don’t (or don’t even know who she is, like most of the planet), the current tone of online fan discussion indicates that you will find Charlie annoying, abrasive, a raving stereotype, and a total legend in her own mind. As far as tolerating her, it helps later on when they tone down the “quirkiness” and overreliance on the stuntcasting of someone who is mainly known for playing a cute, inoffensive nerd. When she’s not supercocky, she’s sort of okay.

Less charming are yet more denigration of education (How many high school dropouts do you know who work in computer tech?), Charlie’s thinking she’s da bomb when the only thing she can do right is hack a computer (They have programs for that, y’know), the writer’s shoving of the brothers to the sidelines of the story, and Charlie’s utter lack of gratitude at the end (She didn’t really think Dick wouldn’t have killed her, regardless, did she?). Plus, Dick is as lacking in charisma and scare as ever (Variations of “Good talk!” do not make the message any more exciting) and the show continues to do the Watusi on its own canon to service a guest star that much of the audience has probably never even heard of.

Case in point: Leveeta from the early part of the season discovered the brothers with relative ease. Yet, we’re supposed to believe that a Leviathan couldn’t eat Charlie and absorb her superspecial (only, not so much, when all it takes is a few good password programs) abilities the way Leveeta did with the human he ate? Do the writers really, honest-to-God think that a cocky young hacker has anything more special in her skill set than an experienced, middle-aged surgeon like Dr. Sexy?

I am guessing that this U-turn on their own canon is some kind of set-up for one of the brothers to surprise the Leviathans with his own superspecialness. Since Robbie Thompson (who wrote this episode) wrote the superior “Slash Fiction”, I’d normally guess that brother is Dean. That episode involved two Leviathans who copied the brothers, thought they were both stupid, and still got outsmarted by Dean. However, this is Thompson’s last episode of the season. That’s a problem for guessing because the discontinuities in this and the last couple of episodes make clear there’s no one currently at the helm in terms of making sure everything hangs together over multiple episodes. Maybe this subtle change/regression to Thompson’s previous hints is one of the laundry list of things being covered in the last four episodes and maybe it will be forgotten as of next week. With the lack of continuity from week to week, it’s really hard to tell.

Charlie herself was…yeah. Not so great unless you’re a huge Felicia Day fan. Which was a problem because there was a lot of her in this episode and it was hard to get at all invested in her dominating the story when we knew we’d probably never see her again. In addition to her lack of gratitude and general stupidity/naivete, her cockiness was seriously annoying. Okay, so she knows a program or two that she can use to crack a hard drive password. Yippee. On the other hand, she’s such a moronic dork that she uses company equipment for her hacking and thinks she won’t be monitored or get caught, never stops to think that the hard drive she’s hacking may have been booby-trapped such that two guys will come after her to kill/blackmail her, can’t even figure out how to get into a building where she has a legitimate reason to be, parrots every single thing she hears over a Bluetooth when she has to be coached through a flirtation, and can’t get up and walk after she’s broken an arm. No, she has to be carried out by Sam “The Redwood” Winchester. Plus, she dances as if she’s having a seizure and brags about her hacker exploits to a stereotypically socially awkward geek colleague (who is never seen again after a few scenes of being her shoulder to brag on).

And she’s a lesbian, which is something put in literally for a throwaway joke because it’s not as though there are any other women in this Faux Girl Power story (Also, the blatant political jokes weren’t funny, though the commercial, which didn’t bang you over the head with any particular affiliation, was). Apparently, we are supposed to be so impressed that the show finally had a sympathetic lesbian character that we’re supposed to forget all about the bitchy poison friend who kept coming on to Maggie in “Shut Up, Dr. Phil” or the Evil Butch Amazons in “The Slice Girls”. And that Charlie’s the only freakin’ woman in the entire episode. At least, last week, we had Annie, the Fancy Girl and the Teen Girl as speaking parts, with assorted other non-speaking female roles to remind us that 51% of the world’s population just happens not to be male. But Dick? Seems to have only men working for him in his enormous glass-and-steel office building. ‘Cause tokenism is the watchword for the cool TV genre writers these days.

In short, aside from the very specific skill that she brings to the story, one that isn’t unique even within the context of this season, and the fact that she’s played by a cute actress (God forbid she be homely. Or overweight), Charlie’s a complete loser. Even Becky was more effective and proactive on a hunt.

And does she really think two guys who got framed for a mass-murder spree and ended up on America’s Most Wanted list before faking their own deaths (not for the first time) are going to be impressed that she once changed her identity? Really? Or that the Leviathans won’t be able to find her when Dick knew all her tricks? Her only real hope is that Dick will be too distracted trying to kill the brothers to come after her.

Also, since when is being a fan of the Lord of the Rings movies or Harry Potter an indication that you are a hopeless geek? I get that the Comic-Con bit was an injoke (and yes, that was amusing, including Dean’s response), but tens, even hundreds, of millions of people have enjoyed those stories, and recently. They aren’t all socially inept. They’re just ordinary people. That’s Charlie’s biggest problem as a character – she’s ordinary and thinks she’s extraordinary, which has promise, but not when the show tries to back her up by having the Big Bad declare her “special” and “unique” when she really isn’t. If she goes off to hang out with Jessie on the Beach of Characters That Didn’t Work on Bora Bora for the rest of the show, I’m okay with that.

Also, show? If you’re going to make your title “The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo”, don’t have her tat be a Star Wars one, instead. Yes, Princess Leia was straddling a die on Charlie’s tat (And yes, I know it’s a snark on the much-harsher The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), but many RPGs that aren’t D&D use multi-sided dice. Just sayin’. The nerds you’re aiming this one at are gonna nitpick that one to shreds.

The problem with Charlie, for me, is that she represents the cud-chewing mass of humanity the brothers are trying to save and she’s such an idiot that I find myself right there with Dean about not saving the world yet another time in exchange for zero gratitude. She’s upset at the end that they put her in danger? How does that work when she volunteered to fix a mess she helped create? At the beginning, she is so oblivious and smug in her position that she lets herself be used to do something that could destroy all of humanity and take out the only two characters in the story who could prevent this new apocalypse. Keep in mind that if the brothers had not intercepted her at her apartment, she would undoubtedly have been killed. And since she had already cracked the hard drive’s password, her necessity in the story would have already been accomplished. In short, she’s a collaborator who thinks she’s a freedom fighter, a pawn who think she’s a player, a Trojan Horse who thinks she’s God’s gift. Those are the worst kind because they’re both self-righteous and utterly destructive. Yeah, Charlie, she’s not so bright. But what can you expect from a character who doesn’t notice anything the least bit strange about the flask that magically appears all over the place, or the invisible being that saves her life while breaking her arm? Mouthbreather, much?

So, back to Team Free Will, such as it is these days. The brothers are worried about Ghost!Bobby because he snuck off his flask to Charlie’s pack/whatever (What was up with her just drinking out of it as if she knew where it came from or what was in it?). What I don’t get is why they’re acting so helpless about it. They know how to contain ghosts. Just stick that flask inside a ring of salt, inside a cast-iron safe, inside a ring of salt and he’ll be exactly where they want him to be. If they have to take it on the road, put it inside a container inside another container that they could fill with salt. There are ways.

As far as Ghost!Bobby is concerned, this is not Bobby, anymore. This is a literal shadow of Bobby. I did like that they showed he is going down the inevitable road to going nuts. I didn’t like that he’s here at all. It’s just not a well-done storyline. Either they ignore their own canon and have Ghost!Bobby defy the laws of all other ghosts (when the whole original point of his character was that he was an ordinary human with no superpowers but lots of human knowledge) or they ruin a once-beloved character, even more than they already have, by turning him evil. You’d think they’d have learned their lesson from what they did to Castiel last season, but I guess not. If I could think of just one reason why I won’t be missing Sera Gamble, and would even prefer she write no more episodes, it’s that she’s turned Bobby into Ruby 3.0.

Speaking of dei ex machina, is this really the last of Frank or are we to believe he’s hiding someplace and may pop up at an opportune moment for yet more infodump duties?

Sam and Dean were not in a whole lot of the episode. I get why Padalecki wasn’t in much of this (Expect him to be in even less of it next week, since that was the week he basically took off for his son’s birth). I don’t get why Ackles is in so little (unless, perhaps, he’s in so much of the last three episodes that he needed this kind of break). I do know I’m not invested in Charlie as a character. How can I be when I never met her before and don’t expect to see her again?

Dean does seem to be running the operation, which may explain his hesitation over holding Bobby back. Bobby may or may not end up being the Big Damn Hero of the season finale, but it won’t be because he’s the one in charge. In fact, his mental faculties seem to be deteriorating, even as his ego inflates to cosmic levels. His role this week consisted of a belated infodump from the writers to spackle all those mytharc holes they let open up while engaged in loads of boring filler, stalking/guarding Charlie, and going ape on Dick. In the latter role, curiously enough, he played more of a deus ex machina than an Exposition Fairy, especially since the show could easily have had Frank’s hard drive contain all that info. In fact, the whole bit with the hard drive was passed over largely as a case of having more info about the brothers than about Dick or the Leviathans, and being more of a justification for Charlie’s finding out about the shipment of the big, red brick. It seemed oddly careless of Frank to have all his computer eggs in one basket, anyway. Surely, he’d have extra passwords on each folder (Yes, you can do that) in addition to a system-wide password, and even passwords on each file. Separate ones. That would take a while to crack. As well as misleading file names and putting them inside folders inside folders, like nesting dolls. Some missed opportunities, there, in favour of overly linear storytelling.

Finally, I noticed Dean is still drinking. I find it curious that it’s included here, almost gratuitously. Yes, the flask is now attached to Bobby, but it came across this week as an intentional cross-reference to Dean’s drinking. Not only do we see Dean drink from it (indicating he’s refilled it recently), but Sam gives it a pointed look and later, Charlie drinks from it, too (yuck), commenting on it being filled with booze. As in previous episodes, this seems in there largely to remind us of this storyline such that there is a reference to Dean’s drinking and mental state in every single episode of this season. I sure hope the show intends to give us some appropriate payoff on the only storyline that has had a reference in literally every episode (even more than Bobby, Castiel or Sam’s hellpain).

Fun lines:

Ghost!Bobby: It’s hard to stay focused. I’m still kinda worn out.
Dean: Well, you’ve been pretty busy for a dead guy.

Dean [about the hard drive]: Perfect. It’s in the middle of the Death Star.

Work Buddy: Charlie, it’s a moral imperative that I live vicariously through you.

TV Ad: Sucrocorp: Eat well; live well.

Charlie: So, what’s the end game? Steal our resources? Make us some slaves?
Dean: Planet-wide value meal. We’re the meat.

Dean: Do you have any tattoos? Give him a sneak peek, there. All tattoos are sexy.
Charlie: Mine is of Princess Leia in a slave bikini, straddling a 20-sided die. [off Dean's flabbergasted silence] I was drunk. It was Comic-Con.
Dean: We’ve all been there.

Charlie [after flirting her way past the security guard]:
I feel dirty.
Dean: You and me, both, sister.

Charlie [to Dick]: Nothing’s safe if you poke at it long enough.

Victor: Please, sir, don’t bib me.
Dick: Bib you?! Why would I waste a perfectly good meal?! [eats Victor]

Dean [about Charlie]: She’s kinda like the little sister I never wanted.

Dean [about Ghost!Bobby]: Man, if I’d've had a free shot, I’d've bitchslapped the hell outta Dick, too.

Next Week: Reading Is Fundamental: When Kevin, a bookish young man, is struck by lightning, he wakes up as a prophet – and the pawn in a rivalry between two archangels.

You can watch (or download) this episode, in standard or HD definition, on Amazon.com.

About Paula R. Stiles

Paula is not at all paranoid about government conspiracies after six years in EMS, two years in Africa for the Peace Corps, a few summers with the Park Service, and ten years studying the Knights Templar. She's seen governments in action. They couldn't cover up a toy picnic table, let alone evidence of alien visitation. Writes about science for fun, history for money, and zombies for the company. You can read her sober-as-a-judge book about Templars in medieval Spain, Templar Convivencia, on Amazon. You can find her homepage at: http://thesnowleopard.net.

Paula R. StilesRecap and Review: Supernatural 7.20: The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo