As much as I love direction, story arc, and purpose, sometimes a little inane fun is just what the doctor ordered. This week’s Supernatural is the definition of that, addressing the bare minimum as it comes to the season’s story arc but provides a welcome break from the high stakes game of domination with Crowley.

Charlie in all her Queenly grace

Things start off with the eerie when a nerd of the highest order (and I mean that with the sincerest degree of respect), after arguing with his friend about it being ‘just a game’ is drawn and quartered in his bed by a team of invisible horses moments after a mysterious tree tattoo is etched into his forearm. A call from Garth interrupts Dean’s comments to Sam about having fun and they investigate the Michigan murder/death/kill. They’re shown around the crime scene by the sheriff, a jovial Kris Kringle fella, who tells them about the texts the victim received. They head down to the station and interrogate Lance, the texter, and are introduced to LARPing—Live Action Role Playing. To get a better feel for this new world, they check out the website and discover a world of men, elves, and shadow orcs preparing for the battle for Moondor. The biggest surprise for the boys is the Queen of Moondor—none other than the lesbian redhead super IT hacker, Charlie (I know, sounds quite a lot like Willow to Buffy fans). Of course, a bigger surprise to me was Dean’s obvious glee as they paged through the site; it seems like Mr. Cool is a closet nerd.

Speaking of nerds, Lance is still in the interrogation room. He feels the tattoo form on his arm before blood starts pouring from all of his cranial orifices. After the chaos, the sheriff views the video with the Winchesters and they notice the tattoo on Lance’s arm. There’s no more waiting, they make their way to Moondor and after being called out for the fake badges by Boltar the Furious—interesting how the LARPing nerd can spot the fake badge so easily when real law enforcement folks can’t—they go to see Charlie (or Kerry, as she legally goes by now) and she’s upset at their arrival, knowing that something monstrous is either there or coming soon. They tell her about the two vics—Ed and Lance—who just happened to be a part of her army, and show her the tat. She identifies it as a Celtic magic symbol. As they talk, she reveals that several people in her army have been injured in the past few weeks in the most random accidents. As the conversation moves on, Dean doubles as her strategist and protector, all on board with her leaving for greener pastures but both she and Sam know they need her. When Sam gets the call about Lance’s death having all the signs of poisoning from Bella Donna—no, not the porn star as Dean and Charlie wonder—the gang knows a medieval murderer is using some sort of magic to create mayhem in Moondor.

While Dean catches Charlie up on the goings on with he and Sam, the latter fast walks to the tech tent to do some internet

Charlie’s abductor in its menacing buck skull

research. In going through the list of vics, he’s aided by Maria, the cutie sitting next to him. The Celtic symbol is, in fact the Tree of Pain, and the shadow King’s family crest. Dean and Charlie make their way to the shadow orcs lair but Dean sends her back to base camp while he and Boltar continue on their journey. It’s not the greatest idea as she’s captured by someone’s whose face is masked by a buck skull. When she wakes up in a chalet-like tent and tries to escape, she knows true magic is in the air as each exit leads her right back into the tent. When her kidnapper approaches, Charlie goes Pretty Woman: “I’m just an IT girl, standing in front of a monster, asking it not to kill her.” She cringes as her abductor advances but when it takes off the mask, she’s staring into the eyes of a sexy, honest to goodness faerie.

Dean and ‘Boltar’ return to camp and the elder Winchester is really getting a kick out of this whole LARPing thing, despite his efforts to hide it. His levity is shot down when Sam tells him Charlie never made it back. They accost the shadow orcs but it doesn’t take long to realize orcs are just as innocent as the others. The captive orc, trussed up in the stockade earlier and used to draw out the LARPing orcs, mentions the weird tent he’d spotted earlier down by the river. The Winchesters head that way, intent on finding Charlie.

Charlie shows the hero within

Of course, the fair Queen needs no rescue. Gilda, the faerie, tells Charlie how she’s been summoned to do someone’s bidding. The only way to break the spell is to destroy her master’s book of magic. Charlie promises to help Gilda and the two share “that look”. You know the look that precedes all sorts of kissage and naughty hands coasting nubile bodies…I’m sure this is what Dean’s thinking when he and Sam walk in on the two lovely ladies but his fair maiden fantasy is interrupted when Gilda ID’s her master as none other than Boltar. Despite the general ‘it’s just a game’ aspect of things, Boltar has taken things a wee bit too serious. His designs were on eliminating the competition to help win the battle and become King for his valor. But it’s not going to happen. Even with the use of a faerie at his side, Boltar is beaten when Charlie destroys the book. For his transgressions, by the time he awakens, the faerie tribunal will be waiting to pass sentence on him.  Gilda bids farewell but Charlie gets one last macking kiss on the faerie before she returns to her lands.

Case closed, Charlie and Dean are saying their goodbyes. She’s good with her new life and running is not something she’s willing to do anymore. After talking with her Dean admits to Sam that, despite wanting his younger brother to be okay, it’s going to take more than fun to pull him out of the doldrums after losing Amelia. Though Sam agrees, he also knows there’s nothing wrong with having a bit of fun. His decision is music to Dean’s ear and after getting dressed in the garb of Moondor, Dean provides a rousing rendition of the Braveheart “FREEDOM!” speech before leading them into battle.

To be honest, “LARP & the Real Girl” is a filler episode. Though it briefly touches upon Dean and Sam attempting to get back on track, there’s really no payoff in how it relates to the flow of the season. If anything it’s a sidebar, drawing away from the main narrative. However, where some filler episodes are mundane, “LARP” was a whole hella lot of fun. Anytime we’re able to glean a different aspect of our favorite hunters, I welcome the opportunity. And who would’ve thunk it…Dean’s harboring an inner LARPing nerd inside that tough as nails, sex-and-burger crazed exterior. Not only that but it’s always fun to see Felicia Day on the small screen. I love how her Charlie is just a female version of Dean (their Bella Donna—“The porn star?!” joint reply was classic) and the latter is almost big brother protective over her, though that may be a bit too incestuous considering his gaping jaw watching her and Gilda get it on.

So take “LARP” for what it was; a very fun episode thrown in to break the tension created by the last few episodes and remind us that everyone needs a vacation from life. Even Sam and Dean.


Next Week: Another blast from the past as the brothers meet Grandpa Winchester.