Supernatural Review 8.11 - "LARP And The Real Girl"
Posted by Joseph Lee on 01.24.2013
I take it back...this is the nerdiest episode of this show that you'll ever see.
The Road So Far: Castiel is told by Naomi, who controls him, to save Samandriel from Crowley before he is tortured and reveals vital information. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happens and Crowley finds out there is an angel tablet that could lock the angels into Heaven forever. Naomi instructs Castiel to kill him and return to Heaven, and he's powerless to stop himself. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean end their respective relationships with Amelia and Benny to go back on the hunt together.
Season Eight, Episode 11: LARP and the Real Girl Directed By: Jeannot Szwarc Written By: Robbie Thompson
For those who read my reviews last season, you'll know that I really enjoyed Felicia Day's appearance in last season's The Girl With The Dungeous and Dragons Tattoo. I thought it was a funny guest appearance that also played an important role in that season's overall story. So when I learned that she would be back this week, I was excited. The resulting episode was..a mixed bag.
The episode sees Sam and Dean investigate the murder of a LARPer (that's live-action role-playing) which brings them face to face with Charlie Bradbury (Day), who is living under a new name and is queen of the LARP kingdom Moondoor. Players are being killed off by an unknown force and our favorite hunters have to get into the spirit of the game in order to get clues.
The episode lends itself to a lot of comedy, but it just never seems like it takes full advantage of it. We get the requisite dressing up for Dean in the outfit, but he's surprisingly into it. This is funnier than I thought it would be, but I feel like Dean of the earlier seasons would have shown indignation at the thought of being dressed up like a "nerd". Maybe he's just more accepting of way to escape now or maybe he likes the idea of play fighting. The point is, it seemed like there were some missed opportunities at jokes. I will say that the payoff at the end of the episode is completely worth whatever jokes they do miss.
Day is back and doing the same thing she did the last time and it works. She's not as big of a focal point because we already know her, so she is relegated to supporting and not quite as upstaging of the WInchesters. She still gets some funny lines and a particularly sexy moment for those of you who are into geeky redheads (I am). Charlie has become a welcome addition to this show, even if I'm not sure she has any real long-term potential.
The serious stuff was mostly kept to a minimum this week, as Sam's quietly dealing with his loss and Dean is trying to get over his friendship being ruined. Considering how intense and somewhat depressing last week was, it makes sense to give your audience a breather. I'm perfectly okay with a comedy episode, I just wish more was done with the jokes this time around. The last Charlie episode had numerous nerd references and humor. Maybe I just don't know enough about LARPing to get the humor they're going for.
Another fault of this week's episode is the monster of the week. It's essentially just a plot device to get these two into this world and for them to meet up with Charlie again. The problem is that this is really obvious and the story is quite thin leading to an anticlimactic twist and resolution. This actually didn't bother me as much because it's not really the point of this week's episode.
I thought this week was merely okay. It wasn't as good as last season's Charlie appearance but it had its moments and the last scene makes any problems I had worth it. "It's the only one he knows."
The 411: While the premise of LARP and the Real Girl is set up for several great jokes, it doesn't bring the jokes to their full potential and isn't as good as one would hope. But Felicia Day is still a welcome character, Sam and Dean are as fun to watch as ever and the final moments are hilarious. The good manages to make the bad forgivable and bump this up to a decent watch.