SPN 9.04: Slumber Party review
Crowley pretty much sums up my feelings for Slumber Party, Robbie Thompson’s fourth episode in the Quirky Nerd Girl series. I’m still trying to think of something positive about this episode, so let’s start with the problems and maybe I’ll run across something positive as I go. Don’t hold your breath.
Let’s start with Kevin being taken to a “heavily warded” motel room hours away. I get it. Thompson had to get rid of Kevin so there would be a reason to call Charlie for help. It isn’t worth getting into how silly it is that just a couple of episodes ago, Dean was arguing that Kevin had to stay at the bunker because demons and angels were both trying to track him down or, you know, “family.”
Speaking of which – immediately after talking about abandoning Kevin in Branson, Sam brings up why Cas left and exactly why they shouldn’t have let Kevin out of the bunker – it’s the safest place for all of them. Dean tries to play it off as though Cas chose to leave rather than endanger them. Whatevs.
Sam lets it drop and tells Dean that he thinks he’s come up with an idea to track the angels, which would help Cas avoid them. His idea is to get the table to light up as it did when the angels fell, and Dean says, “This was your idea?” Yeah, because a. Sam is stupid and how could he come up with an idea like that, and b. Dean is stupid and makes such an obvious mistake. Sam replies, “You see anyone else in here?” because seriously, Dean? You can’t tell Sam from Ezekiel? Ezekiel is the guy who acts like he has a stick up his ass.
And so, blahblahblah, old computer, Dean strong arms it to look inside and accidentally knocks over an old bottle, which spills and releases Dorothy and the Wicked Witch. Enter Charlie who reveals that she was fired from her job leaving her more time to pursue her hobbies of LARPing, macramé, and hunting. Golly, she’s just so quirky and badass (sarcasm intended), but she wishes hunting were more “magical.” Yeah, so did the dolt in the MoL. See where that gets you.
I’ve got to mention the product placement in this ep. I mean could it have been more in our face. It wasn’t enough to show the Microsoft tablet. Nope, we had to get a screen shot of the desktop complete with Charlie’s hot pink keyboard, which matched her t-shirt and flannel because she may be brilliant and badass, but she’s still a girl. As vennstiel pointed out, it completes her Dean cosplay. I honestly wanted to like Charlie back in S7, but every ep they make her into more of a nerd girl stereotype. And by the way, if Charlie is so damned smart why does she need the Supernatural books to tell her that hunting alone isn’t a “good idea”? Isn’t that just common sense?
So then we get the slumber party section of the episode with Dean, Sam and Charlie watching Game of Thrones, which Dean got to cater to Sam’s likes, I suppose. I know that this is a little thing, but why does Sam give Dean shit about reading books without pictures. Sam may have once thought that Dean didn’t read and gotten a dig in about it, but it was established a long time ago that Dean reads novels.
And why are Dean and Charlie sitting on Sam’s bed while Sam sits on a straight back chair? Why is the DVD player even in Sam’s room since he obviously doesn’t do much other than sleep there? Oh yeah, so that Charlie can question why Sam hasn’t “moved in yet.”
Dean comes across as resentful that Sam hasn’t embraced the bunker as home, and Sam says it’s not home, it’s where they work. Dean wants to know what the difference is. When Sam tells him to feel free to redecorate, Dean just gives him an eye-roll. It isn’t the end of the conversation really. It continues later.
There are two themes running this episode. One is the idea of home, hence the Wizard of Oz, and the other is that of the magical quest. Charlie is bummed that hunting isn’t magical, and Sam tries to tell her that magical quests suck. The two of them are set up in opposition. One wants home and can’t have it. The other wants a magical quest and hasn’t found one. Neither can get what the other has had. Charlie can have a home, but chooses to pursue a quest. Sam’s tried to have a home, but is repeatedly pushed into a “quest.”
There’s a parallel set up between Sam and Dorothy as there is between Charlie and the Man of Letters Jenkins. Dorothy asks Sam how long he’s called the bunker home. He says he doesn’t. He’s never had much luck with home. She says she hasn’t either. She prefers the open road, which echoes Dean’s feelings in the early seasons and at the beginning of S8 as well as Charlie’s current feelings. Sam’s problem is that he is disillusioned with both the idea of home and the magic quest. His experience has taught him that there is no reward in either – just more disappointment and pain.
As he later tells Dean, he never had a home with their parents as Dean did, which is something I’ve been saying since forever, and every time he’s tried to create a home – first with Jess and then with Amelia – he’s failed. Dean points out that the bunker is the closest thing that they’ve ever had to a home and it’s theirs. I would point out to Sam that the homes that he tried to build with Jess and Amelia were illusions because he was pretending to be someone other than himself. Like it or not he’s a hunter, and no home for Sam would really be complete without the core of his family – Dean.
Now, Thompson did draw a nice, but unnecessary, parallel between Charlie and Jenkins because they both sought adventure and it killed them both. Jenkins concludes that “there’s nothing worse than adventure.” Charlie doesn’t because she doesn’t end up dead. Noooooo. Instead, Dean calls on Ezekiel and asks the angel to resurrect her as he did Castiel. Wow, this is becoming a habit with Dean. A bad habit. Ezekiel points out that resurrecting people takes a lot out of him, and he’s only at about half power as it is. Every time he resurrects someone, he postpones the time when he can leave Sam. For the first time, I had the real impression that Ezekiel was truthful about trying to heal Sam as quickly as possible because he was actually arguing against the action.
Apparently, Charlie is so important to Dean that he’s willing to risk Sam to save her, and I thought, “Who is this guy?” Remember “what’s dead should stay dead”? Yeah, Dean doesn’t. I can’t begin to explain how disturbing I find his willingness to resurrect people willy-nilly. I’ve seen a number of bloggers argue that it is a good thing that Dean is letting people in and making emotional connections with them, but I’m beginning to see it as the opposite. It isn’t just that he is compromising Sam further with decisions like this, it’s that he is weakening his own ability to make rational decisions. He’s beginning to extend his emotional decision making to others, not just Sam, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense that he is that attached to Charlie. They’ve met three times previously and he is willing to risk Sam further for her. Dean chooses Charlie over Sam? Really? The scene where he realizes that Charlie is dead mirrors Castiel’s death scene from I’m No Angel in detail with Dean cradling Charlie’s face in his hands. The implication is that Charlie is as important to him as Castiel – someone who rescued him from hell, has been his friend for years, and fought alongside him in purgatory.
Sam and Dean both had to have learned growing up that getting attached to people would only lead to sadness and pain when they were inevitably uprooted by their father and moved to a new town. Their experiences as adults when they’ve repeatedly lost friends and family members would only reinforce that lesson. So, the way that Dean has mysteriously started opening up to nearly everyone they meet and not just making friends but making a serious emotional investment in them doesn’t make a lot of sense and compromises his ability to make rational decisions as well as threatening his own emotional wellbeing.
On to other things, Charlie makes bullets now too? Is there anything this amazing woman can’t do?
Three things that Dean screws up: Questioning if using the angel board was Sam’s idea, ascribing Sam’s repeated memory loss to getting dinged by whatever baddie they were fighting, and being unable to explain how Sam and Charlie are alive. Now it this is all that there were Sam would start to think a. that Dean thinks he’s not bright enough to be much help and that he’s no longer much use in a fight. Given what happened last season with Sam’s confidence being completely undermined, these issues pose a huge problem. Dean can tell Sam that he believes Sam is capable of accomplishing anything, but if things repeatedly happen that tell Sam otherwise that won’t mean much. The one thing that may tip the scales is Sam remembering that Dean said “Zeke” when he entered the room. That along with the memory lapses and other unexplained occurrences may lead Sam to put two and two together.
I also have to mention how laughable I found Sam and Dean possessed by the witch, just … I can’t even.
So, in the end Charlie goes off on a quest with Dorothy, and Sam is left at the bunker with Dean. If Sam’s line about “there’s no place like home” is meant to imply that he’s ready to make a home at the bunker with Dean, forgive me if I’m dubious. Sam all too often says what he thinks Dean wants to hear in order to reassure his brother. Time will tell. I’ll just leave you with this thought:
“In between jobs, Sam and Dean would sometimes get a day – sometimes a week, if they were lucky. They’d pass the time lining their pockets. Sam used to insist on honest work, but now he hustles pool, like his brother. They could go anywhere and do anything. They drove a thousand miles for an Ozzy show. Two days for a Jayhawks game. And when it was clear, they’d park her in the middle of nowhere, sit on the hood, and watch the stars… for hours… without saying a word. It never occurred to them that, sure, maybe they never really had a roof and four walls but they were never, in fact, homeless.”