After a mini hiatus, Supernatural is back with a super solid filler episode with a high count of hugs. Not many shows in its eighth season can still kickass. Supernatural takes advantage of the opportunity to connect past elements and stories together, while introducing new things and characters to excite us. One of these things is Charlie. Supernatural rarely uses the same song twice, unless it's Carry On Wayward Son. How often do we get a happy song to accompany a feel-good episode with the sweetest hug? Thanks to 'Her Highness' Charlie (guest star Felicia Day), even in the darkest hours, a moment of sweetness is not impossible.
8.20 Pac Man Fever is the sweetest and most adorable episode. I don't think I have used those words before to describe an overall episode. It was such a great written episode by Robbie Thompson and a well directed episode by Robert Singer. Robbie also wrote all Felicia Day's episodes -- The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo and LARP and the Real Girl. So good! Just so good!
There are many things I love about this episode. Where to begin? I think Charlie's personality breaks pattern. Charlie is different from people Dean and Sam have met before, including hunters and non hunters. Charlie isn't a hunter, she is a civilian, a geek and she is into LARPing. Her social profile almost doesn't belong to the supernatural world. But there are some similarities between Charlie and the Winchester brothers, as presented in this episode -- Charlie's mum was taken away from her when she was little, she blamed herself, she got into trouble, she has been on the run forever, and her aliases were as good as Dean's and Sam's.
I think Charlie has raised to the challenge before and she's done it again in this episode. If Pac Man Fever indicates anything, I am sold as to why she is one of the best people to help Dean and Sam right now -- she is tech savvy, she doesn't have an agenda, she is smart and she is resourceful. She is a Woman of Letters!
What's interesting to me is that Charlie, in a way, presents normality. I love that Charlie is written as a friend and as a sister figure. Dean and Sam are obsessed with saving the world and people from supernatural crap. But every now and then, it's sweet to see how they deal with other people -- the way they accept Garth, worry about Kevin and care about Charlie. Episodes like Pac Man Fever definitely highlights a different quality of the Winchesters which differentiates themselves from other hunters. I also love the fact that Charlie has read the Supernatural books by Carver Edlund and she has so much faith in Dean and Sam.
I think the onscreen chemistry between Jensen and Felicia is getting better! Last time when Dean was putting his knight costume on in LARP and the Real Girl, he gave Charlie the full Wiki on what's been happening. In this episode, while Charlie had a montage of wardrobe change, Dean did the same thing and told her stuff. I think it was great to see Dean actually got a chance to 'chat' to a friend about their supernatural crap. It's not like Dean has many friends that he can talk to. I just love the chemistry between Dean and Charlie! The scene where Dean and Charlie had a 'I-love-you-I-know' Star Wars moment, that's my favourite scene!!!
I think this is a very Dean POV centric episode. It's like Dean having a bird eye view of things. Dean saw how things turned out. He helped Charlie to overcome her fear and help her to find clarity in her mother's situation. Through the 'letting things go' theme, it enlightened Dean about his relationship with Sam. Dean being Dean, of course he wanted to 'save' his little brother, look after him -- "I may not be able to carry the burden that comes with these trials, but I can carry you." The theme of 'letting things go' means different things to Charlie and Dean. Charlie made a difficult decision to let go of her mother. This experience reminded Dean that the only thing that would make Sam better was to find the prophet and finish the last trial. Dean wasn't pissed at Sam. Sam thought he was in trouble and attempted to justify why he was out there working a case, when Dean specifically told him not to. But I am glad Sam helped, they were stronger as a team and hunting has always been a two people job. Thank you Robbie Thompson for showing us the sweet Dean, who gave many hugs to many people in this season, and I think that's a great character progress. Dean just gave Sam a hug, and then he told him, "let's find the prophet'. There is no getting better until the trial is completed.
This season reminds me how much crap Sam's been through. We know how it went down with the whole Lucifer hallucination storyarc. Sam had a complete breakdown and went to the mental hospital. It was painful for Sam, and it was painful for Dean to see his little brother like this. I think Sam has been through a lot, and I mean a lot! From the moment he found out about being one of the special children' to drinking demon blood; from being locked up in hell with Lucifer and Michael to coming back soulless, and then the 'wall' crumbled. I get why he just wanted a normal life. Now he is back, he is going through the trials and he is hurting again. I really feel his pain, my heart really breaks for Sam. I hate to see him suffer, again! Dean feels that same, every bloody year his little brother has some crap going on with him and it breaks his heart to see his little brother suffers, and it kills Dean not to be able to save Sam.
When will they stop caring for each other? NEVER! I think that's why Supernatural is so good to watch because of the brother relationship. On one hand, it's different from the past because they're more mature now. On the other hand, it remains the same because they are still Dean and Sam, the big brother and the little brother.
A few other things that I love:
Dean in uniform -- Seriously! Give Jensen Ackles a bathrobe and he can still look good in it. SUPER HOT! Wait… what? The whole uniform look reminds me of Captain America/ Captain Steve Rogers. I will never get tired of this, so sue me!
The video game -- I was waiting for a Resident Evil Leon Kennedy reference, because of some hot Jensen related casting rumour about this a few years back.
The montage -- Walking on Sunshine is a signature song for Charlie. That scene was awesome! It weirdly reminded me of Natalie Portman in Leon.
Pac Man Reference -- I played Pac Man before on my cousin's thing, but I was never a gamer. But I can see some fans are happy to see that reference. It's also a treat for Felicia Day's fans because she was a gamer. Nice!
Something completely random -- Is it just me that I want to see Wil Wheaton on the show? I just had a moment.
MoL HQ -- It's official. It's HOME for the boys! I just love the idea the boys have a home now. I know Kripke used to say, the Impala is home for the boys. It still is, but the idea of having a HQ as a home where they can use the resources and to regroup. The MoL bunker as their home is a welcoming idea. And I love it! You know I do! I just LOVE IT! SO MUCH!!
Sam's hair -- Like… OMG! Too cute!!!! Thank you Sam! Thank you Jared. I had a great laugh. And Sam wasn't able to catch the beer from Dean was hilarious. Sorry Sam, I know you're hurting but you gotta laugh a little sometimes.
Dean in uniform -- Wait a second! Have I mentioned how much I love Dean in uniform?
Pac Mac Fever is packed with stuff and food for thoughts. This is the kind of filler episode that audience and Dean and Sam need before the final trial. The final three episodes are here! Brace yourself for an emotional ride! I see nothing but epicness!
Next episode is 8.21: The Great Escapist
When Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) receive a distressing video message from Kevin Tran (guest star Osric Chau), they set about trying to uncover the Third Trial. The boys make a discovery that sends them to a casino in Colorado, to find a mysterious recluse (guest star Curtis Armstrong) who may be able to fill in the holes in Kevin's research. Meanwhile, Crowley (guest star Mark Sheppard) is on a winning streak. Castiel (Misha Collins) tries to elude Naomi (guest star Amanda Tapping) and the angels hunting him.