Opening flashback – 1935, the Men of Letters and a guy who really stores his key in an awkward fashion – sure it looks cool and secretive but can you imagine trying to get that in the dark, after a few drinks and when it’s hooling it down?
The door with the ridiculous lock leads to the Lair of the Men of Letters (which will one day become the Winchester Cave). The two men go downstairs, take out some computer-lightbulb thingummies and plug them in declaring that the protocol is complete. I don’t know with these guys – it takes them 5 minutes to open a door then they go through all this to change the lightbulbs – no wonder they died out, they didn’t have time to breed!
Peter and James introduce themselves to each other and all the light in the place come to life. James isn’t impressed, Peter is inclined to be really overdramatic.
And 6 months after that they’re playing chess and Peter agrees with James at last – the place is a dump and he wants excitement and adventure. James thinks adventure is a bad bad idea. And they get a visitor – a hunter, “Frank’s kid”, Dorothy - and she’s at least semi-famous enough to impress the, admittedly easily impressed Peter. She also has a big sack that is twitching. Dorothy wants help killing the Wicked Witch.
Zooming to the future and the ongoing questioning of Crowley which wisely involves not engaging him. Ever. Also randomly they’ve given Kevin a holiday because they didn’t want to include him in this episode. And Dean and Sam plan for a Game of Thrones marathon while Sam is still curious as to why Castiel left (because Dean kicked him out at Ezekiel’s insistence). He does have an idea to help Castiel – the table in the Winchester Cave lit up with all kinds of shiny lights when the angels fell – so maybe they can use it to track angels so Castiel can avoid them (Dean suspects this may be Ezekiel’s idea and further risks blowing the secret to Sam)
That involves adjusting the Winchester Cave’s 1951 computers which are huge. They fiddle with it – Dean’s brute force spilling a bottle which oozes grey sludge which moves on its own complete with ominous sound effects. The brother’s don’t notice because Dean is calling tech support
Flashback time again, James, Peter and Dorothy figuring out how to kill the Wicked witch who was in Dorothy’s bag – she’s had her tongue cut out and has been bound, though the last won’t last. James is very impressed that Dorothy did all this alone and she snarks his patronising sexism – nor does she have time for exposition or her daddy issues. Make with the research already.
To the present and Tech support is – Charlie! This explains why Kevin has been dumped – they wouldn’t need Charlie if they had Kevin to poke the computers. Brief catch up – Charlie has been fired again this time for exposing her company’s child labour and she’s also been doing a little hunting in her spare time (Dean is not impressed).
She pokes the computers with her not-very-subtle-product placement and reminds us all of the awful Supernatural books that exist in-cannon and various issues connected (including Sam’s stalker) before they all go have the Game of Thrones marathon (of course Charlie’s read the books) and some snarking about Sam’s décor choices: which also includes an excellent minor byplay of Sam considering the Winchester Cave to be a workplace while Dean, as we’ve seen before, clearly consider it to be a home. Charlie also wishes that hunting had more magic and quests in it.
Flashback time! The Wicked Witch gets free and possesses Peter who promptly gets himself stabbed while Dorothy heads to the lab; the Wicked Witch seems to think something of hers is in the Winchester Cave
Back to the present and the trio go downstairs to the computers to find a shelf moved from the wall and a giant cocoon behind it. Dean cuts into the cocoon - and out falls Dorothy, very well preserved considering the decades that have passed. She’s also alive.
Charlie checks the history – Dorothy and the Witch went into this room and neither ever came out again (Charlie is joyful that Oz actually exists as part of faerie). Dorothy is a little disorientated by the time gap – and surprised that Charlie is a Woman of Letters and not a secretary. Back in 1935, unable to kill the witch, Dorothy did the only thing she could – bind the witch and herself in the bottle. But now, if she is awake, so is the witch. Dorothy is worried the witch will find what she’s looking for – and while she is protected from the witch, no-one else is. Charlie gets to research (helped by Dorothy after Sam and Dean call Charlie the smartest person in the room) while the brothers go looking for witchy.
Charlie is a big fan, but Dorothy hates the books on Oz – written by her father – and is pretty contemptuous of the Men of Letters in general. Charlie snarks back – ok Dorothy had reason to hate their sexism, but her contempt for book learning and the Men of Letters in general is wrongheaded – she points out that James, the surviving Man of Letters from her time, continued to research her curse and found a way to defeat the Wicked Witch. Poppy seeds from Oz – which James already had acquired which they can now make into bullets.
The witch is visiting Crowley, who recognises her and is wonderfully snarky (of course). Sam and Dean follow and run into a Crowley load of snark (Scarecrow and Tinman was good, imitating the tongueless Wicked Witch was better). He agrees to tell them what the witch wants if they release his chains so he can “stretch his legs” (Bad Idea. Bad Bad Bad idea). After shooting Crowley (“rude”. Did I mention how much I love Crowley) he shows them the note he had the Wicked Witch write with the word “key” on it. Crowley has no idea what it meant so sent her on a wild goose chase
She has ransacked the kitchen (and Dean had just cleaned in there – much to Sam’s horror/disdain) and run into Dorothy and Charlie. They have 4 poppy bullets which will only stun the witch. And Dorothy knows what the key is for – it’s a special key that can turn any door into a portal to Oz, allowing the witch to return and do bad things. Dean remembers that key in his room – so it’s him and Charlie to search while Dorothy and Sam are on witch duty.
When they find the witch those bullets don’t seem to do much except she turns into a cloud of green gas and uses the ventilation system to travel around
Of course Charlie won’t hide in the dungeon and joins Dean to help look – commenting on his meticulously organised porn. Dean finds the key – and the witch grabs it, knocking Dean down. When the witch tries to zap Dean, Charlie jumps in the way of the magic, getting hit instead.
Dean lifts the unconscious Charlie onto the bed and calls for Ezekiel – Sam transforming half way to the glowy-eyed angel. Ezekiel warns Dean that he’s still weak – if he heals Charlie he will have to stay in Sam even longer. And he can either help with the witch or help Charlie – he can’t do both. Dean tells him to heal Charlie. She comes to and Dean makes up another excuse for what happened.
Dorothy stays with Charlie who is still weak and confirms that Charlie died – but all hunters die and come back at least once. She tells of her death – sneaking in one of her father’s missions, ending up in the Emerald city and working with freedom fighters against the Wicked Witch – freedom fighters who were turned into a scarecrow, lion and tin man.
She has a lot of contempt for the books, calling them revisionist history but Charlie points out the poppy seeds research came from the books – her father left clues in them.
Dean and Sam go hunting – and Sam wants to know who Zeke is (what Dean calls Ezekiel) and Dean dodges the question but wants to know why Sam hasn’t moved in and called the Winchester Cave home. Sam’s issues are that, unlike Dean, he doesn’t remember a time before their dad was a hunter, so doesn’t remember a home – and every home he’s tried to build since then has fallen apart. Dean still thinks the Winchester cave is the closest thing they’d ever get to home. They find the witch – who possesses them both to find Dorothy and Charlie and kill them.
Dorothy and Charlie, following Charlie’s hint about the books, rush to Dorothy’s motorcycle in the garage, still preserved after all these years. On it is the tin man’s head and the Ruby Slippers (she never wore them –w earing a dead woman’s shoes is tacky, besides she doesn’t do heels).
Sam and Dean attack and they learn, through the witch speaking rhough them, that she deosn’t want to go back to Oz, she’s going to bring her armies here. Meh, flying monkeys vs Harrier Jump Jets. Bring it, Witchy.
The witch begins a long ritual in front of the portal to do just that while Charlie kicks Dean in the groin to escape – leaving Dorothy to delay Sam and Dean while Charlie rushes off with a shoe. Dorothy lasts about 3 seconds against Sam and Dean, pretty understandably, but Charlie impales the Witch with a high heel which breaks the possession. Having killed the witch, she pulls the portal closed before any winged simians can get through.
Problem solved – and Crowely is chained up again with a crayon and a paper. Sam still won’t talk to him.
They prepare to say goodbye to Dorothy who comments on how odd it is to have a series of books written after you – Sam and Dean agree. But, as Sam says “it’s our story, we get to write it” (ooooh was that a writer slap down to a slightly rabid fandom? Was it? Oh I think it was). Charlie confronts Dean about the whole raising the dead thing and wonders if she has to eat brains – Dean assures her she’s totally free from brain munching.
Dorothy plans to return to Oz to help the rebellion and she invites Charlie to come with her – she wants adventure, come help her find her damn dog (love that line!)
Geeky shout out to Game of Thrones – but on the whole I think the episode was really slow to get going and when it did go it was like many – well, all – Charlie episodes. Fun, more than a little silly, borderline outside-of-canon and, ultimately, pretty pointless.
And I don’t think Supernatural, on episode 4, is really ready for that. With Angels and Castiel out there and Ezekiel issues and Crowley in the basement – it was too soon to have a break. Especially since I don’t think this episode was really all that fun either – lots of silly, not so much fun.
I did like the examination of both brothers and their view of home - but a) I'm not sure how much I agree with the interpretations (Dean remembers a childhood home - but Sam has had far more stops on the home front alone the way. One of the reasons Dean finding a home was so poignant is because he has NEVER had one) and b) it needed more attention
And I hate that they got rid of Kevin. After the big epic speech about Kevin being family? Can we please make him family.