We shall start the discussion with this Public Service Announcement: The old speech pathology student in me wants to let you know you can still speak when your tongue is cut out. You still have your larynx/vocal folds/voice box to give voice, and individual words (actually “phonemes”) are formed by the shape of the entire mouth. Without the tongue, you can still be reasonably well-understood, with practice. Then again, they probably don’t have speech therapists or pathologists in Oz.
It’s interesting how expectations can sometimes affect one’s appreciation of an episode. If I haven’t watched, but have read unfavorable comments, I tend to be pleasantly surprised. But, in the case of “Slumber Party,” when my expectation are high, I’m sometimes let down.
“Slumber Party” had all the makings of a great episode. Felicia Day returned as loveable hacker extraordinaire Charlie Bradbury. It was written by Robbie Thompson, one my favorite writers, and directed by Robert Singer. Add to that the significance of the Men of Letters bunker as “home,” and a newly introduced heroine who’s wily, competent, feisty, and smart—oh, and from 1935—and you should have yourself a winner.
The Wizard of Oz tie-in didn’t particularly appeal to me in last week’s previews, but it was actually clever. The wily new heroine is Dorothy, a hunter, and daughter of L. Frank Baum, who just happens to be a Man of Letters. Oz really existed, but was in the throes of a “good vs. evil” rebellion. In 1935, Dorothy brought the Wicked Witch to the Men of Letters hoping to find a way to kill her. When she couldn’t, she used a spell to seal the witch and herself in some goo.
Unfortunately, the Winchesters knock the bottle of goo over while checking out an old Univac computer. They discover Dorothy, no worse the wear for 75 years. Unfortunately, so is the witch.
With all this goodness, what happened? For me, Supernatural has always been about people, not monsters. There were so many golden opportunities to explore the more intimate moments of relationships that fell short.
The most troublesome is Charlie’s death. Charlie saves Dean from the witch’s green lightening bolt, but dies. Dean, who’s grown quite fond of Charlie is devastated. His voice breaks, he mutters “Charlie!” over and over again, yet I wanted more from Jensen Ackles. He seemed to hold back, much as he did in the church scene with Sam at the end of “Sacrifice.” Perhaps Jensen’s tremendous talent and One Perfect Tear have spoiled me.
Dean calls on Zeke to save Charlie. C’mon, show! You just did this last week! Supernatural is usually quite deft at timing its episodes for maximum benefit, but this one was a giant misstep.
I would have loved a deeper conversation about Charlie’s realization that she died, but this show is not about Charlie Bradbury,. Besides, we got a beautiful back story with “Pac Man Fever.” That should be enough.
Dorothy said she had died in Oz but not how she came back to life. Surely an inquiring mind like Charlie’s would want to know more. Perhaps Dorothy will tell Charlie more while they travel through Oz. Alternatively, I’d not be adverse to Dorothy and Charlie returning to the show for further back story. But leave the flying monkeys in Oz, okay?