This week’s Supernatural proved that appearances can be deceiving, and certainly the promotional advertising can be. We got a whole lot of exploration about going dark, and a few things to ponder about all our characters as we head into the latter half of the season. It was a good roller-coaster of a ride.
Note: This recap may contain spoilers!
I had been looking forward to this episode for a while, ever since I learned Charlie would be returning from Oz. However, the promotional ads made me wonder if she’d make it out of the episode alive, considering it looked like her trip had turned her just a bit evil. She’s carving a path of destruction and revenge, with torture sessions to go around. And the first victim we saw that she took her fists to? That would be another actor from the Stargate franchise making a surprise appearance — this time Paul McGillion (aka Dr. Carson Beckett from Stargate: Atlantis). I didn’t know he would be on there, so it was a double-surprise to not only have my favorite female character back, but also an actor from my favorite Stargate.
For the longest time, until right before the reveal, I could not figure out what had made Charlie turn so dark while in Oz. Had she seen horrible things on the yellow brick road? Or had she been put under a spell, without a conscious thought of what she was doing? Or maybe she had been given the power to finally exact her revenge on all the people who had helped take away her parents. It wasn’t just a random line of violence she was dishing out, it was all about revenge over the loss of her father and mother. And we know how much it affected her, so in a small way I could understand why she might be doing what she was doing. It didn’t make it right, and it certainly hurt to see Charlie become so hardened while taking glee in beating up on Dean, but it was understandable.
But as soon as Good!Charlie pulled up, even before we got the full-out explanation, I figured out that she was split. It’s a tricky time over in Oz, and you’ve got to look out for yourself…both of your selves. I liked the split and the exploration of both sides of Charlie’s personality. They both had limitations, but they also needed each other, even if a rejoin would mean Good!Charlie would have to face up to all the bad, bad things Dark!Charlie had done. And that was even before Dark!Charlie killed the man responsible for the drunk driving accident.
The thing I love about Charlie, and the reason I hope she stays around for a good, long while, is that she has lived through enormous amounts of pain and suffering in her life, and that’s just been piled on since meeting the Winchesters, but she still remains optimistic and full of wonder for the world. Seeing her in this episode, having to deal with the very traumatic memories of what’s been done, and who her other half has become, was heart-breaking, but also telling of who she is as a person, and what she can teach others around her. Good and bad exist in all of us, but we’ve got to learn how to live with both without one taking over.
Dean knows this struggle very well. You can’t kill the bad side of yourself without harming the good. Though I’m guessing Charlie is more mentally able to move forward and deal with it all than Dean and his eternal guilt can. He beat her to a bloody pulp, and has to face all the pain he forced on her, but while she can forgive him, he can’t forgive himself. It’s just one more thing in a long line of things Dean feels like he has to pay penance over. The staying clean and sober, with the healthy eating and good habits, didn’t last him for long. Let’s see if the full-force approach does any better.
At first, I thought they could use the Oz key to draw out the darkness in Dean, thus banishing the Mark’s control. Though, I guess that wouldn’t do them any good, since then you’d not only have a pure evil Dean fueled by the Mark of Cain, but you also couldn’t kill one without harming the other. There’s no easy fix for this one. Dean’s going to have to learn to trust his brother, trust his friends, and trust himself in order to find his way through this struggle. I believe in him, and all of them.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Screencaps by screencappednet