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Supernatural: Optimism

"Trying to be positive... it can be hard."

I know I've mentioned it already, but while it's always about the boys for me, I am so enjoying the extended supporting cast right now. Some of whom have returned from the dead, and all of whom are working through their baggage.

Like Charlie. This isn't our Charlie, and it would be weird if it were. But I'm happy that Felicia Day is back on Supernatural, and I enjoyed her hunting pas de deux with Sam as they staked out, of all things, a human fly monster. Okay, I have to admit that the fly guy in the black widow's weeds and beekeeper veil waiting at a bus stop made me laugh out loud. It was wonderfully absurd.

But we all know that the point of that particular hunt was Charlie telling Sam about what happened to her during the apocalypse that made her want to stop hunting and retreat from humanity. That she lost Kara, the love of her life. That people become monsters when things go to hell. "One day the water gets shut off, the next day people are on fire. It's a fact about society. It all falls apart." Essentially, this Charlie is like our Charlie would have been if she'd lost everything and suffered for years. Why would she want to keep hunting, after all of that? Why would anyone want to live in a horror movie?

Sam countered with the positive. (See episode title.) He told Charlie that he believed that even with the tears and the death, it was all worth it. I'm not quite sure if the return of the fly guy's family to cart his gooey body away was supposed to exemplify Sam's choice of optimism or not, but I guess it was nice. Jeff Goldblum would probably approve.

Note the red rooster in the Red Rooster Diner

Jack has certainly chosen optimism, even while he is secretly staring death in the face. All he wants at this point is to have the chance to keep hunting, to help people, bless his heart. Dean would do the same thing. Actually, he did, back in season three when he knew he was going to hell at the end of the year. It was a bit fun and a whole lot of sad that this episode flirted with sex, a reminder that Jack is very young, essentially an adult toddler. I only wish they'd have given time to Dean giving Jack "the talk," as in the birds and the bees, not the supernatural. Jack's faux romance with Harper Sayles might be his only shot at any kind of romantic relationship with anyone, and that's so sad.

And by the way, good red herring with romance novel librarian Harper. She was so pretty and cheery and blue-eyed and optimistic that I assumed she was going to die horribly in the teaser; we didn't know Harper was an evil necromancer until the fourth act, when her dead zombie boyfriend Vance showed up and she let him into the library. I wonder why they left her story unresolved, with her fixated on Jack and writing love letters to general delivery in Lebanon, Kansas? Is she coming back?

To conclude... I wanted to like this episode more than I did. It featured Dean and Sam trying to help two of their friends while taking them on a hunt, a very Winchester thing to do. Jack was at his most charming, and we saw a lot of depth of feeling in New Charlie, who is a broken woman. But… and you know there's a but, this episode also felt like it was all over the place. Was it simply about friends bonding? Was it the establishment of cheery blonde Harper the necromancer as a villain in another upcoming episode? Was Jack collapsing at the end in front of Dean supposed to be the point?

Or dare I say it? Was this episode… filler?


— This one was directed by Richard Speight Jr. (Gabriel). I kept getting the feeling that it was a parody of something, but I didn't know what. Anyone? What did I miss?

— Apocalypse World Charlie was a programmer for Richard Roman Enterprises. She told Sam that the apocalypse began with a huge EMP. A nod to Kripke's Revolution? Possibly set-up for something that will happen to Earth-1?

— Jack tested Harper with silver, holy water and the word "Christo." Was that from way back in season one?

— I have to make a library comment. The books weren't shelved correctly. Library books are always shelved upright with bookends, because leaving them on a slant damages book spines.

— Loved the jaunty music, as well as the unfortunate Winston doing Saturday Night Fever right before his horrible death at zombie hands.

— Harper's apartment was really fun, with weird wallpaper and so much décor dedicated to love. (Amore!) No skeezy motel room this week.

— The waitress in Dick's Red Rooster Diner (great name) called Dean "Deep State."

— The ad on the bus stop bench was for "Pete the Pestinator."

— Not be outdone, the sign on the library said, "No Smoking, No Food Or Drink, No Sleeping, No Large Bags or Bedrolls in Library, No Pets, Do Not Leave Your Children Unatttended, No Skateboards or Rollerblades, Shoes and Shirts Required, No Drugs Alcohol or Weapons."

— This week: McCook, Nebraska for Dean and Jack, and "Outside Memphis Tennessee" for Sam and Charlie.

— Dean was Agent Berry and Jack, Agent Charles. Chuck Berry, I assume?

— We're getting a brief Thanksgiving break. The next episode airs November 29.


Harper: "Nobody comes to the library anymore. Not even for story time."

And that isn't true. While the internet has affected the usage of different types of services (less reference, more electronic, etc.), library usage hasn't decreased at all.

Dean: "This is Winston's favorite spot?"
Jack: "His obituary said he loved having breakfast here every morning, which is sort of oddly specific."
Dean: "Yeah. When a young guy dies, they never know what to put in those things."
Interesting and sad. I never thought of that.

Jack: "What's courting?"
Dean: "It's what you do before you start dating."
Jack: "Oh. And that's the thing you do before the sex."
Waitress: "Sometimes you just have the sex."

Dean: "Well, congrats, Mighty Mouse. I think you found us a case."
Jack: "What's Mighty Mouse?"
Dean: "Eat up. Pie's important."

Dean: "Why don't you back off, kid?"
Jack: "No. You back off, old man."
Dean: "Old man?"
Jack: "Yeah. That's right."
Jack was obviously improvising the old man thing as a rebound for the kid thing, but Dean looked genuinely hurt.

Sam: "How many books are you reading?"
Charlie: "All of them."

Charlie: "I'm out."
Sam: "To do what? To go where?"
Charlie: "Away from monsters, from people. I'll go live on a mountaintop or something. As long as there's good wifi."

Sam: "Oh, great. Our perp might just be a giant fly with low self-esteem."

Harper: "Jack, do you believe in love at first sight?"
Jack: "Do you… mind if I use the bathroom?"

Jack: "I need to know everything about sex. Go."
I would have loved Dean genuinely trying to answer that one.

Sam: "People need people."
Charlie: "Why? Because they're the luckiest people in the world?"
Does that mean that there's a Barbra Streisand in Apocalypse World?

Charlie: "That's gotta be our guy, right? I say we rush him."
Sam: "No no no, wait for it, wait for it. We don't want to run up and tackle some regular guy just because he's into weird fashion."
Charlie: "Don't we?"

I'm not sure why, but I had a hard time writing about this episode. It felt like two episodes sort of smushed together, and the "optimism" theme didn't seem to unify them. Does that make it two out of four beekeepers' veils?

Billie Doux has been reviewing Supernatural for so long that Dean and Sam Winchester feel like old friends. Courageous, adventurous, gorgeous old friends.


  1. We have policies against every one of those things at our library - and, sadly, they're needed. I had to put out a guy with a 12" knife on his belt just last week.

  2. I'm putting here a thing that's bothering me since last ep. I like the return of Bobby and Charlie, I really do, but.. but they are not our Bobby and our Charlie. And I feel it, and it makes me sad. Those two characters were my favourite (along with Jody "survivor" Mills) and their death broke my heart like any other. It took time to grieve them, and for now I still haven't rewatch Death' door, even if I think is one of my faves. I was actually pretty happy with memory/ghost/soul/past Bobby, because he was still our Bobby, the father to our brothers. This one is not and Jim Beaver is letting us feel it, just as Felicia is doing an awesome job at not being Charlie. The things I loved about those characters (their bond with the guys, the nerd references, the cleverness when it comes to hunt) are gone and I'm left with people I don't know. Worse, I'm left with people I don't wanna to really get involved with, because I know they're gonna die eventually, again. So yeah, it's bothering me.

  3. TheShadowKnows, I originally read your comment as "I had to TAKE out a guy with a 12" knife on his belt just last week" and had an image of a library smack-down that would make the Winchesters proud.

    I kept getting the feeling that it was a parody of something, but I didn't know what. Anyone? What did I miss?

    I had the same feeling, and while maybe we're both missing something, I think there was just a sort of 1990s indie-movie vibe to this whole episode, which could have been titled "What People Talk About When They Talk About Monsters" or something. The lowkey absurdity was my cup of tea, so I loved it all very much.

    I really wanted to see a glimpse of the Supernatural books on Harper's shelves.

  4. Not only was the "Christo" thing a callback to season 1, but the way they shot the scene in the diner where they interrogate townspeople is basically an exact replica of a similar scene from "Hell House" (the episode where the Ghostfacers first showed up). And I think the weird indie-romance vibes were probably them trying to invoke the whole "one episode love interest" thing they've moved away from.

    I really just felt like they were trying to make a season 1/2/3 standalone episode with season 14 colour-grading, which didn't mesh well with the very late-Supernatural Charlie B-plot. I wish they had just left the subplot for another episode and put more focus on the Jack/Dean relationship (not in a slash-y way), but I guess that would have left Sam with nothing to do.

  5. First off, the "fictional town of McCook" was just so pretty! Made me want to live there actually! :) 😀 😃 However, the real town is so not Pretty but I did like the Supernatural version of it. I think the whole episode had its moments and I loved the team pairings, but, like you pointed out Billie it was a filler episode to start bringing on more usual pain, death, and destruction. Ugg. I know just deal but I'm getting closer to seeing the show end and I'm now starting to get the feels of, don't go...


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