Supernatural took a turn down the yellow brick road this week, or at least brought back the one who’d been sent down it. Charlie (Felicia Day) returned with a bit of a surprise—an ass-kicking Dark Charlie who represented her dangerous Id.
Being that we had an obvious “evil twin” episode, I wasn’t expecting all that much plot development for the overall season arc. We got some nice inclusions of Dean trying to live with the Mark of Cain. His attempt to eat ridiculously healthy (“What the hell is kale anyway?”) and avoid his usual pleasures have made him one angsty hunter. We see the struggle clearly at the bar as he is sorely tempted by a filled shotglass. Never really thought we’d see Dean actively deal with such a human temptation. I mean, Dean Winchester – girls, booze, butt-kicking Winchester…trying to eat kale and not get drunk. Kind of off-putting.
Although it was a little weird to have the whole “evil twin” episode of Supernatural….minus shapeshifters, of course… it made a nice connection with the Mark’s influence over Dean. Good Charlie laments what Dark Charlie is up to, and takes full responsibility. To reinforce this connection, Charlie, at the end, even remarks to Dean that she doesn’t want him to go through what she did.
There are two technical things I want to mention. The first is in the opening shots. The District Attorney pelts down the staircase, followed by an as-of-yet unseen attacker. We switch from some relatively normal camera angles to a close-on-his-back shot. That shot is jittery and rough because the camera is attached to the actor. It’s probably a Snorricam. You see these in all sorts of movies in which the main character is walking down a street and everything else appears to be moving around them. It produces a disorienting effect. I assume it was used in this early scene to heighten the tension, but it just took me out of the moment because it was so out of character for the usual camerawork on the show.
The other technical aspect I wanted to talk about definitely fits in the plus column. The lighting in the District Attorney’s office was moody and exceptional. The contrasts of light and dark, the venetian blinds effect that played over Dark Charlie’s face like a mask…it fit so well with the overall theme of light versus dark, and the internal battle to balance the two.
Not a terrible episode but definitely not a favorite for the season. I always relish the return of Charlie, but the Oz aspects just don’t jive with the Supernatural universe in my humble opinion. If we’re not going to see Oz, just stop telling us what Oz is like. Unless we have an episode in Oz. Then let’s go, bitches!