Review of Episode 8×11: “LARP and the Real Girl”
Overall: Okay, I’ll admit it – in general, I’m not a huge fan of the humor episodes. Yes, they’re funny and they’re enjoyable to watch, but I typically don’t wear out my DVD player re-watching eps like “Hellhounds” and “Tall Tales.” “LARP and the Real Girl,” however, is an exception to the rule. Despite being a laugh-fest, there was a note of true friendship that has been sorely lacking this season. This episode had a healing quality that I – and many other fans – desperately needed.
Dean: In this episode, Dean was quietly sensitive, doing whatever he could to try to help Sam let go of Amelia. We finally had some recognition that Sam choosing normal with Amelia wasn’t so different from Dean choosing normal with Ben and Lisa. Dean empathized with Sam. Dean was supportive. Color me a happy fan.
Dean also got to heart-to-heart with Charlie a bit, which was nice. When we lost Bobby, the boys lost their best confidant. So, it was cool to see Dean open up to Charlie and let her know what-all’s been going on. There was a definite nod to Dean and Lisa’s relationship in this conversation, and it made me wonder whether the show is aiming for a reunion between them. If we’re in the last season (and I still have no idea if we are), then I can see that as a possible series-ender: Sam with Amelia, Dean with Lisa. However, I think the majority of fans would rather see the series end with the brothers sitting side-by-side in the Impala, riding off to the next hunt.
My only complaint about the conversation with Charlie is that she said it’s Dean’s fault Sam had to give up Amelia. Huh? Last time I checked, Sam made his own decision to leave Amelia behind. Both times. Another minor quibble: Dean sent Charlie back to camp on her own? What the crap? They were in the middle of the woods, and there was a magical killer on the loose. Not something Dean would do, just like Sam wouldn’t have ditched Martin in the woods with a hungry vamp on the prowl. Writing OOC actions just to progress the plot is not cool.
Sam: What a sweetie he was in this episode – most especially the ending, when he said they both needed some fun. He seemed to finally recognize what Dean had been through in Purgatory, and that things hadn’t been any easier for Dean this past year-and-a-half than they were for Sam. This is what I like to see – the brothers looking out for each other and supporting each other. This is what hooked me on the show in the first place. You can have all the awesome, magical, demonic stories you want, but only two things keep me from changing the channel: Sam and Dean.
Back to Sam, though – I’m still not sure what he’s given up: A normal life with Amelia, or a normal life, period? He said in this ep that while there’s nothing to do yet in regards to the demon tablet, he and Dean might as well hunt. It looks like Sam still views hunting as a filler activity – not something he wants to do forever. Does this mean Sam is planning to go to college as soon as the demons are locked up? I feel like I need to know. I feel like Dean does, too.
Sam’s little interaction with the girl in the tech tent was pretty adorable. I like how he and Dean got the same info via different channels. I also like how Sam was the one urging restraint in the woods, when Dean took out his gun to threaten the orcs. Good characterization for both of them – level-headed Sam, and shoot-first Dean. 🙂 Both of whom, by the way, looked ridiculous with their faces painted.
Oh, and how great was it when Dean was delivering the Braveheart speech? Or when Sam said, “It’s the only one he knows”? Sam’s gentle tone, the affection in his voice, just made my heart melt. With one stupid, silly, throwaway line, I felt for the first time in a long time that Sam still loves his brother.
Charlie: The first ep she appeared in suffered from some bad writing/editing, so I’m glad she got to come back and really shine in this one. She was a great, sympathetic-but-unbiased sounding board for Dean, and she was an awesome Moon Queen. Her fear at facing the creepy stag-skull creature in the forest was palpable. Her excitement over the hot fairy was too funny. She did an all-around great job, and I’d love to see her back again, as a friend and partner to our boys.
Minor Characters: The cop in this ep was flat-out hilarious. I loved every second he was on screen. It’s rare that someone with such a minor role manages to steal scenes, but this guy did it. “I’m gonna go dip myself in hand sanitizer.” ROFL! Also, the orc in the stockades deserves a mention, as well, for his humorous performances both in- and out-of- character.
Random Notes: I guessed who the bad guy was pretty quickly, but it didn’t detract at all from my enjoyment of the episode. As soon as fairies were mentioned, though, I expected some reference to Dean’s previous encounter with these creatures back in Season Six. That was a missed opportunity if I ever saw one. Also, after the battle inside the magical tent, the camera did not pan onto Sam. Until the book was destroyed, Sam was being strangled by a suit of armor – I needed a quick shot of him to make sure he was okay!
Final Thoughts: Like an ice-cold Coke on a beastly-hot day, this episode hit the spot. Not only did it taste great, but it also filled me up in a very satisfying way. I probably won’t re-watch “Ghostfacers” for another few years, but I think “LARP and the Real Girl” might get a viewing or two in the meantime. 🙂