SUPERNATURAL 9.04 ‘Slumber Party’
Episode Title: "Slumber Party"
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Director: Robert Singer
Previously on "Supernatural"
"Slumber Party" marks the fourth episode that Felicia Day has appeared in as Charley Bradbury. Given that Garth (DJ Qualls) is the new Bobby, and he has only appeared in three episodes, and only one as the new Bobby, I find this a bit upsetting. I'm probably the only one upset by this, but still, only three episodes?
On another Bobby tangent, this episode also marks Robert Singer's 26th as director. His time on the show has been invaluable, directing some of my favorite episodes over the years, including season three's "Bad Day at Black Rock" and season four's "Criss Angel is a Douchebag" (Best title for an episode, ever!). It's something to be said when one of your show's most beloved characters is named after you.
Is it just me or is the elephant in the room this season the lying game between Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles)? Sam is completely oblivious to the lies this season, as opposed to previous ones, a side effect of angel possession, no doubt. It is kind of a breath of fresh air, but at this point why do we still need to play a lying game every season?
This episode serves as an exploration of the Men of Letters compound. Since last season, the compound started out as a cool, but too little too late entry into the mythos. Since then, its become the "Supernatural" version of the TARDIS; the more it's explored, the cooler it becomes. A super computer of sorts is discovered, before its time and drastically in need of service. Who you gonna call? Charley Bradbury of course.
Since we last left Charley, she's been doing a few hunts on her own, including shanking a vampire. For her, she's looking for the magic and adventure in it all, blinded by the power of role playing games and Tolkien. In many ways, Charley has become the new Bobby, or more a Bobby 2.0, capable of fast research and solutions to problems. She may be green when it comes to the actual hunting aspect, but she's got potential. The more I see Felicia Day on this show, the more I want her as a regular. It will never happen, but a guy can dream, can't he? Charley breaks the mold of all the other hunters, better than Garth in many ways. Garth's personality can be off putting, as if it's all dumb luck. He lacks a lot of the charisma required for such a role. With Charley, she makes it seem easy. She's intelligent, quick; she embodies everything a hunter should be minus the looks and gruff attitude.
The mythology takes a sharp left turn as writer Robbie Thompson introduces L. Frank Baum's "The Wizard of Oz" into the shows mythos. At times, "Supernatural" can throw the strangest curve balls, especially ones like this that have the chance to fail hard. Here, it's pulled off wonderfully.
Dorothy (Tiio Horn) is the daughter of Baum in this incarnation. The show is interspersed in its first half with black and white flash backs of the first case out of the compound. Dorothy has captured The Wicked Witch of the West (Maya Massar). As it turns out, the Witch is one of the most powerful beings in the "Supernatural" cannon. Little can wound her. Even Crowley (Mark Sheppard), still in the dungeon, is a little scared of her. Both Dorothy and the Witch were bound for years in a vile, but thanks to an incidental spill, it releases both back into the world. Talk about vitality; both hadn't aged a day!
The Witch's plan is to open a doorway to Oz and release havoc: flying monkeys, mass hysteria! I really need to stop with the Ghostbusters lines. She can possess multiple people at one time and can produce some green lighting stuff from her hands and kill people. Though, she can defeated by a pair of red shoes. That's right, a pair of shoes, just let that sink in. I'm sure you know the color. In many ways, the Witch parallels the leviathans, as they they had the dumbest weakness: borax. Red shoes certainly ranks up there among the worst, but the mythos cannot be overlooked; "Supernatural" has a tendency to adapt and roll with it. Despite that fact, what fan didn't swoon when Charley did her in with the shoes? From death, resurrection, and killing the big bad, I'd say that makes her a legit hunter now.
I haven't been very fair to Dean this season. To be honest, I love Jensen Ackles. He's one hell of an actor, and this season it feels like his parts leave him by the way side. Tonight he gets his redeeming moment when he's presented with a choice: have Zeke resurrect Charley after she's killed by the Witch or help in defeating the Witch. Dean will always chose to save Charley in this situation, and it's those little moments, no matter how repetitive, that define his character. Sorry for doubting you, Dean. You've been redeemed in my eyes.
The episode concludes with a happy ending. No not one of those, more like a fairy tale, happily ever after ending. It's so damn cheesy, but it's so damn fun at the same time. Charley and Dorothy head to Oz, to kick ass, takes names, and keep the peace. Charley finally gets her adventure and hopefully, more guest appearances later on down the line, even though this ending feels like a place where the character will be tucked for a while.
"Slumber Party" was completely unnecessary, but it added a great amount of dimension to the show's world. When "Supernatural" is fun, it doesn't matter where the mythos takes you, especially if it's written well. Robert Singer comes away having directed one of the best stand-alone episodes of his "Supernatural" career. And though the show has a larger problem to address in future episodes, "Slumber Party" makes it all fall away. I can live with that.