"Pac-Man Fever" seemed like it had the makings of being a marshmallow-light filler before the inevitable heaviness of this season's final episoes. Surprisingly, it was a heartwarming, quirky tearjerker packed with feels, sweet hugs...and a side of exploding corpses.
Grab your tissues and let's dive in, shall we?
Although Charlie arrived in town to attend a non-existent mid-week comic convention and stumbled on a case, Charlie became the first the outsider to visit the the Winchester Batcave, complete with its mystical cloaking device. Since we last saw her in "LARP And The Real Girl," Charlie has been obsessively researching all things hunting and reading all of the Carver Edlund "Supernatural" books, which are now online. "Thanks for saving the world and stuff," she says to Dean, "Sorry you have zero luck with the ladies," she winces to Sam.
The case she brought them involves victims with "liquified organs" and a mysterious blue handprint. Thanks to her the hunting app on her tablet, which Sam adorably covets, she’s already eliminated the usual monsters-of-the-week. With Sam out of commission, Charlie literally jumps at the chance to tag along with Dean. After passing Dean's weapons test in the Batcave's gun range and creating her own "Pretty Woman"-esque montage, Charlie, rockin' new FBI credentials, heads into the field with Dean. Unfortunately, hunting is much harder than she imagined, thanks to the a corpse-blocking coroner, who not only requests the proper paperwork but is apparently immune to Dean's doe-eyed, pouty-lipped beauty. That alone is a glaring reason to suspect her, and her cold sourpuss catapults her to the top of the list.
After a few video-gaming tweens discover and pop another bloated body with goo-ified organs (the gore factor of this scene was disappointingly light), a defiant Sam and Charlie break into the coroner's office and discover that the creepy M.E. had burned the bodies and faked the documents to cover her monstrous tracks. The infinite entries in John Winchester's journal identifies the culprit as a darker species of Djinn that preys on fear.
One of the reasons Charlie is a wonderful addition to the Winchester mythology is because she’s cloaked in mystery but still remains the brothers' link to the outside world. There were always hints to sadness in her life, but never details. We know from "The Girl With The Dungeons And Dragons Tattoo" that she was a nomadic hacker with at least a few aliases under her belt. This episode shed tragic light on her past. Her parents were t-boned by a drunk driver 16 years ago. Her father died, but her mother was left in a coma. She had worsened in the last year, and was essentially brain-dead. Charlie had been using her hacking skills to funnel money to the hospital to pay for her mother’s care.
Dr. Djinn had smelled and lusted after her fear of losing her mother and attacked her in her crashpad, taking her to an abandoned warehouse where Charlie could trip on the Djinn’s dark blue poison in private. It catapulted into Charlie into an unfinished video game she'd stolen from the creators, re-designed and released for free as a child. Sam and Dean eventually kill the Djinn, but when the antedote doesn't work and Charlie literally begins to burn from the inside out, Dean takes African Dream Root to travel through Charlie's subconscious and save her, leaving a weakened Sam to protect them both.