|Recap added by Journalbookbinder
Dean wakes up. He's wearing a doctor's coat, over a military uniform, sitting at a desk. He takes off the white coat and tries to figure out where he is. He stops the record in the room from playing, but the music continues even after he's stopped it. He sees a table overturned in front of a door to block it and slides it out of the way. He breaks the metal leg off the table and carries it out into the hallway like a baseball bat.
In the hallway, he finds the bloody bodies of medical personnel strewn everywhere. "What the hell is this?" he asks himself.
Dean bends down to pick up a newspaper. The date on it is 1951. He continues down the hall.
Dean reaches an elevator, but the door is closed. He hears a rasping, growling sound and turns to face something. We see Dean's face, but not what he is looking at. Dean looks fearful or at least determined to defend himself against whatever it is.
24 hours earlier...
Dean brings a 6-pack of beer and a grocery bag into the Men of Letters bunker and sets both on the table as he sits down to take a look at the laptop screen in front of him.
He opens a beer.
Sam comes walking into the room, completely disheveled. It's obvious he just woke up and staggered out of bed. He looks a wreck. Dean is somewhat taken aback by how grungy Sam looks. Dean asks if he could just have "5 minutes" with a pair of clippers to clean up Sam's hair.....
Sam tells Dean to shut up and pushes the hair out of his eyes.
Sam asks what time he laid down. Dean replies around noon...yesterday.
Dean tosses Sam a beer but Sam doesn't even try to catch it and it shatters on the floor. Sam apologizes. Dean tells him that's why they can't have nice things. Sam is obviously off his game.
Dean asks if Sam's okay. He says he's fine and he's going to get dressed so they can go find Kevin. Dean tells Sam to hold on...he's been keeping an eye on every security camera around anyplace that Kevin might be...Garth's houseboat, Kevin's hometown...everywhere. He hasn't seen Kevin. Dean tells Sam that Garth is out looking for Kevin and that he and Sam should stay put and keep an eye on things from the bunker. Dean says Sam needs to get better. Sam says he's fine. Sam thinks he's well enough to go out and hunt.
Dean takes Sam to the bunker's indoor firing range. Sam protests that this little test is stupid. Dean picks up a revolver and fires several shots right into the heart of the figure on a paper target. Dean hands Sam the gun. Sam tries to focus but can't shoot straight and doesn't even hit any part of the target. Dean wonders if the second trial hit Sam harder than the first one. Sam said it felt the same as the first...until the next day. Dean tells Sam they are going to sit tight until Sam is feeling better.
Back in the main room of the bunker, Sam gets an e-mail from Charlie. It says she's in the neighborhood and found a case for them. Dean asks how she knows where they are. Sam says she doesn't...she wrote that she tracked their cell phones to within a 20-mile radius and then the signal went out. They realize that no one can track their phones when they are inside the bunker. Sam calls it some kind of Bermuda Triangle. Dean says, "Man, I love this place".
Sam & Dean stand outside in front of the Impala. Charlie drives up and gets out of her car to greet them. Dean addresses her as "your Highness" (a reference to the LARP and the Real Girl episode). She responds, "What's up, b i t c h e s?". Charlie and Dean hug, then she hugs Sam and notices that he isn't feeling well. He says he's fine.
Sam asks what she's doing in Kansas. She tells them she had to go to a comic convention in Topeka because "a girl's got to get her collectibles". Sam is skeptical that there's a convention right in the middle of the week. Charlie changes the subject, asking if they plan to invite her into their dungeon or if she has to "answer (their) questions three" first. Sam invites her in to introduce her to the Men of Letters.
Charlie thinks the place is awesome. She says it's too bad that the Men of Letters were wiped out, but that's what they get for giving their organization such a sexist name. Dean smirks.
Sam asks what Charlie's been up to. She tells them that she worked out a deal with the two factions at the medieval LARPing event...and she wants to make sure that Sam & Dean are coming to the next one. Dean says they wouldn't miss it. Sam asks about the case Charlie has for them. She says that when she was in Topeka, she saw something pop up over the wire. She found a report of a store clerk who died with his insides liquified. She said the report was buried so as not to panic the locals, but she dug it up. She proceeds to tell Sam and Dean that she has eliminated several different types of monsters as the culprit. Sam asks when she became such an expert. Charlie says that after they last parted company, she started digging into "all things monstrous" and she tends to get a wee bit obsessive about things ("if 'wee bit' means 'completely'.")
Charlie says she also found a series of books by Carver Edlund and asks Sam & Dean if all the
stuff in those books really happened. Sam & Dean immediately look uncomfortable. Based on what she read in the books, Charlie thanks Sam & Dean for saving the world. Dean gives her his "don't mention it" look. She looks at Sam and tells him she's sorry he's had zero luck with the ladies. Sam is completely embarrassed and says they have to find every copy of those books and burn them. Charlie informs them that the books are now available online so they are screwed.
Dean gets up to look into the case of the clerk with the liquified insides. Sam gets up to come with him but stumbles as he gets out of his chair. Sam's looking pale. Dean says Sam is staying home. Charlie volunteers to go with Dean. Dean puts her off saying there's a big difference between reading about monsters and confronting them.
Charlie won't be dissuaded. She says with emphasis, "I'm coming with."
Dean takes her to the shooting range. He tells her if she can hit that target, they can talk about - she cuts him off by firing several quick shots directly into the head of the target. Dean's impressed. He tells her that if she's going to do a ride-along, she has to lose the novelty t-shirts. "Son of a pantsuit," Charlie mutters to herself.
Charlie hits the photo booth for the photo for her fake ID. Then Charlie & Dean go shopping.
This scene is great. Dean waits outside the dressing room, working on Charlie's fake ID, as Charlie comes out in outfit after outfit...all of them mod, or sexy, or stylish...it looks like she thinks a fed should look like one of Charlie's Angels. Dean nixes all of them. A few times, Dean pretends to like the outfit before giving her a "no way in hell" look. Charlie's song "I'm Walkin' on Sunshine" plays during this fashion show until Dean grabs her iPhone and turns off the music in disgust. Charlie pouts and mutters that she was doing a montage.
Finally, Charlie walks out of the dressing room in a rather librarian-looking cardigan, button-down shirt, and tan pants. Dean gives her the thumbs up.
Dean fills her in on all that's been going on with Sam...the trials, Naomi, everything. Dean tells her that their prophet is in the wind. Charlie asks what about Castiel? He seems helpful...and "dreamy".
Dean lets on that he's really worried for Sam...telling Charlie what Cas said about how these trials are changing Sam in ways that even he (Cas) can't heal. Charlie responds that, at least having read their history (Dean looks very uncomfortable at that moment), Sam is tough and there's nothing the Winchesters can't do if they work together.
Charlie says it must be nice to have a brother...someone who can watch your back. Dean asks if she has any siblings; she replies "two"...her Xbox and her PS3.
Dean finishes up Charlie's fake FBI ID and claims he can't get any reception on his phone; he asks to use hers which she hands over. He calls Sam.
Sam tells him he's STILL okay; a bit exasperated that Dean keeps checking in on him. Dean abruptly says he'll check in later; obviously borrowing Charlie's phone wasn't about calling Sam.
Dean and Charlie head to the coroner's office to check out the body with the liquified insides.
Sam is back in the firing range. He's still missing the target, but at least now his bullets land on the edge of the paper. Sam proclaims that to be "close enough".
Dean and Charlie enter the coroner's office. Charlie pulls out her fake FBI ID and, just like Cas,
holds it up upside-down for the coroner to see. Dean gives her a look and she quickly puts it away.
Dean asks the coroner to see the body with the liquified insides. She says sure, as soon as she
sees his chain of custody request form. She stands her ground in spite of Dean trying to charm her. It falls flat. She'll only let them see the body if they have the forms signed. Charlie is quiet and not contributing much to the conversation with the coroner.
As Dean and Charlie leave, he asks her what happened back there. She admits she froze...saying that real life role playing is hard. Dean doesn't ride her too much over it though; he says they'll just come back later when the coroner isn't there.
Charlie's a bit nervous about breaking and entering. Dean says it's the same as hacking. Charlie disagrees saying she's only done breaking and entering once with Dean and Sam talking her through it; but she's been hacking into computer systems since she was a teenager. Dean asks her what she hacked into back then. She responds, "NORAD". Dean gives her the "that's no better than breaking-and-entering" look. He says they should get some food while they wait for the coroner to leave.
Later that night, a pair of teenagers are walking in the dark. They're playing video games and not paying attention to where they are going until they almost stumble over a bloated corpse. One pokes at the body with a stick until its liquid insides explode on them. They scream.
Later, Dean and Charlie arrive at the scene of the exploding body. Charlie is nervous but Dean tells her to get back on the horse and take the lead with the police. The police woman stops her from explaining why she and Dean are there, telling her that the other agent is already on the scene; it's Sam. Dean asks Sam what he's doing there. Sam says he's working the case; same as them. He fills them in on the victim. A missing librarian but the coroner has already come to collect the body. Dean says with no body there's nothing to see and Sam should go back home. Sam says he still hasn't talked to the witnesses (the two teenagers). Dean says he and Charlie can handle that. Dean tells Charlie to go talk to the kids. She says, "but I don't want to miss the bro-ment" to which Dean tells her more forcefully to go talk to the witnesses.
Dean tries to talk Sam into going back home.
Charlie talks to the teenagers. She tries to bond with them a bit over the video games.
Sam tells Dean he's "playing through the pain". Dean tells Sam not to quote him to himself.
Charlie comes back and tell Sam and Dean that the teenagers noticed something on the victim's arm before the body exploded, covering them in "years of future therapy". They said it looked like a blue handprint. Dean says that sounds like something Sam should go read about...in a book...at home. Sam says he's not leaving until they find out what is doing this. Dean's pissed and just says, "whatever" as he walks away.
Charlie tells Sam that he and Dean fight like an old married couple.
Since Dean is storming off, Charlie asks if this means they don't have to break into the coroner's office anymore. Sam thinks that breaking into the coronor's office is a great idea. Dean drives off leaving them both.
Sam says it's okay; he stole Charlie's car and he thinks he knows where Dean is going.
Dean breaks into the coroner's office only to come fact-to-face with Sam and Charlie who are already there. The three of them see car lights outside; someone is coming. Charlie goes to check; she confirms it's the coroner and she says she'll take care of it. Sam & Dean head in to look at the body.
Charlie enters the coroner's office, surprising her. Charlie says she came back to get a blank copy of the form she needed. The coroner looks suspicious that the FBI can't come up with the forms. Charlie says the FBI field office had a fire and a power outage.
Sam and Dean are in the morgue and the body is missing. Sam reads the records revealing that the bodies have already been burned. Dean comments that these people run a tight ship.
The coroner gives Charlie the forms and goes to leave. Charlie tries to stall her asking about where she gets such great power suits.
Back in the morgue, Sam reads that the CDC even signed off on the bodies before they were burned. Dean wonders if they need to take decontamination showers or if this is still a case. Sam said there was something about the mark the teenagers saw on the body; the blue handprint; that rings a bell with him. Maybe it was something he saw in their dad's journal. He says they need to check the lore.
Charlie is dragging the conversation with the coroner on way too long; following her down the hall. They reach the morgue but Sam and Dean have gotten away before the coroner sees them. Charlie thanks the coroner and leaves.
Back at the Men of Letters bunker, Sam, Dean, and Charlie are trying to figure out what they are dealing with. They rule out leviathans, then dragons...Charlie marks off a picture of each type of monster with an "X" on her computer. Sam comments that he hates that thing...and he wants one. Charlie smiles.
Dean is reading a book. He discovers there's an offshoot type of djinn who liquify their victim's insides and leave a blue handprint. Book trumps computer. Charlie says she hates that thing (the book) and she wants one. Dean smiles a self-satisfied smile.
Sam asks if they die like regular djinn. Dean says yes; sliver blade dipped in lamb's blood.
Charlie gets up saying she wants to stretch her legs and pick up some food for them now that they've had a breakthrough. She grabs her bag and heads out. After she leaves, Dean asks Sam if Charlie seems a little off to him. Sam says yes; ever since she got there. Dean's glad Sam confirmed his suspicions.
Back in her room, Charlie is opening a lock box. There are a bunch of passports inside. She logs
onto her computer. She thinks she hears something behind her. On her computer it looks like she's doing a large electronic money transfer. She hears something again and goes to the door. She looks outside but there's nothing there. She closes the door and turns back towards the room only to find the coroner standing in front of her; eyes glowing blue as djinn eyes do!
Sam is trying to call Charlie, but she isn't answering. Sam starts coughing. Dean looks concerned. Sam tells Dean that Charlie's not answering and he found out there was never any comic convention in Topeka. He wonders why Charlie would lie to them. Dean says there's only one way to find out; when he used her phone he turned on the GPS.
Sam and Dean break into Charlie's room, but she's gone and the place is a mess. They case it, guns drawn, then find her computer, gun and passports. Sam gets onto her computer and sees that Charlie has been making monetary donations through all of these different aliases to a patient in a hospital; Gertrude Middleton.
Dean says he'll go talk to Gertrude while Sam keeps trying to find out more information about the djinn.
At the hospital, Dean finds Gertrude. A nurse tells him that she's been in a nonresponsive vegetative state for 16 years. The ventilator is the only thing keeping her alive. She and husband were hit by a drunk driver while going to pick up their 12-year-old daughter from a sleepover. The nurse claims that no one has heard from the daughter since. Gertrude hasn't had any visitors officially sign in to see her, but some nurses thought they saw someone in Gertrude's room reading to her several times. The nurse says that anonymous donations help pay for Gertrude's care and that's a nice gesture, but the truth is, she's already gone.
Dean puts the pieces together. He tells Mrs. Middleton she has one hell of a daughter and he promises her they'll find Charlie. Mrs. Middleton doesn't respond.
The coroner/djinn has captured Charlier and has her tied to a chair. She says she can smell the fear on her. Charlie is surprised that djinn can smell fear. The coroner figures that if Charlie knows about djinn, then she's a hunter, not FBI. Charlie says she's more of a hunter-in-training and really not worth killing.
The coroner says that her kind of djinn like it when their victims are fearful; they taste better. She says Charlie will make a perfect meal for two. Charlie asks, "for two?" just as the djinn grabs her arm.
Back at the Men of Letters bunker, Dean tells Sam that there is no saving Gertrude, but she seemed like a good mom; kind, strong, taken from her family way too young...Dean asks, "does that remind you of anyone?". Obviously, Dean is feeling a kinship with Charlie over their moms.
Sam dug up that there was a body 12 years ago that was to be sent to the CDC, but the coroner's new assistant at the time ordered the body burned "accidentally". The assistant was Jennifer O'Brien; the current coroner.
Dean comments that being a coroner is a hell of a cover for hiding kills.
Back in the room with Charlie and the djinn, the djinn lets go of her arm, leaving a blue handprint. Charlie comes to long enough to tell the djinn that Dean is going to come get her. The djinn welcomes that saying he reeked of fear as well (!). Charlie screams until she passes out.
Sam and Dean wonder why Jennifer got sloppy with the kills after all these years; leaving the bodies where they could be found. Sam suggests they go ask her. He's found that she owns a house and an abandoned shipping warehouse. Dean says, "of course she does".
Sam and Dean enter the darkened warehouse. They split up and Dean finds Charlie; passed out in the chair and unresponsive with the blue handprint on her arm. Dean looks genuinely worried/panicked.
Sam senses something behind him and turns around to find Jennifer the coroner. They fight and she overwhelms Sam who is, after all, diminished from his trials. Just as she moves in to grab his arm, she is stabbed from behind and falls to the floor dead.
Dean saved Sam and asks if he's okay. Sam only responds "where's Charlie?".
They find Charlie and inject her with the djinn antidote, but nothing happens. Dean starts to get panicky. Sam thinks maybe that if this is a different type of djinn, they need a different antidote. Sam theorizes that if the djinn put your brain in a loop while your blood boils, if the antidote didn't break the loop, maybe they need to find a way to break the loop from the inside. The djinn usually send you to your happy place; like a dream.
"African dream root," says Dean.
They mix up the dream root and put a piece of Charlie's hair in. Dean drinks it down. He says he has to go to sleep fast, so he asks Sam to punch him. Dean starts to say that he knows Sam doesn't want to, but before he can even get the words out, Sam punches him, then he shakes his hand in pain.
He didn't knock Dean out. Dean starts to tell Sam how he must really be off his game when Sam punches him again and Dean goes out.
Dean wakes up where we saw him at the start of the episode...at the desk wearing a doctor's coat over a military uniform...
As Dean tries to open the elevator in Charlie's dream state, he hears a growling sound and turns to see two soldiers with vampire teeth coming down the hallway towards him, stepping over bloody bodies as they walk.
The elevator bell rings and the door opens behind Dean. It's Charlie, complete with a large gauge shotgun, bandolier and an eye patch. She gives Dean a "get in" nod and proceeds to kill the vampires in the hallway with her shotgun. She grabs Dean's arm and says, "come with me if you want to live". Then she shrugs a bit and says, "I've always wanted to say that".
Charlie wants to know what Dean's doing in her dream. He explains that she was attacked by Jennifer the coroner who was a djinn and a djinn will send you to your happy place. He said he's not judging Charlie, but, "you've got a really strange sense of happy, kiddo".
Charlie said that Jennifer told her that her kind feed off fear. This isn't a happy place for Charlie; it's a recurring nightmare she has. They are inside a video game where you kill super-soldier vampires. She downloaded the game illegally and tinkered with it to make it reflect her liberal politics then she released her version online for free. The makers of the game tracked her down and had her arrested. She was 12 at the time. Dean adds, "and you've been on the run ever since".
Back in the warehouse, Sam watches over the passed-out Dean and Charlie. He starts coughing. He hears something behind him.
Back in the video game, Charlie says they have to get out of there. Dean tells her they gave her the
antidote and it didn't take...and he killed the djinn. Charlie asks, "both of them?".
It dawns on Dean that a weakened Sam is back in the warehouse with another djinn lurking somewhere.
In the warehouse Sam is accosted by a teenager with glowing blue eyes who tells him, "you killed my mom". Sam pulls out the silver knife.
Back in the video game, Dean figures that if they can win the game, maybe they can get back to help Sam...he wants Charlie to tell him all she can about this game. She says she doesn't know how long she's been out, but she's been at this level of the game a thousand times. She says she has to try to "save the patients" but every time she gets to this level she gets sent back to the beginning only with fewer weapons and the vampires are faster.
Dean and Charlie work together killing all vampire soldiers who come at them.
Charlie says it's an infinite loop; like Pac Man without level 256. "Level what?", Dean says increduously.
"Nothing", says Charlie.
"What 'patients' (do they have to save in the game)?" asks Dean.
Dean follows Charlie down the hallway.
They get inside a room and lock the door. Dean pulls aside a curtain and finds Gertrude in the bed. Dean tells Charlie that he knows who this person is. Charlie wants to know what he's talking about. He tells her how he and Sam figured out what she's been doing; visiting her mom. Charlie says she sneaks into the hospital whenever she can and reads to her mom just the way her mom read to her when she was a child.Charlie says her mom would read her "The Hobbit". Her mom is the reason she loves the stuff she loves.
Deans tells Charlie he's sorry for her loss. Charlie gets a bit angry and tells him that her mom is not gone. Dean closes the curtain around Charlie's mom's bed. He goes to the next curtain and pulls it back. Sam is laying in the next bed. Charlie asks if this is her nightmare or Dean's. Dean quickly pulls the curtain around Sam closed again.
Back in the warehouse, Sam faces off with the child of the djinn realizing it was him who got sloppy with the bodies. He said his mom always told him not to play with his food. He says this while looking at his mom's body. He turns around and Sam stabs him saying, "you should have listened to your mom."
Back in the video game, the vampire soldiers are trying to break down the hospital room door. Charlie tells Dean to get ready to save the patients. Dean tries to reason with her...if they are stuck in a loop, maybe the way they break that loop is by NOT fighting off the vampires. As they talk, they keep firing through the door at the vampires. Charlie doesn't want to stop fighting; she says they have to save the patients. Dean says that he and Charlie are dying of djinn poison in the real world; they have to find a way to break the mental loop.
Dean says that to break the cycle, they have to let go of the fear and stop playing the game.
Dean says he knows this game if fueled by Charlie's fear, but not fear of the vampires or of being
arrested...fear of losing her mom. Charlie starts to get emotional as Dean turns her towards him to tell her that her mom is really already gone.
Charlie says he doesn't understand. She was at a sleepover and she got scared so she called her parents to come get her. They shouldn't have been driving. Dean softly tells her it wasn't her fault. Charlie says she just wants to tell her mom that she's sorry and that she loves her. She says she has to have her mom hear that one more time, even though she knows she can't hear her.
Dean softly says, "I know". He says, "Believe me, I know, but you have to let it go".
The vampires have almost successfully broken down the door. Dean says, "game over, kiddo". He looks at Charlie with a great deal of caring.
Charlie cocks her gun, but doesn't fire. She lets it fall to the ground and the vampire growling is silenced. The monsters disappear. Dean opens the door and all is quiet out in the hallway. Charlie turns towards her mom's bed, but it's empty.
In the warehouse, Dean is waking up. So is Charlie. She looks so vulnerable and immediately looks to Dean. Dean says, "I'm sorry...I had to". Charlie hugs him, putting her face against his chest as she cries. Sam looks a bit taken aback by all this emotion; just wondering what went on while Dean and Charlie were under.
Dean might even have a few tears in his eyes.
Later, outside the Men of Letters bunker, Charlie is getting ready to leave. She thanks Sam for saving them. He says, "anytime, your Highness". She turns to Sam and tells him he's going to be okay. If anyone can get through the trials, it's him. He's tough; at least according to what she read in the Carver Edlund books.
Sam tells Charlie she should come back and spend some time going through their archives. He says she's definitely a Woman of Letters. Charlie says she likes the sound of that. She hugs Sam goodbye and Sam goes back inside to give Dean and Charlie a moment alone.
Dean asks Charlie what's next for her. He gives her a pretty penetrating look. She says she thinks she'll go back to the hospital. She has to let go.
She asks Dean if he's going to "let it go". He says, "never". Charlie says, "that's my boys".
Charlie looks up at Dean and says, "I love you." He gives a slight smile and says, "I know". Charlie
smiles. Dean moves in and gives her a hug. A very tight hug. He kisses her head. Charlie goes to leave and gives a small wave as she walks towards her car.
I really can't describe how touching this scene is.
Dean heads back inside and Sam immediately starts to apologize for going out on the hunt when he wasn't at 100%...he's sure Dean is going to lecture him about how he's not well enough to be out there hunting..but Dean doesn't say anything, just walks quickly up to Sam and hugs him. Tightly. Sam is surprised, but hugs him back. Dean pats him on the back and breaks the hug. He tells Sam they should go "find their prophet". Sam appears surprised but happy that Dean is including him and they are a team in this again.
At the hospital, Charlie is signing some paperwork. I'm assuming this is do-not-rescussitate paperwork. She hands the papers to the nurse. The nurse tells her to take all the time she needs with her mom.
Charlie has tears in her eyes. She touches her mom's forehead. She sits down next to her. She reaches into her bag and pulls out "The Hobbit". She tells her mom, "one last time, okay?". She starts reading and the scene fades out as she reads "...it was a Hobbit hole, and that means comfort".