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Recap: Supernatural S 08 E 20 Pac Man Fever

Recap of Supernatural
Season 8, Episode 20

Pac-Man Fever

I couldn't Ctrl-Alt-Delete my way out. Real life roleplaying is hard. —Charlie

Written by Robbie Thompson.

Directed by Robert Singer.

Air Date: April 24, 2013.

Concerned about the physical toll the second trial took on Sam, Dean benches his brother from hunting until he heals up. So, when geektastic hacker Charlie stumbles upon a case and tracks down the boys to enlist their help, Dean decides it's time to teach Charlie how to be a hunter-in-training. While happy to see Her Highness again, the boys suspect Charlie is hiding something: a secret that could get her killed.

Tropes:

  • Adult Fear: What Charlie is really afraid of is having her mother never wake up.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cry into Chest
  • Dirty Communists: A poster in the teaser says "Fight Communism. No Reds in America!"
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Sam is showing flu-like ailments from the strain of undertaking the second trial, but he stubbornly refuses to remain at home and joins up with Charlie and Dean on the case instead.
  • Fashion Shop Fashion Show: When Dean makes Charlie buy a suit, a montage ensues of Charlie trying out outfits with Dean turning them down, complete with music. When Dean turns off the music playing on Charlie's phone, she lampshades it.
    Charlie: [pouting] Montage!
  • The Fifties: There is a portrait of Harry Truman hanging behind the desk Dean wakes up on in the teaser. Dean then finds a newspaper for July 12, 1951.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Despite being openly lesbian, Charlie's take on the Castiel described in the Supernatural novels is:
    Charlie: He sounds helpful...and dreamy.
  • In Medias Res: The episode starts with Dean "awakening" in Charlie's dream.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Charlie has an iPad that Sam is jealous of. Dean has John Winchester's journal, which Charlie is jealous of.
      Sam: [about the iPad] I hate that thing. [beat] I want one.
      Charlie: [about the journal] I hate that thing. And I want one.
    • Sam tries this to convince Dean to let him in on the hunt.
      Sam: I need to be out here. "Play through the pain", right?
      Dean: Oh, come on, man, don't quote me to me!
  • Left the Background Music On: In the teaser, "Night Hop" by Benny Carter is playing. It's a Subverted Trope as, when Dean removes the needle from the record, resulting in a Record Needle Scratch, the music keeps playing because it is background music.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Sam and Dean. Charlie lampshades it, name-dropping the trope in the process:
    Charlie: You guys fight like an old married couple.
  • Messy Hair: Sam when he wakes up, which is lampshaded by Dean.
    Dean: Man, I'm telling you, give me five minutes with some clippers, and...
    Sam: Oh, shut up.
  • Monster Is a Mommy
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Dean turns off "Walking On Sunshine" on Charlie's phone, ending her montage.
  • Newspaper Dating: Dean takes a newspaper from the body of a dead nurse, dated July 12, 1951, with the headline "Truman Denies Medical Experiment".
  • Red Scare: The video game that is the setting of Charlie's nightmare was called The Red Scare; it features zombie-vampire Communists.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: The teaser ends with Dean looking frightened as a growling figure approaches him. Only the shadow of the figure is shown.
  • Shout-Out:
  • State Sec: There is a poster for Civil Defense in the teaser which says, "America Calling. Take your place in Civil Defense. Contact your nearby defense council."
  • Tap on the Head: Dean needs to fall asleep fast, so he tells Sam to punch him and knock him out.
    Dean: Alright, I'm gonna need to go sleep fast, so, punch me. [Sam gives him a look] Look, man, I know you don't want to, okay—
    [Sam punches him. Dean staggers, but isn't knocked out]
    Dean: Well, you're a little off your game there, cause I was—that was pretty—
    [Sam punches him again, this time knocking him out]
  • Themed Aliases:
  • Titled After the Song: "Pac Man Fever" by Buckner & Garcia. Probably, although it could also be named after the video game for the Nintendo GameCube.
  • Took a Shortcut: Played for laughs when Sam gets to locations Dean was headed to before him, twice.
    Sam: [to Dean] Took you so long?
  • Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Spoken almost word-for-word when Sam completely fails to catch a beer Dean throws to him.
    Dean: This is why we don't have nice things, Sam.
  • Wilhelm Scream: Charlie references this when she wakes up tied to a chair with a djinn in her face, rather than actually screaming.
    Jennifer: You're not going anywhere.
    Charlie: [panicky] Wilhelm Scream.
  • Your Worst Nightmare: The djinn use their victim's fear to prepare them for eating. Charlie says that the dream she and Dean are in is a recurring nightmare she's had about a game that frightened her when she was young, but Dean correctly deduces that it isn't the game that frightens Charlie, but the prospect that she cannot save her comatose mother.
Supernatural S 08 E 19 Taxi DriverRecap/SupernaturalSupernatural S 08 E 21 The Great Escapist

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