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Recap / Supernatural S 14 E 06 Optimism

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Written by: Steve Yockey

Directed by: Richard Speight, Jr.

Air date: November 15th, 2018

Sam and Charlie team up to get to the bottom of a string of random disappearances. Meanwhile, Jack believes that he has found a case and convinces Dean to partner up with him on the hunt.


  • Adorkable: Jack's general cluelessness about sex and romance balanced with his eagerness to experience one or both while also trying to save the girl land him in this category
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  • Attractive Zombie: Vance was a stereotypical handsome guy before being murdered and Harper still finds him attractive in death, treating him like a typical boyfriend.
  • Bad to the Bone: Anyone who watches Supernatural knows Winston is doomed when "Staying Alive" cues and Winston starts the "Lucky with the ladies" dance that normally goes with it.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Dean takes Jack under his wing for a case, giving him advice, explaining what's going on, letting Jack take the lead on certain aspects of the case, and bailing him out of trouble when needed.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Harper initially comes across as the unfortunate victim of bad luck or a killer stalker. It turns out she's a necromancer who uses her girl-next-door looks to lure in unsuspecting victims for her undead boyfriend to murder, both to survive and to prove his love for her.
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  • Cliffhanger: Jack's Incurable Cough of Death comes to a head at the end, as his nose bleeds profusely and he collapses to the floor.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Dean comments that Jack finally gets his zombie, referring to Jack mentioning several times that he's always wanted to hunt one.
    • Dean tells Jack that zombies are killed by nailing them to their coffins with a silver stake. We last saw Sam and Dean do this in "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things."
    • Jack complains that food tastes different now that he doesn't have his powers. Castiel complained of the same thing when he regained his powers after losing them in season 9.
    • Jack pours a lot of sugar in his coffee showing he still has his Sweet Tooth from season 13.
    • Dean treats Jack to chocolate meringue pie, noting that pie is important, which has been his opinion the entire series.
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    • Jack refers to Gabriel and Rowena's fling in "Beat the Devil."
    • Jack uses "Christo" to test whether or not Harper is a demon. This technique had been largely abandoned by the brothers after they battled Azazel and similarly-powered demons who were powerful enough to resist the eye-shifting compulsion, rendering the technique ineffective.
  • Dangerous Key Fumble: Averted. Harper fumbles with the keys but Jack remembers that Harper never came back to lock up so the library is still unlocked when they run there to get away from the zombie. Subverted when Harper unlocks the door Jack had previously locked to let Vance in and reveals he's her boyfriend.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Alt-verse Charlie talks about how the apocalypse went down in her universe and how Kara, the love of her life, was murdered as people panicked as supplies dwindled.
  • Description Cut:
    • Jack imagines aloud to Dean that Charlie and Sam are probably doing something really exciting. Cut to them sitting in a car, completely silent, obviously bored, staking out a bus stop.
    • Dean describes Sam as extremely smart. Cut to Sam entertaining himself with a fidget spinner with a goofy, entertained grin on his face.
  • Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: Sam spends most of the episode trying to convince Apocalypse Charlie to remain a hunter because the Prime Charlie was a good hunter.
  • EMP: Charlie describes this as the angels' first move in enacting the Apocalypse. Being cut off from technology and unable to communicate isolated the humans and made them desperate and violent.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Harper escapes Jack and Dean. She is last seen writing a letter promising to murder Jack and then resurrect him so they can be together forever.
  • Euphemism Buster: The entire scene at Dick's Red Rooster Diner. Much like Castiel, Jack has little understanding of human behavior and doesn't understand what is or isn't appropriate conversation, particularly in mixed company. When they discuss that "courting" is the step before dating, he says out loud that dating is the step before sex.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The musca's colony comes to collect his body after he is put down by Sam and Charlie. It makes it clear that even though he was a "bad egg", they still mourn his death.
  • Evil Plan: Harper reveals that she murdered her boyfriend because he wanted to leave their hometown. Then she used necromancy to raise him from the dead with undying devotion for her. After she escapes, she leaves a letter revealing that she intends to eventually hunt Jack down, murder him, and resurrect him so they can be together forever.
  • Evil Smells Bad: Sam describes the musca's lair as smelling like pine cleaner and rotting meat.
  • Fatal Attractor: Everyone in town assumes this is Harper, and they describe her as being sweet but having the worst luck with men. The truth turns out to be much darker.
  • Genius Book Club: While they wait on their stake outs, Charlie reads lore. When Sam asks how many books she plans to read, she says "all of them." He looks suitably impressed. Later, when they're discussing musca-specific lore, Sam spouts off a ton of information. When Charlie gives him a surprised look, he shrugs and tells her he's already read all the books.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: At the diner, when Dean is uncomfortable with the sex talk, he pushes a ceramic red rooster away from him which is hilarious if you know another name for roosters. Not only that, but the name of the diner is Dick’s Red Rooster Diner... in case they were being too subtle.
  • Gone Mad From The Isolation: What causes the musca to go bad and start hunting humans.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: They play this with Harper with Dean being the overbearing FBI agent and Jack pretending to be the concerned citizen who knows his rights and protects Harper against law enforcement overreach. It works surprisingly well even when Jack goes off script.
  • Guilt Complex: Both Dean and Jack repeatedly express that they feel guilty for not stopping Michael. Despite being repeatedly told it's not their fault, neither are really able to let the feelings of guilt and shame go.
  • Greasy Spoon: Dick's Red Rooster Diner
  • Hopeless Suitor: Miles clearly has a crush on Harper and takes any opportunity to get her attention, including butting in when she's talking to someone he views as potential competition for her romantic interest. However, Harper views him as a socially awkward weirdo and gives no signs of the feelings being mutual.
  • Hot Librarian: Men are attracted to Harper despite the incredibly high mortality rate of her suitors.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Charlie's experiences on Apocalypse World have left her believing this.
  • I Love the Dead: Harper kisses Vance and declares how much she loves him, despite the fact that he's clearly dead and has been for a while.
  • Improvised Weapon: Miles grabs a stapler to defend Harper against Winston.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Jack's cough continues, this time leading to him collapsing while bleeding from the mouth and nose.
  • In Love with Love: Harper cares more about having complete adoration and never being alone than she does about the happiness and well-being of her partner.
  • Internal Reveal: Although Dean and Castiel were already aware Jack has a persistent cough that's been bothering him, Dean realizes the severity when Jack collapses during a coughing fit, bleeding from the nose.
  • Interrogation Montage: How we see Jack and Dean get information from the townspeople.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: Jack is hurling insults at Dean in their pretend showdown, but when he calls Dean an "old man", Dean visibly recoils, the off-script insult hitting to close to home. Justified in that all the other insults are about how Dean is a terrible FBI agent, which Dean can easily ignore as he's not an actual agent, but the off-script insult might be a hint at how Jack really sees Dean.
  • Jump Scare: Jack is hiding in the darkened library, trying to avoid being caught by Vance when suddenly a hand comes out of nowhere clamping across his mouth. But it's just Dean trying to keep Jack from yelping and giving away their position.
  • Karma Houdini: Harper is able to slip away and avoid any consequences for the multiple murders she committed or the blood magic she's been practicing.
  • Love Hungry: Harper wants to be the epicenter of her love interest's life.
  • Milky White Eyes: Vance's eyes.
  • Mood Whiplash: Winston's celebratory dance after getting a date with Harper is cut short when he is suddenly snatched off the street and murdered.
  • Mutagenic Goo: Charlie finds goo from the musca which is later revealed to break down the human body to be used to form the musca's nest.
  • Necromancer: Harper comes from a long line of necromancers, and reanimated her boyfriend after murdering him to keep him from leaving her and their small town.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Harper gives this as the reason for Miles' behavior. Humorous in hindsight when you realize she's a necromancer who is the catalyst for a string of murders in her small town.
  • Obsessive Love Letter: Harper's letter to Jack is decidedly creepy.
  • Red Herring: When it becomes clear Harper has a stalker, Miles seems like an obvious suspect. Until he himself is murdered...
  • The Reveal: In the third act, Harper is revealed to be the mastermind behind all the murders rather than innocent collateral damage.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: When Dean and Jack approach Wanda the waitress while pretending to be FBI agents, she reacts very hostilely, refusing to give any information and insulting them as agents of the Deep State and touting her knowledge of her constitutional rights. Her mind is quickly changed, however, when Dean offers her cash for information.
  • Scooby Dooby Bookshelves: After Harper orders Vance to kill Jack, the two sneak around and through the various aisles of the library missing each other by seconds at the intersection of each aisle and row.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: We hear Miles screaming as he's attacked and later see his mauled body but not the actual attack.
  • Shoutout:
    • Dean refers to Vance as Archie.
    • Charlie quotes the Barbara Streisand song "People" when Sam argues that people need people when she says she plans to live in isolation on a mountain top.
    • Dean refers to Jack as Mighty Mouse.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Vance fights Dean just long enough for Harper to "escape" with Jack. Then he suddenly stops fighting and runs away, leaving Dean confused about what just happened.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: When he realizes they're dealing with the undead, Dean starts looking for silver that can be used as a weapon.
  • The Talk: Throughout the episode, Jack expresses curiosity about romance and sex. Dean promises to give him "the talk" when they get back to the bunker, but when Jack thinks he might get lucky with Harper, he excuses himself to go to the bathroom, where he calls Dean and asks him to explain everything now.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel:
    • The townspeople note Harper's love of romance novels and how she can't seem to find Mr. Right. Then, during the climactic scene when Vance is trying to kill Jack to prove his love to Harper, she picks up a romance novel and reads while she waits for him to finish.
    • Dean invokes this trope when planning how to approach Harper in a way that will appeal to her. Jack plays the brave hero who saves Harper from the evil fed, which appeals to Harper's love of romance novel tropes.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Sam and Dean are working separate cases paired respectively with Charlie and Jack. Sam and Charlie are investigating a missing persons case, which leads to a musca who is abducting and murdering people to use for nesting material. Dean and Jack are investigating a series of murders that end up leading to a necromancer and her zombified boyfriend.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The bus patrons at the bus stop aren't immediately alarmed by the musca in an all-black beekeeper-type outfit carrying a briefcase sitting next to them. The elderly ladies discuss it amongst themselves for a brief moment before getting up and walking away. Later, a male patron who encounters the musca at night doesn't even give him a second glance and waits patiently for the bus to arrive at their isolated bus stop.
  • Vehicle Vanish: The time the bus stops and offloads a passenger, obscuring Sam and Charlie's view of the bus stop, gives the musca time to chloroform his victim and drag him off to his lair.
  • The Worm That Walks: The musca.
  • Zombie Gait: Averted. Vance moves and fights fairly quickly and fluidly, making his attacks difficult to avoid.

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