Supernatural: Optimism
November 16, 2018 3:29 PM - Season 14, Episode 6 - Subscribe

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

* Charlie of Apocalypse World, if you forgot, but I'm sure none of you did

actors previously on Supernatural:
- Harper Sayles is played by Maddie Phillips, who was in s10e13 "Halt & Catch Fire", as Janet Novoselic.
- Winston Mathers is played by Amitai Marmorstein, who was in s06e15 "The French Mistake", as a gopher on the "Supernatural" set, and was in s05e09 "The Real Ghostbusters", as Tim, one of the fans at the convention.
- Diner Man in the interview montage is played by David Quinlan, who was in s02e17 "Heart", as Nate Mulligan.
posted by numaner (18 comments total)
This one was a little slow in parts, particularly with Charlie and the Musca. I'm not sure what the point of that plot line was other than a bit of world building with the Musca and his "family" carting his corpse away. But I suppose if this is all the Charlie we're gonna get I'll take it. It seems like it opens a door for Felicia Day to come back as Charlie and I'm all for that. I'm surprised Sam didn't bring up the women he lost to empathize with Charlie and help convince her to stay with them.

The necromancer librarian bit was well done and I really didn't see it coming till she unlocked the door for Vance. But probably a great part of it is Jack learning about relationships and love. I so wish we could've gotten a scene of Dean giving Jack "the talk".

Sooooo I'm about ready for stuff to progress with our Michael plot, yeah?
posted by numaner at 3:44 PM on November 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

I liked this one pretty well, but when the music was kind of overbearing early on (going from Harper's bouncy, retro "winsome ingenue" music to what's-his-name walking out to Stayin' Alive) I thought, "This is another Richard Speight, Jr. joint, isn't it?" And then it was! I like the guy as an actor and he shows some talent as a director, but he just goes crazy with the soundtracks in this really distracting way. I don't even remember the plot of the episode that marked his directorial debut, just that it was lousy with Tarantino homages, complete with a slow-mo Reservoir Dogs hero walk. He's settled down a bit since then and generally focuses on the story more than student film showboat-y stuff, but he still needs to cool it with the music.

It seemed like they were setting up Harper as an ongoing threat, which is surprising but could be fun. And speaking of future guest stars, it seems alt-Charlie is in it for the long haul. I like Felicia Day but I was never that sold on Charlie. She always felt a little contrived to me, like they were trying a bit too hard to make her this sassy hacker geek girl hero type. So far I think I like this Charlie a little better! She's got more weight to her. She's uncomfortable with the boys thinking of her as "their" Charlie, which makes sense. I wish we saw more of that from alt-Bobby.

I was glad to see a more monster-y monster with the fly guy; this show used to do great stuff with truly weird monsters and they don't do that much anymore. The actual effect was pretty cheesy (I've seen better Halloween masks) but I still liked that they did it. It doesn't always just have to be some guy with red contacts!

The Cafe 50s (where Harper wrote her letter to Jack) was a real restaurant in Venice, CA. It closed not too long ago, taking with it the cruddy but beloved dancing jukebox mural. I used to drive by it all the time and seeing its cameo in the show was a trip. Since they shoot the show in Canada, what was this little Venice restaurant doing in there?

A few seasons ago Dean definitely would've been hitting on the scrappy waitress and he might have tried to play boyfriend with Harper himself. That he didn't, and his angst about Jack's "old man" line, plays into my suspicion that the creators of this show think Jensen Ackles' looks are going fast. Legions of Tumblr fangirls who would very much disagree, creators of this show! (Maybe it's just their sneaky way to gaslight Ackles into never leaving the show. Come on, Jensen. You know your best years are behind you. You're lucky to have a lead role like this...)

I like these call-outs for where we've seen the actors before! Phillips looked familiar, but I had no idea she'd been on the show a few seasons back.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:20 PM on November 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

A few seasons ago Dean definitely would've been hitting on the scrappy waitress and he might have tried to play boyfriend with Harper himself. That he didn't, and his angst about Jack's "old man" line, plays into my suspicion that the creators of this show think Jensen Ackles' looks are going fast.

Really? I mean it's possible, but having 40 year-old Dean (the character) continue to hit on women in their early 20's is not a great look for the show. Having him and Sam mature into grizzled, weathered hunters seems like a healthier evolution for the show.

Honestly, it's wild watching season 1 episodes now, seeing 27 and 23 year-old Jensen and Jared and then realizing they've been playing these characters continuously for almost 14 years now. (And wilder realizing that I've been watching it continuously from the beginning.)
posted by Pryde at 6:11 PM on November 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Harper was amazingly chipper and disturbing as the show went on. So good job there for the creepiness factor!

I had no idea what was going on with the musca and I did not care, I just wanted to see Sam and Charlie chat in the car. I now wonder if we can find our-word Kara and have her and Apocalypse Charlie meet up? *crosses fingers* I am happy to have Felicia Day around under whatever circumstances though.

I think Sam and Dean have given up on sex and romance for the most part, as they just can't have that shit and hunt too, so why bother to hit on anyone when you've been doing it too long?
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:35 PM on November 16, 2018

having 40 year-old Dean (the character) continue to hit on women in their early 20's is not a great look for the show.

To be clear, it isn't that I personally want to see Dean go back to hitting on anybody in a skirt. We had this discussion a season or so back in Fanfare, but it weirds me out a little that a character who was such a relentless horndog just seems to have no sex life at all anymore.

What I think happened is that the creators of this show listened to the fans who said they were tired of Dean's womanizing ways, and they decided to drop that aspect of that character. And I can see why they'd want to make that change, especially as Ackles aged. But the thing is, horniness wasn't a small aspect of Dean's character, he was a porn-loving, strip bar-frequenting skirt chaser... and all that just suddenly went away, without a word. If we had some idea where the change came from, if he said, "I got burned out on strip bars during my bender with Crowley," or, "I'm waiting for somebody special," or, "Any woman I loved would just end up dead," that could work. But the closest we got to an explanation was when he hit on some younger woman (offscreen) and she apparently told him he had a "dad bod," and there have been other little things to make me think that within the universe of the show Dean's just supposed to be kind of past his prime now. (When the reality is that he still looks like Jensen Ackles!)

So it's just something I wish they'd clarify a little. Add it to the list along with Mr. Inky and Stompy the Interdimensional Monster.

I've also noticed that Dean never says "bitch" anymore, when it was something he used to say with wearying frequency. There was even one recent episode (can't recall which one) where it seemed like he caught himself just in time. It was like, "Yeah, she's a real... Well, she's a problem." That's another one where it seems like they listened to the fans, and I certainly approve of that change. I used to think this was kind of a bro-y show in some ways, but I feel like they've shed a lot of the bro-isms.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:12 PM on November 16, 2018

I think the show is trying to change with the times, and it's certainly better for it. As you said, the bro-isms is very outdated and I'm glad they're gone. I think what it can even mean is that Dean is maturing to where he's dealing with his trauma instead of using the macho-bro attitude as a defense mechanism. It's certainly more evident in recent conversations with those close to him that he's learning how to live with it.

I like these call-outs for where we've seen the actors before!

Thanks! After realizing how many actors are recurring last week, I thought I'd make more of an effort to point it out.
posted by numaner at 10:45 PM on November 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

One thing I forgot to point out is that this is another episode where our guys were like, "Hey, monsters are real," and the victim-of-the-week was like, "Really? Well, I instantly believe you!" In this case Harper of course already secretly knew all about monsters and hunters, so she had an excuse. But if she was just a normal person and her boyfriend (who she claimed to think was still alive someplace) showed up looking like a zombie, it would be much more likely for her to assume this was a really screwed-up prank or something. Had I been in the position of Jack or the bros, I would have wondered why she accepted it so easily. I think the writers of this show have gotten a little lazy with having people just instantly accept this stuff, when having them refuse to believe it could actually lead to more drama.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:38 PM on November 17, 2018

Another monster of the week. Sigh. Okay, this time there were two monsters, but that didn't really help. We learned a little bit about alt-Charlie and at the end we got scared about Jack and that was it as far as actually moving the plot forward. I guess Harper is still out there and may reappear at some point, but she's clearly just going to be comic relief, so I'm not in suspense wondering what she'll do next.

I like the idea that Charlie might meet the Kara from our world and find happiness. My daughter is a huge Charlie fan and she loved that idea when I mentioned reading it here. She was annoyed at Sam for trying to talk Charlie out of quitting. "Let her go live on her mountain; she's earned it!" I feared that telling us more about alt-Charlie's backstory was just setting us up to be really sad later on when this one dies too. But maybe they'll actually let her have a happy ending. That would be a first.

My daughter was also annoyed that Cas was absent again, without even any explanation about where he was or what he was doing. Maybe he guessed what was going on with Jack and was in search of some solution, which will be revealed next time. (And will of course turn out to be risky or have unintended consequences.)
posted by Redstart at 7:11 PM on November 17, 2018

Oh, I just thought of something! What if Jack dies and Harper reanimates him? That would be weird and interesting. Eventually they'd figure out a way to make him really alive again but for a while he could be zombie Jack. And maybe he'd fall in love with Harper.
posted by Redstart at 11:22 PM on November 17, 2018

Yeah, it really bothered me that Sam was working so hard to convince Charlie not to leave. Like, I can understand that he probably thinks it better to all stick together, and even though he knows this isn't original Charlie, he probably feels protective of her, but I would have preferred if he had just backed off.

I feared that telling us more about alt-Charlie's backstory was just setting us up to be really sad later on when this one dies too. But maybe they'll actually let her have a happy ending. That would be a first.

Yeah, my other thought was, "Run, run far away alt!Charlie, and maybe you'll actually get to live."

Although they got so much crap for killing off Charlie the first time around, I think they might be hesitant to do that again.

I do think it was interesting how this episode paired up Sam/Charlie and Dean/Jack, since you'd expect it to be the other way around.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:38 PM on November 18, 2018

I'm still of the opinion that Apocalypse World was both their way of writing themselves out of the corner of "if we kill Lucifer we'll be out of big bads to use for the show" and also bring back people the fans hated them for killing, like Bobby and Charlie. Dramatically it might have been the right reasons at the time, although Charlie's death was, in my opinion, unnecessary, but this show survives on the whims of its fans, be that good or bad they have to throw us the bones we howl for.
posted by numaner at 1:17 AM on November 19, 2018

The other worlds could also give them a way to throw a bone to the Destiel shippers. There could be an episode where we see that on Kaia's world, or some other world they haven't shown yet, Dean and Cas are in a relationship. My daughter wouldn't be completely satisfied with that; she wants our Dean and Cas to be together. But I'm sure she'd enjoy that episode anyway (and rewatch the hell out of it.)

It's a shame they wasted the opportunity to do something interesting with Apocalypse World Castiel. They could have done a whole story arc where he started out on the angels' side and ended up on the humans' side, for basically the same reasons that happened in our world. Or maybe when they first met him he could already have been on the humans' side. Or if they really wanted him to be evil they could have kept him around longer and given us more of his backstory so we could understand how he got to where he was and how easily it could have gone the same way for our Castiel. It might have been interesting to give him a different vessel, too. He could even have been a woman.
posted by Redstart at 5:58 AM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Does anyone know when the next episode is going to air? We don't have TV so we've been watching it on the CW website and they don't seem to show more than one week of their schedule. We haven't had TV for 15 years so I don't even know how people find out what's going to be on when nowadays.
posted by Redstart at 6:31 AM on November 19, 2018

As far as I can tell, 14x7 is scheduled for November 29, 14x8 is scheduled for December 6, and 14x9 is scheduled for December 13th. Then the show takes a break until January 17th.
posted by terilou at 12:25 PM on November 19, 2018

I don't really have live TV also, but I've been using FollowShows's site and their app. You can set alerts so you'll know when an episode comes on and watch it on CW's site the next day. And you can also see upcoming schedules.
posted by numaner at 12:53 PM on November 19, 2018

Does no one remember They're the greatest!
posted by cgc373 at 4:31 PM on November 28, 2018


Wanda: He, uh, came in here every day like clockwork. But you really want to ask about Harper Sayles. Winston just started courting her.
Jack: What's "courting"?
Dean: It's what's you do before dating.
Jack: Oh, and that's the thing you do before the sex.
Wanda: Sometimes you just have sex.

Sam: People need people.
Charlie: Why? Cause they're the luckiest people in the world?


This is the first time in 288 episodes that someone uses the "Christo" trick to see if someone is a demon.

The Dean/Jack side of the story is very similar to the 1993 movie My Boyfriend's Back, in which a teenage zombie in a red and white letter jacket comes back for the girl he loves.

Many of the street scenes were shot on 176a Street in the Cloverdale area of Surrey near Vancouver, Canada. The building used as the exterior for the library is across the street from an actual library.

Dean and Jack visit the Red Rooster Diner. In Australia there is actually a chain of fast food restaurants called Red Rooster, that specializes in roast chicken.

Dean calls Vance "Archie", a reference to the Archie comic franchise.
posted by orange swan at 5:54 PM on March 3, 2022

I like how the alt-world characters are subtly but distinctly different from their Winchester world counterparts. Alt-Charlie seems tougher than the old Charlie, and alt-Bobby is more distant than the Bobby who was a foster father to Sam and Dean.

It is hilarious that Harper thinks she could kill Jack -- she has no idea who she's dealing with -- but despite Harper's designs on Jack, she doesn't appear again in the series.
posted by orange swan at 5:55 PM on March 3, 2022

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