Supernatural: LARP and the Real Girl
October 20, 2021 5:08 AM - Season 8, Episode 11 - Subscribe

When two LARPers turn up dead, Sam and Dean investigate the fictional world of Moondoor, where they find a familiar face.


Sam: So, the toxicology report came back on Lance. Nothin'. But the medical examiner said his body showed clear signs that he was killed by Belladonna.
Dean & Charlie: [in unison] The pornstar?
Sam: ... The poison.
Dean & Charlie: [in unison] Oh.

Sheriff Jake Miller: These kids today, with their texting... and murder.

Sam: [answering his cell] Garth, hey. Really. Okay, uh, yeah. Thanks, man. Oh, hey, hey Garth. Garth, you there? How'd you know where we are? [pause] Look, it's bad enough that you're tracking us. But, it's even worse when you say... we've... been... Garthed.

Dean: Excuse me. Hi. You, uh, you are a LARPer, yes?
Gerry: I prefer the term interactive literaturist.

Sam: Charlie knows Moondoor a lot better than we do. We need her.
Dean: Sam, I think we can take care of a bunch of accountants with foam swords.

Sam: Why are you being so helpful all of a sudden?
Shadow Orc in Stocks: Look, I harbor an epic crush on the queen. Maybe you could put in a good word for me when you find her?
Dean: I don't think you're her type.
Shadow Orc in Stocks: What? You mean she's not into Orcs?

Sheriff Jake Miller: [after Lance coughs blood all over the interrogation room] God forbid he was contagious. I'm gonna go dip myself in hand sanitizer.

Gilda: I was summoned here by a spell.
Charlie: By whom?
Gilda: I don't know his name, but I was brought here to do his bidding.
Charlie: His bidding? That's never good.

Shadow Orc in Stocks: You'll never find him in the Black Hills.
Dean: Black Hills?
Charlie: The forest behind the playground.

Dean: I am Special Agent Rosewood. This is special Agent Taggart.
Gerry: Hold! Um, guys, we're not doing the whole genre-mash-up thing this weekend. We only do that every third month.

Gerry: [to Sam and Dean] Your fake badges, the cheap suits. It's very cool. I get it. Your characters are FBI agents that somehow traveled to Moondoor, but I'm telling you it's straight-up Moondoor this weekend.
Dean: These aren't fake badges.
Gerry: Uh, yeah, they are, and they're very good, but, um, well, the I.D. number shifted to 10 digits with two letters mixed in at the end of the year, and, uh, the seal's from last month.

Charlie's sparring partner: I love you.
Charlie: I know. Take your leave to my medical tent and attend to your... severed limbs.

Charlie: What I care about is not getting my other arm broken... or dying. So, I'm dropping my sword and walking off the stage, bitches. Have fun storming the castle.

Charlie: I've seen this before. It's a Celtic magic symbol. [pause] At least it was in my favourite video game.

Charlie: The queen needs some royal "we" time.

Gerry: Would a loser track down a real book of spells and compel a fairy to do his bidding?
Sam Winchester: It depends. How'd you get it?
Gerry: eBay.

Dean: [In full getup, face paint and wig, pacing in front of the Queen's army] Dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade *all* the days... from this day to that... for one chance...
Charlie: [to Sam, who is also dressed for the occasion; whispering] Isn't that the speech from...
Sam: [whispering back] It's the only one he knows.
Dean: Just *one* chance... to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they will never take...
LARPer: Hold! [A Frisbee flies through the air and lands on the ground near Dean. Everyone waits while the guy who was playing with the Frisbee runs up, grabs it, and runs away again]
Dean: [nods to the player to resume] Our freedom! [the warriors all charge across the field with Sam and Dean in the lead]


During the scene in the tech tent where Sam uses a computer, the game Dragon Age II can be seen being played a couple times. Specifically, it's the part of the game where the character Tallis, voiced by Felicia Day, shows up.

The aliases Sam and Dean use are Agents Taggart and Rosewood. These are the names of the Beverly Hills police detectives in the 1984 movie Beverly Hills Cop.

Charlie says "Call me maybe," referring to Carly Rae Jepsen's 2012 hit single of that name. Felicia Day also played Carly Rae Jepsen in "Rewind Youtube Style 2012".

When Charlie says to the boys as she attempts to leave the first time, "Have fun storming the castle," she is quoting from The Princess Bride.

Heinlein and Bradbury, both surnames used by Charlie, are the surnames for two well-known science fiction authors: Robert A. Heinlein and Ray Bradbury.

"Heritage Park" the place where Ed Nelson and Gerry LARP is an actual park on the West side of Farmington Hills, MI.

The name of this episode is a play on the 2007 movie Lars and the Real Girl.

The speech Dean gives before running into battle is the same speech William Wallace (Mel Gibson) gives in the 1995 movie Braveheart before running into battle against the English.

Although Lance's autopsy toxicology screen was clean, his body showed signs of belladonna poisoning. Belladonna is in the Solanaceae family, which also includes the deadly plants henbane, jimsonweed, and mandrake. As these all contain tropane alkaloids, their symptoms would be the same. Also, many of the diagnostic symptoms (pulse, blood pressure, pupillary response, salivary response, motor function, behaviour) are not evident in a corpse.

Charlie asks is there such a thing as a "monster magnet". There is a New Jersey-based heavy metal band called Monster Magnet, and on Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention's 1966 debut album Freak Out!, the last song is titled "Return of the Son of Monster Magnet".

After talking with weeping Lance/Greyfox, Dean says this could be "Fifty Shades of Greyfox". Given that the book Fifty Shades of Grey was BDSM soft porn, Dean is suggesting gay chainmail sex gone wrong.

The way Charlie destroys the magic book at the end is similar to the way Harry destroys Tom's diary in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. We know from a previous episode that Charlie is an avid Harry Potter fan.

Charlie says, to the deer-skull headed scary thing, "I'm just an IT girl, standing in front of a monster, asking it not to kill her." In the 1999 movie Notting Hill, Anna (Julia Roberts) says, in a frequently parodied line, "I'm also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."

Charlie said her friend died from being drawn and quartered, but her friend had his arms and legs pulled off. Drawing and quartering was actually a very lengthy, complex method of execution and was reserved for people who commit the worst of crimes, namely high treason. When someone was drawn and quartered they had a rope tied around their ankles (sometimes the prisoner was tied to a wooden panel) and was dragged by a horse to the execution site. They were then hanged by the neck until they were nearly dead, then cut down after they passed out. Then by the time the prisoner regains consciousness, they find themselves tied to a table or slab where the executioner proceeds to emasculate, disembowel, behead, and then quarter (an ax was used to cut the torso into four different pieces) them. Afterwards the prisoner's remains are displayed in prominent areas around the kingdom to serve as a reminder to others what fate will befall them if they commit treason.

The episode ends with the following dedication which appears to have been recited by Robert Singer, "This episode is dedicated to the men, women, elves, demigods, magi, druids, and chamber pot servants who gave their lives fighting and winning for the Queen of Moons in the battle of Kingdoms. Go bravely into the next world, fallen soldiers."
posted by orange swan (8 comments total)
Dean got so into the LARPing. That guy missed out on his childhood and is spending his adulthood seizing every opportunity he can to just play.

It was cute to see Dean and Charlie bonding over their avid pursuit of women. It is bizarre to me that so many guys involved in the LARP are vying to be near Charlie. She is openly putting the moves on other women, so surely it would have gotten out that she's gay.

It didn't make much sense that Charlie would think she might have to go on the run again. The first time that happened, the situation involved a sinister corporate organization of Leviathans who had the reach and the resources to track her down. This was a completely different situation involving a specific and localized threat, and surely Charlie with all her brains would have realized that there would be no need for her to disappear.

Hilarious effect with not only Dean stopping mid-speech when Frisbee guy appeared on the battlefield, but the bagpipe soundtrack stopping too with a needle scratch-type effect, and then starting again when Dean resumes his speech.

I've never done any LARPing or been to any sort of dress up event like Ren Faire. I think about it sometimes, because I have the skills to make any kind of costume I could want, and it would be fun to make it and wear one, but I don't think I could handle people taking it so very seriously, and especially not "decimate the opposing team by actually killing people off" seriously.
posted by orange swan at 5:21 AM on October 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

“And how well King Richard's Queen Charlie’s crown sits on your noble brow.” (Sorry couldn’t resist the Robin Hood reference.) Seriously, that crown was a good look for Dean. I almost liked it better than his chainmail warrior’s outfit (although that was plenty fine.) Too bad, he’s just a pretty hand maiden and not a good body guard, because seriously, who thinks it’s a good idea to leave the Queen alone in the woods when she and her people are assassination targets?

I guess, good on the boys for helping their friend win her battle. And having a bit of fun too, not that they deserve it after they’ve been asses and jerks for so long.

Sam’s technology tent friend had a nice long run on Supergirl playing Eve Tessmacher, a character originally from the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, where she was Lex Luthor’s girlfriend.

Does the magic the fairy performed vanish when she returns? If not, how do the boys get their fancy shooters back?
posted by sardonyx at 6:06 AM on October 20, 2021

Having done LARPing and RenFaire, nobody was taking it all that seriously. Maybe the ones who get into actual swordfights or jousting, but I never even saw those people trying to go "to the death" about it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:56 PM on October 20, 2021

I'm irrationally annoyed at how well JA pulls off the handmaiden chainmail look. I think it's the shoulders.

I wonder if the cathartic value of whacking somebody with a boffer sword is greater or lesser if you know you have like four hundred illegal small arms in your car.

That's as deep as I got on this one.
posted by jameaterblues at 6:05 PM on October 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Somebody once requested that I hit them in the head with a piece of wood in order to test the brand new metal helmet they made for their Society of Creative Anachronisms (SCA) sword-fighting armour. It was a really hard thing to do--just randomly hitting somebody out of the blue--and I couldn't put much force into it. Now, I regret it terribly. I should have taken that wooden staff and swung as hard as I could for a tender, sensitive and unprotected portion of their anatomy, but, as they say, hindsight is 20/20. That's my lone bit of insight into wacking somebody with a boffer sword. Unfotunately, I can't shed any light on whether or not the experience is better with a truckful of weapons as a backup.
posted by sardonyx at 6:56 PM on October 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

'Knights of Badassdom' (2013) came out around the same time as this ep, but had been filmed but unreleased for some time, and is almost like a separated twin of this episode.

Again, not generally impressed with the casting - lots of less-than-conventionally attractive young men. Not a one of the young women were conventionally unattractive. ime, LARPing brings in all kinds of different people - including attractive people of all genders and ages, but at a far lower frequency.

jameaterblues - as jenfullmoon alludes to, there's a big range to the physicality of boffer combat. It really depends on the system and the culture - it ranges from ritualistic (you very much pretend to hit each other, and decide on outcomes based on rock-paper-scissors or dice rolling) to half speed "sparring." It can get toxic sometimes, but usually aggressive people get timed-out or asked to leave or refrain from combat.

Untrained people can hurt other untrained people at a higher frequency than (even semi-)trained people actually sparring with one another with sparring weapons.

The flipside of "whacking somebody" is that if they are much better than you are at it and are being a jerk about it, it can be very Not Fun, even if it's just with a boffer.

sardonyx - you made the right call at the time, if they made a shoddy helmet, you could have caused them lasting/ chronic harm. The less bad way to go about testing a piece of kit (in this example, a helmet), is to put it on a head-sized melon, then strike the helmeted melon (before doing in-person tests).

They were a huge jerk to put you in a position to 1) belittle you for not hurting them, because you were concerned about injuring them, and 2) not actually testing their protective equipment properly.

A boffer is typically hollow PVC pipe, covered with a pool noodle or (very similar) foam pipe cover, and wrapped around with heavy tape. Some societies allow wood core, but PVC pipe is much lower density, and typically greater cross-section (which reduced velocity and increases pliability), so the impact is significantly lower.
posted by porpoise at 10:21 PM on October 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

porpoise: Exactly. That was precisely my concern. I had no desire to cause any unintended injuries. I also had knowledge of that person's welding and construction and design skills and prior to that armour project, they were completely non-existent, which informed a great deal of my doubts about the ability of that helmet to offer up any real protection.

And somehow you're also exactly spot on with your "huge jerk" conclusion about this person. Actually, that's being way too nice and generous, but it's certainly a good starting place.
posted by sardonyx at 7:16 AM on October 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I did not partake but I was friends with the boffer people in college and it's as you say, all kinds of people, mostly fine, occasionally a few taking it too far in one direction or other. Then vampire LARPing got big in that scene and it was all about scheming and the people who'd mostly been in it for the swordplay (no shade intended, the way they did it it wasn't that different from low-key fencing or martial arts) drifted off to SCA and more boffer-friendly pursuits. To my knowledge the vampires are still at it to this day, and I wish them every joy of it.
posted by jameaterblues at 9:39 PM on October 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

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