Supernatural: Pac-Man Fever
October 29, 2021 6:38 AM - Season 8, Episode 20 - Subscribe

Charlie teams up with Sam and Dean to track down a creature that's been liquefying its victims.


Charlie: I also found these series of books by Carver Edlund. Did those books really happen?
Sam & Dean: ...
Charlie: Wow. That is some meta-madness. Thanks for saving the world and stuff. [to Sam] Sorry you have zero luck with the ladies.
Sam: Wha... [turns to Dean] We need to find every single copy of those books and burn them.
Charlie: They're online now, so good luck with that.

Dean: [seeing Sam after just getting up with a serious case of bedhead] I'm tellin' you, give me 5 minutes with some clippers, and...
Sam: Oh, shut up.

Charlie: I love you.
Dean: I know.

Dean: What did you hack when you were a teenager?
Charlie: Uh, NORAD.

Dean: You wanna call my supervisor, I'm sure he can give you the override or whatever.
Dr. Jennifer O'Brien: Yeah, I'm sorry. Unless he can give me the form, I can't give you access to the body.
Charlie: But... FBI.

Charlie: Are you gonna invite me into your dungeon, or do I gotta answer your "questions three" first?
Sam: Let us introduce you to the Men of Letters.
[They enter the bunker. Charlie is in awe]
Charlie: Holy awesome. Too bad they got wiped out, though that is what they get for the sexist name.

Charlie: I came back, to get a blank copy of that form you asked for.
Dr. Jennifer O'Brien: The FBI doesn't have chain of custody forms?
Charlie: The field office had a power outage. After catching fire.

Charlie: [to some young boys who had found a dead body] Hey, boys. Special Agent Ripley, FBI. And... stuff.

Charlie: What about Castiel? He seems helpful, and dreamy.

Sam: [regarding Charlie's monster-filled iPad] I hate that thing... I want one.
Charlie: [regarding John Winchester's journal] I hate that thing... and I want one.

Dean: Wanna tell me what happened back there, Boo Radley?
Charlie: I'm sorry, I froze. I couldn't Ctrl-Alt-Delete my way out. Real life roleplaying is hard.

Charlie: My manly man-friend's gonna come get you, you creepy power-suit lady.

Charlie: Breakthrough means snack time to me, and I wanna just stretch my legs. I will pick us up some grub, and unlike you, Sam, I will not forget the pie.

Teenager: [Diego is about to poke dead body] Whoa, no, dude. That's a bad idea.
Diego: Your face is a bad idea.

Dean: You're telling me that this whole thing is a videogame?
Charlie: It was called The Red Scare. A first person shooter against super-soldier vampires. I copied it off a game company's server before it was finished, reprogrammed it to reflect my flamingly liberal politics and then I released it. For free.

Dr. Jennifer O'Brien: If you know about Djinn, then you and your little friend are hunters, not FBI.
Charlie: No, I'm, I'm more hunter-in-training. Totally not worth killing.

Charlie: Every time I beat the level and save the patients, I get reset back to the beginning, only there's less weapons and the vampires are faster. It's an infinite loop. Like, Pac-Man without level 256.
Dean: Level what?
Charlie: Nothing.


When Charlie first flashes her badge, she's holding it upside down just as Castiel did in his first attempt at being an FBI agent, in "Free to Be You and Me" (ep. 5.3).

When Charlie is in the elevator she tells Dean, "Come with me if you want to live." This line is said in every film in the Terminator series and Charlie is carrying the same gun favoured by Sarah Connor.

When Charlie asks, "Are you going to invite me into your dungeon, or do I have to answer your questions three, first?" it is a Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference. The Bridgekeeper asks three questions before allowing anyone to cross. It is also a Dungeons and Dragons reference. As a geek, Charlie would know both.

Dean introduces himself and Charlie as FBI Special Agents Hicks and Ripley, a reference to Dwayne Hicks and Ellen Ripley in the 1986 film Aliens. In two other Aliens references, Dean's alias in this episode is Special Agent Hicks, a reference to the character Corporal Hicks, and he delivers Private Hudson's famous line, "Game over," to Charlie to convince her to stop fighting and escape the Djinn's dream loop.

Charlie refers to her djinn-induced video game dream as "an infinite loop. Like, Pac-Man without level 256." It is an allusion (as is the episode title) to the iconic arcade game and its final, unbeatable level.

When Charlie is caught she shouts, "Wilhelm Scream," which is in reference to a famous stock sound effect used in hundreds of movies, most notably for Charlie in Star Wars.

Charlie tells Dean, "I love you," and he replies, "I know," in a reversal of what happened in "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo" (ep. 7.20) and "LARP and the Real Girl" (ep. 8.11), when Charlie responded the same way to a coworker, and also (as Queen of Moondoor) to one of her "Knights", when they each told her they loved her. This is a reference to Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, when Princess Leia tells Hans Solo she loves him and he responds with, "I know."

When Charlie confesses to hacking NORAD as a teenager, Dean replies, "Yeah, whatever you say, WarGames." This is a reference to the 1983 movie WarGames, where Matthew Broderick unwittingly hacks a NORAD defense computer.

This episode is the first time the bunker's indoor shooting range is shown, with Dean, Charlie, and Sam all taking target practice.

The names on Charlie's fake passports, Christine K. LeGuin and Anne Tolkien, reference fantasy authors Ursula K. Le Guin and J.R.R. Tolkien.

When Charlie says to Dr. Jennifer O'Brien, "Don't go changing," it may be a quote from Billy Joel's song "Just The Way You Are".

Charlie says she read the books by Carver Edlund. This is Prophet Chuck Shurley's pseudonym and she is referring to the series of books written by Shurley entitled Supernatural (aka "Winchester Gospels", which was revealed in "The Monster at the End of This Book" (ep. 4.18).

When Dean and Charlie pose as FBI agents and speak to the coroner, Charlie panics and is only able to awkwardly utter two words (later explaining to Dean that she froze because real-life role-playing is hard). Dean then refers to her as "Boo Radley." Boo is a character from Harper Lee's novel "To Kill a Mockingbird." Boo is an extremely shy man with possible psychological and/or neurological issues who never leaves his home, prompting the town to gossip and spread rumours that portray him as a boogeyman. Eventually Boo is revealed to be a very kind, loving person, but because of the rumours he had become even more fearful of people and of leaving his home. His fear of interacting with people, and the fact that in the entire novel he only speaks a single sentence, leads Dean to liken Charlie to him.

Charlie arrives in a pristine AMC Gremlin Hatchback, a make of car discontinued in 1978. The actress Felicia Day is younger than the car.

This episode is entitled "Pac-Man Fever" after the 1981 pop song with the same name by Buckner & Garcia.

Charlie's nightmare is the video game "The Red Scare" which takes place at "Fort Brennan". In the real world, by 2012 one of the bestselling video games ever was Red Dead Redemption, which is set (in part) at "Fort Brennand".

When Charlie is trying on different outfits, the song playing on her phone is "Walking on Sunshine", this song to which Charlie made her series debut in "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo" (ep. 7.20).

Actress Lynda Boyd, who here plays Dr. Jennifer O'Brien/mother djinn, and Jared Padalecki appeared together in a 2001 episode of E.R., "Piece of Mind", as mother and son. Boyd is also a The X-Files alumnus and appeared in the episodes "Fire" (ep. 1.12) and "F. Emasculata" (ep. 2.22).

The book Charlie is reading from at the end is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

When Charlie was telling Sam and Dean about the attacks she told them it happened in Salina. She used the California city's pronunciation of "Sah-LEEN-ah" instead of how it is actually said in Kansas as "Sah-LINE-ah". Since she was originally supposed to be from Kansas and had been back visiting, she should have known how to say Salina. Also the episode showed Salina as being in Shawnee County when it is actually in Saline County.

Charlie's British passport is the wrong design/format. Nowhere on a British passport is the Union Flag featured nor was it blue prior to March 2020. Ireland is considered an independent nation as part of the European Union, while Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. The information on the photo page is incomplete and in the wrong places.

When Dean wakes up in the military uniform, the shoulder insignia is that of the US Army Medical Command. That particular patch was not authorized until 1973, 22 years after the 1951 setting. The rank insignia on his left shoulder is backwards.

As Charlie is leaving the bunker after saying goodbye to Sam and Dean, there is huge structure in the background that reads "VITERRA" which is a grain processing company in Canada, though the bunker is supposedly located in Kansas.
posted by orange swan (2 comments total)
Charlie's been on the run since she was 12? Really? How would she even have been able to rent places to live at that age?

I suppose the idea is that Charlie became a crack shot via her countless hours of video games?

It seems a little odd that Charlie would call Castiel "dreamy" given that she's gay. Certainly she could note that he's good looking, given that she, you know, has eyes in her head, but the use of dreamy and the tone in which it was said was very heterosexual.

Is this the first time Sam and Dean have let anyone into the bunker? I suppose if anyone deserves the honour of being first bunker guest, it's Charlie.

Keeping track of what the bunker has, it has a command room, a library, a shooting range, at least two bedrooms, and a kitchen and bathroom. With more to come.
posted by orange swan at 6:45 AM on October 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

I’d kill to see Dean attack Sam’s head with clippers.

I put the broken bottle on Dean. That was a terrible throw.

There is absolutely no reason Charlie can’t share her monster-elimination program with Sam.

I know boxers can deliver a knock-out punch but that method seems unreliable at best for putting the other person into an unconscious state and increases the risk of brain damage, which, honestly, neither Sam nor Dean can really afford. Plus, does Dean want to be fuzzy and not entirely with it when he enters Charlie’s dream?

I’m sure they put Ackles in that uniform precisely because it’s his colour and makes his eyes really pop. Also, for having such a short, precise hair cut, it’s amazing how much different it looks when it’s parted.

I wanted to like this episode a lot more than I did, but overall, something felt off, and I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, but I suspect it has something to do with how Charlie was written. She just didn't feel like herself.
posted by sardonyx at 7:10 AM on October 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

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