Supernatural: Dark Dynasty
May 9, 2015 2:30 PM - Season 10, Episode 21 - Subscribe

When Rowena seems to be getting nowhere on decoding the Book of the Damned, Sam brings in Charlie and Castiel to help. The Styne family continues their search for the Book of the Damned. While Dean researches the Stynes, he comes upon a case for him and Sam.
posted by cfoxhi (14 comments total)
Wow! This one was a shocker. Despite how many major characters get killed off, I still never get used to it.

I like that that brought in the Frankenstein mythology as it provides a different kind of human monster. I think making the Styne family responsible for all kinds of political evil was unnecessary, but perhaps we wouldn't have considered them quite so evil otherwise. I also like that they are family and not just one individual monster for the Winchesters to deal with.
posted by cfoxhi at 2:36 PM on May 9, 2015

I should've known this show couldn't not kill off a female character. Not even Charlie! If there was anybody I thought might've had a shot at survival, it was Charlie. She deserved better than getting ganked offscreen and bleeding out in a bathtub just so that Sam and Dean can have more angst. Like there was really a shortage of Winchester angst.

I liked the Stein => Frankenstein reveal, but I am already confused about their history. Like I'm pretty sure at one point Sam mentions how there's no record of the family at all before ~1800. Which makes sense since around then is (presumably) when Dr. Victor Frankenstein kicked things off by creating the first one. But then later in the episode, they mention the Steins having made a killing cleaning up after the Black Plague, and the Hundred Years War, both of which would require them to have been around for an extra 500 years or so. If the writers can't keep their Stein-family-mythology straight, all in the same episode, in basically the first episode that has any Stein-family-mythology....well let's just say I'm concerned that this bodes poorly on the things-making-sense front for episodes to come.
posted by mstokes650 at 3:56 PM on May 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

Nooo! Not Charlie! Those bastards. I am really hoping there is a chance for her yet. If not, then I am going to be pissed.

Re: the earlier history, I figured they dug that up after they found out the Frankenstein link, and those earlier events were linked to the original family name.
posted by at 4:36 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think this season has worked pretty well as individual episodes. But when they said the other night that there were only two more episodes, it caught me off guard. It doesn't feel like an "arc" has been building. I've liked the Rowena and Crowley stuff, the stuff with Dean's mark has been fun, but it hasn't been escalating. The Steins seem like they could be a good "big bad," but they're JUST SHOWING UP and the season's almost over.

It really surprised me they killed off Charlie. She's always felt a little contrived to me, but the fans seem to love her and I got the feeling the writers couldn't get enough of her. Also, they must have heard all the complaints about all the female deaths on the show, and they had to know killing her would just play into that and give the fans more to crab about. Taking her out also leaves the show really short on recurring human characters! (We've got Cas' daughter and the two lady sheriffs... am I forgetting anybody?)

Sigh. Looks like another season without the Ghost Facers. Or Death. I miss Death.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:36 AM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Well, at least one consistent theme throughout the show's run has been that hanging with the brothers is bad for your health, mortal or not. And Charlie was warned.
posted by at 5:43 AM on May 10, 2015

So annoyed with the Supernatural writers. Bad enough that they have once again killed off a recurring female character, but that was insultingly badly written. Sam & Dean chaining Eldon up by one hand only? They already have photographic evidence of his super-strength, there is no reason other than the writers' need for a breakout for such a pathetic restraint. And then having Charlie suddenly become the dumbest person on earth -- the idea that she would be bothered enough by anything Rowena said to actually sneak away from a secure bunker to a hotel with no escape route, considering that she's the one that stole the book from the Steins in the first place and knew what they were capable of. And what about Castiel? She could have called him for help, by phone or by prayer. Or Sam & Dean could have called him and sent him ahead to go rescue her.

But no. Just a bunch of character assassination to accomplish yet another gratuitous death for Dean & Sam to angst & argue over. So fucking tiresome.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:26 AM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Re: the earlier history, I figured they dug that up after they found out the Frankenstein link, and those earlier events were linked to the original family name.

So...that would mean Dr. Victor Frankenstein dates from what, somewhere around the 13th century? Or else it would mean that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (the book so accurate it drove the whole family into hiding!) was wildly inaccurate.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:50 AM on May 10, 2015

I can agree with a lot of your complaints, oh yeah!, but I didn't feel like running off was out of character for Charlie. She always struck me as kind of impulsive, emotional and... stubborn? That's not quite the word I'm looking for, but when she felt very strongly about something she would do it, even if it wasn't always the best choice.

I suspect the writers' decision to kill her was motivated by a certain amount of panic. They knew they were heading into a season finale without sufficiently high stakes, so they had to up the ante. By killing Charlie, they hoped it would make the Steins scarier, fast.

(I wouldn't be surprised if Charlie comes back in some form, as a ghost or in heaven or whatever. Given how many times Bobby's come back, I figure Charlie has at worst been demoted from recurring to Special Guest Star.)

In terms of calling on Castiel, that gets back to the problem of him being superpowered and how they deal with that in the show. Realistically, the Winchesters could be calling on him every week to solve their problems in 45 seconds. That's why his powers keep getting stripped away, and why he is so often busy or otherwise not answering their calls. A full-powered, fully-engaged Castiel would be the death of the show!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:06 PM on May 10, 2015

Seems to me, Dr. Frankenstein's ancestors date back to the 13th century and earlier. They would have been involved in all sorts of dubious activities involving magic, power and whatever they can use to advance their family's stature. By the late 19th century, Victor was busy with the reanimation experiments that Mary Shelley uncovered and wrote about.
posted by at 8:06 PM on May 10, 2015

(I wouldn't be surprised if Charlie comes back in some form, as a ghost or in heaven or whatever. Given how many times Bobby's come back, I figure Charlie has at worst been demoted from recurring to Special Guest Star.)

Yeah, death isn't that big a setback on this show.
posted by homunculus at 8:50 PM on May 10, 2015

Clearly a set up for a female Frankenstein storyline. What, I can hope can't I?
posted by Feantari at 7:09 PM on May 15, 2015


Dean: Charlie has the damn Book of the Damned?

Dean: [referring to the Styne family] This is pretty much what we *do* know. That they screwed with financial markets. They helped Hitler get started. Along with God knows what else, probably disco.

Crowley: [when he is interrupted playing darts using an underling's chest as the dart board] I hope this is important. I have a perfect game going.

Demon Victim: [in pain, looking down at the darts thrown into his chest by Crowley] Nice grouping.

Sam: What about you? How you doing?
Dean: Oh, you mean the thing? [motioning with his right arm] You know, some dark thoughts. Creepy visions. Violent urges. Same ol', same ol'.

Sam: [to Castiel and Charlie] Okay, everyone take a breath. Look, we're up against it. Okay? And we've all been up against it before, and we know there are times when every choice sucks. Us... lying to Dean is the choice that sucks the least. We *have* to make this work. Please.


Rowena tells Charlie that The Book of The Damned is written by a witch named Agnes that was kind of a nutter, which is a reference to the book Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

The title is a play on the A&E show Duck Dynasty.

Crowley (Mark Sheppard) is punishing a demon by throwing darts at him. He then sticks a handful of darts in, to which the demon replies, "Nice grouping." This is a reference to Young Frankenstein, in which Inspector Kemp (Kenneth Mars) cheats at darts by running up to the board and sticking in a handful of darts when Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) has his back turned. He turns and sees the darts and responds, "Nice grouping."

In the beginning of the episode, when Eldon Styne cuts the girl's eye out, there is some bloodspatter on his shirt and face, but you can clearly see the blood is coming in from his right side, and not anywhere close to the victim.

Charlie checks into the motel using the name Carrie Asimov. This is a nod to the famous sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus, which tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a grotesque, sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Sam meets Charlie on the side of the road, arriving in a beat up subcompact with a Kansas plate on the front. While front license plates are common throughout the show, most notably on the Impala, Kansas only issues a single vehicle license plate, to be displayed on the rear.

When Sam and Dean capture someone they always restrain both their hands, and almost always tie them to a chair as well, because this makes it very difficult for them to escape. Yet when they bring Eldon back to the bunker they not only allow him to stand, they only restrain his left arm. Sam and Dean are experts at holding people against their will as they have to do it all the time in their line of work, they would of never made such a sloppy, amateur mistake like this, especially with someone they know has physical enhancements which make him far stronger than average.

The cuff with which Sam and Dean chain up Eldon is so big (evident also in the shot of the left-behind arm) that he could in fact just have slid his hand out of it. Throughout the scene when he is supposedly chained up, David Hoflin very obviously holds his hand in a position intended to mask this.

Eileen MacCormack comes in to the study because she has perfect 20/20 eyesight. Yet in the close up of her face, there appears to be a line on the white of her eye and on the iris of the other eye, where the edge of a contact lens would be.
posted by orange swan at 6:17 AM on December 12, 2021

Rowena calls her son Crowley when she's talking about him to other people. She just does the Fergus thing to be annoying. Same with calling Sam "Samuel". That probably is his legal name, though he never, ever uses it. He never corrects her as I recall -- I suppose he doesn't mind Samuel the way he minds being called Sammy by anyone other than Dean.

The moment where the college student is gurgling as she bleeds out while Styne selects an instrument for the removal of her eyes is quite horrifying, and the sight of Charlie's body packs a wallop.

Charlie was so heedless to go running off like that. It seemed contrived that she would, as Castiel had moved Rowena to another room and she was going to be able to have the peace and quiet she wanted. I agree with the comments above that Castiel would be able to find her before the Stynes did, or bring her back to life, and that Charlie's death was simply a way to ratchet things up for the end of the season.

This show was so cavalier about killing off its characters, but I suppose when the premise of your show allows you to bring people back whenever you please you can be cavalier about death.
posted by orange swan at 6:21 AM on December 12, 2021

The title is a play on the A&E show Duck Dynasty.

Though, look, I know this was 2015 but if you set out to try and play on the words “duck dynasty” you have kind of already played yourself.

An episode heavy on the Stynes and Rowena plus a fridging is not doing wonders for my patience.

I accept the Stynes being Frankensteins could have been a cool sounding idea on paper at some point. But it is extremely funny to me that the real actual plot is that Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley once stumbled upon a centuries-old conspiracy of evil aristocrats while she was crashing at their house for the weekend(!) and tried to “go public” with it by writing a novel about a guy with a very common surname where absolutely nothing like that happens, but that forces this supposedly juggernaut family into hiding to this day by changing their name, slightly. And then he says "oh really we're the Frankensteins" like Dean or anyone is supposed to be IMPRESSED by this and it’s so dumb. this is so dumb, and the Stynes themselves are all so boring, and not even in a way that anyone involved seems to be enjoying at all, least of all me.

ANYway. Genuinely unsure whether I’m less surprised that Sam dragged Castiel into this codex boondoggle without bothering to explain how or why Rowena is involved, or that Rowena couldn’t go forty-two minutes without telling this total stranger who claims to be an angel that her son is the king of Hell.

I can probably accept Sam not wanting to leave Charlie alone with Rowena, but the idea that Charlie and Rowena can’t work together without getting into a screaming match while Castiel ineffectually tries to “handle” them is the kind of casual sexist nonsense that makes the endless fridging even more insufferable, even when, sure, tons of male characters get killed too.
posted by jameaterblues at 11:54 PM on December 28, 2021

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