I'm still trying to figure out whether I enjoyed or loathed "The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo," Friday's episode of Supernatural. On one hand, it reminded me of everything that's been off about Season 7. On the other, it actually sorta kinda worked? I'm sure many of you loved it, so to avoid hateful comments below I'll just say it was great with some moments of being not-so-great! That works, right?
The greatness came mostly from the tone of the episode, which was light and breezy thanks to goofy homages to caper movies and classic Supernatural-not-taking-itself-seriously-essness. It was an hour's worth of the series admitting that what it was doing was entirely ridiculous. After all, the episode was about a geeky girl and a ghost hacking into a monster's laptop to steal his emails about a plan to turn humans into hamburger meat. Hello, Season 7! But if Supernatural is going to go down this road, it may as well do it in a clown car, and that was pretty much the vehicle of choice for "The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo."
Felicia Day (Joss Whedon stuff, geek cred) guest-starred as Charlie, a lesbian computer hacker who starts counting the days until the next Comic-Con the day after Comic-Con ends. Because she was an employee of Richard Roman Enterprises who was also handy with a keyboard and mouse, Sam and Dean tasked her with grabbing confidential files from Roman's computer. And because Sam and Dean's faces are painted on the back of all Leviathans' eyeballs, Charlie had to go in solo with Sam and Dean barking orders to her about how to be a thief. That provided plenty of comedy, particularly when Dean played Cyrano de Bergerac and told Charlie how to flirt with the male security guard to get into Roman's office. And you know what? Dean was gooooood at it.
The action on the screen was heightened by occasional 24- and Ocean's 11-style presentation, with the screen divvied up into smaller rectangles following Sam and Dean in one, Charlie in another, and whatever obstacle was in her way in yet another. It's a device that could have been painfully annoying, but I had already given up on taking the episode seriously, so it actually helped amplify the fun factor. The fact that this style of editing—usually reserved for blockbusters or serious heist flicks—involved a geeky chick who had no business snooping around a secured building made it all the more silly.
Eventually Charlie intercepted an email to Dick Roman regarding an important package that was essential to his master plan of turning us all into his personal buffet, and Sam and Dean got to do some caper-ing at the airport to pick it up before Dick Roman got his hands on it. I don't know how they managed to get to the airport, steal baggage handler uniforms, clear security, and make a Borax bomb in just over an hour, but one rule of television is that things don't have to make sense once you get to Season 7. Just churn it out. The Winchester bros nicked the package, which turned out to be a suitcase full of magical clay dug up in Iran. We don't know what the importance of it is, but Dick Roman sure is pissed off that he doesn't have it, so I'd guess Sam and Dean are going to hang on to it for a bit longer.
On her way out of the building, Charlie ran into a bit of trouble with Dick and his bodyguards, and that's when Bobby (who ghost-hitchhiked along by putting his flask in Charlie's bag) stepped up and ghost-pushed everyone all over the place. Bobby's still a little upset over being shot and killed by Dick Roman, so he's channeling that rage into ghost-pushing, which appears to be damned effective. The only problem with this is that Sam and Dean think Bobby isn't really in control, which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone because at least one main character in Supernatural has to be in danger of being completely out of control and a danger to society at all times. Your turn, Bobby! Go nuts!
"The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo" also had the distinction of cramming as many geek-culture references (Veronica Mars! Lord of the Rings! Star Wars! Star Trek! Harry Potter!) into an hour as possible. I'm sure there are people out there who clapped their hands when Sam and Charlie talked about Harry Potter or Charlie showed off another "cool" T-shirt or bobblehead, but the sheer volume of the shout-outs tiptoed into pandering and condescension territory. We get it, Supernatural. Charlie is a geek, and we're supposed to be geeks too. It's kind of like when I watch a beer commercial and the commercial thinks it knows me and tries to get me to love it by saying things it thinks I want to hear. Or like when your cool dad comes out in flip-flops and shorts and says, "The new Radiohead album is wicked sick, yo!" We know when things aren't genuine, and this week, Supernatural was trying to be cool dad.
But for the most part, "The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo" worked as a fun piece of mindless entertainment, and Supernatural made great strides in embracing the silliness of the Leviathan story. It should be all Leviathans until the end of the season, so let's hope the writers can keep things light.
– HACKERS BE HACKING! I love Hollywood's vision of hackers.
– Charlie's entrance to "Walking on Sunshine" was both amazing and horrible.
– A Tim Tebow reference? On Supernatural?
– Dean: "Planet-wide value meal. We're the meat."
– Bobby's recap of the Leviathan storyline was pretty hilarious in that it reminded me of the haunted sandwiches and secret experiments and cancer-curing. And the fact that it was told by a ghost made it even crazier. Seriously, this is the storyline of Season 7. Rich white-guy monsters want to fatten us up for Leviathan Thanksgiving.
– Sorry for the tardiness of these articles, but with Fringe, Supernatural, and Game of Thrones all airing between Friday and Monday, I'm pretty much slammed to the max.
Supernatural Season 7 Power Rankings
"The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo" had its charming moments, but needed more Sam and Dean at the forefront. I'm also not convinced I like Bobby tagging along as a ghost yet. The Leviathan storyline is finally back, and if the rest of the episodes follow the tone of this episode, it might even be tolerable!
1. "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie" (Episode 14)
Sam and Dean investigated mysterious deaths around a kid's pizza-and-games party house. Unicorns farting rainbows, ball pit sharks spraying blood, and octo-vamps giving fatal hickeys made this a fun episode.
2. "Party On, Garth" (Episode 18)
A Japanese ghost can only be seen by drunks, Garth returns, and Mr. Fizzles the sock puppet! But we finally learn the truth about what Bobby is up to in the afterlife.
4. "Death's Door" (Episode 10)
Bobby fought for his life and delved into his past as he tried to deliver a message to Sam and Dean from beyond the plane of the living.
5. "The Mentalists" (Episode 7)
More standalone fun as the brothers investigated murders in a town full of psychics.
6. "Meet the New Boss" (Episode 1)
Castiel got all righteous on those who didn't respect The Good Word, and it was great.
7. "Repo Man" (Episode 15)
The brothers visited a man they saved from a murderous demon four years ago, and Lucifer blabbed Sam's ear off.
8. "The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo" (Episode 20)
Sam and Dean got a lesbian hacker to sift through Dick Roman's emails and Bobby ghost-pushed a lot of people.
9. "Born-Again Identity" (Episode 17)
Sam ended up in a mental hospital after too many chats with mind-Satan, and Castiel returned to smite and then get left behind.
10. "Adventures in Babysitting" (Episode 11)
Sam and Dean coped with Bobby's death and met a fellow hunter's young daughter.
11. "Out With the Old" (Episode 16)
A tale of cursed ballerina slippers became a story about a Leviathan real estate agent.
12. "Of Grave Importance" (Episode 19)
Sam and Dean headed to a haunted house, where Bobby learned a thing or two about ghosts and finally became visible to Sam and Dean.
13. "Slash Fiction" (Episode 6)
Two Leviathans disguised themselves as Sam and Dean and took off on a cross-country shootin' spree!
14. "The Slice Girls" (Episode 13)
Dean had a one-night stand with an Amazonian lady, and Sam took Dean's Daddy card away.
15. "Hello, Cruel World" (Episode 2)
The Leviathans set up a buffet at a hospital after spreading into the water supply.
16. "Time After Time" (Episode 12)
Dean traveled back to 1944 and battled the God of Time with Eliot Ness.
17. "How To Win Friends And Influence Monsters" (Episode 9)
Hyperadrenalized cannibals and stoner sandwiches! Dick Roman's plan was sort of unveiled! And Bobby got shot!
18. "The Girl Next Door" (Episode 3)
Via flashback, we saw Sam's first kiss... with a monster! Then Dean killed her.
19. "Defending Your Life" (Episode 4)
Dean went on trial before Osiris because of the guilt he carries. Jo came back to blow him up!
20. "Season 7, Time for a Wedding" (Episode 8)
Too. Much. Becky. Larson.
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom