What an awesome episode written by Robbie Thompson and directed by Robert Singer. These days it's rare that I watch an episode more than once but I think I've seen parts of this one four times. Partly because of Charlie and hugs but also because it was shot really well. Still screen captures don't really do this one justice. The episode brought back a lot of the US flag imagery and red, white and blue that seemed so abundant during season 5 and the height of Team Free Will. US flags seem to go right along with the theme of freedom. Charlie, along with her wardrobe, tends to bring a lot of color to episodes she's been in. The story returned to the theme of letting go that has been visited in a couple of other episodes, particularly Hunteri Heroici. Perception and reality also got another look with Dean and Charlie stuck in her nightmare.
Before we look at anything else, let's take a shallow moment to appreciate what olive drab does for Jensen's eyes.
Ok, shallow moment over, back to work. The first thing the camera pans over is a call that Sam and Dean have answered over and over. The first bit of red shows up and is used pretty heavily through the rest of the episode. I love the visible rays of light.
Then an actual mention of red on the poster. On SPN, red has meant a lot of different things: danger, Hell, blood, demons - especially crossroad demons, and sometimes Sam. It's also part of the red, white and blue that shows up with Team Free Will.
Then the first US flag shows up along with someone sleeping at a desk. The posture of the sleeping man nicely mimics the arm position of the person in the portrait. We don't know what's going on but the furniture, the typewriter and the model airplane are clues that it's not 2013. It looks like the time period for a lot of the things at the Men of Letters batcave. The white jacket seems to indicate something medical.
It's Dean. Why is he here? Did he touch something he shouldn't have in the batcave?
There's Harry Truman on the wall so that narrows the dates a bit. "Give 'em Hell Harry" was president from 1945 to 1953. He's got a US flag in his portrait.
I like the way the shadows run all through this scene.
Nice job with the uniform details so we know he's still a Winchester.
For all that Dean raves about his vinyl back at the batcave, he treats this none to gently. The needle scratches across the surface and off but the music continues.
More shadows and a cool floor pattern.
Flags and a red exit behind Dean. Fort Brennan doesn't really exist. John O. Brennan is the current director of the CIA.
As Dean makes his way through the hallway, he comes to a newspaper dated July 12, 1951. The articles are credited to D. Scully and C. Cooper. At this point in 1951, the US was in the middle of the Korean War, the Rosenbergs had been tried and sentenced to death for passing atomic secrets to the Russians, and Kansas was under a lot of water due to the Great Flood of 1951.
Dean's journey through the hall was filmed from above, leading to a great series of shots.
Loose lips might sink ships. One of the rooms has a checkerboard floor pattern.
A careless word, a needless loss. Foreshadowing?
The boys are staking out all of Kevin's haunts.
Dean comes back with grub and a disgruntled look.
I love the detail in the molding and tiles around the archway complete with the Men of Letters insignia.
Then we see Sam, who looks like his hibernation was interrupted.
Robbie tweeted that Jensen ad libbed the bit about the clippers.
He has a point though.
Jared's doing a good job making Sam look haggard.
Dean wants to know how competent Sam's going to be as a hunter right now and we're off to someplace with a great reveal. I love how the lights slowly come on and there's a whirring like a generator is starting up.
For all that the MoL thought hunters were glorified thugs, they saw some need for target practice. There are angel lights in the background.
Whatever they plan on shooting, it looks like it will be humanoid anyhow.
Dean's in red with the angel light behind him.
Never having spent much time on this side of a firing gun, I have no idea if there is this kind of flaring. Looks cool though.
I think it's interesting that Dean shoots for the heart rather than the head like Charlie does later. I like that Dean just talks to Sam here without wigging out or accusing Sam of anything. I have to wonder if the trials are messing with Sam's common sense.
Then they get email from Charlie.
And we get this awesome shot up the front of the Impala.
Until we see Charlie's car. I don't think I'd drive anything yellow on this show.
Charlie brings a lot of color with her including red and blue.
Red shirt so she fits right in.
Even red and blue here.
I love that her shirt says "lying".
Hopefully she closed her eyes after she aimed and pulled the trigger.
In LARP and the Real Girl, Charlie told Dean if he wanted to walk and talk with the Queen he was going to have to change clothes. That looked more fun than this.
Usually in scenes like this, it's the whole My Fair Lady bit with the guy giving the girl a wardrobe makeover. In this case, Dean's trying to get her to tone it down.
I like this shot and the way they used the mirror. It's also opposite of the way they did this in LARP where Dean was looking in the mirror while catching Charlie up to speed. I'm still pretty sure that Dean's 'no chick flick moments' really only applies to Sam and even then, not so much.
Now you can really see the angel light.
Cut over to the coroner's office and the lighter blue starts to make it's way into the scenery. It's more of the sky blue that we've seen from the beginning of the season.
I like the cloud in the back obscuring the mountains like the white-jacketed coroner cover is doing for the djinn.
More blue and the promise of a little breaking and entering, the other career choice.
These guys made me think of Stand By Me. They've got their red and blue on also. I think the Superman shirt says "Like a Rock."
The Star Wars one says "Rebels".
Lots of red and blue at the crime scene.
I think Jared tweeted that his parents are by the police tape.
Now Sam's in blue too.
Frosted glass and so much truth is still murky at the coroner's office.
Jensen made up the bit about going for gas.
So Sam is in blue but that's a pretty bright yellow warning tie.
The white jacket is gone and we're getting closer to seeing her true nature.
There are a lot more touches of the blue now.
I like the light here.
It reminds me of the windows and lights in Naomi's office. It also looks a little like the checkerboard pattern that keeps showing up.
Back at the batcave, Charlie has new red and blue on.
I like how Dean puts his hand up like that whenever he finds the answer in a book he's reading. It's so consistent that I wonder if it's a gesture Jensen brings from real life.
Charlie has red and blue but now yellow and orange are starting to show up. The danger for her is increasing too.
There's plenty of red and yellow in her apartment.
Red, white, blue, flags and eagles.
Even red and blue here in the UK passport.
Driver's licenses from other states.
A nice look at her other aliases. First name from a Stephen King character, last name from sci-fi or fantasy author.
Art with three horses. Robbie Thompson does a good job ratcheting up the suspense and feeling of danger without a lot of expensive bells and whistles. This time, it's a way that everybody gets spooked. We've all had the feeling that someone is behind us even though no one's there.
Except with this show, we can be pretty sure that something is there even if we can't see it.
Sam in more blue.
Bright red couch mixing dangerously with yellow lamp shades.
Lots of sky blue and red at the hospital, plus touches of yellow. There have been so few people wearing pink this season. When Dean promised Mrs. Middleton that they would find Charlie, it seems like a parent making a promise to another parent. It's in Dean's wiring to feel protective of those he cares for and that's coming across with both Sam and Charlie.
Dean's definitely not buying "I'm fine". It's like he's letting Sam have the illusion that he doesn't notice. I'm not sure if Sam would rather that Dean act as if nothing is wrong or keep up the badgering about how he's doing.
Sam learned "this" from Cas and his rusty people skills.
Charlie looks suitably scared.
The djinn has a lot of blue. I like how they have it glow right off her arm.
More great overhead shots as the boys arrive at the warehouse. Another caged light like back at the batcave.
Dean's still trusting Sam enough to let him go his own direction.
Plenty of danger red.
But it doesn't work and we're back in Charlie's nightmare where the colors tend toward red and green, and an unpleasant green it is.
I like the slow-mo hair flying entrance. There's another nod to the idea of perception when Dean thinks that this is a good dream for Charlie and we find out it's a recurring nightmare.
Another poster with soldiers and red. The baddies have stars as part of their uniforms.
The red light here in the hallway adds to the menacing feeling. I like how they shot this where the scene speed changes and it has a real jerky feel to it, kind of like the action in some video games.
They cover each other.
Now, Charlie's mom is one of the few things in blue here.
This whole segment is about letting go and being free of a burden or fear you're carrying. I like how the blinds cast cage shadows over Charlie and Dean as they look at the patients.
Sam gets blue too.
I like the changes in Dean's face from this...
to this where he just seems pissed off that Sam is back in this position.
Smart Dean recognized that letting go was the way to get out of the game. In earlier seasons, letting go wasn't even in the playbook with demon deals and faith healers. At least now he recognizes it for the option that it is.
Once Charlie stops shooting, she gets sad cello music that I associate a SPN tragic family aftermath. As Dean opens the door, there's a bright poster with a flag. The shadows lead your eye right to the opening door.
As the door is fully opened, you can see the poster has a woman on it and asks the question "Are you a girl with a star spangled heart?" Are you going to be free?
Charlie goes back to look for her mom but Dean keeps going. Sam's not in the dream, he's out there. That's one big difference between Dean and Charlie. She has to let go permanently but at least at this point, Sam is still there for Dean to fear for and fight beside.
The girl can always cry in the guy's shirt but the reverse is so rarely seen.
Red and blue for Charlie and Dean.
This just reminds me of saying goodbye to Jo. There's something about a kiss on the head that's all tied up with benediction and blessing plus affection.
I was almost as surprised as Sam at Dean's hug.
What, if anything, did Dean let go of?
Sam looks like he had the rug pulled out from under him afterward.
I still love shots of this big space with shadows.
The red and blue is back at the hospital.
Along with some irises.
The book looks sufficiently well read.
The whole scene ends on Charlie reading the word "comfort".
Caps from homeofthenutty and me.
With all the parallels between Sam's journey and either Bilbo or Frodo Baggins, I hope the boys' story ends with one of them coming back to the batcave to be met at the door by the other one and says "well, I'm back." It's a much better place to leave them than in an impossible shoot-out in Bolivia.