Picture it: Lebanon, Kansas, 1935. The first Men of Letters to occupy the bunker, Peter and James, meet up to crack open the joint. Switches flipped, they take a look around at their freshly constructed HQ. James is less than impressed. Peter is full of bright-eyed enthusiasm. That is, until he realizes that it’s a total bore. James, on the other hand, seems to like the quiet. Quiet that is interrupted by a Batcall.
Apparently, some co-worker of theirs, Frank, has a daughter that’s on her way to the bunker for assistance. And by on her way, I mean right outside the door. Not sure how she called them, but between her imaginary cellphone and Peter’s extremely in-the-now vernacular, I’m starting to realize why this scene is in black and white: for the authenticity. Anyway, turns out the woman on the other end of the call is Dorothy and she wants to know who’s gonna help her take out the wicked witch of the west.
Oh. So L. Frank Baum was a Men of Letters alum. His books make WAY more sense now.
Early morning at the bunker in the present and Crowley is still bound by chains and sigils. Sam silently provides him with a piece of paper and a Crayola to write down more demon names. I assume Sam gave him a crayon because it can’t be used as a weapon like a pen or a pencil. I assume it’s Crayola because Sam Winchester believes in quality and because I imagine that he’s using the other 63 crayons in his spare time. Coloring is a great stress reliever. Crowley isn’t willing to scribble out more names until he gets a little bit of rec time. Sam stoically regards him and then walks out having not said a word. Sam’s rarely the Chatty Cathy of the duo, but this laconic act isn’t sitting well with Crowley.
Sam is pouring over more MOL paperwork when Dean gets back home. Seems Dean road tripped Kevin to a heavily warded hotel room with a weekend supply of porn and popcorn so he can decompress a bit. On his way home Dean picked up Game of Thrones, season 1 for him and Sam to watch while they order some take-out. Best guess I have is that it’ll be Thai. He has the perfect night in planned, how very married life of you, Dean.
Sam, on the other hand, is worried about their other child, Castiel. He doesn’t get why he left them. Dean stumblingly reiterates that Castiel thought they’d be safer without him around. Which makes no sense to Sam, but whatever. Sam at least has a plan to help Castiel stay out of harm’s way; he remembered that Kevin mentioned the table going full-on Light Bright when the angels fell, and Sam has (somehow) figured out that the lights weren’t individual angels, but clusters and if they can get it to work it’ll be a flashing “do not go to this place, Castiel” detector.
Except right now it doesn’t work, which is great if you’re Dean. Imagine if it did work? There’d be a flashing angel on the premises indicator going off right in the bunker and Sam would be spinning around like a dog chasing its tail trying to figure it out. Sam wants it up and running though and Dean can’t voice a good reason not to.
Step one in tech support is turning something off then on. Since it’s already off and won’t turn back on, move to step two: unplugging it then plugging it back in. Sam found the cables and followed them to a mother computer. Like 1950s takes up a whole room computer. Unfortunately, there’s a snag with step two; this computer isn’t plugged into anything. But it’s on. And it’s warm. Dean, being the electronic savant that he is, decides to pry it open and take a gander. Oh nevermind. Turns out Dean — the guy who rebuilt his car and invented the EMF detecting Walkman — is stumped. On the plus side, he has a systems software specialist on speed dial.
By the way, take note of the jar of glowy blue goop that Dean didn’t realize he knocked over. The way it’s oozing along toward the wall makes me feel like it’ll be important.
Back in 1935, Peter and James try interrogating the Wicked Witch, but considering Dorothy hacked off her tongue, she’s not singing Broadway numbers anytime soon. James is a bit thrown by the fact that Dorothy has managed to maim and contain the witch, while Peter is totally about to gush praise all over her. Dorothy has daddy issues and zero patience, so she ain’t even trying to hear all this, she’s tried everything in her hunter’s manual to kill the witch and none of it has worked. The MOL are her last resort.
Charlie arrives at the bunker and is 100% free to help them out. Because she got fired from her most recent job. But that’s okay! Now she can focus more on her me-time activities. Like hunting.
Dean does not like this development.
Charlie assures the brothers that they were just little cases that she came across. She handled them, but she seems disillusioned by the lack of mystical amazement in day-to-day hunting. Video games and Magic the Gathering have mislead her. Charlie’s stoked to take a walk in Countess Lovelace’s Victorian booties and gets the computer running on a 21st century level. First things first, she’s going to download all the MOL files. That’ll probably take awhile, which means this is the perfect opportunity for the boys to broach the hunting subject again.
Charlie concedes that hunting alone isn’t smart. She knows this because the Supernatural books have taught her this. Sam and Dean are confused. Charlie explains that BeckyWinchester176 uploaded the rest of the manuscripts to the internet. She asks the boys if they know her. Sam awkwardly deflects. Dean glowers. I’m wondering how Charlie doesn’t know who Becky is, considering Charlie has read the books; it’s not the hardest connection to make.
Since Charlie is spending the night, she’s up for all the slumber party clichés. Sam deflects once again, deftly ignoring that yet another person wants to braid his hair, and herds everyone into his room for a GoT marathon.
That’s right, Sam has a room. It’s not the comfiest of abodes, in fact it’s pretty Spartan.
Dean is fully into the show and Charlie is about to tell him some second season intel, but Sam stops her with his best River Song impression. He’s a spoilerphobe who’s behind on the source material. Dean is baffled that Sam would want to read the books. I mean, books? Without pretty pictures? Who does that, right? Not Dean “I reference Kurt Vonnegut and Harper Lee” Winchester. No. Of course not. Let’s pretend that never happened, shall we?
Meanwhile, in 1935 the Wicked Witch has used her wicked gross talons to saw through the ropes holding her. She attacks Peter, possessing him with… I dunno, part of her essence I guess? She uses him to speak and tells them that there’s something in the bunker that she wants. Isn’t that convenient? Dorothy asks if they have a lab in the bunker, James tells her that they do and she bolts, leaving James to fight off his possessed comrade. After stabbing Peter to death, James arrives at the lab just in time to see a bright light flash behind the shut door.
Remember the glowy blue goo? It’s now a giant alien spider egg sack attached to the wall. Dean’s first instinct is to cut it open. Of course it is. A dusty arm flops out, which army of baby spiders vs. corpse-y looking arm? 50-50 there. Sam draws his gun while Dean pulls the spider sack open further. Out falls Dorothy, dust free and now in Technicolor.
What we’ve learned in this scene is that the brothers walk around armed in their very own warded from evil home/office. Even when they’re just chilling out, watching TV and snacking on snacks they are scary, scary men.
Thankfully, we’re spared useless exposition and get straight to it. There’s a whole file on Dorothy and Oz and the books her father wrote about them. Which Charlie reads. Which gives Dorothy the perfect in to mock the Sam and Dean’s MOL process and make a secretary crack in Charlie’s general direction. No one is impressed with Dorothy’s attitude. The new developments of women in the workplace causes Dorothy to pump her snide brakes and pick up her story where the file leaves off. She did a spell; it bound her soul and the witch’s soul in the jar that Dean knocked over. Dorothy claims that the witch is unkillable and roaming free and that she, Dorothy, cannot be killed by the witch.
The gang splits up, girls on one team, boys on the other. Charlie tries to spark some conversion with Dorothy, but Dorothy is closed off and bitter. Charlie remarks that the Dorothy in canon is much nicer than the Dorothy in reality. Dorothy admits that canon-her is a fanon representation by her kook of a father. Charlie has had enough of Dorothy’s sass and decides to put what she knows from the books and what James detailed in the file to good use. First plan of action: poppy extract laced bullets.
Naturally, the Wicked Witch sniffed Crowley out. Unable to speak, she takes the crayon and paper Crowley graciously offers her so she can spell out her plan. By the time Sam and Dean get to Crowley’s suite, he’s alone and humming about rainbows and dreams. Crowley now has leverage, he knows what she wants and he’ll trade it for a run around his devil’s trap. The only clue they have is the single word she wrote: KEY. Crowley says he has no idea what that’s supposed to mean, but he sent her off to the kitchen to search for it.
Charlie finds them in the kitchen, Dean lamenting over its ransacked appearance; he had just Mr. Cleaned it to a sparkling shine. She hands over a few poppy bullets and the boys hand over their tiny bit of info about the key. Thankfully, Dorothy knows what they’re talking about. Usually to get to Oz you have to hitch a ride on something twisty-turny, but this key will turn any door into a gateway to Yellow Brickville. If the witch gets the key they she has access to her armies of witches, flying monkeys and an evil lollipop guild, the works. She even has a handy drawing of the key. Dean recognizes it from when he was sifting through the MOL vintage porn collection.
Charlie and Dean are in his room looking for the key. Well, Dean is. Charlie is looking through his porn. Right as Dean finds the key, the witch smokes her way in from the air vent. She rips it from his hand and flings him across the room. She gets ready to hurled a hazing green ball of magical death at him, but Charlie self sacrificingly jumps in the way and takes the hit. Dean comes to and poppy pops the witch, who smokes away to lick her wounds. Which leaves Dean with a freshly dead Charlie. So, within what? A week? Dean’s had his brother on life support, his bff ex-angel get stabbed to death by a reaper, and now his honorary little sister catch the brunt of an Avada Kedavra. Luckily, if you’re Dean Winchester, all you have to do is call on your pocket-angel, Zeke, and poof! healing powers all around. Except Zeke isn’t too sure about this one. Healing Castiel took a lot out of him and if he keeps bringing Dean’s dead friends and family back to life then it’s going to take longer to heal himself and Sam, which means overstaying his welcome.
Once again, Dean makes a decision without anyone else’s consent and tells Ezekiel to heal Charlie.
And once again, Sam comes to, dazed and confused. Dean weaves another lie about Sam getting knocked out and Dean being miraculously unharmed and the hero of the tale. Now, Sam Winchester has admitted that he looks up to his big brother, that his big brother is his hero, but even the hero worship can’t disguise the heavy scent of manure in the air. Dorothy barges in just in time and they all split up again, same teams.
While Dorothy informs Charlie that she’s now part of the Buffy Summers School of Death and Resurrection, Sam and Dean head off to hunt a witch. Sam takes advantage of this moment and asks Dean who “Zeke” is. Dean flubs Sam off. Of course minutes later Dean corners Sam about not accepting the bunker as home and Sam doesn’t get the same luxury, so he answers. He tells Dean that he doesn’t have warm fuzzy memories of home and mom and dad like Dean does. What he does have is a childhood and adolescence filled with motels and Pastor Jim’s place and then an apartment that burnt down with his girlfriend on the ceiling. The idea of home isn’t exactly comforting or stable for him. Dean reminds him that this place is better than any place they’ve had before and it’s legitimately theirs, no fake credit card footing the bill, no mortgage worry about, straight and clean inheritance.
Charlie realizes that Dorothy’s father didn’t just write his books to deal with his guilt and his daughter’s misadventures. They’re guidebooks. Dorothy declares Charlie Sue a genius and whisks her away to the underground garage.
Let’s take a moment to bask in the beauty of this garage and its occupants.
Back to the story. The MOL stashed Dorothy’s motorcycle there and have kept it safe all these decades. Packed away with her bike are her ruby slippers. Or in this case her patent leather red pumps. I would have loved for the episode to really go legit and bust out the silver slippers from the original book, but alas…
While the girls were talking footwear, the brothers were busy fight the Wicked Witch. Unsuccessfully. The now possessed pair go after Dorothy and Charlie. Possessed!Dean manhandles Charlie, but Charlie Sue has a trick up her sleeve. She nails him in the ‘nads and takes off to stop the witch.
The witch who finally stopped wafting around and decided to raid the MOL cupboards to cast her back to Oz spell. She’s got the chant chanted and the door open, but right as her platoon of plumed primates are about to enter this world, Charlie whacks her upside the head with the heel of one of the shoes. Let the joyous news be spread, the wicked old witch at last is dead. Side effect of her death, the boys are no longer possessed.
That was a bit anti-climatic.
Everyone, except Dorothy, changes clothes and Dean, apparently not having previously known they had a garage, has now parked his Baby in her new home. Charlie pulls Dean aside and lets him know that she knows that she died and that he somehow finagled her back to life. Dean somehow gets out of telling her what he did by way of a raincheck. Not only that, but he may not ever have to deliver on the promise to tell her later because Charlie is going back to Oz with Dorothy. They open the door with the key (and no spell, because only witches need spells) and walk on through to the other side.
Dean wonders if they’ll see Charlie again. Sam is sure of it. After all, he says glancing at his brother, Impala full of army men in the background, there’s no place like home.