Harry S. Truman is on the wall, Dixieland jazz is playing on the gramophone, Dean Winchester is in a military uniform with spit-slick, part-perfect hair and here we sit with absolutely zero explanation as to why we’ve time warped back to 1951. Dean doesn’t know what’s going on either, all he knows is he’s barricaded in and the music ain’t his scene, so he busts out. The hallway is carnage, dead nurses as far as the eye can see. The only clue we (Dean included) get is a newspaper declaring Truman’s denial of military experimentation.
Oh yeah, and something’s after Dean.
Jump back 24 hours to Dean strolling into the MOL main room with a bag of take out and six-pack while Sam stumbles in from his still yet to have been seen room groggy and disheveled. Dean may be worried about Sam’s health, but that’s not going to stop him from threatening to trim Sam’s locks into a high-and-tight. Sam is not pleased with the hair threat jokes. No one is pleased with the hair threat jokes. Sam just wants to know how long his little catnap has lasted. The answer? Really freaking long. Dean casually tosses Sam a brewski to make up for the hair bullying, but he doesn’t give a courtesy heads up and Sam’s reflexes fail them both. Someone’s gonna have to clean up that alcohol abuse. Sam tries to man up because they have to find Kevin. Dean denies Sam’s request. Sam insists. Dean overrules his brother by making Sam take some practice shots. There’s no way Dean’s hunting with a Sam that couldn’t hit the side of a parked bus at pointblank range.
Further discussion is interrupted by an email from Charlie Bradbury. She’s scored a hunt in their general direction and is heading over to help out. Hugs for hellos all around and then Charlie gets the cliffs notes tour of the Men of Letters HQ. She digs the dungeon, but is mildly offended by the discriminatory nature of the Winchesters’ league of extraordinary gentlemen. Charlie’s been a little too interested in things that lurk under the bed since the brothers brought it all to light. Plus, her google-fu is strong. So strong that she’s even come across Carver Edlund’s book series. She and Chuck would have gotten along really well. Charlie is impressed and thankful regarding the whole apocalypse aversion thing. She also tells Sam that she’s really sorry his penis keeps shortening female life spans. Sam hates the books all over again. Thankfully, they have a case to distract from the mortification. Dean gets ready to jump into the fray and designates Sam and Charlie official study-buddies. Sam tries to prove he can suit up too. Except he nearly biffs it just getting out of his chair. Charlie hunger games herself to go with Dean, but Dean is skeptical. Until Charlie puts her MIDI Maze skills to use and headshots the shooting range paperdoll. Dean deems her shooting ability worthy, but her attire lacking. Cue Pretty Woman clothing montage, complete with shoulder pads. Dean finally okays a demure pantsuit and they’re ready to go.
Finally, Dean gets to play FBI dress-up with an actual redheaded woman.
Mulder and Scully try to gain access to the remains of the vic, but they’re stonewalled by a medical examiner that actually respects the chain of command. Go figure. Dean tries to smarm his way through. Fail. Charlie makes it clear that she’s really good at socially awkward background lurkerdom.
Let’s stop and reflect upon Dean making an “Aliens” reference and a “To Kill a Mockingbird” reference all within two minutes. Hero.
Meanwhile, Sam is still unable to shoot fish in a barrel, but figures shooting near the barrel is good enough to get him cleared for active duty.
Meanwhile again, two teenage boys proving that they can walk and PSP at the same time stumble across a bloated body and, like boys do, they poke at it. It explodes cream of organ soup all over their faces. If Sam had been there he would of told them not to poke the body with a stick.
When Dean and Charlie show up at the scene Sam is already there. Dean wants him home and resting, Sam is a big boy and he’s not leaving. While they argue over their personal issues, Charlie uses her hot-girl-that-knows-video-games cred to get the teenagers to give her the scoop on what they will be reliving to therapists for decades to come. Not only was the body at maximum goop capacity, but it also had a blue handprint. Dean thinks that’s a great thing for Sam to go home and research. Again, Sam shuts him down. Dean, like a true adult, gets in his car and drives off, leaving Sam and Charlie behind. No worries though, Sam hotwired Charlie’s ride so they can totally meet Dean at the coroner’s office.
The three of them aren’t the only ones there afterhours; the coroner is also burning the midnight oil. Charlie, looking to prove herself, offers to keep the coroner distracted with paperwork requests and pantsuit coveting. She’s seconds away from asking the coroner what shampoo she uses to keep her red so vibrant, but the coroner is really over the creepy fawning. Thankfully, Sam and Dean have gotten enough information that they can all head back to their bunker and research their hearts out.
Charlie’s got her techno demon-deduction touchscreen that Sam simultaneously loathes and longs for, but it’s Dean the Luddite that comes through in the end. It’s a super soldier djinn; still locks you in a fantasy world to suck your life-force dry, but this one also cooks your insides like old school stovetop pudding and leaves a blue handprint behind. Now Charlie wants a journal just like Dean’s, proving that e-readers are great and all, but nothing can replace a real book. Charlie declares this breakthrough food-worthy and offers to grab some grub. She bolts out awkwardly, more awkwardly than Sam and Dean are used to and they agree the Queen of Moondoor has been a little off from the jump.
Except Charlie doesn’t go on a midnight burger and pie run, she heads back to her motel room, pulls out multiple passports and IDs, none of which are for Charlie Bradbury, and starts hacking away on her laptop. Her shady behavior is interrupted by a visit by the coroner who is, you guessed it, the blue-eyes ultimate dragon.
Dean had the foresight to turn on Charlie’s GPS when she was distracted with her clothing montage so they track down her motel room. Which is trashed and Charlie-less. Sam notices that the activity on her laptop shows a series of monetary donations to a hospital in Topeka for the care of a Gertrude Middleton. They split up, Dean to the hospital and Sam to try to get more information.
Gertrude Middleton is a vegetative coma patient that was hit by a drunk driver years ago. Dean puts it all together and realizes this is Charlie’s mother. The nurse says the donations are sweet and all, but Gertrude is never going to wake up. Dean promises the unresponsive woman that he’ll get her daughter back.
Back at the djinn’s lair, Charlie is stinking up the joint with her fear-sweat, which is how the coroner pegged her to begin with. Fear-sweat apparently smells like fresh baked bread to djinns. As the djinn marks her Charlie warns her that Dean will come and shining armor his way to victory. The djinn, in full come-at-me-bro mode says he’s more than welcomed to join them; seems Dean smells like all kinds of bakery confections. Deliciously fearful.
The djinn’s cravings are cut short when the boys arrive; Sam uses his weaken status to distract her while Dean shanks her (that’s Sam’s version and he’s sticking to it). When they find Charlie she’s out cold and burning up. Also, their tried and true djinn antidote totally fails. Back-up plan? Go African dream root stalking in her brain to try to get her to break her head-trip loop. Dean downs the root and red hair cocktail and Sam punches him to sleep. Sam must be in really bad shape; it takes two punches to turn out Dean’s lights.
Dean wakes up and it’s 1951. Huh, forgot about that. The genetic mutation vamps are closing in on him when Charlie resident evils her way to his rescue. Dean doesn’t understand why Charlie’s brain is stuck doing a Planet of the Apes infinite loop re-watch considering he killed the djinn. Charlie is impressed; Dean killed both djinns?
Both? As in two?
Plan B. Dean figures if they beat the game, they can go home. No dice, Charlie says she’s level 256’d a thousand times, nothing but kill-screen reset. They hole up in the patients’ ward to buy some time. There, on a hospital bed, is Gertrude. Charlie fesses up, but despite Dean’s logic on the matter Charlie says she can’t let her mom go. Her mom made her the geek she is and she just can’t pull the plug on that. Dean’s wisdom is kicked in the balls when he sees a vegged-out Sam in a nearby bed. No time to over think it, the vamps are breaking down Dean and Charlie’s barricade.
Sam, still in reality, now has to deal with a freshly orphaned teenage boy djinn. That’d be a deadly emotional hormone bomb to deal with on Sam’s best day. And this is so not his best day. The boy just came of age and had to feed, but he was sloppy. Sam wastes no time is getting the jump on the boy and taking him out. Oh, how times change, right Sam?
Unfortunately, that doesn’t trigger Dean and Charlie’s return. The only way to do that is break the loop. Dean decides that the only way to beat the game is to put down the controller. Charlie works through her fear and guilt, spanks her inner moppet and boom! game over.
The next morning, Charlie packs up her gear and gets ready to do what she’s gotta do. Before she leaves, she reminds Sam that Carver Edlund’s books describe Sam as the best of the best, the beefiest of the cakes and she’s 100% sure he’s gonna be fine. Sam takes that in and tells her she’s welcomed anytime and heads back inside the Batcave. Charlie takes this moment alone to tell Dean she loves him, Han Solo that he is, Dean tells her he knows. Charlie doesn’t mind having a favorite quote parroted back to her. Dean hugs her, kisses the top of her head fondly and sends her on her way.
Inside their bunker home, Sam starts to apologize to Dean for jumping into the fray without any hops. Dean wordlessly gathers his brother into a tight hug, which Sam mirrors back. After a moment of serenity Dean lets go and tells Sam it’s time to find their prophet so they can save Hyrule and he can save his Princess Zelda.