‘Supernatural’ Season 8, Episode 11 Review – Knives Destroy Books?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated January 25th, 2013 at 8:07 am,

supernatural season 8 episode 11 larping Supernatural Season 8, Episode 11 Review   Knives Destroy Books?

It’s an off-week for Supernatural, to say the (very) least. In this episode, titled “LARP and the Real Girl,” Sam and Dean play pretend and face-off against a spell book purchased off of eBay. Fortunately, knives destory books.

After two live action role-players mysteriously end up dead, Sam and Dean attempt to track down the source of the strange mark connecting the victims, leading them to a game of LARPing in Michigan, where Charlie Bradbury (Felicia Day) is “Queen.” With the help (and weight) of LARPing royalty, Sam, Dean and Charlie split up and venture deep into the forest of the Shadow Orcs to find the person behind the horrific deaths. But when the Queen is suddenly taken captive by a strange creature, the mystery behind the deaths are revealed, and Sam and Dean face off against its master to protect fairy love.

Although Supernatural has previously traversed geek culture to much success, this week’s episode – which presents an awkward mixture of forced “geek” terminology and a role-playing setting – may be one of the oddest, most uncomfortable episodes of the series to date. To its (sole) credit, “LARP and the Real Girl” has no attachment to the overall series storyline, giving fans some hope that this episode was simply an unfortunate experiment.

A returning character; a new environment for Sam and Dean to explore; iconic references from movies – in theory, this episode should work; however, it doesn’t. Here’s the “wiki” on why that is: Even though Charlie Bradbury is a returning character, her original appearance wasn’t as memorable to the series as it was accommodating to the last season’s Leviathan storyline. And filling Charlie’s dialogue (and storyline) with many geek and lesbian references only helps to drive home the fact that the depth of this episode is actually non-existent.

Additionally, in a series in which all religions and all monsters can exist in a single, surprisingly coherent storyline, having Sam and Dean make a one-off stop to defeat someone wielding the force of “Buy It Now” on eBay doesn’t exactly speak to the promises of returning the series “back to its origins” that were made before the season began. But still… the episode should have worked.

supernatural season 8 episode 11 sam dean charlie Supernatural Season 8, Episode 11 Review   Knives Destroy Books?

In this instance, at least, Supernatural’s downfall appears to be that the want to tell a geek-themed episode outweighs the need to actually tell it. And yes, while this structure has worked many times in the series past, the fact that Supernatural is an ageing series makes it more difficult to execute such niche episodes – especially when excitement for the overall seasonal storyline is currently waning.

In a scene which perfectly represents the problems of this episode, Sam and Dean are facing off against their fairy-wielding foe, and Charlie must destroy the book that is binding the fairy to their enemy’s command. Before her is a fireplace and a knife. Since the book must be destroyed, Charlie picks up the knife and stabs the book… destroying it.

While it’s highly unlikely that the quality of this episode is a sign of things to come, longtime fans are still taking mental notes about how this season is unfolding, continuously wondering if Supernatural will reach its season 10 goal. More importantly, fans are wondering whether or not they’ll still be watching if it does. Hopefully, subsequent episodes will inspire a confident “Yes,” from fans.


Supernatural returns next Wednesday with “As Time Goes By” @9pm on The CW. You can check out a preview of next week’s episode below:

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  1. Loved the episode; thought it was unique and enjoyable. I do wish Castiel would have been involved (would have loved to have seen the angel in chain mail, trying to figure out Charlie – - and visa versa – - and the expression on his face when Charlie called Dean her handmaiden). This season has definitely been an improvement over the disastrous season seven and its dull Leviathans (thank heaven THOSE are gone). SPN definitely has more life in it; could easily go through season ten. Will I watch? If Dean, Sam, and Cas ALL continue to be involved.

  2. This episode was to good… very different in all directions keep them going

  3. This does absolutely bring the show back to it’s roots. I have watched every episode of Supernatural from day one, and every once in a while they throw in an off the wall, comedic episode. Some that come to mind are the “Ghostbreakers” episode and the Deaths of Dean Winchester episode, the episode where the sitcom universe and the real life universe collide, as well as all the episodes involving the Trickster, who we did not know was actually the angel Gabriel as of yet, and this was only revealed later on after a few episodes involving the Trickster. I believe the same thing has happened here, and later on this episode will have more meaning to aspects of the overall story arc.

  4. This guy does not know what he is talking about lol. It definitly falls in the category of “Back to the Origins” it was a monster(ish) of the week episode which we rarely get any more and I along with other SN fans always enjoy to lighten things up a little and have some fun with the show. And I also think this will play into Charlie having a bigger role through the season and/or series. All in all good fun episode that made me laugh quite a bit adn took away from the boys brooding for a while. I approve!

  5. I couldn’t disagree more with the author. Fantastic episode proving they can definitely cotinue to Season 10 and beyond!!

  6. Whenever i read a review on screen rant that i completely disagree with, i try to remember that it is just that one persons opinion but it does bug me a little that Anthony throughout the article talks for all fans as if we all hated the episode and dont like where this season is going, when in fact, looking at the comments, almost every single person loved this episode and the shows direction this season. Sorry, just one of my own personal rants.

    • Totally agree with you, looking at any Supernatural discussion site and fan opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of this show. LARP needed to be light in lieu of last weeks emotionally gut wrenching ep. This Anthony Ocasio has not done his homework. Fans wondering if SPN will get to season 10…HONESTLY!. Not sure if you know your demographic Anthony.

  7. Been a fan since day #1 and will watch it till they take it off the air, if your a true fan you’ll stick it out no matter what…
    Love from Alaska

  8. Was an extremely weak episode. I’ve been a supernatural fan since day 1 and always will be, but it irritates me to see fans getting so offended when someone insults a bad episode and compensate by saying how great it is when it wasn’t.