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

Published 1 year 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.

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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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TAGS: supernatural

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  1. I actually loved the episode. I wonder if I’m in the minority?

    I appreciate your weekly recaps. You do a nice job.

    • Hah, ya got me by a minute. I too enjoyed this ep.

  2. I actually really enjoyed this episode. It was a fun change of pace.

  3. I enjoyed it and so did my friends. I think some people are being overly critical of the show.

    • so glad so many agree with me. this episode although not the best, was a blast. I laughed out loud numerous times which i havent done to supernatural in quite some time…Dean’s strategy with the war map being especially memorable.
      I couldnt disagree more with most of this review. And last weeks episode rocked as well, yet no review on here at all, perhaps that episode was also not well received?
      I am enjoying this season immensely, I feel that the main actors have stepped up their game since the mid season break, and I look forward to where this goes. Not the strongest season by far, but shaping up to be better than 6 and 7.

  4. I enjoyed it, too, tho i see your points. It had a thin plot, much like the episode in the first two seasons based on a Hollywood studio lot during the filming of a horror movie. That one didn’t have much of a story, either, but it was fun.

  5. It was a sort of spoof of the LARPing fad. The fact that the soaring music stopped when a frisbee interrupted Dean’s speech, then restarted, is a clue to that spoofiness. After such dark episodes, we need a break and humour, even a play on geekiness, is welcome.

  6. And the fact that Sam could get away with being an FBI man during all the medieval action arouund him is a clue as well. Smashup….mashup, we loved it!

    • I have to comment as well. Yes, the knife rather than the fireplace was a little.. odd, but other than that I really enjoyed the episode. It’s one of the best ones this season, just because it brought back the fun quirkiness that the series has had so much in the past. Sure, the plot was thin in that it had nothing to do with the overall story line, but haven’t all the critics been asking for more episodes that return to the original format of the series? This did just that. A side step episode that basically avoided the overall story arch. There have been a couple of these this season and it’s been a welcome sight. A proper combination of these side step episodes and overall story-arch episodes could be just what this series needs.

      Next week’s episode looks very intriguing as well. Things are looking up for Supernatural IMO

  7. Much more engaged in these funny episodes, and the ones that focus on Sam and Dean’s individual story arcs. Sometimes I thankfully forget completely about the Demon/Angel tablet story lines. Kinda bummed that it seems they’ve ended the Bennie and Amelia stories in favor of the Tablet arc. Really thought the conflict over Bennie was interesting and could have created tension with the entire hunter community.

  8. Geez, what a negative Nancy you are, reviewer! I enjoyed it for what it was. Not every episode of the show will be dark and violent, so it’s nice to see a but of a break from that. Plus the fact that the monster this week technically was not one, nor was the thing controller it. (A good fairy forced by a dorky human.) It’s a change of pace and sometimes these niche episodes are good for the show.

  9. I thought this episode was great.

  10. I enjoy this episode and it’s a fun episode. Nothing more, nothing less. It pretty much lift up the mood from a very dark episode last week and what seem to be a dark episode next week.

  11. i loved this episode

  12. Maybe it stems from the fact that I understood the genre and all the terminology but I thought it was a fun and highly enjoyable episode.

    Not every episode has to be dark and perpetually pushing the story forward. In fact, it’s the episodes like this one that make the show worth watching because if it was all nothing but doom and gloom story arc episodes I would get overly heavy and tiresome before too long.

  13. I really enjoyed this episode as well! i dont recall what it was in but i remember another movie/show where they stabbed the book to destroy it! this season, IMO, is starting to get better with each episode!

    • harry potter and chamber of secrets harry stabbed tom riddles diary with a basilisk fang (basilisk venom is deadly to horcruxes).
      I too immediately thought “ooh fireplace is right there!” and was shocked when she stabbed it, but I just accepted it as a magic spell book that perhaps was impervious to fire? ahem…

      I loved the episode, including the end braveheart scene. classic.

      • Ah yes, that is it! Its been bugging me, thanks for the reminder! I really didn’t mind her stabbing it but it was weird how they showed the fire mere seconds before stabbing the book to destroy it but it didn’t detract from the episode whatsoever.

  14. I really loved this episode. Supernatural rocks.

  15. it was a great episode. i don’t know what your’e talking about

  16. The knife in the book is a direct reference to Dragon Age 2, where an important book suffers the same fate. Felicia Day played the major character of an add-in to Dragon Age 2, which of the LARPers in the tech tent was actially playing at the time. I believe the knife in the book was meant as a shout-out/easter egg for gamers and Felicia Day fans who’d recognise the reference.

  17. I enjoyed the episode as well. Sure, it wasn’t exactly hitting the tone of what Supernatural should usually be, but these little one-off fun episodes have been with us since the beginning. Don’t be such a party pooper, Anthony. ;)

    p.s.: Dean standing there with that crown on his head and delivering the news about the deaths with a grave face will forever be burned into my memory. It was hilarious. :D

  18. I absolutely loved this episode! It was a break from all the serious issues. In my opinion it was well written. The dialogues were the best. And dean as always was funny! loved it!

  19. Anybody else wish this show just ended after Season 5?

    • Some of the best episodes can be found in Seasons 6 and 7. So: no!

  20. No, not really. I believe people say that because they feel that season 5 was the perfect ending or the producers are just milking the show at this point. Some people think seasons 6-7 sucked and this season is no better- I disagree with all of that.
    I know the past couple of seasons were not perfect (I think season 6 was better than 7 but 7 had some interesting stories). However, Smallville went through the same thing where its middle seasons were lacking and then all of a sudden they killed it with seasons 9 and 10 -”killed it” is a good thing :) Smallville could’ve wrapped things up way before seeason 10 but they redeemed themselves in the end (I at least think so). Supernatural went through the same phase and now the show is getting back on track.

    Seasons 1-5 were awesome but that was only chapter one. Just because they defeated the devil doesn’t mean that there are no longer any interesting stories to tell. Like I said that was only chapter one, Sera Gamble’s run was chapter 2 and Carver counts as the final chapter. Carver is doing a good job and I hope he ends the show on a high note.

  21. Huh. This is the first review I’ve read that was negative and I’ve read about 15 of them. I loved it and thought it was hysterical. We needed a light episode before we return to the angst, tablets, Castiel, etc. I will definitely be around for season 10!

  22. I thought it was one of the funniest episodes in forever.

  23. I loved it

  24. Like The French Mistake, which only pushed the plot further by showing that Cas finally found the heavenly weapons, it lifted us from the dark muck, and let us laugh for an hour. We need these kinds of episodes. They also show the comic timing that Jensen and Jared can display when given the chance.

  25. “.. killed by Belladonna !”
    (in unison ) THE PORN STAR ??!
    “………… the poison.”

    ROFL. C’mon. It was a really nice episode. So what if it doesn’t fit in with the season mythology. Every season needs a few of these episodes.

  26. it was a fun ep!! anyone else hoping that felica day becomes a regular? her character is so close to dean. and supernatural needs a strong female regular character which they lack in

    • They did that already with Jo in season 2 and with Bela and Ruby in season 3. The fan girls doesn’t really like them which lead to the producer to kill off Bela.

      • Your probably 100% right, but that’s so weird…

        and sad.

      • I will never forgive them that they killed off Jo, and in such a stupid manner, too.

  27. This episode was actually pretty good. And stop complaining about non-storyline episodes. The series was originally built on them. The only off part was that it seemed the show was saying that all female LARPers are gay (Charlie hit on every girl there and they all returned her affection). But the boys finally having fun and enjoying themselves was nice.

    • I don’t know anything about LARP, but I just figured the girls turned to each other out of desperation because they were lacking in suitable “men”.

  28. By the way,stab a knife through one of your books and see what condition it’s in. I assure you that you won’t be able to read it…

  29. I agree with the majority of the comments, lurved the episode. It’s up there with my other favorite episodes, cannot wait to rewatch it. I was dying with laughter for a lot of it & really don’t understand this reviewer not liking it. Sooo many great moments, I’ve talked myself silly about this episode with other SPN fans. And can I just say, we need more Dean in faux medieval garb ;)