As ABC’s Agents of SHIELD is still attempting to drum up enough good will from fans to earn its early season pickup, Supernatural has, instead, decide to cash theirs in – all for the sake of Halloween! This year, a trip from Oz and a time-traveling visit to the Men of Letters thrusts Dorothy and the Wicked Witch into present times.
Unlike previously enclosed tales involving silent films, television tropes and a Golem (among others), this week’s special episode of Supernatural may take a bit of time to warm up to – not because the story is poorly handled or overly-complicated, but because the semi-grounded tone of the series initially makes it difficult to believe that yes, Oz does exist, flying monkeys and all.
To help Sam and Dean take on the Wicked Witch, Charlie (Felicia Day) makes her long-awaited return. This time, however, the wave of geek references and hyper-active mannerisms that typically fill her dialogue have been better shaped for the tale at hand. With that slight tweak, Charlie’s ever-reaching fangirlisms elevate the episode into an earnest look into hope, magic and feminism.
Over the past nine years, Sam and Dean have proved, time and time again, that they’re able to handle themselves in (almost) any circumstance. And though strong female characters is something Supernatural has worked for all along, there haven’t been many earnest tales which highlight female perspective. In this episode, as the Wicked Witch is fighting off advances from Crowley (Mark Sheppard), a good amount of time is taken to allow Charlie and Dorothy to simply communicate, woman to woman.
Sure, the conversation between the two is mostly made up of backstory in order to accomplish the task at hand - but at the same time, it’s these conversations between Charlie and Dorothy which help to create a complete tale with fully-realized characters. Not only that, but because of the depth that’s reached with the girls, their return is not only eagerly anticipated but absolutely welcomed. As Sam says, “There’s no place like home.”
All in all, Supernatural made a difficult choice to include a standalone episode just 4 weeks into its ninth season, and for all intents and purposes, their Halloween homage to "The Wizard of Oz" was a tremendous success.
The core seasonal tale of fallen angels may still need a few more weeks before it reaches the heights of this week’s episode, but with all the many interpretations of the "The Wizard of Oz" out there ( and many more in development), it’s a pleasure to see a series so focused on mythology take on such a familiar tale and handle it so well. Thanks to writer Robbie Thompson, Supernatural has created a version of "The Wizard of Oz" that any modern audience would love to see. (Though maybe it’s best to wait until next Halloween to do so).
Supernatural returns next Tuesday with "Dog Dean Afternoon" @9pm on CW. You can check out a preview of next week's episode below: