Supernatural Season 8 has been pretty dark when you really think about it.
Crowley's stepped up his game by killing people with the snap of his fingers, the angels are potentially being controlled into not doing heavenly good things, Bobby is gone and the brothers have both taken paths that have left some heavy emotional scars.
This is especially the case considering the final moments of "Torn and Frayed," with Dean letting Benny go and Sam deciding to leave Amelia behind. These two have been through the ringer when it comes to heavy stuff, even towards each other, so the real question lay in what the journey forward would be.
"LARP and the Real Girl" was a nice break from all of those huge problems, simply giving Sam and Dean the chance to have a little fun, with the recognition that even though they can't erase the past, they can build towards a better future. Just probably not with foam swords all the time.
This was the kind of goofy, enjoyable episode that the season needed to remind fans and viewers that the show doesn't have to be trapped within crazy drama and overly powerful supernatural beings - it can be entertaining when dealing with the regular hunt and a regular person caught in the middle. And it a lot of ways, it really reminded Sam and Dean that they, too, can partake in fun in between saving the world.
The only other time I've really seen live action role playing (or LARP) was on the movie Role Models, which also sort of spoofed on the particular world. There was no KISS battle scene or a mouthy kid here, but there was plenty of jokes about the game itself.
And it was rather enjoyable seeing Sam and Dean - normally so natural in their element - be a bit off put by all the orcs, elves and magi. It was even humorous that their fake IDs were noticed right away, from someone you never thought would possibly question their FBI status.
Of course, bringing back Felicia Day as Charlie was a fantastic idea and she fit perfectly into the world and the episode itself. What better way to make her return then by making her queen of the LARPers?
I enjoyed Charlie back when she was helping fight the Leviathan in "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo," although I was less enamored with the heist type setup that played out.
Still, her return felt so natural and her rapport with Sam and Dean felt so honest, that it was hard not smiling anytime she was on screen. Did anyone catch her Star Wars references, from replying "I know" to an "I love you" or exclaiming to the fairy that she's here to rescue her?
It was even nice seeing her give a candid outside perspective about Dean tricking Sam with the text or Dean letting Benny go. She wasn't judging the situation, but rather acting as his friend.
Really, Charlie has a lot in common with Dean. She did recognize the porn star name at the exact same time as him, right?
Although, it was funny that Dean was the first to really start getting into the game and becoming the hand maiden. Even trying to fight Gerry with the foam sword only to watch it get chopped in half added to the comical situations of the episode.
It was interesting to see Sam get hit on by the girl, especially because we usually see Dean in that role more often. And I knew he'd never go for her flirtation or invitation because he did just let the love of his life go, so maybe it was just me... but it felt like he had more chemistry with her than he did Amelia.
I know the whole Amelia and Sam relationship is its own bag of worms, but I think he recognized - and at the same time this episode sort of pointed out - that even when he and Dean try to escape that monster hunting life, it's where they truly belong.
Plus, if they weren't on regular jobs like the LARP one, they would never get to see babe on fairy babe action. That just doesn't happen in the normal life. It's nice to see the boys having fun again, isn't it?
And, sure, Sam needs time to be able to move on, but it was a great step in the right direction by acknowledging that they both need a little fun to be able to do so.
I can only imagine how many times that final scene had to be done because it was hilarious. Dean's passionate Braveheart speech interrupted by the random frisbee player followed by a slow motion charge of the Winchester brothers in full LARP garb? Priceless.
I'm sure everyone must have had a ball making this episode.
As much as I really enjoy the major mythology stuff, I'm glad that the hour sort of reinvigorated the fun aspect for Sam and Dean. I get it, their life is hard, their choices are hard, their journey is hard, but it's still nice to see the brothers enjoy themselves once in a while.
I wonder who won that final battle?
What did you think of the episode and the return of Charlie? Was it fantastic fun or do you want to get back to the angel conspiracy? Sound off below!
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.