Episode 8.20

“Pac-Man Fever” Review
By Annie Kenney

This episode was not what I was expecting at all. I expected a pointless filler episode that veered away from everything that has gone before. I expected cocky Dean and subdued Sam. What I got was something very, very different.

Firstly an episode that starts with Dean in full military uniform can’t be all bad and secondly Sam with bed hair – what’s not to like?

This episode had everything – pathos, humour, action and military vampires! It held the viewer from start to finish and there were enough brother moments to fill an entire season – Amelia, Benny and flashbacks forgotten.

I have warmed more and more to Charlie as time goes on. I didn’t like her much at first but after ‘LARP and the Real Girl’ she started to grow on me. However she became a much more rounded character in this episode and one that I would certainly like to see again. Episodes that she is in are always heavy on humour and pop culture references and this was no different. It was great to look back on older episodes – I particularly liked the references to the Supernatural Books. Charlie’s thoughts on the boy’s life so far kind of reflect the viewer’s own and it was really funny to see Sam so embarrassed about his less than successful love life.

A character like Charlie is someone a lot of the audience can relate too and is certainly someone that viewers might want to be. She has built a great relationship with the brothers and she is – in my opinion – a lot less annoying or irritating than some of the other reoccurring female characters we have met over the years. She is intelligent, witty, clever and has her own agenda and it was nice to find that she had human flaws and to find out more about her and her family history (even if it WAS incredibly sad).

This was an episode which healed the brother’s once shattered relationship and gave Dean a reason to care for Sam again. Dean has always been quite paternal towards Sam and has been as much a father to him as John was. Dean is devoted to Sam and has never really been able to stop being big brother. With Sam being so sick and obviously ailing Dean is desperate to make things better for him. Sam however appears reluctant to take on the role of little brother again and is fighting against Dean claiming he can take care of himself. This dynamic makes – in my humble opinion – fantastic viewing and is why I started watching Supernatural in the first place. It is as much about the human condition, love and family as it is about demon hunting and ‘Pac-Man Fever’ was an excellent example of this.

Add to that some fantastic action scenes (loved the fact that the Djinn put Charlie in her own game), a really gross but funny scene starring Bill & Ted clones and a stick (you’re not going to poke her with a stick a direct reference to ‘Playthings’ in Season 2) and a genuinely touching conclusion (I had tears in my eyes), this was one of the best episodes of the Season.

It was great to see Charlie again and I hope she does become a woman of letters and we see more of her. It was more than great to see the brothers together again and hugging (more hugs please writers!) and it was great to see Dean taking care of Sam and Sam finally letting him.

Pac-Man Fever could become a Supernatural classic – it certainly has all the ingredients and it wasn’t the dreaded filler episode but instead it was something that fitted into the myth arc and could also work as a stand-alone.

There are still so many unanswered questions forthcoming and next week’s episode is already worrying me. What is wrong with Sam? What are the trials doing to him? Where is Kevin? Where is Castiel?

The season is rapidly reaching a conclusion and Jeremy Carver promises that there will be cliff-hangers. I’m biting my nails!