Supernatural: Optimism

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

Shoefly don't bother me.

With Sam out on a hunt with Charlie, Dean is left alone with Jack at the bunker and the depowered Nephilim is getting pretty stir crazy. Much like Dean, Jack feels guilty over what has happened with Michael. He let his guard down when he could have defeated him and now wants to do everything that he can to help; in this case, convincing Dean they should take in McCook, Nebraska. Meanwhile, outside of Memphis, Sam and Charlie are playing the waiting game after people have mysteriously disappeared. Since she escaped from the dark angel battle world, Charlie has planned to help everyone get settled in and then abandon the hunter's life. It's not for her and she knows all too well how it usually ends. Sam takes this to heart but still feels like the hunters are where Charlie belongs as she is one of them and sometimes the worst thing is breaking up the team. Back in Nebraska, it takes Jack and Dean some time to get the case going but it all leads back to a librarian named Harper. Ever since her boyfriend left town, her success with love has been...death to any guy that is interested in her. After confirming that Harper isn't a demon, the two are sue it must be a spirit or something else more sinister until they learn the truth: Harper's boyfriend never left town and is now a zombie. Harper is a necromancer, killed her boyfriend and brought him back to life to keep him with her forever. It's up to Dean and Jack to stop others from being killed in their messed-up love games.

After last week's low in Nightmare Logic, Optimism was the kind of one-off episode that Supernatural needed with a lighter tone, fun pacing and an intriguing outcome. As the episode started off, bringing Jack back into the story was done in a very natural way; the loss of his powers still continues to affect him and getting into hunting has been brought up over the course of several episodes now. This also gave him a point to parallel Dean as he feels just as guilty for letting Michael slip through his fingers when he could have done something to prevent it from happening in the first place. What Optimism ended up being was a bonding episode where both characters found a way to be there for one another and progress the story at the same time. Beyond that, the pacing in Optimism was probably the best it has been this season. Between the comedy of Sam and Charlie versus the serious investigation in Dean and Jack, one story was always there to balance the other out. The only thing that didn't quiet feel right was how quickly the story was paced in the first half against the back end. The first half of Optimism was snippy and fun and one story countered the other while the second half found both stories slowing down and taking on a more serious tone. It would have been stronger if Dean and Jack's story became more comical and absurd as the story progressed to balance out Sam and Charlie's emotional family talks towards the end. After all, Harper ended up being a necromancer who killed and resurrected her high school boyfriend only to have him kill the men that hit on her for sustenance. That story should have leaned all the way into comedy by that point.

Another high point of Optimism were the scenes between Sam and Charlie, particularly the strong performance by Felicia Day. To start, I don't think it's a good idea for Charlie to stick around in the story if that is what happens. I would rather see her have a happy send off rather than see her character die twice and feel less impacted than I did the first time it happened. However, Supernatural made it a point for this Charlie, from the other dimension, to push back on Sam and say how she's not the same person as the one that he knew and that this is her life. It's cool that Bobby is back but it all feels the same and that nothing new has been brought to the character. In this case, Charlie feels completely different and more mature. Day performance here was string because it never came across as defiant but rather a character that feels like her debt is paid and that it's her life to live

All in all, Optimism was a good episode form Supernatural. It could have been better and took itself too seriously at times but that didn't stop it from being fun and Jack having a future necromancer stalker who wants to kill him and turn him into her next undead boyfriend. Everybody wins. Remember that guy that used to be Lucifer and everyone was afraid of him until he escaped one day and no one cared? Let's see what happens next week when Nick returns in Unhuman Nature.

Tags: Supernatural, Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, Castiel, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins

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