14.06 Optimism

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SPN-1406.jpg
Title Optimism
Episode # Season 14, Episode 6
First aired November 15, 2018
Directed by Richard Speight, Jr.
Written by Steve Yockey
On IMDB Optimism
Outline Sam goes on a hunt with Charlie Bradbury and has to confront that she is not the same Charlie he lost. Dean and Jack investigate a series of possible monster-related deaths.
Monster Harper Sayles
Musca
Zombie
Timeline
Location(s) McCook, Nebraska
Lebanon, Kansas
Outside Memphis, Tennessee
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Synopsis

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "Clocksukka" by Stefano Ruggeri (Extreme Music)
(plays during the recap of previous events)
  • "Stayin' Alive" by Bee Gees
(playing as Winston struts down the street before his death)
  • "Honky Tonk Queen" by Selecttracks
(playing as Dean and Jack enter Dick's Red Rooster Diner)
  • "I'll Go On Alone" by Marty Robbins
(playing in the diner as Harper writes Jack a "love" letter)

Quotes

Jack: Dean, I need to do something. You don't understand. I could have killed Michael. Here, when I was strong enough, I could have. But there was so much going on, and then everything else happened because I was distracted and stupid and --

Dean: Hey. You didn't do anything wrong.

Jack: And neither did you. But that doesn't make it any easier, does it? So, I can't just sit here in the bunker thinking about it all day. What I could have done differently, how I can't do anything about it now. But I can do this. I can hunt. Give me a chance.
Jack: What's 'courting?'

Dean: It's what you do before you start dating.
Jack: Oh, and that's the thing you do before the sex.

Wanda: Sometimes you just have the sex.
Charlie: Sam, before all this, I was just a programmer at Richard Roman Enterprises. I lived with the love of my life, and we --

Sam: Wait, you -- you did?
Charlie: Yeah. So, your Charlie she... I guess she never met Kara.
Sam: Kara?

Charlie: Uh she owned a bakery outside of Chicago. Cupcakes. It was like something out of a storybook. She always smelled like peaches, and her smile was just Michael and Lucifer, when they started their war, first thing, a giant EMP or something like it went off over North America. Fried every bit of technology. Cellphones, power plants. For the first few days, we banded together. Thought, 'Hey, someone'll save us.' No one ever did. When the food ran out, people got mean. Mobs started forming, stealing whatever they could get their hands on. A lot of people died. Kara died. People are always the same when things go wrong -- they lose it. One day, the water gets shut off, the next day, people are on fire. It's a fact about society -- it all falls apart.
Sam: Oh, great. Our perp might just be a giant fly with low self-esteem.
Dean: Look, I promise you that Harper Sayles is not in love with you, okay? Would you calm down?
Jack: Okay. But if she is, I need to know everything about sex. Go.
Sam: Charlie, you can't just quit and go live on a mountain somewhere. People need people.

Charlie: Why? 'Cause they're the luckiest people in the world?
Sam: No, come on. We just do. We're social animals.
Charlie: Emphasis on 'animals.'
Sam: Yeah, but you're also a hunter. The things that we've seen, it's not so easy to just walk away from it all.
Charlie: Believe me, I've tried.
Sam: Our Charlie tried.

Charlie: Yeah, well, again, she ain't me. It's my life, Sam. Not hers and not yours.
Jack: What are you doing?

Harper: What? He's my boyfriend. He just gets a little jealous sometimes.
Jack: But he's dead. And stalking you.

Harper: No, he's stalking you. It's a little game we play. Some people pretend to be naughty nurses, some people get tied up. We do this. Oh, and he has to eat flesh to maintain his body. Stupid magic. But it all works out. Except not for you. I'm sorry about all this, Jack. I actually think I liked you. But you're obviously a hunter, and I come from a long line of necromancers. I mean, I can mostly only raise the dead, but that comes in handy. And I can't let you or your friend get in the way of the love Vance and I share. It's first love, Jack. The best kind. Without baggage or compromise. I mean, I did have to kill him to keep him here after college, but every relationship has its stuff, right? And all the other guys -- none of them are like Vance. Strong and courageous and -- So, they all had to die. Especially Miles, who just -- ugh. So, I had Vance crush his throat. I wish I could have watched. And now we're going to kill you.
Charlie: I wasn't looking for love. I found it, and I lost it. And I didn't kill people and literally nest in their body parts, so...

Sam: Okay, I know, I know. How about this? Don't leave. Hear me out. Sure, some people can do bad things when they're desperate or scared, but I mean, the guy we just saved, he has a wife, children. I'm not saying all people are good people or even that most people are, but if we help people, then maybe they'll help people and all that. And that's worth it. Even with all the tears and death -- it's worth it.

Charlie: Just to be super clear, I am not like the fly monster.
Harper: 'Jack. I'm already writing -- isn't that crazy? I'm not crazy. But our love is so vivid. I can't wait to find you. You're the first man to ever get me to leave McCook. Now I'm in the world. I'm sorry I have to kill you for what you did to Vance, but then I can bring you back so that we can be together again. It's gonna be perfect. See you soon. Love, Harper.'
Dean: Okay. All right. Look, it's not about being right, okay? You're gonna make mistakes. Hell, I make them all the time. But it's how you handle yourself once you've made those mistakes. And you learn from them.

Jack: And how to not beat yourself up over them?
Dean: You know, Jack, you're pretty smart sometimes. I tell you what -- when Sam gets back, I'll talk to him about getting you out on more hunts. Okay? In the meantime, we'll get you a crate of cough drops.

Jack: I'm fine. It's all part of being human, right?

Trivia & References

The scene of Winston Mathers walking while "Stayin' Alive" plays, is an homage to the scene of John Travolta's character Tony Manero strutting down the street to the same tune in the 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever.
The article Jack shows Dean about Winston Mathers' death suspects a bath salts attack due to all the bite marks. In 2012 a man, Rudy Eugene, high on bath salts attacked and maimed a homeless man named Ronald Poppo in what became known as the Miami cannibal attack.
Dean uses the aliases "Agent Berry" and "Agent Charles" for himself and Jack, a reference to rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry whom also had a son named Charles Berry, Jr.
Dean: Uh, you know, you're gonna want to be a little more helpful than that.

Wanda: Listen, Deep State. Flashing a badge might work on people who don't have a working knowledge of the Constitution but that ain't me. Now I got to go earn some money.

"Deep state" is often used to refer to an organization that operates within or on behalf of a government, but not in the interests of the people of a country.
Dean: Well, congrats, Mighty Mouse. I think you found us a case.
Mighty Mouse is a cartoon superhero who, although small, is mighty.
Sam: People need people.

Charlie: Why? 'Cause they're the luckiest people in the world?

"People who need people, Are the luckiest people in the world" is a line from the song "People" from the musical Funny Girl made famous by Barbra Streisand.
Dean: Archie! Hey! Let's dance.
Archie refers to Archie Andrews who is a comic book character in an eponymous stable of comics. Archie is a small-town high school senior. At the time this episode aired, a TV series inspired by the comics called Riverdale had just commenced its third season also on the CW.

Minutiae

The episode was originally known as "Curious Cravings".
Maddie Phillips, who played Harper Sayles, previously played Janet Novoselic in 10.13 Halt & Catch Fire.
Amitai Marmorstein, who played Winston Mathers, previously played Tim in 5.09 The Real Ghostbusters and Gopher in 6.15 The French Mistake.
David Quinlan, who played Diner Man, previously played Nate Mulligan in 2.17 Heart.
Jack tells Dean since losing his powers food and drinks taste different for him. In 9.11 First Born Castiel revealed to Sam that his taste buds changed during his stint as a human, and as an angel he can taste each individual molecule of a PB & J sandwich, remarking that the taste is not the same for him anymore.
Jack uses the phrase "Christo" to test if Harper Sayles is possessed. This is the first time since 1.04 Phantom Traveler that this method of demon testing has been used on the show. The lack of its use since season one has long been a bugbear of fandom.
In the euphemistically named "Dick's Red Rooster Diner," after Jack asks about sex, Dean pushes the rooster (aka cock) next to him to face in another direction.
Apocalypse World Charlie reveals to Sam, like her counterpart, she worked as a programmer for Richard Roman Enterprises. Unlike Sam and Dean's version of Charlie, this Charlie lived with the "love of her life" Kara, who worked as a baker in Chicago, and died in the early days of the Apocalypse.
Charlie details to Sam the early days of the Apocalypse in Apocalypse World, telling Sam how when Michael and Lucifer fought, an EMP type of blast occurred over North America, frying all technology and power plants.
Dean gets pie in this episode along with Jack and gets to eat it too. He also has a brief awkward sex talk with Jack during this time.
Charlie: I mean, no offense, but who wants to be a hunter? This job, it's just a lot of tears and death.

Sam: Funny. You, uh -- You said something like that to me once long ago about hunting. Not you. Uh, sorry. Our Charlie.

In 10.18 Book of the Damned, Charlie tells Sam:
"Brothers. You know, I haven’t been a hunter for very long, but it feels like this is the life. Mostly ends in Sophie’s choices, death, or tears. Usually, all of the above, huh? How did this become my life? I mean, I was gonna own my own start-up, marry ScarJo, invent something cool. Now I’m just… I’m just happy to be alive."
Dean remarks that Jack finally gets to hunt a zombie, something he was excited about doing in 13.06 Tombstone, before learning Dave Mather was a ghoul.
Jack: Uh, headshot?

Dean: No, no, no. Creeps like this, you got to get 'em back in their grave. Drive a silver stake through their heart to keep 'em there.

This method of dispatching zombies has been used in 2.04 Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things and 4.07 It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester. However, zombies raised by Death in 5.15 Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid required headshots, as well as Mother Plum, who was risen by the Black Grimoire in 13.12 Various & Sundry Villains which was an action done on Dean's suggestion.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

Promotion