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In the first part of this profile, we discussed Robbie Thompson's non-Supernatural projects and his debut episode, "Slash Fiction." We examined his ability to tell human stories within the frameworks of the science fiction genre---and how that helped him to write rich scripts for Sam and Dean. In this part, we'll look at his other episodes, talk about how he brought the adorable Charlie Bradbury to life, and look at his best lines and pop culture references.


Thompson's second episode, "Time After Time After Time" continued the witty dialogue and pop culture references while exploring a human story within the supernatural. It also wrapped its story around Sam and Dean's bond in an effective and moving way. The episode throws Dean back to 1944 after he launches himself on the time god Chronos before he can complete his time jump. Unlike previous time travel episodes, there's no definite out---no certainty that Dean can return to the present in 2012. Thompson uses this situation to his advantage to tell a compelling and moving story both for the Winchesters and for the villain, Chronos. As added bonus, we see him throw in a familiar figure from history---Elliot Ness.

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First, Thompson blends a great deal of current pop culture with 1940s slang. Dean, sticking out like a sore thumb as he chases Chronos into the busy street, quickly ends up captured by the police. There he's accused of being everything from a "Jerry," to a "kraut-muncher." Obviously, they suspect him of being a German spy---which he's not. Luckily for him, someone has taken interest in the stranger that burst onto the scene. It's none other than Elliot Ness, the very man that took down Al Capone. For genre fans, we were afforded the guest star in Nic Lea, known best for his role as Alex Krycek in The X-Files.

Thompson really has fun with this---making Dean's pop culture understanding of the period both endearing and hilarious. He begins to hero worship Ness immediately, quoting with a boyish reverence the movie The Untouchables only to be rebuffed by his hero. We even see Dean mutter to himself after dropping the film's most famous line, "Because that's the Chicago Way," that he'll "Never watch that movie again." When they question the bookie, he tells them he's no "stoolie," or informant, and not to "snap their caps" or get angry. The slang is certainly different. It also clashes with Dean's own slang. It baffles Ness as to why Dean thinks everything is "awesome," and he questions him, "How does that fill you with awe?"

Dean not only has to navigate language barriers. He has to change his clothes. Ness calls him a "bindlestiff," meaning he thinks the hunter looks a bit like a hobo. Dean doesn't get it and responds in a fluster, "Stiff your br bin  what?" The wardrobe change allows us to see Dean transformed. Gone are his worn and faded blue jeans, his t-shirt and green jacket. Gone are his work boots. Instead, he comes out in a proper 1940s suit with shiny shoes and fedora to match. Even his hair is slicked down. It leaves him looking sleek, professional---but still dangerous. In this outfit, Dean exudes elegance that compliments him well. And yet he's still Dean underneath, captured by the novelty of his new clothes. We're seeing just how language and culture shifts over time---how some words and clothing can go out of style and be replaced by new---and how what is familiar to one can be utterly foreign to another.

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Thompson is also pulling from a popular genre from the period: film noir. The episode most certainly follows that pattern. Our villain, Chronos, is a flawed anti-hero in many ways with a fatal flaw in the "femme fatale," Lila. It's this framework that allows for Thompson to make this villain sympathetic for the viewer and give his story humanity that it would otherwise lack. We can't help but feel a bit sorry for Chronos as he is tossed about time like a ship drifting aimlessly in the middle of the ocean. He has no choice in this. As his worshipers have dwindled and he has lost control over his powers, he has become a victim of what was once his gift. All Chronos wants is to be with Lila, and he will do whatever it takes---even killing three people at a time---to do it. He tells her, "I-I used to wander, but now I have you." That doesn't excuse him, however, and we know that much like most film noir lead characters he is doomed.

Thompson also shows us the other side of the story well---pulling the brotherly bond into the equation. The case was originally brought to the Winchesters by Sheriff Mills. She heard about the case and figured it was a "tune you boys tap to?" After Dean disappears, she feels obligated to help Sam get him back, and we're afforded another layer of human story laced with the spell work and time travel in Thompson's script. The Sheriff is an anchor that Sam can rely on as he struggles to get Dean back. Having someone like Jody with him also allows Sam to show vulnerabilities---something he might not have done had Dean remained in the present. Sam drives himself hard, working with little sleep or care for his own well-being to find the information he needs to return Dean to 2012. It takes Jody telling him to go to bed or she'll use her "Mom voice" to make him pause and rest.

Jody also can address some of the grief that the brothers haven't quite about Bobby. She finds a bottle of liquor that Rufus left for Bobby after losing a bet, and Thompson gives her one of the most human lines in the episode, "It's weird, huh? It's like their life's a big puzzle. You just keep finding pieces of it scattered all over the place." It allows for Sam and Jody to bond, to become something more than partners trying to figure out how to save Dean. They form an emotional, platonic connection that takes the story to a human height, reminding us that we can't face the most difficult tasks in life alone---nor should we.

As Sam tries to follow Jody's order, he gets down on the floor and fluffs his pillow---only to spot his name etched into the woodwork within eyeshot. In 1944, Dean decides to pull another Back to the Future trick, and tucks a letter inside behind the crown molding he popped off. That's of course after he's done some fast talking to the home owner to let him in. He uses the ruse of being part of the “Department of Homeland Termite Invasion,” which might be a nod to Thompson's work on Woody Wood Pecker! With the letter safely tucked, it's in Sam's hands to find it. He does, and he rushes down the stairs with boyish glee. The brothers may be years removed from one another, but they're still working together. Dean has provided the date they need and information on what Chronos is doing in the past---and with who. He tells Sam that Chronos is "banging some chick named Lila Taylor" and they now have a lead to follow, someone to ask.

The joy Sam experiences is short lived, considering Lila tells him and Jody that Chronos---or Ethan as she knew him---had "choked the life out of that man," meaning Dean of course. They may get him back to the present, but would they get him back alive?

Dean, meanwhile, must continue to work the case alongside Ness. They need to find a weapon to kill Chronos and they must stop him from killing his third victim before it is too late. Thompson makes use of Dean and Ness's time together well---they have a conversation about why they do what they do. Dean asks Ness, "So, now, w-who died in your life and made you a hunter? " Ness scoffs at this and retorts, "Who died? Nobody died, you morbid son of a bitch. I started doing this 'cause vampires were turning folks in Cleveland. " Dean admits that he's not sure why he's doing this anymore---that he used to do it because his father did it and then because it was the family business. Ness pooh poohs that, telling him "So enjoy it while it lasts, kid, 'cause hunting's the only clarity you're gonna find in this life. And that makes you luckier than most." It's perhaps what Dean needed to hear, even if it took time to sink in.

Once they track Chronos to Lila's house, they end up separated, Ness facing the time god first. Dean enters the house, trying to find Ness only to encounter an angry Chronos. Ness holds Lila hostage, forcing the time god's hand. He either is exposed as the monster he's become and stops killing or Ness will kill Lila. Unfortunately, Dean doesn't have such leverage, and it is Dean that Chronos turns his vast anger on---choking him. But it is also the very thing Dean needs so he can follow the summoned god back to the present. Once back, Sam and Jody start to attack, getting Dean away from Chronos until Sam can deliver the killing blow.

Thompson had fun with various pop culture, film noir, and witty dialogue in "Time After Time After Time," but what he did best was tell us a moving story about two brothers.


 
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In "Goodbye Stranger," we see Thompson tackle the mythology again. A case calls to the Winchesters. Sam tells Dean, "Because each of the victims had severe burns around their eyes, hands, and feet, puncture wounds through the backs of their hands, eyes and internal organs liquefied," and they head to the scene to find out what might be happening. They learn that one of the victims had been possessed prior to being killed---and now they have to wonder who might be killing demons and why.

It turns out that it is Castiel, and this raises even further questions, such as Sam's angry one, "Like, where the hell have you been?" Castiel has been working for the mysterious Naomi---and none of his answers can be trusted. She has been training him in simulation to kill Dean, to do her bidding without question---to remold him as the obedient solider. So, he feeds the brothers a lie. "They're looking for a parchment that would allow them to decipher Crowley's half of the Demon Tablet without a Prophet." What he's actually looking for is far more dangerous. He's looking for the Angel Tablet, held safe in one of Lucifer's Crypts.

They find out from the demon they have captured that Crowley has a hostage and they are following her clues. It's none other than Meg---and with the Winchesters in the picture, she decides to lead them to the real one. It sets up for an unexpected conflict between Dean and Castiel as the angel proceeds to beat the hunter at Namoi's order. She wants him to bring the Angel Tablet “home,” and if it means going through a Winchester to do it, she will. She, however, doesn't count on the Tablet's effect on Castiel. As he touches it, it breaks her control, and the angel flees into the wind with the Tablet in his possession.

What this episode, as most Thompson episodes are, is full of shout outs to other events in the series. Castiel's beating of Dean here---even with the stopping short prior to the touching of the Tablet---calls out to the hunter's beating at Lucifer's hands. Dean pleads with Castiel much as he had with Sam. Both beatings were done by angels---and both were vicious. And both are healed by Castiel. Meg and Castiel's deep conversation together recalls their history---particularly that of "Caged Heat," and the "pizza man." Meg tells Castiel, "I'm gonna order some pizza and we're gonna move some furniture around. You understand?" It's a touching moment, taking the comedy that was there in that earlier episode and giving it a heartbreaking depth. Meg's hair color change also is a subtle shout out to the original Meg from season 1. She's blonde, forced upon her by Crowley. It's almost a foreshadowing of what is to come towards the end of the episode.

But the biggest shoutout comes in the deep conversation Sam and Meg have. While waiting for Dean and Castiel to emerge with the Tablet, they share a conversation that echoes their first. Thompson shows that his watching the show from beginning to end prior to joining the staff has paid off in spades. And yet, what's beautiful about his writing here is that we see that false conversation they had oh so long ago in that bus station is oh so real here. It has emotional depth, an understanding between the two of them, and almost a bond forming. After all, now that Meg knows all of Sam's deepest secrets, there's nothing to hide anymore. She tells him, “But remember, I spent time in that walking corpse of yours. I know your sad, little thoughts and feelings." They may have been on opposite sides for most of the time, but Sam and Meg have something tangible forming. Meg tells Sam, a vulnerability in her voice towards the end, "Oh, I heard the rest. You fell in love with a unicorn. It was beautiful, then sad, then sadder. I laughed, I cried, I puked in my mouth a little. And honestly, I kind of get it." It's not much different than when she had once told Sam "we're living our own lives. And nobody else's" This time, Meg means it. The sincerity is there.

Thompson doesn't just shout out to the show's history. He peppers this script well with pop culture and clever lines that enhance the story. When they rescue Meg, she is in the same pose as Princess Leia when she had been rescued in Star Wars. He even has Meg snarkily deliver the same line, "Aren't you a little short for a storm trooper?" Dean quips to Sam about the case, "Wait, are we talking a Maximum Overdrive situation here?" The movie plays with the idea of all the machines turning viciously on humanity, including a semi that has a clown painted across its nose. As Sam and Dean argue about who will go into the Crypt, Meg keeps trying to interrupt, and they snap in unison, "Shut up, Meg," a shout out to Family Guy. On that cartoon, Peter, her father, often tells her to shut up the same way. After Castiel is more or less exposed for lying, Dean states, "I saw you Zero Dark Thirty that demon." Thompson even proves here that he pays attention to the online fandom with the callout to "Megstiel." The biggest pop culture moment, of course, is the title and its corresponding song playing. Supertramp's "Goodbye Stranger,"seems a fitting song choice for many reasons---particularly in a call out to Meg herself. Thompson states about the song, "i believe The Carver had the song fade out at the end during the mix of the episode, which i thought was a great choice [sic]."

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Thompson loves to write snappy dialogue, and this script is no different. He puts in clever lines, witty dialogue, and quotable lines throughout. As Sam and Dean argue about what to do with Castiel, the angel says in his deadpan fashion, "You know, I can hear you both. I am a celestial being." Dean tells Sam, “So, somebody's killing demons. Well, that is awesome. I feel like we should send a card or flowers. What kind of flower says "thanks for killing demons"? After they confront Cas, Dean quips, "Well, he puts the "ass" in "Cass," huh?" But Meg steals the best lines for herself. After Sam is appalled that she would sacrifice innocents to save herself, she tells him flatly, "Hi, I'm Meg. I'm a demon.” After she tells them where she thinks the Crypt is located on the modern map, they ask her more, and she snaps, "Do I look like Google to you?"

Meg. She's really fleshed out in this episode, even if it is to be her last. She, of all the villains they've faced through the series, has the most in common with the Winchesters. She's been vicious, cruel, and frightening at times certainly, but it is her motivations and beliefs that reflect the brother's own. She is loyal---first to her father, Azazel, and then to Lucifer. Meg may be a demon and she may not be tenderhearted in her nature, but she has always acted out of some form of love, too. It's also one reason why she's been effective against the brothers. She gets them in a way that few other enemies ever will, and she knows what their weaknesses are because often they are her own. We see this in her anger at the brothers in "Shadow"when she snaps, "I'm doing this for the same reasons you do what you do: loyalty. Love."

Over time, her allegiances have shifted. Once Azazel was removed from the picture by Dean, she became fiercely loyal to Lucifer. She is there waiting with hell hounds in Carthege to help his cause against the Winchesters as they take the infamous Colt with a plan to kill the Devil. Even after he's put back into the Cage, Meg remains loyal as an opposition leader to Crowley's emerging power. And yet, by season 7, as they face down the Leviathan, Meg's loyalty is subtly shifting yet again. At first it is only to Castiel, but in "Survival of the Fittest,” she took bullets for the cause and now in "Goodbye Stranger," Meg has become firmly loyal to those who were once her arch enemies: the Winchesters themselves. She even goes as far as to sacrifice herself for them, distracting Crowley so they can make a getaway. It is a fitting study of her character in Thompson's capable hands  as he makes Meg a fully rounded and cherished character---only to send her out in a blaze of glory.

The undercurrent of this episode, however, is that of the brothers themselves. They are both scared about what the first trial is doing to Sam, and it is becoming a bit contentious for them. Sam covered up his bloody rag by claiming he mis-swallowed. Dean accepts it until he finds the bloody rag. They fight in front of both Castiel and Meg about what is happening to the younger Winchester, leaving Sam to stand guard with Meg. They are undertaking something difficult with a sketchy roadmap at best, and it is making both of them nervous. It isn't until they're alone, however, that we see them bring this out into the open. Dean tells Sam, "Listen, man, I can't take any more lies -- from anyone." Sam readily admits that he should have come clean, but says, "I-I... just wanted to believe I was okay. I don't know." It thrusts things into the open here, and we see the brothers recommit to be on the same page. Thompson shows that he can handle the Winchesters well---giving them emotional depth and connection that makes the journey worthwhile. Dean tells Sam, "Listen, I may not be able to carry the burden that comes along with these trials... But I can carry you." It reaffirms that no matter the destination---be it finding their father or killing Azazel or breaking Dean's Deal---they are doing this together. The conversation borders on chickflick, but steers clear with Sam calling out Dean's line, stating, "You... realize you kind of just quoted "Lord of the Rings," right?"




8 04 Bitten Friends
Of all the episodes Thompson has written, “Bitten” has the most controversy surrounding it. It seems to be an either "love it"or "hate it" type.  It centers on three college friends as they film a movie together. Along the way, a werewolf ends up attacking one of them, turning them into a werewolf as well. Sam and Dean are on the case---but in this episode they are on the peripherals, which is one of the most controversial things about the episode. Often, on Supernatural, we see the monster's story through the eyes of the Winchesters.  We, the viewer, see the monster's story separate from the brothers, too.  Here, we are seeing the story of the monster as it emerges. Thompson states about this episode, "that was actually the appeal, trying to do an ep from the monster's pov. they made a cool video about the ep for the dvds. [sic]"

The episode starts with Sam and Dean entering a house to discover the carnage left in the aftermath. There is blood splattered on the walls and another body tucked under a sheet. It leaves the brothers to wonder just what had happened here. They find a post it note on a computer, telling them to "please watch me" and they watch, much as they did the "Ghostfacers" episode, the case unfold. The footage is amateur and shaky. Shot on hand-held cameras, it sets the atmosphere for the story, making it more imminent and intimate. In a way, through watching the footage center stage, we, the viewer, become Sam and Dean, too.

In "Bitten," Thompson manages to tell a human story well---with all its beauty and ugliness as things move forward. Michael, Brian, and Kate are all young and trying to find their way in the world. They are happy and carefree as any college students are expected to be. They laugh and joke and goof around. They dream about their futures and talk about their dream jobs. Kate wants to be a lawyer, "but nothing corporate" and Brian wants to work for HBO, "maybe Michael Moore." Michael and Kate are attracted to each other---and eventually fall in love. They're normal and like most other college friends. Everything seems so promising for the trio.

That is until Michael is attacked while walking home. Thompson calls out to movies like The Blair Witch Project and Chronicle with this script, and the footage of Michael's attack is much like the former's shaky camera footage. Shot in night-vision, a lot of the attack is left to our imagination with just screams and brief flashes of images coming across the screen. It's after Michael arrives home that things start to truly change. He has a sudden power in super human strength---calling out to the later movie reference Chronicle---and he relishes it, holding Kate up with one hand, pulling doors off hinges, and declaring himself a "golden god." It seems like a boon, that a gift has been given to him. He has gone from being an attractive but average college student to being something more and potentially darker.

Michael is hungry. He devours everything in the house---and yet it is not enough. Brian, the seeds of jealousy already eating at him, demands that Michael turn him, too. It angers Michael, and he storms out of the house to get more food. As he is walking home from the store, grocery bags bulging full, he is encountered by other students that try to start a fight with him. They taunt him about Kate---and before Michael can stop himself, he's attacking. Before he even knows it, he's also eating a human heart---and his hunger isn't sated. Instead it's ignited. He arrives home, covered in blood, most of it smeared over his face. This scares all of them as the supernatural crashes their normal lives, changing them forever.

Brian is angry and wants to be more than "Piggy," the smart but considered weak character from Lord of the Flies. He is desperate to be something powerful, to be better than Michael, to become what Michael has become. As the trio stalk the crime scenes---and in turn Sam and Dean---they learn from their investigation what they're hunting and what could possibly be happening here. Brian looks over some footage of Michael's first attack, trying to figure out just who attacked his friend. If Michael won't turn him, he'll make the thing that turned Michael do it for him. He finds the same lapel pin that their professor wears and knows just who the werewolf in town is. Plan of action in hand, he heads to the professor's office and demands that he be turned or he'll release footage proving that the professor is a werewolf to the world. Backed into a corner, the professor gives in and turns Brian.

When Brian returns, fully turned now, he confronts Michael and Kate as they try to run. They know now that the FBI agents in town are frauds---after all no federal agent would say "awesome that much," and they're going to blow town before they can get caught. Brian won't hear of it and tells Kate that he can protect her, that she doesn't need Michael and that he's taken care of the situation. He made sure that Sam and Dean would head straight for the professor, and shows them the footage of the brothers attacking and killing the werewolf. Brian turns ugly now that he's a werewolf. His supernaturally changed self doesn't make him a monster---it merely amplifies his worst qualities a hundredfold. He picks a fight with Michael---and it turns deadly as he stabs Michael through the heart with a silver blade.

Kate, no match for the transformed Brian, ends up attacked and bit herself. In this way, Thompson makes the turning more like a spread of infection. It goes through this small population quickly, claiming them all. Kate locks herself in a bathroom and refuses to come out while Brian tries to convince her that he'll make things right, that they can go anywhere and do anything now that they're werewolves. Kate, mirroring Michael's earlier pose in the mirror, watches her new fangs emerge. A calmness claims her and she exits the room, only to viciously attack and rip Brian apart literally. She tells the brothers, pleading with them to let her live, that she's never hurt anyone, "not anyone human anyways," and that she will live on animal hearts. She wants a chance, needs a chance.

Thompson explored some of the worst of humanity, amplifying it here with a supernatural twist, showing us how greed, lust, deceit, anger, and hate can make the world dark and frightening. Yet, he also knows how to tell us about hope, and that's one of the things that resonates for this episode. Sam and Dean decide to give her a chance---they decide to let Kate go. As long as she hasn't hurt any humans, she doesn't deserve to be put down. He also plays well with the question of choice. Often, the creatures Sam and Dean hunt never asked for this. They didn't choose to become a monster and kill. It was chosen for them. It makes us think about how the quiet of life can be rattled to its core---and how the aftermath can take two possible paths. On one hand we can become Brian and give into the darker side of our natures---or we can try and adapt as best we can and try to be better as Kate has done. Thompson pulls us back out of the video footage, showing us Sam and Dean's reactions to what they've seen and what's been said about themselves.

The episode also had Thompson's great dialogue touch. He manages to capture the voice of the young college students, making them each their own fully realized characters---and keep Sam and Dean as we know them when we see them in the footage. In many ways, the set up allows for us, again to become Sam and Dean, watching themselves. Michael and Brian spot two of their classmates kissing at the field and Michael quips, "D-bags mating in the wild." Brian asks Michael, after they talk to Sam and Dean, "The FBI are looking for what bit you. Are you an X-file?" The trio overhear Dean as he chides the local police, "Well, if you did your job right, we wouldn't be here, would we?"Later, Dean tells Sam, "Not unless you want to put an A.P.B. out on Rocky Raccoon."

Thompson may write science fiction, but he most certainly uses that genre to tell thought provoking, human, and emotionally powerful stories. “Bitten,” may have been controversial for fans, but it most certainly did what it set out to accomplish: tell us a story about the monster---while showing us the truth underneath. Sometimes humans are more monster than anything our imaginations can ever dream up.



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Charlie Bradbury. We first meet her in "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo"in season 7. Thompson has had the privilege of being the exclusive writer for her character. But how did she come to be? What was the thought process? Thompson states that Charlie, "began with a pitch for a Roman Enterprises whistleblower story and evolved from there. [sic]" And oh how her character evolved! Thompson puts some of his best writing into Charlie Bradbury, taking the vague notion of a whistle-blower mentioned in that pitch to a fully realized and endearing character. He weaves a mixture of humanity, pop culture, wit, and heart into her, making her fit smoothly into the world of Supernatural. Thompson says, "best part? writing for @feliciaday [sic]" Charlie has most certainly made her impact on the three episodes we've seen her appear in.

Charlie makes a grand entrance---arriving to Roman Enterprises on a motorbike, wearing a novelty t-shirt with Princess Leia emblazoned on it and the word rebel in bold lettering, and a catchy tune playing on her MP3 player. The song is "Walking on Sunshine," by Katrina and the Waves. Thompson states, "'Walking on Sunshine' is actually a favorite "c'mon, get happy" song of mine [sic]. She enters an elevator and checks to make sure no one is watching before letting loose. It's a delightful moment---letting us in on just who this new character will be. Not only does Charlie seem to like Star Wars, she also loves Harry Potter and other genre stories, as seen by the various items strewn across her desk. She's presented as a fangirl, enthusiastic, but not over the top as other representations such as Becky Rosen have been in the past.

There is a strange mixture of self-confidence and nervousness blended well into Charlie. She is assured of her skills and talent, as she brags to her co-worker, "Teddy Bear Pete? Please. You know I've been doing this for like a month. I can cover my tracks, Harry. Trust me. " She is also blase about her illegal activity, citing the faster internet speeds of Roman Enterprises as why she chooses to hack there rather than at home. This is Charlie in her comfort zone, in control and at the top of her game. Yet, when she is pulled aside to talk to Dick Roman that she becomes uncertain and nervous about the encounter---an awkwardness starts to settle over her body language and her voice becomes shaky as she begs for her job, "Sir, sir, I can fix this. Please, please don't fire me." It makes Charlie a complex and engaging character, and Thompson makes us want to invest in her with all the little touches he's added.

When we first meet Charlie, she is an adversary to the Winchesters---unknowingly. Dick Roman has retrieved Frank's hard drive and now he needs someone to crack it open so he can figure out what the Winchesters know about him. Charlie is tasked with hacking into it. Roman will overlook her tendencies to hack political PACs on company computers---something he finds "adorable"---if she can get him what he wants---in three days time. She may have talked big, but could she really walk the walk?

Charlie willingly accepts the challenge---and while she doesn't realize she's helping a monster, that's not why she's doing it. It's the thrill of the challenge, and breaking into the "unbreakable." After her encounter with Dick Roman, it's also her way to get back her footing. Thompson shows us a determined and dogged Charlie as she settles into break into Frank's drive. This is her against another computer mind, someone with the tech savvy to put in place multiple encryptions and safeguards that she feels she can be the only one to crack.

Even though he's not present, it becomes a head to head face off between Charlie and Frank. As she types to crack the code, it asks to play a game, and Charlie scoffs at the set up. A list of game from chess to checkers to global thermonuclear war pop up and she declares incredulously, "Seriously, War Games?" She knows the answer and types in "Joshua" to break in, only to have Frank's voice taunt, "Nice try, Zero Charisma." It'll take more for her to expose Frank's secrets---and more importantly Sam and Dean's.

But she does, and when she starts looking over it and reading through the information about Leviathans, written in Frank's vibrant style, she tells her co-worker, "Pretty sure I spent the last 24 hours hacking into a loony bin." It isn't until she tracks her boss down in the parking garage that she realizes Frank was telling the truth. He's confronted by Dick Roman---who quickly decides to replace him with a Leviathan copy. Thompson slips in a great line here, with Dick Roman telling Pete, "Bruce Springsteen, Eli Manning and our own little Charlie? You know what they are? Irreplaceable. You're more of a Tim Tebow, Joe Biden type. You got no spark. In fact there's nothing in you. Except Tarrell's dinner." Before she can sneak away, Charlie watches in horror as her former boss is eaten.

Charlie decides that she has seen enough and flees home to make a run for it. Sam and Dean wait for her, and it is here that Charlie's life is forever altered. Thompson may have made Charlie fascinating all on her own, but paired with the brothers, we see another side emerge---her inner steel. She is flailing and frantic as she tries to escape them at first, but they prove to her that they are not Leviathans. She starts to listen to them, realizing that the world is not at all what she thought it was---and that they need more from her. Sam tells her, "Look, Charlie, it's okay if you can't do it. I mean, you didn't volunteer for this."

Thompson makes Charlie into a strong character when she replies, "But now I volunteer." She knows that there's no way to see what's on the drive and live. She may have that "spark" Dick Roman envies in special people, but she's expendable if he feels she can threaten him or his plans. She realizes that she has managed to step into something bigger than hacking PACs or displaying genre collectibles. This is about the world and doing what is right. To simply run as she had originally intended would be an insult to the characters and stories she loves.

To make this a tangible part of the episode, Thompson has Sam talk Charlie through a physical breaking and entering, something separate from computer hacking. He picks up on her fangirl nature, and asks her simply, "Uh, listen, w-who's your favorite "Harry Potter" character?" It draws an incredulous look from Dean, but it works here as Sam reminds her that when things became harder for her favorite characters they didn't back down or quit. He tells her, "Hermione. Well, uh, all right, did Hermione run when Sirius Black was in trouble or when Voldemort attacked Hogwarts?" Thompson even manages to fit in Charlie's rant about Hermione saving Harry in every book. After Sam gets her back on track, however, Thompson slips in a brilliant shout out to Kim Manners when he has Charlie state firmly, "I'm going to kick it in the ass.” It's in this manner that Thompson weaves his pop culture references into the story's fabric without overwhelming it, and he says about that, “i'm not sure i have! The Carver/Showrunners always make sure the story is clicking along. [sic]"

It is Dean's turn to walk Charlie through, and he has to coax her through some flirting as she has to get past the guard stationed outside Dick Roman's office. Only problem is, Charlie is a lesbian and therefore has no interest in him. Dean assures her that it'll be alright, and starts to feed her lines. Unfortunately, Sam finds it hilarious and starts to snicker, causing Dean to mutter, "Stop laughing, Sammy," which makes Charlie repeat it only to start rambling, "Um...Y-you don't know that bar “ Stop Laughing Sammy?That place is bringing sexy back. Which is easy" Charlie is all smooth confidence with computers and genre culture. She is nervous and a ball of anxiety when confronted with real life situations, and it makes for a fun but tense scene as Thompson pulls the strings together to get her maneuvered into Dick Roman's office chair.

And yet, Charlie doubts her own skill. She may have fumbled here, but Thompson shows us that she's a lot tougher than she gives herself credit for. As she's waiting impatiently for the flash drive to steal Dick Roman's emails and server information, the guard bursts in angry that she's in there and not the bathroom he had pointed out earlier. Here, Charlie talks her way out of it, a much more smooth exchange than her first---and this one by herself. She tells him, "Oh! Silly me. I am always forgetting things. Do you know what else I forgot to do? Give you my phone number."

Once she has the flash drive, she returns to her desk to complete the other task---sending the Winchesters the information she gleaned from Dick Roman's email---only to find Dick Roman waiting to hear news about her progress. It's a tense moment as she's stuck trying to explain to the Leviathan leader that the drive's files might not be there at all. Luckily, a phone call comes and Dick is off to learn about the shipment of what will be known as the Leviathan Tablet. With her part done, she only has to exit the building and she's free.

But it won't be that easy, and as Dick Roman realizes he's been had by Charlie---and in turn the Winchesters---he orders the building locked down, trapping Charlie. Thompson has had Bobby traveling with her, his tendencies to become more vengeful growing all along. He is there, watching and waiting for the moment to pay Dick Roman back for what he did, and here is his chance. He doesn't appear to Charlie, no, but he is there, standing almost as guard. Thompson keeps Bobby as we know him---mostly---right down to him saying, "The girl's right there. Worry about her."

It allows for the sadness that comes to be real as we watch Bobby lose his temper completely and go on the offensive against Dick Roman. Sure, he is throwing the Leviathan Leader around easily enough, but it's not hurting him. It's only riling Bobby up further---and in the process Charlie's flung aside, her arm breaking when she connects brutally with the wall. The Winchesters arrive on scene, scooping her up and making a hasty exit before Dick Roman and the rest of his minions can stop them. They have little time to worry about Bobby here, just that they have his flask and that they get Charlie to safety and quickly.

Thompson certainly made Charlie Bradbury a memorable character in her first appearance. She was witty, smart, sweet, adorable, and clever. Charlie, in many ways, represents us the fans, and in that way she gives us the chance to feel like we're a part of the story fabric. Thompson is savvy enough to make her unique yet universal. It is his writing that makes her connect with us and the Winchesters, making her a more rounded character and fully realized person. "The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo" ended with us possibly never seeing her again, as she tells them, "Never contact me again, like, ever."

In the last part, we'll look at how Thompson brought Charlie back into the story---and how he connected her story to the brothers. We'll also have fifteen great lines and great pop culture references---along with the complete Twitter interview. 

(Part Three can be found here.)

Comments  

Prix68
# Prix68 2013-07-27 07:42
Thanks for part 2 on Robbie Thompson. He definitely has a knack for bringing more depth to characters in subtle yet profound ways. He's definitely become a favorite writer for me.
debbab
# debbab 2013-07-27 22:46
RT has made Charlie(along with Felicia Day's portrayal) an iconic character in SPN. She plays so well off of Dean's character and in some ways she is Dean with a woman's perspective now that she has more hunting experience and yet she has such emotional depth which she tries to cover..Uhhem..a deanism. I have revisited Bitten and with your help I better appreciate the writing, but still not loving it since the Winchesters were written so light but not disliking it as much.
Bardicvoice
# Bardicvoice 2013-07-28 17:57
I am LOVING your profile of Robbie, Allison! He's rapidly climbed to the top of my Supernatural writers' chart because of his positive gift for blending strong characterizatio ns into solid stories, while always keeping Sam and Dean true to themselves. Other writers should learn from him - and especially from his choice to watch the entire show when he was first hired. He respects the show canon and I could kiss him for it. :)

Looking forward to part three!
KELLY
# KELLY 2013-07-29 19:58
Another great analysis. Robbie Thompson was a great addition to the show. I've pretty loved all his episodes. Though not Bitten, but I didn't hate it either. My lack of adoration didn't have anything to do with the lack of Winchester's. I just didn't connect with the kids. And since it was their story....

But the rest of his have been fantastic. I've quibbled with a scene here or there but nothing that doesn't make really excited to see his next episode. I ADORE his Dean. I think he writes him really really well. His Sam is a little more hit and miss for me this season but his Sam in Time After Time is one of my favorites. And I freaking love his interactions with Jody as well as Dean. And he wrote them both really playfully at times last year, it is one of my favorite things about the season.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-07-31 20:54
Quote:
Thanks for part 2 on Robbie Thompson. He definitely has a knack for bringing more depth to characters in subtle yet profound ways. He's definitely become a favorite writer for me.
Thank you for enjoying it so much. I loved delving into his episodes and seeing how he told these character's stories. It's one of his best gifts. He's probably at the top of my list for the current writers on the show, that's for sure!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-07-31 20:58
Quote:
RT has made Charlie(along with Felicia Day's portrayal) an iconic character in SPN. She plays so well off of Dean's character and in some ways she is Dean with a woman's perspective now that she has more hunting experience and yet she has such emotional depth which she tries to cover..Uhhem..a deanism. I have revisited Bitten and with your help I better appreciate the writing, but still not loving it since the Winchesters were written so light but not disliking it as much.
I adore Charlie both for Robbie's writing and for Felicia's acting. She is truly one of the best characters the series has ever produced and I certainly hope we get to see her come back for season 9---especially if Robbie gets to write her episode again. I'd have to say those episodes are some of my favorites of his.

As for "Bitten," I'm glad I could give you a fresh perspective on it.

Thanks again!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-07-31 21:04
Quote:
I am LOVING your profile of Robbie, Allison! He's rapidly climbed to the top of my Supernatural writers' chart because of his positive gift for blending strong characterizations into solid stories, while always keeping Sam and Dean true to themselves. Other writers should learn from him - and especially from his choice to watch the entire show when he was first hired. He respects the show canon and I could kiss him for it. :)

Looking forward to part three!
Thanks, Mary! I'm glad you enjoyed the final product after the month or so of talking about it on Twitter. It's been a lot of fun to write and now see everyone's reaction.

Robbie certainly takes advantage of having watched the show from start to finish and I love that most about his scripts. I think it's what allows him to pull in moments from the past, revisit them and make them bigger and more emotional.

I also love how personable he is with us fans on Twitter. Makes this profile all the more special. I hope you'll enjoy part 3 as much!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-07-31 21:07
Quote:
Another great analysis. Robbie Thompson was a great addition to the show. I've pretty loved all his episodes. Though not Bitten, but I didn't hate it either. My lack of adoration didn't have anything to do with the lack of Winchester's. I just didn't connect with the kids. And since it was their story....

But the rest of his have been fantastic. I've quibbled with a scene here or there but nothing that doesn't make really excited to see his next episode. I ADORE his Dean. I think he writes him really really well. His Sam is a little more hit and miss for me this season but his Sam in Time After Time is one of my favorites. And I freaking love his interactions with Jody as well as Dean. And he wrote them both really playfully at times last year, it is one of my favorite things about the season.
Thanks for the comment! I'm glad you like this indepth look at his episodes. I agree with you about his Dean. He really captures both sides of Dean well---that tough as nails guy that does what he has to in order to save his brother and live---and the guy who is still that four year old boy looking to have fun deep inside. It's a nice blend and he makes Dean all the more real for me in his script. I think his scripts really allow Jensen to show us that, too.

I certainly hope we'll get to see them play more in season 9 and that Robbie will get to write some of those moments for us.