LARP and the Real Girl is the 11th episode of Season 8. It aired on January 23rd, 2013.
Sam and Dean investigate the mysterious deaths of two LARPers (Live Action Role Players) who were playing a game entitled Moondoor. The guys are thrilled to discover the Queen of Moondoor is none other than Charlie. The three learn that a fairy has been commandeered to harm people and the only way to stop her is to find her master.
A young accountant, Ed Nelson, enters his apartment, arguing over the phone with his friend Lance Jacobsen about cheating in their game. Unseen by Ed, Lance texts threatening messages of revenge, as Ed wakes up with a burning sensation in his arm that tattoos the logo of a mysterious tree. Ed suddenly hears the sound of galloping horses, before an invisible force pulls his limbs in all directions, drawing and ripping him apart. Elsewhere, Dean notices that Sam’s mood seems off, and invites him to forget his troubles with a night of fun before Garth calls them with a case in their area. Later, Sam and Dean enter Ed’s apartment in their FBI guises; Dean finds no evidence of the paranormal and Sam observes the mysterious tattoo on Ed's severed arm. The sheriff reveals that they found his friend’s text messages, and took Lance into custody as a precaution. Down at the station Sam and Dean interrogate Lance, though the man reveals the threatening texts were only sent as his Moondoor LARPing character. Sam and Dean balk at the crying co-player’s excuses about the two being appointed to the queen’s honor guard, but photos from the Moondoor website confirm that Lance was elsewhere at the time of the murders, as well as the presence of Sam and Dean's old friend Charlie Bradbury as the game’s queen! Unseen by Sam and Dean however, the same tree logo burns itself into Lance’s arm, and blood spurts from his every orifice, leaving him dead in the interrogation room.
With no other lead but to investigate the LARPers, Sam and Dean visit the sprawling camp to find "Boltar the Furious" in character torturing a "Shadow Orc". Boltar quickly sees through their FBI guises, but directs them to the queen in the midst of a demonstration. Charlie easily bests another knight in her display, but quickly panics once she spots Sam and Dean. The pair follow Charlie to her tent as she laments how the boys ruined her previous identity, but Charlie halts her exit when she learns that neither Ed and Lance are absent, but dead. After catching up on the details, Charlie reveals that a number of others in her camp have had mysterious accidents, though none as serious as the recent deaths. Having many enemies within the game, the three find no real leads, but Charlie ultimately elects to investigate, against Dean's arguments, rather than simply run away again. She outfits Dean in medieval garb to blend in, while Sam heads to the "tech tent" to do more research on the mysterious tree sigil.
While Charlie and Dean walk through the camp catching up on her new life and investigating the symbol, Sam finds that the symbol is actually the "Tree of Pain", a symbol of faerie magic. A conversation with the captive Shadow Orc also reveals that the "Shadow King" has also been using the symbol as his family crest. Dean and Charlie meet Boltar in the woods to find the Shadow Orcs, but Dean sends Charlie back to be with Sam. On her way back however, Charlie encounters a robed figure with a stag skull mask, who kidnaps her out of sight.
Dean and Boltar return to camp with no luck, but decide the captive Orc can lead them to his team in the woods for a prisoner exchange. As Sam and Dean realize that Charlie never returned, she awakens in a strange tented bedroom to find the masked figure standing wordlessly before her. She tries walking Unable to leave, Charlie is surprised to see the masked figure.
Sam, Dean, Boltar and the captive confront the Shadow Orcs out in the woods, but Dean quickly breaks up the game by firing off his gun. The leader reveals that he only used the tree symbol after it mysteriously appeared on his arm, and the captive Orc offers to lead them to a mysterious tent not belonging to any of the players. When asked why he is being so helpful all of a sudden, the Orc admits that he harbors an epic crush on Charlie and hopes they'll put in a good word for him. Dean bluntly tells him that he's not her type; he misunderstands, assuming that Charlie's not into Orcs. Meanwhile, the woman reveals herself to Charlie as the fairy, Gilda, kept prisoner by one of the Moondoor players to do his evil bidding, which recently went as far as the two murders. Charlie explains the nature of the LARP game, as Gilda explains the only way to free her is to destroy the master’s spellbook. Grasping Gilda's hand, Charlie tells that she's the heroine who's come to rescue her.
Finding the tent, Sam, Dean and Boltar enter to find Charlie making out with Gilda. Getting Charlie's attention, she becomes annoyed that they disturbed her moment. Suddenly, Gilda recoils in horror at the sight of her master, Boltar. He has Gilda disarm the Winchesters, and explains how he plotted to use Gilda to secure his place as Charlie’s king. But then the hunters showed up, forcing him to improvise by having Charlie kidnapped, where he plans on rescuing her from the Shadow Orcs and kill the Winchesters. When asked why he escalated to murder, Boltar explains that Ed and Lance secured their place on the Queen's honor guard by paying off other players with real money instead of Moondoor currency. The LARPer goes off the rails explaining how Moondoor is no longer a game to him, that it's an escape from his miserable real life. Dean mocks that he's a loser in both Moondoor and the real world, but Boltar retorts that he obtained a real spellbook off eBay and compelled a fairy to do his bidding. Sam tries to reason with him, requesting the spellbook and promises to work something out. However, Boltar decides to kill them both and wipe Charlie's memory and orders Gilda to turn his sword into a real one to attack Dean while a suit of armor comes to life and strangles Sam. Dean manages to knock the Book of Spells out of Boltar's robes, and Charlie stabs it to end Gilda’s imprisonment, resulting in her magic being negated and Dean knocking Boltar out. Gilda thanks the three for her help, and Charlie steals another kiss before Gilda returns to her realm, taking Boltar with her to face faerie justice.
Afterward, Charlie explains to the brothers that she no longer intends to run from her problems, and they can call her if they ever need help going forward. As Charlie leaves, Dean apologizes to Sam for thinking a harmless bit of fun could get him over Amelia, but Sam has an idea for what just might.
In full LARPer garb and makeup, Dean delivers the speech from 'Braveheart' to the Followers of the Moon on the battlefield, and following a brief Frisbee interruption, leads Sam, Charlie, and his fellow players into battle against the opposing side.
- Dean Winchester
- Sam Winchester
- Charlie Bradbury
- Max Hilby
- Lance Jacobsen
- Jake Miller
- Ed Nelson
- First appearance of a Fairy since Clap Your Hands If You Believe.
- Upon seeing Dean and Sam, Charlie says 'blerg'. This is a catchphrase of Tina Fey's character, Liz Lemon, on 30 Rock.
- When Charlie is packing up to leave after first seeing Sam and Dean, she says, "Have fun storming the castle." This is a quote from Billy Crystal's character Miracle Max in The Princess Bride.
- In the computer tent scene, a player can be seen playing Dragon Age II on one of the computers, specifically; the latest DLC featuring the character Tallis from the Web series Dragon Age: Redemption. This is reference to Felicia Day (the actress playing Charlie Bradbury) who voiced and gave her likeness to said character.
- The name of this episode is a reference to the movie Lars and The Real Girl.
- LARPing previously featured in the season 5 episode The Real Ghostbusters.
- Rosewood and Taggart, the detective names the brothers use in the episode is in reference to the 2 cops Axel Foley meets in the film Beverly Hills Cop.
- Just after Gilda teleports back to the fairy realm, Charlie says, "Call me... maybe?" This could be a reference to Rewind YouTube Style 2012, which has Felicia Day (the actress playing Charlie Bradbury) performing a cover of Carly-Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe".
- Charlie: "Call me... maybe?"
- Dean: Maybe we ought to take the night off – go see a flick, hit a bar or two, have some fun. You remember fun, don't you Sammy?
- Sheriff: These kids today with their texting and murder.
- Charlie: Apart from the fact that you blocked me from banging a fairy and I’m about to go lose my crown in battle thanks to my army being decimated, yeah, totally good.
- Charlie (referring to Dean): This is my new handmaiden.
- Sam: But the medical examiner said his body showed clear signs that he was killed by belladonna.
- Dean and Charlie: The porn star?
- Sam: The poison.