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LARP and the Real Girl - Recap

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Ed Nelson arrives home and calls a friend, Lance, saying that they both cut corners to get close to "her" and that it's just a game. After putting the cellphone down, Ed goes to bed and dozes off. As he sleeps, a tattoo of a tree forms on his left arm. A horse neighs out of nowhere and Ed wakes up... and discovers that something has wrapped invisible ropes around his arms and legs. Unseen horses charge off in four different directions and Ed is torn apart.



Dean and Sam are driving through the night and Sam is worried that they can't use the tablets against the demons. While Dean suggests that they might take a night off after what Sam gave up, Garth calls and gives them a lead after tracking them via their GPS. Once Sam hangs up, he tells Dean that Ed in Farmington Hills, Michigan, was ripped limb from limb inside his locked apartment. Sam figures that will be their fun while they wait for Kevin to translate the tablet.

Sam and Dean arrive at the apartment and Sheriff Miller shows them around Ed's apartment. There's no sign of forced entry and Ed died of shock and blood loss. Sam notices a suit of chain mail and also sees the tree tattoo on Ed's arm. Miller confirms that nothing was taken from the body, but a neighbor heard horses stomping around the apartment. There are no hoof prints in the apartments and Miller figures that the neighbor imagined things. He's checked Ed's call log and learned that the last person he talked to was Lance Jacobsen. According to the text messages, they threatened each other with magic spell and the sheriff has had his men bring Lance in.

At the station, Sam and Dean interrogate Lance, who is clearly in shock over Ed's death. He explains that the text messages were from their characters in the Moondoor live-action role-playing. They play at Heritage Park every other weekend and Lance tells them to check the website for photos of him at a feast during the time of the murder. Lance then explains about his character and Ed's, and how they were both named to the Queen's Guard. Lance thought Ed broke protocol and called him afterward to a duel at dawn. Dean wonders if they're using real wands and Lance insists that they're fake like everything they do.



Outside, the brothers figure that Lance didn't commit the murder and check out the LARP website. They confirm that that Lance was at the feast and play a video about the upcoming biannual battle of kingdoms. When they see the Queen of Moons, they realize that it's Charlie Bradbury.

In the interrogation room, Lance starts scratching at his arm. He pulls up his sleeve and finds the tree tattoo. Lance then starts choking up blood as he bleeds from his eyes and ears.

The police take away the body and Miller shows the Winchesters the surveillance footage. Miller figures that it's a disease and goes to wash his hands. Sam spots the tattoo on Lance's arm but neither one of them recognizes it. They head to Heritage Park and find "Boltar the Furious," aka Gerry, passing sentence on a shadow orc. The brothers talk to Gerry, who initially figures that they're fake FBI agents coming for a cross-genre mashup because he recognizes the bad numbers on the badges. They have no choice but to play along and ask to see the Queen.

Gerry takes them to the pitch to watch as knights fight for the honor of serving as the Queen's squire. Charlie is the one fighting the knights. She sees Sam and Dean and immediately dashes off to her private tent. Sam and Dean go in after her and she explains that she is now passing herself off as Cassie Heinlein. Charlie is less than thrilled and figures that monsters are involved because the Winchesters are there. She's ready to move out but the brothers explain that Lance and Ed are dead. They show her the mark and Charlie confirms that it's a Celtic magic symbol. She mentions that her kingdom has had a lot of bad luck recently. Four of her people have had hospital-worthy accidents. None of them had enemies in real life, but there are three other kingdoms opposing Charlie's kingdom. Sam suggests that someone in one of the other kingdoms got hold of real magic, and he wants Charlie to stay and help. Both Charlie and Dean want Charlie to leave, but Charlie admits that people are dying and she's tired of running.



As they talk, Sam gets a call from the sheriff. The coroner has confirmed that Lance died of belladonna symptoms. However, there was no trace of it in his system. Sam has them canvas the kingdom while he goes to the tech tent and checks on the accidents. Once they're alone, Charlie tells Dean that he'll have to don a costume if he wants to walk around.

Sam goes to the tech tent and asks the woman, Maria, for help. She's glad to provide him with an online directory of players.

As he dresses, Dean tells Charlie what happened with Sam. She's less than thrilled but Dean says that hunters can't afford attachments. Charlie wonders if he's talking about someone else but Dean insists that he isn't. They go out and Charlie explains that she's into LARPing because she gets to pretend to be a hero. Dean assures her that she's a hero in the real world and helped them against the Leviathans.



Sam checks the records on the injured players and discovers that they all had tree tattoos. Maria recognizes all of them and confirms that they all were injured in mysterious accidents, and she doesn't recognize the tattoo. She explains that two of the victims were elves and two were warriors. The only ones not to get hit were the shadow orcs. Sam confirms that the mark targets the victim for fairy magic.

Dean and Charlie don't have luck identifying anyone who knows the tattoo. They also realize that the shadow orcs haven't been targeted and go to see the prisoner, Monty. Monty identifies the tattoo as the Shadow King's family crest. Charlie takes Dean off to find the Shadow King.

Sam thanks Maria for her help and she suggests that he come by her tent later. He passes on the offer and goes off.

Gerry finds Dean and Charlie, who introduces Dean as her new handmaiden. When they say they're searching for the Shadow King, Gerry warns that the forest isn't safe. Dean agrees and talks to Charlie privately, gives her his phone, and tells her to find Sam. Once Charlie goes back, Dean has Gerry lead him to the shadow orcs. Meanwhile, Charlie goes off the path, unaware that someone is watching her from the woods. She finally hears someone behind her and catches glimpses of a robed man. He steps out and they toss bean bag spells at each other. Charlie wins and the shadow orc runs off. Another figure emerges, wearing a robe and an elk mask, and ignores her bean bags.



Dean and Gerry return to the Moon Kingdom camp after failing to find the shadow orcs. Gerry suggests that they use Monty to make a prisoner exchange and sends Dean to attend to the chamber pots. Sam arrives and tells Dean that the shadow orcs are using fairy magic. They realize that Charlie never found Sam and call Dean's phone.

Charlie wakes up in a tent and finds the hooded elk figure standing nearby. It doesn't say anything and she tries to leave... only to find herself back in the tent. She realizes that there is real magic present and tries to negotiate, but the figure still doesn't respond. It finally advances on her and Charlie says that all she wants is her old life back. The figure removes its mask, revealing a woman, and she says that's all she wants as well.



That night, Gerry, Sam, and Dean take Monty out into the woods to make the exchange. The Shadow King and his men arrive and demand that they kneel, and Gerry insist on handling the negotiations. While they discuss kingdom business, Dean takes out a gun and fires a warning shot. The King, Max Hilby, insists that he doesn't know where Charlie is and explains that he got sick after the tattoo appeared on his arm, and used it to make his family crest. Dean tells them to go and they run off. Monty realizes that Charlie is in danger and admits that he has a crush on her. He tells them that he saw a creepy tent near the creek that doesn't belong to any of the kingdom.

At the tent, the woman introduces herself as Glinda the Fairy, from the Hollow Forest of Arkhmoor. A man summoned her there to do his bidding but Glinda doesn't know her name. Her master is forcing her to hurt people and recently escalated it to murders. When Charlie says that someone is taking the game too serious, Glinda doesn't understand why they are playing a game. She tells Charlie that a hero must take her master's book of magic to destroy the spell and free her, and Charlie promises to rescue her.

Dean and Sam tell Gerry to let them handle it but he refuses to leave Glinda in peril. They find a tent and go inside, and find Charlie and Glinda kissing on the bed. Glinda sees Gerry and tells them to run from her master. Sam and Dean draw on him, but Gerry has Gilda turn their guns into chicken feathers. Gerry insists that he is Boltar the Furious and explains that he planned to get rid of all of the competition and convince the queen that he should be her king. He killed Lance and Ed because they bribed other players with real money to become members of the queen's guard. Charlie insists that it's just a game but Gerry screams that he came there to be a hero. Dean figures him for a loser but Gerry says that he got the book of spells from eBay.



Sam suggests that Gerry hand over the book and they work it all out, but Gerry figures he'll kill them and wipe Charlie's memories. He has Glinda give him a real sword and animate a knight to choke Sam. Dean punches Gerry, knocking the book away, and Charlie grabs it and rams her dagger into it. It explodes in a burst of light and Dean punches Gerry unconscious. Glinda thanks Charlie for saving her and says that she must return, taking Gerry with her to face a fairy tribunal. Charlie gives the fairy a kiss before she disappears with her former master.

The next day back at the camp, Charlie tells the Winchesters that she plans to stay and face reality from now on. She offers to help them if they need anything and assures Dean that she's good. Once she leaves, Dean tells Sam that he figures no amount of fun will help him get over what he lost. Sam thanks Dean for understanding and says that having fun will help them both. Later, Dean is giving a rousing battle speech to the Moon Kingdom before charging into battle.



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