“Supernatural” says a brutal goodbye to fan favorite lesbian character Charlie

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*This article contains a picture from “Supernatural” that may be upsetting to some readers*

Dammit, Supernatural. I thought you were better than this. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but there is this nasty little trope wherein writers, unsure of where to go with a queer character and in need of some major action to further another character’s (usually male) storyline, sacrifice said queer character. It’s kind of bullshit, and we are tired of seeing it happen. So imagine my surprise when you went and did it to one of the best characters on your series, Charlie (Felicia Day).

When Charlie was introduced in Season 7, it was hard not to be charmed by the smartypants geek girl with a penchant for LARPing and the ladies. On more than one occasion, she’s really helped Sam and Dean out of a jam, and managed to be a totally awesome and relatable heroine at the same time. This season, after presumably going over the rainbow a few times with Dorothy, she hit the yellow brick road and came back for a bigger storyline, one that involved finding the book that could release Dean from his curse. The Book of the Damned, made with love, care and a nun’s skin, carried with it a homing device that attracted a group of baddies, whose mission it is to protect the book. All was thought to be lost when Sam, with Dean’s insistence, tossed the book into the fire, rather then letting the bad guys get it. Sam, however, did a switcharoo and has the book stashed away, giving him some time to attempt to save his brother. Even if that means colluding with the duplicitous Rowena. 

Sam confesses to Charlie in secret about having possession of the book, something Charlie thinks is a hella bad idea. Charlie is nothing if not brave and dedicated to the Winchesters though, so when Sam tells her it’s Dean’s only hope, all she can really do is sigh and hop on board.

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Charlie joins up with Rowena, who is less than thrilled with Charlie’s witchy pedigree. “I’m not a witch, I’m a nerd,” Charlie proudly tells her. Castiel also joins the party to keep an eye on Rowena, while Sam and Dean go off to investigate a gruesome murder and de-eyeballing of a young woman. Turns out those Book of the Damned people are real assholes and like to “harvest” people.  Charlie and Rowena bicker back and forth about technology vs ancient chicken bone casting or whatever the hell Rowena is doing.

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Rowena might be a bit cray, but she does know a thing or two about balance in the mystical world. If Dean’s curse is removed, then something bad will be inflicted to offset it. Rowena also reads Charlie like a book, and tells her that they aren’t all that different from each other. Except that whole “blind devotion” thing to the Winchesters. Rowena lays down the truth: Charlie has made the men her family, since she tragically lost her own. Her devotion clouds things. “That steadfast loyalty will be your undoing, my girl,” Rowena warns. Well, shit.

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Charlie asks Castiel to cover for her while she gets some peace and quiet away from Rowena. It’s the kind of moment that makes you want to scream, “Don’t, gurl! Stay where you are!”

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Dean has a run in with the eyeball stealing baddie, and locks the southern drawled dick up in the Winchester headquarters. When Dean gloats that the book has been destroyed, southern dick tells him not so much. The book is eternal and protected by a spell. You know what’s not protected by a spell? CHARLIE! When Sam and Dean are distracted, Dude manages to escape but gnawing (ripping?) off his own damn arm.

 Armless dude’s equally awful cousin tracks down Charlie and gives the deets to him. She’s run off to a little motel, and by the time Castiel notices that she’s booked it and tells Sam, it’s too late. As Charlie works alone, she cracks the code, but her joy is short-lived. Armless comes a knocking looking for the book, and Charlie has nowhere to run. Sam gets ahold of Charlie in time to tell her to give the bad guys whatever they want, but Charlie says she can’t. She transfers the file to the Winchesters, and destroys her computer, giving away her hiding spot. She pulls out a knife but she’s no match for him. When Dean and Sam roll up, they find Charlie brutally murdered in the bathtub, which is as close to being refrigerated as you can get. It’s a gruesome sight, even for Supernatural, seeing a character we love bloodied and beated and very dead.

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So, once again, a queer female character pays the price for storyline development with her life. Charlie’s life on the show always revolved around Sam and Dean, but knowing that she made the ultimate sacrifice to save Dean doesn’t touch my heart—it pisses me off. We shouldn’t have to be pawns, or sacrificial lambs as often as we are, to further a male protagonist’s arc. We went from playing the killers, the psychopaths, to now being the expendable ones.

That’s something that doesn’t sit well with me, and I know I’m not alone. There are many ways a story can play out, and using queer woman like this over and over again, is lazy and frankly not good representation. I spoke to GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis about this trope on the blue carpet, and it’s something that is most definitely on her radar as well. And you can bet that AfterEllen sure isn’t going to stop talking about it.

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