I think of all the moments between Dorothy and Charlie, this was my favourite. Because it gives a different frame for the final scene than if Charlie had flirted with Dorothy.
I wondered why they didn’t have Dorothy come out in the episode as gay or bi or queer, after all, there was certainly enough subtextual evidence to support such a reading of the character as such (she looks like such a beautiful, smitten kitten here). But it occurred to me that doing so would make the final scene a very different thing indeed. We’re so programmed to see any woman’s story as a potential romance first, as though the only thing a woman ever wants in life is a romantic partner. Within the context of that societal programming, revealing Dorothy to be queer would make her a likely or potential romantic partner for Charlie. But then Charlie’s departure would be read as her throwing aside her life to pursue a romance. That would undercut the reason for her departure, which was to pursue the life she has always wanted and yearned for. Romance is NOT the only thing in a woman’s life, despite what media has tried to drill into our heads.
What Robbie Thompson and SPN gave us instead was a woman possessed of her own goals and ambitions, who pursues them with a friend. She goes off, not because she’s chasing a romantic relationship, but because she wants to have a certain kind of life, one filled with magic and fighting the good fight. And she goes after that life, even though it’s filled with uncertainty and danger. Charlie is the viewer’s avatar in many ways (addressed here by subjecttochange8) and she’s going off to live her dream, which is a beautiful message to the viewers. And maybe it’s going to include a romantic element, maybe Dorothy will be the one for her, but that’s going to build out of friendship and be the stronger for it. But it might not, and Charlie will still have an awesome friendship and fantastic adventures with another woman.
And that’s what makes Charlie magnificent. That she’s a woman who aims to have a wonderful and exciting life, and who pursues that ambition. That she’s not just interested in romance and love, though she would be open to it if it came to her. That’s she a lesbian whose entire storyline and characterization doesn’t revolve around her sexuality. That she’s a nerdy fan who is also self-possessed, sensible, clever and a hero in her own right.
And that’s what makes Charlie a great character. She defies the typical media representation of a woman, of a fan, of a nerd, of a lesbian. She’s the best type of representation, she’s human representation.