It is only in the scenes where Thompson connects his story to Sam and Dean’s relationship problems that the episode stumbles—and I don’t lay the blame at Thompson’s door. He’s working with what he’s been given. It is apparently the decision in the writing room that the only wrong decision made in “Citizen Fang” was Dean’s and that his text should be discussed out of context of what was happening at the time.
In the scene where Dean brings Charlie up to date on what’s up between him and Sam, she responds by assigning Dean the blame for Sam leaving Amelia, because he sent the bogus text that brought Sam back into her orbit. And Dean accepts the blame, which is exactly the kind of reaction we’ve seen him try to move past this year. We don’t know if Dean edited out all references to his relationship with Benny, so Charlie has no idea Dean was choosing the least bad of the terrible choices he had at the time. Nor do we know if he told Charlie he told Sam to make his own decision and that Dean would be fine if he had to go it alone.
But we know all this happened, so this scene did not sit well with me. I know Sam made his own poor decisions involving Martin and I know his relationship with Amelia felt more illusory than real and riddled with issues that suggest this relationship would not have lasted even if Sam had chosen it. I dislike the idea that the “repairing” of the brother bond so far has no reciprocity and it looks increasingly unlikely that will change. If we get a scene soon showing Sam's ownership of his part of the troubles, that will change my feeling. But at this point in the season, I am losing faith we'll see that.
Most of the fun in “LARP and the Real Girl” comes from Dean and Charlie’s interactions, not Sam and Dean’s. Sam is locked in his grief for his lost relationship, while Dean accepts the blame for it and tries to support Sam. If I was mourning Sam’s relationship along with him or thought Dean was to blame for it not working out, the boys might look like they are working things out between them.
But since I think Don was the only one who came out of the love triangle looking good and that Dean shouldering blame he does not deserve is a big step backward from what he learned in Purgatory, I don’t see much in this episode to indicate growth. I did love that Sam not only unbent enough to have fun at the end, he wanted Dean to have fun, too. But that does not take the place of an honest discussion on what’s driving Sam’s attitude toward Benny.