Oh my, my, “Don’t Call Me Shurley” really went in a ballsy direction, didn’t it? I’m personally stunned. No doubt this is a polarizing episode because it basically listened to six years of non-stop fan complaints and decided to do something about it. While that might thrill some, it also upsets others. No matter what side you fall, one cannot discount what this episode brings to the table.
I found the whole episode very intriguing myself. Heck, I loved it just because it went there. It left me with plenty to think about and I’ve always been one for complex metaphysics. On top of that, Chuck has always been one of my favorite characters and I have been on the “Chuck is God” train ever since he disappeared in that white light in “Swan Song.” For him to reveal his true identity is a moment I’ve been hoping would come for a while. But also, one of my favorite episodes ever is “The Great Escapist” when Metatron was introduced. I was never a fan of Metatron as the villain and this character shift as a broken human believing in redemption is fantastic.
Come on, just look at this season’s mytharc. When God’s sister rolls into the universe and starts destroying the earth, its inevitable that God had to show. Someone had to be him and it made the most sense for it to be Chuck. But now that we know it is indeed Chuck, what does this mean? There are three episodes left this season to play out, not to mention there’s all of next season too. Are they really going to kill God as was implied in the ending? Are we actually going to see a Godless universe, or is that essentially what we’ve been getting since he bailed on everyone all those years ago and went into hiding?
Metaphysics, Meet Psychology 101
There’s so many nuggets in here it’s incredible. I swear this wasn’t just a therapy session for Chuck/God and Metatron, but it was also one for any writers that have any hidden abandonment issues against Eric Kripke. It does make me wonder who was supposed to be who. We know that Chuck is really Eric Kripke, the creator, aka “God” of “Supernatural.” So was Metatron in this episode Robbie Thompson? (Just in this episode, not all the other times.) The references were a little biting. Chuck ran off and wrote another set of books, “Revolution.” It didn’t go anywhere. Fantastic shout out to Kripke’s failed NBC series. But Chuck just went onto other projects. He got on social media. He decided to wander off and do other things. He left others alone to fend for themselves. Somewhere along the way, God stopped being God and has suffered a few failures. Ooh, a bit on the nose on this one when compared to Kripke?
It doesn't make me wonder, is this what Robbie would say to Eric Kripke when reading the story of the Creator? Could this be a carefully disguised reflection on the missed opportunities through the years of not addressing Chuck’s identity and just tossing the amulet away without a second thought when it was such an important symbol to the fans? Is it possibly frustration with watering down God and angels through the years after Kripke left? Metatron spelled it all out to Chuck, if you’re going to tell the story of God, stop glossing over details. Make it real. And that’s EXACTLY what they did in this episode after years of avoiding this plot line. Examining God’s psyche is about as real as it gets.
But enough about hidden agendas of writers, we're here to talk about Chuck aka God. We were thrown a huge bucket of theology with deep psychology mixed in for fun all while digging into the issues of The World’s Greatest Dad. “Supernatural” has always taken general religious faith and twisted it into one very weirdly shaped pretzel and this episode was a strong reminder that the show has never had traditional views of faith. The intense dialogue took on the impossible and very risky task of exploring God’s motivations in this universe. To see a God wallowing in self doubt and regret about all he has created, that’s pretty radical. The return of his sister is forcing him to take stock of his life and he doesn’t like what he sees, not that he’s ever liked what he saw.
What a brilliant idea to reunite God with his scribe in this time of uncertainty. Did God know that Metatron would see through his inability to be honest with himself? Was that even a remote hope, or was it all about the story? I’m so impressed with the turnaround by Metatron and how being human has made him appreciate humanity. Currently he is the poster child for accepting consequences of actions. His plea for reason, sanity, and honesty made me think that this was Thompson’s voice in the wilderness screaming out against lost and stray plot lines of seasons past. It won me over, no matter whose voice it was.
Metatron isn’t all that complicated, but the fact he found his heart is incredibly inspiring. He has been missing that connection with his former mentor and has never gotten over he was the chosen one and then abandoned. He took it personally. That feeling to be needed and valued again was something he’s sought for thousands of years, consoling that hole with stories and books. That was his reason for going evil, he was acting out. He forgot his purpose in this world, which is being a damn good story editor. For him his story is one of redemption, that is until the next SPN writer decides to make him evil again (I’m talking to you Brad and Eugenie). I think he’s redeemed just because he gave the dog the sandwich. You’ve got to admit, it was hard to say no to that face.
Chuck/God on the other hand is scared, insecure, and deeply flawed. He has a pretty sorry history of leaving when things get tough. His sister disappointed him, angels disappointed him, humans disappointed him, heck, even he disappointed himself. By merely addressing the idea to face his sister or let everything he created go, he had to face himself. When someone doesn’t want to be honest about themselves, they become masters of avoidance. Chuck/God has had a whole lifetime of creation to use diversions and excuses to avoid the truth. He was even seeking justifications, like if nature wipes things out and restarts, why shouldn’t that happen with humanity? It corrects things. His largest justification comes through the past actions of Sam and Dean Winchester.
One of the bigger fan complaints I’ve read since the episode aired is the “outrage” that Chuck/God blamed Sam for releasing The Darkness. I think anyone who has that complaint missed the whole context of what Chuck was saying. He wasn’t assigning blame as much as misdirecting it. He was trying to justify the destruction of mankind so he wouldn’t have to face Amara. Metatron offered the right perspective, Sam may have let out the darkness, but they're trying to fix it. That's what humans do because redemption matters.
“Nature - divine, human nature - toxic.” God likes to test, but he also seems to have high standards. He left the angels and went into hiding because they were disappointments. They wouldn’t accept his creation of humanity. But then humans eventually chose free will and disappointed him too. Then he came to earth for that "front row seat" in the apocalypse. He wanted to see how his favorite test subjects, Sam and Dean, would perform in this most desperate hour. He was very pleased with the end result and left. But he forgot life goes on and the story didn’t end there. Sam and Dean continued to make their own choices and they made some bad ones. While Metatron saw that people who make mistakes have a chance at redemption, God called them disappointments. They aren’t being responsible. Its time for a reboot.
Metatron had no choice but to call Chuck/God out on what he was truly being, a coward. Leaving was not the answer and not helping wasn’t the answer either. “I know I’m a disappointment but you’re wrong about humanity. They are your greatest creation because they’re better than you are. Sure they’re weak and they cheat and steal and destroy and disappoint, but they also give and create, and they sing and dance and love, and above all they never give up. But you do.” With that, Chuck has written the ending of his own story, one that includes Amara. He had to recognize she was part of the story and deal with his family issues. Even Gabriel learned this lesson in season five, isn’t it about time God did?
Speaking of Gabriel, there was small mention of the archangels, although not as much as I had hoped. Lucifer was definitely a sore subject. I adore that Chuck/God defended Lucifer, claiming he wasn’t evil and not his favorite. Perhaps this means that Lucifer will get his own redemption story? This is a topsy turvy SPN world now, so why not? I just wish they took time to address Michael, Raphael and Gabriel, especially Michael and Gabriel. Fine, just Gabriel. I want him back in the worst way! But there’s only so much an episode can take on so I hope that will be addressed later.
So what happens after hours of intense therapy and self reflection? A well timed song of course! Good thing Rob Benedict is a musician, huh? Chuck/God chooses to reflect through a perfect human creation, music (since there didn't seem to be any nacho cheese on hand), his dire prophecy. “Fare Thee Well,” which is essentially Chuck standing up and doing what he expects every being to do, take responsibility for their actions. He saved the town and will face his sister, because he was the one that locked her away. By standing up and facing Amara, does he know if it’ll destroy them both? Something horrible is coming, and the whole story was forewarned on Metatron’s heartbroken face when he read it. I swear my heart bled buckets over that look. This is what happens when Curtis Armstrong is finally given the right material. Pure gold.
Oh Right, Sam and Dean Were in this Too
Yes, Sam and Dean were actually in this episode, although they were relegated to B-plot, but then again they were essential to the A-plot too since a lot of what was discussed pertained to them. While this heavenly debate happens in the bar, the fog is back and it’s killing people. There wasn’t much to this plot for sure, other than they left out the important detail that the holy oil doesn’t work again the fog. Or perhaps there was no time to go fetch it. It really wasn’t much of a story until the important reveal in the police station when Sam was overcome by the fog and infected.
I cannot say how much I LOVED that scene between Sam and Dean. It’s classic “Supernatural” in the display of sheer devotion between these brothers. Dean could have saved others, but he instinctively went to a dying Sam first. Sam was overcome by the fog and suddenly all those inner fears came out. They were never going to win. Dean was going to choose Amara over him. When Sam said those words my heart broke (yes, there was a lot of heart damage in this episode). I definitely wasn’t surprised at all that Dean wasn’t affected by the fog. If anything it was a long coming reveal. Dean was left to watch his brother die a horrible death in his arms and couldn’t do anything about it. So what did he do? Did he call out to Amara? No, he called out to God to stop it. Just wow. Dean finally put it all in God’s hands - and God answered. I screeched pretty loud when that glowing amulet led them right to Chuck in the street. They need to talk indeed.
Man, I haven’t gotten to the other meaty part yet! Let’s talk about the amulet, because Lord knows we haven’t brought it up enough in entire existence of this site (yes, that’s sarcasm). Robbie Thompson has been wanting to deal with the whole amulet issue for a long time. He knows it’s been a sore subject with fans, how it was summarily dismissed and thrown in the trash because Kripke was sick of dealing with it and it’s emphasis, not to mention Jensen was sick of wearing it (it scratched his cornea!). But it was a symbol and an important one to fans. It was also supposed to glow in the presence of God, a prophecy that was suddenly dropped in the latter part of season five. Fans have been begging for this for years! Bringing back the amulet was long overdue.
Personally, I think it was in Sam’s pocket the whole time. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. That was certainly the implication! Chuck said to Metatron, ”You will never guess where it’s been this whole time,” and Metatron cut him off. No Metatron, we want to know! I think that cutoff happened so to not spoil the big reveal later. Fans for years have been screaming to the rooftops, “Sam picked it out of the trash!” When the fog cleared up and the amulet suddenly started to glow, it was found in Sam’s pocket, not Dean’s. That tells us rather plainly that Sam has had it all this time. God swiped it, turned it on, and then put it back where he found it, WHICH WAS SAM’S POCKET! Maybe Sam has been carrying it all these years for good luck on missions, or maybe he absentmindedly threw it in that pocket and it’s been there since. Whatever happened, it’s been there. I…LOVE…IT! It’s about freaking time that was addressed and shame on anyone that didn’t allow it to be addressed until now. Was it fan pandering? Yes. Am I unhappy about it? Not at all.
Other Meta Moments
“Last time I saw that look on an editor’s face, I’d just handed in ‘Bugs.’” Ooh, the self depreciation joke!
Metatron doesn’t like the Supernatural books. Ha! Chuck: Not even “Home” or “All Hell Breaks Loose”? Metatron: Too much melodrama.
Metatron (after God reveal): I-I didn't mean what I said about Supernatural, it's underrated, due for a reboot.
Overall grade, just for the sheer ballsy nature of the episode, I’m giving this an A. This one will stand out in the years to come, which says a lot this late in the series. Three more episodes left and I have no idea where they are going. Fingers crossed it remains as bold as what we got here.