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Meta Conversation, Hiding in Plain Sight
God: You didn't like any of it? Not even “Home”? No. Or “All Hell Breaks Loose”?
Metatron: Ugh! Way too much melodrama. And then you put yourself in the story? God!
God: Okay, that's fair. Mildly constructive. Still, it doesn't justify you... burning one of my books, though.
Metatron: What are you talking about?
God: “Tall Tales.” You were monologuing it to Castiel, and you threw one in the fire.
Metatron: How do you know about that?
God: Oh, I'm sorry. I always forget. People can't see me unless I want them to see me.
"Don't Call Me Shurley" picked up with Chuck pretty much were the storyline left him 6 years ago – sitting at a typewriter pounding out pages of his “books”. Quoting episode titles from those books honestly worried me at this point. Was this going to be another meta episode that talks directly to fans? Happily, “Don’t Call Me Shurley” didn’t break the fourth wall but instead stayed within the story. That was a huge relief and allowed me then to also stay in the story and just try to absorb the developments as they related to the myth arc.
Still, since this is a Threads analysis, let’s pause for a moment and marvel at the meta of these statements. Chuck, the symbolic representation of the show’s creator, Eric Kripke, was asking Metatron, who I established above was the representation of every person who watches Supernatural, what he/we thought of his story so far. The writers could be breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to fans, just as God chose to make himself visible and insert himself directly into the story. Supernatural writers have pushed that wall out several times. In fact, they are rather renowned for experimenting with it more than any other show. So what if they were actually doing it again? What if they were directly talking to fans about themselves and their work?
The second interpretation, though, is staggering. What if they want us to see the man behind the curtain? Chuck was Kripke. Was Metatron’s conversation with Chuck a conversation between fans and Kripke? Let’s re-listen to that conversation, imagining who is really talking:
Kripke: You didn't like any of it? Not even “Home”? No. Or “All Hell Breaks Loose”?
Fans: Ugh! Way too much melodrama. And then you put yourself in the story? God!
Kripke: Okay, that's fair. Mildly constructive. Still, it doesn't justify you... burning one of my books, though.
Fans: What are you talking about?
Kripke: “Tall Tales.” You were monologuing it to Castiel, and you threw one in the fire.
Fans: How do you know about that?
Kripke: Oh, I'm sorry. I always forget. People can't see me unless I want them to see me.
Fans don't expect that the show's writers hear what we say about them. What if Kripke read revews and fan boards (which he did) and saw and knew all we said about him and the show? Every nitpick and critisim. Back-peddle, fast!
Metatron/Fans: I can't believe you've come back. I-I didn't mean what I said about Supernatural. It's underrated -- due for a reboot. And this bar -- it's not crappy at all. It's just like the one in “Cheers.” Everybody knows my name!
“You’ve come back!” Let’s continue the conversation, assuming Kripke is talking directly to Supernatural fans. He just reminded us that he (as Chuck) wrote the early chapters of this story, and we as fans “have trudged through your complete oeuvre -- published and unpublished.” Truer words were never spoken as to how thoroughly Supernatural fans have absorbed Supernatural’s episodes.
If we’re talking with Kripke, our first question would be:
Fans: So, what you been up to?
Kripke: Oh, I've been super busy. Yeah, I traveled. Mm-hmm. I started a blog. Mostly just pictures of cats. Oh. They're so cute. And, uh -- Oh, I signed up for Snapchat. A-And I started a new series of books. Yeah. Revolution. But I don't think it's going anywhere.
Fans: Supernatural. Maybe titles aren't your thing.
Kripke: You're not wrong.
Snapchat? Kripke finally signed up for Twitter recently. Chuck is Kripke and he wants to talk about his creation!
Fans: But why did you put on the Chuck suit in the first place? How did that make any sense to you?
Kripke: I like front-row seats. You know, I figured I'd hide out in plain sight.
The conversation strays to talking about the amulet (again, another WHOLE article by itself) but Metatron/fans pull it back to talking about Supernatural.
Fans: Look, I don't care about that ugly old thing or why you were slumming it with the plebes. Let's brass some tacks already, okay? You see and hear all. You know what an absolute piece of garbage I've been the last couple of years. Did you bring me here to destroy me?
The word plebes stood out to me. I thought it was odd that Metatron would refer to newbies when the conversation hadn’t necessarily been there. Substituting a conversation with Kripke about Revolution make that the perfect word, though. Supernatural fans don’t care about Kripke's new shows. We just want to know if God’s/Kripke’s return means that Supernatural is going to end. God/Kripke’s answer is interesting:
Kripke: You know what humanity's greatest creation has been? Music. That and nacho cheese. Even I couldn't have dreamt up that deliciousness. But music... is magic. A lot of remarkable music was created in this space. B.G.'s Canteen. Now, it's not as well-known as the Bitter End or the Gaslight, but some amazing musicians got their start on this stage. I'm hoping that you and I can tap into some of that old magic and finish what I started a few months ago.
Kripke paved the backroads of Supernatural with music. He loved it and made sure it was a contributing character to every story he wrote. He’s acknowledging that some amazing things were created on Supernatural (“in this space”) without him but he’s hoping that he can “tap into some of that old magic and finish what I started a few months ago.”
Finish what he started??
Metatron: You wrote your autobiography?
God: Ish. I mean, there are chapters, it's kind of a loose structure, uh, but, I don't know, something's missing. I'm -- I'm stuck.
Metatron: You want to get the old band back together. Lennon and McCartney ride again.
God: Well, I'm kind of Lennon and McCartney, so... But every writer needs a good editor. I did some of my best work with you, Metatron.
God/Chuck/Kripke wants to continue his story, but he’s reached an impasse. He doesn’t know what to do next and he’s asking for help from someone familiar with his work.
Does this mean the writers are stuck? They’ve created a universe but don’t know where to go with it at this point, so they are asking for help from the ones who have been there with them since the beginning – the fans, maybe?
Every writer needs a good editor. An editor’s job is to take in the creative outpouring of the author and to provide valuable feedback on where it can be improved. Isn’t that what fans do? Every second of Supernatural has been analyzed and reviewed, with an abundance of feedback (welcome or not) thrust back upon the authors. In “I did some of my best work with you” the writers are acknowledging that the editors move them to produce their best work. Is the fans’ input being acknowledged, since Metatron is a stand-in for fans?
Alternately and more literally, with whom did Kripke do his best work? Was there a core group of writers that did their best work together? Kripke and Carver, working together again? Who’s the “old band” they want to get back together?? I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to hear where this conversation will go next!
So what would we, as editors, ask the creator(s) of Supernatural? What would we ask Kripke? Exactly what Metatron asked God:
Fans: “Why?”Why did Kripke create Supernatural?
Kripke/Writers: Can you be more specific? I kind of get that question a lot about pretty much everything.
Fans: Why did you create life?
Kripe: I was lonely.I really have to work out who “she” is in this interpretation. Networks? I don’t know yet, and I'm interested in your theories, but let’s keep going anyway.
Fans: But you didn't stop at one archangel or a handful of angels. You created worlds.
Kripke: I was stupid. Naive. I thought if I could show my sister that there was something more than just us, something better than us, then maybe she'd change. Maybe she'd stop... being...her. But... every time I'd build a new world... she'd destroy it.
Fans: So you and your archangels... locked her away? And you got down to unfettered creation.Supernatural was as close as he’s ever gotten to something as good or better than anything that came before it. But we already knew that.
Kripke: Tried to, anyway. But... this was as close as I got to something as good as or better than me or my sister.
Fans: If [the mysterious she] wipes the slate, the slate's destroyed. Everything is destroyed. All your great work... lost forever.
Kripke: We should take a stroll, then. Enjoy it all one last time... before it's all gone.
Why is God/Kripke anticipating the destruction, the end, of his creation? What is all this talk of a “deadline”? What are the writers trying to tell us?
Fans push again to understand why Kripke left in the first place:
Fans: What about your responsibility?Kripke left the show in the hands of ‘disciples’ i.e. those he taught and to whom he entrusted his creation in his absence. Metatron, i.e. fans, won’t let him off the hook, though. They remind him why he started writing in the first place:
Kripke: I took responsibility... by leaving. At a certain point, training wheels got to come off. No one likes a helicopter parent.
“You told me to write for an audience of one -- me.”
Then Metatron/Fans accuse Kripke of running away, of hiding, and he redirects again by saying,
“let's focus on, uh, finishing my book.”
Then it gets real. Fans call Kripke a coward for not helping the show go where it was meant to go.
Kripke: I've been called many things -- absentee father, wrathful monster. But coward... I am not hiding. I am just done watching my experiments' failures.
Fans: You mean your failures, Chuck.
Kripke: You want to watch? Be my guest. If you ask me, they're all reruns.
If this is truly the “come to Jesus” true confession time, if Metatron has one shot at getting through to the creator, he’s not going to let up, and neither are fans:
Fans: You picked me. Your light shined on me -- me! Oh, and the warmth. But then you left me. You left all of us. It wasn't just the saps on Earth who were praying to you. The angels prayed, too. And so did I -- every day.
Kripke: I know.
Fans: You want to write the best-selling autobiography of all time, you explain to me -- tell me why you abandoned me. Us.
Kripke: Because you disappointed me. You all disappointed me.
Supernatural fans do feel blessed because the light of this show has brightened our lives, but many recently have voiced that they feel the show was “better” when Kripke ran it. Yet fans were brutally critical of Kripke as show runner. He was criticized for every decision, every plot development. Was he naïve, and thus disappointed in his creation, or in us? So we push again:
Fans: They are your greatest creation because they're better than you are. Yeah, 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.
For all our faults, infighting and criticisms, fans have never given up on Supernatural.
In the story, something Metatron said got through to God, because he decided to use his divine intervention after all. He saved the town. He saved Sam.
He revealed himself to the brothers. He inserted himself into their story again. Did fans, or someone, convince Kripke to return to Supernatural? Chuck, his avatar, returned. Will Chuck/God/Kripke stay in the story or is this just a short visit?
We were left not knowing God’s intentions. Instead, he simply said,
We should talk.That’s the understatement of the year. I for one, can’t wait to hear the continuation of the conversation with God, Chuck, the writers, or whomever it is that is certainly going to control the direction Supernatural goes for the rest of this year, and maybe beyond.
Superb acting, emotion, drama, story, meta, limitless interpretations, and I don't know what's going to happen next. I haven't even touched on the contrasting dialog between light and dark; the mentions of Dad (God's mug!) and parent, and how that relates to the "misunderstood children and their families" theme that has defined season 11;
the fact that Dean once again tried to die rather that live without Sam; that once again Sam was on the brink of death, and his deepest fear was being abandoned by Dean, or the heart-rending song so powerfully delivered by Rob at the climax of the story.
Together with all that detail that was in the storyline we saw, was the underlying message that Kripke needs to finish what he started.
That’s why I loved this episode.
I’m in, Supernatural. I’m in. Your move.
Editor's Note: We've just learned that Robbie Thompson is leaving Supernatural. I, for one, am heart-broken. I adore his writing, and greatly respect the care he puts into his scripts. #ThankYouRobbie and I'll miss you terribly. Your departure makes this episode all the more powerful for me.
Screencaps Courtesy of: http://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view-screencap.php?tv-show=supernatural-2005
Transcipts Courtesy of: http://transcripts.foreverdreaming.org/viewtopic.php?f=105&t=27004