Just when you think Supernatural can’t get any better, they give you an episode like “Don’t Call Me Shurley.” It was an impressive episode from start to finish. The episode had outstanding acting by Robert Benedict and Curtis Armstrong, great use of music throughout, a wonderful set design, and fascinating dialogue. Metatron had it right: “Details are what make a story great.” Details, and a great team.
Metatron is back. He’s human and scrounging in a dumpster where he finds a half-eaten pastrami sandwich. It seems his heart may have grown two sizes larger since we’ve last seen him, because he gives up the meaty part of his sandwich to his furry companion Toto. Who knew Metatron was fond of both dogs and Frank Oz? As he continues in vain to look for a meal, he yells, “I give up!”
Suddenly Metatron finds himself in a bar called BG’s Canteen as “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys plays in the background. Toto’s there too. A familiar figure sits in a booth—it’s Carver Edlund, aka Chuck Shurley. Chuck is drinking out of a “World’s Greatest Dad” mug. Metatron isn’t impressed by the prophet’s presence, or by his Supernatural book series. He tells Chuck he’s a hack writer.
Metatron: “Of the metric ton of books I’ve read in my lifetime, Supernatural didn’t even crack the top ten … thousand. Respectfully.”
Chuck: “You didn’t like any of it? Not even “Home” or “All Hell Breaks Loose?”
Metatron: “Ah. Way too much melodrama. And then you put yourself in the story. Gawd.”
Chuck: “Okay, that’s fair. Mildly constructive.”
Though Metatron recognizes the heavenly handiwork of the bar, he doesn’t realize who he’s talking to until Chuck gives him some sunglasses (“It’s a whole thing”), then shows His true form. That’s right, it’s God. OMG!OMG!OMG!
Metatron kneels and begins to grovel: “I didn’t mean what I said about Supernatural. It’s underrated, due for a reboot.” God asks him to stop kneeling and to not use the G-word—“Just call me Chuck.” Let us repeat: OMG!OMG!OMG!
Dean is using beer as both a beverage and an ironing steam source. Handy. Sam’s found a case in Hope Springs, Idaho that could lead them to Amara. That’s right, the hope that they can defeat Amara springs eternal. Dean hands Sam his shirt, and Sam complains, “Dude, quit ironing my shirts with beer.” Now that we’ve seen it, we can’t image using anything else but beer to get out those pesky wrinkles.
A Front Row Seat
Chuck’s been super busy. He’s been traveling, started a blog of cat pics, signed up for Snapchat. Now that God’s on Snapchat all the kids are definitely going to find something new to use. It’s like a thousand times worse than having your parents see your snaps. He’s also started a new series of books—Revolution, a reference to Eric Kripke. He notes that Revolution doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Metatron, who is drinking to manage his astonishment, notes, “Revolution. Supernatural. Maybe titles aren’t Your thing.”
Chuck decided to hide in plain sight because “acting is fun.” Metatron wonders how no one knew, asking why Dean’s amulet charm didn’t expose Him. Apparently Chuck just turned it off. He offers to tell Metatron where it’s been hidden all this time, but the former scribe doesn’t care (We do! We do!). What Metatron wants to know is if God plans to destroy him for all the things he’s done. He was kind of a jerk. Chuck isn’t worried about the past; instead He’s thinking about humankind’s greatest creation—music. He points out, “Music is magic.” He wants to tap into that magic for inspiration. It turns out that God has been working on His autobiography.
Metatron: “You want to get the old band back together. Lennon and McCartney ride again.”
Chuck: “Well, I’m kinda Lennon and McCartney, so. But every writer needs a good editor. I did some of My best work with you, Metatron.”
In Hope Springs, Dean talks to Sheriff Macready about a man who has apparently taken his own life. The Sheriff tells Dean that before the victim died he was spewing a ton of negative thoughts. When Deputy Harris shows Sam pictures of the victim, Sam notices that the dead man’s marks are similar to those caused by Amara’s first curse. He asks the deputy if she’s noticed anything strange, or a white fog. She tells him no, adding, “It’s always sunny in Hope Springs—at least it used to be.”
Editing God’s Story
Metatron’s got his red editing pen out. A permanent marker, by the look of it. Chuck is eager for feedback. When Metatron tells Him that it’s good, Chuck sees through it, and responds, “Last time I saw that look on an editor’s face I’d just handed in ‘Bugs.’” Metatron points out, “Details are what make a story great. This is lacking in some details. Like—all of them.” He points out that Amara is an important missing detail. Metatron assumes that God has returned because of Amara. With crossed arms and a stern look Chuck tells him, “This isn’t her story. It’s Mine.”
The deputy has arrived home to her newlywed husband. A fog comes up behind her and she tells her husband to go inside while she calls it in. She contacts dispatch, but before she can explain why she’s calling, the fog envelops her and the strange marks appear on her arms. Oh no! Don’t kill the newlyweds.
Metatron has finished marking up the autobiography draft and he looks exasperated. Chuck asks, “That bad?” Metatron tells Chuck the story needs balance and that He’s focusing on the wrong things, like the chapter about being Chuck. God seems a bit defensive, and coldly asks what’s wrong with it. Metatron tells Him, in his sternest editor voice, “Once You’ve explained the Vonnegut performance art, that should be it. No one cares about the rest.” God tries to tell him He did some great stuff as Chuck—the blog, traveling, dating—and he learned how to play guitar. OMG Rob Benedict is playing guitar on Supernatural!
The Chuck persona makes Him seem like “a really grounded, likable person,” but as Metatron points out, He’s neither grounded nor a person. Chuck notes, “So you’re saying I’m likeable.” Chuck’s skipping all the juicy deets that people may actually want to read about. Chuck has lots about His life as Chuck, but only has two paragraphs about the archangels. Metatron asks if the archangels don’t deserve a bit more text, especially His fav, Lucifer. Chuck stops playing guitar and tells Metatron that Lucifer wasn’t His favorite. Yeah, Gabriel was our favorite too. Metatron tells Chuck, “If you say that Amara is off limits, fine. But you know every great hero is defined by his or her villain.” Chuck carefully responds, “Lucifer was not a villain. He … he’s … he wasn’t a villain.” Sounds like He hasn’t completely let go of the role of loving father. He’s kept the mug, after all.
Metatron gets real with God, pointing out that there’re two types of memoirs—the truth and fairy tales. Metatron asks Chuck if He wants to write Life by Keith Richards or Wouldn’t it Be Nice by Brian Wilson.
Chuck: “I want to tell the truth.”
Metatron: “Then You’ve got some work to do. There are no revelations in this book, and that’s weird, given who You are. There’s no new information, no soul-bearing.”
Chuck: “That’s because I don’t have a soul.”
Metatron: “Right. But You invented them. You. Invented. Souls. Souls!”
Metatron wants God to give up the Chuck method-acting and get back into character. Chuck claims this is the real Him, but Metatron doesn’t think so: “The guy I worked for—total badass. And yes, He could be a dick. Now that guy has some stories to tell. And He has a lot to answer for.” Chuck asks how, and Metatron tells Him to hold up a mirror and write for an audience of one. “Dance like nobody’s watching,” Chuck adds. Oh, Chuck. Chuck throws the draft in the air and gives Metatron His choice: “Richards, all the way.”
Sheriff Macready calls Sam and Dean after they find Deputy Harris’s husband shot and her missing. He tells them she called in and mentioned the fog. They want to be informed if anyone else reports white fog.
“Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones plays as Chuck works on a new manuscript. Metatron is loving the chapter titles: “Why I Don’t Answer Your Prayers and You Should Be Glad I Don’t” and “The Truth about Divine Intervention and Why I Avoid it All Costs.”
Metatron has a question for Chuck that he’s always wondered about. We’re expecting it be something like “Why did you pick me to be your scribe?” Instead, he asks why God created life. Chuck explains that He was lonely. When Metatron asks about Amara, Chuck points out that He’s being and she’s nothingness. He hoped that if He created something more, something better, that maybe Amara would change. It didn’t work. Chuck kept creating worlds and Amara kept destroying them. It all sounds very Hindu, really.
Chuck brings Metatron to a rocky beach in the mountains, showing off His creation. Chuck appreciates how nature created so much on its own and is smart enough to know that sometimes you just have to wipe the slate clean. Metatron responds, “Sure. Natural selection. Good times.” He also points out that when Chuck starts over with a flood, He builds a boat, but if Amara wipes the slate all of God’s great work is destroyed. Chuck tells him, “We should take a stroll then. Enjoy it all one last time, before it’s all gone.” Metatron stares in disbelief and Chuck starts to walk down the rocky beach.
Dean and Sam are at the police station and hear reports of fog rolling in. Dean tells the officers to warn everyone to stay away from the fog, and seal the doors and windows. They track Deputy Harris, who is heading towards the station.
Out on Main Street, Deputy Harris has a message for Dean from Amara: “She says it’s a mirror. She’s showing us all the truth. … The light was just a lie.” She raises her gun to Dean, but Sheriff Macready shoots Deputy Harris before she can hurt Dean. As she dies, Deputy Harris tells him, “It’ll all be over soon. He’s not going to save them. It’s all going away, forever. But not you, Dean.” A huge fog cloud rolls down Main Street.
Chuck complains that humans never take responsibility for their actions. He’s not wrong. Metatron points out that Chuck has a responsibility too. Chuck claims He took responsibility by leaving: “At a certain point training wheels gotta come off. Nobody likes a helicopter parent.” He locked his sister away, barely, and then the Winchesters let her out. He tells Metatron, “You know I love those guys. But the world would still be spinning with Demon Dean in it. But Sam couldn’t have that, could he? So how’s Amara being out on Me?” Though He acknowledges He helped the Winchesters before, He’s not willing to help them now. He seems a little bitter. Metatron asks if Chuck’s just going to let Amara win, and He responds, “Ah. It’s her time to shine.”
Chuck takes them back to the bar. Metatron accuses Chuck of hiding from His sister in the “safest place ever created.” When Metatron calls Him a coward, Chuck gets wrathful and slams him through the door. Toto is concerned, but Metatron is excited to see the God he knows and loves.
Metatron: “I remember the first time I saw You. All the other angels were terrified, but I wasn’t. The feeling of Your light was just beyond measure. And then, the unthinkable. You picked me to help You with your tablets.”
Chuck: “You were just the closest angel to the door when I walked in the room. There’s nothing special about you, Metatron—not then and not now. Now, I’ve been called many things—absentee father, wrathful monster, but coward? I am not hiding. I am just done watching My experiments’ failures.”
Metatron: “You mean Your failures, Chuck.”
As the zombie fog descends on Hope Springs, Sam and Dean try to get everyone inside. Sam helps get a baby out of her car seat and they all head into the station. From inside, they can see the people still outside collapsing into the street. They try to seal the room with duct tape, but some fog starts to come through the vent. Then the fog-zombified townsfolk try to break into the police station. Sam gets infected and Dean moves the others into an interior room, but stays with Sam himself, saying, “I’m not leaving my brother.”
As Chuck continues to work on His memoir, He tells Metatron he’s a terrific editor. Chuck didn’t see Metatron’s evil turn coming when he tried to play God. Metatron acknowledges it was his sad attempt to get God’s attention.
“You are light, beauty, creation, wrath, damnation, and salvation. And I don’t care if was just the angel nearest the door. You picked me. Your light shined on me. Me. Ah, 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.”
When Metatron asks why He left, Chuck says, “Because you disappointed me. You all disappointed me.” Geez, a little harsh there, Chuck? Metatron points out that He’s wrong about humanity, that they’re His greatest creation, because they’re better than He is. Unlike Chuck, they never give up. Sure, the statement’s a bit hyperbolic, but Curtis Armstrong has us in tears with his amazing performance.
Sam and Dean are still trying to survive. Sam is infected and the fog zombies have broken the windows. Sam starts to spout some of the negativity the fog causes, saying that Dean was going to choose Amara over him. Sam wants Dean to leave, but Dean isn’t leaving Sam, ever. Dean inhales the fog, but nothing happens to him. Dean yells “Stop this” towards the sky, and suddenly everything gets quiet and Sam stops moving.
Chuck has finished His manuscript. He’s revealing all kinds of secrets today, telling Metatron that He never really learned to play the guitar or speak French, but just gave Himself the ability. Very Dollhouse of him. He suggests that Metatron read the pages, which he declines. Chuck begins to play “Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song).” We know you loved hearing Rob Benedict play a cover of a traditional song previously covered by Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan (whose photo hung in the booth where Chuck was writing). The good news is you can get it on SoundCloud. The song tells the story of a woman deserted by her lover when she needs him most.
Hearing Chuck sing, Metatron is inspired to start reading the pages. Meanwhile, in Hope Springs, Dean’s pocket starts to glow. He pulls out the amulet, which is glowing with God’s presence. Sam recovers and the people locked in the other room come out safely. Sam and Dean go outside, as Sam holds the amulet, and they see the dead and infected restored to their old selves, including Deputy Harris and her husband. Holding the amulet, they follow its glow down the street and find Chuck. They look stunned, but Chuck just smiles and says, “We should probably talk,”as the episode ends.
“Don’t Call Me Shurley” confirms what fans have suspected for the last five seasons—that Chuck is God. It was great to see Rob Benedict back on Supernatural. We can’t wait to see the Winchesters’ reaction to the truth being revealed.
See our review of “Don’t Call Me Shuley” here.
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