Supernatural S11E21 Review: All in the Family

Lucifer Casifer Misha Collins Supernatural All in the FamilySupernatural continues to give us big moments in “All in the Family.” The big moments here aren’t so much the action, but instead the interactions between the characters. Chuck has some ’splainin’ to do. Supernatural continues to give us outstanding acting with intense moments of emotion, with fun bits of humor mixed in. Chuck’s presence doesn’t create any easy answers, but “All in the Family” restores our faith.

God, World’s Worst Roommate

Now that God has made Himself known, Sam and Dean are learning more about Him than they expected. And not the good stuff like why ears are so weird. Instead, they learn that Chuck likes to sleep in, take long showers, and sing crappy folk songs. He also enjoys Chinese food, Voodoo Doughnuts, and reviewing Dean’s porn collection. Oh, and Chuck doesn’t trust Lucifer, especially after institutionalizing him for eons.

What Dean really wants to know is why God abandoned humanity. Why was Chuck writing books and going to fan conventions when there were plagues and wars killing millions? But Chuck’s no victim of irrational submissiveness; instead He’s been allowing humanity the freedom to grow:

“Believe me, I was hands on—real hands on—for, wow, ages. I was so sure if I kept stepping in, teaching, punishing, that these wonderful creatures that I created would grow up. But it only stayed the same, and I saw I needed to step away and let my baby find its way. Being over-involved is no longer parenting. It’s enabling”

This sounds like a very different God than the one we met in the amazing “Don’t Call Me Shurley.” Either Metatron’s plea for humanity has completely changed God’s tune, or this episode was written by completely different writers. Oh, yeah, God’s initial reveal was written by Robbie Thompson, who appears to be leaving the Supernatural series, while this was written by Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner (“Route 666,” “Soul Survivor,” “The Hunter Games,” “Paint it Black,” “Dark Dynasty,” “The Bad Seed” and “O Brother Where Art Thou?”).

Dean Winchester Supernatural All in the FamilyThough Chuck wasn’t afraid to tell His former scribe what a disappointment everyone has been to Him, it seems Chuck was giving Dean the soft-sell with his response about humankind’s self-destructive nature. To be fair, Chuck kind of knows His audience. Where Metatron might be crushed by God’s indifference, Dean Winchester couldn’t care less if Chuck is disappointed with humanity, ’cause he’s carrying around a pretty big chip on his shoulder. Talk about disappointment. When Dean tells Chuck He’s just rationalizing His behavior, Chuck responds, “I know you had a complicated upbringing Dean, but don’t confuse me with your dad.” Whoa. So much for the World’s Greatest Dad title.

To be fair, Dean isn’t the Winchester sibling who felt angry and abandoned because of his dad. He’s reserved those feelings for God. And for Chuck’s part, let’s not forget He stepped in to help humanity during the Apocalypse many times, despite His preference to avoid Divine intervention at all costs. But we get it. Dean has had issues with God since his mom was killed by the yellow-eyed demon. That anger has only grown as Dean has watched so many of those around him suffer and die, making sacrifices to protect Chuck’s creation.

Sam Winchester Supernatural All in the FamilyWe love seeing Dean’s anger juxtaposed with Sam’s fanboying over God. Sam’s faith has been evident since early in the series (“Faith” and “Houses of the Holy”). Dean has been worse than dismissive about Sam’s habit of praying, with his intolerance and outright hostility towards the practice emerging again in Season 11. Let’s hope that Sam gets to have some of those discussions about why the planets are round and other cool stuff while Chuck is still around. Being a fan is actually pretty cool.

Sam may be a fan, but he isn’t above helping Dean keep secrets from Chuck. How effective is it to say “Shh!” as God starts to walk through the door? Isn’t He omniscient? Maybe not, because Chuck didn’t seem to know He had powdered sugar all over his face. Apparently being reassured by Kevin Tran (Osric Chau) that they can trust Chuck isn’t enough for the Winchesters. Though his appearance was totally random and non-organic, we won’t lie, we loved seeing Kevin Tran, Advanced Placement & Prophet of the Lord.

Donatello, Chemistry Prophet

Donatello Chuck Supernatural All in the FamilyWe met a new prophet, Donatello Redfield (Keith Szarabajka), whose story served as a mini-case. At least Supernatural is trying to change it up by having someone over 45 on the show, but a female prophet would’ve been good. We expect that poor Donatello may not be long for this world, which could be why they didn’t pick a woman for the role. Though we could have done without this addition to the story (if Doctor Who has taught us anything, it’s that the extra plot twist is often one twist too far), it does present some interesting questions about how prophets emerge and the Divine role in the process. They bring Donatello to meet Chuck, and the prophet apologizes for being an atheist until 10 minutes ago. Chuck tells him, “You’re skepticism is to expected. I did include freewill in the kit.”

Strategy or Suicide

Metatron calls the Winchesters to share his intel on Chuck. They’re not super tolerant of the former scribe after all his shenanigans casting the angels out of Heaven and trying to be the new God. Metatron shows them Chuck’s latest work, telling the boys, “It’s not an autobiography; it’s a suicide note.”

Dean Chuck Supernatural All in the FamilyDean confronts Chuck about His plan to give himself up to Amara, pointing out that she’s likely to destroy Him and then the world. Chuck gives Dean some heavy news:

“If My plan doesn’t work, then humans will step up. You, Sam, others that are the chosen, will have to find a way. That’s why I saved you years ago. You’re the firewall between light and darkness.”

So Chuck expects Dean to take over his mission if he doesn’t survive. Despite His earlier comment, kinda sounds like a John Winchester move on Chuck’s part.

All in the Supernatural Family

Donatello Sam Supernatural All in the FamilyThomas J. Wright directed “All in the Family,” and he is very effective at communicating a coherent vision. We were excited to see Sam driving the Impala as they tried to escape Amara. There were some terrific shots from inside the car, but we’d expect no less from the director of the excellent episode “Baby.” Just as he did in “The Devil in the Details,” Wright lets the close-up shots of Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Rob Benedict, and Curtis Armstrong convey both emotion and story. “All in the Family” also showed off the skill of the crew with another amazing bar, great use of shadows as architecture in the bunker, and beautiful exterior shots of the playground and the woods where Dean meets Amara.

Now That’s a Plan

Amara Dean Winchester Supernatural All in the FamilyDespite Ackles’ tremendous acting skill, we haven’t been feeling the supposed connection between Dean and Amara (Emily Swallow). Though it doesn’t seem like these two actors have much chemistry together, this was the first time we’ve seen them together when it actually felt like there was a longing between them. Yet, Amara’s offer to “give up your smallness, your humanity, and become boundless within me” doesn’t sound the least bit tempting. He may feel connected to Amara, but Dean already has a profound bond with someone else. Let’s hope that once Amara realizes that Sam is what’s keeping Dean from her that she doesn’t destroy him.

We like it when Sam gets to take the lead without his elder brother hanging around telling him what to do and making him do what he wants. Yet the Lucifer Liberation League was a strange crew with freshman prophet Donatello Redfield (Keith Szarabajka), former scribe Metatron (Curtis Armstrong), and Satan’s former vessel Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki). It was a fun moment when the Impala pulled up to where Lucifer was being held, and each of the dream team looked upward as they emerged from the car while dramatic music played.

Resucing Lucifer Supernatural All in the FamilyWhen the rescuers arrived, they found Lucifer in a Christlike pose, held in place through supernatural means. During the rescue, Padalecki played the scene tough and Collins showed Lucifer’s pain and annoyance (“Do I look like a fan?”). Yet it was Armstrong’s awkward effort to break the spell holding Lucifer that made the scene interesting. Misha Collins continues to be outstanding portraying Satan. The profound manner in which God’s reappearance in “Don’t Call Me Shurley” impacted Metatron makes the former scribe’s sacrifice both believable and moving.

Metatron Amara Supernatural All in the FamilyAmara realizes that Dean has betrayed her and when she returns to find humans escaping with her captive archangel, she’s not happy. She says, “You really aren’t worth sparing. None of you.” Looks like someone got their feelings hurt. But it turns out that God does answer some prayers, and the Lucifer Liberation League find themselves, and the Impala, suddenly inside the bunker. Wonder how Dean’s gonna get Baby out of there? Oh, that’s right; God’s couch surfing at the bunker. Now that’s a problem Chuck can actually solve.

Awkward Family Reunion

Chuck Lucifer Casifer Supernatural All in the FamilyGod and Lucifer are finally reunited and it’s kinda awkward, but mostly tense. They stare at each other and then Chuck sighs and softens His gaze. As he stands in front of his Father, Lucifer seems almost shy for a moment. Chuck heals him, and Lucifer straightens up. He begins to glower at Chuck, whose own expression becomes increasingly stern. Sure there was some dialogue, but Benedict and Collins told the story in their faces. When he plays Lucifer, Misha Collins uses facial expressions we never would see Castiel use. He seems to channel Mark Pellegrino, and Collins’ portrayal of Lucifer is simply amazing. Sometimes we forget Misha Collins is Castiel because he has so completely become the character of Lucifer.

“All in the Family” Review

Though it’s hard to assess “All in the Family” after last week’s blockbuster coming-out party, it was an intense but fun episode. It moved the story along, showing us the Winchesters’ response to the news that Chuck is God, while also resolving the kidnapping of Lucifer. The story creates conflict without putting Chuck into a final confrontation with Amara by having the Winchesters come up with a plan to rescue Lucifer on their own.

Amara Supernatural All in the FamilyTwo more episodes left and we have so many questions. We’re eager to see how Chuck and Lucifer deal with their family conflict. Will Chuck stick with His strategy to surrender to Amara or decide to fight? Who else will join the fight? Will Lucifer stay in Castiel, or will God make him a Mark Pellegrino-styled vessel? How will Dean’s connection to Amara play out? “All in the Family” gives us a taste of what’s to come in Supernatural, and we’re hungry for it!


Read our full recap of “All in the Family” here.

One thought on “Supernatural S11E21 Review: All in the Family

  1. Pingback: Supernatural S11E21 Recap: All in the Family | The Supernatural Fox Sisters

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