Jacqueline Gualtieri ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Since season five, fans have held a theory that the Supernatural writers have avoided saying flat-out in the show. In the final episode of season five, Chuck Shurley (Rob Benedict) narrated the avoidance of the apocalypse in “Swan Song,” before writing his final ending and disappearing. Two seasons later, viewers were told that Chuck was assumed dead as the new prophet, Kevin (Osric Chau), took over.
But fans didn’t buy it. When Chuck had a surprise appearance in the 200th episode last season, many believed it was official: Chuck can’t be dead because Chuck is God.
With just four episodes left in season eleven, “Don’t Call Me Shurley” opens with former villain Metatron (Curtis Armstrong) fumbling through the garbage. The now-human Metatron manages to find a sandwich and shares some with a begging dog, but, a second later, he is transported to a bar and finds Chuck waiting for him. Frustrated, he insults Chuck’s “Supernatural” books and calls him a hack. That is, of course, until Chuck reveals his true form. The moment Supernatural fans have been waiting six years for has finally arrived. Chuck is God.
“Don’t Call Me Shurley” is the episode that stands for everything the fans love in the series. The season’s plot of Amara’s destruction is not forgotten. Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) are drawn to a town where a man killed himself after been infected by a fog caused by Amara (Emily Swallow). The town is going mad, killing themselves and their loved ones, all while hearing Amara in their heads.
The more important plot, though, is the return of the absent father. The character of Chuck has always been an enjoyable one, filled with self-deprecation. Even as God, he’s still self-deprecating. The writers also proved that Chuck is supposed to be the creator of the show, Eric Kripke, in addition to being God. When Chuck is asked what he’s been doing, he says he’s been working on a story called “Revolution” but he doesn’t really think it’s going anywhere. Kripke stepped away from Supernatural after season five to work on his short lived series, Revolution, which ended in 2014.
The episode puts Rob Benedict as the lead and it serves as a reminder of just how amazing an actor he is. He plays the self-doubt we came to love in Chuck so perfectly, but he recognized that a change needed to be made in order to become God. Benedict becomes somewhat frightening, arrogant, and otherworldly. It’s easy to believe that he is a powerful being.
Armstrong plays his counter throughout the episode. Metatron wants God to step up and defeat Amara. He believes it is God’s duty to protect his creations. Although Metatron was so hateable in previous seasons, this episode also shows just how great an actor Armstrong is. He cries while he tells Chuck that he’s a coward and he wants the man he used to know back. He really seems like a son begging for his father to do the right thing.
As the episode comes to a close, viewers are left with the exciting prospect of Chuck/God being a main character in the remainder of the season. Rob Benedict, who is also the lead singer of the band Louden Swain, graces the audience with a beautiful rendition of “Dink’s Song,” while Metatron reads the new pages Chuck wrote. While he reads, the show jumps between the bar and the town. With everything he reads, the story in the town changes. Everyone who died by Amara’s infection is alive. No one is infected anymore. But perhaps the most important thing is that Dean’s amulet, meant to shine bright in the presence of God and missing since season five, is found in Sam’s pocket. It’s the first time the boys ever see it shining. The episode closes with Chuck helping a woman up in the street as the boys approach. As Sam and Dean stare, dumbstruck, Chuck simply says, “We should probably talk.”
It takes a lot for a television show to truly evoke emotion in their viewers. Supernatural created a hopeful tearjerker with this episode. Everything in it was so carefully constructed and beautifully done—the soft lighting of the bar with a glow always around God, the somber music, Sam and Dean’s renewed hope displaced during Padalecki and Ackles’ final moments on screen.
Supernatural can be dark and sometimes downright frightening. There’s a certain lightness to this episode. The audience feels the hope with Sam and Dean. For the first time in many seasons, the audience can believe in a happy ending.
Episode Grade: A