Supernatural: Season 11, Episode 20 - "Don't Call Me Shurley"
"Don't Call Me Shurley" offers significant plot developments coupled with a huge reveal, so why wasn't it a better episode?
SupernaturalAirtime: Wednesdays, 8pm
Cast: Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Mark A. Sheppard
Subtitle: Season 11, Episode 20 - "Don't Call Me Shurley"
Air date: 2016-05-04
In Supernatural fandom, there are several widely-held theories that fans believe and discuss, and either love or hate. Does the series have to end with Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean's (Jensen Ackles) deaths? Is Ben (Nicholas Elia) Dean's son? Is "Destial" actually a thing? Is Chuck (Rob Benedict) God?
Well, one of those questions was answered in this week's episode, as Chuck Shurley, formerly known as a "hack writer"/unknowing prophet, revealed Himself to Metatron (Curtis Anderson), one of the series' most unlikable angels.
When we last seen Metatron, he’d been stripped of his grace and reduced to human form after killing Dean and attempting to take over the world. But has he changed? We see him digging through garbage for a half-eaten sandwich, only to begrudgingly give it to a poor dog. He finds himself magically popped into an otherworldly bar, where Chuck is drinking from a “World's Greatest Dad” mug. After years of rumor, speculation, and a pair of holy sunglasses, Chuck tells Metatron that He is indeed God.
Chuck was first introduced in season four of the show, as the author behind a series of books that described every detail of the Winchester brothers' lives. Writing under the pen-name of Carver Edlund (inspired by Supernatural writers Jeremy Carver and Ben Edlund), Chuck told the Winchesters that he was just writing down the visions that came to him after suffering debilitating headaches. Despite his mysterious narration and on-screen vanishing in "Swan Song", many were quick to point out that the fact that Dean's amulet didn't glow in his presence and the character's dorky, uncouth personality made him unlikely to be God.
Most of the episode was one long conversation between the shocked Metatron and the blissed-out Chuck. The amulet didn't glow simply because He didn't want it to. ("And you'll never believe where it ended up!") Worse, He answered most of life's big questions in a similarly uncreative way. The difficult-to-believe premise behind all of this was that despite the fact that God had created the earth and everything in it as a way to free Himself from his destructive, depressing sister, He has since stopped caring about it because "it's now her time to shine". He summoned Metatron because He wanted help writing His autobiography, which will only ever be read by Him because Amara's (Emily Swallow) going to delete the universe.
If all of this wasn't already too ridiculous, Metatron (who, again, caused the fall of all angels and killed a host of angels who tried to stop him from taking over the world) actually serves as the voice of reason, convincing God to help save the universe, because people, as flawed as they can be, are actually a superior creation. It's safe to say that virtually every religion in the world would have a problem with this trail of thought, but considering that the whole God and universe connection in Supernatural just serves as an allegory for the show's writers and fandom, it doesn't come off as blasphemous as it sounds.
Throughout all of this metaphysical discussion, Sam and Dean are dealing with a black vein virus-causing fog that’s killing the residents of a small town, with the only survivors trapped in a duct-taped police station. As Sam succumbs to the side effects of a leaky vent, Dean cries aloud for help. Just then, we see where Dean's amulet ended up: glowing in Sam's shirt pocket. As Sam heals, the fog lifts, people come back to life, and the Winchester brothers see Chuck standing in the middle of the street.
Captivating upon first viewing, what we're left with afterwards is a feeling of cheap, easy writing. Perhaps season 11 will spin its final three episodes in a way that will make all of these seemingly nonsensical plot elements add up, but one still gets a sense that Supernatural's writers are unsure of just what kind of story they want to tell.
Next week's episode marks the return of Amara, as she tortures Castiel/Lucifer (Misha Collins) and taunts everybody else.
Side note: Actor Rob Benedict really was singing God's solo song, a cover of Bob Dylan's "Dink's Song (Fare Thee Well)", which is now available on SoundCloud.