Supernatural 11×20 Review: Don’t Call Me Shurley
Supernatural has always been a bit uneven when it comes to learning from the past. For the characters of “Don’t Call Me Shurley”, this has consequences.
Fans have been theorizing for years about the nature of the character Chuck Shurley, and “Don’t Call Me Shurley” finally answers that question in the affirmative. Yes, as theorized by many over the years, Chuck is indeed God. However, his motives for appearing, both here and back in season 4 and 5, differ wildly from popular fan hopes. Rather than joining up in disguise to help, he evidently was only truly concerned with getting a good view. His reasons for not acting was that everyone had disappointed him. God, it seems, is a bit of a jerk.
While the bloom may have been taken off the rose about God, Metatron seems to have been given quite a shining. His time as a human appears to have been what he needed, as Metatron rises to the occasion to defend both humanity and his fellow angels. In a brilliant monologue, he gives Chuck quite the telling-off, and brings to mind the amazing season 5 speech that Gabriel gave to Lucifer. Thankfully, while Lucifer didn’t so much as blink at his version, Chuck seems to be made of better stuff. Whatever it was that he wrote on those final pages, they must really be something, from the reaction Metatron had while reading.
Metatron’s monologue on humanity was lovely, and just what his character needed to redeem himself. I must admit disappointment, however, that the specific monologue wasn’t being given by Castiel. If anyone is deserving of a little divine venting time, it’s the Winchester Family Angel.
Unlike our heavenly duo, Sam and Dean come off a bit poorly when it comes to learning from the past. Although choosing to stay with Sam rather than go with the survivors was understandable, Dean allowed his distraction with Sam to cause himself to skip the simple step of sealing the door. This effectively doomed the people inside, an action that the brothers seem to have a penchant for doing close to the season finale. If the episode end had been up to the guys this time, that would have been the end of everyone.
The episode was just full of references to past events, both this season and earlier. Dean’s seeming immunity to the fog of Darkness echos the resistance that Sam had in the first 5 years to the Croatoan virus. Sam’s reinfection and the return of the rabids ties the final episode arc back to the start of the season. Chuck stated that he created everything because he was lonely, a reference to the statement of Joshua way back in season 5. Even Metatron’s dog, jokingly named Toto, is a call-back to the dog Gabriel had in “Tall Tales”. This is notable, as the book of that episode is the one that Metatron threw into the fire in “Meta Fiction”, an action both referenced in this episode and objected to by Chuck.
The episode raised a number of questions. For one, where exactly was the amulet all this time? Why was the location so amusing to Chuck? If the current Heaven and Earth aren’t the first ones Chuck created, as the episode implied, what were the first ones like? Since Metatron had no memory of all this, are the majority of the angels new, like the rest of the current creation? How old, exactly, are the archangels? If Amara always destroys the worlds, what made Chuck hope she’d change?
The revelations in the episode did make me wonder about the finale for season 10. How many worlds has Death seen Chuck create? Was Death there when Amara ate the other worlds? Is that why he was so concerned last season?
The episode answers as many fan questions and theories as it raised. We’ve now got confirmation that Chuck is the one who keeps raising Cas from the dead. He also never corrects Metatron when he refers to Cas as “your fave”, although he does correct Metatron when he refers to Lucifer the same way. The “World’s Best Dad” mug was visible to us from the beginning as a form of visual hint to whom Chuck was. Chuck mentioned his new series, Revolution, the series that Supernatural creator Erik Kripke moved on to create. Also, he commented that he didn’t think it would go far, a reference to Revolution‘s quick demise.
The episode coming out and officially declaring Chuck as bisexual was a surprise. I knew that the show had a different view of the reaction of the divine to alternative sexual orientations. They had already had Cas declare that he was “indifferent to sexual orientation” back when he took his ill-fated turn as God back in “Meet the New Boss“. They enforced that in “Sacrifice” with the active intervention of a Cupid attempting to set up two men in a romantic relationship. But for the fairly conservative world of broadcast television, it’s a long way from “God doesn’t care. Have fun,” to “Yep, God’s dated guys.” I expected Amara’s comment about Chuck having “always had terrible taste in men” to be as far as they went. There’s safety in vague insinuation, especially if you can get a documented antagonist to say it. To outright come out and make it official took guts, since controversy could easily come back to bite them in the end. Robbie Thompson, the writer of this episode, and the rest of the writing staff who shaped this particular episode have my utmost respect for taking the tiger by the tail.
The reappearance of the amulet was a treat. The loss of the amulet has been one of those things that the fandom has been focused on, and it’s nice that now, it’s back in the hands of the guys. Bonus points for the fact that now they know the thing works. I’d always imagined the burn of the amulet as much more violent and fire-like then it showed in the episode, so it glowing like a lightning bug was interesting. The fact that the method of turning off the spell was essentially the same as flipping a light switch was rather amusing to me.
The episode had some great character moments and lovely bits of humor. I must admit to laughing out loud at the unveiling of Chuck’s divine light, complete with sunglasses. That bit was inspired. It also makes perfect sense that God himself would have a blog of nothing but cute cat pictures. Everyone loves cute cat pictures. That is what runs the internet, after all.
The use of sound in this episode was brilliant. The distant crack and roll of thunder when Chuck started to lose his temper really underlined his “top of the food chain” status. I also adored the use of “Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)“, the lovely song Robert Benedict sang in the final 10 minutes of the episode. I haven’t teared up like that at a song since “Fan Fiction.” The song implies a farewell coming. If it’s setting up the mood for the last three episodes of this season, it’s gonna be emotional rollercoaster for us all. I hope we’re all ready for it.
Although the characters are hit-or-miss about learning from the past, it’s been clear this season that the writers are at least trying to. “Don’t Call Me Shurley” gives me hope that they might actually be successful at it. I hope that by the last episodes of the season, we’re still saying the same.
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