Supernatural “Don’t Call Me Shurley” Review (Season 11, Episode 20)

Supernatural has done it again. It has taken me through a rollercoaster of emotions and brought me to a place where I am literally on the edge of my seat wanting to know what happens next. You would think that a show winding down its eleventh season would be out of ways to impress, but you’d be wrong. This week’s episode simultaneously answered some questions that have been dangling in the wind since way back in season five while also opening up a whole new world of possibilities.

Sam and Dean went out on a case in which they discovered Amara was channeling Stephen King by rolling in a deadly mist, but that’s not really what this episode was about. The case was just an opportunity to keep the Boys occupied. Yeah, this episode belongs to Rob Benedict and Curtis Armstrong. There are no two ways about it. There was so much heart in their performances that I was almost brought to tears a couple of times. And I’m not even a big crier. Well, except where Supernatural is concerned. This show seriously seems to have direct access to the part of my brain that controls tears. At any rate, Benedict’s and Armstrong’s performances were absolutely stellar.

I’m going to feel really dirty saying this, but I actually felt sorry for Metatron. Don’t get me wrong. He’s still a jerk and I still want to punch him in his stupid face, but I did feel sorry for him. He’s mentioned before what it was like to sit at God’s feet and write the tablets. He’s even talked briefly about how much it hurt when God left, but I don’t believe he’s ever been as emotional about it as he was in this episode. It wasn’t just about writing the tablets for Metatron. It was about God choosing him for the task. It was about being in God’s presence and having God’s light shine on him. Then, all of a sudden, all of it was just gone. Needless to say, Metatron’s got some anger and abandonment issues about it. So Metatron got to do what so many of us want to do. He confronted God about what he’d done. He was hurt and angry and he didn’t hold back in letting God know what he really thought. God’s only response to all of that pain and anger was to tell Metatron that he left because he was disappointed. To my surprise, Metatron stood up for humanity.

Before Cas and Sam took Metatron’s grace, he honestly believed that being human couldn’t be that difficult. He viewed humans as flawed and weak. However, as evidenced by the sorry state of Metatron’s existence the last time we saw him (and the fact that the episode opened with him dumpster diving for food) he realized that being human isn’t as easy as it looks. Metatron is not wrong. Humans are flawed and, compared to angels, weak. But what Metatron’s time as a human has taught him is that humans are so much more than that. He even lays out some of humanity’s strengths when he’s arguing on humanity’s behalf. God created humanity, but he’s never experienced it the way Metaton has. Ever since Metatron lost his grace, he’s had to learn to be human. He’s experienced the worst humanity has to offer, but he’s also experienced some of the good. We haven’t seen it, but obviously he has because it’s changed him. The Metatron of a couple seasons ago, or even from the beginning of this season, wouldn’t have cared enough about a hungry dog to give him any food. The Metatron of a couple seasons ago wouldn’t have acknowledged his own shortcomings much less admitted that humanity is better than him. Being completely human has opened Metatron’s eyes in a way nothing else could have. In contrast, Chuck can’t understand humanity in that way because he’s never been human. God put on the Chuck vessel because he wanted a front row seat to the apocalypse story. That’s kind of twisted if you ask me, but moving on. As Chuck, God lived among humans and even behaved as humans did. He started a blog, traveled, and dated. Among other things. That’s all well and good, but Chuck didn’t experience humanity. Not really. He was always God, so he was just pretending at humanity. He was always able to throw off the bonds of humanity whenever he wanted, so he could never truly understand what it meant. That’s probably why he was so disappointed.

People can be horrible. People can be cruel. Looking at how humans treat each other sometimes, it can be difficult to remember that there are good things in the world or even more difficult to see any goodness in humanity. Chuck created humanity because he was lonely but also because he wanted to show his sister that there was something better than them. But when he looks at what was supposed to be a shining example of goodness, all he can see is how epically humanity has failed. Chuck is a parent. He held humanity in his hands and lovingly created all of it. He loved and believed in his creation. He nurtured humanity through its infancy. He saw so much potential in humanity. However, as humanity got older, it started doing what any child does. It began asserting its independence and pulling away. Then humanity became a teenager and we all know what happens during the teenage years. Humanity pulled farther and farther away from their parent and did all the things their father didn’t want them to do. So God’s disappointment in and subsequent apathy toward humanity is understandable when you look at it in those terms.

But I think he cared quite a bit more than he led Metatron to believe. If he didn’t care, then he wouldn’t have helped Sam and Dean as often as he did. More than that, like any parent, Chuck was disappointed when he realized that his children weren’t as perfect as he believed they could be. Also, he created humanity so he wouldn’t be lonely anymore but it didn’t work out the way he planned. He gave humanity soul, and that was a fundamental element separating the two. Souls set humanity apart from pretty much everything else. Even Chuck doesn’t have a soul, so that one thing still left a divide between the two. Chuck was still lonely. But despite his disappointment, a part of him still loves humanity. He still wants to believe that despite their flaws, they are capable of the greatness he created them to accomplish. I don’t know whether Metatron’s plea was just the push Chuck needed or whether he always intended to step into the fight. Whatever the reason, I’m hoping he’s planning to take a more active role in this fight than he took in the apocalypse because, quite frankly, I don’t think the Boys can do it without his help. I also get the sense that Chuck just wrote his big goodbye. He said he was only barely able to lock Amara away the first time, and now that he doesn’t have but the one archangel left, he doubts he’ll be able to do it again. I don’t know, but it seems he might be taking a page out the Winchesters’ playbook and is planning to go down swinging. I don’t know what ending Chuck wrote for his book, but whatever it was affected Metatron deeply. That makes me nervous for the last few episodes of the season.

This was a truly excellent hour of television. I cannot say enough about the amazing work Rob Benedict and Curtis Armstrong did in this episode. Benedict gave a layered, nuanced performance showing so many different facets of God. Armstrong was right there with him conveying Metatron’s feelings of loss, anger, and sadness. Really top notch work from both actors. I must admit that I was kind of concerned when I heard they were bringing Chuck back. Not because I don’t love Chuck. But because I was concerned about how they would justify his absence and how they would marry his existence as both God and Chuck. Although this is not necessarily the explanation I wanted, I can live with it. Once again Robbie Thompson wrote an episode that was packed with drama, heart, and Supernatural’s own brand of humor. As far as swan songs go, I’d say this was a good one but that doesn’t make me any less devastated that we’re losing Thompson as a writer. He’s always done such a good job of capturing the voices on Supernatural and he seems to remember the show’s history in a way that no one since Ben Edlund has. He brought back the Samulet for crying out loud. I may or may not have squeed a little bit when Chuck pulled it out of his pocket. Oh who am I kidding? I totally squeed.