God. Is. Back.
In what, in my opinion, was one of the more heartfelt hours of Supernatural in recent memory, Chuck Shurley returns, intent on finishing his autobiography with help from an old friend. Meanwhile, our favorite siblings are dealing with more traditional issues—namely the remnants of Amara’s infection sweeping through Hope Springs, Idaho.
Human and resorting to dumpster dives for food, Metatron suddenly finds himself in the confines of “one of the Big Man’s constructs”. But he’s not alone; already with a booth seat is Chuck Shurley. It takes a few minutes of listening to the former angel’s castigations before Chuck offers Metatron the big reveal. If the “World’s Greatest Dad” mug wasn’t clue enough, Metatron’s view behind a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses confirms Chuck’s true identity in all His Godly glory. And he has a task for Metatron: become editor to the greatest autobiography ever written. The True Story of God.
While Chuck and Mets discuss the greater points of crafting the best possible bio of God ever written, the Winchesters head to Hope Springs in hope (pun intended) of gaining any sort of traction towards finding Amara and her captive, Lucifer, who’s still riding lead in Castiel’s body. What they find are circumstances eerily similar to the fallout from Amara’s original release, including the presence of black veins on the victims. The first case is that of Wes Cooper, a happily married man that, after lamenting on the terrible things in life, killed his co-worker then himself. From their things escalate when Deputy Harris, who was helping the Winchesters on the Cooper case, becomes infected when a thick fog rolls in. After blowing a hole in her hubby’s face, she disappears into town. Sam and Dean eventually track her down in the middle of town where, black veins and all, she delivers a message courtesy of Amara. “She’s showing us the truth,” the infected Deputy says, “the Light was just a lie.”
Now, we can go over the ins and outs of Sam, Dean, and various inhabitants of the town as they try to take shelter from the massive fog wall that sweeps through the streets. But even as Sam and the others become infected while an immune Dean watches, we know the truth of the matter: this hour is not about the Winchesters or even Amara.
It’s about Chuck…or God.
“Don’t Call Me Shurley” truly shines in the moments when Metatron, hurt and confused by God’s absence all the time, gets Chuck to open up. At first it’s a tough sell, with Chuck portraying himself as, well Chuck. But Metatron’s critiques on how truth is the real secret to telling an effective autobiographical story parallel the slow deconstruction of the man who is God.
“Why did you create life?” Metatron asks Chuck as they hit a groove in the writing process. Loneliness is the answer because, despite Amara being there with Him it wasn’t enough. “I am Being. She’s Nothingness.” Add to the fact that she continually destroyed worlds He created, and it’s understandable why He put Amara under lock and key.
But why doesn’t Chuck want to fight now? His frustration and bitterness is evident but he gives it voice when, after Metatron accuses him of being a coward, Chuck replies “I am not hiding. I am just done watching my experiments’ failures.”
A dejected Metatron, even at his lowest, finds the words to convey the glory of God’s light and what it was like to lose that light. “Tell me why you abandoned me…us,” he laments.
“Because you disappointed me,” Chuck replies tonelessly. “You all disappointed me.”
Metatron’s response is not for himself but, surprisingly enough, humanity. He declares that humankind, despite all the bad, is still better than God because, “above all, they never give up. But you do.” The impassioned plea seems to fall on deaf ears but, as Chuck urges Metatron to read the latest chapter of his magnum opus as he performs an acoustic rendition of “Fare Thee Well” as Amara’s fog and its effects are banished from Hope Springs and, following the brilliant glow of the pendant in Dean’s pocket, the Winchesters run into Chuck.
“We should probably talk.”
“Where do we go from here?”
This is generally the space reserved for my after-action report, ‘The Good/The Bad/The Supernatural’ but there was such a unique tone to this episode, the usual isn’t good enough. This isn’t the first time Sam and Dean have been relegated to second string, but none of those other instances left me wanting more of the main attraction as what we were given with Metatron and Chuck.
First, hats off to Rob Benedict and his masterful performance. He exudes the aura of an everyday man but, at times, seamlessly peels back the curtain to provide us with a glimpse of his true nature as God. It would have been easy to oversell the dichotomous nature but he plays it like a brilliant guitarist. Curtis Armstrong isn’t far behind in breathing life into the pain and anger of an abandoned son. His emotions are raw, like a son realizing the father he idolized isn’t perfect, but even more so considering the identity of his father. Their back and forth is magical, a testament both to the actors and writers who crafted their scenes.
Supernatural has always had a way with music and the final segment as Chuck performs “Fare Thee Well” while also performing His works upon Hope Springs, is no different. It was a curtain call, a goodbye to a favorite son. The question is if that goodbye is one of uncertainty due to the Amara threat or one of finality, regardless of the outcome of the coming battle?
One of these days and it won’t be long
Call my name and I’ll be gone
Fare thee well, my honey, fare thee well