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Supernatural - Don't Call Me Shurley - Review

11 May 2016

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Supernatural “Don’t Call Me Shurley” was one of the best episodes the show has had in literally years. It was the swan song of long time series writer Robbie Thompson who is leaving a huge and gaping hole in the writers’ room to pursue other projects. The episode was directed by the ever wonderful Robert Singer. But perhaps most importantly, the episode marked the return of one of my personal favorite actors, human beings and musicians – Rob Benedict. Honestly, I don’t think the show could have cast God more perfectly, and Benedict delivers a divinely inspired performance in this episode.

The episode weaves two plots together. Metatron (Curtis Armstrong) is whisked from the dumpster from which he is trying to find dinner to a bar. I’ve never been a big fan of Armstrong, but he and Benedict play off of each other perfectly, and Armstrong really shows what he’s capable of in this episode with the help of Singer in the director’s chair and Benedict literally across the table. The thing I really liked about this opening scene was that Metatron now has a little dog – and he actually gives the meagre food that he finds to the dog. Has Metatron found true humility and kindness in human suffering? Sure seems that way. And the dog gives him the opportunity to point out “Yeah Toto, I get the feeling we’re not on earth anymore.

Metatron immediately recognizes the bar as one of the Big Man’s constructs. They were besties after all! We get a nice long rant about Chuck being a hack writer and a nice re-cap of some of the highlights – “Home,” “All Hell Breaks Lose,” and then Chuck is annoyed about Metatron burning “Tall Tales” while monologuing to Castiel – and the penny begins to drop for Metatron. “Chuck” mentions that he always forgets that people can’t see him unless he wants them too. He hands Metatron a pair of sunglasses and reveals his true face. He’s God. Which. D’uh. Am I glad that they finally explicitly stated it in the show? Yes. But not because it hadn’t been thoroughly demonstrated and not that I hadn’t heard both Rob Benedict and Eric Kripke both explicitly say Chuck was God, but because now all the people who stubbornly wanted to deny it all these years will have to shut up about it! They even have Metatron say it. The best touch was the World’s Greatest Dad mug on the table.

Meanwhile, Dean (Jensen Ackles) is doing the ironing – Sam’s (Jared Padalecki) ironing… with beer! Sam has a case that looks like demon possession.

I loved God being uncomfortable with all the genuflecting. And he doesn’t answer prayers because you don’t always want Him to. I also loved that Chuck tells Metatron that he’s been writing – a new series of books – Revolution. Kripke’s last series! Metatron picks on his one word titles - but doesn't mention Kripke's latest comic series Jacked. The episode is rife with meta context. Chuck says he liked hiding in plain sight. And acting is fun!

Metatron asks about the amulet – and God/Chuck has it! It never burned in his presence because He turned it off! Metatron is worried that God has brought him there to destroy him for all the horrible things he’s done.

In another beautiful meta-thread, Benedict as Chuck waxes poetic about music – it’s humanity’s greatest creation and this is utterly perfect because Benedict is an accomplished musician. He says that music is magic. The bar is BG’s Canteen. Chuck has been writing his autobiography and called Metatron to get the band back together – he wants help with editing – and there’s a time crunch.

The case takes the brothers to Hope Springs (eternal?) Colorado. There’s been an unexplainable murder suicide. There was a weird fog, but they don’t think it was related. Deputy Harris (Sonja Bennett) is freaked out when the fog follows her home. She is infected by the darknes – because of course that’s what it is – and murders her husband Art (Jacob Richter). Dean asks the Sheriff (Tim Kelleher) to let them know about anymore fog spottings. The Sheriff is puzzled but agrees. And as a completely shallow observation, Ackles new green plaid shirt nicely compliments his eyes… Harris lives long enough to deliver a message to Dean from Amara (Emily Swallow) – she intends to spare Dean. The gigantic vein on Harris’s throat is impressive. Harris also says that Amara is holding a mirror to show them the truth. The light was just a lie.

Metatron doesn’t want to criticize – this is God after all. He recognizes the look from the editor’s face when he handed in “Bugs.” They can’t poke fun at that episode enough – mind you there have been plenty of worse episodes… Metatron says the manuscript lacks details. He calls God on saying that he was alone in the beginning – Metatron knows about Amara. He’s hoping that God is back to take care of her. I loved the way Benedict layered this performance and he strips a layer off of good natured Chuck to show just a hint of the wrathful God when he insists that this is His story, not hers.

Metatron next suggests that maybe the problem is in how Chuck has weighted events, giving a whole chapter to being Chuck, for instance. Chuck lists all the things He did as Chuck – he travelled, had girlfriends and boyfriends – have to love that God loves everyone! And he learned to play guitar. Metatron wants more than 2 paragraphs on the archangels – especially his favorite Lucifer! Chuck denies that Lucifer was his favorite but he was also not a villain!

Metatron makes sure that the bar is a “safe place.” There are two kinds of memoirs. One is truth, like Life by Keith Richards and one is fiction like Brian Wilson’s Wouldn’t It Be Nice. Chuck insists that he wants to write Life – but Brian Wilson is playing when Metatron arrives. Underscoring that he was writing a fiction when Metatron arrived. Metatron wants revelations and soul-baring. Chuck points out that he doesn’t have a soul and Metatron waxes poetic about God inventing souls!

Metatron wants Chuck to hold up a mirror. He needs to write for an audience of one or as Chuck says, dance like nobody is watching. I loved how excited Metatron got about the next draft, especially the chapter on why God avoids divine intervention at all costs. Metatron asks why Chuck created man and he says that he was lonely. Metatron again points out Amara. But Chuck says he is being while she is nothing. She kept destroying the worlds he’d build. Metatron tries again to see that Amara will not only destroy all his creation, she’ll create nothing.

Chuck has taken Metatron out of the bar to the heart of his creation. He declares that nature is divine – human nature, toxic. He’s not happy with people blowing things up and then blaming Him. Metatron wants him to take responsibility for Amara. Metatron says it was the Winchesters who let her out, but they’re trying to fix it. Chuck points out that he’s had to save the brothers many times and put Cas back together too! Chuck says it’s Amara’s time to shine.

Metatron thinks it’s stupid to write a book that no one will read. He then takes Chuck to task for hiding in his bar. Metatron finally gets a rise out of Chuck – and blasted out the door. Metatron is thrilled! This is the God he fell in love with! God cruelly tells him that there was nothing special about Metatron, he picked him to write his memoirs because he was closest to the door. God says he’s tired of watching his experiments fail, and then he invites Metatron to watch – as far as Chuck’s concerned, they’re all re-runs.

The storyline in Hope Springs felt very much like “Jus in Bello” from season three to me as the brothers hole up in the Sheriff’s. The rabids attack the doors and the smoke manages to get in. Sam is infected. Dean tries to get the few survivors to a safe inner room and refuses to leave Sam.

God tells Metatron he’s a great editor, and Metatron admits that he was a terrible writer – and a worse God. Fun fact - Jeremy Carver has been put forward as Kripke's Metatron... Chuck says that he didn’t see the whole evil turn coming. Metatron admits it was a sad cry for attention – for God’s attention. Armstrong is brilliant in this scene as he describes the effect of God’s light on him. Metatron wants to know why God abandoned him, abandoned everybody, and Chuck tells him because they all disappointed him. Metatron is ready to accept the criticism for himself, but he gets right in Chuck’s face to tell him that he’s wrong about humanity. Humanity is better than God! Humanity might disappoint but they sing and dance and create and above all they never give up – unlike God.

Dean tells Sam he’s not leaving him ever. Dean tries to breath in the fog so that he turns too, but nothing happens – he’s not going to be able to stay with Sam in death. And Dean doesn’t appeal to Amara when he says “Stop this you Dick!” It’s God that he’s calling out to.

Chuck admits that he didn’t really learn to play guitar, he just gave himself the ability. He’s finished writing and invites Metatron to read the pages – He thinks Metatron will really like them. Chuck begins to sing “Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)” and Metatron gets up and moves towards the manuscript. The action shifts back to Sam and Dean and Dean suddenly sees something glowing in Sam’s pocket – it’s the amulet. The amulet that Sam gave Dean for Christmas so many years ago. Sam is cured – and so is everyone else. Metatron stops Chuck earlier in the episode from explaining where the amulet has been since season four…

As Benedict continues to sing, Metatron finishes the manuscript and looks devastated. Sam and Dean leave the station and find the dead have come back to life and the fog has retreated. Chuck is waiting for them on the street. The amulet is still glowing and they both realize the truth. Chuck tells them that they should probably talk.

This was simply a fantastic episode. It was perfect in almost every way for me – from the explanations we’ve waited so long for to Benedict’s beautiful vocals on the final song. What did you think of the episode? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The X-Files, Defiance, Bitten, Killjoys, and a few others! I'm active on the Con scene when I have the time. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.
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