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Rewatch S11: Don't Call Me Shurley (11x20)

Okay, now we're down to the meaty stuff (just before it all falls apart).

This is Robbie Thompson's last episode :( And what a great note to go out on... though I do know there are people who don't like this episode. I, however, am not one of those people. I thought this episode was brilliant... so, let's talk about...

We start off with Metatron digging through the trash, obviously homeless and desperate. BUT, he's at least reformed a little, as he feeds a dog rather than taking the food he finds for himself.

Metatron: "Carver Edlund? What the hell is going on here, what is this place?"
- So, in this episode, we finally get an answer to the question "where is God in all of this?"
- Also, we see that God shows people what he wants them to see. Metatron has been in God's precense before, and yet he only sees Carver Edlund - human, rather than a diety in front of him. Unlike angels, who always recognize each other - or how angels and demons always recognise each other. Metatron doesn't know Chuck is God until Chuck chooses to let him see.

Chuck: "It's a bar, actually-"
Metatron: "It's not just a bar, genius! This is one of the big man's constructs. I'd know his work anywhere. We were besties, you know."
Chuck: "Well, I wouldn't exactly say-"

- And Metatron angel-splains a God creation to God. It's hilarious, because that happens to me at work sometimes. "Let me explain to you how this process works..." Me: "Umm... I DESIGNED that process."

Metatron: "This is some kind of punishment, isn't it? For my sins. Some limbo where I get to spend eternity in a crappy bar with some hack writer."
Chuck: "Dude."
Metatron: "Sorry Chuckles - not just any hack writer - a Prophet of the Lord. Give me a break."

- Hehehe. Oh, the set up for embarassement.

Chuck: "You didn't like any of it? Not even Home? Or All Hell Breaks Loose?"
Metatron: "Ugh, way too much melodrama!"

- Hehehe, sorry, I promise this rewatch will consist of more than just me laughing at lines.
- Supernatural has gotten more melodramatic as it's aged, btw. It's one of the reasons the later seasons have that feeling of missing something, IMHO anyway.
- Also, Home is usually the episode I pick as my favourite in S1, for the simple reason that it's the episode that hooked me. From 1x01 to 1x08, I was simply watching for something to do... it was only at Home when I was like "well, damn, I suddenly care about these guys."

Metatron: "And then you put yourself in the story - ugh."
- This actually makes a great argument for why God ISN'T in the story. Or rather, why God, in general, is hands off. If we see God as an author of a story that is not about Himself, then it makes sense that people cannot interact with Him. He can set up the story - ie: put a sword here, put an obstacle over there, but if he's writing a story where the characters are the ones that are supposed to be driving the action, then He can't interfere directly. Only indirectly. It's like when you set your premise now - these are my good guys, these are my bad guys, they both want different things (or the same thing in different ways), and now those motivations determine their next actions, not the author arbitarily deciding what their next actions will be.

Chuck: "Okay, that's fair, mildly constructive - still doesn't justify you burning one of my books though."
Metatron: "What are you talking about?"
Chuck: "Tall Tales - you were monologuing to Castiel and you threw one in the fire."

- I love this tidbit, because if there's one thing that the Judeo-Christian God has in common with all three of the Major religions spawned by Him - the fact that you aren't allowed to burn the holy books is pretty universal.

Chuck: "...Stop with the kneeling, it's always made me deeply deeply uncomfortable. Just don't use the G-word, okay? Just call me Chuck."
- I love this, mainly because people kneeling to you (even metaphorically) IS super uncomfortable... unless it's some sort of roleplaying for sexy-times, then I'll allow it. ;)
- ANYWAY... I like this because what it tells me is that part of the reason for God's sojourn as the Human Chuck is because he was, actually, deeply lonely as the sole all-powerful God. Which, of course, parallels nicely with Amara's existence - in that before the current creation, Amara and God were companions. Until that became not enough for God - he needed to create, and in order to do so, he had to lock Amara away - but then, his creations, being his creations and not equals, also left him lonely for companionship.

We'll probably talk about that more later... or in episodes to come... let's go to Dean ironing Sam's shirt with beer. Can you even do that without it staining? I guess American Beer is mostly water anyway (*buddumtiss*)

Sam: "Dude, quit ironing my shirts with beer!"
- Okay, there's actually nothing else to talk about in this scene - so I just wanted to say that I love this slice of domesticity. Also, the fact that Dean was ironing Sam's shirts. I don't know, I think it's because my siblings and I all treated each other like roommates, rather than family - so all our stuff was always kept separate, including personal chores... so, yeah, ironing each others clothes would never be something we would do. So, this is a weird level of platonic intimacy for me - mainly, because it's inocuous. but yet it makes a blip on my radar as "intimate."

Metatron: "So, what have you been up to?"
Chuck: "Oh, I've been super busy - traveled, started a blog - mostly just pictures of cats; they're so cute. Oh, I signed up for snapchat! And I started a new series of books, yeah, "Revolution" - I don't think it's going anywhere."

- Okay, so I know that's a make-fun-of-Kripke moment, since Chuck was Kripke's avatar in his first appearances. BUT... wouldn't it be an interesting thought exercise to imagine what Chuck's Revolution might be about? Is it another prophetic series? By note going anywhere, does Chuck mean that the revolution has failed before it's begun? Was it with different protagonists than Sam and Dean? So many questions.

Metatron: "Revolution - Supernatural. Maybe titles aren't your thing."
Chuck: "You're not wrong."

- You and me both, Chuck.

Chuck: "I like front row seats. I figured I'd hide out in plain sight, you know? Plus, you know, acting is fun!"
Metaron: "Well, it's an Oscar worthy performance. But how did nobody know? I mean, what about that amulet thingy - you told me about it, some silly charm that burned brightly in the presence of you."
Chuck: "You mean this?"
Metaron: "Yes! Dean had it. And your fave, Castiel. They were around you and it never-"
Chuck: "I turned it off. See."

- And this was the fan argument all the way back in S5 settled. You can't find an all powerful God if they don't want to be found - because even your God locator is controlled by God.

Chuck: "I should really put this away. You'll never guess where this thing has been this entire time!"
Metatron: "Look, I don't care about that ugly old thing or why you were slumming it with the plebes."

- I've talked before (probably in my S5 rewatch) about how much I love that Dean, my favourite atheist, had a God-locator around his neck for half his life. I still love it. (And yes, you can be an atheist in a God-confirmed universe - Dean is and will always be an atheist in my opinion.)
- Robbie is a good, because he answers questions, but not all of them - and he leaves certain things to the headcanons of the readers. Where HAS the amulet been all this time? Well, that all depends on where you want it to have been.
- Personally, I think that Sam (my favourite believer) actually DID fish it out of the trash, and stashed it in his pocket, or his duffle, or whatever. And maybe eventually into his keepsake box. We know it ends up in Sam's pocket at the end of this episode, but I'm not sure he routinely keeps it there... but perhaps, as things get bad with Amara, he does, thinking it might give a warning to her presence as well. (Let's not forget that Sam's only ever been in Amara's presence once so far, and that was when she showed up for Lucifer.) Dean has been hogging all Amara time. The fact that Chuck says "I should really put this away" (ie: put it back) suggests that wherever he's just taken it from is someplace where it might be missed SWIFTLY. So, it could very well be that Sam DOES routinely carry it with him. Anyway, it's a choose your own adventure for where you want the Amulet to have been.

Metatron: "....you know what an absolute piece of garbage I've been the past couple of years. Did you bring me here to destroy me?"
- I love Chuck's face while Metatron is talking. Actually, let me take this opportunity to say what a FANTASTIC job Rob Benedict does with this episode. He's phenominal - because he's both a little of Chuck, but also very much an all-powerful omniscient God. He perfectly marries Chuck's light & nervous personality with a creature of deep presence. In my humble opinion, for whatever that's worth.
- Also, self-aware bad guys are the only bad guys that I really like. So, Metatron starts getting on my better books with this line.

Chuck: "You know what humanity's greatest creation has been? Music. That, and nacho-cheese, even I couldn't have dreamt up that deliciousness. But music is magic. A lot of remarkable music was created in this space, BG's Cantine - now, it's not as well known as The Bitter End or the Gaslight - but some amazing musicians have got their start, right here on this stage - I'm hoping that you and I can tap into some of that old magic and finish what I started a few months ago."
- So, what I like about this is that Chuck separates humanity's creations from his own. Chuck CREATED humanity, but then humanity created music (and nacho cheese.) Furthermore, Chuck is enthralled my music and wants to be close to the source of it's creation in order to perhaps find the same "magic" in his own work that humanity put into music. It's all, I suppose, diminishing the power of this God, as oppossed to the common conception of "the actual" God. You'd think, God being all powerful, if God decided to write a piece of music, it would be the best music. If God wrote a series of books, they'd be the best books ever written. But SPN's God, or Chuck rather, is very much a Writer's Avatar. He tries hard, but his work is criticized. His characters take on a life of their own and do not obey him. There are things he wishes to do, but can't seem to muster the talent to pull them off. He needs an editor. Etc. Etc.

Metatron: "Does this mean I get to be an angel again?"
Chuck: *laughs* "Yeah, right, no no, that's never happening."
Metatron: "That's probably a good call."
Chuck: "I think so."

- I like how this isn't even a question. And how Metatron knows it's not happening and probably isn't a good idea. He spent years taking advantage of a group of humans (who kept him in hiding in return for their survival - so, fair enough, I suppose) and then promptly tried for a powergrab that destroyed Heaven. So, yeah, not the best angel of all time.

...and Sam and Dean discover their dealing with Amara's infecting fog.

Metatron: "Are you in a hurry or something?"
Chuck: "I'm on a bit of a deadline..."

- Haha, the pun isn't apparently until we learn what God's plan is (or lack thereof)...

Metatron: "It's good, real good."
God: "Oh man, you hate it.'

- This makes me laugh, because I just saw a (North) American to 'rest of world' translation thing going around tumblr yesterday that was like "Awesome=Good, Good=okay, Okay=bad."

Chuck: "...Come on, safe place."
Metatron: "Details are what make a story great. This is lacking in some details - like all of them."
Chuck: "In the beginning, there was me. Boom. Detail. [...]"
Metatron: "I'm hooked too, but yet, details - you weren't alone in the beginning. Your sister was with you."
Chuck: "Who cares about her."
Metatron: "Umm... me for starters. I assume you're aware that she's out and about, tanned, rested and ready. I mean, that's why you're back, right?"
Chuck: "This isn't her story. It's mine."

- Again, praise for Rob's acting (and the writing and directing) because you DO get the capricious God-vibe easily. It's a "safe place" until it's suddenly not.
- I also love this, because if God is writing his autobiography because he expects to die along with his creation - then it makes sense that God, in his writing, does not want to include the fact that he set up his own downfall by betraying/imprisoning her in the first place.

Deputy's husband: "Did that follow you from town?"
*turns and sees fog*
Deputy: "Honey, do you want to head inside while I call this in."

- So, this deputy was JUST asked, after an FBI agent recognized markings on a dead man, if she'd seen any weird fog in the area... and I just love that her first act upon seeing the fog is really realistic. She remains calm and protects her husband by telling him to go inside. It's just...nice. Too bad she like, kills him or whatever happens next.

(one hour and I've only done 13.5 minutes. - ETA: In total, it took me 6 hours, but I also went grocery shopping and ate dinner, so maybe just five hours)

Metatron: "I'm thinking what's missing - maybe less about detail and more about balance."
- This would be a great line if they went the route I wanted them to go for the finale - in that they emphasised the balance of yin/yang male/female thingy between God and Amara. Get a little bit of Japanese Creation myths in with their Judeo-Christian Creation myths... also, you know, screw the patriarchy.

Chuck: "How do you mean?"
Metatron: "You're giving the wrong things too much real-estate - like that chapter about being Chuck."
Chuck: "What about it?"
Metatron: "Once you've explained the Vonogut performance art - that should be it. No one cares about the rest."
Chuck: "I did some great stuff as Chuck! I mean, I told you about my blog."
Metatron: "Right, right, your cat-pic blog."
Chuck: "Yeah, yeah they're super cute. And I traveled a lot, you know, and I dated - had some girlfriends, had a few boyfriends, oh, and I learned how to play guitar."

- Again, if we were going for a more traditional interpretation of the Judeo-Christian God, then he would already know how to play guitar and wouldn't have had to teach himself anything... but again, this version of God has already declared that music was a creation of humans, and not him. So it makes sense that he would have had to learn it, if it came from something external to himself. This, also, means that God's creations have A LOT of power - they DO have free will and agency, because they can create things independent of God. They are, essentially, God's children - but in the very same sense that our (adult) children are our children - they were created by us, but they are fully independent from us. "Your children are not your children... you may give them your love, but not your thoughts... you may house their bodies but not their souls." (good ol' Gibran.)
- And of course, I have to talk about how MONUMENTALLY FABOULOUS IT IS to have a God that is bi/pansexual. I mean, if we must have a gendered God, then I am so happy that SPN gave us a canonically bisexual God.
- Now, I want to talk about God's boredom. I think Metatron is bored by the writings on Chuck, because Chuck is just another human, having human relationships and posting cat pictures on the internet - big whoop. But it's all about what's outside your experience... humanity is OUTSIDE God's experience. His life as Chuck is the life that he finds fascinating, not the God stuff that came before. I have a friend who is Bangladeshi-Australian that just recently moved to Finland. They now have a blog ALL ABOUT their experiences in Finland, it's legitemately like a modern day anthropological expedition to visit the "primitive" tribes of *insert island/jungle here.* Which is hilarious to me, because my father's family is Finnish - so, a lot of what she's treating like a bizarre culture was just, you know, my boring culture? And yet she's fascinated. Metatron used to be fascinated with humanity too, when we first met him - he was fascinated with our stories. He made Castiel human, and then commanded that he live and then return and TELL HIS STORY. Metatron, who spent eons in seclusion, not living himself but reading countless works of biography or fiction lived vicariously through stories. When did he lose his love for them? When he started living himself and then found out that life is pretty damn horrible when you aren't gauranteed an end to your suffering anytime soon. But, again, even if Metatron WAS still fascinated with human stories, he could get those from HUMANS. He doesn't need God to tell him about being human, he wants God to tell him about being God. I'd be more interested if my friend told me about Bangladesh, I'm sure - but to my friend, Bangladesh is boring and Finland is strange and exotic. (That being said, I love seeing Finland through her eyes, so I'm not bored at all. So, that's probably a bad example.)

Metatron: "That makes you seem like a really grounded likeable person."
Chuck: "Yeah, what's wrong with that?"
Metatron: "You are neither grounded nor a person!"
Chuck: "So you're saying I'm likeable!"

- Heheheh

Metatron: "Like the archangels - you have got maybe two paragraphs on them in here, and that's it! Don't you think they deserve a few extra words. Especially your favourite, Lucifer."
Chuck: "He wasn't my favourite."
Metatron: "Oh, he helped you defeat Amara. You trusted him with the Mark, and when you asked him to bow to mankind-"
Chuck: "He refused."
Metatron: "He rebelled and in doing so, kinda wrecked Christmas."
Chuck: "All that's in there, except the bit about Christmas."
Metatron: "If you say that Amara is off limits, fine. But you know ever great hero is defined by his or her villain."
Chuck: "Lucifer was not a villain - he-he- wa- he wasn't a villain."

- Sidenote: This is my problem when I'm writing - I really hate villains, so I never have any. It's surprisingly hard to write LOTR without Sauron or Saroman or even Golem. My villains are always "unemployment", "structural prejudice", or "gender constructs."
- Did God have a favourite? People have said Castiel is his fave, but I think Cas is an experiment that God is just observing without anything other than scientific interest. But, perhaps that was the way he was with all of them?
- And here we get the first hints that what happened to Lucifer could have been, at least partially, God's fault - as Lucifer will claim. But we'll talk about that when we get to it in an episode or two.

Metatron: "There's no new information, no soul bearing."
Chuck: "That's because I don't have a soul."

- I always find it interesting that God and angels don't have souls... and yet, and yet... they have SOMETHING, they are SOMETHING. Monsters have souls. Demons claim not to have souls, but that's because they ARE a single corrupted soul - what they don't have is bodies. You can't remove their souls, because that's all of them. Angels are the same, with the addition of grace - and if you remove that, they become either reborn with a body, or they keep the last body they were possessing, and they still can't have their soul removed, because their soul is all of them. Whereas humans have body+soul, whatever that means. It's all really interesting distinctions made, is my point.

Metatron: "Right! But you invented them! You invented souls! Souls! Try shining a light on that, how did that make you feel?"
Chuck: "Nauseas"
Metatron: "You know what, no! That is not G-O-D talking, that is Chuck talking. And I get it, when you were on earth you had to go full method, but it's time for you to get back into character."
Chuck: "This is me."
Metatron: "Really, this? This pile of self-doubt and nebishness flooded the earth? Followed up Sodom with a blockbuster Gomorra? [...] Now that guy had some stories to tell and he has a lot to answer for."

- Metatron's not wrong, but I also don't think he's right. I think God CAN be Chuck (and Chuck and be God) without it negating that it's the same wrathful God of the old testament. I mean, if a human contains multitudes, then why can't God? He can be both a nervous bumbling writer and a wrathful supreme being in my books.

Metatron: "Write for an audience of one - you."
- I'd argue that's what Chuck was doing, but fair enough.

Metatron: "Why did you create life?"
Chuck: "I was lonely."
Metatron: "Your sister wasn't company enough?"
Chuck: "I am BEING she is Nothingness. It's not exactly the makings of a fun two-hander, you know?"
Metatron: "Yeah, but you didn't stop at one archangel, or a handful of angels, you created worlds."
Chuck: "I was stupid, naive. I thought if I could show my sister that there was something more than just us - something better than us - then maybe she'd change. Maybe she'd stop being her, but every time I'd build a new world - she'd destroy it."

- Okay, so now we come down to the meat and bones of this thing. God was lonely, I buy that. But I don't think he was lonely for companionship - I think he was lonely for CREATION, for children. I think that Chuck is inaccurate here when he tells Metatron that he is BEING and Amara is NOTHINGNESS. I think that Chuck is CREATION and Amara is CONSUMPTION. That, while Amara was content with nothing to consume, God wasn't content without creating. So, he created, but then Amara consumed his creations, and once again left God with nothing. Amara is "nothingness" only insofar as that's what God was left with when he was with her.
- I think the problem is that God is STILL lonely, only now it's for companionship. He left the partner that didn't want kids, so that he could have kids - and he had kids, but then didn't have a partner. It was one or the other, and he chose the children.
- Also, I want to draw attention to the fact that Chuck specifically says that he wanted to show Amara something "better than us" with his Creations. This again, is a departure from more traditional views of the J-C God, where if you were to declare yourself or any human better than God (even accidentally in an out-of-context quote) it would cause a whole bunch of Americans to burn all your albums... but here, Chuck basically alludes to the idea that he was TRYING to create something better than himself - whether he succeeded, he doesn't confirm or deny, but again, an interesting take on his motivations and the possible relationship between humanity and God on SPN.

Chuck: "Tried to, anyway, but this was as close as I got to something as good as or better than me or my sister."
Metatron: "The national park system?"
Chuck: "Nature. Look what nature created on it's own. What's more - Nature's smart enough to know that sometimes there's no fixing things - sometimes you just have to wipe the slate clean."
Metatron: "Wipe the slate clean - natural selection, good times..."

- So, okay, I spoke too soon, we get a partial answer, in that Chuck says that nature MIGHT be as good or better than he or his sister. It creates and destroys just like them, after all, and that seems to be his measure. So, basically, it's not necessarily that humanity is as good or better, but that the systems that produced humanity (and all creatures great and small) is as good or better. Then, we come down to the question of what IS nature - are animals "nature"? or are they judged separately from it - if animals are part of nature, then so are humans (going from a purely scientific definition) BUT if we take the Judeo-Christian Creation story, then man was created separately from nature, and so therefore we're worse than nature - if it's as close to God (or better than God) as you can come. Anyway, all interesting things to think about.

Metatron: "Of course, in your case, that means flood the earth, but build and stock a boat - start over fresh on the B-side. If Amara wipes the slate, the slate's destroyed. Everything is destroyed. All your great work, lost forever."
Chuck: "We should take a stroll then, enjoy it all one last time, before it's all gone."

- I love how we see the moment that Metatron realizes that God doesn't plan to fight Amara. It's done so well.
- Also, goddamn, Vancouver is beautiful - I should really take a stroll occassionally and enjoy it, instead of staying in my apartment on a sunny Sunday rewatching SPN episodes.

Deputy: "She has a message for you, Dean Winchester."
...
Deputy: "She says it's a mirror. She's showing us all the truth."
Dean: "Darkness."
Deputy: "The light was just a lie."
*shots*
Deputy: "It'll all be over soon. He's not going to save them. It's all going away, forever. But not you, Dean."

- I want to say something really intelligent here, but I'm not sure what to make of this yet. Let's think this out together.. How is the light a lie? How is Darkness the truth? We know that Amara has issues with the worship of God, and the suffering of humanity - maybe that's it. The light is a lie, because God let's humans suffer in the darkness. The last bit is completely understandable, since Amara probably figures that since God hasn't shown up yet, he DOES plan to concede to her and allow her to consume this creation, as she did the others. She'll kill him, and instead make Dean her companion in eternity... apparently, Dean is the only bit of God's creation that Amara likes. (And I mean, who can blame her.)

Also, they're in Squamish.

Chuck: "Nature - Divine. Human nature - toxic."
Metatron: "They do like blowing stuff up."
Chuck: "Yeah, and the worst part, they do it in my name - and then they come crying to me asking me to forgive, fix things - never taking any responsibility."

- Oh, I spoke too soon yet again, God gives us our answer here. Humanity is separate from nature, and far worse than it. Also, horribly misguided.

Metatron: "I took responsibility by leaving. At a certain point, training wheels gotta come off. No one likes a helicopter parent."
Metatron: "What about Amara, she's YOUR sister."
Chuck: "I took responsibility for her too - locked her away - barely, I might add."
Metatron: "Sam and Dean Winchester, but they're trying to fix that!"
Chuck: "You know I love those guys, but the world would still be spinning with demon!Dean in it - Sam couldn't have that though, could he? And so how is Amara being out on me?"
Metatron: "It's not, but you've helped the Winchesters out before."
Chuck: "Helped them? I've SAVED them. I've rebuilt Castiel more times than I can remember, look where that got me?"

- He's only rebuilt him three times, hasn't he? 5x01, 5x22, and during S7? I also like how Chuck's version of helping the Winchesters is to give them an angel companion that keeps messing up. Hahaha.... okay, that's not fair to Cas. He was only saved ONCE since he messed up, and that was the S7 resurrection, and technically the Winchesters did need someone who would feel guilty enough about Sam's mental problems to take them on himself and thereby save Sam. And, it could possibly be that Castiel wasn't even saved by God that time, but instead simply severely traumatized and then recovered on his own. In which case, God's help would have been last seen in S5, during the apocalypse that was obviously against his will...and since then, the Winchesters have arguably been completely on their own.
- In which case, God never helped the Winchesters, he helped himself USING the Winchesters, because they had mutual goals. He supported them, not through altruism, because they would achieve the ends that God wanted. If we take that stance, then God's never helped the Winchesters - if he were to truly help them because he loves them, then he would help them when their ends don't necessarily match God's own - or in cases where God himself is indifferent. (Now, you could argue that God MAY have been indifferent on the apocalypse, and I can't make a case against that - in which case, he has already helped them when he's been indifferent and it's simply that they've used up their supply of divine interference.)

Metatron: "You started writing the second she came back, didn't you. No wonder you're on a deadline. Now I understand why you're mascurading in that sad little meatsuit, for the same reason you created this nostalgic bar to write your masterpiece in. You're hiding!"
Chuck: "Okay, first of all, this gift - *gestures to face* - is super cute! Secondly, I'm not hiding. I just like the ambiance in here."

- Rob IS super cute. Chuck's not wrong.

Metatron: "You know, I was a crappy terrible God. My work was pretty much a lame half-assed re-write of your greatest hits. But at least I was never a coward."
*Chuck throws Metatron*
Chuck: "There he is. That's the guy I know, the guy I love. I remember the first time I saw you - all the angels were terrified, but I wasn't - the feeling of your light was beyond measure. And then the unthinkable, you picked me to help with your tablets."

- So, I love this, because it explains how Metatron went from zero to terrible-power so quickly in his own grab for the throne. When other people were TERRIFIED of God's presence, Metatron was seduced by it... he loved that part of God that instilled terror, not love.

Chuck: "You were just the closest angel to the door when I walked into the room. There's nothing special about you Metatron, not then, not now. Now, I've been called many things - absentee father, wrathful monster - coward. I am not hiding. I am just done watching my experiment's failures."
Metatron: "You mean you're failures, Chuck."

- And Metatron's not wrong here. Again, with God, we can only ever really bring it down to parent-child metaphors, because that's the system that God is set-up in (especially this God) - at what point is a child's failure the failure of a parent to raise it correctly? At what point does a parent earn the right NOT to step in when their child goes off the rails? I don't have answers for you. How about with your siblings? I read a quote recently that argued that the Bible asks the question "Am I my brother's keeper?" and then spends the rest of ALL books answering "Yes." Now, we come to a storyline in Supernatural that started with Cain, and ended with a brother needing to take responsibility for his sibling... so, I'd argue, I think, "yes" - these ARE Chuck's failures, and maybe it has nothing to do with his children at all, but everything to do with his sister and himself. He locked Amara away and created a world that was all but powered by her absence - and now he has to take responsibility for that. (And on that note, I could talk about how SPN has always been a tragedy about the repression of the feminine... from Mary burning on the ceiling, to Amara's wrathful vengence... and I'll definitely talk about this again in the final moments of 11x23 when we get there.)

Chuck: "You want to watch, be my guest."
*TV news clicks on*
Chuck: "You ask me, they're all re-runs."

- Awww, I wonder what worlds Chuck created before this one. Were the people blue? Why are humans always so fascinated with blue people?

Awww... Sam getting the baby out of the back of the car is adorable. And good job on little baby actor not freaking out about Sam's "don't panic the baby" panicking voice. I'm always of the opinion that kids can see right through that. Mind you... probably little girl actor could see right through Jared's acting to the giant friendly person underneath, and that's why she's cool. So I'm not wrong about kids being emotionally perceptive.

Aww, and then the baby reaches for Sam when he gets infected... so cute.

Chuck: "You know, I have to say, I didn't see the whole evil turn thing coming. Why did you try to be me?"
Metatron: "That was just a sad pathetic cry for attention."
Chuck: "Whose attention were you trying to get?"
Metatron: "Yours..."

- I love the delivery of these lines. I love Metatrons honesty - because how can you not be honest with God, he KNOWS.... and I love that Chuck is just laughing at Metatrons antics, mainly because it speaks so much to how little he's come to care about individual lives."

Metatron: "You are light, beauty, creation, wrath - damnation and salvation - and I don't care if I was just the angel nearest the door. You picked me. Your light shined on me, ME. And the warmth, but then you left me - you left all of us. It wasn't just the saps on earth's that were praying to you. The angels prayed to. And so did I, every day."
Chuck: "I know."
Metatron: "You want to write the best selling autobiography of all time. You explain to me, to tell me why you abandoned me, us."
Chuck: "Because you disappointed me. You all disappointed me."
Metatron: "I know I'm a disappointment, but you're wrong about humanity - they are your greatest creation, because they're better than you are!"

- Oh, I spoke too soon a third time, Metatron brings back up the question of whether humanity achieved God's goal or not - and his argument is that it did, and that it IS better than God.
- Also, I have to interrupt this speech to talk about how this was also the reason that the apocalypse was started - the angels were floundering without God. Or, rather, they were desperate to either get God's attention, or simply act-out because he wasn't there any longer. Supernatural is, of course, about absentee fathers and the repercussions thereof (and the father's are absentee because parenting is associated with the feminine and the feminine is repressed/oppressed/destroyed in SPN.)

Metatron: "Sure, they're weak, and they cheat and steal and destroy and disappoint, but they also give, and create - and they sing and dance, and love. And above all they never give up. But you do."
- Yup, unless we get a mad case of depression, then we give up - but that's just because we're not feeling well. You can't blame a sick person for sneezing.

Sam: "We're never going to make it."
Dean: "Sam, listen to me, that's not you talking, it's the fog."
Sam: "You're going to choose Amara, over me, over everything."
Dean: "Sam, NO!"
Sam: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it."

- Awww... but I love this because it proves my point - Metatrons right, Sam only gives up and gets fatalistic when something is activily affecting his brain and causing him to do so. (Let's not forget that Sam's our resident optimist to begin with.)

Sam: "Go before I hurt you."
Dean: "No, I'm not leaving you - ever!"
*Dean tries to breath in the fog, but it has no affect on him.*
*Dean looks up*
Dean: "STOP THIS! YOU HEAR ME, YOU DICK!"

- So, is Dean wanting to die with Sam the same as giving up? I don't know. That's a tough one... you could argue that he's not giving up at all, instead he's persistent in his promise to not leave Sam ever, even in death.
- Okay, so one thing I didn't notice when I first watched this episode, is the fact that Dean distinctly uses the insult "you dick" which means that he's not issuing the command to Amara, who is the one who created the fog (supposedly), but rather to God. Dick is an insult for a male entity, not a female one. (ETA; Okay, listened to the commentary, and Robbie DID intend for Dean to be talking to Amara - but I stand by what I said - or, at the very least, I like the ambiguity of using a male-insult for a female to confuse the viewer as to who Dean is yelling at.)

And Chuck sings...and this song is wonderful.

Chuck: "One of these days, it won't be long - you'll call my name, and I'll be gone. Fare thee well, oh honey. Fare thee well. Fare thee well."
- I love that verse to end on, especially when it's God singing.

Chuck: "We should probably talk."
- BEST ENDING EVER.

If only the next episode wasn't such a disappointment... but, hey, we'll get to that next.

CUT SCENES

Scene 01 - The episode originally started out with Chuck's hands hovering over the keyboard on Chapter 47. And he's wearing Shark slippers... and then he picks up the guitar and starts playing a differnet tune. And he has a "World's Greatest Dad" mug. It's basically a little montage of writer's block. Then watching the news and seeing a thing about the fog. Then he writes "God and Autobiography" and the camera finally pans to show us Chuck.

Scene 22
Metatron drinking all the whiskey, and God refilling the bottle.
Metatron: "And here I always thought it was just water into wine. Don't let it end like this, it's not dark yet."
Chuck: "But as Dylan said, 'it's getting there.' I wrote my last chapter for mankind years ago, Metatron - damn thing just kept on going. Some things should end."

- That's a hilarious line, because Kripke's said that about the ending of Supernatural before... like, not that it should end, but he had an ending in mind when he wrote it, and it just kept going.

Then Metatron and Chuck talk some more....

Chuck: "Alright, I'll bite. Since when do you give two craps about humanity?"
Metatron: "You saw the last time I was with your BFF, Castiel."
Chuck: "Yeah, he beat you nearly to death. And I gotta tell you, even from far away, you kinda had that coming."
Metatron: "I did, but Casshat, he spared me. He showed mercy. And do you know what was the first thing I heard when I woke up in my cold hospital bed? It was hands down the sweetest loveliest song I ever heard in my whole long sad bottom-feeder existence - my heartbeat. I was still alive. The joy of knowing that you're still alive and the simulataenous panic of knowing that someday that heart is going to stop being, that's humanity - it's frail and it's flawed, but damn it, it's worth fighting for."
Chuck: "That's a really sweet story Metatron [...] but it's a little late for a redemption arc, don't you think?"
Metatron: "For me or for you?"

- BURN!

COMMENTARY

Commentary is by Robbie Thompson (writer), Rob Benedict (Chuck), and Curtis Armstrong (Metatron).

Robbie pretends to be Richard Speight for two seconds and makes Rob and Curtis laugh.

Robbie says the original starting scene - the reason the writer was stuck on episode 47, was because that was how many "episodes" including comics there are of Revolution.

The dog apparently had no personality.

They talk about how Metatron's beer pour was like the WORST pour ever, and then he drank from it, which only empathized how horrible the pour was.

Robbie put the raybans in the episode as a callout to one of Curtis's former rolls (Risky Business?)

Metatron making the sign of the cross was not scripted, it was Curtis - but it makes Robbie laugh.

Robbie talks about the pressure of writing for God.

Robbie also says that the ironing with the beer scene was added in by Jared and Jensen on the day of filming.

Robbie and Rob talk about the role of God and how he performs it. Rob talks about diffusing God's almighty power with Chuck, but then if push comes to shove, Rob can be almighty again.

Kripke originally told Rob not to confirm one way or the other with the fans about whether Chuck was God - but he told Rob that Chuck was God. So, now the show has just confirmed it.

They talk about how the amulet appears and disappears - and apparently Robin, the props person, was crouching at Rob's waist handing it to him and then taking it away again.

Curtis and Rob talk about how both their characters have depths revealed in this episode.

Robbie praises their acting choices - that he was constantly surprised (and delighted).

Robbie thinks Kripke was just speaking to Rob in general - like "I view you (Rob) as God." And they all laugh.

Robbie said the writer's room debated about bringing back God, and Robbie's constantly line was "Okay, but please don't kill him. Don't be the show that kills God."

Kripke told Rob that he was God, but that because of that, he shouldn't expect to come back because God's really hard to write.

Robbie talks about how Amara was basically Chekov's sister - once you bring her in, you have to bring in God.

Robbie talks about how he's actually gotten "that look" from editors and knows when friends actually hate his writing.

Robbie DMed Curtis about the biography - Keith Richards and Brian Wilson. Curtis consulted his friends, because Robbie had Richards, but he didn't have the counter example.

Curtis talks about how he found it interesting that all Metatron's episodes were about books and reading, and then suddenly, with God it becomes about music.

Robbie had watched Amadeus, so music=magic was very much his thinking - it's a way to communicate without words, so he wanted to hear the voice of God at the end of the episode.

Rob talks about how songwriting is the only time he truly feels like he's expressing himself.

Robbie asks what their response was when they saw the script - because he was worried they'd kill him. Curtis and Rob both agree that it was their dream script and they were, in fact, the opposite of annoyed.

Robbie gives credit to Jeremy and Bob Singer for letting him write longer scenes this year.

Curtis talks about the effect on the people who are watching it - it's like getting into a bath. Just too people talking and getting through potent material.

They talk about the reveal that he's bisexual, which got attention.

Rob talks about watching the twitter feed as the episode aired and how fun it was. Robbie said his twitter broke because his @s were too many.

Curtis had just read Keith Richard's biography. Also, he's currently writing his own autobiography, so now the script is all in his head. Robbie jokes "Meta-Metatron."

Curtis says that according to Bob Singer, the scene with Metatron telling Chuck the truth about his autobiography is the longest scene in Supernatural.

They praise Bob Singer for his directing choices too.

Curtis talks about how he's worked with the whole cast - but never Rob before, they've just met at conventions. But Curtis praises the communication and the ease of working together. "Working with Rob was one of the highlights of my decade in this episode."

Bob Springa (may have gotten the name wrong) wrote all the text you see on the computer.

The computer is the same computer that was in Chuck's house in S4. The crew keeps everything. Misha found the motel room key from the very first episode he had ever been on one day, and the crew let him keep it. Curtis stole one of Metatron's books. Rob wants to steal the "World's Greatest Dad" mug.

Rob makes fun of the fact that the script described the outside scene, because the script it was described as "the most beautiful day that only vancouver can deliver" but it was the greyest gloomiest day (ha ha, like only vancouver can deliver), but that it worked out and was still gorgeous.

Curtis and Rob rode in together and talked about the shots that day in the car on the way to set, and that was their "pre-rehersal."

Both were really depressed when the episode was over.

Curtis talks about the "humanity scene" (where he says humanity is better than God) - and it made him cry just reading it aloud at home, which freaked him out. Then he read through it again, and he cried again - "and I realized what I had in my hands is writing by an artist, who creates in dialogue the moment when the actor cries. [...] because there's no way to read those lines without crying at that point."

Robbie - "In five years of working on Supernatural, I don't think I received one incoming email from Bob Singer - this isn't a slight on Bob; he just isn't a big emailer - but that day he sent me an email and said, I don't know if you've had a chance to watch the dailies yet, but those two guys really went somewhere."..."This is an abandoned child talking to his dad. I didn't even realize that until you went there."

Robbie - "I don't think people know how hard it is - but you get a script, and then three days later you're on set." And he continues to praise what they brought to it.

Rob was happy to finally get to see God get angry.

Robbie: "I think I emailed you that night and was like 'Scary Chuck is Scary.' I don't ever want to make Rob made, because you're like the nicest guy in the world and like seeing you, just when you close your eyes at the table, I'm like - oh, this is going to be bad - does Metatron make it out of the episode? I wasn't sure."

Rob says the stuntman only had one take for throw and it looked brutal.

Robbie: "And again, these choices that you guys make - that you laugh. There's a sense of relief that like 'thank god, abusive Dad is back.' It's such a dark choice-"
Curtis: "Because I'm part of it - as happens in abusive relationships. That's a place I'm comfortable being. It's better being abused than being abandoned."

- Oh man, SO DARK. I'm totally going to talk about this going forward, methinks.

Robbie praises Curtis for changing the of the line in the script from "I don't care if I was just the nearest angel" to "just the angel nearest the door" which was a change Curtis made, because it drove home the mundanity of God's choice... and you see how much it hurt Metatron.

Curtis always found a way to sympathize with Metatron - and he based a lot of that sympathy in Metatron's relationship with God. It's his job as an actor to sympathize with his character - but he did it to the point where he was always surprised at how much the SPN fandom HATED Metatron, because Curtis viewed him as sympathetic. Rob talks about reading the tweets during the episode and watching the fandom turn on God during the episode.

Rob talks about how God uses Chuck to diffuse his horribleness.

Rob talks about how in his personal life he's the abandoned child, so to take the other side of it was a really interesting difficult thing to do.

Robbie talks about how both Curtis and Rob are dad's too.

Rob jokes about how you see the 'darkness' fog rolling in, but above on the mountains, that's just real fog.

When Rob mentions that they're not talking about the Dean and Sam part of the episode, Robbie says that there was a line Metatron has about balance, and he WANTED the episode to feel unbalanced, like 'hey, what's going on with our main guys?" but that they do shift at the end and refocus on them.

Robbie talks about the "snap zoom" (to the leaking vent) and how it's a signiture Singer shot.

The baby-
Robbie: "That baby is a national treasure."
Curtis: "She keeps reaching for him! It kills. It absolutely kills."
Robbie: "That baby's a great improvisor."


Curtis: "I also like the idea of guys with masking tape (duct tape) they say masking tape solves everything - the Winchesters, no greater guys, and they've got all the masking tape they need."
Rob: "Yeah, duct tape over the duct."


Robbie: "I rarely feel human emotions, but you jerks got me on this one." (the humanity scene)

Robbie talks about the how they're on in every single take - their attention never drifts, even in the wide shots. Curtis talks about how they didn't do that many takes - there was no time to do anything but be in it.

Curtis' feeling on this speech at the time - 'they never give up, they have failings but they're always trying, always loving and you who created them are giving up on them' - and he felt that that message was directly to the fans - "always keep fighting, never give up, those are always the same message - and I said, I know what's going to happen. They're going to say, that's us. And they did."

Robbie praises Jared and Jensen. Dean making the choice to die with his brother - it was in the script, but Robbie leaves it up to Jensen how he wants to play it. And it's the end of S11 and they're still killing it.

Robbie: "There was some debate about that - was he calling you, Chuck (a dick) or was he calling Amara. To me, my intention, not that it matters, was that he was calling Amara a dick - because she's being a dick!"

Robbie talks about the punch to the shoulder (like in breakfast club) and they talk about how there were people (including Bob Singer) who didn't get the reference and how they need to go watch the Breakfast Club. Rob got it though.

Robbie: "I love where you put the airquotes [...] like 'French' is the made up part!"

Rob plays his actual guitar.

Rob did the song in one take. They did fewer and fewer takes as they got to the last few scenes, and it was just because they were so in it.

Robbie: "The Samulet, god bless it, I wanted it back in the show for five thousand years."

Robbie: "Music is magic, you don't need the dialogue, you just have the feeling."

Curtis: "This whole thing, I have to tell you both, was a gift to me."
Rob: "Me too."





Yay! And thus endeth my last favourite episode from S11. :)

This was also the last episode written before the writer's room decended into chaos - they apparently tried to argue with the network and ask if they could stop the season at 20 instead of 23, but the network had ordered 23, so they had to deliver - even though their showrunner had jumped ship early and they didn't know what the heck they were gonna do (apparently). Anyway... this would have been a fantastic end to the season, but I'm not sure where they would have gone with S12 and if that would have been better or worse. So, maybe it's just as well that they wrapped these storylines up as quickly as possible, even if it was a shoddy job, and then moved on to something new.

But, I could also be being WAY too harsh - only a rewatch will be able to tell! So, look forward to next week, when I tackle the next Ross-Leming/Buckner offering (le sigh.)

But, if you want to talk about this one, PLEASE DO SO. I love this episode, and I've love to talk about it. If you, for some reason, hate this episode - then don't kill my buzz out of some sort of misplaced superiority complex - you not liking something doesn't make you better than me, MICHAEL.

Seriously though, leave a comment and tell me your thoughts. :)

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
kazluvsbooks
Apr. 3rd, 2017 06:55 am (UTC)
wow, that took me a long time to read all that but i LOVED it so THANK YOU!!! I am the worlds greatest SPN optimist but IMO this is the last ep of S11 ;D
hells_half_acre
Apr. 3rd, 2017 07:08 am (UTC)
Same! ;)

Thanks for reading all that! It took me a long time to write! :)
supernutjapan
Apr. 3rd, 2017 09:37 am (UTC)
He's only rebuilt him three times, hasn't he? 5x01, 5x22, and during S7?
I think it was Naomi that explains that Cas was reprogrammed many times before the Winchesters... maybe he had similar experiences of being rebuilt as well and just doesn't remember them?

I enjoyed the ep - especially Sam and Dean in the fog and Chuck's song<3
hells_half_acre
Apr. 4th, 2017 04:07 am (UTC)
Good point! I wasn't accounting for any time before Cas met the Winchesters that he may have been rebuilt... and I suppose, arguably, God may be the only one to have had that much foresight - even though God in SPN isn't really the "foresight" type of God, it seems.
borgmama1of5
Apr. 3rd, 2017 12:57 pm (UTC)
I was terrified when I heard they were bringing God into the show because I couldn't imagine how it could possibly be done in a way that didn't destroy the previous 10 years' worth of canon. I expected to cringe in dismay at how cheesy this late return of God would retcon everything that happened in season 5...

And Robbie Thompson wrote perfection...not only did Chuck/God make perfect sense in what he had been doing over the last 10 years--including his appearance as Chuck to the boys--but he took the character I hated the most in the entire run of the show, Metatron, and made me root for him!

I LOVE everything you wrote about how you interpreted Chuck's explanations, starting with this:

This actually makes a great argument for why God ISN'T in the story. Or rather, why God, in general, is hands off. If we see God as an author of a story that is not about Himself, then it makes sense that people cannot interact with Him. He can set up the story - ie: put a sword here, put an obstacle over there, but if he's writing a story where the characters are the ones that are supposed to be driving the action, then He can't interfere directly. Only indirectly.

And every such related comment through your whole rewatch. And kudos to Robbie for writing such nuance!

I also agree with your take on how Robbie fit the return of the amulet in, leaving it to the fans to supply their own head canon on where it was for the last 6 years...

Somehow Robbie gave us an episode that was Sam and Dean lite--though the boys' part was perfect brother-intense when Sam got infected and Dean was going to go with him!--an episode focused on 2 peripheral characters, one of whom was a villain--and made it one of the top 10 of the series!

Oh Robbie, come back!!!!
hells_half_acre
Apr. 4th, 2017 04:09 am (UTC)
Yup, Robbie is amazing.

I'm glad you liked my interpretations of Chuck's dialogue!

I wish Robbie could come back, just... bring him back once a season (at least) to write an episode with long scenes, and the inbetween domestic stuff that we never get to see. I'd love that.
amypond45
Apr. 3rd, 2017 04:34 pm (UTC)

Thank you for this awesome review! I really enjoyed going back over the episode this way. The Chuck/Metatron scenes were so long it's easy to forget much of it, and there were really great things said. As Curtis notes in the commentary, those lines about humanity (i.e. Sam and Dean) being better than God were real tear-jerkers, all right. Damn. And that baby? What an amazing performance! So much emotion in that scene with the fog and Dean trying to die with Sam (and finding out the fog doesn't affect him -- nice twist on the Croatoan parallel, where it's Sam that's immune). And that beautiful Vancouver scenery always makes me homesick (I'm a transplanted Oregonian). So beautiful it's heartbreaking!

hells_half_acre
Apr. 4th, 2017 04:13 am (UTC)
Agreed agreed! And yes, very much shades of Croatoan, though there Dean didn't know Sam was immune and made the same choice - stay and let Sam kill him and/or die with Sam.

Random sidenote: Did you know that I didn't know Oregon was on the coast until I was well into high school? I grew up in Ontario and we just never really learned US geography (or I missed that day, or something) and to me 'Oregon' sounded like one of those flat middle states, so I just assume it was there. Then a friend of mine from Minnesota/Wisconsin went there on a trip and sent me a picture in an email, and I was like "Mountains? Ocean? What the?" and he was like "...um, where did you think Oregon WAS?!" And that was when I had to admit that I had no idea.

Anyway, fun times. But whenever people make fun of Americans not knowing world geography, I always think of that and think that there's always something you don't know.
runedgirl
Apr. 4th, 2017 03:40 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for this, what an enjoyable read! This is one of my favorite episodes ever - it's bittersweet for me now, because it's Robbie's last episode and I will miss the way he writes Sam and Dean until the end of time. I'll never be over it. The depth to this episode, the dialogue, the emotionality, the humor, the meta and the inside references - I don't think we'll ever get all that from this show again now that Robbie is gone. Not that i won't still love it, but his episodes were amazing.

He did intend that Sam had the amulet all along, btw. It was in the script, which some fan actually has now. But I interpreted it that way anyway :)

Now the next episode? Oh dear.
hells_half_acre
Apr. 4th, 2017 04:18 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading! It's one of my favourite episodes ever too. This one and Baby are my two favourites from this season, and both were Robbie Thompson... okay, AND Red Meat. So, there's that.

But yes, this one is really a lovely Opus of talent... on all levels. Rob and Curtis both really shine in it, but they shine because the script is there for them, and the director knows how to direct, and the editors know how to edit, etc.

Yay about Sam having the amulet all along! That was what I headcanoned too... it's nice to know that it's also in the script, even if that tidbit was never confirmed in dialogue.

What next episode? Wasn't that the end of the season?! Oh, how I wish... but next episode will be done on Sunday, as long as I keep to schedule... you, of course, are not obligated to suffer through it with me. Save yourself! :P
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )