Oh. My. Chuck.
This episode was HUGE. It answered questions Supernatural has been asking for eleven years, and it did so with humour, grace (see what I did there?), passion and genuine warmth for its characters.
I absolutely loved it.
An episode like this is always going to be divisive. Not everyone wants these questions answered, and of those that do, not everyone will like the answer as presented. The show has an advantage in that Chuck is a fan favourite, his true identity was heavily hinted at years ago, and I suspect a hefty majority of fans assumed that he was, in fact, God, and had done for a while. I knew that was going to be confirmed as soon as I saw him, and the World's Greatest Dad mug was a beautiful touch that clinched it (I suspect he bought that for himself).
I would never have predicted that Metatron would be the one to rediscover God (or be rediscovered by God), after so many big hitters have spent so many years searching for Him. This episode pulled off another minor miracle in the midst of the major ones, though, by making me like and root for Metatron, something I certainly didn't think possible! Part of that is down to Curtis Armstrong's performance. Both he and Rob Benedict were on fire here (not literally). Benedict's ability to flip between his schlubby, amiable Chuck persona and a wrathful deity was brilliant, and both actors absolutely sold the material throughout. I could happily have watched them argue in a room together all day.
Chuck. Chuck! CHUCK!
For much of the episode, Sam and Dean's struggles with Amara's death fog felt a bit like a distraction from the main show, even though Amara's onslaught was, of course, central to the plot. But then, we got that ending. I was already giddy with joy at seeing the Samulet again - the real one! - but for a show as dark and miserable as Supernatural usually is to pull off an actual, shining-white-light-all-around miracle and make it feel real and earned is seriously impressive. I have no idea where we go from here (I wonder if Sam and Dean are going to lose some carefully selected memories by the beginning of season 12) but this episode's final scene was utterly, utterly beautiful, and such a relief after so many years of - and I mean this in every sense of the word - darkness.
This episode was written by Robbie Thompson, who has been my favourite writer on the show for some time now. Part of the reason for that is that his writing is absolutely hilarious - I laughed so many times during this episode, without any of it detracting from its dramatic punch. But it's also because he really gets what the show is, at its heart. Not just because he knows it inside out (and that 'Bugs' is always worth taking a pot shot at) but because he understands the themes of the series, like free will, the price of unconditional love and hope in the face of despair, better than anyone else. I always look forward to his episodes, but I thought nothing could eclipse 'Fan Fiction' as my favourite episode of latter-day Supernatural. I need to think about this episode a bit more, but it might be in with a chance.
I didn't even mind that Castiel wasn't in it.
Bits and pieces
- Hope Springs. It's a bit on the nose, but who cares.
- Amara's fog looked weirdly white today.
- Loved the song. Not one I'm familiar with, but it was great.
- God is bisexual, thus reinforcing one of the few things Godstiel got right way back in season 6.
- Revolution was the show Supernatural creator Eric Kripke created after he left Supernatural.
- "Don't call me Shurley" is, of course, a reference to Leslie Nielsen's famous "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley" line from comedy classic Airplane!
Billie Doux says...
This episode was awesome, pun very much intended. I asked Juliette to review it for me because I had to have surgery on Thursday and knew I wouldn't get to see it for a bit. (Thanks so much, Juliette, for doing such a terrific job.) Interestingly, as I was going under the anesthetic, or possibly while I was coming out, I had a long, interesting dream about Sam and Dean. Maybe I subconsciously knew I had just missed a very special episode.
Episodes like this one are why I still love Supernatural and still enjoy reviewing it. Yes, the show is past its expiration date, but Chuck as God, the way Metatron told truth to power and talked Him around, and the tremendously touching return of the Samulet managed to all fit beautifully into eleven seasons of already existing series mythology and take it to a new place. I loved every single minute and every tiny detail: the town of Hope Springs, the World's Greatest Dad mug, the acknowledgement that "Bugs" is the worst episode in the series, the bit about "Vonnegut performance art", and especially the dog (God spelled backward) being called Toto and not being in Kansas anymore, since Sam and Dean were agents Greer and Ehart, who are members of the rock group Kansas, who did the song "Carry On, Wayward Son." I mean, that was like the ultimate in meta.
Can you believe that Becky dated God? And then she dumped him?
Metatron: "This is some kind of punishment, isn't it? For my sins. A limbo where I get to spend eternity in a crappy bar with a hack writer."
Metatron: "Revolution, Supernatural... maybe titles aren't your thing."
Chuck: "The last time I saw that look on an editor's face, I'd just handed in 'Bugs'."
Metatron: "You are light, beauty, creation, wrath, damnation and salvation."
I absolutely loved it and would give this four out of four Samulets, but something as big as this is bound to be a bit of a love it or hate it story - what did you all think?
Juliette Harrisson is a freelance writer, classicist and ancient historian who blogs about Greek and Roman Things in Stuff at Pop Classics.
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