It’s with a heavy heart that I write this piece, because as I’m sure you all know by now, “Don’t Call Me Shurley” was Robbie Thompson’s last episode of Supernatural. Robbie is beautiful writer who not only gets the show, the characters in the show and where the heart of the show lies, he gets why we, as fans, love it. That’s because he loves it too.
From crazy, sexy Leviathan Sam and Dean, to the LARPing, to the brothers connecting across time (as Dean wore an amazing 40’s wardrobe). He gave us Cain, he took us to Oz, he let us share in more time with beloved characters like Bobby and Rufus and Gabriel. He created Charlie, he wrote a metatastic musical, he let Baby shine, and let us peek into the moments in the brothers’ lives we don’t usually get to see, through their home on four wheels, and through the little domestic nuggets he allowed us to share in. He dared to try different things, he pushed the boundaries of the show’s creativity, he made us feel our feels in a profound and real way. From season 7 – 11 he wrote 18 episodes, many of which have become favourites for a lot of us.
We’ve lost great writers before and the show has gone on, in fact it’s continued to thrived. We lost Kripke, we lost Gamble, we lost Edlund – all of whom wrote episodes that have become synonymous with what makes this little show that could. great. And the show will continue without Robbie and it will continue to kick it in the ass. It’s a force of nature, with many talented people working hard to make it amazing. But Robbie’s unique voice, like those before him we’ve loved and lost, will be missed. In many ways, his voice was our voice.
I’m sure another unique voice will ring out and I’m sure we will love them too, just as we love the wonderful writers who will continue to tell this legendary story. But.... Robbie gifted us the character of Charlie, Robbie wrote us a musical…A MUSICAL which was all about us, he did that for us…and Baby and everything glorious that came with it. I feel like Robbie kinda did that all for us. And as if that wasn't enough of a legacy...he gave us back the amulet...
Nothing can ever take any of that away, and these, and all the wonderful moments and broments he showered us with (including showering!), will always be with us. Always. Forever. Robbie’s voice will forever be with us, singing in our hearts as we rewatch our show.
When you look at “Don’t Call Me Shurley”, knowing that this was to be the last episode Robbie Thompson would write for Supernatural, you can’t help but think of Kripke’s “Swan Song”, which was his last episode as showrunner of this magnificent thing he created - that was his goodbye. Both revolved around Chuck. Kripke teased us with the notion that the Prophet Chuck might have been God all along. Robbie came right out and made it canon! Both stories revolved around story – both of which were being written/told by Chuck/God....the boys on earth, fighting for the world and each other; Dean telling Sam, he would never leave him....
So many epic feels! "Swan Song" is one of my favourite episodes, for Chuck, for the way it was structured around storytelling, for the narration and the way the story unfolded. For the way the dialogue danced, for the seemingly insurmountable odds the Winchesters faced, and for the way Sam and Dean never, ever let that, or the notion of failure or sacrifice, sway their course or get in the way of what was important (beyond saving the world)....each other. The overwhelming power of the brothers' love....
Okay. I'll admit it...I just had to stop and have a bit of a weep! I love "Swan Song", I love these brothers, I love Robbie, and I completely and utterly love "Don't Call Me Shurley". And I'm sad. I'm sad Robbie is leaving, but I'm also so grateful and proud of what he gave us, of this show, of how amazing it is, of the writing, the performances, of everything. I'm sad/proud. In typical Supernatural and Robbie Thompson fashion, my feels are a mixture of pleasure and pain.
You know when you watch an episode and you want to grab everyone you know who may have poo-hooed your show in the past and sit them down in front of the TV and go THIS...THIS IS THE SHOW I LOVE...THIS GLORIOUS WORK OF ART...THIS EPIC STORY...THIS WITH THE WORDS SO BEAUTIFUL I CAN'T EVEN BREATHE BECAUSE I'M TAKING EACH ONE IN AND SAVOURING IT. THIS POWERFUL STORY OF LOVE, AND HOPE AND REDEMPTION AND FAMILY AND THISSSSSSSSSS...THIS IS MY SHOW! DO YOU SEE NOW? DO YOU SEE?
That was "Don't Call Me Shurley" for me. I burst into tears at the end because I simply loved it. I was totally overwhelmed. I was full of emotion. Dean not leaving his brother, holding him on the floor as Rob started singing and the boys...it was all too much...too, too much. I sobbed. From sheer happiness and pride and love. I sobbed because I love this show.
Our show has great big balls. We've seen it challenge religion before; the notion of Lucifer's guilt - did the punishment fit the crime, the fact that angels aren't nice, they're the biblical, hard-assed warriors, not fluffy winged saviours. Demons were human, and sometimes still feel that way, and sometimes they're way nicer than angels! The show has called God a dead beat dad, a dick...probably all the things people of the world scream out at God when they're in pain and they don't understand and they have to blame someone or something. I've always thought the way the show has painted humanity's relationship with religion and particularly God has been pretty honest because of this. Our characters are allowed to be pissed off with him in an epic way for everything they've seen happen, all the suffering they've been through, and the suffering they've seen; and the show is ballsy enough to say it in no uncertain terms. It's a pretty realistic world view, and I've always been blown away by that.
I wasn't surprised Chuck was revealed to be God. The title pointed strongly to this happening, and I've known for a long time that Rob believed Chuck was God, and so I wasn't surprised that the show finally went there. Though I also was! Earlier in the season I didn't know if they'd actually do it, He was being mentioned a lot, but would they do it? It's such a big move to write God as a character. Who does that!? I guess our show, because as soon as I knew Rob Benedict was back, I knew it was happening...God was coming, and I got excited...because he's been teased for so long now, I couldn't wait to see how the show would do it! But I had no idea the reveal would be so amazing.
The complex jousting between Metatron and Chuck as they back and forthed over God's own personal demons, was simply breathtaking to watch. So much dialogue and yet I was quite literally on the edge of my seat! There was suspense and tension being painted with words. The performance that Curtis and Rob turned in was some of the finest work I've ever seen. The amount of emotion that poured from Metatron as he defended the human race...something he has grown to understand and respect...surprised me. Well what really surprised me was how deeply I felt for him, how much his pain affected me. Curtis showed Metatron's pain so affectively, I forgot that kinda disliked him! Metatron has always believed he was special, and as Chuck cruelly stripped that from him, he showed how much that hurt, but he still fought for us all. Because he knows we're worth it.
Like Cas before him, Metatron's connection with humanity has deeply changed him, and he's become more human in the process. He gave the puppy his much needed food. That's change right there.
I love how the show portrays that contact with humanity can have a positive affect. All the wonderful things that we can accomplish as a people, Metatron now understands and appreciates. He knows what God sees as failure, his experiment with mankind and their dreadful flaws, is actually a roaring success. Humanity is God's most glorious creation...and the good, does outweigh the bad. There's something in there for all of us to consider regardless of our personal belief system. There is so much more good in this world, than there is evil. It's just evil gets all the press!
Rob's Chuck/God was spectacular. I think the aspects of Chuck's personality we love, that nervousness and doubt, had in fact become part of God. We saw a God in this episode, unsure, tired, alone. Too scared to write the truth because he was too scared to face it. Yet he could turn wrathful in the blink of an eye! Who knew Rob could be so scary!
I guess that's why he needed Metatron, to help him care again. Metatron forced Chuck to look in the mirror through his writing and in doing so, God once again became part of his own story, part of the world's story, part of the Winchester's story. Regardless of what the personal cost may wind being for him, he could no longer sit this one out. It was brilliantly written and brilliantly acted. The dialogue dissecting God's motivations for staying absent and turning them around, was wonderful to watch. What a tour de force from these two actors.
Meanwhile on Earth, the boys are being AMAZING.
I can't even with Sam and Dean and how much I love them and how much their love has been a huge part of this season's the story. The more we see it reflected through them, the more I think it's going to be incredibly important come the end game...in a few weeks time *meep*.
Dean was in full on big bro mode (which I can't deny, I adore), from the adorably, hysterical ironing of Sam's shirt with beer (I love these bunker moments), to dragging Sam out of the way of the fog, to screaming his brother's name, to not leaving Sam's side. Gripping him tight, stoking his face and hair, telling him it was going to be okay, that he would never leave him "I'm right here, I'm right here"...and when he thinks all is lost...he closes his eyes and purposefully inhales the fog. If Sam goes, so does Dean. I nearly crawled up into my ball of feels. He breathed in the fog. That's twice in a few weeks that Dean's thought Sam had died and was intent on going with him.
Sam was in full on hero mode. Saving the baby from the car (adorable), practically running into the fog to save strangers before his brother dragged him back. Trying to cover up the leaking vent without thought of his own safety; then even after he's fallen, getting a pin-board to try and stop the fog coming in to claim everyone else. Telling Dean to save himself, apologising for the things the Darkness was making him say....break my heart why don't you, Sammy!
It was all AMAZING. For a gal who's very much about these two boys (and the actors that play them), it was almost too much for my heart. I started whimpering a bit...starting whimpering "no"...because I couldn't go through another "Red Meat" scenario! No!
Then Rob started singing...and the amulet glowed...and Dean pulled it from Sam's pocket...and the look that passed between them, because there it was, not lost forever...there it was, in Sam's pocket. The look on Dean's face. Sam kept the amulet. We all believed Sam would have pulled it from the trash...but Dean's face when he realised Sam had the amulet all along. My feels exploded!
And now the amulet is where it belongs, back with Dean...in his hand - glowing - acting like a little holy water diviner - as the boys are guided by it, knowing that it burns hot in the presence of God. And there he is, having cured everyone, even bringing back from the dead, there he is...Chuck...AKA God...
Wowsers. Who else wished we could simply roll on into next week's episode? What a punchline.
Through the cascading emotion, through all the heartbreak and powerful words and performances, "Don't Call Me Shirley" was also damn funny - as Supernatural often is in even its saddest moments. There were references up the wazoo in "Don't Call Me Shirley"...which seems fitting for Robbie's last episode, his work has always been rich with meta and pop culture. I loved the adorable pokes at Kripke, which Kripke sanctioned!
So many feels for other episodes - which seemed to be purposefully referenced. Like Jus In Bello - stuck in the Sheriff's department as an evil raged outside. Croatoan - Dean being the one immune this time, to something weird and supernatural ("it's all going away...but not you Dean". Creepy!), Sam trying to get Dean to go, to save himself, Dean not leaving his brother - choosing to fight or die at Sam's side. Oh how I love them. How I love Sam and Dean Winchester.
I could go on for days...but the more I write, the less I think I'm doing this episode any kind of justice. I'm in love with it. I was in love from its opening moments, and by the end I was completely and utterly in love....and sobbing. And now it goes alongside "Swan Song", as an episode I love because of its wonderful story, and how beautifully it was written; because of Rob, and because of the epicness of the brothers' love...and because it will make me eternally sad somehow, because it's the last episode by someone I greatly admire.
And you suddenly realise...as Rob Benedict sung Fare Thee Well...Robbie Thompson was saying goodbye....
Thank you, Robbie. For everything. I wish you only the best for what's next to come.