Saturday, 7 May 2016

Supernatural Review: Episode 11x20 "Don't Call Me Shurley". Robbie Thompson's Beautiful Swan Song. #ThankYouRobbie

-by sweetondean

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. 


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 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 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 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 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.



  1. So I’ve been reading your reviews since season 8ish but I’ve rarely had reason to comment. I just wanted to say how much I love them and the positivity you bring to every one, even the most emotionally devastating (*cough* The Purge *cough*).

    I agree with everything you said. This episode is the best IMO since Baby. It’s also one of the few episodes where the non-Sam-and-Dean-plot was equally interesting to me (Chuck/God and Metatron were really something else). But in the end, brotherly Winchesters are the best thing ever. Their relationship this season is a beauty beyond my wildest dreams.

    I just want to thank this show for being so amazing, to thank Robbie for writing this wonderful masterpiece, and you for writing these wonderful reviews.

    This show is magnificent. This episode was beyond belief from Metatron telling GOD off to the return of the Amulet. I’m in Winchester Paradise right now, in case you couldn’t tell :)

    1. Awww thank you so much for your lovely words, and sticking with me so long!

      This episode really was something else. Magnificent is the perfect word to describe our show :)

  2. I love the episode! Love Sam and Dean, and Chuck, and Metatron (never thought I'd say it!) Now Armstrong and Benedict have in their books something really great, something they will be remembering with well deserved pride in their retirement days. Who couldn't relate to what Metatron was saying to his God? Writing this dialog Robbie Thompson surpassed himself. And what a way to bow away! Divine - how about this word, Sweetondean? And, by the way, thank you for the review that precisely reflect what I'm feeling.

  3. I loved this episode so much. The amazing dialogue between Chuck and Metatron wow, I was blown away by how fantastic their scenes played out. Robbie Benedict and Curtis Armstrong, take a bow you killed it!! I was interested in how this great episode divided some fans though, which I think is what has always made Robbie Thompson's writing so great!! Robbie we will miss you and your wonderful point of view of Supernatural and the brothers!! Also was anybody else totally creeped out by Amara's message to Dean and the fact that he's immune to the fog!! Stay away from Dean girl, I will mess you up, lol! Always love to read your reviews, your's is the only one I really enjoy and comment on. Can't wait for next episode!!

    1. Amara's message was definitely creepy. She's like a child with a favourite toy. Dean's her shiny, favourite toy. I mean we all get why you'd want to spend eternity with Dean Winchester! But still! Psycho much? Poor Dean, that so obviously spun him out. Basically she wants everything gone but him!

  4. I had a totally different perspective of this episode. I never doubted for one minute that Chuck was full of hooey the entire time. From the moment Metatron was taken from the dumpster, I knew. I knew this story wasn't about Chuck or his so called disappointment/disillusionment with humanity. This was about Metatron. This was his story and ours...humanity's.

    I never for one second saw Chuck as anything but perfectly confident and in control of the situation. I didn't see him as frightened or lonely or despondent...but it is in fact how I saw Metatron as he rummaged through garbage to find something to eat. I had asked myself by the time show was over....what path might Metatron have taken if God hadn't intervened on his befalf.

    Chuck did not need an editor. Chuck wasn't writing an autobiography. He wanted Metatron to think so. How else to get Metatron's lure him in full heart and soul then by letting him believe that all this was about a wonderful and epic story of God himself. Everything Chuck wrote was meant to get under Metatron's skin. Chuck wanted to press every button and he did. The more Metatron read regarding Chuck's aloofness of human life, of his creation, the more Metatron fought for it. The more Chuck seemingly gave up, the more Metatron held on. Chuck did get angry when Metatron called him a coward, but that's understandable given that Chuck was simply putting on a show and only he knew the truth, I guess he could accept being referred to everything but that....Still Chuck carried out his plan. He kept going...and then it finally happened.

    Metatron finally got it. He understood. Metatron finally comprehended the beauty of life, of humanity of all that his father created, to the point where he was willing to fight for it. You can see the look of satisfaction on Chuck's face the moment Metatron finally mastered his lesson. The moment Metatron finally understood why God created life in the first place and why he loved us so much that he wanted his angels to bow down to us and look out for us. He finally got Metatron to understand and accept, that warts and all, life is not a mistake, it's one of God's most precious creations and one we should fight for. Metatron, the angel who wanted to be God himself and then destroy humanity, now sits before God defending it. Chuck's face said it all......HERE ENDETH THE LESSON.

    1. I wonder what would be God's motivation to make Metatron care? Why is that important? Why would that matter to the story?

      Flip it to Metatron, through his own personal experience with God's creation, his own transformation - which we'd already witnessed through his charity with the dog - helping to open God's eyes back up to who and what he once was before his creation disillusioned him, to the true beauty of what he created, which he could no longer see...and that is a powerful transformation. The created teaching the creator. God seeing humanity mirrored through this changed angel and understanding that even through its flaws, humanity is worth protecting and believing in, as God did when he first created it. I think God needed to believe again and he needed someone who he knew could guide him through his final chapter.

      But we're never going to agree on this, because you believe God's hand has been guiding everything all along, even after he bunked out, and I'm all screw destiny right in the face! I'm on Dean's side of the fence with that one. Big surprise! ;)

  5. One of the things I was thinking while I was watching this episode was that you were going to love it. It must be even more emotional for you watching this since you have seen Rob playing the guitar and singing in person. I've never been to a con, but I still love all the actors and the characters they play. The meta episodes are the best. It is like us the fans are being invited into the story itself and man does it feel good. Chuck is God, Eric K, Robbie and all the writers that we love. I'm worried now that there is not a writer left who can give us great stories. Why did they all have to go?? Chuck has a lot of 'splaining to do and I hope we get details!! Castiel is going to be a little mad. He prayed so hard and tried to find God. That was a great review and a great episode.

    1. Oh hahaha! I am kinda predictable huh? I love Rob Benedict. He most definitely is one of my favourite humans. It was so wonderful to see him showcased in this episode. <3

      Don't worry about the writers...Bob Berens, Nancy Won, Andrew Dabb are all amazing, and as far as we know at this stage, will be with us next season. Our show remains in good hands :)

  6. I never got to finish becUse of computer issues....i didnt just pull all of this out of thin air. I got it from this eps and past ones. Its fine that you dont agree. Its one opinion vs. a million, but i will provide the evidece for my cocclusion. First off chuck couldve left but instead he remained as a human living among and as one. If he was so disillusioned why not just skip this marble? Why comand sam and dean be born? Why keep saving them. Why write the winchester gospels.? When amara was released, how come he still stayed? Am i to beieve he needed metatron to edit his book? Seriously a book? Theres more. Chucks look of satisfaction when metatron let him have it. Chuck took the amulet out of sams pocket to turn it on early on. I believe it because he always intended on meeting up with the boys. He saved everyone including the though they were never meant to die. He admitted he lied earlier and i dont buy it was about the guitar or why..why do i think it was about getting metatron to understand everything chuck was about and why humanity is worth fighting for? Because i think chuck planned on facing amara all along and it might evev come to sacrificing himself to preserve his creation...and if chuck was lost then who would be there to fight for humanity mote than metatron..who has just proven to god that humanity warts and all is worth everything.

    I realize now that chucks song was robbies farewell...but perhaps it was chucks as well?

    1. Definitely God's too I think - that's what we saw in Metatron's face as he read the final pages.

    2. Hey Amy,

      I just wanted to make sure that you didn't get a hostile impression from the above post. It was bothering me all night and I didn't have access to any internet to make sure. The weather in NY has been shitty all week...nothing but rain every day. My computer started out with internet, so I thought and then when I tried to post it erased everything and i'd lost the connection. it took over an hour yesterday to post one half of my post. Then I had to go to work at my first job. I tried posting the second half before I had to go to my second job and it took an hour to do that. no time to edit. I read it over and I couldn't adjust it and I was worried that you read it in a tone that was never meant to be read in. it was the line I didn't just pull this out of thin air...I didn't get to put in the part where I meant to say, I want you to know that I didn't just pull this out of thin air,...the other way, I realized sounded worse and the computer wouldn't allow me to edit because I lost the internet. it bugged me all last night. I just wanted to explain that to you ....that if it sounded worse, I didn't mean for it to. I just never got to soften the words...I just wanted to let you know that my opinion stems not just from this ep, but from years of watching....I know we're on different fronts here, I just didn't want to come off sounding bitchy....even though I was frustrated to no end at the stupid computer. :D

    3. It's okay, part of why I'm happy you're writing for the site is because our opinions can differ. We watch the show very differently. Both our opinions come from years of watching the show. I've been writing up this show since 5.18. That's a long time. We are both invested - but we differ and there's nothing wrong with that. We have a very different view on God's role since he vanished. That's cool. It's what makes it interesting. The thing with theory and opinion is, unless the show outright states something, that's all it is, theory and opinion - not right or wrong. We're all passionate and we're all passionate with how we see the story. I generally don't go into theoryland or dissect anything except the brothers and their relationship - they are the beginning and the end of everything in this for me - and I'll never not believe that in the end, they control their story. They are my heroes. Not God. So I'm happy for you to go for it! Even if I'm not always on board with where your theory brain goes! That's why I like your pieces!

  7. I was beyond devastated when I read Robbie's tweet. I have loved his episodes since he joined the show in S7. And yes Bitten too which I thought was brilliant. And he gave us the best brother hug in the entire series. If he was going to go out this was the perfect way to go. Write an amazing script and take us there. Show us Supernatural's version of God. And he did so in the best episode of the season. I didn't think anything would top Baby but this one did. All the credit to Curtis and Rob too. They were electrifying especially Curtis. His Metatron was hearbreaking as he pleaded for humanity, for us. I really kind of felt in danger for a moment as I waited for God to make the right choice. He saved Sam and Dean. Yes he saved the town too but mostly he wanted to save Sam and Dean. Because only they can stop it? To be continued.....

    Thank you for your review. Yes now when I watch the end scene with Rob singing "farewell" I now know it was Robbie saying goodbye.

    1. Oh and Sam had the amulet all the time....thank you Robbie.