I haven't checked Twitter, so I'm sure there are probably two camps in reaction to this episode: those who applauded God's (Chuck's) intervention and those who called foul because of the "god in the machine" trope. Am I right? I'm right, aren't I? Well, count me in the first camp. And also, I decry the deus ex machina aspect of this for reasons. Which I will get into.
First, though, I found it kind of amazing that a fictional show that has dealt with all kinds of baddies from killer clowns to Leviathan could find a way to speak to me about something as real as my personal faith to the point that I don't even have to spend too much energy here separating this out from SPN 'verse and Real Life. Some of the questions Metatron posed to Chuck, I've wondered myself. Prayed about myself. Worried about myself. It was remarkable.
I have to say that I never--NEVER ever--expected to actually feel things for Metatron. I never expected to say that I was glad to see him in an episode. I was so tired of him that I wanted him dead two seasons ago. But color me surprised to realize that he was the only being in creation who could help God get his groove back. The only one God would listen to at this point. And--amazingly enough--the only one who spoke for us.
I have to hand it to the writers. I have significant doubts that when Chuck was first introduced, neither Kripke nor the writers envisioned him to be 'God'. Being a prophet of the Lord was good--as was being the character embodiment of Kripke--but I don't believe the "Chuck = God" scenario entered the writer's room until they started penning the wrap-up episodes for Season 5. You may disagree and feel this was planned all along, and that's fine, but I think the pattern shows less omniscient plan and more divine intervention when it came to Chuck.
That said, as it is now canon that Chuck is God, looking back over the whole of Carver Edlund's lifespan and interaction with our boys, Chuck was running the longest long con in the history of long cons and it was beautiful. It was everything he said he needed it to be in the bar sanctuary. Having a front-row seat to humanity, hiding in plain sight, all of it. The sad part about that whole 'con' is that it seems that Chuck himself got conned. He took part in humanity to experience being human and somehow managed to miss the whole point of his own creation.
He got lost in the angst and the disappointment and the shortcomings and it took the worst angel ever--a being that wasn't chosen because there was anything special about him, but because he was convenient--to open Chuck's eyes to what he should have been seeing. This is why I don't think God (finally) stepping in and saving our boys and the town of Hope Springs is truly deus ex machina, it was more...deus autem experrectus. God/Chuck did fix the seemingly unfixable and save the day when there was absolutely nothing humanity could do; however, he didn't do it "just because"...he had to be talked into it.
And what a talk. I'm going to focus first on the Metatron v Chuck part of the show, then shift to the brother part because there were some moments with Dean and Sam that truly caught me.
Metatron v Chuck
Maybe it was losing his grace that made Metatron a half-way decent being. Living through the (as he put it) indignity of being human humbled him to the point that even while dumpster-diving for a meal, he shared the only pastrami sandwich he found with a mutt. His contempt at Carver Edlund's writing was genuine; it wasn't mocking for the sake of beating the other man down, but because he truly did not respect the writing, having been a scribe himself. Chuck's reactions to Metatron's harsh critique was amusing, from his slightly wounded, "Dude." To his, "Ok, that's fair. Mildly constructive."
Metatron's about-face when he realized Chuck was actually The Big Guy was fairly predictable. The best thing was, though, when Metatron dropped all the genuflecting pretense and talked to Chuck like he wasn't God but any old writer. He sat in wonder for some time, listening as Chuck reflected nostalgically about how music was humanity's greatest creation (a big WORD to that one) and was truly honored when Chuck said he wanted to get the band back together. Where I really started to pay attention, though, was when Metatron began to truly edit Chuck's autobiographical (ish) story. Telling him how it was lacking in details. How the balance was missing. How the Vonnegut performance art was great and all, but he was giving the wrong stuff too much real estate.
I actually loved hearing his "editing" as a writer and his challenge to Chuck--to God--resonated with me as a person of faith, too. Chuck's desire to "hide" inside his creation until his sister wiped the slate clean was relatable, and his recounting how he'd traveled, blogged, and dated was amusing and sweet. I have a feeling the writer's dropped that "even had some boyfriends" line to illustrate how much they are in tune with their audience, even at the risk of some marking their protest of Chuck/God being bi. But, regardless of their reasons, I liked it. My God, the one I believe in and pray to, is accepting of all, loves all, and is all. If that's the case, a God acting as a human would be the same. So, it worked for me.
Despite that journey Chuck documented in his story, it was so much more poignant to hear Metatron ask him if he wanted to write Life by Keith Richards or Wouldn't It Be Nice by Brian Wilson. "Write for an audience of one: you," is probably my favorite writing guideline, ever.
I loved how when Chuck picked up the gauntlet and started getting real, Metatron was giddy with the truth (and the chapter titles were hilarious, "The Truth About Divine Intervention and Why I Avoid It At All Costs," for example). And as the layers peeled away and we saw this God (without the blinding white light) he became more and more believable. Less of a caricature and more of a character. His honesty about how he is Being and Amara is Nothingness said a lot about why he didn't want to put her into his story, about the struggles he had faced, about why he locked her away.
It cracked my heart to have Chuck tell Metatron that the only reason he was picked was because he was the angel closest to the door, but it actually broke when Metatron pushed further and said that he didn't care if he was chosen for convenience, he was still chosen. All his misbehavior was a cry for God's attention. "You are light, beauty, wrath, creation, damnation, and salvation." I couldn't have described my God better, to be honest. And to have that focused on him for even just a little bit was enough for Metatron to be devoted to God for eternity. His wanting to know why God left had me near tears, but not so much as this:
"I may be a disappointment, but you're wrong about humanity. They are your greatest creation because they are better than you are. 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."
I couldn't help but think of being a parent, how we want so much more for our children than we ever had, we want them to be so much more than we ever were, and here is Metatron saying that God accomplished that, on a massive scale. And he simply couldn't let his sister wipe the slate clean. I absolutely loved the look of wonder and joy and utter relief on Metatron's face when Chuck went to the stage and began singing, something about his lyrics signaling to Metatron the he really did need to read those last pages of his story. And that Chuck had listened.
So it wasn't just God stepping in because God could step in. It was God stepping in because he had been reminded by one of his fallen, by someone who had seen the darkness in humanity and believe the light was greater, brighter than any shadow, that creation was worth saving. That it was time to come home and be the Being. That he'd made his point and now it was time to protect his children once more. And I loved that. I have been waiting for that. And I really wanted it done well, not cheesy, not with big swooping gestures out of the blue. But subtly and without fanfare, and that's exactly what we saw.
I loved that music played such a central theme in getting God his groove back. And since I've never been able to see Louden Swain in concert at a con, I loved being able to hear Rob Benedict sing. I would love to find that song somewhere, if anyone knows how.
Also, I just have to say, I am dying to know the end of the sentence that began, "You'll never guess where it's been all this time...." The fact that they brought the amulet back--even with the oh, so laughably easy explanation of God having 'turned it off' so that it wouldn't be a 'God beacon'--had me whooping. I don't even care; mock me if you will but bringing us back around to where things started when Carver Edlund began writing about the boys has me happy.
I know some of you have said it feels like they're starting to tie things up to end it, and if it weren't for the fact that they'd already gotten Season 12 approved, I might be agreeing with you. But if it were coming to a close? This would be the way to do it. Bringing us back around to where things started with the boys united and hunting, Dean with the amulet, only this time...God's actually on their side.
Nicely done, Metatron. You might never be an angel again (and good thing for it), but you redeemed yourself and are (shockingly, amazingly enough) now a hero in my book because you brought God back to our boys.
The thing I liked best about Sam and Dean's part of this story was how Sam and Dean they were. The hunt wasn't really anything we hadn't seen before--the fog, the black veins, the people acting like they'd been attacked by Dementors and then turning into raging homicidal maniacs. It all pointed to Amara, of course. But the boys were simply great -- from Sam's utterly genuine reaction to Dean's choice of liquid to iron his shirts to his turning into a teddy bear when he got the crying baby out of the back of the car (and did you see how that baby reached for him?), I was sold.
My favorite thing, though, was Dean's reaction to Sam breathing in the fog and the black veins appearing. Refusing to leave his brother, even when Sam pushed him away, afraid he'd hurt him. It killed me a little when Dean tried to breathe in the fog so that he was as affected as Sam, okay with dying along with his brother, but not okay with surviving without him. I thought it was so telling how he kept up the big brother, "I'm right here, I'm right here," reassurance as Sam curled up in pain, and only when he realized he wasn't being affected did he scream out to God to do something about this.
Dean's immunity to Amara's destruction is interesting. God created life because he was lonely. He was lonely because everything he'd brought into Being, Amara turned into Nothing. It is their nature, and they will continue to create and destroy until there is no more...anything. God has wiped the slate clean before, but not without filling a boat with enough to start again, not without ensuring he wouldn't be lonely. It's what Metatron called out as the big difference between God's acceptance that sometimes you have to start over and Amara's drive to eliminate everything, simply because.
But then there's Dean. Who cannot kill Amara--not because he hasn't tried, but because it hasn't worked. And who Amara can't allow to come to harm, by anyone, even herself. He is her Ark. He is her guard against loneliness, the lesson she learned from her brother. It's more than just being tied to her through the Mark that locked her away for millennia. It's...need. Dean would survive the destruction of his whole world and everyone in it, but, hey, at least she wouldn't be alone. It's...just interesting.
When the amulet suddenly appeared--glowing bright white--in Sam's jacket, I got chills. And the looks on the boys' faces as the fog lifted and everything was okay again--including the dead deputy and her husband that she'd killed--was fantastic. I loved how they were still able to look further astounded, though, when Chuck turned around to face them and said, very serenely, "We should probably talk."
I'm not sure where they'll take this from here. Now that God is back and the boys realize who Chuck has been all this time (wonder if they're replaying their conversations with him in their heads), he can't leave again without doing something about Amara. The only reason to save Hope Springs and spared Dean and Sam again is if he was planning on making a difference in this battle. I just hope they don't turn God's involvement into a joke or another weapon in the endless arsenal.
And while I'm more than okay with God stepping in and saving Dean from ending up alone in a dead town/world, I honestly don't want God to save the day. I still want it to have something to do with the Righteous Man that is Dean--or the combined strength of the brother's together. Maybe it doesn't have to be Dean's sacrifice or Sam's sacrifice this time. Maybe together they can wield God's power through one of the weapons and defeat this latest Big Bad. I don't know. Just...you did a really good thing here, Show. Don't make it cheesy now.
- Metatron giving food to the dog.
- Chuck's mug: "World's Greatest Dad." HAHA!
- Chuck naming episodes/books as ones that could be considered good, like "Home" or "All Hell Breaks Loose" --> I loved the inside jokes in all of Rob's dialog, being that he "was" Kripke.
- "It's underrated - due for a reboot! And this bar is not crappy at all; it's like Cheers! Everybody knows my name!"
- Dean ironing. Full stop. There is a scene in one of thruterryseyes stories where Dean is ironing a shirt to go out that night and there is something about that whole idea that just. Yeah, you know.
- "Dude! Quit ironing my shirts with beer!" Bwahahahaha! The way Sam said that it sounded like Jared, y'know? Like real brothers. I loved that.
- Rob/Chuck talking about 'Revolution' as his next failed book series -- poor Kripke. HAHAHA!
- "Maybe titles aren't your thing."
- Chuck. Had. The. Amulet.
- "You know what humanity's greatest creation has been? Music. Music is magic." You got that right.
- "You want to get the old band back together! Lennon and McCartney, at it again." "Well, I'm kinda Lennon and McCartney, but every writer needs a good editor!"
- "Last time I saw that look on an editor's face, I'd just handed him Bugs."
- The Hope Spring's Deputy's car call sign was '3 William 56' -- just so happens to also be Riggs and Murtaugh's car call sign from Lethal Weapon. How much did I love that, lovinjackson?
- "You come across like a grounded, likeable person!" "What's wrong with that?" "You are neither grounded nor a person!" "So, you're saying I'm likeable?"
- "Every great hero is defined by his or her villain."
- "Write for an audience of one: you."
- "Pick a lane: Richards or Wilson, Chuck."
- Metatron and Chuck listening to the Rolling Stones while they write.
- "I am Being. She is Nothingness."
- "He's not going to save them. It's all going away, forever. But not you, Dean."
- "I've saved them. I've rebuilt Castiel more times than I can remember. Look where it got me."
- "I think it's stupid to write a book nobody is going to be around to read."
- "You picked me."
- Sam saving that baby. Guh. Just his whole manner and gentleness and the way she reached for him. *sniff*
- The whole brave, futile attempt to duct tape the doors, windows and air vents shut, and Sam still getting affected by the fog.
- "I don't care if I was just the angel nearest the door--you picked me."
- Metatron's whole speech about being wrong about humanity.
- Dean refusing to leave Sam, ever.
- "Stop this! You hear me, you dick?!"
- "I'm right here, I'm right here." *GUH*
- Chuck singing. "If I had wings like Noah's dove, I'd fly up the river to the one I love." I really want that song.
- Sam slowly dying and Dean holding onto him, holding him up, unable to be separated even a little bit.
- The glowing amulet.
- The boys walking out of the station, seeing everyone alive, and staring in amazement because there is Chuck.
- "We should probably talk."
- Um.... I got nothing this time around. I mean, really, even with the very limited amount of time the brothers were in it, it was a wonderful episode. Now...they better just not screw it up.
- I got that Sam was Agent Greer and Dean was Agent Ehart, but...I can't figure out a connection or significance. I always like to know where their alias' come from--you guys got any idea? ETA: Thanks to antrazi I got my answer! Members of the band Kansas! You'd think a Lawrence, KS, girl would know that, but, eh, there you have it.
- Where do you think the amulet was all this time? You think they're insinuating that Sam's had it? I don't know if I buy that. I mean, sure it's possible, but... I took it be that God just allowed it to be in his pocket, just like he fixed everything else. I want them to confirm it, one way or another. I bet they're going to keep it a mystery, though. Just because they can. >_<
See you then?