"Part of me thinks I'm a loser and the other part of me thinks I'm God Almighty." - John Lennon
How do you write a character that is God and do so in a way that satisfies at least 51% of your viewer/readership? How do you encompass all of the perceptions and opinions and hopes and fears and doubts and accusations into a package that is both plausible and acceptable? How do you do so in a way that keeps to the theme of the universe you're writing within? As Chuck himself once said about endings...it's tough. It's something that needs to not take itself too seriously, but yet not become a joke. It's something that needs to allow the characters around this God character room to react in a way that's true to themselves while not detracting from what they're reacting to. It's not something just any show would tackle.
Last week...last week the writers managed to make me believe that Chuck was God in this 'verse. I bought it--old bar, guitar, writer, World's Greatest Dad mug and all. This week...to be honest? I felt like whoever was writing specifically for Chuck kinda lost the plot. There were moments of brilliance--like a diamond ring catching the light just right and dazzling the eye for a millisecond. But by and large, I felt like...well, like yelling at Chuck to get over himself already.
That's not to say I didn't like the episode, but the direction this storyline has gone is both tremendously brave and significantly risky. I think it was primrose_1 who said something last week about them actually having the guts to go there. To recognize that there is an opposite of evil. Not just humanity, but Heavenly. I agree. As soon as they introduced the notion that God had a sister (which, I accepted as plausible only because it's our Show and it's called 'Supernatural' for a reason) they opened up the doorway to bringing God back into the mix. In last week's Ramble I said it would work as long as the last few episode held up. And this one? Left me with some doubts. The balance between a reluctant God and an absent one can't really be well struck with jokes about porn and God sitting around in his boxers eating Lo Mein noodles.
Though...after watching that, I was seriously jonesing for some noodles.
I'll tell you what I did like--the opening. Those first, what, eight minutes where the boys were sitting in the bunker (after getting insta-zapped there to prove that Chuck really was, well, Chuck) talking to God...that was magic. How many of us have wondered what we might say if confronted by God--the real God, our own personal God? Would we gush and praise like Sam? Would we ask why and feel our losses and all the pain in our lives that much more keenly like Dean? Would we forget that we ever wondered at all because nothing would matter anymore with Him there? I think that moment captured the essence of those musings with the boys' reactions really, really well. In fact, to be honest? I liked almost every scene with the boys--with the one small exception of the scene with Dean and Amara, but I'll explain why in a moment.
What I didn't like was how Chuck was shirking his duties to such a significant degree. I think Dean's comment that he left and now he was trying to justify it held some significant weight. I mean, I get it. He had a brave and noble plan to sacrifice himself to a 'cage' similar to the one he put his sister in for the sake of his creation. But until we got that bit of intel, all we saw was Chuck acting like a petulant jerk. And there were quite a few things that had me double-taking with the storyline as well. For example, God not being able to find Amara because she warded herself specifically against him.
Um...does she know this? Because every time we see her she's shouting to high Heaven (literally) for God to come find her and deal with her. So, yeah...how does that make sense?
The return of the prophets was a bit head-tilty as well. Their tap-dancing dialog about Crowley trying to "round-up and kill" all of the prophets was definitely a hand-wave since I'm like 93.4% sure we were told that there were no more prophets. Like, ever. But, whatever...Amara has god-like powers so...yeah, maybe she zapped the Prophet Project back to life and gave the Professor his very own Harry Potter-esque lightning scar.
I'm seriously not a fan of Chuck's plan to sacrifice himself to save his creation--there's no way that will end well, even if it would solve the God's back in town, let's have him fix everything conundrum. So, they have two episodes to re-direct that energy into something that a) deals with Amara, b) deals with God, and c) does not render our boys powerless and obsolete.
Before this goes too far down the Things Gaelic Wasn't A Fan Of path, let me go back to that opening scene. I'm going to skip over that odd, really random heartbeat of Kevin showing up to tell the boys to trust Chuck, and go right to the conversation where the boys tried to get their heads around everything. Sam was adorable. Having been the one who always believed--or wanted to believe--even to the point of praying throughout the beginning of the season and feeling as though God was directing his path, his fanboy delight at actually having God literally in the flesh before him made me want to ruffle his hair. Coupling that with his confession to Dean later about all the questions he wanted to ask God--like why the planets were round and what was the deal with ears--and I just...adored him.
I thought their reactions were perfectly true to character--Sam's delight but also...Dean's pain. Chuck labeled it as "frustration" but...it wasn't that. It was hurt and disappointment and crushed hope and over it all bled the heartbreaking question of Why. His tremulous voice and the twin trails of tears just broke me. And this: "People prayed to you, built churches for you, fought wars in your name...and you did nothing." Dean is about action. Movement. Finding a path, solving a problem. He's about doing whatever it takes, fighting the good fight, never giving up--even when giving up is the right thing to do. He's accepted that there is no happy ending for him, that he's never truly going to have peace, and yet he keeps going.
And to have the creator of the universe tell him that he's been busy following the road not taken all this time--aware of what was happening in the world but purposefully not intervening--just crushed Dean. More than I think he realized it would. Even Sam was surprised, based on the way he looked at his brother, registering the tears and staying respectfully quiet.
Oddly, I could understand and even accept Chuck's whole parenting vs enabling argument. Having had to come to terms with that differentiation myself rather recently (ironically with my mother, not my child) his reasoning resonated for me. But I did not agree with Chuck's comment about Dean confusing him with John. Dean has some father issues, that's a fact. But I think his comments--his feelings--were justified after all he'd been through. I think for Dean those are two separate gripes--and he's come to terms with his "complicated childhood" for the most part.
What he's not come to terms with--and didn't get a chance to this time, either--was being labeled a vessel for an archangel, going to Hell in exchange for his brother's life, surviving 40 years of torture, breaking, being saved from Hell by an angel, being told he's the Righteous Man destined to start and end Armageddon, surviving PTSD, losing his brother to The Cage, dying to rescue his brother's soul, surviving Purgatory, losing almost everyone he loves, being marked by Caine, being killed by an angel pretending to be God, returning as a demon, being cured of demonness, losing the Mark and releasing The Darkness...and finally, after all of that, coming face-to-face with the actual God. I mean, it's a bit much to simply dismiss Dean's disappointment as transferring his Daddy Issues onto God. No one forced Chuck to walk away, he chose to do this.
So, if he really did save the Winchesters to be the firewall between light and darkness, maybe he should accept that Dean might actually be disappointed by him, not by his father.
These boys have an uncanny ability to compartmentalize, don't you think? Watching them walk into the bar to get the information from Metatron that he said they had to be there to get, I kept thinking that this was the being who killed Dean. Who looked Dean in his battered and swollen eyes and shoved an angel sword into his gut while Sam watched. My head is too entrenched in fanfic at the moment because all I could think was that someone should have reacted to that with an emotion beyond drunken disappointment or hurried irritation.
Not only that? But Sam. Saved. Lucifer. I mean, we're talking about the being who tortured him for years in The Cage. Who messed him up so bad, his soul literally shattered. And yet he was able to join Metatron and a virtual stranger to rescue the Devil. Maybe it was easier to drag that arm over his shoulder because it visibly belonged to Cas, but still. In my head, there was a seriously angsty and emotional discussion about having to save their tormentors around the map table over a few dozen beers after all was said and done.
I liked that Sam was on the rescue mission for Lucifer only because Dean distracted Amara (somehow managing to magically transport himself well outside of Kansas because I can tell you right now, we do not have trees like that anywhere around here), but I was not that impressed with the scene between Dean and Amara. I've alternated between being curious, disturbed, and intrigued by the Dean/Amara connection, but this time...I was kinda bored, actually. She wants him inside her. Okay, sure. He does have that effect on women. Oh, not that way, okay, I see. Still...bored. There's no threat, no control, no danger. I was intrigued when I thought what happened to her could happen to him--or that she could sense it if he was hurt. But just to want to...absorb...him because he was the one who set her free and she sees that as being his 'reward'...meh.
He was gorgeous; she was...unchanged.
Last few mixed emotions....
Metatron dies; I apparently don't have the Winchester's ability to compartmentalize because despite his redeeming maneuvers last week, I was still glad to see him go. Thanks for giving our guys a head start, Scribe, but...it was time for your exit. Chuck saves Sam et al -- yay! he listened to prayer! -- by depositing the Impala...inside the bunker? He couldn't have, I don't know, put it in the garage or even outside? How are they going to get that thing out of there without divine intervention?
Lucifer and God see each other for the first time in millennia--wearing different forms, yes, but...they saw each other. The look in Casifer's eyes--a complicated mix of wonder and relief and pain and hatred and pleading and gratitude--had me exhaling a bit and forgetting for just a moment that it was the Devil looking at God that way, and thinking only about how Lucifer had once been favored among all angels for a reason. Chuck...well, he looked relatively unmoved with the exception of healing Lucifer. But...where did they go after that? Did the boys just let Lucifer wander around the bunker because God was there? Did Chuck zap them out somewhere?
We don't know because the weirdest ending ever occurred where the boys put the new prophet in a cab with a "keep your phone close in case we need you." I mean, the dude's whole town was dead and the police in OK thought he was a terrorist who killed them all with some sort of chemical fog. Where was he going to go? And with God and The Darkness possibly going to war...wouldn't it be good to keep a prophet close by? They better have a good use for Mr. Renfield in the final two episodes otherwise, what was the point of retconning the prophets?
Aside: did anyone else think it was funny that the prophet's last name was Renfield? I know they made a big deal about Donatello, but Renfield was a character in Dracula who lived in an insane asylum. Kind of...appropriate, you ask me.
Okay, so some lists, and with as mixed up as I was about this episode, these are all going to be pretty well populated.
- Dean: "Holy crap."
- Sam's fanboy gushing when he realizes it's really God.
- Dean's statements to Chuck, every one of them. "You've been gone a long, long time and there's so much crap that has gone down on earth and you were...writing books? Going to fan conventions? Were you even aware or did you just tune it out?" "But you did nothing! I'm not trying to piss you off; I don't want to be turned into a pillar of salt." "People prayed to you, built churches for you, fought wars in your name and you did nothing."
- The way Sam watched Dean as he spoke, registering his brother's tears. Just. Gah.
- "I was so sure if I kept stepping in, teaching, punishing, that these beautiful creatures I'd created would grow up. But nothing changed. So, I saw that I needed to step away and let my baby find its way." "Being over involved is not parenting, it's enabling."
- Dean's broken, "But it didn't get better." Good grief, man. Your tears. They kill me.
- Casifer's defiant, "You may defeat him, but you'll never be him."
- "I always had faith in you, even if you didn't return the favor." I believe that to be true in real life.
- The map table in the bunker. Seriously, that this is the bomb. I want one.
- "I know he takes really long showers." "Right? And sings, too. Like crappy old folk songs. I had to tell him to cool it like three times." "You...told God to cool it?" "Yeah! I sleep!"
- Sam wanting to ask God questions about things like science and biology. *pats his head*
- "Is that my computer?" "I've never seen so much porn in one sitting."
- The delicate, careful way Dean closes his laptop.
- "It's not an autobiography, it's a suicide note."
- "That's why I saved you all those years ago: you're the firewall between light and darkness." "No.... Give me a vampire and I'm good, but God's sister? Is way above my pay grade."
- "Got you a beer; don't know if you drink." "I do now." I don't blame you, brother.
- "I so miss being an atheist."
- "He's freaking me out."
- Sam grabbing his beer back from Metatron. HA!
- "Oh, goody. Larry, Curly, Moe."
- "Do I look like a fan?!"
- Amara can tell that Dean has spoken with God.
- Metatron's final words: "He meant well. Spare the universe."
- Lucifer and God seeing each other again after all this time.
- "You met God, Lucifer, and The Darkness. You're gonna need a spa day. That or a pair of hookers."
Not so much:
- That random, brief Kevin interlude.
- Amara torturing Casifer. Enough already. Maybe if it were a different character--or if we knew there was significant threat to Cas himself--I'd feel differently, but as it was just...blah.
- Amara warded herself against God specifically? Whaaaaaat??
- Chuck acting all afraid of Lucifer and Amara teaming up. That just felt...weird.
- "I won't be manipulated." Seriously? You're God, for crying out loud. Just change the situation.
- Prophets being brought back...basically for comic relief. I mean, there was the name, the fact that he was atheist, and the way the boys caught him up on the whole season's arc in under 60 seconds. Aside from that, Prof. Donatello Renfield wasn't exactly pivotal to the plot.
- Amara appearing to Dean in his head. That was mainly just...weird.
- Chuck watching curling while eating Lo Mein noodles in his boxers. Even though he did make me hungry for noodles. And want to watch "Men With Brooms" again.
- Amara missing the "sensations" Dean arouses. Gag. Seriously?
- The end -- felt like a big chunk had been edited out or something.
- So, where is Lucifer now? Just hanging out in the bunker? With Cas trapped inside? And Dean isn't demanding that Cas be freed?
- What is the deal with the warding? Was that just random, poor writing or is there something to that -- maybe Amara doesn't realize she's warded?
- Did it bother anyone else that they didn't even mention the amulet? Not even a passing, so...dude, weird that it worked after all comment?
- Anyone else kinda want to see what Dean's reaction to the placement of the Impala would have been?
We'll see. Thanks for reading. And as I hope you know, regardless of whether or not you agree with my take or see things the same way I did, your comments are always welcome. You have the power to help me see different viewpoints and that is fantastic.