Supernatural: All in the Family
May 12, 2016 11:05 AM - Season 11, Episode 21 - Subscribe

Amara shows Dean how she’s torturing Lucifer. Worried for Castiel, Dean and Sam come up with a plan to rescue him from Amara’s clutches.

After the Winchesters express doubt about him, Chuck transports them back to the Bunker where he brings in the spirit of Kevin Tran (Osric Chau) to vouch for him. Chuck then sends Kevin to his final rest in Heaven. Chuck explains that he had once been much more hands-on with the world, but didn't seem to be making a difference so he left the world to find its own way but has returned to face Amara. At the same time, Amara continues to torture Lucifer and contacts Dean to send a message to God about Lucifer's state. While this is going on, another of Amara's fogs wipes out a whole town but results in a man named Donatello being called as a Prophet. As the Winchesters go to meet with Donatello, Metatron contacts them and reveals that Chuck intends to sacrifice himself to Amara to stop her destruction of the universe. After Dean fails to convince Chuck to stop his plan, the Winchesters team up with Metatron and Donatello to rescue Lucifer. To distract Amara, Dean meets with her and Amara suggests that he give up his humanity and become a part of her instead. Eventually Amara realizes that Dean has betrayed her and departs to stop Lucifer's rescue. Donatello is able to lead Sam and Metatron to Lucifer who agrees to put aside his differences with God to battle Amara. Metatron frees Lucifer and stays behind to hold off Amara when Lucifer can't teleport them out. After Metatron's attack fails, Amara implodes him into nothingness. Amara nearly kills Sam, Lucifer and Donatello, but Chuck teleports them back to the Bunker. There, Lucifer and Chuck greet each other for the first time in millennia before Chuck heals Lucifer's injuries. The Winchesters send Donatello on his way and Dean informs Sam of Amara's plans for him.

(Taken from the Wikipedia entry)
posted by FallowKing (15 comments total)
This was a solid episode. But filled with many great bits. Chuck is great! No one expected Megatron to go out like that but good for him.
posted by numaner at 12:31 PM on May 12, 2016

When Chuck healed Lucifer, I thought for a moment that he was healing Castiel and he was going to free Castiel from Lucifer's possession, so we'd get Castiel back and Mark Pelligrino would be playing Lucifer again. But, no. I'll be curious to learn why Lucifer is still possessing Castiel when Chuck could just handwave him out of there.

The "previously" clip of Chuck declaring himself a God and the Winchesters dismissing the possibility makes me think that it'd be interesting to go back and watch the old Chuck episodes to track how well they play with his current status as God. I suspect the writers didn't plan for Chuck to be God, and there could be some interesting continuity issues there. (Of course, when a character is God in disguise you could explain away just about anything by saying that's how he wanted it to happen all along.)

I wish we could see the conversation in the writer's room where somebody said, "This show has been just OK for a while. What do we need to do to make it great again? What risks do we need to take? What do we need to stop doing, what do we need to get back to doing, and what do we need to do that we've never done?" Because you know that conversation happened.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:34 PM on May 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ursula, I totally agree with you on the writer's room. Something definitely happened because the change in tone, direction, and quality was sharp. I recall a couple years ago someone on the show opened up a discussion on social media expecting some pleasurable interaction and got a deluge of disgruntled fans venting. Maybe someone is finally paying attention.

Lucifer said Michael wasn't exactly in good shape back in the cage. Then again, Lucy has some issues with telling the truth. Michael's return would be pretty damn catastrophic, not to mention fun. Then's there the question of Adam..still in Hell. Dad, still in Hell. And why why why did they have to kill the Trickster/Gabriel?! Oh, so much they could do going forward.
posted by Ber at 2:21 PM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Did they ever explain what happens to angels and demons when they actually die? Like there's no trace of soul or vessel or anything? So there's nothing Chuck can use to bring back Gabriel and Metatron?
posted by numaner at 3:12 PM on May 12, 2016

I'm a little confused about Chuck's plan. He's planning to let Amara lock him in a cage, in exchange for... sparing humanity? But sometimes when they talk about it, they make it sound like he thinks humanity is likely to perish and he's not going to stop it. (When he was first talking to Metatron they made it sound like Chuck was ready to spend forever in that bar, and he was writing his autobiography just for himself. He was talked out of that, but I'm not totally sure what he's up to now.)

Despite being God, Chuck doesn't exactly seem all-powerful. He doesn't seem able to see the future, for example. (He also doesn't seem to be a very good writer, judging by his reviews.) And it seems like some of the Old Testament stuff was really stuff Chuck did, and some of it was just stories. While I doubt they'll ever explain just how Jesus fits (or doesn't fit) into the Supernatural universe, they may surprise me. They've been surprising me lately!

I think the debate last episode about Keith Richards' Life vs. Brian Wilson's Wouldn't It Be Nice? was kind of a mission statement for the show, too. I still enjoyed the show the last few seasons, but I never imagined it would get this lively again.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:30 PM on May 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm really liking this development, with the caveat that the more I like it, the more dubious I am about S12.

Chuck-as-God is really working for me. Someone actually put some thought into this.

Despite being God, Chuck doesn't exactly seem all-powerful.

He really doesn't, does he? That's my favorite part of the whole deal. Most of the properties modern Christianity ascribes to God are extrapolations. Chuck's got a very old school feel to him, more like Greek deities or the like. He's more powerful than a person, and could presumably *end* the world any time he wanted, but the details and sweep of history are bigger than he is.

I love that. Given his conversations with Metatron and Dean, the theology on the show actually strikes me as pretty coherent, which is something I never expected to say. I really bought his talk about being God as parenting, and why he stepped away. I also love his doubt and uncertainty.

Chuck's fallibility also fits with the general feel of the Supernatural world: everything is sort of shabby in the end.

Did they ever explain what happens to angels and demons when they actually die? Like there's no trace of soul or vessel or anything? So there's nothing Chuck can use to bring back Gabriel and Metatron?

He's brought back Castiel. Presumably, he remembers their specs well enough to just make a new instance, if nothing is left. (The way I figure it, probably nothing is left - the beasts of Purgatory are still creatures of flesh, even when - like Leviathans - they are more powerful than a garden variety angel or demon. Always got the impression that angels were 'all soul.')
posted by mordax at 8:17 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Chuck has been God since I watched the original 5 or 6 seasons of the show years ago. I took a years-long hiatus as it got so bad when the current writers took over but I knew Chuck was God so they must have covered it at some point back then.
posted by fshgrl at 2:10 AM on May 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Chuck has been God since I watched the original 5 or 6 seasons of the show years ago.

Yeah it was revealed some years back pretty conclusively, IMO. (He disappeared into a puff of magic sparkles after finishing a project at some point, a distinctly non-Prophet ability. They didn't come out and say it, but it was enough for me.)
posted by mordax at 11:30 AM on May 14, 2016

Jensen Ackles' acting in that first scene was terrific. I feel sometimes like both of the guys can be phoning it in with these characters (which is understandable, given how long they've been playing them), but when he was reaming Chuck out there I was reminded that indeed, he is a talented professional actor.
posted by something something at 10:10 AM on May 15, 2016

Late to the party, but yeah. Way back when they came as close as they could come to saying "Chuck is God" without actually uttering those words. When he showed up again, before any line of dialogue, I went, "Yep. God's back."
posted by brundlefly at 12:43 AM on May 24, 2016

Oh, and I totally agree, something something. Ackles is great. I'm so happy to still have him in the role but I also feel like he's slumming? He should have a much more interesting career than he does.
posted by brundlefly at 12:45 AM on May 24, 2016

Somehow this episode just makes me want to temporarily depower Chuck and Amara and let them hash out their issues in a locked room for hours without the ability to nuke each other, just to see what would happen.

Poor Donatello.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:03 PM on June 6, 2016

WTF! "Chuck" bringing back Kevin to have him endorse Chuck to the boys? Chuck is a dumbass, then the whole "I'm not your dad," "overbearing sister," "thus spake the lord" things.

Again, back to Kadrey and 'Sandman Slim' - the writers have got to be fans of him but are incompetent plagiarists (qv "Mr. Muninn" which actually worked in reasons why cap G "God" is so dysfunctional).

I'm not sure that Ackles is a premier actor, but yeah, the material he's given to work with here aren't great. But the residuals ought to be. He's set to be a scumbag super-villain (in hero clothing) in the next season of 'The Boys' so that should be a better gauge of his chops.
posted by porpoise at 6:21 PM on December 31, 2021


Sam: Okay. So, wow, um, Chuck— well, I guess we don't call you that, huh?
Chuck: I prefer it.
Sam: Okay, uh, "Chuck" it is. I'm sorry. You're gonna have to, uh, give Dean and me a moment to start to process. We didn't even know you were around. I mean, we knew about Chuck, but we just didn't know about... Chuck. I mean, I-I-I was hoping you were around. I-I-I prayed and I- but I don't know if they got, uh, lost in the spam or if—
Dean: Sam?
Sam: Yeah?
Dean: Babbling.
Sam: Okay.

Donatello: Call me Donatello. Yeah. I'm named after him.
Dean: The… Mutant Ninja Turtle?
Sam: ...
Donatello: The, uh, Renaissance sculptor.
Dean: Right, of course.

Dean: Is that my computer?
Chuck: I've never seen so much porn. Not in one sitting.

Donatello: I *so* miss being an atheist.

Dean: [to Metatron] You said you wanted to help. Besides world-class douchery, what do you have to offer?

Amara: Dean, give up your smallness, your humanity, and become boundless within me.

Dean: [to Chuck/God] You started all of this, but does that give you the right to end it? You know we're not just some toys you throw away. I think you owe us more than that.


When Chuck "wakes up" late he walks into the kitchen carrying a box of Voodoo Donuts. This is a very popular donut store that has a few locations around the U.S. Chuck presumably is a fan because he would have to seek them out specifically as there are none anywhere near the bunker in Kansas.

Lucifer calls Sam, Metatron and Donatello "Larry, Curly, Moe", a reference to the American vaudeville and comedy act the Three Stooges.

When the boys meet the prophet professor at a police station in Oklahoma, it says on the wall, "Police State of Oklahoma 1914". Oklahoma became a state in 1907, not 1914.

Jensen Ackles says that when he first read the script his immediate reaction to the confrontation between Dean and Chuck would be that Dean would be angry and yelling. Upon further reflection, however, he realized that Dean, who feels abandoned by his father as well as by God, would be more hurt than in-Chuck's-face angry. Because he wanted to play it more emotionally he asked that his coverage be done first, since he wasn't sure how long he could play the intensity of emotion. However, similar to what happened to him while shooting the confession scene in the episode "Heaven and Hell" (ep. 4.10), Jensen said that the emotion overcame him and he couldn't turn it off, and so even when the cameras were moved behind him to shoot Jared Padalecki and Rob Benedict, the intensity was the same. Rob has joked that it was some of the best off-camera acting he had ever seen.

When Amara confronts Sam, Castiel, and Donatello after the rescue of Castiel, on the road there's a drive-in movie sign that says Ray's Lakeview and the movie that's listed is Apocalypse Now.

A little after 6 minutes in, God (Chuck) says he has no idea where Amara is because "she's warded herself specifically against me". That makes no sense that she would do that when she has for months been looking for God and trying to get him to come to her for a confrontation.

Final appearance of Curtis Armstrong as Metatron.
posted by orange swan at 11:25 AM on January 3, 2022

I'm not sure that Ackles is a premier actor, but yeah, the material he's given to work with here aren't great.

I think Jensen Ackles is a good and competent actor, and that he is certainly very gifted in comedy. But I wouldn't go so far as to say he's a great actor, because I haven't seen him in any other roles and don't feel I have a sense of what his range truly is. Staying on Supernatural for fifteen years hasn't been good for him in terms of his professional development. It made a lot of sense in various other ways -- he was happy where he was, he had a steady, hefty paycheque -- but playing the same character who changed very little for fifteen years didn't provide much of the kind of challenge and scope he needed to grow as an actor. However, he has lots of working years in front of him yet, and he's clearly not one to sit around even though he is surely financially set, so time will show what he can do. He has some directing experience under his belt, so he has that option as well.

By contrast, I think Jared Padalecki definitely peaked with Supernatural and the rest of his career is going to be a slow fade. Sure, at present he's playing the titular character on a TV show, but I can't see the mediocre and lacklustre Walker lasting many years, and I can't see Padalecki ever directing given his behavioural issues.

Loved the confrontation between Dean and Chuck, but the whole "Amara and Dean have a mystical connection" plot is just absurd.

Donatello's crash course in supernatural affairs, and his bemused reaction to it, was pretty funny.
posted by orange swan at 12:00 PM on January 3, 2022

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