Supernatural: Meta Fiction

"First rule of writer's club? Steal from the best. Second rule? Every hero needs a villain."

Curtis Armstrong got a big chance to shine in this episode, and did he ever. The Masterpiece Theater take-off (very "Storyteller"), that big close-up jovial smile, and I love how nearly everything Metatron says is couched in terms of literary and cinematic criticism. The bad guy usually does see himself as the good guy in his own story, and it makes sense that Metatron would choose the rebellious but reluctant Castiel as his opponent, and puff him up as the leader of the rival gang of angels. Castiel has been underused as a character, so I'm cool with that.

I was confused about what was happening with the storytelling, though. There is no prophet now, and former prophet Chuck was simply compelled to record what was already happening to the Winchesters. Yes, Metatron was manipulating Castiel by making him see things that weren't there, but was Metatron also writing scenes on that typewriter and making them happen? Is that included in his new pantheon of "I'm God now" powers, like blowing out angel fire and breezing past sigils?

At least we got to see our beloved Gabriel/Trickster again. (Big woo hoo from Billie as Casa Erotica 14 popped up on Castiel's motel TV.) Although I knew right away that it couldn't be real, mostly because Gabriel was acting a bit off, not like the Gabriel was all know, love, and miss very much. It's not that I wouldn't love to have Gabriel back, but they resurrect too many characters on this show and it never goes well. At least we got to spend some quality time with Richard Speight again.

(Did anyone else think at first that Gabriel was going to make Castiel a new archangel, perhaps with some extra grace? Yeah, that would help the writers figure out what to do with Castiel -- making him even more powerful.)

Meanwhile back in the bunker, Jensen Ackles is usually awesome, and I mean acting-wise, not standing in a shower (and if you're going to give us Dean in a shower, could you make it last a bit longer next time?). But the super grim way he's reacting to the Mark of Cain is starting to bug me. I'm also tired of being told that Sam secretly thinks Dean is pathetic and doesn't care what happens to him. Maybe I'm seeing Supernatural differently than everyone else, but it feels like it conflicts with the rest of the series and isn't working for me. Which I may have said before, and possibly will again.

At any rate, the way the Winchesters tricked Gadreel into an angel trap was smart. I knew that Tahmoh Penikett would eventually get something cool to do; the way Gadreel tried to talk Dean into killing him and then begged for death was effective, and it's very interesting how not onboard Gadreel appears to be with Metatron's agenda.

But what happened in the end? Gadreel was beaten unconscious by Dean, and then they were trading him for Castiel -- did something else happen in between? And how come the boys were smart enough to catch Gadreel but they both looked like idiots in the parking lot with Metatron? Is it just because they didn't realize how powerful Metatron is now, or did they want Gadreel back with Metatron? Or am I seeing a twist where there isn't any, because writers love a good twist?

I'm not complaining, really. This was an enjoyable and creative meta episode, the sort of cleverness that Supernatural pulls off so beautifully, even if it didn't end as well as it could. And I especially loved Metatron giving Castiel an immense shot of pop culture. That's going to be fun.

Bits:

-- Metatron got his own credits. I always love it when they do special credits.

-- Castiel's grace is disintegrating. Because it's not his, I assume?

-- The top of the Gabriel's horn angel siren symbol was the same as the Gas 'n Sip sign. Was that deliberate?

-- Metatron as Gabriel got pretty creative with the Sawyer-like nicknames: Columbo, Hotpants, Old Bean.

-- This week: Bishops Falls and Ogden, Utah. Castiel stayed in the Cedar Lodge. Did we meet that poor guy in Ian's Herbal whatever before? I don't remember him.

Quotes:

Metatron: "What makes a story work? The plot, the characters, the text? The subtext?"

Castiel: (reading) "'Honor bar'. What's honorable about a miniature bar in a motel room?"
Dean: "Everything."

Castiel: "I miss my wings. Life on the road… smells."
I recently spent a couple of weeks on the road. It can indeed smell.

Castiel: "Where have you been?"
Gabriel: "Oh, you know, hither with a side of yon."

Gabriel: "I dropped. I hid. I finally watched Downton Abbey."

Gabriel: "I got hurt in the fall, too. Used most of my juice to get back into porn. (pause) That came out wrong. (pause) So did that."

Gabriel: "Aw, crap. I really hate continuity errors."

Metatron: "I just gave you every book, movie and TV show I have consumed in the last couple of millennia. Now do you understand that the universe is made up of stories, not atoms?"
Castiel: "I understand that that's a quote by Muriel Rukeyser."

Castiel: "Can you bring angels back to heaven?"
Metatron: "Sorry. No spoilers."

Dean: "Did you just understand a Death Star reference?"

Metatron: "Either of you bring smores? Holy fire always gives them a delightful minty aftertaste."

Metatron: "That is why we rewrite. That was God's problem. He published the first draft."

This was the first episode in a long time that I was anxious to watch a second time, although it wasn't quite as good as it could have been. Does that make it three out of four smores?

Billie
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Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.

8 comments:

ChrisB said...

As I watched this, I wondered if I loved it because it was so good or because it spoke to me as a writer. Finally, I guess, it doesn't matter because I loved it. I am getting nervous about the end of this season. The brothers seem to be on a collision course and that won't be pretty.

I saw the scene between Gadreel and Dean slightly differently than you did, I think. While I do think that Sam is furious with Dean and thinks his brother has issues, I didn't believe everything Gadreel was saying. I think he was using Dean's own insecurities, which Sam would recognize and understand, against him. It very nearly worked.

percysowner said...

I will note that the guy telling Dean that Sam thinks he's weak and pathetic is the same guy who possessed Sam against his will and has been running around killing tons of angels. He's not exactly the picture of honesty. The only time Sam even came close to feeling that way was in season four when he was high and Dean was so traumatized that he wasn't functioning. Gadreel also said that Sam NEVER was willing to die to save Dean, but we have seen him trying to sell his soul and get no time to get Dean out of Hell. We have seen him put his life on the line for Dean many times including running into danger THIS SEASON to save Dean. Gadreel was echoing Dean's fears, not Sam's actions. Sadly fandom has heard Dean's fears so often, that they often ignore Sam's actions.

I'm guessing that Sam and Dean didn't realize how strong Metatron is. It does make me wonder if he is really an angel, or something else. Or if what we have seen the last few seasons isn't all real, but a part of the world Metatron is writing.

Audrey said...

Can I put a -4.
I hated it. I was bored through the all thing. I am totally done with the angels, I really don't care about them. Angels bring no suspense, no monster to kill, no action nothing happens but long boring talk.
Where is my favorite show about 2 brothers who save people and hunt things, it wasn't on my screen.
After I watched it, I cried mourning the spn I used to love.
I decided than next time I see pictures of angels promoting the episode, I am not watching it anymore.
I am done.
It's good that you liked it, but I didn't and I am not the only one. I suppose the very bad ratings show people are tired of it too, the conflict between the brothers in unwatchable, Sam is a ghost.
It has to stop

sunbunny said...

Just as you're getting sick of the brotherly conflict, Billie, I'm getting on board. I like that the conflict is under the surface and not them being horrible to each other. There's tension, but it's not being angstily aired in the standard two minutes of emotional turmoil at the end of every episode.

I was believing what Gadreel said Sam thought about Dean (we all think terrible things about our loved ones when we're angry, doesn't mean that they're true or that we believe them) until, like percysowner, I caught him saying that Sam was never willing to die for Dean. Yeah, actually he was. And I think he'd still be.

Great to have Gabe back, obviously. I thought he was acting pretty normal, up until he said oh I'll take on this hoard of demons for you, Castiel. His fight or flight response is weighted towards the latter. I like that they left it open, that maybe he is alive, maybe he isn't. They do bring a lot of characters back, but Gabriel feels earned. He is the Trickster, after all.

Johan said...

Gadreel lies. WE have seen Sam several times trying to sacrifice himself to save Dean.

Billie Doux said...

Yes, exactly. Sam has tried to sacrifice his own life to save Dean. He offered a straight up trade when Dean was in Hell. I hope they're not retconning all of this.

pucklady said...

Unusual for me, I was completely unspoiled. (I can't resist Twitter during the East Coast broadcast).

When Casa Erotica showed up, my squee scared the cats.

Katherine said...

pucklady said...
When Casa Erotica showed up, my squee scared the cats

Hee!

I'm like Chris B. This one appealed to the writer in me, and I loved it. The scheme was unraveled by a thread.
There was a very complex look on Gadreel face when he understood he being treated as a tool to be discarded.