9.18 Meta Fiction

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Title Meta Fiction
Episode # Season 9, Episode 18
First aired April 15, 2014
Directed by Thomas J. Wright
Written by Robbie Thompson
On IMDB Meta Fiction
Outline Sam and Dean capture Gadreel. Metatron attempts to bring Castiel in on his plan.
Monster Metatron
Gadreel
Timeline
Location(s) Lebanon, Kansas
Bishop's Falls, Utah
Auburn, Utah
Ogden, Utah
Heaven
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Synopsis

Metatron sits behind a typewriter, in an opulent library, and muses about what makes a good story.

In the Bunker, Dean stands in the shower, slowly dragging his hands through his hair and over his eyes as the water pours over him. He then stands in front of the mirror and wipes away the steam. He looks into his own eyes for a second and sighs. His eyes then wander to his right arm and he rubs the Mark of Cain with his left hand.

In the war room, Sam reports to Dean that while he found some signs of demonic activity, there is no trace of Abaddon. As Dean rubs at the Mark, Sam asks if he is okay. Dean asserts that he is, and they get back to work.

In an abandoned factory, Castiel tries to locate the source of a pulsing sound. He catches his jacket on something and tears it, but continues to search for the origin of the sound. He enters a room and there are bloodied bodies everywhere, and the silhouette of broken wings burned onto the floor. On the wall is a sigil written in blood. Cas takes out his phone and takes a picture of it. Behind him Hannah, an angel, stabs at him with an angel blade. Cas disarms her and she begs for her life.

Hannah says that the angels were drawn to the place by the sound, where they were confronted by an angel –- Gadreel -– who said he worked for Metatron. Gadreel offered that those who joined Metatron and fought for him, would one day be allowed to return to Heaven. Some had joined him and those that refused him had been killed.

Hannah recognizes Castiel as the angel who stood against Bartholomew. When she asks him whether she will lead them against Metatron, he refuses, stating that he is no leader. Cas does say that he intends to exact revenge on Metatron.

Back in his motel room, Cas phones Sam and Dean. He explains what he found and sends them the photo of the sigil, adding that he found griffin feathers and bones of a fairy along with it as part of a spell to lure angels. While Sam researches the spell, Cas and Dean catch up, with Cas admitting life on the road is difficult and that he misses his wings. Sam finds that the sigil was found at the scenes of some recent multiple homicides in Utah. Gadreel seems to be heading north so Dean suggests Castiel go to the town of Auburn while he and Sam head to Ogden. Dean mentions to Sam that they have a contact there that once helped them on a case with witches.

In Ogden, Gadreel enters a drug paraphernalia shop, which has a sigil on the window indicating it carries supplies for hunters. Gadreel asks the sales guy Ian for griffin feathers and fairy bones.

As Castiel goes to leave his motel room, which is decorated hunter style with clippings, maps, and research stuck to the wall, the TV switches on to a Casa Erotica video, where Gabriel appears, and then materializes in the room. He explains to Cas that he wasn't dead, and was merely hiding in Heaven, but was tossed out along with all the angels. He says came out of hiding when he heard that Metatron was using the Horn of Gabriel to trap and kill angels. He wants Castiel's help to take out Metatron.

He and Castiel drive off, and they call Sam and Dean, who have just found Ian's dead body, and leave a message. Gabriel explains to Cas that he doesn't want to run away anymore, that he wants to leave. He gets Cas to stop at a gas station, and while inside, a truck full of Metaron's minions arrives. Gabriel urges Castiel to leave and save himself while Gabriel holds them off. He argues that Castiel should lead the angels against Metatron.

As Castiel is about to leave, he notices that his coat which was torn earlier is now not damaged, and realizes this was all an illusion. It fades away to reveal Metatron asking him "What makes a good story?" Sam and Dean trap Gadreel in a ring of holy oil, and then take him to an empty building to interrogate. Sam becomes extremely angry, hitting Gadreel, so Dean suggests Sam go find Castiel, who isn't answering his phone, to help them.

Meanwhile Metatron, frustrated that Castiel doesn't understand his references, implants in his mind the contents of every book, movie, and TV show he has consumed. He explains that he decided to use the illusion trick with Gabriel to force Castiel into leading the angels in a rebellion against him. He planned to kill them all and then reward Castiel with a place in Heaven. Castiel again refuses, so this time Metatron offers him grace to replace the stolen one that is burning him up inside. Castiel again refuses. Metatron then gets word that Sam and Dean have Gadreel, so he appears to Sam and offers him a deal – Castiel for Gadreel.

Gadreel taunts Dean, claiming he knows what a low opinion Sam has of Dean. He even begs Dean to kill him. Taking a break in a dirty washroom, Dean splashes water on his face, and again stares at himself in the mirror, obviously feeling the effects of the Mark. His phone rings with a call from Sam, but he leaves it to return to Gadreel. Sam returns to find both Dean and Gadreel collapsed on the floor. He convinces Dean that the trade may be their chance to capture Metatron.

At the exchange site, Sam and Dean try to trap Metatron in a ring of holy fire, but he simply blows it out. He is also able to wave away the protective sigils on the trunk of the Impala where they have Gadreel stashed. Metatron says it amuses him to watch the Winchesters and Castiel try and defeat him, which is why he hasn't killed them.

Later, the boys and Castiel discuss Metatron's new God-like powers, and Castiel surprises them by understanding a Star Wars reference. As they move to say their farewells, Castiel is going to try and find Heaven while the boys pursue Abaddon. Cas then notices something awry with Dean and confronts him about the Mark of Cain. Dean shrugs it off but Cas warns Sam to keep an eye on Dean.

Back in Heaven, Gadreel reports to Metatron that the way into Heaven is again closed. He asks Metatron whether the Winchesters capturing him was part of the plan, and Metatron admits that it wasn't.

In the Impala, Dean sits in his seat, staring balefully ahead, while Sam looks at him with concern. Back in his motel room, Castiel tears down all the research he had on the wall and draws the Horn of Gabriel sigil. When he opens the door, a group of angels stands there, and he walks out to meet them. At that very moment, Metatron is typing a description of the same scene, ending with the words "TO BE CONTINUED . . ."

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "Fanfare-Rondeau" by Jean-Joseph Mouret
(plays while Metatron is talking about writing stories)
  • "Escort Service" by David Mann & Emanuel Kallins (Hollywood Music)
(plays Casa Erotica 14)
  • "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)" by Frankie Valli
(plays over the closing montage)

Quotes

Metatron: What makes a story work? Is it the plot, the characters, the text? The subtext? And who gives a story meaning? Is it the writer? Or you? Tonight, I thought I would tell you a little story and let you decide.
Castiel: Honor bar?... What's honorable about a miniature bar in a motel room?
Dean: Everything.
Buxom Lass: Some times you need a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. #amiright? Sometimes you need some #CasaErotica.
Gabriel: I used most of my juice to get back into porn. That came out wrong. So did that!
Castiel: I'm just a soldier.

Gabriel: Bitch, please. You've been God more often than Dad has.

Castiel: Yeah, look how that turned out.
Gadreel: I have been you Sam Winchester. Your insides reek of shame and weakness.
Dean: Word around the campfire is you let the snake into the Garden. Ruined it for all of humanity.

Gadreel: I set them free. I loved humanity!

Dean: Well, you sure got a funny way of showing it, asshat.
Sam: Dean! Dean -- hey, are you okay?
Dean: Yeah, you gotta stop asking me that.
Gadreel: How did your play turn out?
Metatron: It didn't quite turn out as I planned, but that is why we rewrite. That was God's problem, you know. He published the first draft. You gotta... keep at it 'til you get all your ducks in a row.
Metatron: What writer doesn’t love a good twist? My job is to set up interesting characters and see where they lead me. The byproduct of having well-drawn characters is they may surprise you. But I know something they don't know - the ending. How I get there doesn't matter as long as everybody plays their part.

Trivia & References

Metafiction in a TV show (or book or other text) occurs when the show, or a character, demonstrates they are aware of their own fictional nature. See our entry on Meta Episodes for the use of this device in other Supernatural episodes.
Insights from writer Robbie Thompson from his live tweets:
  • Robbie and Richard Speight, Jr. have been friends for 20 years.
  • "Columbo" and "Precious Cargo" were ad-libs by Richard Speight, Jr.
  • The hug between Cas and Gabriel was added on the day.
  • Robbie added the Sherlock reference because he heard that Curtis Armstrong was a fan.
  • On Metatron's desk books by Carver Edlund, Kurt Vonnegut and S.E. Hinton can be seen.
Ian: We've got some off the menu items, but this ain't Diagon Alley, man.
Diagon Alley is a wizarding alley in the Harry Potter 'verse where students go to buy their supplies for Hogwarts.
Ian: Griffin feathers, huh? Not exactly looking to trip the light fantastic are we?
"To trip the light fantastic" is to dance nimbly or lightly.
Castiel: So you faked your own death?

Gabriel: And I assume you weren't let into Mensa while I was gone?

Mensa is a society for people with high IQs.
Gabriel: Look, I dropped. I hid. I finally watched Downton Abbey.
Downton Abbey is a popular British period drama that airs as part of Masterpiece Classic on PBS in the United States.
Gabriel later admits to never having seen Downton Abbey, saying he only said he did to fit in.
Castiel: What do you want from me?

Gabriel: Your help, Columbo. I'm getting the band back together. We're going on the "Kill Metatron" tour, and you're looking at the new frontman.

Columbo was a fictional detective in the eponymous TV series, renowned for his investigative skills and rumpled trenchcoat. I'm getting the band back together is a quote by from "Joliet" Jake Blues in the movie The Blues Brothers.
Castiel: So you've been back for months? What have you seen out there?

Gabriel: After it was raining winged men, hallelujah?

"It's raining men, hallelujah" is the chorus line from the 1982 song "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls.
Metatron: Yes. This is the curious incident, eh Inspector Gregory?

Castiel: Who?
Metatron: Inspector Gregory? Sherlock Holmes? Silver Blaze? You have been around since scaly things crawled out of the muck, would it have killed you to pick up a book? Watch a movie?

Inspector Gregory refers to Inspector G. Lestrade, though his first name is never revealed in the short stories, the BBC series Sherlock has given him the first name Greg. "Silver Blaze" is a short story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and collected in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.
Metatron: Here, I know it's a bit of a retcon, but it's going to make this whole conversation a lot easier.
Retcon stands for retroactive continuity, and is used to reframe previously established facts or events in works of fiction. An example in Supernatural is the revelation of the Trickster as Gabriel in season 5.
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

Muriel Rukeyser was an American poet and political activist. She was best known for her poems about equality, feminism, social justice, and Judaism. The above quote comes from the poem The Speed of Darkness, first published in 1968. The actual quote is "The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
Castiel: What are you talking about?

Metatron: Hannah and her sisters? I set all that up.

Hannah and Her Sisters is a 1986 film by Woody Allen. Writer Robbie Thomspon admitted he named the angel Hannah just so he could make this joke.
Dean: We're not at this five minutes, and your already going Liam Neeson on his ass?
Liam Neeson is an Irish actor, who in his later years has become well known as an action star, specifically with the Taken series of films.
Metatron: Either of you bring s'mores? Holy fire always gives them a delightful minty aftertaste.
S'mores are a "sandwich" of chocolate and marshmallow between two sweet crackers that is toasted over a campfire.
Dean: All right, what if there is a stairway to Heaven? We find it and get a drop on the guy.
"Stairway to Heaven" is a song by Led Zeppelin, appearing on their untitled fourth album, known as Led Zeppelin IV.
Sam: You wanna sneak up on the Death Star and take out the Emperor.
The Death Star is a space station and superweapon appearing in Star Wars and Return of the Jedi. The Emperor refers to Emperor Palpatine, leader of the Galactic Empire in the Star Wars film series.

Minutiae

Live tweets from writer Robbie Thompson during the East Coast feed. Live tweets from writer Robbie Thompson, the cast and crew during the West Coast feed.
Jared dedicated his live tweets to Cody Stonerock (@StonerockC) a young Supernatural fan who had died the week before the episode aired.
Erica Carroll who played Hannah, previously appeared as a nurse in 1.12 Faith and a young mother in 1.18 Something Wicked.
Metatron gave Castiel all of his knowledge of books, movies, and television shows from the last two millennia. Thus Cas now understands pop culture references.
The two copies of the Supernatural books/Winchester Gospels on Metatron's desk were A Very Supernatural Christmas and Tall Tales, with Tall Tales being the book he tosses into the fire. 2.15 Tall Tales is also the episode where the Trickster makes his first appearance.
The statue on the table next to Castiel in Metatron's study appears to be of an impala.
The three week break between this episode and the last one was been dubbed #ShowerHellatus by fans on Twitter because of the images of Dean in the shower in the promo for the episode. Watch it here.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

Promotion