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Hitler Pink
Novels and stories that examine, experiment with, or poke fun at the conventions and genres of fiction itself can all be classified as metafiction. The term "meta-fiction" means "beyond fiction" or "over fiction," indicating that the author or narrator stands "beyond" or "over" the fictional text and judges it in a highly self-conscious way. Patrick Kennedy

Being a writer, I enjoyed “Meta Fiction” on as many levels as the episode provided. It was written by Robbie Thompson and directed by Thomas J. Wright.  Few things make me, as the fans put it, "squee."  Not Dean, or Sam, or Castiel.  But intellectual concepts and realistic touches? Squee!

There was the story, the story-within-a-story, a breaking the fourth wall fake-out, and my favorite, an exploration of what it means to be a writer. Not only a writer of a long-running television show (There is an off-hand joke about “retcon.” Thompson tweeted that ret-con is now canon), but also the writer of stories. There is the deep satisfaction of building your own world, populated by your creations. However, characters are created, but they make decisions the writer never intended. Unexpected plot holes and mistakes occur. Fortunately, there’s rewriting. But is that last a good thing in this case?

"Meta Fiction" tied up many loose ends, and did the impossible: it made the angel war interesting.  As long as we leave Malachi and the others out of it, I'm good.

THEN: A whole lot of stuff, including Castiel stealing another angel’s grace.
NOW: In a quiet library, classical music plays on an old LP, a fire in the fireplace, books on the shelves...and Metatron, in spectacles, a figured silk robe, tapping away at a manual typewriter. I love Curtis Armstrong, and I'm happy I've never seen his other work. I'm unspoiled, shall we say.

SPN_918 Metatron library

This is a deliberate throw-back to Chuck, aka God, at the end of Season 5. He looks at us (his teeth are British, circa 1950. It ain’t pretty) and says “I’m going to tell you a story, and let you decide.”

The “SUPERNATURAL” title card is quickly pulled off. Heavenly trumpets blare as:

SPN_918 Metatron title card

Dean is in the shower, and screams of fangirls break the eardrums of anyone in their vicinity. He looks at the Mark and--can it be--a SMALL CUT SCAR below it on his forearm?? For years I’ve wondered why those cuts insta-heal. Squee!  Sam's worried about Dean, and it's a satisfying role reversal from previous seasons.  This time, Sam has to watch helplessly as his brother changes.  Sam is scared and out of his depth.
Meanwhile, Cas is drawn to an empty warehouse by a strange noise. En route, his coat snags on a piece of machinery and the lining is torn (important later, folks). He finds a huge room full of dead angels and the Horn of Gabriel, which has been used as an angel duck call.
spn_918 Horn of Gabriel

The one living angel, Hannah, tells Castiel that Metatron slaughtered all who wouldn’t rally to his cause. She begs him to lead the rebel angels. “I’m no leader,” as he insists multiple times throughout the episode. When Cas returns to his motel room, he calls Sam. Dean listens with a smile as Cas says, “I miss my wings. Life on the road...it smells.” Cas smiles hearing Dean’s voice. It’s a lovely moment, and the only one in the episode where Dean seems at all like his old self.

Cas's character development is richly enjoyable.  Castiel's experience as a human has opened him up emotionally, leaving him more vulnerable and confused.  He's at a level of vulnerability the Winchesters were many seasons ago.  Sam and Cas are tentatively forming a friendship that is both about Dean and about itself.  Both man and angel have repeatedly had the experience of being controlled by others, and both are similar in nature.  They are both warriors, Castiel instinctively, Sam because he has to.

Sam mentions there’s no way back into Heaven--“That’s what Crowley said,” Dean gruffs. Sam remembers a witch boy in Ogden who helped them once upon a time, and drives off.
The witch boy, now a stoner who puts the Big Lebowski to shame, runs a head shop, with a sideline on fairy bones and gryphon feathers. Gadreel comes in. The stoner is adorable, which means he’s about to be doornailed.
spn_918 stoner witch
This guy gets me really hot.  Don't judge me!

We’re back at Castiel’s seedy digs, when the lights flicker and the tv snaps on--to Casa Erotica! And there is GABRIEL!!
spn_918 casa erotica

(Cue yours truly clapping and jumping up and down like a little kid.) He appears in the motel room, older and wearier, but still full of wisecracks.
spn_918 Gabriel
Richard Speight Jr. will now get paid more for convention appearances.

He’s been in hiding in heaven, but got hurt in the Fall. “I used of my juice to get into porn--that came out wrong.” They drive off in Cas’s pimpmobile. I want Cas to own that car for the rest of the season.  Maybe the pimpmobile and the Impala can mate and have...extremely weird little car babies.
Gabriel’s incessant Rat Pack patois wears thin quickly. Half of it could have been cut, which would have improved his conversation with Cas immensely. Gabriel tells Cas they’re rebels and Gabriel will be the new leader. Cas knows this is out of character for Gabriel (squee!). Gabriel points out they’re running out of gas (set-up! Squee!) They pull up at a Gas-n-Sip to gas up, where a gang of Metatron’s angels show up. Gabriel says he’ll hold them off, while Cas escape and be the leader. “I’m no leader,” Cas says for the umpteenth time, reaches for his angel blade--and discovers the lining is untorn.

When he tells his comrade, Gabriel, crestfallen, says, “Continuity errors.” He snaps his fingers and the Hell’s Angels disappear. Castiel pushes his angel blade into his comrade, and it sinks into a hologram. “Are you dead?” Castiel asks. Gabriel, smirking, snaps his fingers--
Castiel is bound and gagged in Metatron’s library. “I’ll let you decide,” he says, rounding back to the pre-credits. He has been our unreliable narrator!

Meanwhile, in the abandoned warehouse du jour, Sam and Dean have trapped Gadreel in a ring of holy fire. The Winchesters are damned lucky our economy is in the tank, otherwise most of those warehouses would be fully operational and they'd be screwed.
spn_918 Sam
"Looks like you traded down, asshole!"

Sam goes into BAMF mode (rowrr) before Dean pulls him off and tells him to go get Cas. Pot, meet dangerously overheated kettle. Dean’s eyes are frighteningly dead. It seems that Sam's reaction to Gadreel is cursory, but I have a strong feeling there's more down the road.
Metatron is delighted that it was the torn overcoat that gave him away, drawing out the thread and looking at it appreciatively. (Squee!) Metatron gets sick of Cas never getting any references and blams! him with every book, movie and tv show that Metatron has consumed in the past millennia. Cas’s head doesn’t explode, but he can now name-check Muriel Rukeyser! (Squee!) I have a strong suspicion what Metatron just did to Cas is going to backfire spectacularly.
It appears that the stolen grace is burning Cas from the inside. Metatron wants to be the hero of the story, and Castiel the villain. Castiel will rally troops for Metatron to slaughter, providing Cas with an unlimited supply of grace. “I’m no leader,” Castiel says for the 10,001st time. Listen, buster, clam up and accept your fate and we can all go home sooner, okay?
We’re back at the warehouse where Gadreel is chained to a chair. Dean is enjoying this week’s mandatory torture porn. Gadreel taunts him with the EXACT SHAME SHIT WE’VE BEEN LISTENING TO FOR NINE SEASONS.
spn_918 Gadreel same old same old
Something original? "He can't deal with your being bisexual and in love with Castiel!"

As he said to Sam, “you’re a coward.” A) This makes no sense B) He says it the same way, which reminds me that Tamoh Penikett seriously needs to get that stick out of his ass. Dean almost kills him, but instead goes into the bathroom to splash his face with dirty cold water.  Which begs the question--why does Gadreel want to die?  WTF?
Sam goes to Cas’s seedy motel to find him gone, and a cell phone with six unanswered messages from Dean. (Aside: wouldn’t it be hilarious if it said “Dean” with a little heart emoji?) Metatron appears and offers him an even trade, angel for angel. When he’s gone, Sam tries to reach Dean, but Dean has also left his phone in the old washroom and stomped out, murder in his eyes. Seriously, Dean could be the Big Bad right now if he was pointed in the right direction. He is fucking SCARY.

spn_918 Dean Gadreel beat down
"Holy crap, Dean, you're turning into a serial killer!" "Tell me about it."

The next day, everyone shows up at the appointed place. Metatron is trapped in a circle of holy fire.  Only he's not!
spn_918 Metatron blowing out holy fire

He not only blows out the ring of holy fire, he erases the angel warding in the Impala’s trunk and releases the Men of Letters handcuffs from Gadreel. Metatron is now God. He knows the boys will try to take him down. “It’ll be a hell of a show," he says, all but skipping with delight. "I’m going to enjoy watching you try.”   He disappears.

Motel parking lot, night. Sam points out that Metatron is powering up using the Angel Tablet. Dean makes a reference to Star Wars, and Cas sort of gets it. “Did you just understand a Death Star reference?” Dean asks in disbelief.  Castiel looks at him.  "There's something different about you."  Dean gives him a reassuring pat.
spn_918 Dean Cas pat

Cas grabs Dean's arm and rolls up his sleeve.  When he sees the Mark, he quietly freaks and says, "What have you done?"
spn_918 Dean Cas arm
"Now you can't be buried in a Jewish cemetery!"

Dean pulls away and gets into the car.  Cas asks Sam, "watch over him." Sam pats Cas on the shoulder and says, "Be safe."
Gadreel enters Metatron’s study, and Gadreel asks--wait for it--“Is the door secure?”
Metatron smiles and says, “THE WAY HOME IS SAFE.”
THERE IS A DOOR TO HEAVEN!!

(Squee.)

Wow, Crowley is one nasty bitch, even when he's not in the actual episode.  Any chance of a Crowley/Metatron face off?
He proceeds to say what this review quotes up top, a wonderfully accurate description of the writer’s process. God’s mistake was publishing the first draft. But Metatron intends to rewrite.

And, “I know the ending,” he says with a grin. God, those teeth!  And that begs the question I asked at the beginning: at Metatron's hands, is rewriting a good thing?
There is a chilling montage of Metatron typing in sync with Cas’s actions, to the tune of "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore".

Cas creates his own Horn of Gabriel and welcomes his followers at the motel--
spn_918 Cas followers
spn_918 the end

--as Metatron types exactly that! At the end, there is a close-up as he types: TO BE CONTINUED.
So was any of that last part Cas's free will, or is he being driven by Metatron?

"Meta Fiction" left me mindfucked, exhilarated, and strangely angry. Really angry, because now I won’t know how much of what we see is through Metatron’s eyes, and how much he will determine the action through his writing. Metatron is now God. And from now on he is our unreliable narrator. And we won't know when.

And that, dear readers, is a very good thing.

*Quote from Cornelia Funke

All screencaps from screencap.net

Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
caranfindel
Apr. 16th, 2014 11:30 pm (UTC)
Which begs the question--why does Gadreel want to die? "Continuity error," anybody?

It makes sense to me that Gadreel would choose death over being imprisoned again, given his experience being tortured in Heaven.
cuddyclothes
Apr. 16th, 2014 11:37 pm (UTC)
I hadn't thought of that...especially when Dean says he'll let him rot in those chains.
percysowner
Apr. 17th, 2014 12:19 pm (UTC)
Or Gadreel is manipulative enough that he realized if Dan thought he wanted to die then Dean wouldn't kill him. I think Gadreel is more with it than we have given him credit for.
cuddyclothes
Apr. 17th, 2014 04:00 pm (UTC)
You're on to something! The way Gadreel sauntered into Metatron's library, and gave him that little sly smile as he left--Gad is definitely got his own gig going somehow.

Yes, he probably knew that Dean wouldn't kill him.
borgmama1of5
Apr. 17th, 2014 12:16 am (UTC)
Appreciate your review :)
cuddyclothes
Apr. 17th, 2014 12:25 am (UTC)
Thanks! It seems I'm in the minority on this one.
dreamsofspike
Apr. 17th, 2014 12:35 am (UTC)
Seriously, Dean could be the Big Bad right now if he was pointed in the right direction. He is fucking SCARY.

YEP. And that is EXACTLY where I predict that this season will end things. Like Cas in season 6, Dean will be taken over by the power he's taken on that's too strong for him, and his loved ones will have to try to bring him back in early season 10, I think.

As for Metatron being God? I think the ACTUAL God, wherever he is, might have something to say about that. I was just rewatching 9x1 the other night, and noticed the emphasis on that part where Dean tells the doctor, "God has NOTHING to do with this!" - and I find myself once again wondering if God has EVERYTHING to do with this.

I also think that Gabriel MIGHT actually BE alive :P

And I think that Cas is going to pull a Sam, with Lucifer in season 5, and do exactly what he knows Metatron wants him to do, but he's doing it in order to lead to Metatron's defeat.

After all like Metatron said, you can't control your characters' actions all the time - and this wouldn't be the first time this particular angel "ripped up the ending". ;)
cuddyclothes
Apr. 17th, 2014 12:44 am (UTC)
After all like Metatron said, you can't control your characters' actions all the time - and this wouldn't be the first time this particular angel "ripped up the ending". ;)

Ha!

I also think his downloading all of that stuff into Cas's brain is going to backfire. For one thing, Cas now knows everything about every war, ever. Not to mention thousands of plots. I suspect he can use it to his advantage. Thanks for reading!
dreamsofspike
Apr. 21st, 2014 11:47 pm (UTC)
I completely agree. And it's possible Cas knows MORE than Metatron now, because Metatron's never fought HIS OWN war before, has he? ALL he has are stories. Now Cas has all those stories, PLUS his own experiences to draw from! :)
katwoman76
Apr. 17th, 2014 12:42 am (UTC)
Wait, how does coming back mean Richard getting paid more for conventions? Is there a rule about the recency of appearances in relation to the payment?
cuddyclothes
Apr. 17th, 2014 12:44 am (UTC)
It's mostly a joke.

ETA: There have been discussions about who gets paid what for the cons, but that's elsewhere and I can't remember any of it. I didn't want to sound dismissive.

Edited at 2014-04-17 12:45 am (UTC)
katwoman76
Apr. 17th, 2014 12:53 am (UTC)
Ah, okay. Well if it should influence his pay - good for him. Because it won't have much influence on their interest in inviting him considering he is part of almost all of them anyway - as a (rightly so ) fan favorite and is nowadays not just hosting the karaoke party but the whole convention for all US/Canadian SPN-cons.
ash48
Apr. 17th, 2014 01:07 am (UTC)
I enjoyed your positive review on his episode. :) I've come across quite a few people who have enjoyed this one - so maybe not so much in the minority?

And from now on he is our unreliable narrator.

*shuffles nervously*

Gadreel taunts him with the EXACT SHAME SHIT WE’VE BEEN LISTENING TO FOR NINE SEASONS.

Ha! Perhaps this is why I was all grumpy pants on this episode....
cuddyclothes
Apr. 17th, 2014 01:23 am (UTC)
Frankly this "strong/weak" bullshit is such a dumb macho construct that I wish they would MOVE ON, or at least change the wording! It bugged the hell out of me that Dean took the bait. I wanted to hear him say, "Do you know how many times I've heard that crap? Up your game, asshat!"

*shuffles nervously*

EXACTLY. That's what made me angry, that I wouldn't know how much of what was happening was real. With Naomi the divide was clear.
ash48
Apr. 17th, 2014 03:42 am (UTC)
Frankly this "strong/weak" bullshit is such a dumb macho construct that I wish they would MOVE ON

In many ways Carver is being true to form. He's revisiting all their past issues (Sam and "normal" and now Dean and his abandonment issues).

It would be good to see Dean not take to heart what Gadreel said, but I think it will be part of his driving force to turn completely dark side. Also...I'm thinking there's still quite a bit of truth in what was said. Dean is far from a coward - except when it comes to confronting all those inner issues...;)

Complex show is complex.
cuddyclothes
Apr. 17th, 2014 04:01 pm (UTC)
Ain't it, though?
amber1960
Apr. 17th, 2014 07:50 am (UTC)
Sorry I got distracted by this comment "his teeth are British" - yes well. F you Americans and your $10,000 perfect Hollywood false white teeth. Some of us have real teeth that come in different shapes and sizes and are bone coloured like they are supposed to be.

Ahem. Rant over. Back to reading.
cuddyclothes
Apr. 17th, 2014 11:56 am (UTC)
Sorry I offended you.
amber1960
Apr. 17th, 2014 01:15 pm (UTC)
Eh. Sorry I ranted - you might guess it's a bit of a bugbear of mine. oops.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 17th, 2014 03:09 pm (UTC)
It's actually my biggest gripe with "The Walking Dead." There they are, covered with blood, dirt and assorted goo, but with blindingly white teeth. What, did they all happen to go to the same dentist before the zombie apocalypse?
amber1960
Apr. 17th, 2014 03:55 pm (UTC)
Ah this was yourself, was it, indeed to goodness. I haven't got into the Walking Dead but yeah, that sort of lack of attention to detail is irritating too.

Edited at 2014-04-17 03:56 pm (UTC)
cuddyclothes
Apr. 17th, 2014 03:38 pm (UTC)
Whoops! Forgot to log in.
milly_gal
Apr. 17th, 2014 08:40 am (UTC)
Out of all of that, I took, "If Metatron is God, why are his teeth so bad!" LOL!

Great review hun, as always.

I think Gadreel would prefer to die than be stuck in chains for the rest of his existance, after all the torture and torment in heaven at the hands of his captors.
cuddyclothes
Apr. 17th, 2014 11:59 am (UTC)
Out of all of that, I took, "If Metatron is God, why are his teeth so bad!" LOL!

*snort*. Unfortunately, if you look at the comments, I offended another reader quite gravely. Oops.

Thanks for reading!
milly_gal
Apr. 17th, 2014 10:35 pm (UTC)
Aaaw hun, you can't please everyone. Hey I'm a Brit, I didn't take offence, and it wasn't meant with malice, we knew that, or at least most of us did.

Xx
supernutjapan
Apr. 17th, 2014 04:25 pm (UTC)
(Cue yours truly clapping and jumping up and down like a little kid.)

Me too :D

I do think Cas is going with the script on purpose to throw Metatron off.

Enjoyed the episode and your review :)

Edited at 2014-04-17 04:27 pm (UTC)
darkrose_9
Apr. 19th, 2014 05:25 am (UTC)
I love Curtis Armstrong, and I'm happy I've never seen his other work. I'm unspoiled, shall we say.

He plays the principal in New Girl, and is essentially the same character without the power to take over the world. He creeps me out big time either way *shudders*


Gadreel taunts him with the EXACT SHAME SHIT WE’VE BEEN LISTENING TO FOR NINE SEASONS.


Haha, yes exactly!

Dean makes a reference to Star Wars, and Cas sort of gets it. “Did you just understand a Death Star reference?” Dean asks in disbelief.


Yeah, that was weird. Like Cas is now less of an idiot, and yet more of one at the same time? I don't think the writers really understand his character...


Plot holes... If Metatron is now god, what was to stop him from beaming down and rescuing Gadreel all by his lonesome. What even, is the point of letting Sam and Dean live? (To kill Abbaddon? But the gates of heaven are sealed – which how can Metatron flit back and forth so easily then? – meaning not even the knights of hell can enter) If he killed them, Cas would be much more motivated to come after Metatron...

 Really angry, because now I won’t know how much of what we see is through Metatron’s eyes, and how much he will determine the action through his writing. Metatron is now God. And from now on he is our unreliable narrator. And we won't know when.

It makes me mad because I feel like #1: it's an excuse to go to, to blame some of the truly sad writing of the season (“Oh, the script didn't suck because we don't understand the characters, but because Metatron didn't – afterall, he was the one really writing it! BS), and #2: because then season 5 is pointless. If Metatron is writing the story, and if, after enough rewrites, he can make it go the way he wants to, what is to stop him from turning Sam and Dean into mindless puppets? UGH.
cuddyclothes
Apr. 19th, 2014 02:10 pm (UTC)
Does Curtis Armstrong have the same disgusting teeth??
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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