Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 18: “Meta Fiction”
Written by Robbie Thompson
Directed by Thomas J. Wright
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW
While Metatron’s actions at the end of last season sealed off Heaven and tossed every Angel out, his movements over the course of this season have established that his plans are far from over. With an explicit desire to replace God, and a willingness to kill even those who might tangentially stand in his way, such as Kevin, Metatron has emerged as a major threat. This week’s episode delves into his mindset, and how Metatron views himself, in a superb episode that pushes Castiel down a path he’s reluctant to walk.
Metatron’s view of himself as the hero of a story he’s writing is an interesting insight into the character. While he is unquestionably thirsty for power, it has been clear for a long time that Metatron is also interested in a good story. His shifting of the pieces on the board to ensure that a ripping yarn is weaved, even if it means building opposition to himself, is a fascinating look at how he operates. However, the Winchesters and Castiel have been in a somewhat similar situation before with the Apocalypse, which means they may be more adept at disrupting Metatron’s story than he might suspect. It will be intriguing to see how Castiel goes about leading the fallen Angels in light of his discovery this week that this is part of Metatron’s plan. While his actions at the end of the episode indicate that he’s ready to take on the role, however reluctantly, his refusal to accept Metatron’s deal means that he’s unwilling to play by the rules of the story. This puts Castiel in an odd position, where he will have to duel Metatron with the latter well aware of what he’s doing and what he’s capable of. With Metatron already declaring that he knows the ending of this story, how the fight between the two play out, and what role the Winchesters and Gadreel have in all this, will be worth keeping an eye on.
Gadreel’s fear of entrapment is also a fascinating aspect of this week’s episode. As someone who has spent the majority of his life imprisoned, Gadreel’s insistence on death being a more preferable alternative to returning to that state makes sense. However, his insistence on not revealing any details of Metatron’s plan to Dean under duress also indicates that he has a fierce sense of loyalty that even his greatest fear cannot overcome. This means that Gadreel has the potential to be a wild card in Metatron’s story, particularly if the latter is unwilling to keep his end of the bargain with Gadreel. While Metatron indicates this week that he’s open to a certain level of unpredictability from his characters, it’s unlikely that he has that kind of expectation from Gadreel, making the latter possibly the biggest weapon against Metatron, especially as Gadreel may also know the way back to Heaven. It will be intriguing to see how far Gadreel’s loyalty to Metatron goes in light of this. It will also be promising to see what ultimately causes Gadreel to betray Metatron. It’s been clear during the season that Metatron providing Gadreel with the acceptance he was craving has played a role in the latter killing freely under orders. Whether or not Castiel and his group tries to extend that same kind of acceptance to Gadreel, and how the latter reacts to a sudden acceptance from multiple groups, has the potential to make a huge impact on the narrative.
Overall, this is a solid episode to mark the show’s return from hiatus. Putting the focus back on the Angels is a welcome aspect of this week, as Castiel’s isolation from the Winchesters means that the brothers are unaware of their goings-on. Unlike Crowley and Abaddon, this has meant that the activities of the Angels have not affected Sam or Dean, and their story has suffered somewhat as a result. Hopefully this episode is the beginning of a larger focus on these supernatural entities. Castiel’s concern over Dean’s Mark of Cain is also noteworthy. Everything the brothers know about the Mark of Cain to date has come from Crowley, and it’s not difficult to imagine the current ruler of Hell might have left some side effects out of his description, even if he did know about them. Whether Castiel knows of any additional problems associated with the Mark of Cain, and how he and Sam try to help Dean once those problems manifest themselves, is bound to be a compelling storyline. Castiel’s reluctance at taking on another leadership role is also an effective indication of the character. The Angel has come a long way from his days following the Apocalypse, when he made deals with Crowley and eliminated competition like Raphael without mercy. With people now following Castiel out of respect rather than fear, and with Castiel himself now wiser from his experiences, how he chooses to lead this time around, as well as how he disrupts Metatron’s story, will be worth tuning in for as the season continues.
– Deepayan Sengupta