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'Supernatural' 'Meta Fiction' recap: Making the story work

Supernatural -- "Meta Fiction" -- Pictured (L-R): Tahmoh Penikett as Gadreel and Jensen Ackles as Dean
Supernatural -- "Meta Fiction" -- Pictured (L-R): Tahmoh Penikett as Gadreel and Jensen Ackles as Dean
Diyah Pera/The CW, used with permission

The Tuesday, April 15 of "Supernatural," 918, "Meta Fiction," on the CW sees both the Winchesters and Metatron successfully trap someone from the opposing side. Plus, a very welcome familiar face shows up (but with a twist!) and our concern for Dean only grew.

"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."

Those words from Metatron begin the episode, as does a special title card. Castiel follows the call of a sigil, only to find angels dead and one alive to tell him about an angel offering a deal: join Metatron, fight for him and return to heaven, or slaughter. She's heard of him and is hoping, like other angels, that Castiel will be their leader, but while he wants to make Metatron pay, he refuses to be a leader. He sends a photo of the sigil to the Winchesters, and Sam discovers the same symbol at other crime scenes. Gadreel's in Utah, and there are two possible next stops, so the brothers are taking one while Castiel takes another.

Castiel is getting ready to leave his motel room when the TV turns on to Casa Erotica 14, and oh yes, it's everyone's favorite Trickster. Welcome back, Gabriel. But he's not just in the movie; he's also in Castiel's room, and he needs his help. "You can't take the trick out of the trickster," he says. He faked his own death and hid in Heaven, but then Christmas got ruined, so he hid out, watched "Downton Abbey" and used his power to get back into porn. Someone's been playing his horn, and now he wants Castiel's help to get the band back together and go on the Kill Metatron Tour.

The angels hit the road, with Gabriel giving a rundown of what he's seen and claiming that he doesn't want to run anymore. He wants to lead, and he's going to need soldiers. When they stop at a Gas-n-Sip, they run into trouble: minions of Metatron. Gabriel tries to send Castiel away while he holds them off. Does that all sound just a bit too good to be true? Yes, right? Well, that's because it is. Castiel notices that his coat isn't torn where it was earlier. Continuity errors, they'll get you every time. No, none of this is real. But is Gabriel dead? All we get is a wiggle of his eyebrows.

Castiel comes to in a chair across from where Metatron is typing away on his typewriter. "What makes a story work?" He asks the angel. He also helpfully gives Castiel knowledge of every book, movie and TV show he's consumed, so he shouldn't have a problem with pop culture references ever again. So what does he want with Castiel? See, there are two rules of writers' club: Steal from the best, and every hero needs a villain. The point of his story isn't whether angels can return to heaven ("no spoilers," Metatron warns). He did his homework and read Carver Edlund's books. Castiel needed to be taught a lesson, and no one does that better than Gabriel. Castiel is supposed to lead the angels and be the villain to Metatron's hero.

This is what happens when you become his favorite and the only angel with any spunk. Now, he has to follow the script, and while all his followers would die, Metatron's planning to save Castiel a seat up top. Oh, and to sweeten the deal, he'll give him an endless supply of rechargeable batteries since the stolen grace in him is going to burn him out. Yes, there are consequences to taking another angel's grace, and thankfully, it doesn't seem like that's something that's going to be pushed aside.

Meanwhile, Sam and Dean head to one of Gadreel's possible locations, only to find that the angel has already killed a kid in the town who helped them. They do successfully trap him in holy fire ("Remember me?" Sam asks) and chain him up, but Dean sends Sam to try to track down Castiel since he hasn't moved according to the GPS on his phone, leaving him with the angel – and he doesn't care if he talks. He just wants him to pay for what he did to Sam and Kevin.

Dean does a bit of slicing into Gadreel, who retaliates with some harsh words about Sam and Dean's relationship, essentially taking the harsh words Sam himself has already hurled at his brother to another level. When Dean makes a move to stab him, however, he realizes that the angel wants to die. He's not afraid of death; he's afraid of being left in those chains. Whatever Gadreel's end game, who else has loved Tahmoh Penikett in this role?

The Mark continues to affect Dean, even though he tries to deny it and insists he's fine. Those looks in the mirror, post-shower and mid-Gadreel interrogation, and the look as he's driving at the end pretty much say it all. Sam doesn't need Castiel to tell him to keep an eye on his brother to be worried, and this doesn't seem to be leading anywhere good for Dean. He may say it's just a "means to an end," but this is likely going to be one painful end. In fact, while we know that Dean's not going to kill Gadreel, we're not terribly surprised that the angel is quite bloody when Sam returns to tell Dean about Metatron's offer to trade angels.

They set a trap, but Metatron just has fun with it, blowing out the holy fire like candles on a birthday cake and easily freeing Gadreel from the car trunk. He's doing this "because I can," he explains, because while nothing can stop him, he's going to enjoy watching them try.

By the end of "Meta Fiction," it's time for Metatron to do some rewriting. (According to him, God's problem is that he published his first draft.) Sure, the Winchesters taking Gadreel was a twist, but he's just going to sit back and see where his characters lead him. He does know the ending; he just needs everyone to play their part. So as it ends, Castiel tears down the papers on his motel room walls. "Cas heads out to join his flock," Metatron types. "God watched over them. Smiling at His good works. To be continued…"

"Supernatural" season 9 airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of episode 18 "Meta Fiction"?

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