When I was a little girl, I couldn’t wait for bedtime—okay most of the time. No, it wasn’t because I wanted to go to sleep. It was because I knew that before that happened I’d have a bedtime story read to me by my dad. It was our bonding time—and it’s where I encountered my love for story. He’d read everything from a children’s book like The Little Kitten to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Each night, for about a half an hour, we’d spend time reading. By the time I was in preschool I already knew how to recognize the words and by first grade I was already dabbling in creating my own stories.
I’ve had an exciting love affair with story—but as I watched “Meta Fiction,” I found myself asking: why do we humans continue to tell stories? What is it about them that makes us come back for more? We tell them to expand our world. We tell them to understand ourselves and others. We tell them to touch something deep down inside of one another. We tell them to escape from the humdrum of the everyday. We tell them to inspire—and most importantly we tell them in order to shape the perspective we have of the world around us. It’s often said that the victors write our history, after all.
By creating a story world, we can perceive the real world around us in a totally new way. It’s one reason why this element of story and meta fiction is so heavy in the episode “Meta Fiction.” Story and its structure isn’t simply being exposed behind the curtain—it’s becoming a tangible entity within the fabric of the story. It is shaping its world—or at least that’s what Metatron hopes it’ll do. And yet, it’s not as concrete a tool as he would like to have—as there’s surprises he doesn’t expect along the way. It’s those surprises that will give the story its truth.
So, how does Metatron go about this? First, let’s look at Metatron as a character.
Meta is in his name—and thus it’s natural that he’d be drawn to the meta side of things in the Supernatural universe. When we first meet our Scribe, he seems to be a timid and skittish angel, hiding from the big bad world in the stories he’s accumulated over the centuries. He wants to consume as many stories as he can—and to do that Metatron has become quite the hermit. He even seems unaware of what has happened in the outside world—going as far as to claim he doesn’t know anything about the Winchesters or the averted Apocalypse. Metatron seems cut off from the reality going on around him as he sits in his comfy chair consuming every story he can find. Story is what he knows, and that’s why we see him view his world through it. To him, it’s a tool—and in “Meta Fiction” he’s elevated it to an actual weapon with devastating effects.
And yet, from the moment we meet Metatron, we notice that he’s lonely. He’s wary of his visitors in that first encounter, but he quickly starts to expound about the wonders of humanity, “But really… really, it was your storytelling. That is the true flower of free will. At least as you’ve mastered it so far. When you create stories, you become gods, of tiny, intricate dimensions unto themselves. So many worlds! I have read… as much as it’s possible for an angel to read, and I haven’t caught up.” It’s as if he hasn’t had anyone to talk to in so long that he’ll take the first person that he meets. We see this loneliness echoed again after we see Metatron confront Gadreel. He admits that his scheme to cast all the angels out from Heaven has had its side effects. He’s lonely up there—and it’s why he chooses to reach out to Gadreel and begin recruiting those he sees worthy of returning home.
The biggest call out to Metatron’s loneliness is evidenced by the song “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore,” by Frankie Valli. Loneliness is a key component of this ending scene as the Scribe sits down to write his “masterpiece” as we watch Castiel follow his script. It’s not uncommon for readers or viewers to consider characters of their favorite stories as “old friends,” and it would seem that Metatron’s friends are mostly fictional. He doesn’t speak about real friends when he makes references—he mentions fictional characters such as Sherlock Holmes or Inspector Gregory. Furthermore, Metatron is frustrated that someone like Castiel doesn’t grasp these fictional sign posts. It’s inconceivable to him that anyone would be without this background. In many ways, it would seem to Metatron that these figures are very real beings—as real as the cast of characters he’s now chosen to manipulate for his own gains.
In many ways, Metatron sees reality as fiction rather than confusing fiction for reality. He believes he can manipulate the world around him by writing its “script,” ensuring that he gets the outcome he seeks. If he can use his knowledge of story and how it “works,” he can then shape the world to his fitting—and he can become God quite literally. He won’t wait for fiction to come true—instead he’ll make it happen.
We see this first in how he manipulates Castiel. Here is the story within the story of “Meta Fiction.” We watch Castiel in the “real” Supernatural world, investigating Gadreel’s latest massacre where he tears his coat—much to the angel’s dismay. It’s a critical moment—and a testament to the unraveling of Metatron’s fictional reality. After he shares his information with the Winchesters, he witnesses his television turning on without any prompting to the highly “inappropriate” Casa Erotica 14. There, a familiar face makes a reappearance: Gabriel.
Gabriel makes a personal appearance then, telling Castiel that they must stop Metatron—and that they’re going on the “Kill Metatron Tour.” He’s there to teach Castiel a lesson. He wants his younger sibling to become the leader he knows him to be. He doesn’t just want him to lead, however. Gabriel wants Castiel to take on the mantle of leading the rebel angels specifically as he’s done so once before against Raphael. He knows that Castiel wants nothing to do with this burden, but he needs the angel to do it.
As they’re ambushed by some of Metatron’s followers, Gabriel tells him that he’ll hold them off long enough for Castiel to get away. After all, no sense in both of them dying if one of them can somehow live and fight anew. Castiel is hesitant to leave his newly returned brother. After all, he has so few family members that are willing to take his side.
Castiel reaches for his angel blade—only to find that his torn coat is whole once more. It tips him off that everything he’s shared with Gabriel is an illusion—a fabrication that makes him question everything they’ve done. Gabriel pleads with Castiel to just give Metatron a chance to tell his side of the story—to share what part Castiel will play in the grand script. If Castiel will only play his role—as Gabriel tried to teach Sam and Dean to do once upon a time—things will go according to the new plan.
Metatron has not only created his story—he’s plucked his cast straight from the reality in which he lives. We learn that the only reason Castiel knows about Gadreel’s killing sprees is because Metatron wrote it that way. He instructed Gadreel to leave one alive— “to tell the tale”—and thus get all his other “ducks in a row.”
That one left alive was Hannah. Her role was to tell the horror of what Gadreel had done to the angels that refused to join Metatron’s ranks. Her role was to convince Castiel that someone must stand up for the other angels—someone needs to be in opposition to Metatron’s growing power. Hannah is that one rallying figure for Castiel—one we know he’ll sympathize with as he sees the horrors wrought around her and to her.
Castiel plays right into the trap here—all his sympathy for Hannah evident in his gentle approach and his soft words. He heals her. He listens intently to what has happened—and he takes action immediately to find Gadreel and end the carnage as soon as possible. Hannah gave Castiel that focal point within Metatron’s play. She will be his reason to rally against him.
Gabriel was the second role Metatron cast—after all he needed a stronger character to convince Castiel of his role. He tells his captive audience in Castiel, “You needed to be taught a lesson and nobody teaches lessons better than good ol’ Gabriel aka the Trickster. So, I started typing.” Gabriel’s the one to sell the concept to Castiel that he is to be the leader—no matter how reluctant he may be. He’s the figure that will lead Castiel down the chosen path—pulling him towards the destiny Metatron has created for him.
But he’s not the only angelic role cast. He also cast Gadreel, the original chump. Gadreel was the draw for Castiel in the first place. Metatron knew that his second in command was wanted and by sending him out to enforce his new policy of joining or dying that he’d get Castiel—and by proxy Sam and Dean’s undivided attention. To Metatron—-despite all his pretty rally speeches about washing Gadreel’s name clean—Gadreel is a pawn to use at will. He’s an enforcer. He’s the brute strength to Metatron’s brains. Gadreel’s role in this is to do as he’s told—to be the good little solider that doesn’t question anything and helps set up the next plot twist. For Metatron, he can send Gadreel out to handle the dirty business while he concocts the next move.
Castiel has been cast to a very special role—that of villain. Metatron declares himself the hero—which makes sense as this is his story. He needs that counter balance to make his story work. It’s hard to have a story that has only one side and no conflict. Metatron needs conflict. He craves it. If he is to make reality into fiction then he knows that in order for that to happen he has to have opposition. He is merely taking matters into his own hands by hand picking who that will be—and thus he can control the narrative that he’s laying the ground work for. By choosing his opponent, he’ll be able to exploit their weaknesses and downplay their strengths. He’ll be the stronger character in the narrative—even if it’s only by a fraction to keep the conflict going. In the end, his plan is to emerge the heroic victor.
Sam and Dean play their own role, too. They’re there to help his chosen villain. They’re there to struggle against Metatron—only to be foiled again and again. Metatron takes great pleasure in showing them how unafraid he is of them. As they make the exchange—Gadreel for Castiel—Metatron gets trapped willing in a ring of holy fire. He then makes a grand production of being overwhelmed with pain only to laugh and taunt the Winchesters.
What he does next shows them just how he sees them—as too insignificant to consider threatening. He blows out the holy fire as one would birthday candles and erases all their wardings on the Impala—allowing Gadreel to walk free. He’s gotten Gadreel back—and so now he can truly tell Sam and Dean what he thinks of them. He says, “You and your little brother and your fine feathered friend and all those secrets you got locked away in your Bunker can’t stop me, but I am going to enjoy watching you try. It’s gonna be helluva show.”
Metatron has cast his story well—and each player has their strengths and weaknesses. It’s what will allow them to surprise him.
As Metatron and Gadreel talk in his office, Gadreel asks Metatron if his getting captured by Sam and Dean was part of his play. Metatron shakes his head and says, “That was a surprise.” He hadn’t counted on that element—that they would deviate in any way from what he was setting up. He tries hard to sell to Gadreel that this doesn’t bother him by saying, “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.”
It is these surprises that prove that his fiction might not become the reality he perceives it to be. He is trying desperately to make it happen—-and yet he doesn’t have the complete control he’d like others to believe he has. There’s so much that could go wrong. He says that he knows the ending—but does he really? It’s apparent that he’s not setting up to end up dead. That’s not his story by a long shot. Metatron wants to emerge from this victorious. He wants to end his tale with the loose ends wrapped neatly in a bow and the story ending happily—for him. It matters not how he gets there—just that he does.
And yet, these surprises show the fissures in that very concept. It starts with his failed attempt at using Gabriel to convince Castiel. We’re not sure how much of Gabriel here was illusion and how much of him was real—and yet it almost seems in some ways that Gabriel went “off script” at times. As Gabriel and Castiel ride in the car, he starts to expound upon the concept of free will. He tells Castiel that they’re different—that unlike the other angels they can handle that much better and they’d be the best to lead their brethren in learning how, too.
It’s very possible these lines were part of Metatron’s overall script—playing on Castiel’s weaknesses for humanity’s free will and his connections to Sam and Dean as they used it to avert the Apocalypse. Yet we have to wonder as we watch Gabriel look through the window almost with trepidation or fear after he says these things. It’s possible that Gabriel—if this was in any way the real Gabriel—was trying to teach Castiel a different lesson than the one scripted. We won’t know until we’ve seen the conclusion of Metatron’s story—or how well it succeeds or fails.
Gadreel, too, starts to show the stirrings of surprising Metatron. We see those beginnings when he is captured by the Winchesters. It wasn’t to the Scribe’s script—but that’s not the surprise here. Instead, we’re surprised by how he reacts to being held hostage yet again by Dean Winchester. This time, he’s facing the elder Winchester alone. It allows him to taunt Dean—calling upon the information he gleaned while in possession of Sam. No one can say more hurtful things than those closest to us, and so Gadreel digs deep, telling Dean, “He would not trade his life for yours,” and “Has he told you that he has always felt that way, that he thinks that you are just a scared little boy who’s afraid to be on his own because daddy never loved him enough, and he’s right isn’t he, right to think that you are a coward, a sad, clingy, needy, pathetic bottom feeder who cannot even take care of himself, who would rather drag everyone through the mud than be alone, who would let everyone around him die.”
This speech gets Gadreel the desired result—Dean nearly plunges the angel blade deep into his chest. On one hand, this might be because Gadreel would rather die than have the secret way back into Heaven tortured out of him—but as we look at the speech itself, we can tell that this isn’t about Sam and Dean’s current rocky relationship. Gadreel is speaking about himself. He sees himself as the scared little boy. He’s the one that’s killing everyone around him in order to please Metatron. He’s killing his siblings willingly—all in the hopes that he will be considered a hero at the end.
As Dean stops just short, realizing that Gadreel is afraid of being left alone to his thoughts in the chains, we, too, realize that Gadreel is afraid that in the end he may end up right where he started: Heaven’s prison. He’ll still be the greatest chump ever. When he returns to Metatron, the Scribe demands automatically, “Is the door secure?” Gadreel, irritated, retorts, “Yes the way home is safe.” He isn’t pleased that he was allowed to be captured by any means. The longer the two of them talk, the more we can see that Gadreel’s rethinking things. He’s no where near turning on Metatron yet, but that seed is planted. Metatron has said that things will work out as long as everyone plays their role.
It dawns on Gadreel then that he’s playing a role, too. He’s as much a chump now as he was when he let Lucifer into the Garden—a misguided act of love that he believes set humanity free. Here, he’s learning that his role is to kill and to maim. His role is to go out on dirty errands for Metatron—and it would seem that he’s starting to be unable to stomach it—even if it’s just a little.
Gadreel may play a bit of a wildcard in Metatron’s script. If he sticks to what’s been laid out for him, he’ll ensure that Metatron gets that much closer to his proper ending. If he doesn’t—if he ends up being a surprise and creating a plot twist—such as telling the Winchesters or Castiel where this secret door to Heaven is—-he could cause Metatron’s story to come crashing down like a house of cards.
In the end of the episode, we see Castiel seem to play right into Metatron’s script. He uses the Horn of Gabriel to summon those who have pledged to follow him. He will lead them against their foe—the disenfranchised angels that Metatron vows will all die. But we’re left to wonder what surprises Castiel may have for the story. Certainly, he’s not going to stand back and let Metatron run roughshod over everyone’s free will by scripting things utterly.
Did he learn a different lesson from Gabriel than Metatron intended? What type of free will moves will he make with his followers to cast off the story being structured for him? Castiel may be an angel, but he’s also had time as a human with the free will that comes with it. What lessons did that imbue him with? There’s no doubt that Castiel will surprise Metatron—-and not to the Scribe’s liking.
Yet, Metatron’s greatest threat is the one he dismissed so easily: the Winchesters themselves. He sees them as weak humans—too busy with their own issues and dealing with the likes of Abaddon to stand much of a fight against him. To him, they’re not important to his end game. They can’t possibly do anything to ruin his story.
Sam and Dean are certainly shaken by what Metatron can do. Sam says, “Play God? Cas, he erased angel warding. He frickin’ blew out holy fire. He is God.”
It’s clear that Sam and Dean don’t dance to Metatron’s tune—no matter walking into the exchange and ending up rattled. The fact that they could take an action that surprised Metatron proves that they can and will do things he cannot predict. They weren’t supposed to interfere with Gadreel—let alone capture him. They weren’t supposed to torture him. Since he knows the secret back way—something Metatron wants to protect—it was alarming for the Scribe to learn that they had captured him.
His underestimating them also proves that he doesn’t see the true story being told—and it is not his. He’s missing the whole point of it. He’s not the hero. He’s not God. He’s not in control of Sam and Dean—no matter the power display he put on. He told the Winchesters once that stories were the greatest expression of free will that humanity has—and it is this that exposes the true story. Story isn’t about him or for him—it’s for humanity and about humanity.
No matter his bluster and blowing off what Sam and Dean did, it means that they can do something to stop him. Metatron’s not as powerful as he’d like those around him to believe. There’s a weakness—be it the back way to Heaven or something else—and all the Winchesters have to do is find it and exploit it. Because Metatron’s already written them off as minor characters—the humans struggling in their secret Bunker—he won’t see how they beat him coming.
Much like Sam and Dean beating the Apocalypse, it will be down to their free will to beat Metatron—and for humanity that’s a good thing.
Tahmoh Penikett takes over the role of Gadreel completely and makes him his own. From the moment we see him in the head shop, we can see the remnants of Padalecki’s portrayal of the character, and yet he’s added his subtle touches in body language and vocal tone. When Gadreel is finally caught, that’s when Penikett truly starts to mold him. We can see that there’s great vulnerability under his cruelty—right from the moment he’s chained down and taunting the brothers. He’s on the offensive only to deflect—and yet we can see right through it all due to Penikett’s performance. He also makes sure that we can see that Gadreel believes he did the right thing all those years ago—at least for the right reasons. There’s conviction in the delivery of the line, “I loved humanity.” And yet, as we see him confronted by Dean, trying to goad him, we see through that, too. His speech trying to anger Dean wasn’t about the brothers. It was about Gadreel himself. For a brief instance, as we see Gadreel left alone to stew, we feel sympathy, and yet we know he hasn’t come close to being forgiven. There’s far too much water under the bridge—too much deception. We can’t forget that he’s still a serpent, and yet there’s anguish in Penikett’s expression as we see Gadreel tied to that chair. Penikett conveys a change of heart almost—beginning with the look that Gadreel and Sam share at the exchange. Gadreel chose to sign on with Metatron to no longer be a “chump,” and yet we can see in that final scene back at Metatron’s lair that Gadreel’s starting to question. He realizes he’s as much of a puppet here as he was to Lucifer, and Penikett shows that in how he delivers his lines and how he carries himself—particularly the line, “The way home is safe.” As he walks out of the room, we’re left to wonder just what Gadreel will do next—will he play his assigned role?
Curtis Armstrong makes Metatron the villain we all love to hate. He’s pompous, cruel, capricious, and manipulative in “Meta Fiction,” laying before us his grand scheme to move everyone into his masterpiece story. Armstrong shows us that Metatron has charm—hence why he’s able to fool people on first glance—but under that veneer is a twisted angel bent on domination as the new God. He conveys all of Metatron’s glee and pride when he finally exposes what he’s done to Castiel—and becomes a braggart when he lays out his vision for Castiel’s next move. It’s clear that the former hermit has learned well how to amuse himself, evidenced by how he laughs at Castiel. Neither we or Castiel find his story all that amusing—or agree with Metatron that he’s the hero. Armstrong makes certain that we can see that Metatron has become a bigger egomaniac than ever before, especially when we see him make the exchange to get Gadreel back from the Winchesters. He’s over the top as he pretends the holy fire hurts him before gleefully blowing it out and opening the Impala’s trunk to blatantly erase the warding painted on its inside. In that final scene as Metatron talks about the characters and twists surprising the writer, we realize that while he knows the ending, he doesn’t know if it’ll necessarily go as planned. He’s not as in control as he’d like everyone to believe. It’s a small fissure that Armstrong shows, especially in how he sits at the typewriter, delivering the line, “You’ve got to get all your ducks in a row.” Now that he’s made his big moves to push his story along, it’ll be interesting to see how Metatron’s story unfolds—and how Armstrong shows it to us.
Richard Speight Jr. makes a stunning appearance in “Meta Fiction,” reprising the loveable and unforgettable Gabriel. There’s a bittersweet joy in his performance as we see him first appear in the porno, bringing him back as he had exited in season five. There’s a brilliant mix of comedy and drama in the character, and Speight Jr. captures all of it brilliantly, balancing both seamlessly. From the moment he appears behind Castiel, we can tell that he’s serious and driven to stop Metatron. That doesn’t mean, however, that he doesn’t get his quips in or have fun. Speight Jr. knows how to tease out the nuances of this character—only seen in four episodes prior—and make him as memorable as ever. It shows best in the car ride when he snaps at Castiel for talking and driving—Speight Jr.’s touch of “precious cargo” being a great way for him to snag the phone and record a stunning message straight to Sam and Dean. This is a mix of the Trickster and Gabriel in this performance—we can tell that he’s here to teach Castiel a lesson and yet he’s also facing his family head on, something he was doing before he was killed by Lucifer. Speight Jr. also knows how to give us tells that reveal to us that Gabriel may not be as real as we had hoped. There’s something that seems different about the Trickster Angel—something that tells us that he’s in a created universe with Castiel—and that he’s a player on the stage alongside. His pleas with Castiel to run almost seemed forced a bit, as if he’s playing his role as he had once tried to convince Sam and Dean to do once upon a time. After the big reveal, Speight Jr. shows all of Gabriel’s chagrin at being found out as a fake—all because of a torn coat. He plays up the humor here, all while showing how bittersweet it is to have the mask pulled away to reveal the farce. He throws in his signature snap to end the fake assault—and as he admits that he doesn’t know the whole script being laid out before them, we see him tease the audience with the waggle of his brows before he disappears and Castiel wakes up. Perhaps this may not be the last time we see the ever popular Trickster Archangel—with Supernatural, one never knows!
Misha Collins, after his debut behind the camera, returns to the screen as Castiel. We see how his brush with humanity continues to shape him as he wanders into the scene, drawn by the angel summons. As Castiel approaches Hannah, we see Collins make the angel’s defensive move less threatening and more about necessity. He puts patience into Castiel as he listens to what Hannah has to say—showing the empathy he’s learned as a human well here. Collins also captures all of the awkwardness and charm when we see him call Sam and Dean and juggle the phone to send the photo of the symbol used to summon the angels. The added touches to the gesture don’t push the story along, but it makes the angel all the more endearing for it. As we see him turn towards the TV and see Casa Erotica begin, we see Collins add deadpan humor with his comment, “That’s inappropriate.” It’s all in how he says it here. Once he’s with Gabriel, we see Collins blend well with Speight Jr. Their chemistry makes their scenes all the stronger—as Speight Jr. uses all of Gabriel’s pop culture references and charm to add flair, we see Collins remain the ever stiff and aloof Castiel—-all save for some subtle differences. We can tell that Castiel is pained by seeing Gabriel, not sure if he should believe what’s happening as much as he wants to. The hug that these two angels share here seems all the more human—and all the more real, despite the fact that this is all a ruse. There’s a grieved edge to his voice as he talks with the archangel turned Trickster—and we see this most when he reveals the truth by stabbing his brother in the stomach with his blade. Once Castiel awakens in Metatron’s lair, we see Collins shift his performance. He’s wary and angry—and while he isn’t allowed to speak at first, we can tell that there’s no love lost between Metatron and Castiel. Collins shows us that Castiel is hesitant to take anything Metatron says at face value—after learning that lesson the hard way—all by how he asks the questions to keep Metatron talking. As he’s forced to listen to Metatron’s ramblings, we can see Castiel seethe just in how Collins sits and by his facial expressions. He knows he’s in precarious situation, but he won’t help Metatron again. As we see Castiel reunited with the Winchesters, Collins shows us that little escapes Castiel—particularly when it comes to Sam or Dean. The way he grips Dean’s arm after Dean pats him on the shoulder conveys so much. Collins adds his stony expression to complete the gesture—forcing Dean to reveal the Mark of Cain much to Castiel’s dismay. We see just how much humanity has changed Castiel by how he softly asks Sam to keep an eye on Dean. As he prepares to lead his army—even though he knows that’s what Metatron’s planned all along—we see a confidence in learning the lesson Gabriel was meant to teach—and not the one Metatron wanted Castiel to learn. It’s all in how Collins has Castiel approach his new followers. How Castiel will try to change Metatron’s script remains to be seen—but Collins will certainly make it an interesting ride.
Jensen Ackles tells us so much about Dean in this episode. It starts from the moment we see the elder Winchester in the shower. We can tell, more than ever, that the Mark of Cain is beginning to take its toll—all in this brief moment. Ackles conveys this brilliantly with his facial expression. There’s fear, sorrow, hunger, and oh so much more in that simple gesture of running his hands over his hair and his eyes capturing the mirror. As we see Dean join Sam to talk about their Abaddon search, we see him become gruff and closed off about revealing how he’s feeling. It’s classic Dean avoidance—and yet Ackles makes it all the more emotional here by how he answers curtly and how his gaze shifts. As the brothers talk to Castiel over the phone, we see Dean do so again with his angel friend. As they track Gadreel down—and Dean’s left with the angel that lied and possessed his brother, Ackles turns up his performance brilliantly. He tries to keep his hurt at Gadreel’s taunts close to his vest—and while he’s right that Sam’s already said some of the things Gadreel’s saying—it doesn’t mean they don’t hurt. And yet, Ackles also shows us that Dean’s not necessarily taking this conversation at face value. Just when we think Dean is going to end Gadreel for good, we see him pull up just short. Ackles puts a lot into that one gesture, the restraint we weren’t sure he still had—considering the Mark of Cain’s growing effects. It would seem that also ate at Dean as we see Ackles mirror the shower scene as he stands in front of the bathroom mirror, wiping away the condensation. He doesn’t have to say a word here to convey what’s happening to the elder Winchester. We can tell that he almost crossed that line—went down into the darkness that is swirling around him more and more. The fear is etched in his eyes. Ackles continues that as we see Sam come across him and the unconscious Gadreel. His knuckles are bloody from beating the angel, and we can tell that this action has done nothing to soothe the growing anger inside. His answers to Sam are gruffer, too. As they make the exchange and after Castiel is returned, Ackles shows that Dean will try to hide not only from Sam but from Castiel, brushing off the angel’s concern and dismay by hastily exiting into the car. Now that the Mark has truly taken hold, it’ll be an emotional roller-coaster ride to the end of the season for Dean—and Ackles will take us the whole way.
Jared Padalecki shows us a concerned Sam well in “Meta Fiction.” We begin with the brothers feverishly working on the Abaddon search—and while they’ve come up short for now, we can tell that having a direction and purpose has allowed Sam to gain focus. As they are called out on the hunt to nab Gadreel, we see in Padalecki’s expression that Sam’s eager to meet his one time co-pilot face to face. As they set the trap for the serpent, Padalecki shows us that Sam’s a much better actor than “The French Mistake” would have us believe. He lures Gadreel right where he wants him, all the while making even us wonder if perhaps Sam hasn’t spotted Gadreel lurking in the shadows. Once we see him stand face to face with the serpent angel, we see all the righteous anger etch itself across Sam’s face—along with the hurt and anguish at what was done to him. The anger cuts deep in the way Padalecki delivers the line, “Remember me!” We see Sam loose his anger on the tethered Gadreel, punching him brutally. As he’s sent off to find Castiel, we see Padalecki shift gears, showing concern for their angel friend as he finds Castiel’s abandoned phone. As he’s confronted by Metatron, we see that same anger rise in Sam, and Padalecki makes the younger Winchester seem a much more deadly force in the room than the prideful Metatron. However, once we see them make the exchange and how Metatron can simply wipe away anything they use to trap him, we see Padalecki show Sam’s fear well. Where he shines best, however, is in his scenes with Ackles. We see Padalecki show all of Sam’s concern and love for Dean as the role reversal continues. It’s in how he delivers the lines asking Dean how he is and the simple looks he gives Dean. Much like Ackles, Padalecki doesn’t have to use words to convey how Sam feels about Dean in this episode. We can see all the fear, the concern, and most importantly the love he feels for his older brother. He’s worried about Dean—and rightly so. We see it best in the scene where Castiel asks Sam to keep an eye on Dean—and as he glances towards him, Padalecki shows us that Sam’s fear has increased all the more now that Castiel’s just as worried. As the brothers drive away, we see Sam glance towards his brother—and Padalecki tells us just with his expression how frightened Sam now is. How that will play out the remainder of the season remains to be seen.
Best Lines of the Week:
Gabriel: After it was raining winged men, hallelujah?
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.
Dean: Word around the campfire is you let the snake into the Garden. Ruined it for all of humanity.
Gabriel: Bitch, please. You’ve been God more often than dad has.
Gabriel: I used most of my juice to get back into porn. That came out wrong. So did that!
Sam: You wanna sneak up on the Death Star and take out the Emperor.
Sam: Remember me!
Looks like Sam and Dean will have to tangle with a vampire nest next week—and perhaps go toe to toe with Jody Mills?