“What makes a story work?”  Good question.  It’s one that I’m not sure I can answer at this time, and the real question is, should I have to?  

"Meta Fiction" was a great story, and it’s about time there was even a small amount of movement in the angel arc, but I personally found it to be a smoke screen for a larger problem that’s been plaguing most of season nine.  What is the real story here?  The episode raised some brilliant philosophical questions over who makes the story work, the writer or the viewer, but are these the type of questions we should be dealing with in episode 18 of a season?  Shouldn’t we be buzzing instead over the mytharc and the mind blowing twists that are pushing us toward an explosive conclusion?  

I really liked “Meta Fiction” as a standalone story, but sadly I think the episode has exposed in glaring fashion the overall weaknesses of season nine.  Before I explore that point further (and I will), why don’t I get a moment of squee out of the way.  Ahem.  

GABRIEL!!!!  OH MAN, DID I MISS YOU!!!!  

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Many of you know how positively bitter I still am over that atrocity known as “Hammer of the Gods.”  I know Gabriel wasn’t real in this episode, but they left the door open that he could be!  I loved the little things, like Gabriel calling Castiel, “Columbo.”  Or how about this brilliant line, “You’ve been God more often than Dad has.”  Gabe and Castiel even hugged!  But I really loved how the whole “trick” was ruined by the torn lining of Castiel’s jacket.  It was ruined by a “thread.”  It’s a plot thread!  Too clever.  

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Yes, I know, Gabriel wasn’t really his true self and something seemed off but I didn’t care.  I’ve met Richard Speight Jr. many times at cons and even got to interview him at Comic Con last year, and to have him back on the set had to be the biggest thrill imaginable for everyone.  Well done Robbie Thompson for finding a way to bring Gabriel back into our lives in a manner that was plausible.  Also well done for giving Gabe some incredible dialogue, even if it wasn’t him.  I love though that Castiel asked the question that was on all our minds, is he still alive?  The eyebrow raise was priceless, and classic Trickster.  I’m sticking with my denial, Gabriel lives!!!     

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As for Sam and Dean’s saga, the very bad effects of the Mark of Cain on Dean were haunting in this episode and so well portrayed by Jensen.  He scared us all (yes, even that most delightful shower scene was an angsty shower).  He’s not totally out of control, but he’s super close.  The very worried look on Sam’s face in the Impala too adds some nice foreshadowing to the situation.  Dean is a time bomb who will be going off soon, no doubt about it.   

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I was okay with Sam and Dean taking a back seat to the Castiel story this episode, a story that has been woefully under told so far this season.  The truth is there are wayward angels out there that need a leader and the reason Castiel stepped up, because he’s defying Metatron or because he made a deal with Metatron, doesn’t matter.  Castiel is a resilient angel that won’t go down without a fight.  He has too much of a conscience to betray others.  

I would have been very disappointed if we found out that there wasn’t consequences to stealing another angel’s grace.  So it’s going to burn up Castiel eventually?  Good to know.  That is interesting foreshadowing since we don’t know if Misha is going to be part of season 10 or not.  I was hoping there would be some physical signs that Castiel is having issues, but given his lack of screen time, it would have probably taken away from the goodness we did get.  

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I do wish a bit more time was given between Sam, Dean and Castiel over the Mark of Cain thing.  Just a bit more dialogue of warning, something that made the consequences of what he’s done that more dire.  Castiel surely has some better perspective over what the Mark of Cain will do to Dean.  Why isn’t he warning them?   The slow reveals and dragging plots this season has been somewhat maddening, and that’s where I segue into how the Metatron story this week raised a big issue with season nine.    

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“What makes the story work?  Is it the plot, the characters, the text, the subtext, and who gives the story meaning?  Is it the writer, or you?  Tonight I thought I’d tell you a little story, and let you decide.”  

The setup of the end of season eight delivered promises (or at least hopes) of a very rich storyline for season nine, one which angels roamed the earth and Heaven was closed for business.  It also raised Sam and Dean’s relationship to a new level, because they chose each other over all else, including closing the gates of Hell (which as we’ve learned from Heaven’s predicament would have probably been a big mistake).  The setup was there, and we were ready for an explosive season.  

The mind-blowing setup from “Sacrifice” hasn’t delivered on it’s promises and by episode 18 that’s leaving a bitter taste, as well as a lack of incentive to be watching every week. The sparse appearance of Castiel and his role in the story this season has been a major disappointment, and it’s an extension of the big complaints among fans with Sam and Dean’s strange rift as well.    

Ah, but those very complaints are exactly what Robbie Thompson hoped to address by making Metatron the writer of the story.  Who gives the story meaning?  Is it really supposed to be me instead of Robbie and all the other writers? Is the story falling short because of my lack of perception and open-mindedness?  Is it my failure to accept their story, which sometimes comes without regard to the canon and continuity that came before it, or theirs? 

It’s an interesting conundrum and in order to attempt an answer I have to fall back to my simpler roots, the one of a fan.  What brought me to this show?  Why did I fall in love?  I always know that answer.  Because it’s a compelling family drama about two brothers hunting evil to the backdrop of the great American road trip.  That is the simplest form.  Sure other wonderful and enjoyable characters have come along to play major roles in that landscape (Bobby, Castiel, Crowley among countless others), but at the core, it all revolves around the brothers.  The problem is, what happens to a long time, very loyal fan when the question, “What makes a good story?” is answered and it doesn’t gel with enjoyment?  

I get it, you can’t please every fan.  There are so many factions out there that want their story/ship served that they don’t understand when the writers go in another direction.  A lot of us yearn for what we once had, not what’s coming.  Robbie’s message here is they know the ending.  The story always changes, certain characters become front and center, but it will all lead to the same result.  It’s up to us to determine if it’s a good story or not.  We should be sitting back and enjoying the ride. 

Some fans always want Sam and Dean front and center every week.  Other fans want more Castiel, and a certain pairing that I won’t address for fear of getting a verbal smackdown.  Sam fans want Sam to have a stronger story.  Dean fans want Dean to have a better story (although maybe not this season).  Crowley fans want Crowley every week.  Me, I just want a story that moves.  One that doesn’t stall every week by making us address these philosophical questions rather than absorbing intricate plot twists.  In other words, “Meta Fiction” has turned out to be one brilliantly constructed smoke screen.

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How are we supposed to take that Metatron decided he was re-writing the story?  He wrote himself as the hero, Castiel the villain.  Sam and Dean are bad too, which is why Metatron was able to stage his hero’s rescue of his faithful servant Gadreel.  He was able to blow out the fire in the circle and remove the warding, just like a good hero would.  It was cute, it was fun, and all it managed to do is move what should be a very explosive story forward at a snails pace.  While the main characters are shocked that Gadreel is Metatron’s right hand man, we’ve known that for around 9 episodes.  The reveal was...underwhelming.  

If you really look at it, not a lot has happened in this angel storyline since the season premiere.  Not a lot has happened with Sam and Dean’s “choosing of each other” (or the “you lied to me” conflict that followed).  Not a lot has happened with this Mark of Cain business.  Little nuggets are thrown at us then the stories become circular each week, ending with another brotherly argument or a reminder of stuff we already know.  It’s as if the writers want to save everything for the last few episodes, aka the “shocking” ending.  Which could possibly be invalidated by next season, just like it has been this season.   

For me, it’s not a matter anymore of perception.  It’s trust.  Have the writers earned our trust?  Are they telling the kind of stories that we as fans want to see?  There was some good setup in “Meta Fiction,” but that also came with a preview for a standard MOTW episode next week.  We know episode 20 is the “Bloodlines” back door pilot, which only leaves the last 3 episodes to bring any traction to this season’s story line.  I’m sorry, but what is that story line again?  Angels fell, blah, blah, blah, something, something?  There’s still hope that Jeremy Carver will pull it all together in the season finale, just like he did last season with the afore mentioned episode, but how can we accept a season with two episodes of amazing story followed by 21 episodes of filler and stalling?

I’ll tell you my big take away from “Meta Fiction.”  For the first time since I started watching this show I’m asking, “What’s this show about again?”  Is that good or bad?  The fact remains that unless I have interest in the story, it’s not working for me.  I want to feel that energy, that excitement, that heart again that was in the earlier seasons.  So yes, that could be my fault, I’m not making the most out of their story.  I should probably by this point be taking the attitude that as long as Sam and Dean (plus Cas, who I love) are on my screen every week, I should shut up and be happy.  The trouble is we’re in season nine of this show and there were plenty of seasons before this where I didn’t have this dilemma in episode 18 of the season.  In all those other seasons (except seven), I was pretty stoked about what was happening.  

The mere fact that “Meta Fiction” raised this issue tells me the writers are struggling to maintain a full season of entertainment and don’t want to be told by fans how to do their jobs.  Fair enough, that is their right.  I don’t want to be told though that I’m wrong because I think the season is boring and isn’t delivering stories with any kind of flow or respect for continuity, not to mention all the lost potential.  We’ll call “Meta Fiction” a draw in the terms of audience vs. writers, but next time why don’t we skip the lectures and focus on a kick ass story?  That would be a win for us all.

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But hey, I’m just one person with an opinion and hardly an authority.  What do you all think?  




Comments  

Amyh
# Amyh 2014-04-19 12:14
I'm thoroughly tired of the real stories being told off screen. SAm should bge getting some POV. His fears and concerns for Dean should be backed up by the writers instead of his lines as per Robbie via his tweets cutting his llines because JAred an amazing actor who can express his concern via his body language/expres sions. Where is Sams scenes talking to Cas or another charectotr telling the viewers how deep his concern is....conflicte d with his own feelings of betrayal? Dean got those scenes when Sam was going through his acrs in s4.

The writers need to take responsibility for the story. Take responsibility for telling us about all the charectors and not just their two favorites: Dean adn Cas. Whihc ironically they arn't even telling telling very well.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-04-22 02:05
well said
wendigo
# wendigo 2014-04-19 12:49
I'm done with Supernatural. I'm pretending it got cancelled after season 3 before all this meandering angel crap strangled the life out of the show. Pardon me for wanting a show that gives a crap about its own continuity. I mean, hell, if the writers don't care about canon, why should I care what's happening on the show?

I used to be just... frustrated with the show, but I still cared, so I still watched. But now? It's the same thing I went through with House, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy... it's gotten so bad, with no hope of improvement, that I just don't care anymore. The writers seem content to stall, to retread old conflicts (oh look. Sam and Dean are fighting and lying to each other. again. oh look, daddy issues that were dealt with back in season 5. oh look, Sam behaving incomprehensibl y because the writers need him to be a plot device instead of a character. oh look, someone dies and I don't even care because they'll come back after enough people complain).

I'm sorry to be so negative. If you're still enjoying the show, good for you. You're made of sterner stuff than I. But it feels like everything that sold me on Supernatural has been stripped away, and what's left is a show I don't even recognize.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-04-19 13:01
Hi Alice! I have to agree with you on much of what you have said here. I fall a little more on the 'still love the show' side but it isn't the same type of love I used to feel for it. Like a long-time marriage in a way. I am not at all close to a divorce yet but the excitement and anticipation just isn't the same. The commitment I developed early on will carry me to the end. This show still has many moments of brilliance. The actors, crew, showrunners are all still giving it their best efforts and are so proud of the show that I hate to complain at all. I think it has lost it's way a little since the departure of Kripke but it is still well worth watching (for me, I mean, but I respect others feel differently) and so much better than a lot of the dreck that is on TV. Like the long time marriage- 9 TV years is equivalent to 50 marriage years (OK I made that up:)) -I am trying to overlook the negatives and remember the best times and hope we can find our way back to those feelings again because I can't imagine not having this relationship in my life.

I was very disappointed that instead of building on Sacrifice they blew it all up in the first few episodes of this season. I am interested in where this is going but am so very fatigued at the serious brother conflicts. Until they can fix the foundation of the show in that way I will never be able to be as invested as I once was.

Thanks Alice for making me analyze how I feel about the show a little more.

Edit to say: I actually liked this episode. It did perplexed me a little :). I just got so lost in reminiscing about how the show used to be that I forgot to mention that!
htbrown07
# htbrown07 2014-04-19 13:13
I am wondering if the slow plot movement means that it will likely carry over into season 10. If we are mirroring seasons 4 & 5, then season 9 would show dean's fall due to the Mark of Cain, and season 10 would be about his redemption. I'm also expecting a big cliffhanger about Cass by the finale since everyone is being tight-lipped about Misha's returning. I am a new fan this season, thanks to Netflix, so I haven't burnt out yet on the story lines and plot movement yet. I'm enjoying the season, but I want the boys to reconcile soon. Please!!!
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-04-19 13:15
Alice

You raise some interesting points; I'm a relative newbie compared to many of the long timers (note - I did not use the word old) that post here. My view on this goes back to the conversation Castiel and Sam had about PB&J sandwiches, molecules, and the sum of its parts. I've enjoyed S9, and in your polls, have given most episodes an 8 or a 7. However, the book is still out as to the sum of Season 9's parts. They've had a lot of balls in the air, so to speak, but have had trouble moving some of the storylines ahead in a coherent or consistent fashion. I understand how SPN seasons are constructed, with everything being pulled together in the last couple of episodes of the season. I also realize there are budgetary constraints, and a long term vision by the show runners, that dictate how fast these stories can be moved forward, but in early seasons IMO they did a better job of keeping storylines and arcs percolating in the background, or even having the MOTW episodes tie in to the arc. Not saying they haven't done some of this in S9, but it's been done much better in the past.

And, just as in last season with the Trials putting Sam front and center, they had a "what to do with Dean" problem during the second half of S8. This season, with the MoC and Dean, they have the same problem with Sam, exacerbated by the fact that the show is told primarily from Dean's POV. In earlier seasons, particularly S4 and S5, they did a better job of keeping both of the brothers engaged in the story.

If I can make one other observation, it is that the writers, or show runners, at times spend too much time worried about placating fans that want to see old characters come back. Whether it's Bobby, Gabriel, Balthazar, Jody, Charlie, Garth, etc. I don't mind this if it serves the story, or is done in a clever manner as it was with Bobby in 9.01 and in this episode with Gabriel, but they're in danger of using this gimmick too often, or otherwise taking away from what the show is all about; two brothers hunting things, saving people... the family business.

All of this being said I'm still a happy fan and am cautiously optimistic that Jeremy Carver can pull this altogether by the end of the season.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-04-19 13:43
I actually enjoyed this episode very much. It seems to me the writers are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Maybe there is a little too much trying to please everyone this season but I do see why we traveled the path we have to get here. I understand why there needed to be conflict in order to get Dean where he is now. The only thing that could have made him do what he has done would have been hurting Sam (and Kevin) to the point where Dean feels he has nothing to lose anymore. I do agree that the angel storyline was dropped for too long. But I for one was happy with the story in the last episode. This show doesn't seem to be able to please everyone all of the time even though the writers, actors etc. try very hard to put out what I am sure they feel is an enjoyable product. Maybe some fans were disappointed with the angel storyline but I always thought the main arc for this season was going to be Dean going darkside. Anyway I am still enjoying the show and I still plan my Tuesday evenings around it.
Daisymae
# Daisymae 2014-04-19 14:25
I have never complained before (but this is still my favorite show of all time) but this season it seems there are too many cooks and no chef. There's a little of this and that but what will the finished product be? Each ingredient or story is good be it Cass and the angels, Sam and Dean's relationship etc. The problem is you have to do something with the stories and not leave them floundering on the stove getting stale. I agree with what you say. Alice. Let's have more about the Mark and Sam's anger-which seems to have disappeared. And what the heck is Crowley planning for Dean? He's definitely up to something. Actually, the Crowley story is the best fleshed out. I think this season there are more stories than usual and the finale is going to be a little too crowded this May. This year is like talking to someone who keeps answering their cell phone and never finishing the conversation, extremely annoying. I think they may not end all the stories and continue into Season 10. Maybe.
Sharon
# Sharon 2014-04-19 14:56
Interesting questions Alice The show went somewhere at the begining of the season with Sam's possession I feel it has never followed through on for Sam instead making it about Dean. I think the meta episodes can be good and can be unnecessary and I felt this one was unnecessary but that is just me .As I said on Sofia's review I thought it was ok but I was not jumping up and down .
lacysos
# lacysos 2014-04-19 15:33
At the end of this episode I felt depressed and deflated. Was it simply due to lack of Sam/POV? It felt like a huge dose of fan service and I didn't get any. Which also tells me that whatever payoff I was expecting, just vanished.

I fell in love with Sam Winchester in the pilot, but the real hook was the brother's talks. Now the brothers aren't talking and Sam's been thrown off the bus (me with him).

When Sam was in trouble we "heard" what Dean was thinking. Admittedly, as the "child" in their parent/child relationship I never expected Sam to be as authoritative and heavy-handed as Dean was with him, but silence? But then again who is Sam going to talk to if not Dean. He's never had any friends of his own. Bobby's dead. So nothing but isolation and silence in Sam's future? To add insult to injury, Sam's one POV line was cut while Gadreel put words in his mouth. I know Dean seemed to get that Gad was just pushing his buttons, but does anyone believe Dean will let that go? Not the Dean I know.

The whole season feels disjointed and different. Just when we were getting some traction on the MoC (which I find fascinating) suddenly we stop again to "set up" yet another angel war faction. Not looking forward to another three week delay to get back to the meat in any of these stories.

IMO this was the writers saying we've heard you. Here's a little fan service. Now we're going to take this story wherever we want it to go (as it should be). We know the ending and you don't.

I had read somewhere a while back that some fans are not going to like where the show is going. That could be me. I can stay or go.
Lilah_Kane
# Lilah_Kane 2014-04-19 15:42
"What makes a story work" That is a good question. I think the story works individually. You can't please all.

It seems I am one of the happy ones because I like season 9. Have done so also to seasons 1-8 because even if I have my own thoughts about the matter I don't turn it against the series I like and love to watch. What ever they give is a story. There is something new, something old, something borrowed and something blue. That is the way it goes.

Would I have wanted to see more this and that? Maybe, You betcha. But it doesn't change the fact I can hardly hold still because how they have done it and waiting to see how they end it. And that brings me to one thing. Because how I enjoy the series it hurts me to see some posts. So I have decided hand in hand not let the negativity affect me at all. You don't like the series anymore? There is a clear solution to that. I rather give positivity forward as I know there are people that want to be as exited and like the show still as I am.

Sure, I have some negative opinions but why would I put them forward so hard to those that enjoy something? Even to those that like to hammer their disappointment and bad feels to others about where the series is now, there must have been some good in an episode even if it's a tiny one. Why not say about that one thing and just leave the bigger part go?

Nice review Alice and I like that you put your ups and downs on it. I wish everyone could watch the series as I can but people are different. I wasn't sure if I would comment though as I want to sound as neutral as I can and give the opinion about people that still are jumping up and down and might get trampeled by facebook, twitter and other stuff they read.

And continuing from that. I wish there had been more about MoC, Gadreel and questions answered but I loved everything else and I can't have all.

Peace. :)

- Lilah
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2014-04-19 16:30
I second you on this Lilah.

I'm disappointed in the season for the same reason, but different a different reason. I'm really into the story this season. I like it it when the Myth-arc is personal for the brothers and I think the writers did a great job in bringing it home to them this season in a way that was lacking in season six and seven and a little shaky in eight. I've liked a lot of the individual episodes, too. In every season there's one episode I absolutely love and one I totally hate and this season is no different. I loved that Dean has an arc, that Sam gets to play an angel and step into Deans shoes, and that Cas has got his mojo back even if it's not his own. I've also totally fallen in love with Crowley this season, a character I once had a take it or leave it attitude for.

My biggest complaint though, is that I want the story to move faster. The various hiatuses, hiati? Started to really get on my last fricking nerve. I love this seasons storylines but I'm impatient for them to get on with it so for me pacing is the key. There have been a couple of filler episodes that we could have done without, even if I thoroughly enjoyed them. (I don't see how Dean being able to speak Dog plays into the mytharc.) I have felt very much like the writers are just teasing and stalling us all season.

I'm about ready to revolt or tear my hair out or something. No more hiatuses! No more Filler episodes even if they are deeply ,deeply funny!
Seriously, right after the last minute of the finale, I plan to go on a bender or a ten hour nap, that's how anxious aim for all this.
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2014-04-19 21:24
Totally agree with you Ikeke35! I wish they'd taken out a few of the filler eps and done more the the mytharc with the brothers, Cas and the angels situation and the Mark of Cain. Seasons 4 and 5 did a good job of keeping the main stories going while still giving us a few filler eps to break the tension. There seems to be too many filler eps that totally ignore everything else and even though I know that the last three eps are focusing on the mytharc it just seems like they haven't done enough in the meantime to acknowledge the main stories and I'm afraid the last episodes are going to jam what should have been more spread out over the course of the season into the last three. I'm not really counting The First Blade and Mother's Little Helper in the filler eps category because they both delved into the Men of Letters backstory, Abaddon's backstory and what she's doing with the souls and obviously dealt more with the Mark of Cain issue. It's mainly earlier in the season when they could have lost the dog story (yeah, it was funny) and the born again virgin ep (I love Sherrif Mills but surely she could have been in another episode) and done some more development on the main story. That's my main issue with Carver and he did it last season too. He comes up with great ideas for main story arcs but then ignores them for episodes at a time.

PS ... I may go on a bender after the finale too, depends on how it ends and who's left standing at the end. Shoot, I'm so nervous I may do it anyway! Just for the night of course ... I do have to work, be a mom and a wife. OK, so it'll be a partial bender ... ugh!
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2014-04-19 16:30
I second you on this Lilah.

I'm disappointed in the season for the same reason, but different a different reason. I'm really into the story this season. I like it it when the Myth-arc is personal for the brothers and I think the writers did a great job in bringing it home to them this season in a way that was lacking in season six and seven and a little shaky in eight. I've liked a lot of the individual episodes, too. In every season there's one episode I absolutely love and one I totally hate and this season is no different. I loved that Dean has an arc, that Sam gets to play an angel and step into Deans shoes, and that Cas has got his mojo back even if it's not his own. I've also totally fallen in love with Crowley this season, a character I once had a take it or leave it attitude for.

My biggest complaint though, is that I want the story to move faster. The various hiatuses, hiati? Started to really get on my last fricking nerve. I love this seasons storylines but I'm impatient for them to get on with it so for me pacing is the key. There have been a couple of filler episodes that we could have done without, even if I thoroughly enjoyed them. (I don't see how Dean being able to speak Dog plays into the mytharc.) I have felt very much like the writers are just teasing and stalling us all season.

I'm about ready to revolt or tear my hair out or something. No more hiatuses! No more Filler episodes even if they are deeply ,deeply funny!
Seriously, right after the last minute of the finale, I plan to go on a bender or a ten hour nap, that's how anxious aim for all this.
Alice
# Alice 2014-04-19 23:45
This is from Castiel's Cat (some people are still having problems with comments posting):

Very strong review. I agree on most points wholeheartedly.

It was pretty obvious that Gabriel was a construct of Metatron and not the real deal. I hope that we find Metatron has manipulated more than we've seen. Otherwise I find this episode to be a vanity piece on the part of the writers, who don't seem to get that canon needs internal logic for successful world building. Their whining about how hard it is to write is less appreciated as an excuse for meta than it is on Twitter.

This season has been surprisingly light on mytharc action. I wish the writers were more focused on that and less on musings about writing and from whence it takes its meaning. Write a good story that makes sense. Give all of your main characters something to do and something to feel... a reason to exist and purpose. Show consistency in every character's voice and actions or provide a reason why they are acting out of character. Don't make the best hunters on the planet stupid to advance the plot. I am not a huge fan of kripke (I think Manners and the writers must have worked miracles because Revolution); but I will say that the writers of yore were capable of creating dynamic episodes and dynamic seasons.

I am a huge fan of Carver but I think he is stuck with some duds in the writing stable. His premieres and finales are amazing. I also noticed the stagnation after the premier. It makes me wonder how much contact he has or control. I have no doubt that the finale will rock. As for the rest of the season, I am starting to think that the writers think the Winchesters and the major reocurring characters like castiel, abaddon, crowley and Metatron (the ones involved in the main plots) are the story's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The writers' interest seems to be somewhere else.

I think Thompson is a good writer but he doesn't seem to want to write for supernatural. He should be doing an oz spin-off with Charlie. I don't think Charlie would last five minutes as a hunter in the same universe as Dean. The character's quirky ADD would get her killed pretty quickly.

I was so excited for this episode and once again my excitement is crushed. I am excited about the moc and Dean's storyline. The angel storyline went nowhere. I predicted that Metatron did it all to tell stories last year so I haven't learned anything all season about this storyline. Cas had an uninspired foray into humanity and stole grace which is a temporary stopgap. Prediction: he's getting possessed by someone when the grace runs out.

The demon story has barely progressed since episode 2. Abaddon who? why did she stop executing hunters? Why are there no demon rampages this season? Then everything will be smooshed together in episode 21,written by the nepotism duo, which could be worse than Taxi Driver with all of these important plotlines converging . It will be a perfect storm.

I am not a fan of Robbie because all of his episodes tend to stagnate the plot. I am not a fan of being told that they can write whatever they want and can just change canon when it's obvious the problem is that they don't know The canon or the characters. Perhaps they don't care. In a genre show with world building there has to be internal consistency to the world that is built. So... reaper angels that have sex are an issue. And the fact that Charlie wouldn't last five minutes as a hunter in Dean's world is also an issue. Yes they can take the show and twist it to fit their vision and lack of strong writing skills but it won't exist if the fans don't watch it. Burning the Winchester gospels to me was telling fans to let the past go because they will write what they want. I miss the blue collar sensibility and the darkness. I miss plotlines and pacing that makes you care.

There is a difference between character development that occurs as a result of time passing and experiences lived and just making s... up because It is funny to you.

Thank goodness for Jensen who will play Dean dealing with the moc whether it is in the script or not, altough to be fair Robbie did include some obvious moc tells. I do like the slow burn to the story.

Sorry for the rant.. This episode rubbed me.

Speculation? Besides cas getting possessed. Dean will be getting his kill on. I do not think he is in thrall to Crowley. I doubt Crowley thinks this either which is why he is keeping the blade. Dean looked orgasmic after that first kill and he keeps reliving that amazing feeling. He wants that feeling again. My theory is that the blade charges him with soul Power so he gets stronger and more pumped up with every kill. I don't see him losing his soul or becoming demonic. I see him succumbing to a bloodlust that is damned hard to resist.

Cain didn't look demonic to me. He seemed most like episode 6's rit zien killer angel of mercy. we know Lucifer had the angel tablet. maybe he used it to create cain, making him a corruption of Michael's sword. Looking forward to dean having red smitey power. I am thinking of him as on his way to dark Angeldom.

I think crowley survives by hiding in sam or cas. Metatron may do the same.

Season 10 will deal with dark Dean and what he could do.

It will be an interesting ride. Metatron's powerful and perhaps his story rewrite has a purpose within the SPNverse... getting god to out himself? Metatron is committing the worst sacrilege that I can imagine. Rewriting God's word to create the story for his own image and godhead.

I wish Carver wrote more episodes.
Puck
# Puck 2014-04-20 04:01
"Meta Fiction" may have been a brilliantly rendered smoke screen, but it was still brilliant. I know a lot of people are underwhelmed with all things angel (except Cas himself) right now. I find myself on the fence--it's been a lukewarm endeavor and we've not seen as much of Misha as we'd like but what bugs me the most is Metatron. His character bugs me. The actor bugs me. He bugged me on the last episode of "New Girl" I watched which will be the last, but unlike the sitcom this show, that has survived low ratings, multiple show runners, and a network jump, is not out of stories. We may not like all of them ("Man's Best Friend with Benefits" *shudder*), but no one's perfect not even a not-yet-ex-blad e junkie, a forced angel dropped out, and Mr. Will-Be-Comatos e-When-His-Stol en-Grace-Burns- Out. If Carver hit the reset button on Team Free Will's projection then I think he did so for a reason, and I'll keep tuning in to find it. I trust him, and this is why. Every season of this show has featured Sam with an issue. First it was having his estranged brother show up to drag him back into the life he left behind and coping with the death of his girlfriend. Now he's coping with being tricked into angel possession by his brother that dragged him back to the life he was ready to leave behind permanently. Dean has always tried to patch his little brother back together. Now for the first time Dean faces possession (Adam taking on Michael was such a cop-out) and Sam has the chance to be the caretaker. It will be good for Sam to feel how much it cost Dean to pull them both through their battles, but not as much as it will be for Dean to realize that Sam can take care of himself, be a leader, and still be part of the family he dreamed of in "What Is and What Should Never Be."

However, a lot of the thrill is gone. I'm obstinately not a horror fan, but even I agree season one was best. They were mini-horror movies, but the stories were propelled by the season arc of Sam and Dean's rekindled relationship and the suspense with in the episodic arc. I love suspense. If I'm not laughing so hard my eyes well up then the commercial break should find me finally sucking in a breath or I'm out (*ahem* Zooey). Outside of Dean's descent into darkness we've not had much of that in a long time. Sam coming to the basement rescue in "The Purge" may have been the last moment. For example, while watching "The Bourne Identity" I still get chills every time the agent come through that giant window to attack Matt Damon. I've seen the movie a million times since its premiere in 2001, but it doesn't matter. "Dead in the Water" and "Croatoan" have that power over me, too. I still believe the gang can get that mojo back. Who's with me?

P.S.-Happy Easter
amazed11
# amazed11 2014-04-20 04:13
Certainly some food for thought there Alice, and makes for some interesting pondering. Firstly, a disclaimer - I am not a tv critic, I could never be a tv critic nor do I want to subject myself to (in my eyes) such torturous punishment! I have two modes for tv shows, watchable or not watchable, and if I was forced to endure some of the shows on my not watchable list, well I shudder to think ...........

Supernatural is still firmly on my watchable list, in fact it is the only one that is a must see on the list even after nine seasons. What is interesting for me though, is how I myself have changed during the last nine years and how some of those changes have had an impact on the way I view not only my favourite show but also other shows as well. None of us are the same person we were nine years ago, and that in of itself, will reflect in how we perceive what we are viewing. I suspect that some viewers who have been watching Supernatural since 2005 in comparison to other more recent viewers, would have a vastly different outlook to storyline concepts, character relationships and potential closure. None of the differences in outlook have any more or less meaning to the viewers, they are just different outlooks based on an individuals life experience at that particular time. Add to that, each individual who is watching the exact same episode is coming from a different place, space, mindset, star sign, numerology ruling number, personal year number, family position, etc, etc, etc so the larger the viewing audience, the less chance any show runner or writer has of pleasing even a majority of the fans let alone all of the fans.

For me personally, I watch Supernatural with no preconceived ideas of how I think the storyline should or will play out. I watch in anticipation of what is going to unfold in front of me and I enjoy the dynamics of the relationships between the characters. To further enhance my viewing pleasure, I read very few reviews or participate in fan forums. I realised the opinion I value the most is my own. I wish other fans/viewers could get the same enjoyment from their show as I do from mine, however it is not my issue if they don't, just the same as it is not their issue if they enjoy something I don't.

I guess for me, just like each of us as individuals have to change and grow, so too does Supernatural. Unlike most of us who are able to change and grow in the relative privacy of our own lives, for the show those growing pains are visible for all to see and we as individual viewers are the only ones who can decide just how tolerant we are prepared to be in watching that growth unfold.

Alice, I firmly believe each of us need to follow our own paths and hearts, what works for some will never work for others and that's okay plus we should never think our feelings or emotions are any less valid just because they differ from others.

Anita
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-04-20 09:36
I have been a fan of this show from day one and it's become a part of my life. For whatever it's worth, this show has brought me more smiles than I could count, a few tears and the best times ever. I've met jared and Jensen and misha. it's an experience i'll forever cherish. I am thankful every night for the people who have enabled me to have this small piece of joy in my life. the world is often an ugly place. the news is full of hate and violence and sadness. then we have a show. a show that is truly the flower in a garden of ugly. it's such a simple thing and yet it has brought beauty to this world. it has brought people strength when they needed it. it has brought people together as friends. it brought people to acts of kindness. how many shows can lay claim to such a thing? how often does one hear a certain rock song or old 70's or 80's song and simply smile because they are reminded of sam and dean Winchester? for me it's every day...a smile is one of the most precious gifts one can give to another, and this show and all involved have given me that gift every day. the world is literally a better place because of these people and i'm thankful for being able to be a part of that.
As far as this season goes, I totally love every single minute of it. I'm excited for where this story is going and I for one think it's long over due. The way I see it, supernatural's show runners all have their story to tell and while ea. story has varied, the underlying theme of course has never changed. The heart of the show is the brothers and their love/bond and it's indestructabili ty no matter what they face. it's the brother/family bond that always wins in this story no matter who the show runner is. but ea . showrunner does have their own vision in telling the story and I personally am greatful for Jeremy carver's vision.
it's not all lollipops and candy canes when it comes to the Winchester family. There is a lot of dysfunction and most of that lies within sam and dean, of course, how can it not. the boys fight not only monsters, they sometimes fight ea. other as well. but they are human after all, and they are family and that's inevitable in us all. let's face it, cruel and harsh words have been uttered by both equally as well as cruel acts, but it's always the ones that you love the most that you end up hurting the most. but the love is stronger and always prevails and that is true of the Winchesters. love...the true heart of the story, what it's always truly been about.
ea show runner has brought to the table their own perspective on how to tell the story of the Winchesters, but ea. show runner has followed the same theme in telling their story that kripke created. There are monsters. There's the big bad. The front and center of the show is sam and dean Winchester's love/bond.
in season 1-5 kripke's big bad was Lucifer. There were more delicious antagonists as well, like ruby, Zachariah, uriel, meg, Crowley, Michael and Lilith.
in s6 we got soulless sam, crowely and still a touch of Lucifer with cas ending up as the big bad which made for a delightful twist.
in s7 we had dick roman as our big bad.
then carver came back with his own method of telling the story, one that I find most compelling and exciting even though at times it was frustrating. When I think back to when carver joined us, season 3 I think, and all the eps that's he's responsible for. his eps have always been the most character driven in my opinion. we've always gotten the most insight to both brothers when carver wrote the scripts. kripke is ultimately responsible for bring dysfunction to our beloved brothers. I mean these boys have issues, and I have always found carver's eps to focus on these issues. now it seems to me that carver is not only continuing what's been started nine years ago and which he's been an integral part of, but he's finally dealing with it all, something no other show runner has done.
carver has been following a different path these last two seasons and I actually like the scenic route we've been taking. it's a thing of beauty for me. it all came quite clear to me as I watch meta fiction, what I believe carver's vision this last two years have truly been about.
the way I see it, angels, demons, Crowley, metatron, gadreel.....the y are an integral part of the story, but they are not the true big bad. they are the smoke screen.
the true big bads don't come from the outside...the way I see it, they come from within. the true big bads of the last two years, has been sam and dean themselves. it's their inner demons, their lack of self worth, their self hatred that has been the true enemy. it's what has led to the boys misunderstandin g of ea. other for the last 9yrs. it's is the lack of love they have for themselves that leads them to believing that there is a lack of love/trust that ea. has for the other. sam and dean's greatest enemy is their own lack of self worth. this is their enemy. this is what the boys have to fight and destroy so that they can conquer outside forces of evil. that's the story carver has been telling us. the boys conquering their inner demons is the true battle they must face...it's the love for ea. other that will enable them to do that.
this was a story that needed time to tell. it wouldn't be real if the boys just figured it out on their own. circumstances had to lead them there...it's been a journey they had to travel...everyt hing that carver has done has led us to this point...the point where they will, after nine long years, finally understand ea. other. but more than that, I believe the time is coming when sam and dean will finally triumph over their inner demons and start liking who they are. start believing themselves worthy and truly understand that they are heroes. they are the noblest of men. that's the story I believe carver to be telling and for me, it's been a wonderful story. :)
Deborah
# Deborah 2014-04-20 13:31
Thank you, nappi! I read Alice's wonderful review last night and came back to respond this morning but found your comment which completely tracks my feeling and adds even more that I could not have said any better. The boys do need to deal honestly with each other, which they have not really done since the very beginning, and I believe they are closer than ever to doing that right now. I so want them to understand that they are the good guys, noble men doing good work "saving people hunting things" and not just flawed people living under a terrible curse.

I have a happy place where I have been going this season because, while I am enjoying the season as a whole and believe the "rift" between the boys was absolutely needed to get them to a better place, it still hurts to watch them going through it. My happy place is -- once the boys come to an understanding (and I believe they will - hopefully by the end of the season but maybe it will extend to next season), I picture Sam reaching into his bag or pocket or the trunk of the Impala and offering the amulet to Dean again, with that look of hope and longing that Jared does so well, and Dean accepting it and placing it around his neck again, with that look of wonder that Jensen does so well, Then they look at each other, say "we've got work to do", and head off together in the Impala without an angel or demon in sight (for a little while, at least).

Thanks again, nappi and Alice.
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-04-20 14:32
I believe the same thing...I think sam has the amulet and I also think that when the boys finally reach that point of understanding, when sam feels worthy of his brother, that he will give it back to him. ;)

happy easter everyone
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2014-04-20 15:06
.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-04-20 16:18
I actually took Nappi's comment a little differently. I don't think she meant that Sam had to feel worthy of Dean's love to return the amulet. I think she meant it the same way we see it. That the brothers need to come to a place where they can mutually feel comfortable with the relationship. Frankly both brothers need to feel worth in themselves and not base it in how they think (often erroneously) the other views them.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2014-04-20 16:23
I believe that's what I said, Leah, self worth, not the worth others place on you. In other words a relationship built on equality, not obligation.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-04-20 16:36
I was just saying that I didn't think Nappi meant her amulet comment in the way you seemed to take it,Tim. And my next sentence was in agreement with you, that's why I said "we".
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2014-04-20 16:42
I made comment on a comment, Leah, nothing more. I didn't take anything from it, and I didn't insinuate anything by it. However, don't worry, the comment will be deleted.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-04-20 17:25
I am sorry Tim, I did not mean to offend or attack you in any way. I don't understand why you feel the need to delete your comment. I agreed with you and I think Nappi feels the same way.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2014-04-20 17:49
I'm not offended, Leah. The comment was deleted in case Nappi815 thinks I took the comment in a way that she didn't mean. Better safe than sorry, right?
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-04-20 21:33
hey tim, i'm sorry you felt you had to delete your comment. i actually just got on here and really have no idea what it is that you may have thought in regards to what i said or if perhaps it rubbed you the wrong way. i take no offense in any comment on this board, even the ones aimed at me:) in all honesty i appreciate the very fact that some of you take the time to read what i post as i often am quite long winded and ramble on so. :P i always appreciate others thoughts as well, even if we don't see things the same way. i do so hope you post your post as i do find them worth the read.:)
thank you leah for defending me. i guess i wasn't specific in my comment and it might have been taken the wrong way. i do appreciate your support and your ability to read through my sometimes vague comments.

in terms of the amulet and what i said about sam....allow me to explain what i meant.
i've always felt that dean had given up on the fight to stop the apocalypse in the episode the song remains the same. i think he had lost all hope after his talk with Michael. in mbv famine told dean he was dead inside. he told him he was just going through the motions. he had already known he couldn't win. dean had already given up on himself at this point. in dsotm, he misinterpreted all of sam's happiest childhood moments, believing that sam was happy when he was away from dean, instead of understanding that these memories were of sam as a child who only wanted to be normal and safe and found happy moments being a regular kid like everyone else. for sam it wasn't about running from dean, it was about running from hunting and his father. but this misperception, imho, pushed dean even further into doubt and more self loathing...his thinking that sam wanted away from him. so when dean threw the amulet away at the end of dsotm it was because he had given up...but i always believed it was because he gave up on himself. sam gave that to him because he trusted in dean. now dean deems the amulet worthless, or maybe he deemed himself worthless. i totally believe sam took the amulet. i also believe that sam believes that dean threw the amulet away because he'd given up on him. dean told sam he didn't trust him. again, i feel sam believed himself to be a failure to his brother. that's one of the reasons why it was so important for him to redeem himself. again, it's just my feeling, but i believe that sam has never felt worthy, that he still feels like he's failed his brother. in the church sam was emotionally wiped out and very sick and just ready to give his life to redeem himself to dean. to not fail. i've always felt that the speech in the church, for sam was based on trust, and dean telling sam that no one came before him was dean finally trusting in sam, that he always had. when sam found out dean has been lying to him, it's my feeling that sam believes that dean didn't mean what he said at the church. dean did turn to another instead of him. so for sam, a lot of his hurt is because dean doesn't trust in him. he's failed again. sam doesn't feel he has any worth. gad said it...sam reeks of shame and weakness. i take that to mean that sam still feels a failure to his brother, that he's not worthy dean's trust which is why dean doesn't give it to him. i think when sam finally comes to understand that dean does not see his brother as a failure, that he does trust in him and it's himself that he doesn't trust in....when sam finally sees worth in himself because he is a good brother, he is a good person, he is a hero....when he can see that for himself, then i think he will be able to feel that he can give his brother the amulet back....that dean would accept it.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2014-04-21 02:06
nappi815, your comment didn't rub me up the wrong way, I didn't take offense at it and it wasn't aimed at you. My comment was in relation to the amulet and how I think Sam and Dean need to find worth in themselves first.

I deleted the comment because if a poster felt the need to 'defend' you, then it's possible they believed I was attacking you. So I deleted it in case you too thought that.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-04-21 11:32
Nappi, I am so sorry. There was no attacking involved here by me nor was I saying there was by Tim. I was only trying to clarify what appeared to be a misunderstandin g. It wasn't my place.
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-04-21 21:27
leah you don't have to apologize to me at all:) again, I appreciate that you did that for me... in all honesty, I have no idea what was said in the first place:D.....so please don't think twice about it... I actually am quite honored that you thought that much of what I said to even warrant stepping in on my behalf. so thanks:)
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-04-21 13:37
Quote:
I picture Sam reaching into his bag or pocket or the trunk of the Impala and offering the amulet to Dean again, with that look of hope and longing that Jared does so well,
I really hope this is not how it happens
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-04-20 10:31
Nappi, I completely love every word of this. I have some brother conflict fatigue and have been missing the early seasons lately but you are right. Thank you so much for reminding me of the bigger picture.
Karen
# Karen 2014-04-20 14:01
Hi Alice
Thank you for your honest review. I always appreciate that you try to be fair and add a balance to your reviews. That it isn't just all negative or all positive.

I enjoyed this episode. I just love seeing Gabriel/Trickst er again, even if he was just a facade.

I liked that Cas is willing to lead the alliance, however I do worry if he will regain his grace before the other one destroys him.

I am curious as to how the hell they are going to be able to kill or defeat Metatron.
How do you defeat or trap a God like creature with such strong powers.
What spell is strong enough to subdue him long enough to either kill him, cage him or remove his grace. I'm not sure if even the First Blade could kill him. Somehow I think Death or God are the only ones strong enough to do this.

What makes a story work?
This is one of those questions where there can be no right or wrong answer.
It all falls on each individuals expectations and their criteria.
For me as long as it keeps me either captivated, interested, invested, emotionally effected or I have learned something. I consider it a win.
Have I loved every episode, storyline, creative decisions? Of course not.
No show is perfect, but to me this one still stands out above all the rest.
My love for Sam and Dean and this show is still strong. I plan to be there to the end.

I know canon or continuity issues are very important to many fans, but for me it's just a small part of the show. To me this is a show on the Supernatural, where anything is possible, where not everything is set in stone. Who's to say that every time the natural order had been disturbed ( Sam and Deans resurrections, Lucifer being freed and re-caged, Mother of all resurrection and death etc..) that the Lore on creatures, witches and even Reapers didn't get changed or manifested to some degree.
mary9930
# mary9930 2014-04-20 15:15
Has anyone watched a series which maintained their interest as well into season nine? I've enjoyed other long running series but I find that I end up lowering my expectation with most of them toward the end. I have so much invested that I want to continue to the end but my heart & mind aren't fully engaged. With Supernatural I find myself still relishing almost every moment. I'm not just plodding through to see it to the end. I'm not saying every episode is stellar or that we shouldn't offer constructive criticism. Critique away. But, I found this episode absolutely brilliant. Gabriel's back. Wait, it's not really Gabriel. Cas' borrowed grace is an issue. Cas as an all but unwilling leader. The philosophical musings of the writers. I've already watched 3 times and feel that I have barely scratched the surface. I understand that they aren't moving the heaven story line at a quick pace but I'm hoping some of the seemingly unimportant pieces are setting the stage for bigger things to come.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-04-20 17:38
Whether you are happy with the episode or not I thought it was interesting that Metatron was typing in the beginning of the ep that Castiel said yes to his plan and in the end was revising his story to fit was had actually happened. So as much as he seems to think he is writing his own epic heroic story his characters keep doing things out of "character". I also thought Metatrons comment about all the secrets in the bunker felt like he had no idea what was in the bunker.
I have read far more positive reviews than negative ones for this ep and as usual Amy's podcast was an awesome listen. And while I don't think that Alice's review was entirely negative I have to agree with Mary I have not lost my passion for the show. SPN is the only show for me that is still must see. I am very exited for the rest of the season and next.
scullspeare
# scullspeare 2014-04-20 19:27
Thanks Alice–boy are we on the same page on this one.

I love that, nine years in, the writers are still taking risks. Sometimes they pay off (The French Mistake, Changing Channels), sometimes they don’t (Bitten), but may they continue to take them. I can live with a stumble here and there for all the times they soar.

Like you, I felt this one was a mixed bag but in many ways it seemed self-indulgent on the writer/showrunn er’s parts, especially at this point in the season with so many balls still in play.

Quote:
“If you really look at it, not a lot has happened in this angel storyline since the season premiere. Not a lot has happened with Sam and Dean’s “choosing of each other” (or the “you lied to me” conflict that followed). Not a lot has happened with this Mark of Cain business. Little nuggets are thrown at us then the stories become circular each week, ending with another brotherly argument or a reminder of stuff we already know. It’s as if the writers want to save everything for the last few episodes, aka the “shocking” ending. Which could possibly be invalidated by next season, just like it has been this season.”


Amen to that. To me, this episode exposed one of the few consistent weaknesses of SPN since Day One–season-long pacing. Too often, threads are dropped completely for weeks, sometimes months only to get short shrift when reintroduced because they’re running out of real estate.

In Meta Fiction, the angel storyline was more evidence of the circular storytelling you mention; I thought Cas as a reluctant leader had already been established back in the closing moments of Captives. I was puzzled by one aspect, though: can't angels heal themselves? I'm sure Cas (at least with powers intact) has done so in the past, although here Hannah needed Cas to heal her battered face.

Perhaps this is an example of expectation vs reality, but I thought the Sam-Dean-Gadreel confrontation should have packed a bigger dramatic punch, especially given how much guilt and anger both Sam and Dean carry over Gadreel’s manipulations. Instead, it seemed like the 'B' storyline for the week.

Quote:
“How are we supposed to take that Metatron decided he was re-writing the story? He wrote himself as the hero, Castiel the villain. Sam and Dean are bad too, which is why Metatron was able to stage his hero’s rescue of his faithful servant Gadreel.”


Metatron loves stories, but millennia spent recording God’s word does not make him a good writer; it makes him a former stenographer with delusions of grandeur. Sure, villains never see themselves as villains (they will always find justification for their behaviour) but, unless Carver & Co. plan to change canon (again), IMHO he’s still the petty despot he proved himself to be in 8.23.

Quote:
“The fact remains that unless I have interest in the story, it’s not working for me. I want to feel that energy, that excitement, that heart again that was in the earlier seasons. So yes, that could be my fault.”
Your fault? I don’t think so. Despite the existential smokescreen that Metatron/Robbie Thompson created in Metafiction, SPN is a product and we, the viewers, are the consumers. We fell in love with a little show about demon-fighting brothers, and with the exception of some of the fringier elements of fandom, I think all any of us wants is to enjoy it. I know I don’t have an agenda beyond that. I just think that sometimes Carver & Co. hand us a glass of ‘New Coke’ when it's Classic Coke we fell in love with, and Classic Coke we crave. ;)
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-04-20 19:37
I noted that some viewers felt there was no progression of the story in this episode. While I thought there was a lot of reveals and progression I am curious as to what some wanted to see. I felt that the whole focus of this season based on interviews with JC and RS before the season started was going to be Dean. The choices that he made and the consequences was supposed to drive the story this season. I thought that the angel story was always going to be a side story to the main arc. Maybe the MOC isn't progressing very quickly but I felt the progression (other than throwing in his lot with Crowley) for Dean has made sense and has been steadily advancing to what I am sure will be the cliffhanger. Even the brother conflict is just a by product of all of Dean's actions and a side story, that again I feel advanced in this ep. We know what Metatron is up to, we know that Gadreel is starting to have his doubts, we know that Cas is not happy with Dean (and very worried) along with the fact that all of those angels are an endless supply of batteries and we have a freaked out Sam. Again broken record here but this so called brother conflict has been anything but. I understand the longing for the glory days and I am not saying TPTB should just call it in but they are trying to produce a show in it's ninth year that has a fresh storyline while maturing the characters and maintaining the strong relationships. I guess for me it is more of a success than a failure.
Alice
# Alice 2014-04-21 01:31
Cheryl42, I get where you're coming from. There are a lot of fans out there that just happy that SPN in on their TV every week and that's all they need. I'm cool with that attitude. It's just not something I've been blindly able to do. I've been doing criticism for this show too long!

I for the most part have stayed very, very quiet this season. I have lowered expectations, I have given plenty of benefits of the doubt, and no, I don't expect Supernatural to be doing now what it did in the Kripke years. However, I do review other shows. I'm covering other CW shows on TV For The Rest of Us and their pacing and continuity is so much better. These shows have 22/23 episodes (except The 100), yet the writers are attacking their plots with rich and carefully laid out plotting, not to mention character continuity. No, they aren't perfect, no show is, but shows like Arrow, The Originals, and even Reign are doing far better jobs than what Supernatural is doing with season long plotting. Sleepy Hollow (yes it was only 13 episodes) was a freaking masterpiece! I know, they're all not in season nine. But those are shows fans often use in comparison. Same genre.

So, when tasked with the review this week (I had to fill in for a few people), I went honest. I really did like the episode, and several episodes this season have been good on their own, but I'm frustrated with the overall season plotting. I don't hate the show, and I even said from a construction standpoint "Meta Fiction" was brilliant. But my commentary was mostly geared at the lack of cohesive writing for the season. "Meta Fiction" tried to tell me that it's all in perception. Great, this is mine. I'm not claiming to be the authority. It's just my take. However, sometimes I have to be true to my inner TV critic, otherwise I'm not doing my job.

I have found that a lot of people that have agreed with me are long time fans that have been there with me every week since season three (and earlier). I think we just remember days of better plotting. It doesn't have to be the same as before, but it would be nice to have a season long arc that actually had some luster the whole season. Seasons 8 and 9 have struggled greatly with that, even though for the most part I really enjoyed season 8. Season nine has been so much slower and lacking real flow. Season 8 at least came through with The Trials.

Anyway, that's my take, and your opinion and everyone else's is just as valid. You have a right to be happy! A lot of fans don't look at Supernatural with the critical eye I often do, and there are times I envy those people! I've always been very, very attentive to the caliber of the writing. Considering though this has been my POV since S3, it probably won't ever change. When something goes right, I'll speak up too. Hopefully that will be soon.
Gwen
# Gwen 2014-04-26 19:47
Quote:
I have found that a lot of people that have agreed with me are long time fans that have been there with me every week since season three (and earlier).
I have watched obsessively since The Pilot and, boy, do I agree with you Alice on this whole pacing, plotting issue. Seasons 4 and 5 are never going to be at the top of my list of favourite seasons (I am a s1-3 gal) but the plotting and storytelling in those seasons were absolutely spot on and made for addictive television. This year nothing is really keeping hold of my attention. The MOC storyline really intrigued me but it's moving so slowly I am slowly losing interest. I love Crowley and Abbadon, I want to see their story but there's been hardly anything of it. The angel storyline just bores me to tears nowadays. I am so over the angels.
Although I was enjoying the Sam/Ezekial storyline and I was so excited to see Sam's reaction to what had been done to him. The way Sam's storyline has been handled in the second half has been so disappointing for me that it equals my TBAI/magic fix disappointment in S7. Lack of a sympathetic POV/writing for Sam despite being the victim has been hard to swallow. Sam's continued silence and lack of POV has been maddening. I get that he's not going to talk to Dean, they need the brotherly conflict and non communication to continue to fuel Dean's dark storyline but couldn't Sam at least talk to someone else?? Couldn't he have talked to Jodie in the latest episode? Why has Sam's POV been relegated to glances and facial expressions. In RoadTrip it was mostly Castiel talking and Sam looking angsty, his one POV line got cut in Meta Fiction and he got sent away from Gadreel (and I was so looking forward to him confronting Gadreel). Yeah, sure Jared excels at the whole facial expression stuff but some actual dialogue would be nice too.
I am also not enjoying the constant brotherly conflict. I am exhausted by it now. Hopefully it is all moving the brothers somewhere positive but by the time they get to wherever that is I'm not sure I'll have managed to keep finding the energy to keep watching. :( I really hope that the brotherly conflict isn't continued into S10.

I am so envious of those folks who are enjoying this season. I started out enjoying it, and after Sacrifice, I was hugely excited for it, but right now I am struggling badly. I have only just managed to read the comments on this article today and I already have lost count of the times I have read nappi's comments in this thread - so badly do I want some of her wonderful positivity to rub off on me. Oh dear. I am so sorry to be so negative. There has been a lot I have enjoyed this year - I've loved a lot of episodes e.g I Think I Am Going To Like It Here, Dog Dean Afternoon, Road Trip, First Born, Thinman, Bladerunners but it's just that the season as a whole, for many reasons, isn't grabbing me as much as previous seasons.

And now I think I need to go read Nappi's post again...
Sharon
# Sharon 2014-04-27 04:57
I am afraid I cannot get past how poorly Sam's violation has been handled . I have hated the victimization of Dean and the lack of empathy and thought for the victim , they crossed the line with where they went but seems they were not prepared to deal with the fallout for Sam outside of 10 mins with Castiel in First Born .
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2014-04-27 20:06
Sharon, that is what has bothered me about this season as well. Sam's pain has not been shown or has been shown as not being important in favor of Dean's pain. It seems to me that many fans and dare I say some of the writers, that Dean's POV is the only one that matters and Sam is just a plot device. How sad for Sam fans of which I am one.
Alice
# Alice 2014-04-28 00:44
I don't think they've been doing all that great with Dean either. The MOC thing has been agonizingly slow. I know many long time fans that just want to be excited by the storytelling and aren't. The consensus I see is it isn't horrible, but it's not great either. It's missing that spark that we long time fans have grown to love about this show. I think the happiest fans are the new ones. They need producers back on the show that are mindful to tone and continuity.
Sharon
# Sharon 2014-04-28 03:01
But at least he has had focus and centric episodes . Sam got violated and then nothing just one long agonizing nothing not one centric episode or genuine empathy from the writers.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-04-21 09:56
Sorry Alice I didn't mean to sound preachy.
Alice
# Alice 2014-04-21 21:32
No, you haven't been preachy at all! Like I said, all our opinions are valid. It's always tougher for me because I have to bridge fan vs. critic. It was just me explaining a POV and nothing more. Like I said, I'm glad some are very happy with what's happening.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-04-26 21:13
Can't seem to articulate my point very well tonight (dealt with a sick horse for the last 48 hours) so I give up. Yes I love the show, I love Sam and Dean, I will be devastated when Supernatural is gone so I am cherishing every moment.
Alice
# Alice 2014-04-28 00:37
You should be cherishing every moment cheryl42! I hope you don't think of myself and anyone who has expressed displeasure as a bad fan. I need to get some happier threads going, or better yet there were plenty of happier reviews posted. This episode just raised an issue that I couldn't stay silent about anymore, but I'm not counting down the days for SPN to end. I just wish this latest writing team would remember the days of even pacing and a well plotted season. They seem to be more interested in telling their individual stories and not trying to see the bigger picture. Individually the episodes are usually fine. Together, they're a mess, and that's exactly what happened in season seven, which is the worst season to date. I fear at this rate, season nine is joining it.

However, season seven's ratings were the series worst as well. Season nine is going down as one of the best. So, there's something to be said about the mass appeal of the show. I definitely don't speak for everyone.

So sorry to hear about your horse. I hope he/she is better.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-04-28 02:29
Thanks Alice the horse recovered and she is doing great. I was trying to say something different and it just kept coming out wrong so I gave up. I don't think anyone is a good or bad fan. I think everyone watches the show for different reasons. I can understand how some might be disappointed with the show this season or in seasons past. I can't say that every episode is a must see for me throughout the series but for the most part SPN is unlike any other show on TV. I do watch for the relationship between the brothers so S7 (except for a few episodes) was the most disappointing for me. The brothers were more like business partners with each other than they are now with the supposed "rift". I do look forward to each ep because I want to see what happens between Sam and Dean. For me that is the main story and always has been. But I can only speak for me. I know others watch for other reasons.