Supernatural "Meta Fiction" Advanced Placement Meta

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Apr 16, 2014

Supernatural S09E18: "Meta Fiction"

That was... interesting? 

"Meta Fiction" started out so well, too: an elaborate fan fiction parody written by Castiel's number-one fan, featuring all the essentials—including an extended Dean-in-the-shower scene and Castiel making awkward smalltalk mid-case to highlight their profound bond. A (maybe) long-dead (mostly) beloved character inexplicably returned to life, and everyone's personality felt just slightly off, from Rambo Gabriel to Oddly Self-aware Dean. It worked because it was too ridiculous to believe and at no point following Metatron's hijacking of the story did I actually consider that everything that was happening was canon... until it was. 

That's when it got weird, because the thing about real-life fanon and head-canon is that yes, sometimes inferring details works wonders to fill a hole in the official narrative, and sometimes it doesn't. You can generally tell, when you wander into fandom's weird and wonderful waters, who has a grasp on the characters as they are and who is writing pure wish fulfillment. With that in mind, I couldn't help but wonder if "Meta Fiction" was, on some level, cut from the same cloth as the infamous "Season Seven, Time for a Wedding," where the usual, good-natured ribbing of the more intense corners of Supernatural's fandom got a little too heated, a little too contemptuous. There were times in "Meta Fiction" that seemed to say, "See? See how awful it is when amateurs get control of the universe? Leave the world-building to the professionals, kids," and that's kind of shitty. 

Boogertron was clearly the author of what the internet would eagerly label "badfic." He claimed to want to set up "interesting characters and see where they lead," but he clearly had an agenda, as illustrated by his rewrite attempts, and let me just say that it wasn't necessarily the rewriting that betrayed Metatron's true intentions. Any half-decent scribe, working in a fandom or an original universe, is going to rewrite until he or she successfully takes the story where it needs to go. Metatron's problem was that when his story clearly wouldn't, and couldn't, go where he wanted it to go, he forced it. It's not that Castiel would never willingly lead a band of loyal rebel angels, but Castiel right now has repeatedly turned down offers and gone out of his way to not be in charge of anyone but himself. 

Metatron also made the mistake of underestimating the intelligence of his audience. When Castiel didn't understand a literary reference, Metatron literally info-dumped his entire reading history into Cas's brain so that it would never happen again—rather than, for example, choosing a more commonly known reference that his audience might've better appreciated. It's really quite indicative of what a lazy "god" Boogertron is. 

He's also the newest addition to Supernatural's "tragic" characters list. You can't say that Metatron isn't enthusiastic, or that he didn't start out with, well, not so much noble intentions, but thoughtful ones. Castiel has pushed for his fellow angels to get out of the clouds and experience a little bit of life with the mud monkeys for years. He just wasn't a dick about it (except for that time with the Leviathan, but he also wasn't entirely in his right mind at the time, so he's not excused, exactly, because only Dean ever gets to be excused for crappy behavior, but we get it). 

Speaking of Dean's crappy behavior, he was surprisingly restrained this week, Mark of Cain and all. We also got our first indication that Dean does understand just how messed-up the whole Gadreel-possessing-Sam situation was, which I think a lot of us already figured, but remember: headcanon =/= canon. Dean and Sam captured Gadreel and hoped to torture some information out of him about the magical angel homing beacon leading de-winged denizens of Earth to their slaughter. When Sam left to find Castiel/avoid a mental breakdown as a result of Gadreel's too-close-to-home taunting, Dean was left to slice-and-dice duty and discovered that just because Gadreel had been inside Sam for weeks and not him didn't mean that Gadreel couldn't find some nasty-but-true zingers to throw out there. 

In fact, I think being in Sam's head the whole time made the nastygrams to Dean evem more personal. I can picture Sam seeing Dean as some lost little boy, hurting everyone around him because he's too scared to function on his own. Without Gadreel's twisted slant on the sentiment, it's not really a criticism at all, and I don't think that Sam himself would see it that way. Both Winchesters have issues with self-worth: Sam's stem from the demon blood and his death peen and feelings of being "less than" due to his connection to Lucifer. Dean's stem from his childhood conditioning to be the "good soldier" at all costs, for his entire life. The man is well into his thirties—older than that if we count his time in hell and various other alternate universes—and that rigid selflessness is crumbling. The last time it failed, Dean saw himself become a feared torturer in hell, so understandably, he's got issues when it comes to addressing his own needs in a non-destructive way. Dean feels like a failure whenever he caves, but he's at a breaking point in his life—he needs someone to save him for once, and Gadreel's comment that Sam wouldn't save Dean, taken out of context as I'm sure it was, still hit close to home. 

Buuuut at least Dean didn't kill him. Gadreel is too interesting of a character to simply be run through with the ol' angel sword while he's tied to a chair. In "Meta Fiction," we got more confirmation that Gadreel's biggest fear is imprisonment, not death, and that he didn't let Lucifer into the Garden of Eden with malicious intent, he did it to set humanity free. Now, whether this belief was born out of Gadreel's own feelings or planted and nurtured by Lucy himself remains unseen, and hopefully it will remain unseen because it's the ambiguity of Supernatural's more flawed characters—including the Winchesters themselves, at times—that make the series so interesting. Like so many amateur writers,  Boogertron and "Meta Fiction" just tells and tells and tells. I'm going to go ahead and chalk it up to being a clever way to invoke Metatron's habitual assumption that his readers were too dumb to "get" his story, but it was still irritating to be beaten over the head with so many in-depth character analyses from the characters themselves. It's just not how they act. 

(Maybe-real-but-probably-not Gabriel's winky-smile was perfect, though.)

I'll admit it: As soon as the credits rolled for "Meta Fiction," I hated it. I didn't hate it with the venom reserved for "Season Seven, Time for a Wedding," or "Taxi Driver," but I hated it. I still don't love it. I understand what the writers were trying to do and in some places, they excelled (everything before Boogertron tied Cas up). But in some places they faltered (SO. MUCH. UNCHARACTERISTIC SELF-AWARENESS.). In general, the latest "meta episode" in Supernatural's long history of meta episodes was an advancement of the trope. A messy, brain-melting advancement.


– So holy fire gives s'mores a "delightful minty aftertaste." Want.

– Gadreel is totally going to turn on Metatron. Did you see how pleased he looked when Metatron admitted that the Winchesters' kidnapping of Gadreel wasn't part of his plan? It means Boogertron isn't as all-powerful as he claims to be, and remember, kids, Gadreel has never really been on board with all the killing that Metatron makes him do. 

– Cas's stolen grace is "burning him out." Thoughts? 

– I screamed when Casa Erotica came on. What are your Gabriel theories? I still kind of think he's dead, honestly. 

What'd you think of "Meta Fiction"?

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  • tonymandolin Sep 26, 2014

    The writers of Supernatural have created a character that is not well drawn. Metatron has too much power. Any solution the Winchester's arrive at will seem contrived. Their only reasonable solution is to do what they have been avoiding, based on the mythology they have created, use either the biblical power of God the creator or Jesus to change things, and that too, could become quite contrived.

  • jjkrock Apr 21, 2014

    I probably shouldn’t toss gasoline on a smoldering fire, but what the heck…

    Now that we know about Metatron’s uber-angel powers, I think it’s even more clear there’s no way Dean could have saved Kevin. As Castiel said, Metatron wanted the prophet dead for strategic reasons. Since the guy can create reality and erase angel warding, there would have been no way to hide or protect Kevin from him. Sam/Gadreel was a convenient weapon, but it's pretty clear to me that Kevin would be a dead man even without him.

  • MichelleHood24 Apr 21, 2014

    Oh Cas you did it again. It was nice to see Gabriel back I miss him, but I'm holding out hope that he's not dead considering his non answer to Cas's question. I'm really glad dean did t kill Gadriel I like his character and believe that if given the right push would turn against metatron and side with dean, so far his character has been complex and hasn't shown a clear motive or reasoning for his siding with metatron. Dean in the shower was just a lovely treat but would have been sooooooo much better if we saw him at least half naked, a girl can dream.

  • woz22 Apr 20, 2014

    I am confused with the way the season is going I much prefer Sam and Dean going after the Demon route then this. I just think that Metatron angle is far too clever for its own good and comes across as I will confuse the audience so much by the time I finish u gone to sleep!

    I do agree with some of the comments below as the writers I pretty much making it up as they go along. I see how this pans out but the series really needs to end as is will end like 24 and Lost rehashing the same scenarios and thats a shame

  • Hutchy_TVSeries Apr 19, 2014

    Gabriel: "Bitch please, you've been God more than Dad has."
    You know what God problem was?
    He published the 1st draft of his play.
    He didn't do a rewrite.
    Another creative episode!
    Metatron has become way too powerful! Everything's playing out according to his words. He makes the story unpredictable to me now.

  • hvanhagen Apr 23, 2014

    so, that metatron has become so powefull leads to a simple question:
    who can stop him?
    at this point there are only two beeings with that kind of juice.
    Death and God himself.
    so this makes me wonder if we will finally see god at the end of season 10.

  • Hutchy_TVSeries Apr 24, 2014

    God question... i meant good question.

    I was wondering if the writers would be so bold to touch those beings.

  • RichardCarlso Apr 19, 2014

    Gabriel's non-answer (except for twitching his eyebrows) when Castiel asked him if he was dead, maybe Metatron brought him back? God brought Castiel back after Lucifer killed him. As powerful as Metatron seems to be now, I can see him powerful enough to bring Gabriel back.

  • hvanhagen Apr 23, 2014

    why would he?
    tossing another vigorous player in the game is kind of self destructing stupid, even for meta...

  • hopitopia Apr 19, 2014

    I was so stoked when Gabriel/Loki showed up that I ignored what I already knew about this episode and Metatron being behind it. I still think Gabriel is dead. But I love that actor.

  • hopitopia Apr 19, 2014

    also as a BIG P.S. More Cas! Hurray! Love me some, really any Castiel. I feel he's wedded to the story now and when he's not involved it's effectively a plot-hole at this point.

  • LucyBarker Apr 19, 2014

    I just straight up didn't get this episode. Probably because I was only half paying attention, but also maybe because it didn't make much sense. And I'm not sure I want to watch it again to find out.

  • kateharper28 Apr 18, 2014

    I gotta love the look on Sam's face at the end of this episode when he's in the car with Dean. Hey, Sammy, this is what it feels like when someone you really love is in trouble and needs your help. Only, you don't know exactly how to help or what you may have to do to save them. How far are you prepared to go, Sam? Kinda scary, huh? Take a big whiff, bro -- this is long overdue. Sam, you're still my guy, but I've been waiting all season for this look on your face.

    No, I am NOT a Sam hater. But it's about time Sam knows what this feels like.

  • xxSupernaturallover Apr 18, 2014

    So Dean beat up Gadreel with his bare hands.
    He beat up an ANGEL with his bare hands.
    Last time he punched an angel(Castiel), he hurt his hand...

    Is Dean even human anymore?

  • kellyrwilkinson Apr 23, 2014

    That's a really interesting point, especially when you consider tonights episodes. When I think of Cain and the warning he gave I can't help but be reminded that this Mark is a lot more complicated and sinister than we've seen.

  • jjkrock Apr 18, 2014

    Is Dean even human anymore?

    Geez I hope so. Maybe the MOC makes him insensitive to pain (as well as most of his other emotions). This is getting scary.
    Good catch about the hand thing -- I'd forgotten that.

    Now that I'm thinking about it, Sam punched Gadreel too and he didn't seem to hurt his hand. Was this sloppy writing again? Curious.

  • jjkrock Apr 20, 2014

    I heard two interesting theories about this:
    1. If Gadreel never healed completely from the fall, maybe he's still not at full power, so hitting him doesn't have the effect it normally would.

    2. When Sam hit Gadreel, he was inside an angel trap -- something we've never seen before, so we have no real idea how they work or what the limits are. However, if a demon trapped in a demon trap is vulnerable and doesn't have his full powers, maybe the same thing happens to an angel. That could explain the lack of hand-breakage if you punch one. Of course, Dean eventually dragged Gadreel out of the trap and continued beating him with his bare hands, so I'm not sure that second theory holds...unless, as you suggested, maybe Dean isn't 100% Dean/human anymore.

  • MichelleHood24 Apr 21, 2014

    Considering how worried Cas looked when he saw the mark something is defiantly changing in dean and it's something very dark, darker than I've seen in a long time.

  • jjkrock Apr 18, 2014

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