“What makes a story work? And who gives a story meaning? Is it the writer…or you?” In the manner of Carver Edlund—or God, as He was—the new God, Metatron begins this week’s ‘Supernatural’, a countdown to the last quarter of season nine as the final battle looms closer.

Dean’s still having issues from the Mark of Cain as its influence is making him a bit antsy over the fruitless search for Abaddon. They get a call from Castiel after he runs into Hanna, the only survivor of an angel massacre perpetrated by Gadreel against those who dare not follow Metatron’s lead. He takes a picture of an angelic symbol that acts as a siren, drawing angels toward it. The Winchesters find that the symbol has been at the site of several multiple homicide cases but that’s about as far as they get. After Castiel heals her, Hanna asks to join Cas, a willing follower but he denies her request, promising that he’ll enact revenge on Metatron and Gadreel but is far from a leader. He and the brothers plan to meet between Auburn and Ogden, Utah.

Dean having some alone time with the rogue Gadreel

In his hotel room, Cas gets a very interesting message from the archangel Gabriel who’d all believed had fallen at the hands of Lucifer.  Evidently, the trixster faked his death, hiding out in Heaven before the fall. Cas asks why he decided to reappear and it’s because Metatron has taken possession of Gabriel’s Horn, using it to call angels forth to join him or die. A survivor for his entire existence, Gabriel’s ready for war. “We’re going on the ‘Kill Metatron’ tour,” he tells his fellow angel, “and you’re looking at the frontman.” On their drive through Utah, Gabriel admits to his cowardice and the bad things going on in the world. Most angels are “sheep…drones” unable to handle the free will that’s been given to them by way of the Fall. It still doesn’t make sense to Cas and he asks why Gabriel is doing this. “I always run; from Dad, from the family. I don’t want to run anymore. I want to do what I was meant to do—lead.” He gets his chance when they’re trapped in a gas station by a cadre of Metatron lackeys. Knowing they will soon be overwhelmed, Gabriel volunteers to hold them off long enough for Castiel to get away and take up arms as leader of the new resistance. Cas is seconds away from following his brother’s advice until he notices a continuity flaw. That flaw allows him to see through Metatron’s illusion. “None of it was real,” the Gabriel vision says, “but it was all truth.” Cas asks if Gabriel is truly dead but the Trixster offers him a trademark wink before disappearing…

And just like that, Castiel wakes up, tied to a chair with Metatron banging away at the keys of a typewriter. “What makes a story work?” the new God asks the trussed up angel. The entire charade was Metatron’s attempts to get Cas to take his part in the former’s grand opus. After all, every story needs a villain to go against its hero and, in this story, Metatron’s painted himself the hero.

In Ogden, Sam and Dean play on Gadreel’s arrogance and traps the angel in a circle of holy fire. They splap the angel cuffs on him and take him back for some friendly interrogation but he’s not talking. Dean sends Sam on to track down Castiel and he’ll continue on with Gadreel. When Sam leaves though, Dean makes it clear “I don’t care if you talk. You’re gonna pay for what you did to him…and Kevin.” Dean goes to work on his prisoner but Gadreel temporarily grabs the upper hand, attacking the elder Winchester’s fears, nearly goading Dean into killing him. Moments before delivering the killing shot, Dean realizes Gadreel wants death, fearing the thought of being left in chains forever…and alone.

Castiel takes on the mantle of leader for those who oppose Metatron

As Metatron does his damndest to sell Castiel on the perks of leading the charge against him, Sam arrives in Castiel’s room and, not long after, Metatron pops in, offering an even trade; Castiel for Gadreel. He gets back to the factory to find a tired Dean and unconscious but still living Gadreel there. When he tells Dean about the trade, they believe this is the perfect chance to trap Metatron. Well, things don’t go quite as planned as Metatron’s more powerful than any angel; he is the new God, after all. But he retains the hubris of one not used to his power, all but knowing he’ll win but ready to enjoy the fruitless attempts of those that will oppose him.

Metatron and Gadreel talk about the journey they’re about to take. The former remains confident that, despite the twists and turns his characters take, the ultimate reality is that he knows the ending and “How I get there doesn’t matter as long as everybody plays their part.” Gadreel departs, his face not showing the confidence in this new God that it once had.

Sam and Dean say their goodbyes to Cas, as they part ways to do their separate jobs. Cas recognizes the Mark of Cain and warns Sam to keep an eye on Dean. And as Metatron continues his writing and the Winchesters ride towards the sunrise, Castiel takes up arms, calling his flock together as ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)’ plays in the background.

Characters and Choices

  • Metatron’s questions on what makes a story and his later assertions that, sometimes, characters don’t necessarily follow the writer’s intention are very well known to those of us who’ve delved into the world of story creation. Having the ending in mind and getting there is oftentimes like the aphorism that it’s not the destination that’s important, it’s the journey. Despite his powers, he’s overlooking one gigantic piece of the puzzle…no part of his power will be able to cull the free will of his adversaries, Sam, Dean, and Castiel.
  • Guilt: it’s one of the most cancerous things in existence. It can erode our confidence and faith, make us forget who we are and stunt our growth while preventing us from taking action. Castiel’s previous actions that resulted in the death of so many of his brethren hobbled his belief in himself but his role in Heaven’s closing at the hands of Metatron have effectively crippled him. He reiterates several times in this episode that he’s not a leader but, when he realizes just how important the coming battle is, he takes the reigns, his past be damned. Sacrifice, after all, is more than just giving ourselves up. Sometimes it includes doing away with our fears at the behest of others, even if we aren’t quite ready to do so.