Okay, standard disclaimer: I'm not as think as you drunk I am. No quotes are meant to be accurate, events may be talked about out of order. I've only seen the episode once while drinking... blah blah blah.
Now, to the episode...
How did we begin? With Cas? With Metatron? I think we started with Metatron, because he was doing the talking to the camera thing - and it reminded me of S6's The Man Who Would Be King... and how Cas talked to the camera then, and I wondered "is this an angel thing?"... but then later Robbie Thompson brought it back around... ANYWAY...
Metatron is going on about what makes a good story...and it's all very meta... and he's using a typewriter! Man, I used to use a type-writer, back in the 80s and 90s. I still have one back home. I love that thing. I wonder if I can still get ribbons for it? Okay... I am way off topic already. I promise I will sober up as this review progresses.
I loved the splash card changing from Supernatural to "Metatron"! So great.
Then we join Cas, who tears his coat on a loose pipe or something. I'm going to be honest. I was super excited that we might see some of Castiel's magical tailoring skills.... kind of shows you where my priorities are. But nope, he just leaves his coat ripped and then goes in to-
WAIT! I'm forgetting the BEST PART!!!
Before we get to Castiel, we first join Dean in the shower! And it is glorious... more please, just...maybe a camera pan? What's a girl gotta do to get a nice full length camera pan? ..what's that? Watch HBO? Screw you, man. Jensen Ackles isn't on HBO... life is horribly cruel.
And Dean broods into the mirror... and then joins Sam out in the main room, where Sam's tracked down a few more of Abaddon's soul harvesting centres, with the help of some dude named Carlos. Is Carlos the new Bobby? Man, I'm worried about the hunter's organizational abilities with Garth retired.
Okay... back to Cas... Cas is actually being Columbo and investigating a pretty gruesome mass angel murder. He finds a survivor named Hannah, who tells him that it was Gadreel wanting them to work with Metatron or DIE! They chose die. Cas heals Hannah up, and she's like "be our leader, please!" And he's like "No, man, I super sucked at that job. Remember when I killed all my brethren? That was so not cool of me and now I am as'keered of myself with any sort of power."
Then Cas goes back to his motel room where he calls the Winchesters. And UGH, I have so many feelings about this - because Cas is essentially HUNTING, and he's calling the home-base, and he's got the stuff up on the walls... and when he asks "what's honourable about a little fridge filled with stuff in a motel room" and Dean says, "everything", Cas smiles and it's the shippiest smile that ever smiled.... because holy-crap, I don't even ship them...but, maybe I do? Because HOLY CRAP, Cas loves Dean so much. Seriously, this whole episode was so Destiel that it's ridonculous, and Cas and Dean barely had any interaction.
Okay, right, I promised to sober up... my apologies.
Anyway, Cas tells them that Gadreel's heading north through Utah, so they tell him to head to Augeneyes (that's what it sounded like to me) and they'd head to Ogdensburg, and they'd meet in the middle.
Only Cas gets distracted walking out the door, because the lights flicker... and dude, was he just going to leave his hunting stuff up on the wall? Because that's just asking for a police investigation.
Then the TV comes on and it's Casa Erotica...and GABRIEL?!?!!
I was surprised! I gotta admit, sometimes despite my no-spoilers policy, I get RIDICULOUSLY SPOILED, either through my own fault or the fault of others... but I was genuinely unspoiled for this appearance!!
But as soon as Gabriel showed up, I was super suspicious - because, man, I WANT him to be alive, you know? I want it to all have been some giant fake-out and he's been hiding... but I think Cas wants that too, because Gabriel was the ONLY archangel on their side. And just think of how huge that would be right now, to have an ARCHANGEL on their side? Even Metatron is "just a grunt" whatever he's doing to "supercharge" himself with the angel-tablet aside.
And the whole time Gabriel was there - and I have to hand it to Richard Speight Jr. here - he seemed to be ACTING the part of Gabriel. Like, it was Gabriel, but it was FORCED Gabriel... but it could go either way on the fake-Gabriel or real-Gabriel trying to play a part scale... but we'll get to that.
Basically, the next few scenes with Gabriel, it was hard to pay attention to the dialogue because I kept screaming. "OH MY GOD! FIND A WAY TO TEST IF IT'S REALLY GABRIEL!!!!" in my head at the screen....
So, let's jump back to Gadreel and the Winchesters....
Gadreel goes in and kills Sam and Dean's man in Ogdensburg, who works at a marijuana paraphernalia store on Main St, in Vancouver. Okay, not really.... but that IS Main St, in Vancouver, standing in for Ogdensburg. They were probably in Puff Uptown, which is on Main St, across from El Camino's and Hillcrest Plumbing (both of which you can see through the window.)
Gadreel recognizes the hunting symbols...and man, it occurs to me just how dangerous it was for Sam to have an angel in his head for as long as he did, because Gadreel has gotta know SO MUCH. And the whole time I was worried about Gabriel being a fake-Gabriel and Cas taking him to the bunker (and thus revealing where the bunker is to whoever Gabriel really was - Metatron, or whoever), and then with this simple scene, I realized that Metatron already knows where the bunker is - because Gadreel knows. Yikes. Is is still warded against them?! Or is that null and voice since Gadreel knows where the door is? He doesn't have a key, but still.
Anyway, dude at the puff shop is killed. Sam and Dean are annoyed...time to trap an angel. The background music got a little bit overwhelming here, which is probably my only criticism for this episode at this point. I'm a backgroud-music minimalist.
Okay, where was I? Uh... oh yeah, Sam ad Dean trap Gadreel, and Sam is PISSED, especially because Gadreel is like "I know all your insecurities sucker!" And Sam is like "RAR RAGE MONSTER" and Dean is like "Cool it, bro... let's go have a talk."
Meanwhile, Castiel and Not!Gabriel? stop at a gas station... Cas has been trying to call Dean, but the call won't go through, which is weird... but anyway, they stop to get Gas, and they go into the convenience store and then Metatron's minions attack! And Gabriel tries to tell Cas to flee - to become the leader that Gabriel was supposedly planning to become, and Gabriel would once again sacrifice himself to the cause... and Cas ALMOST falls for it. (And seriously, do i have to reiterate how much Cas much have wanted Gabriel to be real - to actually have an angel who was, arguably, DESIGNED to lead...) ... but at the last moment, Cas realizes that his jacket is no longer torn.
Gabriel isn't real, none of it is... Cas probably never even left the motel room. Cas calls Not?Gabriel on it, and Not?Gabriel confesses...but before he snaps away the illusion, Cas asks him if he's alive - if at least that part may have been true... but Not?Gabriel doesn't answer, and we'll never know... (unless he shows up again)... part of me wants him to be alive, because I loved Gabriel, but another part of me thinks that his death was pretty epic and final, and I wouldn't want to undercut that... so, I'm torn. I like the fact that they kept it open here. I know some of you may disagree with me, but that's the way it is in my brain and I don't see that changing.
Back to Sam and Dean... Dean sends Sam to go find Cas, because he doesn't trust Sam to not turn into a rage monster around Gadreel.
Gadreel then makes the mistake of believing that the Winchester's are playing good cop/bad cop and Sam was playing the part of the bad cop.... no, Gadreel, you are with bad cop/even worse cop.... and you have just been left with even worse cop.
Meanwhile, Castiel wakes up tied to a chair in wherever Metatron is... heaven? I'm guessing it might be heaven. I wonder who his secretary is.
We find out that the "camera" that Metatron was talking to at the beginning of the episode was Castiel... and Metatron goes on to tell Cas that he, once again, being a spanner in the works. I love love love that this has become a character point for Castiel - I'm not sure if I mentioned that enough in my S8 rewatch. But I love the idea that Castiel may have been designed by god to ALWAYS be a spanner in the works. And I'd like to think that, because of that, he'll end up being Metatron's undoing... Castiel is some sort of really really weird fail-safe or something, I swear.
I feel bad, because I'm missing talking about so many good lines in this episode because I only watched it the once while drinking... so, I'm just going to say that there is TONS in this episode that I can't wait to talk about on rewatch in the fall.... and that in particular (because I already talked through that part), I liked Not?Gabriel telling Cas that he's been god more often than their Father has. It's once again, I feel, a line that directly ties Dean and Cas together, because I feel like Dean was more of a father to Sam than John was... of course, Dean was much much more successful at being a father than Cas was at being a God, seeing as how Cas turned out to be a wrathful insane God... which then ties Cas back to Sam...which in turn brings me to Sassy! Yay! Which is also something I loved seeing in this episode (platonically, of course.)
ANYWAY... Metatron, in a fit of being annoyed that, in the eons upon eons that Cas has been stationed with the garrison on earth, he never bothered to read a book besides the bible, Metatron "retcons" Cas - and I SO LOVE that line too...and man, Robbie Thompson writes a fine script, IMHO....but I digress... Metatron "uploads" everything HE'S ever read into Cas' brain so that he can understand Metatron's references. Little does Metatron realize that Castiel's problem with understanding references isn't a problem with not knowing the source material, it's a probably with not being able to see how any of it can be used as parable.
The point, though, is that, much like Moriarty in Sherlock, Metatron has decides that what a good story needs is a villain.... but, unlike Moriarty who was much more self-aware, Metatron has decided that CAS is going to be the villain. That Cas is going to lead the rebel angels against Metatron, and then Metatron's going to play the hero and CRUSH THEM!... but, Metatron? Dude? Whose hero are you going to be? Gadreel's? A hero is only a hero is people agree he is one, and last time I checked, you officially got everyone to hate you.
While we think about that though, and because I'm getting ahead of myself in the narrative, let's head back to Gadreel - who is in an angel trap. Seriously, where did this knowledge come from? They've got him cuffed with the cuffs they used on Crowley, looks like, but he's also in some sort of symbol...VERY INTERESTING. How did they move him there out of the holy fire? Did Sam and or Dean, hop into the holy fire and cuff him real quick?
Dean's talking to him...of Gadreel's talking to Dean...goading him. Telling him all the stuff that Sam supposedly things, in order to make Dean REALLY REALLY ANGRY...he's TRYING to get Dean to kill him. And, yes, I know 99% of people don't want to see Gadreel redeemed and want him to be killed because of Kevin, and...you know...Abner...and well, ALL THIS MURDERING... but damn it, I STILL want him to be redeemed. Maybe Tahmoh is my kryptonite? I don't know... Dean points out though that what Gadreel REALLY fears is being chained up again for all eternity. I guess I just kind of feel bad for the guy, because he's been tortured and locked away since Adam and Eve and...yeah... he's basically Aziraphale.... and, I really really think that he was sincere when he first met Dean, and that he just wanted to help... but, whatever...
Anyhoo, Dean goes off to the bathroom to stair at himself broodly in the mirror for a bit. Meanwhile, Sam meets up with Metatron at Cas' motel, and Metatron tells him that they'll do a trade and that he'll kill Cas otherwise.
Sam calls Dean, but Dean has already gone a bit weird with the Mark of Cain and left his phone in the bathroom...
Oh! Let's return to Metatron's talk with Cas in heaven, because I totally forgot to talk about the fact that the stolen grace is burning out! Or possibly BURNING CAS OUT!?!?! What's going to happen to him?!?! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo............
Now, Sam drives back to the factory where they have Gadreel to find Dean and Gadreel passed out in a corner with Gadreel beaten bloody, but not dead... and Dean seems weirdly drunk. The important part here though, is the fact that Dean admits that he wanted to kill him, but was able to resist, because Dean knew they needed him to talk... man, Dean is very concerning.
Sam argues for the trade (not like they have much choice), because he figures they'll be able to trap Metatron... alas, Metatron totally knows they're going to and basically just makes fun of them for it. He BLOWS OUT the holy fire. Geeez... what the hell? But he does return Cas and take Gadreel, like he said he would.
Then Cas, Dean, and Sam, seem to stand around in a parking lot and watch the sun set in silence...
...while we cut to heaven and Gadreel tells Metatron that the door to heaven is closed again. He then asks Metatron if him getting captured and tortured was part of his story, and Metatron says it was a surprise, but that's the great thing about stories - you make your characters interesting and see where they take you, but you always know the end when they don't. Gadreel gives Metatron a LONG LOOK...and again, I really really want that look to mean that Gadreel is getting tired of your shit, Metatron, and is about to <i>surprise</i> you further.
Back to Sam, Dean, and Cas, in the parking lot...now that the sun has set, they speak again, wondering what to do. Dean and Sam take off to go resume the Abaddon hunt, Cas stays behind... but not before realizing that there's something up with Dean. He grabs his arm, rolls up his sleeve, and says "What did you do?!" and....firstly, Dean must keep his cuffs unbuttoned, because there is no way you'd be able to do that with any of my shirts. Secondly, you know, MAYBE Cas would be a good person to ask about what the "burden" is that comes with the Mark.... but no, Dean just gets mad and gets in the car to drive away.
Cas tells Sam to look out for Dean.... and Sam says, "yeah, he's creeping me out too," with his EYES.
Then Sam and Dean drive down a lonely road, with Sam side-eyeing Dean, because of him being super super concerning.
Meanwhile, Cas does what Metatron wanted him to do and calls angels to him, and presumably becomes the leader that they're hoping for.... is he playing into Metatron's plan? Is he taking Metatron's offer of endless available grace? Or is Cas playing the double-cross? Or is he playing his own game?!
Conclusion: Awesome episode and WAY too much to talk about. As usual, let me know in comments what you thought and what you desperately need to talk about....