Supernatural Retrospective – Part 20 (just… Metatron)

Part 19 (Abaddon all hope)

Who’s next up in our quest for a S9 arc?

metnate

Oh.  Him.

Let me back up a minute.  I have NO complaint about any of the actors involved with any of these characters.  Mitch Pileggi, Alaina Huffman, Curtis Armstrong, Amanda Tapping… these (and probably more I’m forgetting) are all great actors with legitimate talent.  If anything that’s what makes the disappointing results of their characters even more depressing.  We could be seeing characters every bit as memorable as Ash or Gordon or Agent Henriksen or many more secondary characters from the classics of the series.  But we don’t.

Let’s take Metatron a moment.  I was never fooled for a moment that he might become an ally of the team.  It’s just a tradition of the show that if your name isn’t “Bobby” or “Castiel” that you will eventually turn against the boys unless you die first (Garth is like a gray area).  The bigger twist would have been Metatron being an actual friend.

Now I know what one of you might be saying: “Nate, you’re on a blog.  You write stuff and talk too much about meta stuff that only you care about.  You’re just mad because Metatron is you!”  To which, you are only half-right.  Yes, Metatron is a better looking version of me, but I’m not mad that I’m a villain, I’m mad I’m a poorly written villain.

Just like before with Abaddon, ask yourself, “why?” No, let’s back up.  “How?”  How is Metatron a villain?  Kicking angels out of heaven?  The folks responsible for this? (and more)  The show at this point had spent 4-5 years establishing angels as far more antagonistic than ally.  (And if you bring up the veil, I’ll refer back to earlier.)  If Sam and Dean went and kicked them out of Heaven, would they be villains or would it be heroic?  Because he killed Kevin by order?  Ok.  But why did he do that?  What did killing Kevin accomplish for Metatron?  Note that S9 ends with Castiel defeating Metatron by breaking the angel tablet.  Need I remind you that Kevin proved his ability to “heal” broken tablets just the previous season (episode 8.23) meaning that had Metatron kidnapped Kevin instead of kill him, the prophet could have put that broken tablet back together.  So really killing Kevin helped out the heroes more than it did the supposed villain, so how is he villainous?

The most clearly villainous act Metatron does is kill other angels.  Well his first kill is Naomi, who had previously been a villain, returning us to our previous problem, but later on we see him having angels who aren’t villainous be killed off.  But why did he do that?  He claims wanting to take over Heaven and be the new God.  I could, maybe understand kicking out other angels to accomplish this (otherwise you’d maybe get Heavenly Game of Thrones) but why then bother with trying to drag them back to Heaven when they don’t want to?  Because they could become foes?  But then Metatron tries and gets Castiel to be his opponent so Metatron can tell a story.  So he’s so worried about opposition, that he’ll assassinate other angels so that he can later brainwash (or whatever he was doing) another angel into being his opposition.

Do you see it yet?  S9 keeps wanting us to believe Metatron is some big bad villain of the season, but nobody puts in more work and takes real steps into defeating Metatron, than Metatron!  And not in a clever, “the folly of hubris” manner.

If it had been up to me one of two ways to do it…

First, let’s assume they want to have him be a villain-villain.  So I would have most of the first half of the season focus on Abaddon, with a mid-season reveal that part of why she’s so bad and “winning” is that Metatron is semi-aiding her in order to create the villain of his story that he can defeat (the Satan to his God).  Reveal that her soul-theft is the result of him giving her secrets (or hacking reality) so she can be as bad as possible.  Let Dean get the Mark not just to stop Abaddon, but ensure that her defeat is as far from Metatron’s help and design as possible (yes, the season plot would come down to kill-stealing).  Then you can have Metatron so angry/frustrated that he and Dean have the final showdown, Castiel fixes Heaven, etc etc.

Second (and my preference) I would have Metatron be a tragic anti-villain.  I would have him be something like a fanboy who wants to do good and be the hero but has become so laser-focused on the “story” and task that he fails to realize how he’s affecting real people.  I would have S8’s finale and much of S9 all be the result of him doing what he legitimately thought was the best thing to do – even if it often made things worse.  And since Dean got to kill Abaddon, I would have the finale be Sam “defeating” Metatron, not in a fight, but in a simple conversation and connecting to the guy to get him to see what he’s really doing.

At best we can at least say that Metatron’s efforts don’t run immediately afoul of canon.  Using tablets as cheat-code guides to reality is even something that does make decent story sense.  Curtis Armstrong does breathe great life into an otherwise empty character such that I could imagine Metatron doing lots of things outside villainy.  But as for the first part of the villain test?  He’s a complete failure.  I can’t tell you what his plan was, much less what would have happened had he succeeded.

So while Metatron may have the best claim to an arc in S9.  He still wasn’t it.

Part 21 (Cas & Crow)

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4 thoughts on “Supernatural Retrospective – Part 20 (just… Metatron)

  1. Metatron was considered a villain to other angels but you’re right, post-Kripke era angels are buffoons for the most part so that doesn’t matter.

    However, he also killed a lot of human beings in his civil war with Castiel, manipulated Gadreel (who was a bit of a dim bulb anyway, easily manipulated) in to killing Kevin and others. The show usually takes an unfavorable view of supernatural creatures that kill lots of humans.

    Finally, Metatron did kill MoC Dean, albeit only to end up turning him in to a demon, but he did kill him nonetheless (though one could argue that Dean was a big bag of dicks at the end of S9 and had it coming).

    Regarding your argument about Kevin, Metatron also flipped the switch to prevent other prophets. He could have just flipped that switch back on, gotten himself another prophet (since angels know the names of all the prophets, past, present, and future), and done the same thing re: fixing the tablet.

    I do agree that he wasn’t the true villain of the story in Season 9; it was the showrunner 🙂

    • That does remind me. Why manipulate Gadreel as an ally? If Metatron wanted a villain, why not manipulate Gadreel? All the angels seemed to be ready to hate him anyway and he is a dupe. Maybe that’s it. In the first half the writers meant for Metatron to be setting up Gadreel as a bad guy (THEN killing Kevin and the angels make sense) but I guess they got bored or tired of that and changed their minds to make him a sidekick.

      However, he also killed a lot of human beings in his civil war with Castiel

      I’m blanking out. Which humans are you thinking of beyond Kevin? Do you mean the hosts of the angels? Because if we’re going by that… Castiel and the brothers have a bit of a death toll on their hands too. Oh wait, do you mean the suicide bombings? Ugh, that’s another why. Why do those? What did they accomplish?

      Finally, Metatron did kill MoC Dean

      But if we’re going to be fair, Dean did show up and attack him. Metatron even offered not to fight.

      See what I mean? Every time the show wants to go one way with the guy they turn around and go the opposite way too.

      He could have just flipped that switch back on, gotten himself another prophet (since angels know the names of all the prophets, past, present, and future), and done the same thing

      That’s just the “it makes more sent to kidnap” argument with an extra step added. Which means we all keep coming back to the same point. There’s no real reason for killing Kevin in show. (Out of show the reason is of course, “we need drama and a driving force.” ;))

      I do agree that he wasn’t the true villain of the story in Season 9; it was…

      Spoiler warning! 😉

  2. Aww. Poor Booger. Not sure why I liked to watch this guy so much. Motive aside, I always got bogged down by the “meta” aspect and always believed he represented the writers’ voice, or one of the writer’s voices. If you see him that way, much of what he does is just reflective of the writers’ issues and hangups, insecurities, wishes, and resentments….He experiences great torture for his deeds. When he died, I knew at least one of the writers had left the building…..

    • You love him because Curtis just has a charm that’s hard to resist. 😉

      And him being a “writer-gauging” character is a good and bad issue with him. It certainly demonstrates how lacking in vision S9 was and how badly it needed a captain at the helm.

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