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Metatron is in a traditional study/library at a formal-looking desk typing on an antique typewriter. We see that he has been reading the Supernatural books by Chuck Shurley/Carver Edlund, and he’s currently writing a story about Dean, Sam, and Castiel. Suddenly, he stops typing, looks directly into the camera, and addresses the audience.
Metatron starts speculating about what elements or characteristics (plot, subplot, characters, etc.) make a good story. Then, he tells the audience that he has written a story for us, and he’ll leave it to us to decide if the elements worked.
The episode opens with Dean in the shower at the bunker. He seems troubled and acts as if he’s trying to wash away worry or concern. Moments later, he’s drying himself and looks at his face in the mirror. He doesn’t seem happy with what he sees. He looks down at the Mark of Cain on his arm, and his look of worry increases.
Later, Dean joins Sam in the war room. Sam reports multiple cases of soulless people acting out, but there are no leads about Abaddon. Sam seems to notice that Dean is troubled, but when Sam asks Dean if he’s alright, he says he is and suggests they keep working.
Elsewhere, Castiel enters what looks like an abandoned factory. He follows a pulsating, ringing sound to see where it’s coming from. As he’s walking, his overcoat gets snagged on a nail and tears. Ignoring the damage, Castiel continues following the sound.
He comes to a door that has bloody hand prints on it and goes inside. Inside the room, he finds the dead bodies of angels, bloody and strewn across the floor. He also sees a pulsating/glowing, Enochian symbol on the wall that seems to be painted in blood. Castiel uses his cell phone to take a picture of the symbol. As he approaches the symbol, it stops pulsating and Castiel finds one angel who survived the massacre that happened in the room.
The angel, who is badly beaten but still alive, introduces herself as Hannah. When Castiel asks what happened, Hannah tells him that the symbol and the sound it made drew her and the other angels there because the sound reminded them of heaven. They followed the tone, but when they entered the room, the door slammed shut. A new angel arrived and said he worked for Metatron, the new god. He told the angels that if they joined him and fought for Metatron, they would be allowed to return to heaven. Hannah tells Castiel that she didn’t believe the angel’s offer, so she and some of the other angels refused. Those who refused were slaughtered. Castiel tells Hannah that he’s sorry for what happened, and he heals her wounds and helps her to her feet.
Hannah realizes that she’s talking to Castiel; news of his stand against Bartholomew is apparently spreading. Hannah asks Castiel if he will lead the other angels against Metatron. Cas insists that he’s no leader, but he will find Metatron and make him pay for what he did. Hannah tells Castiel that she and the other angels want to help him do that, but Cas insists that they’re safer away from him. When Cas asks Hannah the name of the angel who attacked her, she tells him it was Gadreel.
DEAN and SAM
At the bunker, Dean and Sam are talking to Castiel via cell phone and have just learned about the massacre and that Gadreel is working for Metatron. Castiel also confirms that Metatron made Gadreel kill Kevin, and that since there have been no new prophets, Metatron likely did something to cause that and create an advantage for himself.
When Dean and Sam say they need to find Gadreel and force him to answer some questions, Castiel shows them the symbol he found. Castiel says that he’s never seen the symbol before, but it’s made from griffin feathers, the bones of a fairy, and other unusual ingredients. He says the symbol acted like a siren that drew the angels to it.
After a few seconds of searching on his computer, Sam verifies that the symbol has been seen at the site of several multiple homicides that occurred over the previous few days. Sam confirms that the murders happened in Baker, and Hill Valley, Utah. Castiel says he’s currently in Bishop Falls, Utah. Looking at a map, Castiel determines that Gadreel seems to be heading north. The group decides that the most likely locations for the next attacks are Ogden or Auburn, Utah. The brothers decide to head to Ogden, and say Castiel should go to Auburn.
As soon as Castiel hangs up the phone, the lights flicker and his television turns on by itself and a "Casa Erotica" pornographic film starring the archangel Gabriel plays. Gabriel steps out of the film and appears in Castiel’s motel room. He asks for Castiel’s help.
Castiel is shocked to see Gabriel alive, but Gabriel tells him that the “Trickster” tricked everyone into believing he was dead. Gabriel says he’d been hiding in heaven until he got kicked out along with all the other angels. Once he fell, he hid; but then Metatron and his goons discovered him. Metatron sees Gabriel as more of a threat because he’s an archangel, so he’s been on the run. But a few weeks ago, he started hearing the Horn of Gabriel, so he came out of hiding. Gabriel tells Castiel that Metatron is using the Horn to trap angels. Gabriel is surprised to learn from Castiel that Gadreel is also involved.
When Castiel asks Gabriel what he needs help with, Gabriel says he wants to lead a group of angels to find and kill Metatron.
DEAN and SAM
Back at the bunker, Dean and Sam recall someone who helped them once when they were working a case in Ogden, Utah and needed supplies. They contact the person to see if he’s still in business.
In Ogden, Utah, Gadreel arrives at what looks like an herbal remedies shop. He asks the clerk for the feathers of a griffin. At first, the man acts like he doesn’t know what Gadreel is talking about. But Gadreel reminds him that there are hunter symbols on the door, so he knows he’s in the right place. The man shows Gadreel his stock of griffin feathers, and then the camera cuts away…
DEAN and SAM
Later that night, Dean and Sam arrive in Ogden at the shop. The “Open” sign is still displayed, but the shop is dark and it’s clearly after hours. When they go inside, they find the clerk dead (with his eyes burned out) and griffin feathers on the floor near the body.
Elsewhere in Ogden, Gadreel is preparing to leave another abandoned factory when he hears a noise in the alley. He leaves his car to investigate and eventually encounters Sam Winchester, but it’s a trick and the Winchesters trap the angel in a ring of holy fire.
Later, the Winchesters have Gadreel tied to a chair and are interrogating him. Gadreel refuses to give up any information about Metatron. Instead, Gadreel berates and insults the brothers, especially Sam, because he had a chance to share Sam’s emotions and thoughts. He tells Sam that inside, he reeks of shame and weakness; he also says other things to play on the Winchesters’ insecurities, conflicts, and faults.
When the brothers realize they can’t crack Gadreel, they try to call Castiel, but can’t reach him. Dean sends Sam to find Castiel and Dean continues interrogating Gadreel.
Elsewhere, Castiel and Gabriel are driving and Gabriel calls Dean to tell the Winchesters that they are on their way to the bunker. After Gabriel hangs up, he and Castiel talk. Gabriel says that the angels are in a terrible state, and that most of them are sheep who don’t know what to do with free will. He goes on to say that he and Castiel are different because they’re rebels. When Castiel insists that he’s just a soldier, Gabriel says that’s fine because he’s going to need all the soldiers he can find, because now he’s ready to lead.
Later, Gabriel and Cas pull into a gas station and a group of Metatron’s angels pull up outside. They prepare to attack. Gabriel tells Castiel that he can hold off the other angels to give Castiel time to get away. During a dramatic and touching scene, Castiel initially refuses to leave, but Gabriel insists that Castiel should take his place as the leader among the angels who will battle Metatron. Finally, Castiel accepts and prepares to leave. But when he goes to return his angel blade to the pocket of his overcoat, he notices that the coat is not torn and surmises that the entire encounter with Gabriel is an illusion. Castiel confronts fake-Gabriel, who snaps his fingers and makes the attacking angels disappear. When Gabriel asks what gave it away, Castiel shows him the section of his coat that was torn, but isn’t now.
Gabriel tells Castiel that none of what happened was real, but everything he said was true. Gabriel urges Castiel to listen to Metatron, if only to hear what he has to say. Then, Gabriel snaps his fingers and disappears. As soon as this happens, Castiel wakes up gagged and tied to a chair in Metatron’s fancy study. He looks up to see Metatron typing on his antique typewriter.
Metatron tells Castiel that he initially was just trying to tell a good story, but it didn’t work as he’d planned. He berates Castiel for not understanding his literary references, and with a touch upon Castiel’s forehead, Metatron instills all the knowledge and references from all the books, movies, and television shows Metatron has ever read or seen. Metatron tries to convince Castiel that the universe is made of stories, not atoms. He also says that he ordered Gadreel to slaughter any angels who wouldn’t join them, but told him to leave Hannah alive to tell the story to Castiel. Metatron refuses to say whether he can return the angels to heaven, and says that he wants Castiel to lead an army of rebel angels against him, so Castiel and his followers can be the villains of the story. He goes on to say that if Castiel agrees, his life will be spared, although all his followers will die. Castiel refuses.
Metatron also tells Castiel that his stolen grace will eventually burn out, which will burn him out. Metatron offers to give Castiel an endless supply of grace, but Castiel refuses. During this exchange, one of Metatron’s underlings interrupts and announces that the Winchesters have Gadreel…
Back at the warehouse, Gadreel is bloody from Dean’s torture, but the angel still refuses to talk. Gadreel continues playing to Dean’s insecurities, saying that Sam wouldn’t have traded his life for Dean’s, and saying other things to hurt him. As the interrogation progresses, Dean realizes that Gadreel is trying to get Dean to kill him because Gadreel dreads being locked up more than he fears death. When Dean realizes this, he says he’ll keep Gadreel chained up forever if necessary.
Dean walks away from the angel for a while to cool off. Unfortunately, the violent urges from the Mark of Cain take Dean over and when he returns to Gadreel, he tortures the angel ferociously (off screen).
Sam arrives at Castiel’s motel to find Cas’ car parked outside, but the angel isn’t there. While Sam is searching the room, Metatron suddenly appears and offers to trade Gadreel for Castiel. Metatron orders Sam to bring Gadreel to the motel by 6:00 the following morning, or he will kill Castiel.
Sam rushes back to the warehouse to find Gadreel bloody and unconscious, and Dean exhausted from torturing him. When Sam tells Dean about Metatron’s prisoner exchange, the brothers realize they can’t trust Metatron; but they also realize that they know exactly where he’ll be at 6:00 the following morning, so they decide to set a trap for him.
The brothers rush back to the motel with Gadreel in the trunk. Unfortunately, when Metatron shows up the next morning, he already knows they’ve set a trap for him. The Winchesters ignite a ring of holy fire around Metatron, but he uses his powers to blow out the fire.
Metatron opens the Impala’s trunk, unlock’s Gadreel’s warded handcuffs, and releases the angel. As this is happening, another car pulls up with Castiel inside. The prisoner exchange happens.
Metatron tells Castiel and the Winchesters that they can’t stop him, but he’ll enjoy watching them try.
Later that night, the Winchesters and Castiel are still at the motel trying to regroup and decide on their next move. The group surmises that Metatron is using the angel tablet to power up, so he’s no longer just an angel – he’s a god. He can undo angel warding and blow out holy fire, so they aren’t sure how to fight him. Dean suggests that they find the secret stairway to heaven, sneak into heaven, and kill Metatron.
As the group is talking, Castiel notices something “different” about Dean. When Dean tries to pretend that he’s fine, Castiel grabs him by the arm and sees the Mark of Cain. Castiel is dismayed that Dean has the Mark, but Dean insists that he was doing what he had to do to destroy Abaddon.
Castiel agrees to search for the hidden stairway to heaven and notify the Winchesters when he finds it. Cas also advises Sam to “watch” Dean because of the Mark. The Winchesters drive away.
In heaven, Gadreel (healed of his wounds) enters Metatron’s study and reports that the secret door to heaven is secure and still hidden. Metatron admits that his story didn’t turn out as he’d planned, but he’s in the process of rewriting it. When Gadreel asked if being taken prisoner by the Winchesters was part of the story, Metatron says that was a surprise. Metatron goes on to say that one of the by-products of having well-developed characters is that they sometimes surprise you, but that doesn’t matter because he’s the only one who knows how the story will end. Looking directly at Gadreel he says that his story will end as it should as long as everybody plays his part. Gadreel leaves the room.
Meanwhile, back at Castiel’s motel room, he packs up and prepares to leave. As he’s doing so, he paints one of the Gabriel’s horn sigils on his wall. The next morning, when Castiel opens his door, there are a few dozen angels, including Hannah, standing there waiting for him. As this is happening, Metatron is typing on his typewriter, as if he’s writing and creating the events he wants to happen.