Meta!Gabriel vs. Metatron
Another case of Metatron having read all the books and understood none of them.
“Nobody teaches lessons better than good ol’ Gabriel, AKA The Trickster.”
…except that’s not actually true.
In “Tall Tales”, he dished out quite a bit of poetic justice - but only one of his victims actually survived to learn from the experience.
In “Mystery Spot”, the debunker possibly got another helping of (deadly) poetic justice - and Sam utterly failed to learn the lessons The Trickster had on the syllabus. “Let go of Dean, because if you don’t, you’ll end up in a bad place, seeking revenge that’s not worth the cost you’re going to pay for it”? Sam eventually got all of that, but it certainly wasn’t from Gabriel. The real takeaway for the Winchesters here? “Keep picking at the details. One of them will make a difference.” (I know I and others have cited Lucifer’s speech from “The End” in comparison with Metatron’s comment about knowing the ending, but “Mystery Spot” was really the first episode to handle the theme of inevitable outcomes not being quite so inevitable…)
In “Changing Channels”, Gabriel failed utterly in the lesson-teaching business… and got a taste of his own medicine. In trying to teach the Winchesters that they had to “play their roles” (another echo of Metatron’s speech about the inevitable ending), he himself learned that no power in the universe can actually get Sam and Dean to go along with someone else’s script. He tried it. Lucifer and Michael and the whole host of heaven (minus one) tried it. No luck. Metatron thinking he can do better is pure hubris on his part… meanwhile, we may note for future reference that during the Apocalypse, Sam and Dean both appeared to be going along with the script, but with their own agendas in mind (Dean about to say yes to Michael, only to back out once the archangel was on his way; Sam saying yes to Lucifer with intention of trapping him). Unexpected plot twists indeed. Also, we might want to keep in mind that the targets Gabriel selected for “being taught a lesson”? If they had anything in common, it was a bad case of hubris…
And then… “Hammer of the Gods”. Again, lesson learned by Gabriel, ultimately: there are causes worth standing up for, even if it means you pay the ultimate price. Sometimes you just have to take off the false identity you’ve constructed and claim your own True Self - not because you’re expected to, not because you’re the only one who can do what’s being asked of you, not because it’s your duty, but because you’ve found a reason that’s compelling to you and screw what everyone else wants. Take a look at Cas in the closing scene, and consider whether it wasn’t an error on Metatron’s part to include this book in the pop culture download… after suggesting that Cas has something to learn from Gabriel.
Maybe he did - just not the lesson Metatron thought.