Themes and Variations, or How 9x18 Is Meta Even in Its Music
Meta Fiction opens to the tune of classical music and finishes with a classic pop song and the two pieces of music frame the episode beautifully, reinforcing both the themes, the structure and the character development of seasons 8 and 9.
We start in Metatron’s study to the notes of Mouret’s Fanfare Rondeau. The piece is used as an introductary theme song to PBS’ Masterpiece Theatre. How fitting that is. Metatron is, at least in his eyes, writing his master piece, his version of the Bible, the new word of God. Yet, he approaches it as a puppetmaster writing a script for his puppets on strings. Gadreel even asks him towards the end of the episode how his play is coming along, rather than his gospel. In fact, this tweet:
reinforces the notion that this is the way Metatron looks at the creatures he so benevolently plays god over. Let alone the theatrical manner in which he acts when he is “caught” in a circle of holy oil.
The use of this piece of Baroque music is also interesting because of the word Fanfare. In an episode that references subtext and is a clear wink to all of us analysing the shit out of each episode, I feel okay interpreting as a light-hearted pun: Fan Fare, as in the stuff that fans live off on Tumblr, and message boards. Also interesting is that in its original French fanfare can mean a hunting signal given before the start of running down a deer. Much like the sound & sign Metatron uses to start the hunt of the rebel angels.
Then there is the fact that the musical form rondo has
a principal theme (sometimes called the “refrain”) [which] alternates with one or more contrasting themes, generally called “episodes,” but also occasionally referred to as “digressions” or “couplets. (x)
which suits the way Supernatural seasons are written: themes explored through variations on this theme in its various episodes. This episode included.
The main theme of this season is who are you & what defines you. How fitting then that the episode finishes with the Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons version The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore. The wonderful crossroadscastiel already commented on the "I need you” and loneliness expressed in the song this in this sublime post. I’ll just add that it seems like each member of TFW seems to have come to some sort of a decision for themselves this episode and all end up in a lonelier place because of it. The lyrics
Loneliness is the coat you wear A deep shade of blue is always there
apply to Cas, Dean and Sam each.
Dean has taken over the metaphorical mantle of the burden of Cain and it has cut him off from everything but revenge.He has been wearing a blue coat all season and is often hued in shades of blue, symbolic for his ever growing depression.
Cas has once more donned a trenchcoat symbolising his return to being an angel, trading in his deep blue gas-n-sip uniform of humanity. Moreover, with his summons at the end of the episode he seems to have put hiself in a leadership position once more; the most lonely place to be in these circumstances.
Sam has chosen to forego revenge for now, but as his many concerned looks at his revenge-driven brother show, his decision to not follow Dean down this path has widened the emotional gap between the brother’s even more, all framed in blue.
As this is Supernatural, themes and character development is explored through pain and dark roads. The variation it presented to us in Meta Fiction was one of loneliness and “without love”.
And further into the abyss we go, but we’ve got wonderful music to accompany us on the way down.