Despite its use of demons, angels, urban legends and more, Supernatural has always, always been about family. Sometimes the series’ instance on this is frustrating because we can only take so many scenes with Sam and Dean talking in circles about their feelings. But in tonight’s season — and based on the way it was written, it was show-runner Eric Kripke’s vision for the series — finale, I don’t think that Supernatural has ever been so emotionally pitch-perfect. Ever.
“Swan Song” was so on-point emotionally and on a character level that I was on the edge of my seat from the very beginning, and there was absolutely no fight. Seriously, they literally had no money to do any action-related sequences. Not even one explosion. But it didn’t matter, because we felt every drip of emotion from Sam and Dean, and even Bobby and Castiel in this episode.
Like I said up top, it seems obvious to me that this is the episode Eric Kripke has been planning to pen since the beginning, or at least since he and the writing staff figured out the angels v. demons story. I’m usually against randomly choosing to use voice-overs as a way to add heft to an episode, but Chuck the Prophet’s inclusion here fits because he’s a storyteller, someone who is supposed to tell the tale of Sam and Dean. And I don’t care that all those little touches about the Impala — Sam putting an army man in the backseat ashtray, Dean LEGOs in the dash heater — were more or less retconned in, because they got me. Every line of Chuck’s voiceover/Prologue got me (even the self-aware bits about endings and angry fans; this has Kripke’s hands all over it). And finally, the extended montage of Sam and Dean’s life throughout the series? Yeah, it got me too.
This is a story about Sam and Dean, and the finale let that be more true than ever. Dean finally agrees to let Sam go through with his plan, even when it goes awry because (duh) Lucifer had knowledge of the whole Horseman rings plan. Even after Lucifer takes control of Sam’s body and starts to wreak havoc on some more people who manipulated Sam in his past before getting to the “final battle” with Michael (in a Adam meat suit), Dean is there telling his little brother that it will all be okay. If they both die, so be it, they die together. Just as they should. In the end, after Sam finally takes over Lucifer because he remembers Dean, he remembers his family, he jumps into the pit, taking Michael with him. And then Dean does exactly what he promised Sam he would: find Lisa and settle down. For now.
Although I thought some of the inner monologuing in the mirror between Sam and Lucifer was a bit much at times, I understand there is really no other way to do it and Jared Padalecki nailed it anyway. Lucifer has been bit of a lame villain in the end because he wasn’t around that much, but his conversations with Sam about his running away from Dean and John really just running towards Lucifer were fantastic.
Also partially lame, but still ultimately satisfying: Castiel and Bobby dying…and then coming back to life. Dean’s line to Castiel about him being God was a hilarious in-joke to fan speculation, but it is now obvious that God did..something. He brought a fully powered Castiel back and he gave Dean exactly what he wanted (more of the same). But Dean’s still pretty pissed, which I’ll get to in a second.
So in the end, everybody kind of gets what they wanted. Chuck seemingly fades away, job done. Castiel is fully-powered and back in heaven serving his God. Bobby can still walk and his off hunting, according to Chuck (I guess Crowley gives him his soul back?). Sam gets to let go of all the evil inside him, overcome the most evil son of a bitch we can imagine and save humanity. And though without his brother, Dean gets to start that normal life.
Seriously, I cannot do this episode justice because of the emotional impact it has are beyond my words. Things played out pretty much as we expected, but it was all completely on-point, so much so that I almost wish that Supernatural wasn’t ever coming back. This is the end of Eric Kripke’s story, the end of the story that started in the Pilot, the end of the story about family. And if it weren’t for the CW’s stupidity, I would say right now that Lost will have difficultly topping this episode on an emotional level. I am not kidding.
But alas, Supernatural is coming back next year, and so we have Chuck/Kripke’s line about stories not ever really ending. Here’s what we know going into season six: Dean is angry with God, who seemingly was involved in Castiel’s revival. And somehow, some way, Sam is back, watching Dean from afar. Is he still Lucifer? Is he just Sam? Is he…God? I don’t think he’s Lucifer or God, but I’m not sure he’s Sam. What I do think, however, is that after S5 took on Lucifer, S6 will see the brothers track down God. Maybe not to take him down, but that’s the only way to go, it seems. I don’t agree with the implication that perhaps Chuck IS God because that changes the character and shades some earlier stories in a way I don’t like. And although the series will never end as well as this season, I’ll still be watching this family until they call it quits.