Supernatural: Swan Song

Sam: "I let him out. I gotta put him back in."

I'm glad they didn't go for a big CGI fight scene extravaganza. It was like they were saying simply that this is where the story began, this is how it ends, and this is what it means.

The end of the arc

It was Sam's turn to sacrifice himself for his family, just as John and Dean did before him – but bigger, since he also saved the world from the Apocalypse he inadvertently caused. Sam's love for Dean, their connected past as brothers, and a tiny toy stuck in the Impala's ash tray were what gave Sam the strength to defeat Lucifer.

It's a shame Sam had to take Adam down with him. Poor Adam. He never caught a break, did he? Horrible death by ghouls, yanked out of Heaven, five minutes to get to know his brothers, and boom, in a box with the Devil. He made the ultimate Winchester sacrifice just like the rest of the family, but without any say or choice in the matter.

If that's what happened. Where are Adam/Michael and Sam/Lucifer? Are they in a metaphysical cage under the cemetery in Lawrence? Are Sam and Adam even conscious of where they are? Can archangels even suffer under those circumstances? And what did that final scene with Sam under the street light mean? The zapping of the street light suggested that Sam was still supernatural, but the fact that he was obviously there to make certain Dean was all right suggested that it was our Sam. How can that be?


Continuing characters possibly continuing. Or not.

We've been getting broad hints all season that Bobby would die, so I decided that it was misdirection and we'd lose Castiel, instead. So I was definitely shocked when both of them freaking died... and then both of them came back. Yes, it's a cop out to keep killing characters and bringing them back, but hey, it's a tradition on Supernatural by now. God brought Castiel back before and he might even have done it because he needs a sheriff in Heaven, and who better? And we already knew angels have healing power, so it made sense that the first thing Castiel would do when he returned, new and improved, was bring back Bobby and heal Dean.

Let me add that I desperately didn't want to lose either of them. I was relieved, even if it did sort of nix the high tragedy aspect.

Chuck said that Dean and Bobby won't see each other again for a long time, so I think they just wrote Bobby out. At least we can take heart that he's out there fighting the good fight. Until Crowley shows up to collect, anyway.

Was this whole thing really just some arbitrary test designed by God? Doesn't make God look all that good, does it? Was Chuck supposed to be God? I really don't want Chuck to be God. Frankly, I have a hard time thinking about the possibility of God making it with Becky, much less "Mistress Magda." And wasn't Dean wearing his God EMF amulet when he and Sam first met Chuck? Maybe Chuck the prophet just ascended or something. I hope so.

Happily ever after

They brought the story full circle with the Impala as their home and symbol of the Winchester family, and the ultimate showdown taking place outside of Lawrence, Kansas. The brothers montage was great – I particularly loved the bit about Dean and Sam sitting on the hood of the car in the middle of a field watching the stars. There had to be good times we didn't see.

Dean kept his "happily ever after" promise to Sam, because he said he would. Except he looked deeply unhappy and he had a drink in his hand. How typical that Sam forced his own idea of happily ever after on Dean. That's not Dean. Dying young saving the world is Dean, even though I love Dean and that's certainly not what I want for him. Dean's unhappy face is what stayed with me after the episode.

The End

As Chuck said, endings are hard and the fans are always going to bitch. I don't think any finale to an arc story this massive could ever satisfy all of the fans. I wasn't as emotionally involved as I was when Dean went to Hell, and it didn't blow me away the first time through. Maybe my expectations were too far out of sync with what we got. But I suspect this episode improves upon acquaintance, because it really got to me the second time I watched it.

I truly don't have any preconceived notions or laundry lists for season six; I love this series and I'm ready for them to take me wherever they want to go. I just want both brothers back. And Castiel. And I want Chuck not to be God. Really.

And I still want the Supernaturalverse as it is, because if it isn't, what's the point of doing another season?

Bits and pieces:

— I'm such a fan of this show that "Carry on Wayward Son" gave me chills this time.

— Jared Padalecki did a good job as Lucifer, although it felt just a bit as if he were mimicking Mark Pellegrino. And I just realized, seeing Jared do it, that Pellegrino's interpretation felt feminine, but not in a good way. I think he was going for petulant and seductive.

— The Impala's first owner was Sal Moriarty, who gave free Bibles to the poor in preparation for Judgment Day. Nice touch. And the used car lot where John bought the Impala was Rainbow Motors. We probably already knew that.

— Lots of other people in Sam's early life were also Lucifer's demons. What a bummer.

— Three Star Wars references. Dean did the standard line, "I've got a bad feeling about this." Dean also called Bobby "Yoda." And Lucifer said to Sam, "Such anger, young Skywalker."

— This week: Detroit, Michigan; and Stull Cemetery outside Lawrence, Kansas. (Great looking location, wherever that was.) "The Kids are Alright" took place in Cicero, Indiana, so that must be where Lisa and Ben were and where Dean ended up.

— Except for Lisa, whose part was minimal, this episode was all about the guys. Typical for Supernatural, which tends to be a guy show.

Quotes:

Dean: "It's not on me to 'let' you do anything. You're a grown... overgrown man."

Sam: "Take care of these guys, okay?"
Castiel: "That's not possible."
Sam: "Humor me."
Castiel: "Oh, I'm supposed to lie. Sure. (fake smile) They'll be fine." What's funny is that Castiel did take care of them, just as he promised.

Dean: "Whatever happened to Becky?"
Chuck: "Didn't work out. I had too much respect for her."
Dean: "You've really got a whole virgin/hooker thing going on, don't you?"
And if Chuck is God, that was pretty funny.

Castiel: "The only thing that you're gonna see out there is Michael killing your brother."
Dean: "Well, then, I ain't gonna let him die alone."
Dean was right to go. Castiel and Bobby were wrong. But hey, they went, too.

Castiel: "Hey, ass butt."
This reminded me of Captain Kirk's classic 'I don't know the local slang' line, "Well, double dumb ass on you."

Castiel: "No paradise, no hell – just more of the same. I mean it, Dean. What would you rather have? Peace? Or freedom?"

I'm tempted to go with the four out of four gallons of demon blood, but that was gross. So I'm going with four out of four Holy Impalas,

Billie
---
Billie Doux adores Supernatural which is a good thing since apparently, it's eternal.

23 comments:

Mark Greig said...

This felt like the series finale it was no doubt intended to be, only with a bit of noticeable tinkering after they got the renewal.

I’m willing to bet Bobby and Castiel would’ve stayed dead and Sam’s sacrifice wouldn’t be temporary until next season starts up. That was the only thing that let this episode down for me. All the sacrifices and loses they guys suffered were quickly reversed. I understand the reasons behind it, these four misfits are our heroes and for they show to continue they need to be around, but it still undermined the emotional impact.

Apart from that I can’t find any other faults.

So a big thank you to Eric Kripke for five (okay, four and a bit) great seasons. He took us on one a hell of a journey (no pun intended) and it’s going to be hard to imagine the show going on without him. Like trying to picture Buffy without Joss.

Mark Greig said...

Oh, and again, great review Billie.

Jess Lynde said...

I'm totally with you on not wanting Chuck to be God. When that happened it really frakked with my mind. I hope he was just ascending, too. (To mix bunch of sci-fi metaphors.)

The ending with Dean reminded me of the scene near the end of the Lord of the Rings trilogy with the four hobbits sitting in their favorite tavern, trying to have a drink like old times, but life just isn't the same as it used to be. They've been through too much and they just can't enjoy an evening of drunken carousing like in the old days. There's such a perfect melancholy about that scene.

And that's exactly what I got from the look on Dean's face. Except that he's trying to live "the dream life" instead of return to a life he used to live. There's no way he could possibly settle into a happy family existence after all he's been through, especially losing his brother. It was a nice touch, and I'm glad they didn't go for the happily ever after ending. I sort of hope that's what they would have done even if the series hadn't been picked up for another season.

The "I won't leave you" parts were good and true to the characters, but kept reminding me of Lost a few weeks ago and it just didn't have the same emotional impact in this show.

I know it is totally a cop out to instantly bring Castiel and Bobby back to life, but I'm so glad they did. I can live with Sam sacrificing himself to right what he put wrong, and with Dean having a less than happily ever after, but I would have been really, REALLY unhappy if Cass and Bobby died like that. :)

It will be interesting to see where they go from here. Thanks for the great reviews, Billie!

migmit said...

OK. What. Was. That?

Seriously. Are they really telling us that everything went according to damn plan???

I don't want Chuck to be God, but I also don't want him to be any kind of supernatural being except for being a prophet, either. So his disappearence really disappointed me.

All in all, it seemed that Kripke wasn't very much caring about the story; instead he tried to make it as hard as possible for the next showrunner to explain all this.

On the bright side, I really liked Adam. First of all, he looked a lot like Dean. And he looked like a good match for Sam/Lucy, also.

Mr.Evil said...

This wasn't perfect episode of television, but this was 100% Supernatural, meaning that it didn't have great plotting and special effects, but it was totally emotionally satisfying. I love Sam's fate, as cruel as it was - it was heroic sacrifice to end all heroic sacrifices and it completely redeemed Sam.
What did not like about this season (apart from the pacing and plotting which honestly didn't make sense at the time) was the fact that the central villain was the least hateable and interesting. This season had so many great villains (Zach will always be my favourite Supernatural villain, but the Riders were also awesome, especially Death) that it feels disappointing to see Lucifer being not-so-badass. And he only showed up in few episodes...
Overall, I was pleased with episode. Kripke was never a great writer when it comes to plot, but he always knew how to move me to tears. I love how the personal the resolution was, sorry the impact was much lessened by the fact that we will get sixth season.

Mr.Evil said...

*at times. sorry for bad english. it is not my primary language and I wrote very quickly :)

vanessa said...

Maybe it's just me but i was thinking Sam at the end was a nod to the croatoan episode this season (I think it was called the end?).In that episode i think it's Lucifer who says Sam killing Dean will be the end...no matter what. If that episode was really a flash to the future then i'm thinking that Lucifer isn't really locked up & the apocalypse is still going on. Like it was setup from Lucifer somehow to make Dean think he trapped him & only trapped Michael thus future Dean cant ever find him to say yes? I might be totally in left field but that episode was the first thing I thought of when they revealed Sam under that street light.

Anonymous said...

Nice finale, it was really impossible for it to really live up to the expectations. I really hate when the writers ask forgiveness already in the episode, both here and in BSG. It puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the finale, because now I *KNOW* that it won't be so good.

As for Mr. Evil's comment, at the end I really felt that Michael was more of a villain than Lucifer. It was like Lucifer really didn't want to fight and destroy everything and Michael was just... so... rigid.

Oh, and I agree with Mark. This was the series finale retinkered. Let's hope this year we don't have to lament the renewal. I still think BSG would have been so much better if 4x10 had been the end.

Anonymous said...

Sorry: Let's hope NEXT year we don't have to lament the renewal.

SK said...

I definitely did not want Chuck to be God. I felt actually Chuck was Gabriel (he's the trickster right so he could still be alive?). Definitely more a series finale rather and a season finale.

JM said...

"How typical that Sam forced his own idea of happily ever after on Dean. That's not Dean. Dying young saving the world is Dean, even though I love Dean and that's certainly not what I want for him."

This just...I don't even know. If Dean didn't ever want Lisa, then why the heck did he go haring off to see her, and leaving Sam in the lurch while he was at it, at the end of 99 Problems? Sam told Dean that he wanted him to be happy with Lisa instead of trying to bring Sam back or seeking some kind of vengeance for Sam's fate, and somehow that becomes Sam FORCING Dean to do what Sam secretly wants for himself? Sam has made it very clear, said it in so many words, that he doesn't want that kind of life any more, that it's NOT his dream now. I don't know why Sam asked Dean to make that promise, but I think you've got it really skewed there. I don't recall Dean ever saying I promise, for one thing, so if he didn't say it, he had an out. I think Sam was trying to keep Dean from falling into the same trap that John, and then Sam himself, fell into when they lost their loved ones. Not cramming some dream that he insists he doesn't even have any more down Dean's throat.

R. Berger said...

I really, really don't want Chuck to be God, but I have the horrible feeling that he is. It makes too much sense (in a don't-let-it-be-so kind of way), for a number of reasons. Chuck's apologies for "creating" Sam and Dean in "The Monster at the End of this Book" begin to make a lot of sense, and one could also draw a correlation between Chuck and the show's writers. If he's a stand-in for them (Carver Edlund = Jeremy Carver and Ben Edlund), and he's God, then he created the world, just as the show's writers have "created" the world of the show. In which case they've just basically made themselves God, which makes me even more meh about the idea.

A couple things give me a modicum of hope, though. The first is that we see Chuck in "The End," and he's not very god-like there. The second is that Chuck makes that comment about writing himself in as a prophet being "M. Night-level douchiness," which means that the writers are pretty well aware of what a dick move making themselves God would be.

On an unrelated note, Mischa Collins's delivery can still make me weep with laughter in the middle of a very serious episode, so he remains awesome.

Nitewoman said...

Great review as always. I loved this episode.
<> Had a heart attack at this point. Cop out maybe, but one I can live with for sure

<>
To me I thought it's not long after Dean showed up at Lisa's and he's still devastated and so hurt and alone...I loved Dean going back to Lisa. That is where he needs to be, with someone who can help heal his wounded soul. Guess it’s safe to say that Dean’s paradise won’t last forever otherwise how do we get a Season 6. BUT I’m ecstatic the episode ended this way. Seeing Dean on his knees in the graveyard so terribly alone broke my heart too. I knew how Dean was feeling. So glad Cas and Bobby are back. Dean going to Lisa and her “I will help you with this loss Dean” hug, Dean almost colaspese in her arms. I could hear the sobs…but Dean gets his normal apple pie life with Lisa and Ben.

Stephen said...

I'm glad Sam got possessed early in the episode, cos i was like "Huh? Jacob is the devil?"

Paul Kelly said...

Just caught up with this episode. I didn't consider that Chuck might be God until I read your review. Mainly because of the amulet. I just assumed he was a prophet who ascended like Elijah, his purpose completed. Although, didn't Joshua say that God was on earth? Hmmm... deliberately ambiguous I'd say.

Great finale and great review!

atapper said...

i really don't think the ending was sam's happily ever after being forced on dean. throughout the show it has been pretty clear that given the freedom dean would love to have a family and normal life (like in "what is and what should never be" and "the kids are alright"), he just never thought it was possible for him. his heaven includes peanut butter sandwiches with the crusts cut off. so i think in an ideal world he would love to settle down with Lisa, but he's been through hell and as far as he knows his brother is in hell so he doesn't have much happiness left in him

Anonymous said...

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I loved Chuck´s narration about the car and all the good times Dean and Sam had while on the road. It really felt sweet and a great way to end this season. But on the other, I felt the ending to be anti-climatic. All season they were getting us ready for a battle and then nothing. And then what I didn´t like was how Cas and Bobby were suddenly back to life. That pissed me off.
Like I said, very mixed feelings.
Dean´s unhappy face at the end really breaks my heart.

McMaggie said...

I just rewatched, and I think it is Lucifer who relaxed his fist from the klling blow. Lucifer so wants his older brother to accept and love him as Sam's memories showed Dean doing. Watch it again - the fist relaxes and starts to drop and then Sam takes control.

ChrisB said...

Maybe it's the fact that my fever spiked again this afternoon, but I watched this twice and sobbed through it both times. I mean, literally all 42 minutes of it.

What a great touch to have Chuck narrate the stores about the Impala. And the flashbacks were wonderfully done (how young does JP look in season one?!?). I loved the flashes of the good times we never got to see -- but the scene under the stars was one of the best of the series.

After everything these two have been through, to see them connect like that at the end was tremendous. But, for me, the most heartbreaking shot is the final one -- an obviously unhappy Dean being watched by Sam. Need to grab another tissue...

As always, Billie, your reviews exponentially increase my enjoyment of this show. So glad I listened to you way back at 'Bugs' and stuck with it. Thanks.

Billie Doux said...

You're so welcome, ChrisB. Reading your comments for the past few weeks has brought back how I felt when I saw these episodes for the first time. I hope you're feeling better.

christina said...

Great review! I think Chuck disappeared because he was meant to write about the Winchesters and he was writing about the end in this episode. He no longer had a purpose on Earth. I hope he's having fun, wherever he is. Loved Chuck's narration about the Impala. I love video montages. I know, I know, but they just get me every time.
Thanks for your reviews Billie. You make me think about so much more than I would normally and make me feel better about watching so much t.v.

Juliette said...

This was the first episode that nearly made me cry - I really love my cars :) (Except for my second one, which kept breaking down on me).

I actually really like the idea of Chuck as God - though it's almost painfully meta (the author has godlike power over the characters, etc etc etc). Glad Cas and Bobby are back too, though they'll have to do something to make death feel like a threat again next season.

Definitely felt like a series finale apart from that last shot of Sam. Perhaps he redeemed himself through self-sacrifice?

I'm still insanely bothered, out of all proportion, by the fact that Sam's heaven didn't include Dean. I hope they address that. And bring the amulet back (still sure that must be on Sam's person somewhere, or perhaps he picked it up and left it in the Impala).

Mallena said...

The best finale of Spn ever! Maybe the best episode ever, hard to tell because Spn is still going....Love this one from the brilliant opening narration to the sob enducing ending. Pure perfection.