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Supernatural: Despair

"Happiness isn't in the having. It's in just being. It's in just saying it."

I'm a puddle on the floor. Not joking.

Let's start with that devastating, emotionally wrenching end, shall we?

I love Dean. He's always been my guy because of his selflessness and heroism, his courage in continuing to fight against insurmountable odds. Dean is the guy who raised his little brother, who protects him and loves him with every last ounce of his soul. Dean is the guy with the courage to actually take on God, and he just might win. Maybe Dean's need for Jack to take out Chuck was selfish, when Dean is rarely selfish. Dean was simply desperate to get out of Chuck's hamster wheel.

In this episode, Castiel did what Dean usually does. Castiel was the selfless one, sacrificing everything for the world he now loves, but most particularly, sacrificing himself for Dean. I do not want this to be the end of Castiel, but I assume it is. And it was a remarkable way for him to go out.

Death was literally pounding on the door, and Castiel simply found his moment. He was finally able to achieve that bit of perfect happiness and save Dean by telling him he loved him, and surrendering to the Empty. I know fandom is already divided about this one, but I absolutely took Castiel's declaration of love as romantic. Castiel said outright that it was unrequited, "The one thing I want, it's something I know I can't have." But clearly, the show deliberately left it open to interpretation, and I'm fine with that. It could even be hetero if anyone needs it to be, since Castiel had a female host the last time he was on earth.

The handprint appearing on Dean's shoulder afterward totally choked me up. Full circle.

All the other deaths leading up to Castiel's were like ghastly appetizers. (Any resemblance to the Snapture was purely non-coincidental.) I could feel that they were all going to disappear, but I cried anyway when Bobby, Charlie and Donna just smoked out like that.

Losing Charlie again was so painful. Especially when she asked if she was just collateral damage to the Winchesters, because, let's face it, she was. Did you notice that Charlie was wearing an abstract t-shirt of a sundown? She even said to her soon-to-be-snaptured honey Stevie, "I thought we could hit up that hideout after the sun goes down." I wanted happily ever after for Charlie, even though she wasn't our original Charlie. Not gonna get it, I guess.

And Eileen – we didn't even see her go. All we got was her last text. I thought Eileen was going to be Sam's possible happily-ever-after. I suppose she still could be. All of those other people unrelated to the Winchesters simply vanishing felt like it could be re-set in the final two episodes, right? And Donna wasn't on the resurrection list. She shouldn't have died.

Why did Jack's presence kill the plant in the warded silo bunker thingy? Did Jack absorb something from Billie or the Empty? Was Jack's presence why the warding didn't work? Or was that just death creeping into the silo? I don't dislike Jack, but I wouldn't have been upset if he'd stayed dead at the beginning of the episode. I certainly wish he'd taken out the Empty before it took Castiel. Billie saw Chuck's book fill in with another ending, and that made her want control of Jack. So I'm guessing Jack is still important to bringing about the Chuck endgame...?

There were some nice character moments scattered amongst the devastation. Dean and Sam in the bunker talking truth over a drink, acknowledging that they were back at zero. Castiel and Jack got the sitting-on-the-Impala-hood emo discussion. Sam letting Jack drive – that made me go, awww.

This was also Billie's swan song, after guest starring for five seasons. I'd like to personally thank Lisa Berry for doing such a great job with Death. It's been something of a dream come true for me to have an important character on Supernatural with my name.

Dean has now killed two Deaths. Can he just hang on to that scythe? Wait a minute... we've been told Chuck can be reaped. Could that scythe possibly kill Chuck, even if it's not wielded by Death?


— Richard Speight, Jr. directed this episode. Appropriate.

— Gold acting stars for both Misha Collins and Jensen Ackles for that final scene. They both cried. I cried. Wow, did I cry.

— There were several bits that reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, like the perfect moment of happiness. And of course, scythe matters

— It's been nice seeing so many characters return. Or it would have been nice if they hadn't all freaking died.

— There were some shots that suggested Death had a baby bump. Turns out that's exactly what it was. Billie's black coat over the black outfit did mostly conceal it.

— This week: Where did they travel? I usually list destinations here, but this week I didn't really track it. Plus there were way too many scenes with no location caption, anyway.

— Maybe no quotes this time. Because "Despair" was a particularly apt episode title.

— Okay, one quote. "It's you, Dean. It's always been you. Death-defying, rule-breaking, you are everything I live to set right. To put down. To tame. You are human disorder incarnate." Damn right.

Again, I must apologize for the lateness of this review. There was this pervasive five-day election results thing that kept blowing everything else off my television set. Thankfully, it's over now. I hope.

Four out of four handprints,

Billie Doux has been reviewing Supernatural for so long that Dean and Sam Winchester feel like old friends. Courageous, adventurous, gorgeous old friends.


  1. Donna died because it wasn't Death "setting things right." It was Chuck killing everyone in the world right? My take is that only Dean, Sam, and Jack are left alive on earth. What do others think?

  2. Ellen, that's a good question. I think it was implied that many were gone, but was it everyone?

  3. There were several bits that reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, like the perfect moment of happiness.

    Yes! I noticed recently Buffy and Angel are on Prime now so I've been watching that and Castiel's deal with the Empty TOTALLY reminded me of Angel's curse.

    And I also agree on the Infinity War thing. I fully expect everybody to come back with a "Dean, on your left" moment.

    Now if you'll excuse me I just noticed you're the one who did the Buffy reviews for this site, so I'm going to be following along as I watch each episode (currently near the end of season 2). This is my first proper Buffy binge (I watched an episode here and there back when it aired but I didn't watch very often). So if you see someone commenting on a review you did 9 years ago, well, that will probably be me.

  4. Jeff, please do feel encouraged to comment on Buffy, or anything else on the site. :)

    Those Buffy reviews are my first, and the site's oldest. I started writing them in 1997 while the show was running. The reviews were on several different sites, including an earlier version of mine, and eventually wound up here. I sometimes long to rewrite them because I think I'm better at it now, but I leave them pretty much as is... well, pretty much because.

  5. Billie, any idea why my comments on those old Buffy reviews aren't showing up? I made comments on "I Only Have Eyes For You" and (I think) "Go Fish" but when I go back to those comment sections they're nowhere to be seen.

  6. I just left a test comment on "I Only Have Eyes for You" and it worked, so I'm not sure what happened. Could you give it another try?

  7. The whole setup for next week felt VERY Buffy End of Days to me - i.e, let's get all the extras completely removed from the table. Looks like from the next trailer that everyone but the boys in the world is gone.

    Which means that anyone who's made a vow regarding Sam and/or Dean regarding them being the last man on Earth, now is your time...

    And I can't believe they finally came out and directly said IT! I literally squeed. Thank you so much, show, for finally dropping the queer baiting and just saying it.

    Of course, as you said Billie, they left it open enough for interpretation AND waited until the series was ending to do it so that they'll never have to deal with the consequences. But still... progress?

  8. Comments are working now. I just left one on the review for "Faith, Hope, Trick" and it showed up.

  9. Billie, I hope I’ve said it before, but thank you so much for these reviews. I found your site about halfway through my pandemic binge-watch, but I’ve read pretty much all of them since. So when I got to the end of this episode, I was happy to have a place where I could process THAT.

    I had unfortunately run into spoilers online, so I was pretty sure Castiel wasn’t going to make it through the season. I also had a feeling that he’d go out in a blaze of self-sacrifice. What I wasn’t expecting was for the writers to go *there*, but I’m so glad they did. The scene worked because it was totally in line with these characters and their journey together (and of course Misha Collins hit it out of the park). Castiel was a millennia-old angel who finally found his favorite human, and that was clear for a decade’s worth of episodes. (His speech actually reminded me of Harry’s speech at the end of “When Harry Met Sally”. Seriously, go re-read that speech and picture Castiel saying it to Dean: “…and I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night...”)

    P.S. I totally missed the handprint until I saw your recap. That’s what I get for watching on a tablet. So thank you for one more heart squeeze.

    P.P.S. I had to give this episode a day or two to breathe before I watch the next episode, so I went back and re-watched “Lazarus Rising”. Damn, that was an awesome introduction to Castiel. Also the line "because God commanded it" lands really differently after this season.

  10. Mothra, you're welcome, and thank you so much for this lovely comment. I'm so glad you found us and that I was able to help you through Supernatural. This show is always going to be one of my absolute favorites.


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