After 15 years, the Winchester brothers finally come to the end of the road.
SUMMARY (Spoilers. So many spoilers)
Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) lost their mother, Mary (Samantha Smith), to a demon when Sam was a baby. Raised by their father, John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and his friend Bobby (Jim Beavers) to be monster hunters, Sam eventually left and tried to live a normal life. When John disappears, Dean and his brother reunite in order to find him. They then end up fighting a bunch of monsters before finally killing the demon that took their mother, Azazel (Frederic Lehne). Then they fight that demon’s boss, Lilith (Katherine Boecher). They’re joined by an angel named Castiel (Mischa Collins) and together they fight the Devil (Mark Pellegrino). Then they fight the archangel Raphael (Demore Barnes) and the Leviathans, monsters so horrible that God banished them to Limbo. Then it’s God’s scribe Metatron (Curtis Armstrong), a knight of Hell (Alaina Huffman), another king of Hell who is also a dead Scotsman named Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard), God’s evil sister (Emily Swallow), some Brits and the Devil again, the Devil’s son (sort of) (Alexander Calvert), and then finally they fight God himself (Rob Benedict).
They die a lot, but eventually they actually manage to be the last men standing.
Supernatural’s originally intended plotline ended ten years ago with the defeat of Lucifer and yet that didn’t even slow the show down. There’s a meme online that describes Supernatural as “redneck Dragonball Z” in the sense that every season we’re told that the thing that the boys are fighting is the biggest threat ever and yet the next season the threat is even bigger (with some exceptions). That’s not inaccurate, but the fact that eventually the enemy they fight is literally God (yes, the creator of everything himself) makes me respect the cliche more, since they carried this trend all the way to its logical, yet absurd, conclusion. Also, at least they had the good sense to kill off each of the characters multiple times (I think the Winchesters have died collectively at least a dozen times without counting time-loops), but then I remember that is ALSO a Dragonball Z thing. Maybe it’s that the two shows really contain one very similar theme. Both series are about the ability for people to grow and overcome any challenges through effort and determination.
That theme may be the thing that I most like about the series. In Supernatural, there is always a solution to any problem if you work hard enough and learn enough. It’s not just that the Winchesters kick a lot of monster butt, they also constantly are dedicated to reading the lore about all of the enemies that they fight. Sure, ultimately, they have to stand their ground against a horrible monster and stab it through the heart with a thrice-blessed shard of obsidian or whatever, but what worthwhile problem can you solve without exposing yourself to danger? It’s not like the boys always know they’ll come back from the dead, in fact they often assume it’s the last time, but they still stand up and fight the good fight. They hunker down, read a ton of books on the subject, formulate a plan, then put everything on the line to solve it. I FEEL LIKE THERE’S A SOLID LESSON CONTAINED IN THIS.
Then there’s Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. Without them, this show would have failed outright. Their chemistry is as good as any onscreen couple, which is possibly part of why people have shipped them together despite their characters being siblings who have nothing but brotherly affections. Everything about their interplay tends to work, from the comedy to the drama to the tense emotional moments. When they added Mischa Collins, rather than detracting from the duo, it heightened it by giving the pair more time to show how they interact with other close parties. Dean and Castiel may be close as it gets (possibly in canon), but his relationship with Sam is still distinct. No matter what guests showed up, and there were some great ones, the core was still Sam and Dean.
I’m going to opine briefly on the final episode of the show, so if you don’t want spoilers, just know that I will always recommend this series to anyone who likes fantasy. Even if you don’t like some of the episodes, and there are some that are definitely weaker than others (*Cough* racist truck *cough*), the series as a whole is strong. It didn’t last 15 years for nothing.
As to the finale, I know a lot of people were disappointed. I will admit that I wasn’t happy with it either, but I do have to say I understood why it was a let down and I don’t think it was actually the fault of the show. If you aren’t living under a rock or reading this in the year 2045, you are probably aware that in 2020 the world was struck by a pandemic known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and much of the planet was forced to avoid large gatherings of people. You know what usually requires a large amount of people in a single place? Filming a television show. Even with the final drone shot of the series in which the cast and crew say goodbye to the audience, there was a clearly reduced number of people present for the shoot. And I think that’s what really caused the problem for the finale.
I think what they were going for, an episode dedicated solely to Sam and Dean, was actually a great way to send off the series. Their bond, as I said, was what kept the show going. The decision to ***SERIOUSLY, SPOILERS*** kill Dean off for real was basically inevitable. Dean Winchester was never going to quit fighting until he could literally fight no more. Sam, on the other hand, could live a normal life. It was inevitable that Dean would go first, particularly since he spent his whole looking after Sam. I wasn’t upset by that and I was genuinely kind of moved by the scene between them. I also appreciated the cameo by Christine Chatelain from season one as well as by Jim Beavers as the “real” Bobby Singer, but the fact is that for a show that lasted 15 years to only give us two cameos in the last episode while name-dropping a half dozen others is a bit of a let-down. The absence of Castiel, Jack, and Mary Winchester was especially notable. However, I think that really just comes down to the impossible choice that the show had: Finish with who was willing and able to be quarantined to shoot the finale safely (within the budget they have for the episode), or just don’t finish the show. They couldn’t reasonably ask for everyone to just come back after COVID was over, because there was no telling when that will be. So, they had to scale it back to what they could get. The final “drive” montage was even the perfect time to show all of the old familiar faces one last time and have those final send-off scenes, but they couldn’t pull it off. I think the show deserves credit for trying and forgiveness for having a logistically impossible task. And while it might have been a bit of a let down, it wasn’t a BAD episode. It was just smaller than it should have been.
Overall, I still love the show. It’s been around almost my entire adult life, and I will miss it dearly.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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