Carry On – Supernatural’s Final Episode and My Emotional Goodbye

It has taken me four days to stop crying long enough to sit down and write something about the Supernatural series finale, which aired last Thursday, November 19 on The CW. After fifteen years of loving this show, writing about this show, publishing six books about this show and its fandom, and making forever friends through shared love of this show, to say that its ending was monumental for me is still an understatement. Supernatural changed my life, both personally and professionally. Its message to always keep fighting inspired me to fight to be myself and to be real when life had taught me the opposite for all the years before this little show came into my life. Its cast supported my writing when I first dipped my toe into the waters of a new venture, contributing to my books with courage and candor and humor – even writing their own very personal chapters – and being just as real as I was struggling to be. Its fandom became my community of like-minded people who validated every moment of my this-is-me journey, challenged me to open myself up to different perspectives, and joined me on adventures I never dreamt I’d go on.

And I’m not the only one. This little show has changed so many people’s lives. That’s exactly what the last two books I’ve published are about – in the actors and fans own words, why Supernatural has been special to them. How it has changed – and even saved – so many of us.

Supernatural was an unexpected, unanticipated blessing, and I wouldn’t trade this wild ride for anything. But when you love something that much, it’s hard to let go. I can’t really imagine the pressure on the writers, producers, cast and crew to try to wrap up fifteen years in a way that will satisfy the fans to whom they owe so much. There’s never going to be something that satisfies everyone, especially not with a fandom known for its wildly different takes on the show and its characters, who are all watching for their own personal reasons. Because Supernatural was personal. It fulfilled something for each of us that was important; something we don’t want to let go of. The last episode was going to hurt no matter what, but if it didn’t go the way you were hoping it would, then there’s the sadness and anger of the ending not being what you wanted, on top of the awareness that now it never will be. And that hurts even more. I have so much empathy for my friends who didn’t like the way the show ended and who are in alot of pain because of that. Those feelings are valid just as my friends who loved every minute of it have valid feelings too. I hope we can all have empathy for each other, because love it or hate it, we’re all trying to cope with the end of it and we’re all  hurting.

As Rob Benedict (Chuck) reminded us yesterday, endings are hard, right?

I’m having my own very real emotional response to the last episode, but I’m also inevitably viewing both the episode and the fan reaction through the lens of what I do – I’m a clinical psychologist who studies fandom and has primarily researched this show and this fandom for almost fifteen years. I teach graduate courses in grief and loss, and I’m well aware of how indescribably difficult it is to lose something or someone that has been this important. It’s hard to figure out how to go on when what you counted on to get you through is no longer there. It’s terrifying to think of what will be like without what you lost, knowing all little ways that it was so present in your life, constant and continuous. Something to be counted on through the toughest of times and to share your joy in the best of times. Something so BIG that it defined all your moments, good and bad – that it felt like an integral part of who you are, a mirror that reflected back your own identity so you knew who you were in the world. A constant companion, a source of validation and comfort, and sometimes a challenge that changed your perspective whether you wanted it to or not. Supernatural and its unforgettable characters were all those things. Losing that is almost unbearable.

But not quite. And that, in a way, is what the finale was all about. I didn’t realize it while I was watching, curled up in a ball drowning in my own tears, but with time to process and put my soaking wet psychologist hat back on, the meta message alongside the equally important fictional story is clearer. This episode was like a master class in loss and grief, taught not only by the creator of the show and the writers, but by the fictional characters and the incredibly courageous and talented actors who played them. I understand some people wishing for a “happy ending” for the Winchesters and for Castiel before they died. It’s what they deserve after all they’ve been through. We’ve watched them battle monsters and angels and demons and God himself for fifteen years, enduring trauma after trauma, suffering horrifically, getting back up again and again and again to keep fighting. I too envisioned the last frame of the show being Sam and Dean driving toward the sunset in Baby, Cas with wings unfurled above watching over them. That’s literally the cover of my last book, aptly titled There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done. I would have felt content with that, like I did at the end of the penultimate episode, which ended like that (except we feared Cas was still in the Empty). My guess is that was the ending that Jensen Ackles originally wanted too, because he loves Dean and doesn’t want to lose him any more than we do – and because we all desperately want this to be a story that can eventually be continued. I would have been fine with that ending, and while I would have sobbed a lot anyway just to be losing the show, it probably wouldn’t have been me crying so hard I nearly made myself sick. Or not being able to stop for too long for the past four days.

This show has always made me feel so much more than any other show ever has, because I have truly loved it. I know this episode was hard to watch in a lot of ways, and some of my closest friends are really struggling with how their favorite show ended and I have so much empathy for that struggle. This is real to us; when we’re hurt and sad and angry about it, those emotions are as valid as our feelings about any other loss.  We all need to feel what we feel, and deal with loss in our own way. The actors, writers and crew who created this show are also entitled to their genuine feelings about its ending, and I hope that we as a fandom can give them that space to feel their own emotions just as I think they’re trying hard to give us ours. The story, ultimately, is ours to take in and hold onto, however we need to. So I’ll try to share my own thoughts on the episode and what worked for me about it, in the hopes that it might validate your own feelings or help you figure out what your own thoughts are, whether similar or very different. As humans, we all need to make sense of our own experience in order to integrate it into our sense of self and our life story – so talking about it helps! As fandom used to say back in the day, your mileage may vary.

We all want to avoid loss and pain whenever we can; that’s just part of being human. It’s unfortunately also part of being human that we can’t avoid it, and one of the things that media does is to help us process that pain and loss when it comes. Supernatural from the very start has not been about happy endings. What has made the show so compelling to me is that it has always been based in reality – gritty, imperfect, unpredictable, sometimes tragic reality. Eric Kripke’s brilliance in creating this world and these characters is that they could tell us a story that would go right to our hearts (often breaking them) because the story was REAL. All the Winchesters were flawed, slogging their way through horrible circumstances that they didn’t deserve and then coping (often poorly) with the aftermath, hurting each other in the process. The show didn’t shy away from showing us the darkness of the life they had chosen, and the ways in which it shaped them – just as or own real life tragedies and challenges shape all of us. It’s not always pretty, I know that from being witness to the lives of so many of my clients and from living through my own challenges. We have all done that. Castiel may not have been human, but he followed the same path as the Winchesters on his own journey, having to endure failures and make mistakes and ultimately become who he really was despite (or because of) those.

The thing that made Supernatural so powerful is showing that journey in an unflinching way, not glossing over the harsh realities of the world the characters live in. The Winchesters’ lives were difficult – a million times more difficult than most of ours. Their lives were never perfect, and they were never perfect. Instead, their lives were real – and ultimately so were their deaths. They weren’t superheroes with super powers wearing super suits – they were real human beings who were vulnerable to being killed every single time they went out on a hunt. That’s what made them heroes, because they did it anyway. Maybe Chuck was manipulating their circumstances some of the time, but it doesn’t matter – they didn’t know that, and their courage came from their willingness to go out there, saving people, hunting things, even at great cost and risk to themselves. They were a lot more heroic than someone with super powers because they only had themselves and they did it anyway. (That was Kripke’s initial brilliance, and a theme he’s carried over to his new show The Boys, which is all about how the ordinary humans keep taking on the superheroes even when they’re ridiculously “outgunned”). What could possibly be more inspiring than that?

What kept Sam, Dean and Cas going – and what keeps all of us going – is the relationships we make along the way. That has always been the hopeful side, the light in Supernatural’s pervasive darkness. That love, ultimately, is what can save all of us. It can keep us going through the most horrendous failures, the most unbearable pain, the most overwhelming of tragedies and losses. It’s the way we find the strength to pick ourselves up and keep going even when we think we can’t. It’s the way we still TRY even when it feels like we’re going up against fate itself. These characters showed us that, week after week, month after month, year after year. They make sacrifices for each other that could never happen out of anything but love, as Castiel demonstrated so vividly in ‘Despair’. As the Winchesters have shown us time and time and time again.

It’s not always easy to watch. Sometimes it tears our hearts out.  I still remember sitting on the floor sobbing when Sam was stabbed in the back and died in his brother’s arms way back in Season 2. I can’t even watch ‘Abandon All Hope’ because when Ellen and Jo died like that – so tragic and so REAL – I couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks. (Just like I’ve never been able to watch the Buffy episode ‘The Body’ ever again). But those episodes are, indisputably, brilliant television. I think this was too.

I know some people wanted Butch and Sundance, or a more big screen Marvel showdown, or something more “epic” or “dramatic”. Those endings are, as Rob Benedict said in his Stage It panel yesterday, what Chuck wanted. He wanted to be entertained, he wanted Sam and Dean’s endings to be grandiose, and he wanted to be a part of making that happen. But you know what? Sam and Dean and Cas and Jack defeated the last big bad when they took down Chuck. So instead, Dean died on a hunt like he’s gone on a thousand times – and every time he does, he knows it might kill him. He and Sam walked into that barn with machetes, human and mortal, and faced down more than twice as many vampires, knowing that they might not make it out of there this time. People saying Dean didn’t die a hero? What is more heroic than that? It was a vivid, stab-you-through-the-heart reminder that every single time Dean Winchester walked into a situation like that, it could have meant his death. It was a vivid reminder that Dean was utterly mortal, always vulnerable, completely HUMAN, and they still managed to save the world a time or two. Even at the very end, they killed the monsters. They saved the kids. And Dean gave his life to do that. That the monsters themselves didn’t directly kill him was a bit of poetic justice that I like to think Dean Winchester himself would have enjoyed just a little.

I’ve also seen some people say that Dean gave up, or that Sam gave up because he didn’t call 911. If you listen to the dialogue (that Jared and Jensen helped create for their characters) I don’t think that’s the case at all. Dean knows he’s dying, as people often do when they’re mortally wounded. He’s an experienced hunter; he knows what being impaled means. He just witnessed it himself earlier this season when his old friend was impaled on a pool cue, living long enough to share last words before Dean’s pulling it out ended him. He knows.  He’s not giving up at all, and he doesn’t want to die and he desperately doesn’t want to leave Sam – but that’s the reality of life sometimes. It doesn’t go the way we want, and it’s messy and tragic and so fucking sad. Dean does the best he can with the time he has left, and is given the gift of being able to tell Sam what’s important to him for Sam to know. He accepts the reality because he can’t change it, not because he’s given up.

Sam is in shock, but he is also an experienced hunter who has seen more than his share of death. When he puts his hand behind Dean and feels what he’s impaled on, and his hand comes back covered in blood, he also knows. (Just as Dean did in the parallel scene in All Hell Breaks Loose, as his hand comes back equally bloody)  Sam doesn’t want to believe it, of course, but when Dean calls him back and asks him to stay, Sam knows and eventually accepts this is what he can do for his brother. By the time emergency responders got there, they would have found Dean’s dead body and Sam standing among a bunch of beheaded people, and Sam wouldn’t have been able to carry on at all.

Sometimes life doesn’t go as you planned, and you have to always keep fighting anyway. Even when it hurts like hell. That’s been the theme of the show since the beginning.

The question of ‘where’s the character development’ is tossed around a lot in this fandom, and it was tossed around at the finale too in terms of Dean especially. But to me, there was tremendous character development here for Dean. He showed that he was able to be vulnerable, to let Sam know that he’d been scared and desperate when they were younger no matter how much bravado he’d put on, letting Sam now see his real feelings. He’s able to tell Sam right out that he loves him, just as Castiel did with Dean before he died, showing us some of his own character development. It’s what Dean wanted to be sure Sam knew — that for Dean, it’s always been them.  In his last moments – and in the years before his death – Dean Winchester changed so much. He went from a lonely, repressed young man, full of self loathing and constantly afraid of being left alone, to someone who was in his words “okay with who I am” and able to enjoy a pie fest and love a dog and appreciate all the little mundane things in life that make it satisfying to all of us. Able to show his real self to his brother. He could see Sam for his real self too, in the nuanced way that we can when we mature and don’t see in black and white anymore. He could see Sam as the strong competent equal partner – and still, always, Sam his beloved baby brother. Dean could integrate all those feelings; his relationship with Sam had grown to a place where it enriched and sustained them both. He had come to an integrated view of hunting too, it seems. Sam and Dean weren’t only about hunting; they had joy and laughter and pie eating and friends and maybe even a part time job, as the application on Dean’s desk suggested. Dean had become his own person; he could own doing what he wanted to do, and he was courageous as hell in going out there and living his life the way that gave him purpose and satisfaction. (And later we see Sam’s success at integration too, perhaps with hunting and also being a good parent to his son or at the very least by not allowing a drive for revenge and an inability to set healthy priorities to keep him from raising his son in a healthy way). That’s real character development for both of them. It took a long time, but that’s how it works in real life too.

I’ve also seen the complaint that Dean died right after they finally defeated Chuck and didn’t get any time to enjoy living life free from Chuck’s machinations. I liked that the show left it up for interpretation just how long Sam and Dean lived in the bunker, hunting and taking care of Miracle and doing laundry (Robbie Thompson we finally got a glimpse of your day-in-the-life episode), but they were in such a well established routine, it seemed clearly meant to be a while. Someone apparently asked Jared at one of his weekend Q & A’s how long it was and he said about five years, which is about what I was thinking too. I don’t think they meant to imply at all that Dean died on the very next hunt they set out on – hence the montage. He had the opportunity to live free, as a big old fuck you to Chuck and in honor of Castiel’s sacrifice, doing what he loved and doing it with his brother.

There are also some who don’t like that Sam lived for a long time without Dean but was still clearly grieving. To me, that’s part of what made this a master class on loss and grief. We don’t ever forget the people we’ve loved and lost, and a part of us will always miss them and long for them. We see Sam’s pain vividly; we see his tears, we see him glance at the guns on Dean’s bedroom wall and then resolutely walk away. The ‘Always Keep Fighting’ message that’s explicitly called out in the barn scene is a real life reminder that this is what we all have to do. Sam was still able to keep his promise to his brother and make a life for himself. He felt joy raising his son, and he was clearly a good father, breaking the intergenerational transmission of trauma cycle that had held the Winchester family for so long. The episode foreshadowed all this in the pie scene, with Dean telling Sam, “that pain’s not gonna go away. But if we don’t keep living, then all that sacrifice is for nothing.” The montage of Sam’s life without Dean is purposely vague, left open ended and blurry (sometimes literally), with the invitation to fans to interpret it however works for you. Did Sam marry Eileen? Did Sam hunt for a while and then later settle down with someone else? Were there some other circumstances? We don’t know; fill in the blanks as you will.  It was like the show acknowledged that its diverse fandom all wanted and needed different things from it, so it left plenty of openings as an invitation to make it what you need. (A fan asked Jared in one of the Q&A’s about who the blurry person was supposed to be and he said it was left open as to who Sam’s partner or co-parent was, and that Sam’s sexuality and gender is whatever speaks to us)

(In fact, there’s even an interpretation going around that the montage was really Dean’s fantasy of what Sam did while he was in Heaven waiting; that in reality, Sam died in that werewolf hunt in Austin and followed right after Dean. It’s not my interpretation, but even that one can work if you need it to!)

The point is, in my interpretation, Sam did carry on. He didn’t make a deal or beg Jack to intercede. He didn’t bring his brother back, just like none of us can bring back the people we‘ve loved and lost no matter how badly we want to. He lived with the loss and though he continued to grieve, he also went on with his life and lived it to its natural conclusion – that character development again. At the same time, the nuanced way Jared and the writers showed us Sam’s grief was so poignant, and again, so real. As Matt Cohen noted in his Stage It on Saturday, the way Sam looked around sometimes at the empty space beside him, hit hard. The way he sometimes had to go sit in the Impala and clasp his hands around the steering wheel that his brother always held, needing to feel close to Dean again. The way he wore Dean’s watch and his hoodie and carried his duffel when he left the bunker. Every second of the scenes in the bunker after Dean had died rang so true to me, it brought a fresh round of choking sobs. If you’ve ever experienced a crushing loss, so much was familiar to you. The way Sam wandered the halls, looking so lost, picturing Dean around every corner. The way he left Dean’s bedroom just as it was, beer bottles on the table and bed unmade. The way he sat on Dean’s bed and cuddled his brother’s dog, a tear trickling down his face. I understood when Sam made the beds and closed the doors and climbed the stairs of the Men of Letters bunker for the last time, turning off the lights as he left. Sometimes the reminders are just too painful; sometimes adapting to the loss means something new, even as you carry with you something that you’ll cherish forever.

I think Supernatural did that brilliantly. Like I said, a master class on grief and loss. And the final bit of brilliance, to me, was that the episode worked on a meta level too, as so many Supernatural episodes have over the years. Because in real life, we are all dealing with the momentous loss of the show itself. We are all feeling the pain that Sam Winchester did as he looked around and realized that his life was so much emptier now, without what he loved so much in it. In all its themes, the finale reflected what the cast/crew/writers/fans are actually going through in real life — as we feel the pain, grieve the loss, and ultimately Carry On.

The episode title was not just an homage to Kansas and the show’s unofficial theme song, though of course it was that too. It was also the theme of the episode – what Sam did, and what we all will do as well.

Carry On.

The story itself, as a story, also works for me, and worked for the people telling the story according to Jared, Jensen and Misha. There was a strong need, for the people who made this show, to bring it to an ending that felt right. To come full circle in some ways, to find the end of the heroes’ journey at the same place, but changed forever. There were lots of callbacks and Easter eggs to this end. The final hunt takes place in Ohio, in Eric Kripke’s old stomping grounds. The words the brothers say to each other as Dean is dying are a call back to what they’ve said to each other before. The first words they said in the pilot when they’re reunited, other than ‘easy tiger’, were Dean’s “heya Sammy” and Sam’s “Dean?” and also what they said to each other when Dean came back from hell; these are also the last words they say at the end of the finale. The clothes they’re wearing are a mirror of those they wore in the pilot. Many of those call backs were Jared’s idea, or Jared and Jensen together. They may not have been credited as creative producers, but there’s no question that’s what they became over the course of fifteen  years. And this show – this ending – was so important to them that they had incredible input. That’s how much they care.

That was a four page explanation of why the episode worked for me, with the explicit acknowledgement that it might not have worked for you. It seems to have worked for the cast, who have all talked about their own emotional reactions and love of story that they see reflected in it. (Misha watched it as an audience member and I think cried almost as much as I did).  I know there are plenty of people for whom the episode didn’t work, though, for multiple reasons. Life is hard right now and some people just wanted a happy ending for their favorite fictional characters, because in the midst of a pandemic there aren’t many of those. For some, it was a little too real when they just wanted an escape. For some, their favorite characters not being in the last episode was painful, for whatever reason they weren’t there. (Apparently there was supposed to be a brief scene at the end where all the people Sam and Dean had cared about over the years were there in Heaven with them, but Covid restrictions interfered). That would have been a lovely scene, and it was what I expected honestly. I would have loved to see beloved characters – and actors – have a chance to hang out with Sam and Dean one more time. That said, Covid made the finale episode a much more quiet and intimate story, and I think that ultimately worked to make it even more emotional. For some, an ending that was more traditionally ‘romantic’ was hoped for, but that has never been the show’s main story. It’s a shockingly subversive thing even in 2020 to tell a fifteen year story that’s all about platonic love and celebrate that bond so joyously in the final episode. Supernatural has never, ever, been like all the others.

So, five pages later, let me go through the episode as I usually do. Because hey, this is the FINAL Supernatural episode, so if this is long, so be it. Maybe I just don’t want to finish this review, knowing it’s the last one I’ll write…  Sometimes grief is temporarily about some denial and avoidance, after all.

Carry On was written by Andrew Dabb and directed by Bob Singer, co-showrunners for the final season, with music by Jay Gruska, all of whom have been with the show for a very long time. I went into the episode a little bit spoiled, which for once, I’m not regretting. I wasn’t sure I could get through this without a little bit of preparation, and I think that’s probably true. Still, I’m not sure how much more overwhelmed I could have been, so maybe it didn’t help all that much after all!

I was holding my breath waiting for the familiar strains of “Carry On” to play as the episode began, but it didn’t – which let us know that we’d inevitably be hearing it later, and that it would probably be under even more emotional circumstances. (It always makes me cry anyway). The episode starts out lighthearted, which I’m indescribably grateful for. It’s a montage of all the things we never got enough of – the Winchesters living their life, like all the best domestic Winchesters in the bunker fic. Dean wakes up at 8, Miracle leaps onto the bed with him and Dean envelops him in a hug, happy. Clearly, unabashedly happy.

Sam goes for a run, stopping to look out over a beautiful lake. Unhurried, content. Sam cooks eggs, Dean grabs the toast as it pops. Another morning, Sam fresh out of the shower shirtless toweling off his hair, and it’s the best kind of fan service, and not gonna lie, I had to stop and catch my breath for a second. I didn’t expect that in the finale – it’s so clear they were all trying to give us what we want, and that touches me.

Sam makes his bed, Dean doesn’t, as a song about living an “ordinary life” plays. Dean washes dishes and lets Miracle lick them, hoping Sam doesn’t see since he’s obviously quibbled with that many times in the past. Sam does the laundry ala Robbie Thompson’s heartbreakingly never written everyday Winchesters episode, kicking the washer as he’s clearly done many times to keep it going while he reads a book.

Dean cleans his guns. The boys do research at the library table.

Sam: Nothing on the wire, social media’s clean. Got anything?

You get the feeling that life is pretty quiet now that Chuck’s no longer the big bad pulling the strings. A hunt here, a hunt there, but not constant. Time enough to be mundane and ordinary. Happy.

Sam to Dean: You got something?

I got anxious, but it turns out the something is a Pie Fest.

Dean: This is my destiny.

Dean looks so happy with his box of pies, teasing Sam about being “sad Sam” when he’s thinking about Cas and Jack, as you often do about those you’ve lost even many years later – wishing, I think, that they could share these good times.

Dean reminds him that them keeping living makes their sacrifices worth it, and tells Sam to quit being “friggin’ Eeyore”. Sam pies him in the face (as real life director Bob Singer laughs in the background), and Dean doesn’t even mind.

But this is Supernatural, and we eventually switch from happy pie fest days to a case. This is a Monster of the Week episode, a throwback to the early days of Supernatural, which seems appropriate. A family (who were at the pie fest) are attacked by clown mask wearing vampires (clownpires?), the dad stabbed and the mom attacked as the kids run upstairs and hide under the bed. We get one more chance to remember just how scary Supernatural can be as the creepy creepy bad guys yank the kids out by their feet just when you think they’ve left. I have to say, those masks were way scarier than most of Season 15’s monsters have been. Whether partly for Covid restrictions or not, they totally worked.

We get to see Sam and Dean in their fed suits one last time as they arrive to work the case, as Agents Singer and Kripke, because this episode has more Easter eggs than the bunny himself and pays beautiful homage to all sorts of things. (Also, shallow aside, damn those boys look fine in their fed suits…)

One more time to pull out their IDs, like we’ve seen them do so many times over the years.

After they leave the crime scene, they stop in a beautiful spot to pull out John’s journal and an old school map to figure out where the clownpires will strike next, a nice throwback to the first season of the show. And if I’m not mistaken they’re at ‘Kim’s tree’? That’s the one there’s a photo of their beloved producer/director Kim Manners standing under. I’ve stood under it too a few times, so it made me very emotional – well, more emotional than I already was.

Dean: They’re mimes! Evil mimes.

Sam: Or vampires.

Dean: Vampire mimes! Sonofabitch.

Oh goddamn, I am gonna miss these boys. One more sonofabitch for the road, and it’s making me tear up just typing that.

They track the clownpires to the next house because smart Winchesters, kill one and shoot the other with a dead man’s blood bullet so they can interrogate him. They’re dangerous and confident and Sam is scary as hell threatening him with a slow death by the ‘little knife’ and once again I want to cry, because I am going to miss every single flavor of Winchester SO much. Including the dangerous ones.

They get the intel, and pull up to a dilapidated barn – and my heart stops.

One of the things I was sort of spoiled for was that Dean dies in a fight in a barn. I think I started shaking as soon as they pulled up. I couldn’t even manage a smile as Dean tried to cajole Sam into letting him use the Ninja stars, something they knew fans would appreciate.

Dean: No?

Sam: NO!

Dean: Fine, we’ll go with the machete…

My shaking only got worse as they found the young brothers but were then surrounded by clownpires who outnumbered them four to two.  (I was so terrified that I missed the quick shot of a tan trench coat in the trunk, an homage to Castiel’s death in the Leviathan season and Dean keeping his discarded trench coat in the trunk as he grieved – and is grieving again).

This whole scene is so symbolic and so terrifying, Sam and Dean flanking and protecting the younger brothers, and all around them the monsters waiting, peering in through the open windows in the dark. There’s so much foreboding, and knowing what was going to happen sent my adrenaline level into overdrive. It’s a wonder I didn’t just pass out and miss the whole thing.

It is, if I can get my emotions under control for a moment to recognize it, a beautiful scene. The lighting is gorgeous, coming through cracks in the old barn, set dec wizard Jerry Wanek and director of photography Serge Ladouceur working their magic up to the last second.

The final showdown.

The fight scene is epic, and apparently took several days to film, with stunt and fight coordinator Rob Hayter having one last chance to work his magic too. Sam is eventually knocked out and his machete goes flying, while Dean is subdued and in walks – Jenny the vampire from Season 1? That was a weird moment, because of all people to bring back, Jenny the random vampire was not on my bingo card. I’m assuming she’s a local Vancouver actress, and I guess it does show the way their lives as hunters will always put them in danger, that they’re always haunted by their past as hunters. A bit of a full circle moment, with a flashback to baby Sam and Dean in Season 1.

Dean keeps her busy with snark while Sam’s hand slowly creeps toward the machete.

Just as Jenny is about to bite Dean, Sam lobs her head off from behind.

The fight continues with me screaming NONONONONONO the entire time, knowing what’s coming and trying desperately to forestall it, and then as Sam kills the second to last clownpire, the other tackles Dean and drives him backwards – right onto the giant piece of rebar we saw prominently protruding from a post. We see Dean’s gasp and shock, the clownpire leans in to finish him – and Sam Mothereffing Winchester lobs its head off.

Sam steps back, says ‘let’s go’, doesn’t know, and it’s heartbreaking.

I’m shaking so hard by this time I can barely see what’s going on, as Dean says softly, “Sam, I don’t think I’m goin’ anywhere.”

Sam instinctively tries to pull him away from the spike, but Dean knows, he knows already.

Dean: Don’t move me…

Sam, increasingly panicked, says he’ll call for help, get the first aid kit, something… but Dean calls him back. The look on his face is shocked, wide open, desperate.

Dean: Sam, stay…stay with me…stay with me, please.

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Sam fumbles behind Dean, trying to figure out how bad it is, and his hand comes away drenched in his brother’s blood.

And Sam, then, he knows too. He doesn’t want to accept it yet, but that ‘please’, that did it.  He knows.

Sam: Okay, yeah.

Dean steels himself, a hunter to the last.

Dean: Okay. Okay. You… listen to me, you get those boys safe.

Sam is shaken at that, steps closer.

Sam: Dean, WE will get those boys safe.

But Dean shakes his head. His expression is soft as he tries to lay it out for his brother while he still can.

Dean: No. You knew it was always gonna end this way for me.

A little smile crosses his face, despite what he knows, pride there too.

Dean: Look at us, saving people, hunting things. It’s what we do.

The call back made me start to sob so hard I couldn’t be quiet anymore. Onscreen, Sam tries denial one last time, the truth dawning on him. He’s pleading with Dean, like he can bargain and plead his way out of it being true.

Sam: Stop.

Dean manages a little smile for his little brother.

Dean: It’s okay… its good. We had one helluva ride, man.

It’s Dean talking to Sam, and it’s Jensen talking to Jared, and it’s both of them talking to all of us too, because we have had one helluva ride, right along with them.

Sam: No, Dean, we’ll find a way, we’ll find another way.

Another callback, another gut punch, and I was starting to feel sick I was crying so hard.

Dean says no, no deals, no trying to bring him back, they know how that ends, as Sam’s tears begin to streak his cheeks.

Sam: Dean, please…

Dean: I’m fadin’ pretty quick, and there’s a few things I need you to hear. C’mere. Let me look at you.

Sam immediately shuffles forward, and I realize suddenly, this is not a mirror of Swan Song so much as it’s a mirror of All Hell Breaks Loose. Those are the words Dean said to Sam as a mortally wounded Sam fell into his arms, and the call back destroys me.

Dean is shaking now, blood loss and shock making it difficult to move, perhaps to see. He reaches out to touch Sam, looking up at his little brother as Sam comes closer.

Dean’s voice is labored now, but full of so much affection.

Dean: Come here.  Let me look at you. Yeah, there he is.

Sam is shaking, Jared’s hands trembling so hard he can barely reach out, showing us Sam’s emotions and how afraid he is to even touch his brother.

Dean: I’m so proud of you, Sam. You know that? I’ve always looked up to you… So damn smart… you never took Dad’s crap. You’re stronger than me, you always have been.

Dean’s voice grows more halting, and he struggles to get the words out. Sam reaches out, afraid to touch his brother too much or hasten the inevitable, but instinctively supports his arm that Dean has reached out to him with.

Dean: Did I tell you that night, that I came for you at school… you know when Dad hadn’t come back from his hunting trip…

He falters, it’s getting hard to talk, hard to think, hard to stay, and Sam steps in.

Sam: Yeah, uh, the woman in white.

Dean is fading, was starting to lose the thread, and Sam supports him in that too.

Dean: Yeah, the woman in white, that’s right.

Dean: I must’ve stood outside your door for hours, because I didn’t know what you’d say. Thought you’d tell me to get lost … or get dead. And I didn’t know what I would’ve done … if I didn’t have you. ‘Cause I was so scared…

Sam is sobbing now, his chin trembling as he tries to hold it together, let his brother say what’s so important for him to say.

Dean: I was scared… ’cause when it all came down to it, it was always you and me. It’s always been you … and me.

That may have been the moment my tears went into overdrive, because it was clear that wasn’t just Dean talking to Sam – that was Jensen talking to Jared. It’s what they’ve said to each other so many times, what they said at that first audition when they discovered they were the only ones there. This has been the journey of a lifetime for them, and they’ve taken it together.

Sam: D-don’t leave me… I can’t do it alone.

Dean shakes his head, answers gently: Yes you can.

And damn, I know what’s coming, because the lines are so iconic for anyone who watches this show, and when Jared says what’s in my head I sobbed so loudly I couldn’t even see anymore.

Sam: Well, I don’t want to.

Dean’s fond little smile after, knowing that Sam also remembers, and that’s all he needed at that moment, broke my heart in pieces.

Dean gathers the last of his remaining strength to tell his brother what he needs him to know.

Dean: Hey, I’m not leaving you. I’m gonna be with you, right here, every day.

He places his trembling hand on Sam’s chest, over his heart.

Dean: Every day you’re out there, and you’re livin’. Because you… you always keep fighting. You always keep fighting, you hear me?

Sam nods, sobbing openly.

It’s Dean’s message to Sam, and it’s Jensen’s message to Jared, and it’s their message to all of us too. It’s been the mantra of the show, and for them to include it here, at the end of things, is so perfect and so meaningful. It’s Supernatural, and its characters, and its real life actors, saying we’ll be with you, always, every day, in your hearts. So you can always keep fighting. (It’s so hard to type right now, I can’t see a damn thing…)

Dean: I’ll be there, every step.

He looks at Sam, nothing held back.

Dean: I love you so much. My baby brother.

Sam nods, hearing him, acknowledging his big brother’s love through his tears.

Dean: I didn’t think this would be the day… but it is, and that’s okay.

Because we often don’t, and that’s one of the hardest things in life. It’s so real, it stabs me through the heart as I watch and listen and wait for the inevitable.

Dean is unsteady now, just trying to talk clearly becoming difficult. Ackles is brilliant in the little physical details – Dean’s head sways back and forth just slightly, as he starts to lose muscle control, holding it together through sheer force of will now.

Dean: I need you… to promise me… I need you to tell me… that it’s okay…

Sam shakes his head, doesn’t want to go there, can’t face it, but Dean presses on. He needs Sam’s permission to let go of what has been so important his whole life, to leave his brother. He needs to hear it – and he needs to, finally, believe it’s okay.

Dean: Look at me, I need you.. I need… I need you…

The Winchester family theme by the brilliant composer Jay Gruska starts to play, and I think ohgod this is the last time, for this music that means so much to me, for this show and these brothers that mean so much to me.

Dean: You tell me…

Sam reaches down, places his hand over his brother’s, calls up his own unbelievable courage.

Sam: Dean, it’s okay. You can go now.

He nods, giving his brother the permission he needs to let go.

If you’ve ever lost someone, you know that this is often how it goes. If you’ve ever had to say those words to someone you love more than life, to put your own selfish wants aside and do what’s right for them, you know how achingly, painfully real this moment was.

Dean lays his hand over his brother’s, and Sam leans in.

The brothers’ foreheads touch, and it’s such a beautiful moment, so tragic yet so right.

Dean: Goodbye, Sam.

His hand falls to his side, and Dean sighs, one last breath as a single tear slides down his cheek, and falls against his brother’s chest.

Jared, at that moment, shows us every agonizing second of Sam’s grief, his body shaking uncontrollably, his hands and chin trembling as he turns his face up in a broken sob, so intense that it comes out soundless.

The final shot of the brothers seems to encapsulate so much of what the show has been all about.

I saw someone say it way better than I could online – surrounded by gore, blood and death are two brothers who cling to each other, in life and in death.

It evoked all my memories of Sam’s death in All Hell Breaks Loose, the way one brother tried to hold the other up as he slipped away; the anguish when they lost him. The parallels – the dialogue, the hand pressed to the back, coming away bloody, the dawning realization and attempt at comfort, the final keening grief – made it so much more impactful. Dean’s last words in life, “Goodbye, Sam” the full circle moment of toddler Dean’s first words in the pilot, “Goodnight, Sam.” In the pilot, he leans down to kiss his brother’s forehead; in the end, Sam leans in to rest his forehead against his brother’s.

I was on a zoom call with a bunch of my fandom friends, and we all came back to the zoom during the commercial sobbing so hard nobody could talk, everyone’s faces streaked with tears, eyes red and puffy and just about able to open at all. We didn’t need words to share the grief.

And somehow, the episode is only half over.

We watch Sam at Dean’s funeral pyre, a hunter’s funeral, Miracle at his side, while a hauntingly beautiful oh so sad song plays, Dire Strait’s ‘Brothers in Arms’. He lights Dean’s lighter and tosses it on the pyre — and the fictional character who I fell in love with fifteen years ago, who inspired me and changed me in so many ways, is no more.

And I am devastated.

What we see next is again, so real, it brings back all the losses in my own life in brutal clarity. Sam carries on, grieving and in pain, cooking breakfast wearing Dean’s gray hoodie and I think about how I wore my mom’s sweater for so many days, just trying to be close to her again. He startles as the toast pops, spins around and I know he’s thinking for a split second that he’ll see Dean there complaining about how hot it is, because our brains play tricks on us for a while, letting us forget the person we loved is gone.

He looks at the initals carved into the table and thinks about that day and about their legacy, and about all the loved ones and family he’s lost, walks the halls and feels the emptiness. He sits on Dean’s bed, his room just as he left it, beer bottles on the table, and takes solace in petting Miracle, saying softly “Me too” when Miracle whines his own sadness about missing Dean. It’s so well done, and it hits so hard.

The moment is broken by the sound of a cell phone – Dean’s Other Other Phone. Someone in Austin (a shout out to Jared and Jensen’s home and where they’ll head after) and someone asks for Agent Bon Jovi for a werewolf hunt that Donna Hanscum recommended them for, and Sam squares his shoulders and says, “I’m on my way.”

He carries Dean’s duffel and Miracle is at his heels as Sam climbs the stairs of the bunker for the last time. He pauses and looks down at the map table, at the library, the telescope, all the familiar places that have been home. And then he turns out the lights and closes the door.

My tears flowed freely then once again because the Men of Letters bunker is yet another loss. It was their home, so it was special to us too. I had the great privilege of being there to watch filming for one whole day, and it was such an incredible set that felt entirely real when you were in it. I know they loved it; I remember Jensen’s tearful post as he watched them tear it down. I felt like that scene was a little meta moment, including us in the goodbye.

At this point, the episode takes a more hopeful turn, as if it knows I’m about to throw up if I can’t stop crying. Dean arrives in Heaven, greeted by Bobby Singer. Not AU Bobby, who I never cared about at all, but OG Bobby. The Bobby who’s like a dad to Dean. The one who coined the famous line “family don’t end with blood”.  He tells Dean “that kid of yours” (Jack) made some changes and set some things right in Heaven, tore down the walls so it’s what it always should have been, everyone happy and together. Rufus and Aretha have a cabin somewhere, and John and Mary down the road.

He offers Dean a beer.

Dean: Jack did all that?

Bobby: Well, Cas helped.

Dean smiles softly, knowing that Castiel also made it to his own Heaven, and is responsible for making it over for all of them along with his son. It’s an overt acknowledgement that Cas also found the ending he was working for and that he deserved – together with his son, remaking Heaven, his first home, into what it should be. Part of a family, with Jack and undoubtedly with Sam and Dean, now that they’ve been welcomed into the paradise Cas and Jack have built for them.  Knowing that, while it cost both him and Cas their lives, they DID IT.

Dean: It’s almost perfect…

Bobby smiles knowingly.

Bobby: He’ll be along.

Bobby: Time here is different. So what’re you gonna do now, Dean?

Dean looks up and sees the Impala, gleaming and shiny in the sun, waiting for him, her original license place restored.

Dean: I think I’ll go for a drive.

He gets in, a smile on his face.

Dean: Hey, Baby.

He starts her up and the radio comes on, and the first notes of Carry On Wayward Son come on, and my tears are back, but this time I’m smiling through them.

Dean: Ah, love this song.

It’s another meta moment. The song isn’t just for the opening montage, it’s incorporated into the show itself now, a part of canon forever. Dean drives, heading Baby toward sunset, the open road waiting.

There’s a montage of Sam as he lives on, that parallels Dean’s life with Lisa after Swan Song, but is also a vivid reminder of the growth and evolution of the Winchesters. Both of them.

Every part of him, every fiber he’s got, wants to die, or find a way to bring him back. But he isn’t gonna do either. Because he made a promise.

That didn’t go so well at the end of Season 5 – but it does now, a decade later. The whole show has revolved around Sam and Dean’s struggle to find that elusive balance between dependence and independence in actual interdependence. To make a truly different choice when confronted with what they both fear most – losing each other. There were so many times they couldn’t do it, ending up on one end of the spectrum or the other, but this episode shows us how, in the end, they did just that.

We see Sam with a toddler little boy, overalls embroidered with his name: DEAN.  One of AD Kevin Parks’ beautiful dogs (maybe Kuma, who has been in multiple episodes) runs along with them.

The montage cuts back and forth between Sam as he grows older and Dean, still driving.

Sam playing ball with his son, photos of Dean and Sam and John and Mary all over his house. Sam in glasses, helping his son with homework.

Older Sam (in a wig that became a meme way too fast) visits the Impala in his garage, pulling off the tarp and looking like he wants to get into the passenger side before walking around and sitting in the driver’s seat.

He takes off his glasses, reverently lays his hands on the wheel as Carry On continues to play: “Lay your weary head to rest, don’t you cry know more…” He looks over at the empty seat beside him, tears in his eyes.

As Sam’s hands are on the wheel, so are Dean’s in Heaven as he speeds along.

But now, the Impala is headed toward us instead of away, Dean headed toward something – someone – toward home.

Sam very old, lying in a hospital bed in his living room, hooked up to a monitor. His son (Spencer Borgeson, who does a nice job here), now grown, a protection tattoo visible on his arm, comes to sit by him, reaching down to lay his hand over his father’s gently. Sam manages a smile for his son, just as his brother did for him, all those many years ago.

It’s love, and again, it’s not romantic love, but it’s such a beautiful depiction of familial love, this time the love of a son for his father. A son who has been raised with love, and can love in return. The result of Sam and Dean’s lifelong struggle and its positive outcome, a new generation of Winchesters carrying the ultimate hope of that resolution.

Dean Jr: Dad, it’s okay. You can go now.

The same permission that Dean needed from his brother, all those many years ago.

The song switches from the familiar Kansas version of Carry On to a cover, slower and softer – fittingly, performed by two fans of the show who are also sisters (We Are Neoni).

Old Sam places his hand over his son’s, just as Dean did over Sam’s before he died. We see that old Sam is wearing Dean’s watch, has worn it all these years.

Sam sighs, takes his last breath, his head falling to the side and a single tear sliding down his cheek, a mirror of Dean’s final breath so many years ago. The monitor flatlines.

The scene blends gradually into the familiar tall trees of Vancouver.

In Heaven, Dean stops driving in the middle of a bridge and gets out of the car, walking over to the rail and looking out over the incredible Vancouver vista as the lyrics from Carry On reach ‘my life’s no longer empty, surely Heaven waits for you’.

His brow furrows as he senses something, without even turning around, and then his handsome face slowly breaks into a grin that looks like the friggen’ sun coming out after a long long rainy day.

Dean: Heya, Sammy.

He turns around and there’s his little brother.

Sam: Dean.

We’re at the last scene, the one we knew would happen on a bridge.

The last scene Jared and Jensen ever filmed for Supernatural, and the final scene of the episode.

The family theme plays again as Sam and Dean hug, and Jared and Jensen hug, and I start crying all over again. There’s so much emotion there, between the characters and between the actors, both having been on this incredible long and sometimes difficult journey together.

Sam and Dean, Dean’s arm around his brother, look out over the beautiful scenery, Dean turning to look at Sam again, nodding like all is right with the world once more, as the camera pulls up and out and the sun starts to set, and then the picture fades.

The end of the “hero’s journey” that Kripke started these brothers on fifteen years ago, the protagonist returning to where they started out, after having learned and changed in so many ways.

The credits begin and then we return to the bridge, Jared and Jensen instead of Sam and Dean there smiling.

At us.

Jared and Jensen: Thank you to the fans for your support and your love, through blood, sweat, laughter and tears, you’ve kept us on the air for fifteen years. We wouldn’t be here without you and we’ll remain forever grateful for the opportunity and honor to play these characters for so long. We felt you guys with us all the time, so thank you.

They wave, flanked by director Bob Singer and the entire crew, as they all wave from the bridge and the camera pulls up and away again. I think I can spot Jim Beaver, Jerry Wanek, Kevin Parks, Jim Michaels, Eugenie, Maisie, Robin, Jose, Brad, Stef… so many familiar faces from all these years of lovingly making this show I love so much. The instrumental music that played at the end of Swan Song, Kripke’s original ending for the show, plays softly in the background as we hear Bob Singer’s voice one last time.

Bob Singer: And…. Cut.

Fade to black.

And that was it. In a way, they beautifully incorporated the fandom into canon too, in that last scene, all of us directly addressed before the final ‘cut’.

I am so grateful.

The final shot filmed was the final scene of the series, confirmed by Kevin Parks, who was responsible for the shooting schedule. He tweeted that “it was the best way to finish the series” and I so agree. When Jared and Jensen broke character completely to become themselves, looking out at the beautiful Vancouver scenery, flanked by Bob Singer and the rest of their beloved crew, they drew us into the final moments of Supernatural also. We are who they were waving at and thanking as the final moments played out, the smiles on everyone’s faces in gratitude for the fans who were such an integral part of this fifteen year journey. When Bob Singer called ‘Andddd…. Cut” for the final time, we were a part of that, included in the ending.

I’m crying again.

They did that for us. That’s how much they care.

Let me pause to say that so many of these little nuanced moments that made these scenes so poignant were added by Jared or by Jared and Jensen. Sam wearing Dean’s watch, Sam’s son repeating the words that he had said to Dean before he died, passing it along – the permission to let go. The deliberate call back to Sam and Dean’s iconic “I can’t do it alone, yes you can” repeated with the roles switched. The “heya Sammy” and “Dean.” Jared said in his Stage It panel today that Bob Singer gave them a whole day to shoot Dean’s death scene, knowing how much they would need to be ‘in it’.

Jared: At first when Dean says to Sam to keep going, it was written “I can’t do this without you” and it occurred to me that it would be nice to have a throwback to “I can’t do this alone” like Dean said to Sam in the pilot, to hearken back to the way we all started. Another thing that was important was the first thing we saw Sam and Dean say to each other on camera, Dean ‘heya Sammy’ and Sam’s ‘Dean?!’ in a fight in Sam’s apartment. I thought it would be neat if their first words were also the last words they ever said to each other. So on that bridge, Dean says ‘heya Sammy’ and I’m dressed as best I could like the pilot and Sam says, ‘Dean.’ We talked to Andrew and Bob a lot about it, like hey are y’all okay if we kinda see what makes sense and what we’re feeling, repeating lines here and there and going with the flow? When we shot that scene, Jensen and I knew Sam and Dean in a way that no one else could. We’d lived with these guys for fifteen and a half years and felt strongly. We did the script as the script, but then we’d do little bits that were meaningful to us or helped convey a message we were trying to convey. Also it was really important to me that the last words Sam says to Dean (at this point in the panel, Jared got emotional – but so did all of us), says ‘it’s okay, you can go now’ I thought that Sam’s son Dean needed to say those same words to Sam and that was his cue to go.

The degree of caring that these actors have is frankly amazing after fifteen years. Not only are they not ‘phoning it in,’ they seem to care more than ever. About the show, about their characters, about us. Their acting was so incredible in this episode that I still can’t look at photos or gifs or even think about the ‘barn scene’ without starting to cry again. All the kudos to Jared and Jensen, to Andrew Dabb for the writing, to Bob Singer for the directing, and to everyone else who worked so hard to pull this off and finish this show in the middle of a pandemic. I’m so grateful.

Jared, Jensen and Misha have talked many times about a saying they’ve had on Supernatural since way back in the Eric Kripke and Kim Manners days. “Give ‘em what they want in a way they weren’t expecting.”  I think they did that. We were hoping for, maybe even expecting, that there would be “peace when you are done”. And there was. It just didn’t come about in the way we were expecting. I had a conversation with Kripke a year ago, around the time Jensen also talked to him about the ending, and while he was careful not to spoil me, we talked about how as long as those boys are alive  and together and there’s something to hunt, there’s no rest, no peace for them.  Dean gave Sam the explicit permission to get out and stop hunting, which was only doable because they had managed to take out Chuck  and every other ‘big bad’ and now had Jack and Cas in charge so there were no ‘big bads’ to worry about, only the everyday monsters, so Sam could find some peace in living to an old age. And it was when Sam joined Dean in heaven that they truly found those words were true: There’ll be peace when you are done.

Those words are for us, too, because we also need to find peace. I need some time to sit with these feelings of loss and to grieve this show that has been so important to me. Whether you loved the finale or hated it, we’re all grieving the loss of the show, and hopefully we can give each other the space to grieve it in the way we need to.  I need to talk more to friends and write more and rewatch the finale a few more times and read Jared and Jensen and Misha’s words in Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done. I need to do more crying. And then maybe do a rewatch of The French Mistake and some gag reels to balance it out. It’s going to hurt for a long time, but I also have no intention of turning away from what I’ve learned from the Little Show That Could – always keep fighting.  (And maybe anticipate that reboot….)

Carry On.

Caps by kayb625

Gifs by jaredandjensen


You can find There’ll Be Peace When You Are

Done and Family Don’t End With Blood at





106 thoughts on “Carry On – Supernatural’s Final Episode and My Emotional Goodbye

  • I thought the last episode of Supernatural was disappointing for the same reason the last episode of How I Met Your Mother was–the writers were determined to go back to how the show started. They discounted the work the actors had done to make their characters grow and change, and even the work they themselves had done to make the story bigger and more interesting than it started out being. There could have been celestial trumpets! Instead we got second breakfast.

    • I think it was inevitable that some of us would like a true heroes’ journey and others wouldn’t – I did view it as a great deal of character growth and change, but like everything in media, all our perspectives differ. I’m so sorry you were disappointed, that never feels good when something you cared about is ending.

  • Gee thanks Lynn. Just when I had finished with the tears! Seriously, a lovely last recap.

    My only questions were (still are) Aren’t there any dogs in heaven? Dean maybe with Miracle? Sam with Bones (season 5 Dark Side of the Moon in Flagstaff). I know it’s not at all relevant to the main story but I love dogs. 🤷‍♀️

    I wonder if Sam regrets not letting Dean use the throwing stars?

    And finally a teeny thought. Deans’ “other other” phone always had the message about it being Deans phone. But the call from Austin called him Agent Bon Jovi. It’s such a minor thing but it’s one of the first thoughts I had. Weird crap floats in your mind sometimes.

    I loved this episode! I was so very surprised that Andrew Dabb wrote it because I haven’t been a huge fan of some of his stuff but this? This was perfect. Dean died the way he always said he would and Sam got a normal life-it’s right.

    One thing that I think some of the “fans” don’t understand. I’ve watched a lot of tv. I’m old and I’ve seen a few decent ends and some crap ones too-(*ahem* Quantum Leap) WE GOT AN ENDING. We got some .. I hate the word closure but finality. A (basically) happy ending. It wasn’t canceled and our boys went out their way on their own time. I for one, am very happy about that.

    Carry On. With tears. I’ll never hear that song again without tearing up. Hugs to all SPN family.

    • Kelly, all good dogs go to heaven, Miracle will be back at Harvelle’s, guarding/ drinking Dean’s beer and probably licking a few plates when no one is looking, just like Dean taught him, until his master comes home.
      A huge thanks to Miracle, for making Dean so very, very happy. I shall never forget so much single layer soft Dean love……

    • I too am grateful for a planned ending that was Jared and Jensen’s decision to end and that they invested 1000% into the last episode. And considering that Supernatural has never ever been about happy endings, I’m still shocked we got a version of one – not in them dying, but the kindness in showing us their resurrection and happiness. That lost shot went a long way to helping me in my own grieving.

  • Lynn, THANK YOU!! I love and will miss your weekly reviews. You always seem to put into words what I am feeling and reading it makes it make more sense. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the finale, and there are still some things I am unsure about, but reading your review helped to put some things into perspective. I don’t usually cry at movies or TV, but I was bawling from the barn scenes till at least an hour later. Reading this, I was tearing up again. Heck, I’ve been tearing up with every article I read about the finale and any pictures I’ve seen since. I haven’t been able to do a rewatch yet, it’s still too soon, but I will and I’m sure I will cry again. This little show that could brought so many amazing things to my life… my best friends, travel to places I’ve never been for conventions (Vancouver was AMAZING and I will go back to visit the city), meeting you and all the amazing vendors and the cast, and a family that gets me. I don’t know how we will all go on without our favorite show, but we will, we have to, but even then, we will still be family. I’m sure we all will be doing Supernatural rewatches on netflix for years to come!!

    • I’m sure we will, and I don’t intend to walk away from this incredible community or stop writing about this show that has endlessly fascianted me for the past fifteen years. Here’s to seeing each other a convention one day too!

  • I couldn’t agree with you more Lynn. Every point you made here I made when talking to my sister about the episode. I hate the tragedy and pain of it; but it was a good, real and fitting end to the story.

    • For sure nobody loved the pain and tragedy, but that was part of the point – and so very very Supernatural. The fact that the ending felt fitting went a long way to helping me in my own pain right now.

  • Lynn, I couldn’t start getting past my own sadness until I heard what you had to say. Thank you so much for so many years of helping us process Show and the emotions it has brought. You’ve been absolutely invaluable!

    The emotions of the finale were so raw, but the eventual peace was what our boys deserved. It was perfect.

    • Thank you so much! That’s a good way to put it, the emotions of the finale were so raw – which is why it had such an impact on all of us too. (I’m still a little raw, to be honest!)

  • Hey Lynn, hugs hope you’re doing ok? Thankyou for braving the recap for us.

    I could talk about the finale, or how I feel ( distraught)
    But instead Lynn, as yours was the first site I felt brave enough to join because of the wonderful safe space you created and because yours was the first review I’ve been able to read without crying, I want to share the things I am thankful for ( it’s a long list!)

    The Bright and beautiful Supernova, Dean Winchester, you burned so very brightly and were gone too soon, I learned so much from you about courage, heart , love, duty and selflessness.

    To starting my journey in Dean’s shoes and being able to finish in Sam’s shoes, loving and finally understanding them BOTH, many of my life’s ups and downs earily following theirs ( although no, I didn’t get as far as Hell in case you’re interested….)

    To Sam Winchester, Neutron Star of the Winchester Brothers. Thankyou for being my kid brother and for all those times you showed me how to pick myself up when I failed.

    To Winchester syncronicity, even without words.

    To the vast beautiful and sometimes very ugly world Kripke created.

    The magnificent multitude of characters that populated Supernatural and actors who played them.

    The cast , crew , writers and everyone who ever blogged and cared about this little show that could.

    To taking risks and making lifelong friends because this o this show.

    To the joy of always having hours of footage to laugh at from behind the scenes.

    The endless Broments on screen to rewatch, each and every one, brilliant. Even the sad ones.

    The soundtrack, Eric Kripe has good taste.

    To the multiple iterations of Baby and the talent behind keeping her in the road ( yes, Wrecked Baby from season 1, you are remembered 🙂🙂)

    To beautiful, beautiful Vancouver, the backdrop for the bulk of the journey.

    To yelling at stupid decisions, even though I couldn’t be heard.

    To laughing uproariously as the sheer stupidity of monologuing Monsters. To Weekly World News, to French Mistakes…

    To Denim clad nightmares.

    To Driver Picks the Music Shotgun Shuts his Cake hole.

    Most of all to Jensen and Jared putting their lives on hold for fiftieen years, travelling endlessly to conventions so far from home, always being available and kind and for making Dean and Sam real living and breathing people we gave a damn about, You will forever have a place in my heart.

  • This was downright cruelty to anyone who identifies with Dean or knows someone who shares the same kinds of struggles Dean has fought his way through for 15 years. To kill someone who has openly struggled with PTSD, alcoholism, and suicidal ideation when he finally feels like he has a chance at life is disgusting. This finale ruined the entire series for me. This is no longer the epic love story of Sam and Dean. This is the epic unrequited love story of Dean Winchester. I fully expected that Sam would ride off into the sunset and get his apple pie life, but not this way. Dabb literally declared that anyone in your life who suffers with trauma and addiction is dead weight who should be jettisoned as soon as you are able to do so, and it’s unforgivable. I don’t care that Dean gets to spend his afterlife with Sam when he never had a chance to LIVE in the first place. I guess Sam really was serious in season 9 when he said that if the roles were reversed, he wouldn’t do everything he could to save Dean. He didn’t even try to call a stinking ambulance.

    • Also, the only reason Dean died was for Sam’s manpain. I’m still appalled that after all the ways Dean has been coded as a woman over the course of this series he literally died so that Sam could ugly cry and then go have a life. I honestly don’t know if I will ever be able to rewatch any part of this series when I know how it ends and I know that all of Dean’s struggles are ultimately for nothing.

      • I wish there as something I could say that could take your pain away.
        Please know that Dean’s journey mattered enormously and his legacy of all the people he saved, in show and out matter. Dean lives on through all those who are still fighting because of him ( I count myself among them as one of his wins)
        Dean’s victories surpass anything written on a script, he changed lives, quietly and modestly wanting no fuss or muss. A true Hero.
        Jensen’s sensitive portrayal of a man wronged greatly but able to rise above it all was nothing short of genius.
        Sending you much love and hugs.

    • I’m so sorry that’s the message that came through for you, it’s a horribly painful one. It isn’t what I took from it at all – in no way did Dean deserve to die, just as real people don’t, and I don’t think Sam rode off into the sunset. He grieved, because it was a tragedy. But the last thing he wanted was to jettison his brother from his life, he pleaded with him to stay. And I think they both knew, as hunters, that an ambulance would never get there in time. I think it’s hard for all of us who loved this fictional character so damn much to lose him, and I’m so sorry that it feels like it’s ruined the show for you on top of that loss. It helps me to think of the years they had together in the bunker, living the everyday life they chose – which, as I said, I think was quite a while.

      • Well, my husband only has a GED and has struggled with alcoholism, PTSD, CPTSD from abuse at the hands of a babysitter, and suicidal ideation for his entire adult life, so Dabb basically said that people like my husband have no value to society and no potential to be anything other than blunt instruments. He took away all of the instances where Dean explicitly stated that he wanted out of the life, where he explicitly stated that he wanted something else (like when he said he wanted to be a firefighter when he was a kid), and at the end of it said, “Someone like this is only ever going to be good for one thing. He will never be able to carve a new path for himself. And if he starts trying to, it isn’t worth seeing if he succeeds, it’s better that he dies so his family can be rid of him.” He killed Dean in the way he did because he could. Not because it was a worthy death for the character. Not because it was a worthwhile way to end the story. He stagnated Dean’s personal growth after 15 years into only ever seeing himself as one thing when he was finally free and could do *anything* he wanted, and had proven to be good at so many things. When Michael’s way to keep Dean quiet and satisfied was to have him RETIRE and run his own bar. It is a disgusting, elitist way of looking at the character, to reduce him to something so one dimensional and then kill him, and it is extremely, extremely damaging to anyone who sees themselves in Dean or who knows someone like Dean to have the head writer of what *was* their favorite show turn around and say, “Eh, he’s not going to really contribute to society in any meaningful way for the next 40 years so we’ll just get rid of him. There are other people who can kill vampires.” It’s like saying, “Eh, he’s just a factory worker who’ll eventually be replaced by automation, so we’ll just get rid of him.” Or “Eh, he’s just a mechanic, and there are plenty of high school drop outs who are only good enough to be grease monkeys, so we’ll just get rid of him.” He is explicitly talking about people like my husband, who fights every day against struggles this man cannot understand.

        Dabb’s writing has always shown him to be a snob who doesn’t think Dean is good enough to write for – I point you to the Michael arc simply being dropped if you doubt me – and I will honestly never understand why he given control over this show when it was about Sam and Dean Winchester and he only ever saw the point in writing for Sam Winchester. And he now *cannot fathom* how badly and deeply he has hurt people, and worse doesn’t seem to care. He just posted something today on Twitter about not feeding the baboons because he’s been getting torched. He seems to think the only people upset are the kids over on Twitter who wanted canon Destiel or demanded he force Dean to suddenly be bisexual. He is incapable of seeing that there could be *anyone* in the fandom who loved Dean Winchester for what he represents *as an individual* and not merely as an extension of either Sam or Castiel. Because *he* sees Dean only as an extension of Sam, not as his own person.

        Which is again, even more feminine coding. For the last four years Dean has existed solely to prop up Sam, and when he didn’t need to do that anymore, Dabb killed him. I appreciate you trying to make it better by sharing your perspective. but you just can’t. It can’t be made better. This wound is too deep and personal, and the guy who wrote this appalling piece of television truly doesn’t give two shits about the genuine pain he’s caused many, many people. By all outward appearances, he couldn’t care less. In fact, he’s taking this opportunity to give the fandom the middle finger one last time.

  • For me, the ending was perfect, or as close to perfect as can be. The one or two quibbles I had aren’t worth mentioning.

    I thought it was wise to have Dean die on a hunt but not be killed by a monster, because if Sam had a specific species of creature to blame he might have spent the rest of his life on a quest for vengeance. Yeah, he was killed on a vampire hunt, but it could have been any hunt. And from a practical pov, it allowed for that final and beautiful goodbye.

    I’ve had many issues with the show during the Dabb era, but episodes 15.19 and 15.20 pretty much made up for the cringe-worthy ones. One day I will compile my Personal SPN: which episodes to watch and savor, which to fast-forward through, which to skip altogether Bloodlines. SPN perfection according to moi.

    • Same here.I also think knowinig how it all ends shines a different light on some things. Episodes that I wasn’t fond of might play better now. Maybe season 15 won’t be such a trainwreck when I rewatch it knowing what is waiting at the end.

    • I agree that much of Season 15 has not been my favorite, but the last two episodes felt right to me as well. I’m so sorry that some fans are hurting and disappointed by them, though – it’s hard enough to lose something you love, but when you have anger mixed in about that ending, that makes it extra difficult. I think the randomness of that rebar was part of the point, and yes, it did sort of help prevent a John Winchester revenge quest that hurts your children recurrence. One day I hope we’ll be able to toast the show together again and maybe watch some of those episodes!

      • So Sam didnt go on a revenge quest to erase rebar from throughout the land? Saving people, hunting rebar. The!

  • Thank you. I appreciate your thoughtful explanations and summary. I loved this, even though other’s didn’t. Now it’s time to start at the beginning again.

  • Firstly, I would like to say that although I speak for myself, I am quite sure many fans have been waiting patiently for your words regarding the finale. Lynn, you are a voice of reason in very strange times, so thank you. I listened to the podcast you were the guest on the other day, it was wonderful, you all said everything I was thinking.

    Dean Winchester is one of my all time favourite fictional characters. Along with Harry Potter, Alex Delaware, Captain America and Kvothe. All are flawed, heroic, larger than life. Everyone wants their heroes to behave in certain ways, and when they don’t, it always seems wrong. Sam & Dean have definitely evolved in 15 years and I didn’t see where they DE-volved, it just was unexpected for sure. As much as we would think otherwise, they were actually human.

    I think most, if not all, are agreed that the last two seasons have been less than what people might have wished for. Have I watched them over again? Absolutely, always do. In fact Lebanon from S14 is in my top 5 fav all time eps.

    My son introduced me to Supernatural when he went away to college in 2011 which of course in itself was so traumatic. He bought first 2 seasons, I was hooked, then I bought 3-5, finally caught up & watched live ever since. My son & I would catch up together on the phone, discussing the episodes endlessly. I will be forever grateful to him 🙂

    We always assumed that the boys will be “killed off” at the end. At least I always figured that. I was totally ready (or as ready as you can be) for that. I was pretty sure they would die and there would be some sort of heaven thing.

    In the finale I can overlook the wig problems (haha), Cass & Jack had their goodbyes so I never wanted or expected them to return. The show was about SAM AND DEAN, first, last, always. I can even sort of ignore the Thanos snap and the rebar. My problem was them not going out together, in whatever fashion. I never dreamed they would go out any other way but together. I am still trying to sort that out. I cried and cried and cried, just like everyone else, but I will say I will come around to agreeing that the episode was what was needed, and they had peace at the end. Which of course is the best thing.

    I am old too Kelly, haha – I, also, have seen lots of shows end. I was there at the M*A*S*H ending, talk about trauma, or one of my most vivid memories was when they killed off Henry Blake, – people were outraged!! Some never did watch the show again, but I don’t think it suffered in its last 8 years!!

    Honestly my biggest problem with the finale was the fan reaction. It was so disappointing (has anyone looked at Andrew Dabb’s twitter? Shocking does not even cover it) I keep hoping for better from humans. Of course we have differing opinions, but some crossed a line, IMO But I guess people are people and will do and say things maybe they shouldn’t. I rarely share my opinion publicly, because well, it’s mine and I don’t feel the need to, I guess. For this, I really wanted to type my thoughts out, I needed to. Thank you Lynn for letting us do this :):)

    I will stop reading the negative stuff, or try to, and I will carry on, just like we’re supposed to 🙂 Just my rambling thoughts.

    • Excellent ideas. I actually have gone off Twitter the last couple of days. It’s so polarizing. The only problem I have with the finale is that Dabb made damn sure that the guys couldn’t come back in a few years to maybe do a mini season which they had both talked about. Other than that- it felt right.
      Btw, I remember Henry Blake’s death too. I was shocked! Yep

      • It’s supernatural they’ll find a way to come back. Maybe issues with heaven or time travel, Au or retcon. Sam’s son is a hunter or something The boys have known ending since last june and they are still saying it.

      • Dabb did do that, however, jensen has a production company, he’s got an in with kripke, so i think there will be no problem with a mini season or a reboot.

    • That’s been the hardest part for me too. I know all these people cared so much about this show, and put their hearts and souls into these last episodes, especially the last three. To then be attacked with so much vitriol – aimed at real people with real feelings, not fictional characters – is really hard to see. I know it hurts them, and that’s really upsetting. As for the not dying together, that was hard for me too, but if they had, we probably wouldn’t have gotten that amazing scene where Sam and Dean (and Jared and Jensen) got to say a true goodbye – and that I’m very grateful for.

      • You are right Lynn, I finally did a re-watch (so hard) but I really needed to know that I could watch the all the seasons again and again and not feel so sad 🙂 I was glad I did and combined with your wonderful insight, I saw many things, good things, that I hadn’t noticed. So thank you so much for being such a voice of reason and calm, it is so appreciated.

      • Very nicely done, Lynn. You’ve summed it up brilliantly. Endings are hard. You can’t please everyone, no matter what you do. Quite frankly, you’ll drive yourself nuts trying. I’ve been sitting with the Supernatural series finale for several days now, and I can honestly say I’m good with it. At first I didn’t like it, and I couldn’t figure out why. Then, it occurred to me that it wasn’t that I didn’t like the finale. It was that I didn’t like the fact that my journey with Sam and Dean Winchester was over. I’ve been riding along with the Winchester Boys for 15 years. I’ve been on every hunt; felt every heartbreak and betrayal; celebrated every victory; and mourned every loss. I’ve laughed and cried with them; been frustrated and angry with them; and been there for the fighting and the forgiveness. I didn’t like it because I am being asked to carry on with my life’s adventures without Sam and Dean. I did not like it. At all.

        But, the more I sat with it, the more I realized that this was the best ending. It was devastating and beautiful and poignant and bittersweet and hopeful and a perfect send-off for my boys. It was true to the story Supernatural has been telling for 15 years and to the men Sam and Dean Winchester have become over the course of those 15 years. It was a reminder that not all heroes are super. Sometimes, heroes are just two regular guys who decide that saving people and hunting things is how they contribute to the world. It was a reminder that we don’t really get to choose how or when it’s our time to go, but we do get to choose how we face that moment. It was a reminder that grief is something you carry with you always, and that’s ok; but if you try, you can still find joy, happiness, and contentment even amidst the grief. It was a reminder that we should have hope that after all is said and done, we will be reunited with those we’ve loved and lost along the way. So, yeah. Endings are hard, but Supernatural’s ending was exactly what I needed it to be, and for that, I am grateful.

    • Hi, hello and thanks for these great comments.
      I’ve only now just found this fantastic website, as I am trying to cope with the show’s being over and it is my way of dealing with the sense of loss – constant browsing and digging 🙂 I was trying to delay the inevitable for a long time, practically over a month, by watching the final season in small pieces not whole episodes,but that moment had to come eventually, right? So now I am in a complete emotional mess, so sorry if I sound chaotic here 🙁
      And just like you, I also feel terrified and disappointed by the fandom reaction. How is it even possible? I mean, people who’d supported the cast and crew for so many years, are suddenly capable of pouring buckets full of dirt on their heads? I only do hope it will not discourage them from planning whatever it is that they could start planning in the future… My broken heart now craves the reboot and will not have it otherwise 🙂
      Honestly, I thought I was way too old to cry over a TV show. Obviously, I am not – and don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing…
      All the best from Poland

  • Well, I thought I was doing well til I read this. Lynn, you killed me again, but not terribly. I was a mess when I first watched it, more so when I watched it the second time. My poor husband, heaven bless him, he understood and watched the last half with me and teared up along with me. I’ve since watched several more times with the same reactions, but that’s okay.

    I think the ending was exactly what it needed to be. The boys got their peace, as they should have. I loved all the throwbacks and Easter eggs that were in the episode. Can’t even imagine how hard it was to film that barn scene, considering how it was for us. I’m sorry Covid made things difficult and we were unable to see all the beautiful faces we wanted or could’ve seen if not for the restrictions. I also believe that there is enough open doors that we could very well see the boys again at a later time, I think that’s what Jensen hinted at.

    I know I’ll watch this series multiple times in my lifetime. It’s my sanctuary in so many ways and I can never say thank you enough to the entire cast and crew for the wonderful work they created!

    • They really went all out with the call backs and Easter eggs, which touched me so much – those were for the fandom, and it means so much to me that they care about us too. That was Jensen’s original issue with the ending, I think – that it didn’t leave the door wide open for more Supernatural. But really, it’s Supernatural – that door is always open!

  • I loved the finale! I didn’t think it would be possible, especially with the way this season has let me down episode after episode. I thought it was heartbreaking and beautiful.

    For years I’ve always said that I wanted the boys to die so they could end up in their shared heaven together at the end, That was my idea of a happy ending. We got it! My fear had been one would live and one would die. Well, that also happened, but I’m really okay with it. The fact that Dean didn’t have to spend long without his Sammy made it okay for me. Dean was always the one out of the two who just couldn’t handle being without Sam. It’s not a knock against Sam. Like Dean said, Sam is stronger than him. So Dean maybe spent a day at the vey most driving to the brdige. I view it more as hours before he was reunited with his soulmate.

    There isn’t too much about the finale I didn’t like. I wish we would have seen the Samulet again. I think Dean should have been wearing it in heaven. Jensen could have dealt with wearing it since he wouldn’t be doing any fighting with it on. Sam’s wig for the Impala scene in the garage was pretty bad.

    I loved the domestic montage and the fact that they kept Miracle. I want to believe they lived like this for a few months before the hunt in Akron/Canton. Speaking of Akron, I lived their briefly at it looks NOTHING like the place where Pie Fest was held. They really should have picked a smaller city in Ohio to put that in so it would have fit better, but that’s just a little nit-pick.

    I knew the moment they walked into that barn 1 or both of them weren’t coming out alive. The stakes never felt so high. It was stressful. Adding a vamp from their first vampire hunt was a nice touch. I know people who had an issue with Dean dying on such a “routine” hunt and it didn’t sit well with them. My cousin who got me into the show felt this way. He thought the case should be more epic. I disagree. Every hunt the boys went on was dangerous. Look at what happened in “Faith.” It was a fluky thing that almost did him in. The way I look at it, Dean went out doing what he was raised to do – save people and hunt things. He save two brothers. We know Dean always had a soft spot for brothers. He was a hero.

    Dean also died HUMAN. He wasn’t turned into a vamp or werewolf. He wasn’t a demon or possossed by an angel. Dean’s humaity was so important to him.

    The death scene was hands down the most emotional thing I ever watched. Now we know, thanks to Jared, that J2 had a big part in tweaking dialog to make it even more epic. Everything – the words, the delivery, body language, even breathing was intense. Dean telling Sam that he LOVED HIM SO MUCH was nothing I ever expected to hear. Maybe an “I love you” but the SO MUCH. Wow. I tear up thinking about it. The story about being afraid Sam would reject him was a nice bonus and added so much to their story.

    When it all came down to it, it was always you and me. It’s always been you… and me.

    That entire speech was the stuff dreams are made of. As a fan of Sam and Dean, Wincest, and Jared and Jensen. Wow. I want someone to show me a more emotional scene anywhere – TV or film. It beats the Jack and Rose scene after the Titantic sinks. I love how Sam and Dean parallel Jack and Rose.

    The aftermath of the death was heartbreaking. Someone on Twitter googled how long Sam had to drive with his dead brother back to Kanas – it was 15 hours.

    Sam wearing Dean’s watch, his hoodie were all nice touches. Seeing him trying to carry on was difficult. I’m glad he had Miracle.

    I never thought I’d see a hunter’s funeral for one of the boys. Wow. It hurt.

    Bobby greeting Dean in heaven was perfect. They drank the beer from “What is and What Never Should Be” that Carmen was the model in the advertisement for it.

    Dean: It’s almost perfect.

    Bobby: He’ll be along. Time up here, it’s… it’s different. You got everything you could ever want… or need or… dream. So, I guess the question is… what are you gonna do now, Dean?

    Dean: I think I’ll go for a drive.

    This exchange was perfect. Bobby knows that Dean needs his brother. I love that he could reassure him and took comfort that Dean wouldn’t have to go long without Sam.

    The montage was perfect way to convey that Dean didn’t have to suffer long waiting for Sam while Sam made the best of his life and focused all the love he has for his brother into his son, Dean. I like that they left it up to the viewer to interpret who Sam’s wife was. I chose not to make it Eileen, especially since we was never mentioned after “Dispair.” I loved all of the pictures surrounding Sam on his deathbed. Dean Jr telling him it was okay to go was fitting.

    The lyrics as Dean stopped the car on the bridge and got out were perfect – “Now your life’s no longer empty. Surely heaven waits for you” Sammy was on his to him. Everything would be perfect now.

    I thought it was the perfect way to end the series – Supernatural: The Epic Love Story of Sam and Dean.

    I cried the moment Dean was impaled and didn’t stop for about 45 minutes. I’ve cried about this every day since it’s aired. That’s great storytelling. Something that will stick with you forever.

    I can’t say enough how grateful I am to Jared and Jensen for everything they added – the clothes from the pilot and the final words between Sam and Dean. I will always be gateful that they left it all out there in that barn scene. Can the people who didn’t like the finale appreciate the boys’ hard work in that scene? It had to be gut-wrenching.

    I have friends that loved it and some that didn’t like the boys died. I understand. I’ve been let down by so many finales in my lifetime. I understand being upset and not liking something, but the people that are taking it out on the actors, crew, writers, network just need to stop it. I hate that the overall consensus in the media is that all fans or the majority fo the fans hated it. I don’t think that’s the case. It kills me that Jared and Jensen might think all of their hard work wasn’t well-received, especially when they put their heart and soul into this episode.

    • I agree with you Dawn. Jared and Jensen deserve all the appreciation for their hard work over the years and especially for knocking it out of the park in that barn scene. I hope they don’t take the negativity to heart. And I agree with Lynn’s review. It made me cry again just reading the review. I thought I could re-watch the episode, but now I know I won’t be able to for quite awhile, if I am crying again just reading about it. I truly am grieving and have been for days, and I appreciate knowing that its okay to do that, even if they are fictional characters on a TV show.

    • I’m still crying off and on too, so you have company! I feel really bad for people who were disappointed by it, bc it’s a tough thing to not feel satisfied and have to deal with that on top of loss. But Jared and Jensen put their hearts and souls into that performance, and I’m sure some of what they’re hearing is hurting. I suppose it’s what you sign up for when you’re an actor or writer, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. Oh, and the Samulet – if Dean had been wearing that, I might never have gotten up from my puddle on the floor!

    • It’s so clear that the actors put everything they had into this episode (as Misha did in 15.18) and that they were all so invested in this being something that fans would also find solace and hope in, even adding their own messages to the dialogue to be sure they came through. It kills me too to know that they might feel like they failed at that after putting their everything in, all three of them.

  • Thanks so much for this review, Lynn and for all of the others that you have written over the years. I usually agree completely and wholeheartedly and even when I don’t, they make me think!
    So, I LOVED the finale. ‘Twas brilliant and heartrending and perfect, despite a few imperfections 😉 A few reactions to your review:
    Your discussion about grief, the meta aspect of the finale, the backdrop of the pandemic and the loss of the Winchesters was really interesting. As was your distillation of the characters’ choices, and the two-strand, intertwined message to the fans to: Carry On and Always Keep Fighting.
    Also, I hadn’t realised it was supposed to be such a long time in the Bunker post-Chuck. Really interesting that Jared said it was supposed to be about five years. I did not pick that up. But it makes things better 😊
    Jensen and Jared broke my heart in the barn scene. Shattered it. I was completely unspoiled and ended up sobbing for the rest of the episode. And for the lonely happiness of both characters, especially Sam on Earth, but Dean too (‘He’ll be along’).
    And Dean’s dying on the job (they were real heroes, not superheroes) and Sam having a long, peaceful life really rang true for me, and I thought it was brilliant episodic TV choice to have Sam’s lifetime mirrored by Dean’s drive in Heaven. Both of them heading towards the inevitable reunion to become SamnDean again. I have seen stuff saying that the ending was like that of this TV show or that film, but if this is true as I hadn’t seen any of the references it didn’t matter to me.
    I completely agree that Dean died a hero. To me it was like being the fireman he wanted to. Both firefighting and hunting are dangerous, and sometimes your luck doesn’t hold. But that doesn’t stop you from doing your job. (‘Saving people, hunting things. The family business.’) And Sam was a hero, too. Raising a son who loved him, being a good man. That is quiet heroism.
    Your pointing out the ‘Good night, Sam’/’Goodbye, Sam’, parallels, and Jared’s (?and Jensen’s) inspired brilliance at matching dialogue and wardrobe to the pilot, just made the loss of Dean and SamnDean until they were reunited, so much sharper. And the beautiful acoustic version of ‘Carry On’ was perfection.
    And I agree too about the character development. Dean, at the end, was not angry, not guilty, not wracked by doubt, not defensive or brash. But calm, and open, and at peace. And Sam lived his life, had a home, a job, a family. And though he missed his brother terribly, Sam wasn’t guilty about his choices or the happiness and peace he found in his ‘apple-pie life’ either, nor was he in denial of his hunting past. It was not hunting or happiness in the end for either of them. It was both. Acceptance of their whole selves.
    Finally, I am absolutely with you that while the cameos would have been lovely, the fact that ‘Covid made the finale episode a much more quiet and intimate story’ worked. It started with the brothers and ended with the brothers. And to me, that was as it should be.
    So much love and gratitude to Jensen and Jared, and Andrew Dabb and Bob Singer
    #SPNFamily Forever

    • I too didn’t catch the timescale… probably due to much ugly crying…it made me feel better hearing Jared confirm that they had more time together to relish their freedom, because I truly struggled with the thought of all happening so soon after they got the chance of living their lives the way they chose.
      I also took comfort in the painting at Sam’s bedside of the open road, not unlike the road Dean was driving through his Heaven, a visual reminder that no matter how far apart, they were still firmly connected in those final minutes, as Dean had promised they would always remain.

    • Everything you said here – yes. As hard as that episode was to watch, I really feel like it was a fitting end to the Winchesters’ story, and demonstrated their evolution and change along the way. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to watch it without sobbing, but that’s as it should be! I am so grateful for all the people who cared so much about this little show right up until the last second.

  • Thank you for writing so clearly why I absolutely loved the ending. I wasn’t outraged by ‘Dean dying on a nail’ as so many (most?) on social media are. I actually loved that he died that way – going out doing something quietly heroic, saving a couple of brothers. I thought the mundanity of the way he was killed was the point, as you lay out here. Every hunt was dangerous, and each one could end in death. It just so happened that this hunt was the one it happened on. And I am so SO glad they kept it about the brothers. The screaming in the fandom about Cas seems to miss the point that while he was an important character, he was not the main point of the show. The heart of the show was, and always was, the relationship between Sam and Dean. Nothing else. Cas was not part of that.

    I was starting to second guess how much I loved the finale, seeing so much vitriol from the fandom. Glad to know that I wasn’t the only one who loved it and found it a fitting end.

    • I think when you feel really let down by something, that anger and disappointment pushes you to want to DO something, so that’s alot of what we (and they) are seeing on social media. But I also think alot of people really liked it and are quietly enjoying it (and still crying lol). I am so sorry that there are people who feel let down by it, because that’s really difficult when you’re already dealing with the loss of the thing you loved. I’m grateful to have loved it and felt it was fitting – because I’m having a hard enough time letting go as it is!

  • Lynn, thank you so much for this. I really struggled with the finale as it went in the one direction I was praying that it wouldn’t–and as I think I have commented here before–separating the brothers. Live or die: I could accept either one, but TOGETHER. I kept remembering how they would talk about Butch and Sundance. When I realized what direction it was going in, the sense of disappointment and frustration just overwhelmed me.

    I could barely stand to glance at the screen when I realized that Sam was going to grow old without his brother, spend DECADES without him. My heart was filled with pain thinking of how much pain Sam would be in. (Yes, having a family is lovely but it’s a family without the anchor he had all his life, his big brother). I just couldn’t imagine how anyone thought that was a good idea.I will forever disagree with how Dabb ended it–especially knowing that Jensen was told basically, “take it or leave it.” He knows the character better than anyone else in the world. That should have meant something. I barely even cried during the episode, I just felt numb. I kept thinking, now I know why Jensen had to be talked into this. I felt so let down by my show, that I didn’t rewatch immediately the next morning as I always have.

    And I was shocked that Dean was so willing to give up on life after only a couple of days of the freedom of not being under Chuck’s thumb! This is where your post today has really helped me. I guess I’m not very bright because that montage didn’t seem like 5 years to me–but then I was so upset I wasn’t looking for details. I watched Jared’s stageit and I don’t remember him mentioning that, so I am doubly glad you did! Knowing the boys had 5 years together at least has made me feel a little better.

    You wrote so beautifully about the episode I almost did finally cry (though it wasn’t really possible at work–it was very quiet at the office today but still)! Your post here has made me feel a little better about the whole thing. I look forward to reading your blog for years to come!

    • I always wanted the brothers (if they had to die) to go together. But it was pointed out that if Dean hadn’t died, Sam would have kept hunting. He never would have had his normal life and his son. So, I guess my point of view changed on this. If they hadn’t been reunited-that would have been different.

      • Then why not have Sam die so Dean can have the apple pie life he got robbed of with Lisa and Ben and go on to have a daughter since Sam shot the one he had in the back? Why not have Sam sit around Heaven for 40 years waiting for Dean to show up like a dog waiting for his master? Because Dabb doesn’t now and has never thought that Dean is worthy of an apple pie life, and if you have to rely on someone having seen a StageIt for them to know that the montage covered five years and Dean didn’t die days later, then you’re REALLY bad at your job. I guarantee you that no one currently out for Dabb’s head on Twitter has any idea that montage covered five years.

      • You make a good point but (playing devil’s advocate) Dean told Sam that he could never separate himself from the job like Sam could. So Dean living the apple pie life was never going to happen.
        Anyway that’s my take. Lol agree or disagree it’s all good.

      • Except that’s entirely Dabb’s projection on Dean. That is not canonically, per Dabb’s tenure, how Dean feels. It was just season 13 or season 14 that Dean said he wanted to retire on a beach with Sam and Cas and stick his toes in the sand. He wanted to be *done* with the life. It makes absolutely no sense that when they were finally free, and he could finally do *anything* he wanted, he would go, “You know what, this is all I’m good for. I’ll just keep doing this.” All it does is reinforce Dabb’s view of Dean as a blunt instrument, a loser with a GED who has nothing more of value to offer the world. People are absolutely allowed to like this finale, I’m just honestly never going to understand why.

    • I agree with everything you said and had exactly the same problem. Hearing that it was 5 years made me feel a lot better. But I’ve watched Jared’s whole panel and he didn’t say it…so unless he said it in other panel I am not sure that it’s really true.

    • I think the time passing discussed was about how much time elapsed between episode 19 and 20. I think a fan decided it was 5 years after talking to Jared. I saw another post where someone claimed Jared said that it was a month tops. I would leave it up to your own interpretation until we have video proof of one of the boys confirming it. I think this fandom is sometimes like a bad game of Telephone.

    • I think we all wanted them to die together, but part of the point of the show is that we can’t always get what we want, and neither can the Winchesters. That, at its core, is what being human is all about. So it hurt – alot – but it also gave us the chance to hear their goodbyes to each other (and for Jared and Jensen to say theirs too) and that I’m grateful for. It also gave them the chance to depict an absolute master class on grief and loss, which again was hard to watch, but so real and cathartic. Finally, it helped me that the actual ending WAS them together – Dean didn’t have to wait long at all, and he’ll be the most joyous person ever hearing all about Sam being able to live that long life Dean always wanted for him. Damn, I made myself cry again!

      • You know what, something just occurred to me? Dean smiled so much this episode, even as he was fading, it’s possibly the most he’s ever smiled continuously in one episode. I’m coming around to the idea he went when he was at his happiest, and that is not exactly how goodbye ought to be. No pain, only peace..

  • Wow, just when I thought I was done crying, you destroyed me with this review lol. I really appreciate that you addressed some of the major concerns the fandom has been crying out about – it was refreshing to read such an eloquent response with psychological expertise. Thank you for your books, and thank you for your insights.

    • Thank you so much – I have so much empathy for people who didn’t feel good about the finale, because this show and this fandom are important to all of us and simply losing the show is already alot to deal with.

  • Thank you for this review and your thoughts form the bottom of my heart! It made me feel better, you expressed a lot of what I think and made me think about why I feel the way I feel right now. It’s been hard and I feel a lot like loosing a friend.

    It was not a script I would have written. I didn’t love the finale, but I am far from hating it. I really do approciate what they did and all the thought and hard work that went into it. And I am greateful for 15 years of the show that brought me joy and helped me through a lot of dark times.

    My biggest issue was and always will be Dean’s death. Not the way he died but that he died when he was “finally free”. I’ve just heard him saying that in the previous episode, I watched him being happy at the beginning of the finale, even hugging a dog, having a pie…for a few minutes. And then his life was over. It hits hard on personal level and it’s just too hard for me to see something like that happen to my favourite character in my favourite show.

    I’ve been through loss and grief in my life (I understood perfectly was Sam was going through and how it hurt even years after Dean’s death). I had to watch people I love die way too young and too soon…one by unexpected illness and one by accident. Both of them were getting ready for next steps in their life…they were being happy and excited about the future. And then just like that their life was over… So you can imagine how I felt when I saw Dean die like that. It is something that I can never accept becuase it hits home too much. It’s not like I always watch shows with happy-endings…but it’s just the fact that I love this show so much and got so attachted to these characters that seeing Dean die when he was finally happy really was like a stab to the heart.
    One of the things you explained and I am very thankful for that is how much time past between them defeating God and Dean’s death…and I am so glad that Jared said that it was about 5 years. I knew it was kind of open for interpretation, but it kind of felt like it could have been a month. So hearing it was about 5 years makes me feel so much better, because Dean got to live “free” for some time. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s still not fair, but at least he got much longer than I thought at first.

    I understand what they were trying to tell us and the “Carry on” message and I thought it was pretty well done. My personal life is affecting the way I see this finale and it is the reason I will never be able to love it or enjoy it like other episodes of Supernatural. But you are right, just because someone didn’t like the ending, doesn’t make it right for them to throw so much hate in their comments and opinions about the show (been on twitter and I was shocked by some comments). It’s really sad how people can’t understand that in the end you can never satisfy everyone. The actors and people behind the show did a great job and I think it was a great way to end 15 years of the show. I don’t have to agree with the story to approciate it.

    And it was a happy ending. It didn’t leave me devastated or depressed in the end. The final hug and scene on the bridge was something I really loved.

    Anyway, thank you again for making me feel better:)

  • Thank you for this review and your thoughts form the bottom of my heart! It made me feel better, you expressed a lot of what I think and made me think about why I feel the way I feel right now. It’s been hard and I feel a lot like loosing a friend.

    It was not a script I would have written. I didn’t love the finale, but I am far from hating it. I really do approciate what they did and all the thought and hard work that went into it. And I am greateful for 15 years of the show that brought me joy and helped me through a lot of dark times.

    My biggest issue was and always will be Dean’s death. Not the way he died but that he died when he was “finally free”. I’ve just heard him saying that in the previous episode, I watched him being happy at the beginning of the finale, even hugging a dog, having a pie…for a few minutes. And then his life was over. It hits hard on personal level and it’s just too hard for me to see something like that happen to my favourite character in my favourite show.

    I’ve been through loss and grief in my life (I understood perfectly was Sam was going through and how it hurt even years after Dean’s death). I had to watch people I love die way too young and too soon…one by unexpected illness and one by accident. Both of them were getting ready for next steps in their life…they were being happy and excited about the future. And then just like that their life was over… So you can imagine how I felt when I saw Dean die like that. It is something that I can never accept becuase it hits home too much. It’s not like I always watch shows with happy-endings…but it’s just the fact that I love this show so much and got so attachted to these characters that seeing Dean die when he was finally happy really was like a stab to the heart.
    One of the things you explained and I am very thankful for that is how much time past between them defeating God and Dean’s death…and I am so glad that Jared said that it was about 5 years. I knew it was kind of open for interpretation, but it kind of felt like it could have been a month. So hearing it was about 5 years makes me feel so much better, because Dean got to live “free” for some time. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s still not fair, but at least he got much longer than I thought at first. But I also think that they should have made it clear that it was 5 years…not making it clear made a lot of people upset so much because they thought it was just after Chuck…

    I understand what they were trying to tell us and the “Carry on” message and I thought it was pretty well done. My personal life is affecting the way I see this finale and it is the reason I will never be able to love it or enjoy it like other episodes of Supernatural. But you are right, just because someone didn’t like the ending, doesn’t make it right for them to throw so much hate in their comments and opinions about the show (been on twitter and I was shocked by some comments). It’s really sad how people can’t understand that in the end you can never satisfy everyone. The actors and people behind the show did a great job and I think it was a great way to end 15 years of the show. I don’t have to agree with the story to approciate it.

    And it was a happy ending. It didn’t leave me devastated or depressed in the end. The final hug and scene on the bridge was something I really loved.

    Anyway, thank you again for making me feel better:)

  • Thanks so much for all your words and dedication to the show. You brought out details I did not notice or remember: like the parallel to the death of Dean’s friend in the bar; Dean pushed him and making Dean’s fate match that one makes it all the more poignant; often times we see such ironies in our own lives. It also gave him an upright position to deliver the final scene, which I see the practicality of as a director. 🙂 As to Dean dying from an accident in a totally unexpected way and day, maybe before he had the chance to really live? Well, that breaks us so badly because that’s how it happens in real life; that’s what happens to real people we love. A stupid accident or an untimely demise: that’s when and how we lose loved ones and why we often have so much trouble moving on or making sense of it. Before the end the boys’ deaths were fantastical in a universe where they could come back again and again…but this time, just like for us, a bit of naked rebar can be deadly. That is what ruins us and makes us hate it as much as we would in real life, because it’s OUR world they inhabit now. I like very much the idea that like us they no longer had a deity controlling their fate, the very thing Dean always desired the most and taught Castiel to value. You got me crying all over again. 🙂 But I have to wait to watch it again someday because it brought out so many of my own real losses along with the love I have for these guys, that I need a bit of a break from the emotions. My hope is that those strange 8am wake up callbacks to the Mystery Spot will somehow become the gateway to a future reboot…crossing fingers, staying grateful and carrying on ’til then. Off now to read your books. 🙂

    • I think one of the brilliant things about the episode is that it did feel so real, and it did bring up our own real life losses – even addressing this one that we’re feeling right now in losing the show itself. I join you in your hope that the future reboot is eventually on the way!

  • Thanks for this great review…and making me cry all over again. I was happy to learn that the montage was meant to cover 5 years of post-Chuck life for the boys – because the one thing I had a hard time accepting was that Dean never got to enjoy his freedom.

    I still had a hard time with Dean not having a happy long life, but I think over the last week – the more I thought about who Dean was, I realized he could not really be completely at peace on earth. As long as there was something to hunt – he was always going to be out there saving people, and would not have been able to settle down. As he admitted in S15E16 – he was always scared. He was not one who could have stepped away – cause he just cared too much about protecting others from what his family lived through. Not a knock on Sam – but Sam was able to separate hunting from his life – a gift I think he got in part due to the way Dean protected his childhood as best he could. So, the only place for him to find peace and be happy would be in this new heaven, surrounded by those he loves – and without the hunt. I wish only that we had had a chance to see him surrounded by some of those people (especially Cas), but just one more terrible thing I can blame COVID for.

    I thought Jared and Jensen did an amazing job on this episode. I can’t even think of the barn scene without tearing up – these guys have made me care so much about the characters they brought to life. I don’t think I am ready to let go of this show that I have followed faithfully for 15 years, but now I know that it will live with me – in my heart always!

    • You make a good point that Sam’s ability to eventually step away from hunting was in part from the way he was raised, with the help of Dean, to value other things too. You can quietly change the world in the way you raise a child, or volunteer to help others, or in every relationship you have. I am definitely not ready to let go either, which has made the past week really hard, but you are so right – this show and its amazing characters will live in my heart always (and hopefully also in some kind of reboot someday!)

  • Lynn, I was thinking about you during the show, wondering how you were doing then and since, and I’ve waited patiently for this review knowing that it would take you awhile to collect yourself as well as any of us can and do it justice–and you did. Thank-you as always for your insight into loss and grief and for being someone who understands that our reaction to the end of the Winchesters’ story (hopefully just for now) doesn’t make us all a bunch of weirdos. It is midnight as I’m writing this so everything I would love to say will have to be set aside because that alarm goes off early, but I would like to share a few of my thoughts. I think we all would’ve liked for Dean to say at the pie fest that he hadn’t seen pie that good since they got to make that trip to the Florida Keys after Chuck was finally gone, and then Sam still could’ve pushed the pie in his face and said he’d been wanting to do that since Key West, because that would’ve let us know that they finally got to go on that beach trip and put their toes in the sand as Dean used to say so wistfully. I think that was a missed opportunity that would’ve been nice for us to know. Because of the references over the years to going out “Butch and Sundance” style and the boys’ musings on what it might be like if there could be a world without any monsters in it, I had expected an ending to the series in which the brothers together would be making a final sacrifice of some kind that would give people and other hunters that world or at least they would die trying to do that. The indications that Jack was going to bring about some kind of paradise in the future also made me think that he might be able to do it but not without some serious involvement and possible sacrifice from Sam and Dean so they would still be the heroes of this story and not Jack (and yes, I get that Jack did get to bring about paradise, just in a different way, and that’s fine). I assumed they would end up in heaven together and we would not have to watch one of the brothers burn the other’s body like we did, which just gutted me. Then we got all this Chuck is the villain business and for me a lot of potentially more epic and more satisfying storylines for the fans never materialized. So after giving us a relatively satisfying ending in episode 19, we had to go through the agony of episode 20 with Dean’s death coming from being impaled on a piece of rebar by some random vampire. I think many fans are upset, as you know, that Dean deserved something a little more noble, a little bigger after all he’s been through and all the huge enemies he’s defeated over the years. I can accept the story being done this way instead of epic, instead of Butch and Sundance, but I would’ve preferred that his death, even from a hunk of rebar, happen because he was protecting Sam one last time, and again for me this was another missed opportunity. Pushing the big vamp off of Sam only to have the momentum propel him into the rebar (which could’ve been located anywhere to make that work) while Sam finishes off the vamp would’ve meant so much more to all of us and been so appropriate for Dean’s character and journey with Sam. We still could’ve had everything the same but that would’ve meant more to me. In my opinion Crowley got a more significant death, Rowena did…heck, even Metatron stepped up at last and sacrificed himself. Now, all of this being said, these are just my thoughts as I try to accept that from now on, as I rewatch the series, that this is how the story ends for the Winchester brothers and have some peace with that myself. I hate that so many of the fans have been beyond ugly in their comments about it, but Chuck nailed it when he talked about endings and said the fans were “gonna bitch,” and I don’t want to be one of those fans. What this show and this story has brought to my life has meant as much to me, and maybe even more, than the great literature I used to teach. I find myself at a loss to adequately express the depth of my feelings and appreciation for what Jensen, Jared, and Misha, hands down three of the finest actors I have ever had the privilege of watching, and the rest of the cast, crew, and writers have contributed to my life. I told my daughter, who introduced me to the show and sobbed along with me and her dad the other night, to promise to never let me forget Sam and Dean as I get older. She understood what I meant, and she made that promise. That’s what family does. Thank-you, Lynn, for giving so much of your time and yourself over the years and for giving me a place to feel included. Please keep sharing things you learn about our SPN family as time passes, and I hope if we ever get to have conventions again I’ll get to see you and have you sign my books. Blessings to you this holiday season!

    • Excellent comment! I felt the same about my expectations about the finale (though you have put it into words much better than I did), and the disappointment of the reality. I wish Dabb had seen your suggestions for tweaking that script. Thanks so much for this. Like Lynn’s post, your perspective has made me feel a little better.

    • One of my closest friends feels like you do about Dean’s death needing to be more epic, so I understand your feelings and I’m so sorry that the end comes with some disappointment. I think it was quite intentional that it really was that random and “ordinary” – part of the point. That danger was always there, just around the corner. So often in real life, that’s how loss happens too, and we desperately want to make meaning of it – make it make sense! It often doesn’t. So I thought that was a brilliant way to make it REAL. (I also think if he had been impaled directly saving Sam, poor Sam may not have been able to survive that kind of guilt!) Their decision to leave so many things open ended is a frustrating one for many people too, again because of that need we have as humans to make it make sense – but sometimes we will never know some things we wish we did. It’s hard – I guess, in a way, it’s supposed to be hard. Thank you so much for your kind words, and I look forward to signing your books when we can finally all come together to celebrate the show and mourn its loss in person!

      • Lynn, thank-you so much for your response and for making the point that if Dean’s death had been to protect Sam it would’ve added to the tremendous burden of grief he was going to be suffering as it was. I hadn’t considered that and it’s an excellent point knowing Sam as we do. That actually helps me a lot with the finale and will allow me to rewatch it at some point in the future ( I can’t yet) and have a better perspective on it. That’s what you’ve always done for us and thanks again!

  • I’m a grunt, Sam. You’re not. You’ve always been the brains of this operation.

    But I tell you what I do know — it’s that I’m gonna die with a gun in my hand. ‘Cause that’s what I have waiting for me — that’s all I have waiting for me. I want you to get out. I want you to have a life … You, with a wife and kids and grandkids, living till you’re fat and bald and chugging Viagra — that is my perfect ending, and it’s the only one that I’m gonna get.
    Dean’s perfect ending

    • And the best thing is that, while Dean did indeed die with a gun in his hand, he was far from a ‘grunt’ and we all knew it.

  • As I have often found to be the case, my reaction to the finale was much like yours. I thought it was perfectly fitting, and although I have been having a hard time since with my own goodbye to the show that has meant so much to me from the beginning, I am also satisfied. Somehow going out “small” but intensely emotional–though never melodramatic because they’re all just that good–felt right. My husband does not watch Supernatural, although he has always been supportive of my passion for it. But he was in the doorway when Sam’s son gave his father permission to go, and he brought me to even more tears when he said that was what he had wanted to say to his mother, who died a few weeks ago of COVID in a nursing home far from us after months when we’d only seen her a few times through a window. So your interpretation of the feelings from the finale, of dealing with death and loss and grief and hopefully finally finding peace, resonated. Take care, stay safe, and thanks. I’ve enjoyed the ride-along.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, and especially at a time when we’re cut off from the rituals and connection that eases our grieving. That is a big part of why I thought this episode was so well done, because it really did capture what grief and loss is all about. My dad said those same words to my mom, “It’s okay, you can go now”, when she died, so I had a visceral reaction to hearing them on the show that has meant so much to me. Please give your husband a hug from me – and one for you too.

  • This is the review and analysis I’ve been needing since the last episode aired. Thank you so much for your insight and your keen observations. I’ve felt weirdly isolated in finding the finale just OK when everyone else seems to have loved it or hated it. Hearing all sides so thoughtfully presented helps a lot.

    The details matter too. Like many others, I thought the montage at the beginning of the episode signaled the passage of days or maybe weeks. I’m grateful for your rundown of the scene, which does point to a longer stretch of time. I also failed to notice the trenchcoat in the trunk, which answers another question–was Dean really as unfeeling about Cas’s death as he seemed to be, or was he deflecting? We know that burying trauma is his default, but it bothered me that we weren’t given any signal that that’s what he was doing here. Seeing the coat helps.

    Finally, thank you for the screencaps, which make evident something else I hadn’t noticed–Dean smiles more in this episode than I think he does in any other dozen episodes combined. I kind of love that, even if some of that is Jensen.

    So much love for your thoughts on this show, which I wish I had found earlier. Looking forward to seeing what you have to say about The Boys.

    • I’m so glad this helped a little, that was my intention – as well as trying to make sense of it all for myself. It seems like many people didn’t get the sense of that much time passing in the montage, which made this so much harder, or notice the trenchcoat in the trunk – those things are both significant in trying to make meaning of Dean’s death and his reaction to Castiel’s death as well. You’re right, Dean does smile alot – for all kinds of reasons. And that alone, I think, is helping me come to terms with my own loss.

  • I wonder if it would have made a difference to my feelings if I had known, like you, that Dean was going to die. I have watched it twice now, once with copious amounts of wine and once totally sober! It is not the worst ending for me as I was pretty desperate for it to be about just Sam and Dean in the end and I loved the beginning and sobbed through the rest. But and it is a very big BUT they IMO did not show the time between Chuck’s demise and Dean’s death to be anything more than a day or so, it seemed to be within a very short time so that was a total fail on the part of the episode for me. Unfortunately I can’t seem to get around that in my head, it was far too soon as well in the episode, so I not only grieve for Dean, I grieve for what he should have had. I and I think lots of others would have much preferred if they had both lived or even died together. I am going to struggle with my rewatching (which I have done all the time over the last 13 years) knowing how it ends with Dean’s death, all the emotional scenes where he talks about and shows how inadequate he feels will hit me in the guts so I am worried about how I will feel on my rewatching and if this will have ruined it for me, guess I will have to see.

    I don’t think I have come out of shock, sadness and loss yet as I am still searching everywhere on social media for what people are saying but that will die down soon I guess. I am one of those who loathed SS with the fire of a thousand suns and it doesn’t matter how much I read people’s take on it and I can sort of understand where they come from it makes no difference – “you are irrelevant” will echo in my head for always and I have never rewatched that episode but I was still able to enjoy what followed (not all of course!!!) I am saying this because of the people who absolutely hated this ending, I don’t think time will actually heal how many of them feel but I know that many who originally hated SS came around and to many it is their favourite episode . So I hope people find a way to live with this ending and not feel too bitter.

    • The fact that so many people thought that montage was only a few days long is probably the biggest problem with the episode. I interpreted it as much longer, and apparently that’s how Jared and Jensen were acting it, since Jared confirmed his thinking was about five years. It would have been a whole other level of tragic if it was days – at least in authorial intent, it was much longer. That helps me. I don’t think there was ever going to be an ending that felt good – because, let’s face it, we didn’t want this to end. We didn’t want these characters to die. Nobody jumped up and down at the end (or at the end of Swan Song and went yay we got what we wanted!) I mean, unless you couldn’t wait to be rid of Sam, Dean and Cas! So I think it will take some time but hopefully, like absolutely did happen with Swan Song, it will feel more satisfying to more people eventually.

  • I’ll start by saying Thankyou! as well, Lynn. For the years I have looked forward to YOUR contributions to the fandom, for your social media posts, your books, your reviews. I always know if I see references to something SPN related I’ve missed, I can always find a link or more info through you.
    I understand why Dean was killed off, that Sam wouldn’t stop hunting while Dean was around, blah blah blah. OK. But I agree with others, maybe with sadness and disappointment instead of anger, as to – Why couldn’t Dean have had a chance at this kind of life?. One of the most compelling scenes (there are many) of the whole series for me is when Dean walks away from Lisa and Ben after getting Cas to wipe their memories. It cut him so very deep, and Jensen played it brilliantly, but fans never liked Lisa, so it wasn’t appreciated the way it should have been. Dean did want that life, and he craved family in a way that Sam never did. This is why he needed Sam more than Sam ever needed Dean. I’m not sure I understand why Sam’s desire to get away from hunting, go to law school, was always seen as wanting the ‘apple pie’ white picket fence life. Those were always Dean’s words about Sam, not Sam’s about himself.
    But this is what we got, and yes, I agree, the barn scene made me bawl like a baby – actually for days. They deserve ALL the awards. And I am glad we got them together in heaven, and that Jack had made heaven more like our ideal.
    I also missed the five years down the road bit. I watched Jared’s Q & A and didnt see that, so unless it was in one of the meet & greets? It would be nice to think, but in that case it would have been nice for it to have been made a little clearer. Maybe Sam jogging along a lake in Lebanon, Kansas was a clue. It would take a few years for that to get built, it sure ain’t there now!

    • I think for Dean it was complicated. He valued family and he wanted to want a ‘normal’ life, but I think Lisa was a brilliantly written and portrayed character because she knew that he didn’t quite pull it off, wanting that and only that. It’s like he said in the 300th episode, “I’m good with who I am.” He was good with being a hunter, not because he’s a ‘grunt’ or that’s all he could do, but because it was a meaningful life to him. The montage, to me, showed that too – Dean was happy, for quite a while I think (and yes, it was a meet and greet or individual meet where Jared said that, but it’s how I had already interpreted that montage). I don’t think, by the time the series ended, that Sam wanted that apple pie life either. He was also good with who he was, good with who they were. But he was able to make that transition when he no longer had the option to be a hunter with his brother – he too never got past the grief entirely, but he carried on and he changed the world in other, smaller ways. It’s still bittersweet, but I never expected this show to be otherwise. (Also lol to the no lake in Lebanon)

  • Thank you so much for these words. I’ m totally at peace with the finale. I am still in shock and sad and grieving.
    It is and feels like a big loss!
    I’m happy that there are people out there who feel those feelings like I do! Because Supernatural is not just a TV show for me and for so many people out there.
    Again thank you for your words! I would never have been able to express my complex feelings in such a way!
    Many greetings
    Always Keep Fighting!

    • I will always love that the mantra of Always Keep Fighting was directly incorporated into the final message that the show brought us – for Sam, but also for Jared, and for all of us.

  • Lynn, thank you for writing this. You captured it perfectly and I too cried so hard that I went to bed that night with a raging headache and pains in my stomach that were killing me. I cried harder than I have over anything in a really long time. 15 years was an amazing commitment from these 2 actors and everyone involved with the show, I don’t know that enough gratitude can ever be expressed, even collectively from every single fan, for them to know just how touched everyone was by this show, by these characters, by this entire experience. I will FOREVER be touched and amazed and grateful and in awe of it all. I watched the last episode with a clear head and heart ready to accept whatever they delivered because I knew that whatever ending was written/chosen/decided upon would be received and accepted by me in my heart because I have always loved and adored and cherished Sam and Dean. And Jared and Jensen could never EVER disappoint. Carry On was in my own opinion perfect. Just perfect.

    • I’m grateful that they cared so much about the ending that they contributed significantly to it, and not just with their incredible acting. That means so much to me – and yes, I will forever be touched and amazed, and grateful.

  • First time poster here. I had read your books on SPN but never really delved into the actual community before. I was pointed to this post by a fanfic author after saying I was both okay and not okay with the finale, especially since I’ve been rewatching the series the past two weeks and was in late S2 and S3 when this aired. I immediately saw the callback to the pilot and Sam’s first death. The Kids Are Alright closing scene in S3 hit so much harder after this because Dean is wondering what kind of legacy he’s leaving. Don’t get me wrong, I believe he did leave a great legacy, but yeah, after that scene I had an even harder time for awhile. And then I rewatched Mystery Spot, and the Trickster’s last words to Sam hit harder, and again was just like I’m okay with the finale, I really am, but seeing these moments made me ache for Sam and Dean.

    I didn’t cry in the actual episode, but reading this? I totally teared up. You really get the show, and the fandom, and thanks for posting this. I hope it helps some of those who truly didn’t like the finale.

    • Yes, some of those earlier episodes will undoubtedly hit differently (and harder) now that we’ve seen the ending. I love that there were so many callbacks and such care was taken to try to bring the show to a real heroes’ journey conclusion, with change as they return to the start. I’m not emotionally ready to do a series rewatch yet, but I definitely will at some point – and I’m sure I’ll cry even more than I did the first time around!

  • One other thing I forgot to include in my original post but thought everyone would like: Several years ago when a pastor friend of mine lost his brother to suicide, Sam (yes, his name’s Sam) smiled through his tears and said to me, “Time’s different in heaven. While I am aware of its passing here on earth until I die, for Steve it will be as though I just stepped through the door behind him, as though we’ve hardly been apart, and he’ll be there to greet me.” So when I heard Bobby say basically the same thing to Dean, I smiled a little through my tears, knowing that by the time Dean and Baby got back from their drive, Sam would be there. I know my friend Sam would like that scene very much.

    • What a beautiful story, Lisa. One of the things that I loved so much about this finale is that it rang true for so many of us in terms of what grief and loss are like in real life – and that made it so much more powerful and impactful. I’m grateful for that, and for the tears that brought.

  • At first, I felt the finale was a bit…flat (I wrote something along those lines in a reply to your post about e19) … but after mulling it over and rewatching bits and pieces, I’m much more at peace with it now.

    Of course the barn scene was amazing. These guys… wow.

    But more than that, I kept thinking about The Lord of the Rings books. Frodo saving the world, but not getting to stay in it – he saves the world for others, not himself, him being too hurt to keep going in the long run.
    I see some parallels to Dean here – I think we can all agree that Dean is a deeply damaged man. A hero, and he did a lot of growing, but still… damaged. There are several scenes, like his conversation with Ketch that goes into that. Could he have healed – maybe. Would it have been great to see him healed and well, and happy. Oh yes.
    Did he die in a stupid way – a rebar during a fight that should have been a milk run, rather than a storm of bullets while saving the world? Yes. Did he deserve that? No. But people die all the time in stupid ways that they don’t deserve. It made him more human to go like that. And narratively speaking it gave the writers leeway to write that long goodbye scene, which a storm of bullets or something like that wouldn’t have been able to do. They needed to kill him in a way that would allow him to talk for a while and impaling him like that works for that purpose.

    My rewatching also made me think that they didn’t intend to say that Dean died like the next day or a week after defeating Chuck. I was relived to see you write that someone on the inside have said that they think the brothers got a few years together. (A calendar in the background would have been nice – but I guess they left it vague on purpose)

    Besides – this was always meant to be Sam’s story. It started out that way, and it ended that way. I’m not trying to push Dean aside in this, but objectively speaking, particularly looking at the pilot episode and how the first 5 seasons went (and ended) – this is Sam’s hero journey.
    And we all know that to really, finally, grow up, the hero needs to stand alone in the end, to lose his/her mentor. That is why JKR had to kill Dumbledore. It’s why Tolkien had to take Gandalf out of the equation (at least temporarily) and by losing him, getting to the point where the fellowship broke up, so Frodo and Sam could be alone… in my opinion LOTR is more Sam’s hero journey-story than Frodo’s btw, which is a part of Frodo having to go before the very end of the book – to have Sam finally stand alone, capable and strong – but I digress – my point being that from the narrative perspective getting “rid of” the support, the mentor, to have the hero at last stand alone is so integral a part of the hero journey stories, that I wasn’t even shocked when I realized that Dean was going to die in the episode.

    The show has always had a major theme around dealing with grief.
    From John’s obsession with finding and killing the thing that took his Mary, to the repeated deaths of one brother or the other and how they handled that: Dean making the demon deal. Sam going more or less off the rails – in Mystery Spot and after Dean goes to Hell in S3 we see Sam not handling Dean’s death very well.

    Finally, now, in the finale, we see Sam handling his grief in a healthier way. He grieves, deeply, and he never forgets. (The heart-breaking scene where old Sam sits in the impala), but he still moves on to live his life, and find happiness, rather than let the grief consume him.
    Show even puts words on it (Dean’s words to Sam in the pie-scene earlier in the episode) – that we honor those we lost by living our lives.

    I love that Sam had a son, and I loved that they gave the son that tattoo. They left it up to us to read into that – does the son hunt? Or is the tattoo for his protection under the guise of being just a family thing?
    In my mind, it fits best that the son knows all about the supernatural, and even if he isn’t actively hunting, he might be more of a man of letters, helping other hunters, keeping the legacy going. I think Sam, knowing how dangerous hunting is, would try to interest his son in the more research-related parts of the job…

    Anyway – I think the finale was satisfying. It hurt, but life hurts, and Show tried to give us that final lesson – even when it hurts, keep fighting, keep living and happiness will be there for you to find.

  • I don’t always leave comments, Lynn, but I always read your beautifully and professionally written reviews, and this one brought me to tears. There’s gratefulness for 15 years of a wonderful show, and gratefulness for the the excellent people I’ve met along my fandom travels, including you. Especially you. Hugs and love always. ~Cris

    • So much love, friend. I am incredibly grateful for all the wonderful, brilliant, creative people I’ve met along the way – and you will always be one of those people. What a long strange trip this has been – and what a wonderful, life changing experience we’ve all shared together!

  • Hey Lynn, a week and a bit later I had another revelation. Just suppose if Jack’s Heaven is the place where all the broken parts of your life can be reconciled? Maybe it’s possible that in Dean’s Heaven he will get the chance to finally get to know his own daughter Emma? As an Amazon Emma was supercharged, but she was also human so perhaps there’s hope she got to join him there?

  • First timer here. Wonderful review, your eye for details and your insights mend the hurt a little. I think Dean’s growth also came from what Cass said to him about doing everything out of love. So many people have told him he’s worthy. To me, it seemed these words now kind of clicked in his head and he finally could overcome that hurdle of worthlessness and he saw his value and felt that peace. Sometimes loss brings you insight and some weird kind of beauty as well. For me it felt like the reason he was more smiling and more relaxed.
    There was so much care put in all the emotions, the grief and sadness felt so real. It made me think of all my past and present losses. Even future losses, that might come up eventually, were on my mind. That hole in my heart will take it’s own time to heal, I guess.
    I so loved the music! That haunting version of Carry on and I’m sure Brothers in arms will never sound the same again in my ears.

  • Lynn, I want to thank you for all the wonderful, incredibly thoughtful, and eloquent posts you have made over the years. You are always able to bring clarity to questions I may have or validate my feelings. While I share this show with my mother, sister, and niece…none of them are as connected to it as I am. I found Supernatural the summer of 2013 when I was at a very low point in my life and I felt like it brought me back to life. I can pinpoint the moment I fell deeply in love with this show…Yellow Fever!! LOL!!

    I LOVED the finale. It’s been a week and half now and I’m still holding in the sobs. I had to wait to read your review as I would not have made it through it a week ago. And I still cried!! I hurt for the people that did not like it. I knew I wanted it to end with them both at peace in heaven as that is the only way I feel they could get true peace. I am sad that it was not together, but immediately knew it was the way it was always supposed to be. I too love how they left some things up to fan interpretation. I would have loved to see a large reunion of all the loved characters that went before them (damn you covid), but the imagined reunions in my head are probably better than we would have been able to see with only a few minutes to cover it in the episode.

    As a funny side note…my 5 year old daughter was sleeping when I watched it live…when she found out I watched it without her she was mad. Lol! I had to rewatch it!!! The torture!! Lol!! She wants to meet Sam and Dean so badly (her little mind hasn’t separated actors and characters yet) and is so jealous that I have met them before. Through her eyes I can really see the heroes that Sam and Dean are.

    Thank you again for all your wonderful insight over the years.

  • I could not read through this completely. It has been 15 or more days since the finale. And I’m was so devastated by having to defend my feelings of support for the way things ended that I compartmentalized by pushing these feelings to the back of my mind. And avoiding supernatural and social media.
    But Its been my life for a few years. My fallback. My happy place. And I can’t live without thinking of it everyday.
    Thanks for writing this. I’m going to come back and read it properly becoz I keep breaking down in the middle of sentences.
    I love them. I love the family despite of all our differences. I love that it’s a family and not just Fandom.
    One of my non Fandom friends was on reddit on 19th night and she went through all the talk and told me she respected my Fandom becoz despite many hating the finale they weren’t being utter douchebags. I was so proud to hear that. Personally every time someone said Dean deserved more, it kept reminding me that he was gone. I agree with you, the interpretation is upto me and I like to believe dean was happy in his life post Chuck and he chose to pass instead of getting saved or brought back. I like that Sammy respected Dean’s choice. So when everyone was saying things about how they shouldn’t have gone the way they did… it kept rubbing in my face that they were gone. And their end was being mocked. So I was in a lot of pain. I still am. But you’ve helped. Thank you.
    If you’d like to respond I’m available at
    I hope you’re doing okay. Always keep fighting.
    Love, tempest.

  • I purposefully did not read this article for the past two weeks, I knew I wouldn’t last without crying. Tonight, I thought I was strong enough to read it, boy was I wrong! About half way through the post the ugly crying started. While I might not agree with everything in your article, I respect your opinion and frankly you’ve even managed to describe feelings I couldn’t put into words all the while showing me how certain scenes looked like from your perspective. The envy was real, when you’ve mentioned that you’ve spent a whole day in the MOL set as well as being close to the boys. Anyways, thank you this was a great read.

  • First timer here – thanks for this great review of the episode. I know it has been a few weeks, but in some ways I am still processing the ending.

    I think the hardest part for me was the fact that Dean did not get his happy ending on Earth – after all that he fought to keep it safe. Knowing now that the montage covered multiple years (not just a few weeks), I feel a little better that Dean was able to enjoy his time free of Chuck! I think the more I think about the ending I realize, that unlike Sam, hunting was integral to who Dean is. As long as he was alive, he would not have been able to stop hunting – that was just the kind of person he is – the hero he is – cause he always cared about saving others from the pain he went through. And that meant that, as he admitted earlier in the season, that he would always be scared. The only way for him to have a truly peaceful existence was to be in a place where there were no more monsters and he did not have to fear losing those he loved.

    i am still grieving losing the show and characters that have meant so much to me, but reading through your review is helping me get through my stages of grief. Maybe someday I will make it through to acceptance!

  • Hello,
    Thanks so much for this great blog which I only found this morning on my own personal psychotherapy path to deal with the end of Supernatural. I will surely come back to read the posts as I re-watch the whole series (psychotherapy as well, obviously). I just finished watching a couple of days ago, trying to put it off for as long as I could, so the wound is fresh and hurts like hell. I have come across a few places where people discuss the show, but this one is the best. Thanks so much!

  • Regarding the period between episodes 15.19 and 15.20, Superwiki, which covers all things Supernatural, indicated that the script states the year in which the events of 15.20 occur is 2025.

  • I know it’s been years since you wrote this, but I just wanted to let you know that I love your write-up on this episode so much, I drop a link to it whenever I get a chance. You really did a great job here of explaining what the series was trying to do (and successfully did!) over its 15-year-run, culminating in “Carry On,” and how the finale really delivered on the show’s ultimate message.

    I don’t remember if it was something you said or just something I thought while I was reading your post, but I’m reminded of the Serenity Prayer more than anything: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Dean always had boundless courage, but he made massive strides in serenity & wisdom over the course of 15 years, and this finale really did that justice.

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