This should be a given, but unless you don’t want to be spoiled, or if you haven’t seen the finale of the television show Supernatural, then don’t read further.
If you’ve seen it, or don’t care about spoilers, then carry on wayward son.
When we last saw the Winchesters, they had saved everyone and defeated God. That’s right. They defeated the being that created the heavens and the earth, hell, and everything in between. They reduced him to being as powerless as a human. Jack, the new God, prefers a hands-off approach and vanishes leaving the boys to their own devices.
“Finally free,” Dean says at the end of the season finale.
Now, there’s a lot of unanswered questions that I have going into Season 15 Episode 20, “Carry On” and the first problem I have with the episode is that it’s only 43 minutes long. For a show that’s the longest-running American live-action fantasy TV series, there’s a bunch of loose ends that fans expect to be tied up. There are a plethora of characters that should have and could have made an appearance at the end. Both Jared Padalecki, Sam, and Jensen Ackles, Dean, played in all 327 episodes. Most expected the brothers to die by the end of the show. All Supernatural fans know that death isn’t exactly a permanent state.
In my humble opinion, it’s pretty arrogant of fans to expect a perfect ending. Even if there was a full-length film that served as the finale, fans wouldn’t be satisfied.
When you factor in the effects of the coronavirus and the shutdown, well, it was almost impossible for the show to produce something that would be received well by fans that literally grew up watching the show.
Admittedly, I am one of those fans. The show lasted longer than my marriage by about six years. I clung to it when my own wife wouldn’t cling to me anymore.
So, here’s the play by play on the events of the episode.
Dean has Miracle, the dog, Sam goes on runs, the boys go to a Pie Festival. Sam and Dean discuss survivor trauma over a box of pie slices. Sam slams a slice into his brother’s face.
“If we don’t keep living then all that sacrifice is going to be for nothing,” Dean tells his brother.
Of course, that’s when a pair of skeleton masked bad guys kills the mom and dad of a family and kidnaps their two sons. Keep in mind, these two brothers show an alarming resemblance to Sam and Dean. One is tall and has long brown hair while the shorter brother has short blonde hair.
The Winchesters investigate and figure out that it’s linked to an unsolved encounter detailed in their father’s journal. Eventually, the brothers figure out the location of the vampire nest and that the two kidnapped brothers are still alive. This is where Sam and Dean face their final battle. It isn’t against God, demons, or the Empty. The opposition is in the form of five ordinary vampires.
And that’s where Dean dies. The vampires have been whittled down to two. The larger vampire picks Dean up and rams him into one of the support beams of the barn. It just so happens a rebar hook is poking out of the beam. The vampire impales Dean onto it but dies by Sam’s machete.
With this being the season finale, we all know what’s going to happen next. Sam doesn’t know that Dean’s injured, but Dean does. He delivers a very, very tearful goodbye. And then Dean dies.
Now, I’ve heard and read many complaints about this scene. Not so many about Dean dying, but by the way he dies. Everyone thinks that Dean deserved better or that he deserved to go out fighting an army of vampires and not five inside a barn.
Dean died during a hunt saving two brothers. Two brothers that bear a striking resemblance to the Winchesters. I feel that’s the way Dean wanted to go out. Like he tells Sam, “You knew it was always going to end like this for me. It’s supposed to end like this, right? I mean, look at us. Saving people, hunting things. It’s what we do.”
Dean Winchester is a mortal man without angelic protection, without the Mark of Cain, without Chuck’s plot armor. Him dying in a random manner against low level monsters is the most realistic, plausible way for him to go. Sure, Dean could have gone up against an army of vamps, but eventually he’d be tired and captured. And then, realistically, he’d either be tortured and killed or he would be turned. The fans would have hated that ending more than the one we were given.
In the last few lines of Dean’s life, the two brothers share a back and forth conversation. Fun fact, it’s the same dialogue they shared in the very first episode only the lines were switched. It’s small pieces of fan service that are sprinkled throughout this final episode that true fans appreciate.
Dean’s death comes about halfway through the episode. After giving his brother a Hunter’s funeral, Sam goes about grieving and spending a montage of events that’s the same as the opener except for no Dean.
One of my gripes with this episode is the funeral scene. Because of COVID, the cast of this episode was bare bones. In my opinion, there should’ve been all the friends and companions the boys have shared, but it’s 2020.
Sam gets a call from Dean’s Other, Other Phone and is called out to a case involving werewolves. Sam leaves the bunker, turning off all the lights signaling to the viewers that it’s the last time they’ll see the bunker.
“At least I made it to heaven,” Dean says next. That’s right, Dean shows back up alive and well. Well, sort of.
Now, if you remember correctly, in the show heaven is a place where a person lives his/her happiest memory over and over again for eternity.
Dean winds up in front of Harvelle’s Roadhouse with the OG Bobby on the porch offering him a beer. Bobby tells Dean that before Jack vanished, he made some alterations to heaven. Now, heaven is place where people can live in peace with one another. Bobby, Rufus, John, Mary, everyone Dean knows is all up there.
Even Castiel. Turns out, Jack must have freed him from the Empty because Castiel helped Jack with the alterations. Now, I assume this all happened off screen because of the lockdown so viewers will have to use their imagination to picture all that. What matters is, Castiel and crew are alive and well and Dean is with them.
Bobby asks Dean what he would like to do, and Dean takes Baby out for a drive. Eagle eye fans will spot the license plate is the original KAZ 2Y5.
The last minutes of the show are spent showing Sam’s life. He has a kid, who he appropriately names Dean. He plays catch with him and helps him with his homework. There are moments in his life when he sits in Baby, holds the steering wheel and mourns his brother. At the end of Sam’s life, his son is there by his side. In other words, Sam lives a normal life.
Here’s another source of complaint that I’ve heard from reviews. They say there’s too many unanswered questions. There’s a blurry woman in the background of one scene. Personally, I’d like to assume it’s Eileen, Sam’s girlfriend. I’d like to think that they got together and had a baby together.
Like I said, you need to use your imagination to fill in some of the blanks due to filming restrictions.
As Sam progresses through life, we see Dean driving the Impala. In my opinion, this is exactly what both brothers want so I don’t see a problem with this scene.
Then the end scene comes. Dean stops at a bridge and gets out. Leaning against the edge, he senses his brother. Smiling he says, “Hey Sammy” and turns.
It’s a beautiful ending when you think about it. Both brothers finally getting their reward. I thought it was a fittingly end to one of my favorite television shows. Maybe it wasn’t the ending that most people would have wanted. Maybe it wasn’t the ending that the showrunners wanted. But it’s the one that we were given. And I, for one, thought it was rather perfect in its own way.
At its core, the show was about saving people, hunting things… the family business. Family business. The show ends as it began, two brothers and their car reunited.
Backtracking to the scene with Bobby, he tells a shocked Dean that in this heaven, “Everyone(s) happy, everyone(s) together.”
Bobby goes on to tell Dean that “it ain’t just heaven Dean. It’s the heaven you deserve.”
That’s the point of this episode. That was what this episode was meant to do. It was meant to provide finality to a world where finality was a novel concept. For 15 seasons fans were told that the rules of life and death didn’t apply to the Winchesters and that they could keep on fighting no matter the obstacle. I’m not sure if the showrunners meant for this to happen, but they’ve been preparing fans for this exact ending since day one.
In every season, fans were reminded that when the end came, there would be peace for the brothers.
“Carry on my wayward son, there’ll be peace when you are done.” That lyric is from the song “Carry on Wayward Son” written by Kansas. It’s also played at least once in every season.
Fans shouldn’t be surprised, angry, or shocked to find out that at the end of Supernatural, Sam and Dean Winchester would find at peace.