By Ken Tucker
Updated May 15, 2009 at 04:39 PM EDT

In an exciting season finale that pitted brother against brother, the Apocalypse against another season of happy demon-hunting, Supernatural came to a smashing conclusion last night. The nearly season-long, emotionally-charged struggle between good and evil fought by both brothers Sam and Dean, ended up as it has so many times on Supernatural: the guys were betrayed by gals. But with a difference this time around.

The season finale began with some scary-good flashback scenes featuring yellow-eyed Azazel killing “a bag-full of nuns” and setting up the final, present-day battle. Dean had to overcome his growing hatred of his evil-possessed brother, his desire to help redeem Sam’s soul almost overwhelmed by his anger. (Or as the nicely creepy Zachariah put it, “You’re our own Russell Crowe, complete with surly attiutude.)

To me, the character that really popped this season was Misha Collins’ Castiel. Cas is a highly intelligent, doom-struck fellow with the rumpled trenchcoat and stubble of the comic-book hero John Constantine. His scenes with Dean were terrific confrontation/debates.

Ultimately, however, this episode, written and directed by creator Eric Kripke, peaked with the boys facing the taunts and challenges of Lilith and Ruby. With misdirection worthy of a magician, Ruby convinces Sam to kill Lilith. Turns out, though (ah, day-after spoiler alert), Ruby had tricked Sam. Dean busts in, the brothers are united, Dean stabs Ruby with the super-duper knife, and as Sam and Dean stand side by side, they tumble to the fact that the Apocalypse will commence. Lucifer is the bad moon rising on this dark, bloody-good show. In a final blast of blinding white light, Supernatural said to the brothers and to us, in effect: See ya next season, suckers.

But we’re happy suckers, aren’t we? Did you think the season-ender was as good as I did? What were your favorite moments?