Supernatural recap: The Winchesters take on Chuck one last time
If the Winchester family motto is "saving people, hunting things," then what happens when there's no one left to save and nothing left to hunt? That was the premise of most of this episode, as we picked up moments after the events of last week, a.k.a. moments after the rapture.
Dean, who still has Castiel's bloody handprint on his shoulder, meets up with Sam and Jack in Hastings, Minn., and together, they realize that everyone's gone. Dean tells them what he learned: It wasn't Billie; it was Chuck. As for Cas? "He saved me," Dean tells them, explaining what happened with the Empty.
As they head into an empty diner, they're greeted by running faucets and TV screens featuring empty football fields. As Dean says, "Brings a whole new meaning to the term 'sudden death.'" While Dean grabs himself a beer, Sam's ready to throw in the towel. They tried to rewrite Chuck's ending and the whole world paid the price. Now, there's quite literally no one left to save.
Their only option at this point is to meet up with Chuck and throw in the towel. They tell Chuck that they'll give him his ending, they'll kill each other, so long as he brings everyone — including Castiel — back. They're giving up. But Chuck's not interested. He's found a new story, and it involves watching them rot on a lifeless planet knowing it's this way because they wouldn't "take a knee." Eternal shame, suffering, and loneliness? "That's deep," Chuck says. "That's sophisticated." So, he leaves.
Cut to a few days later, and this is about a close a look at what the boys would be like in quarantine as we'll get. Jack's in his room, Sam's drinking coffee, and Dean's sleeping on the floor using a beer bottle as a pillow. But when Jack senses a presence, they venture outside, and that's where Dean finds a dog at a gas station. Overjoyed at the idea of saving something, he puts the dog in the backseat of the Impala... only for it to disappear. Chuck waves from a nearby field and I just have to say, having Chuck monitor the guys purely to torture them, to give them hope just to take it away, is the cruelest thing he's ever done, and I think it's a great evolution for him as a villain.
The boys follow Jack's feeling to a church, and that's where they find Michael! And yes, it's just Michael now, Adam was taken by Chuck's rapture. But speaking of that, Michael is no longer the devoted son, and he's willing to help them take down his father. The problem is that not even Michael can read Death's book.
That night, Sam and Dean sit down to chat about how screwed they are when Castiel calls Dean. He says he's hurt and at the front door and asks them to let him in. EXCEPT IT'S LUCIFER! I don't know about you all, but Mark Pellegrino's Lucifer is my favorite villain from this show, so I was so happy to have him back.
He tells the guys that the Empty booted him in order to find Chuck's death book so they could use it against him. They're a team! Or so he says. To prove his usefulness, he presents them with Betty, a reaper. And when he kills Betty, she becomes the new Death, and suddenly, they have someone who can read the book.
But, this is Lucifer, so there's a catch. Just as Michael and Lucifer are chatting — their first interaction since "Swan Song" — Betty enters, but before she can read Chuck's ending, Lucifer kills her and steals the (now open) book. Turns out it was Chuck who brought Lucifer back, and he wants the book. And here's where we finally get the Michael-Lucifer showdown we never got in "Swan Song." Although, it's admittedly not a huge fight. Long story short, when Lucifer gets distracted by Jack, Michael uses the archangel blade on him. And here's what I'll say about that: I love that they revisited the Michael-Lucifer showdown. My only wish is that there'd been more build-up and the story had more time to play out.
After Lucifer's death, Michael's having a bit of a "Daddy didn't even reach out to me" moment while Sam tries using the Book of the Damned to decode Death's book. (Let's be honest, Sam's in heaven with all these books.) By the time he's done, he claims there's a spell that can kill Chuck.
Cut to the guys putting together the spell only for Chuck himself to show up. It seems Michael is still desperate to be the favorite son, so he tipped dad off. But dad's a bit of a tough crowd and can't bring himself to forgive his son, so he kills Michael. Then he moves on to Sam and Dean, because apparently, "eternal suffering" is not the viewing experience he was expecting. "I'm canceling your show," he tells them.
Just as he's about to snap Sam and Dean away, Chuck decides that, for once, he's going to get his hands dirty. So, he starts pummeling Sam and Dean, breaking their bones, punching them over and over. The boys refuse to stay down until finally, they start smiling. Chuck asks why they're smiling and Sam says, "Because you lose."
Chuck turns to see Jack, and when Chuck's unable to kill Jack with a snap of his fingers, Jack grabs Chuck and steals his power. Jack then snaps HIS fingers and instantly heals Sam and Dean.
As the boys explain it, the spell was always a lie because they knew Michael would take it right to Chuck. Their real plan was to use Jack. Remember last week when he killed a plant? Well, he sucked the life out of it. It seems ever since he blew up, he's become a sort of power vacuum. So when Michael and Lucifer were fighting in the bunker? Jack was absorbing their power. And when God was beating up Sam and Dean? Same thing. Now, Jack has absorbed all of Chuck's power.
Chuck admits that this is why "you're my favorites." For the first time, Chuck has no idea what happens next, and you know what? Dying at the hands of the Winchesters sounds pretty glorious. And that's exactly why they're not going to kill him.
Chuck's ending is for him to become just like all the other humans he forgot, for him to grow old and get sick and die. For no one to remember him. And with that, they leave Chuck behind and test out Jack's new skills.
Jack is able to repopulate the earth, down to the dog from the gas station. But he's not returning to the bunker with Sam and Dean. He explains that he and Amara are living in harmony, but Jack doesn't need to be in the bunker because he's "everywhere." In other words, he really is the new God, but he doesn't need people to pray to him. Unlike Chuck, he will remain out of the story, because if his short life has taught him anything, it's that when people have to be their best, they can be. Jack then waves goodbye and disappears.
That leaves us with two brothers, two beers, and a bunker where, for the first time, they get to write their own story. They're finally free. As they head out for a drive, we see that Castiel and Jack's names are both carved into the table. And here's where they cue up a montage that, if you're anything like me, will make you ugly cry.
All in all, I'm happy with this episode, and I'm happy with Chuck's conclusion. My biggest complaint about this episode is that it felt like the stories in this hour could've played out over the back-half of a season. It all felt a little rushed in this one hour, and I think it would've benefited from more breathing room. Let us sit with Castiel's death, let us sit with the rapture. Let Michael and Lucifer play a bigger role.
And then I will say that I don't love that Jack being a power vacuum feels like something that happened purely for that final confrontation. I would've loved if Chuck's end came from something we already knew about, but overall, still a fan of how it all came together.
And now we have one more week to go and I truly don't know what to expect.
Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star as the Winchester brothers, hellbent on battling the paranormal forces of evil.