Supernatural recap: Sam and Dean's story comes to a peaceful end
Last week's Supernatural answered a lot of the season's bigger questions: What was going to happen with God? Could Sam and Dean win? And we all know how that turned out. The question heading into the series finale was: What was left to wrap up? And how would Sam and Dean's story end? And now, we know that too.
I'll start, as I always do — somehow that sentence made me emotional? — at the beginning: It's 8 a.m. and apparently it's chore day in the bunker! Living their happy, Chuck-free life, Sam and Dean workout! Or rather, Sam does. Then they do laundry! Again, just Sam. And then they make their beds... Sam better than Dean. But don't worry, Dean's cleaning the weapons, so he's staying busy. Dean also finds them a case.
Actually, it's less of a case and more of a pie festival. Grabbing six pieces for himself and his brother, Dean joins Sam on a bench, where they briefly discuss Jack and Castiel. As Dean reminds Sam, if they don't keep living, then their sacrifices were for nothing. Sam takes that to heart and shoves a piece of pie in Dean's face, something he says he's wanted to do "for a very long time." And I believe it.
Cut to our case of the week: A family of four is attacked by two guys wearing skull masks. The father is killed, and the mother's tongue is removed. The two sons? Taken. Sam and Dean — sorry, Agents Kripke and Singer (!!!) — arrive just in time to discover that the father's body was drained of blood. When they hear about the mom's tongue, they whip out dad's journal!!! Apparently, this reminds them of an old case John worked back in the day. Dean's best guess? Vamp mimes!
Together, the brothers track down the vamps, kill one, and interrogate another for the location of the nest. Turns out it's at a barn, where Sam and Dean free the two young boys before facing off against four vamps... actually, make that five. Jenny, from the show's first-ever vampire episode, "Dead Man's Blood," in season 1, is back! But not for long because Sam decapitates her.
In one final fight scene, the Winchesters once again come out winners. Except. Wait. One of the vamps shoved Dean up against a post in the barn, and when he did, he shoved a very large piece of rebar into Dean's back. Instantly, Dean knows it's bad. When Sam starts to go for help, Dean asks his brother to "stay with me."
Dean very quickly realizes this is it for him. And he tells his brother it's okay. "Saving people, hunting things, it's what we do." Dean tells Sam not to bring him back this time before letting him know that "I'm so proud of you, Sam. I've always looked up to you. When we were kids, you were so damn smart. You never took any of dad's crap. I never knew how you did that."
Dean tells Sam that he's always been stronger than him, and then, he brings in the pilot callback, telling Sam that the night he went to get him at school "when dad hadn't come back from his hunting trip," he stood outside his door for hours because he wasn't sure if Sam was going to tell him to "get lost or get dead."
Dean continues, "I didn't know what I would've done if I didn't have you. Cause I was so scared, I was scared because when it all came down to it, it was always you and me. It's always been you and me."
Sam asks his brother not to leave, but Dean assures him he can do this alone, even if he doesn't want to. Dean tells his younger brother that he'll always be with him as he keeps fighting. "I love you so much," Dean says. He then asks his "baby brother" to tell him it's okay.
Placing his hand on Dean's, Sam tells his brother that he can go now. And with a "bye, Sam" and one final (man) tear, Dean dies, his head resting on Sam's shoulder.
Sam gives Dean a proper hunter's funeral, wakes up the next day, and keeps hunting. Someone from Austin, Texas — get it? — calls Dean's other, other phone needing help, and Sam heads that way, leaving the bunker behind for good.
Cut to Dean in heaven, where Bobby(!!) is waiting for him at Harvelle's!!! Bobby explains that he's not in a memory because Jack fixed heaven. There are no more walls. You can make new memories. Rufus? He lives five miles down the road. John and Mary are close, too. "It ain't just heaven," Bobby tells Dean. "It's the heaven you deserve."
When Dean asks if Jack did all that, Bobby says, "Cas helped," thereby confirming that Jack got Cas out of the Empty and he's okay! Bobby and Dean then share a couple of beers. As Dean puts it, it's "almost perfect," but Bobby assures him that Sam will be along. It seems time works differently in heaven, so he won't have to wait too long for his little bro.
Dean then, given the choice to do absolutely anything, chooses to go for a drive in Baby. And that's when "Carry On Wayward Son" starts playing. Dean says, "Love this song," before driving off.
As Dean drives, we watch Sam's life unfold on earth. He gets married and has a son that he names Dean. He plays catch with him, helps him with his homework, and eventually, grows old. (The one downfall of this montage? Sam's terrible wig and the decision not to age him up when he's clearly supposed to be in his 60s?)
Then, after his full and happy life, Sam is on his death bed. His now-grown son comes up to him, showing off his anti-possession tattoo, so we know the family business is alive and well and puts his hand on Sam's. He tells him it's okay to go, and Sam, mirroring Dean's death, dies with a single man tear.
Cue the "Carry On Wayward Son" cover as Dean parks Baby on a bridge in heaven and gives us one last "hey Sammy" as he turns and welcomes his brother to what they've always deserved: Peace. The brothers hug and enjoy a moment together, looking out at all the good that awaits them.
That was the final shot of the show, though they also included Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles thanking the fans, and the crew waving goodbye as Bob Singer called "cut" one last time. And for some reason, that final "cut" really got me.
The task of ending a series as massive as this seemed impossible. And yet, I don't know how else I would've wanted it to end. Dean died on the job, the way he always said he would, and Sam remained a hunter but also got to live a more domesticated life, which is the thing he always wanted. We got to see our Bobby again, and it was evident where we would've seen others if the script hadn't been changed with new protocols. If I had to guess, pre-COVID we would've seen John and Mary, along with Jo and Ellen, in heaven. Maybe even Rufus.
Sure, maybe there's a world in which the show ended with Sam and Dean continuing to hunt, but eventually, they would've died. And I like that we got to see them happy together in a better heaven. Heaven as it should be.
For a show that's killed the boys, and especially Dean, SO many times, there was power in having this one stick, and in showing us what comes next for them. I can now carry on knowing that there really was peace when Sam and Dean were done.
Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star as the Winchester brothers, hellbent on battling the paranormal forces of evil.