Monday, November 23, 2020

Supernatural is Over. Was the Ride Worth It?

 "Carry on, my wayward son. There'll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest.  Don't you cry no more."

And just like that, Supernatural has come to an end. Was it everything we all wanted? No. Was it fitting? Yes. Did it pull at your emotions and hurt like an angel blade through the chest? Abso-freaking-lutely.

Buckle up, kiddos, because there will be spoilers. Here's a photo of Baby give you enough time to click away if you don't want to be spoiled.

So what do you do when your pseudo-son becomes God, saves the universe, and goes off to do God things? Whatever you want. And that's exactly what the Winchesters do. They start living a more normal life. They still live in the bunker and do what they usually do, but this time, everything is better and also somewhat boring. There seems to be less cases to handle, which means they have more time to do things like go to a Pie Festival. And yes, Dean is in absolute heaven. Or so he thought.

Naturally, all is not good, and a home invasion case pops up on the boys' radar. Parents are killed and/or mutilated and their kids are taken. It has a familiar feel to it. Turns out, Papa Winchester had written about a similar case in his journal. I think you can see some of what's going on here. We're going back to the basics.

The guys figure out this is likely the work of vampires, and head to the next potential location the vamps are going to hit. They kill one and get info from the other as to where the nest is. They get to the nest, find the kids, and are confronted by the rest of the nest. We also see a familiar face - Jenny, the gal who was turned into a vamp in season one. She doesn't last long this time. The boys make swift work of the other vampires, but not before Dean is impaled on some rebar. And just like that, Dean Winchester's story begins its conclusion.

Sam wants to get help and do anything to keep Dean alive, but Dean asks him to let him go. He makes his peace with this being his end. Of course, Sam is gutted, but he listens to his older brother one last time. Dean dies, and Sam goes on.

But the story doesn't end there. These are the Winchesters. Of course that's not the end, right? Well, Dean dies at the halfway mark, so we have some more time to fill. Sam spends his initial days post-Dean, depressed, with only their dog for company, but eventually he keeps the family business alive. And Dean, well, where else was Dean going to go but to Heaven? 

But Heaven isn't the Heaven we knew. Jack made some changes. There are no more walls separating everyone, and it's not about living inside your favorite memories. You get to be all together with everyone you cared about, and the first person to greet Dean when he arrives is everyone's favorite curmudgeon, Bobby Singer. Not the alt-universe cool Uncle Bobby, but the grumpy, lovable, father figure Bobby, who has been so sorely missed. He fills Dean on what's gone down in heaven, tells Dean Cas played a role in helping Jack redesign Heaven, and it turns out Rufus, and John and Mary Winchester live not too far from Bobby. They really are all sharing an existence together. Only thing missing is Sam. But he'll be along soon enough. According to Bobby, time moves differently in Heaven. So what's Dean going to do while he waits? He's going to go for a drive in his heavenly Baby.

I'll be honest, this isn't easy for me to type without tears. What happens next is Dean gets into Baby, turns her on, and "Carry On My Wayward Son" begins to play. While Dean is driving through the most beautiful and peaceful roads, we see Sam living his life on Earth. He gets married, has a son named Dean, raises him, and he never forgets his family. We see him getting older and visiting Baby in his garage. And when he's reached a nice old age, we see his son, now an adult, echoing the same words Sam said to Dean on his last day on Earth. It was ok to go and rest. 

We go back to Heaven, and Dean stops on a bridge and gets out of Baby and just taking in the beauty of what's around him. And then he feels a familiar presence. He turns and sees Sam. They greet each other, hug, and the story closes on the Winchester family.

I have so many feelings about this. I literally spent the second half of the episode in tears. Every time I thought I was done crying, something would happen, and I'd start all over again. Hearing Jim Beaver greet Dean nearly destroyed me. My reaction took me completely by surprise. Sobbing, sobbing, and more sobbing. But before I get too emotional again, let's talk about the episode itself.

Carry On is a solid episode. It has a lot of great throwbacks to the beginning, such as John's journal and Jenny, and the clothes Sam is wearing when he reunites with Dean. We also see Bobby hanging outside Harville's Roadhouse. We also get a nice little easter egg of Dean telling Sam he "always keeps fighting," which most people reading this know to be Jared Padalecki's charity and mantra. We get lighthearted fun and gut-wrenching sorrow and lots of man tears. I think it's a really well done episode. However, it's not the story I would have wanted to be told.

I've seen articles about how Jensen Ackles wasn't comfortable with this ending, but after he sat down with the people in charge, and they all talked, he got on board. You know what? I get it. I think they set out to tell a particular story and they did it. It's a decent ending. It's just not the ending I would have wanted. I don't know exactly what it is I wanted, but I guess I would've liked to have seen Cas one more time, because I can't think of any form of Heaven for Dean, where Cas isn't a part of it. He's family. (*SIDE RANT* I think Castiel and Misha Collins were done a little dirty by not being a part of the finale, because not only were they integral to the show, but the last time Dean saw Cas, he was taken to the Empty. Wouldn't it have made Dean's Heaven much better if he knew Jack got Cas out? *END RANT*)  I would've loved to have seen how miserable Chuck was. See Jodi, Donna, and the girls kicking ass. See Rowena having fun in Hell. See the Ghostfacers still trying to hunt. Maybe see some of faces of the people Sam and Dean saved living their lives. I just feel like we were denied a more satisfying sense of closure with a lot of the characters who helped make Supernatural the longest running sci-fi show in TV history. (OTHER SIDE RANT: What was the point of Adam? They introduced him, killed him, possessed him, locked him in the cage, and then killed him again. How messed up is that? The least they could have done was tell us he finally made it to Heaven. He's another one who was really done dirty. *END RANT*)

And I guess a part of me would have loved to see BOTH of the guys get to live their lives however they wanted. I know Sam is the one who craved something more normal, but Dean never really had a shot at that. He made sure Sam got to have as much normalcy as possible. Sam had several chances at a regular life. What about Dean? He got one year with Lisa and Ben. And he had to give it all up, because of Sam and the family business. Wouldn't it have been nice to see Dean end up with someone who could handle his life or even help him? Hell, he could've opened up a junkyard or auto shop and hunted in his spare time. Yes, his heaven involved him driving off in Baby, but he barely got a chance to experience the rest of life. Could you imagine seeing him and Sam go to Europe? Checking the sights and getting a little international hunting in? Or maybe Dean goes on to teach the next generation of hunters. How incredible would that have been to see? 

The more I think about it, the more frustrated I get. In many ways, they made the show appear as though Sam was the main protagonist. He's the one who got pulled back in by his brother. He's the one who was constantly making the choice to go back into hunting. But Dean gave up his entire life for Sam and his family. Dean has always gotten the shorter end of the stick. He deserved more, and it hurts to see that once again, even in the end, he got less than Sam.

I could go on about how the show's decision to go back to the beginning was a bit of a slap in the face of all the hard work that's been done to make the show more inclusive and diverse, and how much it sucks to see all the female and minority characters once again completely obliterated. I could talk about the queer baiting of Destiel, and how we don't even get to see how Dean processes Cas' proclamation of love, which is a giant disservice to not only the LGBTQIAP+ community and all Destiel fans, but also to the characters. When was the last time we saw Dean with anyone? Maybe he never would have reciprocated Cas' love in a romantic way, but maybe he would have, and realized it too late. Dean definitely loved Cas. I can see Dean as bisexual, but not 100% gay. He loved Lisa and plenty of other women. That could have been an incredible moment of realization, and if he was allowed to live, how great would it have been to see Dean taking care of a baby Castiel? But we were deprived of all these potential special moments and all the development, which has gone on during the course of the show. 

There are so many other ways we could have seen the Winchesters move on, and as good as the story told was, it wasn't what I wanted. I can live with it. It doesn't make me angry like Star Trek Enterprise's finale does. It doesn't leave me with more plot questions like Lost did. But it also doesn't give me the satisfaction and peace The Good Place did. It just leaves me feeling okay. And after 15 years, I wanted more than just okay.

What did you think? Was the Supernatural finale satisfying? Was there anything you would have changed? Tell us in the comments below or on social media. 

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