This review contains spoilers of Supernatural‘s final episode “Carry On.”
For a year, Supernatural’s finale has been a question mark in my head. How do you wrap up 15 years of demons, angels, monsters, family, and sacrifice? The clear answer to me was: you don’t. The boys just keep on driving from one hunt to the other, saving people and hunting things. In last week’s penultimate episode, “Inherit the Earth,” it ended just like I had pictured it in my head — Sam and Dean Winchester driving into the sunset.
Except, there was still one more episode to go. After defeating Chuck and gaining a new god in Jack, one more villain stood in their way — death (not Death, though), the thing the brothers have been defeating since season two. “Carry On” officially kills off the Winchester brothers, but not before we get closure, and not before one of them gets to live a full life. By the end of it all, the brothers are still together, in a version of heaven they deserve, surrounded by friends and family. But was it worth it?
The episode is a fairly quiet affair. It hardly features any secondary characters, focusing strictly on Sam and Dean, as it should (although it would have been nice to see Charlie and Eileen one more time, since we last saw them Thanos-snapped into oblivion). By keeping it all about the brothers, “Carry On” really brings home their relationship. Dean’s long death scene is full of great lines about how much he loved having Sam by his side, reminiscing about the good ole days, telling Sam to keep fighting. His “tell me it’s going to be okay” is truly heartbreaking. Even the manner in which he died — an accident while fighting some vampires — makes sense too. After all of the sacrifices that never stuck, Dean dying on a regular hunt makes it more emotional, and the only way any Winchester death would carry the correct weight. Then things get weird.
In a callback to season three’s “Mystery Spot,” Sam carries on after Dean’s death. However, there’s no dark revenge path to go on. Instead, he continues hunting. As the montage continues, he eventually starts a family (presumably with Eileen), names his son Dean, and dies of old age, meeting Dean in the afterlife (that “Hey, Sammy” is a little too reminiscent of Damon’s “Hey, brother” from The Vampire Diaries, though).
It’s all a little too clean. Not that long ago, Sam and Dean discussed the idea of settling down. Both of them said they didn’t want to. They like this life. Considering Sam started the show running away from the hunter’s life, and Dean just following in his father’s footsteps, their contentment in the hunter’s life was refreshing in its own way because it was what they chose. They had reached a level of happiness neither of them could conceive, the outstanding plot details notwithstanding. For the finale to pivot on that renders that character development moot. Dean says he was always going to go out like this, and maybe that’s true. But Sam having a family is a jump too far, a fantasy only made possible by Dean’s death. It’s not fair to Dean, who once tried to have a family as well, and it’s not believable on Sam’s part, especially since a lot of the nuance of Sam’s life is lost in the montage. How did he go from being on hunts to living in the suburbs?
Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, to their credit, give it their all one last time. It’s true their chemistry has kept this show alive for 15 seasons and their final scenes together are a testament to the heart of Supernatural. Dean’s monologue in the barn is exactly what the show’s been about when it comes to those two.
While this finale leaves the Winchesters in a good place, it falls short of proving why their deaths had to be the end of the show. With their reunion in heaven, it’s like nothing changed, their deaths leaving no impact on the world or on the characters left behind. Sam’s son could carry on the Winchester legacy as he sports his own anti-possession tattoo, but it’s a small implication. After so many deaths and resurrections throughout its run, the end of Supernatural chose death again, and didn’t have much to say about it. But, at least there’s peace.
Some Final Wayward Thoughts:
There was no follow up on Cas’ “I love you,” proving again how hollow it was in the first place.
The image of Dean standing outside Sam’s apartment in the pilot episode, wondering if he should go in or not because he wasn’t sure if Sam would help him is what got me crying finally. Wasn’t expecting to get new information about the pilot episode, but hear we are.
“Something out of Wes Craven’s erotic fantasy.”
“We had one hell of a ride, man.”
“You always keep fighting … I’ll be there, every step.”
“I did not think this would be the day. But it is, and that’s okay.”