20 November 2020 04:43
After 15 years of demon hunting, dying, coming back to life, and saving the world a couple of times, Team Free Will has completed their journey. It's been a long time coming, but Dean and Sam Winchester have finally fought their last demon, completed their final hunt, and waged their last war. For 15 seasons the Winchester brothers of the CW's "Supernatural" put the rest of humanity's needs ahead of their own, so it is only fitting that in their final episode they were still doing that same thing and ended up getting the "heaven [they] deserve." The series finale, "Carry On," started as a throwback episode to the monster-of-the-week format of the drama's earliest days, full of callbacks and references to what made audiences fall in love with the show — and the boys — in the first place. This time on this seemingly regular case, rescuing the next generation of brothers (with parallels to the young Winchesters, dragged into a life of the supernatural in their own way), Dean (Jensen Ackles) was impaled on a post and told Sam (Jared Padalecki) to stay with him, rather than call for help. As Dean was fading, he reminisced over the origins of the show by admitting to Sam that he didn't know, when he showed up in California to pull his younger brother out of college and ask him to help him find their father, whether he'd tell him to "get lost or get dead." And he told Sam he didn't know what he would have done without him — a sentiment felt around the world as the #SPNFamily has been contemplating that very same thing as the end of the show has inched nearer.
Dean made it to Heaven — and the Heaven "it always should have been," as Jack (Alexander Calvert) and Castiel (Misha Collins) reset things so those who had passed on could see loved ones again and make new memories, instead of traveling a road of their old ones. Meanwhile, Sam managed to build the life he had attempted the last time he thought Dean was gone for good, and when he grew old and sick his adult son (who he named Dean) echoed the words he had said once upon a time to his brother: "It's OK, you can go now," reuniting the Winchesters at long last. Paying homage to the show's beginning at the beginning of the series finale was not only a way to respect its origins and everyone who took a chance on it from the beginning, but it also served to drive home the selflessness of the Winchester family business' motto of "saving people, hunting things." There were times through the years where both Dean and Sam took brief detours from the life, but after defeating the vengeful God Chuck in the penultimate episode and being, in the words of Dean, "finally free," they didn't chuck it all and head to Vegas or sit by a lake drinking beers all day. The show could have even ended with that penultimate episode, "Inherit the Earth," leaving the audience on an image of the boys driving down a long, open road but having to make up in their own minds (and fan fiction) what became of their lives in a universe where the new God Jack was their friend but also the spawn of Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino). And driving down an open road in Heaven bookended the episode and the series, as Dean once again picked up Sam, this time not from Stanford but in the afterlife.
Sure, there were some poetically perfect parallels in there, including "On a stormy sea of moving emotion/Tossed about I'm like a ship on the ocean," and singing that "there'll be peace when you are done" certainly always implied that the world would be a better place when they were able to finish their work, vanquishing all the monsters. Announcing the final season months ahead of its premiere on the CW — and announcing that it was their choice to end the show — offered opportunity to get used to the idea of being without Dean and Sam and the show in general. The COVID-19 pandemic pausing their production and pushing their final batch of episodes to the end of the year gave even more time for that — and the unexpected hiatus was also a taste at what it would be without the show in our lives. And then I thought about the journey of "Supernatural" in a broader sense: how it grew from a show on the brink of cancelation into the longest-running broadcast genre series, even surviving the end of its original network; how it connected millions of people around the world who found friendship, solace, support and sometimes even romance in each other; how those same people banded together to raise millions of dollars for numerous charities; how it gave breaks to previously unknown talent both in-front-of and behind-the-camera, all of whom, thanks to the leadership of the Nos. 1 and 2 on the call sheet, took a sense of graciousness, passion, intense dedication but also pure fun to their next jobs as they spiderwebbed out across film and television. "As I head out to my first day on my LAST season finale, I can't help but be incredibly grateful for all that #Supernatural and the #SPNFamily mean to me.
Now, we've got a little reminiscing from Padalecki, Ackles, and co-star Misha Collins, whose beloved character Castiel sacrificed himself in episode 18. We asked them to share the episodes they feel are the most important to their characters' trajectories over the seasons – the ones that changed their characters and revealed more of who they are, and Padalecki even shared how certain episodes resonated in his own life.So, if you want to make your own Sam, Dean, and Castiel playlists, queue up these episodes that the actors picked as some of the most significant while revisiting their SPN journeys for IGN."I would say the first one was – obviously, you get a lot from the pilot. And so, for Jared, to be able to explore that through Sam, but come back and go home and be safe was very helpful in my journey.""'French Mistake' was just – I mean, what other show on the planet can have an episode where everybody plays 'themselves'? take-the-piss-out-of -yourself, get your head, and push it back in, and make it fit into a hat, because we're all just playing pretend for a living!""'Sacrifice' was Sam dealing with feeling less-than and feeling kind of a lot of what Jared felt for a long time and hadn't been public about yet. Dental hygiene was a long time coming and no doubt a great relief to everyone around him.""'Meet the New Boss' and 'Heaven Can't Wait' were seasons apart, but both helped shape [Castiel's] career trajectory.