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It’s over. After 15 years, The CW’s long-running series Supernatural has finally come to and. So how did they wrap up the saga of the Winchester brothers? By going back to the beginning — and finally giving them the coda they deserve.
Though the series has often grappled with universe-saving stakes, at its heart it was a creature-of-the-week horror tale, following a pair of monster-hunters who take on everything from vampires to ghosts on a weekly basis. Sam and Dean saved the world plenty of times, sure, but they were usually saving families and small towns from ghouls and goblins. So it’s only fitting that the series finale, aptly titled “Carry On,” would turn its focus on a smaller story to end the series.
The penultimate episode already handled all the narrative, big picture stakes — with Jack absorbing Chuck’s god-level powers and using them to reset the world back to “normal,” while de-powering Chuck and leaving him to live out a normal, human life. So the world was effectively saved, which freed up the series finale proper to do … well… whatever it wanted. So instead of a massive event and battle, we got a good ol’ fashioned case of the week, with Sam and Dean taking on a run of the mill vampire nest.
But in a stark reminder that the life of a hunter is often a short one, Dean is fatally impaled on a piece of rebar during the fight. It wasn’t God, the devil or any other A-list threat that did him in. No, it was the life of a hunter. It was the everyday fight. But unlike Dean’s various other deaths throughout the series’ run (seriously, these guys have died more times than you can count over 15 seasons), this one actually stuck. Though obviously that makes sense for a series finale (it is the last episode, after all), it actually felt true to Dean’s journey because — for the first time — the world wasn’t in imminent need of saving.
As Sam and Dean share their goodbyes, Dean says everything he needs to say to his little brother. He tells him he’s proud of him. That he wants him to carry on. And then he asks Sam to tell him it’s “okay.” That he can go now. And with that, Dean is gone. But thankfully, that wasn’t the last we see of Dean.
Supernatural has always played fast and loose with death and the afterlife, and we’ve spent plenty of time in heaven, hell, and everywhere in-between along the way. So it makes sense that after watching Sam mourn his brother in the days following his death, we cut to Dean in the afterlife — as he wakes up in heaven, greeted by his dearly departed pal Bobby. It seems before disappearing for a hands-off approach to his God duties, Jack made some changes in heaven, setting things right and making it a world of its own where you can spend eternity with your loved ones. We learn Sam and Dean’s parents have a place down the road, and everyone they’ve ever loved and lost are there, living out the rest of eternity.
He also explains to Dean that time works a bit differently in heaven, as Dean goes for a drive in his heaven version of his trademark 1967 Chevy Impala, affectionally nicknamed “Baby.” Juxtaposed with Dean’s drive across heaven, we catch up with Sam living out his life — all of it. We see him raise a son. We see him grow old, Then we see him die, with his then-adult son letting him know it’s okay for him to go. He’s run his race, and lived a long, full life — which was the dream Dean always had for Sam.
Then, despite the separation of a lifetime apart, Sam joins Dean in Heaven for the ending they’ve spent 15 seasons fighting to reach. The fights are over. The monsters are slain. The world is saved. Looking out across a calm river in heaven, surrounded by their loved ones, they can finally rest. The story’s over.
It’ll be interesting to see how fans receive the finale. Though many may have preferred to see Sam and Dean ride off into the sunset, still out there hunting monsters and tracking things that go bump into the night, it makes sense to finally put a period at the end of this story. After 15 years, it would’ve almost felt like a cop out to have an open ending. Heaven has always been the endgame, in a sense — they’ve just never deserved it, or had their story quite finished, until now.
Sam and Dean are gone, long live Sam and Dean.