Don't get me wrong: I am more pumped about season 6 after watching "Swan Song" than I was before I saw it.  I'm really excited about where the show could go next year with all signs pointing toward a return to a more personal and intimate show, maybe a la season 2, and I can't wait to watch.  And since the only other show I religiously follow on TV is LOST, if Supernatural had ended this year, I would have been cast adrift in TV land with nothing to look forward to every week.

And yet...

This episode just felt like a series finale and not a season finale.  It just felt right somehow.  Kripke has always said he had a five-year plan for the show, and this was it.  It was always about family, about how the love for your brother and the strength to stand by him could withstand any challenge, even an Apocalypse.  Both Sam and Dean made incredible sacrifices to save humanity, Sam by giving up his life and Dean by giving up his brother.  They made their own choices, followed their own path.  Free will versus destiny, and free will prevailed.  What more could one want in a series finale?

Admittedly, I have to wonder how much of his original plan had to change to accommodate the season 6 renewal.  Maybe only the ending really changed, with Dean together with Lisa and Sam standing outside looking in on their new domesticity.  After thinking on it, I'm leaning toward the original plan leaving Sam in Hell.  Maybe we'll never really know for sure, but let's take a look at each of these endings, the one we got and my hypothetical scenario, in terms of a satisfying series ending instead of a season ending.

The scenario we got was absolutely satisfying for me as a series ending.  Now, was it a happy ending?  Not really.  Yes, Dean had a family of his own, which he has craved for a long time now, but he believed Sam was still in Hell.  I think that would have ultimately destroyed him.  But Sam isn't in Hell, or at least Sam's body isn't in Hell.  We don't know for sure if that was Sam or Lucifer or something in Sam form.  And if the series had ended there, we never would have known.  Would that have been frustrating?  Definitely.  Would Sam's resurrection have been the source of endless debate? Definitely.  Would we have gone back and forth over whether Sam left Dean alone to live his apple-pie life or made Dean aware of his presence?  Definitely.  Completely satisfying series ending?  Definitely.

Now let's examine the scenario in which Sam stays in Hell with Lucifer riding around inside him.  This would have been an absolutely horrifying end for Sam, knowing that he was doomed to spend eternity in Hell.  However, this still would have been a satisfying series ending for me.  Yes, it would have made me horribly upset, but taking on Lucifer and jumping into the pit was what Sam wanted.  It's what he chose.  He chose to sacrifice himself to save humanity, to save his brother, to save himself.  What is more noble than that?  Satisfying doesn't always mean happy, and that is the case here.  Leaving Sam in Hell and Dean on Earth is absolutely not a happy ending.

And if I'm being really honest with myself, I don't see how a truly happy ending where all the good guys win and all the bad guys lose and everything is sunshine and rainbows could work on this show.  That's just not the tone of Supernatural, and it never has been.  A little bit of heartbreak and ambiguity just feel right for the end of this show, and that's what we had in "Swan Song."

So, yes, part of me wishes that "Swan Song" was a series finale.  It was an amazing episode, intense and emotional and satisfying and even a bit funny.  It was everything I ever wanted in a finale and more.  And when the series finale does roll around, it sure is going to be hard to beat this episode.  But what do you think?  Is there a part of you that wishes this was the series finale?  Or do you think I've gone off my rocker?

Comments  

BagginsDVM
# BagginsDVM 2010-05-18 20:53
I could see this episode as a series finale, & indeed it felt that way. It definitely would have been heartbreakingly bittersweet, a Lord of the Rings ending in a way. Sam as Frodo who saved the world, but not for himself; Dean as Samwise, left behind to live a family life. However, I cannot imagine Sam left to rot in Hell, & Dean knowing that's where his beloved brother would be for eternity. It would haunt Dean...and me, forever! If Dean knew that Sam had "sailed from the Grey Havens to that far green country under a swift sunrise", that I could abide.

Dawn
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-05-18 21:12
You have not gone off your rocker. Everyone has a different idea of what they like to see in the show.

For me, I wanted a complete happy ending and if not for s6, I would like to think we would have gotten that. At least I hope Kripke would have done that!

This was an ending to set up the next season, and if they pick it up with the boys being brothers and hunting, that will be fine. I wouldn't have wanted to think the boys forever would be apart. Where ever they go in the series finale, I just want them to do it together.
Kalixa
# Kalixa 2010-05-18 21:21
Part of the reason I allowed myself to get into Supernatural in the first place was because I believed it would end after Season 5.

I'm extremely pleased with the season finale because it DID feel like a series finale. (I would have been satisfied with Sam stuck in Hell too). This way, I can take S6 or leave it, and it doesn't effect the quality of the first 5 seasons.

I would LOVE to know how Kripke would have ended it if there was no S6 though. I'm really hoping that will be revealed in DVD commentary. *crosses fingers*
Kalixa
# Kalixa 2010-05-18 21:23
Oh, I also wanted to add (though you may have guessed), that I don't need a HAPPY ending. I was prepared going in that Supernatural had a good chance of being ultimately a tragedy.
anene
# anene 2010-05-18 21:27
I would have been pissed if that had been the series finale. I though it would have been a terrible way to end the story or any story for that matter. There was way too much ambiguity to be satisfying. And that is a common trope a lot of story tellers use that i find annoying. There is no such thing as "The End" unless everybody dies. No couple lives happily ever after. In supernatural, much of that ambiguity lies with Dean. There is so many paths that Dean's life can end up in that no amount of speculations would be able to answer it. Dean is at a crossroads. One i find very fascinating. I am very much interested in seeing which road he chooses and why. Also, i detest stories where much of the time was spent averting a disaster of sorts and after said disaster had ended, the story ends. That is so cliche and been done a million times that i have no desire for that to be the Winchester's story. I prefer to know about the aftermath. How did the event affect out main characters? Do the relationships survive? What does it feel like to them when the adrenaline from always being on edge and fending danger is gone? How do they handle the loss? How do they deal? War movies that deal with this portion of the story are way better than the ones that deal with how the war got stopped. I think the aftermath is equally as important. I think that is a better realistic and satisfying ending and why i am happy for a season 6.
elle2
# elle2 2010-05-18 22:14
Like so many others, I'm glad it's not the series finale and yet it does feel like the series finale...which is why I have yet to watch it again.

I'm really in Suze's camp when it comes to what I'm hoping for as the ultimate finale...trunk slamming, classic rock blaring, Impala rumbling, "We've got work to do." That's my hope for the ending...it never ends.

I'm getting pretty pumped for Season 6...it's right around the corner, right?????

Eagerly awaiting CW's fall season announcement... Supernatural on any night of the week works for me, just not midseason...oth erwise bring it on!!!
amaryllis
# amaryllis 2010-05-18 22:45
I completely agree with you, elle. I would love an ending where they drive into the sunset looking for more baddies to hunt. The show will truly come full circle if they play "Back in Black" and do what they've always done... hunt things and save people. :-)
ElenaM
# ElenaM 2010-05-19 01:35
Contemplating a world without Supernatural is rough (although my productivity would probably get a serious boost :D) but i completely agree with you--part of me definitely wishes this had been a series finale.

Don't get me wrong, i'm looking forward to S6, but Swan Song was so emotional and satisfying, it really did feel like one. I think the episode ending as it did, Dean believing Sam's in Hell and the audience wondering what the hell is going on with Sam is kind of harsh for a series finale, but you're right, a streak of darkness and ambiguity in the ending would be very Supernatural.

Still, I think at some Comic-Con Eric Kripke said something about envisioning a (reasonably) happy ending for the Winchester brothers, and like others have commented, I had a hard time imagining SPN ending any other way than the boys driving off into the sunset, a gorgeous shot of the Impala with some rockin music... But I think that's one of the reasons I loved Swan Song so much, a completely different ending from what I envisioned, and way more amazing.

Others have imagined how Swan Song might have been different if it was the series finale. I'd give a lot to ask Eric Kripke that question! Alice mentioned the possibility of Sam looking in on Dean from outside, then dissolving in golden light a la daddy John. I love that idea--especiall y if somehow Dean saw him, so that he had some closure and knew Sam wasn't in Hell. Kind of like Luke in return of the Jedi :geek:. There would still be the sense of loss and sacrifice, just not quite as harsh--a bittersweet ending. That's the series finale I see in my head anyway.

Great article, Ardeospina--cou ldn't agree more!
ElenaM
# ElenaM 2010-05-19 01:37
Hee, just realized I said pretty much the same thing Dawn (Baggins) did--just a lot wordier :D. Yeah, our version of the ending would be VERY Lord of the Rings . . .
Sandra
# Sandra 2010-05-19 02:21
Much part of me agree with you, it's a divided feeling. But honestly the whole episode felt very much like what it was meant to be; a series finale and a beginning of something new. So it served it's purpose gracefully. Unlike some others here, I do not think I would ever really have been satiesfied with a "fully happy" ending. Supernatural has always been bittersweet and having a series finale that is anything but that would not feel right. So even though I do not think this episode was a perfect end for the entire series, it would have worked out very satiesfyingly.
Suze
# Suze 2010-05-19 08:17
I didn't think much of it as a season finale, if that had been the end of the series as well I'd have been massivly dischuffed. Either both go down together ( and preferably get rebooted by New Improved Cas Power ) or fight, survive and hit the road again ... If the final shot after all the twists and turns and blood, sweat and tears was Deano drowning in dosmestic bliss while DeadSam beams beatifically in through the window before disappearing back to Lalaland in a cloud of sparkles I think I'd have shot the computer and then myself, or at the very least sworn violently and sulked for the rest of the week.

PS. I hated the end of LOTR too, they could have ditched 3/4 of the mood-lit Hobbits and squeezed in the scouring of the Shire. :roll::
biggsy
# biggsy 2010-05-19 08:40
My feelings are the same about much of what you say. I got the impression that Kripke changed nothing to accommodate for an S6. I'm so accustomed now to the dark endings...I was fully prepared for Sam to fail, or Dean and Sam to both wind up in the pit, with Cas and Bobby as collateral damage. When Sam "won" and opened the box, I was jumping up and down on the sofa and yelling "Sam go! Jump! Hurry!" Thinking, at least, Dean might live. The wrap-up seemed so final. Dean saying good bye to Bobby...leaving Bobby to fight on alone, because that was the only way to keep his promise to Sam. Dean broken and wanting to die but held by his promise. Cas's line "This is what you asked for" so cruel and so true.....free will sucks, a lot of the time. Dean gets the ending Sam had wanted, and he had only barely dared to dream about: a loving woman, a home, a kid, hunting finished. You know that Dean will do his best. He'll be there, he'll take care of Lisa, maybe even love her, he'll try to be a dad for Ben, he'll get a job, he'll wax that Impala every weekend...he may stop driving her, but he'll never let her rust...and his heart will be broken forever. I think even the glimpse of Sam, outside, may have been intended from the beginning. That inscrutable expression, so that we're all stuck in that same place too. Never knowing, is Sam a ghost? Lucifer? In torment? Trapped? Free? Waaahh! It's about the only way I could imagine Supernatural ending. But what about Season 6? I'm worried, I admit ...forever scarred by the "extra" seasons of Xfiles and Twin Peaks (OK I admit it, I'm that old). I love and trust SG but I just don't see how it can work, without Dean leaving Lisa and Ben to go back to the hunt, which would break his promise...so NOT Dean, or Ben and Lisa getting killed, which is just too horrible to contemplate. Oh my. Oh my.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-05-19 09:42
Flamey, dear, this is something to twist my mind... What would I have felt if this has been the show's end? I'm not a sucker for happy endings. To get a good one, without betraying the core of the show or have it done too cheesy is really hard and I've rarely seen one of those.

I think this show's finale (and one day we're going to have to face it) will never be a apple pie one. It's always going to end in tragedy, one way or another.

I think this would have been a good one to end the show with a melancholy note. However, when the show does end, one day, well, I hope they won't give us an open ending.

All I would like to see, in terms of quality, is this show to reach it's final ending before the quality of scripts or ideas diminishes, as it has happened with other shows I've followed over the years. I'd rather have it end at season 6 than extend it to a season 7 of lesser quality. Then again, it's not my place to say this, actually. I'm only a fan and loving the show. I don't want to ever 'bitch' about it as I've seen on other sites. I have too much respect for everyone involved to venture into saying what or how they should to their work. That's not up to me.

Parting with the characters will be hard at any given time. That will hurt, as it does now, and it's only the hiatus...

I would also love to see Jensen and Jared in other parts, stretching their considerable acting muscles. This show, so far, is providing them with a regular paycheck, so I'm glad for that. But I can imagine an actor's hunger for other stories and opportunities. I do hope, when this show comes to a close one far day.... they will get regular work, should they so desire.

I loved this honest and heartfelt article, Flamey. Thank you, love Jas
Randal
# Randal 2010-05-19 10:57
A part of me? Certainly, whether one of the endings you outlined happened, or the one we got. A series doesn't have to wrap everything up in a nice, red bow, hand out party favors, too-dry devil's food cake and runny ice cream.

If it would have been the end, and Sam *had* been left in hell, as much as we could trumpet such a supreme sacrifice, it still would have felt like a dick move by god to me. Sure, don't give him wealth and mansions and a bevy of ladies (be quiet, ladies), but these guys stopped your stupid ass plan complete with the universe's worst lock system. Rewards, please.

I guess for me, if season six is the end, the perfect ending (and I'm not a fan of happy ones really) would be them in the Impala, riding off into the sunset knowing that their work of saving the world from monsters isn't finished, but that they're still dedicated and willing to brave the dangers before they leave to do feature films.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-05-19 11:23
Love the idea of a riding-off-into -the-sunset ending, Randal! This show has been a wild west show as much as it has been a family horror show. This would be fitting - the heroes on their magnificent stallion... sigh...

Leslie - isn't it great that being a fan of certain actors will ensure we might love other stuff they do?!

Love Jas
Bevie
# Bevie 2010-05-19 14:12
I agree with Elle2. I want the series to end with the boys slamming shut the trunk with "We've got a job to do" and driving off with Back in Black blaring. That way I can imagine a myriad of ways for them both to have a happy ending after a long and successful hunting career.

If the series had ended with the season finale I would have been most unhappy with it. As season six is in the works it doesn't upset me as much. There is no way I would want them to be separated with one dead and the other forced to go on without him. I could take a finale with them both dying heroically together even though I would prefer they live. Whatever. I want them to do it, live or die, together! :shock:

So, outside of imagining this to be the final episode of them all, I loved the family and love that Kripke put into this episode and he was true to what he had stated previously, that this show is about family, love and free will. I'm hoping he keeps a finger on the reins that he has passed over and that his advice is taken seriously when he offers it from now on.
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2010-05-19 15:02
Arde, a great article, and I agree very much. This is a perfect seasons finale but it would be a perfect series finale also.

Allthough I hate the thought of Sam stuck in hell forever, you're right, it was his choice, and he knew what he was doing. And for who(m?) he was doing it for, and I love him for that. They did the right thing which was the hardest thing but who says life is fair? I really like how Show doesn't give us fairytales and happy endings because they aren't real. Pain is real. Love is real. Family. Friendship. Choices that have consequence. And some of the questions are never answered. Just life, pure and simple, and not at all.

I wouldn't mind an ending with the "we have work for you" and riding together to the sunset, but I've always wanted the show to end like Butch & Cassidy. Against impossible odds with little sarkastic quips and subtle, reassuring glances and then they rush to their doom, together side by side guns blazing.

BUT. The ending we got is more real (& more heartbreaking) because one of the guys is left behind, to grieve and move on, alone. That happens, it's life. My heart breaks for Dean here as much as it did for Sam when he jumped in to that pit. Sometimes there just ain't no pot of gold or eternal happiness at the end of the rainbow. Can Dean move on? I don't know but I have hope because I know he'll try.

And what about Sam? Well, I can't help squeeing when I see him standing there outside Lisas house, out of hell. I like the idea that God saved him, it gives me hope and that's a part of life too. Miracles do happen.

Nevertheless, I'm very psyched for the new season 'because' this arch is over, no matter how awesome it was. Ah, all the possibilities! They can do whatever now, and I agree with anene that "the life after" is a very fascinating premise, there's no reset, life goes on.
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-05-19 15:14
The series finale will, more likely than not, see the boys alive, and at peace either hunting or retired. Reason is, Kripke has always wanted a SPN movie, so killing off the boys wouldn't be good. The series finale for season three was the brothers get Dean out of his deal, and the boys ride off into the sunset, or so I've read. But given the movie aspect it makes sense.
ElenaM
# ElenaM 2010-05-19 19:32
:lol: :lol: :lol: Suze, I swear you never fail to crack me up. The golden sparkles might be seriously cheesy :D, Molly & Big John notwithstanding . Lose 'em and I still like it though! I'm with Supernarttu for the most part, although like Randal said, I'd be pretty bitter and grouchy if God left Sam in the pit. Volunteers for the 72, show of hands now, please--just kidding!

You know, about the boys dying together--for a moment I actually thought that would happen. In that moment where Sam takes control and he's struggling to take that leap into the pit (looks like his internal Lucifer's putting up a fight) I thought Dean would grab him and throw himself in with Sam. Especially after the "I'm ain't gonna let him die alone" and "I'm not leaving you" stuff, I thought for a second they'd do a Thelma & Louise blaze of glory and sail off the edge together . . .
AndreaW
# AndreaW 2010-05-19 21:32
We were told that they are soul mates so they are meant to stay together, no matter what. And I agree with Randal, Sam made a huge sacrifice, what bout his reward? It's not as if he really WANTED it. Dean asked him if it was what he wanted and his answer was: I let him out, I have to put him back. So he did what he had to and we're so proud of him for that, but wanting is not exactly the case.

But if they were to be separated, then at least I would like for him to be reunited with Jess in Heaven. That would be more fair.
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2010-05-19 22:54
Wow, great comments, everybody. Normally I like to answer everyone individually, but that's a lot of comments! I got behind.

Looks like the general consensus is that whatever happens to them, live or die or whatever, they should do it together. I could get on board with that, I think, provided it's not a cheese fest. It's issues like these that make me glad I'm not a writer on this show because there's no way to make the show end and have everyone be happy. As long as they stay true to the show, I'll be satisfied.
Karen
# Karen 2010-05-20 09:05
Hi Ardeospina
I also agree that it did feel like a Series finale. After five years of following the same mytharc and to have it come to an end, it felt so final. But I think that was Kripke’s intention.
Whether Kripke changed the ending to accommodate season 6, I guess until he elaborates this is an interview, we will never know.
For me I’m torn. Would he of left Sam in the pit for eternity, it does seem the Kripke way. I never got the impression of him as a Happily Ever After kind of guy. But then again, these characters were his babies, so maybe the bittersweet ending would have been the best choice, straight down the middle.
I think if this had been a series finale it would have been pure (evil)genus of Kripke to have left the ending as is.
What a perfect way to have people forever remembering and talking about the show. Forever questioning and wondering about Sam and Dean. Forever torturing us fans.
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2010-05-20 12:31
I also felt that this could have been a Series finale and eventually I would have come to terms with that. But in a way it is a series finale. Look at it this way, for the past 3-4 years Dean and Sam have been dealing with their "destinies", what they are, what their roles are and what needs to be done. So, with the apocalypse averted, and the world saved, this mytharc has come full circle and ended. So, you could look at it as a series finale because this particular story arc has ended. And in that perspective I am satisfied with the ending and if it were the real series ender, I would also have been able to accept that, eventually. That is once my heart heals from the heartbreak of Swan Song. And as Chuck so eloquently stated "Nothing ever really ends". Which is so true, these characters have become so ingrained in us that they have become a part of us and we imagine our own little scenarios in our minds of what they are doing and so on and so forth. (Just like I dare say we do with our own family and friends). And then there is also all the Fan Fiction out there. Other wonderful fans putting their thoughts and ideas about Sam and Dean to pen and allowing us to enjoy what their interpretations are of our beloved boys. And then as long as there are fan sites like this one, where we fans come together and discuss all that is Supernatural, these characters will never end.

Personally, I am happy that Dean is trying to move on with his life and that Sam is out of the "pit" and I am looking forward to have to being able to watch another season. As for when the series does finally come to an end (perish the thought), I am one of those on the bandwagon of watching Sam and Dean riding off into the sunset together in the Impala under the strains of Carry On Wayward Son and the words of "we got work to do" ringing in our ears. I need to have that ending where I know the brothers are together and content with their lives.
ElenaM
# ElenaM 2010-05-20 15:12
Speaking of fanfic, just read the one Alice linked in the Cbox. Now there's an idea--Chuck sending Dean the manuscript for Swan Song to tell him what he doesn't know, that's just brilliant. This isn't how the story went, but it would be a poignant and sparkle-free way to let him know Sam's not in Hell and provide some closure...
Freebird
# Freebird 2010-05-24 17:00
Thanks for this article, Ardeospina!
To me Swan Song did feel like a series finale. But, as many of you have said, it is a worthy season finale to wrap up the myth arc. And it has left enough questions open to continue the story. Me, too, like to know about the aftermath story.
Would love to know if and how much Kripke changed, hope he elaborates it in an interview.
I'd also like a finale with the guys riding off in the Impala into the sunset, "We got work to do" (I think it's Sam's turn now to say it :geek:-). For ones, it's just an awesome scene, and for second, that would always leave room for more episodes/movies :geek: :D