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Samifer’s eye catches a gleam on light on the Impala hood. There’s a closeup of his pretty hazel pupil retracting and having its own little beacon of light. Then he spots the green army man in the ashtray through the window. He studies it carefully and oh the look in his eye. Something is triggering. Then the flashes start. He and Dean as kids in the Impala, Sam playing with the army man and sticking it in the ashtray and Dean sticking the legos in the vents. Each flash is quick and gets quicker. He and Dean carving the initials into the Impala, Sam looking at  the box of tapes in the Pilot, and suddenly five years of memories in that Impala fly by with nothing more than a howl of the wind in the background. Good times, bad times, all the times, going by faster and faster and then it all ends with one scene. Dean hugging Sam after he was resurrected in “All Hell Breaks Loose Part II.” Wow! What a flashback.

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There’s a closeup of the pained eyes taking all this in and I honestly believe that’s Lucifer. He never tried to see that part of Sam’s noggin. No, only the pain and suffering. Given how he’s always longed for this relationship with his own brother, Sam’s memories triggered something that has been masked for years by resentment and pain. He’s truly overwhelmed. He lowers his Dean pounding fist and with one grimace Sam is back in control. Oh my, how beautiful!

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Of course did anyone notice that when Sam does take control, the sound effect from a screeching car slamming on its brakes plays? Very interesting. Sam is now hyperventilating, fighting for composure and looks over at a battered and crumpled Dean who’s now on the ground leaning against the Impala. He’s scared, very scared, but he thoughts are of Dean. ”It’s okay Dean, it’s gonna be okay,” he says in comforting reassurance. ”I’ve got him.” Dean is in stunned disbelief but can only watch as Sam pulls the rings out of his pocket, throws them on the ground, and recites the Enochian chant to open up the cage. He watches the hole grow larger and then turns his attention back to Dean. Both brothers are petrified over what’s about to happen. Hell, I’m petrified!

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Sam sees the hole is getting closer and looks at Dean with fright, but gives him a nod that it’s time and it’ll be okay. Dean is NOT okay. We can tell through that battered face he wants to stop him, but knows he can’t. Oh, but wait, Adamichael will try. “Sam!”he shouts and he’s worried. ”It’s not gonna end this way, step back.” “You’re gonna have to make me,” Sam challenges. “I have to fight my brother Sam, here and now. It’s my destiny.” Your destiny sucks dude. The touching score comes on, Sam looks at Dean, Dean looks at him back, and they exchange one more set of goodbyes just with glances. Those glances are gut-wrenching. Then Sam closes his eyes, puts out his arms and starts falling backward in slo-motion.

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Adamichael freaks out and tries to stop Sam from falling, but Sam’s already got momentum on his side. He grabs onto Michael and they both fall into the gaping chasm in the ground. Sammy!!! No!!! They disappear out of view and Dean is left behind in horror. Then the hole explodes in white light and closes up. SAMMY!!!!!!!!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!! Yep, right about here. Kripke has just damaged my psyche for life. I thought “No Rest For The Wicked” was bad. Sam’s fate is infinitely worse right now. The rings smolder and a completely devastated Dean sits against the Impala. He is the last man standing. Oh, poor Dean. He can’t even celebrate the fact that they saved the world because the personal cost was too great. Crud, he and Sam are never going to catch a break, are they?

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I’m already a weeping, crying, broken down mess (I’m not exaggerating!) and then this next part only makes it worse! There’s the shot of Dean on his knees on the ground, the slumped shoulders, the battered face, inconsolably looking down at where a hole used to be. The camera starts wide, then moves in closer, moves in closer, and then there’s a close up of his face. Dean is completely shattered. Physically, mentally, emotionally. All he's left with is a set a rings, a closed up hole in the ground, and in so fitting fashion, the Impala behind him. This takes us back to "All Hell Breaks Loose Part II" when he was weeping over Sam's corpse. It's tragic and that weepy score isn't helping. I think it's worse this time though for he is truly all alone in the world. He's the last one left.

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Oh wait, maybe not. Dean looks up and there's Castiel, looking at him with that extreme look of sympathy that melts my heart. "Cas, you're alive?" Dean asks, still on his knees. "I'm more than that," and he does the angel-touchy thing on the forehead. Suddenly Dean's face is back to normal. Whew, that irreparable damage to the pretty was killing me.

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Castiel and Dean share a very touching moment with glances, and thank God Misha Collins is on this show. This moment is more powerful than words can say. "Cas, are you God?" Dean asks. It's a fair question. Cas slightly smiles. "That's a nice compliment, but no. Although I do believe he brought me back." Then he turns toward Bobby's corpse.   "New and improved." Cas all angelic like goes over to Bobby and revives him, giving him the same sympathetic look while Dean watches with hope. What a beautiful scene between these three. Team Freewill feels so empty without Sam though. Oh, Sammy... (cries). Dean looks down at the rings in his hand and realizes they just earned an empty victory. 

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Back to Chuck, who's finishing the final touches on his story. "Endings are hard. Any chapped ass monkey with a keyboard can poop out a beginning, but endings are impossible. You try to tie up every loose end but you never can. The fans are always gonna bitch, there's always going to be holes, and since it's the ending its all supposed to add up to something but I'm telling you they're a raging pain in the ass."  Ha, projecting there much Kripke? That's okay, you earned it and I'm laughing. But wait, Chuck's out of his bathrobe now and wearing a white buttoned shirt. He looks so...heavenly.
Dean and Castiel are in the Impala, traveling at night. Dean asks Cas what he's going to do now. "Return to Heaven I suppose." Dean can't believe that. "With Michael in the cage, I'm sure its total anarchy up there," Cas explains. "So what you're the new sheriff in town?" Cas smiles. "I like that. Yeah. I suppose I am." Dean is resentful, noting that God gives him a shiny set of wings and suddenly he's his bitch again. No, I think Castiel is taking something back from this experience. "I don't know what God wants. I don't know if he'll even return. It just seems like the right thing to do." 

Comments  

nancyL
# nancyL 2010-05-22 14:42
Hi Alice

Love your recaps. Loved the story of the Impala. Really loved the entrance of the Impala and Dean at the cemetary. Loved Castiel. This was a good way of ending the first five seasons and a good way of starting (maybe) the next five seasons. Poor Dean. Poor us, is it September yet????????
Randal
# Randal 2010-05-22 15:49
Not a fan of the Dodge Dart, huh.

"Good answer, I'm going to be watching you."
"Nice teacher. Really seems to care. About what, I have no idea."

Instead of Adamichael, how about Madam? Muah.

Only Cas could have pulled off the "assbutt" line for precisely that reason.

I don't even really have any constructive comments to add (yeah yeah, I know, nothing new) but reading your recap only confirms the fact that Swan Song is the motherfucker of all season finales. If you weren't moved after that forty minutes, you're either a dead, deceased corpse or a no-talent douchebag Caruso minion.
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2010-05-22 15:57
Loved the recap Alice, thanks. There are so many wonderful moments in this episode I can barely begin to name my favorites - oh heck, the whole dang episode is my favorite. Thanks for once again spelling out the wonderful and genius of this episode and of everyone involved in it. Words can hardly express the greatness of everyone involved.

The performances in this episode especially rocked - which are so evident in the pictures you included. Jensen and Jared were perfection and they have so embodied these characters that you really do feel like Dean and Sam are real people. The inflections they use, the subtle body language to the way they show us their feelings with a look on their faces. Pure awesomeness. This was definitely a great way to end this particular mytharc and as nancyL put it "a good way of starting the next five seasons". If only in my dreams. Can hardly wait to see what genius the writers have in store for us next. September, here we come!!!!! (Not soon enough though)
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2010-05-22 15:59
Amen! Randal, Amen!!!!! (Hey, I learned how to drive in a Dodge Dart - Loved that car.)
Bevie
# Bevie 2010-05-22 18:37
Awwww, Alice, you made me bawl all over again! :cry::

It took me a long time to read your recap as I couldn't see clearly through the layer of tears.

I love love your recaps when you love an episode and don't mind a bit if you write a novel about it. This one did rip my heart out and stomp all over it and is still giving me fits.

I was so happy Dean was not a mere meat suit for Michael and he was the big hero I know he is and completely human. Dean and the Impala gave Sam his chance and so the Apocalypse was ended. Yay! But how devastating for Dean watching his brother dive down the pit and I have no doubt if he could have moved at all he would have gone down with him. How much more can the poor man take? Kripke, how you torture my poor beloved boys!

I get so emotionally involved with these two and only have this outlet to express my feelings as one of my friends calls me obsessed and another one, if I even hint that I am in distress over the Winchesters only keeps saying "It's ONLY a TV show already!" So, opening up to either of them is a nono.

And Randal, I used to own a Dodge Dart and there is nothing wrong with them as long as it never rains and you can ignore the humongous rust holes that eventually appear. Just never take your foot off the accelerator if there is even a hint of rain and use your left one on the brakes when stopping at a stop light. Not inconvenient at all! :-?
Galina
# Galina 2010-05-22 18:54
As I am one of those disappointed with the episode I thought I might post to give my reasons for it and see if I need to get new glasses or a hearing aid. Of course it’s just my opinion, so please don’t let me spoil your pleasure.

I loved the documentary style intro with the Impala and her „experience with the apocalypse“.

The boys’ conversation at the Impala’s side however sounded like your standard made-for-TV therapy session. Sam and Dean’s expressions and tone were realistic, the words – a complete cliché.

Sam’s taking responsibility wasn’t anything new, he expressed as much in episode 1 of this season. Besides, I would expect at least as much maturity from a twenty seven year old. On the other hand, the wish to sacrifice yourself to right a mistake you were expertly manipulated into making smacks more of teenage melodrama than of maturity. Doesn’t matter that it was mostly others’ fault – you’ll show them all by taking ALL the blame!! You’ll die in a blaze of glory so nobody would even DARE blame you for ANYTHING, even if your plan fails!!! In my eyes it simplifies Sam’s character horrendously. I’ve been having this problem ever since the “Say Yes to Lucifer”- plan was introduced.

I was very glad both boys were disturbed by the slaughter of the innocent hosts of those two “stunt demons”. It was an appropriately chilling prelude to their suicidal plan.

Sam and Dean on the way to Detroit – now that was a mature conversation. It hit all the right notes with me.

The good-byes were very effective. I liked the contrast between Bobby and Castiel. Bobby’s false bravado and gruffness let Sam keep his game face more or less on, Castiel’s tragic attempts at the same technique elicit a small tortured smile from Sam that lets us realise that he’s barely keeping it together. Great moment.

The whole sequence with Lucifer was a pleasure to watch. The way he played Dean was delightfully evil. However, for me, it all went downhill from there.

Lucifer playing “I’m your friend” to a mirrored Sam had excellent atmosphere and acting and… was a cliché for the most part. Lucifer tries to tempt Sam with revenge on demons who acted on Lucifer’s orders in the first place? A fact that somehow flew over Sam’s head? Not buying Sam’s stupidity here at all.

Men looking at the stars for hours… Through telescopes – sure, just because it’s so peaceful and pretty – not buying it, sorry. I know Dean could spend his time much better watching “Dr. Sexy MD”.

Samifer and Adamichael – just NO. For me it was one of the worst scenes on TV ever, period. No chemistry, poor acting, at least on one side, and nonsensical dialogue. Haven’t we heard the “God made evil, so it’s His fault it exists.”- argument a thousand times already? On top of that, those two are archangels who’ve been exercising free will since the beginning and failed to realise it was so for thousands of years? And instead spend their time squabbling like kindergarteners ? Compare this scene with Death’s scene from last episode – how are they even in the same show?

The first time I watched this scene threw me clean out of the story so I couldn’t enjoy the rest. On the second viewing I ff-ed past it so the final confrontation hit me but good. The wind whistling over the montage was inspired. I’m not much into “the power of love” – concepts but that one worked well. Maybe it’s the way the boys can communicate the world without words.

Dean’s devastation was the best scene for me hands down. He and the always faithful Impala mourning their colossal loss amidst a bright sunny day was a truly haunting image. Interestingly enough, the death and resurrection of Cas and Bobby didn’t change that feeling of finality and loss at all. It stayed with me to the bittersweet end and I loved it.

What I didn’t care for were the endless flashbacks and Chuck’s narration – it was too melodramatic for me to take seriously and manipulative enough to irritate me. So the overall feeling is of a very uneven episode that had some strong and some weak ideas, some excellent and some poor execution, and superb acting that honoured the script much more than the script honoured the actors.

Thank you for your detail-obsessed recap and for reading, if you’ve gotten this far!
Yvonne
# Yvonne 2010-05-22 19:50
Thanks for the recap!!! Like watching the show again but a little lighter, which is good since I can't watch it again for fear of my sanity.

One note, am I the only one who heard this? In the goodbye scene with Cas, didn't Sam say "Just, stop. He's looking." Meaning Dean. Thought it was sadly hilarious and I hope I heard right.
AndreaW
# AndreaW 2010-05-22 20:37
Thanks for reliving with us this wonderful episode!

In such an emotion-filled episode is hard to pick a favorite scene. But the dialogue in the car in their way to Detroit, with Sam's calm acceptance of his fate and Dean having to make such a promise kills me everytime. :cry:: :cry:: :cry::
RylinnB
# RylinnB 2010-05-22 23:57
Love your review. But one question: did you notice there was 5 rings? I think I missed something along the way, where did the fifth ring come from? Was it Dean's ring ring that disappeared after Changing Channels??

Can anyone clarify for me?? Thanks in advance : }
Karen
# Karen 2010-05-23 02:19
Hi Alice
Fantastic recap! I’m going to miss them for the next few months.

Everything you commented on is basically what I loved about this episode.
The history of the Impala and the flash backing of the boys.
The moments between Sam and Dean.
Sam’s goodbye to Bobby and Castiels.
The use of mirror for the conversation between Sam and Lucifer.
And the whole confrontation between Samifer and Dean.
I know some fans were very disappointed that there was no big battle between Lucifer/Sam and Michael/Dean. But for me I was happy they didn’t do that.
After all wasn’t the whole basis of Team Free Will, NOT to fight?
To NOT give in and become Luci and Mikey’s vessels for that very reason?

Galina I don’t think you need glasses or a hearing aid. If this episode didn’t work for you then that’s your opinion. After all it would be a pretty boring world if we didn’t have different views or opinions.
Suze
# Suze 2010-05-23 04:16
Hey, Galina, it's not just you, mate ... I thought bits of this one were pretty clunky too. Chuck's voice-over broke up the mood and really got on my nerves and I hated the Whoops-Oooer-He re-Comes-The-Bi g-Twist stuck-on ending.

Mind you, Lucifer's Devil went down to Georgia moment was absolutely perfect! That song is one of my all time top guilty pleasures ... :D

PS. Alice ... Detroit, Michigan? Us cheese eating surrender monkey Euro-types completely feel your pain, kiddo. London, England ... Paris, France, as opposed to some home-grown version that doesn't have red buses and Eiffel Towers all over the place ... :lol:
ElenaM
# ElenaM 2010-05-23 10:31
Dean called Cas “Bukowski”, referencing the writer. For any geeks like me who care. His stuff’s pretty gritty and depressing; Kripke talked about him in the commentary for WIAWSNB as well [geek]. Speaking of which—so Rachel hooked up with Dean at the prom in this reality AND the alternate reality??? Wow, that sucks.

Bevie and Evelyn, would you be the two Dodge fans? ;-)

Thanks for all the Detroit detail, loved it!

I didn’t even pay attention to the label on the tape!!! Thanks! Re: Rock of Ages—Despite immersion in our new local classic rock station, 95.3—which pretty much has the Supernatural soundtrack as its playlist--that was actually the first time I heard the song (what? I grew up listening to the Goo Goo Dolls). Don’t know about the opening words (huh?), but the thought the few lyrics we heard fit: “I got something to say/it’s better to burn out/than fade away…”

Really loved the editing in this episode, whoever put together those flashback montages, amazing…

Remember that scene from 4x18 where Chuck says “Obviously I’m a god”? Pretty funny to begin with, but it’s so much more hilarious now!

Otherwise,
:cry:: :cry:: :cry::

Awesome recap.
Julie
# Julie 2010-05-23 12:31
Alice ,
Thanks so much for the recap , I have loved them all but this one was special.
You should not offer us apologies for writing `a lovefest` this episode deserved, and demanded it .
From the monemt I heard the first bars of Kansas I found myself with tears in my eyes ,and I continued to be moved by every following scene , like you my heart broke when Sam asked Dean to not watch him as he drank the blood.
The scene in the cemetary was both beautiful and brutal, I know many people were disappointed that they did not get `the big fight ` they wanted but I was so pleased that Dean never said `Yes` and that in the end everything came down to what the core of this show has always been about , family and love .
I find it hard to believe that some people did not like this wonderful episode and cannot believe anyone was unmoved by it .
I just hope that Kripke and his magnificent team know how much we all appriciate their work
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2010-05-23 12:47
Hi Alice.

Good stuff. Big things. ;-)

I loved this eppie to death and I love your recap as much :-) Reading this brought back so many lovely moments and looks and glances and lines that I still feel a smile tugging in the corner of my mouth.

So many fave moments; Dean at Lisas doorstep (*chinwibble*), "the Impala moment" and the way Lucifer loses control during that montage of love and brotherhood (Ah, be still my heart!), their talk in the car on the way to Detroit, "I ain't gonna let him die alone", to Marks Lucifer freaking me out to Jareds little mirror conversation keeping me glued to the screen and taking it all in with fear and fascination. And Chucks narration moving the story along, with the little tidbits of their childhood. *happysigh*

Wow. What a fantastic Rollercoaster Ride -finale. Awesome. Amazing. Tear Your Heart Out. Love, just love.

Thank you Alice for all the wonderfull recaps, and come on season 6!
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-05-23 16:06
Alice, I can hardly believe what you did with this recap - you drew me back into this episode and the whole emotional mess... Being a true masochist ;-) I can't help but love you for it.

I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of Jared's acting here - we have rarely seen so many facets of Sam, I was in awe from moment one till the very end... What a marvellous young actor he has become.

My psyche still has trouble dealing with the episode, as you well know. I still trust the creative team to come back with a wonderful, fantastic, haunting and emotionally draining sixth season. What else to expect from a show that plays my soul like a fiddle?

thank you so much for this. I absolutely loved it, Jas
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2010-05-23 17:48
Elena-I learned how to drive in a Dodge Dart - loved the car, it had a lot of power and was fun to drive. But truthfully, I am a Ford girl through and through. Give me a 67 Ford Mustang Coupe and I will be a happy camper. (You know, like the one War had in GGY) Love that car. (second choice, of course, if the 67 Impala.)

Thanks again Alice for the recap. This episode kicked-a***. Loved it from beginning to end. :D
trina
# trina 2010-05-23 20:13
I read this in a snackbar at a campground (the only place with wi-fi). I am pretty sure everyone in the room assumed I just got horrible news.

Regarding the episode, I loved it. I don't think it was perfect. I hate slow-motion (it is never an actor's friend) and Michael was not very imposing. But none of that really matters. From a character standpoint it was beautiful, tragic, and in many ways pitch perfect.
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-05-24 11:13
Great recap Alice, I just loved the story of the impala and the big part it played.

I'm glad you got the screen cap of the boys under the stars. I totally agree! We need to see much more of the happy stress-free boys between jobs, and I'd LOVE to see them on a day off! I hope more of this is done in season 6.

It's sad that Kripke left us with such sadness again for the summer, Sam back but not happy about it at all, and Dean grieving for Sam, and not being able to help him.

Hope they don't have too much time pass before the boys reunite.
Bethany
# Bethany 2010-05-24 14:22
comment for the site in link above … ok this must be a generational thing because I’d never heard rock of ages before and the first bit is sampled on the offspring song ‘pretty fly for a white guy’ so when the song started up I was really confused thinking “really weird song choice” then was really embarrassed when the actual song came on and I cracked up when I realised my error (not the impression Kripke was going for I guess). I didn’t like that song either I would have much preferred say ‘back in black’ or ‘carry on my wayward son’ or would that have been far too cheesy?



Did I like the episode, yes. Did I think it was the best they’ve ever done, no. Doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it though. Like some other commenters I thought it was a bit clunky the first time I watched it and that Chuck’s narration broke up the tension and the fluidity of some scenes but on re-watching I thought it worked better than I originally thought. I loved the flash back moment where Lucifer sees the army man in the ashtray and gets a glimpse of all of Sam’s memories, like the firework scene in DSOTM it was just beautifully done and captured something that wouldn’t have been conveyed half so poignantly in words, so much work must have gone into that moment but it was worth it, just lovely … I rewound and played it over and over again. I also loved the moments from their lives just that little glimpse of bored wee Sam and Dean in the car growing up, them sat on the hood just enjoying the moment. It was just lovely that for all the show is, the finale seemed to be about the little moments that make up the boy’s relationship, how sometimes the most important moments in a relationship, that define that relationship, aren’t the grand gestures or the big speeches but in the every day moments that make up a relationship. I just loved that about this episode.



Bizarrely enough the one part of the episode I didn’t like was when Sam was about thrown himself into the hole and Michael came back. I didn’t know why he needed to be there, I think the shot would have been mush better with Sam stretching out his arms and falling backwards. I also liked the idea of Michael foiled and having to face the fact that destiny fate and everything he’s been spouting had been proved incorrect by two rather stubborn brothers. It just spoilt the moment for me as I felt it took something away from Sam in that moment when everything should have been focused on him. But that’s a personal niggle.



Wow this was long, longer than I thought it was going to be but all in all I loved it and I loved the fact that Kripke told his story his way and ended it how he wanted and Bobby and the Impala (I always knew she was special) made it out ok so I’m happy.
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2010-06-01 12:08
Late to the party, but I'm so behind with the recent articles! Great recap, as usual, Alice. I also really loved the episode, so it was great to be able to hear how much you loved it, too. Now you have a much-deserved break from recapping!