Like many in the fandom I was... less than pleased with the final season of Supernatural. As the challenge goes: Do you think you can do better?
So last year I completely rewrote the final 3 episodes of the season in my extended fan fic "With or Without You", yet I still find my mind turning over ideas and possibilities. What if we didn't completely ruin Chuck's character? Could we close out Sam and Dean's story in a way that honors and celebrates what came before?
To that end, I wondered what if we just did a complete overhaul of season 15 as a whole? So Part 1 of my reimagined season fixed a bit of episode 14.20 for the new myth arc's introduction. Then, rather than writing a full script treatment of every episode, I drafted an outline of a new season 15 - all 20 episodes with possible titles and the general shape of each episode. What are the important beats and plot points we want to be sure to hit this season? What moments do we need to include to deliver those emotional punches we're aiming for? Part 2 of my season 15 pitch looked at episodes 1-10 and the revelation that Sam and Dean's greatest challenge would be fighting all their own alter egos from many different worlds.
Join me now in our writers' room as we storyboard the conclusion of Supernatural's final season...
EPISODE 11 – “Old Debts”
This episode appears to start how episode 10 ended. We see a Sam and a Dean standing there, squaring off against an enemy…
...only when the camera pans around it's revealed that their enemy is actually Castiel and Jack! These aren't the real Sam and Dean, but a bad!Sam and a bad!Dean. (Yes, I am that guy who, after a hiatus, would still delay the mid-season cliffhanger reveal by one more week just to see if the fandom would lynch me.)
The episode then flashes back to explain things. Sometime earlier (a week? day? hours? to be determined by the episode’s details), Jack is finishing up his final trial in (probably) Europe. Or rather, the last trial he’s told about. His guide this time tells him that he has to do the last step on his own only being told, “you must bear the weight.”
As Jack & Cas discuss heading back to America and to home, they stumble into a monster of the week case, only for it to be gradually revealed that it is one of the evil Winchester doppelgangers.
We’ll come to find out that this pair are the boys who were converted into leviathans (this is also to give our angelic pair a real challenge). Castiel cannot see their true faces because he never shared a body with these two particular leviathans. (bad!Sam & bad!Dean mention that they kept their Castiel around for a long time, leashed like a pet, because of their gratitude for him releasing them.) Eventually we catch back up to where the episode started and fight-fight-fight. Jack will have a moment where he gets the upper hand but finds himself unable to strike what looks like one of his adopted fathers, but Castiel will help him and eventually our heroes will emerge victorious.
Later, while they are disposing of the bodies in vats of borax, Castiel will note that Jack never hesitated when he didn’t have a soul. What Jack thought was a moment of weakness is actually a good sign that he's becoming himself again. Cas' phone rings, and when he answers it, he hears Dean explaining about their alternate selves and setting up a new code-word system. This catches this episode up to the timeframe of episode 10 and the two timelines of the season are now in sync. This is also when we learn why Castiel’s original reply on the phone sounded sarcastic.
Now we actually resume with OUR Sam and Dean (the real ones) facing their archangel counterparts, as we had left them at the end of episode 10 (assuming the fandom hadn’t burned down the world by now). Our boys pull out the exorcism egg and a holy oil Molotov cocktail to hit their counterparts.
The screen goes white and we see a moment of the other Sam and Dean acting normal. Their archangels compatriots are “suppressed” at the moment. The holy oil damaged but didn’t destroy one and the other wasn't fully exorcised, but both are weakened. This scene should show us that this other Sam and Dean still care for each other just like the ones we’re familiar with. This would also clue the audience in on how bad this all is, because the other Sam and Dean aren’t fighting against Michael and Lucifer at all – they’re completely working with them and on their side.
The episode would then conclude with the real Sam and Dean driving down the highway and talking out how they need to think more about “what would they do?” They would put a tracker in the Impala. Dean pulls over and they begin scouring the car, eventually finding a magical tracking doohickey stashed in the last place they would have looked. The boys resolve to start fighting smarter.
Michael and Lucifer examine the “box” that Amara went into and comment that it’s like some kind of mystical safe room Chuck must have made for her and its locked from the inside. Michael thinks they should stop fooling with it and move on with their plan but Lucifer comments he want to tinker with it a bit more.
Meanwhile our boys are still not quite ready to head back to the bunker just yet - they want to make absolutely sure their other selves don’t find it. While stopping at a diner to eat and discuss what they’re going to do since they only have 1 bullet for the Equalizer, Billie arrives. They exchange some pleasantries - she wryly points out as much as they annoy her, they weren't as bad as these new guys. Sam gets an idea and asks her to just give them the book on their archangel counterparts’ deaths so they can figure out how to beat them. Billie shrugs and hands them one of Sam’s books. The boys read it and eventually figure out it’s describing the death of vampire Sam from the start of the season. “Exactly,” says Billie. It turns out ALL the Sam and Dean counterparts brought to this world have their books placed on the same shelf as any other Sam & Dean. It would take forever to go through them and figure out which Sam and Dean book is the one they need. "Like trying to pick the right piece of hay out of a haystack," notes Billie.
Dean asks what else she has to do and Billie reveals she doesn’t have time for this because she’s been put on a leash like her predecessor was when Lucifer was let out of his cage the first time. She also doesn’t have any “staff” available to do it because the other three horsemen are also running loose in the world, causing trouble and making all the reapers work overtime. She then puts her silver ring on the table and tells the boys they need to leave – now.
The next scene involves Michael and Lucifer surveying a diner full of dead people and asking Billie how she could have failed. She shrugs and makes an excuse that she just missed. Sam and Dean were just one step ahead of her. All these years, they've gotten good at avoiding Death.
Before Castiel and Jack can head back to the Winchesters, they're informed about the new situation. So this episode is a rematch with Pestilence and Jack gets to flex his powers a bit before defeating the horseman and taking the ring.
While hunting for another horseman, our boys discuss their plan. Even if they got all the rings and reopened the cage, how could they possibly get their other selves to jump in? They locate Famine and beat him again when they finally realize what Billie was trying to tell them. They don't need to get themselves in, but their lost brother out. If they could get their own world's Michael out of the cage, his archangel sword could be used to defeat the others.
They call up Castiel and begin hatching a plan.
Actual descent into Hell! Having defeated War, Cas and Jack return to the main cast and our four leads go on a proper journey into Hell,
– at least until they learn Rowena has now set up shop as queen of the damned.
She assists them with opening the cage… only to find it empty.
CUT TO alt!Michael and alt!Lucifer sharing drinks with Adam Winchester and our Michael. It seems in the world they came from, that Sam and Dean never had a lost brother.
Preparation episode as our leads gather what they need from the Bunker, talk to their old friends and allies, etc. I’d probably do one more MotW-ish episode here but this time with a monstrous Castiel version just to give Misha a chance to get in on the villain fun train.
EPISODE 18 & 19
The big two part finale. Sam and Dean reveal the Bunker to their counterparts and we get a proper showdown in its halls.
Cat and mouse games result as our Winchesters hit the archangels with MoL, mystical home-alone style traps trying to stop them. At one point, our boys lose the Equalizer, and another Adam-Michael reveals that he’s not really involved in this and just “nopes” out.
It’s revealed that what led this Michael and Lucifer to this world was Jack and his outburst of power. Our heroes eventually manage to win – except not by killing the other Sam and Dean, but with Jack taking the archangels' grace/powers away.
Rendered mortal, the other Sam and Dean resume control over their bodies, leading to a yelling match/fist fight with our boys. It's rough and a challenge but our Sam and Dean eventually manage to talk sense into their counterparts. They connect with them, figure out where it went wrong (their Castiel never sided with them in the first apocalypse and they lost Bobby during it) and help their counterparts realize how far they've gone with this insane quest. The other Winchesters had stopped looking for family.
Our boys point out they’re not going to kill the other Winchesters or the archangels inside them. Rather they will be sent back to their world so they can start fixing things, making things right, and maybe relearn what it means to be human again. It won't be easy, but they got each other.
Jack (now juiced up on the power of 2 archangels) then opens a portal and sends the defeated Winchesters back home.
You’d then have a coda. Chuck returns and explains how those two were his most dangerous creations and had been hunting him for awhile, but he knew our boys, THIS Dean and THIS Sam could straighten things out. They ask him, "How? We're just human. No powers." Chuck smiles and points out the challenges had made the two of them the strongest of all and they had the greatest weapon in any universe: family. Speaking of, Chuck offers to take Jack on an adventure with Amara and teach the kid how to watch over the multiverse, to make sure things don’t get out of control again. They'll pick up Michael too and explain things to him. Castiel is granted the freedom to choose whatever he wants to do.
To Sam and Dean, they're told monsters have been devastated by this last event and will be laying low for awhile. They've earned themselves a quiet period. Go out and enjoy a long vacation. The final scene is Sam and Dean climbing into Baby one more time. Dean picks up the box of tapes, looks at it a moment, then hands it to Sam. "Pick the music, shotgun." Sam looks at the cassette tapes a moment, pulls one out and slides it into tape deck. Dean fires up the car and smiles as the song begins to play. We close on the two driving off into a montage set to the song of the show's 15 seasons.
At least, that’s the rough draft of how I would have done the final season, still leaving room for “Carry On” to close out the whole show. Again I want to stress this is a general outline to guide the direction as we go. Certainly for the final few episodes I’d want to get full input from the actors, other writers, and really polish it to a fine sheen.
I know some have talked about Chuck's turn as the villain in the final season was a meta joke about the show's true villains being the writers all along, but there had also been a long running joke that the boys' worst enemies throughout the show were themselves. Hence why I thought the final and last arc villain they should have faced was an evil version of themselves.
What do you think? And who would you have wanted to see in the final season?
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Illustrated by Nightsky and Nate.