A swan song is a farewell. Swan Song is also the name of Led Zeppelin's record label. That's so Eric Kripke. Nothing has ever been as it seems with his scripts and "Swan Song" is no exception. The episode took on the ambitious task of closing out a mushrooming mytharc in one fell swoop and has sparked plenty of fervent fan debate. In other words, mission accomplished.
This is not an easy fandom to please. Eric Kripke went into this season five closer with the hardest task a creator and showrunner has to face. He had the pressure of trying to satisfy one of the most outspoken fanbases in the world. What he delivered was nothing short of a miracle. This episode is Kripke's love letter to all those fans that have stuck with him this long and taken his pet project farther than anyone ever thought possible. It's also for those fans that have constantly been a pain in his side demanding closure.
Chuck the Prophet, who is known to be the voice of Kripke being interjected into the story, couldn't have said it any better. "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." That sounds like projecting to me, but no one has earned that right more. No one has deflected more hits for so long. No one else though loves the fans more.
Out of all his scripts, "Swan Song" was written with the most heart. Kripke wanted to deliver something memorable, something the fans would cherish for years to come. He's approached all his scripts like that though. The fan experience has always been a priority, but he also had an epic tale to share. I don't know of anyone who has done a better job of maintaining that balance of staying true to the story while keeping fans actively engaged.
A moment of some blinding reflection of sunlight, caught on the shiny metal of a 1967 Chevrolet Impala captures the eye of a young man entrapped and immobilized within his own body and reminds him of numerous memories of a dangerous and sometimes hopeless life so devastatingly rich in family love that he regains just enough power to conquer the greatest fiend and win the day.
The wayward sons of the Winchester clan have been on the road fighting evil for many years, and we were allowed to witness their exploits from the moment they began to be brothers again â€“ after being apart â€“ in search for their father, for each other, eventually for hope and redemption.
My heart made a leap, as The Road So Far appeared on the screen with the first beats of the Winchester theme song, Kansasâ€™ Carry On, My Wayward Son. I have followed every episode of this season, but to see it cut together with the crucial moments brought to our attention in the opening montage â€“ a wonderful tradition carried on in this seasonâ€™s finale â€“ I was already on the verge of tears. And the episode had not even begun.
It began, then, as a beautiful homage to one of my personal heroes of this show â€“ the one and only, ever faithful, gorgeous, sexy Chevy that has accompanied the brothers for as long as weâ€™ve known them, and longer.We learn of the army man little Sam â€˜crammed into the ashtrayâ€™ and the legos young Dean â€˜shoved into the ventsâ€™ that are still rattling today when the heat comes on. This show has always been about family. And their impala, the metallic symbol of and for two brothersâ€™ pained, dysfunctional, loving family. It is, as we hear with delight, â€˜the most important carâ€¦no, object in pretty much the whole universe.â€™
Someone wrote [BuddyTV perhaps] that In The Beginning was a love letter from Eric Kripke to the fans. Not fully understanding the concept I couldnâ€™t decide if I agreed or not, now having watched Swan Song, I get it; Swan Song is Ericâ€™s love letter to the fans â€“ if not the entire Supernatural community.
Kripke has been the vision and the voice from The Pilot. Along the way, five seasons and 104 episodes later, others have added their notes, their insights. The tapestry that is Supernatural has been filled in by many and the layers are deep, rich; at times easy to see and at others difficult to know where one ends and another begins. Through it all the foundation has never changed, demons come and go, angels come and go, story arcs begin and end, secondary characters add their bits and leave, resurface and leave again; the foundation of family remains; in Swan Song it was enhanced.
Swan Song is a love letter and judging from the comments from fans it achieved its purpose beautifully. A love letter should make us weep and laugh, clutch it wonderingly studying the words over and over and letting the intent and emotions pour over us. A love letter should provoke such intensity of emotions that at times you cast it aside unable to abide its very presence nor the response it stirs. A love letter should make us reflect on all that has brought us to that moment and leave us longing for the next moment; Swan Song succeeds.
Okay, I keep reading all the wild speculation and it's Hellatus, so it's time to start something here. This is Sam's final glare at Dean in "Swan Song." So, is he happy, sad, indifferent, mad, what the hell does it mean?? What is Sam? Is he human, angel, demon, ghost, what do you think? Is the burning out light a sign or Kripke messing with us?
With a glass of Bailey’s in one hand and tissues in the other, I sat down to watch the climax of Supernatural’s Wal-Mart apocalypse, the ending of the myth arc, and was engrossed from the first moment. With the music and lyrics of SPN’s theme song (after all who cannot hear ‘Carry On My Wayward Son’ and NOT think of SPN) ringing in our ears, we see so many memories from the brothers past stream forward, hitting you with the devastation that they have gone through all their lives, and realizing this is where it ends, good or bad – it’s over.
We get to see Chuck once again as narrator and author of his last novel of the Winchester gospel. And from the beginning, this Chuck seemed different from past episodes. He seemed more confident and assured of himself, but not to the point where I thought he might be God. That was a surprise! Really like Chuck’s character, but without an apocalypse you don’t need a prophet.
The history of the impala was awesome, and so nice to get an in depth view of the third main character of the series. It was nice to see how it fit in so well with the Winchesters and maybe that it was sort of built just for them. Oops, don’t want to go down destiny’s path again, but if a car can have a soul (and in the Winchester world anything is possible), than I’d like to think it is a soul that’s entwined with the boys for all eternity. The boys will always go through time together, and I’d like to think the car would be with them always- its really so much a part of them. Yep, its home, and home will always bring back memories. That’s what home and family is all about. The sight of Sam’s family in front of him (Dean and the impala) snapped him back and gave him the strength to do what needed to be done. He has changed so much, and so has Dean. Dean has spent his entire life needing family around him, and to letting Sam go required all the strength he had.
Yes, I loved the flashbacks about the brotherly moments in the story. So much of that had been missed this season. The fun they had as kids, the silly spoon, and the pranks they played on one another. The sacrifices they made...so much has passed between them, good and bad.
The last few seconds will stay with me for a long time. Dean, now willing to go on without his brother because of the promise he made, and Sam alive and realizing just how much he has lost. Sam was never one for thinking the boys being together was necessary for them to be brothers. And he was right. That was Dean's family. This Sam looked very different however...like now he wishes things were the way they used to be. After all Sam has been through, what he needs most now is his big brother. Dean and Sam’s concept of family have reversed. Dean is willing to move on and give a long term relationship a chance, and Sam is wishing he had his brother back with him sitting on the hood of the impala looking at the stars.
What will Sam do? That is the question we are left to ponder for the next few months.
For me, even though self-sacrifice is a trait the Winchesters thrive on, in all fairness to Dean, Sam should let him know he's alive and then move on, if that is the consensus. It's really not fair to let Dean grieve for him, or fair for Sam to shoulder his pain alone, and not be a part of his brother’s life. I think Sam now understands more about Dean and what it was like for him as the older brother. Maybe he feels he owes in to Dean to let him lead a normal life without him. NOT!!!! One is never better without family!
If Sam knows Dean at all; he has to realize hunting is not something Dean can give up. And each of them hunting alone is dangerous; they need each other to cover their backs. And there is no reason, they can have both, and it would be a wonderful evolution for both boys. Be nice if Sam found a girl in Lisa’s town and they both had families to come home too after a long hard hunting job. I say they get side-by-side houses with a shared driveway so the impala stays with them both.
After, all there are no more demons or angels hunting them, no more worry about the world ending or the Croatian virus. No reason they can’t have girlfriends and their job too. No one is going to toast their loved ones on the ceiling. And hunting is what makes both boys happy. It’s in their blood and they can never be alive without it. And as they are soul mates, they are going to find each other no matter what.
Bobby and Cass are around. Bobby is back walking and hunting, thanks to Crowley, who also has what he, wanted - his freedom. And Bobby’s soul, well he died, so all bets are off. Beside, Crowley said he would give it back in the end, and he did seem to have a liking for Bobby, so I’m guessing, he never returns to collect. And Death, well I hope he takes a nice long trip around the galaxy, like for millennia, and he can take his brothers with him!
Cass is back in heaven getting things under control. Maybe he is now God’s right hand man. After all, God brought him back twice. And Cass has changed a lot. He understands more about living, and the feelings Anna had tried to tell him about oh so long ago. I think heaven will be in store for some huge changes with Cass. Maybe that’s what God wanted â€¦to see Cass grow with a more human side. Good lord, we don’t need more Michaels up there! And Lucifer, he did seem to have somewhat of a heart. Maybe that was the legacy Gabe left him. His attempt at trying to talk to Michael made me feel very sorry for him. However he is evil and can’t roam free, but at least now he has company in the pit. Maybe that was the part of God’s plan all along. They are trapped together now until they work things out. Then hopefully, God with make amends with both of them.
What test was God giving the boys? Or was it even a test? That is another question for next season. Given Chuck’s (err God’s) smile, at the end, I’d say if it was a test, the boys pasted with flying colors!
Also was that really Sam? Flickering lights has always signalled the coming of a demon. That’s a haunting question -Cass did say Dean would never have peace. Ouch! But the myth arc is over, so hopefully Sam’s road back didn’t include any hitchhikers!
Will the character be able to go back to a season one format? This chapter of the Winchester story is closed, and a new one opens. Time marches on, change is inevitable, and heroes will deal with it. Sam and Dean are brothers, soul mates bound together for all eternity. They only have one job, hunting and really they are at their best doing it together. So yes, they will be happy again just hunting wendigos, and I’ll be happy just watching. So for the apocalypse, Chuck has the best ending of anyone could give...Poof!!!!!
Our THEN recap begins with "Carry On, My Wayward Son," what I consider to be the anthem of the Winchester family, and I begin to cry at the very first note. I cry even harder when they show us the explosion that led to the death of Ellen and the last time we saw Jo, Sam and Dean are told by the Trickster (aka Gabriel) and Zachariah that they are the vessels for Michael and Lucifer. We are reminded that Adam has become Michael's vessel instead of Dean, see Death give Dean his ring and tell him that Sam must go into the fiery pit, and hear Bobby ask him what scares him more, losing or losing his brother.
Chuck's narration, as he's writing one of his Winchester gospel books, talks of April 1`st, 1967, when the one hundred millionth GM vehicle rolled off the line at a plant in Janesville, a blue two-door Caprice. There were speeches, a big ceremony, and the Lt. Governor even showed up. Three days later, another car rolled off that same line. No one gave two craps about her, but they should have, because this 1967 Chevrolet Impala would turn out to be the most important car. . .no, object in pretty much the whole universe. (The car sold for $3,999.00 new.) She was first owned by Sal Moriarty, an alcoholic with two ex-wives and three blocked arteries. On weekends he'd drive around, giving bibles to the poor, "gettin' folks ripe for Judgment Day," he said. (There's an angel hanging from the rear-view mirror with the name Sal on it on a white piece of paper. Sam and Dean don't know any of this, but if they did, I bet they'd smile. After Sal died, she ended up at Rainbow Motors Used Car Lot, in Lawrence, where a young Marine (we see young John) bought her on impulse. That is, after a little advice from a friend (we see Dean during his 1973 visit.) I guess that's where this story begins. And here's where it ends.
Carry on my wayward son There'll be peace when you are done Lay your weary head to rest Don't you cry (don't you cry no more)
Delighted applause was heard in my small corner of the world when then highly anticipated Kansas montage cued up. So many great moments to reflect back on over this season, and every one of them would have a special significance now, in the episode set to bookend a saga that began five years ago, on September 13th, 2005. A saga that has touched many people in many different ways and now has united us before our televisions across the world for this must-see chapter 1,704 days later. So let's get to it:
"On April 21, 1967 the hundred millionth GM vehicle rolled off the line at the plant in Janesville. A blue two door Caprice. There was a big ceremony, speeches, the lieutenant governor even showed up. Three days later another car rolled off that same line. No one gave two craps about her. But they should have; a young marine bought her on impulse. That is, after a little advice from a friend. And that's where this story begins. And here is where it ends."
Beginning with a beautiful tribute to a beloved character was fitting and ambient for a special episode such as this. The 1967 Chevy Impala is a character in the Supernatural family that, regardless of where you fall on the Supernatural fan spectrum, you love and can't imagine the show without. Thus, this was the perfect beginning to the end. Now, as we do with the Winchesters, we know the full origins of this much loved car. It was first owned by a man who, not unlike the current owners, travelled the country helping people in his own way (ironically "getting' people ready for judgement day"). The Impala through thick and thin has been home to these two boys as the narrator verbalized so eloquently. The reel of images of the young Winchester brothers imbuing the car with little pieces of themselves and their family conjured a soft smile and tears. How fitting that, after all this time, it's ultimately the Impala who saves the day. Every moment of the last five years touched this bookend in one way or another, uniting through the Impala - the one who has witnessed it all, standing steadfast and stalwart each and every time.Â
Wow, it's here, it's here!! The explosive season finale that's five years in the making. I'm so keyed up about this and I haven't been this nervous about an episode since "No Rest For The Wicked." So, did Kripke deliver? Is he worthy of the "DAMN YOU KRIPKE!!!" that we usually bestow upon his finales? If you like and have no words, or even if you have plenty of words, just share that statement! Trust me, it's pure love.
For those that haven't seen the synopsis, here it is:
The entire season has been leading up to this showdown between good and evil. With the Apocalypse looming, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) realize they are out of options and make heart-breaking decisions that will change their lives forever. A beloved character is killed. Steve Boyum directed the episode with teleplay by Eric Kripke and story by Eric Gewitz (#522).
I'll see you all when it's done! Happy finale everyone.
Whew, episode 21! I'm positively loopy with recap fever here, churning out a seventh one in a row for your (and my) amusement. There's still next week too! So, let's get it on, these episodes are getting bumpy.
I note there's an especially long "NOW" segment. I know there's a lot to cover, but there's a lot to see too. It's all getting crammed in last second, which will be a criticism of mine when I do my season five analysis this summer. Good thing the episode rocks anyway.