The Long Road Home: the first hour of the final airing of Supernatural was a retrospective with brief clips of lines and bits of scenes from over the years interspersed with the cast and crew talking about different aspects of the show. Each section was highlighted by a different title such as Baby, Resurrection, Last Supper, Team Free Will. Samantha Smith said they were battling for their own freedom from monsters and the control of gods and angels. Misha said, "You can write your own ending." He also hoped the fans feel satisfied and grateful. They showed the scene in Sam's brain as he was dying at the end of season 8. Bobby (Dream Bobby? Brain Bobby?) said, "What you call dying, I call leaving a legacy." Soon after, Jim Beaver commented on "just how much love went into the making of this show." Dean says he's happy with who he is and who Sam is.
We see Jack asking, "What do we say?" when they stood beside Castiel's funeral pyre, and Sam saying, "You say thank you . . . you say goodbye." The quotes used from various episodes were so poignant: "All good things must come to an end." "Here's to running into you guys on the other side." "This is it." From "Baby" - "Let's go home;" "we are home." "What am I supposed to do?" "Keep fighting!" And the Impala drives off into the warm glow of the horizon.
The second hour begins - this is the final episode. THEN: Sam and Dean stand in the dark in front of the Impala and tell Chuck they're surrendering, but he's going to leave them rotting on a lifeless planet. They tell him, "You lose." Jack is a power vacuum. Jack is now god and disappears in a bright shimmer of light. The Winchesters now get to write their own story; they're free. The Impala drives off.
NOW: A vintage alarm clock sits on a night stand, its hands moving to eight o'clock. Its alarm sounds, and a man's hand gropes for it with the fumbling efforts of someone not truly awake. It's Dean, reluctantly waking and stretching. Then a shaggy white dog bounds into his room and leaps onto his bed, snuggling up as Dean pulls him close for a hug. Miracle survived and is with them in the bunker. Sam, with earpods, is outside jogging and stops to view a lake, enjoying the view as people jog past, fish, and enjoy their lives. Back in the bunker, Sam is cooking, eggs and toast, which Dean, in the "dead man's robe" that he likes, grabs while it's still hot. Dean brushes his teeth. Sam gets out of the shower in a towel, revealing the anti-possession tattoo on his chest, and gets dressed. Both brothers make their bed, Sam meticulously, Dean haphazardly, Dean stands at the sink washing dishes, then, surreptitiously looking around lest Sam see what he's doing, he calls Miracle over and lets the dog lick the plate. Reading a book, Sam stands next to the bunker's washing machine doing laundry, giving the machine a kick when it struggles to keep going. Dean times himself cleaning his weapons. Bits of ordinary life for the Winchesters.
Dean sits at the bunker table staring at the laptop, his hand rubbing Miracle's head where the dog contentedly sits close beside him. Sam enters. "Nothing weird. You got anything?" Dean is staring intensely at the screen. "Dean?" "I got something!"
***SUPERNATURAL*** "Carry On"
Under a bright sun, the Impala pulls up in front of a white porch decorated with striped bunting, and the brothers get out. "Ready for this?" asks Sam. "I don't have a choice," Dean replies. "This is my destiny." They are at a Pie Festival! "Are you crying?" the observant younger brother has to point out. "What? No!" Dean denies. A huge smile crosses his face. "I'm gonna get some damn pie!' Sam waits on a bench. Dean approaches bearing a large box which he opens to reveal six separate slices of pie, but even the delectable dessert doesn't keep Dean from noticing Sam's sad face. Sam reveals that he's thinking about Cas and Jack. Dean says, "Yeah, I think about them too." He adds that the pain doesn't go away, but you keep on living or their sacrifice is for nothing. He adds, "Quit being a freaking Eeyore." He is just leaning toward his pie when Sam flips the plate up into his face, smearing it all over to Dean's long-suffering annoyance and Sam's delight. "I've wanted to do that for a very long time!" Sam declares. He DOES feel better now that he's done that. Dean just casually reaches up with his fork, scrapes some pie off his face, and puts it in his mouth.
It's evening. A father gathers the mail from the front hall while two brothers play a board game in the living room. The mom calls the kids to bed. The sudden ringing of the doorbell interrupts this peaceful scene. Everyone pauses for a moment. The dad opens the door; there's no one there. But when he turns back to his family, he suddenly stiffens and the sharp edge of a knife protrudes from his chest. Two large black clad figures appear in the doorway; their faces are covered by a hideous white mask with a wide grinning red mouth. The mom, frozen with horror on the stairs, bursts into movement, shrieking, "Run!" at her boys as she hustles them up the stairs. Her sons dash into their room and close the door. The killers tramp up the stairs. The mom leans away from them into the wall, letting out a scream of terror. One of the black-clad home invaders opens the boys room. His heavy boots tromp across the floor as he approaches the bed, his large machete hanging from one hand. He whips the covers back to check under the bed, but the brothers aren't there. He moves across the room. The two boys are lying together under a chair on the side of the room. When their bedroom door closes, they let out a gasp of panic and relief, but then one is pulled out of sight while the other cries out in fear.
Dean and Sam, in suits, approach the crime scene, introducing themselves to the cops as Agents Singer and Kripke. The policewoman tells them that this killing, like others, have resulted in bodies drained of blood. The two children are missing, The mother is alive, but her tongue was cut out. Despite that, she was able to help them get a description of the suspects. The cop holds up a sketch of a freaky skull face with dark-circled eyes and a widely-grinning mouth.
The Winchesters have parked the car in an isolated spot under a large tree as they discuss the case. They've seen that face before. Back in '86. Route 77. Akron. Canton. Dean is flipping through his dad's journal, and there it is: John Winchester's old notes on a similar case and a matching drawing of the grimacing skull face. "Evil mimes," Dean says. When Sam says they're vampires, he changes it to "vampmimes." The killers will be headed for Canton next. They look for isolated families on the edge of town with kids between the ages of 5 and 10. Now, the Winchesters have to find the endangered family poised to become the next victims.
A quiet house sits alone in the night. A black van pulls up, and two figures get out, dressed in black, armed with machetes, faces hidden behind the frightful skull masks. They nod at each other, but as they approach the house, there is a sudden swish as Dean beheads him. A gun shot sounds, and the second killer staggers. Sam keeps his gun aimed, then shoots again.
The killer sits outside the home, arms bound behind him. His mask is pulled off, revealing a bullet hole in the middle of his forehead. Not a mime, but still evil though, Dean observes. The vampire laughs when they ask about the kids. Why should he tell them anything? They won't let him go. Dean lets him know the difference: he can die quick - Dean holds up his blood-stained machete - or slow - he points to Sam's small knife. A knife that small means the vamp will feel as he cuts through every vein, every sinew. "It's a bad choice," Sam warns. If their captive tells them where the kids are, they'll give him a quick, clean death, or - Sam might give up on the knife and use a spoon. The deadly ferocity of the hunters frightens the monster. He admits that every few years they take a harvest; they save the kids for a while to juice them up -- "We don't do fast food." "Where are they?"
The Impala pulls up to an old barn. It's night. Sam wonders if it's the right place. It's dark; it's creepy; it's the right place. They open the trunk which is empty except for what looks like a folded jacket, then open the hidden compartment for their weapons. Dean wants to use a throwing star. Sam: "No." Dean really wants to, but reluctantly puts it away and takes a machete instead. They walk into the barn which is tall and narrow. The boards of the walls gap, letting in the moonlight in stripes across the hay-strewn floor. Behind them, a grinning skull appears in one window, then another. They don't see them. Approaching a door, they cautiously open it to reveal the frightened kids. They tell them to come with them; they'll be safe, but as they turn, figures have appeared at the other end of the barn, four large vampires, dressed in black, holding machetes, silent behind the blank creepy grins of the masks. "Go! Go! Go! Run!" Sam tells the children pushing them in the other direction. The boys dash off as the Winchesters face their silent opponents. Though the brothers are outnumbered four to two, they don't hesitate. The quiet barn erupts into violence. Machetes slash and ring against each other.
Dean beheads one vampire and Sam another, but the hugest monster throws Sam to the ground, knocking him out, then approaches where Dean is scuffling with the last vampire. He grabs Dean from behind, pulls him back, hurling him to the ground where they both pin him by the shoulders. High-heeled boots enter the barn and a slim woman enters. Jenny? She was a woman ambushed and captured back in 2005. Vampires killed her husband but turned her. Soon after the Winchesters arrived, killing Luther, the leader of the nest, but too late to save Jenny. Now here she is. Dean laughs, joking about how it's like running into someone you knew back in high school, someone you didn't really want to meet again. The other two drag him to his feet. "You look good," he remarks. "A little dead." Levity and sarcasm have always been Dean's go-to defense when he has no other way to defend himself, but Dean is not alone. Unnoticed by the vampires, Sam's fingers are moving as he slowly gropes for his fallen weapon. "You're the big boss now?" Dean questions. Jenny hisses and her teeth descends, then - whoosh - she's decapitated. The body falls, revealing Sam standing behind her with his machete. The fight resumes. One vampire is finished off. The huge one plows Dean backwards across the floor, driving him into a support beam, a column with a nearly foot-long metal bar sticking out of it. Before the vampire can bite Dean, Sam swipes his head off. Dean doesn't move, just stands breathing heavily. From a few feet away, Sam plans their next steps aloud: "All right. Let's go find those kids." It takes effort for Dean to speak, but he finally does: "Sam, I don't think I'm going anywhere. There's something in my back."
Sam has rushed up and he cautiously reaches around his brother, withdrawing his hand coated with blood. "I got you!" he exclaims and seems about to try to support his brother away from where he stands impaled but Dean commands, "Don't move me!" Sam's eyes are dark with anguished concern. He's going to get help - an ambulance. "Sam, stay with me. Stay with me, please," Dean asks. Sam gives up whatever hope he had to try to summon a rescue and comes back to his trapped brother. "Ok, yeah." "Ok, yeah," Dean responds, looking away, with deep ragged breaths. "Thanks," he says, then adds, "You get the boys safe." "Dean, WE'LL get them somewhere safe," Sam insists. "No," his older brother tells him. "You knew it was always going to end like this." Sam's eyes fill with tears; he doesn't want to believe what Dean is saying. His eyes are fixed on his brother who is staring back at him just as intently. "It's what we do. It's OK. It's good," Dean says. He smiles. "We had one hell of a ride." Sam isn't giving up: "I'll find a way." "No, no . . . no," Dean replies. "That always ends bad." "Dean, please!" Sam says. "I'm fading quick," Dean tells him. "Come here." Sam comes closer and Dean puts his hand gently on the side of his neck and smiles. "There he is. I'm so proud of you, Sam. I've always looked up to you. You were so damn smart. You never took any of Dad's crap. And you're stronger than me; you always have been. That night that I came for you . . . " "Yeah," supplies Sam, "the woman in white." "I stood outside your door for hours," Dean tells him. "I didn't know if you'd tell me to get lost or get dead and I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have you. . . you and me. It's always been you and me." Sam nods and smiles tremulously at him: "Then don't leave me. I can't do this alone." "Yes, you can," Dean replies firmly. "I don't want to!' Sam says. Dean smiles. "I'm not leaving you. I'm going to be with you right here." He reaches out to touch Sam's heart. "You're living and fighting. You always keep fighting. I'll be there every step. I love you so much. My baby brother." He pauses to breathe then goes on. "I did not think this would be the day, but it is, and that's OK. I need you to promise me, to tell me, that' it's ok. Tell me it's OK. " He repeats his request, with urgency but not panic. Sam puts his hand over Dean's where it rests against his chest. "Dean," he manages, "it's OK. You can go now." They look at each other. Dean puts his other hand over Sam's, and Sam leans in to rest his forehead against Dean's. "Bye, Sam." Dean's head drops, eyes closed. One tear rolls down his cheek. His head rests on Sam's shoulder as Sam weeps. The camera retreats to the rafters. We look down at the silent sprawled bodies of the monsters and the post where Sam supports the body of his brother, the two shapes hard to differentiate from the other.
Sam stands with the dog beside him. "Brothers in Arms" is playing: "Through these fields of destruction, baptisms of fire, I've witnessed your suffering as the battle raged higher. . . you did not desert me, my brother in arms." He has prepared a pyre for his brother whose shrouded body lies atop a carefully piled heap of wood. Sam fingers the lighter. "Some day you'll return," the music reassures, but for now Sam stands alone with the dog with mournful eyes beside him. He tosses the lighter onto the pyre, and it catches fire, the orange flames and dark smoke reaching into the sky.
A modern black alarm clock, digital letters reading 7:59, switches to 8:00 and the alarm sounds. A man's hand reaches out purposefully and turns it off. Sam sits up slowly, rubs his face. In the kitchen, he slowly stirs a single serving of eggs while one piece of toast pops up. At the bunker table, he sits, Miracle beside him. His eyes rest on the names and initials carved into the wood of the table, his brother's DW near his SW. Walking down the bunker hallways, he approaches Dean's room, slowly turning on the light, seeing Dean's bed still hastily made with a lopsided blanket. Open papers rest on the desk. Sam sits down on the bed, patting the dog who crowds near to him. Two beers sit on a nearby table. Two guns hang on the wall. The dog whines. "Yeah, I know," Sam says. When the dog whines again, he adds, "Yeah, me too." Suddenly, he's startled by a buzzing cell phone. He pulls out a drawer in Dean's desk where several old phones rest. He finds the one that's ringing; it's marked Dean's Other Other Phone. Sam can't speak for a moment, then answers, "Hello?" "Is this Agent Bon Jovi?" a voice asks. "This is Agent Bon Jovi," Sam answers slowly. "We've had a few bodies turn up, hearts missing. Donna Hanscomb said you were the guy to call." "I'm on my way," Sam tells him. Sam walks through the bunker, duffle bag thrown over his shoulder, the dog beside him. He walks up the metal stairs then turns and looks back down at the map table where his brother will never sit again. He reaches out to the switch. One by one the bunker lights power off until it's dark.
Dean's wrapped body lies on the pyre. Smoke ascends into the sky. Then Dean is standing in sunshine surrounded by mountains and trees. "Well, at least I made it to heaven," he remarks. "Yup," says a gruff voice, and he turns to see Bobby sitting in a chair on a wooden porch. Dean wonders aloud, "What memory is this?" "It ain't, you idjit," Bobby, irascible as ever, tells him. "You were in heaven's lock up," Dean tells him. "Jack got me out. He made changes." Dean sits down in another chair on the porch as he listens. "He set things right; he tore down walls. Heaven is what it always should have been. Everyone is happy. Everyone is together." He tells him that Rufus is living down the road a ways, so are Dean's mom and dad. "It's the home you deserve," Bobby tells him gently. Dean has been sitting rather stiffly and quietly, but he accepts a beer, and asks, "So Jack did all that?" "Cas helped," Bobby adds. Dean laughs quietly but genuinely. "It's a big new world out there. You'll see," Bobby says. With a smile, Dean takes a drink then says, "This tastes like the first drink I shared with Dad." "Good?" asks Bobby. "Crap," Dean admits, "but it was fantastic." Just like this. "It's almost perfect," Dean clarifies. Bobby eyes him knowingly, "He'll be along. Time is different here. You get everything you could ever want or need or desire. What you gonna do now, Dean?"
Dean sees Baby, black metal shining in the sun. "I think I'll go for a drive," he smiles. "Have fun!" Bobby tells him. Dean runs his hand along the side of the car, then gets in, a warm smile on his face, not exuberant but peaceful. Behind him, Bobby sits on the porch of Harvelle's Roadhouse. "Hey, Baby!" Dean greets his car. He revs the engine. "Carry on, my wayward son" plays on the radio. "I love this song!" Dean exclaims with a smile. He drives. A toddler plays in a park, wearing overalls labeled DEAN. Sam walks beside him and swoops him into a hug. Dean drives through a richly forested landscape. Sam throws a ball to the boy who is taller now and cheers when he catches it. A woman watches from the steps of a home. Pictures crowd a mantlepiece in a warm home; Sam sits at a dining room table, explaining homework to the boy who is taller now. He ruffles his hair fondly. Dean drives the Impala through sunlit days with a contented smile. Sam approaches a garage. His hair is still long but is now mostly gray. He pulls off a protective covering and reveals the Impala. Slowly getting into the front seat, he reaches out and finally closes his fingers around the wheel, closing his eyes in emotion. "Don't you cry no more," the lyrics sing. Sam, with a lined face and a gray beard, lies in a hospital bed in his living room. Behind him are the crowded photographs of family but the highlighted one is Dean, John, Mary, and Sam taken in the bunker when the pearl granted Dean's wish. A dark-haired young man with an anti-possession tattoo on his forearm approaches the bed and sits next to him. Sam holds his hand. "Dad, it's OK. You can go now," says the young man. We hear "Carry on, my wayward son," as Sam smiles. He puts his other hand over his son's and his eyes close. The machines monitoring his heart beep, then, as Sam's head gently turns to the side, the lines flatten.
The Impala drives through the woods up to a narrow bridge. Dean parks and gets out, strolling over to the rail. "Surely heaven waits for you." He stands at the bridge enjoying the view, then with a barely perceptible motion he knows that someone is with him. He smiles. "Hey, Sammy." He turns. Sam is standing there, tall and serious, no longer elderly. They nod and smile, then step in for an embrace. Then they turn and step up to the rail looking down at the river below them disappearing into the wooded hills. Dean has his arm around Sam's shoulder as they stand together enjoying the peaceful view where the sunlight reflects with a golden shimmer.
Then Jared and Jensen address the fans, thanking them for watching. The last shot is them on the bridge, surrounded by the crew. They wave as the camera pulls up and away and Supernatural is done.
- Of course, I had to ask: did you like the finale? Were you satisfied? If not, what did you want to see?
- How long do you think they had to enjoy freedom before Dean was killed?
- In what ways is Dean's speech to Sam similar to Castiel's to Dean?
- How would the story have been different had it been Sam who died instead of Dean?
- Covid changed some of the original plans for the finale. Was there someone you wanted to see in this final episode?
- The depiction of Heaven chose to leave a lot to our imagination. What reunion would you want to see?
- What was your favorite part of the retrospective in the first hour?
It's been such a privilege writing these recaps for this awesome website - even if I did cry again while typing out my notes. I'm so grateful for the chance to share with you all our love for this awesome show, these incredible characters, and the talented actors who portrayed them.
Read more of Emberlast's amazing episode recaps and speculation questions! Visit her Author Page to get Episode links! Recaps for seasons 9 to 13 can be found on Bookdal's Author Page!