“Welcome to the end”, is a saying by Chuck (otherwise known as the big bad of season fifteen God himself) that’s remained stuck in our heads for the past final hellatus. It’s crazy to think that the past fourteen years, 307 episodes, and various character iterations have been driving towards this current moment where we’re steadily approaching the final road. There is yet no determinator for what will come of the Winchester brothers for the narrative is still brewing, but there is the acknowledgment that the screen will fade to black. Castiel will inevitably hang up his trench coat. Dean and Sam will hug each other, an act of brotherly love that has never seemed out of the ordinary, yet will pull at our heartstrings in a different way. The family we’ve found in these characters will take a seat in our memories as this crystalized snapshot of the good ole’ days. Alas, I’m getting ahead of myself. We haven’t even heard the starting electric chords of ‘Carry On My Wayward Son’ yet and how about Adam? Season fifteen will be going out with a bang and the premiere was only the beginning.
*WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS TO THE SEASON PREMIERE BELOW.*
We start this episode by descending from the pits of Jack’s burned out eyes and into the background of Team Free Will fighting off hellish souls inhabiting the bodies of the dead. There’s too many of them clawing, wanting any piece they can have of them and instantaneously we are reminded that the stakes are incredibly high this season. There’s no aged taco or hellhound, only the atomic bomb of the remaining episodes as they will fly by. Castiel scoops Jack up into his arms and Dean fights through with each run closer to their getaway bringing behind an explosion of another ghost from the graveyard. This scene was a personal favorite of mine simply from an aesthetic purpose. Then came this season’s title cards and I’d like to link you to a very detailed analysis over on Twitter.
With Jack in tow, Castiel and the Winchester brothers walk into an underground cell linked to the graveyard. It’s dark and the gun barely holds the iron doors closed from the barrage of souls trying to make their way through. It isn’t looking good, they can’t smite themselves out of this one and when Sam hears water behind a brick leading to possible sewage, the only thing that pops out is another soul. Then there is the other thing, the caricature demon currently resting inside of Jack’s body that’s sprung to life with a hand raised in the air. He’s got sunglasses glasses and a spiffy name in Belphegor. A quick Google search tells that he is one of the seven princes of hell and comes with the specialty of having yellow eyes. We’ve seen that one before. But is Belphegor really who he says he is or are they someone else masquerading as him? My bets are currently on Crowley and not Crowley 2.0. He was pretty adamant about not being a crossroads demon after all.
Either way, they share the same mission: shoot those souls straight back down to hell. With some dirt and very hesitant angel blood from Castiel, the four of them flee as the spirits have left only bodies in their wake lined up on the ground which could possibly be telling of a larger upcoming war. Meanwhile, in a poppy bedroom taken right out of a scene from the Princess Diaries are two young girls with pink feathers around their necks and a crown on top of their heads. Ah, to be fourteen. As we are well aware, the work the brothers have done over the past years has been scratched. The monsters they killed are very much alive. One currently takes form in a mobile phone and then its hand drags onto the mirror. Yes, it’s Bloody Mary. Rachel, the “divorce is awesome” girl is the first to go.
Lights on the highway, demon!Jack is currently sitting next to Castiel in the backseat of the car but the animosity between them isn’t the elephant in the room. Rather the fact that hell has close to 3 billion ghosts. The idea is to magically contain them in a circle a mile wide. The only catch is that the cemetery is close to Harlan, Kansas, a small town populated with citizens. As they keep driving, a red car with blood splattered on the windscreen has been left on the road. Sam is the first to work out that the wreckage is from the woman in white, the very first nightmare that flashed across our screens in the pilot episode and brought Sam back into Dean’s life. I am a sucker for nostalgia and my body is itching for some this season. These monsters will hopefully be the first of many parallels. It is then when the brothers work out what we already know.
We are then taken to a house in a quiet neighborhood. It seems normal, except for the blood inked into the birthday cake and the mother frantically running through the house with her daughter attached to her arm. The mechanical laughter of a clown is heard in the background as it leers them to the garage. This scene left me in bloody chills. It was reminiscent of season one with the low lighting and the spark of tension in the air where we’re on the edge of our seats spellbound. It played on our fears and reminded us why clowns are considered terrifying. Especially when their arctic breath is fanned out across the car’s tinted windows and we’re not quite sure if it’s found the soon-to-be victims.
Back to the Impala, Sam walks through the town as an FBI agent with the intention of clearing the area so they can cast the spell. Dean tells Castiel to grab whatever Crowley Junior needs for his spell however he’s still having a hard time taking in the fact that not only is Jack gone but a demon has overtaken his body. Which leaves Dean and Demon!Jack alone in the Impala and it comes with a side of glorious entertainment. Apparently, the townsfolk and Dean included are crazy good looking and here’s the kicker: Demon!Jack who has observed this hasn’t even got eyes. In a moment of sincerity that breaks the comedic element, Dean lets the other know how important Jack was to them. That he wasn’t simply an ally in the hunting fold, but someone who they saw as their child. This statement comes a long way from someone who originally disliked the Nephilim and couldn’t see past his blinding grief when his mother, Mary was killed.
Alike to many spells, there is always an ingredient on the list which is hard to come by and this particular one is for ethical purposes: a human heart. Something Castiel and Sam don’t know as they walk up a street near the graveyard, a collection of nearby houses that could very well be on the verge of having a ghost attack if not already. First, Sam enters the clown infested house and it’s disturbingly quiet. Castiel has taken the other. Boy, do I hope he’s aware of mirrors. Sam follows a trail of blood and Castiel passes by a flight of stairs and into a bedroom where Rachel’s dead body lies on the floor. As he leaves the house, Bloody Mary looks on with a sadistic smirk on her face. Sam walks into the garage and finds the mother and daughter hiding amongst helmets. Awkwardly, he puts the gun to the side and lifts the child back to her parent. Bad news: the clown is back. Unarmed, he knifes Sam in the chest, right next to the other God-ified gun wound. Castiel is right on its back and fires a rock salt.
Meanwhile, Dean is on the phone with Rowena. In typical Dean fashion, “We need your help so move your ass.” Then in typical Rowena fashion, he doubles back with a, “Move your exquisite ass please.” These solitary moments of pure sass is one of the endless things I’ll dearly miss. Approaching Demon!Jack, in a second that then changes the tone of the episode, he brings up Alistair. Series history recap: back in Dean’s puppy chow days, he broke the 66th seal and begins to chop up humans who have been tossed in hell’s fire. Jensen Ackles never fails to impress me and the simple movement of his head is enough to know how much that compliment affected him. To change the subject, he asks what it was like back in hell when God snapped the world into endgame. Every door, even the cage itself, sprung open. Which leaves us with the question that if souls can get out can Michael? Or perhaps even Lucifer? Is he who saw in the season’s promo using Sam as a meat suit? Only time can tell.
In front of a bewildered mother and her daughter, Castiel lets them in on the fact that he is an angel as he heals Sam’s wound. Only, the details keep spilling. First, the clown was a ghost and then Sam lets him be known as just a guy even though his legacy will be far from that and then God? Well, Sam shot him. The mother is a little freaked out by that. Castiel peels back Sam’s clothes to reveal the wound inflicted by God except there’s no exit wound and it’s black in its appearance. There is also this very bad energy. He’s fine though, right? He says it doesn’t hurt. Except for the red-tinted visions captured in his mind as Castiel tries to heal him. There’s the image of a Sam with a tilted smirk and then a dying Dean who has turned into jelly.
In the next scene, The sheriff turns the corner and there is the woman in white. Finding the sheriff’s body on the pavement, Demon!Jack rips right through his chest and yanks out his heart. Another arctic breath and Dean knows a ghost is approaching, only the woman in white is already behind them and she remembers Dean. Who can blame her? She slams him into the trashcan.
The clown stands on the deserted streets looking upon Sam and Castiel menacingly. There is only one of them, two-halves of Team Free Will think, as they quickly make a move onto him only for a few other ghosts to appear into existence. Sam fires away, two disappear, and then are right next to them. He shoots again but the bullet touches Castiel. For another time this episode, the stakes are high and it does not look like they’ll make it out without a few other injuries.
Dean places the salt on the gravel and the human heart lays just above it. Closeby, out of the water springs Bloody Mary as she attempts to bring the little girl closer. Demon!Jack slams his hand against the pavement and it lights up in bright pink, across the borders of where they are to the impending street where the others stand. In a rush of motion, the spell has been locked.
When the spell is created, Sam, Castiel, the woman and the girl are still in the container, where the ghosts are quickly descending and they have to run fast in order to make it out. Sam scoops the little girl up in his arms and whilst the pressure is on to make it out alive.
In the ending scene of the episode, the Impala arrives at Harlan High School. The case has been somewhat solved and still, there is a thick level of tension hung in the air. Dean and Castiel still aren’t talking and Sam’s bullet wound, whilst not causing any pain, is a worry in itself. In an effort to lighten it, Dean takes us back to their childhood where knock-knock jokes were the alcohol to their injuries. It’s light, and it’s them, and we’re finally back to the knowledge that this is all about to come to an end.
It’s those shared smiles and the legacy foretold since the pilot episode where they proclaimed their mission, is what we will be able to hold onto. Because truly, in the midst of the scattering of souls across their universe drafted by God they really do have work to do.