I can’t believe I’m actually typing this but that Supernatural finale felt great. No, really! I think that’s the best I’ve felt after a finale in a long time. Had to watch it three times just to make sure but wow, I feel inspired. Happy, even. And not because I’m some sort of crazy person. But because that was actually one of the most pain free Supernatural finales ever. Let’s dive in!
We start out in the bunker with a group of alternate universe people listening enraptured to Sam as he gives them a break down of what’s happening in the world. It’s all a bit desolate (hey Sammy, tell them about Disneyland or something, geeze!) and even Bobby has to clarify “And you say we come from the apocalypse world?” The phone rings – it’s Dean, and he’s got a job for them.
Dean, Cas and Jack meet with Sam down by the lake. They’ve decided that Jack needs a little more instruction on hunting with a trip to take out a local werewolf den. They’re an A+ team, with Cas taking out their guard, and Jack stepping in to do that woshey slow-mo power thing he can do to people as Sam and Dean shoot the werewolves with silver bullets. It’s an awfully pleasant moment for TFW 2.0 in a finale episode, and it only makes me more worried of what pain is to come, frankly! (This is Supernatural, after all!)
Elsewhere, it’s a beautifully dewy, spring day and Bobby and Mary are talking a – dare I say – romantic stroll around the woods outside the bunker. They talk about how well everyone is “settling in” – apparently most of the people they brought from the other world have moved into town. Ketch is “off doing Ketch things”. And it turns out Rowena and Charlie decided to take a road trip across the south. (Who do I have to pay to get just one episode of that?! Although, lets be honest, give it a week or so, and the fanfiction will be out.) But more importantly, BOBBY AND MARY. We saw this spark start to develop earlier in the season, as we were lead to believe Bobby had a “thing” with AU Mary. It seems now that Bobby is here, in this world, with this Mary and the boys he sorta wants to stay. And heck, we want him to, don’t we?
It all goes to hell as they stumble across some blood and then – a dead body. A young girl, Maggie, that they brought over from apocalypse world.
(Well see, we knew that levity couldn’t last all episode!)
Back at the bunker, Sam and Dean are cheering to their success, and Dean is extra excited about the prospect of Jack being able to hunt with them. He asks Sam if he remembers when they had talked about a world without monsters before, back when they thought the Men of Letters were going to help them eradicate everything. He’s wistful as he dreams out loud of the two of them and Cas “toes in the sand” at a beach somewhere, drinking and relaxing. Sam is surprised Dean’s considering retirement, but Dean just shrugs. “If I knew the world was safe? Hell yea! And you know why? Because we’ve freakin earned it, man.”
Woa nelly, that’s some character development. From a Dean whose motto used to be “never slow down, never grow old”, we get this hopeful, doe-eyed hunter who just wants to go on vacation with his brother and best friend and relax. Dean wants good things for himself for the first time in possibly ever now that his family is finally home and safe.
Sam bids him goodnight, but Dean hears a cry from another room. It’s Jack, and the poor kid is having a nightmare – something Dean is very experienced with. He wakes him, and Jack immediately starts apologizing. But Dean stops him right away – and echoing what he said to Sam last episode, he assures Jack he’s got nothing to be sorry about. “I have nightmares too,” he clarifies. “Mostly about the people I couldn’t save.” Dean sits next to Jack and has a lovely, fatherly moment. We’re reminded how full circle this season has come in terms of Dean’s relationship with Jack. In the beginning, when he feared his power and blamed him for Castiel’s death, Dean treated Jack as if he was just another monster he had to protect the world from. Now he tells Jack things a younger Dean probably would have benefited from hearing years ago – that none of us are perfect. That we’re all just trying our best, everyday. That even when you’re strong, bad stuff is going to happen. But if you have family, you can get through it.
Their lovely moment is cut short by Sam, who’s received a call about Maggie. Over her dead body, they try to reconcile what they’re seeing but the consensus is this – whatever it was, it wasn’t supernatural. The only thing to do is to ask the others from the apocalypse world.
They start with Maggie’s friend who is just as shocked as they are. The only lead she can offer is a boy, Nate, that Maggie had a crush on. She explains that he works at a gas station off of highway 281 and before they can gather the troops to go talk to him, Jack has poofed out of sight. He’s gone after the poor dude himself, and has him by the throat up against the frozen food section when Sam, Dean and Cas show up to stop him. He shoves Castiel aside, and can’t seem to be reasoned with so Dean does the only logical thing – he shoots Jack. It doesn’t hurt him of course (he’s mildly offended at best) but it does it’s job and gets him to stop and listen to the fact that Nate hadn’t killed Maggie either. Jack’s horrified with himself, and takes off.
Alone in the woods, Jack relives all of the hurt he’s done since he’s come into this world as he self flagellates. It’s heartbreaking really, to watch this kid who can’t seem to catch a break, despite all of the good in his heart – he’s just like a celestial bull in a China shop. His wallow comes to an abrupt end though, as suddenly in front of him appears Lucifer.
Back at the gas station, they’re trying to explain to Nate how they’re FBI, and this was all just a training exercise when the walls begin to shake. There’s a super high pitch and we recognize the signs before he shows – Michael is here. They run from the building to the Impala but he’s right behind. Castiel tries to run at him, but Sam holds him back as Dean fashions a holy oil Molotov cocktail and lobs it at the archangel, slowing him down at least enough for them to drive away.
Jack has questions about how Lucifer actually made it here from the other world. We know of course, it’s because he’s cut a deal with Michael. But he explains it away, not ever really giving an answer and to his credit, not entirely blaming Sam for trapping him over there. He keeps talking until he hits upon the one thing Jack can relate to – that when it comes to humans, no matter how much you try to do right around them, something always goes wrong. “Us and humans we’re like, oil and water. Sardines and strawberries, just a bad combination.” Instead, Lucifer proposes they leave. Go to the stars, explore the universe. “Like Star Wars?” Jack tries, mimicking swinging a light saber. Lucifer agrees with a smile.
As an aside here, this moment was played so beautifully by Alex Calvert who has been such a great addition to the show this season. Jack is still such a blank slate, and the fact that he’s almost childlike here as he asks his father figure, essentially “like my favorite movie?” just reminds us that while he’s done a lot in the world, he’s still just a kid. He agrees to go on an adventure with Lucifer but insists there’s just one thing he needs to do first.
Back at the bunker, Mary and Bobby are no further with finding Maggie’s killer with Jack shows back up with Lucifer. They’re shocked, but Jack says that he’s there to help. (Mary mumbles “mhm” as she shoves her phone at Bobby to call Sam.) Jack leads Lucifer over to Maggie’s body and insists that he bring her back. Despite Lucifer’s protest that she won’t come back normal (with an additional cheap shot at Sam, and how “normal” he is) he agrees, and brings her back to life. Sam, Dean and Cas finally make it back to the bunker, but by then Jack and Lucifer have already taken off.
Dean reaches out to Jody to put an APB on Lucifer, and Cas checks angel radio. Sam sits down with Maggie to check in with her, and ask her if she remembers anything about her death. She doesn’t remember much, except for the color of his eyes. (How ominous…) They’re running out of options, when the lights start flickering, and there’s a tremendous banging at the door. Sam and Dean yell at Mary and Bobby to take Maggie and run. Just as they leave, Michael barges in. He lowers himself down in the most epically creepy fashion from the top of the stairs as Sam and Dean riddle him with ineffective bullets. Cas takes a dive at him and is thrown against a wall. Predictably, things are not going so well for original recipe Team Free Will. As Michael chokes out Dean, he explains that he got through the rift because he made a deal with Lucifer – he gets this world to “purge and purify” and Lucifer gets his son, and then gets outta dodge. In a last ditch effort, Sam prays to Jack for help.
Jack and Lucifer had been outside looking up a the stars, planning where they’re going to go, when he hears Sam’s prayer. He flies to the bunker and starts to fight Michael but to be honest, it isn’t much of a fight. He’s angry as he clenches his fist, and blood begins to pour from each hole in Michael’s body. The archangel falls to the ground, yelling at Lucifer “We had a deal!”. Before he can get Jack away, Dean explains exactly what that means and well, the jig is up for our dear Devil friend. Sam goes on to say that Maggie actually did see an important thing – the glowing red eyes of her killer. With another fist clench, Jack makes Lucifer’s eyes glow yellow, and extend out almost as if the veins in his face were glowing. He smiles as he seems to be under some sort of mind control to tell the truth (What? Jack’s had this power the whole time?! Man we are just scraping the surface of what that kid can do!), and it’s a truly eerie moment as he explains that not only did he kill Maggie, he did so with utter, almost childlike glee.
“You’re not my father. You’re a monster.” Jack says. (Huzzah! He finally gets it!)
And that’s it. That’s the total end of Lucifer’s rope. He screams at his son in anger, and of course his true nature reveals itself – he’s been telling Jack what he wants to hear for a while now. All to get him to join with him, to rule as gods better than his father ever could. But now, he says, he doesn’t need him – just his power. And swift as you can blink, he takes out his angel blade and slices Jacks’ throat, sucking out his grace.
(Boy if I didn’t want Lucifer to die before, now I’m REALLY sure. No one hurt our nougat son!)
Sam reaches for Jack just as Lucifer grabs him as well and the three of them disappear in a bright light, leaving Cas, Dean and a very damaged AU Michael alone in the bunker. (How cozy.) Dean and Cas are red hot to go after Jack and Sam, but Michael reminds them that Lucifer is now more powerful than ever. In fact, he’d love to tear down his brother himself – only now he’s stuck in a rather defective meatsuit.
Alright, I do have one criticism here. Supernatural has in the press for months been touting a “surprise” character that Jensen will be playing by the end of the season. I think they grossly underestimated how predictable it was that AU Michael was going to end up wearing Dean to the prom. I mean, still totally a compelling story line going into next season – but come on. As Lucifer once said, “We were always going to end up here.”
Dean doesn’t have to do much explaining of course – Michael already knows he’s his perfect vessel. Cas tries to stop him but it’s clear enough as he turns to the angel that this action goes against everything in his being, everything he’s fought for – but what wouldn’t he do for family?
In a random creepy church somewhere, Lucifer is beating the crap out of Sam and Jack. He’s unstoppable, even going so far as to try to pit the two against one another all in the name of proving that the concept of “family” is garbage. He tosses the angel blade between Jack and Sam and tells them that one of them has to die – or he will go out and torch the world. Sam picks up the knife first – and then hands it to Jack, begging him to kill him. Jack refuses, turning the knife on himself, whispering a familiar phrase as the blood on his stomach begins to spread; “I love you – I love all of you.”
And then Dean!Michael shows up – all power and fury, unfurling a pair of black wings behind him and glowing. It’s such an epic (and gifable) moment, it took my breath away. What follows is a truly crazy (and areal) fight scene that alright, it’s a little cheesy, but I can hardly fault them because it looked so much fun to film. In the end, it’s Sam that tosses Dean the angel blade to deliver the final blow and holy crap! They actually killed Lucifer!
No one is more pleasantly surprised that everything worked than Sam, Dean and Jack, who in the aftermath can just sort of gape and smile at each other. (Boy, can we have more of these moments? Happy looks good on these guys!)
“You did it.” Sam says with disbelief.
“No, we did it.” Dean smiles.
But of course we couldn’t have a happy ending, not really. What sort of show do you think this is? Because that’s when Dean crumbles over, seemingly in pain. He cries out “We had a deal!” Then, as he stands back up it becomes clear – he’s, well, no longer Dean. It’s Michael now. “Thanks for the suit,” he says, and disappears, leaving a shocked Sam and Jack in his wake.
Back at the bunker, Castiel is fraught (Misha’s word, not mine, but it’s accurate) and sitting on the steps as Mary and Bobby approach. Cas is clearly devastated with Dean’s decision, and it’s sorta poetic that the season has ended full circle from the last. At the end of season 12 Dean lost Castiel, and here, Cas has lost Dean.
The final shot is of our newly vesseled Michael in a snazzy overcoat and pageboy hat, taking a leisurely stroll down the street. As Michael!Dean looks into the camera, we get a freeze frame of those bright blue eyes, and a good sense of what next seasons big bad will be.
Like I said, for the first time in a long time, I don’t feel absolutely wrecked after a season finale. It had its sad moments, and certainly I’m not happy that Dean’s been overtaken, but I’m excited for what this next season will bring us. This season saw Dean fight tooth and nail at every turn to get his family back and safe. Next season, Dean is the one who needs saving. And I finally think he’s starting to realize he deserves it.
An extra special thanks to everyone who works at Supernatural for a great season, but especially the writers this last season, who make it so fun to do these recaps! October can’t come soon enough!