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Holy Crap, Show! Supernatural Brother’s Keeper

May 22, 2015

tweet j2 mark (2)

I often refer to Supernatural as a rollercoaster, but this week’s season finale episode felt more like being caught in a tsunami and tossed around until I didn’t know up from down and my heart was pounding so hard I thought I might pass out. A few times there, I didn’t know whether to reach for the tissues because I was ugly crying so hard I was dripping on my slice of pie or to reach for the Tums, I was so queasy. Every time a commercial came on and I paused to tweet something inarticulate and unspoilery (usually WHAT??! NOOOOO!!!) I marveled at the fact that after TEN YEARS this Show can still overload my emotions so much that I’m having a physiological reaction to what I’m seeing. After all this time, I care that much.

The Supernatural fandom had been on pins and needles all day in anticipation of what we’ve come to expect from season finales — an episode that rips our hearts out and then leaves us hanging for four months. Fandom passed around empathic gifs so everyone would know that we’re all in this together.

Tweet spn_sil

Tweet spn_sil

finale tears

Fans started posting their coping strategies a few hours before the first airing. Some of the cast shared theirs too; Briana Buckmaster posted a photo of her pie and booze, traditional Supernatural get-me-through-this options. Some fans got together in person, like the Support SPN party in Michigan, complete with donated door prizes. Here’s the winner of Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls!

@GabrielsProphet

@GabrielsProphet

By the time 9 pm rolled around, we were all halfway through our respective coping strategies, surrounded by boxes of tissues and already biting our nails. (Maybe that was just me). I held it together just long enough for the first strains of ‘Carry On’ – the 200th episode version – to start, and then, as I do every year, I started to sniffle. This year the emotion was about more than just the Show and the characters I love. This was the year Supernatural filmed its 200th episode, and whether you loved it or not (and I did), the Show set out to write a love letter to its fans in gratitude for keeping it on the air for 200 episodes. As ‘The Road So Far’ transitioned into Kansas’ version of Carry On, I only got more emotional, flashing back to all those other season finales, all the losses and heartbreaks and loves and triumphs we’ve been through with the Winchesters and company.

finale theroadsofar

The Road So Far

The Road So Far

This year was also more emotional because of the #AlwaysKeepFighting campaign and the SPNFamily’s response to Jared’s recent struggles. The official hashtag for the finale added that to the traditional #supernatural. Travis Aaron Wade live tweeted the episode in support of Jared, and Ruth Connell tweeted about how wonderful it was to work with Jared this season.

And that was all before the episode even started!

Once it got going, the rollercoaster began in earnest.

The previews, as always, were misleading. I’ve learned not to let them spoil me, so I went into the finale knowing that Julian Richings was in the episode, but not really knowing what that meant. The title of the episode – and Supernatural’s tradition of cutting the hearts out of its fans in the season finale – had me so anxious that I could barely get any work done all day. ‘Brother’s Keeper’ had to be a reference to Cain’s answer when God asks him “where is your brother?” (who Cain has just killed). “I don’t know, am I my brother’s keeper?” he asks, and every time I thought of that I got more anxious. Who can concentrate on writing your syllabi when you’re wondering if Dean is going to kill Sam or Cas or Crowley – or himself!?

That sense of foreboding amped up the suspense of the entire episode, as Dean goes off on his own and Sam frantically tries to make the Cure happen. Castiel expresses the (very appropriate) concern that maybe the consequences of using the kind of dark magic that will get the Mark off Dean are terrible enough to make it a bad idea indeed.

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

Sam counters that if they don’t get it off Dean, they’ve lost him. And that is something Cas is just as desperate to avoid as Sam; they are both invested in saving Dean, no matter what.

By now, we are also convinced of that desperation, because Show is no longer just telling us about how dark Dean has gone. Now we see it. I’ve complained a bit this season that we didn’t see Dean going dark enough. Well, Show might have taken its time getting him there, but we sure as hell saw Dean’s darkness in the finale! He was so far from the Dean Winchester that I adore – brutal, cruel, without compassion or empathy. Going through the motions of being a hunter and doing “good” but far from the hero we know him to be.

Those first shots of him passed out and drinking desperately were telling. They were also inexplicably gorgeous.

Adam Glass: Even passed out, hung over, mouth wide open, Dean looks good. #SPN

Strange, but true.

It hurt so much to see that, to not like this character I cherish. From his slut-shaming dismissal of the dead girl (which was in stark contrast to his smashing that guy’s head into the table a few weeks ago for a similar dismissal) to his terrifying going off on the girl’s dad to his casual disregard for the other hunter’s life, this was a dark and twisted version of Dean.

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

Briana Buckmaster: Yet he slammed a dude’s face into a table for making a similar remark just a few eps ago. #whatisconsistency

I think, though, that this was consistent. Not with the character we know and love, but with this twisted version of Dean. Real Dean wouldn’t say something like that. And that’s how we know just how bad it is. Sam and Cas know too. I imagine that they were feeling the same pain that we were, desperate to get the real Dean back and hurt by what he’d become.

And yet, we know there’s some of Dean still there, in the guilt he can’t seem to shake. He sees a beaten and bloodied Cas in the mirror, and the face of the hunter he allowed to be murdered. All season, Dean has been determined to fight the Mark as long as he can, to go down swinging. Even he finally realizes he can’t do it anymore; he erupts in rage, furious that he’s lost the battle, trashing the hotel room (and doing it in a tight black tee shirt, thankyouverymuch). By the time Sam gets to the room, Dean is gone.

And I start sobbing for the second time, because there’s a note on the bed. For Sam, because of course Dean knows that Sam will come to find him.

“She’s all yours.” In Dean’s (Jensen’s) familiar block letters. Outside, the Impala waits for Sam.

I lost it. It’s like the time Dean boxed up his Dad’s leather jacket. We all know that Dean would never give up his baby if HE hadn’t given up. And that knowledge is heartbreaking. Brilliant to show it that way; it had an impact on all of us like nothing else would have. The Impala means so much to US too, and we know that Sam’s heart is breaking along with ours.

To make things even more poignant, that reciprocal relationship between the cast and the fandom, as is often the case, magnified the emotionality of the note. We all knew that Jensen had written the note himself, because he tweeted a picture of him doing it. Not at a desk or in his trailer or on the soundstage like he could have. Like it would have been easy to do. No. He leaned on the Impala and wrote it, just as Dean would have. Even though no one was filming him. That kind of devotion to character is what makes this Show so damn powerful. Second box of tissues, please?

Cap babbudean

Cap babbudean

Tweet @jensenackles

Tweet @jensenackles

While Sam is chasing Dean, intent on saving him, Castiel takes on the search for the cure. That means working with Crowley, the only one who can find the esoteric ingredients needed for Rowena to do the spell. I kind of love Cas and Crowley together; they work in a snarky sort of way. Or maybe it’s Misha and Mark being just that good.

Crowley: Who summons anymore?

Cas: You weren’t in my contacts.

Me: snickers

Cas and Crowley

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

It’s painful to watch Crowley and Rowena now; what I actually do think was some affection between them (maybe even an attempt at love, at least on Crowley’s part) is now turned to hate. It’s virulent in the way that only hate that comes from rejection can be. They are good at hurting each other, these two.

Crowley finds the one person Rowena was ever able to love, and we get a glimpse of the person Rowena was and could have been. Someone who had a soft spot for a young boy, and felt gratitude for kindness shown her. We know that “family don’t end in blood”, and that goes for Rowena too.

At the same time, my heart kinda broke for Crowley, as he realizes that the story he told himself to cope with his mother’s rejection – that she was just incapable of love – isn’t quite true. It’s not that she can’t love, it’s that she can’t love him.

Oh, Crowley. More tissues! Damn you, Show!

Rowena kills Oscar anyway, gruesomely though with apparent regret, and starts to chant the spell…

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

Meanwhile, Dean meets up with Death and asks to be killed. That would have been a horrifying scene no matter what, but again, what’s been happening in ‘real life’ in the SPNFamily made it even moreso. Jared’s #AlwaysKeepFighting campaign was inspired by the suicide of two of his close friends; he and Jensen have spent the past few months opening up about depression and suicidality and encouraging others to do so as well. I had been tweeting with the hashtag all night and now, suddenly, Dean Winchester – the role model for the mantra – was giving up. He was not going to keep fighting. And that just struck me as tragic. It hit me so hard that all I could tweet was “The hashtag, guys….the hashtag…”

Yes, it was cute that Dean made taquitos, and yes, the set was absolutely amazing (kudos Jerry Wanek), but couldn’t properly appreciate them, I was so emotional.

When Dean called Sam and said those few words, I lost it again.

“Brother, I’m done.”

I think I screamed NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO but maybe I wasn’t even articulate enough for that.

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

And then Sam was there, and if I thought I’d already been emotional, I was wrong. I have to note that I was a bit confused at this point, which is probably not what Show intended, but it might also have been the fact that our brains don’t work quite as well when we’re emotionally overloaded. Because Dean is saying that it’s not him who needs to die (since that’s impossible), it’s Sam.

WHAT??? WHY??? Immediately all the anxiety caused by the episode’s damn title came rushing back a thousand fold. OMG, were they really going to go there? Was the horrible promise of the title going to be fulfilled after all?

xxxxx 10.23 finale2

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

Dean says some awful things about the Winchesters no longer being good, and tries to take back the wonderful things he said in that church in Sacrifice, and I’m shaking my head and having none of it. But so is Sam. Sam Winchester, who has struggled all his life to believe in his own inherent goodness, is not buying it! He stands up to Dean, refuses to believe that they – both of them – are not good men. He literally fights it, which Dean welcomes, although I cringe as the brothers come to blows.

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

And when Death convinces him that he has to die, Sam makes the choice to sacrifice himself.

(Now I’m not totally clear on this part, but I did like the rather epic explanation of the role the Mark has played in holding back the Darkness – that God himself gave it to Lucifer for that purpose, and Lucifer gave it to Cain, who gave it to Dean. Death insists that Dean must keep it, or the Darkness will be released; he also points out that Sam will never be able to stop himself from trying to save Dean from it, so Sam must die. I don’t like Death’s argument at all, but Sam and Dean seem to be buying it).

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

And now Show plays dirty. Very very dirty. Sam kneels on the floor, willingly offering himself. Dean raises the scythe. I scream. Then Dean says, in a completely different voice than he’s been using – sounding like the big brother who washed Sam’s hair or tried to protect him from seeing the violence of their world too soon – “Close your eyes, Sammy.”

When Sam looks up at him, tears streaming down his face, looking every bit like the little brother looking up to his big brother, Dean tells him again, even softer.

“Sammy, close your eyes.”

Gif mooseleys

Gif mooseleys

Gif mooseleys

Gif mooseleys

By this time, I’ve stopped screaming and am sobbing rather unattractively.

And then Show slams the final nail in. Sam reaches into his pocket and throws down THE Pictures. The ones of Mama and Papa Winchester and their little boys.

Sam: Take these. One day when you find your way back, let these be your guide. They can help you remember what it was like to be good. What it was like to love.

Graphic n-spn-wolf

Graphic n-spn-wolf

Me: *wailing*

Jared was incredible in that scene, tears streaming down his face, so much pain and so much pleading. Knowing that Jared gave so much and put so much into this season, and that in real life he’s been struggling, made Sam’s pain even harder to watch. It happens often with Supernatural, that the real life relationship between the cast and crew and the fandom bleeds over into the characters and the Show, and just makes everything more intense. Jensen too was amazing, letting us see all the warring emotions in Dean as he stands there frozen, about to kill his brother.

Gif itsokaysammy

Gif itsokaysammy

Sam closes his eyes.

And just like in Swan Song, when Sam catches sight of the little green army men that evoked his childhood with his brother, Dean is reminded of who he is – and who they are. He remembers what it is to love.

That’s how Sam did it; that’s how Sam saved Dean. Just like in Swan Song (which Jared and Jensen compared this episode to), one brother reminded the other of his faith in him. That no matter what, he believes in his brother’s goodness. That he won’t leave or give up or stop loving him.

And Dean can’t do it. He can’t kill Sam.

Cap margab92

Cap margab92

Cap bellalecki

Cap bellalecki

I didn’t see it coming that he killed Death instead. In fact, I was so confused that I wasn’t even sure that really was Death, let alone why Dean killed him. Death did say that if Dean didn’t kill Sam then he would, so I guess to save Sam, he had to kill Death. But holy crap, that caught me off guard. (Also I’m still confused by Death accusing Sam of standing him up, since even Julian Richings has said that his understanding of that scene was that it was Sam’s imagination).

Dean pulls Sam to his feet.

Cap kellsbellsspn

Cap kellsbellsspn

Meanwhile, Cas also refuses to give up and manages to get Crowley to hand over the ingredients and Rowena to do the spell. She finishes it and the room glows white with power. It blasts through the roof and right onto Dean’s arm, taking the Mark with it. And that’s how Cas, prioritizing saving Dean over what the spell might do to the world, also saves Dean.

Unfortunately, the spell also releases Rowena and makes Cas her zombie, who she swiftly dispatches to kill her son. Talk about cliffhangers! We cut away from the scene with Cas about to do just that, and Crowley begging him not to. NOOOOOOO!

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

Things aren’t any better – or less cliffhanger-y – for the Winchesters. The good news is that Dean is human again, and he and Sam seem to be back on the same side FINALLY. Unfortunately, the Darkness really has been released, and despite my knee jerk reaction of thinking they’re talking about the band, it looks like a pretty Big Bad. (And also like we got an unanticipated Lost crossover). Sam and Dean try to peel out in the Impala, but her tires are stuck in the mud. The last scene we see is the Darkness overtaking them.

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The last scenes were oddly anti-climactic after the intense emotionality of the showdown between the Winchesters and the one between Crowley and Rowena. It’s always going to be the relationships that grab me and don’t let me go and keep me as in love with this Show as I was almost a decade ago. I’ll always be more afraid that they’ll hurt each other than that something from the outside will hurt everyone. But the Darkness has potential, and the VFX team did some amazing work making it look scary instead of cheesy (much like Season 2’s blasting open of the Hell Gate). And who knows, maybe it will bring back an Archangel or two (Richard Speight and Matt Cohen, are you listening?) Or maybe Chuck himself? (Rob Benedict, how ‘bout it?)

All in all, I’m scared for Cas and Crowley, glad that Rowena survived to make things miserable for all of them again (love you, Ruth Connell!), and incredibly relieved that Dean is Dean again, and that the Winchester brothers are back together. Dean’s speech about not being selfish and them not being worth it may sound logical and appropriate for the real world, but this is Supernatural, and in that fictional world I want these characters to love the way few of us get to. I don’t want Dean to be able to kill Sam, or Sam to be able to kill Dean, or Cas to be able to let Dean go. I want them to let the world burn (temporarily) to save each other, and that’s what we got.

In the end, the episode’s title didn’t mean what we thought it would. Maybe it was instead Dean who “kept” Sam. Kept him alive, kept his trust, kept them both fighting even after he said he would give up. Maybe it was Sam and Cas who kept Dean; kept him alive, by refusing to give up on him.

I seriously felt like I’d just run a Tough Mudder by the time the episode was over.

Graphic @chibivillage

Graphic @chibivillage

Graphic heartdoc112

Graphic heartdoc112

Fandom came together again afterwards, sharing virtual and actual hugs and making sure everyone was still standing.

We celebrated a milestone for the Show too – with the season finale, Supernatural grabbed the record for most episodes of a continuous prime time science fiction series (taking it from Smallville with 218 episodes).

xxxxx 10.23 finale

Kudos, Show! And now, we wait. It’s Hellatus, when we try to catch up on everything we missed while immersed in a season of Supernatural, and count the days until Show is back.

We’ll do our part to keep things SPN around here – with interviews and book giveaways (signed by the Best Cast Ever) and updates on all things Supernatural. If you haven’t read Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls or Fan Phenomena: Supernatural, now’s a good time to catch up on your reading! Both amazon and Barnes & Noble have them on sale now.

Stay strong, fandom!

–Lynn
Fangasm and Fan Phenomena Supernatural are
available at the links at the top of the page

42 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2015 3:13 am

    I think that when Death said that Sam stood him up it was from when Sam said he was ready to go but then Dean tricked him into letting the angel in. At least that was my take.

    • marlene permalink
      May 22, 2015 7:59 am

      Me too. Was a bit confused if there was something I had missed…

    • May 22, 2015 7:40 pm

      Agreed. Even if that was all in Sam’s head and not an actual conversation with Death, it was still Sam processing that he was dying. At the very least Death should have been aware that one of the Winchesters was just about ready to let go.

  2. May 22, 2015 3:47 am

    Thank you so much for your ever inspiring, emotional sweet reviews – and this one in particular! And thanks to Mr Carver for his masterful writing and for all these loose ends he’s left for us in the finale to play with during the hellatus. So much to think over! And yes, the boys, all the actors in the Show who’re putting their hearts into their characters and make us feel for them, relate to them, treat them like real life friends! Is there any other show like this?

  3. Gwen permalink
    May 22, 2015 4:01 am

    Awww! I can’t even read about the scene with Sam waiting to be killed by Dean without crying. Took me forever to get through that part. Great write-up! And big thanks to the SPN cast and crew for another fantastic season. I can’t wait for season 11.

  4. E;lizabeth Smith permalink
    May 22, 2015 4:23 am

    Is there any other show like this, you ask, novi? No, and I doubt seriously that there ever will be again; not in my lifetime anyway! The synergy of Supernatural, the fact that this Epic Series creates “a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts,” has a great deal to do with the essential unselfishness, goodness, and generosity of its very-human contributors. Whether creators or consumers of Supernatural, the whole SPNFamily is really bigger and better than its parts, whoever or whatever they are.

    Supernatural is unique. It is a phenomenon. Glad we’re all around enjoying it and learning from it; inspiring us to keep fighting for justice and peace or to just keep keeping on!

    Finally, in thinking about how to endure the hiatus, I found a charity that I can get behind: Vet Ranch. They have YouTube fans of theirs chip in to pay for veterinary care given to lost, abandoned, abused animals. I like that. “See” you all in S11eptember!

    • Freya922 permalink
      May 23, 2015 1:28 pm

      Loved what you said: the fact that this Epic Series creates “a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts,” has a great deal to do with the essential unselfishness, goodness, and generosity of its very-human contributors.” Bravo.

      • Elizabeth Smith permalink
        May 23, 2015 6:17 pm

        Thanks, Freya922! I feel very strongly that one of the reasons Supernatural is so successful has to do with the breadth and depth of the Series’ Story. It is universal in its themes; its sincerity is manifest; and its people (all of them) genuinely and without embarrassment LOVE the whole Winchester World!

  5. May 22, 2015 4:30 am

    First thought– using *that* version of Wayward Son?! Way to play dirty, Show. I mean, that’s just not fair.

    Definitely agree that the emotional weight of the episode and S&D’s interactions were what made it great for me. That and, both my roommate and I agreed that the camera angles/direction, especially for Dean, have been absolutely stellar in the last two episodes.

    The whole “Darkness” thing kind of came out of left field, and I’m not sure what to think about that yet.
    It felt very shades of Leviathan, in a way. I’m still definitely keeping my mind open and looking forward to next season, but the Darkness still feels so undefined for me at this point — I have no idea what it really means — so it’s hard to feel too invested in that story point yet.

    Overall, great episode though!

  6. Kelly permalink
    May 22, 2015 4:38 am

    Good show. Very good FX. Excellent acting. I’m glad that the boys are alive and together. On the same side I hope. I like seeing Cas and Crowley together. The snark is great! Some great lines-as usual. It’s a long, long wait.

  7. anafraserlallybroch permalink
    May 22, 2015 7:11 am

    Reblogged this on Ana Fraser Lallybroch Blog.

  8. marlene permalink
    May 22, 2015 8:06 am

    Dear Lynn= Thank you for always reassuming my feelings for me. In my OMG! -tears, tears etc- state of mind it would have been impossible to verbalize.. I ALWAYS read your comments. They Elucidate and crystalize a lot of “feels” this show generates . :)) (LOTS!)

  9. May 22, 2015 9:06 am

    I cried while reading the article. I miss it already

  10. Caroll permalink
    May 22, 2015 9:55 am

    Was waiting for your review!!! In my opinion, best finale since season 4-5!

  11. May 22, 2015 11:41 am

    You know my Supernatural watching experience is never complete until I come here, read your review, compare my own impressions and pour my heart out.
    I’m happy about how it all ended. After coming close to a panick attack -and waking up my mom cause I didn’t realize I was gasping and blabbing oo high- when Dean was holding that scythe against Sam, that is. The boys ended up right how I like them: alive and together. Enough to make me happy about a season finale and get me through hellatus in my right mind. The fact that they brought darkness into the earth and killed Death (!!!) are minor mishappenings compared for example to getting a glimpse of Sam’s hand reaching out to bring Dean into the car when he saw what was coming. Or Dean softly asking Sam to close his eyes because of course he could never raise a hand against him with those dewey puppy eyes staring at him. And Sam so earnestly convinced of Dean’s inner goodness and all I could think about was “I wish that he could see the way I see him… the perfect brother… a man without sin…” and of course I could only gasp and babble. The knot in my throat wouldn’t let me produce a more articulate sound, let alone words. Not to mention my native language is Spanish, so whatever was coming out of my mouth was in sort of an undescipherable spanglish.
    The episode brought me back not only to Swan Song and the little army men. A couple episodes before, Point of no Return, when Dean is about to say yes to Michael, he looks at Sam lying beaten on the floor and in an instant he changes his mind because be could bear to let his little brother down. By the way, the music playing when Dean is packing up before going to summon Death is the same one they played when he was packing his dad’s jacket and gun and baby’s keys to be delivered to Bobby just before Sam catches up with him. I gotta say that melody breaks my heart. Makes him seem so sad and lonely.
    I agree with you, by the way, giving up his baby is symbollic to Dean.
    I also share your feelings for Crowley. All be ever wanted was to be loved. Damn you, Rowena. Well, he finally got what he wanted. I think I kind of love him. Hope Cas doesn’t get to kill him. And I’m glad Rowena is coming back to complicate everyone’s life. Still sad Charlie didn’t make it and still astounded at what will a world without Death will be like.
    In the end, ready to take on whatever hellatus coping activities fandom comes up with. Me, with my DVD’s at the ready for a hellatus-long marathon. And waiting for S10 to become available.

  12. Heather Loughney permalink
    May 22, 2015 12:24 pm

    Thank you for another review that speaks our feelings! It was not as emotional for me the first time through because I was overtaken by the anxiety of the whole thing! But on the second viewing the emotions hit. Kleenex ensued. Each viewing I expect to be more emotional as I pick apart the moments being portrayed. (that’s what everyone does right? I’m not weird, right?)

    And now Hellatus. *crickets* Thinking of taking up knitting, or car detailing or…well, you get the picture. It’s only 138 days away. *sobs* Really, I’ll be fine. *sniffs*

    Thanks and kudos to our amazing SPN cast/crew for another season of love, angst and ohmigosh moments. Your talent, care and compassion shine through in every ep and I’m so very proud to be a part of this huge, loving, crazy family!!! Thanks Show!!

  13. queentjb permalink
    May 22, 2015 12:24 pm

    Whew! Ok, sooo much to talk about. However, all I can think about is that note Dean left. That single thing, so simple and yet so, not, KILLED me! But I don’t believe he left it for Sam. And that is just one reason why it kills me so. I think he left it for whomever would find it first, presumably, the motel staff. Maybe I’m looking at it too simply but that was my gut reaction and how I still feel after watching it again (uhhh, and again!). Dean’s destruction of the room was intense! The set was BEAUTIFUL and disturbing. You can see and FEEL the chaos surrounding the simplicity of that single notepad and the keys placed on top. My eyes went straight to it. Ugh, this SHOW!! I’ve never cried so much during an episode. And the fact they started it with the Fan Fiction version of Carry On?! THEY LOVE US. THEY REALLY REALLY LOVE US!!
    I could go on and on. Really, is there a character limit in this thing?! Haha! Lynn, I love that you share your thoughts and emotions with us. I love your work, I love your books, I love your writing that you so graciously allow us to be a part of. I look forward to reading these each week! I just want to let you know I appreciate and acknowledge and validate the time and effort you take to do this. Much love to you, Tracy B

  14. Anna permalink
    May 22, 2015 1:06 pm

    I totally loved this episode and this season. Jared and Jensen perfection as I can’t think of a better word. I have to disagree that Sam and Dean’s love for each other has been harmful to the greater good. If you think about it, the Apocalypse wasn’t the boys doing. The angels wanted it because the angels had given up on their own kind, their family because of the belief that their father had given up on them. Sam and Dean, and their love for ea. other and their undying, unbreakable brotherly bond, and their belief and love for family is what saved this world. When the Levis came, again it happened because of the dysfunctional broken family of angels….it was human love, brotherly love that saved the world from them as well.

    the moral of this story has always seemed to be that it’s not the brother’s love that causes the problems, it’s their love that fixes them. and their love is an example to others to do the same…which leads one by one for humanity to overcome and triumph over the evil that will always be….and that’s not the fault of the Winchesters.

    as for the title…it seemed to me that my brother’s keeper pertained to both boys…because in the end, the boys chose to keep each other…as in keep them with them…for as long as they’re both breathing…because they love ea. other…and because they are stronger together…in the end the Winchesters fighting together is for the greater good, not the other way around.

    • spnfans permalink
      May 22, 2015 3:21 pm

      Oh I agree, I agree – that was the whole point of Swan Song, that the brothers’ love saved the world. And I have no doubt that they will do it again. I think that’s what Sam was trying to convey too, that they are good, that their love is good. And important. Life changing, life saving. I’m hoping that what Jensen wanted is what we’ll get in S11 – the brothers fighting side by side for the greater good.

    • May 23, 2015 6:13 am

      Thank you for your comments! I agree! To be honest the darkness was eventually going to get out once it left Lucifer (an angel)…the curse is to much for a person to handle as we can see by what it did to Cain (all the destruction, death). It should never have been given to Dean! Now that it’s out can you imagine anyone but the boys saving the world????

  15. May 22, 2015 10:56 pm

    Love your review, as always! Agree with pretty much all of it. I’m still wondering, based on Dean’s facial expression, whether he meant to nail Death with the scythe or not. He looked almost as surprised as I did. Almost a mix of emotions ranging from shock and surprise, to an Urkel-like “Did I do that?”-hand-caught-in-the-cookie-jar-I-hope-he-doesn’t-kill-me if this doesn’t work kind of smirk.

    Would love to know your thoughts, though, on the fact that John Winchester was missing from the iconic photo Sammy presented… Was this an oversight by the crew? Are they playing with us again? Could it foreshadow a possible JDM return to show in s11?

    • Lefwyn permalink
      May 22, 2015 11:11 pm

      Re: The photo (cause that threw me, too — since we know those pictures…)
      Jim Michaels was asked on Twitter and said they just couldn’t clear it in time:

      I never realized they’d have to clear a photo they have previously shown…

      So, I’m just retconning it as I rewatch the episode (again…)🙂

      • May 23, 2015 3:43 am

        Thanks for this! I also just assumed they re-used the same photos they used in past eps…

      • Elizabeth Smith permalink
        May 23, 2015 6:31 pm

        The photos used are of actors, members of the Screen Actors’ Guild, and as such, I believe, who must be paid for their use. They are “copyrighted” to Samantha Smith, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and the children. As such, they all should get a royalty payment. ( If this is not totally correct, please let me know. Such usage must be cleared with agents, producers, payroll, and so on.)

    • Elizabeth Smith permalink
      May 22, 2015 11:35 pm

      Good point about John Winchester, Michelle! Maybe they will bring him back; JDM is so popular! On another front, here’s one big worry I have myself about what will happen next season:

      Gavin MacLeod, Crowley’s son, was left in the 21st cen. and not returned to his own time. Despite breaking THE cardinal rule about time travel, Crowley didn’t care (nor would he, given that he is immortal), but both Dean and Sam argued that Gavin had to be returned to the 18th cen. Since Gavin was not, we soon may be hit with a changed “now” history as Gavin unwittingly knocks over 21st cen.dominoes all over the place! Yikes!

      However, since we have a cadre of some of the finest writers of horror/fantasy/scifi in the business, I think I sense the story arcs flashing into view on screens up in LA from down here in PHX!

      Anticipate a gold mine, actually, of really great stories! There is nowhere to go but into the fantastic S11 Supernatural rabbit hole. Man! I can’t wait for September….!

      • May 24, 2015 12:11 am

        Don’t forget Metatron (or Metadouche as I have seen him referred as) is still alive and kicking and has the Demon tablet. No grace, but still dangerous.

      • Elizabeth Smith permalink
        May 24, 2015 12:23 am

        Metatron did take the Demon Tablet and skedaddle, you’re right! Hope they nail that smarmy little “Demgel” — not quite demon; not quite angel!

        What is the Darkness made of? Good question. Astronomers have recently determined that most of the Universe is made up of “dark matter.” It takes up space between the galaxies and has certain gravitational effects (like placeholder space). The astronomers can’t determine dark matter’s function, however, since our Universe is expanding, not contracting, thus obviating worries about colliding galaxies, altho’ some do bump into each other. The other worrisome astronomic news is that each of the trillions of galaxies out there has a black hole in its center. One of the largest detected is the one in the middle of our Milky Way galaxy!

        The boys better tune up the Impala because they’re really going to have some heavy lifting to do! Whew! I need to kill the last of the vodka.

    • May 23, 2015 2:06 am

      I had a more pedestrian reason for John not being in the photos: I assumed he took them. Although I like the idea of a JDM guest shot. I had (very wrongly) thought that he was going to show up in some sort of MoC induced hallucination for Dean this season. Not sure how the Darkness will work, so I suppose there could be a way to bring him into the story for a few scenes.

  16. May 23, 2015 3:25 am

    For once when watching this show, I don’t have a jumping off point to wrap my brain around the episode and really push through any speculation for next season. I loved it; I’ve already watched it twice. It fell together beautifully, and I’m still a little misty (which is my version of sobbing) over Sam kneeling down for the deathblow.

    The only slight criticism I have is more of a season-long one. They had been teasing the consequences of removing the mark for at least half a season. But it was always very vague. Death’s cliffs notes version of the Mark of Cain… Mark of Lucifer? Mark of Darkness?… felt a little “let’s climb out of the hole and explain this… NOW!” I would much rather have had Sam run into a wall with the research that implied some sort of “this might even predate Cain” panic. I don’t think Sam or Charlie or anyone should have been able to figure that whole thing out, but somewhere Sam should have hit some sort of pre-Biblical dead end.

    I like the Darkness as a big bad simply because we don’t know what that is. And brava Rowena! You will live to fight another day. Let’s find out what a Natural Witch can really do – I had thought she was tied to Lucifer, but maybe she has a tie to the Darkness as well? Now that they’ve unleashed this big bad do we have to bring out the original heroes to fight it? We don’t know where God is (Last we heard he was on earth…) but if Gabriel is still alive (and I’m one of those who thinks he is) he would’ve fought the Darkness back to bring forth the light. Is he going to be a key figure in Season 11? The only other two beings who would’ve fought the Darkness that we know of are in the Cage: Michael, and Lucifer – literally, the light bringer. I was hoping for a Lucifer appearance this year (wow, did I miss on that speculation…) but if we’re talking about archangels, I think that’s a big enough tease to really hope for an appearance next season.

    I was so glad to see Death back, and I can’t help but wonder if he can really be killed. The implications are a bit staggering – remember when the reapers stopped taking people in that town in Wyoming? Getting rid of Death and unleashing the Darkness… that’s a lot of chaos. I want to see how that plays out. Of course, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the last two seasons it’s that the pacing on this show can be terrible. This entire thing could be fixed by the end of October.

    Of course, like everyone else I loved seeing the united brothers at the end. Maybe that duality that Rowena was teasing can finally put them back on the same side for a while. Although, as the evil unleashed gets worse and worse each season, I keep thinking that it will all come down to destiny. (What can I say? Where shippers see proof of their pairings everywhere, I see proof of destiny.) Eventually, will there be no other choice than to somehow reset the natural order?

  17. May 23, 2015 2:00 pm

    At this point I can only see two possible endings for this show. Either it will end with Sam and Dean driving off into the sunset together a la Fan Fiction, or they will both be dead. Currently my theories bend towards the latter.
    Dear God, this episode. Swan Song levels of pain.

  18. Elizabeth Smith permalink
    May 23, 2015 6:23 pm

    Have faith. Season 11 will be “Brothers United.” I feel it in my bones. Can’t explain it. Must be a Cornish witch ancestor of mine. (Ha! No joke.)

    • Rick D. permalink
      June 9, 2015 9:24 pm

      I certainly hope so! I’m starting to wonder if these writers are capable of Brothers United, although it helps that Glass is leaving.

      Personally I was deeply disappointed in the way things went down- Why does Sam need to die? And let’s say he does- why doesn’t Dean just kill him? Why beat him down mentally and emotionally until he kneels to accept death? For that matter, why did Dean suddenly change his mind? He seemed pretty convinced Sam had to go. Oh that’s right, he’s Good, even when he’s evil.

      My fondest, deepest wish is that we finally get the Winchesters working like a TEAM for a change, fighting Evil outside themselves, like heroes do. Really DON’T want to see more whiny bitching about “if you had just done what I told you. . .” bull pucky.

      Otherwise, I won’t be watching next season, as I am already inclined not to do so, unless things change drastically away from soap opera scenes like the one at this finale.

      • Sophie Tonkin permalink
        June 11, 2015 6:29 pm

        Agree. Would love to see them back together as a great team of Supernatural “Avengers!” Acting as the real heroes that they are! Enough with the angst and t-shirt ripping histrionics. We know what they have been through! Let’s see them go on a real tear against monsters and other baddies. One reason why I liked the MoC Dean — he took no prisoners and just leveled his playing field. Go, Dean! And take Sam along too — he’s great when he’s not fighting off too many “feels.”

      • June 14, 2015 2:17 pm

        My take on why Sam had to die (and I’m writing this with the assumption that we are working within how the season went, not how we wish it could’ve gone):

        It’s not so much that Sam had to die, as much as *both brothers* have to go out at the same time. It really is cementing that they *are* united, more than somewhat tragically. You can’t have one Winchester brother – the other will go of course to unite with his missing half. (That came out a little more shippy than I mean it, but I’m going off the non-wincesty soulmate idea here.) So if Dean is taking himself out, Sam has to go out, too. I think Sam at the end got that – he had a moment of clarity that more damage would be done going after Dean. Dean was still under the influence of the MoC at the time so going after Sam in such a calculating way made sense – he’d be able to see objectively how killing Sam would fix the situation. The MoC, however, won’t let Dean die – so some preservation instinct kicks in and he takes out Death to save *himself* and as a side benefit, Sam as well.

        Now that the MoC is removed (and Dean is presumably himself again), the brothers have a common enemy in the Darkness, and they’ve both had their realizations of “we have to stand together” Season 11 is set up for a return to SamAndDean.

        At least, that’s what I took away from it.

        My caveats: 1. I haven’t rewatched the finale in a while, so I did this from memory 2. I have very limited time to write this while my kid naps, but it’s reply now or never, so sorry for the typos and rambling!

  19. Alex permalink
    May 23, 2015 7:47 pm

    Review was fantastic. I am with you about the last scene being rather anticlimactic. It is the relationships between/among the characters that do it for me too, not necessarily the outside forces. Having said that, it is a very intriguing way to start a new season. What is that darkness actually made of?

  20. May 27, 2015 5:34 pm

    Reblogged this on jaiwhirl.

  21. maermae permalink
    May 28, 2015 4:13 pm

    “I want them to let the world burn (temporarily) to save each other, and that’s what we got.”

    That is what I want too! It is so ingrained in who Sam & Dean are – saving each other is such a part of WHO these characters are.

    As long as Sam & Dean always choose each other, I’ll be happy. No matter how much I bitch about other aspects (and failings & issues) with the show.😉

    The Winchesters relationship with one another is so unique and so special and it is what keeps me watching season after season.

    With the lives those poor boys lead, it’s no wonder they are so attached to one another – for better or worse. The other is literally all the other has – Sam even said so earlier this season. While the brothers have friends (although that list is getting smaller every episode) who care for them deeply, I really do believe it will always be Sam & Dean against the world. The brothers will always put the other on a pedestal that is above all else – the whole “there is nothing past or present that I would put in front of you” – and I love that the finale gave us that.

    It’s been a long few seasons with Sam & Dean at odds with one another, so I really needed this finale..for healing purposes!

    I do agree that the Darkness was..kinda anti-climatic. I’m hoping the writers will really take the dark theme and run with it. Supernatural could really benefit from embracing the darkness-es we saw in the early seasons.

  22. Liorah permalink
    October 1, 2015 10:00 pm

    I haven’t watched any previews for S 11 or any video of recent cons because I’m keeping myself unspoiled! But, I’d love to know if Jensen has said anything, perhaps at a con, about whether Dean actually did miss by accident when he swung at Sam. I believe that he fully intended to kill Sam at least up until the family photos and Sam’s speech. Dean’s speed and accuracy were better than ever, in part thanks to the MoC, so accidentally missing his target was unlikely. But he looked legitimately surprised that he hit Death. And Dean’s “Forgive me” could go either way. So, either Dean (1) swung, missed Sam, and accidentally hit Death; (2) deliberately missed Sam and deliberately hit Death; or (3) deliberately missed Sam and … what? What would have been Dean’s next move if he hadn’t have killed Death? Remember that he had no idea that a spell was being worked that would remove the MoC and release the Darkness.

    Just wondering what Jensen thought was in Dean’s head at that moment.

    Six more days, people!

    • Kay Hope permalink
      October 5, 2015 6:02 pm

      Jensen was asked about what Dean was thinking, and when he decided not to kill Sam, at Minncon 2015. In this vid (not mine), it starts just past 18:48 and goes to 21:45: https://youtu.be/Br39aDpRFcA?t=18m48s🙂

  23. Liorah permalink
    October 6, 2015 12:26 am

    Thank you so much, Kay! That was exactly what I was looking for.

    I’ve since read another theory that makes a lot of sense to me: that it was the MoC that caused Dean to miss Sam and hit Death, for its own self-interest. But it makes me happier to know that it was a decision Dean made.

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