This past Thursday, the season 5 finale for Supernatural aired. Of all the finales coming up for me, this is one of the MOST anticipated for me for a variety of reasons. I was interested in seeing how they would wrap up such a large storyline in just one episode. I wanted to know how the story ended. I wanted to know who the producers would reveal as God in the show. And so many other reasons. One note before I go any further, this posting assumes you, dear reader, have actually SEEN this ep and consequently will be revealing many MAJOR plot lines. If you haven't watched it yet, STOP READING NOW and GO WATCH THE SHOW!
Okay, welcome back. Amazing episode right? I have to say right now, I LOVED this ep from soup to nuts! It was amazing to see everything play out in such an emotionally turbulent yet satisfying way. First off, I have got to give props to the writers! I never thought they would be able to cover so much ground in so little time and STILL be able to do the story justice. Mr. Kripke and your staff, I salute you!
There was some talk saying the show would not continue with it's standing tradition of using Kansas' "Carry On My Wayward Son" given the decline of classic rock in the show due to budget cuts. Thankfully, that was not the case. Once again, I marvel at the inspired choice of Wayward Son as the unofficial song of Supernatural. It's just so fitting to the themes & events of the show. I also like how given the budget cuts, the show references classic rock in other more interesting ways. For example, my personal favorite moment of this ep was Lucifer's quoted from "The Devil Went Down To Georgia". That moment just set the tone for the rest of the ep for me.
"What do you say, Sam? A fiddle of gold against your soul says I'm better than you..."
As always, Mark Pellegrino plays Lucifer beautifully. The writers stated that for every appearance of Lucifer on screen, they wanted to make him the character you most liked. The danger of that goal is one runs the risk of turning Lucifer into an ingratiating, sleazy used car salesman if the actor doesn't deliver perfectly. And from the moment when he assumed the role in the beginning of season 5, Pellegrino has done exactly that. Deliver Perfectly. He gives Lucifer a deeper weight of true remorse for the actions he has to take which makes his likability more reasonable. At the same time, he keeps a touch of arrogance and malice that leaves no doubt in your mind how dangerous he really is. No single scene showed this more than his conversation and subsequent killing of the archangel Gabriel. Like him as much as you want, but always remember Lucifer's a monster.
But Mark Pellegrino's signature as Lucifer is how casually he delivers the most VICIOUS acts. Castiel's gruesome death by explosion delivered with just a snap of the fingers, Bobby's death with a twist of his wrist. Much more chilling than any grand gesture.
Season 5 has seen a great deal of personal growth in both Sam & Dean Winchester. The show has always been about the relationship between the two brothers and their evolution as people. The first three seasons reflect the cavalier nature of men in their youth. Season four showed how that devil-may-care (no pun intended) type of attitude can have grave consequences for you and those you love. And in season five, the story showed two good men taking responsibility for the mistakes they made and take the actions necessary to make amends and fix their mistakes. And it was the BOTH of them that needed to step up. It was Sam AND Dean that set in the motion the events that let Lucifer out. Dean started it by breaking the First Seal and Sam finished it by breaking the Last Seal. And it was Sam AND Dean that put Lucifer back in his cage. Sam started it by taking Lucifer into himself and Dean finished it by showing Sam that he still loved his brother and allowing Sam the opportunity to return that love and take back control long enough to jump back in the pit.
But it wasn't just the mistakes that lead to Lucifer getting out that needed to be handled. There was also the personal wrongs each brother did to the other. Sam confronting his own darkness and taking responsibility for the anguish he caused his brother started the process at the beginning of this season. And in this ep, Dean completed the process by finally recognizing that Sam is an independent person and not only letting him make his own choices but also backing that choice against his own judgement. That was a powerful moment for me, and watching the results of that growth finally coming home to roost was awesome.
I also loved the reveal of the prophet Chuck as God. It felt like a grander version of Gabriel's "witness protection" in the role of the Trickster. Kind of like God's tip of his hat to Gabriel's idea. Taking the time to really think about it, Chuck is the perfect God for the Supernatural universe. He was all knowing, compassionate, yet faithful to what other around him wanted. What also adds to the perfection of Chuck being God is looking back at all his appearances in previous episodes: the fact that the book series he writes isn't widely popular, but has a strong cult following; Sam & Dean's intimidation of Chuck into not publishing any more books; His struggle with his attraction to Becky, not to mention his sitting there as Becky made googly eyes at Sam; and let's not forget the toilet paper conversation in the five years in the future ep!! Not to mention my personal favorite line of his, "I am the prophet... Chuck!"
The ending of the episode was fantastic in so many ways. The most interesting angle comes from Castiel's last statement to Dean. Dean got exactly what he wanted. Freedom to do what he wants. Life on Earth going on as it has. He was dying for a family, and to not be in heaven reliving his "greatest hits". He got it that too. The cost: Not being with Sam.
And Sam got exactly what he's wanted his entire life. He's on his own. Away from the "tyranny" of his family and the control & legacy of his father. He can be normal now, and not a freak. The cost: Not being with Dean.
They got what they wanted, as payment for their services in putting Lucifer back in his cage. But like so many things in life, what they wanted didn't make them happy. That's why I think it was truly Sam Winchester standing under that light at the end. (Which burned out due to whatever mode of transportation got Sam there) It highlights the fact that the things the brothers SAY the want, even if they can fool themselves into believing they ACTUALLY want those things, aren't what they REALLY want. And that expression on Sam's face is due to the emotional turmoil of wanting to be with his brother but not being able to anymore. The one thing I did notice upon re-watching the episode was the sound of thunder in the background as the camera closed in on Sam's face. It brings to mind Bobby's catchphrase for the show. "Looks like there's a storm coming. And you boys are smack dab in the middle of it."
As for season six, I'll be right there on premiere night waiting with baited breath for the show to restart. What can they do? Lots of stuff. Since this season was about taking responsibility for your actions, it makes sense that season six deal with the second part of taking responsibility, accepting the consequences of your actions. This is heralded by Adam's storyline in the show. Here he is, someone not connected to the world of Hunting in any way save for his father being John Winchester, yet he is pulled into that world with no warning, training or any other sort of preparation. Now he's stuck as the vessel for the archangel Michael in the pit with Lucifer.
Dean is most likely going to try to make a life with Lisa and most likely get to the point where he'll allow himself to be happy with her. But his father's hunting has given the Winchesters a long list of enemies. Add to that the enemies he and his brother have made in their hunts and it's easy to see how they've racked up a HUGE list of enemies. Plus, now that they've beaten Lucifer, they could also have to deal with a series of challengers, including those supernatural baddies that want to take down the ones who put Lucifer back in the box, and the "true believers" of the demon world who will want to take revenge on the Winchesters for locking up their "god".
All this badness will start coming at him AND Lisa AND Ben. It won't take long for Dean to come to the conclusion that he can't stay with her because he's always going to be a target.
The other thread that I see coming up in season six has also to do with the "things never really end" bit of Chuck's speech. Just because Lucifer is back in the box doesn't mean all the evil in the world is gone. The good fight does go on. The Winchesters took down Lucifer, and faced up the consequences of their mistakes. But there are still demons in the world, some of which were released by the Winchesters at the end of season two. There are still poltergeists, wendigos, werewolves, ghosts, cursed objects, and much, much more. Cue the scene with the brothers standing at the trunk of the Impala. Dean tosses a gun into the trunk, and as Sam slams the trunk shut, Adam says "We've got work to do."