The Season Five finale primarily deals with Sam's plan to cage Lucifer. But it's more than that. It's a love letter to the Impala. It's like hearing and seeing a Carver Edlund novel come to life: there's a beginning, a middle and an end to the story with a bit of a cliffhanger. Thanks to the Season Six renewal, the Winchesters will go on. I don't know about you guys but I'm completely and utterly ecstatic to find out what we're going to get next season.
After 104 episodes featuring demon-hunting brothers, drama, deaths and destinies, Eric Kripke's five-year vision for Supernatural comes to fruition and I don't even know what to say. From the very beginning of "Swan Song" I have the urge to tear up. Maybe it's because we've watched this show for five seasons waiting to get to this point. Or maybe it's because I just know bad things are going to go down and there are sure to be major casualties (most likely one of the brothers). But this episode — no matter how it turns out — just feels significant. I feel the weight of it and I'm beyond happy this is an Eric Kripke script.
How sweet it is to finally get another classic rock recap. And of course set to the tune of oldie but goodie "Carry on Wayward Son." The Kansas song is such a welcome presence. That, along with the use of Def Leppard's "Rock of Ages" is another reminder of how music is the fourth character of the show; the Impala, being the third. The rockin' recap reminds us of what went down this season as Sam seemed to be on a collision course with Lucifer and at one time Dean also seemed to be on a collision course with a certain archangel.
The episode begins with Chuck the prophet telling the tale of an auto plant in Detroit back in the late 60s. He narrates the story as we see old footage of cars in an automobile factory. We find out about the 100 millionth General Motors vehicle that rolled off the line at the plant. But the important thing he notes is that three days after the big ceremony celebrating the Caprice, another car rolled off that same line that went uncelebrated. Chuck goes on to call that 1967 Chevy Impala the most important object in "pretty much the whole universe." The entire episode we periodically go back to Chuck and hear about that Impala. We find out everything about it like who owned it first; we're reminded of how Dean had a part in a young John Winchester choosing to buy it; we also see Sam and Dean making their mark on the car. It sounds like a love story at times and as it turns out, it helps Dean draw out Sam after Lucifer has taken over. The fact that the Impala has such an integral role in "Swan Song" is a beautiful thing. The car helps remind Sam what he's been through with his brother.
I don't care what anyone says, Sam saying yes to Lucifer is a stupid plan. However, it's the apocalypse. Sometimes stupid's all you got. Leaning on the Impala drinking a beer Dean tells Sam (who's sitting on the Impala drinking a beer) that he's behind Sam all the way. Once again (and we've heard this before) Dean lets it be known Sam is all grown up and if he wants to do this plan, he's got his brother's back. It goes against everything he stands for, says Dean, but he'll go along with it, because really what other options do they have? Sam feels responsible for everything. He feels since he let Luci out of his prison, it's up to him to put him back in.
THE MOTOR CITY
After the gang (Sam, Dean, Bobby & Cas) takes care of some pesky demons in order to secure their blood, the apocalypse takes them to Detroit, where the 1967 Chevrolet Impala was birthed. It also happens to be where Sam (as Lucifer) killed Future Dean in an earlier episode ("The End"). Dean feels the Devil is in Detroit so Sam says goodbye to Bobby and Cas (in an awkwardly funny exchange) and downs the tubs of demon blood. He instantly gets that persona that only comes with getting a taste of the evil liquid. He's calm yet arrogant and totally badass.
Dean tries to use the rings to send Lucifer into his cage, but it backfires monumentally. You see, Lucifer has a firm hold on Sam and his body. He secures the ring (he knew about them the entire time) and disappears leaving Dean alone and in despair. The rings come up again at the Stull Cemetery outside Lawrence where the battle between Michael and Lucifer is set to take place. It all comes full circle in Lawrence, Kansas, where the boys were born. It's in that cemetery where Mikey and Luci discuss their relationship, their father and Michael is dead set on killing his little bro. Lucifer pleads his case, but to no avail. That's when Dean shows up blasting "Rock of Ages." Consider this Dean's stupid plan, but much like Sam, he has to try. Don't know what he thinks he's going to accomplish, but after Cas sends Michael packing temporarily, Dean gets the chance to draw Sam out. Unfortunately Lucifer kills Cas and Bobby before giving Dean the beating of his life. The man has had a million of them, but this one leaves his face a bloody mess, bloodier than normal. Dean and the Impala draw Sam out, letting him get control of his body long enough for him to use the four rings to open up the cage. Both Lucifer and his big brother Michael fall in. Dean loses his brother once again; it's a living hell for him I'm sure. Castiel heals Bobby and Dean's face, but he can't heal Dean's heart.
After Cas announces his plans to go back to heaven and Bobby returns to hunting, Dean goes his own way. It's sad when Chuck tells us this is the last Dean will see Bobby for a long time. Dean ends up at Lisa's where she's glad to see him and he expresses interest in that beer she offered him in "99 Problems." Lisa's exactly what he needs; he needs someone who will take care of him and comfort him and love him. And he can love Lisa and Ben in return. I really dig the way things end for Dean except for the fact he's without his brother.
When the title page comes roaring in, it was kind of jarring, wasn't it? That scene between Sam and Dean drinking on the Impala is so quiet, that when the open graphic cuts in, it's kind of surprising.
There are definitely attempts at humor and some of it worked, but some of it doesn't. This isn't a bad thing and it has nothing to do with the writing, because I really love the dialogue actually. But there's a veil of seriousness that just cloaks the entire episode so my funny bone kind of took a hiatus.
I admit to getting angry at Sam for forcing Dean to make another difficult promise. Sam asked his big brother to promise not to do anything to bring him back; to just go live a normal life with Lisa. I get Sam wants what is best for Dean but I can't help immediately flashing back to Season 2 when Sam made him promise if he couldn't save him he'd have to kill him.
There was a little part there where Cas and Bobby seemed to give up, which again made me angry. I know everything looked dire, but if they couldn't believe in themselves or Sam gaining control of Lucifer, couldn't they have faith in Dean? Especially after the hard time they gave him in "Point of No Return?"
Not sure what I think of Adam as Michael. Part of me wish Deanes had been given the chance to fulfill his supposed destiny, but I really wouldn't have wanted to see him dispose of his brother so I guess this is the way it's supposed to be. However, if all Michael was going to do is fall in the hole with Lucifer, then why have Michael around at all?
I wish we had gotten even more of Mark Pellegrino in this one. I've enjoyed his run as a quiet Lucifer (and watching him simultaneously airing as Jacob on Lost). He has been a great addition to the show. I look forward to seeing what he does post-Supernatural and post-Lost.
When Sam is either hopped up on the blood or embodies Lucifer, Jared Padalecki is at his best in this episode. In fact Jared has gotten better at playing Satan. He was good in "The End" but he's downright fantastically scary now. Jensen's played dual roles a couple of times on the show. Jared finally got his chance playing opposite himself in that conversation between Sam and Lucifer in the mirror. It's scary how good he is playing bad.
I don't even know what to say about Jensen. There's that scene where Sam (as Lucifer) disappeared from the room after their plan backfired. He put his hands on his head then turned and the look of despair in his eyes was just devastating. As was the way he slumped over after Sam took a dive in the hole to entrap Lucifer. His face was a bloody mess, but his slumping body told the story. And then at the end with Lisa, he was vulnerable and hurting and man he's just so good. It's really a treat to see his work.
What happened to Chuck?
He disappeared after writing the end of the story. So I guess his purpose ended as well? Who was he? Will we ever find out? Is he truly a prophet? Or has he been God the entire time? His disappearing act is calm, sort of like "My work here is done." At the end there, Chuck doesn't seem as much of a mess. And what did he mean by this all being a test for Sam and Dean? I'm so glad Rob Benedict played a huge part in this finale as Chuck. It's a nice button on the end of Eric Kripke's vision. I think Chuck has often taken on the voice of Eric so as Chuck's role seemingly ends, so does Eric Kripke's role. In Season 6, Eric starts consulting for the show, while longtime writer/executive producer Sera Gamble takes the reins as showrunner. This is quite sad, but it's also quite exciting at the same time. Eric will still be around and Sera gets to take Supernatural in another direction.
Was that Lucifer at the end?
After we see him fall down the hole (how very Alice in Wonderland), Sam pops up outside Lisa's house. He's looking in on Dean and Lisa and a kid I assume is Ben. But the look on his face makes it seem like it's Lucifer and not nice, sweet Sam. I'm going to be thinking about this question all hellatus.
What will become of Cas?
Castiel is an angel again complete with all his powers. Will he (and subsequently Misha Collins) be a part of Season 6?
I keep wondering if the show is going to flash forward at the beginning of Season 6. Maybe when we pick up it has been a few years. And Dean has enjoyed a normal life with Lisa and has learned to live without his brother. And then Sam comes back into his life (or is it Sam?). Just a little speculation to start things up for the summer...
"Swan Song" completely wrecked me. For dealing with the apocalypse, it's a pretty quiet episode. Even at the end the show uses that piano-driven music cue of angst first heard in "Something Wicked." I love that tune. I'm glad that Sam's not dead although what he is I'm not sure. I wonder how Kripke would have ended things this season should it have been the end of the series. Would Sam have sacrificed himself to save the world? Would Dean have finally gotten a taste of the normal life? I wonder if we'll ever find out. I'm glad Cas and Bobby are alive. They can still be part of the Supernatural universe. I'm going to be thinking about this episode for a while. It's Eric Kripke's swan song as showrunner and I wish him best in his other projects and hope he continues to have a presence on this show.
I don't know if you've heard, but along with "Swan Song" the Ghostfacers finale also debuted. I finally got a chance to watch this web series and I have to say it's really well done. You can check out the finale here:
"You got what you asked for Dean. No paradise, no hell, just more of the same. I mean it Dean, what would you rather have? Peace or freedom?"
"This thing goes our way and I triple lindy into that box you know I'm not coming back." (Triple Lindy's a dive as referenced in the movie Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield.)
"Take care of these guys, OK?" "That's not possible." "Humor me." "Oh, I'm supposed to lie. Uh, sure, they'll be fine." "Just stop talking."
"Hey guys, is your father home?"
"Hey guys, so nice of you to drop in."
"Can we please drop the telenovela? I know you have the rings, Sam."
"Whatever happened to Becky?" "It didn't work out. I had too much respect for her."
"The only thing you're going to see out there is Michael killing your brother." "Then I'm not going to let him die alone."
"Hey ass butt!" "Ass butt?
"It's OK, it's OK, I'm here. I'm not going to leave you. I'm not going to leave you."
"It's OK Dean. It's going to be OK. I've got him."
"Cas you're alive?" "I'm better than that."
"Cas, are you God?"
"If it's not too late I'd like to take you up on that beer."
"Endings are impossible. You try to tie up every loose end, you never can. The fans are always going to bitch, there are always going to be holes; and since it's the ending, it's all supposed to add up to something I'm telling you, they're a raging pain in the ass."
"No doubt endings are hard but then again nothing ever really ends, does it?"
Let the hellatus begin. What did you guys think?