Review: Supernatural should never have carried on

Supernatural, the CW’s longest running show, ended Nov. 19. Good riddance.


Photo CW

The Supernatural season 15 poster featuring characters Castiel, Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester and Jack Kline.

Amelia Foster, Print Managing Editor

Saving people, hunting things, the family business. In 2005, Supernatural first aired as a story about two brothers traveling cross-country, continuing their family business by hunting things that went bump in the night. On Nov. 19,  “Carry On” aired and Supernatural ended exactly how it started. That isn’t a good thing.

To give more context for the show, it started off as a horror cult show about two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, continuing their family business of hunting monsters, after their mother was killed by a demon when they were young. In season four, they introduced the angels and other celestial beings, with third main character Castiel, the angel of Thursday, entering the show. The narrative examined the conflict between destiny and free will, found family and blood family, as the three characters fought for what they felt they deserved.

Somewhere along the way, it evolved until the plot of their final season was to kill God, who was obsessed with controlling everyone’s lives, in the name of free will. Near the very end of the season, God vanished everyone on Earth, so it was just the Winchesters alone and miserable. Moments beforehand, Castiel had just sacrificed his life to save Dean, his best friend, while confessing his undying love for him.

It was clear that this was the last act of despair for Sam and Dean, the motivation they needed to kill their final monster. They succeeded in their mission, but their efforts for free will were futile. Sam and Dean ended up at the destiny that had been set for them since the pilot episode. Dean died with no one beside him but his brother, while Sam lived a picket fence life without him.

This episode was supposed to be a finale, but nothing felt like the end. There was no narrative conclusion to the themes of free will and found family they had spent the past 15 years building up. After killing God, Sam and Dean acted like everything was normal and they were who they were 15 years ago. No mention of Sam’s girlfriend—a Deaf character who I actually thought was progressive for the show—and no allusion to Dean’s feelings over the fate of their first gay main character, Castiel.

What hit hardest for me was how they ruined Dean. Dean began the series as an emotionally repressed and quasi-suicidal man who felt as if his only purpose in life was to protect his brother. He ended the series the same way. Season one Dean could have been transported into this episode and nothing would have changed. So what was the point? Why make the show at all?

Aside from my personal issues with their lack of narrative conclusion, the ending was so anticlimactic. Sam and Dean spent 15 years hunting ghosts, demons, angels and even God. So, why did their main character die in a routine hunt because he fell on a rusty nail? Even worse, he died a week after Castiel sacrificed his life for him. The writers nullified the whole purpose of the sacrifice.

For a series finale that was less than 40 minutes long, there is still so much I am leaving out of this review that I could criticize. They revealed that Sam named his son after his brother by having his kid wear overalls with the comically large word “DEAN” embroidered on them. The weird montage of Sam aging was ruined not only by the bad editing, but the fact that it looked like they put a Party City wig on him and called it a day. Sam and Dean’s final moments on Earth were almost uncomfortable to watch, with it looking like that one Folgers commercial. For any show, especially one that ran for this long, I should leave the finale feeling like I was proud to follow the story, not embarrassed to admit that I ever watched the show.

To be fair, I understand that COVID-19 interfered with the finale. The show had to shoot the last two episodes of the series six months after shooting the rest of the season, with COVID-19 guidelines installed.

I also don’t care.

If they can let their misogyny flag fly by bringing back two meaningless female characters only to immediately torture and kill them, then they can bring back the love interests of their two main characters and have an actual resolution.

Yes, there are still 15 seasons. Yes, there are still good and sometimes great moments. Yes, I still love the characters. But how can I rewatch the show knowing that nothing about them changes? There is no development, and there is no resolution. The reward for the characters that fought against everything that had been destined for them in favor of free will is death, and that is not something I care to think about. Right before the finale aired, the showrunner Andrew Dabb said he didn’t think that Supernatural will ever get the credit it deserves. Well, as Supernatural spent its last 40 minutes painstakingly showing, when do we ever get what we deserve?