After fifteen years, Supernatural finally ended last night, and what a ride it's been. The series has certainly had some low points (the less said about the Leviathans, the better), but to remain consistently entertaining for a decade and a half is one hell of an achievement. Much of the credit for that goes to stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, of course, and they remain as excellent as ever to watch in this emotional, memorable final ever episode.
Last week's "Inherit the Earth" felt like a finale in many ways, making "Carry On" an epilogue of sorts. Chuck/God has finally been defeated, and so it's back to business as usual for the Winchesters as they head off to investigate a vampire nest. Tragedy strikes, though, and Dean is impaled on a piece of metal in the midst of a fight he's emerged pretty much unscathed from countless times in the past. It's a horrible fluke accident, and made all the more tragic that it happens once the brothers have finally broken free from Chuck's machinations. Knowing he's dying, Dean makes it clear to Sam that he should let him go, and admits that he almost didn't tell him that their father had gone missing that night in the pilot episode for fear of being rejected. After a tearful goodbye, Dean's story comes to an end.
At this point in the episode, it's tricky not to be left fuming. After all, it doesn't even open with the classic "Carry On My Wayward Son" intro recapping the events of the season, and to kill Dean off now...unacceptable, right? Well, after two incredible performances from Ackles and Padalecki in one of the show's most hard-hitting scenes to date, it's well-worth sticking around to see what comes next.
As a dejected Sam continues taking cases, alone, Dean arrives in a new Heaven created by Jack (who appears to have had some help from Castiel despite his recent sacrifice). Following a touching reunion with Bobby, he jumps into the Impala as the classic Kansas song finally plays in the background. Back on Earth, Sam is living his life, getting married, having a son - named Dean - and growing old, clearly missing his brother, but living a full and happy life. Dying as an old man, he arrives in Heaven seemingly just minutes after Dean as they finally find peace together. It's a beautiful ending, and one that feels right for the Winchesters after being put through so much over the years. It also feels real, and after so many resurrection and near misses, perhaps that was the right decision to make (even if some fans will have been hoping for something a tad more epic).
It's hard to escape the feeling that the pandemic may have limited the number of guest stars the finale could include, but there were enough of them last week to make up for that. Have there been better Supernatural finales over the years? Arguably, yes, but as an ending to Sam and Dean's story, this is a good one. As a fan, it's always easy to argue that things could and should have been better, while the open-ended conclusion to last week's episode felt more fitting in a way as it left it up to the viewer to imagine what came next for the hunters. Dean going out the way he did, and Sam spending decades missing his brother leaves something of a bad taste while watching "Carry On," but Supernatural's finale goes a long way in making that easy to forgive with its powerful final montage (which feels very Six Feet Under). So, while it might not go down as an all-time great finale, it's an undeniably memorable one which closes the door on the series for the characters and fans alike. Just make sure to bring a hankie.
It's hard to accept that Supernatural is really over, but this emotional series finale delivers a mostly satisfying conclusion to Sam and Dean's story, while reiterating how Hell-a talented Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki are as performers.