This Supernatural review contains spoilers.
Supernatural Season 15, Episode 18
Only two episodes left. The clock marking time until the end ticks louder each week. Now, there’s a bit of an echo to the sound.
Last week’s episode saw the Winchesters struggling against each other as it became clear that Billie’s plan to defeat Chuck was merely a power grab on her part. But naturally, things are never straightforward on Supernatural. Allies are not always allies, villains are not necessarily always villains. Billie’s attempt at grabbing Chuck’s position succeeded only in turning Dean’s sights on her instead of Chuck. Dean needs that outlet, he needs a bad guy he can punish. It’s the hunter’s way, and as we’ve seen in the past, the hunter is not always right.
This close to the series finale, the writing team, especially Bob Berens who penned this episode, decided to tug on some major heartstrings. Fan favorites like Charlie (Felicia Day), Donna Hanscum (Briana Buckmaster) and of course Bobby (Jim Beaver) graced TV screens again. The return of Apocalypse World refugees helped sell the finality of the multiverse being deleted by Chuck as one by one they disappeared. Billie had promised to put things the way she wanted it — what was dead stayed dead.
Jack no longer knows his place in the universe. Now denied his destiny of destroying himself to take out Chuck, he feels lost, and like he can’t redeem himself to Sam and Dean for accidentally killing Mary. Castiel, however, acting as a Dad-like figure, tells Jack that he didn’t need to redeem himself. Jack isn’t with them because he’s useful, it’s because they all truly care about him.
Something very special came about when Sam was helping to save all the Apocalypse Worlders before they could be blinked out of existence. Donna was there in person to help, even though she didn’t think she was in danger of being vanished since she belonged on this Earth. The same was true of Garth, Jody Mills and the girls off-screen. It says a lot about the quality of the company Sam and Dean keep. When they keep someone in their lives and bring someone into the fold, it tends to be because that is someone truly special. Jody and Donna especially had to step up to the plate as their normal law enforcement gigs as Sheriffs became so much more complicated with the knowledge of the supernatural threats out there. And yet here still fight the good fight, for the Winchesters and the world.
Of course things became so much more desperate when Donna disappeared right in front of Sam. That was the moment he realized it wasn’t just Apocalypse worlders and death-defiers who were getting axed. It was everyone. Images later in the episode of empty streets, an empty playground and eerie silence sent the message home that a world once bustling with life was now devoid of it.
Donna was hard to lose. She was one of my absolute favorites, and a bright cheery spot in a dark world. Eileen disappearing mid-text, and Sam’s desperate communication with her until the end? Heartbreaking.
Dean was a man with a mission. Denied his chance at stopping God, he turned his sites on former-Reaper and current incarnation of Deah herself, Billie. He thought, quite accurately, that Billie was holding up on her promise to set things right in the universe. It fit her M. O. and frankly she’s been teasing this outcome for a while. Billie, as cool as she may look in her leather jacket and wicked scythe, is a stickler for the rules. Sam and Dean have broken the rules by just existenting. They’ve had enough Deus Ex Machina moments pulling them back from death, Hell and other atrocities, giving them more do-overs than a kid at recess. Dean’s continued existence especially irks her, so she is determined to end him once and for all.
Dean despairs because he’s run himself and Castiel into a dead end while trying to escape Billie’s retribution. He assesses himself as a person who needs something to kill, it’s all he knows. It’s how he was raised.
The most pivotal and distressing part of the episode came when Cass figured out the one way he could save Dean — by sacrificing himself to The Empty. Remembering the Empty’s hollow voice as she grabs at Jack earlier in the episode “You made it loud!” makes the decision all the more frightening. The Empty is not an entity that is easy to describe. And Cass was willing to give himself to it.
I’m still numb about this whole scene. A subset of Supernatural shippiers, the Destiel fans, were likely cheering at this point, watching as Cass professed his love for Dean and all that he represents. This love may not necessarily be described as romantic love, but it is no less significant. Even as Dean looks down on himself for his mistakes and backing them into a corner, Cass detailed how truly important Dean was to him. How Cass was so cold and unfeeling before meeting Dean, but Dean gave him the capacity to care, and care for so much. Not just for Sam and Dean, but Jack and the world at large. We’ve seen how some angels grew bitter and even hostile towards humanity — Cass couldn’t go that way because he had such a good example in Dean. If Dean hadn’t been the kind of person willing to go through all lengths to save people all the time, maybe that change wouldn’t have occurred in Cass and this would be a different story.
But Castiel cared because Dean cared. He saved his human friend and lost himself to The Empty. Misha Collins did such a touching portrayal of the angel at his emotional limits here. He somehow had to balance the extremes of true happiness and a deep sadness to come to this point.
Fitting then, is the mark Cass leaves on Dean. Having just cut his hand to make the sigil on the door, Castiel pushes Dean out of harms way and leaves a bloody handprint in the same exact spot where he gripped Dean tight and raised him from perdition in season four. Beautiful.
The Winchesters and Jack are at a precipice. They appear to be the last ones on Earth (though next week’s episode hints that may not be the case) and they’ve just lost everyone they’ve ever loved and cared about to an uncaring God.
Can one assume the way the end is going is due to COVID-related precautions? With all the major players out of the running, it seems a more sparsely populated finale is bearing down this way, but that could all be a smoke screen. This reviewer is still holding out hope for familiar faces to return for one last fight for the good fight, because on Supernatural its really hard for things to stay dead or gone for long. Just ask half the series regulars.
Until then, we’ll be biting our fingernails in anticipation.