I love a good apocalypse, don’t you? The first novel in that genre that I read was Alas, Babylon, and I remember watching The Omega Man and the original Planet of the Apes with my family when I was a kid. These days there are many good books, movies, and TV shows in the apocalyptic and dystopian genre. It’s a good time to be alive…until the start of the Zombie Apocalypse, that is.
I’m a child of the Sixties, so I remember all the duck and cover drills that they had us do in case of nuclear bombings…or were they just earthquake drills? I did live in Southern California, after all. Anyways, when I was growing up, I was pretty sure that the Nuclear Apocalypse was probably going to happen, someday. Later, when the Cold War abated, I pretty much stopped worrying about that. Now I just have to worry about ISIS, North Korea, and anyone else with bombs. I think I’ll go hide under my desk, now.
Okay, in honor of the great Apocalyptic Genre, I give you my musings on a Dean-spectacular (or speck-tack-cu-lack-u-lar according to Sammy) episode: “The End.”
The Road So Far
Sam and Dean have parted ways and Sam is playing busboy while Dean hangs out with Castiel. Dean has some major trust issues and Sam is giving his brother some space, but Lucifer and Zachariah are not going to make things easy for either of them.
Dean is in Kansas City and desperately needs to get some sleep. Sam isn’t sleeping very well either, after Lucifer declared that Sam is his true vessel. Sam wants to join up with his brother, but Dean doesn’t think that they should even be in the same hemisphere together. With sorrow on both sides, they remain apart.
Dean soon finds himself in a strange land all by himself - that is until Zachariah shows up and tells him that he has now been sent five years into the future. It’s a future where Sam says yes to the Devil and Zach wants to make sure that Dean says yes to Michael about being his vessel. Dean is probably not going to enjoy his time alone in an apocalyptic wasteland, however, as he soon finds himself surrounded by friends old and new – including his five-year older self. The mission is to kill the Devil, but since He is wearing a Sam-suit, that is not going to be an easy task for our Dean.
This is the type of episode that I really enjoy. It is dramatic, emotional, action-packed, and lots of fun. Dean isn’t in a good place right now, both literally and emotionally, so he’s going to have to use his wits, and his heart, to survive. He doesn’t trust Sam anymore, and can’t bear to work closely with him. He really thinks that things will be better if he stays far away from his brother. We the audience know that he’s dead wrong, but he has to find that out for himself.
This episode has some fine work from one of my favorite bad-guys, Angel Zachariah, played by the great Kurt Fuller. I love that guy! How does a man, who looks like my insurance agent, play such a menacing, funny, and interesting character? He’s awesome and I love to hate Zachariah. Dean doesn’t much like him either - after Zach whisks him five years into the future to meet his future self. I love Future Dean. He is so tough, desperate, and determined. I’m sure way deep down he is hurting badly, but he isn’t going to let that stop him from doing what he has to do. It’s so sad to think about what those five years would have been like. Sam becomes the Devil’s Meatsuit, the Croatoan Virus destroys civilization, and Dean leads the charge against all the badness. Those trials turned our sweet Dean into a hard man, one who will let his friends and comrades perish if it means stopping Lucifer. Future Dean tells our Dean that Sam “fell” in Detroit and that he hadn’t had any contact with him for five years. That’s very sad. Even though it was our Dean’s idea to part ways, you can still see how much that affected him to hear that he let his brother die, all alone.
It’s fun to see the sets and scenery that depict Dean’s Apocalypse. I think it’s all very well done. There’s burnt and broken Baby, Bobby’s wheelchair, and a whole camp of freedom fighters. The camp is a great place filled with our favorites. Castiel is there; he’s human now and he loves to self-medicate and fornicate. He’s groovy, man. Far Out! (told you I’m from the Sixties). I like the way that Cas knows right away that our Dean isn’t the Dean that he now knows. It’s funny when Cas tells Future Dean that he likes Our Dean. Chuck is the camp’s “Radar” (from MASH, remember?) who only wants to survive and to find a few good rolls of toilet paper. There are also new people including Lexa Doig who plays a no-nonsense lady who seems to know Future Dean pretty well. There is more pain as Future Dean begs Our Dean to say yes to Michael. Future Dean doesn’t see how there could have been any other way to prevent the apocalypse that he is living through. The real heart of the story, though, is what happens when Our Dean finally meets Sam as Lucifer - face to face.
Heartbreak; that’s what happens. Lucifer is tall and poised in an all-white suit, as Our Dean stands before him. Tears are streaming down Our Dean’s face (and mine) as he confronts the being who used to be his brother. Lucifer is so cold, arrogant, and rotten to the core. If Sammy is in there somewhere, let’s hope that he isn’t watching as Lucifer kills Future Dean. I love the scene in the rose garden. Jared is amazing. I don’t see Sam, just Lucifer. All those things that Lucifer is saying about how things are going to go his way because they always end up right here? So very chilling. Luckily, or by Zachariah’s plan, Our Dean is spared and gets to go back home to his still alive and unoccupied brother.
Zachariah is gloating and sure of himself, as he assumes that Dean will now say yes. Wrong. “Nah,” Dean says. Old Zach is not exactly happy with that reply, but then Cas zaps Dean out of there. The final scene is very sweet as Dean meets up with Sam in a deserted spot. Dean offers Ruby’s knife to Sam by the handle, while he’s still holding onto the blade. That’s a sign of trust as Dean apologizes for his behavior and tells his brother that they need to stick together. The only way for them to beat the Devil is to fight together and keep each other human.
What a great episode! Yes, it is Sam-lite, but it’s still awesome. Jensen is wonderful as both Regular and Future Dean, and Jared is perfect in every scene he is in; whether as Sam or Lucifer. Let’s please all stick to our opinions of the episode, without having any Sam or Dean wars. They are both great; neither one is perfect or without blame. I love them both. The same way that there ain’t no Dean if there ain’t no Sam, would Sam be as wonderful a character as he is without Dean around? I think not.
Random Bonus Material of the Apocalypse
Swan Song by Robert R, McCammon (1987) This is a very long book (almost 1000 pages), but it’s a classic. A girl and her protectors search a wrecked landscape for hope.
The Stand by Stephen King (1978) I have read this book, even the super-long un-edited version, many times. I love the big scope of the flu apocalypse and the cross-country trip of the different characters. I love the big cast of characters; especially Mother Abigail, Frannie, Stu, and the devil himself - Randall Flagg. The TV movie was pretty good, but Molly Ringwald was horrible as Frannie. She pretty much ruined it for me.
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (2003) This is the start of a trilogy, but it’s the first book that really drew me in. It’s freaking amazing. The dystopian setting is wondrous, the characters are mesmerizing, and the dialog is premium Atwood. This book makes me laugh, cry, and get totally lost in their world. Honorable Mention: Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) This classic is a must-read and the Netflix series is very good. Since the series is not following the book, exactly, I can’t wait for season two.
The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin (2010) I loved the first book; it reminded me strongly of Stephen King’s best works. The second was good, though a little slow at times, and the third book is alright, so far. (I’m not done yet) This is a unique take on the vampire genre and worth a try if you have lots of time on your hands.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006) An awesome, but very sad and bleak tale. There is little hope on the road when searching for a better life. Well-worth reading, but it’s not for the faint-hearted.
The Pesthouse by Jim Crace (2007) This is a fast-paced and exciting tale about a man and a woman who join together to find their promised land. They have great adventures and trials along the way, but the journey is the best part.
Veracity by Laura Bynum (2010) This is a wonderful story about a dystopian future where every word is monitored, and the wrong one will get you dead. Brave men and women of the Resistance are fighting for their right to speak their minds.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John (2014) In the wrecked future, a small band of musicians and actors sing and perform Shakespeare for their dinner. I loved the flash-backs to how the world was changed, but their continuing struggles are also very interesting.
The Host by Stephenie Meyer (2008) My apologies to Nightsky, but I’m not really a Twilight Fan. Those books were okay, but didn’t really hold my attention. This novel, featuring an alien race that is just trying to live our lives better than we can, is a wonderful story. It’s too bad they made such a terrible movie out of it, because the novel is excellent. The concept is genius. Wanderer is a fascinating character from an intriguing alien race. Melanie is just a human girl struggling to get her life and her body back. The Soul’s way of living and thinking - that is such an awesome concept. They almost make me agree that their way is right. They are more peaceful and better at living than we, the humans are, so maybe their way is wiser? Maybe not.
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (2014) This novel gives you, the reader, all the gifts. It’s incredible. We don’t know what is happening at first, or why a little girl is at a facility for “special” children, but soon the story takes off and carries you along for the ride. This is such a great book. It’s hard to explain what it’s about without ruining the twists and turns, but it’s wonderful. The sequel just came out and I’m going to read this one first, again, so I can remember all the plot points that I need to enjoy the next one.
Summer of the Apocalypse by James Van Pelt (2006) A 15-year-old boy treks through the waste-lands to find his missing father. This one has an old-fashioned feel to it, for some reason, but that doesn’t detract from the perilous journey that our young hero embarks on. This one is a page-turner with hardly a dull moment.
The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier (2007) Okay, this one isn’t technically apocalyptic. That doesn’t really matter, because this novel is fascinating. What is up with a group of people in a city for the Dead? What is happening on Earth? Why is the city shrinking and why are people disappearing? Read and find out! I love this book.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2012) Steven Spielberg has finished the movie adaptation and it will premier in March of 2018. I can’t wait. This novel is wonderful from the very first word to the last one. If you have ever played at an arcade in the eighties, or know every word of every one of Spielberg’s movies, then you will love this book. Even if you are younger than me, you’ll still love this amazing tale. Such great characters, plot, and world-building. I had a very hard time putting this book down, I probably read it in two or three days.
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (2013) I was bawling at the end of this sad and miraculous novel. It’s about a girl who grows up in a dying world.
Into the Forest by Jean Heglund (1998) A wonderful story of two sisters fighting for their own, and each other’s lives, after civilization seems to come to an end.
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (2012) How would you like this - if you committed a crime then the government tinted your skin irreversibly to match your crime, and then you were sent out in public with nothing…to live or to die – it’s all up to you? I wouldn’t like that, especially since everyone can see your shame and treat you however they want to, but this is a great book.
California by Edan Lepuki (2015) A couple survives alone until their baby is due, then they join a post-apocalypse community where everything is not what it seems. The characters are very real and story is compelling.
In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster (1987) This is really only a novella at just less than 200 pages. Amazing things happen in those pages, though. You just feel the desperation of the heroine and the people around her as they struggle to survive in a desolated city.
Okay, I need to end this, it’s long already, and it’s just books! I will tell you that I love apocalyptic movies like Night of the Comet (1984) and probably every other apocalyptic movie that you can think of. I’m tired of typing, so let’s hear from you. “The End” is a great episode of Supernatural, yes or no? What are your favorite apocalypse/dystopian stories, movies, series, or books? I could keep writing about TV shows and movies, even more books, but I’ve lost the feeling in my fingertips.
Bye for Now-------Mallena
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