Welcome to Hiatus Hunting, Season Five edition! We’re kicking off season five with an iconic episode - one that gives me chills just thinking about the incredible acting and intense level of emotions captured on the screen. So, enjoy an in-the-moment look back at The End.
**Recap of The End by Alice - originally published October 7, 2009 (photos added by Elle)**
"The End." The episode that answers the burning question, what if you held an apocalypse in Kansas City and no one came? Let’s get started.
Then: A whole freaking lot.
Now: The Impala! That's a perfect way to open an episode. Dean pulls up, parks in front of a meter and doesn't put change in. I guess paying for street parking in Kansas City is optional. So that's why it will be destroyed. Dean's stingyness put less cops of the streets to fight zombies.
A religious nut in a suit, must be a Jehovah's Witness, is harassing passersby on the street. He comes up to Dean. "Have you taken time out to consider God's plan for you?" "Too freaking much pal." Dude, you really don't want to know God's plan for Dean, or his brother for that matter. It's pretty messed up. Religious nut gives Dean a long parting stare. Remember this for later.
Dean's in your standard crappy motel room with one bed (sniff!) talking on the cell phone. He's talking to Cas! He has trouble hearing what Cas is saying, which isn't hard since a semi is going by Cas on the other end. Dean makes a joke. "It’s kind of funny, talking to a messenger of God on a cell phone. You know, kind of like watching a Hell's angel ride a moped.” Castiel isn't in the mood for jokes since the "voice" is telling him he doesn't have many minutes left. What sort of a cell plan did he get? A prepaid phone? Angels have all this almighty power yet can't pick a decent cell phone plan?
Dean goes on with the point. They're talking about the colt. Dean thinks it’s been melted down. After all, why would demons keep around a weapon the kills demons? Castiel has heard otherwise and thinks it's what's needed for Dean's crazy plan to kill Lucifer to succeed. Uh, what happened to the finding God thing? Castiel wants to know where Dean is, and Dean tells him his room and number in Kansas City. Insert your own joke here. You know, I don't have any Missouri jokes, but I do have an Oklahoma one that I failed to share in last week's recap. Why doesn't Texas fall into the ocean? Because Oklahoma sucks. Bada-bump. Thank you, I'll be here all week.
Castiel is ready to come right over, but Dean points out the basic human needs of eating and sleeping, especially after driving 16 hours. Huh Dean, if you only had someone that could help you with the driving. Let's see, who could that be... Dean needs four hours. Castiel agrees and while waiting on the street corner decides he'll wait right there. Oh that won't attract attention. If only there was time in this episode to show cops chasing him off for being a pervert.
Dean is sleeping and the clock shows 4:15. AM. Man I feel his pain. The phone buzzes and rattles against the table. Somehow Dean hears it. He picks up the phone and starts blasting Cas, but it’s not him. It's Sam! Oh Sammy, you're coming to your big brother for help. That's so awesome. Dean protests that it's 4:15 but Sam says it’s important. I'll say! Dean, the fact that Sam is calling you at all means it’s important.
Dean grabs a beer in a nice POV shot from the refrigerator. He isn't at all blown away by the fact that Sam is Lucifer's vessel. "So Lucifer’s wearing you to the prom?" “That’s what he said,” Sam replied, still pretty unnerved by it. “Just when you thought you were out they pull you back in, huh Sammy?” Now, I’m no aficionado of the Godfather movies but I’ve seen them and I’m convinced the entire Godfather III film was shot just so Al Pacino could say that one line. Prove me wrong. Anyway, Sam isn't laughing and thinks Dean would be a bit more panicked by the news. We know Sam was. Dean shows how numb he's become to things lately. “I guess I’m a little numb to the earth shattering revelations at this point."
Sam asks "What are WE going to do about it." We? Aww Sam, you actually think your big brother will jump in and help. Not that I blame you since he's been doing that your whole life. Dean asks Sam what he wants to do about it. Sam wants back in. “I’m sick of being a puppet to these sons of bitches.” I could say something really suggestive here, but Sam's having a moment so why ruin it. “I’m going to hunt him down Dean.” Dean’s not impressed, thinking they’re back to revenge, which worked out so well the last time. No, Sam has a new word for it now. “Redemption.” Okay, po-ta-to, po-tah-to. He can do this and he'll prove it to Dean.
Dean, who should know by now never to make decisions at 4:15 am with little sleep, makes one anyway. It's a boneheaded one. He thinks he and Sam should stay apart, FOREVER. Wow Dean, did Sam piss you off that much? "We're the fire and oil of the Armageddon. On that basis alone we should pick a hemisphere. Stay away from each other for good.” Sam doesn’t think it has to be that way. They can fight it. Dean agrees, but not together. “We're not stronger when we’re together Sam. I think we’re weaker. Because whatever we have between us, love, family, whatever it is, they are always going to use it against us. And you know that."
Sam is a bit distraught by all this. I’m a bit distraught by all this. “We’re better off apart. We got a better chance of dodging Lucifer and Michael and this whole damn thing if we just go our own ways.” "Dean, don't do this , " Sam begs and why are they killing me with brotherly drama this early into the episode? Dean does a quick "Goodbye Sam" and hangs up, and with one pained expression we see Dean die a little inside. Remember that for later. Heck, remember it for the next scene!
Back to the clock by Dean's bedside, which is cracked beyond repair. Dean wakes up on springs instead of the mattress, and the decor of the room actually improves with the charred out walls. Dean naturally has that "WTF?" look. He sticks his head through the broken out window to see the really fake landscape of a burned out Kansas City, which is an obvious photoshopped picture. But hey, considering the classic rock has been back, I approve of the attempt at making it look real for the cheapest possible dollars. Given Dean's mild reaction, it’s my guess he's still suffering from that being numb thing. I’m not numb, I’m laughing my fool head off, for on the theater marquis is “Now Playing, Route 666.” Yeah, that’s an appropriate one to mark the end of the earth with. “Bugs” would have been funnier.
Title card. It’s never been more appropriate.
Dean steps outside, wearing his blue jacket (this is important) and it’s exactly what you'd picture Armageddon to be. Burned out cars, debris everywhere, no people around. No people that is except for a young girl in a sooty dress who just broke glass on the street. So, does Dean run? No, he tries to talk with her. Have you ever watched an apocalyptic thriller Dean? It's like on Galaxy Quest when they land on the planet and decide to just go talk to the aliens. They're stopped by the super fan. "Haven't you ever watched the show?" Back to Dean, girl swipes his side with a piece of glass and he takes her out with a punch. He still doesn't get what's happening.
Dean turns and sees "Croatoan" spray painted on the wall and now he gets it. Just in time too, for a whole pack of human zombies now come after him. Not good! Dean runs, gets cornered by a giant fence, and as the "croats" aka zombies, come closer, military trucks pull up and fire off machine guns without hesitation. Dean is smart enough to duck and cover to get out of the crossfire.
Speaking of this brutal scene, w hen I was in college, I took this cinema appreciation course. As a side note, when interviewing for a business job and someone asks you what your favorite class is in college, if you really want the job, don’t say “cinema appreciation” even if it is the truth. It all worked out though, for that company went bankrupt. Anyway, one of the pictures we studied was Bonnie and Clyde. For those not familiar, it had a big ending where Bonnie and Clyde are essentially machine gunned to a pulp. This was considered at the time, 1967, to be one of the most goriest and most violent scenes in film. After watching the military men machine gun the “croats” to the bouncy “Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)”, that’s far more vicious than Bonnie and Clyde and this is network TV. I guess that’s progress.
Dean escapes through an open fence door, and waits until the coast is clear while his heart pounds through his chest. Next thing its night and he’s digging under another fence. Once he gets through to the other side, he sees the quarantine sign by the city of Kansas City for the Croatoan virus dated August 1st, 2014. Now he really gets it. He hot wires the only car around that isn't a burned out shell, and drives. No cell phone reception, no radio. Darn, I was hoping they'd play the all zombie channel. "Grrrr, arrrgh."
So, do you know what happens when Dean is driving these days without a passenger? An angel shows up. Cue Zachariah. He’s reading from the “Washington Herald,” which mentions the Croatoan pandemic reaches Australia. “I thought I smelled your stink on this Back to the Future crap , “ Dean says in greeting. Zack goes on. “President Palin defends bombing of Houston. Certainly a buyer’s market on real estate.” Hah, it’s a buyer's market now. Who needs the apocalypse? Oh, wait”¦anyway, he wants to check the sports page. There isn’t any, since Congress revoked the right to group assembly. What’s left of them anyway. “It’s hardly a quorum if you ask me.” Now, remember this smug behavior, and then compare it to Lucifer later. They’re the same arrogant bastards if you ask me. Angels truly are dicks with wings.
Dean wants to know how Zack found him. Remember that Jehovah’s Witness? Yep, they’re using the religious nuts as spies. Dean tells Zack to send him back. He’ll go back, in three days. He needs to marinate a while. Hmm, a parallel to the amount of time Christ spent in Hell after being crucified? Yes, I’m not a biblical scholar, but youth bible camp burned that one into my skull. Zachariah wants to prove to Dean that this the consequences of his choices. This is what happens to the world as long as he says no to Michael. Zack leaves and Dean wants to punch something.
Dean goes to Bobby's house. The place looks abandoned, and Bobby's bloodied and full of bullet holes wheelchair proves it. Sniff! At least he's at peace. Dean knows where to look for possible information. He moves a stone in the middle of Bobby's fireplace and pulls out a journal. There's a picture there. It's some strange men, Castiel holding a machine gun and another bad photoshop of Bobby in his wheelchair holding a rifle. They are in front of Camp Chitaqua. I've been to Camp Chautauqua in New York. It's way nicer than the dump in this episode. I'm sure it wasn't intended to be a vacation resort.
Dean is outside the fence. It's dark. He waits for passerbys to go and then looks through the gate. Gulp! There he sees sitting in the tall grass the rusted out mess with the front doors torn off. Nooooooo!!!!!!! Not the Impala! How dare they? Fine, humans can die by the billions but the car??? That's crossing the line. Dean rushes over, sticks his head in and now he's not so numb. "Oh baby. What did they do to you?" I want the same answer.
Dean doesn't get an answer. He gets a fist in the face and it knocks him out. We see the culprit. It's...Dean? Uh oh, I hope this isn't on of those time flux paradoxes where the universe explodes when you see your future self. Actually, an universe explosion might be an improvement over where they are now. As Back To The Future proved though , Doc Brown was wrong on that theory, so the story goes on.
Dean in blue coat, aka past Dean, comes to, looks at himself and says "What the Hell?" He's handcuffed to a ladder. "I should be asking that question don’t you think?" Dean in green coat, aka future Dean, is staring him down with an automatic rifle, asking why he shouldn’t “gank” him now. There’s that word again! Past Dean tells him he’d only be hurting himself. He's not a shapeshifter or demon, which future Dean has already figured out when he did the standard tests. He also found where he hid lockpicks and knives on his person to be the same. Past Dean tells him Zachariah put him there and he’s from 2009. Future Dean wants to know where he is. The way he wants to talk to him, we presume he hasn't seen him in a while.
Future Dean wants to know something only they would know. Past Dean has a doozy! “Rhonda Hurley. We were uh, 19. She made us try on her panties. They were pink and satiny and you know what, we kind of liked it.” "Touche," future Dean says. He's convinced.
Future Dean lightens up a little. “So what, Zack zapped you up here to see how back it gets.” Past Dean is more concerned about other things. “Croatoan virus, so that’s their end game?” Yep. It's efficient, incurable, and scary as Hell. It turns people into monsters. Started hitting the major cities a few years ago. Past Dean, whose priorities are still in line, asks about Sam. Future Dean gives the sad frown - o - bad - news . From what he heard, there was a showdown of heavyweights in Detroit. Sam didn't make it. Past Dean i s shocked Future Dean wasn't with him. Nope we "haven't" (notice the tense) talked in five years. Past Dean wonders why he didn't try to find him. He's been too busy with other things, you know, like leading a resistance. Past Dean is disappointed in himself.
Future Dean has to run an errand and won't un-cuff past Dean. “I got a camp of twitchy trauma survivors out there with the apocalypse hanging over their head. The last thing they need to see is a version of The Parent Trap.” Hey, I wouldn't want to see that film under normal circumstances, let alone an apocalypse. Past Dean agrees, but doesn’t think he needs to be cuffed. “What, you don’t trust yourself?” “No. Absolutely not.” Too funny! What else is funny? Past Dean calling future Dean a dick.
Past Dean eventually escapes later when its light outside by digging out a nail in the floor boards. He steps outside and naturally is taken to be the fearless leader. Chuck comes up to him harping about a shortage in hygiene supplies and a woman comes by and takes a swing at him. She's upset that "Dean" was in Jackie's cabin the night before even though they had a " connection. " Well I guess future Dean hasn't strayed from his ways entirely . You know, at this point I'm getting kind of bored with these camp antics. Move on already!
Dean asks where Cas is. Where he always is. He enters a cabin with beads on the doorway and Castiel is sitting there in lotus position on the ground, very relaxed, sporting a thin beard and wearing some rather casual clothes. Okay , this isn't the future. It's bizzaro world! Castiel spouts a bunch of guru crap in a relaxing voice, sees Dean is there and tells the women to go wash up for the orgy. Dean does a double take, as do we all.
Dean asks Castiel, “What are you a hippie?”while Cas stretches out. “I thought you gotten over trying to label me.” Ooh, he and future Dean are having some issues. Future Dean seems to be all about the issues. Past Dean comes over and Cas instantly goes funny, noticing a difference. "You are not you, not now you anyway.” Dean tells him he’s right. Cas wants to know what year. 2009. Cas knows its Zachariah that did it and finds the development curious. Dean has other pressing matters, like telling Cas to strap on his angel wings and get him back. Castiel smiles and points out he just can't do that. Dean asks if he's stoned. "Pretty much," Cas says with a loopy smile. Misha had to have a field day with this. It's such a fun switch from straight laced angel in a suit and trench coat.
Dean hears the trucks pull up outside, and defies himself by going out to investigate. Future Dean gets out with his crew, they toast each other with beers and then future Dean proceeds to blow one of them away with his pistol when he's not looking. Past Dean is appalled, and his horror over the shooting brings attention to the fact there are two of them now. Future Dean is not happy. "I'm not going to lie to you, me and him, it’s a pretty messed up situation we got going. But believe me, when you need to know something you will know it." Liar!!
Future Dean drags past Dean indoors and gives him the what for. Yes, yelling and trying to beat down yourself five years earlier, that is indeed a messed up situation. One where I can picture Ben Edlund cackling at his keyboard. Past Dean wants to know why he killed that man in cold blood. They ran into some "croats" and he started showing symptoms. Past Dean still doesn’t like the idea of him doing it in front of his own people. “It’s 2014. Plugging some Croat, it’s called common place. Trading words with my clone, that might have freaked them out a little.”Touché future Dean, touché.
Future Dean makes it clear this is his time and he makes the decisions. Past Dean apologizes, for he doesn’t want to mess “you, or me, or us up.” I think it’s way too late for that! I’m already confused. Future Dean pours them both some whiskey to diffuse the situation. They drink and calmer heads prevail. Past Dean asks what the mission was. Future Dean pulls out the colt. The demons have been pushing it around. It's taken him five years to find it, but he's got it now and tonight they're gonna kill Lucifer. With the colt? I know it took out Azazel but Lucifer? He's an angel, not a demon. I don't see the colt working. I don't see anything working. I smell a trap. Me and the millions of others watching.
Angry chick, Castiel and the two Dean discuss the raid. At least the others in the room diffuse a bit of the strangeness caused by the two Deans. Angry chick is not impressed with “the colt.” I’m a bit tired of it myself lady. Angry chick is snippy, wondering that now they have something to kill Lucifer, how are they going to find Lucifer? Future Dean wants to know what her problem is, so past Dean steps in. “Oh we were in Jane’s cabin last night and apparently we and Reisa have a connection.” Castiel laughs, as do I. Future Dean tells himself to shut up and says he found out a few weeks ago from someone in his entourage. Angry chick can’t believe he’s taking the word of a demon. Future Dean knows he wasn’t lying. Castiel fills in the blanks. “Our fearless leader I’m afraid is all too well schooled in the art of getting to the truth.” Castiel is a bit saddened by this, past Dean is really bothered. "Oh, so we're torturing again? Oh, that’s good. Classy.” Hey, I hate using my computer programming skills half the time, but if it gets the job done”
Castiel laughs, so he gets a stare down from Future Dean. “What? I like past you.” Future Dean shows on the map where Lucifer is. Castiel is facetious about the fact it’s in the middle of a hot zone. “Are you saying my plan is reckless?” “Are you saying we walk in straight up the driveway, past all the demons and the croats and we shoot the Devil.” Future Dean says yes. “Okay, if you don’t like reckless, I could use insentient.” Future Dean asks if he’s coming. Oh yes. He questions why past Dean is coming though. If something happens to him, future Dean is gone. Future Dean says he’s coming. They load up in the morning.
The others leave and past Dean knows something is up. He wants to know why he's really going. Future Dean sees no harm since Zachariah will be taking past Dean back. Past Dean knows there's something else. "You’re coming because I want you to see something. I want you to see our brother." Past Dean is confused. He thought Sam was dead. "Sam didn't die in Detroit. He said yes." Past Dean at first doesn't get it. "Yes, to what? Lucifer?" Future Dean pokes deeper, for he's more angry about it than anything. "The big yes. Lucifer's wearing him to the prom." Ha! Take that past Dean. You deserve to have that thrown back at you after taking Sam's plea for help with indifference. Luckily, he's not indifferent anymore. He's devastated, way more than when he thought Sam was dead. "Why would he do that?" a crushed past Dean asks. Future Dean has no idea, but they have no choice. It’s in him now and not getting out. They're going to have to kill him. Luckily, past Dean is still too overcome by the blow. Sammy isn’t doing so well on his own after all, is he Dean?
Now for the contrivance. "And you need to see it, the whole damned thing, how bad it gets so you can do it different." Past Dean doesn’t get what he means. Forget that, I still want to know why Sam said yes. When Zach takes past Dean back to 09, future Dean practically orders him to say yes. Past Dean is appalled. “That’s crazy. If I let him in, Michael’s going to battle the Devil. That’s going to torch half the planet.” Future Dean reminds him that’s better than no planet, which is what they have now. If he could do it over again, he’d say yes. Past Dean asks why he doesn’t now. He tried many times, but it’s too late. The angels took off and aren’t listening. It’s too late for him, but not to fix things in the past. Past Dean still holds firm, believing there’s got to be another way. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. I was cocky, never actually thought I’d lose. But I was wrong.” He again begs past Dean to say yes, and then lapses into self defeating mode, which is what usually happens when confronting yourself. “But you won’t. Because I didn’t. Because that’s not just us, is it?”
Sorry, but this is the point in the recap where breaking down all these intense Dean vs. Dean scenes becomes a mindfuck and my brain goes soft. Damn you Ben Edlund!
The crew is loading up, and Chuck the prophet, who verifies Dean is really from '09, takes some time for some parting words. " If you ever get back there, you hoard toilet paper . Understand me, you hoard it. Hoard it like it's made of gold because it is. " Dean thanks him for the warning. "You'll thank me later." Oh, it’s a crime to see Chuck reduced to this. He should be the freaking oracle or something. Ah well, opportunity lost.
Now this scene I love! I'm sorry, but the Dean/Dean scenes are dragging on a bit so I like something fresh. For one, Castiel gets to drive! Dean is in the passenger seat. So cool. Dean checks the label of the pills Cas just took and they're amphetamines. What I want to know is where does Cas get a prescription filled? They're in a war zone, right? I didn't exactly see a Walgreens anywhere (thanks Lynn for pointing that out). Castiel need s it to counter the absinthe. “Don’t get me wrong Cas, I’m happy the stick is out of your ass, but what’s going on, with the drugs, the orgies, the love guru crap.”
Cas laughs at him and reveals he's not an angel anymore. The angels left, he turned mortal, his “mojo” drained away. He’s all but useless. He broke his foot last year and was laid up for two months. Oh, I'm sure that got him laid plenty. Woman have a soft spot for men in need. Dean welcomes him to the human club. Cas says thanks, but mentions he used to belong to a much better club. “Now I’m powerless, I’m hapless, I’m hopeless, why the hell not bury myself in women and decadence? That’s what decadence is for. Why not bang a few gongs before the lights go out. But that’s just how I roll.” See Dean?? This is what happens when you think it’s a good idea to take an angel to a strip club and try to get him laid. There’s an important lesson learned.
They walk through the burned out streets of somewhere, then stake out the old abandoned Jackson County Sanitarium. The plan is to go in through the second floor window. Angry chick wonders if he’s sure about this. Future Dean assures her they’ll never see them coming, but Past Dean knows something is up. He calls future Dean to a private conference. He knows he's lying to all of them. Future Dean denies it, but past Dean has seen those lying expressions in the mirror. Yeah, you can’t fool yourself. Future Dean comes clean. They're in the middle of a hotspot and haven't seen a croat anywhere. It's obvious a trap. Cas and angry girl are decoys that will be going in the front while the two Deans surprise Lucifer in the back. Come on future Dean, you honestly think that plan is going to work? Especially since Lucifer is riding your brother who knows your every habit? I wonder at this point if he had just given up and went there to die, especially knowing that past self can change the future.
Past Dean decides to stand on moral ground. “You mean you’re going to feed your friends into a meat grinder? Cas too? You’re using their deaths as a diversion. Oh man, something is broken in you. You’re making decisions that I would never make. I wouldn’t sacrifice my friends.” Future Dean is sooo not impressed with the high horse lecture and tells past Dean no, he wouldn’t. “It’s one of the main reasons we’re in this mess actually.” Past Dean points out future Dean is betraying trust, which he totally is. “They trust me to kill the Devil and save the world. And that’s exactly what I’m gonna do.” Past Dean is ready to go all out and stop himself, so his future self knocks him out cold. Wow, that played out like a schizophrenic episode. "I tried to stop myself but lost."
Past Dean comes to just in time to see the machine guns going off upstairs. Bye bye Cas and angry girl. He rushes around the back to see a flash of white light and future Dean pinned to the ground by a foot in some fugly white pattened leather shoes. The foot twists and breaks future Dean’s neck. Yeah, he sort of had that coming. It's Sam, all dressed in white! He looks incredible! I know he's really Lucifer. Btw, I had future Dean in the death pool . Not at the 40 minute mark though. I figured he'd go five minutes later after some monologuing.
No loss though, for now we get five minutes of Lucifer/Sam monologuing with past Dean! And WOW is it wonderful! Lucifer/Sam turns around, gazes at Dean with those heavenly eyes accented by the white shirt and suit and says "Oh, hello Dean . " Then he gives him a crooked smile. Dean gets to finally trade barbs with someone who isn't himself. Sure, Jensen and Jared always have great scenes together, but with Jared as Lucifer, somehow they make it even better!
Lucifer looks Dean over. “Aren’t you a surprise?” Then he disappears in a flash of white and pops up behind Dean. He mentions Dean came a long way to see this. Dean tells him to go ahead, kill him. “Kill you?” He looks at future Dean 's corpse behind them. “Wouldn’t that be a little (beat) redundant?” Hee hee, the Devil has a sense of humor.
Lucifer goes into sympathy mode, just like the true used car salesman he is. He apologizes, for it’s got to be painful for Dean to speak to him in Sam’s form. “But it had to be your brother, it had to be.” Lucifer goes to touch him and Dean pulls away. “You don’t have to be afraid of me Dean. What do you think I’m going to do?” Oh, only destroy the world. Bad Devil!
Oh, but Lucifer isn’t done with his pitch. “Why, why would I want to destroy this stunning thing? Beautiful in a trillion different ways. The last perfect handiwork of God.” Nope, not a trace of Sam in there anywhere. Lord knows he wouldn’t say such melodramatic crap to Dean. “Ever hear the story about how I fell from grace.” Dean doesn’t want to hear a “bedtime story.” Lucifer, who’s unfazed, goes on anyway. “You know why God cast me down? Because I loved him, more than anything. And then God created -(long pause, deep breath, underhanded smile) - you. (tone changes to deep resentment). The little hairless apes.” Holy crap, Jared is killing this! How amazing!
Dean listens with his typical defiance when all villains monologue. Lucifer continues with a wicked smile. “And then he asked all of us to bow down before all of you.” His tone changes again , emoting true hurt over the situation. “To love you more than him. And I said “˜Father, I can’t. ' I said 'T hese human beings are flawed, murderous, ' and for that, God had Michael cast me into Hell. Now tell me, does the punishment fit the crime? (the puppy dog eyes of sympathy go back to malevolence) Especially when I was right.”
Man, he’s good at playing it up. “Look at what six billion of you have done to this thing. And how many of you blame me for it?” What a tricky devil. He gives Dean a sincere smile and he looks so damned heavenly. He literally has a soft glow surrounding him. Holy crap, he’s got me convinced! I think it’s the gorgeous eyes.
Lucky for all of us, Dean doesn’t fall for it. “You’re not fooling me, you know that? With this sympathy for the devil crap.” Lucifer listens now with condescendence. Dean’s eyes are glistening. “I know what you are. You’re the same thing only bigger. The same brand of cockroach I would squash in my whole life.” Lucifer tries to feign hurt, but it’s obvious it’s an act. “An ugly, evil, belly to the ground supernatural piece of crap. The only difference between them and you is the size of your ego.” Lucifer just smiles, then gives him another one of those condescending looks of pity. Man, the facial expressions! They’re all over the place and every single one of them rock!
“I like you Dean. I get what the other angels see in you.” Then he says goodbye, they’ll meet again soon. Dean, who’s pretty emotional by now, tells Lucifer he better kill him now. “You better kill me now, or I swear I will find a way to kill you. And I won’t stop.” “I know you won’t,” Lucifer says without hesitation. “I know you won’t say yes to Michael either, and I know you won’t kill Sam. Whatever you do, you will always end up here. Whatever choices you make, whatever details you alter, we will always end up”¦here.” Dean is weeping by now. “I win. So, I win.” Okay, I'm totally creeped out now. Dean tells Lucifer he’s wrong. “See you in five years Dean.” Lucifer disappears in a flash of white. Dean is left distraught and alone. He turns around, and there’s Zachariah who zaps him back. Awesome!!!!
Okay, I'm going to take a paragraph to reflect on what just happened there. I'll also try to avoid rehashing what I said in my review. This is David vs. Goliath. Lucifer is unyielding and deceptive and yes, has one giant ego. He's also extremely powerful. I've heard complaints that people are getting tired of Dean crying but his meltdown is significant here. His vulnerability, his weeping for the loss of mankind and his brother, a purely human trait, is ten times more powerful than Lucifer's false act of sympathy. That vulnerability makes him stronger than Lucifer at least morally and as long as he hangs onto that humanity, he has a fighting chance. The second he loses that humanity, like his future self did, he becomes weaker and ends up getting squashed like a bug. It's the same lesson Sam had to learn the hard way in killing Lilith. Lucifer's greatest weakness is he underestimates the human spirit. Same for Zachariah. We're just a bunch of hairless apes to them. History has proven that such arrogance leads to downfall.
Okay, back to Dean, who's back in 2009 with Zachariah. Sort of like going from the frying pan into the fire. Dean has the right line though. "Well if it isn't the ghost of Christmas screw you." At least he still has his sense of humor. Zack now goes for the false sincerity. He tells Dean he's the only one who can prove Lucifer wrong. Dean thinks it’s one of Zachariah's tricks, and lord knows we are thinking that as well. Some of the "examples" of the future were pretty heavy handed. Zachariah says the time for tricks is over. That's not an answer! Zack implores Dean to say yes to Michael, before the virus begins, before Lucifer gets to Sam, before billions die.
Dean sees his point, he does need the change the future. Zachariah always forgets one thing with Dean though. Dean doesn't believe the future has been written yet. He turns away from Zack in contemplation and he gets that defiant look on his face, for something has clicked inside. "Nah." "Nah?" Zachariah asks, stunned to hear that answer. "Haven't you learned your lesson?" “I learned a lesson alright. Just not the one you wanted to teach.” Zack goes off, threatening to teach him another one. "Because I've got you now boy and I'm never letting you-" Dean's gone!
Suddenly, Dean is on the same dark street corner as Castiel. Normal Castiel, with neat hair, suit and trench coat. "We had an appointment." Woo hoo Cas, you rock. Castiel asks how Zack found him. Dean pulls out his cell phone and answers while dialing. "Let's stay away from the Jevohvah's witnesses for a while." For a while? I've been trying t avoid them my whole life. It's too tall an order, they get you eventually. Castiel wants to know what he's doing. Dean holds the phone up to his ear. "Something I should have done a long time ago."
Dean waits beside a bridge, and up pulls a crappy gold Lincoln Continental with Oklahoma license plates. Guess who? You see!!! Dean didn't want to send Sam away both times. He did it out of overinflated sense of duty. He realizes this whole sacrificing his family for the sake of the world ends the world! Zack ain't so bad after all. Dean did learn the right lesson.
Sam gets out of the crappy vehicle and he and Dean approach each other. No hugs, just awkwardness. Sam especially looks nervous, so it’s obvious he has no idea what Dean wants. He's especially nervous when Dean pulls out the demon killing ginsu and holds it for a few seconds. He then lunges forward with it and gets Sam straight in the heart. Sam falls backward in stunned disbelief before the lights go out. Psych! I know you saw the episode first. No, Dean hands it to Sam. "You're serious, you want back in. You should hang onto this. I’m sure you’re rusty."
Sam takes the knife with some apprehension. Dean says he’s sorry. “I don’t know whatever I need to be, but I was wrong.” Sam wants to know what made him change his mind. You were Lucifer! No, Dean gives him the "long story" line, which is network television speak for we don't have time for this, budget you know, so it becomes an off camera conversation while driving through America's heartland. “The point is, maybe we are each other’s Achilles heel, they’ll find a way to use us against each other I don’t know, I just know we’re all we’ve got. More than that, we keep each other human.”
“Thank you, really, thank you.” Sam might be grateful, but he's quite subdued. He actually looks really depressed. I wonder after Dean's rebuff if he holed up in a cheap motel or something and downed a pint of HaagenDazs. Or Jack Daniels. Or both. Sam promises he won't let Dean down and Dean knows he won't. “You are the second best hunter on the planet." Aww Dean, you softie. Sam manages somehow to crack a small smile over that. He wants to know what they do now. Dean sets the tone for what's coming. "We make our own future." The ending line goes to Sam. "I guess we have no choice."
So, with that string of nice heavy episodes, we're back to something light next week with brothers reunited. It's very much needed, since the brain trust of Kripke, Gamble, Carver, and Edlund just blew my psyche to smithereens. Thanks guys!
***HH Take 2: The EndReview by Elle originally published October 4, 2009***
Thoughts on the “The End”
How nice was it to see John? I had to smile just at hearing his voice – glad to have him present in an episode, whatever the form. So far, we’ve had two episodes of four that have reached all the way back to season one for THEN – and as we’ve now had Meg, Jess and the Colt, it will be interesting to see how much more of the shows foundation bleeds through into this season and if other old friends (and foes) make a return appearance.
The Phone Call
More than a few things about the telephone exchange between the boys were salient. First and foremost, that Sam, in a complete 180 from last season, spilled to Dean everything that Lucifer had told him pretty much right away. And he didn’t need to. Despite this, the dynamic between them is clearly off, they are out of sync. Dean needed a beer to get through this conversation, never mind that it’s 4 a.m. and he’s just woken up. Last week, Dean drank during the tete-a-tete with Raphael, much like what we saw in season four as he tried to suppress the Hell ordeal that plagued him. The drinking is always an indicator that Dean’s not in a good place. “I guess I’m a little numb to the earth shattering revelations at this point.” Numb is probably an apt descriptor for what Dean is right now, without Sammy and a vocation as ‘an angel condom’ that will leave him vegitabled.
What struck me most was that Dean’s speech to Sam and the evidence he offered for “picking a hemisphere” wasn’t entirely irrational. This isn’t to say that the boys should stay apart, or that they’re better that way, but rather it demonstrated that Dean has thought this through before now. He’s identified in the past that the brothers are each other’s weak spots and now, add in the Heaven/Hell component, the idea that they stay apart makes sense. Dean is time and again driven by his emotional yearning to unite the family or keep the unit together. But not in this instance. It was a moment of character growth and some demonstrable maturity that was in line with his decision not to go after Sam in “Good God, Ya’ll” – Dean has changed.
Both boys were noticeably distressed by the conversation. Dean was upset by what he felt he had to do, stay away from Sam possibly forever, and my heart went out as the call ended and the anguish settled onto his face. Sam, more than usual, has me wanting to give him a giant hug and some Hagen Daaz all the time now, but especially when he and Dean ‘broke up’ again. With regard to Sam’s quest for redemption – Sam’s fire has been reignited since last week when we saw his fraught attempt to escape the life. Now, he is ready to face it down and fight like hell to come out on top.
“Baby, no…Oh no. Baby, what’d they do to you?” – yup, that about sums it up doesn’t it?
Jensen outdid himself in this one. In every scene featuring dual Deans, it was two completely different men on the screen. Future Dean was a complete transformation, from the deeper, gravelly voice, to the way he moved - the portrayal of a war hardened Dean was marvellously done. Gone was the humour and caustic wit and in its place was pure survival and mission fulfillment. Evidenced by the disregard of the Impala (which was very difficult to watch!) and the cold shooting of one of his men, Dean!2014 is a damaged man. Dean 09 was absolutely disgusted with what he had become – someone willing to sacrifice his friends (and Cas!), people who had put their trust into him. “Broken” was the word he used and I fully believe that “inhuman” was on the tip of his tongue.
Okay, I have to admit that I was one of the people who didn’t really notice the Croaton storyline had been left hanging. Nothing came of it back in season two, yes, but I didn’t dwell on it either. That said, I was expecting more of a payoff given the fact that we were revisiting this plot point all these years later. That’s not to say it detracted from the episode, personally, because the ‘Croat’ storyline was completely dwarfed by the emotionally charged rest of the episode, and since the episode was so remarkable, that’s okay.
2014!Cas is so much more ostentatious than 2009!Cas and as fun as he was, I like our humanity-naïve, puritan, breast-fearing Cas best. The orgy had me laughing, half because of the expression on Dean’s face and half in light of the events of the Brothel Incident. It was a nice touch that Cas recognized instantly Dean to be an out of time Dean – I took this to mean he still had a modicum of “mojo” left from his angelic days. The five years has seen a role reversal in terms of camaraderie and ribbing. Cas was amused when future Dean was annoyed, though he was very loyal and largely unquestioning in following Dean, even though 2014!Dean was willing to use him as cannon fodder. The ‘fearless leader’ and ‘I like past you’ was also quite amusing. Misha was very convincing has hippy-drugged out Castiel – probably happy to get a change of wardrobe and make-up, and to change is usual angel-eyes expression for one of hazed, easy amusement. Castiel is thoroughly enjoyed when I see him on my screen and I’m satisfied to see TPTB have discovered fresh ways to use him without compromising the integrity of the character or exhausting him.
The Golden Toilet Paper
This episode was light on humour, but what it did have was quite droll. First, the continuing adventures of Cas and his cell. How great was the seriousness in his tone as he panicked to Dean about ‘the voice’ saying he was running out of time. Equally comical to me was the suspicious expression on his face when Cas pondered ‘what things?’ Dean, in his humanness, needed. In addition to Cas in this episode, we had the return of the prophet. Chuck is easily one of my preferred recurring characters (after Bobby, of course). He doesn’t try to be funny, but as a victim of circumstance Chuck is an endless source of enjoyment.
This scene is one the best moments of the series – it was evocative, beautiful and tragic all at the same time. From the talent of Jensen and Jared to the dialogue to the set and filming itself, this is the reason Supernatural is my must-see TV.
Right off the bat – the acting was incredible in this episode. I think “The End” is one of those take-it-to-a-new-level instalments in the series. Jared’s performance as Lucifer was exceptional – there is no word that adequately encompasses how incredible he was in this incarnation.
Sam has puppy dog eyes and a shy smile, when he’s upset his face crumbles and his eyes are sad, wide and glittering. He doesn’t completely stand to full height and he has a thoughtful gait. Lucifer is none of these things. The eyes were nearly flat, holding some bemusement at Dean’s obvious shock and pain. His speech pattern and intonation was in no way Sam Winchester, it was a solid even tone with the exception of describing his fall, in which his voice took on a controlled disgust and somewhat richer tenor. Faux curiosity and patronization was seen as he fought to keep down a grin (in no way shy, more sadistic) as Dean called him out for the snake he is. Sure and confident movements, down to his gaze. Even when Sam was on demon blood and powerful, he was zealous and passionate where Lucifer is none of these things, despite the size of his ego and range of power. Jared so clearly wasn’t Sam in this sharp white suit and neutral, matter-of-fact air. The expressions on his face were transformative – wholly capturing the subtly that has been imbued in the character of Lucifer. Lucifer’s matter of fact delivery regarding how this will end up the certainty with which he speaks is crisp even as it achieves a whole new level of arrogance. The moment where Lucifer touches the rose and pontificates on the earth’s beauty (even though he’s evil) was very moving – the aesthetics of this moment where visual poetry: the grizzly background of the asylum and the grainy, grey-green forest along with the deep, rich red rose and the white suit was quite beautiful cinematography.
The raw pain in Jensen’s voice and the emotions that played across his face in this five minute encounter were crushing. Dean’s devastation and desperate sadness were palpable and despite this, he still gathered his courage and choked down his anguish: “You’re not fooling me you know that, with this sympathy for the devil crap. I know what you are…you’re the same thing only bigger; the same brand of cockroach I’ve been squashing my whole life. An ugly, evil, belly-to-the-ground, supernatural piece of crap. The only difference between them and you is the size of your ego.” This was very powerful and there is no other word for it. My heart broke at the absolute desolation of Dean’s face as Lucifer assured him this was the only end there ever could be: “Whatever choices you make, whatever details you alter, we will always end up, here. I win. So I win.” Simple, effective and foreboding.
Since I could go on about this scene for a very long time, allow me to bottom-line it: phenomenal, all around.
Okay, I had a moment where I thought Dean was going to say ‘yes’ to Zach this time and I was panicking, frantically (and spastically) yelling ‘NO, NO, NO’ at the TV. Only after he said ‘nah’ could I breathe again.
Many pondered and I’m inclined to agree that Zachariah added some spin to this future universe. Dean himself suspected this was the case, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t learn a lesson from the experience in the future, though not the intended lesson. What I believe got through loud and clear was that Sam and Dean are the balance in one another’s life and that consequences do have actions – without his brother to balance him, Dean becomes as obsessed with killing Lucifer as Sam was about Lilith and it costs him his humanity. The realization of what his future self is recalled events of “Jump The Shark” in that Dean finally understood how obsessed his father was and then Sam with revenge. Without Sam, future Dean returned to torturing and didn’t blink at the idea of sacrificing his friends, as long as the mission was completed.
Big kudos to Cas for poofing Dean to safety. Always glad to see Zach get screwed – and to have Cas be the one to do it was even sweeter. I thought Dean was going to hug Cas when he told him never to change. Cas’ half smile and “we had an appointment” was charming. Though the interaction here was short, it was a nice one. There was simple affection between the angel and his charge.
It was brief, it was awkward and it felt just right. Dean apologized and welcomed Sam back into the fold tentatively, but whole-heartedly. His words were earnest and his speech was just what Sam needed – I think it was Dean’s own way of forgiving Sam, too. Jared didn’t say much, verbally, with this one but boy, did his face do the talking - the soul-eyed, tearful gaze had me sniffling. The future (touched up by Zach or not) scared Dean – a lot. If nothing else, it gave him an extreme view of how things might play out and let him see exactly what he didn’t want to happen. Future Dean without his brother was cold and broken and Sam surrendered himself to Lucifer’s control because Dean wasn’t there. The simple act of staying together, of being brothers, is most essential to winning, which Dean realized: “I just know we’re all we’ve got. More than that, we keep each other human.”
So, our boys are back together, even if it is coloured with uncertainty about the journey ahead. From the nature of the reunion, I think we’re headed towards a cautious re-emergence of brotherly bond as it once was and I look forward to Sam and Dean learning to trust one another and work side-by-side as equals again. This episode has become one of my favourite Supernatural instalments, easily; everything about it was exceptional.
Undoubtedly, this is a landmark episode in the Supernatural library. What becomes so evident, years later, is the depth of the emotional trauma each brother was suffering at the time. Of course it was known at the time, but as compared to the boys today - they’ve come a very long way in healing.
Questions of the day: (1) what stands out most starkly when comparing then and now? (2) favourite line from a character not Sam or Dean? (3) Any clues that have since become clear about how the apocalypse would be solved you notice on reflection?
I would also be remiss for failing to mention that the date Dean travels to in the future is August 2014, which of course, recently came to pass (thanks to the Winchesters for sparing us the post-apocolyptic mess we previewed all those years ago).
For More Fun with The End:
Check out Alice's Original Blogcritic's Review
Alice's Original October 2009 Recap, with original photos
The WFB "The End" Photogallery
Elle's Original Review