God is dying. The sun is dying. It has never been more dire than right now on Supernatural. Plan A has been an utter failure with every single supernatural being defeated and the Winchesters largely left to pick up the pieces---only to watch everything fade and end anyways. The group is whisked back to the Bunker by a dying Chuck, and it is there they intend on spending the last moments of creation before everything disappears. And yet, that doesn't mean that all the fight has died in them. Chuck has put his faith into the Winchesters time and time again and they will have to be the ones who stand up and fix this once more. It will be their refusal to give up, their lessons of family, and their commitment to the mission of “saving people, hunting things, family business,” that will guide the world back from the brink once more. After all, who else could possibly hope to win against such impossible odds?
While the group licks their wounds at the Bunker, Amara herself is learning some of these lessons on her own. She's regretful and afraid as she stands watching the beginning of the end. It isn't going how she planned. It isn't the revenge she envisioned. The sheer triumph that she felt at landing the killing blow on her brother has begun to fade. She stands in a garden, surveying the natural wonders. Her touch is tentative and shy as she examines what her brother has wrought upon this earth. As the flowers fade and die---seemingly from her touch but from the sun's waning power--she realizes that she has made a critical error. This is not the end she had wanted.
She has gone too far this time. After all, in the other instances when she destroyed what God had created, she knew that she would still have him and that they would go on to repeat the same dance. This time, she's losing him, too. It is too much. Amara cannot bear to think about losing her brother---the only constant she's ever known. In this garden, the Darkness is left to contemplate what the end may mean and the loss she'll incur due to her revenge filled actions. The price she'll pay has become far too high. Destroying the world was one thing---murdering her brother is another.
She is further taught this lesson while she sits with an old lady. She's feeding the birds that gather in the garden. Lonely and needing someone to talk to, the old lady introduces herself and compliments Amara's dress. She reveals that her son has been pushing her to move to a retirement community--- “the place they send old folks to die.” It sounds, to Amara, like her son wants to lock her away in the same manner that Chuck did her so long ago. She questions if the old lady hates him for this. How can her son want to throw her away so callously? The old lady nods and continues to feed the birds, remarking, “Well a little bit. Sometimes. But you know family. Even when you hate them you still love them.”
It is a concept that Amara clearly wrestles with as she watches her actions bear terrible fruit. She has unleashed this chain of events and now everything will be destroyed---forever. There's no coming back. The glory she sought at ending everything, the joy she believed she'd have at besting her brother, and the triumph of Darkness over Light has landed with an empty thud. She hasn't really won anything at all. Instead, Amara slowly realizes that she's lost everything in the process. The little old lady may feel cast aside on some level by her son---and an “old bat” for considering these birds her replacement family---but it is Amara who truly feels lost and adrift, struggling to find herself amongst the garden expanse. Her purpose has been met and it has ultimately failed.
That failure is no more evident than in her tense gesture squeezing her hands together as she refuses to feed the birds. She fears that her action there will replicate the same action her touch had on the flowers. Amara now knows that her touch is death and she is shocked by how horrified that makes her. In many regards, it confirms that she will never be able to bring forth the beauty that her brother has---another stab deep into her heart.
Those at the Bunker are preparing for the “last call.” They know that there's little left to do. The one shot they had at possibly defeating the Darkness has led to God's slow demise and the sun's with it. There's no bullets left in the gun to fire and so they each sit down to reminiscence and drink and simply watch everything crumble. Dean jokes, “You know what, this isn't gonna be enough. I better make a run, no reason to die sober, huh?” Crowley breaks open another bottle of alcohol. Chuck rests in a chair, clearly sick and wasting. Castiel stands dumbfounded and unsure what he can do to help now that his gamble has failed. Even Rowena, the ultimate survivor, seems content to simply drink tea and share stories with God. The end is truly nigh and they have no choice but to let it happen now.
The only one that isn't willing to simply watch the world burn---or freeze---is Sam Winchester. He knows that Plan A has failed utterly. There's not much left to even attempt to stop what is happening now. The universe will blink out once God dies and there's no question that he is dying. Sam himself has held up Chuck at his weakest, cradling him gently---protectively. The man that has spent a lifetime searching for God, praying to God, and hoping that God would save him from himself and evil is now taking care of God. He will hold up the Creator of everything if need be---evidence that the never quit spirit beats strong in Sam's heart. It is this strength that Chuck can rely on---even at his most despondent and weak. The man doomed by demon blood has now taken charge of monitoring God's health.
And yet, as he watches everyone else sit around the Bunker and simply wait, he becomes irate. This is not how they face down these situations. This is not how they react to a losing scenario. To simply sit back and let it happen goes against everything he's ever done or felt. He has succumbed to his “destiny” in the past---but he has always gone down fighting. To go down swinging, to fight to the last breath, and to struggle against insurmountable odds is how he has always seen the end. It's what Dean has always taught Sam---and he will honor that lesson. This time is no different. As he watches everyone drink their tea or their booze, he shouts, “What are we doing? Amara is out there eating the freaking sun and we're doing nothing. Yes. Anything. That's my better idea because anything is better than this.”
This is a stirring call to action. He knows they have little time to pull together a Plan B, but they must if there's any chance at all. He starts rattling off ideas. How can they get enough power to stop her? How can they kill Amara, too? If God is dying and it tips the scales towards Darkness, can they remove her and leave both scales empty? Will it undo the slow demise of the sun if both God and Darkness are forever removed? If they can't trap her, it may be the only chance they have. Chuck remarks that light is her weakness. Crowley scoffs, “He tells us now.” Chuck hadn't intended it to get to this point. He is anguished when he replies, “I just wanted to trap her. I didn't want to murder her.” Clearly, this Plan B will be a painful one and will cause the destruction of his sister---a proposition that doesn't sit well.
Since light is the weapon and God isn't at strength to face her himself, that means they'll need another source. It means that currency of the Dante Construct comes into play once more: souls. They'll need enough souls to build a bomb that will infuse enough light into Amara that it will destroy her, too. If there's any chance of removing both God and Amara to restore the balance to everything, this is how they'll have to do it. There's no chance otherwise. There's no way to kill her by any other means. Hands of God were ineffective. Their big plan to lock her away in the Mark failed. What does that leave them?
Ghosts. The Winchesters know they can gather some ghosts in a few key hauntings. Waverly Hills is one of the most haunted on record and if they can take in the stone that will gather the souls and suck them up, maybe they'll have enough to face down the Darkness---or at least enough of a start. So, Sam and Dean, with a fresh plan head off to do just that. It is a “desperate and stupid” plan according to Crowley---and yet those are the plans that seem to work the most often for the Winchesters. They head into the place, Dean mocking Rowena by stating, “It's a Book of the Damned spell, boyos. Take this wee crystal it'll suck up all the blimey ghosts. Just say the magic word.” It captures just how desperate they've become---yet never willing to back down. The plan works and they return, only to discover it just isn't enough. There's plenty of firepower in there for something, but not Amara. They need more souls and fast.
There's no way to call upon the angels as Castiel remarks, “They know God is dying and they don't think we can win. Souls or no souls They're sealing Heaven and quote dying with dignity.” Crowley's stash has been raided. So, this plan has already hit a few snags as to be expected. They'll simply have to rely on some other source of souls.
Now that Amara has destroyed the Bunker warding, however, it opens them up to being found. Billie the Reaper makes her appearance, checking in on the dying Chuck and wondering just what the Winchesters are doing. She says, “With you know, credits about to roll, why are you boys busting ghosts?” After all, they were in her realm. The brothers were gathering dead souls. “Dead folks. Kinda my thing,” she remarks, curious as to why they'd need that many and so fast. Once they outline the plan, Billie takes the stone and gathers a multitude of souls into it. It glows brightly and Rowena is pleased by the sheer amount. Billie admits that she's raided the entirety of the Veil---the one that has been infested with spirits trapped with Heaven being inaccessible after Metatron's handiwork.
Now all they need to do is finish this bomb. It'll take someone with a “personal connection” to get close to Amara. That means Dean. And yet, despite Crowley's quip that he could “shove it up---” it's not where the bomb will go. Dean will be the bomb. Those souls will be put into his heart, put on a trigger, and provide the firepower required to stop Amara for good. It is a heartbreaking decision, but this is the Plan B that is required this time to win. After all, if they're truly committed to “saving people” they must do this. The Winchesters must go through this sacrifice one more time.
Dean, however, will get the chance to make his rounds and goodbyes. He stops with Sam at their mother's grave. Castiel hugs him tight. Dean is about to do something for the greater good---no matter how much it hurts. Dean makes sure to hug his angel friend back, comforting him before he no longer can. He also demands, “Listen, if, when, when this works---Sam he's gonna be a mess, so look out for him. Make sure he doesn't do anything stupid.”
Trying to infuse some humor into the darkest of situations---and to try and soften the blow---Dean remarks, “Okay, look. I want a big funeral. All right? I'm talking epic, okay? Open bar, choir, Sabbath cover band and Gary Busey reading the eulogy.” It's a simple last request---a celebration of their triumph instead of a solemn marking of their heavy losses.
And then it is time for him to make his last goodbye. Sam stands, his expression one of broken grief and determination. He has been where Dean stands before. He knows the sacrifice that Dean makes. He knows why. And yet, it still hurts like Hell. No matter how much it hurts, though, he will stand by Dean and his decision to go through with it. His brother has to do this if there's any shot at stopping the end. Dean tries to blow it off, reminding Sam of their long spoken rules. Sam won't have any of it and remarks, “You love chick flicks.” Dean doesn't bother to fight the point and replies, “Yeah, you're right I do. Come here.” It is this embrace that will give Dean the strength he needs---even if it hurts. He knows that this is one of the hardest things they endure and that goodbye has never been their strong suit.
After Chuck zaps Dean to Amara's hiding spot and there he confronts her head on. She is now alone again, watching the world's destruction with quiet fear and regret. Quickly, she calls his bluff and knows that he's there with a bomb in his chest. She remarks, “My brother betrayed me. He locked me up for billions of years. He sent you to execute me.” The rage that sparked the end flares anew briefly. She is still smarting from what Chuck has done. She is still smarting from the abandonment and the rejection she feels. All that built up anger remains simmering just a little. Dean can tell, though, that it isn't as potent as it once was. He tells her, “No, no. No. He zapped me here, yes. But He didn't want this. This wasn't His idea, you're family. He doesn't want you dead, He doesn't want any of this!”
Family. It is this concept that will shape the ultimate triumph the Winchesters execute in this episode. In Sam's willingness---albeit with a broken and heavy heart---to do what they must to “save people” and the world once more to Dean's unwillingness to actually pull the trigger on Amara, we see them teaching the greatest lesson to two of the most powerful beings. In Sam's gentle attention and care for Chuck as he's dying, simply providing comfort and a soothing presence to Dean getting to the root of Amara's real hurt, they're able to diffuse one of the longest standing feuds and restore balance without another death. In the last hours of creation, they manage to do the unthinkable: they win.
It is why Chuck has always had such faith in them. Amara has struggled all season to understand what this creation he's wrought means. She's seen it as insignificant and meaningless. It's put a wedge between her and her brother. It's put her in a cage. There's no reason why she shouldn't wipe it off the map---and yet she's not really angry with it. She's not really jealous of it. She's lonely. She's broken by a brother that preferred everything else over her. Dean tells her, “Yeah, that's revenge. It'll get you out of bed in the morning, and when you get it it'll make you feel great, for about five minutes. I've been there. Me and Sam, we have had our fair share of fights. More than our share. But no matter how bad it got, we always made it right, because we're family. I need him. He needs me, because when everything goes to crap that's all you got, family. And you may be an all-powerful being, but I think you're human where it counts. You simply need your brother.”
It is the truth that Amara's run from since her release. She's tinkered with all of God's creation, finding ways to destroy and torture and kill it. She's punished it to punish him. She's done all of these things to get Chuck's attention. And in the end it worked---but not without high cost and consequences. Her revenge has blown up in her face. It has not given her the satisfaction she wanted. Instead, it has brought her sorrow and ultimately her own demise. She tells Dean, “When God's gone. The universe, everything will cease to exist. Including me.”
That is the ultimate recoil against her actions. The natural order that exists will not allow everything to be merely undone or the balance to be destroyed. God and Amara are both necessary elements for the universe's existence. And it is why they must find a way to meet each other half-way and realize the truth that the Winchesters have learned so long ago. Family is everything and it is the only thing worth fighting for. It is the backbone of the universe and it keeps everything rotating. Dean remarks, “You don't want to be alone, not really. I mean, hell, maybe that's why you wanted me. But deep down you really didn't want me, 'cause I'm not Him. Maybe I can kill you, or maybe I can't. Maybe if I pull this trigger, we all live happily ever after, or maybe we all die bloody, or maybe it doesn't matter. Because maybe there's a different way. So I'm gonna ask you again, put aside the rage, put aside the hate and you tell me. What do you want?”
Amara seems lost by this. She can see the logic Dean presents in needing his brother and his brother needing him. It's truly all she's ever wanted with Chuck. To be on the same side, to have one another's back, to be truly needed by the other. This appeals to the Darkness because after such a lonely existence she wants nothing more than to belong. So, she brings Chuck to the same place, weakened as he is and finally faces him from a place of vulnerability. She reminds him of her jealousies, of her need for revenge, and that she had believed that he had loved her. And then she states, “I did, and I thought revenge would make me happy. I was wrong. What you've made, it's beautiful. It took me a long time to see that. I know we can't go back to the way things were. I don't want to. But I wish, I wish we could just be family again.”
Family. It is this word that is the backbone of Supernatural and it is the methodology to saving the world once more. Dean never has to pull the trigger on the bomb that Rowena built. They don't have to blow Amara up along with God. Instead, he has managed to teach them the secret of their success---to prove why humanity is God's greatest creation and why their never quit attitude and their capacity to love will always win out in the end. Plan B has morphed quietly into Plan C. In so doing, love and family have triumphed once more.
And then, Amara finds the strength and compassion to heal her brother. She returns his light and saves him. She undoes one of the terrible things she's done. The slow dying of God and the sun reverses slowly, the light swelling to a new crescendo. The touch that has only ever brought death and destruction has now restored life. It prevents them from canceling each other out. It gives them a chance to move beyond the hurt. It also gives Chuck the strength to remove the bomb from Dean, defusing the situation entirely.
As they prepare the leave and bond once more, Dean is nervous about the fate of the world now that God will disappear once more. Chuck confirms his absolute trust in Sam and Dean. He tells Dean gently, “Earth will be fine. It's got you and Sam.” That is the biggest stamp of approval that the brothers have ever received. Chuck has truly handed the torch to them and it is in their hands that the fate of the world and its ongoing protection will rest.
However, it doesn't mean the work is done. Sam, believing that he has lost his brother to the bomb, unaware that his brother is not dead and has been reunited with another family member in their mother, arrives back at the Bunker with Castiel. As he enters, the angel is taken away from him by a banishing sigil and once again Sam is to face the world without his brother---and utterly alone. An English representative of the Men of Letters stands, holding a gun on him. She has come to take him and his brother in to face a council for the global messes they've made (and cleaned up). Sam is tired and exasperated by this waiting for him at home and calls her bluff. He states, “You and I both know you're not gonna pull the trigger.”
Unfortunately, she does follow through and we're left to wonder at the fate of Sam---and how both Dean and Mary will react to what has taken place in the Bunker. Will family be able to triumph anew in season 12? Will the international Men of Letters try and make Sam and Dean face their laws? Will Sam and Dean truly be able to stand together once everything has been sorted out again---and be the guardians Chuck envisions? Can they commit to “saving people, hunting things, family business” with these new challenges? It's going to be a long summer to wait and find out.