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.