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It won't be 10,000 words, but it might seem like it.  Grab a coffee and some danish -- or an energy bar, we'll be here a while.

What makes a finale memorable?  Is it the entire episode wrapping up all the threads from the season, drawing all the loose moments together until we say, oh, that’s what it all meant?  Is a finale memorable because the last five minutes are unbelievably riveting, leaving us hanging on the edge of our seats all summer long awaiting the show’s return?  Can I say a finale is awesome if throughout most of it I was waiting for the payoff that came in the final moments?  What about if the final moments are somewhat of a letdown, for the entire episode actually served as closure to a certain chapter, and although there are new storylines opened for the next season, it’s clear that the show has ended its season on a quieter more subdued note?  Supernatural, over ten seasons, has served up season finale episodes that cover all these, and other, categories.

With Season Ten’s "Brother’s Keeper" in the books, and many long weeks ahead, I thought I’d spend a bit of time looking at all ten of the finales, and speak a bit about which ones I loved as a whole and which ones had parts that stood out, even as the whole was less than the parts.

We’ll start at the beginning.

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For me, "Devil’s Trap" still ranks as number one in finales.  The entire episode works, from Sam and Dean needing help right at the beginning – enter Bobby Singer! – to Meg Masters' exorcism, Dean wanting to be a fireman, rescuing John, killing of another human – you know, back when that was a line that was difficult to cross, Sam choosing Dean because for the past year they’d had each other’s backs, Yellow-Eyes possessing John, the most amazing monologue ever – back when those really had snap and sizzle and did more than simply download vast quantities of information while the brothers were captive -- Sam refusing to take revenge on the thing that killed mom and Jessica because Dean pleaded with him not to, and then, as the Winchesters three were en route to the hospital for a few Band-Aids, aspirin and a tourniquet or two, BLAM, an 18-wheeler takes out the Impala in a gorgeously shot stunt that almost failed.  Kim Manners, you knew how to stage ‘em.  As for that stunt driver, who has never been named, or if he has, his name fails me (shame on me!) you saved the shot in the end.

"Devil’s Trap" as a whole is a finale done right.  I’m glad I never had to endure the summer hiatus, because back then the show wasn’t even renewed yet.  I don’t know if Upfronts existed at that time, but it would have been at least or week or more before fans knew the show was coming back, and then four plus months of agony.

"Devil’s Trap" is the standard to which I compare all the rest.


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Then there’s "All Hell Breaks Loose Part II."  Um, yeah, that one doesn’t hold up well.  Much of it is due to the fact that the really oh-my-gosh-hold-your-breath-until-you-turn-blue moment occurred the week before:  Sam Winchester died in Dean’s arms.  (Again, really glad I didn’t have to even endure that one-week delay between episodes.  Whew!)  So, Part 2 was tasked with the fallout of Sam’s death as well as tying up much of the threads dangling all season long with the ‘special kids.’  That was a tall order, and it didn’t hold up well due to the amount of exposition that needed to occur.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t excellent parts though. 

For example, Dean’s speech over Sam’s lifeless body, which all these years later still gets me, ranks as one of Jensen’s hardest and proudest moments in 218 episodes.  That’s saying something.  Then there’s Bobby trying to talk sense into Dean, and Dean pushing him away, only to show up at his house, with his now alive brother at his side, ready to get back into the action.  The two men have an amazing moment in the yard that echoes so many of the themes of the season, from Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things as well as Crossroad Blues.  Then there’s the arrival of Ellen, thankfully saved from the blast at the Roadhouse that killed Ash:  Whiskey, please, but after that, much of the episode is flat as the pieces of the puzzle are collected and formed and the hell’s gate is found in Wyoming. 

The scene at the graveyard is very well done, even as the ‘reunion,’ as it was, of John, Dean, and Sam had to be shot separately due to script rewrites and actors’ availability.  Still, seeing John look so proudly upon his boys after the death of the Yellow-Eyed Demon (with a beautiful shot from the barrel of the Colt) is a tear-inducing moment.  I love that Sam figured out all the parts of Dean's deal and just as that conversation was getting good, it's interrupted with some lame dialogue from Ellen and Bobby.  The finale served to end the first chapter of the series -- find that thing that killed mom -- and it did that well, even if at times it was clunky.  Still, I find myself fast forwarding through several parts just to get to the good scenes.  Sadly, that also occurs in Season 3’s finale, although to a lesser degree.


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Dean’s deal comes due, Lilith is confronted, Ruby lends a hand, there’s a massive showdown with demons in suburbia, and Bon Jovi rocks…occasionally.  What’s not to love?  Well, all the scenes with over indulged, sugar high rocking Lilith, that’s what.  I’m not sure just what Eric Kripke was trying to do with having Lilith on ‘sabbatical’ in suburbia eating cake and candy, but I found it annoying.  I didn’t care about the family’s terror or watching them one by one get picked off; however, the rest of the episode worked for me greatly.  I loved Dean’s nightmare and Sam’s concern and support; I loved Dean and Sam arguing over just what lengths they would go to in order to save the other – those lines have since been crossed many a time, but, hey, the show would have ended if the brothers weren’t willing to go to whatever lengths necessary.  I love Bobby telling Dean that family don’t end in blood, as well as the fact that that line continues to resonate, not only with the fandom, but with the characters, all these years later.  There’s Wanted: Dead or Alive in the Impala, Ruby coming along to ‘help’, Dean fighting back tears as he tells Sammy to remember what Dad taught him and remember what he taught him and Sam so desperate to save Dean but unable to do so and knowing he would have to go on in a matter of minutes without his brother and then, then it happened:  Hell hound on the loose, Dean torn to shreds, Lilith makes her entrance, white light and…Sam is completely unaffected, but Dean is bloody, shredded, and dead on the floor.  The final scene, the scene that carried those of us watching the show at the time (I was one of them by then) all throughout the long hellatus (and it was long, I tell you, especially with no WFB to help pass the time) was Dean chained in hell with meat hooks through his flesh, screaming SAM!!!!!!!!!

"No Rest for the Wicked" wasn’t up to the standards of "Devil’s Trap," but the parts of the whole were amazing, and that final scene easily stands side by side with the shot of the wrecked Impala, three bloody Winchesters, and Bad Moon on the Rise playing.

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In "Lucifer Rising," all the seals are broken, Lilith’s endgame revealed, Ruby’s deception comes home to roost, Zachariah’s hand is played, Castiel has chosen his side, and Sam and Dean are clinging to each other as the screen fades to…white, all with the portal to hell roaring in our ears as Lucifer is coming…

"Lucifer Rising" is a very good finale.  I didn’t care much for the girl screaming and the demon within her enjoying the reverse torture (because it was torturing Sam) mostly because those scenes simply slowed down the pace overall.  I did love Sam’s back and forth as he struggled with his separation from Dean, not only physically but mentally and emotionally because of the events of "When the Levee Breaks," but also the immorality of what he was doing was so very difficult for him.  All season long Sam didn’t much mind that he was drinking the blood of a demon to extract demons, but that was because he saved more of the vessels than he killed, in fact, that was his rationalization to Dean when it became known.  Now, however, he was going to have to kill this girl, and that was a burden that weighed heavily.

Dean, for his part, struggled this episode not only because of the things he said to Sam, very hurtful things, but also because he learned it was all a lie.  Zachariah had been playing them all.  Ruby and Zach each played a long con, and while Ruby’s debt came due here, Zach’s had to wait until Season 5.  All the scenes in the Green Room work, from Dean exploring his ‘cage’ to Castiel and Zachariah visiting him, ultimately Castiel choosing a side as he broke Dean out from captivity and transported them both to Chuck’s to find out where Sam was and then staying behind to “hold them off” so Dean could stop Sam.  Those scenes flowed, and each one of them heightened the urgency, as well as revealed the deception as the color morphed from bright and clean to darker and more washed out and the pictures on the walls changed from happy and positive to bloody and dark.  It was perspective all along, for both Sam and Dean.  Each had been played. 

The best part of this episode was the end, when Sam, poised to kill Lilith, white noise roaring in his ears, Ruby screaming at him to end her, pauses as he hears his brother yelling for him.  In that moment, Sam, who was so torn and so lost, yet believing what he was doing was for the greater good, heard the one sound he needed most, Dean’s voice.  Lilith, for her part, knew just how to break that moment and turn Sam back to her plan:  mockery.  She mocked Sam and then called him what he feared, and hated, most.  In that moment, his anchor behind a door and the loud voice and physical presence of Lilith right in his face – Lilith who had arranged for Dean’s deal and sent him to hell right in front of Sam’s eyes – Sam took his revenge and killed Lilith.  Then, as Ruby unveiled her long con, gloating in triumph that she was awesome (she wasn’t) Dean burst through the door and the brothers reunited, after nearly a season of being at odds and killed Ruby together.  Fabulous!

Sam’s apology, the move to leave, and the realization that “He’s coming” as the screen goes white sends us into hellatus 2009, and we’re left for nearly 20 weeks to see what happens next; "Lucifer Rising" is on the upside of the season finales, alongside of "Devil’s Trap" and "No Rest for the Wicked."

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What of a season finale that is truly ending an era?  Can it really live up to the hype or is it bound to fall under the weight of not only the expectations but all that the previous five seasons have been building to?  "Swan Song" failed in some respects, but absolutely succeeded in others.  Its biggest failure was the complete rewrite of all that Dean’s character had been building towards.  Suddenly, all the information telling us that Dean alone was Michael’s vessel was out the window and Adam was now completely acceptable.  This doesn’t work.  I’ve reconciled it over the seasons by believing that Kripke truly believed the show would end at the conclusion of his five-year plan.  When The CW agreed to renew it for a sixth season, and Kripe was no longer staying on, having done what he came to do, he needed to change his ending.  That meant that the epic showdown between Dean and Sam, as Michael and Lucifer – likely ending with the two of them in the cage forever, thus saving the world by stopping the Apocalypse, had to be altered.  That unraveled much of what Season 4 and Season 5 had been building towards with Dean and grated at my senses.  But, aside from that, I really enjoyed "Swan Song."

I loved all the Impala backstory drawing everything together to this one moment.  It is often the unlikely things that change the course of history, things that go unnoticed except by a select few.  Here, it was a car, rolling off the assembly line a few days after the prestigious one hundred millionth car.  I guess one hundred million and one isn’t impressive.  Then, of course, this is a show about the unlikely things, unnoticed by most; it's two brothers from small town Kansas who drive the back roads of the country saving people, never getting credited for their efforts, and only occasionally thanked.  It’s the sight of a toy army soldier that triggers a cascade of memories of years spent in that car, lonely but for each other, laughter and tears, and more than a few beers.  Yes, it is often the little things that knock us to our knees, and "Swan Song" brought that home, much as we saw in "Brother’s Keeper" with the photos.

Mark Pellegrino, no surprise, was excellent as Lucifer, and then Jared knocked it out of the park as he inhabited Pellegrino’s Lucifer and showed the struggle between the two within Sam.  In the end, Kripke tied up all the loose threads he was able to tie up, sending Sam into the cage with Lucifer and Adam as Michael.  Dean fulfilled his promise to Sam and went and sought out Lisa, leaving hunting in his rearview mirror, and then Bobby, after hugging it out with Dean, continued on as a hunter.

It was a long hellatus of speculation as we all wondered at Sam’s reappearance.  Was he really Sam?  Was he a demon and that’s why the lights flickered and the thunder rumbled or was it something else?   Season 6 had the answers.

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Now, if you’ve read my articles, or looked at my author page, you’re aware that much of Seasons 6, 7, 8, and 9 did not work for me.  In fact, much of them are skipped over by me.  I’m just not a fan of season-long lies and anger and separation of the brothers, be it literal separation or simply mental and emotional.  It’s just too close to real life – and that’s not why I watch Supernatural.

I also believe that in Seasons 6 and 7 the writers tried to do too much and tried to change too much.  I can understand the allure, after all, these are creative people who now are able to create without the previous five-year structure determining their course.  Still, I didn’t then, and still don’t now, enjoy many of those episodes.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t excellent moments.  Season 6’s finale had some excellent moments, and I’ll focus on those.

Jared Padalecki’s portrayal of Sam putting himself back together after the ‘wall’ came down in his head was right up there with one of his top performances in Supernatural, and he has had many.  I loved the different facets of Sam coming together to create the whole Sam.  We are, after all, the person we are because of who we are, good, bad, sad, mad, happy, smart…you get my point.  Sam had done bad things without his soul, and that, just like Dean’s demon-mangled self in parts of Season 10, was a part of who he is.  Sam was also deeply broken by what he endured, and no doubt, some of what he had done, and that too was a part of his whole self.  His determination to put himself back together, even knowing that it was going to be awful, because he was not going to “leave my brother alone out there” is why I love this show.  I can – and frequently do – fast forward through the other parts, but Sam putting himself back together and forging ever forward are scenes I watch and rewatch.  It’s great television!

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"Survival of the Fittest," as is often the case with "Supernatural," has too much crammed into the episode.  It’s not just Sera’s way of writing, similar things happened with both Carver and Kripke, notably for Kripke the absence of anything in regard to the four horsemen until suddenly with only three episodes left we’re told that their rings are the keys to locking up Lucifer.  But hey, "Supernatural" remains better than most of what I watch on television, so I’ll deal with the information cram at the end of the season.  Still, this finale had a lot going on, Dick and Crowley negotiating a contract, Sam and Dean stealing bones from a nunnery, Castiel off the deep end, Meg and Castiel’s annoying flirtations, sending Bobby’s soul to heaven, or so they hoped.  Much of this finale I don’t enjoy, but this show does bring the heart, as well as leave us wondering in the end, and "Survival of the Fittest" did both of those. 

First up, Bobby was finally sent to heaven, or so we thought.  It was emotional and heart-rending as well as served to affect Castiel as he watched from afar.  He seemed to find some purpose again realizing that bad things happen and we have to deal with what we’re dealt.  Then, there is the rocking musical montage of the Impala – long hidden away, too long – returns with of all people(?) Meg driving!  A demon?  Wow, she’s come a long way from Scarecrow.  Finally, the big moment happens and Dick Roman is dispatched, taking Dean and Castiel into Purgatory with him.  Thankfully Dick Roman never appears again on "Supernatural," but with Dean and Castiel in Purgatory, and Sam topside without that piece of information, Hellatus again descends and we are left with months and months of speculation.

On to Season 8

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Carver had a lot of ground to cover, and much of it he covered well.  Other bits not so much.  Once the trials were discovered, however, the season had its focus and here in the finale, it was all coming together.  Sam is committed to his actions to complete the final trial, while Castiel suddenly is trying to complete a similar task only in closing the gates to heaven.  One of them succeeds, but oh, the consequences of that success. 

Jared and Mark’s scenes in the church are excellent.  Crowley may treasure his Flickr albums with Dean, but it was with Sam that he made a more human connection, and it worked well for that character by deepening him.  Crowley’s moments here still resonate in Season 10.  He could have killed Sam in "The Prisoner," but I think he didn’t for more than a few reasons, none the least of which is that he and Sam formed a connection in "Sacrifice" that still exists two seasons later.

Then there’s Dean and Sam in the church, and that is where Carver’s understanding of the heart of this show shines through.  His brother moments rank as some of my favorites, and this is no exception.  Sam’s desperation to have Dean’s approval and Dean’s desperation to reassure Sam that no one and nothing will ever come between Dean’s love for and need for Sam gets me every time.  It serves to highlight just what that year separation with Dean in Purgatory and Sam upstairs did to alter the brothers’ perception of the other.  Both were disappointed in what the other had done or didn’t do, and it came to a head here, but also continued on into Season 9 and played out throughout Season 10.  It shows how much these brothers have been through, how worn and ragged they are.  They aren’t the same “bitch/jerk” of the early seasons.  I may miss that, but it is a normal progression after what they’ve endured.

As "Sacrifice" comes to a close, with the gates to heaven closed thus casting out the angels, the effects are gorgeous and no doubt in the minds of those who executed the effects for Season 10’s "Brother’s Keeper."  In Season 8, we had the angels falling from the sky, bright lights and balls of fire shooting like meteors.  In Season 10, we had the Darkness bursting from within the earth, earthquakes and black smoke erupting from beneath and coalescing into a ball of fury that washed over the landscape.  The writing may not be tight and consistent all the time, but the special effects rarely, if ever, fail to deliver.


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For a time, in regards to this show, I didn’t believe in miracles.  Most of Season 9 is a pass for me with the lying and distrust and anger, as well as Metatron.  I know Curtis Armstrong counts this as one of his top five characters, and he certainly does the best he can with what he has, but throughout this season this character was one long boring, moaning, narcissistic bit of nonsense, who thankfully got caught in the finale.  He was infinitely better in Season 10, but that’s not for discussion now.  "Do You Believe in Miracles?" spent a lot of time on Metatron, and I fast forward through all of that until I get to the good part, once he slides that blade into Dean’s chest, then the finale got good!

I love every second from Sam’s anguished “NO!” to him struggling to carry his dying brother as Dean wonders at Sam’s seeming change of heart.  I don’t mind the intercutting of scenes as we see Metatron fall into Castiel’s trap in heaven parallel to Sam and Dean’s struggle – the height of one angel’s victory, to the depth of despair as Dean’s dying words to Sam are gasped out:  “I’m proud of us.”  Sam is not often cast as the reassuring brother, as that is often Dean’s role, but as Dean is dying, Sam leaps into that role as he struggles to reassure Dean and get him to help.  His despair as it all collapses on him as Blind Faith’s lyrics from Can’t Find My Way Home begin to play…well, pour me a whiskey right along with you, Sam.  I’m a goner.

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Which brings us to Season 10:  "Brother’s Keeper"

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If you read my recent article on Season 10, you’ll know that I liked this finale.  Similar to Season 4’s "Lucifer Rising," the brothers are separated until nearly the end.  Also similar are some moments akin to "Point of No Return," Carver’s last episode in Season 5 until he rejoined the show at the start of Season 8.  Also, similar to Season 1’s "Devil’s Trap," "Brother’s Keeper" flowed logically from one part to the next.  We see Sam working with Cas and Crowley and Rowena to perform the spell to remove the Mark of Cain.  Sam leaves the group as he receives a call from fellow hunter Rudy that Dean is off the rails and he sets off to find him.  It’s a testament to how far the characters have come that Sam leaves the team working on the spell, firm in his belief they will carry out the mission, and they do. 

Dean for his part is trying to do that which he has done all season once he was de-demoned:  work.  In fact, that has always been Dean’s failsafe when things are bad.  Remember in "Wishful Thinking" in Season 4?  Nightmares of hell were plaguing him but all he wanted to do was work – and drink.  Dean works a case, something he tells Sam when they do finally meet up on the phone.  Of course, while he manages to save one victim and kill the two vampires, he does get a fellow hunter killed, plus was none too smooth or professional with the grieving family or the local police.  Still, Dean know that the jig is up and he goes to someone that he has gone to before when things are off the rails:  Death.

The scenes with Julian Richings and Jensen Ackles have snap and sparkle just like they always do, but when Jared enters the scene, and we have Dean and Sam together, having been apart since the beginning of The Prisoner, then things really get good.  I understand why Death said Sam had to die.  After all, he knows only too well that the brothers will move heaven and earth and anything and everything else for each other.  Since Death knew that the MoC was a lock and key, and also knew just what it locked away, then it makes sense that he would want to insure that no one ever removed that Mark from Dean’s arm.  Since Dean wasn’t willing to inflict it upon another, then the only alternative was to kill Sam to prevent it from ever being removed.  Dean’s call to Sam indicated, on the surface, just how far gone Dean was since he was luring Sam to his death.  But, Sam was not without recourse.  His one and only focus all season long has been to be there for Dean.  Sam fought to find him, cure the demon within him, and take care of him through encouragement and support.  I’m doing the hellatus rewatch now, but I don’t think there was a time when Sam didn’t have Dean’s back this whole season, physically in a fight or emotionally and mentally in a conversation. 

Just as we have seen before, when John fought off Yellow-Eyes’ possession and Bobby fought off the demon possessing him and Sam fought off Lucifer’s possession, love overcomes.  Dean looked into the loving and supportive eyes of his brother, who refused to condemn him but rather appealed to his humanity and his sense of self through his love of family, and found his strength to stand again.  One swing of Death’s scythe and Sam was out of harm’s way and Dean was…well, at that moment all he knew was that he still had the Mark.  Then the lightning crackled and the spell that Sam left in Crowley and Castiel’s and Rowena’s hands was enacted and the MoC was wiped form Dean’s arm.  Gone. 

All the hurtful moments of Dean not believing in Sam’s abilities in Season 8 and Sam’s frustrations and hurt and anger over Dean’s betrayal in Season 9 were ripped away as well, and the brothers walked out of the Cantina a united force once again.  Good thing too, for the Darkness has been released.  Where things go from here is currently unknown, but Carver has gone on the record and stated things will get much worse for the Brothers Winchester come Season 11.

There’s only four some months left.

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We can make it...right?


As always, thanks for reading, Elle2


Comments  

cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-06-17 17:49
Thanks for recapping these finales. I agree with you Devils Trap is by far my favorite of all(in fact I just watched it last night).
Swan Song I had issues with not because of the switch with Adam but that the entire series up to that point had been Dean never letting Sam go. His entire reason for his existence was to protect Sam at all costs (according to Dean). And he just sits there and lets Sam jump into the cage to be tortured for all eternity (because he was manipulated by demons and angels into unwittingly letting Lucifer out). That never sat well with me. On the other hand in Brothers Keeper Dean chose Sam over an apocalypse far greater than any they have ever faced. That worked much better for me. The consequences are going to be devastating but I am so happy the brothers are united (please stay that way please).
Probably still for me the end of DYBIM was the one I carried with me the longest (for most of the summer). I don't know why but it was weeks before I got over that one. And like you I fast forward through the Metatron parts.
Nothing works as well on this show as scenes between Jared and Jensen. They so far outshine the rest of the cast that I think sometimes it diminishes the rest of the story a little. I just want to get back to Sam and Dean. Since the finales usually concentrate on the brothers (strangely S7 didn't so much) they almost always work for me.
I am doing my summer re watch and I just finished S1. On to the devastating end of S2.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-06-17 18:47
Cheryl, do you re-watch the entire show every summer? My daughter and I did it last summer and it took quite awhile.
Lilah_Kane
# Lilah_Kane 2015-06-17 19:17
I am already on season five on mine so it has gone pretty fast. It has helped with the articles and other stuff I have planned. I just watch it at the same time when I work with the computer. Just finished The End. Haven't still decided tho if I will re-watch s7. Probably only one I will skip again.

- Lilah
elle2
# elle2 2015-06-17 19:25
Hi, Lilah_Kane, I know you were answering samandean10 and not me, but I just wanted to add that the length of hellatus is why I write so many articles -- helps to move the time along. Heck, we're already 20% of the way through this year's hellatus. that's not bad, right?:(
Lilah_Kane
# Lilah_Kane 2015-06-18 01:47
Aye, it really does. And all my shows are on hiatus and I can't think of a better way than watch Supernatural to pass it + writing and doing my own stuff. :)

- Lilah
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-06-17 20:38
I have to admit that I do. I usually only have an hour or so to watch tv (unless it's a baseball game) at night. My goal is to watch each episode before the new season begins. With 218 episodes that is getting really hard to do. I might have to go with season favorites.
elle2
# elle2 2015-06-17 19:23
hi, Cheryl142,

Great comments you have here. I was surprised as I was writing this and reviewing the finales that Devil's Trap still resonates so strongly with me, and others, such as Swan Song and No Rest For The Wicked don't hold up as well. I still enjoy them, but there are fairly lengthy parts I will fast forward over, and there isn't anything in Devil's trap I speed past. I've changed though. Still love this silly show way too much. ;)

Always love reading your thoughts. Thanks for sharing.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-06-17 22:46
elle2, I agree with many of your thoughts about the finales. I really didn't like DYBIM except for the last few minutes. Nothing about the rest of that episode worked for me except for Gadreel's redemption. I also thought Season 7's finale was kind of weak, and I agree that AHBL2 packed less punch than other finales, except for Dean's monologue over Sam's body. But my favorite finale, and favorite episode ever, is Swan Song. Despite the fact that it really bothered me that Kripke seemed to think it appropriate that Sam roast in hell for unintentionally starting the apocalypse, I get emotional as soon as Chuck's narration starts. The beginning and ending scenes between the brothers are fantastic, and the scene where Sam remembers all of the brothers' moments to the sound of the rushing wind (or whatever it was) is more affecting than any other scene in the series. But the runners up in that regard are the brother scenes at the end of Sacrifice and Brothers Keeper. To me, the best scenes in SPN are the ones that highlight the incredible bond between the brothers. And those scenes have been few and far between the last few years. But Brothers Keeper gives me hope that Season 11 will see a strong renewal of that bond. Fingers crossed!
BoGirle
# BoGirle 2015-06-18 07:22
Agreed. DYBIM is actually last on my list of finales. I hated the whole episode, the violation of Sam with no attention paid to his pain or POV, the mentioning of his "nightmares" as an afterthought, Dean clocking Sam to take him out of the fight (I knew he'd loose then), the whole "I'm proud of us" trite, and underwhelming wrap up to a years worth of strife, no resolution to anything. Having one of your characters die just so you don't have to have them talk to one another is the worst kind of copout. And I am not exactly sure what Dean was proud of ... neither brother had much to be proud of IMO... they had both behaved deplorably all season long and now were reaping the repercussions of their poor behavior and resolving their differences in four words that meant nothing, addressed nothing and resolved nothing.

I also agree that Swan Song was the best. It was a masterpiece. I had no trouble with the Adam substitution because it was made known much earlier on that it was the Winchester bloodline that was important. Adam was clearly the second best choice, and it was pretty obvious that the angels had no intention of going with him, but Dean tricked them. I was fine with that....it's probably the only way that Sam could have defeated him anyway. Dean was the true Michael vessel, and Adam was the poor substitute that they were forced to use. I love that the episode was quiet and contemplative and that it was Dean's appealing to their brotherhood that got through to Sam and let him take control for just that one moment.

But, sorry S&D this is where were part ways. I wasn't a big fan of Brother's Keeper. The Bro-Mo was lovely but it didn't save the rest of the episode for me. Too much Crowely, Rowena, and useless Cas, not enough Boys. The killing of Death (still hoping that this is a ruse of some kind being perpetrated by him and is not actually true) and the out of left field, nonsensical THE DARKNESS!!!! made Brother's Keeper a weaker finale for me. Sacrifice still ranks pretty high though, I do agree with you on that. And I also agree that AHBL I should have been the finale in season 2; that was the first brother death and it remains to this day the most gut wrenching. Can you imagine waiting all summer to find out if Sam really had died only to find out that he HAD? Holy crap that would have been painful if it had gone that way. Devils trap still holds up well too, that semi just comes out of nowhere and BLAM!
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elle2
# elle2 2015-06-19 08:22
Hi, samandean10,

Yes, all of Chuck's words -- which to me always ring out as Kripke's words, which is why I wrote, I think, at the time that this was truly Kripke's love letter to the fans -- get me emotional and catch me up into the episode and the story as a whole. I love that part of Swan Song. I never enjoyed the blood drinking bits as I felt that undid what we were told in Lucifer Rising -- it was always you Sam, you didn't need the feather [blood] to fly. But, on a whole, that bothers me a whole lot less as time has passed.

I agree, this show shines when the brother moments are highlighted. That's what each and every finale has managed to do, even Survival of the Fittest, although that remains the weakest out of all of them for me.

Thanks for writing and my fingers and toes are crossed for a strong renewal of the brotherly bond in Season 11!
YellowEyedSam
# YellowEyedSam 2015-06-18 09:04
Quote:
an 18-wheeler takes out the Impala in a gorgeously shot stunt that almost failed. Kim Manners, you knew how to stage ‘em. As for that stunt driver, who has never been named, or if he has, his name fails me (shame on me!) you saved the shot in the end.
It did? How did it almost fail? :o

Quote:
as it was, of John, Dean, and Sam had to be shot separately due to script rewrites and actors’ availability.
So when Sam and Dean look at John's ghost he's not there? Gosh

Quote:
(with a beautiful shot from the barrel of the Colt)
I agree. Such an amazing shot!

Quote:
There’s only four some months left.


Ugh.. I'm glad I saved all the extras from the blu rays for this moment.

Ellie you say S1 finale was your favourite yes? I'm very curious if you've seen the anime version of it and how it compares to the live action. By this I mean in terms of writing. Also if the anime version of All hell breaks loose part 2 does more for you than the live action one?
elle2
# elle2 2015-06-18 17:08
Hi, Yellow-Eyed Sam

I think it's on the DVD commentary for Devil's Trap where the discussion is that something happened when the 18-wheeler hit the car, the two vehicles got locked together and veered off into the field and almost took out the camera shooting it. Since it was film at that time, not digital (which may or may not be automatically uploaded onto a computer monitor) they almost lost the shot. Credit was given to the stunt driver for saving the shot at the last second.

I haven't seen the anime version, so have no comparisons for you. Perhaps someone else can chime in on that.????

I think in AHBL2 Jeffery and Jensen were on stage at the same time (this was shot on a sound stage, so all set dressing for that cemetery shot) and that is why those two physically connected in the scene. Jared's shots had to come later and I think it's discussed on that DVD that he had to look at hanging tennis balls that depicted where Jeffrey's mark was and Jensen's.

Glad you've got some extras off the Blu Rays to keep you company. Of course, we here at the WFB will keep the fires stoked daily with new goodies to enjoy. :-)

Thanks for commenting!
JJA
# JJA 2015-06-18 11:54
With the exception of "My Brother's Keeper" (which was a total disaster and abomination), I think the Supernatural season finales were all excellent. Even "Survival of the Fittest" delivers beautifully, despite being part of a rather disappointing season.

Personally, I think the best of the 10 was "Swan Song."

Had Supernatural ended at season 5, I don't actually believe the episode would have been much different. I still believe Adam would have returned to take Dean's place as Michael's vessel, or maybe they would have brought back John for that purpose. However, Sam & Adam throwing themselves in the "pit" was exactly what would have happened. The only possible difference was that there would have been some confirmation that Sam was safely in Heaven, and then Dean would have gone to live-out his life with Lisa.

Why do I say this? A recurring theme in the first 5 episodes was how easily Dean was willing to sacrifice himself to save Sam, thus it would have been very profound and unexpected for Sam to sacrifice himself for Dean. In re-watching the first 5 seasons, I think it's rather obvious that the series was heading towards a huge Sam-sacrifice in the series finale, thereby enabling Dean to live out his true dream of being a family man, which was also a theme explored in the first 5 seasons.

But now that the series has kept going into a season 11, I think the only fitting ending at this point would be a Sam & Dean sacrifice in the same vein as Ellen & Jo. Perhaps the most significant role that the Harvelle women played in Supernatural was to foreshadow the ultimate end of Sam & Dean.
JJA
# JJA 2015-06-18 11:55
One more note: I think "Survival of the Fittest" would have been even more excellent has it kept its original title.

Remember? The season 7 finale was originally to be called "Kill Dick" -- I loved that title.
elle2
# elle2 2015-06-19 08:18
Hi, JJA,

Your thoughts have got me thinking. Well said. I do think it ends bloody for the brothers. Fairly certain both J's have stated that for them they believe in the end Sam and Dean either die together or go on together, but not one without the other. Of course, they also acknowledge that they have very little say in how the show ends. They might tweak some things here and there, but full-on creative input and decision-making in the outcomes, nope. While I hated we lost Ellen and Jo, their deaths work the best as they died for a worthy cause. It may have been futile in the end, at least as far as that episode, but they didn't know it at the time. The show does foreshadow things, and those foreshadowing elements are best viewed/seen by taking the longer view, as you had done here.

Interesting thoughts indeed. Thank you for sharing!
JJA
# JJA 2015-06-19 14:25
Admit it, "Survival of the Fittest" should be re-titled back to "Kill Dick" ... LOL

But seriously, the whole structure of Supernatural seasons 1-5 was Dean dreaming of a "normal life" and Dean suffering from self-loathing and not thinking he deserved happiness. Meanwhile, we have Sam causing Lucifer to escape "the cage" and him feeling guilty for all the suffering he caused. It just seems way too obvious that the series would end with Dean finally getting what he thinks he did not deserve, and Sam making the final sacrifice for his brother.

I'm also one of those people who think Ben is Dean's biological son. Why else would Lisa take him in? Dean & Lisa may have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy between them, but deep down I think they both know Ben is a Winchester. Perhaps keeping that bit of info secret is what will protect Ben from being drafted into the life. If we ever do see Ben & Lisa again (which I think would be cool), I hope they use Dylan Everett as a teenaged Ben. That will really drive the fans crazy in a good way ... lol

By the way, did anyone ever think of doing a "Young Sam & Dean Adventures" episode with Dylan Everett and Collin Ford? That would be cool too.

Regarding Ellen & Jo, I think it's really easy to write Ellen back into the story. We have full confirmation of Jo dieing (In both "Abandon all Hope" and "Defending Your Life"), but Ellen is a bit more ambiguous. Sure the assumption is that she blew herself up, but it won't be too hard for the writers to pull some retcon and write her back into the story. Frankly, I wish they'd do that -- I lived Ellen as a character. I also saw the actress recently in some random TV movie, and she really is quite good.
elle2
# elle2 2015-06-20 09:00
Hi, JJA,

I would love to see Ellen again! Team her up with Bobby and have them assist from heaven again. That would be great. Jo could be off somewhere with Ash, even though I really liked how much more grown up Jo was in Abandon All Hope, so she could come along as well! :-)
Karen
# Karen 2015-06-18 12:52
Hi Elle2
I enjoyed your article, it got my old brain cells working.
What makes a finale memorable?
Well for me I'd have to say it's a combination of some of the things you mentioned.
I like the wrapping up of loose threads, I don't need all the threads tied up neatly in a bow but as long as something's are answered or if the Big Bad gets his comeuppance, then I'm happy.
I also enjoy having some riveting, on the edge of my seat kind of moments. It doesn't necessarily have end with a cliff hanger, just as long as they kept me captivated.
And then there is the main characters themselves. In Supernatural's case the Brothers. Having those Brotherly bonding moments that put your heart and emotions through the wringer. Worrying about what their outcome at the end will be. Will they fight and survive side by side, left to prepare themselves for the next challenge, leaving me excited and anxious for the new season to start.
Or has one fallen or been separated from the other like in Devil' Trap, No Rest for the Wicked, Swan Song, Survival of the Fittest and Do You Believe in Miracles, leaving me spending the summer hiatus devastated, haunted or wringing my hands.
So I guess the bottom line is if they answered some questions, kept me captivated, effected me emotionally and have me excited for next season then I take that as a win.( I don't ask for much:D).
With that I can say I haven't been disappointed with any of the season finale's to date.
However I do have my favourites Devil's Trap, No Rest for the Wicked, Swan Song.
Thanks for the article.
elle2
# elle2 2015-06-19 08:15
Hi, Karen,

Love your post! You summed up your likes very well. I'd agree that every finale has had things that i enjoyed very much, and as long as there are brotherly moments...well, those always keep me coming back too!

Thanks for adding your thoughts.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2015-06-18 13:46
Great article; always nice to see other perspectives on season finales. For me, the season finales for Seasons 9 and 10 came across as contrived and manipulative, and didn't work as well for me. Not as optimistic about where things were left between the brothers after S10, but I guess we'll see. Of all the Carver finales, season 8 was the most enjoyable for me.

My favorite season finales were Seasons 4, 5, 1, then 8.
elle2
# elle2 2015-06-19 08:13
Hi, njspnfan,

Thanks for adding your favorite finales! I did like Season 10 much more than you, but like you, Season 9 was low, low, low on my list. I think contrived is a great term. While I enjoyed Season 9's final few minutes, I still feel the whole "I'm proud of us" comes out of the blue. Jared's performance, however, sold me on the rest. I'm shall that way. ;)

I'm hopeful for a good season 11, preferably a great one between the brothers. Hope, hope, hope.
FridaB
# FridaB 2015-06-19 12:42
Tbh, for me the season finale needs to end something and leave the door slightly ajar for the next season. I look at the story first of course, was I entertained? Was I bored? Did I feel satisfied? Wanting more?

Season 1 finale was the result of not knowing if the show would be renewed ( as were many of Kripke's and Gamble's years). They didn't resolve anything tho, so for me it was not so satisfying, although I enjoyed it very much. The ending left the door open for the next season and didn't irritate me (I loath cliff-hangers, I feel like they insult me as a fan, like I'm too stupid to remember to tune in next season when, in fact, many shows useless cliff-hangers have caused me to stop watching altogether. Not SPN obviously.)

Season 2 I liked even more. They finished the YED story and opened the door to the escaped demons and Dean's deal. Ellen and Bobby and the boys working together. Still one of my favorites.

Season 3. I'm of 2 minds. Little girl Lilith was creepy, Ruby needed a good smacking too. It had some great dialog and some really bad dialog. But I certainly wasn't bored and Sam's desperation was palpable. The end was good although nothing was really resolved. But we knew Dean would be rescued and this is what a finale cliff-hanger should be. How will they get out of this one. Ah, the speculation.

Season 4 was painful, up to and including the finale. I may be dumb, but I did have hope that this new and improved Ruby would be OK. So Lilith is dead, that's one story ended, but... How are they going to get out of THIS? So good.

Season 5 was painful too and the Sam & Dean (together and apart) were brilliant. I loved that the end was the culmination of the 'Cain sacrifices Abel' story on a Kripke level (that would prove to be wishful thinking on my part). But, ( and I apologize to Impala fans) the Chuck VO and story of the Car just took away from all that I enjoyed. I was irritated then ( and must admit to still being irritated that Kripke thought of Chuck as God) by the disruptive flow of the episode. However, it closed a thread and at the very end gave hope for the next story.

Season 6, well I loved season 6 and the finale with Sam was brilliant. Dean and Bobby and angels just wonderful. I left that season wondering again how they were going to get out of that one. Yes, a cliff hanger, but it was one that actually left me excited for what was to come.

Season 7 finale was ok. Some of the story was...well, like the staff had run out of ideas. But, leaving Sam alone, I was left wondering what would happen next. Little did I know.

Season 8 finale was wonderful despite the season's painful beginning. I enjoyed the whole story, metatron's betrayal to Dean's lack of faith to the Angels falling. This could be the start of a great story for the next season.

Season 9. What was that about again? Oh yeah, Dean. To be sure there were good moments, but the Carver way of flipping between an interesting and exciting story to dull long winded stories was now wearing me out. The end was predictable especially since there was no way the following season was going to follow thru ( and I knew that before season 10 even began, although I would have loved to have been wrong.)

Season 10. The darkness (dundunDUN) and well, at least the mark is gone: predictably. Rowena escapes: predictably. Death dead: surprise. Beautiful performances by all. Although it fulfills most of my criteria, it was a bit dull at the start with the whole Dean sorta off the rails at the last minute, it was sudden and contrived. And the darkness did not leave me with any anticipation for what is to come in Season 11. Am I burned out that each of the big story plot lines have all whimpered away in the Carver years? I don't even want to speculate. It is what it is.

Thank you for the great article!
elle2
# elle2 2015-06-20 08:56
Hi, FridaB,

Thank you for sharing your concise thoughts on each season! Well done. I like your analysis in the first lines about how you view the episode. I tend to do the same as well, entertain me and then I go deeper, as well as wonder where we go from here.

Glad you liked the article. I loved reading your thoughts! :-)