Supernatural 5.22 “Swan Song” Review

Supernatural 5.22 “Swan Song” Review

Supernatural 5.22 “Swan Song” ReviewDear Eric Kripke,

Tonight, as I watched the season five finale of Supernatural I did the following (in this order): I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I laughed so hard I nearly choked. Then I freaked out. Then I cried. Then I screamed.

Why do you get off on toying with my emotions? I hate you.


Drawing a Blank

Five minutes after this episode aired I sat down and tried to put fingers to keyboard to write this review. I honestly didn’t know what to say, so instead I called up my sister, shrieking ‘did you watch it?!’and when she replied that she hadn’t yet, I proceeded to recap the entire episode for her. She gasped in all of the appropriate places.

Now that I’ve completely spoiled the entire episode for her, I feel better prepared to share my thoughts with you.

I Hope You Like Flashbacks to Earlier Seasons

We open, as we always do in a season finale, with a recap set to Kansas”Carry on, Wayward Son’and my heart clenched just a little. Two minutes later we’re given a little history lesson on the Winchesters’Impala, narrated by none other than the prophet, Chuck. Oh, Chuck. How I missed you. This was the moment that I breathed a sigh of relief, because I’ve been banging my head against the wall all week trying to figure out who the ‘beloved character’is who’s supposed to die. I kept swinging between Bobby and Cas, but the opening history lesson had me convinced that the Impala was going to bite the big one. And while I was sad about that (after all, what would Dean drive next season?), I was prepared to accept the loss and move on. As we saw continuous flashbacks throughout the episode to young Sam and Dean and their happy memories of the car, my conviction grew. In fact, this episode was full of flashbacks in general. At every pivotal moment we were treated to scenes from earlier seasons. In a way it reminded me of that season finale were Buffy died and the monster flashback sequence that opened that episode. In another way it made me nostalgic for earlier seasons.

But enough about me. As you might have guessed, Dean agrees to Sam’s plan to trap Lucifer. So Sam gathers up some demon blood and he, Dean, Cas and Bobby set out to meet up with the devil in Detroit. Before everything went down, however, Sam pointed out the biggest flaw in his plan (which is shocking considering how flawed the overall plan was): he would be trapped in Hell along with Lucifer. Dean realizes the same thing, but Sam told him to promise not to attempt to save him. Horrified, Dean refuses, but Sam was adamant. He suggests that Dean go find Lisa and settle into a normal family life.

After an emotional goodbye with Bobby (and a humorous one with Cas), Sam drank the blood and he and Dean together went to face Lucifer. Lucifer, unfortunately, is a tricky devil (no pun intended) and admits he knew all along about the brothers’plans with the Horsemen’s rings. Dean wants to scrap the plan since they no longer hold the element of surprise, but Sam doesn’t think it matters – Lucifer challenges him to a duel inside Sam’s head and Sam agrees. Dean manages to open the doorway (or is portal?) and I’m again flashing back to another season finale of Buffy, but Lucifer’s already taken over and he disappears.

Supernatural 5.22 “Swan Song” ReviewHell in a Handbasket

Things are not looking good now that Lucifer is in his chosen vessel and bad things are happening out in the world. Cas and Bobby, understandably, want to give up, as there is little hope left, but Dean, as always, soldiers on. He calls Chuck, who reveals that the showdown between Michael and Lucifer will take place in a graveyard outside of Lawrence, Kansas. As Chuck said, it needs to end where it began.

Those of you who were hoping to see some sort of majestic fight between two archangels are going to be disappointed. Lucifer meets up with Michael (in Adam’s body) in the graveyard and the two brothers talk. Yeah, seriously. I’m thinking that someone ran out of a special effects budget. Lucifer tells his brother that they don’t need to fight – that they should stop letting their father (God) jerk them around. Michael, who’s big on the blind faith, disagrees.

Enter Dean – driving his beloved Impala right into the showdown. Supernatural is rarely corny, but oh MAN. That scene was pretty funny. Dean wants to talk to Sam, but Michael tells him to bugger off. So Cas throws a nice molotov cocktail at Adam’s body, momentarily incinerating Michael and making him disappear.

Lucifer pulls the ‘no one screws with my brother but me’line and literally blows up Cas. I believe that’s the second time that he’s died by implosion. Dean is still trying to reach out to Sam, trying to find a way to bring him back out from under Lucifer’s control, when Bobby shoots Lucifer with the Colt. It’s even less effective than it was in ‘Abandon All Hope’and Lucifer breaks Bobby’s neck.

What’s that? Oh, TWO beloved characters died in this episode. Yeah, that’s when I started freaking out.

Dean is distraught, realizing that he’s all alone now. As Lucifer beats him, he brokenly tells Sammy that he’s not going to leave him. That was, I believe, meant to be the end for the Winchesters. If Sam was going to die, Dean was going to go with him. He’s not even fighting back at this point. And it’s this, coupled with a glance at a little toy soldier that a young Sam had put in the car many, many years ago, and a slew of flashbacks that you couldn’t even imagine (and maybe even a little bit of divine interference?), that finally reaches Sam. He wrestles back control of his body as Dean sits bleeding and broken on the ground (for the record, that was the first time I have not been attracted to Jensen Ackles – seriously, his pretty, pretty face wasn’t pretty anymore).

Supernatural 5.22 “Swan Song” ReviewThe Ultimate Sacrifice

Sam opens the portal to Hell himself just as Michael returns to earth in Adam’s body. He tells Lucifer that they will fight, but Sam grabs Lucifer and pulls both of them into the hole.

Then I cried.

As Dean knelt on the ground where his brother disappeared into Hell we were treated to a shock: Cas had returned. As an angel. It seems pretty obvious that God resurrected Cas as an angel and then Cas, in turn, brought Bobby back to life. So what does that mean? Well, technically two beloved characters died. And then they were brought back to life. So, I guess technically no one died. Except, of course, for Sam (but more on that soon).

Cas bids Dean goodbye. He thinks he’ll return to Heaven now. With Michael gone now and God still missing, the chain of command is likely broken and someone will need to take charge. I like this ending for Cas, because he deserves it for the good choices he ultimately made and it leaves open the slight possibility that we may see him again.

Still narrating the episode, Chuck tells us that Bobby and Dean part ways and will not see each other again for a long time. Jesus, Chuck, break my freaking heart why don’t you. I didn’t realize until later, but we never learn whether Bobby got out of his deal with Crowley. In fact, we don’t see Crowley at all. Will this be dealt with in season six?

Dean heads off to Lisa’s house and settles in. We see him sitting at the table with Ben and Lisa. Thus we are left with this: Dean sitting at the table in his normal family life. He is mourning his brother, but he’s there.

Had it ended like that, I would have been pissed. Seriously, say what you will about character development or plot or family love or whatever else crap you want to – but I would not be able to accept that final scene as the end of a season, let alone the series (assuming Supernatural had not been renewed for a sixth season, which we know it has). But it didn’t end like that.

No, Eric Kripke wanted to make me scream. Outside Lisa’s house we see a streetlight flicker off and there is Sam, looking in on his brother. Suddenly I’m even more horrified than that I was a second before, thinking that was the end of the season. Because now I can only hazard a guess of what’s in store for the brothers next year and here’s what I think: Sam will believe that Dean finally got the normal family life he always wanted and he won’t tell his brother he’s alive. Am I completely off the mark here or do you agree that it will take a while until the brothers reunite in season six? And then there’s the question of how Sam is back at all. I’m pretty sure Lucifer didn’t get out of his cage again.

UPDATE: Some people are suggesting that Sam is a ghost or something else not human and point to the streetlight as a reason. Yes, spirits have made lights flicker before, and angels have made them burst. I actually wonder whether God brought Sam back to life. Having him be a spirit, in my personal opinion, won’t fit into the show for next season. If he’s going to reunite with Dean (and I believe he will), and the two of them will go hunting again, it will be difficult if Sam is a spirit. Perhaps the burst light was indicative of some sort of higher power who resurrected Sam (like Dean and Adam’s graves when they both brought back to life, but on a much smaller scale). Anyway, we really won’t know until reports from the set starting pouring in, the season begins or we learn some new information at Comic Con (which I am super-excited about going to for the first time this year, by the way).

Oh My God, I Think He’s God!

This is what I shouted to my sister on the phone during my recap. What I’ve failed to mention so far is that after he was done narrating and writing the story of the Winchesters and the Apocalypse, we saw Chuck one more time. Chuck, who was dressed in a beautiful white shirt and finally looking more put together than we’ve ever seen him. And then Chuck simply smiled and disappeared. So…was he God? Because I think that God (who we know was on earth) was guiding and protecting the boys far more than we will ever know. To me, this is the only explanation that makes any sense.

Supernatural 5.22 “Swan Song” ReviewThe End

In a way, this was a nostalgic episode. Parts of it were cheesy, in the way that only flashbacks to earlier seasons can ever be, but it fit. Since Sam has always been the more resistant of the two brothers – the more sullen, defiant and immature – the fact that he sacrificed himself at the end, for the greater good, would have been a good ending. In theory. But I could never have accepted that. So I have to wonder whether the fact that Supernatural is returning next season changed the ending. Would Sam have rotted away in Hell had he not been contracted to return? My suggested theory is perhaps even more heartbreaking than that fate, but would still show Sam’s growth as a character – that he would give up his brother so that he could have a normal life.

In the end, everyone – and no one – died. My emotions were jerked to and fro, but I’m happy with the outcome. Props to Padalecki, who always shines when he plays evil. When he first revealed himself as Lucifer, you could literally see the transformation in his eyes and it was chilling to watch. Ackles, as always, perfectly conveyed Dean’s love for his brother and despair over his death. In his final shot, you could see that there were still parts of Dean that mourned for his brother, and perhaps for his old life in general. It doesn’t make sense to me that these two will ever have a normal life. Sorry for all of the Buffy comparisons, but the Winchesters remind me too much of the Slayer. The question at the end of that series was what would Buffy and her gang do next. Comics tell us that she kept on fighting and I feel like that is the only true life for the Winchesters as well. They cannot have a normal family, no matter what they – or we – want. They will never really be happy without each other and this life that they were born to, no matter how horrible it may be.

I’m excited for next season. Earlier today I posted an article about the direction that season 6 is set to go in and now I cannot wait for the new season to start. Will Sam do as I predicted? Will the Winchesters be reunited? Did God resurrect Sam or is something else going on with him? It’s going to feel like an eternity before we know the answers to these questions.

P.S. Eric Kripke – you suck, but I still love you.

Email: clarissa @


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