I don't even know what to say...
My heart was clenched the entire episode.
Firstly, I absolutely loved Chuck's narrative. I thought that was such a great device for delivering the story. Starting with the car...giving the little histories - the army man in the ashtray and the legos in the vent. The way those things were shot too were beautiful - flashes of young boys hands and heads in the sunshine.
There's no Crowley in the episode - so, I guess he's a character that can return next year. Also, no one dies, not really...save maybe Adam.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Dean giving Sam yet another "your an adult and I respect you speech" and they go through with the plan. And I like the fact that when it comes down to it, this is Sam's story - Sam who has to make the ultimate sacrifice to save humanity. Ugh..ok...
And I like Sam making Dean promise to live a normal life - I like how Sam knows that Dean making that promise is the only way Dean will ever allow himself a normal life...and I like the fact that it's come full circle. Sam, who was the Winchester who always craved normality, gives it to his brother when he knows that it's impossible for him to have it.
Bobby hugs him and Cas tries to humour him and fails, and Cas looking over at Dean when he makes the social faux-pas is cute. Sam asking Dean not to watch him chug the blood is heartbreaking...Sam killing those demons with a thought is wicked awesome...
...and apparently they don't have to go back to the convent, the rings can be used anywhere. Only Sam doesn't win the battle right away...
And Susie made a point here that she didn't even think they should have tried right away: That Sam needed time to find the weak spots. But that's Susie's opinion.
Let's talk about acting: Jared is so phenomenal in this episode. The subtle changes that suddenly make him Lucifer are so well done - and he really is a completely different person all of a sudden. Just so good. Jensen, of course, absolutely broke my heart again - he's so good at that.
Cas and Bobby lose all hope, and Dean is devastated by it... I like the fact that Dean hasn't given up on Sam yet, even when everyone else has.
We find out that Sam really was watched his whole life by demons.
Ok, back to Chuck's narrative for a second (this is probably all out of order) - I love him describing how they drove across the country for a concert, drove two days to watch a game...and the idea of them sitting on the hood, drinking beer, and looking at the stars...the shot of them sleeping...and I have to agree with Chuck, the line that the boys have never been homeless was a good one.
And man, Dean telling Bobby and Castiel that he was going to the battlefield so that Sam wouldn't have to die alone ...*sound of heart breaking yet again*
So, we get the Lucifer vs. Michael gun fight at high noon, only it's not Sam vs. Dean, it's Sam vs. Adam...and if that doesn't disproves Michael's declaration that he HAS to fight his brother, I don't know what does. Obviously, no matter what the outcome, Team Free Will has already won some battles.
Then Dean shows up, and Michael yells at him because it's no longer his story! But it is...and I'm wondering if that's not a subtle jab at the part of the fandom that argues over whether the show is Sam's story or Dean's story...the trick with Sam and Dean is that it's about both of them. Yes, Sam has to make the final sacrifice, but he can't do it without his brother.
But I'll get to that. First, Castiel holy-oil-molotov-cocktails Michael's assbutt, so that Dean can get his five minutes. In return, Castiel gets exploded (yet again) like a balloon full of chunky soup. (Susie says she'll have nightmares and that people shouldn't be allowed to die that suddenly). Then Bobby get's killed too, and Dean screams NOO! And man, I was still stunned that they killed Cas, let alone Bobby.
Then Lucifer beats the shit out of Dean, and this is when Dean tells Sam the one thing that Sam needed to be told for a while now: I'll never leave you.
If there's one thing I've learned about self-esteem/abandonment issues, it's that if one child has them, chances are their siblings have some form of them too.
The light gets in Luci's eyes, and Sam's overwhelmed by how much he loves his brother and his home....and that's the power of love for you, Dean. So...Sam gets control, tells his brother it'll be ok. Says the spell....Michael arrives just in time to try to prevent Sam from jumping in the hole, but Sam just drags him down with him.
And then? Well...at this point Susie was crying, and I was crying on the inside like a good little boy....
And we can't tell if Dean is crying, because he's so beat-up...but we can only imagine that he feels how he looks.
Longest commercial break ever....
Castiel is alive! (again)! Man, God really likes Castiel. I love this exchange:
Dean: Cas? Are you God?
Castiel: Thank you for the compliment, but no.
Castiel is an angel again! Full powers restored! He gets to heal Dean, and bring Bobby back...Dean drives his broken car back to Bobby's..
Michael's in the hole and it's anarchy in Heaven, so Castiel is going to go help out. Dean gives him a hard time about it, but I think Dean is forgetting that Castiel had a family too - and maybe his family messed up royally, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't try to help them when they are in need of help...huh Dean? Sound a little familiar.
Castiel points out that God gave Dean what he wanted - freedom, no paradise, no hell, just Dean on earth driving wherever he wants.
And Chuck's narrative comes back on and tells us that Bobby went back to hunting, but didn't see Dean for a while...and that Dean actually chose to fulfill his promise to Sam, even though he would have preferred to die, or try to save Sam, or die saving Sam. Instead he goes back to Lisa and Ben and tries to live a normal life.
Susie was dissatisfied by this ending, but I wasn't....mind you, I'm a fan of bittersweet endings...when things end with people broken, and things not quite right, but life continuing anyway. So, for me, it was a good ending to end things here, but I know lots of people aren't going to be satisfied.
But wait! That's not the ending! Chuck disappears with a smile...was Chuck God? I think maybe he was...it'd be a nice nod to the jokes about Kripke being God, because Chuck=Kripke and Kripke=God. And I can't help but think of Jared at conventions when the announcements come on, and he says "God?" and Jensen says "Kripke?"
But then that's still not the end! Because we pan out from Dean having a family dinner and the street light flares and goes out...and we see the scene over someone's shoulder...over someone's VERY TALL shoulder.
Cue Summer Hiatus.
So, overall - I liked it. I'm sure it could have been done differently, but I think it would have been six of one, half dozen of the other...as of right now, I'm satisfied with this ending to the 5 years arc. But, like I said, I'm a really big fan of bittersweet, imperfect endings.
ETA: I don't know about you, but I can't hear Wayward Son by Kansas anymore without crying a little (on the inside).