Home / TV / Genres tv / Drama / TV Review: Supernatural – “Swan Song”

TV Review: Supernatural – “Swan Song”

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

As I type this, it’s been 48 hours since I saw “Swan Song” for the first time. Since then I’ve taken in six more viewings. I’m still a heaping, quivering emotional wreck. That should give you some idea as to how good this was to me. I know there’s an expectation for objectivity in television reviews, but keep in mind this entire analysis will be performed by one extremely happy and weepy fan girl. I’ll keep the “OMFG!” to myself, but let me get this out of my system now. DAMN YOU, KRIPKE!!!

That’s better.

Wow, wow, wow, wow. “Swan Song” is as epic as they get. It’s five years in the making, the chance to wrap up the mytharc that started all the way in the first scene of the pilot when Mary Winchester was baked on the ceiling. The quote from Chuck at the end of this episode summarizes best what these five seasons have been all about. “Up against good, evil, angels, devils, destiny, and God himself. They made their own choice. They chose family. And well, isn’t that kind of the whole point?” It certainly is.

Remember in “The Point of No Return” when Dean joked about their plan being the power of love? Wouldn’t you know, that ended up being the answer. The odds were always against them, but two brothers stuck together no matter what. They did it through tons of sacrifice for each other, personal strife, and traveling from place to place with nothing more than the clothes on their back in a home on wheels that’s more a member of a family than transportation. It’s romantic, it’s heroic, it’s dangerous, it’s heartbreaking, and a story that we all can relate to in some way.

“Swan Song” is easily the most emotional episode of the series. I didn’t think anything could pass “Abandon All Hope” but this did. From the word go this episode went for the heartstrings. As a girl born and raised in Detroit, I do get touched over old footage of classic cars rolling off the assembly line. There’s always a story behind each of those cars. Chuck’s heartwarming tale of the Impala’s beginnings is something that’s not only perfect but long overdue. Even in her early days she was dealing with the apocalypse, so she was already well prepared for the trials of the Winchesters. Chuck ends up being the narrator throughout the story, which is very fitting since he’s the voice of Eric Kripke, creator of this whole saga and writer of this episode.

Picking up from “Two Minutes To Midnight,” both brothers in one touching scene show how much they’ve matured since that unhappy reunion at Stanford five years ago. Dean’s growing up moment comes by finally giving Sam his blessing. He hates the plan, but is throwing all his faith in his brother to make the right choices. “Maybe I’ve gotta grow up a little too.” Sam appreciates those words but the choice is obvious. His big show of maturity comes from one simple statement. “I let him out. I gotta put him back in.”

The touching and very emotional score, which is heavily used through this entire episode, packs a wallop in the already powerful scenes these two actors deliver with brilliance. In other words, my insides are turned out before the title card even comes on. The parting wide shot of the brothers having this talk while drinking beers on the Impala is just perfect. It’s so poignant that the Impala is brought to the forefront for this final showdown and so right.

The plan goes on with heavy hearts, especially when Sam and Castiel gather the needed demon blood for Sam to be the vessel. Dean watches all with disturbance, especially when it’s revealed The Devil is indeed in Detroit as always predicted. As much as I love the town of my birth, I can’t think of a better place to kick off an apocalypse. Dean’s strife isn’t eased when the cold, hard truth is finally spoken out loud by Sam. He won’t be coming back from this. So yes, this Sam girl busts into tears. Dean is aware but he had some notion he would get Sam back. Sam makes him promise he won’t try. Opening the box is too risky. Dean protests with the very reason that’s got me pouring through Kleenexes. “Your Hell is going to make my tour look like Graceland.” Sam has another idea for Dean. He’s to find Lisa and go have that “apple pie” life he’s always dreamed of. He begs Dean to promise, for this is in a sense his dying wish.

The next scene makes me glad I bought tissues in bulk supply. Sam says goodbye to Bobby and Castiel while a very troubled Dean listens. Sam then heartbreakingly asks Dean to step aside while he tends to those gallons of demon blood in the trunk. I can’t help but notice here the incredible acting Jared and Jensen always continue to deliver. They never cease to amaze us and what they pull off again is nothing short of spectacular. Since this episode involves many scenes of flashback, we visually see how much better these guys have gotten through the years, especially when they now can display their extreme character growth with just glances and unspoken words. In “Swan Song” they again ascend to a whole new level.

Let’s not forget the supporting players too, for Bobby and Castiel add so much to this drama. Castiel the socially awkward angel paired with father figure Bobby’s conventional wisdom. That’s another thing I’ve seen improve through the years, the caliber of the supporting cast. It’s good to see that a show can grow like this in all aspects and there better be more Jim Beaver and Misha Collins in season six. They’re the perfect complement and their loyalty to these boys humanizes an otherwise surreal and sometimes heavy plot.

Jared Padalecki is forced to shift gears a lot in this episode and he does it flawlessly. When Sam does take on Lucifer he’s hopped up on demon blood. Sam goes into his confrontation with that wild look in his eye, the same one we’ve previously seen during his demon blood encounters. Sam is bold, tough, yet somewhat manic in confronting Satan, which is a complete contrast to Dean’s fearful demeanor. This is just another amazing way the theme of family is pushed, for Dean wouldn’t let Sam face this horror alone. He’s there when Sam says yes and his brother is overtaken by Lucifer, thus causing their plan of opening the cage and Sam jumping in to fail spectacularly. When Lucifer disappears with Sam and the rings, Dean’s despair and tears just rip me apart. So well done by Jensen.

Jared also finally gets the chance to do what Jensen Ackles has done twice now, the confrontation against his alter ego. His performance is equally as stunning as his co-star’s previous efforts. The Lucifer vs. Sam scene through the mirrors is one of the most terrifying scenes witnessed, and I wonder how I even have a pulse anymore after seeing this one episode after Dean’s dinner with Death. Lucifer’s talk to Sam of being his true family is quite interesting since Lucifer claims to be inside Sam’s “grapefruit.” He obviously isn’t taking a careful look, for he’s missing Sam’s true feelings about Dean and family and instead focuses on Sam’s issues with being a freak. That oversight makes sense for humanity is the one thing these angels have underestimated. It was Zachariah’s downfall and will be Lucifer’s as well. For now though, Lucifer manages to intimidate Sam by giving him an easy trigger for that hatred inside. Quite frankly, Rachel deserved to go down after what she did to Sam at the prom. Sure, the whole scene had a Darth Vaderish feel, but I loved it.

Chuck shares more special moments about Sam and Dean’s lives with the Impala. I found the 'sitting in the middle of nowhere drinking beers and staring at the stars' especially riveting, and the emotional see-saw again abruptly shifts in the other direction. The wonder in their eyes, especially with all the horror they see every day, it shows how they’ve learned to cherish the simple things in this world. That’s why Dean’s only option is to be there for the battle between Michael and Lucifer. He has to be there for Sam. Even knowing that he’ll likely have to watch Lucifer/Sam be brutally killed, he doesn’t care. “Well then, I ain’t gonna let him die alone.”

Luckily for Dean, he has a prophet up his sleeve. Chuck tells him the showdown spot, Stull Cemetery outside of Lawrence. Also leave it up to Dean to interrupt the Battle of Armageddon with the Impala and a Def Leppard tape. He does love doing it his way. Of course this is the perfect segue to what is now my all time favorite scene of Supernatural. For a fan girl like me, that says a lot. I love the conversation between Michael (in Adam) and Lucifer (in Sam). It shows with stunning precision what happens when free will is taken out of the equation. It destroys families. It forces brothers to believe they were meant to kill one another instead of reconcile their differences. It sets them up for failure to understand that they are being put through a test as to what’s important and not accept what’s supposed to happen.

Lucifer obviously craves his brother’s love, but Michael is too focused on destiny and being mindlessly obedient no matter what the cost. Lucifer, despite all that hatred inside, doesn’t want to fight. Michael does, though, even though being a good son comes at the cost of being a good brother. Sound familiar? Human brothers have learned to stick with one another despite their differences and the curse of bad parenting but these archangel brothers can’t grasp that concept. In the battle of free will vs. destiny, free will at least drives more rational actions.

Once Dean interrupts the fun, he’s determined to get through to Sam. Lucifer and Michael both hate the annoyance, and out this entire mega emotional, gut-wrenching finale, who would have guessed that the line of the night belongs to Castiel when he sends Michael away with holy fire. “Hey, assbutt!” It’s interesting that Castiel’s action angers Lucifer enough where he explodes Cas all over Bobby. He does love his brother after all, even if he claims he’s the only one allowed to harm him. Lucifer’s rage is out now and he beats the crap out of Dean and snaps Bobby’s neck with one swipe when Bobby tries to defend Dean.

Now for the epic part that forever defines what these five years have been all about. Lucifer busts up Dean pretty hard, but whole time Dean tries to tell Sam inside he’s there and won’t leave him. Lucifer pounds and pounds on him, goes for the final blow and… sees a glimmer of light on the Impala. It triggers something inside from Sam that Lucifer chose not to see earlier. He sees the green army man that Sam wedged into the ashtray all those years ago. With just the sound of howling wind, the memories of every moment in that Impala, from the time they were young boys through the last five seasons, goes flashing by. The flashes move rapidly and end with one tender moment, Dean’s relieved hug after Sam was resurrected from the dead in “All Hell Breaks Loose Part II.” My theory is that it’s Lucifer watching those memories. They triggered something inside that he hadn’t felt in so long, the love for his brother. It breached all that hatred and bitterness that fueled him. With that one weak moment, Sam is able to take control.

With a battered Dean slumped against the Impala on the ground, the first thing Sam does is assure Dean that everything will be okay. Even in the most impossible circumstance they’re still looking out for one another. Sam throws the rings on the ground, recites the spell, and the giant chasm in the ground opens up. He looks at Dean with fright, regret, sorrow, but also assurances that he’ll be okay. Dean fulfills his promise to Death and only watches, but every second is killing him. Just as Sam is ready to go in Michael arrives, urging Sam that he must fulfill his destiny and fight his brother. Sam refuses and the haunting score comes on, showing in slow motion Sam going backward to take his plunge. Michael grabs onto him, but Sam already has momentum on his side. He pulls Michael into the hole with him and they go down. Dean watches in total horror, and one explosion later that hole and everyone is gone.

How beautiful is that moment? For one, of all things to save them, it ends up being the Impala. She always has been looking out for them and comes through at the defining moment. The brothers succeed simply because they stayed together all those years through thick and thin. I’m already sobbing and crushed at this point, so the next shot of a battered and broken Dean on his knees staring downward at the ground cements my nervous breakdown. He’s the last man standing, all alone in the world with the exception of the Impala behind him. The camera moves in closer, then closer, then closer again and Dean has clearly lost everything.

As if his prayer from “My Bloody Valentine” is finally answered though, help does arrive in the form of a newly restored Castiel. He heals Dean’s battered body. The tearjerking score kicks in again and Dean asks Castiel if he’s God. No, but he brought him back. Then Cas goes over to Bobby’s body and revives him. For Dean though, seeing his friends revived is bittersweet for the rings in his hand give him no hope for saving Sam.

Chuck isn’t done yet, getting in the final word about being unable to write endings that will please all fans. The expectation is that endings are all supposed to add up to something and they don’t. This is definitely Kripke projecting but he’s earned the right. In tying up those loose ends, we see what’s next for everyone. Castiel is going to return to Heaven and straighten things out. Dean is pleased for Cas’s promotion but still wonders where his prize is. Sam is still in a hole. “You got what you asked for Dean. No paradise, no Hell, just more of the same. I mean it, Dean. What would you rather have? Peace or freedom?” Yep, endings are indeed messy, especially when the name is Winchester.

Dean says goodbye to Bobby for what’s revealed to be a lengthy parting and Bobby continues to hunt. Dean only wants two things, to die or bring Sam back, but instead fulfills his brother’s dying wish and goes to Lisa. She takes him in with open arms and Dean breaks down. I break down, but then recover with the delicious reveal. After typing “THE END” our wise prophet Chuck leaves with the perfect bridge for season six. “No doubt, endings are hard. But then again, nothing ever really ends, does it?” Then he disappears in a flash. I laugh. Chuck is God. Kripke is God. It’s his story, why not?

This episode felt like a series finale, so many think the final shot would have ended with Dean, Lisa, and Ben at the dinner table. However, there is a season six. It’s a requirement to torture fans for the summer. The streetlight over Lisa’s house burns out and suddenly Sam is there watching. His expression is blank, ambiguous, and open for maddening interpretation. If this was the series finale, it’s my guess he would have disappeared in that cloud of gold dust a la John Winchester. But no, now we get to over-speculate if that’s really Sam or not. Kripke, you magnificent bastard.

Here’s my theory. Sam and Adam burned up during the explosion and went to Heaven. This is Sam’s spirit checking up on Dean and he’s saddened to see Dean is not happy. I could go on and on with the analysis of this episode since there are so many layers that tie plenty together, but I’m doing a review, not a novel. All that analysis will be done this summer at my site, The Winchester Family Business.

For now, I’m giving this episode and A++. It just may be the best of the series. Thank you so much, Eric Kripke. I got closure but know we’re ripe for plenty more punishment in season six. After this though, I’m going to need all summer to recover before I can take anymore.

Powered by

About Alice Jester

  • Andrea

    Nitewoman, you’re so right! The ending was an reenactment of Point of no Return, but with role reversal. Amazing! 🙂

    I completely and totally agree: much as I love the hug from AHBL, a new hug wouldn’t have hurt considering it was the last time they saw each other (or so they thought). But I have hopes for the upcoming reunion scene. Sera, do you hear it?

  • Sorry for long comment Had too much to say.
    “Swan Song” was amazing and was a perfect episode to end Season 5 and the story arc.
    “Remember in “The Point of No Return” when Dean joked about their plan being the power of love? Wouldn’t you know, that ended up being the answer.”
    I had not remembered that but you are right. I remember Dean saying it but like you would never have thought that would be the solution. Bet Dean never thought it either. Loved that the Impala would be the most important object in stopping the apocalypse and that it really was Dean and Sam’s home.
    Agree this was one emotional roller coaster ride from start to finish and by the end I was a quivering puddle on the floor having gone through a ton of tissues. My #1 was “Abandon All Hope”.

    Emotional bitch/jerk scene at Bobby’s junkyard. Thank goodness for a click flick moment. Never thought I’d hear Dean say maybe I have to grow up a bit. Sam has grown up and matured into a fine man with his “I let him out. I gotta put him back in.”

    Not being a Sam girl but still loving him I was crying so hard I quit trying to wipe tears away. Being a Dean girl, “Your Hell is going to make my tour look like Graceland.” So much expressed in this simple comment. Dean would know but he never did tell Sam everthing. Sam telling Dean to promise to not bring him back and go find Lisa and live an apple pie life and at this point I’m so done in!!!

    There aren’t enough proper words to express just how awesome Jensen and Jared are as the best actors on TV today, probably even movies using subtle body language or just a look. It was fun to see how both have grown from the pilot to this episode by watching the flashbacks. Jim and Misha brought their “A” game also.

    Jared was magnificent in his acting playing Sam/Lucifer. He really does evil so well. The scene with Sam and Lucifer played against each other in the mirror was incredible. Just as awesome as Jensen did it in “The End”.

    Lucifer disappears in Sam’s body and Dean is left with despair, completely lost and desperate since their great plan went south and his distraught emotions show in his eyes and his tears. (Here we go again another case of Kleenex used all up and sobs are ripping me apart.)

    You said it Lucifer and all of the angels or archangels missed the point and underestimated the power of the Winchester family. Even Castiel missed it until the very end. It got Zack killed and it sending Lucifer packing straight to hell.

    Agree, the moments in flashback while Chuck talks about Dean and Sam and the Impala were wonderful memories of so many wonderful times with the boys. Right on, the boys sitting on the hood of the impala was so perfect, serene and quite and in that tiny scene no words were needed to show the deep love of these two brothers. Love Dean for saying no matter what or how it goes down he won’t let Sam die alone…the Winchester sacrifice!

    Another perfect moment Dean driving hell bent for leather into the Skull cemetery with “Rock of Ages” blaring is also one of my top favorite all time scene. where else would it end but Lawrence, Kansas where it all began.

    Castiel arriving with Bobby to give Dean the time he needed with Sam and his “ass-butt” and poof Adam/Michael goes up in flames, so badass Castiel. Dean’s reaction “ass-butt?” perfect. Lucifer blows Castiel into tiny bloody pieces and with the flick of his wrist breaks Bobby’s neck. (Pulling out another case of Kleenex – note to self by shares in Kleenex) and I’m yelling NOOOOO! Not both of them Kripke have you lost your mind????

    The beat down by Lucifer doing horrible damage to Dean’s pretty face, which by the end it sure ain’t pretty, really bloody. Dean has never taken that bad of a beat down, since he didn’t even try to stop the blows or defend himself, he wanted to make sure Sam knew he would never leave him no matter what. I have never been effected by a fight scene as I was with this one. It actually hurt me to watch it! The final blow Lucifer is about to deliver when the sunlight catches the chrome off the window and it shines right back into Sam’s eye giving him pause as he spies the toy soldier which sets off another wonderful bunch of flashbacks of all the Sam and Dean in the impala traveling across America, funny times, happy times and the love for each other. It’s enough time for Sam to realize family is the key and take back control of his body. That had to be one of the most beautiful, poignant crafted scene by lighting director, photographer and director’s efforts working magnificently. The flashbacks getting faster culminating in Dean hugging Sam (our customary and might I point out the only hug we see between them in this episode. I criticize that decision profusely.

    Here I disagree with you Alice. IMHO it was all Sam relieving those memories not Lucifer because he never had anything like that with any of his brothers and certainly not the family to even understand what was happening and that’s why at that moment Sam could take back control.

    Sam reassuring Dean that it’s going to be ok reminded me when Dean winked at Sam just before he killed Zack therefore not saying yes to Michael. Sam opened up the cage and did his job “I let him out it’s up to me to put him back in”. This all happened because of their home since Dean was four and Sammy was 6 months old — THE IMPALA!

    Yeah the last scene with Dean on his knees completely broken, lost and alone now everyone he loved is gone. (my stomach is in knots, and I’ve stop breathing and it’s no use 10 Kleenex’s can’t hold these tears.

    Castiel popping up again all in one piece with his angel mojo back so a touch to Dean’s forehead heals all his physical wounds and turning around to touch Bobby and give him his life back. WOW I am so happy. I never thought we’d see them again. Kripke thank you!.

    Dean fulfilling Sam’s dying wish by going to Lisa and collapsing into her arms and Lisa just hugging Dean telling him it’s going to be ok. That was a short lived respite from the Kleenex needed again.
    Dean going to Lisa and her “I will help you with this loss Dean” hug, Dean collapses into her arms. I could almost hear the sobs or were those my own…but Dean gets his normal apple pie life with Lisa and Ben.
    Sam under the spotlight looking in on Dean I was like WTH what are you Sam??? Did I mention I loved Dean going back to Lisa. That is where he needs to be, with someone who can help heal his wounded soul. Guess it’s safe to say that Dean’s paradise won’t last forever otherwise how do we get a Season 6. BUT I’m ecstatic the episode ended this way.

    I have always wanted Dean to be with Lisa. Although he only had that one weekend with her ten years ago, something happened between them when Dean and Sam saved the children from the changeling. I believe Ben is Dean’s son.

    And last but not least the show ends with Sam looking at Dean sitting at the table with Lisa and Ben. What is Sam? Damned if I know. My theory.
    To conclude I loved the way the apocalypse was handled and concluded. I keep thinking of Eric saying “this is the Wal-Mart apocalypse” and that was for sure but in hindsight done really well with the budget the show had.
    I believe most of this episode was how Eric envisioned it in the first place. With the addition of Season 6 obviously he had to change the ending. I don’t think the original ending had any apple pie living a normal life for either Dean or Sam.

    I pray when we say goodbye to Supernatural for good that Dean goes back to Lisa and Sam gets to live a normal life too. Do I think this is going to happen? HELL NO! What I do hope is that Dean and Sam Winchester running toward a bunch of demons to save the world one more time…fade to black and each of us can put our own spin on what happens to Dean and Sam.

    Now comes the very long hellatis till September.
    Gives us lots to talk about over the summer.
    Thank you Eric Kripke for five wonderful years.

  • Andrea

    No offence to Dean fans, but I guess that the problem they have with this episode is that Sam gets to play a large part. Therefore Dean is not the one and big hero who has to fix his troublemaker brother’s mess and save the world alone. Now he has to share his hero status.

    Sorry guys, but this isn’t the Dean Winchester Show. It’s about the TWO brothers and you may not believe it, but Sam has fans too. It’s about time Kripke realized that, and it seems he did.

  • Klara

    I guess it must be allowed to give negative comments if one disliked the finale, as I did. Doesn`t mean I will give up on SPN – I mean JA keeps me there :). The role reversals, the suddenly Michael-has-another-vessel as opposed to the righteous one, who has to stop it etc.. All was dropped – I really wonder why?

    Season finale sucked, sorry, no other way to put it.

  • Oh, there are the episode haters! I wondered if you were going to find this review. It took a few days longer than normal. Maybe because you guys were busy saying the same things on other sites. No matter, your opinions are allowed here too. I’ve been following feedback on other sites and it seems those that really hated it are making up a vocal minority. Most of the real fans I know loved it.

    Tyler – You’re forgiven on the crying thing, although I’m willing to bet at least one tear surfaced. 🙂 As Supernatural writers call it, the single man tear.

    Hey Trina, Randal, Jas, and Andrea, welcome over to this side of my fence!

    Carlotspeak – Heavens no, you have never offended me! I don’t mind differing opinions as long as they’re constructive and you’ve always made excellent points. I know I’m actually in the minority as a Sam girl and lord knows have gotten plenty of criticism for having a “Sam” bias, so I’m glad you never noticed it until I said something.

  • carlotspeak

    At the Impala and Sam final scene:

    It was the “power of love” after all that help Sam won over Lucifer.

    By the way, Alice. I did not know that you are “Sam girl”. My “speaking my mind” a few episodes previously about Sam’s character as portrayed in “the devil you know” must have offended you pretty bad. My apology.

    I love this episode very much. This season is the best so far. Much apprehension of what is coming for season 6. No offense meant at all. Loyal fan of Supernatural and your review column.

  • Andrea

    I wholeheartedly agree with Jas and Randal. Poetry was the first word that came to my mind after watching Swan Song. It was pure art.

    I was never much interested in a grand story. The brotherly bond was always what kept me watching so I couldn’t be happier with the way it went. kripke, too, always made it clear that the love between the brothers was the focus of the show, so I don’t feel cheated in the least with the fact that such love was what realy mattered in the end.

    I feel sorry for those who failed to perceive the beauty of this episode, downsizing the hard work of the actors and writers involved. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but take my advice: if you hate Supernatural so much, go watch something else.

  • Jas

    Bad acting? Snorefest? Worst finale in the history of tv?

    Okay, I’m so very sorry for these commentators – this could have been a rich and fantastic moment of tv for them, clearly you missed the poetry Randal mentioned above.
    I hope they never read Poe, Henley or Rosetti and stay away from Rimbaud, they might start accusing them of being boring, too.

    Since all are entitlted to their opinions, I’m staying true to mine: this was magnificent. Indeed, a poem all in all.


  • Randal

    This might be your best review yet, apropos given the import and power of this episode. In the past, many episode structures have tended towards prose, but these forty minutes were all poetry.

    For those that loathed this episode, what did you all want? As for accusations of poor acting, that certainly boggles the mind.

  • Lorean

    I don`t think I would have been so less than thrilled about the finale, if the producers and writers hadn`t promised the great showdown between Dean and michael in episode 100, which ended in nothing. – Nor all the promising clues given in season 4, which also ended in nothing.

    I feel betrayed by the producers/writers, not the actors. It once was my favorite show – now I don`t know…. Perhaps Sera can change it, by given both characters equal value.

  • SmokeyB

    That last episode rocked! I wish I had a bro like dean …

  • Tyler

    I’m not exactly sure why some hated the finale. I can only surmise that they were never really fans of the show to begin with and only watched it casually for monster of the week type of stories. What were you expecting? Shawshank Redemption storytelling and acting? Keep in mind they only have one hour to tell this finale story and they have a TV budget.
    As for myself, I absolutely loved this episode and the build up this entire season (or the past 5 seasons really)is paid off. Alice Jester’s review was right on the money for me … well minus the crying … I am a guy after all.
    All the actors, especially Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki really brought their A game to this episode. The flashbacks of the Impala and their relationship, with Chuck narrating, were pitch perfect. If those scenes alone do not touch you, you obviously do not care about these characters so I could care less about your opinion. Having Chuck possibly be God was completely unexpected, and incredibly clever and hilarious the more I think about it. Story-wise, I thought the disheartening failure of their plan in Detroit, Lucifer methodically breaking Sam’s spirit, Lucifer pleading with Michael to use freewill and avoid fighting, Dean’s Def Leppard-style f-u to destiny, the heartfelt devotion of Dean to be there for his brother as he is beaten to a pulp, the seemingly insignificant toy soldier that distracts Lucifer, Chuck eloquently wrapping up the entire series in one line, and all those final moments all worked incredibly well.
    Thank you Kripke for creating one of my absolute favorite TV series of all time and Alice for writing up a great review. I can’t wait for this season to come out on DVD/Blu-ray and for Season 6!

  • Mattie

    I sometimes wonder why we view things so completely different. You are in awe, I am not. That was a total waste of 40 minutes…. I don`t blame JP for not being able to bring it home, the writers destroyed his character for me.

  • Eli

    Very much enjoyed your review, Alice. It was a moving episode, and very well acted all around. I thought Jared was fantastic in his dual role, and wonderful as Lucifer in particular.

  • trina

    I loved this episode. While I don’t think it was perfect (Not a huge fan of the Lucifer-Michael scene. Michael seemed rather unassuming, and I was afraid they were going to start throwing punches) Other than that, Jared was great as Lucifer and it entertained me and made me feel, which is what I wanted it to do.

  • Rita

    The worst finale ever in a history of tv.
    Too much retcon, no tied ends, the plotholes of the size of Texas, atrocious acting of Samifer/Adamichael scene and Kripke aka Chuck aka God complaining that fans don’t like him. No. Just no.

  • Winchester66

    How you could review this without making any mention of the fact that everything we were told/shown about Dean in season 4 was totally forgotten is beyond me.

    This glaring omission – thankfully rectified in most of the comments/reviews/metas elsewhere, on various boards and on LJ, that universally slate this episode as the poorest finale in the show’s history and one of the worst episodes overall – makes your bias clear and makes your ‘review’ completely bogus.

  • Doris

    My review of the episode is easy to sum up: Bad! – JP does his best, but fell through with this episode. He was not good at all..

  • Amy

    Couldn`t disagree more about season finale! The episode was truly disappoiting. Samifer and Adamifer were yawning to watch – sorry to be so blunt, but they couldn`t pull it off.

    And don`t get me started on the plotholes and how the writers don`t seem to care about lying to fans.

    Season 5 sucked big time, with the exception of a few good episodes!

  • Kady

    Can you please burn me a copy of the entirely different season finale you watched? Because your review bears very little resemblance to the badly acted snorefest I sat through.

  • JL

    I’m so glad I read your review and peeked at the comments! I fully ENJOYED this epi as well as the season. I don’t have time to nitpick or get snarky about something that is out of my hands. I simply enjoy, and WOW, did I! I could totally see the five year arc and understood the full story Kripke wanted to tell.

    Thanks Alice! Thanks fans!

  • Rufus

    Wonderful review. I loved the use of light to indicate the help that Sam got when he was able to overtake Lucifer by the flashback of his life with his brother. God wasn’t going to take obvious sides but he did even things up a little. It was all left to free will to decide how each character ended. That included Castiel who I think was rewarded for his loyalty to the Winchester Brothers over the blind obedience expected by angels like Zachariah.

    If people are uncertain about Chuck as God I hope for a commentary on season 5 that will help answer the question…make that a humble request…;)

    Wonder if Michael and Lucifer are now both stuck in an eternal “time out”?

  • Cory

    Thanks, Alice, for your honest review – I still can hardly admit I’ve seen that final episode 3 times now.

    Also as a Detroit-born and raised girl – I was 10 when the Impala rolled off the assembly line (yep -I’m not the usual demographic) – I was proud of the automotive lead-in. Pride gave way to shock and awe by the end of Swan Song – not just from the gripping finale but because of my emotional response to it.

    Week after week, I heard the Winchester boys’ dialog in the next room from my teenage daughter’s TV. The pop culture references, the music, the dark themes and the humor caught me. As a Buffy fan,
    I was pleased there was another show of that genre and I tuned into it one day on my own.

    What a gift – the clever story lines, interwoven themes, strong acting and emotional portrayals added unexpected depth to my enjoyment. Over time, the bro-mance – the love story – became the stronger draw…

    The show captivated me and bound me to the fate of those boys – and I never really knew how tightly until the last episode.
    Shock and awe (oh yeah, and tears…), indeed, those ass-butts.

    Kripke’s imagination, the writers, producers, directors, the actors all did their parts extraordinarily well. I realized how well after watching the finale – I would be satisfied even if it had to be the last of the Winchesters.

  • tina

    Lovely review Alice.And they were going to bring Sam back but I just want him back as Sam a real live Sam he deserves that much . The idea of a spirit or being demonic in some way that is something that doesnt overly appeal to me.
    Both boys brought the goods in this one esp Jared so congrates to all involved.

  • Rachel Elisabeth

    Thank You!! I’ve seen so many non-loving responses I was beginning to think I was the only one (along with offline friends) who thought the finale was awesome on many layered and awesome levels. I have one issue with it, but that issue doesn’t outweigh the love and squee and the beauty of it.

    Also reading this something snapped in my brain and I had an epiphany. John, Bobby and Sam all were able to fight off Supernatural beings because of their love for Dean. Dean is the ultimate representation of Humanity. Humanity/Free will is always worth fighting for and loving.

  • Ann Byassee

    Oh, Alice, what a perfect review! You said all the things about this amazing episode I could never have articulated on my own. It could not have been a more perfect payoff to the story arc, even if it left me a quivering wreck. I was overwhelmed by the poignancy of the Impala interludes. I was also overwhelmed by the acting on the part of both Jensen and Jared. Every time you think they just can’t surpass themselves, they do. The Sam/Lucifer mirror scene was stunning, and Jensen’s subtle portrayal of Dean’s fear/anguish/love was the epitome of the art. The only thing in your review with which I disagree is that I’m not so sure I want time to recover. The final image of the episode is going to drive me crazy all summer!

  • jasminka

    Alice, I’m a weeping mess, too, still, and I guess whenever I will watch this episode in the future, I will be again and again.

    It is Kripke’s masterpiece. I equally don’t get the bitching about this episode on other sites. Not focusing on the bigger picture, of course – how sad, actually, because those ‘fans’ will never get the deeper layers, those that are able to move and inspire us. So, their experience of the show will be a shallow one. Empty perhaps.
    Everyone makes their bed, I’m happy that we’ve found a way to enrich the experience.

    I like the idea of Sam perhaps coming back as a spiritual being, as a demon with a soul perhaps, fighting on Dean’s side. It will be a dramatic phase, I’m sure, until Sam, in whatever form, will be a part of the Winchester Corporation again, and I can hardly wait to see it played out.

    Thank you so much for this review. Your heart is in it. There’s nothing more to ask for.

    Love Jas

  • cassi

    Wonderful review Alice!

    There are so many possibilities for next season, it’s gonna drive me nuts all summer long! Love it!

    I’m completely happy with this episode as a season finale but also as a kind of series finale that finishes Kripke’s 5 years story. If Lost is just half as good, I’m happy but I doubt it.

    In comparison to you’ I didn’t cry once, this episode had such a bittersweet feeling to it that I was torn between grining like an idiot and being sad.

    Thank you Eric Kripke for sharing your wourld of Sam and Dean with the rest of us.

  • Aeroney – Why thank you so much! I hear how fan girls shouldn’t be writing reviews of their favorite show, but I do try to say more than “that was awesome.” I’m glad you like the review.

    Thanks Deborah. I not only don’t understand the negative reviews for this episode, but for this season in general. Sure it wasn’t flawless and I had some gripes, but I’m not sure how expectations strayed so badly. Somewhere along the line, “In Kripke We Trust” went south. People have been too fixated on small things like the amulet and where Sam and Dean’s rings and bracelets went and less about the bigger picture. It’s the apocalypse stupid. This episode really tied it all together but so many people missed how beautifully written, acted, and directed this episode (and the one before it) was because their lofty expectations for every detail to be addressed weren’t met.

    What I really don’t get is what were people expecting, Sam to stay in the box? Would that have been the happier ending? A head scratcher for sure. Why are people angered about Chuck instead of seeing the inside joke? Cheesy my foot. This episode was poetic. Anyway, that’s just my rant.

    It’s not like I’m taking bets on my theory about Sam. I just threw it out there because I hadn’t read it elsewhere. Your opinion is great too!

  • Deborah

    Alice, thank you for this wonderful review. I completely agree with everything you say here except for the last paragraph. I think that the Sam we see at the end is our completely human Sam. I really want to believe that God rewarded Sam by bringing him back (and, like in Lucifer Rising, cleansed him of the demon blood he had to ingest). The flickering of the lights was caused by whatever supernatural force just deposited him there, not because Sam is some sort of supernatural being. I just wonder how much time has passed. And I bet Sam is wondering whether he should knock on the door or leave Dean to the normal life that he wanted for him. But I bet Sam can also tell that Dean is not happy, so maybe . . . . Man, is it September yet?

    Again, thanks for the wonderful review, Alice. I’ve seen a lot of reviews that are less than glowing about this ep and I really, really don’t understand them. This episode, like the Winchester boys, broke my heart, and the flashback parts and the story about the Impala? Simply inspired in my book. Anyone who calls them cheesy does not for a moment understand the heart of this show. I’m so very glad that you do.

  • wow, that was such an indepth play by play I was almost in tears.

    Ahh, you tell this story as only a true fan can and do the writers and characters the jutice they deserve