I imagine, like many of th e millions of Supernatural fans, that we are all stinging a bit after the shocking conclusion to the fifteen-year adventure when it came to its close. Let's face it, for the fans that are truly wrapped up in the adventures of the Winchesters, seeing the less than happy ending was both painful and bitter sweet. Two guys that spent their life saving the world without much credit, risking their lives, nay, their very souls, seemed to speak to man people over the years. Because, at the heart of the story, lied an undying devotion and unwavering loyalty to what brought them together. They were family.
Jensen Ackles character was unlike anything ever seen in television history and I'd dare to say we will never see anything like it again. Dean Winchester, the man who killed the horseman known as death, faced off against archangels, killed every kind of monster we've ever dreamed of and died not once, but hundreds of times, finally met his maker. Before he reaches his final ending Dean and Sam faced so much loss, neither of them seemingly to get what their hearts truly desired. The Winchester brothers would go on to face off against the toughest of enemies, the ultimate big bad, the most powerful adversary in the history of human kind; God.
Sam was just a child, victimized by something out of his control and pulled into a life that he wanted little to do with. Fifteen years later he was still there. A heroic tale of a boy haunted by powers he could never understand, destined to be the earthly vessel for the archangel, Lucifer. Sam, like his brother and his father before them, literally goes to hell and back to do the right thing and protect the world he lives in all in the name of the love he has for those that matter.
As I watched the final episode, the goodbye of the famed heroes, I realized I had spent fifteen years of my life being invested in their story. Whether you're a cast or crew member, a devoted fan to anything, is invested in the ending almost, if not more, than those that make the show what it is. We invite them into our homes and our lives. We cheer for them, we cry for them when they suffer and we hope that they get a happy ending that they can be proud of. Much the same way we cheer for the character, we become invested in the men and women that play the roles as it is their talent that embraces us, envelopes us and invites us into this new and fascinating world that we use to escape the humdrum of our own.
I watched the show with my son from the time he was fourteen years old all the way up to him being the twenty-nine year old he is today. In his early twenties, we even went so far as to dedicate a permanent part of ourselves and both got the famed Winchester tattoo, which for those that don't recognize it, is a derivation of the Key of Solomon. While it goes without saying that life has taken us to a different place, every week that we could we watched it together and if we were too far apart, we would text through the show and then talk about the amazing endings and the painful goodbyes the Winchesters suffered through the last five years.
Watching the finale, after the boys and their team beat back an angry, out of control character, God, the ending was a shock. To see Dean, the man referred to by the character of God as the ultimate killer, the man who died hundreds of times, get taken out in a vamp hunt, came as a shock to us, as I'm sure it did to many. With all those deaths, they always found a way back. This time, after perhaps the best performances of their lives, Sam, his baby brother finds himself alone, as all of their allies have gone.
The Hunters Funeral. This hurt, in a way I realized it shouldn't have. It is, after all, a television show. Seeing Sam alone though: it hit me.
Much like Sam and Deans' relationships I have family that I would go to hell and back for, that I would fight for and if push came to shove, die for. Sam and Dean lost their parents and were brought together my mutual angst and a need to survive in a world that was hard and ugly. Our world could easily be described as hard and very ugly. Especially in 2020 during the pandemic, with the streets of our major cities being run over by violence and our country more divided than in any time in our lives. I looked across the room and couldn't help but to wonder and I looked at my younger brother, or as Dean called Sam, "My baby brother." I wondered what it might be like if I was gone, would he be alright? I imagine that was Dean as the lights went out. Like the Winchesters we lost our parents early in life and like the Winchesters my father was a hero. The loss broke us in a way that without eachother, what would life be like? Something that I hope to never know.
My son got off work at 3:00 A.M. At 4:00 A.M. my phone rang. I knew it would happen. He, like I, wears the Winchester mark. I expected he wouldn't wait until daylight to watch the finale. We sat, we talked, we cried about the loss of Dean and seeing Sam die before it was over. We realized that the boys got the endings they deserved. Dean went to heaven, a heaven that was tailor made for the hero he proved time and again to be. Sam went on to live a life, the one thing his heart always wanted. He married, raised a child and grew old. Then came the happy ending. In heaven time works differently in their world. Dean had been gone just a day. Sam grew to an old man, passing peacefully in his sleep before joining his brother. The parents they barely knew were there, their friends, fellow hunters and extended family were there. The heroes got a great send off.
The camera pans back from a wonderful seen on a bridge to reveal the entire crew of the show as they give one last thank you for the groundbreaking success that they enjoyed. I realized, as I looked at them all together, that while they were brought together by a goal to entertain and create the most successful stories possible, we were brought together by the work they had done. In some small way, the big brother little brother relationship resonated. I was always more adventurous, even early in our lives. Impulsive, irresponsible and risky, like Dean. Little brother was always the smarter one, looking at a long game in this world, thinking before he leaped but willing to jump just the same. He is very much like Sam. The boys story, the story told by the cast and crew of the show, at its' heart was about family and what they would do for one another as well as what they would do to protect, defend and avenge their loved ones. It's what brought us all together, for fifteen years, no matter what our lives threw at us. That love of family.
Thanks to the CW Network, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padelecki, as well as the rest of the incredible cast for giving us something that kept us bonded for so many years.