After 15 years, The CW’s “Supernatural,” one of the longest running sci-fi fantasy television series of all time, has ended. Following brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester as they drive a cool car and save the world from mythical monsters, the show has the show has remained well-loved throughout its run.
Although the show was originally meant to end earlier this year, COVID-19 halted production and led to a hiatus. The last seven episodes of the series then aired starting Oct. 8, and the finale recently aired on Nov. 19.
Even with low expectations, the series finale of “Supernatural” was met with widespread disapproval and rage from its audience. The episode appeared sloppily thrown together, despite there being claims that no major changes were made due to the pandemic. The resolution of the show undermined both of its main characters’ show-long journeys as well as the message of the series itself.
One of the big questions going into this finale was: Is the brothers’ angel companion and Dean’s long-speculated love interest, Castiel (Misha Collins), coming back? Two episodes before the finale, the angel made his long-awaited declaration of love for Dean. He then dies and is sent to “The Empty,” or what fans call “Super Hell.”
Anyone can see that a character essentially coming out as gay for the first time and then immediately being sent to hell might be seen as problematic. However, fans were sure he would return in the finale. Why wouldn’t he? He has been a series regular for 12 years. Sam and Dean Winchester are basically best friends with the new God by the end of the next episode, so what’s stopping him from coming back?
Homophobia, it turns out.
The episode begins with the brothers hunting a group of vampires. As they fight, Dean falls against a post with a large nail on it. It is because of this that he dies.
Yep, that’s it. The man who defeated God, who killed Death (twice), who survived multiple apocalypses, the hunter of monsters, dies from a rusty nail. Logically, if Sam had just called Jack, the new God, or even just 911, Dean would have been fine.
Dean arrives in heaven and runs into an old friend. This would have been the perfect opportunity to re-introduce Castiel, but instead we get a conversation where Dean’s abusive father is glorified and Cas is barely mentioned. Dean then chooses to drive his car around heaven for about 40 years as he waits for Sam to live his life — which he does. Sam marries a nameless, faceless woman instead of Eileen, who they have been building up a relationship with for seasons now. She is just another example of how “Supernatural” uses characters for performative representation (in her case, for the disabled community) before promptly killing them off. The brothers reunite in heaven, and that is how the show ends.
A majority of the audience felt this ending was unsatisfying at best, and miserable writing at worst. Frankly, this well-loved show’s shallow treatment of people of color, queer, disabled and female characters has been despicable for its entire run, and this finale was just the nail in the coffin. They have continuously silenced and erased these characters as soon as they’re done being used as plot devices.
Not having Cas return for the finale or having Dean even acknowledge the angel’s confession after it took place is undeniable queerbaiting. This extremely irresponsible writing has left an audience who has rooted for these characters for years feeling disappointed and betrayed.
On a more positive note, since the show’s end, there have been various fundraisers launched in the names of the main characters. One raises money for the Trevor Project in Castiel’s name. By raising money and awareness to these causes, fans of the show are preserving the spirit and message of the show — even if the writers couldn’t.
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That ending had much bigger problems than Dean and Castiel. That was never going to be a real thing, because the actors aren’t gay, and at least one of the characters wasn’t gay, and it would have been totally against the show to put them together just to force something gay to be in the story. I very much doubt Jensen, at least, wouldn’t’ve quit. It was really just a fan fantasy, and they decided to play off it because the show was ending. Honestly, that’s more than most stories would do. But what fans really wanted just wasn’t realistic.
The real reasons the ending sucked start with Dean shouldn’t have died at all. It was too cliche, and expected, and couldn’t have been done in any kind of a satisfactory way. What’s worse is there were about ten alternatives to what they actually did visible just within the script they came up with that would have been way better. And they did so many other things so well, and then they had to go and screw that up.
Then there are no getting around the corona restrictions, which are a load of crap no matter what anyone says, and couldn’t have been worked around enough to provide proper wrap-up to this show. Not that the angle they were going for would’ve really been okay, anyway, but at least it would’ve sucked less if there could’ve been some much-needed reappearances and wrap-ups to the most important unresolved plots. It’s a long journey to get to the end of fifteen years’ worth of story, and when it looked so good, it was just too much to bear when it went down like this… I know some people would’ve been disappointed, anyway, but this was a lot…