I started watching “Supernatural” at the same time, it feels like, everyone else did, which was somewhere around the early 2010s, in middle school. This was the peak of the show‘s popularity, when Tumblr was the most exciting social network around and fan culture was booming. My interest in the show petered off toward the end of high school, in large part due to its circular plot lines, apparent hatred of women, and the realization that better shows existed, but I kept watching. This is mostly because I’ve never been able to quit watching a show that I’ve already invested time into (only once that I can remember) and because at nine seasons, it seemed certain that the end was near… right?
Well, five years and six seasons later (give or take) they’ve finally done it, going out in one final queerbaiting-Twitter-incensing-confusion-inducing blaze of glory last Thursday night. I’m not going to talk about the show’s (questionable, to say the least) legacy too much, mostly because 15 seasons is a lot and I don’t remember most of it. Instead, I’d like to talk about the series finale, because I’m sorry, but what the f*ck?
Series finales almost always make me cry, even if I didn’t care about the show that much, because I’m a sucker and a single callback to the pilot gets me going. The series finale of “Supernatural” did not evoke the same emotions, mostly due to the fact that it was terrible. I’m not going to get too much into the Destiel of it all, because it’s been said, but if my best friend sacrificed himself so that I could live, after confessing that he’d been in love with me in secret for the past 12 years, I would probably HAVE A REACTION. Any reaction at all. Really, doing anything would be better than just shrugging it off because he would’ve wanted me to “keep living,” and then never mentioning him again.
Furthermore, the tone of the entire episode was off. For context, the previous episode featured the protagonists’ adopted son literally defeating and subsequently becoming God, bringing back every living thing on earth after the first God killed them. The next episode (the finale) opens with a cheery montage, packed with jokey callbacks and a dog, for some reason. Hence, it was extremely jarring when the main character DIED right in the middle of the episode. Honestly, it was so dramatic, so stupid, so pointless, that I initially assumed it was a joke. But no. The man who literally traveled to hell and back, was possessed by demons, became a demon, was possessed by archangels, and has spent five gajillion episodes dying and coming back to life, was impaled by a rusty nail, gave a dramatic speech, and died.
On a certain level, I can see how this might seem like symmetry. But the characters ended their arcs exactly as they thought they would in season one. Despite constantly hammering the audience over the head with the mantra “family don’t end in blood,” the series finale featured no series regulars except the two brothers. It just felt completely ridiculous, with absolutely no emotional payoff or resolution for any of the characters, let alone the audience. A moment I suspect was meant to be an emotional high point was simply an extended montage of one of the main characters in the worst wig I have ever seen, wearing glasses to show that time had passed, apparently married to a blurry woman in the distance. It’s really almost impressive. I didn’t know it was possible for a show that was on for 15 seasons to have a finale that felt unearned, but here we are.
Though I strongly believe that unabashed fan service almost always results in a worse show, there’s nothing wrong with writing an ending that makes people happy. Even an ending that’s expected can be satisfying. That means it’s expected because the writers did their jobs, that they carefully plotted a story that led to a logical and powerful conclusion. It’s not bad to feature fan favorite characters, or to have those little winky nods that break the fourth wall. But alas, it was not meant to be. “Supernatural” will instead surely go down as one of the worst series finales of all time. Instead of redeeming itself in its final moments, by doing anything progressive or interesting or satisfying, it’s simply the last episode to cap off a long run of misogynistic, homophopic, uninspired episodes.