Supernatural season 15’s “Inherit The Earth” is the penultimate episode of the Winchester story. So why does it feel like the end for Sam and Dean?
Here’s why Supernatural‘s second-to-last episode felt every bit like a series finale. Ever since the end was announced for Sam and Dean Winchester, Supernatural fans have been dreading the show’s end, and while a global pandemic stretched the remaining episodes out longer than intended, the end is now nigh. “Inherit The Earth” serves as the penultimate episode of season 15, and of Supernatural as a whole, and begins with Sam, Dean and Jack alone on a deserted Earth, as Chuck wields his divine ax upon all creatures great and small. Through a turn of good fortune, Jack is able to absorb the power of God within Chuck, leaving the villain helpless and taking his place as the Almighty.
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The final battle between God and the Winchester brothers was a divisive one. “Inherit the Earth” had clearly been altered due to real-life circumstances, and some viewers were still sore from the previous week’s major death. But perhaps the strangest aspect of Supernatural‘s penultimate offering was how much the episode felt like the finale. Every major plot thread was wrapped up – God defeated and replaced, the world saved, the Winchesters freed, etc. The final moments of “Inherit The Earth” saw Sam and Dean ride into the sunset with the Impala, followed swiftly by a heart-warming montage of favorite moments from the past 15 years.
If next week’s “Carry On” hadn’t been announced in advance, most viewers would’ve naturally assumed “Inherit The Earth” was Supernatural‘s finale – a super-happy ending where the Winchesters live to hunt another day. But with the Chuck storyline neatly wrapped up, many will now be wondering what Supernatural still has to offer, and why the bad guy was defeated a week early. The answer can be found in comments made earlier this year by Supernatural‘s showrunner, Andrew Dabb, who revealed the “mythology” would be mostly tied up in episode 19 (“Inherit The Earth”), while the actual finale would focus exclusively on character. Dabb’s words echo other interviews with cast and crew, which have touted two finales – one to end season 15, and one to end the series as a whole.
Dabb and the Supernatural crew were not exaggerating. The penultimate episode completely tackled the remaining mythological threads, and “Carry On” now has license to sign off Sam and Dean’s story in a way that pays homage to the entire show, not just this season’s storyline. This feels like a wise choice, since Supernatural‘s greatest strength is widely accepted to be the chemistry between its leading duo. Even with the inspired additions of Crowley, Jack and, of course, Castiel, Supernatural has always been Sam and Dean’s story, and it’s fitting that the final episode revolve exclusively around the brothers, rather than navigating the mythological weeds of God’s defeat and the future of Earth. The bond between Jensen Ackles’ Dean and Jared Padalecki’s Sam is why Supernatural has lasted a heroically impressive 15 seasons, and “Carry On” is recognizing that success by giving the Winchesters their reward.
Exactly what Supernatural‘s character-based finale entails remains to be seen. Viewers can expect a heavy sprinkle of nostalgia as Sam and Dean take the Impala down memory lane, and there may be some familiar faces thrown in for good measure, COVID restrictions permitting. Supernatural‘s finale will inevitably examine the legacy of Sam and Dean. The Winchesters’ lives are usually so packed with dismemberment and misery, the brothers are rarely afforded a chance to take stock of their achievements. “Carry On” could do exactly that, but the finale might also turn an eye towards the future. What happens to Sam and Dean when Supernatural ends? Will they leave the Earth in capable hands and depart for the afterlife in peace, or will they carry on as the world’s premier hunting duo?
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