Supernatural Finale: Why It Was Disappointing


The CW

Official Supernatural Season 15 poster by the CW

Supernatural was created in 2005 and has amassed millions of fans throughout the past 15 years, before finally concluding on its 320th episode. The series finale has left fans with many mixed emotions, including myself. While there are some fans who are satisfied with how the show has wrapped up, I was not of those fans. Be aware that I will be discussing spoilers for the finale and previous seasons.

To start with, the finale begins as a strangely normal episode, despite the dramatic climax versus Chuck aka God in the previous episode, with Dean Winchester being killed in a hunt gone wrong, and giving an almost 5-minute long deathbed speech to his brother Sam Winchester, before eventually succumbing to his wounds and passing away. He awakens in Heaven, meets an old friend, and drives his Impala down a forest path. Down on Earth, Sam lives out his life in front of us; he gets married, has a son who he names Dean, grows old and dies, and meets Dean in Heaven. The End. Very anti-climatic and bland. But it does seem like a happy ending to all, bittersweet, but happy nevertheless right? No actually. Many fans have expressed their displeasure and anger at this thoughtless ending for many reasons. 

Reason 1: Queerbaiting 

Queerbaiting is a marketing technique in which creators hint but never truly confirm or depict, same-sex romance, or other LGBTQ representation. A troupe which was used by Supernatural. Supernatural included a large variety of casts within its show, but it lacked LGBTQ representation. The first canonical lesbian character Charlie was introduced in the 7th season and later killed in season 10. While heartbreaking, not exactly a new concept in the show where main and side characters are killed often and frequently. But the real disservice this show has done is to one of its most beloved main characters, Castiel, an angel who rebelled against heaven because of his loyalty to his family (the Winchesters) and his love for humanity. Introduced in season 4, many fell in love with this character and wished him to be romantically paired with Dean Winchester. The creators and writers took advantage of this concept, consistently dragging and hinting at the possibility of romantic feelings between them for more than 12 years but never directly stating or showing it. Throughout that time, many fans became frustrated with this, including myself, and stopped watching. 

In season 15, episode 18 arrives. Teasers and advertisements make it seem that finally, there is an answer to our speculation, that finally, those who identified themselves with Castiel or Dean, those who felt validated and seen with these characters will finally get an answer. New and old fans tuned in, anxious and excited to see what we waited more than a decade for. We did get an answer, but it isn’t one we expected. 

In the 18th episode, Dean and Castiel are being hunted down by Death and after being cornered into a room, Castiel reveals that he had made a deal with the Empty (Angel Hell), that once he finds his true happiness, he will be killed, and that Death would be taken too as collateral damage. After a tearful speech of how he views Dean, Castiel confesses, “I love you” and Dean pleads with him to “Don’t do this”, but it is too late. The Empty opens and takes Castiel and Death before closing again. 

After 12 years of hoping and believing in wanting to see an LGBT main character, we finally get it before being ripped away. Not only was he killed minutes after his confession, but he is also told “Don’t do this”, something many LGBT people have heard from loved ones or family members, essentially ignoring their identity and sexuality, forcing them back into “the closet”. It’s a disgusting message plain and simple. It abused the feelings of LGBTQ+ fans and used their stories as a plot advancement. What message is it sending? That their lives are replaceable and unimportant, that while fans saw validation and representation, the creators saw dollar signs. The most infuriating aspect is that, after all of that, we never hear about the confession again or see Castiel again. No explanation, no closure, nothing. He is briefly mentioned in the finale by name but that was it for a beloved character of Supernatural. It was all in vain too, since Dean died 2 weeks after Castiel’s sacrifice in the finale, making it useless, unnecessary. It was clear that the creators wanted the benefits of having an LGBT character without having to keep them. They made Castiel gay and killed him a minute later. It was thoughtless and in bad taste. Many have gone to Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and other social media sites to share their anger and sadness of not only losing a beloved character but one they felt validated by. 

Reason 2: The message “Family don’t end in blood” is ignored

Throughout the past 15 years, the story of Supernatural has expressed time and time again, that family is created through bonds and doesn’t solely end by blood. But with the finale, the message is ignored by centering the last episode around just the Winchester brothers. While yes, it is true that this show began with the Winchester brothers it is baseless to say that now after all these years with bonds created with dozens of characters, that the Winchester Family only consists of Sam and Dean. What was the point of those bonds created? If they truly weren’t family, why did their deaths or sacrifices propel the plot forward or have a great impact on the characters? It doesn’t make sense. Despite the countless friends and family the Winchesters’ have made along the way, no one showed up to Dean’s funeral. Only Sam and their dog attended. While COVID-19 could be to blame for the lack of characters, it also doesn’t make sense why when the cast is saying their final goodbyes to the viewers, the camera pans away and viewers can see the whole cast and crew standing on there, more than 20 people in that space. Seems odd to be able to do that, but not include other characters such as Elieen, a deaf hunter, and Sam’s love interest, or Jack, their Nephilim companion/surrogate son previously seen in the last episode before the finale.

Reason 3: It ruined Dean’s character arc

Throughout the year’s viewers were able to see Dean’s development, as he evolved from a rude apathetic weapon used by his father and Heaven to kill and take revenge, to a complex individual, who wanted peace after decades of violence. It is difficult and frustrating to watch as a viewer to see a character evolve and go through so much development, and so close to finishing its arc, to die without any resolution. While it is true that Dean himself imagined dying from a hunt, this is only true prior to season 5. After season 5, Dean no longer thinks this way. He was shown time and time again of being exhausted from living a hunter lifestyle and has expressed that he wishes to get a normal job and live a normal life. The finale erases all of this. Instead of concluding the show after its climactic battle with God, and having Sam and Dean live out the lives they wanted, the writers bounce back to the ideals prior to season 5, of Dean dying in a hunt, and Sam living a white-picket family life. Both of these characters have grown so much that they no longer wanted that future but it is ignored in the end. Even Dean’s actor, Jensen Ackles, expressed discontent with Dean’s ending but inevitably could not change it.  It focuses too much on Sam’s happy ending, which could be a marketing ploy since the CW, the channel that ran the show, has begun promotion for a new show the Walker, starring Sam’s actor, Jared Padalecki, and would want to please Sam/Jared fans by letting him live to old age.

Now there are various more things I could discuss about the series finale, and the show as a whole, but these are the main reasons as to why I absolutely hated the ending. Despite this, I truly did love Supernatural, and the characters within them. However, the finale was disappointing, disheartening, and a disservice to both the viewers and the characters.