Written by: Various
Starring: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Alexander Calvert
Reviewed by: Eric Joseph
Thanks go to WB for the free review copy.
“Carry on with the thrilling and terrifying journey of the Winchester brothers in Supernatural: The Complete Series. Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) face everything from demons to vampires, ghosts, angels and pagan gods. And with the help of the fallen angel Castiel (Misha Collins), they discover that every threat they vanquish opens a new door for evil to enter.”
As someone who has watched Supernatural ever since the pilot episode first aired back in 2005, I must say writing this review comes as being quite bittersweet. Week after week, I’ve tuned in to see Sam and Dean Winchester saving people and hunting things, with their long journey now coming to an end. Granted, the beloved horror series had to conclude at some point, but it just feels weird now having my decade-and-a-half weekly ritual gone. I mean, I do watch reruns on TNT and own a fair amount of the home video sets, but other members of the “SPN Family” will know exactly what I mean upon reading this.
Long story short, season 15 sees the Winchester Boys going up against their most formidable threat yet: God himself. That’s right, Chuck has had it with his favorite heroes and he’s ready to pull the plug. As such, this particular season is arguably the heaviest on series mythology, but that’s to be expected. Sure, Sam and Dean still work regular cases throughout, but combating a foe like no other understandably requires a lot of storytelling focus.
On the plus side, I actually wound up being satisfied with the outcome, though I’m going to elaborate on the finale a bit later in this review. The endgame that was executed makes sense in context with the rest of the series to this point. If you have followed the show, its evolution from fighting weekly freaks of the week to taking down cosmic entities will not feel so jarring as to, say, someone who saw only the earlier seasons and will check this out by pure curiosity. Think of it like following a band that has released a dozen albums spanning decades; they seldom keep doing the same thing over and over.
Make no mistake, the first five seasons of Supernatural were its unparalleled greatest, but there has been some undeniable gold churned out in the time since. If not, I wouldn’t have hung around for so long without fail. It’s not like there’s been a noticeable drop off in quality as there has been with The Flash, a TV show that has suffered from painfully obvious budget cuts and creativity shortage.
Normally, I’m able to easily pick out my favorite episode, but I haven’t been able to definitively decide on one for season 15 at the time of this writing. Perhaps that honor will go to the penultimate episode, “Inherit the Earth,” but it’s not standing alongside “Changing Channels” or “Mint Condition.”
When it comes to bonus features, there’s a hell of a lot to enjoy. The Blu-ray set I viewed contained no less than six featurettes and a gag reel. My favorite doc had to be “Supernatural: The End of the Road,” which provided an inside look at the making of the final season, not to mention how the cast and crew had to adapt after having a global pandemic throw a wrench into their plans.
I normally don’t mention unaired scenes, but you’re going to want to check out one deleted from “The Trap.” In it, there’s a much different outcome to the casino encounter with Chuck. This makes me wonder if indeed the back half of the season had a possible alternate ending.
If anything rubbed me the wrong way, it was the revelation that Chuck had been helping the Winchesters all along, unbeknownst to them. I’m trying to avoid major spoilers as usual, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t address this. You see, I’ve always loved that Sam and Dean were two normal guys who achieved the impossible. But to learn that so much of what they did was thanks to some level of divine intervention left a bad taste in my mouth. Seriously, there’s one moment where they can’t even pick a lock when Chuck makes them “normal.”
Circling back to the finale itself, I did enjoy “Carry On,” but I find myself agreeing with the section of fandom who thought “Inherit the Earth” may have served as a better ending point. Think about it: Our heroes take down the Almighty and are finally “free,” driving Baby down the open road as we’re treated to highlight clips from previous seasons. “Carry On,” however, felt more like an epilogue and viewing the remainder of Sam’s life in fast forward didn’t quite click with me in the way intended. Still, the series ended where it should have: with Sam and Dean and Sam and Dean alone. It began and ended with them.
Taking into account how folks like Jensen Ackles himself are open to the idea of returning for a limited run somewhere down the line, that’s one more reason why I favored “Inherit the Earth”: it left off more open-ended. “Carry On,” meanwhile, was much more conclusive. Whichever writers are tasked with picking up the story in 5-10 years are going to have to do some literary gymnastics.
Whether or not you own every season on DVD or Blu-ray, I recommend picking up Supernatural: The Fifteenth and Final Season. Why not have the ending at your disposal? Or, if you have some more money to blow, a complete series set is also hitting shelves and may strike your fancy. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Supernatural: The Fifteenth & Final Season and Supernatural: The Complete Series will be available on Blu-ray & DVD on May 25th from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.