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Recap / Supernatural S 05 E 22 Swan Song

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Recap of Supernatural
Season 5, Episode 22

Swan Song
Lucifer, Michael, and Dean.

Sammy, it's okay, it's okay. I'm here. I'm here. I'm not gonna leave you. I'm not gonna leave you!
Dean to his Lucifer-possessed brother

Written by Eric Kripke and Eric "Giz" Gerwitz.

Directed by Steve Boyum.

Air Date: May 13, 2010.

Chuck is typing away at his computer, waxing lyrical about the most important object in the universe: a 1967 Chevy Impala. There's a toy soldier stuck in the ashtray where a young Sam once shoved it, and Legos rattling in the vents thanks to young Dean. Why should we care about these details? Lucifer doesn't. But these, Chuck says, are the important things.

Meanwhile, it's go time for Team Free Will. Sam and Dean have had their heart-to-heart, jugs of demon blood are in the trunk, and the Horseman rings are at the ready. As they drive to meet the Devil in Detroit, with the depowered Castiel sleeping in the backseat and Bobby following behind, Sam makes Dean promise him that once he's gone, Dean will leave him where he is and go live a normal life with Lisa. In Detroit, Sam says his goodbyes to Bobby and Cas and downs the blood. Then he and Dean enter the building. Things don't go according to plan. Lucifer knows that they have the rings. Sam says yes anyway and Lucifer takes him over. Dean opens the gate to the Cage, but it's no use. Lucifer's in control. He zaps himself away.

Cas and Bobby have given up, but Dean, still determined to do something, calls up Chuck and asks him where the battle will take place. Turns out, it's a cemetery near Lawrence, Kansas. Dean resolves to go there and talk to Sam. Cas tries to talk Dean out of it, telling him that all he'll see is Michael killing his brother. Dean responds that in that case, he needs to be there for Sam when it happens.

The next day, Michael and Lucifer meet at the cemetery, wearing Adam and Sam respectively. They talk briefly. Lucifer tries to convince Michael that they don't need to go through with this, that they could just stop. But Michael sees that as rebellion against their father and refuses. The fight is just about to begin when suddenly, there's the growl of an engine. The Impala roars up, and Dean gets out. Michael and Lucifer are understandably confused, and refuse when Dean asks for five minutes to talk to Sam. So Cas, who's standing nearby with Bobby, nails Michael with a holy oil Molotov, temporarily sending him away. Lucifer is not impressed. With a snap of his fingers, he causes Cas to explode in a cloud of gore. Bobby tries to shoot him, so Lucifer breaks his neck. Then he turns to Dean, throws him against the hood of the Impala, and begins beating him to a bloody pulp. Dean's face becomes a mangled, bleeding mess, yet between the punches, he keeps telling Sam that it's okay. Lucifer raises Sam's fist for one last blow.

Suddenly, light glints off the side of the Impala. The Impala with the toy soldier in the ashtray and the Legos in the vents; the Impala that Sam and Dean have slept in, laughed in, pranked each other in, argued in, driven all across the country in; the Impala that has carried them as they faced everything, together. These memories flash faster and faster through Sam's mind until he's left with an image of himself and his brother, hugging.

And Sam lowers his fist. He tells Dean that he's going to be okay. Then he takes out the rings and opens the pit. Before he can jump, Michael appears, and tells Sam to stop because he and his brother are destined to fight. But Sam ignores him, and lets himself fall. Michael steps forward and grabs his arm, tries to pull him back, but Sam's weight is too much and he is dragged into the pit as well. The ground closes up, and Dean is left completely alone. Until he looks up, and there's Castiel, resurrected once again and restored to his angelic glory and promoted to a Seraphim. Cas touches Dean's face, and instantly it's healed. He brings Bobby back to life as well.

So, Chuck asks, what does this all add up to? Cas returns to Heaven to deal with the anarchy up there. Bobby continues to hunt. Dean, against every fiber of his being, keeps his promise to Sam and goes to live a normal life with Lisa and Ben. What's the point? According to Chuck, the point is despite being forced to deal with everything from demons to destiny, Sam and Dean chose family over everything else. Chuck types the words "THE END." Then, with a smile and the assertion that nothing ever really ends, he vanishes.

Meanwhile, Dean is eating dinner with his newfound family. Outside, a streetlight flickers. Standing underneath it, staring at the scene through the window, is Sam....

Body count

For this episode = 8 demons.

For the series so far = At least 407 humans (of which 6 were witches), 73 demons, 33 ghosts, 19 zombies, 13 gods, 11 vampires, 10 angels, 9 hellhounds, 6 changelings, 3 shapeshifters, 2 ghouls, 2 werewolves, 2 dogs, 1 crocotta, 1 djinn, 1 rakshasa, 1 rawhead, 1 reaper, 1 rugaru, 1 shtriga, 1 siren, 1 wendigo, 1 whore of Babylon, and 1 wraith.


  • Achilles in His Tent: Dean at the end of this episode and into the next one.
  • And I Must Scream: Sam is subjected to being unable to do anything while Lucifer controls his body, which if Lucifer wins, will be forever. Lucifer outright states that this trope is in effect near the end:
    Dean: Sammy, are you in there?
    Lucifer: Oh, he's in here, all right. [hits Dean] And he's gonna feel the snap of your bones.
  • Archangel Michael: Michael is the secondary villain in this episode. He gets locked in the Cage with Lucifer.
  • The Atoner: Sam is willing to suffer a fate worse than death in order to atone for his actions in Season 4.
  • Author Avatar: With Chuck actively writing what looks to be the conclusion of the story it's pretty clear that he's a representation of Supernatural's writers, Eric Kripke in particular. This becomes overly literal at the end when Chuck is all but outright stated to be God.
  • Badass Boast/Bring It: Lucifer has this retort to Michael when Michael tells him that he will destroy him.
    Lucifer: If that's the way it's gotta be...I'd like to see you try.
  • Badass Fingersnap: Lucifer snaps his fingers and Castiel explodes.
  • Bad Boss: Lucifer assembles a collection of demons that played some part in Sam's past and offers them up to Sam for target practice.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: Cas sleeping in the back of the Impala.
    Dean: Aw. Ain't he a little angel?
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Dean doesn't look too pretty after Lucifer's done beating him to a pulp at the end. Then played straight when Cas heals him miraculously, no swelling, scars, or even blood left behind.
  • Big Bad: Lucifer and Michael, who have possessed Sam and Adam respectively. The two intend on having their fated final showdown with one another, which would cause catastrophic damage to the entire planet, resulting in many people dying no matter who wins. Dean, Castiel, and Bobby pull off a last desperate gambit to prevent this fight from taking place.
  • Big Damn Heroes: "Gunter glieben glauchen globen/All right/I got something to say..."
  • Big "NO!": Dean gives one when Lucifer kills Bobby by snapping his neck.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending starts out as this, as Sam has to sacrifice himself to avert the Apocalypse and trap both Lucifer and Michael in the Cage. The world doesn't end, but Dean, Bobby, and Castiel have lost a brother and a friend. Bobby continues to hunt, Castiel assumes command of Heaven, and Dean goes to live a normal life, as he promised Sam. Then it turns into The End... Or Is It? in the last several seconds.
  • Blasphemous Boast: When Castiel tells Dean that he's going back to Heaven, Dean tells Cas that he is coming for God next.
  • Blatant Lies:
    Lucifer: Castiel, did you just Molotov my brother with Holy Fire?
  • But Now I Must Go: Castiel must go back to heaven to restore order.
  • Call-Back: The streetlight goes out in the presence of Not Quite Dead Sam. Given that the demon Crowley blew out a similar streetlight a couple of episodes back, it adds a disturbing implication to this miraculous return.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Lucifer theorizes that since God created everything, he is responsible for the fact that he is so evil.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Or, rather, The Call Has Been Following You Your Entire Life, as Lucifer reveals that many important people during Sam's childhood were possessed by demons.
  • Came Back Strong: Cas returns not only with his angelic abilities, but now more powerful than ever, healing Dean and almost casually resurrecting Bobby.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The army-man toy.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Castiel fails to realize he's supposed to say something reassuring to Sam. When he does, Sam tells him to just stop talking.
    Sam: Take care of these guys, okay?
    Castiel: [Sighs] That's not possible.
    Sam: Then humor me.
    Castiel: Oh. I was supposed to lie. [Beat] Uh... Sure! They'll be fine. I...
    Sam: Just, just... stop talking.
  • Continuity Nod
    • Sam's prom date Rachel was among those possessed by a demon. Wishverse!Sam mentions that Dean slept with his prom date Rachel Nave.
  • Creepy Cemetery: The battle for Armageddon will take place in Stull Cemetery, an old boneyard just outside of Lawrence, Kansas.
  • Creepy Crows: A crow is seen flying by when the plot switches to Stull Cemetery.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Dean after losing Sam and Cas going back to Heaven.
    Chuck: Dean didn't want Cas to save him. Every part of him, every fiber he's got, wants to die, or find a way to bring Sam back. But he isn't gonna do either. Because he made a promise.
  • Deus ex Machina: Cas turns up and heals all the damage done during the fight. Perhaps in reference to this trope, Dean asks if he's God.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: "Did you just Molotov my brother with holy fire?"
    • Blatant Lies: ""
    • Bobby shoots the Devil, then shrugs as if to say, "Well, yeah, I knew that wasn't going to work either..."
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After the gamble fails and Lucifer successfully takes control of Sam's body, Castiel loses all hope and suggests this.
    Castiel: I suggest we all imbibe copious amounts of alcohol and wait for the inevitable blast wave.
    Dean: Well thanks, Bukowski.
  • The Dutiful Son: Michael believes he has to kill Lucifer because it is what God would have wanted, calling himself "a good son".
  • The End: Chuck ends his story with these words. He subverts and plays with it, noting that "Nothing ever really ends".
  • The End... Or Is It?: In the very last scene, Dean is having dinner with his old flame and her son, settling down to the normal life he promised Sam. Pan out the window to Sam, standing under a streetlight watching, aaaaand...credits roll.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Lucifer shows this trope, freezing a window with his breath, and states "Sorry if it's a bit chilly. Most people think I burn hot. It's actually quite the opposite."
    • This is perhaps a Shout-Out to Dante's Inferno, which rather famously features a frozen Hell that gets colder the closer one gets to Lucifer at the center.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Lucifer tries to talk his brother Michael out of fighting him, pointing out they don't have to do so simply because God laid down the rules an eternity ago.
  • Fantastic Racism: Michael showcases the angelic attitude to humans when he calls Dean a "little maggot".
  • A Friend in Need: Dean refuses to let Sam die alone.
  • Foreshadowing: A rather blatant case the seconding viewing through, but: "This is the stuff that's important."
  • God: Chuck is strongly implied to be God at the end.
  • God Was My Copilot:
    • Implied. After averting the apocalypse, one of the last shots we're treated to is "The Prophet Chuck", who had unwittingly used his powers to write a series of books about the Winchesters, ending his last book with a soliloquy about how hard it is to write a satisfying ending. He decides that sometimes it's better if things don't really end, per se, then smiles and disappears into thin air. Near halfway through the same episode, he is seen calling a "Mistress Magda," a reference to Mary Magdalene who is believed by some to be a) an adulteress/prostitute and b) the wife/consort of Jesus.
    • Also played with mere moments before it's played straight. After Castiel shows up and heals Dean, Dean asks if he's God. His response is "That's a nice compliment, but no."
  • Got Me Doing It: When Cas torches Michael, he says "Hey, assbutt!", something (he thinks) Dean would say.
    Dean: Assbutt?
  • Healing Hands: When Cas is restored as an angel at the end, he heals Dean's wounds and resurrects Bobby.
  • Hope Spot: It seems like Sam has retained control of his body after he merged with Lucifer, and prepares to jump into the Cage. Then Lucifer reveals that he was just toying with Dean, and that Sam never stood a chance.
  • Hourglass Plot: In the "Pilot" and other early episodes Sam wanted a normal life, while Dean was a committed hunter who seemed to believe he was destined to die young. This episode ends with Sam "dying" young, and Dean settling into a normal life with Lisa and Ben.
  • Humanity Ensues: Castiel became human in the previous episode. He shows further signs of this when he's sleeping in the back of the Impala on the way to Lucifer, which Sam notes is something angels plain don't do. ("Angels don't sleep.")
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Averted. Dean tries to reach Sam while Lucifer is possessing his brother, but it's not an example of this trope, because Dean's not fighting.
  • Immune to Bullets: When Dean shot Nick!Lucifer with the Colt, it didn't hurt him but it did knock him out for a minute. When Bobby shoots Sam!Lucifer(the true vessel), the Colt does absolutely nothing except get his attention.
  • Implausible Deniability: In plain view of everyone, Castiel hits Michael with flaming sacred oil.
    Lucifer: [incredulous] Did you just Molotov my brother with holy fire?
  • Ludicrous Gibs: This time, we actually see Castiel explode from an angel smiting. And he does indeed explode like a water balloon of chunky soup.
  • Madonna-Whore Complex: Dean accuses Chuck of having this.
    "You really got a whole virgin-hooker thing going on, dontcha?"
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: Satan has possessed Sam's body and has a conversation with Sam's otherwise buried consciousness by using Sam's body to talk into a mirror.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Castiel throws a Molotov cocktail of holy fire at Michael, temporarily banishing the archangel from the fight zone. This allows Dean enough time to try to reach Sam.
  • Mind over Matter: Lucifer snaps Bobby's neck with a mere hand gesture.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: The episode is framed with Chuck's attempt to write a satisfying conclusion to the story of the Winchesters.
  • Neck Snap: Lucifer kills Bobby this way.
  • Never My Fault: Lucifer blames anyone but himself for being evil, up to and including God. Michael lampshades this trope when Lucifer tries to convince his brother to join him against God:
    Michael: You haven't changed a bit, little brother. Always blaming everybody but yourself.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: When Dean interrupts his plans, Lucifer unleashes a brutal beating on Dean, which he says he will relish and perform slowly, while Sam will be Forced to Watch.
  • No-Sell: Lucifer takes it even further than he did in "Abandon All Hope..." (S05, E10). In his True Vessel (Sam), he's completely immune to the Colt, and it only affects Sam's body(which Lucifer can of course fix with no problem).
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You/Hypocritical Heartwarming: After Castiel banishes Michael, Lucifer angrily states that "nobody dicks with Michael but me". Then Michael tries to stop Sam from hurling himself into Hell.
  • Parental Abandonment: Lucifer, Michael, and the rest of the angels were abandoned by God, their father. Michael blames Lucifer for it, but Lucifer maintains that God did it freely.
  • The Power of Love: Sam's fond memories of the life he's spent with Dean is what allows him to retake control of his body.
  • The Promise: Sam forces Dean to promise him that he will live a normal life after Sam has jumped into the Cage with Lucifer. Dean keeps his word, and joins up with Lisa and Ben. Then it turns out that Sam has returned.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Exaggerated, in that Sam has to end up with a fate even worse than permanent death to atone for starting the Apocalypse. He will be trapped in Lucifer's Cage with an archangel that will torture him until the end of time.
  • Satan: Satan, the Big Bad of the entire series until now, is the main villain of this episode.
  • Series Fauxnale/Season Finale: This specific episode was intended to be the Grand Finale to Supernatural altogether. It ended up concluding the storyline set up across this season and the first four, and series creator Eric Kripke resigned from the show, but Supernatural ended up continuing with a new executive producer for ten more seasons, with new stories.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    Lucifer: If I win...well, then I win.
  • Shout-Out
    • Lucifer quotes a line from the Devil Went Down to Georgia right as he's about to possess Sam.
      Lucifer: I'll bet a fiddle of gold against your soul 'cause I think I'm better than youuuuu.
    • In what also serves as a Continuity Nod, Lucifer when seeing the effects of Sam drinking demon's blood, says "Chock full of Ovaltine, are we?". Azazel also compared demon's blood to Ovaltine.
  • Status Quo Is God: Castiel gets his full powers back. And Sam is back from the dead.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: The official summary of the episode is quite upfront about how "a beloved character faces death".
  • Too Dumb to Live: In-Universe, Lucifer considers Dean interrupting his fight with Michael as, even for Dean, a "whole new mountain of stupid".
  • Villains Never Lie: Lucifer maintains this.
    Lucifer: I've never lied to you Sam—you can at least pay me the same respect.
  • Wham Episode
  • Where It All Began: The fight between Lucifer and Michael will take place just outside of Lawrence, Kansas, where Sam and Dean were born. Chuck lampshades it.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Completely averted. Lucifer immediately kills Castiel and Bobby (who actually does shoot him) after they try to stop him. He beats Dean to a bloody mess instead of killing him outright, but only because he wants both Dean and Sam to feel it.
  • You Monster!: Michael has this retort to Lucifer when his younger brother tries to persuade him to walk away one last time.
    Michael: You are a monster, Lucifer. And I have to kill you.