Even better than I remember it being the last time I watched it. Seriously; this one DESERVED AN EMMY. It is SO SO SO SO GOOD. The most impressive thing being Jensen acting opposite himself. It’s just…perfection. SO believable as “him” and “future him” but also funny at time and also so so so heartbreaking; it’s the best of Supernatural. Truly a perfect Supernatural episode. I noticed this time how incredibly heavy on dialog it is (Jensen had to memorize a ton!!!) – but in spite of the massive amounts of explanation and talking (like Dean and Lucifer Sam near the end), it never feels preachy or slow to me – I’m glued to it the entire time. It’s a perfect episode. PERFECT.
I remember when I originally saw it how jarring it was to see Cas as not typical robotic Cas but really human Cas. It really threw me that first time!!!
There are SO MANY lines in this one that my friends and I repeat to each other to this day. “We kinda liked it.” “I’ll just wait here then.” “Hoard it like gold.” So memorable!
The parts where Dean is realizing how far he himself has veered off course thanks to the Croatoan apocalypse is perhaps one of the most heartbreaking things to me. When he realizes that his future self is unapologetically sending his friends to their deaths just so he has the chance to kill Lucifer; it’s truly chilling.
I loved when Dean is first sent into the future and we are all trying to figure out what happened right along with him. That first interaction with the infected child is truly creepy and very very good. I also love it when we, the audience, realize that we KNOW something – just like Dean does – when we see the “Croatoan” graffiti. And that scene of the infected people chasing him with Dean running at full speed is seriously thrilling! I do wonder a bit about the “Do You Love Me” choice for the music for the slaughter of the infected people. Was that some kind of reference to a movie like Apocalypse Now or Good Morning Vietnam or some other movie I don’t know? It seemed out of place.
I loved “present” Cas rescuing Dean from Zachariah at the very end. It’s like I forgot about Cas “just waiting here” and suddenly he saves him. Good old Cas that we know and understand.
I wonder what happened to “future” Bobby? His house is abandoned. Dean finds his wheelchair with what looks like bullet or stab holes through it? But he also finds a photo of Bobby (wasn’t Bobby in that photo?) at the resistor’s camp…but we never find out what happened to Bobby.
Jared and Lucifer. We only see Jared at the start and end (with his call to Dean at the start when Dean insists they need to stay apart). I hate to say it, because I love them together best, but this episode convinced me that Jensen could have carried the show solo no problem. He was literally riveting the whole way. From the harsh future version of himself to the scene with Sam/Lucifer when he’s so sad/angry he’s in tears but still defiant. He as just complete and total perfection here. Sorry, I said I was going to talk about Jared! I just can’t stop talking about Jensen in this one!
The first time I saw it, I remember thinking that Jared was superb. That he so utterly transformed himself and his speech and his mannerisms from Sam to Lucifer that I thought it was masterful. I do like the way the early versions of Lucifer were calm and even very “nice” and seductive. Somehow that nonthreatening and sure of himself Lucifer as very very scary! The way Lucifer is so sure of the outcome; that he’ll always win; that they’ll always end up there. It’s so defeating and you can see it in Dean’s face. It’s so good! I was still impressed with Jared here. It’s just that Jensen’s work in this was so beyond incredible that it’s hard to tear my eyes away from him long enough to appreciate Jared’s work!
When they get back together in the end, it’s very very satisfying. I am guessing we are meant to think this separation lasted awhile? In the last episode he told the hunters following him that if they came looking again, he’d be there; working in the bar. How long was he there? How long were they apart? Dean says Sam is probably “rusty” so it had to be longer than it seemed. In the show, it seemed too fast; that they were hardly apart before they were together again. Still, the reunion is kinda tentative. No hugs. I felt Sam’s sincerity and felt that Dean was being honest – not pretending – he really WAS taking Sam back. But it’s also kind of about survival and not really as emotional as some other reunions.
Was it the start of this one where Dean looks over at Sam’s empty place in the Impala? Or was that the previous one. I loved that. I also loved Dean trying to explain to Cas that he needs to do human things like sleep. When Sam called Dean to tell him about being Lucifer’s vessel, it’s hard to watch Sam’s disappointment that Dean is not somehow rushing to save him. I also noticed that the old flip phones were definitely nice for drama; Dean can hang up on Sam by snapping the phone closed; much more dramatic that poking at flat screen Smartphone to hang up. The look on Dean’s face when he hangs up on Sam…you can see how painful it is for him in spite of how sure and confident he sounded when talking to Sam. The man deserves and Emmy for this one, I’m telling you!
They really went all out on this one. The apocalypse set was amazing.
It’s amazing to me that at the time, 2014 seemed like it was definitely in the future. And amazing that the show was still being made in 2014! And even more stunning that 2014 was almost TEN years ago now. Geez.
One of the best ones they ever made.
- This reply was modified 1 year ago by journalbookbinder.
- This reply was modified 1 year ago by journalbookbinder.
kate38November 19, 2022 at 8:34 pm #32725
“One of the best ones they ever made.”
Truer words were never spoken, JBB. If I had to pick one episode that captures Supernatural at the top of its game, it would be this one.
“The parts where Dean is realizing how far he himself has veered off course thanks to the Croatoan apocalypse is perhaps one of the most heartbreaking things to me. When he realizes that his future self is unapologetically sending his friends to their deaths just so he has the chance to kill Lucifer; it’s truly chilling.”
“Chilling” is a perfect description of those moments. Dean is consistently hit with one shock after another — he wakes up zapped five years into a future-apocalypse word, he discovers that Bobby is probably dead, he discovers the neglected/abandoned Impala…then the BIG reveals happen, like when he realizes that the conversation he JUST had with Sam in 2009 was probably the last time they spoke, when he realizes that he’s capable of shooting one of his own people in cold blood, that he’s torturing demons again (with ZERO remorse this time), and perhaps the worst one — that if he’d been with Sam in Detroit, he probably could’ve convinced Sam to not say yes. Dean’s whole experience in this episode is chilling, revealing, and perfectly executed. I bought every second of it!
“I do wonder a bit about the “Do You Love Me” choice for the music for the slaughter of the infected people. Was that some kind of reference to a movie like Apocalypse Now or Good Morning Vietnam or some other movie I don’t know? It seemed out of place.”
I haven’t listened to the commentary for a while, but I seem to recall Ben Edlund saying that the “Apocalypse Now” juxtaposition of bloody brutality and bullet-riddled bodies dropping to the ground happening against that music is exactly what they were going for.
“I hate to say it, because I love them together best, but this episode convinced me that Jensen could have carried the show solo no problem.”
I have thought this for a LONG time, although I recognize that it’s probably an unpopular opinion to express — especially on social media. Not only is Jensen a better and more well-rounded actor, but if he had to carry this show alone, he has better chemistry with almost every guest actor than Jared does. We’ve seen both actors in separate scenes with Jim Beaver, Steven Williams, Samantha Ferris, Alona Tal, Misha Collins, Mark Sheppard, Kim Rhodes, and a long list of other people. Jensen just “clicks” with people immediately, and the camera picks up on that. For Jared, that seems to be more of an effort. The camera finds that, too.
Dean looking over at the empty seat in the Impala was at the beginning of “Free to be You and Me”. And yes, just the expression and demeanor told everything Dean was feeling at that moment. Sigh…Can Jensen please just have his Emmy already?
I don’t think this set gets enough love! I know it’s the Watchmen set, and Supernatural uses it again in “Point of No Return” when Cas gives Dean a tune up in that alley. I think there might be another time when it gets used, but I can’t recall it right now. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how the visual effects and set design people turned that set (including the hotel room) into apocalypse world. I think Edlund said that they used set design for the street level (all the debris) and the first story of all the buildings, but everything above that and in the distance was CGI. To me, the overall effect was stunning and totally convincing. Kudos!
A thousand upvotes for this one 🙂
- This reply was modified 12 months ago by kate38.
kate38November 19, 2022 at 8:34 pm #32717
I have nothing but praise for everything about this episode! You who know me well know that “The End” is tied with “Lazarus Rising” as my favorite episode of the whole series. Every scene is expertly executed, and let’s face it – wall-to-wall Dean Winchester can only make a good episode even better!
I could sing all day along about this one, but I’ll try to keep my comments brief.
Poor Castiel! “The voice says I’m almost out of minutes” and “I’ll just wait here, then.” So devoted and loyal! Just love him <3 <3 <3 <3
The editing, direction and visual effects for this one should have won awards. And the writing was Ben Edlund at the top of his game. That bourbon glass exchange alone always leaves me scratching my head. How did they DO that!?!?! And the scene when Dean finds the abandoned Impala and gets knocked out – the camera pans up and we see that it’s DEAN! That was seamless! I’ve watched this episode so many times I can’t count them, but that transition still impresses me.
I like the continuity in terms of bringing back things like the Colt and Croatoan virus. I miss that continuity in later seasons ☹
That phone call between Dean and Sam at the beginning was just heartbreaking. You could feel how much Dean hated having to say that he and Sam should stay away from each other. I could hear the pain and reluctance in his voice.
I love that in the chase scene (right after Dean wakes up in apocalypse world), the extras had difficulty keeping up with Jensen, because he’s JUST THAT FAAAST! Love that man <3
We all know that Jensen is a masterful actor, but I’m impressed that there was never any question — in ANY scene — that he was playing two different versions of the same character. I think if I was playing MYSELF five years in the past, the two of us would be harder to discern. I remember Jensen saying how exhausted he was by the time they were done filming this episode — so much so that he asked the producer/director to never do that to him again. I guess Jensen is one of those people who performs impeccably under pressure, because if he was exhausted it did NOT show. Not one bit.
It’s also worth noting that Misha did a great job of making “hippie Cas” different from the Cas we already knew. Who knew Misha could play such a convincing stoner? LOL! I’ll bet he had fun with that. How often is Dean the “uptight” one and Cas is the one who is relaxed?
I love that the lesson Dean learned at the end is not the one Zachariah intended to teach. It’s just like Dean to toss that whole thing back in Zachariah’s face.
The one question I’ve always had about this one is (despite what Zachariah said) was Zachariah really showing Dean the future, or did he just constructed the worst possible scenario to try to convince Dean to say yes? In retrospect, we know Chuck created multiple realities, so is there a universe in which the brothers never reunited and Crotoan apocalypse really happened. What do you guys think?
I think I fall more in love with this episode every time I watch it <3
I cannot sing praises any louder than you, two, already have! I agree with EVERYTHING you both said!
One of the top 5 best EVER episodes for me, too.
There isn’t a minute in this one that DOESN’T work.
VERY GOOD Question, Kate, about if any of this was real or not or an alternate universe. Any of that could be the truth.
EXCELLENT point, JBB, about the flip phone being so much more effective to “slam”. HA!
Jensen is giving a freaking MASTERCLASS in acting in this episode! There is no question about that. The range of emotions he has to go through from BOTH Dean’s is off the chart and it’s no wonder he was exhausted by the end of it.
I also agree with both of you that Jensen is overall the better actor (by a good clip) of the two but Jared is holding his own very nicely throughout the series and shines on many occasions very brightly, too. I don’t want to take credit from him but I do think that Jared acting with and opposite Jensen makes his performances better! That HAS to be it, because I honestly fail to see how he can be very good in this show and makes such utterly bad or at least questionable acting choices at the moment on Walker!!!!
UGH, you can see it’s KILLING Dean to say to Sam that they need to stay apart to dodge Michael and Lucifer. Having this scene on the heels of Dean telling Cas that he’s happier without Sam, makes me even more convinced that Dean doesn’t WANT to be apart from Sam, but that it was a necessary break and now it’s the smart choice for the time being.
It’s so interesting to me how I feel about the two Deans in this episode! Because they really aren’t the same person. At the beginning of the episode I feel squarely in 2009-Dean’s corner. Discovering his future self and how far that Dean has been gone past anything Past-Dean can imagine himself do is so shocking, you can see him shaken to his core and I feel for him deeply. I want to shake Future-Dean by the collar and snap him out of it. But when Future-Dean tells the other about Sam having said yes and he’s begging him to make other choices and say yes to Michael, I understand him, his choices, his closed off demeanor. And I want Past-Dean to listen. Just for a moment. Future Dean is SO DEEPLY desperate, still caring for the planet’s population, trying to save what he can. It’s heartbreaking. Then he suddenly gives up and stops trying to convince his counterpart because he does know that it’s pointless. (ABSOLUTELY STELLAR SCENE by the way! The writing and the execution are just out of this world!!) Then once you realize Future-Dean uses his team pretty much as canon fodder, I am again completely on 2009-Dean’s side with the outrage and disbelief, horrified that Dean’s been pushed past where loss of close allies even registers as wrong. What a rollercoaster ride.
Hippie-Cas is a DELIGHT but it’s also oddly sad to see him that way, feeling useless and hopeless, trying to numb the paid, basically. Misha must have had a blast playing him.
I do think Jared is doing a very good job NOT being Sam when he’s playing Lucifer. The confrontation between Dean and Lucifer is chilling for sure. Lucifer’s condescending manner is creepy and infuriating. Dean’s bravado to sass at the devil is impressive and even more impressive is Jensen’s way to make Dean look both cocky and terrified all at the same time. GREAT scene all around. ONE criticism I do have is that I never liked the white suit look!! I know Lucifer is the Lightbringer etc. etc. but it’s too on the nose for me the stick him into a white shiny suit. And a cheap looking one at that.
Seeing Dean UTTERLY alone at the end of this conversation is also truly disturbing!!! The idea that he might end up RIGHT THERE in five years with all of his allies dead and his brother being the sock puppet for the devil must be crushing and we can see that in his expression. UGH.
LOVE the “ghost of Christmas screw you” line!!!
I also agree with Dean’s words of “Don’t ever change” to Cas! Unfortunately the writers had other plans.
I LOOOOVE most of all that Dean in the end does the ONE thing he CAN control in this whole mess! Get Sam back by his side. Cause if THAT was the beginning of the end, that they didn’t talk for five years…..well, then, THAT Dean can fix.
I really think the tentative nature of their reunion is the perfect way to bring them back together here. They are not ok….not yet and not fully, but they haven’t given up trying either and that is so realistic to me, it makes it most believable. And I very much appreciate that Sam is truly thankful for being let back in, because he knew it was not a given.
And to me the very end of the episode with Dean saying “We make our own future”, effectively saying that they HAVE a choice to change , and Sam saying “Guess, we have no choice”, to me implying that their hand was forced, is GENIUS writing!!!
Mindboggling how TV can be THIS good!!! GLAD to have it recorded for the ages and being able to go back to it regularly. JUST AMAZING!