On Thursday night, The CW’s longest-running series, Supernatural, completed its 15-year run in dramatic fashion. In “Carry On”—directed by Robert Singer, from a script by Andrew Dabb—the beloved monster hunter Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) meets an untimely end, with brother Sam (Jared Padalecki) in the room.
Episode 1520 opens on an average, relaxed morning for the pair, in which they go about their routine, eating breakfast, doing chores and wiping down their guns. While waiting for any word of supernatural activity, the brothers are met with none, deciding to use their down time to attend an event called Pie Fest. Dean, for one, feels he was fated to attend this gathering. Sam, on the other hand, is caught up in his head, mourning his two lost friends, Castiel (Misha Collins) and Jack (Alexander Calvert). The former was recently sucked up into the celestial void known as The Empty. Meanwhile, the latter has taken on the role of God, following the demise of Chuck (Rob Benedict) in last week’s episode. Like Sam, Dean is dealing with a great amount of pain—but from his point of view, Sam needs to keep on living his life. After all, that’s precisely what Jack and Cas would have wanted for him.
After turning Sam’s mood around, Dean joins his brother in gorging himself on pies, until they come across a new case, involving the kidnapping of a man and his kids. A profile of the suspects is drawn up, depicting men in skull masks, and when Agents Kripke and Singer—clearly named for Supernatural creator Eric Kripke and co-showrunner Robert Singer—arrive on the scene, they recognize the masked men. Naturally, they turn out to be a pair of vampires, that Sam and Dean promptly hunt down.
Gaining the attention of the creatures by shooting one of them with a blood-soaked bullet, the brothers learn that the crime of the episode is part of a ritual involving the semiannual kidnapping of children. During this supernatural encounter, Dean then comes to a second surprising realization: The leader of this nest of is Jenny (Christine Chatelain), a young woman who had been turned into a vampire in Season 1.
Several vamps meet their bloody end, though Dean is badly wounded in battle, and subsequently immobilized. “You knew it was going to end like this for me,” he reassures his emotional brother. “We had one hell of a ride.” While Sam seems intent on letting Dean die and bringing him back from the other side, Dean declines the offer, sharing in his final moments how proud he is of his brother, who he’s always admired for his strength. Dean also takes the opportunity for another reveal, admitting that the night he first came to see Sam at Stanford University, he almost didn’t pursue their reunion, out of fear that he’d be rejected by his brother.
After one last tender moment, in which Dean tells Sam to go on with his life—as he had earlier in the episode—Dean passes on. Later, he goes to Heaven, where he’s reunited with his father figure, Bobby (Jim Beaver). The deceased hunter tells Dean that with Jack up in Heaven, all has been set right. At the same time, Dean learns that his parents, John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Mary (Samantha Smith), are nearby, and that he’ll soon be reunited with them, as well.
While Dean goes for a ride in his Heavenly version of the Impala known as Baby, Sam is mourning the death of his brother, giving him a hunter’s funeral, and then jumping back into life, with a new case to pursue.
Flashing forward, we learn that Sam has a son that he’s named after his late brother, and we watch him grow up. Then, in a scene mirroring Dean’s last, we see an elderly Sam pass away, with his loving son nearby. Ultimately, Sam and Dean are reunited in Heaven, where they can experience peace at last.
Debuting in 2005, Supernatural holds the record as the longest-running fantasy series in the history of American television—and its reputation as one of TV’s great genres series will undoubtedly “Carry On.”