A nearly perfect penultimate that signals good things for Supernatural's series finale.
- 🐶Oh hi, Satan!
- 🐶Biting dialoge.
- 🐶There is a crucifix camera shot early on that's to die for.
- 🐶A better ending for a certain character (spoilers inside) doesn't exist.
- 🐶Almost feels like a lack of emotion re: that whole everybody being raptured thing.
This post contains spoilers for Supernatural.
Check out last week's review here.
When a show exists for fifteen seasons, it seems impossible to imagine it coming to a satisfactory close. As the final credits roll on “Inherit the Earth,” it becomes pretty impossible to believe that Supernatural isn’t going to pull of just that. The show’s penultimate episode struggles when it comes to an appropriate level of despair or shock over their situation, but it makes up for it in one of the most satisfying ends to a character in the show’s history.
“Monsters I get, people are crazy,” might be one of the most accurate lines in Supernatural’s history, but it’s truer in context of reality than it is in the series. In the series, God (Rob Benedict) is a real player, and he’s ruined every second of these poor boys’ lives from day one. As the story progressed, Chuck evolved from dopey fanfiction writer, to awkward God, to a bored child who was ready to burn all of his toys. Truly the perfect representation of how nice is different than good.
Last week we lost Cas (Misha Collins). This week, the boys start off the episode with the realization that everyone in the world is gone. There’s a brief moment of hope where the find a dog and the joy emitting from Dean (Jensen Ackles) is palpable. Chuck lets him believe he’s had a win just long enough for him to believe it’s real before he snaps little Miracle (yes, Dean named him already) out of existence. It’s cruelty for cruelty’s sake, and it’s a deeply effective moment of storytelling. Even those who hadn’t tuned into a second of Supernatural before “Inherit the Earth” would immediately know how to feel about this all-seeing assbutt.
With everyone gone, the Winchesters and Jack (Alexander Calvert) are forced to recon with the fact that they’ve probably lost. Even when they happen upon Michael (played by Jake Abel, as the archangel is currently occupying Adam’s body), the three can’t muster up much hope. Still, he returns with them to the bunker. The intention is to see if he can read Death’s book (he can’t), but really it’s just a lead-in for Lucifer’s (Mark Pellegrino) return. It seems unlikely that Luci’s quick betrayal was a shock to anyone who’s watched more than an episode of the series. But, all the same, betray him he does.
Lucifer was pulled out of the Empty by God, he creates a new Death so he can read the book, then quickly offs the new Death so no one can know just how to kill daddy dearest. Luci says some threatening words, Michael gets uppity that daddy doesn’t love him, the Winchesters are thrown around some, and Jack’s given an ultimatum from his not-father. It’s all very familiar right up until the moment where Michael successfully completes his life mission of killing his obstinate brother. There’s no real time for shock-value there, though. Nu Team Free Will has to find out how to kill themselves a God!
Sammy (Jared Padelecki) gets to translating Death’s book (conveniently left open by a now very dead Lucifer) while the rest wait, then it’s a quick trip to some random lakeside where they must say some words and do some spell at the exact yada, yada, yada …
It doesn’t work.
It doesn’t work because Michael immediately ran to Daddy to try and become the favorite again after he realized he’d become second to the brother who views as his arch nemesis. Does this plotline sound familiar to you? Good, because it sounded familiar to the Winchesters, too, and that’s why it was never the plan. Turns out, the plan never changed – not really. Billie’s cosmic bomb mission was still in play, but Jack detonating in the Empty made him some sort of cosmic absorption… thingie. (Technical terms that the Winchester brothers would be proud of.) Every time he walks past a plant? Power. When Lucifer and Michael went rounds? Power. Lucifer’s death? Power. Michael’s death, every punch that Chuck laid into Sam and Dean, every broken bone and hurled insult? Power. Godly power, in fact. Enough of it that the Nephilim was able to take away Chuck’s power as if it were nothing, and to heal the broken Winchesters with a snap of his fingers.
And here we reach the perfect ending. Chuck easily realizes he’s bested – he can tell his powers are gone. So he asks the men whose very existence he’s plagued from the beginning how they were going to kill him. Chuck’s not afraid. In fact, he’s almost pleased. He relishes the idea of being offed by the two perfect killers he’s created. But that lazy arc would be his ending, and it’s not the one that the Winchester boys have written for themselves.
“It’s the ending where you’re just like us. You grow old. You get sick. And you just die. No one cares. No one remembers you. You’re just forgotten.”
It doesn’t get better than that. Except it seems that it’ll have to – because “Inherit the Earth” is not the series finale. It could have been. Everything is wrapped up and the boys get to tell their own story now. The villain got a satisfying end, Jack doesn’t just have purpose, he has The purpose, and humanity is back to normal. But I get the sense that we might just get to see these boys get a little bit of happy after all.
In the meantime, “Inherit the Earth” is pretty damn close to perfect. It’s one struggle point is the lack of emotional response to the loss of Cas and the rest of humanity. We got the very strong moment of Dean ignoring his phone in despair last week, but when he tells Jack and Sam of their loss there’s almost nothing there. The realization that humanity is gone is met with very little as well, sans a small outburst from Sam. Everything else, though? Aces all around. Good looking at the boys and saying “I’m cancelling your show” in a series that’s so meta that he’s the actual writer? Incredible. You loathe him and you still laugh. Lucifer’s brief return was fun, hilarious, and a good reminder of just how much charisma Mark Pelligrino brings to the table. And then there was that stupid montage.
It wasn’t stupid, it was perfect. But it was stupid because it made me feel feelings that I wasn’t ready for and that’s where the question about what we could be about to see next week becomes even more interesting. Just how much is Supernatural about to ruin fans’ lives by simply allowing their protagonists to be happy? These boys don’t know happy. Happy means bad news is about to come! But they’re the ones writing their stories now, and it’s pretty sweet that we’re about to get a glimpse of what that means for them.
Amelia is an entertainment Streaming Editor at IGN, which means she spends a lot of time analyzing and editing stories on things like Loki, Peacemaker, and The Witcher. In addition to her features and editorial work, she’s also a member of both the Television Critics Association and Critics Choice. A deep love of film and television has kept her happily in the entertainment industry for 7 years.
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