Dean helps Jack with the final trial, while Sam and Castiel scramble to find an alternative.
On Supernatural Season 15 Episode 17, the end has finally come. Chuck has destroyed all worlds but one. Dean takes Jack to complete Billie’s final trial. Sam and Castiel are determined to find another way, and make a daring move for help.
Sam vs. Dean
Amara visits the bunker to break the news to Sam and Dean: God is back. She agrees to go along with the Winchesters’ plan to trap Chuck, oblivious to the reality. There is a very sweet moment between Amara and Jack, where she apologizes for being so distant, and hopes she can get to know him once this is all over. Jack agrees weakly, knowing that if things go according to plan, he’ll have to kill her himself.
With the clock ticking, Dean says they need to get ready for the final challenge. But now that Sam knows Billie’s trials are leading to a suicide mission for Jack, he’s no longer on board with the plan. Dean is furious, vindicated that he was right to suspect Sam wasn’t strong enough to go through with it. Sam argues that they’ve found a different way every other time one of them was on the chopping block—the Apocalypse, closing Hell, the Mark of Cain—but Dean says it’s not the same. Jack isn’t the same because he’s not family. Things get awkward when Jack walks in at the tail end of the argument.
Frustrated and angrier than ever, Dean takes Jack to meet one of Billie’s friends for the final trial. Sam stubbornly stays at the bunker with Castiel, hoping to find a way to save him instead.
Amara reluctantly goes to meet with Chuck. Even though she’s agreed to help the Winchesters with their plan, she has her own agenda first. She’s still hoping to talk Chuck down with a heart-to-heart, cosmic deity to cosmic deity. Unfortunately, while communication between family members fixed everything at the end of Season 11, in Supernatural Season 15 Episode 17, it isn’t enough.
So Amara takes Chuck on a tour of his own creation. They walk through the forest and appreciate the trees. Amara compliments him on the beauty of his work, something she’s taken the last few years to appreciate up close. She brings him to Heaven, and tries to sway him with the obsessive love of the angels. But none of her appeals to his ego are effective. Chuck swats them all away, determined to destroy this last planet, and start from scratch.
Desperate to save her brother, Amara makes one last attempt. If they combine their powers, they can finally have true balance, creation and destruction in equal amounts. Chuck wants to unite so they can do a hard reset and wipe the slate clean. Amara says she’ll only agree if Chuck saves this world and lets her rule it with him. But even as she offers, she realizes that it’s no use. Chuck is too egotistical to share, and he doesn’t have the patience to fix something he thinks is broken. Heartbroken, Amara uses all her power to trap Chuck in the bunker, giving the Winchesters the time they need to carry out their end of the plan.
Adam and Serafina
Dean takes Jack to a secure location to meet Billie’s “friend,” someone who can help with the final trial. That special friend is revealed to Adam, the first human in creation. His lover Serafina is an angel, and has been keeping him alive for thousands of years so that he could exact his revenge on God. Billie has been helping them with their plan by preparing Jack. His Nephilim nature and power are essential, but first Jack must pass a test.
Adam presents Jack with a pile of rocks, and asks Jack to choose the one that has been touched by God. If Jack can identify the correct one, Adam will present him with “the spark of the Divine,” the last gift needed in his power up. Jack eventually passes the test by saying that all of the rocks have God’s divine power; God is in all of his creations. When Adam and Jack return, Serafina pulls one of Adam’s ribs from his chest—a gory gift, but necessary. Adam assures Jack and Dean that since God used Adam’s rib to create Eve, it has enough power for Jack to take him out.
The episode doesn’t discuss it, but I thought that the revelation that Billie’s plan was really Adam’s plan was a significant turning point. First of all, it foreshadows the next part of the episode, where Sam goes to talk to Billie. Second, it weakened the divine prophecy of Death’s books. Death can talk all she wants about how the Winchesters are the shepherds of God’s destruction. At the end of the day, the one laying the plans was Adam: a spurned human fighting against God’s plan. It almost felt reminiscent of the Free Will argument of Season 4, which was nice. Of course, it’s also short lived…
Dean and Jack
Before they get back to the bunker, Dean finally takes a moment to talk to Jack. He apologizes about what he said about Jack not being family. Not because he doesn’t feel it’s true, but because Jack has enough weight on his shoulders with this mission. Haltingly, Dean explains that since he found out about Chuck’s “stories,” he’s felt hopeless. All the times he’s thought he had free will, that he was fighting the plan and making his own choices, it was really Chuck pulling the strings. Everything Dean knew was ripped away from him, and he was lost.
Now the only thing that Dean can focus on is taking out Chuck. He needs to, in order to regain some semblance of control in his life. And Jack’s sacrifice is going to make that possible. He thanks Jack, sincerely, and tells him that it’s time to go. Jack absorbs the power from Adam’s rib, and there’s a split second where it looks like Dean might object. But Jack’s eyes are already glowing, the rib disappearing from his hand. It’s done.
This scene was hard for me to watch, because I don’t buy that Dean doesn’t see Jack as his son. I know that Season 15 has been all about doubt, about what was real and what was Chuck. But we’ve already seen the Winchesters go against God’s wishes to his face. The whole point of the Equalizer in Season 14 was that Dean couldn’t bring himself to kill Jack, despite what he’d done to Mary. Dean’s overwhelming love for Jack was something Chuck hadn’t counted on, and it “ruined” his ending. The fact that none of the characters mention this just doesn’t make sense to me.
Sam and Castiel
Back in the bunker, Sam and Castiel continue to look for a way around Billie’s plan for Jack. Sam suggests summoning Death, which Castiel forbids, until Sam has another idea. Earlier in the season, when Sam was suffering from his gunshot would from the Equalizer, they invited the shaman Sergei to the bunker. Sergei couldn’t do anything to help Sam, but came to look for the key to Death’s library.
This plot point was conveniently forgotten until Supernatural Season 15 Episode 17. Along with all the other ways we’ve summoned or bound Death in the last 15 years, but that’s besides the point. Castiel and Sam are miraculously able to locate the key, and with some assurance from Castiel, Sam goes to find Billie.
But Sam isn’t the only one looking for Death. The library is full of dead reapers, being tortured slowly by the Empty, still in the form of Meg. The Empty reveals that she had a deal with Billie, who intends to take over after Chuck is gone. With Billie in power, everything will go back to the way it was meant to be: everyone who is meant to be dead will be dead, everyone who is from another world will be erased, and the Empty can finally go back to sleep.
Sam is horrified by this plan, but I have to admit, I don’t share his concern. Death isn’t nearly as powerful as God. Supernatural has made Death and the reapers pretty common enemies in recent years. Dean has already killed Death once. And Billie’s plan is to erase some of the planet, not the planet in its entirety. I’m not one to argue about the lesser of two evils, but it certainly seems like a threat that we could handle at a later date.
All of these subplots collide in the climax of Supernatural Season 15 Episode 17. Dean rushes through the bunker with Jack, trying to get him in right place before he explodes. Sam and Castiel come to stop them, pleading for Dean to reconsider. Killing Chuck will create a power vacuum and give Billie everything she needs to take over. It’s a no-win situation: let Chuck destroy the planet, or let Billie erase their friends and family.
But Dean has already been driven to an emotional tipping point. He needs to take out Chuck, whatever the cost and whatever the consequences. He’s so determined, he pulls his gun on Sam and promises to shoot him if Sam won’t get out of the way. Sam asks, in a broken voice, if Dean is prepared to sacrifice him. He pleads with Dean to trust him, if nothing else in the world. Every time they’ve come up against a problem, Dean has thrown away everything to protect Sam, no matter the odds. And despite everything falling down around them, Dean lowers his gun.
Chuck breaks through the door, enraged. Yet again, the Winchesters’ love and devotion to each other has foiled his ending. He was able to manipulate Amara, absorbing her after she realized that Dean had betrayed her. But after everything he’s done, he still wasn’t able to manipulate the Winchesters. Chuck rails on the lot of them, calling them stubborn and stupid and broken. He singles out Castiel, and in a groundbreaking moment, reveals that Castiel’s disobedience is what sets this world apart. This is the only world where Castiel wouldn’t follow orders, the only world where Castiel couldn’t do as he was told.
Chuck snaps his fingers, and as Jack doubles over in pain, the episode ends.
Obviously there were a lot of moving parts in this episode. I’ve learned to accept a lot of them because this is a production, which also has a lot of moving parts. It’s nearly impossible to fill every plot hole and develop every story the way they were meant to be written.
But at the end of this episode, I was still grappling with a sense of injustice. Supernatural Season 15 Episode 17 ends the exact same way as Season 14 Episode 20. Dean is manipulated by Chuck into being an angry killer. When presented with the choice to kill someone close to him, he resists. Chuck is outraged, promises to end the world, and kills Jack instead. Seventeen episodes of the final season, and all we’ve done is land ourselves in the exact same spot.
I know that this could be blamed on Chuck. That’s the great thing about having a finale season that’s so incredibly meta. It’s impossible to blame bad writing on the writers, because the villain of the show is writing the plot. Did the Supernatural writers spin their wheels for seventeen episodes of the final season? Or did Chuck just reuse the same plot as his last story because he’s an unoriginal villain? It’s a tricky line to walk. If nothing else, we can applaud the Supernatural writers for that built-in explanation.
What did you think of Supernatural Season 15 Episode 17? Which plot line left you on the edge of your seat? Let us know in the comments, or share your thoughts with us on Twitter!
Supernatural airs Thursday at 8/7c on the CW.