Directors: Robert Singer, Kim Manners, Phil Sgriccia, Charles Beeson, and more
Writers: Eric Kripke, Sera Gamble, John Shiban, Cathryn Humphris, Ben Edlund, and more
Starring: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Jim Beaver, Genevieve Cortese, Samantha Smith, Mark Pellegrino, Matt Cohen
Release Dates: 09/2009 – 05/2010
Network: The CW
The end is nigh!
Lucifer is coming!
The horsemen bring the apocalypse!
This is it. Season five of Supernatural marks the end of so many things, including Eric Kripke’s involvement as showrunner. His five-year plan for Supernatural comes to an end, and boy, what an end it is. For the big finale, the writers don’t hold back at all. Introducing new, iconic characters, bringing Lucifer to earth, and putting the brothers against each other like never before. But with all that is going on, they don’t lose focus on the core values they introduced five years ago.
The creative team behind Supernatural was always able to let monster-of-the-week episodes look like they matter in the grand scheme of things. So the first half of the season focuses on the new status quo. Sam and Dean have to live with the ramifications of their decisions. Especially Sam, who started the apocalypse. I find it understandable that they need to spend some time apart – even though it breaks my heart to see them like this. But both of them quickly realize that they indeed are stronger together. This realization happens, thanks to Zachariah, who surely hoped for another outcome after he sent Dean five years into the future.
Another time-traveling adventure sends them to the year 1978, where Sam and Dean meet their young parents. They find out that the monster-hunting runs in the family since forever and started on their mother’s side. I love episodes where we learn more about their family history, especially when the creative team handles such events with care. We explore the family history with the brothers. So it comes as a surprise to both sides (characters and viewers) when Michael tells them that they are descendants from Cain and Able. This hint also serves as a perfect explanation, why Sam and Dean are the perfect vessels.
One religion to rule them all
As Lucifer walks the earth, he sets in motion various plans, which should ultimately bring the apocalypse. And what comes with the apocalypse? Right, the four horsemen. However, they mostly act on their own and don’t listen to someone, including Lucifer. Until he binds at least one of them, that is. War, Famine, and Pestilence all deserve a place on the list of best antagonists of the show. Each of them looks and acts in the service of their function. But the coolest of them all has to be Death.
From the moment Lucifer brings him to earth and binds him, you know that this horseman is a good one. His entrance in the episode “Two Minutes to Midnight” (5×21) could not be any better. In addition to that, the actor kills it. Julian Richings perfectly captures the gravitas of such a being. From the soundtrack to the cinematography, every single element adds to the heaviness of the scene. What follows might be the best sequence Supernatural ever produced: a conversation between Death and Dean in a pizzeria in Chicago. And with a simple question, that seems (and is) funny, Dean captures the power of the being he sits right next to: “You reap god?”
One thing I thought to be a little weird happened in the episode “Hammer of the Gods.” The writers introduced us to various different gods from various religions. I love the idea that they also exist in this world, just on different parts of the planet. It sets things apart because there are now different generations of gods, and this happens to be the current one. But why does Lucifer have to kill them all? Can’t some of them be just sick of it and leave earth behind? Lucifer killing every other God leaves a certain taste behind, and it is a shame that they can’t use them in other seasons after that.
A sword is a vessel is a meat bag
The fifth season of Supernatural ties everything that has happened so far perfectly together. “Carry on Wayward Son” must not be missed, of course. As the final episode approaches and the characters go through all kinds of despair, it seems inevitable that one of them has to die to save the other. This outcome was there all along, and Sam’s dedication to being the one can be felt throughout. They try to play a little game with Lucifer and catch him with his guard down, but the son of God prepares a few steps ahead of time.
Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki also give their best performances so far, playing perfectly off of Mark Pellegrino as their antagonist. If you don’t cry at the end, you have no heart. Sam jumps into the pit, knowing he will be tortured by Michael and Luci indefinitely. Dean bloodied and almost dead, Bobby holding him back from jumping after his brother. Cas watching it all unfold, understanding his powerlessness. It is a climax to be reckoned with.
One thing I am still not sure about is Sam’s resurrection, watching his brother. I am glad for the seemingly happy end, but for me, it also undermines his sacrifice a bit. It would have been more of a shock when we didn’t know his future. Another thing I would like to rant about is the monster-of-the week-episodes. In this fifth season, more of them feel like filler episodes. Especially between Lucifer’s binding of Death and Death’s appearance later.
But other than that, Kripke and his team manage to deliver an almost perfect finale. After all, the journey often becomes more important than the destination. And what a hell of a ride it was.
Ranking (Best to worst)
Season 4, 2, 5, 1, 3