Jensen Ackles as Dean in SUPERNATURAL - Season 15 - "Inherit The Earth" | ©2020 The CW Network/Bettina Strauss

Jensen Ackles as Dean in SUPERNATURAL – Season 15 – “Inherit The Earth” | ©2020 The CW Network/Bettina Strauss

Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Alexander Calvert, Rob Benedict, Mark Pellegrino, Jake Abel, Kimberley Sustad
Writers: Eugenie Ross-Leming & Brad Buckner, series created by Eric Kripke
Director: John F. Showalter
Network: The CW, Thursdays @ 8 PM
Original Airdate: November 12, 2020

To be clear, the episode “Inherit the Earth” is not the series finale of SUPERNATURAL. That comes November 19. However, the penultimate installment feels very much like a season finale.

“Inherit the Earth” pays off the vast majority of plot developments that have been brewing ever since God/Chuck (Rob Benedict) returned to Earth at the end of Season 14, and revealed Himself to be a manipulative liar, and petty to boot.

At the end of the previous episode, “Despair,” the Empty took both Death and Castiel, and Chuck removed almost everyone everywhere from the face of the Earth. Only Dean (Jensen Ackles), Sam (Jared Padalecki), and Jack (Alexander Calvert) are left.

Dean, still reeling from everything, catches up with Sam and Jack in Hastings, Minnesota. Dean says that he believes everyone is gone (he’s right). Dean tells Sam and Jack that Castiel saved him, explains about Castiel’s deal with the Empty. So, Cas is gone, too. So is Death, but since it was Chuck who was zapping everybody away, that’s cold comfort. Jack tries to contact Castiel, but gets nothing.

Dean in particular blames himself. If only he’d gone along with what Chuck wanted, the world wouldn’t have ended. He and Sam reach out to Chuck. The brothers are in agreement. Chuck wins. Chuck wanted an ending where one of the brothers would kill the other. Well, fine. Dean will kill Sam, Sam will kill Dean, they’ll kill each other. Chuck can have whatever He wants. Just bring everybody – including Cas – back.

Chuck apparently has never read any of those fables about people who don’t recognize their last chance when they get it. He says that He likes this new ending better: Sam and Dean and Jack rotting away on an empty world. It’s sophisticated.

So the Winchesters and Jack retire to the bunker. Dean drinks heavily (no surprise there), and Sam and Jack are just sad. There’s no reason to do anything, because there’s nobody left to save. Nobody observes that at the rate Dean is imbibing, he’s going to need a beer run sooner rather than later. But before this can happen, Jack says he senses something outside.

At this point, any quest is a good quest, so all three jump into the Impala and hit the road. At an empty Showalter’s gas station (the name is a nod to SUPERNATURAL co-exec producer John F. Showalter, who directed this episode and twenty-five others), Dean finds a dog. Sam thinks this is perhaps not the most promising development, but Dean is absolutely thrilled. Then Chuck, waving from a field, zaps the dog away. We are incensed right along with Dean.

Jake Abel as Michael in SUPERNATURAL - Season 15 - "Inherit The Earth" | ©2020 The CW Network/Bettina Strauss

Jake Abel as Michael in SUPERNATURAL – Season 15 – “Inherit The Earth” | ©2020 The CW Network/Bettina Strauss

However, the dog is not what Jack was sensing. His intuition leads him, Dean and Sam to St. Michael’s Church, where a light is blazing at night. Jack doesn’t notice (and neither do the Winchesters) that plants tend to wilt as Jack passes them. So is Jack turning into Agent Orange? What’s going on here?

Inside the church, all of the candles are lit, and multiple Bibles are open to different pages. The Archangel Michael (Jake Abel) is here. Michael had jumped into the body of Sam and Dean’s half-brother Adam way back in Season 5. Michael/Adam escaped Hell when it opened up at the beginning of Season 15. Unlike most other cases of angelic/demonic possession, Michael and Adam worked out a body-sharing arrangement that suited both of them. Adam even persuaded got Michael to help the Winchesters a little bit.

Michael reports that Adam vanished at the same time the rest of humanity did. Michael has taken refuge in this St. Michael’s Church (named for a human saint, but the saint was named after Archangel Michael, so sort of named after him).

The reason all of the Bibles are open is because Michael was interested in seeing how humans saw God. Michael explains he used to be in charge of God’s p.r. campaign, for thousands of years, getting people to see Him as all-powerful, all-loving, etc. Michael seems to regret having done that.

With Michael in tow, our gang return to the bunker. Michael tries to open God’s death book, but he can’t do it, either. Seems that it’s true that only Death can open the book, and of course, the Empty took Death away.

Then there’s a call on Dean’s phone. It’s Castiel! He says he’s outside and he’s hurt.

Dean hurries to the door, opens it – and there’s Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino). We’re sorry it’s not Cas, but yay to having Mark Pellegrino make one last appearance on SUPERNATURAL.

Dean of course slams the door, but Lucifer gets in anyway. He says accurately that if he’d announced himself truthfully, Dean never would have opened the door. The Empty rebooted Lucifer, and let him go back to Earth, in order to get God’s death book.

Lucifer can’t read the book, either. Instead, he summons Betty (Kimberley Sustad). Betty is bound and gagged. She is also a Reaper. Anybody remember the lore about how the first Reaper to be killed after Death dies becomes the new Death? We’re here to remind you, because the script doesn’t quite do that.

Lucifer stabs Betty, to the enormous irritation of the Winchesters. Then Betty revives. She is now Death, and can read the book. She takes it and goes off to read it in private. Lucifer and Michael have a less than brotherly reunion.

Betty comes back, having read the end of God’s death book. She has also developed a snarky, superior attitude. Dean objects to this: “You’ve been Death for an hour.”

Jared Padalecki as Sam in SUPERNATURAL - Season 15 - "Inherit The Earth" | ©2020 The CW Network/Cristian Cretu

Jared Padalecki as Sam in SUPERNATURAL – Season 15 – “Inherit The Earth” | ©2020 The CW Network/Cristian Cretu

Lucifer stabs Betty and kills her before she has a chance to announce what the book says. It wasn’t the Empty who sent Lucifer, it was Chuck, who wants His book. Michael is clearly hurt that Chuck/God/Michael and Lucifer’s dad didn’t reach out to Michael.

Michael and Lucifer fight. This discharges a lot of angel power between them. Michael stabs Lucifer with an angel blade, causing Lucifer to leak out all of his angel power. Lucifer dies, again, presumably going back to the Empty.

At least the book is open now. Sam takes it, goes to see if there’s a translation spell.

After spending some time with God’s death book in the bunker library, Sam announces that he’s been able to translate it, and has found a spell that will bring about God/Chuck’s end. It has to be done in a specific spot, at a specific time, with specific magical items.

So everybody – Sam, Dean, Jack, Michael – piles into the Impala, and off they go to the designated spot, with the designated items, and start to do the spell.

Chuck appears and zaps all the items away. Turns out that Michael gave Him the heads-up about the spell. So Michael is a dutiful son after all – but not dutiful enough for Chuck, who is still mad about that one time Michael sided with the Winchesters. So Chuck destroys Michael, who disintegrates in a blaze of angel power (yes, there’s a reason to keep mentioning this).

Sam gets in one good punch. Then Chuck kicks Sam and Dean to the ground. He tells them, “I’m canceling your show.” Chuck has decided that watching the boys wither away in an empty world is good conceptually, but boring from a spectator standpoint, so He’s just going to get rid of them now.

But instead of zapping the guys, Chuck beats the crap out of both of them. Both Dean and Sam keep standing up, and Chuck continues to pummel and stomp them, until He starts asking, almost kindly, “Just stay down.” But neither one will. Finally, bloodied but grinning, Sam and Dean hold each other up.

Chuck asks why they’re smiling. Sam says, “You lose.” Jack is standing behind Chuck. Chuck tries to snap Jack away, but nothing happens. Jack glows, and knocks Chuck to the ground.

The death book is sitting on the ground. Chuck frantically flips the pages of His death book. The pages are blank, because nobody (including Chuck) can read the book except Death. The whole business with Sam finding a spell in the book was all a fake-out. Sam and Dean knew Michael would betray them to Chuck, so they lured Him here and got His defenses down.

Jack has become a power-absorber. Jack sucked up all the power from when Michael and Lucifer were fighting, from Death’s death, from Lucifer’s death, and now from Michael’s death. Now Jack has Chuck’s power.

Chuck asks the boys if they’re going to kill him now. Being killed by Sam Winchester, or Dean Winchester, would be “kind of glorious.”

But Sam and Dean (who’ve clearly discussed this already) tell Chuck they have no intention of giving Chuck what he wants, or being who he expects them to be. They’re going to let him live. He’s not God anymore. He’ll get old and sick and die alone and forgotten, just like all the people he forgot.

And Dean and Sam and Jack get into the Impala and drive away, leaving Chuck crying in the dirt.

Back at Showalter’s gas station, as the Youngbloods’ 1967 folk rock song “Get Together” plays on the soundtrack, Jack snaps his fingers, and suddenly people are back – here, in Tokyo, everywhere. Even the dog Dean rescued is back.

Sam says, “You’re Him?” Jack replies that He’s Himself, but He knows what Sam means. Jack is in harmony with Amara (this is good, it means the universe is in balance). Jack is now part of everyone and everything. He won’t be returning to the bunker with the Winchesters, but He’ll always be with them, and with everyone. (Jack has gotten very beatific.)

Jack says that He won’t be hands-on. Chuck’s mistake was putting himself in the story. Jack won’t do that. He says He’s learned from Sam and Dean, and His mom, and Castiel, that “when people have to be their best, they can be, and that’s what to believe.” Jack says goodbye.

Back in the bunker, Dean and Sam toast. Dean says, “To everyone we lost along the way.” But now they are free to write their own story. As Sam and Dean drive off in the Impala, Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty” plays on the soundtrack, and we get a montage.

Just a few questions, starting with, if Jack brought back everybody who Chuck zapped away, isn’t Sam’s girlfriend Eileen back? How about Jody, and Donna, and alt-u Bobby, and alt-u Charlie? Maybe we’ll get to all of them next week?

Also, even if Castiel can’t be on Earth, can’t Jack at least get him out of the Empty? This might constitute going back on the deal Castiel made with the Empty, and we certainly don’t want the Empty to take out Jack/New God, but it seems like something Dean might at least ask about before Jack leaves Earth for good. For that matter, what about all of the other universes Chuck destroyed? Did Jack’s finger-snap restore these, too?

Given what everybody has been saying about Jack’s potential since before he was born, the notion that he might actually become God has been suitably foreshadowed (Chuck/God is his grandfather, after all).

Even so, there might have been a better way of suggesting that Jack was absorbing power than having him wilt plants, especially as he was complaining of feeling powerless even while this was going on. It’s one thing to do a little mislead on the audience when it can be tied to deliberately fooling an onscreen character (here, Michael and Chuck). It’s something else when Jack is being totally sincere about feeling helpless at the same time he ought to be experiencing some kind of powering-up tingle.

Chuck’s fate seems fair enough. Furthermore, with Sam and Dean’s aversion to killing regular humans, it shouldn’t be on them to dispose of Chuck. But he might yet become a best-selling author. Just like Chuck was complaining that watching the guys on an empty world wasn’t dramatically fulfilling, we might think that a more definitive comeuppance for him is warranted. (At least let Dean get in one punch before they part ways.)

Finally, while Dean and Sam are in a good place with themselves, with one another, and the universe at large at the end of “Inherit the Earth,” it feels like a familiar good place. This is fine, we don’t want them to flip out with the vast implications of it all, but shouldn’t fighting God and winning and striking the ultimate blow for free will seem bigger somehow?

The montage is glorious, of course, and “Running on Empty” has both lyrical resonance and the kind of musical drive that suits the show.

COVID-19 caused a lot of changes everywhere, and it’s known that SUPERNATURAL had to adapt its last few episodes to protect its makers. That’s clearly the most important factor here. Still, we wonder if some of those adaptations caused some of the matters above.

“Inherit the Earth” is solid, but it feels ever so slightly rushed. It lacks the sense of triumph we might expect under the circumstances – but maybe that’s coming in the SUPERNATURAL series finale.

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TV Review: SUPERNATURAL – Season 15 – “Inherit the Earth”

 

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