The End is the 4th episode of Season 5. It aired on October 1st, 2009.
Dean refuses Sam's efforts to help him battle the Devil, and then wakes up to find himself five years in the future, in a wasteland where Lucifer has begun his endgame by unleashing a virus that transforms humans into zombies.
The episode begins as Dean parks in front of a hotel in Kansas City, as a sidewalk preacher tries to reach passersby. As Dean enters the hotel, the man approaches him and asks him if he's thought about "God's plan" for him. "Too freakin' much, pal.", he replies, and pushes past him. Inside his room, he discusses with Castiel on the phone about how the demons keeping the Colt makes no sense; they would surely have melted it down by now. But, Castiel is sure that it is about, and that finding it is the only way they can kill Lucifer, if they are still intent upon the insane task of trying to do so. Castiel gets Dean's location and wants to meet immediately, but Dean demands that he leave it for at least 4 hours, as he's just driven a straight 16 hours and needs rest. Cass, standing on a roadside, relents and says he'll wait.Later that night, Dean's phone buzzes and he picks up expecting it to be an anxious Castiel. Instead, it's a panicked Sam. He tells him that Lucifer has approached him and declared him as his vessel. Sam wants to resume hunting with Dean so that they can hunt Lucifer together. However, Dean is sadly resolved that they are better hunters separately than they are as a team. Especially now that it's revealed that they are "the Fire and the Oil of the Armageddon," the chosen but unwilling vessels of Heaven and Hell, they should probably pick different hemispheres to live in. He reminds Sam that the players in control will always use their devotion to each other against them to reach their own ends. Sam begs him to reconsider, insisting they can defeat them. But, Dean tearfully refuses and hangs up on him. Dean wakes up in a trashed-out hotel room, confused. He looks out the broken window and sees that Kansas City has been laid to waste. There are no other people around. He leaves the hotel on foot to explore the rest of the city, encountering no one until he comes across a little girl cowering in an alley. He approaches her slowly, asking if she's lost or hurt, but she suddenly growls and jumps at him swinging a shard of glass. Dean reflexively swings and knocks her unconscious. He then turns and sees the word "Croatoan" painted in red on a brick wall. Dread comes over his face just as a small army of Croatoan-infected people come around the corner and begin to chase him through the destroyed city. He eventually runs into a dead end, and just before they descend upon him, a heavily armed military unit appears and opens fire, barely missing Dean, but allowing him time to escape into an alley. Night falls, and he emerges from his hiding place. He sees the No Entry warning sign on the fence designating Kansas City as a Croatoan Virus Hot Zone. It’s dated August 1st, 2014. He is confused. He hotwires an abandoned car and speeds off. As he tries to find a cell signal or even a radio station, Zachariah teleports into the car, much to Dean's dismay. "I thought I smelled your stink on this Back To the Future crap," Dean snarls. Zachariah has arrived with a newspaper and languidly begins reading the horrible headlines aloud: Croatoan Pandemic Reaches Australia; President Palin Defends the Bombing of Houston; there are no more sports because what's left of Congress has revoked the right of Public Assembly. Dean wants to know how he found him (he has an Enochian sigil etched into his ribcage). Zachariah mockingly laments that they've had to resort to the unorthodox method of using of human informants; the angels have made "inspirational visits," complete with Dean's image, to some members of the "fringier Christian groups." Dean then recalls the sidewalk preacher that approached him as he entered the hotel. Dean demands that he send him back to 2009, but Zachariah says wants him to remain in the future for three days, because needs to see the state the world will be in if he continues to refuse to be Michael's vessel. Zachariah vanishes. Dean arrives at Bobby's place. It's in shambles, and he finds Bobby's wheel chair tipped over with bloody bullet holes in it. He goes to the secret hiding place of Bobby's journal and finds a picture of several men with shotguns, Bobby and Cass among them, posing beside the welcome sign to Camp Chitaqua. He goes to the camp under cover of darkness and alludes the guards at the gate. He recognizes his junked out Baby among the vehicles in the compound and swoops in to inspect the damage to her. While he does, a figure approaches from behind and knocks him unconscious with one blow. Now Dean awakes to find himself cuffed to a fixed ladder and Future Dean staring at him from across the room. "What the hell??" Now Dean mutters. Future Dean is just as confused. He tells Dean from the past that he has searched him and used all the known methods to check if he was a supernatural creature while he was knocked out, so he knows he's not one. But, he wants an explanation as to why Now Dean has every single tool and trick on his person that Future Dean carries and, most of all, he wants to know why they share such a striking resemblance. Now Dean explains that he has been transplanted into 2014 from the year 2009, courtesy of Zachariah. Future Dean still disbelieves and challenges Now Dean to tell him something that only he would know. Now Dean recalls that when 'they' were 19, Rhonda Hurley made them try on her pink satiny panties, and that they kinda liked it. Future Dean cracks a little smile and says "Touché."
They discuss the demons' endgame to finish off the human race with the Croatoan virus. Now Dean asks about Sam. Future Dean tells him that there was a "heavyweight showdown in Detroit," and that from what he understands, Sam didn't make it. Now Dean looks sad and somewhat ashamed to learn that he wasn't with him at the time, and that he hadn't spoken to Sam in the five years prior to the showdown. He asks Future Dean if 'they' ever tried to find him, Future Dean glumly replies that he's got other people to worry about.
Future Dean has a mission to do and leaves Now Dean shackled. Eventually, Now Dean manages to claw a nail out of the wood flooring and free himself from his cuffs. He tries to sneak out into the compound but is approached by Chuck, who concernedly asks him for guidance about dwindling perishable and hygiene supplies for the community. A flustered Now Dean suggests, that they maybe, uh...share?? Chuck is confused by his answer, and then suddenly remembers and queries: "Aren't you supposed to be out on a mission right now?" Now Dean, still flustered, says, yes, he was just on his way to 'the mission.' Before he can turn to go, Risa approaches him from behind and takes a very purposeful swing at him, followed by a kick. Dean leaps behind Chuck, using him a shield from further abuse. Risa is angry that Future Dean spent time in another woman's cabin the night before. She angrily departs. Dean recovers, and asks Chuck if Cass is still in the camp. Chuck laughingly says, yeah, he doesn't think Cass is going anywhere.Dean finds Future Castiel in his cabin in half lotus, uttering nonsense at the head of a circle of entranced women. Cass sees Dean slip in and, referring to Dean as their "fearless leader," tells the ladies that he needs to confer with him, and suggests to them that they all "go get washed up for the orgy." Cass stands and stretches as they exit.
"What are you, a hippie?", says Now Dean. Initially irritated about being labeled by Dean again, Cass turns and immediately recognizes that the Dean in front of him is from another time. Castiel knows it was only Zachariah who would have done such a thing. Dean, mistakenly believing that Cass could simply whisk him back to his proper time, tells him to do so. When Cass giggles at this request, Dean asks him if he's stoned. Cass replies, "Generally, yeah."Future Dean returns to camp with his fellow hunters, and the men file out of the jeep. They all crack beers in celebration of returning from a successful mission. As Now Dean walks toward them, Future Dean raises his gun and shoots a member of his hunting party in the head. Now Dean screams out, horrified. Everyone else is just as horrified at the sight of another Dean. Future Dean assures all onlookers that while the situation is obviously messed up, he will inform them of anything they need to know, when they need to know it. Furious Future Dean shoves Now Dean back into his cabin, and they argue about which was more disturbing for the "twitchy survivors" in the community: seeing their leader kill one of them in cold blood, or watching him converse with his clone. Future Dean points out that he recognized the signs of infection in the man, and that in these times, killing the Croatoan infected ("Croats") is commonplace. Seeing their leader debate with his clone, however, is much more likely to freak people out. Future warns Now to back off, because this is not his time. Now Dean backs down, and apologizes. Future accepts his apology, and then pours drinks for them. Now Dean asks about the mission they went on. Future Dean reveals the Colt Now Dean thought it was long gone, but Future Dean tells him that the demons have been moving it around as much as they could but, after five years of searching, he finally found it. "Tonight," he says, "I'm gonna kill the Devil." Future Dean has a meeting with Risa, Castiel, and his past self. Risa is skeptical about the capabilities of the Colt, and about the prospects of finding Lucifer's whereabouts. Future Dean says the demon they captured last week was an important member of Lucifer's entourage, and that he revealed Lucifer's location. Risa is dubious that a demon would be honest, but Dean assures her that the intel is correct. Castiel informs her that Dean is "all too well-schooled in the art of getting to the truth." Now Dean voices his disgust that Future Dean has resorted to torture. Future Dean shows them a map of the area they'll be raiding in order to get to Lucifer. Castiel points out that it's a Hot Zone, filled with Croats and demons, and suggests that rushing up the driveway is a bit reckless. Future Dean sternly asks Cass if he's coming. He says of course he is, but asks Future why he's allowing Now Dean to go. Future refuses an answer, only shouting that he is coming. Cass gives up the debate, and he and Risa leave to gather the other soldiers. Now Dean is also curious as to why his future self wants him to go along; Future Dean finally reveals that he wants Now to see what happened to Sam. Now Dean thought that Future's earlier statement that Sam didn't make it out of the 'showdown in Detroit' meant that Sam was dead. Future Dean reveals that Sam didn't die, but he did say "the big yes" to becoming Lucifer's vessel. Now, after everything, he realizes he has to kill his brother. Future Dean then begs Now Dean to say yes to being Michael's vessel whenever Zachariah zaps him back. Now Dean protests, saying that the battle that would ensue would torch half the planet. Future Dean points out that half a planet would be better than no planet, which is what they have now. Now Dean asks why, then, he didn't just say yes eventually. Future says he tried to, but that by the time he was willing to, the angels had already given up and bailed. Now Dean is still adamant that there must be another way. Future Dean sadly realizes that he will not convince Now Dean to submit. As the team departs, Chuck, who stays behind, tries to impart upon Now Dean how important it is to start hoarding toilet paper as soon as he gets back to 2009. Now Dean rides with shotgun with Cass. He is curious about why the historically uptight angel Cass is now all about sex, drugs, etc. Castiel says he's no longer an angel, and he knows it had something to do with the other angels bailing on Earth. His angel mojo just drained away. He misses being an angel and is depressed about it, but figures a bit of decadence is in order, considering the state of things. The next morning the group arrives in a city torn down by the infection. They search and finally locate the building they need to break into. Future Dean, Risa, and Castiel prepare their weapons. Future Dean tells the team to go in through a 2nd story window. Risa voices concern about the game plan and she and Cass exchange glances. But, Future Dean tells them to trust him; "They'll never see us coming." Now Dean senses that something is an amiss and pulls Future away for a talk. He tells Future that he can tell that he's lying to everyone; he's seen his lying expressions in the mirror. When NowDean threatens to take his concerns to the rest of the team, Future Dean finally that admits he knows the path to Lucifer is a trap, and that he's using the team as a front door diversion while he sneaks in the back way. Now Dean is mortified that Future would sacrifice his friends, including Cass, as a means to an end. Future puts it to him that that sentiment is part of what got the planet into the state it's in now. His job is to kill Lucifer and save what's left of the planet, and that's what he intends to do. Now Dean tries to stop him, but Future Dean knocks him unconscious.
Now Dean wakes up to the sight and sound of gunfire from the second floor. He runs around the building, just in time to see Lucifer - in Sam's body - snap Future Dean's neck.Dean asks Lucifer why doesn't he just kill him now, too. Lucifer looks at the body of Future Dean and states that it would be redundant. Lucifer says he realizes how traumatizing it must be for Dean to see him in his brother's body, but it's the only way things could have turned out. Dean accuses him of wanting to deep-fry the planet, but Lucifer says he doesn't want to destroy the beautiful "last perfect handiwork of God." It stands as a sort of proof that he was right about mankind. He tells about his fall from Grace. Lucifer says he loved God completely, but then God created humans and commanded the angels to love them even more. Lucifer asserts that his only crime was his absolute refusal to bow down to man, or to love the flawed and murderous "little hairless apes," more than he loved God. He doesn't believe that God charging Michael to cast him into Hell was a punishment befitting his crime. Dean retorts that he's not buying Lucifer's "sympathy-for-the-Devil crap." The only difference between him and the monsters that he's been hunting and killing his whole life is the size of his ego. Lucifer smiles and declares that he likes him; he gets what the other angels see in him. Lucifer says 'goodbye', they'll meet again soon, and walks away. Dean shouts after him that he won't stop until he finds a way to kill him. Lucifer replies that he's well aware that he will try, and he knows he will not say 'yes' to Michael, and he knows that he would never kill Sam. But no matter what choices or details Dean changes, Lucifer says, the two of them will always end up where they are right now. Dean tearfully tells him that he's wrong. Lucifer gives him another condescending smile and says "See you in five years, Dean." He vanishes. Zachariah zaps Dean back to his KC hotel room. Zach makes another appeal to him; he's seen what's going to happen and he is the only one who can prove the Devil wrong. "Just say 'yes'." Dean is not convinced that what he has just experienced was not just the latest of Zachariah's tricky, riddling ways. Zachariah says the time for tricks is over. Dean needs to give himself to Michael before billions die, and before Lucifer gets to Sam. Dean is anguished and appears to be ready to give in, but then sets his jaw and says "Nah." Zachariah is shocked. "You're telling me you haven't learned your lesson?" Dean replies that he did indeed learn a lesson, only it wasn't the one that Zachariah had intended to teach. Zachariah is enraged and threatens to "teach it again." As he moves toward Dean declaring that he's got him and will never let him go, Castiel zaps Dean to his location; he's still standing on the roadside in the dark. A shocked and relieved Dean compliments Cass on his excellent timing. Cass replies that they had an appointment. Dean lays a hand on his angel friend's shoulder and tells him "Don't ever change." Castiel asks how Zach located Dean. He tells him it's a long story, but that they should steer clear of Jehovah's witnesses from now on.He takes out his phone and starts to dial; Cass asks what he's doing. He replies, "Something I should have done in the first place."
As Dean leans against Baby at an off-road stop, Sam drives up to meet him. Sam gets out and approaches Dean, looking somewhat wary and weary. Dean produces Ruby's knife and says that if he really wants back in, he should have it, because he's probably rusty. Dean apologizes to Sam. Even though they might be each other's Achilles heel, he says, all they've got is each other, and they need to stick together to keep each other human. They decide that they will make their own future.
Featured Supernatural BeingsEdit
"Do You Love Me" by The Contours
- Sam and Dean are still separated, until the end of the episode.
- The Colt returns in this episode.
- Future Dean attempts to kill Lucifer with the Colt but fails. Sam and Dean will attempt to do the same later in the present, but also fail because Lucifer is immune to the Colt.
- The Croatoan Virus was first introduced in Croatoan.
- This is the first time we see Sam Winchester as Lucifer. We won't see this again until the season 5 finale.
- Antagonists: Zachariah, Lucifer
- In the scenes with future Dean and present Dean, Jensen performed with his stunt double, Todd Scott. Another actor was initially hired to do it, but it didn't work out.
- This is one of the only three episodes in season 5 where Lucifer is not portrayed by Mark Pellegrino. The other is Sympathy for the Devil.
- There was mixed opinion among fans as to whether the future shown here is "real" or merely constructed by Zachariah to persuade Dean to become Michael's Vessel. Commentary on 5.04 “The End” on the Season 5 DVD by Ben Edlund and Eric Kripke supports that this is an alternate universe model, rather than time travel. On twitter, Ben Edlund said that in his mind, "The End" universe is an alternate reality, similar to that in The French Mistake. This would make the place Dean is taken to by Zachariah a potential future of an alternate. reality.
- Originally it was supposed to be more an effect of time travel, as the future Dean would discuss remembering these events from present Dean's point of view, but the premise became so complicated that they changed it to an alternate universe instead.
- The future version of Dean was not wearing his amulet Sam gave him. It is possible this is because he disposed of it when he lost Sam. Interestingly, later on in the season the present Dean disposes of the amulet.
- This episode is very popular in fandom.
- At one point Dean says, "You're not fooling me, you know that? With this sympathy-for-the-devil crap. I know what you are." "Sympathy for the Devil" is the name of a song by the Rolling Stones and the title of the Season five premiere.
- The filming for the episode started on August 6th, and ended on the 18th.
- When Dean looked out the window the theater sign said "NOW PLAYING: ROUTE 666". Route 666 was the name of a Season 1 episode.
- The scene where Dean meets the Croatoan infected little girl is very similar to the popular zombie apocalyptic TV series The Walking Dead where at the start of the season 1 premiere, main protagonist Rick Grimes calls out to a little girl who turns out to be a zombie, interestingly both little girls have teddy bears.
- Castiel: This isn't funny, Dean. The voice says I'm almost out of minutes!
- Dean: Ronda Hurley. We were... 19. She made us try on her panties. They were pink and satiny, and you know what? We kinda liked it.
- Future Dean: *Thinks on it a minute* Touche.
- Dean: Oh come on! You don't trust yourself?!
- Future Dean: No. Absolutely not.
- [Future Dean leaves]
- Dean: Dick.
- Risa: You spent the night in Jane's cabin last night, didn't you?
- Dean: Uh, what? I—I don't — did I?
- Risa: I thought we had a "connection".
- Dean: Well, I'm sure that we do.
- Dean: Jeez. I'm getting busted for stuff I haven't even done yet.
- Dean: What, are you stoned?
- Future Castiel: Uh, generally, yeah.
- Dean: What happened to you?
- Future Castiel: Life.
- Lucifer: You don't have to be afraid of me, Dean. What do you think I'm going to do?
- Dean: I don't know. Maybe deep-fry the planet?
- Lucifer: Why? Why would I want to destroy this stunning thing? Beautiful, in a trillion different ways. The last perfect handiwork of God.
- (Dean doesn't answer)
- Lucifer: You heard the story about how I fell from grace?
- Dean: Oh, Good God, you're not gonna tell me a bed time story, are you? My stomach is almost out of bile.
- Lucifer: Do you know why God cast me down? Because I loved him. More than anything. And then, he created- you. The little... hairless apes. And then he asked us all to bow down before you, to love you more than him. And I said, "Father I can't." I said "These human beings are flawed, murderous." And for that, God had Michael cast me into hell. Now, tell me, does the punishment fit the crime? Especially when I was right?. Look what six billion of you have done to this thing. And how many of you blame me for it.
- Dean: You're not fooling me, you know that? With this sympathy for the devil crap. I know what you are.
- Lucifer: What am I?
- Dean: The same thing, only bigger. The same brand of cockroach I've been squashing my whole life. An ugly, evil, belly to the ground, supernatural piece of crap. The only difference between them and you is the size of your ego.
- (Lucifer smiles)
- Lucifer: I like you Dean. I get what the other angels see in you. Goodbye. We'll meet again soon.
- (Lucifer turns away to leave)
- Dean: You better kill me now!
- (Lucifer turns back)
- Lucifer: Pardon?
- Dean: You better kill me now. Or I swear, I'll find a way to kill you. And I won't stop.
- Lucifer: I know you won't. I know you won't say yes to Michael, either. And I know you won't kill Sam. Whatever you do, you will always end up here. Whatever choices you make, whatever details you alter, we will always end up - here. I win. So I win.
- Dean: You're wrong.
- Lucifer: See you in five years, Dean.
- Dean: Well if it isn't the Ghost of Christmas Screw You.