The 300th episode of the CW's Supernatural brought all the feels, just as we expected. There were a lot of tears: man tears, fan tears, tears in time…oops, my bad: wrong kind of tear ;) We didn't want "Lebanon" to end for obvious reasons. The Winchester Family was together at last. They earned this reward for sacrificing so much over the past 14 seasons. It is fitting, albeit bittersweet, that Winchesters sacrifice their happiness once more – but this time they do it together as a family.
The hour begins with the ultimate throwback montage, an emotional and nostalgic recap reminds us of the good old days we've been sorely missing. Looking back, those were simpler times. But that was then.
Now, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) track down an artifacts dealer who killed one of their hunter buddies. When the douchebag pulls a sword that sliced their friend in half, Dean takes him out mid-monologue.
Phew! So glad that was over quickly. We all just want the boys to find that magic pearl and bring their pops (Jeffery Dean Morgan) back. Let's do this! They are impressed by this hoarder's inventory and are pleased to add these items to their arsenal. But like a couple of dummies, they leave everything in the Impala and let a teenager steal it to impress her new girlfriend. Seriously? There's more business to take care of first. Guess John will have to wait…
Dean flirts with the mail lady, Sam rolls his eyes, and we laugh over memories of similar encounters the boys had with the fairer sex over the years. Sammy usually gets the cougars, so this is a fun change of pace. Eventually, they find out where Baby is parked and arrive on the scene just as the ghost of clown-clad John Wayne Gacy scares the holy terror out of high schoolers.
Yay! The 300th episode features an old fashioned ghost story and this gives us a double whammy. As Dean gleefully points out, Sammy loves serial killers ("No Exit") but hates clowns ("Everybody Loves a Clown"). Well played, Supernatural. After what feels like forever, we get to moment we've been anxiously anticipating for twelves years.
Dean holds the pearl and waits for Michael to disappear. Instead, the boys get clobbered by a man in the shadows, holding a shotgun. You guys, I never thought I could miss a firearm, but when I saw John on the other end of that double barrel…Squee!!!
Now for the twist. We wondered how John would return. Resurrection? Miraculous apparition? Nope. He's plucked out of his life in 2003, a year before Supernatural began. I did not see that coming. This makes things even more confusing for John! In his mind, Dean is out hunting and Sam is at Stanford. Now he sees the boys as grown-ass men who have lived a lifetime without their dad. Dammit, I'm gonna make myself cry.
John's instincts are still intact because the moment he mentions Mary (Samantha Smith) he hears her call out for the boys – and we start dying on the inside because these feels are lethal. Like I said in our preview, the look on everyone's face is priceless.
My heart is melting.
While Mary and John reconnect, Sam pulls Dean away and delivers a harsh dose of reality. Seeing them together again is all Dean has wanted since he was four. We know this won't end well, Sammy. Just let us enjoy the moment while it lasts… mmmkay?
Part of me feels Sam should've made the wish instead. These brothers always put each other first. Dean would spend a lifetime with Michael to have this family reunion. It has always been his heart's desire. Now we know that nothing would ever change that for him. Well, unless Sam's life is on the line. That's why Sam's wish would likely be a sure thing. His heart is heavy with the fear of losing Dean. His only wish in this moment is to save his brother. Awww!
Just when we're settling into this new family dynamic and Sam finally has an overdue heart-to-heart with John (more on that in a bit), the boys go on a grocery run so Mary can make Winchester Surprise. Ha! We knew that would come back into play soon. John even remembers the time Dean tried making it for him and Sammy. Sigh. Do the boys really have to leave?
When Sam and Dean are out of their blissful bunker, we learn there's a catch to this wish fulfillment. Time is correcting itself based on the rift they caused. It makes sense that Dean ends up a wanted man ("The Usual Suspects"), but Stanford Sam turned out even worse than we could have ever imagined.
No to all of this…
Again, everything is different since Sam never went back to hunting and Dean didn't go to Hell. Castiel (Misha Collins) doesn't raise him from perdition and they don't become BFFs… but our angel still knows how to make an entrance:
Equally badass the second time around, this Cass still rolls with Zachariah (Kurt Fuller), the manipulative angel with a biting sense of humor who was ganked in episode 150. Way to bring it full circle, SPN. Bravo!
I belly laughed at this Constantine joke!
Zachariah suddenly realizes the Winchesters messed with Time, so it becomes an all out brawl. Castiel starts beating Dean to a bloody pulp. It is easy for them to kill Zach, but they're attached to Cass – even this alternate version of him. Smart thinking on Sam's part to cast him away with a sigil. He's right: this wish is going to cause trouble. Their happiness is going to last even shorter than we hoped.
Not to be a buzzkill, but I'm a little confused about the details here to be honest. If John was just plucked out of his timeline, then wouldn't Dean still think he's missing and reach out to Sam? Or does none of that matter because John goes back? Why doesn't Castiel sense the Time rift when Zachariah does? Some details are a little sketchy, but I won't overthink it and just enjoy the laughs that come with this twist of fate.
Sam fills Mary in, while Dean breaks the news to John. It is a no-brainer: John will gladly go back for the greater good – especially if that means the boys get to keep Mary.
Because that is what Winchesters do.
The boys have a transparent conversation about their decision. Dean is good with who he is. Maybe it is because he's too old for "what if's" – that after all these years, he wants to be the one saving the world instead of pawning their responsibility off on other hunters. This is who the Winchesters are and they wouldn't want to change that – even if they could. Suck it, Fate! Team Free Will wins again.
Brace yourselves for all the heartbreaking bits…
"In My Time of Dying" is one of my favorite episodes, although it is one of show's most heartbreaking hours. At the time – unbeknownst to Dean – John had his moment of closure and said goodbye. He placed too much responsibility on Dean at a young age. John even left him with a heavier heart, cryptically warning him about Sam.
After dealing with Azazel, he thought the boys would've established civilian lives and had a families of their own. We know how they both tried to have "normal" lives in their own ways, but it just never worked out. They were born to hunt monsters and save the world. Besides, Dean has a family. Sigh!
Sam wasn't lucky enough to make his peace with John. They were fighting one minute and the next time they're together John's dead on the floor. 2003 John already regrets his behavior, but it was a lifetime ago for Sammy. It was hard, but he worked his way through it. We know Sam only wishes they had a chance to say goodbye and part on good terms.
The boys (and fans) have expressed mixed feelings about John over the past twelve seasons. Dean always idolized him, while Sam challenged him. But they both loved John and felt loved by him. They know he tried his best, even though he made mistakes.
It is very rewarding to bring John back from a time in his life when he had not admitted his shortcomings to the boys. He was working Dean as a hunter and upset at Sam for leaving. Resentment and pride got in the way of love and support. Sam must feel satisfied realizing that John regretted his harsh actions for so long. He may have moved on after John's death, but this conversation definitely gives him peace.
It is difficult to enjoy family dinner, but John encourages them to make the most of the precious time they have together. It took 300 episodes, but the Winchesters finally get to break bread, drink, and laugh together as a whole. I wish we could've heard some of their conversations instead having a lifetime of stories brushed off as a montage. But hey, we'll take what we can get.
Their gut-wrenching goodbye pushed us all over the edge into ugly cry territory. John gives the boys a group bear hug and tells them to take care of each other. If only he knew how that has been their number one priority in life. The man tears flow and make me cry even harder. Then he takes Mary's hand, holding it while Sam crushes the pearl. John's translucent glow fades away and everyone is weepy hot mess. Damn you for making me cry so uncontrollably!
Castiel casually waltzes in and asks what happened. Oh I can't wait until he hears the story! Poor Cass probably wishes he could've been there – he is family, after all.
The episode poetically ends with John waking up in the Impala and answering Dean's call. He just had an incredible dream. He remembers!!! I wonder if this "dream" will influence him in the tiniest bit. Will he be motivated to make peace with Sammy? Will he show more appreciation for Dean? Or will everything play out like it did before?
Guess only time will tell…
After punching us in the feels, Supernatural is taking a month off – returning March 7 with one doozy of an episode where it looks like Jack loses control: