TV Recap: When Deans Collide – A Commentary on Supernatural 5.04 The End


Yes as you know by now, I like to take a quick look at what’s going on around the fandom before I start into the commentary on an episode. The first thing to take notice of is that The CW Network still has plenty of reasons to be doing the happy dance where season 5 of Supernatural is concerned. Here are some of the stats they have sent out following the airing of The End last Thursday.

SUPERNATURAL had another solid performance with “The End” episode—which does NOT represent “the end,” SUPERNATURAL fans—improving 17% over last week in adults 18-34 (14.4) and 7% in women 18-34 (1.6/4). SUPERNATURAL also performed well in both adults 18-49 (1.2/3) and women 18-49 (1.4.3).

And in the Live +7 stats that were released for the prior weeks episodes, we see that when these were compiled SUPERNATURAL had increase of 35% in women 18-34 (2.33rtg v. 3.83rtg), 47% increases in adults 18-34 (1.21rtg v. 1.78rtg) and total viewers increased 38% (2.9M v. 4M). That’s mighty impressive and I’m thinking that if this keeps up that 6th season is going to become a reality and hey I can handle one more season of having the Winchester brothers on my TV every Thursday night. And speaking of those handsome hunters of the supernatural, let’s move on to my commentary for The End.

There is no doubt about it, this episode was a ‘Deangirls’ dream come true as Jensen Ackles pulled off a tour de force performance as two different version of his character, Dean Winchester. I have no trouble imagining that Ackles went home after this episode was finished filming and passed out from exhaustion. However The End also includes some amazing work from Jared Padalecki as the Lucifer possessed Sam Winchester and some interesting work by Misha Collins as the humanized Castiel.

The End, which was written by Ben Edlund, finds Sam (Jared Padalecki) making a late night phone call to Dean (Jensen Ackles) to tell his brother that Sam wants to rejoin him in the hunt for a way to stop Lucifer and end the Apocalypse before the world is destroyed. Sam says he wants to do this not out of revenge as Dean first surmises, but out of redemption. Dean turns Sam down, telling him he thinks its best they stay away from each other given the positions they have been put in as the chosen vessels for Lucifer and the Arch Angel Michael.

I really liked this scene and the use of imagery that was written into it. I have to admit I was highly surprised that Ben Edlund, whose scripts are often times more on the humorous side, wrote it. The power in the imagery was in having the call late at night with Sam driving on the road and Dean at rest in the hotel room. It was a very interesting way to show us that while “in the darkest hours” Dean is set in his decisions and course of action, Sam’s life is in flux again as he is once more journeying towards another goal. The conversation between Dean and Sam is filled with angst and emotion but never goes overboard into being too girly. The guys remain guys but Dean is not afraid to use the word love to describe the bond between he and Sam as brothers and family. It shows us how much the choice to turn Sam away is hurting him. That Sam is not afraid to use the word redemption shows how much he is moving away from the influences of the way he was raised by John Winchester.

The End has some of it’s roots in episode nine of season 2 title Croatoan in which the brothers travel to Rivergrove, Oregon and discover a demonic virus transmitted by blood has infected the townspeople and that Sam Winchester is apparently immune to. The virus makes a reappearance in The End when the angel Zachariah (played with such zestful glee by the talented Kurt Fuller) flings Dean five years into the future as punishment for not reuniting with Sam or saying yes to allowing himself to be inhabited by Michael. Zachariah wants Dean to see the consequences of his decisions and how Lucifer has unleashed the Croatoan virus on the earth as his “endgame plan” to destroy humanity.


It’s in this Coatoan ravaged future in which all of civilization has broken down into chaos that Dean meets his future self: an embittered and ruthless leader of a band of resistance fighters. Future Dean is a man seemingly without remorse who is relentlessly set on doing whatever it takes to “kill the devil and save the world”. He isn’t too amused to find himself confronted with the past part of himself.

Again Edlund does an amazing job of writing the dialog and scripting the scenes. The subtle differences between past and future Dean are intricately created and make each “Dean” a slightly different character in his own right. Then Edlund and the rest of the producers put it all in the capable hands of Jensen Ackles and Ackles didn’t let anyone down: not the writers, the directors, the viewers or either Dean. There is no doubt in this viewer’s mind that Jensen Ackles can put most A-list actors to shame and to me he more than proved that opinion right in The End.

Jensen Ackles is quoted as saying that in filming these scenes between the Deans he had only his stunt double to work off of and the double wasn’t an actor so he couldn’t really provide something for Ackles to play off of. Yet watching the “two Deans” interaction onscreen, the emotions, the timing the presentation is flawless. You see and feel the difference between these two versions of the same man. You see how appalled past Dean is at what he has become and you see the longing in future Dean to still be the kind of “innocent” and still in touch with his humanity past Dean is.

This future Dean/Past Dean interaction was also filled with some nice character insights. We found out that when Dean was nineteen a girl named Rhonda Hurley (and I’m guessing she was not some dainty little thing) got Dean to try on her panties. “They were pink and satiny and you know what we kinda liked it.” That no matter how the future changed Dean, he still had his penchant for the sarcastic use of pop culture TV/movie references: “I got a camp full of twitchy trauma survivors who don’t need to see this version of The Parent Trap”.

Past Dean also finds he has to deal with version of Castiel that really throws him for a loop. It seems that when Sam Winchester said yes to Lucifer and allowed himself to be taken as a vessel, all the angels simply gave up and went away. Castiel who was left behind completely without his “connection to heaven” found himself unable to cope with becoming fully human. To deal with the loss of what he once was, future Castiel has fallen into drug use and sins of the flesh: Castiel is a Woodstock wannbe. While this version of Castiel was certainly interesting and quite a change from our stoic angel, I have to be honest and say that I didn’t think Misha Collins did as good a job playing “hippy Castiel” as he did playing “Jimmy Novak” back in season 4. However I am glad that it convinced Dean not to try and humanize Castiel and to let his friend be himself. I think Misha does an awesome job playing Castiel as someone who is learning to change slowly and yet retain his uniqueness.


The End also contains the inevitable meeting between Past Dean and the Lucifer possessed Sam Winchester, after all this is what Zachariah wanted Dean to see and to know was the consequences of his decisions not to rejoin with Sam or to open himself to possession by the Angel Michael.

Yes, there is no doubt that Jensen Ackles hit it out of the ballpark in playing the duel role of past and future Dean, but I also realize how much Jared Padalecki stepped up to the plate in this episode. While Ackles basically had to play two slightly different versions of his character, Padalecki not only had to play Sam Winchester as Sam is now with all the remorse, guilt and conflict going on inside of him, but he had to totally mimic another actor’s take on another character. Jared did a seamless and dead on mimic of Mark Pellegrino’s Lucifer. The facial movements the voice inflection, the body language..everything was flawlessly done.

There were only a few moments when he was ‘Samlike’ and even those made perfect sense as you could imagine that Sam was still in there somewhere. Yes I think Jensen Ackles is a great actor and I realize that what he had to do in this episode was no easy task. He had to give us two believably different versions of Dean but in all honesty I have to say that Jared really had the harder task. He had to totally step outside of Sam and play a character already established by another actor and keep that character “in character” based on the other actor’s work.


“Brother against brother, learn to kill one another.”

Those are lyrics from the song Split Red by the Minutemen and I thought they were kind of appropriate for the main sort of “ah ha” moment I had while watching The End in regards to the whole thing of Sam and Dean being chosen as vessels and why. Viewers like myself and fans as well have been noticing and commenting on what seems like the inevitable “brother vs brother” direction the story line for Supernatural has been headed in since season 4. There has been a lot of talk about the biblical “Cain Vs Abel” scenario among the fans disseminating the show but I had a different sort of revelation (no bible pun intended) as I watched the confrontation between past Dean and Lucifer possessed future Sam and why everyone from Zachariah to Lucifer himself keeps saying that Sam had to be Lucifer’s vessel.

All the angels are brothers and sisters; Lucifer and Michael are brothers. The battle between Lucifer and Michael will be brother against brother. As I see it, Kripke is putting forth that in the final showdown, Michael and Lucifer need vessels that are tied together by the bonds of blood as brothers so that they can physically represent the bond of brotherhood between Michael and Lucifer as angels. I’m sure that there are other viewers and fans of Supernatural that have come to this conclusion, but for me it wasn’t until The End that I got this impression.

I’m not sure when this whole angel/apocalypse/brothers as vessels thing became the story direction for Supernatural but in my opinion, I don’t think it was what was originally intended for the direction of the show. I’m not Kripke and maybe I am wrong about there seeming to be a not so subtle switch in story direction but I do know that I firmly believe that wherever the show was leading up to in season 3 changed during the writers strike. I know I feel that the season 4 episode In the Beginning was the “reset button” – for lack of a better term for it – that set in motion the new direction. No longer was it about Azaezel having his own agenda or even anything about Mary Winchester being a hunter. I have come to conclude that was about her being able to bear children that can be vessels to the angels and about the angels covertly cluing Azaezel in on the fact that Dean was going to be born as the vessel of the Arch Angel Michael and that if Azaezel wanted to help start the Apocalypse then he needed to make sure that the second son of Mary and John Winchester was primed to be the vessel of Lucifer.

Overall and my personal “ah ha” moments aside, I thought The End was an amazing episode. I loved seeing Chuck Shurely again. Rob Benedict has such great deadpan comedic timing that suits his character to a tee. I loved seeing one of favorite actress, Lexa Doig finally having a guest-starring role on Supernatural. I would love to see an episode where Dean meets up with Risa as she is in “normal life” as part of a jolting reminder to him of where his destiny might lead him.

I liked how they used the Impala in the future. Seeing her up on cinderblocks in disrepair and neglect was, in my opinion such a stunning allegory for how far into his loss of his humanity that future Dean had fallen; that even taking care of his precious Baby didn’t matter to him anymore. Yet the fact that she hadn’t been tossed into scrape and was still being watched over by him was also the one clue that some spark of his soul, his capacity to care remained alive. I really liked the way future Dean had gone full on “Han Solo” and had the thigh holster strapped around his leg. Yes I’m female and yes I found that sue me!

Next week is a brand new episode of Supernatural Season 5, but so as not to chase the spoilerphobes away from reading this commentary, I’ll be making a separate post to promote Fallen Idols. So be sure and check back here if you want to know more about that episode before it airs and then tune into the CW Network at 9PM EST time to see Sam and Dean Winchester on the hunt again.

Supernatural 5.04 screen caps courtesy of NoApology86


  1. Sophie: The title is play on the title of the Scifi movie When Worlds Collide. Glad you liked it. Can't wait to hear your feedback.

  2. Great review! I love to read all of your thoughts. And I am so happy about the rating improving. And as a Samgirl I am so happy that Jared gets the praise he earns so much for this episode. And Jensen of course, too.

  3. I loved your review and couldn't agree more about Jared's awesome performance. His portrayal of Lucifer gave me chills. And it goes without saying that this is some of Jensen's best work. Kudos to the writers, director and the entire SPN team. This was a fantastic episode.

  4. Glad to hear someone finally seeing how great Padalecki really is. I only watched his scenes in this ep because the show is not my thing anymore.

    I do hope the how end this season, mainly to free Padalecki and let him have a role his talent deserves, on another show or on the big screen. I just don't want to see him wasted on this show. He's paid his dues, let the show continue with Dean and Castiel if it has to. Padalecki is en route for bigger and better things than the thrid wheel on a CW show..

    1. Well if you ONLY watch for Jared then you sure are missing out on many other wonderful performances in this show. I don't understand some of these fans who only watch the show for their preferred actor.

      1. I'm not watching the show anymore. It's too full of plot holes and fan serving to be worth it. Kripke is ripping off fandom and everybody else because he has no show left to tell. I mean, angels suddenly turning human and Dean/Cas at a whorehouxe was enough for me to drop the show like an old stinky sock.

        1. So, what… you're here tell us all all that Jared so much better than Supernatural? That's ridiculous. Both Jared and Jensen are skilled and talented actors and they BOTH work hard on the show.

          And if you don't watch the show anymore, then why are you here? Just to bash it and the fans who watch it? And you're certainly not very supportive of Jared when you diss the show he's such an integral part of. Maybe it would be best, if you are no longer a fan of the show, that you refrain from seeking out and commenting on articles that are geared toward those of us who are fans of the show.

  5. Great review. Jared was wonderful, as always, and Jensen was stunning. We are so fortunate to have two such talented actors on our TV screens every week. Misha, Rob, Jim, et al also bring their A-game and are a pleasure to watch.

  6. I thought Misha, Jared and Jensen were all good, but I was especially entralled with Jensen's acting in this episode.

    I love what Jensen brought to the table in this episode, he was amazing as two different Deans. I think he had an extremely difficult task and he more than met the challenge!

    1. Jared is NOT a third wheel. How can anyone watching this show think he's a third wheel? Oh well, I'm not getting into that pissing match. Great episode, but Zachariah was only interested in teaching Dean that it's a mistake to not accept Michael. Zach didn't care about Dean rejecting Sam. He wouldn't have even known about that since he doesn't know where the brothers are because they're hidden from him by the enochian sigils.

    2. I agree Liz. Jensen had to be the same character, yet different. It had to be subtle to be realistic and yet it had to be obvious which was which with only a minimal of physical differences(thank god they did not go the cliche "give him a scar/eye patch/goatee" route:). He had to play those really emotional scenes, where he's arguing or begging himself to change things, against himself, which meant against no one(except a stand-in). He had the episode on his shoulders as not just one but two versions of himself and he did a fantastic job of carrying it.

  7. Great review! Jensen, Jared and Misha were incredible, and it was such a pleasure to see them all take on different roles. Jensen was amazing portraying the two different versions of Dean. It must have been tiring as all hell, but he certainly pulled it off brilliantly. I also absolutely loved Jared's Lucifer – so righteous and sympathetic, yet incredibly chilling. You could definitely see that he studied Mark Pellegrino's mannerisms and facial expressions. Just brilliantly played and some of Jared's best work.

    That final scene with Sam and Dean though, was really what that episode was all about. For me anyway. It's about love, family and connection. You could really tell that the reunion was awkward and I loved that both guys played it that way. There's still so many issues to overcome, and it certainly won't happen in just a couple of episodes. They're finally reunited, but I foresee that it will take some time for them to learn to be brothers again. There's so much love there, but you could see that there's not as much trust. It was a great scene and beautifully acted by Jensen and Jared.

  8. I think I will need to disagree that Jared had the harder job. Tapping into an already established character, for me, is much easier than inventing a totally different personality that has traits of the previous character, yet is still different. I would guess you are a Jared fan to say that Jared had it harder and while I respect your opinion, it is only that, an opinion by a fan of one actor over the other.

    For me, I think Jensen had the harder job, and did it exceptionally well. It's too bad that credit isn't given to him for the work he has put into FutureDean. Well, not here anyways. Luckly, there were other reviewers that appreciated the talent.

    1. Tapping into an already established charector is easier then a totally diffeerent charector. Dean Winchester IS an established charector on Supernatural. ALL Jensen did was tweak an established charector to make him slightly differnt. JARED was the one who basically had to invent a new charector since SN's Lucifer was on ONLY in a couple of previous scenes. AND Jared took what Mark P did and furthered the charector with subtle nuances of contempt for humanity.

      So in that regard, while jensen had the heavier workload…his job was MUCH MUCH easier since he was simply playing the same charector twice.

      1. Sorry, but I don't think Jensen's scenes were "easier" at all. Acting is REACTING. Jensen didn't have anyone to play off of in the scenes between present Dean and future Dean, while Jared had JENSEN to react to. So, I do think it was quite a challenge. Jared did a nice job, but he did have Mark's performance to use to guide him how to play Lucifer. As was mentioned, Jared mimicked Mark. And he was able to react to Jensen in their scene.

        So I don't think it's accurate to say Jensen's job was much easier in this episode. Jensen had to hit emotions while reacting to a stunt double who wasn't acting or reacting at all.

        Again, great job by ALL actors in this episode.

      2. Sorry, but I don't think Jensen's scenes were "easier" at all. Acting is REACTING. Jensen didn't have anyone to play off of in the scenes between present Dean and future Dean, while Jared had JENSEN to react to. So, I do think it was quite a challenge for Jensen. Jared did a nice job, but he did have Mark's performance to use to guide him how to play Lucifer. As was mentioned, Jared mimicked Mark. And he was able to react to Jensen in their scene.

        So I don't think it's accurate to say Jensen's job was much easier in this episode. Jensen had to hit emotions while reacting to a stunt double who wasn't acting or reacting at all.

        Again, great job by ALL actors in this episode.

    2. Strangeworld I don't consider myself a fan of either of the actors and don't hold one over the other talent wise. I am a viewer and supporter of the show with an opinion on what I saw. But I do admit to being a more of a 'Deangirl' as far as the characters go. For me in this episode, Jared had the harder task. For other's he didn't. That's the beauty of having different perspectives. Thanks for sharing yours 🙂

  9. I really loved this episode! My favorite of the season so far. I think Ben Edlund is brilliant!

    "There is no doubt in this viewer’s mind that Jensen Ackles can put most A-list actors to shame and to me he more than proved that opinion right in The End. "

    I agree. Jensen is absolutely AMAZING! Especially since he had to make future Dean enough like present Dean to be in character, but a distinct character in his own right. And Jensen pulled it off brilliantly. And he didn't have another actor to react off of in most of those scenes. I can't say enough about Jensen.

    I thought all the actors did a great job. I've read some not so good reviews about Jared's performance in other reviews, but I thought he did a good job. I loved the Lucifer/Dean confrontation at the end. And I always enjoy Kurt Fuller as Zach, and I think Kurt and Jensen are wonderful in their scenes together.

    Future Cas was a hoot! But, like Dean, I much prefer present Cas. Thanks for the review!

  10. I agree that Jared and Jensen were awesome this episode. But I disagree with you, I think Misha was incredible as Future Cas! I felt really sorry for him. Great work from Chuck and Zachariah too!

  11. Strangeworld I don't consider myself a fan of either of the actors and don't hold one over the other talent wise. I am a viewer and supporter of the show with an opinion on what I saw. But I do admit to being a more of a 'Deangirl' as far as the characters go. For me in this episode, Jared had the harder task. For other's he didn't. That's the beauty of having different perspectives. Thanks for sharing yours:)

  12. I think Jensen's acting here was excellent. Having to speak to himself had to be very difficult, to be two different versions of himself in two different times. I loved it when he convinced 2014Dean that he was 2009Dean by relating the pink panties story and how they "both" had enjoyed the feel of them! That was a riot.

    I give major kudos to Misha Collins, too. Even though the "generally high" former angel seemed to have found a way to enjoy himself, he was haunted by the loss of his powers, his angel compadres and the world he used to know. Misha played him with a playful exterior and a depressed interior that only a skilled actor can pull off. Brilliant!

    I thought Jared performed flawlessly in this episode as both Sam and the cruel, chilling Lucifer and was very proud of him. I've watched him from the beginning of GILMORE GIRLS and have to say he's come a long way. I'm so proud of him, I could burst! I wanted to cry when Sam begged Dean to let them return to hunting and saw the misery on Sam's face when Dean refused. I cried along with Dean 2009 when Samifer assured him they would meet again, that Sam would say yes and his death was inevitable. And frankly, I felt terror in my chest when Dean and Sam came back together at the end of the show because something seemed very amiss with Sam, almost as if he'd already said yes to Lucifer and Dean was too late.

    Standing ovation from me for everyone, and that includes Chuck and his warning to horde toilet paper !! I have already started!

    Love, Robin

  13. Great review. Thank you.
    It was a great episode overall. I am not a massive Castiel fan, but I was glad to see angel Castiel back before the episode was over.
    Jensen did a great job with the two very different Deans, but the scene I have almost had on repeat since last Thursday is Jared's scene as Lucifer. He was incredible and chilling and I cannot wait to see where this guy goes in the future, what a talent!

  14. I didnt see the episode, so i cant judge jareds performance, but…for god sake… jensens acting? Liers! Yes he cries like a baby, but that´s all, his overall portrayal of dean is FAKE.

    One example, the most annoying one: Dean´s embarrasing "batman voice". Who does he think he is? Someone should tell Jensen that dean is not maximus, dean is not aquiles, dean is not alexander the great, and certainly dean is not moises handling the ten commandments.

    1. I love the gravelly voice of Dean. He can talk to me all day if he wants to.

    2. Acting is subjective. For example I think Jensen is a really good actor and Jared makes me lol with his ridiculous facial expressions but each to their own.

      1. I agree. I find Jared to be a remarkable actor who has come a long way since House of Wax and Gilmore Girls. His performances amaze me because I have watched him basically grow up onscreen. I never heard of Jensen until this show and, like I said before, he is a fine young actor too. He also has ridiculous facial expressions (the squinting especially), but still….this is a great show and the guys are good guys. I thoroughly enjoy watching them each week!

  15. Jensen was AMAZING. As usual, he's able to create something that fits precisely what the character should be doing… so distinct, yet very recognizable. Dean may be established, but he was established BY Jensen. Jared's task, to essentially just copy what the previous Lucifer actors had done (ie, there was nothing new or changed about who Lucifer was at this point… he's a static character), seems much easier to me.

    I know it's in vogue to pretend like Jensen is less remarkable than he is, MR Reed, but come on. 😛 You know if Jensen had just been copying another actor's performance, and Jared had had to devise Sam that was both wildly changed and heartbreakingly familiar, based on new circumstances, you'd be raving about how Jared had the difficult job.

    1. I don't pretend anything. I know that Jensen is remarkable and amazing as an actor. I am absolutely in awe of Jensen's work in this episode and think he took on a monumental task of playing two different versions of his character and did it flawlessly.

      I am wondering about what part of I think Jensen does work that puts some A-List actors to shame sounded like I thought he was less than remarkable LOL. I think Jensen is freaking amazing as an actor. Jared too!

      I just happen to think Jared did amazing work too.

  16. I respect your opinion and glad both actors have recieved due praise but I do disagree about Jared having the hardest task. Jared didn't invent a new character, he was imitating Mark Pellegrino's portrayal of Lucifer and he did a great job but Jensen definately had the hardest task. He was essentially playing two different characters; post-apocalyptic Dean and present Dean and had to act opposite a brickwall (no offence to his stunt guy) and keep both characters consistently different for a good 30 minutes. He carried the episode and I don't think Jensen's given enough credit for just how hard that is to achieve not to mention the amount of hours and takes.

    1. "I don't think Jensen's given enough credit for just how hard that is to achieve"

      You're kidding, right? Do you read reviews and blogs and forums such as TWoP? People all but build a shrine to the man. He is a very, very good young actor, though. I see bright things in his future!

  17. Jensen makes it look easy but doesn't mean it is. Jared's performance felt too 'studied' for my liking.

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