After 13 episodes, we’ve finally made it to The Winchesters season 1 finale. As the first realized spin-off of Supernatural, which ran for 15 seasons, The Winchesters had some big shoes to fill, with the shadow of its predecessor looming over it. Jensen Ackles and his wife Dannell are the driving force behind this new look of the Winchester dynasty. Together they wanted to tell the story of John and Mary’s budding romance and relationship.
This relationship was integral to the original series, with Mary’s death and John’s grief starting off the entire journey of Dean and Sam. It’s a story worth exploring, though also has to be handled with care. The Winchesters season 1 has some definite highs and lows, although does the season finale stick the landing? Or is it a dark mark on the legacy Supernatural has left behind? Let’s explore what the episode has in store.
[Warning: Spoilers from The Winchesters season 1 finale are below]
A flashback and a big surprise for The Winchesters
“Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” begins with a jump back to John’s (Drake Rodgers) story before the beginning of The Winchesters. Wearing his army dress uniform, he’s in Detroit Michigan 1972, having just buried his friend. Looking lost in a bus station, someone walks up to him, delivering a letter from his father. The letter gives John a new purpose and sets him off to Lawrence Kansas.
The mysterious individual is unknown to John, however, those fans of Supernatural easily recognized the face of Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles). If his appearance in 1972 wasn’t confusing enough, his conversation with Bobby (Jim Beaver) about not interfering definitely was. Annoyed, Bobby turns away saying he’ll gather reinforcements, which is assumed to be for the upcoming battle with the Akrida. You know, the entire battle this season of The Winchesters has been building too.
Killing a queen
At the end of the penultimate episode, John, Mary (Meg Donnelly), and the rest of their monster-hunting crew finally get some answers about the Akrida. Rowena (Ruth Connell) informs Ada (Demetria McKinney) that the queen is preparing to open a portal, though needs a planetary alignment to do so. No big deal, except that the alignment has already begun, shrinking the window of opportunity for the group.
The finale picks up where the last one left off, with the group looking for a way to stop the queen. Their plan A is to find the mystery man from the photo which has been passed around for many episodes. Again, this man is Dean with Baby, though none of the characters would know this. The backup plan comes in the form of a crystal, given to Ada by Rowena. The crystal will kill the queen but requires a bit of Ada’s soul to do so. The group agrees this should only be done as a last resort.
John, Mary, and Samuel (Tom Welling), Mary’s father, meet up with a strange blonde lady. This individual informs the trio that she was able to open the portal slightly, disposing of Dean and his car. She has Dean’s journal, which we’ve seen him writing in during the opening episode. She also reveals herself to be the Akrida Queen. She offers them a deal, join her or die.
The final battle for The Winchesters season 1
The Queen and her disciples take over the Men of Letters hideout, with Latika (Nida Khurshid) trapped inside. John and Mary, along with Ada and Carlos (Jojo Fleites) now have two tasks. Save Latika and find a way to stop the queen. Discovering that the Akrida are not of this Earth, nor is Dean, the group devises a way to bring Dean back from the portal.
Arriving back at the headquarters, they find a controlled Latika tasked with the job of achieving compliance from the group. Ada uses the crystal, which sucks a piece of Ada’s soul from her body, releasing Latika from the spell. It’s time to move on to the second phase of their plan, which involves the group splitting up.
Carlos, John, and Samuel take the fight to the Akrida Queen, with an excellently choreographed battle scene. I’m talking swords, punching, sweating, the whole enchilada. John personally takes on the queen, as the other two battle the rest of the queen’s supporters. It isn’t terribly long before the trio appears beaten, although help is right down the road and heading quickly toward them.
While they are doing that, the girls use magic and Dean’s journal to return him to their world. However, the spell only partially works, bringing Baby back without Dean. They jump in the car and drive to the scene of the Akrida fight. Mary, recognizing that the boys are losing, instructs the others to get out of the car. She puts the pedal to the medal, driving it into the queen, sending both of them and the Impala through a portal.
The return of Dean Winchester
For a single second, those present think Mary is gone. Then with a brilliant electrical flash, another portal opens and the Impala drives back through. This time, Mary isn’t alone, with Dean sitting behind the wheel of Baby on its return voyage.
Dean finally explains what’s going on, indicating that he’s dead, meaning that his part of the journey takes place after the finale of Supernatural. He states that upon reaching heaven, he found Baby and traveled through the multiverse, searching for a reality where his family had the potential to be happy.
He goes on to explain that the Akrida are the last creation of Chuck a.k.a. God. Their mission is to destroy everything in every universe if he (Chuck) failed his mission, which he did in the original series. Dean intervened to stop the Akrida from getting to his Earth and destroying his friends and family still alive.
Now that the Akrida are gone, Mary, John, and the rest of the gang can make their own destiny. Whatever choices they want to make they can. Everyone settles into a new life, with John and Mary setting off in a baby blue Chevy Impala in search of their next adventure.
The good and the bad of the CW’s The Winchesters season 1
As someone who has watched a lot of Supernatural, The Winchesters is a mixed bag for me. There are some episodes that I loved a lot and a few that left me wondering why I was watching. Somewhere in the middle of the season, I almost gave up. But I’m glad that I didn’t, because the finale is worth the struggle.
Don’t get me wrong, this season is far from spectacular, it’s good at most. However, the finale was the shining star on top, making the journey to it worth it. It was in the finale that it felt like The Winchesters finally found its footing.
Part of this was that the show finally stepped out from under Supernatural’s shadow. By explaining the supernatural multiverse, therefore not dictated by what happened in the original series, it can now be whatever it wants to be. Mary and John aren’t destined for anything. Now the show, if it continues, can pivot in any way it desires.
To me, this allows the potential for greatness. One of the biggest issues I had with the season was that the stakes meant nothing. John can’t die, he’s in Supernatural. Mary has to live, she dies in the first episode of the original series. The Winchesters couldn’t have any shock value, because the outcome was known. Now that no longer exists. Anything is possible, therefore I feel more invested in it.
While The Winchesters season one was rough for me, I do think that stars Drake Rodger and Meg Donnelly deserve tons of praise. Their depictions of John and Mary respectively were some of the best parts of this series. The chemistry that the two have together was electrifying. It was the main reason I tuned in every week.
Of the two, the writers seemed more consistent with John’s characterization than Mary. It seemed at times that they were unsure of who they wanted Mary to be, with her personality all over the map. That being said, as the series progressed, there was a stabilization of Mary, which I attest to Donnelly and her depth of acting.
The Winchesters is divisive, to say the least. Some will love it and others will dislike it. I definitely found myself volleying between the two extremes. That being said, the finale quashed plenty of my worries and complaints about the series. It was a highlight of the series, with a promise for better days ahead, if it gets a second season. Which I now sincerely hope it does.
The Winchesters is streaming on The CW. Have you watched the finale? What are your thoughts? Let us know on Twitter or in The Cosmic Circus Discord. And if you haven’t already, check out our nifty viewing guide to John and Mary’s story in Supernatural!