You’d think with as many times as I’ve watched Dean die (what is it now, 105 times?) that it wouldn’t feel so devastating, so raw, so horribly unexpected. But no, this time – this time was different. So very different.
Dean died at the end of Season 3 and that was devastating enough, and yet, there wasn’t a question in my mind that he wouldn’t be back, somehow. Yes, damaged from the experience of going to hell, but back and mostly himself. Season 4 proved what a terrible ordeal it was. Little by little the revelations came of just how bad it truly was for him, how much it damaged him to his very soul, and how he fought tooth and nail to put it behind him.
All those other deaths over the seasons didn’t affect me nearly as much as that one. Mystery Spot was even funny, at the same time as being sad and horrible, right up to the end when Sam went off the deep end trying to avenge his brother. That’s the Supernatural way. Make us laugh and then rip our hearts out.
Dean going to Purgatory wasn’t a death. He was a living, breathing human being caught in hell adjacent, but there was never any doubt he’d come back from it. Show left us with that nugget of hope. We knew he was alive. He fought his way through, against terrible odds, and when he arrived finally in that forest in Maine, he came back Dean Winchester. A little more damaged. A little more angry than before but still Sam’s big brother right to the end of Season 8. He seemed more Dean than ever, doing what he always does, protecting Sam and the job, his life’s work – saving people, hunting things, the family business.
The roller coaster ride that was Season 9 ended last week. And true to form, Supernatural ramped up the tension and led us straight into the trap. I suspected all along that the Mark of Cain was an incredibly evil thing to take on, that something terrible would happen. All the signs were present. I fully expected that I would be terrified the whole episode and I certainly was, waiting, watching without breathing to find out how on earth they’d get out of this one. I didn’t expect what happened. At. All.
I didn’t expect Dean to die, and I mean really die. The fact, the horror that he really is gone didn’t hit completely until he opened his eyes … and they were black.
“The Mark is turning me into something I don’t want to be.”
That thing that opened its eyes, residing there in Dean’s body is not Dean Winchester.
Dean Winchester is no more. He’s a demon now. The cruelest of punishments. He’s become the very thing he’s spent his entire life trying to defeat. Faith has been beaten out of him. His soul is lost.
And now the struggle begins. The ultimate challenge set before Sam. Find his brother, find Dean’s soul and somehow save him.
Didn’t Death warn us: It’s about the souls.
Do you believe in miracles?
(screencaps provided by Supernatural Fans Online http://supernaturalfansonline.com/2014/05/23/supernatural-9-23-season-finale-do-you-believe-in-miracles-screen-captures/)