After years of playing sacrifice tag, it was only a matter of time before the Winchesters' co-dependency issues ended up triggering an apocalypse. Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) only had one job to do in the Season 10 finale of Supernatural: Don't unleash ultimate evil on the earth. Did they do their one job? Absolutely not. They failed so miserably that the episode ended with an unending darkness slowly engulfing them, the Impala and everything in its wake. Great job, boys.
All season long, Sam's unrelenting search for a way to remove the Mark of Cain from Dean's arm has been setting off warning bells. In the past, the brothers always put up a good fight to save each other, but they would ultimately accept their fate. Either Sam would go to Hell to save the world, or Dean would go to Hell to save Sam. It was a vicious cycle. This year, things were different.
After being plagued by so much world-saving and death, Sam got selfish. No matter what, he could not let Dean go, even when Dean was slowly becoming a remorseless killing machine. The greater good stopped mattering to the Winchesters and friends, and their only focus was on saving Dean.
Sam's determination led him to make a deal with Rowena, who sacrificed the one random person she loved to remove the mark from Dean and regain her freedom (she left Castiel in a blind rage and aimed him toward an immobilized Crowley for good measure). This was a terrible move. Sam's decision to focus solely on his brother and forget about any possible consequences put the brothers in their worst predicament yet, but it also inspired one of the show's best finales in years. For once, Supernatural finally asked us to consider the idea that Sam and Dean are not always heroes.
Here is the thing about "Brother's Keeper": It acknowledged the fact that the Winchesters have been focusing so intensely on each other that they have started to play with other people's lives. People have died trying to save Dean, including Charlie (and now Rudy). Dean claimed he was not willing to live with what he and Sam had done. He even summoned Death to feast on a homemade Mexican buffet in exchange for Death finally killing Dean. The best Death could offer was sending Dean to a place where no one would ever find him and having Dean kill Sam. In a shocking turn of events, Dean actually considered murdering Sam in cold blood, and yes it made my heart hurt, too.
Of course, Dean could not go through with it. Instead, he killed Death. He killed Death right after Death explained the mark was the only thing holding original evil at bay. The darkness is older than Earth itself, and the mark was the key to the door. Well, thanks to Rowena's spell, the key has been turned, the darkness is loose, and it is all the Winchesters' fault.
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Look, I love how much Sam and Dean love each other. The way they fight for each other is Supernatural's greatest strength, but there comes a time when tough decisions have to be made. Even though Sam loves Dean more than anyone else in the world and vice versa, they were wrong to choose each other over the entire world. When Death himself is telling you there is a force so evil and uncontrollable that God locked it away, then it is probably a good idea to listen to him. By choosing to ignore the consequences and save each other, they put all of humanity at risk. They live to fight another day, but will there be anything left worth fighting for?
Sam and Dean's co-dependency has reached such epic levels that they have become blind to the toxic nature of their relationship. It is hard to save the world when your world is just one person. Sam spent a long time trying to convince Dean they were both good people. Not perfect, but good. But are they really? They have saved a lot of lives, but Dean had a point when he said they attract evil. In that moment, as Sam tried to talk Dean back from the brink by vowing he would stop trying to save him, it was as if Sam and Dean were the only people in the world. Sadly for the world, they are not the only people who matter.
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Next season, the boys will have to deal with the fallout of their actions. With no one carrying the mark, the world is screwed. Evil is set to run rampant, and it could possibly trigger an apocalypse. There is also the small matter of Death being out of the picture now that Dean killed him. Who does that leave to reap the souls overtaken by the darkness? What happens when the world is infected with the most insidious and invasive evil imaginable, but even Death cannot offer relief? If Dean thought it was hard to live with himself while he was carrying the darkness inside of him, how will he possibly be able to live knowing he has placed his burden on the world?
Supernatural gave us an ending that emphasized the fallibility of Sam and Dean. After years of hunting, they have reached a point where maybe they deserve to be selfish. Unfortunately, they picked a bad moment to exercise their right to play God. The good news is their co-dependency left us with a game-changing cliffhanger. The only way to lock the darkness back up again may very well be to find someone else to carry the mark. The question is will the boys be willing to subject someone else to the suffering Dean endured?
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