Two nights ago, February 7, 2019, Supernatural’s 300th episode aired. And the fandom wept. We’d all seen the promo photos, where Sam and Dean Winchester are sitting at a dining room table with their mother, Mary, and their father, John. We all knew Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays the elder Winchester, John, would be appearing in the show’s monumental 300th episode.
We all knew.
But we didn’t know.
And yet, we knew.
We knew the writing team wouldn’t pull any punches. They never do. In the 299th episode from last week, we saw Jared Padalecki, as Sam Winchester, give the performance of his life. And yet somehow, the very next week he tops it.
Now, I can’t really talk about the impact of this without giving some spoilers, so read on at your own peril. You have been warned.
Last week, Sam confronted Dean in a heart wrenching scene where he tells his brother that he’s not allowed to give up. Two lines really stood out. The first, is Sam telling Dean “But if you quit on us today, there won’t be a tomorrow!” This hits home with a lot of the SPN fans. Not only because this is probably Jared’s best acting to date, but because this statement rings true in Jared’s off-screen endeavors. This is something that Jared’s “Always Keep Fighting” campaign would express. That suicide is never the answer. I think that made this scene, this line in particular, powerful; beyond measure.
In the other moment, we see Sam yelling at his brother, “We’re the guys that save the world, and you don’t get to check out of it…Why don’t you believe in us? I believe in us.” And then he decks his brother square in the jaw.
Dean’s reaction? He hugs his younger brother in bear hug and says, “Let’s go home.”
Everyone in the fandom has been talking about this scene.
But tonight? Jared topped that performance.
In the episode, “Lebanon,” Same and Dean find something that might just help them get rid of Michael who is literally compartmentalized in Dean’s head. They find this supernatural pearl, wherein the holder gets to have their heart’s desire. We all assume, just like Dean does, that no desire could be stronger than to get Michael out of his head .
Dean holds the pearl in his hand and concentrates. The lights in the bunker go out and turn to emergency red. A tall, dark figure knocks out one Winchester brother and then the next. Finally, the figure points a rifle at Dean and tell him not to move a muscle.
Everyone in the fandom recognized the gritty voice of Jeffrey Dean Morgan. John Winchester is BACK, ladies and gentlemen.
You could hear the fandom in a collective cheer that John was back! He sees his kids and the tears well up. Dean asks his dad what year it is. John answers 2003. John has skipped from 2003 to 2019.
Enter Mary Winchester. She sees her husband and the shock, awe, and love on their faces made out collective hearts melt. The last time John saw Mary she was pinned to the ceiling of Baby Sam’s bedroom bleeding and on fire, thanks to the yellow-eyed demon, Azazel.
Suddenly, she’s in front of him in the flesh. This is merely the beginning of the feels this episode throws at us.
Fast forward a few moments and we see John and Sam having the heart to heart we always wished they would. Fans of the show know that Sam and John butted heads so often it drove Sam off to Stanford and in to a collegiate life. This is where the series started – with John on a hunting trip and he hadn’t been back for a few days.
John, looking older and more weathered, tells Sam that he knows he screwed up raising Sam. Sam, who has had about 10 years now without his dad, has dealt with this. He’s gone through all his emotions – anger, regret, some more anger – before finally realizing that he is exactly where is supposed to be. Sam is exactly where he WANTS to be. Saving people, hunting things right along side his big brother.
Sam and Dean both had a shot at a “normal” life – a wife and kids and a home. But it didn’t work. Not for either of them. Evil was always there. Evil is still always there. And they’re the guys who save the world.
Sam tells his dad that he’s past all of that. That his ONLY regret was not being able to say goodbye to his dad when he traded his life for Dean’s and made a deal with Azazel.
But that’s not where the tears end. While the boys are in town to get supplies for their mom to make her famous casserole, we find out that bringing John back with this magical pearl has altered time in a big way. Now the boys must tell their parents that dad must leave. Dean tells John. Sam tells Mary. Mary is so not okay with John leaving. John completely understands.
They sit down to the only family meal they’ve ever had. Sam was far too young to sit at the table the last time his parents were together. You will never see four more maudlin faces around the dinner table. John, in his epic head of the family way, says that they have two options: mope about what’s to come, or give this special moment the joy it deserves. All agree that option two is best and have a family dinner with stories and laughter.
And then of course, they have to say goodbye. And there are more tears. More tears for the Winchesters, and more tears for the fans.
Finally, Sam smashes the pearl and we see John Winchester disappear.
The last scene? We see John back in 2003 talking to Dean on the phone and telling his son he had a really weird but wonderful dream.