Sam, Dean, and Castiel are helping Jack into a room in the Bunker. The power from Adam's Rib, which was meant to be used to kill Chuck, is killing him. Billie appears and tells them that she can not stop the process of what Jack is going through. She makes Jack disappear from his chair, where Jack finds himself in the Empty, in front of the Cosmic Entity, who is seated in front of him in the form of Meg. She asks him how he got there -- Jack can only apologize before he explodes.
Billie tells them that the Empty is the one place that could absorb the impact, and hints that Jack may have survived. She tells them that the Cosmic Entity is not as powerful as Chuck, and if it survives, it will be angry at her. However, it can't reach her on Earth, unless summoned. She tells them that she will not bring Jack back till Sam gives her God's book that he took from her library. Sam brings the book to Billie, drops it on the table and walks away. She reads it and smiles at what she reads for the ending, which has changed.
In the Empty, Jack is alive. The Cosmic Entity reappears, and is enraged, telling him he "made it loud." It attacks Jack, but he is transported back to the Bunker. Cas, Sam, and Dean go to comfort Jack, but Death intervenes. Dean goes after her with her scythe and cuts her. She throws him against the wall and disappears. They all go to Jack, while Sam picks up God's book, which is sealed shut.
Later, late at night, Dean is at a table in the library drinking whiskey. Sam comes in. They both can't sleep. Dean apologizes for pulling a gun on him, explaining that his desire to kill Chuck had made him unable to see what he was doing. He noted that they have no one of power to help them. Amara is gone and Michael is not answering their prayers. In her library, one of Death's helpers tells her that he did the warding she asked for to keep out the Empty.
At the home of Charlie she is cleaning her weapons on the kitchen table while Stevie makes eggs. As they are making plans for a date/hunt Stevie disappears. Charlie calls Sam and Dean who along with Jack and Castiel travel to see her. While Sam and Dean go to speak to her, Jack tells Castiel that he feels useless to help now he has no powers. Castiel tells Jack that they care for him, not because he is useful to them, but because of who he is. Jack admits he is scared, and Castiel shares that he is too.
Dean and Sam are telling Charlie of Death's plan and speculating that she has sent Stevie back to Apocalypse World as she wants to out everything back in order. Sam receives a call from Bobby, who was on a case with one of the Apocalypse World hunters who disappeared. Sam says he thinks anyone who should have died or has been resurrected will be on Billie's list. He realizes that Eileen might be next.
In the Impala Sam is texting Eileen when she suddenly stops replying. When they reach her car they find her bag and her phone on the ground. Sam struggles to hold back his grief, and decides they should get everyone being targeted and take them to a safe warded place. Dean wants to end it with Billie -- she left her scythe, and he thinks he can kill her with that. Castiel agrees to go with him.
Sam speaks to Donna, who has found a suitable place to take refuge. When they stop for gas, Sam can see how distraught Jack is, so he offers to let him drive. At an abandoned silo, Sam and Jack meet up with Donna, Bobby, Charlie, and other Apocalypse World hunters and their children. They ward the silo by painting sigils all over the inside. As Jack reaches down to patch a crack in the wall, his hand passes near a small plant, which instantly withers. Sam does one of Rowena's spells to strengthen the warding, and Bobby tells Sam that the hunters will look to him for leadership.
At the Bunker, Dean gets the door to Death's library from Castiel, with the intention of trying to destroy it in order to get Death's attention. Death is in the library, but she senses their presence and magically slams Dean against a wall. She reminds Cas how he stabbed her in her back with his angel blade and attacks him. Dean pins her against the wall with her scythe, and asks her to stop killing his people. She tells him it isn't her, asserting that it must be Chuck. Billie tells Dean that the wound he gave her earlier is fatal. One thing she wishes before she dies is to see Dean dead. She disarms him and takes back her scythe. Both Dean and Castiel are thrown back, and they run for the door back to the Bunker.
At the silo, a little girl on a cot disappears, and then one by one so do all the other hunters, including Bobby and Donna. Jack looks around and sees no one but him and Sam left in the room.
Billie pursues Dean and Castiel into the Bunker. She clasps her hand into a fist, and Dean feels pain as if his heart is being crushed. Cas helps him out of the room, through the corridors. Death follows, taunting them. They take refuge in a storage room. Castiel cuts his hand and uses the blood to draw a warding sigil on the door, which will briefly block Death's power, however, Bille keeps banging on the door, and each time she does, weakens the ward.
Dean is upset and says he led them into a trap, because he couldn't kill Chuck. He says he knows everyone will die and it is his fault. Castiel points out that one thing can hurt her -- the Cosmic Entity from the Empty. He tells Dean about the deal he made with the Cosmic Entity in exchange for Jack -- that his life would be forfeit when he felt one moment of true happiness. He says he wondered what that moment could be, because he knew he couldn't have the one thing he really wanted. He tells Dean he knows Dean sees himself as his enemies do -- driven by hate and anger. But Cas knows Dean always acts out of love and selflessness. Those around Dean know and see this in him. He tells Dean he is the most loving and selfless person he ever knew. He says that knowing Dean has changed him and made him care about him, Sam and Jack and about the whole world because of him. Dean asks why this sounds like a goodbye. Castiel tells him it is and that he loves him. As he speaks the words, a portal opens, and the black goo of the Empty comes into the room. At that moment Death also bursts into the room. As the Empty enters, Castiel pushes Dean aside as the Empty takes both Death and Castiel, who greets his death with a smile.
As Jack and Sam leave the silo, Sam tries to call Dean, but gets no answer as Jack asks if it was just them left. At the Bunker Dean sees Sam's name on his phone, but doesn't answer it. He puts his face in his hands and cries.
I think you've done enough. We were so close.
Dean: Chuck saw it coming, all of it, your whole plan!
Sam: It was doomed...
Because of you. It was doomed because of you.
Hey, kid. How'd you get in here? You're not looking so hot.
Jack: I'm sorry.
You said this was a suicide mission.
Billie: No, I said taking out Chuck and Amara would be fatal.
Castiel: It's a chain reaction.
Mmmhmm. The Empty? It's... different. Not as strong as Chuck or Amara, but... vast. But if Jack survives and if the Empty survives? It's gonna be pissed.
You were always gonna betray us. Once you defeated God, you were gonna take power. And that means everyone who got a free pass or a second chance, everyone who was resurrected or came from another world, you were gonna kill them all. Dean and me too. That's the order you want restored, that's always been your endgame!
Billie: You got me.
You lied to everyone. Even the Empty, you promised it peace and quiet but you never meant it.
I feel... strange. I don't know if that's because of what happened to me, if it means something, or if I just feel strange because... it's over. The plan. My destiny. I was ready to die and, I wanted to, for Sam, for Dean, for the world. I wanted to make things right, and now... I don't know why I'm even here.
Castiel: Jack. You never needed absolution from Sam, or Dean, or from me. We don't care about you because you're useful or you fit into some grand design. We care about you because you're you.
Jack: God, the Empty, Billie, everyone's so mad at us and I don't have my powers. There's nothing I can do to protect us. I'm scared, Cas.
I know. Me too.
I started this. I'm gonna end it.
Your plan? Getting everybody safe? That's good, okay, but it won't last forever. Now, we couldn't make Chuck pay, but Billie? She left her blade. Her I can kill.
Dean: Let's go, Cas. Let's go reap a Reaper.
They get it, Sam. Now whether you like it or not, you're the big man here. Told 'em getting here was the order from the boss and they came running. No hesitation. My only worry is the lav situation. Didn't have time to truck in the Port-a-John.
Sam: Yeah, well if Dean and Cas can pull this off, we shouldn't be here too long.
Okay. I brought a bucket. You think it'll work?
So, I guess this the part where I say "hello, boys." Hello, boys. What's the plan? Take me down with my own weapon?
Castiel: Something like that.
Billie: Well, he better work on his aim.
Dean: Thing is, that time, I wasn't trying to kill you.
Billie: Hmm. What's changed?
Dean: Oh, I don't know. Could be that you've started killing all my friends.
It's over. Call it off! Stop killing my people.
Billie: I didn't hurt your friends.
Billie: You're in the wrong place, Dean.
What are you talking about?
Billie: I'll let you in on something. When you cut me, that little nick? It was fatal, something I can't survive. See for yourself. You killed me, Dean. So yeah, no, I don't care about your friends. I don't care about your family. But seeing you here has reminded me of something. There is one thing I'd like. One wish before I go. I'd like to see you dead. I'm so glad you came.
It's you, Dean. It's always been you. Death-defying, rule-breaking. You are everything I lived to set right. To put down. To tame. You are human disorder incarnate.
Castiel: I've got you.
Come on, Dean. You can't escape me. Don't you think it's finally time? Time for the sweet release of Death?
I just led us into another trap. All because I -- I couldn't hurt Chuck. Because I was angry and because I just needed something to kill and because that's all I know how to do.
It was Chuck all along. We never should've left Sam and Jack. We should be there with them now. Everybody's gonna die, Cas, everybody. I can't stop it.
I know. I know how you see yourself, Dean. You see yourself the same way our enemies see you. You're destructive and you're angry and you're broken. You're -- You're "Daddy's Blunt Instrument." And you think that hate and anger that's -- that's what drives you. That's who you are. It's not. And everyone who knows you sees it. Everything you have ever done, the good and the bad you have done for love. You raised your little brother for love. You fought for this whole world for love. That is who you are. You're the most caring man on Earth. You are the most selfless, loving human being I will ever know. You know, ever since we met, ever since I pulled you out of Hell, knowing you has changed me. Because you cared, I cared. I cared about you. I cared about Sam. I cared about Jack. I cared about the whole world because of you. You changed me, Dean.
Dean: Why does this sound like a goodbye?
Castiel: Because it is. I love you.
Dean: Don't do this, Cas. Cas.
Jack: Sam? Was it just them?
Sam: I don't know.
Trivia & References
We can briefly see that Chuck's Death Book
has Alpha and Omega symbols on the cover. In the Book of Revelation (1:8)
God is described as:
- "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, sayeth the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."
Originally titled "Despair" which then changed to "The Truth" and then back to "Despair."
Billie confirms that the Cosmic Entity
was telling the truth about her plan to become the entity ruling the universe. She also reveals that she only said that Jack killing Chuck and Amara would be fatal, not that it would kill him, which Castiel realizes is because it would've set off a chain reaction.
Jack survives his detonation but is left completely powerless. However, after reading Chuck's Death Book
, Billie indicates that he still has a role to play in Chuck's ultimate defeat.
The Cosmic Entity
states that Jack "made it loud" when he detonated in the Empty
, suggesting that something terrible happened. Previously, the Entity had stated that it was silent because all of the angels and demons were sleeping.
I need you to drive.
Jack: I... I only drove once.
- In 14.07 Unhuman Nature, Dean taught Jack how to drive when he was dying for the first time.
Castiel. Remember when you stabbed me in the back? 'Cause I do.
- Billie is referencing her first death in 12.09 First Blood.
After this episode aired, Lisa Berry
shared a behind the scene set of pictures
on her Twitter, revealing that she was (visibly!) pregnant during the filming of this episode, with "a little baby reaper on the way." While the crew tried to block the scene as best they could to hide the pregnancy, there are multiple shots of a visibly pregnant Billie throughout the episode.
Charlie's building is named "Kim Manor" (it is seen etched on the front doors), a tribute to the late EP and director Kim Manners
's speech he gave while dying in 12.12 Stuck in the Middle (With You)
, he also spoke about how being with the Winchesters changed him and how he loves them, before he prepared to sacrifice himself for their safety.
When Castiel says that Dean sees himself as "Daddy's blunt instrument", it is a quote of the words Dean says to himself when he visited his own subconscious in 3.10 Dream a Little Dream of Me
- "Dad knew who you really were. A good soldier and nothing else. Daddy's blunt little instrument."
Castiel's end speech also bears some similarity to the confrontation between him and Dean in 4.22 Lucifer Rising
, where Castiel tells Dean all he sees inside him is his "guilt, anger, and confusion."
Before Castiel dies, he leaves a bloody handprint on Dean's shoulder, mirroring the burned handprint
he left on Dean when he pulled him out of Hell in 4.01 Lazarus Rising
. Misha Collins revealed at Darklight Online Con 2020
that the handprint was not scripted, but rather an idea that he, Jensen, and Richard Speight, Jr. workshopped on the day of filming. He stated that "for some reason," the scene needed to be moved into another room of the Bunker, and they then needed to figure out how to get warding inside that room. After they decided that Castiel would use his own blood for the warding, the idea of the bloody handprint emerged. Moira Fentum provided pictures
of the jacket with the handprint on her Instagram with the caption:
- "Before shooting the reveal, Jensen pulled up an image of the Season 4 scar. I painted Misha's hand to match using fake blood [...]. He placed his hand on Jensen's arm, and then I touched up the impression to make it match the scar."
As Castiel is taken by the Empty, the black tendrils briefly bear a visual symmetry to Castiel first unfurling his wings
in 4.01 Lazarus Rising
Following Castiel telling Dean "I love you," #Destiel
and #DestielisCanon trended on Twitter. At the same time The Daily Mail and The NY Post published an unconfirmed story that Vladimir Putin was going to step down and #Putin started trending. Somehow the algorithm linked these two events
on the list of trending topics, leading to many people confused about the connection!
After the episode, Misha tweeted
- "#Supernatural Tonight, watching Cas talk to Dean, I got lost in the story and forgot for a moment that I'm the one who plays that angel and I thought, 'He's how I want to be. He's openhearted and he's selfless and he's true.' "
Seven members of the SPN cast attended Darklight Online Con 2020
the weekend after this episode aired, including Misha Collins, who discussed the confession scene (and its controversy amongst fans
) while explaining to the other cast members who may not have seen the episode yet:
- "Castiel tells Dean he loves him and basically makes Destiel canon. So Castiel makes this homosexual declaration of love which is, you know, amazing that that happens, and then he dies right afterwards, which plays into a timeless Hollywood trope of 'kill the gays,' which also then pisses off- Like we give, and then we take away."
Misha later walked back this remark at a creation event after 15.20 Carry On aired, saying:
- "I've seen some people complaining about this is playing into the "bury the gays trope" which is an insidious and real trope in film and television, and I don't think that that is what's happening, and I don't think that's what happened with Castiel's ending. First of all he's not dead, he's in Heaven and working to rebuild that Heaven. But also so much good came from that declaration. Because Cas was able to save Dean, by the transitive property, that was essential for saving the world. That declaration ended up literally saving the world. And also it was of Cas' own volition, he wasn't forced to do it, that was his choice and I think that's important too. Maybe I'm naïve but I don't think we're playing into that trope and I'm glad Castiel got to express that. I think that's kind of important. I'm proud that the show did that, frankly."
Misha also went on to add that, while he did not wish to speak for Jensen or the character of Dean, he chose to play the scene as if Dean did not share the same feelings. Jensen would later state at a virtual meet and greet that he did not wish to "over-define" the scene, saying that he was not sure that Castiel as an angel could feel love in the same way as a human, believing the "I love you" could have a multitude of meanings, including "brother in arms."
Misha also said that he knew the confession was coming for more than a year, that Jensen knew about it three months prior to filming the episode, and that Jensen had agreed to it. Richard Speight, Jr., the director of this episode, said that he, Misha, Jensen, and other crew filmed the confession scene last because of the weight of it. After filming finished Misha, Jensen, Richard and Alex Calvert had boarded a chartered plane to head to Salute to Supernatural Las Vegas 2020
. Ten minutes into the flight, one of its engines explode, and they had to turn back to Vancouver. For a few moments they were all afraid they might crash, so it all made for a very emotional night. Misha also told this story, and how he felt filming that last scene, in a CW spot posted to Twitter
In the Latin American dub
of this episode, Castiel uses the specifically romantic version of "I love you," -- "Te amo." Fans were shocked to hear Dean respond, "Yo a ti, Cas," which is the romantic version of "Me too, Cas" though the English subtitles remained, "Don't do this, Cas." The episode is also titled "La Verdad" (The Truth), not "Despair." In the fan uproar to this revelation, Tumblr was overloaded and briefly went down while #TheySilencedYou trended #1 on Twitter in the U.S. as fans encouraged each other to boycott The CW for presumed censorship of the English version of the show, while "YO A TI CAS" and "DEANCAS" trended internationally.
Misha Collins went on to post video to his twitter to put the record straight that there was never any planned, scripted, or filmed reciprocation from Dean in this episode. In subsequent tweets, Misha apologized "about how tone-deaf my video is" and responded directly to comments from LGBTQ+ fans who felt unheard. Fans continued to propose various conspiracy theories that either the line was in an earlier version of the script, that it was in the filmed version of the script but edited out (based on the fact that Jensen had said he recorded the whole scene on his phone and a lot was cut out), or even that it was added later in ADR and then edited out (as Jensen had said he'd done ADR for this scene). An anonymous crew member posted photos of the script confirming it read "Dean can't reciprocate." Other sources confirmed that there was never any scripted response from Dean, although Jensen ad-libbed "Don't do this" and "What are you talking about, man?" during filming.
In a December 2020 interview, Dean's Latin American voice actor, Guillermo Rojas, confirmed that the reciprocation was not scripted or spoken in the original English version, but it was scripted as "me too (platonic) in the Spanish script, and changed to be romantic by the dub director. Rojas said (translated from Spanish): "The adaptation came entirely from my director, Adrian Fogarty. He adapted it and gave us our acting guidelines, and I performed accordingly. I gave what he asked of me. We all loved it."
In an interview for WonderCon@Home 2021, the LATAM voice actor for Castiel, Alejandro Mayen, stated when asked about Castiel's goodbye to Dean, that he believed that the "I love you" was fraternal, and didn't believe that the show was ever hinting at anything romantic between Dean and Castiel.
In September of 2021, Misha did a panel at Momento Con in which he answers fans's question of, "When do you think Castiel first realized his feelings for Dean?" Misha says, "I first started talking with Berens, the writer of that episode, more than a year before we shot it: about the substance and content of that last scene. So it was at least a year, when it was very much at the forefront of my mind. But I think interestingly, latently, that it was there for a long time. [...] I think that Cas, like myself, like the producers and writers of the show, like many of the fandom, were in denial. [...] So I think it was there but it was latent for a long time, and I think that that's also just fine. Cas was in denial, and so was everyone else." In answer to a similar question later in the panel, Misha goes on to say, of Dean's reaction: "I think Dean not rejecting [Castiel's confession] was also huge, and also profound, and also important. [...] Dean never reciprocated, and a lot of the other characters moved on in the last episodes, but I think the fact that... I think Dean showed love in his eyes. And I think the fact that he didn't say, "Fuck off," given the character of that show, was actually really profound. At least it was to me. [...] I was so grateful that we were able to go as far as we did, and I was grateful that Cas was able to express himself like that."
See the Destiel
entry for more details.
In the August 2021, when the episode aired in Italy, the Italian dub of this episode had Castiel uses the phrase "Ti voglio bene" which is used for someone you are fond of, rather than "Ti amo" which is used for someone you are in a romantic/sexual lvoe with. Italian fans flooded social media, and Misa responded witha tweeted video
in which he said "Ciao Italia, ti amo" and the tweet "L'amore è amore in qualsiasi lingua. ❤️ (Love is love in any language.)".
Sides, Scripts & Transcripts