5.04 The End

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Promotion Still for 5.04 The End.jpg
Title The End
Episode # Season 5, Episode 4
First aired October 1, 2009
Directed by Steve Boyum
Written by Ben Edlund
On IMDB The End
Outline Zachariah takes Dean five years into the future to show him the consequences of not helping the angels.
Monster Lucifer
Timeline August 4th - August 7th, 2014
Location(s) Kansas City, Missouri
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Dean enters a hotel, passing a man preaching outside the front door. Once in his room, Castiel calls to tell him that he believes the Colt may still be in the possession of the demons. Castiel gets Dean's location and plans to arrive immediately, but Dean says he needs rest and that Cas should get there the next morning. After going to bed, the phone rings again - this time, it is Sam. He wants to rejoin Dean, but Dean says that their enemies will find a way to exploit their relationship, that being together makes them weaker.

Dean wakes up in the hotel, which is trashed and decayed. Outside, Kansas City appears destroyed and deserted. He finds a little girl crying in the street who attacks him with a knife before he knocks her unconscious. He sees the word Croatoan spray painted on a wall just as a large number of Croatoan infected people begin to chase him through the streets of Kansas City. They corner him, but members of the U.S. National Guard arrive and begin killing the infected people.

Dean escapes into a nearby alley, hiding while watching the battle. Later that night, he emerges from his hiding place, seeing a warning sign that shows that the year is 2014. He hot wires a car and leaves the city. Zachariah manifests in the car with a newspaper and talks about how the Croatoan pandemic has spread as far as Australia. He tells Dean he wants him to see what the future will be like if he says no to being Michael's vessel. Zachariah says he will live in this reality for three days.

After Zachariah vanishes, Dean goes to Bobby's place. The house is torn apart, and he finds a wheelchair with bullet holes in it. Dean retrieves Bobby's journal and sees a picture of a group of people including Bobby and Castiel outside of a place called Camp Chitaqua. On arriving there, Dean sees a ruined Impala just before he is knocked unconscious.

Dean wakes up cuffed to a wall. Future Dean begins interrogating him. Dean explains that he is from the past and about how Zachariah sent him to this time. Future Dean doesn't believe him until Dean mentions how an old girlfriend made him try on her pink, satiny panties. Future Dean talks about how the demons plan to finish off the human race with the Croatoan virus.

Future Dean says that Sam, who he hadn't spoken to in five years, got into a showdown with Lucifer in Detroit and didn't make it out, then leaves on a mission. After picking a nail out of the wooden floor, Dean manages to free himself from his cuffs. He escapes and finds Future Chuck, who appears to be in charge of organizing supplies. Future Chuck begins asking about the mission Dean was supposed to be on, as a woman, Risa, confronts Dean demanding to know where he was last night. After she leaves, Dean asks Chuck where he can find Castiel.

Dean finds Castiel talking to a group of women, and telling them to prepare for an orgy. Cas instantly knows that Dean is from another point in time, and reveals that he no longer has his angelic powers. Future Dean returns with a group of men and as they disembark their jeep, Dean shoots one, proclaiming that he had been infected with the Croatoan virus.

Future Dean leads Dean back to his cabin, and they argue about methods of dealing with the Croatoan infected. Dean asks about the mission and Future Dean says it was to retrieve the Colt, which he has wrapped up in a jacket. Future Dean explains how the demons had been moving the Colt around and how after five years he located it.

He tells Dean that he plans to kill Lucifer later that day, and gathers Risa, Chuck and Castiel to meet up with him and his past self. Future Dean reveals they captured an important demon during the previous week, who revealed Lucifer's location. Castiel comments that the named place is filled with Croatoan infected and demons and about how dangerous the plan is. After the others have left, Dean begins asking his future self questions. Future Dean tells him that five years ago in Detroit, Sam agreed to be Lucifer's vessel. He pleads with Dean that when Zachariah sends him back, he must agree to be Michael's vessel.

Dean argues that if Michael possesses him and fights Lucifer, half of the planet will be destroyed. Future Dean retorts that half a planet is better than no planet. He says he wishes he'd consented to Michael when he had the chance, but by the time of the battle at Detroit, it was too late. As they drive to the mission, Future Castiel tells Dean that he misses being an angel and that he figures he might as well indulge in drugs and sex while he can.

The group searches the city for Lucifer and finally locates the building that they need to break into. Future Dean, Risa, and Future Castiel gather their weapons. Dean realizes Future Dean is planning on using his friends in a suicidal diversion, while he sneaks around the back, but when Dean confronts him, Future Dean knocks his past self unconscious.

Dean wakes up hearing gun fire and screams as Castiel, Risa, etc... are killed in a battle. As Dean runs toward them, he meets Lucifer, wearing Sam as his vessel with his foot on Future Dean's neck, which he casually breaks.

Lucifer says that killing Dean would be redundant and tells Dean his story of how he fell from grace. Lucifer says he loved God, but when humans were created, he refused to love humans more than God, which God had instructed. Dean insists that he will find a way to kill Lucifer and that he will not say 'Yes' to Michael and would never kill Sam. Lucifer begins to lecture him telling him he will inevitably end up at this point. Lucifer leaves and Zachariah takes Dean back to where he fell asleep in the motel room.

Zachariah tells Dean that he needs to say "yes" to Michael to prevent the death of billions, but Dean continues to refuse. Zachariah is upset and threatens Dean, but suddenly, Castiel uses his powers to transport Dean to Cas' location.

Dean calls Sam, and they meet up the next day. Dean apologizes for leaving Sam and states they need each other to hunt together, that they keep each other human. Dean says they need to create their own future.




  • "Do You Love Me" by The Contours
(plays when Dean watches the shooting)


Dean: Look, Sam—it doesn't matter—whatever we do. I mean, it turns out that you and me, we're the, uh, the fire and the oil of the Armageddon. You know, on that basis alone, we should just pick a hemisphere. Stay away from each other for good.

Sam: Dean, it does not have to be like this. We can fight it.
Dean: Yeah, you're right. We can. But not together. We're not stronger when we're together, Sam. I think we're weaker. Because whatever we have between us—love, family, whatever it is—they are always gonna use it against us. And you know that. Yeah, we're better off apart. We got a better chance of dodging Lucifer and Michael and this whole damn thing, if we just go our own ways.
Sam: Dean, don't do this.

Dean: Bye, Sam.
Future Dean: Okay. If you're me, then tell me something only I would know.

Dean: Rhonda Hurley. We were, uh, nineteen. She made us try on her panties. They were pink. And satiny. And you know what? We kind of liked it.

Future Dean: Touché. So, what, Zach zapped you up here to see how bad it gets?
Dean: Okay. All right. Fine. But you don't have to cuff me, man. Oh, come on. You don't trust yourself?

Future Dean: No. Absolutely not.

Dean: Dick.
Future Castiel: So, in this way. We're each a fragment of total perception—just, uh, one compartment in that dragonfly eye of group mind. Now, the key to this total, shared perception—it's, um, it's surprisingly physical. Oh. Excuse me, ladies. I think I need to confer with our fearless leader for a minute. Why not go get washed up for the orgy? You're all so beautiful.
Dean: What, are you stoned?

Future Castiel: Uh, generally, yeah.
Dean: What happened to you?

Future Castiel: Life.
Dean: Torture? Oh, so, we're—we're torturing again. No, that's—that's good. Classy.
Future Chuck: Some free advice? You ever get back there, you hoard toilet paper. You understand me? Hoard it. Hoard it like it's made of gold. 'Cause it is.

Dean: Thank you, Chuck.

Future Chuck: Oh, you'll thank me, all right. Mark my words.
Dean: So, you're human. Well, welcome to the club.
Future Castiel: Thanks. Except I used to belong to a much better club. And now I'm powerless. I'm hapless, I'm hopeless. I mean, why the hell not bury myself in women and decadence, right? It's the end, baby. That's what decadence is for. Why not bang a few gongs before the lights go out? But then that's, that's just how I roll.
Lucifer: You ever hear the story of how I fell from grace?

Dean: Oh, good God, you're not gonna tell me a bedtime story, are you? My stomach's almost out of bile.

Lucifer: You know why God cast me down? Because I loved him. More than anything. And then God created... You. The little... hairless apes. And then he asked all of us to bow down before you—to love you, more than him. And I said, 'Father, I can't.' I said, 'These human beings are flawed, murderous.' And for that, God had Michael cast me into Hell. Now, tell me, does the punishment fit the crime? Especially when I was right? Look at what six billion of you have done to this thing, and how many of you blame me for it.
Dean: Look, man, I'm sorry. I don't know. I'm...whatever I need to be. But I was, uh—wrong.

Sam: What made you change your mind?
Dean: Long story. The point is... maybe we are each other's Achilles heel. Maybe they'll find a way to use us against each other, I don't know. I just know we're all we've got. More than that. We keep each other human.
Sam: Thank you. Really. Thank you. I won't let you down.
Dean: Oh, I know it. I mean, you are the second-best hunter on the planet.
Sam: So, what do we do now?
Dean: We make our own future.

Sam: Guess we have no choice.

Trivia & References

The episode title might refer to The Doors Song "The End," which uses themes of the Apocalypse and a world gone mad ("all the children are insane"). The song also evokes the image of the Devil ("the snake is long, 7 miles, [...] and he's old, and his skin is cold"), and has an oedipal part, where a son goes to murder his sister, brother and finally father, to confront his mother, who he wishes to have sex with. Furthermore, the song was used in Francis Ford Coppola's iconic war movie, Apocalypse Now.
Dean: You know, it's kind of funny. Talking to a messenger of God on a cell phone. It's, you know, like watching a Hell's Angel ride a moped.
The Hells Angels are an infamous worldwide motorcycle club, and are considered an organized crime syndicate.
Dean: So, you're his vessel, huh? Lucifer's wearing you to the prom?

Sam: That's what he said.
Dean: Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in, huh, Sammy?

Michael Corleone says "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in", in The Godfather: Part III, when he tries to enter legitimate enterprises and leave the Mafia lifestyle, but is forced to retaliate after an attempt to kill him fails.
Dean: So, what, you're just gonna walk back in and we're gonna be the Dynamic Duo again?
The Dynamic Duo is the nickname for Batman and Robin.
The set for the 2014 apocalyptic future was actually a set from the movie Watchmen, which featured Supernatural alumnus Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Pics of the set in use during the movie here. Pics of the set during filming of Supernatural:
The cinema has a movie listed as Route 666. 1.13 Route 666 is the 13th episode in season one, as well as one of the Supernatural books that Chuck has written.
As Dean is walking through the deserted streets, "DOGS OF PEACE" can be seen graffitied on a wall. This may be a reference to the American Christian rock band of the same name. For more analysis on the graffiti, click here.
The infection by the Croatoan virus is reminiscent of the Danny Boyle movie 28 Days Later, about London, England having been overrun by virus-infected zombies.
Signs of the Apocalypse - Sarah Palin is president, as seen on the newspaper Zachariah is reading in the car when he first confronts Dean. Also, the state of disrepair of the Impala.
Dean: I thought I smelled your stink on this Back to the Future crap.
Back to the Future is a famous '80s movie 3-parter, in which Michael J. Fox travels to the past and later future in his DeLorean.
Zachariah: We've been making inspirational visits to the fringier Christian groups. They've been given your image, told to keep an eye out.

Dean: The Bible freak outside the motel. He, what, dropped a dime on me?
Zachariah: Onward, Christian soldiers.

Onward, Christian Soldiers is a hymn about the many followers of Christ marching together against enemies of Christ.
Dean: Whoa. You're just gonna leave me here?

Future Dean: Yes. I got a camp full of twitchy trauma survivors out there with an apocalypse hanging over their head. The last thing they need to see is a version of The Parent Trap. So, yeah, you stay locked down.

The Parent Trap is a movie about twins who are separated at birth.
Chuck: We're down to next to nothing on perishables and hygiene supplies. People are not gonna be happy about this. So, what do you think we should do?

Dean: I don't know. Maybe, uh, share? You know, like in a kibbutz?

A kibbutz is a collectivist, voluntary community based on egalitarian and communal principles in a social and economic framework.
Dean: Mmm. Don't get me wrong, Cas. I, uh. I'm happy that the stick is out of your ass, but—what's going on—w-with the drugs and the orgies and the love-guru crap?
The Love Guru was a 2008 comedy movie starring Mike Myers.
Dean: You're not fooling me, you know that? With this sympathy for the devil crap. I know what you are.
"Sympathy for the Devil" is the name of a song by the Rolling Stones. It was also the title of the season 5 premiere.
Dean: Oh, well, if it isn't the ghost of Christmas screw-you.
In Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future teach Scrooge humility.
Dean: Maybe we are each other's Achilles' heel.
To have an Achilles' heel is to have a vulnerability despite your overall strengths.


This episode filmed from August 6th - 18th, 2009.
Dean is staying in Century Hotel, room 113.
The newspaper Zachariah holds up is the Washington herald, Monday, August 4, 2014 edition. The headlines on the front page include:
  • Home-brew biodiesel: is it safe?
  • President Palin defends bombing of Houston: Texas to blame for seceding from the Union?
  • Canadian aid shipments to U.S. slowing
There was mixed opinion among fans as to whether the future shown here is "real" or merely constructed by Zachariah to persuade Dean to become Michael's vessel. Commentary on this episode on the Season 5 DVDs by Ben Edlund and Eric Kripke supports that this is an alternate universe model, rather than time travel.
At Salute to Supernatural Chicago 2009, Jensen talked about the challenges of playing two versions of Dean.
Future Dean was not wearing his amulet or his ring.
When Dean is confronting Future Dean about killing Yeager, you can see the Impala's CNK 80Q3 plates under a map on the wall.
An original copy of this script was put up for auction and purchased by a fan. While most of the script matches the aired episode, Future Castiel's "That's just how I roll" speech was changed significantly during production. The owner of the script later had that section signed by Misha Collins.

In the aired version Castiel says:

Except I used to belong to a much better club. And now I’m powerless. I’m hapless, I’m hopeless. I mean, why the hell not bury myself in women and decadence, right? It’s the end, baby. That’s what decadence is for. Why not bang a few gongs before the lights go out? But then that’s, that’s just how I roll.

However the script reads:

But instead, we become this. The only thing I think we have left, Dean and me, is each other. (unadorned sincerity)
If Dean says it’s time to go out in a blaze of glory, win or lose, so be it. I’m in. But then…
(smiles easily at Dean)
That’s just how I roll.
At the end of the episode, Sam drives a 1975 Lincoln Continental to meet Dean.
The final scene is set in the same location at which Dean and Sam part with John in 1.21 Salvation.
The episode was so popular in fandom, it spawned its own community on Livejournal - Spn - The End and became a popular alternate universe setting in fanfiction known as "endverse".
In June 2010, The CW submitted this episode, along with 5.08 Changing Channels for consideration for an Emmy nomination. In the end, neither were nominated.
Fandom celebrated August 1st 2014 as Croatoan Day, commemorating the spread of the Croatoan virus as depicted in "The End." Fans wrote "croatoan" on their arms, and hoarded toilet paper, a disappointing few donned pink panties. Check out some of the photos here.

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