Dean enters a hotel, passing a man preaching outside the front door. Once in his room, Castiel calls him to tell him that he believes the Colt may still be in the possession of the demons. Castiel got 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 was trashed and messed up. Outside, Kansas City appears destroyed and deserted. He finds a little girl crying in the street who attacks him with a knife. Dean knocks her unconscious. He sees the word Croatoan spray painted on a wall just as a large number of Croatoan infected people began to chase him through the streets of Kansas City. They corner him, but members of the U.S. Army came and began killing the infected people.
Dean escapes into a nearby alley hiding while watching the battle. Later at night, he emerged from his hiding place seeing a warning sign that shows that the year was 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 leave 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 he is from the past and spoke about how Zachariah has sent him there. 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 planned 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 died. Future Dean leaves on a mission. For the next few hours, Dean picks the wooden floor getting a nail out and manages to free himself from his cuffs. He escapes and finds Future Chuck. Future Chuck appears to be in charge of organizing supplies. Future Chuck begins asking about the mission he was suppose to be on, and just 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. Future Castiel reveals 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 Crotoan virus.
Future Dean leads Dean back to his cabin, and they argue about the 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 stated 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 had revealed Lucifer's location. Castiel comments that the named place is filled with Croatoan infected and demons and about how dangerous the plan was. 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 was better then no planet. He says he wished 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 needed 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 of the location, but when he confronts him, Future Dean knocks his past self unconscious.
Dean wakes up hearing gun fire and screaming as Castiel, Risa, etc... are killed in a battle. As Dean runs towards 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 the 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 had instructed. Dean says 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 needed 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 get Dean to his location.
Dean calls Sam, and they meet up with him the next day. Dean apologizes for leaving Sam and stated they needed each either to hunt together, that they keep each other human. Dean says they need to create their own future.
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.
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.
Touché. So, what, Zach zapped you up here to see how bad it gets?
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.
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.
What, are you stoned?
Future Castiel: Uh, generally, yeah.
Dean: What happened to you?
Dean: Torture? Oh, so, we're—we're torturing again. No, that's—that's good. Classy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Guess we have no choice.
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.
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
. Commentary on 5.04 The End
on the Season 5 DVDs
by Ben Edlund
and Eric Kripke
supports that this is an alternate universe model, rather than time travel.
You know, it's kind of funny. Talking to a messenger of God on a cellphone. It's, you know, like watching a Hell's Angel ride a moped.
- The Hells Angels are an infamous worldwide motorcycle club, and is considered an organized crime syndicate.
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.
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
alumni 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
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
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.
: We've been making inspirational visits to the fringier Chrstian 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, in this case it would be Dean in his unwillingness to help the angels.
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.
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.
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.
This episode filmed from August 6th - 18th, 2009.
In June 2010, The CW submitted this episode, along with 5.08 Changing Channels
for consideration for an Emmy nomination.
The episode is so popular in fandom, it spawned its own community on Livejournal - Spn - The End
Fandom celebrated August 1st 2014 as Croatoan Day, commemorating the spread of the Croatoan
virus as depicted in 5.04 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.
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