5.22 Swan Song

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Title Swan Song
Episode # Season 5, Episode 22
First aired May 13, 2010
Directed by Steve Boyum
Written by Teleplay:
Eric Kripke
Story:
Eric "Giz" Gerwirtz
On IMDB Swan Song
Outline With the Apocalypse approaching, and their options getting smaller, Dean agrees to Sam's plan to try and trap Lucifer.
Monster Lucifer
Timeline Within six months after the events of 5.10 Abandon All Hope....
Location(s) Detroit, Michigan
Lawrence, Kansas
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Synopsis

Chuck is writing about the history of the Impala for a manuscript entitled "Swan Song." He writes that it is the most important object in the history of the universe.

The boys share a beer in the junkyard at Bobby's. Dean tells Sam that, if it is what Sam really wants, then he will support his plan to let himself become Lucifer's vessel in order to trap him in Lucifer's Cage. Dean asks if this is really what Sam wants and Sam tells him that since he released Lucifer, it’s his responsibility to lock him back up again. They prepare by killing demons and harvesting a huge amount of demon blood, which Castiel has said Sam will need to drink to contain Lucifer.

Omens lead Sam, Dean, Bobby and Castiel to Detroit, where Lucifer has always predicted Sam will say “Yes” to him there. As they drive, Castiel sleeps, alerting Sam and Dean that his angelic energy is already gone and he is now almost completely human. Sam tells Dean that if the plan actually works, Sam won’t be returning from Hell and he tells Dean not to find a way to bring him back. Sam makes Dean promise that when everything is over, Dean will go find Lisa Braeden and live a normal life.

They arrive in Detroit and Bobby scouts the parameter, informing them that Lucifer really is in Detroit. Sam shares emotional goodbyes with both Castiel and Bobby. Bobby tells him to not give an inch and to fight with all his strength against Lucifer whilst Castiel tells him that he will look after Dean and Bobby and that everything will be fine, although he admits he is lying. Sam drinks the demon blood, and he and Dean go to confront Lucifer.

Chuck continues telling the story of the Impala. He says the Impala has the same things most other cars have and a lot of things other cars don’t have (e.g. the weapons cache) but none of that is important. Chuck says the important things are the things that the Winchesters put into the car along the years; the army man Sam stuffed into the ashtray in the back, the Lego Dean stuffed into the heating vents and the carvings of their initials. Chuck says that Lucifer doesn’t care about the car, but he should.

Sam tells Lucifer that he wants to say “Yes” to him in return for his family’s safety, but Lucifer reveals that he knows that they have the Horsemen's Rings and plan to trap him. Sam says this doesn’t change anything and says “Yes” anyway. As Lucifer takes over Sam's body, Dean uses the rings and with an incantation opens Lucifer's Cage. Lucifer, however, is in full control of Sam, and closes the cage, taking the rings and disappearing.

Lucifer and Sam have a talk in which Lucifer tells Sam that he should embrace their union as it was always meant to be this way. He tells Sam that they’re two halves of the same whole, that they were literally made for each other and that the Winchesters were at best a surrogate family as Lucifer is Sam’s real family. Lucifer gathers all the remaining minions of Azazel, who have been keeping watch over Sam his entire life (including a grade school teacher and Sam's prom date, Rachel Nave) and tells Sam that it’s time the two of them "blow off a little steam". He proceeds to slaughter these demons and asks if Sam is "having fun yet".

Later, Dean, Castiel and Bobby watch the news, as unprecedented disasters occur across the world - the Apocalypse is beginning. Both Castiel and Bobby seem without hope. Dean calls Chuck, who tells Dean the confrontation between Michael and Lucifer will take place at Stull Cemetery near Lawrence in Kansas, where the boys first lived. Castiel tells Dean that there’s nothing he can do and that all that Dean will see is his brother being killed by Michael to which Dean responds that he won't let Sam die alone.

In Stull Cemetery, Lucifer faces Michael, who appears using Adam as a vessel. Lucifer tries to dissuade Michael from the fight, blaming their conflict on God, and suggesting they walk away. Michael counters that Lucifer is still blaming everyone but himself and that he hasn’t grown at all. Michael says he must carry out God's orders and that it's his destiny to kill Lucifer. Just then, Dean arrives in the Impala, Def Leppard's “Rock of Ages” blaring.

Dean tries to talk to Sam inside Lucifer, but Michael tells him it's not his fight anymore. Castiel and Bobby arrive and Castiel throws a Molotov Cocktail of holy oil on Michael, causing him to burn up and vanish temporarily. Lucifer, furious that Castiel dared to attack Michael, turns and disintegrates Castiel. Bobby shoots him, but Lucifer snaps Bobby’s neck.

Lucifer starts to beat Dean, taunting him, saying that he will kill him slowly and make Sam feel every blow. Dean doesn't resist, just telling Sam he won't leave him. As Sam goes to land another blow, he glances at the Impala and sees the toy soldier still in the ashtray in the backseat, and suddenly all his memories of life with Dean rush at him, allowing Sam to take control over Lucifer.

Sam tells Dean everything’s going to be alright and that he has Lucifer contained for now. Sam tosses the Horsemen's Rings to the ground and recites the incantation to open Lucifer's Cage. He and Dean look at each other one last time, but as Sam goes to throw himself in, Michael reappears. Michael tries to persuade Sam to step back so he and Lucifer can have their battle, but Sam moves to jump in anyway and when Michael tries to stop him, Sam drags him into the cage too.

A bloody and broken Dean grieves for Sam. Castiel reappears and heals him before reviving Bobby. Castiel tells Dean that God revived him and made him better than before.

Castiel tells Dean he will return to Heaven, where he expects that without Michael, there will be chaos. Dean angrily informs him that if God returns, Dean will be coming for him next for not being there to save Sam from Hell. Castiel says that God helped them in the end and informs Dean that he got what he wanted in the end: no everlasting peace like the angels wanted nor Hell on Earth like the demons wanted; just more of the same.

Dean leaves Bobby. Chuck tells us in voice over that Dean won't see him again for a very long time. Chuck says that all Dean wants to do is either find a way to rescue Sam or die, but he won’t do either as he made a promise to Sam that he wouldn’t.

Dean arrives at Lisa Braeden's house, distraught, but trying to hold it together. She comforts him and he mourns in her arms for what he’s lost.

Chuck says that he believes this was a test for Sam and Dean from God and he believes they passed that test because in the end, in the fight between good and evil, angels and devils, destiny and God himself, they chose family. Chuck, now dressed all in white, says that endings are hard, and never perfect, and that nothing really ends anyway. He types "The End" and vanishes for reasons unknown, leaving many to wonder whether he was really a prophet at all the entire time, or if he was the physical manifestation of God Himself.

Sometime later, Dean is having dinner with Lisa and Ben. Lisa asks if Dean is okay, to which he quietly responds that he is before settling himself into the dinner and, in turn, a normal life without hunting and without his brother.

Outside Lisa’s house, a street light goes out. Underneath it, watching them through the window, stands Sam...

Characters

Definitions

Music

(plays during "The Road So Far" recap of events; also played in 1.21 Salvation, 2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two, 3.16 No Rest for the Wicked, and 4.22 Lucifer Rising)
  • "Rock of Ages" by Def Leppard
(plays when Dean enters Stull Cemetery; also played in 1.05 Bloody Mary and 1.08 Bugs)

Quotes

Chuck: On April 21, 1967, the 100 millionth GM vehicle rolled off the line at the plant in Janesville -- a blue two-door Caprice. There was a big ceremony, speeches. The lieutenant governor even showed up. Three days later, another car rolled off that same line. No one gave two craps about her. But they should have, because this 1967 Chevrolet Impala would turn out to be the most important car -- no, the most important object -- in pretty much the whole universe. She was first owned by Sal Moriarty, an alcoholic with two ex-wives and three blocked arteries. On weekends, he'd drive around giving Bibles to the poor "gettin' folks right for Judgment Day." That's what he said. Sam and Dean don't know any of this, but if they did, I bet they'd smile. After Sal died, she ended up at Rainbow Motors, a used-car lot in Lawrence, where a young marine bought her on impulse. That is, after a little advice from a friend. I guess that's where this story begins. And here's where it ends.
Sam: You're gonna let me say yes?

Dean: No. That's the thing. It's not on me to let you do anything. You're a grown -- well, overgrown -- man. If this is what you want, I'll back your play.
Sam: That's the last thing I thought you'd ever say.
Dean: Might be. I'm not gonna lie to you, though. It goes against every fiber I got. I mean, truth is... You know, watching out for you... it's kinda been my job, you know? But more than that, it's... it's kinda who I am. You're not a kid anymore, Sam, and I can't keep treating you like one. Maybe I got to grow up a little, too. I don't know if we got a snowball's chance. But... But I do know that if anybody can do it... it's you.

Sam: Thank you.
Sam: You go find Lisa. You pray to god she's dumb enough to take you in, and you -- you have barbecues and go to football games. You go live some normal, apple-pie life, Dean. Promise me.
Bobby: He gets in... you fight him tooth and nail, you understand? Keep swingin'. Don't give an inch.
Sam: Yes, sir.
Chuck: The Impala, of course, has all the things other cars have... and a few things they don't. But none of that stuff's important. This is the stuff that's important. The army man that Sam crammed in the ashtray - it's still stuck there. The Legos that Dean shoved into the vents -- to this day, heat comes on and they can hear 'em rattle. These are the things that make the car theirs -- really theirs. Even when Dean rebuilt her from the ground up, he made sure all these little things stayed, 'cause it's the blemishes that make her beautiful. The Devil doesn't know or care what kind of car the boys drive.
Lucifer: I'm inside your grapefruit, Sam. You can't lie to me. I see it all -- how odd you always felt, how... out of place in that... family of yours. And why shouldn't you have? They were foster care -- at best. I'm your real family.
Castiel: It's starting.

Dean: Yeah, you think, genius?

Castiel: You don't have to be mean.
Chuck: In between jobs, Sam and Dean would sometimes get a day -- sometimes a week, if they were lucky. They'd pass the time lining their pockets. Sam used to insist on honest work, but now he hustles pool, like his brother. They could go anywhere and do anything. They drove 1,000 miles for an Ozzy show, two days for a Jayhawks game. And when it was clear, they'd park her in the middle of nowhere, sit on the hood, and watch the stars... for hours... without saying a word. It never occurred to them that, sure, maybe they never really had a roof and four walls... but they were never, in fact, homeless. That's a good line.
Castiel: Hey, ass-butt!
Dean: 'Ass-butt'?
Chuck: So, what's it all add up to? It's hard to say. But me, I'd say this was a test... for Sam and Dean. And I think they did all right. Up against good, evil, angels, devils, destiny, and God himself, they made their own choice. They chose family. And, well... isn't that kinda the whole point?

Trivia & References

The phrase "Swan Song" in modern jargon refers to a final work or performance, or the final part of a story. It was also the name of the record label founded by Led Zeppelin. Jared Padalecki also had a role in an episode entitled "Swan Song" in Gilmore Girls.
Chuck: On April 21, 1967, the 100 millionth GM vehicle rolled off the line at the plant in Janesville -- a blue two-door Caprice.
April 24 is Eric Kripke’s birthday.
Chuck: She was first owned by Sal Moriarty, an alcoholic with two ex-wives and three blocked arteries.
The name of the Impala's first owner, Sal Moriarty, is a reference to Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, the main characters in the novel On the Road.
Dean: As always, Yoda. Two stunt demons inside, just like you said.
Reference to the wise Jedi Master, a role that could be compared to Bobby's on Supernatural.
Dean: Sam, I got a bad feeling about this.
This line is said many times, by several characters, in the Star Wars movies.
Sam: This thing goes our way and I...Triple Lindy into that box... y-you know I'm not coming back.
The Triple Lindy was a ridiculous high dive done by Rodney Dangerfield in the movie Back to School.
Dean: Your Hell is gonna make my tour look like Graceland. You want me just to sit by and do nothing?
Graceland was Elvis Presley's estate in Memphis, Tennessee and is now a museum.
Lucifer: Sorry if it's a bit chilly. Most people think I burn hot. It's actually quite the opposite.
In the fourteenth century, Italian poet Dante Alighieri wrote the epic poem Divine Comedy, which chronicles the poet's fictional tour of the various levels of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. In the first part, Inferno (sometimes known as "Dante's Inferno"), Dante descends into the center of Hell, which is in the middle of the 9th Circle, the eternal punishment for betrayal, the most heinous of sins. There, Dante finds Satan trapped in a lake of ice with many other betrayers for all eternity. This is in stark contrast to the popular view of Hell as the "lake of fire."
Also, according to the Christian Bible, at the end of time, Satan will be sent from Hell to the Lake of Fire for his eternal punishment. Hell and the Lake of Fire being two separate places.
Lucifer: Chock-full of Ovaltine, are we?
Ovaltine is a powder flavoring mixed with milk, but in this context, Lucifer is referring to the demon blood Sam drank before coming up. In 4.03 In the Beginning, Azazel says "Demon blood is better than Ovaltine, vitamins, minerals. It makes you big and strong."
Lucifer: Okay, can we please drop the telenovela? I know you have the rings, Sam.
Telenovelas are (usually) Latin American TV soap operas.
Lucifer: Such anger... Young Skywalker. Who are you really angry with? Me? Or that face in the mirror?
Eric Kripke originally pitched the show as “Star Wars in truck Stop America” with Sam representing Luke Skywalker and Dean representing Han Solo.
Lucifer: The exhilaration. And you know why that is? Because we're two halves made whole. M.F.E.O. Literally.
MFEO = Made For Each Other.
Lucifer: The Horsemen's rings? The magic keys to my Cage? Ring a bell? Come on, Sam. I've never lied to you. You could at least pay me the same respect. It's okay. I'm not mad. A wrestling match inside your noggin... I like the idea. Just you and me, one round, no tricks. You win, you jump in the hole. I win... Well, then I win. What do you say, Sam? A fiddle of gold against your soul says I'm better than you.
Lucifer quotes the lyrics to the Charlie Daniel's song "Devil Went Down to Georgia" specifically referencing the line, "I'll bet a fiddle of gold against your soul 'cause I think I'm better than you."
Dean: What do we do now?

Castiel: I suggest we imbibe copious quantities of alcohol... Just wait for the inevitable blast wave.
Dean: Yeah, swell. Thank you, Bukowski. I-I mean, how do we stop it?

Charles Bukowski was famous for writing novels and stories featuring alcoholic protagonists.
Dean: Boy, you really got a whole virgin/hooker thing going on, don't you?
Dean accuses Chuck of having a "thing" for virgins and prostitutes (hookers), possibly a hint towards Chuck's true identity as God. Specifically, a reference to the Virgin Mary, who supposedly gave birth to God's son, Jesus.
When Dean calls Chuck, Chuck answers the phone "Mistress Magda," and we briefly see a newspaper/magazine ad for a blonde bombshell in a bikini named "Miss Magda" on Chuck's desk before he puts his glass on it. Jesus also loved a a woman named Mary Magdalene described as a prostitute. There are many who believe Jesus actually married Mary Magdalene, though this idea, as well as Mary's status as a prostitute, are both matters widely disputed by historians the world over.
Stull Cemetery is a real cemetery near Lawrence, Kansas, where Sam and Dean were born. It has a lot of lore associated with it, including that it may be a gate to Hell.
The tape Dean loads into the cassette deck in the Impala as he drives into Stull Cemetery to face Lucifer and help Sam, is labeled with Kim Manners' signature line Kick it in the ass!
Dean's last mix tape.

Lucifer: Castiel, did you just Molotov my brother with holy fire?
A Molotov cocktail is an incendiary weapon in which a flammable liquid is placed in a glass bottle and sealed with a cloth or rag. The cloth is set on fire, and when it is thrown and the bottle breaks, the liquid inside spreads and catches fire. Castiel made his Molotov cocktail using holy oil.

Minutiae

This was Eric Kripke's last episode as showrunner, though he would remain with the show for season six, and help craft the story-arc for season 7, before moving on to Revolution.
After the episode fans placed an ad in The Hollywood Reporter to mark Eric Kripke stepping done as showrunner. For details, see Thank You Kripke.
The disasters reported on the news:
  • A magnitude 7.6 earthquake in Portland
  • A magnitude 8.1 earthquake in Boston
  • More in Hong Kong, Berlin and Iran
The possible omens Bobby shows Dean:
  • Cyclone in Tampa.
  • Temperature drops in Detroit (20 degrees in a five-block radius in downtown Motown).
  • Wildfires in Los Angeles.
Lucifer uses his finger to draw a pitchfork in the frozen window.
Lucifer has referred twice to Sam saying “Yes” in Detroit – in 5.04 The End and 5.10 Abandon All Hope....
In The End, Future Dean tells Dean that Sam gave "the big yes" to Lucifer in Detroit. In 5.10 Abandon All Hope..., Lucifer predicts this future to Sam, telling him "I don't know Sam, I think it will. I think it'll happen soon, within six months. And I think it'll happen in Detroit." The episode first aired on November 19, 2009. If you look at a calendar for 2010, six months from this date is the third week of May (the week of May 17th). 5.22 Swan Song aired on May 13, one week shy of Lucifer's six-month projection.
After Sam says yes to Lucifer, the quick scene of that building was formally the Lincoln Theater, though now it is a Christian church for the Hispanic community.
When Lucifer is showing Sam all the people in his life who were really agents of Azazel watching over him, he refers to Sam's prom date Rachel. In the Wish-verse in 2.20 What Is and What Should Never Be, Dean is said to have slept with Sam's prom date Rachel Nave on prom night.
Dean: You listen to me, you junkless sissy -- we are not giving up! Bobby? Bobby?
Dean refers to Castiel as a "junkless sissy." Dean has frequently used the term "junkless" when insulting angels, especially Uriel in an inference that they "don't have balls" both figuratively and literally.
In this episode, we may have finally seen what happened when Raphael killed Castiel in 4.22 Lucifer Rising. It wasn't shown on screen, but Chuck described it in 5.01 Sympathy for the Devil: "He, like, exploded. Like a water balloon of chunky soup."
Chuck foreshadows his possible divinity/real identity in 4.18 The Monster at the End of This Book, the first episode in which he appears:
Chuck: Well, there's only one explanation. Obviously I'm a god.

Sam: You're not a god.

Chuck: How else do you explain it? I write things and then they come to life. Yeah, no, I'm definitely a god. A cruel, cruel, capricious god. The things I put you through -- The physical beatings alone.
See the entry on God for a discussion of differing opinions on whether Chuck is indeed God.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

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