This post contains spoilers for Supernatural's 300th episode.
“Would we be better off? Maybe. But I gotta be honest, I don’t know who that Dean Winchester is, and I’m good with who I am. I’m good with who you are. Because our lives? They’re ours. And maybe I’m just too damn old to want to change that.”
Three hundred episodes. Damn. The road so far keeps getting longer and longer, and yet, somehow, so many of us are still along for the ride. There’s an inevitable predictability that comes with being fourteen seasons into a show, but that doesn’t mean it won’t find new ways to make you cry. “Lebanon” wonders what it would be like if the Winchester boys had the opportunity to have their family back, and then immediately rips it all away.
The Supernatural team kicks off the episode fun and funny, and then punches you directly in the gut for the next thirty minutes, as is their way. The long and short of it is this: Sam and Dean find a magic pearl that grants the owner their deepest desire. Cool, right? Wrong! No one gets nice things in this town! Dean thinks that his deepest desire is getting Michael out of his head. Seems reasonable, but he’s only wanted that for a little while. He’s wanted his family back together since he was eight.
And that’s exactly what he gets. John Winchester is ripped from whatever hunting trip he was on back in 2003 and promptly deposited in 2019 with his wife and sons. “Lebanon” is filled with strong, machismo men all having several well-earned cries. While the show’s never shied away from showing the more emotional sides of its protagonists, there’s something to be said for having all of the Winchester men in a room enjoying a cry. The relationship between John and his sons was always so toxic, and the smartest thing that their three-hundredth episode did was acknowledge that fact.
There’s always going to be warm fluffies surrounding the Winchester family all getting their happy endings, but the fact of the matter is that Bobby Singer raised those boys. John Winchester was an abusive asshole. The show’s acknowledged that before, but there was something special about seeing John himself realize what he’d done. He apologizes to his boys, telling them that he wanted better for them. Though his actions always spoke otherwise, they all feel so long ago that it hardly matters to Sam and Dean, or the show’s viewers.
I want to be clear: I might be dragging John a little bit here, but I bawled like a baby through the majority of “Lebanon”. It’s no “Fanfiction”, to be sure, but comparing the two seems almost unreasonable. Supernatural’s two-hundredth episode was a love letter to its fans, while their three-hundredth seemed to square its shoulders and say “we know exactly who we are, and we’re happy with it.”
Maybe things would be different if the boys came from a happier home. Maybe the road we’ve taken would be different if episodes like “Bugs” never happened, or if some of the earlier mistakes were handled differently. But they weren’t, and here’s this stubborn-ass show still chugging along. Supernatural and its fandom have done so many remarkable things, and the family will be damned if that goes away anytime soon.
The road so far could have been different, but it’s not. For better or for worse, we’re all still here supporting this heartbreaking, hilarious, infuriating, wonderful show. The Winchesters will keep saving their world, the cast and crew will continue to use that popularity to change ours, and the fandom that became a family will keep on carrying on.
Here’s to three hundred more!