There is an art to making a successful television show, especially those that carry one pervading story arc throughout the entire season. But as difficult as it is to maintain the momentum through 20+ episodes, it’s even more difficult to cap it off with a season finale that not only ties up loose ends satisfactorily but also add an element(s) that lead to a summer hiatus filled with questions and intrigue.

No show I’ve watched has this skilled artistry down better than Supernatural.

As with all their finales, “Carry On My Wayward Son” catches us up with the goings on from the season. From there, we see just how part of the 21st century the deliciously evil Crowley has become as he has a nice blind date (as Roderick) with Sheriff Jodi Mills, a good friend of the Winchesters. They get on swimmingly with Crowley touching upon their connection with loss (Mills lost her family in season 5’s “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid”) Though she’s surprised and welcoming of this new connection, Crowley’s intentions are less than honorable. As she takes a bathroom break, he proceeds to do his witchy thing and curses her. Just as she’s spitting up blood, Dean gives Crowley’s cell a ring (‘Baby Got Back’ as the ringtone? Who said Crowley wasn’t hip to good music…) They are prepared to cut a deal—the demon tablet in exchange for the angel tablet as well as the promise of never harming any other people the Winchesters have saved. He agrees and the boys pick up the demon tablet from Kevin , whom they end up giving a key to the Lair with the promise that his part in things are through.

While Cas and Metatron are in Houston, prepping for the second trial (retrieving Cupid’s bow) and Naomi’s given the intel on Cas and Metatron’s location, the boys meet a gloating Crowley in the junkyard. The reigning King of Hell produces a contract Sam has to sign but before he does, Dean reads through it, ignoring Crowley’s perpetual jibes. Mr. Smart Ass is silenced when Dean snaps on some demon proof cuffs from their Lair. There are no more smiles in Crowley town when he realizes that he’s the third trial.

Naomi and her crew snatch up Metatron

Cas is trying to hurry things along with the bartender, Naomi and her henchmen appear and nab Metatron. The Winchesters take Crowley to an abandoned church (the consecrated ground they need) and Sam needs to be purified via confession. Things aren’t Supernatural until we get some good Sam/Dean banter and this flies true as Dean gives his little brother some pointers on how to start with the forgiveness thing. Coincidentally, several start of with some of Sam’s more egregious blunders (killing Lilith, opening Hell, not searching for Dean). As Sam confesses to cleanse himself for the ritual, Cas stops in and asks Dean for help on the trials. Though he wants to help, he doesn’t want to leave Sam though when the latter hears about Cas’s predicament, he pushes Dean to help their angelic friend.

From here, things seesaw back and forth. Naomi starts the drilling into Metatron’s cranium, Cas and Dean drop off the angel tablet to Kevin (who Cas strong arms a bit to get his s**t together and start translating) before they stop back off at the bar to wait for Cupid’s appearance. Cupid arrives but the love connection between the bartender and a regular is not one of those traditional matches. They accost the Cupid and, after Cas gives her the lowdown on what he’s trying to do, she freely gives her angelic brethren her bow.

Sam is moving through the trials, though after one injection Crowley bites Sam and uses the hunter’s blood to send out a demonic APB for an assist. Abbadon is the one that answers the call. After she tosses Sam out the ring, she goes to town on Crowley, who’s more than a bit surprised at the turn of events. In fact, the shackled fill in for Satan is rescued by Sam who torches Abaddon’s host, forcing the knight of hell to vacate the scene. Problem taken care of, Sam starts back up on the task at hand and Crowley spills his guts, asking for mercy. Though it seems like he’s full of it, as he goes on, both realize the ritual is having its effects on the crossroads demon. The truth of his soul (“I deserve to be loved! I just…want to be loved”) comes out. Resigned to his fate, he asks Sam about what he asked for during his confession. “Where do I even start to…look for forgiveness?”

Cupid’s bow retrieved, Kevin is talking to Dean about the angel tablet and his inability to find any mention of said bow or the Nephilim heart when Naomi flitters in to deliver the news that Metatron’s not really on the up and up. Oh he wants to close Heaven, all right, casting out all the angels in the process. Not only that but she gives Dean the news that if Sam finishes the trials, he’s dead. Though Cas doesn’t believe her, something in Naomi’s words makes Dean a believer. He has Cas take him back to Sam though the angel goes back home only to find that the now dead Naomi was right. But the scribe gets the drop on Cas and removes his essence and grace; the final piece of the spell to close Heaven. He sends Cas back to earth, apparently as a normal man.

Dean gets to Sam just before he finishes the cleansing though the prospects of him dying don’t slow him down one bit. He

This is what Supernatural has always been about…two brothers and their love for one another

admits that his biggest confession was not wanting to let his big brother down anymore. Sam feels like he’s always been the weak link and can’t let Dean down again. Dean sets the record straight though. “Don’t you dare think there is anything, past or present, that I would put in front of you.” This single line is perhaps the greatest summation of what Supernatural has been about since the beginning. Two brothers who would literally fight through Heaven and Hell for one another.

Back to the show, Sam follows his brother’s lead and ‘lets go’ though some serious pangs hit him.  While Dean drags him out of the church, a human (ish?) Cas and Kevin (who’s leaving the Lair) all see the signs of some serious badness. Like brilliant meteors the angels…”they’re falling”.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how an epic finale is crafted.

Nothing more need be said in this space.