Supernatural: "Despair" Ends With a Devastating Loss

After tonight, there will be only two episodes left of Supernatural -- and thanks to the events of "Despair," tonight's episode of the series, those episodes will happen without a character who has been a key component of the series for years. In an episode that saw lots of larger-than-life things happen, and a number of fan-favorite characters seemingly just blink out of existence, one can easily fall into the trap of assuming it will all be undone by the end of the season. But one character's sacrifice was done in such a way as to make it clear: this is goodbye.

The episode had action, stakes, and a heartfelt speech. And when it was all over, fans were left crying and a new hashtag was born -- one that The CW had anticipated, as you can tell because it has the Impala emoji attached to it already.

Spoilers ahead for "Despair," tonight's episode of Supernatural.

As the episode wound down, Castiel (Misha Collins) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) found themselves hunkered down in a room in the bunker, trying to figure out a way to get away from Death (Lisa Berry), who is determined to take Dean. In what turns out to be her last appearance, Death (originally the reaper known as Billie) is therefore mirroring "Advanced Thanatology," the season 13 episode in which she first appeared as the new Death and, eventually, was persuaded to allow a briefly-dead Dean return to the land of the living.

Bookending is something that plays into a lot of what happened in the episode: at the start of the season, following their attempt to destroy Jack, Castiel was furious at the Winchesters, and their relationship started rocky as the show went into its final stretch.

"Whether it's Dean/Cas, Dean/Sam, Sam/Cas, our guys have fought a lot and always kind of found a way back together," showrunner Andrew Dabb told reporters during a press roundtable at Comic Con International in San Diego in 2019. "They're a family at the end of the day, and I think the same thing will happen here. But with that being said, it may be a rocky road."

That rocky road came to a decisive end tonight, as Castiel figured out a way to literally cheat death, save Dean (and therefore probably the universe), and speak his truth all at once.

In a heart-wrenching speech, Castiel reminded Dean (and the audience) of the deal he made with The Empty -- that if he were to ever find a moment of true happiness, The Empty would come and consume him. Cas found that happiness when he told Dean how he really felt about him -- that Dean was the kindest and most loving man he had ever known, that he loved him, and that through Dean, he had come to love the rest of the world as well.

Cas pushed Dean out of the way, leaving a handprint on his friend's shoulder the same way he had when he rescued Dean from Hell, and as the Empty came to take Castiel, it picked up Billie along with it, taking both of them out of existence.

The #CastielForever hashtag is, right now, home to loads of Supernatural fans mourning the loss of the character -- although given Jensen Ackles' recent comments suggesting that Supernatural could come back as an HBO Max miniseries in five years or so, it might be safe to assume that anything done here can be undone if they want to down the line.


Supernatural airs on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.