This review contains spoilers.
“Supernatural” is the longest running television drama to date. Currently on season 14, the show just aired landmark episode 300 entitled “Lebanon.” “Supernatural” centers around two brothers named Sam and Dean Winchester, played by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles respectively, who travel the country to hunt monsters. Over the past 14 years, the show has imbued the importance of family (whether through blood or not), so it only makes sense that they would celebrate 300 episodes with the return of John Winchester, Sam and Dean’s father.
Overall, the episode was really great and delivered on the comedy, drama and tears that Supernatural is well known for. The opening screen cap of “Dad’s on a hunting trip and he hasn’t been home in a few days” was an amazing nostalgic precursor to the episode because I watched “Pilot” when it aired and was in fourth grade. That line is what started Sam and Dean’s journey.
Personally, I wish the network would not have told the audience about John Winchester’s return because they had hyped up his return for weeks prior. John did not come back until almost half-way through the episode, so I spent the first half focused on when he was returning instead of paying attention to the story line. It also would have made his return more significant if it were a surprise because no one on the show is expecting it, so the audience could have been just as shocked as the characters.
The episode begins with the boys trying to retrieve the skull of Sarah Good, a witch killed during the Salem Witch trials, from a collector of supernatural artifacts. When they accuse him of killing another hunter, he tries to kill them, but they get the upper hand and kill him instead. They also take all of the supernatural artifacts with them back to their bunker to document and catalogue them so the artifacts do not fall into the wrong hands. On the way, they decide to stop for supplies and leave everything just sitting in the backseat of their iconic 1967 Chevy Impala. There are a group of teenagers admiring the car and one girl Max decides to steal the car to impress the girl she has a crush on. Meanwhile, Sam realizes that they have an ancient Chinese mythological pearl that can grant your heart’s greatest desire. They surmise that this is how they can get the Archangel Michael out of Dean’s head.
At this point, I was frustrated because this was eating away at potential Jeffrey Dean Morgan as John Winchester screen time. I have waited about 12 years for his return (I don’t count his green screen moment in the season 2 finale). They notice their car getting stolen and proceed to hunt down Max and find her at a house party where she took all of the Supernatural objects out of the car. One of which was John Wayne Gacy’s cigar case and was haunted by his spirit. Of course, one of the teenagers opened it and released his ghost. Gacy’s apparition takes the form of a killer clown and scares one of the teenagers and he runs out of the house just as Sam and Dean arrive. After overhearing the kid freak out about a ghost, they run into the house to investigate and clear everyone out. With Sam’s fear of clowns, they tried to get rid of it as quickly as possible by burning the cigar box. Which was ironic because Sam finds serial killers fascinating, but clowns terrifying. Dean even notes, “this is the best/worst thing that’s happened to you.” Right before they destroy the ghost, three of the teens ran into the house and saw the ghost, so they had to explain the supernatural to them.
After this, they finally reach the bunker and Dean uses the pearl to get Michael out of his head. However, this is when John Winchester finally appears. It seems the pearl pulled him straight out of 2003 instead of resurrecting him. They recap the last 12 years to John and then Mary arrives, eliciting tears from the audience at this family reunion, whose death is what led to John starting hunting in the first place. The boys did not tell either of them so they were both shocked. Samantha Smith and Morgan have not been in an episode together since the “Pilot” episode aired 14 years ago, so it was a pretty significant moment. The brothers also get their closure with their father (especially Sam) because he unexpectedly died in the season 2 premiere episode. They also mentioned that their paternal grandfather Henry Winchester did not abandon John when he was younger, but he died in the future. Props to the writers for giving John that closure.
When the brothers leave John and Mary back at the bunker to pick up ingredients for Mary’s “Winchester Surprise” casserole, they realize that something is amiss and the same characters who were introduced in the beginning of the episode, no longer recognize them. Sam concludes that they have started a temporal paradox due to bringing John out of 2003 and if they do not return him to 2003, then everything will change because when is there ever a happy ending on “Supernatural.”
Meanwhile the angels Zachariah and Castiel arrive because they realize that someone has been tampering with time. They start torturing people and Sam and Dean rush in to save the day. As they fight off the angels, they have no qualms about killing Zachariah, but send their favorite angel Castiel back to heaven through a sigil.
The brothers return to the bunker and they all finally sit down and have the family dinner that fans, including myself, have waited for years. It was a beautiful, heart wrenching moment that made a lot of fans cry. Dean decides that he does not want John to change the past with what he knows because Dean is too old at this point and is happy with where and who they are currently.
After their final goodbyes, Sam destroys the pearl and John is sent back to 2003. When Castiel arrives, he asks them what happened indicating that only Sam, Dean and Mary know what happened. The episode closes with John waking up in the Impala in 2003 to a phone call from Dean. He tells Dean that he is alright and just had an amazing dream leading the audience to know that he remembered.
Overall, the episode had its highs and lows, but it is definitely one of the best episodes that aired out of the 300. The writers promised John Winchester and they delivered. “Supernatural” airs Thursday nights at 8 p.m. and has been renewed for season 15.