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The Ending Of The Winchesters Season 1 Explained

After 15 years on air, the hit CW series "Supernatural" ended in 2020, finally concluding the epic story of brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles). Still, even death itself refuses to release the Winchester clan from The CW. After only two years off the air, the world of "Supernatural" returned to the network in the form of the prequel series, "The Winchesters." Set in the early 1970s, "The Winchesters" follows a post-Vietnam John Winchester (Drake Rodger) and a young Mary Campbell (Meg Donnelly) as they fall in love while hunting demons and monsters with their friends.

"The Winchesters" provides an entirely new point of view regarding the traditional John and Mary Winchester story we thought we knew from the mothership show, with a new cast of characters — not to mention plenty of interesting monsters — to keep things both fresh and familiar. This prequel reinvents the love story of John and Mary in a way that solidifies their destiny while showing us how great a hunting team they could've been in another world. 

With so many different threads to connect together — especially concerning the original series — things get a little confusing as Season 1 draws to a close. Between the blood and gore, romance and relationships, connections to the original series, and engagement with the paranormal, here's everything you need to know about the ending of Season 1 of "The Winchesters."

The family business

In the show's opener, we're introduced to Mary Campbell, who hopes to somehow make it out of the hunting life alive. Although she was raised a hunter she wants to quit, settle down, and live like a normal human being more than anything. Unfortunately, Mary's strong sense of responsibility — not to mention her loyalty to her father Samuel (Tom Welling) — is enough to keep her in the game, especially after he goes missing. Despite her desire to leave, Mary struggles to see a future outside of hunting and isn't sure that she can ever fully walk away. Spoiler alert: she can't, and as fans of "Supernatural" know, she continues the hunt.

John Winchester, on the other hand, just discovered the supernatural. Due to the absence of his father, Henry (Gil McKinney), John wasn't raised amongst the paranormal, though he is something of a natural. As a Men of Letters legacy, the supernatural is in his blood. That lineage, combined with his time in Vietnam, makes him a near-perfect hunter. 

During his time with Mary, John attempts to trade the demons of the trauma that follows him back from Vietnam with the literal ones he now knows exist, although that doesn't ease his post-war visions. With a good head on his shoulders and an impulse to save people as well as hunt things, John presses on despite his mother's objections — not to mention Mary's desire to leave it all behind.

A romance begins

After returning from Vietnam, John bumps into Mary in what seems like a divine appointment. Though the "Supernatural" episode "My Bloody Valentine" reveals that a Cupid was behind their fated meeting, we see none of that here. 

All we see is John and Mary's meet-cute in front of a movie theater, where they take an instant liking to one another. Still, that's only where their story begins. John and Mary run into each other again later that night when they fight a demon together, opening John's eyes to the paranormal world around him. Throughout the first half of the season, John and Mary take small steps toward one another, moving quickly from friends to something more.

Of course, anyone who's seen "Supernatural" already knows this, but watching their romance officially blossom in the midseason finale "Reflections" is still a treat. Thankfully, the pair makes it out alive, and rather than sweep their kiss under the rug, they dive headfirst into a whirlwind romance. To avoid strangeness among their friend group, they at first attempt to keep it secret, but word soon gets out. 

Like all Winchesters, John and Mary are constantly throwing themselves in harm's way for the other, but that only solidifies their bond — even if it irritates the other. By the end of Season 1, John and Mary's romance is going strong.

The Monster Club forms

Soon after Mary and John's fateful meeting, the pair joins up with Latika Desai (Nida Khurshid), Carlos Cervantez (Jojo Fleites), and Ada Monroe (Demetria McKinney) to become the Monster Club, traveling around Lawrence and the United States in search of Mary's missing father, Samuel. As they continue on the older Campbell's trail, they turn into a well-oiled and tight-knit team, fighting monsters from Carlos' van "Scooby-Doo" style. 

What begins as a somewhat tumultuous arrangement grows into a makeshift family unit as they start to trust and rely on one another. While Sam and Dean Winchester had recurring allies on "Supernatural," they didn't have a consistent team of friends to rely on every week, and this sets John and Mary's adventures apart.

Over the course of Season 1, each member of the Monster Club must overcome their own personal demons along the way. Mary tackles her fears about never finding her father or escaping the hunting life, Latika reveals a terrible family secret surrounding her departure from her homeland and family, while John and Carlos each face their violent experiences and questionable actions overseas in the Vietnam War. 

Even the inconsistent Monster Club member Ada confronts her biggest mistake — driving her young half-djinn son Tony (Tyler Lofton) away out of fear of his monster side. The more the Monster Club works together, the stronger they become as individuals, all the while building into a bigger threat to the monstrous Akrida.

A threat from beyond

Like most seasons of "Supernatural," "The Winchesters" has a big bad of its own. This time they come in the form of the Akrida, which are otherworldly monsters from another realm who wish to consume and destroy this new world. As it happens, these multi-legged, sharp-toothed creatures were created by God himself, or at least the pathetic deity from "Supernatural" named Chuck. This tracks since Akrida is Greek for "locust," which connects them to apocalyptic events of the Book of Revelation. In a contingency plan to destroy the worlds and kill Sam and Dean provided he failed to – which, of course, he did – Chuck created the Akrida to eat the multiverse. They are practically unkillable and can only be defeated using a magical box called the Ostium.

Recognizing their threat to humanity, Samuel Campbell goes AWOL searching for the means to destroy them. Back in Lawrence, the Monster Club uncovers some secrets of their own — such as the fact that the Akrida have infiltrated the entire town. These spider-like creatures have possessed dozens of Lawrence citizens, including members of the police force, and file in under the leadership of local disc-jockey Rockin' Roxy (Bridget Regan). 

After the Monster Club exorcises Roxy, the DJ turns to alcohol to soothe the memories left by the Akrida. Thankfully, Latika and Carlos help her spill as much information as she remembers. With more fuel in the tank, the Monster Club takes the fight to the Akrida.

John's daddy issues

Just as in the early years of "Supernatural," a huge theme of "The Winchesters" is absentee fathers. Both John and Mary's dads are missing at the start of the series, which serves as the primary catalyst for their team-up and continued desire to fight monsters and save the world. According to John's mother, Millie (Bianca Kajlich), John has always run towards danger, which manifested itself in his desire to enlist to fight in the Vietnam War and become a hunter upon his return. John returns from Vietnam with lots of anger, anger that ultimately stems from his father's absence in his life. However, what John doesn't know is that his father, Henry, died trying to save the world. 

In the "Supernatural" episode "As Time Goes By," we learn that the demon Abaddon was hired to slaughter the entire American chapter of the Men of Letters, which forces Henry to escape to 2013, where he dies saving his grandsons — John and Mary's future sons Sam and Dean. However, "The Winchesters" reveals that the Akrida are responsible for killing Henry. 

Henry's ghost is conjured by John and Mary to learn more about the Ostium. Barred by some serious time constraints, Henry explains how to use the box to his son, a proud father himself. As he fades away, Henry grants John and Millie the closure they need to move on and defeat the Akrida while reminding them of his deep, unending love for them.

Mary's search for Samuel

Unlike Henry's well-explored departure, Samuel's absence is a little more mysterious and doesn't end with his demise. Last we knew from "Supernatural" (back when he was played by Mitch Pileggi) Samuel and his wife Deana were always around, hunting with Mary as a Campbell family unit. However, that's not how it plays out in the world of "The Winchesters." Here, Samuel and Deana — who doesn't appear at all in Season 1 — are "on a break," with Mrs. Campbell a state or two away. Though she knows her mother's whereabouts, Mary searches for her father begins after he fails to check in, kickstarting her side of this untold "Supernatural" love story.

When Mary discovers the Akrida are holding Samuel prisoner, the Monster Club breaks into their base to rescue him. While John and Mary are overpowered by the Akrida, Samuel saves them in the nick of time. After the Monster Club and Millie Winchester help nurse Samuel back to health, the seasoned hunter decides he can do more to help save the world by heading back on the road to find a way to get rid of the Akrida for good — and hopefully give Mary a normal life by extension. 

The older Campbell only returns to Lawrence when the Monster Club attains their weapon to defeat the Akrida Queen. Once there, he aids the young hunters in combat against the otherworldly monsters before returning to his hunting road trip.

Familiar faces

Because this a show on The CW, there will be some obvious crossover between "The Winchester" and "Supernatural." Fan-favorite Richard Speight, Jr. returns as the director for the mid-season finale "Reflections" before reprising his role as the Norse trickster god Loki in the episode "Hang on to Your Life." In the same episode, Rob Benedict makes a surprise cameo as the drummer Tango who supports Carlos during his solo performance, though that admittedly has nothing to do with his original "Supernatural" character Chuck Shurley.

After using the Ostium to banish the Akrida leader, the monster box seemingly breaks. Hoping to find another anti-Akrida weapon, Ada pursues a lead which takes her down a strange path. In the episode "The Tears of a Clown," Ada meets the witch Rowena MacLeod, played once again by Ruth Connell, who trades her a crystal that will theoretically kill the Akrida Queen, albeit with a soul-sucking price. Connel appeared as Rowena regularly throughout the latter years of "Supernatural" and was revealed to be the mother of the Winchester's frequent demon frenemy Crowley, whom she also name-drops in the same episode. 

In the season finale, the fan-favorite character Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) also returns alongside the god-powered Jack Kline (Alexander Calvert). These two arrive in Lawrence at the very end to take Dean back to Heaven and keep him from interfering any further — but not before mentioning that Sam would've been in danger had Dean not stepped in.

The Dean of it all

Of course, of all the "Supernatural" alums to return for "The Winchesters," the most exciting is no doubt Jensen Ackles' victory lap as Dean Winchester. While tragically not accompanied by his brother Sam, Dean is the narrator behind the entire series and occasionally inserts his own commentary. Of course, there's more to it than that. Though we see Dean briefly in the first episode, "Pilot," it's revealed that he's a person of interest for not just John and Mary but the Akrida as well, and it's at this point that we learn that the world of "The Winchesters" isn't the same one as "Supernatural" at all, but an alternate world. Nevertheless, the Akrida prove a threat to every world.

During his "Carry On My Wayward Son" drive through Heaven, Dean takes a "detour through the multiverse" to search for a world where his family ends up happy. This leads him to John and Mary's universe, where he uncovers the threat of the Akrida. Since these vile creatures can only be defeated by objects from Dean's world, they see this dead hunter as a threat to their existence. They know Dean can beat them, and thus they do everything in their power, including framing John for murder, to uncover his whereabouts. 

Eventually, they catch up to Dean and banish him to another world, hoping never to see the ghostly hunter again. Thankfully, things don't end there.

Victory at last

In the season finale, "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye," the Akrida Queen (Kelly Sullivan) reveals herself, along with her plan to consume the world. After taunting John, Mary, and Samuel, she infiltrates the Monster Club's hideout and implants an Akrida spawn into Latika, causing Latika to turn on her friends. Using the crystal given to her by Rowena, Ada saves Latika, but at the cost of part of her soul. This leads the group to the Ostium once again, now recognizing that items from other worlds can activate it. Using Dean's journal that they picked up from the Akrida Queen, Mary summons the heavenly version of the trademark "Supernatural" Chevy Impala seen in the flagship's series finale.

After John, Carlos, and Samuel distract the Akrida Queen, Mary uses the Impala to run her into the ground, but not before the tricksy beast summons a portal, sending them into the abyss. Using the Ostium, they restore the Impala with both Mary and Dean in tow. 

Dean, identifying himself as Metallica frontman James Hetfield, explains that after his death, he found their world and the threat of the Akrida. Unable to turn a blind eye, he united the Monster Club to defeat the creatures for good. After Bobby Singer and a god-powered Jack arrive to take Dean back to Heaven, John and Mary's alternate future firstborn bequeaths them his own hunter's journal and a newly restored Colt to fend off any future Yellow-Eyed Demons.

Ramble on

After defeating the Akrida, everyone returns back to their normal lives — whatever that looks like in a world full of monsters, demons, ghosts, and ghouls. Mary chooses to quit monster hunting for good but decides to stay with John, hoping that they can figure their lives out together. Millie Winchester returns to her place of work, while Samuel Campbell gets back on the road, resuming his work as a hunter across the greater United States while honoring his daughter's choice to leave it all behind. After the battle, Latika even finds a spell that helps Ada restore her soul and hopefully rid Ada of any ties to Rowena in the future.

Though the rest of the Monster Club continues to fight whatever monsters lurk about Lawrence, Mary decides the best thing she can do to find herself is get out on the open road. Hoping to avoid choosing her destiny solo, she invites John to come with her, who quickly accepts. Though John will continue hunting at night, he and Mary aim to find themselves together during the day, and their journey towards becoming husband and wife — the Winchesters — continues. 

As they plug in Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On" — a personal favorite of their future son Dean — they echo the "driver picks the music" rule from "Supernatural" as they drive off into the sunset, free at last.

What's next?

As explained by Dean, "The Winchesters" isn't a prequel to "Supernatural" after all — at least not in the strict timeline sense. As it happens, this story takes place on another Earth in the ever-expanding multiverse that Jack restored after Chuck's defeat at the end of the original series. In this universe, John and Mary hunt together (at least for a time), enjoy a large network of friends, and have a real shot at a happy ending. After Dean gives John and Mary his hunter's journal, he explains that they are free to write their own destiny and use his experiences as a roadmap. While the world of "The Winchesters" is different than "Supernatural" — as seen in the changes to John and Mary's romantic history, Henry's death, and the weaknesses of certain monsters — there's a bit of freedom in that.

Since the spin-off series is no longer strictly bound by the expectations of the continuity of "Supernatural," these new versions of John and Mary have a genuine shot at happiness together and can become the Winchesters they always hoped to be. So far, there's no news about whether the prequel will be renewed or canceled following the first season of this "Supernatural" spin-off, but regardless of what happens next, the idea that John and Mary might make it out of hunting alive is a beautiful notion to hold onto. Plus, granting Dean a more satisfying ending made "The Winchesters" entirely worth it.