I'll start by saying I absolutely loved it. Sure, I cried heaps but it was a mix of devastaton and joy. Tears I needed and wanted if truth be told.
I have not been watching the show for a while. To be honest, I had lost interest in the stories and I was SO worried about how they would end it. I didn't want to get so emotionally invested that I would be shattered by an ending I didn't think did justice to the 15 years the show had been running.
Turns out, I had nothing to be worried about.
I'll mention the thing that worked for me the most. Mainly because it was something that I had written about after season 9.
Sam allowed Dean to die.
I know. It seems like a weird thing to be excited about, but I once wrote that these characters will have developed so much at some point that they will have to let the other one go. At the time I remember long discussions about it not being possible because the whole show is about them not being able to live without each other. It's what made the show...well, the show. Their love, devotion, protectiveness and inability to say goodbye forever. It's why we watch.
But in some situations those decisions were difficult to watch. Especially in season 9 when Dean allowed an angel to possess Sam without his knowledge or consent. In fact, every time they brought the other back it created horrible ramifications. Sure, it made for interesting storytelling but I remember being frustrated that it never seemed to mean anything in the end - as in, no lessons learned (let's conveniently forget that they HAD to bring the other back in order for the show to continue *g*)
So for Dean to die - a beautifully normal hunting death was extremely significant. As was Sam burning him, grieving and moving on with his life. IT WAS GLORIOUSLY SIGNIFICANT. It meant that their hunting life was over - they had done their part in saving people and hunting things. It meant their lives were no longer being controlled. It meant death for Dean (and a type of peace he's needed in so many ways) and life for Sam (a life of grief, but also a full life and one where he raise a child). Lives that are normal and free.
We also got that wonderful montage of them going about their lives in the bunker, Sam pranking Dean and *sigh* some shirtless!Sam. Many things I had on my list of things I'd like to see. :)
The death scene was SOOOO emotional because it was not only them saying goodbye to each other, but they were saying goodbye to us. The words were not only Dean to Sam, but also Jensen to Jared. It just killed me. We also knew it was real this time. It wasn't saying goodbye only to know that next season Sam would have found a way to bring Dean back. It was FOREVER!
I've seen criticism that Dean didn't die a "heroic death". A death where he saved the world. For me - he's saved the world so many times that this time - saving 2 children - is SO much more meaningful. He died doing the job he was born into and brilliant at. If he died crossing the road then yeah, that would have been disappointing. But this? Didn't disappoint me at all. It made sense and allowed for that lovely moment between the two of them.
I must admit, I would love to have known more about Sam's life after Dean. Did he marry? What job did he do? Where did he live? But I suppose the mystery of that means we can fill in our own headcanon - and I'm ok with that. Sam having a child named Dean was so cute. And then to see him grown up and letting his father die (the "making deals" has not been carried on) was also moving.
And of course the reunion at the end was just beautiful. All I could see was Jensen and Jared being so damn proud of the work they had done. It made me cry all over again.
I became hooked on this show in the beginning because of Sam and Dean's relationship. And the show ended showcasing this glorious, tender, imperfect and beautiful relationship perfectly.
I might even go back and watch the last to seasons knowing how it all ends. :)
On a personal note - I haven't been fannish for a while now, but I have extremely fond memories of the lovely times I've had. What a ride! I've met so many lovely people and learned some new skills to boot!
All because of a little show that could.
*love and hugs* to you all.