Well, that took a turn. As if a dead-again Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith) wasn't already an indication that Supernatural was diving head first into The Bad Place as its penultimate season wrapped up, Chuck (Rob Benedict) decided to grace the Bunker with his presence, and he advised that he only does that when it's really bad -- not even the first apocalypse was, in his mind, bad enough to warrant a visit from God himself.

This is where we have to pause for a moment and try to buy Chuck's -- and by extension, the writers' -- BS for a second. Chuck has long been the proxy through which the Supernatural writers interact with their own text, leading to a lot of meta moments over the years. Chuck's appearance in "Moriah" was no exception, and his actions in the finale will, undoubtedly, have far-reaching impacts on Supernatural's final season.

We were able to tolerate Chuck's assertion that Jack (Alexander Calvert) was a greater threat than anything else the Winchesters have faced if only because Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) themselves were having none of it. I'm sure that Sam and I were making the same squinty not-buying-that-nonsense face during Chuck's pontificating, and keeping in mind that the character of Chuck is essentially the writers writing themselves into the story, the self-reflection was appreciated. It was right to acknowledge that not every season has been great -- that some of them haven't even been particularly good. We've got one more season left on this crazy road trip from (and to) Hell, and it's important to lay it all out, especially with a show as hopelessly tangled with its fandom as Supernatural is.

Where are we, heading into the 15th and final season of Supernatural? A good place, narratively speaking. A very bad place, as far as the general health and wellness of the Winchesters and their Team Free Will associates are concerned.

After Chuck provided a magical gun that could kill Jack, with the caveat that it would also kill whoever fired it, we followed Dean and Sam down the usual path of drunken lamentations and arguing about which brother's turn it is to put on the hero pants and die all noble and stuff. Dean and Sam themselves seemed almost bored with the conversation that hit all the high notes and still managed to sound as flat and unremarkable as possible. I want to believe that this was intentional -- that after 14 seasons, the Winchesters are as exhausted by this routine as we are.

That exhaustion and sense of being trapped in this forever-cycle of death-resurrection-apocalypse came to a head when Chuck let slip that he's been watching Sam and Dean this entire time, pulling the strings behind the scenes to make their narrative entertain him however he wanted to be entertained. The terrible things that the Winchesters have survived over the years become all the more horrific when it's revealed that their ultimate ally, the deus ex machina in its purest form, capital-G God, didn't just fail to intervene when he easily could have, but at times actively contributed to their misery, and thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.

Dean ultimately refuses to kill Jack, and Chuck is enraged by the character -- his creation, his character -- refusing to participate in the story that Chuck, the writer, wanted to tell. Proving that he wasn't bluffing, that he really could have saved everyone at every point over the years and all the magical weapons and spells and doodads were just props in Chuck's own personal morality play, Chuck kills Jack with a snap of his fingers. Enraged by his characters rebelling, Chuck decides to just toss the whole story in the trash bin.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, "the whole story" isn't limited to just Sam and Dean Winchester. Chuck creates a new apocalypse, cracking open Hell and sending a lot of familiar faces back out into the world -- Bloody Mary, the Woman in White, John Wayne Gacy's ghost. He resurrects a horde of undead (PROPER ZOMBIES FINALLY!) and sics them on Dean, Sam, and Castiel (Misha Collins) because it wouldn't be a Supernatural season finale if everyone wasn't hanging out in a cemetery waiting for the end of days. Sure, a wounded Sam and overwhelmed Dean and Castiel were overtaken by the undead as the credits rolled, but is anyone honestly concerned that they're not going to make it through to the Season 15 premiere?

Despite how hard it is to put too much weight in the Winchesters' mortal peril these days, the allure of Season 15 is still undeniable. With the resurrection of monsters and ghosts the Winchesters had put down years ago and the apparent final abandonment by God/Chuck, Season 15 looks poised to be a love letter to the series and its fans. If Chuck was pulling the strings the entire time, then Team Free Will was never truly free. With Chuck seeming to abandon his story, then that means that his characters have finally found freedom, cut loose from their narratives and their roles.

Or have they? After all, Dean, Sam, and Cas are characters. Every character needs an author, or else they're just an idea, drifting in a sort of creative limbo, not fully realized or complete.

Season 15 is going to be SO META, and I am SO READY for it.

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)

Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, Supernatural

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Other Links From TVGuide.com SupernaturalJensen AcklesJared PadaleckiMisha CollinsRob Benedict