Not that long ago, he was happily retired and living with Ben and Lisa. True, he was called back into the hunter business with the return of Sam, but Dean had truly changed.
Sure, he could still spit out one liners with ease and his charm flipped on when needed. Yet, ultimately, Dean had grown as a character and a person. There was more than just saving the world every day. There was something personal at stake and something personal enough that Dean cared about.
Unfortunately, Dean's new attachments to Ben and Lisa came with negative repercussions. Their lives were always in danger, especially if someone wanted to hurt Dean.
Therefore, it came as no surprise that Ben and Lisa, despite being left behind earlier in the season, were the targets of Crowley's kidnapping plan. He's smart at finding those loopholes and pushing the Winchester buttons.
On top of all the passionate fervor and will to rescue his loved ones, it was his final scene with Ben and Lisa that had the most impact. While maybe it felt a little rash to wipe their minds (there's always still a chance an enemy could go after them in the future even with their memory loss), his heart was in the right place.
Dean truly cared for Ben and Lisa and felt upset that his appearance in their lives caused them pain and discontent. For him, it outweighed all of the good experiences he had with them. Watching him explain his "car crash" analogously was heartbreaking. The emotion and loss in his eyes were felt at the same time he expressed his true desires for them to be happy.
If you love something, set it free. Well done, Jensen Ackles.
Of course, as part one of the finale event, "Let It Bleed" also continued the Dean-centric episode by illuminating the broken relationship with Castiel.
In fact, I wanted to believe Castiel. I wanted to trust his judgment and his desires to do good. It's hard also seeing him choose to not listen to his friend. Like Castiel said, though, "doesn't trust go both ways?"
Castiel's speech about remaining Dean's friend, despite his actions, was important. Even with Dean refusing to agree with Castiel's choices, Castiel still saved Lisa and he also listened to Dean's pleas. I want the two of them to mend their ways. Can't they just hug it out?
Bringing in the horror writer H.P. Lovecraft was a great addition to the mythos. The show once again found a way to connect something realistic to the supernatural. Who better than a writer focused on weird creatures and other worlds? It fit perfectly into the mix.
Overall, this was a great outing. With multiple storylines taking place at once, the action and drama of the show continued to move forward. Now that Ben and Lisa are out of the picture, it's time to buckle down and figure out how this War in Heaven will end with "The Man Who Knew Too Much."
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.