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After The Apocalypse, Is Supernatural Returning To Season One Territory?

As the Winchester brothers careen toward tonight's season- and potentially world-ending showdown between the archangel Michael and the fallen angel Lucifer, fans of Supernatural are left wondering what could possibly follow the Apocalypse.

After all, creator Eric Kripke, who departs as showrunner with tonight's "Swan Song," had planned for Supernatural to last just five seasons. However, increased ratings led to The CW executives ordering a sixth, and possibly final, season. But what will it be about?

Will it return to the monster-of-the-week formula of Season One, with Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) traveling from town to town in the 1967 Impala, dispatching poltergeists, vampires and, as Dean reminded us in last week's episode, wendigoes? Or will there be a larger storyline, perhaps with Dean facing the undoubtedly nasty repercussions of, quite literally, cheating Death? (In last week's episode, "Two Minutes to Midnight," Dean struck a deal with the physical embodiment of Death that we all know he has no plans on honoring.)

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Judging from this interview with season-six showrunner Sera Gamble, it seems like we could get a little of both. “We will have lots of meat-and-potatoes closed-ended episodes," she tells TV Guide, "and we also have a season-long story arc to weave in."

Gamble doesn't mention Death, played to chilling and understated perfection by Julian Richings. But it's difficult to imagine Dean reneging on their agreement without some kind of punishment. Or what about rumblings that bristly Bobby (Jim Beaver) will fall in tonight's episode? (Gamble won't say.) A mission by the boys to resurrect their father figure, or wrangle his soul from the demon Crowley (Mark Sheppard), could provide the series with a thematic bookend.

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As long as we're treated to a little more Death, and much more of the delightfully somber angel Castiel (Misha Collins), I'll be pleased. Well, probably.

"Swan Song" airs tonight at 9 EST/PST on The CW.

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