Watching 1x21, which unlike all the other seasons, is pt1 of the 2-parter and has Carry On Wayward Son at the beginning, and there’s some other song on the season finale… Kinda by the by to talk about what episode but anyway.
When they use it as the recap, they’re very careful to lay this line over the clips as the lead in to Sam’s visions and what they’re singing over the top of them:
I set a course for winds of fortune, but I hear the voices say
Obviously that line is pretty well-placed to remind us Sam is psychic, and though Dean teases him about hearing voices, Sam’s visions are actually prophecy, which means when it goes on to the chorus -
Carry on my wayward son For there’ll be peace when you are done Lay your weary head to rest Don’t you cry no more
this is a prophecy seemingly laid out for SAM.
I find it really interesting because in the context of season 1 these songs were chosen fresh for the purpose. Of course Carry On Wayward Son is an amazing song for the show in some ways and especially with the “peace when you are done” bit being used on season finales for the endless ironic dragging on and on of season renewals, I can feel future!Me watching what I know WILL be the ACTUAL end of the show and hearing that line and crying that they’re actually going to maybe get to lay their weary heads to rest :P
But yeah here it’s picked to tell the story of season 1, and specifically that it’s not for the last episode but the second last, even within season 1’s context it’s ironic that there’s still definitely an episode to go and this isn’t the end yet, and the last chorus is over John and them being like yeah wooo we’re gonna go kill the thing that killed Mom now we have the Colt, so it’s also warning them it’s not that easy.
I do like that it ties in the lyrics to Sam and prophecy though, because as much as some of the other lyrics seem to be custom made for Dean (and 10x05 especially with the very clearly sung version of it, after all the songs like “single man tear” where the entire play is telling us ABOUT Dean in Sam or Cas or Dean’s “own” words (seriously, for a Sam!girl, Marie really made that play all about Dean because season 10 theeemes and an answer to everything demon!Dean said in 10x03 :P)).
I think it’s probably best to compare the chorus, assuming it’s metaphorically telling us it’s a prophecy for Sam, with this speech of his which is also laden with irony about finishing the job and having peace:
SAM: No. No way. (They are silent for a few seconds.) God, could you imagine if we actually found that damn thing? That demon? DEAN: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, all right? SAM: I know. I’m just sayin’, what if we did? What if this whole thing was over tonight? Man, I’d sleep for a month. Go back to school—be a person again.
If you overlay it with the chorus it’s a pretty much perfect match, of course laden with irony, especially that they’re still at it and every year the repeat of this mantra seems more and more taunting :P I re-watched 12x22 and 12x23 with my friend last night (she had been in Bulgaria and we never got a chance to finish catching her up until now) and 12x22 seems to be such an emotional conclusion, 12x23 really does come on its heels like it’s just stomping in with all the left over plot threads to smash everything up again after it seemed like some sort of peace and resolution had been reached for the blood Winchester family. Heh. Should have waited until Cas was there to hug it out in safety and you know for sure you can make a Winchester sandwich and there’s no spare family member off in Dire Peril.
Anyway. Kinda beside the point :P Except that season 1 Sam seems to have foretold the entire grim march of the show per the dark irony of mixing the chorus of the song with his prophetic ability.
It does make it more of a promise to me, though. The idea that peace - real, non-creepy peace that isn’t in the horrifying “peace or freedom” catch 22 that the show has operated on for years - waits on the far end of it. The kind where you can have peace AND freedom. It was a sort of grim irony back in season 1, but the further we get from that the more it seems like something juuust out of reach.