Note: This list was written only after season 7. So…no episodes after that are included.
I want to reiterate what I said in my last list. These aren’t necessarily the best, just the 10 I most enjoy to watch.
And the reason I spell Cas(s) the way I do is it comes from “Castiel” and should only have one “s”, but several people swear that the writers spell it with two. My obsessive compulsive mind won’t let me go with one or the other, so this is the resulting compromise.
And there may be spoiler-y things for each specific episode.
10. Mommy Dearest
I must have been having some sort of an off day when I first saw this episode, because I didn’t think much of it, not that it was bad, I just didn’t think there was anything that set it apart. I saw it again recently and thought it was genius.
It’s humorous throughout, and everyone gets good dialogue. A lot of times I find that all the comedy comes from one character; there’ll either be a funny Dean episode or a funny Cas(s) episode, but “Mommy Dearest” is pretty well rounded for all four of the leads.
The best thing about the episode is the battle-cry of “Jefferson Starships,” Dean’s name for the monster hybrids, “because they’re horrible and hard to kill.”
It’s a particularly entertaining Cas(s) episode, when he discovers his powers don’t work in the presence of Eve. Entertaining that is, until the very end, with the whole working with a bad guy…thing.
And Bobby gets to come out and play. I’m supportive of those episodes. He’s too often stuck at home, answering phones or doing research, while other hunters get to go out and, you know, hunt.
I also thought the way they killed Eve was pretty inventive. I didn’t know how they were gonna get out of that episode once their weapons were taken away. It’s just really solid all around.
9. Bad Day at Black Rock
Because it’s funny to watch Sam Winchester suffer.
Alright, so Sam has really good luck for the first quarter of the episode or so, after he comes into possession of a lucky rabbit’s foot. That is, until Bela Lugosi, who is first introduced in this episode, steals it from him and his luck turns sour.
And I should feel bad for him, but it’s just so damn entertaining. Then Dean steals the foot back and has good luck, while Sam keeps narrowly evading being killed.
This episode includes the fire in the motel room, the Batman exchange, and the infamous “I lost my shoe” line.
“Bad Day” also introduces the restaurant chain Biggerson’s (where they win a free year of food), which returns throughout the series. It’s the restaurant where the final showdown takes place in “My Bloody Valentine,” the first place to become afflicted by the curse in “You Can’t Handle the Truth,”and the establishment selling the poisonous Leviathan sandwiches in “How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters.”
Oh, and Ben Edlund alert. He wrote 4 of the episodes on this list.
8. The French Mistake
This is the most insane concept for any episode of a TV show I’ve ever heard of and should’ve crashed and burned. Instead it’s one of the best episodes they ever made.
Sam and Dean trying to exist in the pseudo-real world turns out to be great fun and there are layers and layers of jokes, if you know where to look. The more you know about the cast and crew the more you get:
Genevieve Cortese/Padalecki as Jared’s wife, or as Dean calls her, “fake Ruby,” them meeting the producer, Bobby Singer (“what kind of douchebag names a character after himself?”), NOTE: that is not the real Bobby Singer playing Bobby Singer, Misha Collins playing “Misha Collins,” Jensen on Days of Our Lives. They’ve made jokes about other shows the two leads have been in before, but never actually shown them in a scene from another series.
My favorite shot of the episode features Sam sitting in front of a computer, and hanging on the wall behind him is a larger than life poster of Jared in a cowboy hat, riding a horse.
Eric Kripke (again, not played by the real Eric Kripke) is given a Tarantino style death scene and a whimpering Misha gets stabbed to death in an alleyway.
And the title’s a Blazing Saddles reference. That’s just damn good television.
Another Ben Edlund episode.
7. My Bloody Valentine
The Winchesters take on the Horseman, Famine.
The only person who seems immune to the effects is Dean. Even Castiel is affected as his vessel craves red meat (particularly hamburgers), where a great deal of comedy in this episode comes from. Sam’s demon blood addiction comes back to haunt him, but in the end he’s able to use the power it gives him to save himself and Dean. And Cas(s). And the world.
We find out about Cupid (we’re dealing with angels, it was bound to come up) and his overly friendly greetings, which Sam, at first, mistook for aggression.
And then there was what I read to be a Pulp Fiction reference. Remember that business with the briefcase? According to who you talk to, the briefcase in Pulp Fiction contained Marcellus Wallace’s soul, which also gave off a similar glow, and according to Cas(s), the briefcase contains such an item. The reference wasn’t as blatant as the diner scene in “Slash Fiction” (another good episode), but it was enough to make me happy.
ALERT: Ben Edlund.
6. The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo
This is another well balanced episode. It’s a great episode for all the nerds watching. Sam goes off on a Harry Potter rant with Felicia Day, who is a good source of geek-dom in everything she graces, and this episode is no different.
Her character is extremely likable from the get-go. And she’s one of only a handful of positive gay characters on the show. I suspect that this is because all the fangirls are inexplicably enraged at even the suggestion of any female love interest for any male character on the show.
Even in season 8, we find out about Sam’s last love interest in flashbacks, as he recounts how the relationship failed. But I digress.
The episode is awfully quirky (there were actually a lot of great quirky episodes in this season “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magic Menagerie,” “Time after Time After Time”) fun, funny, with a side of vengeful spirit Bobby, but by the end has you on the edge of your seat as Charlie (Day) tries to infiltrate Dick Roman’s company, by hacking into his computer right as he returns to the office. And Dick was a great bad guy. My skin would crawl whenever he was on screen.
I also liked that little hint at the end that Charlie had been involved in other nefarious dealings, but the ending was also left open enough that she could show up again. If you’re listening writers, reprise Charlie.
5. The Monster at the End of This Book
It’s the introduction of Chuck Shurley, who I love so much I can hardly stand it.
This is very much attributed to the fact that he’s a writer AND the most powerful being in the universe. That makes me happy.
I nearly put “The Real Ghostbusters” on the list, but since this one was here I made room for some others. That’s a great Chuck episode, but I feel like this is the Chuck episode. I feel for him. I’d be pretty freaked if my characters showed up at my door, irate for putting them in horrible situations. That is what would happen too, if my characters were real.
The way that Sam and Dean keep attempting to evade the prophecies, only to cause them to happen, is executed brilliantly. A second viewing of this episode could really serve an audience member too, once you get what’s going on, and the way they keep running into what they meant to be running away from.
It also has a lot of exposition that is important for later on in the arc of the series, but it never feels like the story is moving too sluggishly or that the writers are actually giving exposition. For the most part it’s hidden pretty well.
And the Supernatural books that Chuck pens, themselves, really are badly written, but the fact that Chuck’s a bad writer just makes me like him even more. Bring him back please.
4. Changing Channels
Whose warped brain allowed this to happen? And is there an address where I can send them a fruit basket?
This episode is the height of television parody, even making fun of Grey’s Anatomy, which Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who played Sam and Dean’s father, was on. And they went on to poke fun, specifically of the character Morgan played on the show.
The entire sitcom-esque theme song and the fake commercial showed how committed they were to this episode.
I can’t decide if my favorite part was the sitcom, between the laugh track and the crazy motel room (though let’s face it, they’ve stayed at weirder, I could make a whole countdown of bad motel rooms) or the crime drama, with the sunglasses, puns, and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” cover.
It’s also, in my humble opinion, the best Richard Speight Jr. episode, and the episode when you find out what/who he really is. SO GOOD. As a matter of fact, bring him back too.
The ending takes a very sudden, very serious tone that queues up his next appearance perfectly, and makes quite a few things a lot clearer.
But come on, we like it for the sunglasses.
3. Swan Song
How do you end the best season of the show? How do you even sit down at your computer and start?
Well, cleverly, quite a bit of the episode is Chuck trying to figure out how to end the Supernatural book series.
This is really where the we’re-brothers-and-would-die-for-each-other thing comes into play. It’s a sentiment I personally, and I think most people with siblings, can understand.
I’ve got a little brother. If he was possessed by Lucifer and was gonna fight some long lost half-brother we didn’t know we had, who was possessed by Michael…well, I don’t know that I’d have done exactly what Dean did, but I couldn’t sit around doing nothing.
And the fact that he brought Sam back into consciousness through the Impala was beautiful.
It’s pretty hopeless by the end, Cas(s) is killed, Bobby’s killed, Dean is beaten to a pulp and Sam/Lucifer and Adam/Michael are trapped in a pit in hell. But they can’t leave us quite so downtrodden.
Cas(s) comes back, and apparently God or Chuck or Chuck/God returned his angel card because he restores Dean and Bobby, and we get a glimpse of Sam (of course, he’s all jacked up, but we don’t know that yet).
I have a very fond memory of watching this episode right after graduation. I was feeling kinda crumby because I had to move back in with my mom. But she had somehow found pumpkin pie (my favorite) at the store in the middle of summer, and this episode had just started on TV. And I had pumpkin pie and coffee with whipped cream for breakfast, while I watched Lucifer and Michael battle for world domination, and I thought maybe everything’s gonna be okay after all.
And bring Adam back.
2. Free to Be You and Me
Purely for Dean and Cas(s). Sam’s storyline in this episode makes me sad and I worry whenever a character goes off on their own in a show like this because, low and behold, bad stuff happens.
Sam almost gets killed by enraged hunters. And he probably lost his job at the bar after the other hunters force fed him demon’s blood and he beat them up. Just to add insult to injury.
The previous episode ends rather tragically with Sam and Dean deciding to go their separate ways, as happens every so often, and normally that upsets me. It did, as a matter of fact.
Except that Dean takes Cas(s) hunting, and it makes for the second best episode of the show.
Much of the episode is Cas(s) trying and failing to act human. This is primarily evident when they go to interview a cop who witnessed an archangel, and again when Dean discovers Cas(s) is a virgin, and takes him to a brothel. Needless to say, neither of the activities end well.
But Dean’s actually enjoying himself and the job, like he felt he hadn’t in a long time with Sam. To which a little voice in my head cried “nooooo! Go find Sammy!” and an episode later he does.
But it also meant they had a new part-time hunter and all powerful angel of the Lord fighting on their side.
1. Hollywood Babylon
This has been my favorite episode ever since I first saw it.
As an eye-roller of many slasher films I find this episode to be quite clever and entertaining. Plus, it provided a much needed light-hearted feeling after the devastation of the episode “Heart.”
Through the fake trailer, the star’s inability to create a proper horror scream, and the disillusioned writer who tries to get back at the studio (yay, more crazy writers), the episode gave the creators the opportunity to write a commentary of what goes on behind the scenes of a Hollywood horror film.
And I appreciated that they were willing to satirize their own genre, another thing I appreciated about “The French Mistake.” They’re willing to make fun of themselves and don’t take the show too seriously.
It also contains what may be my favorite line in all of Supernatural:
“What’s a P.A.?”
“I think it’s kind of like a slave.”
On the other hand, I’m a lover of movies, and the studio soundstage setting made this episode really fun for me, while they also play up a lot of the stereotypes about people in the movie industry, and kill off several of the suits.
And let me take a look here and see who wrote this one. Oh, that’s right: