Time to resume the countdown of our Favorite 100 Supernatural Episodes! This week we begin releasing the TOP HALF of the list – out top 50 favorite Supernatural episodes of all time!
How did we choose which episodes deserved to be on the Top 100 list? Rankings were determined by a group of rag-tag-war-torn fans who spend way too much of their time studying and writing about Supernatural! Specifically, participants in this ranking challenge included administrators and writers from The WFB, admins from the website Fangasm, and admins from Super-Fan-Wiki. Each individual’s rankings were tallied to create a consolidated list of our Top 100 Favorite Episodes – and by “tallied” I mean my computer-expert hubs took the excel spreadsheet and applied his math-genius skills, resulting in a formula that weighted and ranked the final results. Details about this epic project were described in “The Road So Far” introduction. It’s all about the Math, and say it with we – Math Don’t Lie. So let’s get to this week’s countdown!
#50 “Do You Believe in Miracles?” (9.23)
Sam, Dean and Cas desperately try to stop Metatron from becoming the new god, and the consequences are… um… hmmm… ok, so I don’t really have words for this. Full disclosure – I’ve only watched this episode once, the night it aired. It left me physically sick. And I can’t watch it again. Believe me, I’ve tried to watch it. But I just can’t. Yes, yes, Dean has died before, many times before, but this time, it was just so graphic, so painful, so Real (insert every ugly crying gif here. Yes, all of them).
Fortunately, the other participants were able to find words for this episode. Alice called it “an emotional tearjerker that had you screaming at the closing reveal!” Journalbookbinder said, “Metatron kills Dean VERY bloody and it just about killed me…one of the few where I actually cried.” Kate38 added, “The final seconds of this finale left me devastated for about a week. I still can’t watch Dean’s eyes turn black. I just can’t. I always stop my rewatch or avert my eyes before it gets to that shot. Unfortunately, that shot is preceded by one of Mark Sheppard’s best moments in the entire series. I love Crowley’s monologue there, so it’s viewing ecstasy followed by agony for me. Every time.”
Again, with the crying. I’ll just drop in a few gifs and then try to pull myself together.
Meanwhile, Cas is in Heaven, on his mission to destroy the Angel Tablet, and we are all rooting for him to destroy it in time.
Gail said, “I think I held my breath this entire episode. I recently re-watched it, and couldn’t believe how much it affected me, even though we know what happens now, in hindsight! Boy, oh boy, do I hate Metatron. I loved that Cas stormed Heaven, using the old “prisoner” ploy. Cas actually smashed the Angel Tablet to save Dean, his friend. Think about that for a moment. The Angel Tablet. And then, Cas exposes Metatron, for all of Heaven to hear on the PA system. Fantastic.”
One thing that really stands out about this episode is Curtis Armstrong. He is absolutely phenomenal as Metatron. He completely convinced me to hate him. He was smarmy and snarky and sneaky and snaky – and every second of it was pure gold.
Metatron to Cas: Oh, that’s right – to save Dean Winchester. That was your goal, right? I mean, you draped yourself in the flag of Heaven, but ultimately, it was all about saving one human, right? Well, guess what. He’s dead, too.
In all fairness, the fight scene between Dean and Metatron in the abandoned building near the homeless camp is a truly great scene. It does everything that great filmmaking should do – it is visually stunning, with the red lights dully shining throughout the scene, hinting at the bloodshed to come… the fight itself is expertly choreographed, and nerve-racking and nail-biting and edge-of-your-seat intense… we are all rooting for Dean to win this fight.
And we are rooting for Sam, who desperately wants to stop Metatron, to save Dean, and we desperately want him to get to Dean in time… and he’s too late. He arrives too late. He arrives just in time to watch Metatron sink his Angel Blade into Dean’s chest, killing him.
When Sam carries Dean, bloody and dying… and Dean stops, and says that line to Sam… and then Dean stops breathing, and Sammy starts crying… ok, listen, I just Cannot.
The whole thing just sucked away all of our air, leaving us completely incapable of taking a single breath while it played out. We couldn’t breathe, we couldn’t move, we couldn’t look away. So I’d like to give a big Kudos to the writers, the director, and all of the actors in this fight scene – Job. Well. Done.
Lynn said, “The scene that stays with me isn’t the death scene. It’s the quiet, tender scene that we only half saw. Sam carrying his battered, broken brother back to the bunker, back to their home. Laying him gently on the bed, wiping the blood from his face. There aren’t that many times when television or film portrays loss in a way that hits you almost too hard, in a way that makes your throat tighten painfully as you blink back tears. It doesn’t matter that I know there’s a Season 10 or that Dean won’t stay a demon forever. In that moment, Sam Winchester has lost his brother. And I’m crying with him. Maybe the miracle is that this Show can still make me believe.”
Let us not forget that final scene. Sam, overcome with pain and sadness and trying to bring Dean back… he goes to the dungeon, to summon Crowley. However, Crowley is already inside the Bunker – he’s in Dean’s room:
Your brother, bless his soul is summoning me as I speak. Make a deal. Bring you back. It’s exactly what I was talking about wasn’t it? It’s all become so… expected. / It wasn’t until you summoned me, no it wasn’t truly ’til you left the cheeseburger uneaten… and I began to let myself believe, maybe miracles do come true. / Listen to me Dean Winchester, what you’re feeling right now is not death, it’s life. A new kind of life. Open your eyes Dean, see what I see, feel what I feel. Let’s go take a howl at that moon.
And then this happened:
#49 “Two Minutes to Midnight” (5.21)
Sam and Dean, along with Cas and Bobby, try to collect all the rings of the Four Horsemen. It starts with Pestilence and, like, no. Gross. I might throw up.
Elle agreed, saying, “I’m mixed on this episode, because while I think Matt Frewer is brilliant, Pestilence is just so disgusting to me it’s a real turn off.”
However, Nate Winchester was not grossed out, in fact, he loved this episode! He said, “This episode is stuffed! Death! Pestilence! Crowley! Bobby walking! Sam kicking ass! Cas kicking ass! Dean eating pizza! Wait… About the only complaint one can make of this episode is that it has too much going on (which is a good complaint). So many character arcs concluding while Death itself shows up and puts everything in perspective? Just amazing. Julian Richings and Matt Frewer both turn in memorable performances, making you wish this episode was about a half hour longer.”
Kate38 added, “WOW! This was an epic episode! I normally don’t like it when the brothers are separated, but I didn’t mind in this episode. There’s such amazing chemistry between Jensen and Mark, and Jim Beaver, Misha, and Jared that I thought the team-ups worked really well.”
(*for bonus Easter Egg – see end of article)
Memorable Scene #1: Bobby sells his soul to Crowley in exchange for Death’s location, and yes, he did in fact seal the deal with a kiss.
Bobby: Why’d you have to take a picture?
Crowley: Why’d you have to use tongue?
Nightsky said, “These scenes with Crowley are priceless. He was smart, sarcastic, witty. I miss this Crowley.” Same, Nightsky, same. #LongLiveTheKing
Memorable Scene #2: Death’s Epic Entrance! The song, “O, Death.” And the slow motion. And the swagger. Bravo, Julian Richings, Brav-O.
Kate38 said, “OH Death! Julian Richings embodies power and quiet menace from his very first appearance on that street in Chicago. His every breath is threatening.”
Elle added, “Death? Amazing. Nothing can be said that hasn’t already been said about his entrance and the pizza parlor exchange. Simply phenomenal characterization.”
Memorable Scene #3: Dean prepares to face Death at a pizzeria. Kudos to both Jensen and Julian for their performances in this scene. Julian is perfectly creepy and scary and terrifying. Jensen is perfectly uneasy and hesitant and terrified. Their entire exchange drips with doom and gloom tinged with the slightest sliver of hope.
Nightsky reminded me that in this scene, Death said, “Oh yes, God will die too, Dean.” And the Nightsky said, “Interesting line that might define S15.” Ok, no. Just no. Nope. Not gonna think that line has anything to do with the upcoming f… fi… ffi… I can’t do it. I’m not ready for that f-word yet.
Memorable Scene #4: Bobby’s conversation with Dean about Sam.
Bobby: Look, I’m not saying Sam ain’t an ass-full of character defects. But…
Dean: But what?
Bobby: Back at Niveus? I watched that kid pull one civilian out after another. Must have saved 10 people. Never stopped. Never slowed down. We’re hard on him, Dean. We’ve always been. But in the meantime… He’s been running into burning buildings since he was, what, 12?
Bobby: Look, Sam’s got a… darkness in him. I’m not saying he don’t. But he’s got a hell of a lot of good in him, too.
Dean: I know.
Bobby: Then you know Sam will beat the devil…Or die trying. That’s the best we could ask for. So I got to ask, Dean. What exactly are you afraid of? Losing? Or losing your brother?
Nightsky said, “I absolutely love that conversation! It was an unthinkable choice, an unthinkable sacrifice for both of them.”
#48 “Tall Tales” (2.15)
The boys investigate strange happenings on a college campus, and as they try to solve the case, they become increasingly cranky with each other. They call Bobby for help, and he identifies the culprit – The Trickster!
Elle said, “Aliens! Alligators! Tricksters! Bickering and slightly skewed event recounts! What’s not to love? This is always atop my rewatch list when I need a laugh.”
Kate38 said, “I really loved the moments between the brothers in this one. We got to see glimpses of them getting on each other’s nerves – as brothers often do. That probably happened a lot when they were on the road. I liked it because it was sort of harmless, unlike when they fight for real.”
Nate Winchester said, “Just pure hilarity gold. Gotta love any episode with the Trickster. Still, what makes this stand out is not just the pranks he pulls, but the opening act where we get to see Sam and Dean from the other’s perspective, which gives Jared & Jensen a chance to put in some of their funniest performances ever with Jim Beaver providing the excellent straight-man role. This was an episode that proved SPN would take things seriously – especially when poking fun at itself. Oh Trickster, you always left us wanting more.”
And perhaps one of the most memorable lines from the entirety of the Show:
Lynn said, “The brilliant thing about this ep is it’s all about the brothers’ relationship – living in each other’s pockets, their differences grating, sibling rivalry and fierce love and loyalty all clanging around together, played out in endless motel rooms.”
Alice added, “The alien slow dance is still the best scene I’ve ever seen.”
#47 “Red Meat” (11.17)
Notice: This episode may require a trigger warning. Gentle reminder – please do NOT take any medical advice or lessons from this episode.
How do I even begin to recap this episode? I’ll keep it short, but I do so with much hesitation. In a nutshell – Sam is shot during a werewolf hunt. And he dies. And Dean is devastated, broken.
Lynn pointed out that Dean left the lamp on for his brother. His dead brother. She said, “That was it. I was wrecked.”
It should be over, right? No, it’s not over yet. Because Dean. Dean Winchester. He knows he has a job to do – he must save the others inside the cabin, get them to safety. In spite of his complete and utter heartbreak, he finds his own strength to do the job, to carry on.
Kate38 said, “There were some great moments in this one. I remember being SHOCKED when Sam got shot in the opening teaser. WHAT?!?! And Dean’s sorrow when he thought Sam died was palpable. Of course, I also love the way Sam fought his way back — literally from the brink of death – to save Dean just in time.”
Elle added, “Oh man. Tears. Again. Incredible episode. We know they won’t die….but the drama and suspense is there all the same. The journey back to each other and the obstacles – yup, it’s (another) tear-jerker episode. The brothers’ relationship never, ever gets stale or falls short. And this is an episode that shows exactly how strong it is.”
And then Dean chokes down a handful of pills in an attempt to contact Billie, hoping to make a deal with her to bring Sam back.
Billie: That’s what I thought. It’s cute though You pretending to save Sam for the greater good, when we both know you’re doing it for you. You can’t lose him. But even if Sammy could win the title bout, the answer would still be ‘no.’ The answer will always be ‘no.’ Game’s over Dean. No more second chances. No more extra lives. Time to say bye-bye to Luigi, Mario.
But Sam isn’t dead. Oh no, not at all. In fact, he’s back at that cabin, struggling to get up, to find his way to Dean, to save Dean from Corbin, a werewolf, who is following Dean.
Lynn said, “Jared deserved all the awards for how he portrayed a terribly injured Sam determined to get to his brother anyway. Sam is so clearly in agony – once again, Jared portrays his pain and determination vividly. I HURT watching him. He moves like every movement costs him, sweating and shaking as he lurches around the cabin.” She then added, “I let out a whoop of accomplishment when Sam finally got to the Impala – you can FEEL his relief at just making it back “home”. He throws himself against the car, leaning into her and letting her hold him up for a moment and just relishing that sense of security she gives him.”
Let’s not forget the Show’s motto: ‘Saving people, hunting things, the family business.’ Yes, Sam and Dean hunt things, and yes, they save people… but listen, nothing – Nothing – will stop these brothers from saving Each Other. Can I get an Amen?
#46 “The Born-Again Identity” (7.17)
There’s so much happening in this episode! Sam is incessantly tortured by hallucinations of Lucifer, pushing Sam to his breaking point, and ultimately he is locked in a psychiatric ward!
Lucifer: Narcissistic personality disorder. Okay, now this one I could have.
Meanwhile, Dean’s efforts to find a way to help Sam lead him to a healer named Emmanuel – and it’s actually Cas! Cas has no idea who he really is, so Dean treads lightly in revealing too much information.
Dean and Cas make their way to the hospital to heal Sam, and when they stop for gas, Meg shows up. The trio then travel together to the hospital, which is surrounded by demons. Dean and Meg discuss their options, and Cas overhears them. Meg tells him who he really is.
Ultimately, Cas regains his memories, smites all of the demons, and upon reaching Sam, he shifts Sam’s hallucinations to himself. Now Cas is locked in the psych ward, with Meg as his nurse.
Kate38 said, “This is one of my all-time favorites! Castiel comes back from amnesia to save Sam just in time, we get to spend some time with saucy Meg, and Dean – as usual – moves mountains to try to save his brother. The most poignant moment for me was when Dean showed Castiel his raincoat, which he’d been keeping in the Impala since Castiel “died” earlier in the season. I love what that moment said about their friendship. I also love the little, early hint we got in this one that Bobby was going to come back (when the datebook fell on the floor).”
Gail said, “I’m letting my Castiel flag fly, here – I was thrilled when Dean found him as Emmanuel! He realized how badly he had erred, and his mind compartmentalized, repressing the worst of what he had done. That’s the way I see it, anyway. I felt badly for Sam, of course, but I was so mesmerized by the return of Cas and what was going to happen with him next that I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. Then, Meg comes along. Yipes! It was so cool when Cas smited? Smote? What’s the proper usage? those Demons. And then, the sweet moment when Dean pulled Cas’s trenchcoat out of the car. Then, Cas absorbed Sam’s insanity into himself, to atone for his own mistakes. Wow.”
Nate Winchester summed up the episode: “You never realized how much you missed Castiel until his triumphant return here. Though I think what I love most about this episode is that it’s so small and personal. There’s no world at stake. No lives to be saved. The only thing to be saved is just the mind of one of our characters. And Sam reminds us why he’s worth saving by saving a person even while he’s dying. Sometimes a simple, quiet win can be more satisfying than a big, loud one.” Well said, Nate, well said.