This is it. Our Favorite Two Supernatural Episodes! We have finally arrived at #2 and #1 in The Winchester Family Business‘ “Supernatural Top 100 Favorite Episode Countdown”!
Every week for the past four months (with a few exceptions for holidays), we have counted down our favorite 100 episodes out of the 307 total episodes that aired in Supernatural‘s seasons 1 to 14. The stories, action and emotion from each episode were recapped with gifs of their most epic moments. Each judge then shared their thoughts on why the episodes deserved to be among the best of a series that produces some of the most creatively written and brilliantly acted and staged work on television.
Before the names of these episodes are revealed, let’s recap how this project came to be. Administrators and staff writers from three of the biggest Supernatural fansites, The WFB, Super-Fan_Wiki and Fangasm, ranked their favorite episodes from 1 to 100. The votes were tallied to determine the consolidated ranking of the Top 100 episodes (and when I say tallied, we mean we applied some high-level math wizardry to an excel spreadsheet, successfully tallying, formulating, weighting and ranking the final results. Remember, folks, it’s all about the Math and, say it with we – Math Don’t Lie.) The participants represented a broad cross-sampling of groups within the Supernatural fandom. You can learn more about the project, participants’ backgrounds, the voting process and the final, warded results in “The Road So Far”, the introduction to this ambitious project! It also announced a few episodes that didn’t make the list, but were so close they deserve Honorable Mentions!
Shout out to my dear friend, Nat – most of the gifs I’ve used throughout the articles in this series have come from her tumblr account!
So here they are. The best of the best. Enjoy!
#2 “Lazarus Rising” (4.01)
Written By Eric Kripke
Directed By Kim Manners
In the third season finale, Dean’s crossroads eal expired. And the hellhounds came. And they ripped and clawed and shredded his body. And he went to Hell.
And Sam cried.
And we cried.
Now, in the premiere episode of season four, Dean appears to be still in Hell, in some sort of box. He can barely talk. He begins to punch at the walls of the box. As he does, bits of dirt fall on him. He punches harder. The wall above him breaks, and mounds of dirt fall inside. He reaches upward, his hands breaking through the ground above. He pulls himself out of the box, the hole, the ground. He finds himself in what is now a field – it was a wooded area, but the trees have all been knocked down, as if some massive force exploded there, devastating the entire area.
Massive force indeed.
For the rest of the episode, Dean tries to understand how he got out of Hell. He calls Bobby, and of course, he finds Sam too. They don’t know how Dean escaped from Hell. And none of them are prepared for that answer.
Alice said, “Now that’s how you kick off a season!”
Lynn said, “What an epic “The Road So Far” to ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’. I remember thinking my god, this Show is friggen’ badass! This episode is full of so many incredible moments! When that crane shot pulls up to show the circle of downed trees surrounding Dean’s grave – wow! A++ Cinematography! The moment when Dean and Sam see each other again is so emotional, and then they hug each other so fiercely, and then Sam gives Dean the Samulet back… I need tissues.
Lynn also said – well, she kinda shouted, let’s be honest – “And then – THE MOST EPIC ENTRANCE EVER! The blown out bulbs, the blown off roof shingles, the sparks flying everywhere, and in strolls Castiel. EPIC. Cas was so flippin’ badass in this episode, literally awe inspiring. The first time we saw the shadow of those wings behind him, I gasped out loud!”
Gail said, “Caaaaaas! I’m thrilled beyond measure that this episode ranked so high, because that signifies to me that many others feel the same way. Holy moly, that entrance. I love Sam and Dean Winchester as characters, but I firmly believe the show would not have gone on for as long as it has had it just remained by and large a MotW show. There are only so many vampires, werewolves, and teenagers in distress in the woods shows you can do before things become a blur – boring and predictable. The introduction of Angels and Demons opened up a whole new realm, and gave the show wings – no pun intended. Well, maybe a little. I had never seen a character like Castiel before and I was instantly captivated. It’s evident to me from the high ranking of this episode that I’m not the only one. I realize that the core of the show is the brothers, but the addition of the character of Castiel and the Angel and Demon mythology blew the doors off everything, and opened up a whole new universe of possibility.”
Nightsky recalled, “Season 4 was the first season I ever watched of the-show-that-changed-everything. Can you imagine jumping into Supernatural in season 4?! I was captivated. It will always hold a special place in my heart.” As to why she thinks “Lucifer Rising” is so extraordinary, she said, “The season’s opening is utterly intense. Then Dean reaches out to Bobby, only to have Bobby freak out. They exchange the best hug ever, until…“Hey ya Sammy.” Then the hug to end all hugs! The “It’s all right, Sammy, I believe you” scene melts me, but it’s immediately followed up by Sam giving the Samulet back to Dean! This episode has so many absolutely iconic moments (so sorry Pamela!)! Sam’s powers. Ruby 2.0. Castiel’s entrance. Dean: What are you? Castiel: I am an angel of the Lord. Dean: “Why’d you do it?” Castiel: “Because God commanded it. Because we have work for you.” Every line, every scene in this episode is epic. Jared & Genevieve’s lives changed forever with this ep. Misha’s life changed forever. We’re watching both Supernatural and real life history unfold here. I get chills just thinking about how pivotal this episode was to the series, the actors and the fans.”
Journalbookbinder said, “The start of this episode with Dean emerging from the grave and walking through a silent landscape and ending up at an abandoned gas station is the BEST 10 minutes of the show. The best. For me, could be the best 10 minutes (if it even was 10 minutes?) of TV EVER. Jensen acting without words; all body language is SHEER PERFECTION.
She added, “We also get the introduction of several new characters. We meet Ruby for the first time, even though we don’t know it’s Ruby (and a very memorably bare-chested and chiseled Sam). Pamela Barnes is a great character introduced here and her banter with Sam and Dean is priceless. And we are introduced to the angels. Menacing Cas – remember him? I remember being a bit scared for Dean and Bobby as they tried to figure out what they were dealing with when they first encountered Cas in the barn. Bobby “testing” Dean to make sure he’s not a demon is priceless. Dean’s dismay that Bobby hasn’t heard much from Sam since his (Dean’s) death is heartbreaking. Dean finds out that someone higher up feels he’s worth saving. Everything about this episode is PERFECT.”
Nate Winchester: One of the 2 episodes that I can remember where and when I watched it. I had just moved to a new city, was feeling a bit homesick stuck in a motel (how like the boys, eh?), but my favorite show was about to come on. Dean was back and now God was involved? Here I thought I knew this show and yet it goes and surprises me! To quote myself from back when I first reviewed this episode: ‘Spoiler free review: HOLY SH*T!’ This episode just blew me away!”
Elle: In 14+ years of storytelling, there is so much about the visual impact of this episode that still stands out when I look back. And it still makes me excited to watch, even all these years later. I remember the first time I saw it: unease & fear in the gas station; watching Dean’s reunion with everyone; when Pamela tried to contact “the being” and finally, that incredible and unforgettable entrance. Wow.”
Kate38 said, “Awww – this one should’ve been number 1! Everything was perfectly conceived and executed. I love the single, long camera shot when Dean is in the phone booth. That was SO well done and made what could’ve been a dry scene very visually interesting. I think the hug between Dean and Bobby remains in the top THREE of the entire series, even all these years later. We met Castiel for the first time – whoa, what an entrance! And I am not claustrophobic at all, but that scene when Dean crawls out of his grave still gives me the heebie geebies. I raise my glass to the writer, director, and cast for this one. This episode is CLASSIC Supernatural at its very best.”
Unforgettable Scene #1:
Dean claws his way out of the ground and walks to an abandoned gas station. Everything about these scenes are perfect, nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat spellbinding. What is happening?!
Unforgettable Scene #2:
Dean tries to call Bobby, but Bobby keeps hanging up on him, believing it is some sort of prank call. So Dean hotwires a car and drives to Bobby’s house. That must have been so hard for Bobby; on one hand, I’m sure he was happy, thrilled, overjoyed to see Dean again; but on the other hand, Bobby knows all too well that it probably wasn’t really Dean.
Dean: Bobby! It’s me!
Bobby: My ass!
Dean: Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait! Your name is Robert Steven Singer. You became a hunter after your wife got possessed, and… you’re about the closest thing I have to a father. Bobby. It’s me.
Unforgettable Scene #3:
The reunion between Sam and Dean is so genuine, so real.
Unforgettable Scene #4:
This episode introduces Ruby. We don’t know she’s Ruby in her first scene, but we do know Sam enjoys her, um, company.
Ruby/Kathy: So are you two like… together?
Sam: What? No. No. He’s my brother.
As much as they needed to be reunited… as much as they needed that hug… as much as we needed that hug… the brotherly love was short-lived.
Dean: So tell me, what’d it cost?
Sam: The girl? I don’t pay, Dean.
Dean: That’s not funny, Sam. To bring me back. What’d it cost? Was it just your soul, or was it something worse?
Sam: I tried everything. That’s the truth. I tried opening the Devil’s Gate. Hell, I tried to bargain, Dean, but no demon would deal, all right? You were rotting in Hell for months. For months, and I couldn’t stop it. So I’m sorry it wasn’t me, all right? Dean, I’m sorry.
Dean: It’s okay, Sammy. You don’t have to apologize, I believe you.
Bobby: Don’t get me wrong, I’m gladdened that Sam’s soul remains intact, but it does raise a sticky question.
Dean: If he didn’t pull me out, then what did?
Unforgettable Scene #5:
Bobby takes Sam and Dean to meet Pamela Barnes, a smart, strong, confident woman with the gift (or curse?) of being a psychic medium.
Dean: Who’s Jesse?
Pamela: Well, it wasn’t forever.
Dean: His loss.
Pamela: Might be your gain.
Dean: Dude, I am so in.
Sam: Yeah, she’s gonna eat you alive.
Dean: Hey, I just got out of jail. Bring it.
Pamela: You’re invited too, grumpy.
Dean, to Sam: You are not invited.
Pamela leads a séance with the boys and Bobby in an attempt to get a look at the ‘thing’ that pulled Dean out of Hell.
Pamela: I invoke, conjure, and command you, appear unto me before this circle. I invoke, conjure, and command you, appear unto me before this circle. I invoke, conjure, and command you, appear unto me before this circle. I invoke, conjure, and command… Castiel? No. Sorry, Castiel, I don’t scare easy.
Pamela: Its name. It’s whispering to me, warning me to turn back. I conjure and command you, show me your face. I conjure and command you, show me your face. I conjure and command you, show me your face. I conjure and command you, show me your face.
Bobby: Maybe we should stop.
Pamela: I almost got it. I command you, show me your face! Show me your face now!
Unforgettable Scene #6:
Sam and Dean go to a diner to try to figure out how Dean escaped from Hell. What they find there is a diner full of demons… a diner full of scared demons. What we get is one of the Show’s iconic lines:
Demon Waitress: Dean. To Hell and back. Aren’t you a lucky duck.
Dean: That’s me.
Demon Waitress: So you get to just stroll out of the Pit, huh? Tell me. What makes you so special?
Dean: I like to think it’s because of my perky nipples. I don’t know. Wasn’t my doing, I don’t know who pulled me out.
Dean: Fact is, you don’t know who cut me loose. And you’re just as spooked as we are. And you’re looking for answers. Well, maybe it was some turbo-charged spirit. Or, uh, Godzilla. Or some big bad boss demon. I’m guessing at your pay grade that they don’t tell you squat. Because whoever it was, they want me out. And they’re a lot stronger than you. So go ahead. Send me back. But don’t come crawling to me when they show up on your front doorstep with some Vaseline and a fire hose.
Unforgettable Scene #7:
Sam thinks Dean is asleep, so he sneaks out of their motel room, to return to the diner. Inside the room, the television and the radio turn to static. The noise wakes Dean. He grabs his shotgun, and looks for Sam, realizing he is gone. That massive force that blew out the windows in the gas station earlier is back, along with its high-pitched buzz. The mirrored ceiling above Dean starts to crack, eventually shattering down on him.
Unforgettable Scene #8:
Dean and Bobby are driving in Bobby’s car, hatching a new plan. Dean calls Sam to ask where he is; Sam lies and tells him he went to get food. Dean lies right back to him, telling him that he and Bobby are going out for a beer. Instead of getting that beer, Dean has a plan.
Sam returns to the diner full of demons, intent on killing them. Instead he finds they are all dead, except one – the waitress they talked to earlier. Her eyes are burnt out, just like Pamela’s.
Sam: It was here. You saw it.
Demon Waitress: I saw it.
Sam: What was it?
Demon Waitress: It’s the end. We’re dead. We’re all dead.
Sam: What did you see?
Demon Waitress: Go to hell.
Sam: Funny. I was going to say the same thing to you.
Sam: What the hell is going on around here, Ruby?
Ruby: I wish I knew.
Sam: We were thinking some high level demon pulled Dean out.
Ruby: No way. Sam, human souls don’t just walk out of Hell and back into their bodies easy. The sky bleeds, the ground quakes. It’s cosmic. No demon can swing that. Not Lilith, not anybody.
Sam: Then what can?
Ruby: Nothing I’ve ever seen before.
Later, we find out what is really going on between Sam and Ruby – she’s helping him strengthen his own special powers so that he can expel-and-kill demons and save the humans they possess.
Ruby: Look. Maybe I’ll just take a step back for a while.
Sam: Ruby, you…
Ruby: I mean, I’m not exactly in your brother’s fanclub. But he is your brother, and I’m not going to come between you.
Sam: I don’t know if what I’m doing is right. Hell, I don’t even know if I trust you.
Sam: But what I do know is that I’m saving people. And stopping demons. And that feels good. I want to keep going.
Unforgettable Scene #9:
Dean and Bobby find an old, abandoned barn. They paint the entirety of the inside of the barn with every symbol and sigil and trap from every religion and faith on earth. Then Bobby performs a ritual, in an attempt to summon whatever that massive force is that brought Dean up out of Hell.
And then they wait.
And then the wind begins to blow. And the walls begin to shake. And the high pitched buzz returns. And the doors of the barn fly open, and the lights inside all begin to blow up, sending sparks flying.
And in through those doors walks a man, wearing a blue tie and a trenchcoat.
And this is without question the single greatest introduction of a character in the entirety of this series, in the entirety of television history:
C A S T I E L.
This scene has two of the most iconic lines from the Show:
Castiel: I’m the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition.
Dean: What are you?
Castiel: I’m an Angel of the Lord.
Dean: There’s no such thing.
Castiel: That is your problem Dean – you have no faith.
Dean: And why would an angel rescue me from Hell?
Castiel: Good things do happen, Dean.
Dean: Not in my experience.
Castiel: What’s the matter? You don’t think you deserve to be saved?
Dean: Why’d you do it?
Castiel: Because God commanded it. Because we have work for you.
Aaaaaaahhhhhh, my heart is racing! Who is this Angel of the Lord? Give me more of this Castiel!!! What a phenomenal episode!!!!