Yesterday I introduced my “unsung hero” episode list for seasons 1-7. You know, the lesser known, often overlooked episodes of the vast “Supernatural” catalog that do have some enjoyable qualities, but don’t sit among the series elite. Today, I bring you my choices for season 8-15. This of course is not an all-inclusive list, just one episode per season to put some boundaries on this exercise. Otherwise, you might just be getting a 100+ episode list. 15 is a bit more palpable.
Below are my choices, in order of season (definitely not preference).
Season Eight, Episode 9
Surprised you a bit with this one, huh? This is a truly forgotten episode that served as the midseason finale. The beginning of season 8 did struggle a lot. It was the beginning of the Jeremy Carver regime and it took a while for the season to find its footing (which it did eventually). This was Daniel Loflin’s first solo script and last one for “Supernatural.” It was a true loss as Andrew Dabb’s scripts haven’t been quite as strong since the partnership broke apart.
I know, what Sam and Dean did to each other in this episode was deplorable. But this was a very satisfying climax to the events of the first half of season 8. The tension between both of them had been building since the season opener and this was an appropriate outcome to all that. It was an engaging story with an ominous tone, finishing out in a suspenseful way what should have been done all season with the tales of Dean and Benny as well as Sam and Amelia. The writing was great, the direction was great, the acting was great. I gave it an A back then and I still do, despite the unpopular story line. It’s hard for me to not give credit for a well done effort despite the crap that proceeded it.
Season Nine, Episode 5
Dog Dean Afternoon
Yeah, I really struggled to find a season nine episode, again. I almost marked this season “pass.” “Dog Dean Afternoon” wasn’t perfect. I loved the dog mind meld thing impacting Dean in a hilarious way and the whole animal humor. I loved one of the dogs extorting a belly rub from Sam in exchange for information! We really needed something light after the first four episodes. But the whole Ezekiel thing really rubbed me the wrong way and this was just more hand wringing about the situation while poor Sammy was left in the dark. By end of this episode I was screaming, “Get on with it!”
Season Ten, Episode 17
“They’re surly, I repeat the Bobbys are surly!”
The Inside Man
I wouldn’t exactly call this “unsung”. This is always listed as one of the best episodes of season ten. But, that really isn’t saying much. Season ten is rather painful. Most of the episodes are forgettable for a reason. I thought this episode was a bit cliched too, especially when Bobby is found in Heaven listening to “The Gambler.” But Bobby and Castiel together again in a heavenly adventure? Sam leading the charge from down on earth, all in a bid to save Dean? Sam tearfully reading the letter from Bobby when it was all over? From beginning to end, classic “Supernatural.” It managed to prove just what a colossal mistake it was killing Bobby Singer in season seven. It did leave one question though, what happened to Bobby after he was sent to Heaven jail? I’m still angry that was never answered.
Season Eleven, Episode 8
Just My Imagination
I have a few favorites from this season. I really loved it…until the last three episodes. But “Just My Imagination” was something out there that you don’t get anywhere else. Imaginary friends are real! Sam’s imaginary friend was real! Imaginary blood is…well..sparkly. Now that’s what makes “Supernatural” great. I like those episodes where we can have a good laugh while one of the brothers gets to exorcise some inner demons. This one though offered healing for both Sam and Dean. Sam had someone to talk to about how terrified he was about what was coming with Lucifer. Dean got to appreciate just how rough Sam’s upbringing really was. It checked all the fannish boxes.
Season Twelve, Episode 12
Stuck in the Middle (With You)
I was stunned when this episode aired how many people didn’t understand that this was an homage to Quentin Tarantino films. Even a few of our own staff members were stumped! I mean come on, he’s a unique, modern film icon! It’s not like he was making films 50 years ago. But I do take a curious interest in cinema styles that others do not tend to follow.
This is an amazing script in general. It adapted the non-linear storytelling that is the cornerstone of Tarantino films, but I’ve seen that experiment fail many times before. It’s a very risky style. Davy Perez got it perfect, showing just how much he loves the genre. He wasn’t the only one. This was an entire crew effort, and director Richard Speight Jr. led the charge with incredible authenticity. This story also gave the anemic mytharc of season 12 a nice little shot in the arm, one that was majorly butchered for the rest of the season and into season 13. But yes, at least I have this hidden treasure.
Season Thirteen, Episode 15
“A Most Holy Man”
I just liked this episode because not only was it an interesting little adventure, it was easy going and had a happy ending. I adored the character of Father Lucca. He offered a ray of hope and pure faith in a story that had been so dragged down by hopelessness and darkness. So yeah, a nice thing to have come episode 15 when the long season is sapping your will to live.
Season Fourteen, Episode 15
“Peace of Mind”
I did not enjoy season 14. It was a major chore to get through it. Come episode 14.15, I had just about written off the season. That’s probably why I was throwing foam bricks at my screen wildly come “Absence” and “Jack in the Box,” two hours of my life I will never get back and I’m still pissed about it. But hey, I’m here to marvel about “Peace of Mind,” an hour I really enjoyed. Poor Sam. He just keeps trying to do his best and life continues to bite him in the ass. No wonder he gave into the mindf*** of a simpler, happy life in a world of whimsy, even if it meant erasing his identity. But I love that Castiel was there to witness the madness and work the case, luckily being immune thanks to the whole being an angel thing. Dean and Jack had a nice little story too, road trip to Donatello’s house. It wasn’t much, but it was still pleasant. Donatello really deserves his soul back, because he’s doing a perfect job faking it. That remains on my “Supernatural” ending wish list, along with resolution to the whole Bobby Singer thing.
Season Fifteen, Episode 10
“A Heroes’ Journey”
I’m just calling this one an “unsung hero” now, because I know this one will not go on to infamy in the “Supernatural” world. Many didn’t get it or like it. That’s because we’ve been conditioned to accept things at face value. But I gave it an A in my review, just because they decided to have some fun with a surrealistic tone. Sure, the story at face value is crap, but when viewed from the POV of an absurdist, it works fine. I challenge everyone to watch again and look carefully at the finer details. There’s a lot in there that most don’t realize. Granted this has zero bearing on any events of the season, but hey, I had fun.
Okay, now your turn. What are your choices for seasons 8-15?