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#55 "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo" (7.20)

Drum roll please…! I can tell you everything you need to know in just two words – Charlie. Bradbury.

Do you need more than that? Ok, so in this episode Sam and Dean finally get a step ahead of evil Leviathan leader Dick Roman – and they do it with the help of Charlie Bradbury! See, it still comes back to those two simple but glorious words – Charlie Bradbury.

Charlie, this precious, innocent, naïve, gifted hacker (and yes, I say gifted because computer skills like that are a gift!) works for Dick Roman.

Elle said, “Hello Charlie! So glad you’re finally in the family!” Journalbookbinder agreed, adding, “I loved the intro of Charlie, and I LOVED the way Sam and Dean took her lesbianism COMPLETELY in stride.” I think we all agreed – we love Charlie!

No one sums up Charlie better than Dick:

I said that Charlie is innocent and naïve. I say that because, in this episode, she is completely unaware of ghosts and monsters and she certainly doesn’t know about Leviathans. She only finds out about these things when she hacks into Frank Devereaux’s hard drive, per the orders given to her by Dick. Once she realizes what is really going on, she packs up to leave the building and head home. But it’s not as if her life gets any easier - Sam and Dean are able to track her to her apartment (Frank and his amazing computer skills!) and convince her to hack into Dick’s emails, which are located on a computer in his office.

Sam, Dean and Charlie return to Richard Roman Enterprises, and so much of this scene is hilarious! Charlie has to get past a security guard in order to break into Dick’s office. Sam and Dean are sitting outside in a van, trying to help her via their FBI-style earpieces. Sam gives her a pep talk by using Harry Potter references:

Sam: Who's your favorite Harry Potter character?
Charlie: Hermione.
Sam: Hermione. Well did Hermione run when Sirius Black was in trouble? Or when Voldemort attacked Hogwarts?
Dean: Seriously?
Sam: Shut up.
Charlie: No of course not.
Sam: What did she do?
Charlie: She kicks ass! She practically saves Harry in every book. And then she ends up with the wrong...
Sam: Stay on track. She kicked ass, right? So what are you going to do?
Charlie: Kick it in the ass!
Sam: Good girl.
Dean: (to Sam) Oh, you go, dumble-dork.

Then Dean takes over and talks her through how to flirt with the security guard:

Dean: Do you have any tattoos? Give him a little sneak peek there. All tattoos are sexy.
Charlie: Mine is Princess Leia in a slave bikini straddling a 20-sided die. I was drunk. It was Comic-Con.

Nightsky loved all the geek references throughout the episode. Honestly, didn’t we all love these references? I think we could all find a little piece of ourselves in Charlie.

Once inside Dick’s office, Charlie successfully hacks his emails, discovers that a mystery shipment is arriving at the airport, helps Sam and Dean retrieve the package and return to RRE in time to help her escape the building! Whew! That’s a lot!

I also need to mention that Bobby’s spirit is attached to his flask and he’s been inside the building with Charlie the whole time to protect her from Dick! As Charlie tries to run out of the building, Bobby finally becomes a vengeful spirit and unleashes his anger, which leaves Charlie with a broken arm, and ultimately a desire to never do this kind of thing again.

Alice summed up the episode: “Charlie was written as smart, quirky, a quick thinker, and had a real strength of character.  I love her quick realization that she had to help everyone she knew.  She had real fears before breaking into his office, but one recollection of her hero Hermione Granger fixed all that.  Who hasn’t drawn inspiration from a pop culture hero to get through a crisis?  Lord knows enough of us think of Sam and Dean overcoming odds during times of strife. It was brilliantly done at all levels, very slick, and there was an amazing attention to detail.”

#54 "It’s a Terrible Life" (4.17)

This recap might sound a little strange: Sam “Wesson” is an IT guy working for Sandover Bridge & Iron Inc. Dean “Smith” also works there as an upper-level sales guy. Then their co-workers start killing themselves, which brings Wesson and Smith together to figure out what is happening.

What is happening?!

Oh, it’s just the angel, Zachariah, messing with Dean, trying to prove to him that he was meant to be a hunter, trying to show him that he should stop focusing on his family and Hell and the Apocalypse. Right. Perhaps all that Zachariah really proved is that Sam and Dean were meant to be brothers, fighting the fight together.

Before I get to what the others had to say about this episode, I’d like to give some kudos to the writers, making Dean Smith the polar opposite of Dean Winchester! Smith drives a Prius, listens to NPR, eats salads – definitely not the Winchester we’ve grown to love. And big kudos to Jensen for his portrayal of Smith! When Dean finally becomes himself again, Jensen seemingly just flips a switch, and bam! Dean Winchester emerges!

All of the participants literally said the same thing, in one way or another:

Gail: “I also liked the idea that they had always been meant to be brothers, regardless of where they ended up, or what they ended up doing.”

Nightsky: “I love that the boys find each other, even when forces try to separate them. They also have the natural instinct to investigate trouble and walk into danger to save people."

Lynn: “Zachariah tries to make them into complete strangers and different people, and Sam and Dean still end up hunters and partners. Even angels can't thwart it!”

Elle: “Sam and Dean will always find each other.” She went on, adding, “This is one of my favorite episodes of Supernatural because it works on many levels. Not only does the humor stand out, but the messages are so strong and well delivered. Zachariah’s speech to Dean is A1 and absolutely what they need at this stage.”

Nate Winchester added, "What could be worse than hunting?" Well... call centers it turns out. Another great appearance by the Ghostfacers puts a cherry on top of this excellent episode, which demonstrates that everything in life is a tradeoff, and the boys may be where they belong - even if it isn't easy or pretty.”

Of course everyone raved about this episode because it is full of memorable scenes and unforgettable lines!

Sam: I just can't shake this feeling like I- Like I don't belong here. You know what I mean? Like I should do something more than sit in a cubicle.
Dean: I think most people who work in a cubicle feel that way.
Sam: No. Well, look, it's more than that. Like, I don't like my job. I don't like this town. I don't like my clothes. I don't like my own last name. I don't know how else to explain it, except that... It feels like I should be doing something else. There's just something in my blood. Like I was destined for something different. ...What about you? You ever feel that way?
Dean: I don't believe in destiny. I do believe in dealing with what's right in front of us, though.
Sam: Alright. So, what do we do now?
Dean: We do what I do best, Sammy. Research.
Sam: Okay. ...Did you just call me 'Sammy?'
Dean: Did I?
Sam: I think you did, yeah. ...Don't.
Dean: Sorry.

Dean: So, what? This was all some sort of a lesson? Is that what you're telling me? Wow. Very creative.
Zachariah: You should see my decoupage.
Dean: Gross. No thank you.

Zachariah: I know, I know. You're not strong enough. You're scared. You've got daddy issues. You can't do it, right?
Dean: Angel or not, I will stab you in your face.

Zachariah: All I'm saying is it's how you look at it. Most folks live and die without moving anything more than the dirt it takes to bury them. You get to change things. Save people, maybe even the world. All the while you drive a classic car and fornicate with women. This isn't a curse. It's a gift. So for God's sakes, Dean, quit whining about it. Look around. There are plenty of fates worse than yours. So are you with me? You wanna go steam yourself another latte? Or are you ready to stand up and be who you really are?

Nightsky said this was a brilliant way for Dean to understand himself, even accept himself. Okay, so I didn’t need to think about that. I’ll just go cry quietly for a little bit.

#53 "The Song Remains the Same" (5.13)

Continuing with the short recaps: Anna goes back to 1978 to kill John and Mary Winchester in an attempt to stop Sam from ever being born. Geesh, and I thought I liked Anna.

Cas follows Anna, bringing Sam and Dean with him. The time travel has serious side effects on Cas this time, leaving him in pretty bad shape. Sam and Dean find their parents, and convince them to go to the family cabin, where Sam and Dean do their best to ward the place from angels.

And let's not forget that the boys are able to have a few memorable moments with their parents. First, Dean warns Mary:

Then, Sam has a moment with John:

John: Look, how long have you known about this... hunting stuff?
Sam: Pretty much forever. My dad raised me in it.
John: You're serious? Who the hell does that to a kid?
Sam: Well, I mean, for the record, Mary's parents did.
John: I don't care. You know, what kind of irresponsible bastard lets a child anywhere near—Y-you know, you could've been killed!
Sam: I, uh... came kind of close.
John: The number it must've done on your head... Your father was supposed to protect you.
Sam: He was trying. He died trying. Believe me. I used to be mad at him. I—I mean, I used to... I used to hate the guy. But now I—I... I get it. He was... just doing the best he could. And he was trying to keep it together in—in—in this impossible situation. See... My mom, um... She was amazing, beautiful, and she was the love of his life. And she got killed. And... I think he would have gone crazy if he didn't do something. Truth is, um, my dad died before I got to tell him that I understand why he did what he did. And I forgive him for what it did to us. I do. And I just—I love him.

Nightsky said, “Teary-eyed Sam talking to Young John is so emotional and sweet. The whole episode is intensely emotional, and heartbreaking. So well done.”

Nate Winchester said he could do an entire essay on this episode (I’ll just wait here then until he does. I know it will be brilliant!). He went on to say, “I both hate this episode for what it does to Anna and how little it develops Michael - yet I absolutely love it as well. And a whole lot of that love is for the brilliant, BRILLIANT scene where Sam has the heart to heart talk with his father and forgives him - without his dad ever knowing it. It's so perfectly acted, so true to the character, so very bitter, yet so very sweet.”

Ultimately, Anna shows up anyway, stabbing Sam and critically injuring him; John is desperate to save Sam and Mary, so he says yes to Michael!

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Michael: Think of a million random acts of chance that let John and Mary be born, to meet, to fall in love, to have the two of you. Think of the million random choices that you make, and yet how each and every one of them brings you closer to your destiny. Do you know why that is? Because it's not random. It's not chance. It's a plan that is playing itself out perfectly. Free will's an illusion, Dean. That's why you're going to say yes. Oh, buck up. It could be worse. You know, unlike my brothers, I won't leave you a drooling mess when I'm done wearing you.

Is this foreshadowing? I think this is foreshadowing. Listen, I'm not ready for this final season. JUST STOP IT ALREADY.

Alice reminded me that this episode was “great family bonding,” adding, “I wish we saw more of all four Winchesters kicking ass.” Ok, yes, thank you Alice, I needed that reminder!

Elle said, “This episode is sad. Brilliant, but sad. That last scene of John and Mary with the angel mobile is haunting.”

Yeah, yeah, you know me, I’m just crying in the corner again.

And let’s not forgot one of the most iconic lines from the entirety of the show:

Dean: Well... this is it.
Sam: This is what?
Dean: Team Free Will. One ex-blood junkie, one dropout with six bucks to his name, and Mr. Comatose over there. It's awesome.

Team. Free. Will.

#52 "Lucifer Rising" (4.22)

And the short recaps continue: In this season finale, Sam and Dean are determined to kill Lilith and prevent the breaking of the final seal. Of course, that short recap does not even begin to explain this episode!

Memorable scene #1: Bobby loses it and puts Dean in his place. I gotta say, it was so good to hear him say the things that Dean needed to hear!

Bobby: You stupid, stupid son of a bitch! Well, boo hoo, I am so sorry your feelings are hurt, princess! Are you under the impression that family's supposed to make you feel good -- bake you an apple pie, maybe? They're supposed to make you miserable! That's why they're family!
Dean: I told him, 'You walk out that door, don't come back', and he walked out anyway. That was his choice!
Bobby: You sound like a whiny brat. No, you sound like your dad. Well, let me tell you something. Your dad was a coward.
Dean: My dad was a lot of things, Bobby, but a coward?
Bobby: He'd rather push Sam away than reach out to him. Well, that don't strike me as brave. You are a better man than your daddy ever was. So you do both of us a favor -- don't be him.

Memorable scene #2: Locked inside the Green Room, Dean is desperate to talk to Sam, so he leaves him a message, a message Sam never hears:

Dean: Hey, it's me. Uh... Look, I'll just get right to it. I'm still pissed... and I owe you a serious beatdown. But... I shouldn't have said what I said. You know, I'm not Dad. We're brothers. You know, we're family. And, uh... no matter how bad it gets, that doesn't change. Sammy, I'm sorry.

Sam does listen to Dean's message later in the episode. However, the message Sam actually hears has been changed. (Perhaps Ruby changed it?) Whomever changed it, the message is devastating to Sam.

Memorable scene #3: Dean pleads with Cas to let him see Sam, but Cas refuses:

Dean: Destiny? Don't give me that "holy" crap. Destiny, God's plan... It's all a bunch of lies, you poor, stupid son of a bitch! It's just a way for your bosses to keep me and keep you in line! You know what's real? People, families - that's real. And you're gonna watch them all burn?
Cas: What is so worth saving? I see nothing but pain here. I see inside you. I see your guilt, your anger, confusion. In paradise, all is forgiven. You'll be at peace. Even with Sam.
Dean: You can take your peace... and shove it up your lily-white ass. 'Cause I'll take the pain and the guilt. I'll even take Sam as is. It's a lot better than being some Stepford bitch in paradise. This is simple, Cas! No more crap about being a good soldier. There is a right and there is a wrong here, and you know it.

Oh. My. Heart. It breaks for Cas - he's trying so hard to do what he thinks is right (follow orders) but he's also starting to understand that there is a right and a wrong.  And you betchya, my heart breaks for Dean. I just wanna hug him, and yet at the same time, I’m cheering for him, hoping he’ll find his way to Sam.

Memorable scene #4: Ruby finally reveals what the true plan had been all along:

Ruby: No. It wasn't the blood. It was you... and your choices. I just gave you the options, and you chose the right path every time. You didn't need the feather to fly, you had it in you the whole time, Dumbo! I know it's hard to see it now... but this is a miracle. So long coming. Everything Azazel did, and Lilith did. Just to get you here. And you were the only one who could do it.

Lynn said, “Genevieve’s performance at the end was wonderful! The way she taunts Sam, the way she gloats, it was just spectacular! Jared’s performance was also brilliant, he looked so frail as he realized his mistakes.” She added, “Sam's ‘I'm sorry’ to Dean as the brothers hung onto each other, watching helplessly as Lucifer is coming… that ending was the most satisfying thing we'd seen in a long time!”

Alice agreed, calling it a “brilliant season closer that set up the Apocalypse.” Nightsky added, “The intensity of that cliffhanger was unparalleled to that point.”

Ruby: And it is written that the first demon shall be the last seal. And you bust her open. Now guess who's coming to dinner.
Sam: Oh, my god.
Ruby: Guess again... You don't even know how hard this was! All the demons out for my head. No one knew. I was the best of those sons of bitches! The most loyal! Not even Alastair knew! Only Lilith! Yeah, I'm sure you're a little angry right now, but, I mean, come on, Sam! Even you have to admit -- I'm -- I'm awesome!

#51 "Soul Survivor" (10.03)

To refresh your memory, let me offer this short recap: Demon!Dean is locked up inside the bunker and Sam is giving him the demon cure. The entire thing is incredibly painful to watch! Demon!Dean’s taunts Sam, and Sam’s pain as he tries to ignore it… it’s just all so, so painful.

Dean: Oh and so you know, I killed Lester myself, and that wife of his, married the tattooed guy.
Sam: I never meant—
Dean: Who cares what you meant. That line that we thought was so clear between us and the things that we hunted, ain't so clear is it? Wow, you might actually be worse than me. I mean you took a guy at his lowest, used him and it cost him his life and his soul. Nice work.

Dean: You notice I tried to get as far away from you possible? Away from your whining, your complaining. I chose the King of Hell over you. Maybe I was just... tired of babysitting you. Or always having to yank your lame ass out of the fire, since... forever. Or maybe -- maybe it was the fact that my mother would still be alive if it wasn't for you. That your very existence sucked the life out of my life.
Sam: This isn't my brother talking.
Dean: You never had a brother. Just an excuse for not manning up. But guess what. I quit.
Sam: No. No you don't. You don't get to quit. We don't get to quit in this family. This family is all we've ever had!
Dean: Well then we got nothin'.

Dean: You act like I want to be cured. Personally, I like the disease.

Alice said, “After all the crap Sam has been through, he maintained his devotion to his brother, reminding himself that all those hurtful words were not coming from Dean. Jared’s performance was amazing! The angst and heartache Jared brought through the whole episode was pitch perfect and absolutely broke my heart.”

Meanwhile, Cas and Hannah make a pit-stop at a gas station where they are attacked by another angel (Adina). As Adina is about to kill Hannah, Crowley shows up and kills Adina. He then gives her grace to Cas, allowing Cas to power up again. Crowley helped Cas because he wants Cas to fix a problem: Dean.

Gail liked this scene, including the pairing of Cas and Hannah. She went on to say, “It was funny yet understandable that Crowley wanted to get rid of Dean!  How obnoxious do you have to be to annoy the King of Hell?”

We cannot forget the scene where Sam goes into Dean's room and sees the photos of the two of them, along with Mary, John, and Bobby. Then, when Sam returns to the dungeon, he realizes that Dean has escaped. What happens next is the most terrifying game of cat and mouse between Dean and Sam! Dean is searching for Sam, with hammer in hand! Sam is looking for Dean, Ruby’s knife in hand! Ultimately, they come face-to-face in a hallway; Dean attacks Sam with the hammer, Sam counters by putting Ruby’s knife to Dean's throat. When Dean taunts Sam to kill him, Sam backs off - knowing Cas is behind Dean, and he uses his newly regained angel strength to subdue Dean.

Lynn said, "Sam went into Dean’s room in an attempt to remember his brother – not the demon tied to a chair in the other room. Then when Sam picked up the photos that Dean kept on his nightstand, and that music started to play, all my emotions spilled over. I can’t hear even the first few notes of 'Americana' without crying, and hearing it while I saw the photos that Dean kept in his room was almost too much." She went on, adding, "Sam and Dean playing cat and mouse in the bunker, all along those long hallways, is one of my favorite scenes! The tension, the way it was filmed, Demon Dean played as so truly menacing by Jensen, all of it was perfection! Demon!Dean was 100% deadly, not just some nameless monster that we knew would be vanquished - I don't think I've ever been so frightened watching Supernatural!"

Alice described the scene this way: “The “cat and mouse” hunting scene in the bunker was pretty awesome. There were several times I thought Sam would break; Sam knew that he only had one option left at that point and it was his worse nightmare come true. Dean forced him to make that horrible choice, kill him or die.” She also added, “The visuals alone were amazing. Those hallways were the perfect setting for an intense scene like this. The way the whole pursuit was shot took full advantage of the opportunities the set offered.  That is a testament to the directing choices in the episode (a huge kudos to Jensen as the director).”

Elle agreed: “The moment where Dean is chasing Sam around the bunker? Whew! Intense – even if we know Sam survives (because, come on). And then when Cas subdues him and Dean is raging! Family is all about these hard moments – and the Winchesters do hard, well, really extreme.”

Journalbookbinder also commented on Jensen’s choices as a director: “Demon Dean chasing Sam through the bunker with a hammer, and knowing that was Jensen’s choice to choose a hammer over a knife, in an effort to make the whole thing worse… and it did!”

Gail loved “Badass Cas and his glowy blue eyes when he restrained Demon Dean in the bunker.”

Kate38 summed it up: "I love a lot of the individual elements. The exchanges between demon-Dean and Sam are spot-on! Castiel getting a borrowed grace assist from Crowley was a pleasant surprise for me. Top of my list, though -- the sequence when a hammer-wielding demon-Dean is stalking Sam through the bunker like Nicholson from The Shining BROKE my creepometer!"

Yes, yes, Demon Dean chasing Sammy through the halls of the bunker was intense. Indeed. However, I think what got to me the most in this episode were the photos. Maybe that’s because I’m a photographer; photos have meaning to me on a very emotional level. To watch as Sam felt that emotion as he looked through the photos, ugh, it was heartbreaking. Then to see Dean looking at those same photos at the end, my heart was both shattered and warmed all at the same time.

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Alice added, “The photos in Dean’s room added a nice sentimental touch, and the fact that Dean was caught looking through those same photos again (in the end) served as a much needed reminder to him too. Family is what makes them strong and family is all they have.”

Oh, and then there was that final scene of the episode, where we see a woman sitting in a hotel room, reading in front of a fireplace, and as the camera pulls back, we see two hotel workers nailed to the ceiling. Wha- WHAT?! #Rowena

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So that’s episodes 60-51 in the Top 100 Favorites list! Did any of these make it onto your list? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to join us as we continue the countdown with episodes 50-41!

-MamaPrior, Photographer

Twitter: @MamaPrior or @PriorStudios
IG: @priorstudios
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See the whole list of our Favorite 100 Episodes from the beginning!  You can find them all with the tag Top 100 Episodes!

Need a little help compiling your Top 100 Favorite Episodes? Karen and Nightsky are sharing their Top 10 episodes of each season, to coincide with the #SPNSummer2019 Hiatus Rewatch. You can find those lists, and all of WFB's Top 10 articles in WFB's Article Archives!