Time to countdown our Favorite 100 Supernatural Episodes! This week we've reached numbers 20-16! This is getting exciting!
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! More 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!
#20 Heart (2.17)
In this episode, Sam and Dean suspect a werewolf is behind a series of deaths. And they meet Madison. And Sam likes Madison. And oh dear god, I’ll just head on over to my corner right now.
Alice said, “Sam in a Greek tragedy. Poor guy can’t get a break.”
Journalbookbinder said, “The gray areas of dealing with a half-human monster plus Dean’s heart completely breaking for the pain Sam is going through make this one of the stand-out episodes of the series.”
Kate38 said, "Steamy Sam Winchester sex scene? Check. Heartbreaking ending complete with classic rock ballad and Dean Winchester's single man tear? Check. Interesting story with a sympathetic monster? Check. This episode filled in all the right blanks."
Memorable Scene #1: Protective Sam is so adorable. And Shy Sam is too.
Sam: Look … I know you’re scared. I also know that there’s no way in hell you’re gonna believe me. But I’m doing this because I’m trying to help you. I’m not gonna lie, all right, the odds aren’t exactly in our favor. But if this goes the way I pray it does... I’ll untie you, and I’ll walk out that door, and I’ll never come back. You’ll live the rest of your life. And I’ll just be a bad memory.
Memorable Scene #2: Dean as the big brother is adorable too.
Madison: Oh, God, thank you. Thank you so much. You, too, Dean. Thank you.
Dean: Aw, don’t mention it... So, I’m just gonna head back to the hotel and... watch some Pay-Per-View, or something.
Madison: That was smooth, heh.
Sam: He means well, but...
Madison: You mean, he thinks you’re gonna get laid.
Memorable Scene #3: Rock. Paper. Scissors. Enough said.
Memorable Scene #4: Poor Sam. He wants so badly to cure Madison.
Sam: I’m not putting a bullet through some girl’s chest who has no idea what’s happening.
Dean: Sam, she’s a monster, and you’re feeling sorry for her?
Sam: Maybe I understand her... Look, there might be another way we can get the job done without having to waste her.
Dean: Are you thinking what I think you’re thinking?
Sam: Dad’s theory – 'lycanthropy might have a cure if you kill the werewolf who bit you, severing the bloodline.'
Dean: Might have a cure. Meaning who the hell knows?
Sam: It’s worth a shot.
Memorable Scene #5: That final scene, where Madison begs Sam to kill her… and Dean sees Sam’s heartbreak, and he offers to kill her instead of Sam… and then Sam cries and says he’ll do it… and then Dean’s single tear and the way he flinches when he hears the shot… that’s it. I’m done.
Nightsky said, “This is one of my favorite episodes of the series! As if that last scene wasn’t powerful enough - with tears streaming down Sam’s face and that OPT from Dean - the music was superb. Breaks my heart every time.”
Lynn agreed, adding, “The last 5 minutes of this episode are a masterpiece. It was so brilliant to show us Sam having to kill Madison through Dean's eyes, because we know how much it kills Dean to see Sam suffer. Using 'Silent Lucidity' as Sam sobs and goes to kill Madison, and then Dean lets that one single perfect tear slide down his cheek at not being able to save his brother from the pain. Both Jared and Jensen were beyond brilliant in this scene.”
Madison: Sam… I’m a monster.
Sam: You don’t have to be. We could find a way, all right? I can. I’m gonna save you.
Madison: You tried. I know you tried. But this is all there is left. Help me, Sam. I want you to do it. I want it to be you.
Sam: I can’t.
Madison: I don’t wanna die. I don’t. But I can’t live like this. This is the way you can save me. Please. I’m asking you to save me.
#19 Faith (1.12)
This is one of those early episodes that really sucked me into the Show! Dean’s struggle with the ideas of faith and morality, plus Sam’s desperation to save Dean – it made me love these characters!
Journalbookbinder said, “This episode is full of so many great elements, such as great acting, great cinematography, and great music, culminating in this great moral struggle. Very well done.”
Kate38 said, "It's illogical, but whenever I rewatch this one, I'm sad all over again that Layla doesn't get saved. Julie Benz brings such vulnerability and sincerity to that character that I sympathized with her from the very beginning. And I love her statement at the end - 'You can't just have faith when the miracles happen; you have to believe when they don't.' That's good advice for life in general. It's especially poignant in this episode, because she knew she was going to die."
In this episode, Dean is electrocuted while hunting, and his heart is severely damaged. Sam desperately searches for a way to save him, and that leads them to Reverend Roy Le Grange, a faith healer. Roy picks Dean out of the congregation and calls him up to the stage; Roy “heals” Dean. Although Dean is, in fact, healed, the boys soon discover that Roy’s wife is using a reaper to make the miracle healings happen.
Memorable Scene #1: Sam’s faith, and Dean’s lack of faith:
Sam: Maybe it's time to have a little faith, Dean.
Dean: You know what I've got faith in? Reality. Knowing what's really going on.
Sam: How can you be a skeptic? With the things we see everyday?
Dean: Exactly. We see them, we know they're real.
Sam: But if you know evil's out there, how can you not believe good's out there, too?
Dean: Because I've seen what evil does to good people.
Memorable Scene #2: Dean is struggling with the idea that his life was saved and another's was taken. Sam is struggling with trying to do the right thing by saving Dean. In spite of that, let me say there's nothing better than the boys working together to figure out what is really going on with Roy and his faith-healing:
Dean: There's only one thing that can give and take life like that. We're dealing with a reaper.
Sam: You really think it's the Grim Reaper? Like, angel of death, collect your soul, the whole deal?
Dean: No no no, not The reaper, a reaper. There's reaper lore in pretty much every culture on earth, it goes by 100 different names, it's possible that there's more than one of them.
Memorable Scene #3: Sam and Dean successfully stop Roy's wife, and stop the reaper. Unfortunately, in stopping them, that also meant there would be no miracle-healing for Layla. When she comes to say goodbye to Dean, well, maybe that was, in fact, the whole point.
Layla: You wanna hear something weird? I'm okay. Really. I guess if you're gonna have faith... you can't just have it when the miracles happen. You have to have it when they don't.
Dean: So what now?
Layla: God works in mysterious ways. Goodbye Dean.
Dean: Well, I'm not much of the praying type... but... I'm gonna pray for you.
Layla: Well, there's a miracle right there.
#18 No Rest for the Wicked (3.16)
And the crying continues…
In this episode, the finale of the third season, Dean’s crossroads deal is up. And he’s scared. And Sam is desperate to save him. Along with Bobby, they track down Lilith, in the hopes of killing her and voiding Dean’s deal. Yeah, that’s not gonna end well.
Alice said, “This the the first finale I watched live. My heart was beating through my chest the entire time! This episode left me a complete wreck for an entire summer.”
Journalbookbinder said, “Dean’s hellhound death will scar you for life, as will Dean screaming for Sam while he’s in Hell.”
Lynn said, “The boys came so close to pulling this off (saving Dean) against all odds, that it's terribly, terribly, shockingly horrible when the hellhounds really do come. I was in shock for long moments, just gaping at my television set.”
Nightsky said, “The episode that breaks everyone’s heart. I had full out Tears at the brothers’ goodbye, and then that intense death scene, and then that Hell scream. Yeah, I’ll need to watch puppy cartoons for a bit to calm down.”
Kate 38 said, "Dean's death scene in this episode is the only scene in the entire series that I absolutely CAN NOT WATCH. It doesn't matter how many times I've rewatched the series. That hell hound scene is so brutal and shocking - it brings out a visceral response in me and I still can't take it. As if that's not enough, I actually thought right up until that second that they'd come up with some magical Hail-Mary way to save Dean. Seeing him die so violently hit me right in the solar plexus. Whenever I watch this episode, I HAVE to watch Lazarus Rising right away, because I can't stand the idea of Dean hanging from meat hooks in hell for any length of time. And now I need and Advil."
Same, Kate, same.
Memorable Scene(s) #1: Kudos to Sierra McCormick, the girl who plays Lilith. Sierra absolutely nails it! She looks so sweet and innocent. Even her voice is sweet. But then she just turns that sweetness off and switches on her demon mode, and listen, I will absolutely give that child all the cake she wants!
Memorable Scene #2: Sam and Dean together, in the Impala, sharing that moment, the one where they break every heart in the fandom as they sing Wanted Dead or Alive.
Memorable Scene #3: Never forget just how important Bobby is in the boys’ lives, in this Show:
Bobby: Do I look like a ditchable prom date to you?
Bobby: Family don't end with blood, boy.
Nightsky said, “The line that inspires our #SPNFamily. The line that inspired a book about that family. The line that means so much to so many.”
Lynn called this scene “One of the best most memorable scenes in the show. It is so important to me because it became the title of the book that the actors wrote with me to share their own stories with the fandom who changed their lives. Iconic.”
Memorable Scene #4: Dean actually says it out loud. Sam knows he’s right. And the whole thing just punches us in the feels and leaves us shattered:
Dean: All I'm saying... Sammy, all I'm saying is that you're my weak spot. You are. And I'm yours.
Sam: You don't mean that. We're... we're family.
Dean: I know. And those evil sons of bitches know it too. I mean, what we'll do for each other, you know, how far we'll go? They're using it against us.
Memorable Scene #5: Sam and Dean are inside the house, trying to kill Lilith in order to void Dean’s deal. But they are too late. The hellhounds are here.
Dean: I'm sorry. I mean this is all my fault, I know that. But what you're doing, it's not gonna save me. It's only gonna kill you.
Sam: Then, what am I supposed to do?
Dean: Keep fighting. Take care of my wheels. Sam, remember what Dad taught you... okay? And remember what I taught you.
Lynn said, “What Jared brings to this entire episode is so REAL, his grief so profound and so powerful. And knowing that Jensen insisted on actually doing the scene all the way through so that Jared could really feel it and god, does he… so raw, so real, and still so hard to watch after all this time.”
The time has run out. Literally. And I’m just shaking, overcome with disbelief and shock. You know where to find me.
#17 Regarding Dean (12.11)
Listen, I just can’t. This is the episode where Dean slowly loses his memory, his memories, himself. And it’s brutal. And it’s traumatic. And it’s heartbreaking. You know where to find me. Please send tissues.
Journalbookbinder said, “Jensen playing Dean losing his memory is incredible!”
Gail called the episode “a tour de force for Jensen Ackles and his acting talents.” She added, “Dean is both brash and vulnerable, a boy within a man’s body. Humor and pathos. Sam as the clever caregiver, and Rowena as the enemy who is becoming an ally. Truly great episode!”
Lynn added, “I’ve worked with people struggling with memory loss, and it’s profoundly terrifying. Lose your memory completely and you’ve literally lost yourself, your identity, your ability to love or be loved. I can think of few things more terrifying. Jared and Jensen both gave brilliant performances, playing on that terror perfectly.”
Kate38 said, "That mirror scene is just one more in a LONG list of Jensen's Emmy-worthy performances. If that scene didn't touch your heart, you'd better check to make sure you still have one." She added, "We spend so much time in this show watching Dean saving Sam over and over again. I still love it when Sam goes all Superman and moves mountains to save Dean. I never get tired of seeing that."
Elle said, “As someone who has had brain damage and related memory loss on an ongoing basis, this episode connected with me. It was handled for humor - but the moments with Dean in the bathroom were deeply sad and honest. Well done episode all around.”
Memorable Scene(s) #1: God bless Rowena. She is such a complex character, richly woven with complexity and texture and layers upon layers of personality. Ruth is nothing less than masterful at breathing life into Rowena!
Kate38 also loved Rowena in this episode, and so did Lynn. Lynn said, “This episode gives us another glimpse of who Rowena is and how she got to be that way, which only makes me appreciate the character more. There’s a vulnerability to her that Connell has shown us glimpses of from the start, and that makes her so much more interesting.”
Sam: Wait a second. So you can't break it?
Rowena: Oh, of course I could, but witchcraft this complex would take time, more than Dean's got. He's already begun to forget himself, everyone he's ever known, ever loved. Even you. Soon, he'll forget how to speak, how to swallow, and then... Dean Winchester's going to die.
Dean: Sucks for that guy.
Memorable Scene #2: There were some truly funny parts in this episode! Once again, Jensen flexes his comedy elbows, and it is pure gold.
Dean: Dude... If a witch got a clear shot of me, I would be dead, okay? I wouldn't be freakin' uh... Dory.
Dean: I'm not gonna apologize for loving that fish. Not to you, not to anyone.
Dean: I'm trying to read my lips. 'Now salsa you mittens.'
Sam: You can't read lips.Dean: I can't read lips.
Memorable Scene #3: As Dean slowly loses his memories, Sam tries to help by putting post-it notes literally everywhere. On the surface, this is actually funny. But when you really stop to think about it, it is truly very sad.
Alice said, “So much goodness in this one! My favorite was the use of post-it notes to guide Dean through a hunt.”
Lynn said, “One of the reasons I’m certain that Supernatural is the best show ever is its brilliance in combining humor and angst in a single episode – sometimes in a single minute! This episode accomplished that repeatedly, especially by the use of the post-it notes. Soon the room is covered in these notes, which in itself could be funny… almost.”
Memorable Scene #4: Sam’s pain as he watches Dean struggle is unbearable too.
Lynn said, “This episode hit hard for anyone who has had to lose a loved one little by little, as many of us have. Almost too hard at some points. Sam alternates between being frustrated with his brother and starting to feel desperate and helpless, which Jared evoked perfectly.”
Sam: You know, I've seen my brother die, but watching him become... not him... This might actually be worse.
Memorable Scene #5: Dean looking into the mirror, desperate to hold on to who he is.
Lynn said, “I’ve been blown away by Jensen’s acting many times during the course of twelve years of Supernatural, but this was one of those scenes that blew me away all over again.”
Dean: Okay. My name is Dean Winchester. Sam is my brother. Uh, Mary Winchester is my mom. And Casti- Cas is my best friend.
Memorable Scene #6: The broment at the end. It’s fine, I’m fine, I don’t need a heart anyway.
Sam: You know I gotta be honest, I was actually, uh, a little jealous at first.
Dean: Of what? The curse that nearly killed me?
Sam: No, just, you know... Some of the things we've done, we've had this weight for... Forever. And seeing it gone, uh, you looked happy.
Dean: Huh. Well, look, was it nice to drop our baggage? Yeah, maybe. Hell, probably. But it wasn't just the crap that got lost. I mean, it was everything. It was us, it was what we do, you know? All of it. So... That's what happy looks like? I think I'll pass.
Memorable Scene #7: Dean riding the mechanical bull.
Lynn said, “Cue the music of ‘Broomstick Cowboy’ and there it is, a video montage of Dean looking happy and innocent while riding a mechanical bull. I didn’t know the song, so at first it struck me as purely happy, but then at the end of the song, the words are: ‘Soon you’ll be a dreadful thing / my son, you’ll be a man.’ Wow. What a gut punch. A paean to Dean’s childhood, lost too soon to hunting and his father’s quest for revenge? Or just a reminder that Dean does still hang onto the ability to find some joy in life, and he refuses to regret the life he’s chosen? I was left an emotional mess after that roller coaster of an episode, but you know what? I didn’t mind one bit. That’s the sort of episode that made me fall in love with this Show and these characters.”
Gail said, “Don’t hog the Kleenex, because I needed half a box when they ended the show with “Broomstick Cowboy”. Masterful.” No worries, Gail, I’ll share my tissues with you.
#16 Lebanon (14.13)
Alright, folks, this is it: the long-awaited, much-anticipated 300th episode!
To Recap: Sam has his own law firm. Dean is wanted for murder, assault, and credit card fraud. Wait, what? Why is this happening? Oh, right. Dean had a chance to get rid of Michael once and for all, but he wished for John to come back instead. Because apparently that’s the one thing Dean wants the most, to have his father back… to have his family back.
Listen, I’m definitely gonna need more tissues.
Nate Winchester called this episode “a moment of Heaven.”
Alice said, “All four Winchesters together having a meal? It is a fandom dream come true.”
Journalbookbinder said, “It made me forgive John for a lot.”
Nightsky said, "Jared, Jensen, Jeffery, and Samantha's individual acting brilliance was compounded by the palpable chemistry and trust within this nuclear Winchester family group, enabling them to deliver scenes that were truly greater than the sum of their parts. The emotional impact of their reunion, reconciliation and inevitable separation healed not only lingering wounds in the characters' lives but also in the fans' relationship with these characters. The resulting heart-wrenching scenes earned their place among television's greatest moments."
Kate38 said, "Lebanon gave me everything I needed in just the right amounts. Humor, sadness, heartache, hope... Every moment between John, Mary and the Boys was perfectly executed. And that iconic dinner scene will stay with me forever. I remember thinking at the time (during the dinner scene) that when the show ends, John's advice would be good for the fandom - it's better to focus on the joy in your life while you have it, rather than lamenting the sadness that is to come. So we should enjoy this show and each other while we have the chance. I think that should be hanging on a plaque someplace." She also added, "I've always loved John Winchester as a character, and I've spent a LOT of time defending him to other fans. I was glad to see him back and to see him get a chance to settle things with his sons, especially Sam."
Lynn gave kudos to the incredible acting in this episode, saying, “These actors are always good, but all of them brought their A game to this episode! Sam is so overwhelmed with emotion, he has to keep looking away from his father, a touch of realism that got to me every time it happened. Jared is crying for real and so is Jeffrey Dean Morgan. And so am I. Real tears, rolling down my cheeks.” She also added, “Seeing Dean’s face as he hears his father say those words - it heals something in Dean’s soul, something deep and profound and terribly broken. And Jensen lets us experience every second of that.” Lynn also gave kudos to Misha, saying, “I appreciated the callback to Cas’ origin story – and sometimes I miss that original version – but I thought this was a great reminder of how Cas has changed, no longer just the good soldier following orders, but rather someone who has learned how to care, and has discovered who he is; Misha portrays both of these version in this episode flawlessly.”
On the other hand… Gail wasn’t a fan of the episode, in part because she wasn’t a fan of John, but also because she felt “the insertion of Cas into the story felt manufactured. While it was nice to see a glimpse of BA Cas, it was also a letdown for the first people Cas has actually beaten in a fight in ages to be his best friends, and the whole thing was kind of pointless.” Gail’s opinion might be considered “unpopular” but I actually agree with her. The episode coulda/shoulda been about just the Winchesters. Don’t @ me.
Memorable Scene #1: Not only does Sam have his own law firm, he also hosts his own version of TED Talks.
Dean: According to the Internet, you run a law firm and love kale. Wait till you check out your, uh, wannabe TED Talk.
Memorable Scene #2: Sam finally has that conversation with John that he has needed for a very long time, and my heart just exploded.
Sam: Dad... for me? That fight, that was a lifetime ago. I don't even remember what I said, and - I mean... yeah. You know what? You did some messed-up things. But I don't... I mean, when I think about you... and I think about you a lot... I don't think about our fights. I think about you. I think about you on the floor of that hospital. And I think about how I never got to say goodbye.
John: Sam. Son. I am so sorry.
Sam: I'm sorry, too. But you did your best, Dad. You fought for us, and you loved us, and... that's enough.
Memorable Scene #3: John tells Dean he’s proud of him, and lord, my heart has exploded again.
John: Dean. I, uh -- I never meant for this.
Dean: Dad, we pulled you here.
John: No, son. My fight. It was supposed to end with me, with Yellow Eyes. But now you - you are a grown man, and I am incredibly proud of you. I guess that I had hoped, eventually, you would... get yourself a normal life, a peaceful life, a family.
Dean: I have a family.
Memorable Scene #4: The four Winchesters, sitting down together to share a meal. Does it get any better than this? Oh wait, John makes a toast, and I am reduced to a mere puddle.
John: All right. Near as I can tell, we have two choices. All right, we can think about what's coming. Or we can be grateful for this time that we have together. Now, me... I choose grateful. So, to whatever brought us together, we owe you one. Amen.
Memorable Scene #5: And the feels just keep getting wrecked as Dean tells Sam that he’s good with who they are:
Sam: Once we send Dad back... it's like none of this ever happened. He, he just goes back to - to... to being Dad.
Dean: You saying you wish things would be different?
Sam: Don't you? Can you imagine - Dad in the past, knowing then what he knows now? I... I think it would be nice.
Dean: Yeah. I used to think that, too. But, uh... I mean, look, we've been through some tough times. There's no denying that. And for the longest time, I blamed Dad. I mean, hell, I blamed Mom, too, you know? I was angry. But say we could send Dad back knowing everything. Why stop there? Why not send him even further back and let some other poor sons of bitches save the world? But here's the problem. Who does that make us? Would we be better off? Well, maybe. But I got to be honest - I don't know who that Dean Winchester is. And I'm good with who I am. I'm good with who you are. 'Cause our lives - they're ours. And maybe I'm just too damn old to want to change that.
Lynn said, “I had no idea how much I needed to hear that until I did. Sam and Dean are who they are, flaws and traumas and codependence and all, and I love them because of that. Over these fourteen years, they have moved from struggling against who they are and trying to be something else, to being genuinely and truly okay with who they are. And so am I. And I was nothing but a puddle on the floor.”
Memorable Scene #6: As if watching the four Winchesters sit down and share a meal together, and laugh together, and simply be a family together… now we have to watch them say goodbye to each other.
John: My girl. I miss you so damn much.
Mary: Me too.
John: You two. You take care of each other.
Sam: We always do.
Dean: Good to see you, Dad.
John: Yeah. I am so proud of you boys. I love you both so much.
Dean: I love you, too.
That’s it. My feels are shattered into so many pieces they might be beyond fixin'.
So that’s episodes 20-16 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 15-11!
Twitter: @MamaPrior or @PriorStudios
Staff Writer, https://fangasmthebook.com/
Staff Writer, https://thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/
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 6 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!