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It's one of the greatest episodes in “Supernatural” history, reviewed bullet point style.  It must be Christmas!  No, literally, its “A Very Supernatural Christmas.”

  • They somehow managed to score the old CBS “A Special Presentation” logo?  Oh that’s so rich!  Kripke you magnificent bastard.
  • I speculated this a few years ago, but I think this opening scene is Jeremy Carver projecting a bit after being scarred for life watching Andy Williams Christmas specials during his youth.  Kind of Pythonesque, don’t you think?  Smiles, cheer, warm holiday spirit, ending tons of blood and gore.  Just perfect. 
  • This episode is one of the special ones that got its own title card.  Man, that would make a great trivia question.  “How many episodes with special title cards have there bin?”  Come to think of it, I think this is the first one!  Even better trivia question.
  • It should also be mentioned that Eric Kripke said in the DVD extras that after this episode aired, many of his family and friends went up to him and asked “What’s wrong with you?” I’m sure they meant it with love. Along with several referrals to a psychologist.     
  • Anyone catch this inside joke?  A Kincade (or Kincade like) as a giant mural on the wall?  Obvious much after Jared’s movie “The Christmas Cottage?”  I die laughing every time I see Dean lost in the middle of this. 

  • I absolutely love this Christmas village scene.  There are so many subtle touches in here that are easy to overlook.  Little things like the mopey reindeer giving a half hearted hello to the lackadaisical elf.  For me, I grew up in the Detroit area, which is where Ypsilanti is.  Warm weather or not, it’s not that lush in Michigan in December.  Also, those type of run down, very scary Christmas villages only exist in Northern Michigan, or even more realistically, the upper peninsula.  Life is a little different up there. 
  • Christmas time, aka “Who crapped in Sam Winchester’s cornflakes?”  Talk about grumpy.  Anyone know why a goofy plastic reindeer would trigger a sad Weechester memory?  The things that go on inside that boy's brain.
  • Here we get to add one more stereotype label to Sam and Dean Winchester, Pedophiles/Perverts.  Come on guys, two young grown men hanging out in a Christmas village loaded with kids?  “Eww” indeed!  Sam's reaction over Dean's setup is classic!  This is one of best episodes for the Sam Winchester bitchface.  Also, Dean is wearing his leather jacket.  I see that anymore and cry.  Whoever took that jacket will end up being lynched gruesomely by millions of angry fan girls.  


  • Santa drives a red muscle car!  Sure it’s a crappy Cadillac Eldorado, but nice touch. 
  • Ooh, another nickname for the Sam Winchester nickname list.  “The boy who hates Christmas.”  
  • Who found it absolutely hysterical that Sam and Dean didn’t know the words to “Silent Night?”  Who wants to take bets that’s the only Christmas carol they know (kind of)?  Who wanted them to join Santa in his little whiskey, pot, and porn party?
  • I guess the first scene was gory and didn’t traumatize young children enough, so they decided to have another go.  Anyone wonder how that kid is going to grow up?  I say he starts the “Future Hunters of America” club at school.    
  • Another priceless Sam bitchface!  You know one of the things I miss the most from Supernatural?  Dean taking those opportunities to humiliate Sam.  There’s none better that I can recall that Sam and Dean in the gift shop.  The dialogue is just perfect!  Even the clerk gets into it.  “Aren’t you a fussy one.”  The best bitchface ever!
  • Isn’t amazing how the funny turns to sad so fast?  I’m so crushed by this scene with Sam and Dean in the motel room, finally coming clean about how they feel.  Poor Sam, the idea of losing Dean is making him more and more depressed.  The holidays are the best time for that.  The way this scene is shot is positively gorgeous.  The angle is from behind, with a side profile on both brother's faces that shows just the perfect amount of sadness and agony in their faces. 
  • What I want to know is from based on flashbacks here and “Dark Side of The Moon” Sam used to live on funyuns.  Why oh why then haven’t we seen him each funyuns as an adult?  He’s always eating so healthy it’s freakishly unnatural.  Wouldn’t it be great if he gets stressed about something and he’s caught scarfing a bag of funyuns?  I bet Sam is really a closet stress eater.  
  • The scene confirms for me that Colin Ford has an incredible future as an actor.  His subtle delivery as Sam finds out the truth about monsters.  He just quietly takes it all in, rolls over and cries.  That’s so Sam.  That’s so me busting into tears. 
  • Man, this episode doesn’t quit.  Now the Pagan Gods are Ozzy and Harriet?  “Those are fine wreaths.”  Sam won’t let Dean have any peanut brittle?  What a prude!  Whoever casted these two is a brilliant genius. 
  • Don’t you think they went a little to overboard on the gross factor in the basement?  How much to you want to bet the entire cast and crew were told to just go all out with every scene and they ran with it.  They really did here.  I still love watching the saintly older lady handle the massive gigantor like he was made of tissue paper.  Nice touch. 
  • Just picture Jeremy Carver pitching this.  “Now we go into the gruesome holiday torture scene...”  I’m sure Eric Kripke was eating it up!  Dreams of the bloodiest, most gut cringing Christmas episode ever were realized.  Pulling off a fingernail?  Ouch Sammy!  Plus thanks to Mrs. Pagan God, I now say fudge instead of...the other word.  
  • Good thing those Pagans went for the real Christmas tree.  The weapons have never been more decorative!  
  • Carver and Kripke are sentimentalists!  I knew they’d end this episode right.  Reflecting every fan’s dream.  How many before this Christmas scene with young Sam and young Dean speculated that Dean’s cherished amulet was a gift from Sam?  Here it becomes canon
  • I still weep to this day over the idea of Sam giving Dean his final Christmas.  He put aside all his fears of losing Dean and did the right thing.  The fact he was so nervous during the whole thing, that’s so endearing.  The tree with fishing lures and pine tree air fresheners was a perfect touch.  The egg nog spiking is especially funny because that is a genuine reaction from Jensen.  Jared actually did spike the egg nog to ridiculous levels.  
  • This is one of the most perfect scenes of the series.  Dean is all smiles, especially during the modest gift exchange.  It was like he was given pure gold. Sam even followed tradition and wrapped the gifts in the comics.  Aww, these two are killing me!  It all ends with all worries set aside, two brothers just enjoying their quality family time during the holidays.  The Christmas lights sparkling on the dotted with snowflakes Impala.  Christmas card perfect.  No really, I’ve actually gotten Christmas cards with this picture on it.  

Coming up next from Ardeospina, the episode that many call one of the greatest (if not the greatest) of all time.  It was certainly Jeremy Carver’s masterpiece.  “Mystery Spot.”



# arefe 2012-09-23 00:05
I really like these kind of articles of you,
this ep was one the very good ep even at the beginning i did not expected,
one of the most violent scene of whole series was in this ep which is i never watched it again,
& those brotherly moment was one the best specially i have to admit Sam/Jared/Colin expression was heartbreaking ..
i completely wait for next round about mystery spot
# KELLY 2012-09-23 02:01
Love Love Love Love LOVE this episode. Take some gruesome horror mix in genuine laugh out loud comedy. Add several heartbreaking moments and end with two truly beautiful brother scenes. Who could ask for more?

Whenever I watch this episode I can completely sympathize with the people who love the first 3 seasons the best. They truly liked each other and seemed happy just to be together in that last scene. And the thought of losing Dean was just tearing Sam up. As much as I love 4 and 5, I really miss the relationship they had then.

I also love Colin Ford. Ridge Canipe is good too but Colin has all Sam mannerisms DOWN and he just looks so heartbroken when he's crying himself to sleep.
# LEAH D 2012-09-23 10:38
Kelly, completely agree with everything you said! The gleeful horror mixed with the touching moments. Perfect. One of my favorites of the series. The saddest thing for me is the thought of those two little boys in that dumpy cabin on Christmas. One just wanting his dad on Christmas. The other trying to comfort him. I loved the ending scene with the shot starting out on the amulet and pulling back to reveal Sam had cobbled together a final Christmas for Dean.

Alice, thanks for this. The constant stream of articles, fun projects, and news from all of you has made this long hiatus bearable.
# Bevie 2012-09-23 16:55
I'm one who loves the first 3 seasons to distraction. And this episode is just perfection. For the beautiful brother scenes, as you say, and the awesome horror that Kripke revels in. And the gods were so gruesomely funny, even while pulling fingernails and teeth out!

Yes, the brothers really liked each other and as long as they had each other, they were happy.

You could see how torn up Sam was to be losing Dean and the next 4 seasons seem to be lacking that. It was made obvious and J&J could show that so very well without words you could just know what they were thinking. I miss that so very very much now. I loved how they loved each other.

I'm truly hoping Jeremy can bring that back to the show this season.

Don't get me wrong, I'm loving the show in spite of that lack, but really wish I didn't have to imagine it all in my head when it could be confirmed by just a few caring looks, bitch faces, and brotherly pats. Find it strange that most fans love season four the most when all the love and trust and real caring about each other was missing. That's what gets to me the most and that's why I'm still watching and loving the show.

Colin Ford is so amazingly Sammy like as he grows up it is hard to believe he isn't little Sam.

Jeremy outdid himself with this episode and also 'Mystery Spot'.

The end of this episode brings tears of happy/sad to my eyes each and every time I see it.
# Geordiegirl1967 2012-09-23 17:08

You could see how torn up Sam was to be losing Dean and the next 4 seasons seem to be lacking that. It was made obvious and J&J could show that so very well without words you could just know what they were thinking. I miss that so very very much now. I loved how they loved each other.

I'm truly hoping Jeremy can bring that back to the show this season.

Don't get me wrong, I'm loving the show in spite of that lack, but really wish I didn't have to imagine it all in my head when it could be confirmed by just a few caring looks, bitch faces, and brotherly pats.
I 100% agree. s8 really needs to bring back some of this unconscious affection. It doesn't need much. It barely needs to be explicitly written in as a plot point. It never used to be. It was just completely organic and natural. We need that back, and that needs to be a decision by the showrunner. Despite the dreadfully depressing and disappointing spoilers I am still hoping JC will give us back the brothers bond. It needs to be at the heart of the story, not taken for granted, not requiring the viewers imagination and knowledge of the back story to fill in the gaps.
Find it strange that most fans love season four the most when all the love and trust and real caring about each other was missing. That's what gets to me the most and that's why I'm still watching and loving the show.
I don't think it is true to say that 'most' SPN fans love s4 the most. I'd say that honour goes to s2. But it is certainly popular and, like you, I just don't get that. I absolutely loathe s4 for what it did to the brothers characters (particularly Sam's) and to their relationship.
# emmau 2012-09-23 17:56
I third this. It really didn't take a lot to show Dean and Sam's affection for each other in the first 3 seasons--a lot of it was done in small gestures. Jensen and Jared are capable of this naturally, so it seems like it would be easy enough to have that be a consistent part of the show.

I think I'm one who doesn't hate S4 for splitting the brothers up, but hold it against every season after that for not healing the rift. Storywise I think the rift in S4 made sense, and it really did potentially set the boys up to fix the problems with their relationship and become a stronger, more equal partnership afterwards.

The problem was it never happened. I know S5 was supposed to, but it never seemed that it did to me. There'd be episode declarations--" I need you to let me grow up", "I have to let you make your own decisions", "I'm angry", etc, but I think you've touched on the problem that it wasn't organic or natural. It just felt like every so many episodes they dropped in a plot point/declarati on and called it healed.

S6 started with robo!Sam, separating the boys once again, and never got back on track. Then S7 was simply the season of "How much misery can we heap on these boys' heads", giving both Sam and Dean very isolating storylines that made them look more like half-hearted partners than friends. I think show would try to show it, but the effort was so clearly there it never felt natural.

And through it all, the boys still remain the same--Dean keeps things from Sam, Sam keeps things from Dean, Dean takes charge by pulling the big brother card, Sam runs away. So for all the reconcilation and declaration that the brothers are "fine" from the last two years, it really doesn't feel like anything's changed. I know this coming season promises more of the same, at least initially, but I'm really hoping that this time if the PTB are going to break the boys, they finally reset it correctly and let it heal cleanly, leaving the boys stronger than they've been since S1-3.

Jeremy Carver, if nothing else, has written episodes where the brotherly bond was palpable and organic, so that's the thing I'm really hoping for most of all. Even if they never really fix the lying and the control issues and whatnot, if Sam and Dean can be Sam n' Dean again, I'd take it.
# LEAH D 2012-09-23 18:25
emmau "like" button right back at ya. Great comment.
# KELLY 2012-09-23 19:06
I think I'm one who doesn't hate S4 for splitting the brothers up, but hold it against every season after that for not healing the rift. Storywise I think the rift in S4 made sense, and it really did potentially set the boys up to fix the problems with their relationship and become a stronger, more equal partnership afterwards.

The problem was it never happened.
You stated in perfectly. This is exactly why I loved S4, I felt that all the drama and heartbreak was completely earned with the seasons leading up to it. And it just made for some incredible storylines. But like you I hope that this would be the opportunity for them to come back even stronger than before and I definitely don't feel like we're close to that.

I agree, in S5 I thought they made a lot of progress at the end but I didn't feel the rift was completely mended or that as much as Sam trusted Dean. I did not feel as it Dean really trusted Sam completely. And I'm still not sure they know where they stand with each other. Realistically they are men- so rarely talk about their feelings, but I miss the brothers who would push each to talk when the other was hurting.

I'm really hoping that this time if the PTB are going to break the boys, they finally reset it correctly and let it heal cleanly, leaving the boys stronger than they've been since S1-3.
HALLELUJAH!!! I cannot agree with this enough. I don't mind that they weren't instantly fixed in S5 (at least since the show didn't end). But last season especially, I felt the moving away from each other, instead of the other way around. Now if they are doing this so that ultimately there is a more complete reconciliation I all for it.

I have read some complaints about the spoilers for next season (but am doing my best to stay unspoiled this season), but I agree Carver almost always had a terrific grasp on their relationship. Even episodes of his that I was not overly impressed with (ie Long Distance Caller and Family Remains). I loved the scenes between them. So I'm truly hoping that between him and Edlund (whose also had some amazing brother moments) that they can finally get back on track.
# emmau 2012-09-23 20:14
Yes, that's exactly what I mean! I thought S4 created a great drama and discord that the boys would emerge in S5 from as stronger brothers and partners. It never seemed to materialize, and I don't think that's just because men don't talk. To me, it was because they never talked about the right things.

Again, it's funny how people can see things differently, though. In S5, I thought show made a much bigger deal about how Dean needed to change to fix the relationship (5.4--not working with Sam = end of world, 5.5--Dean made Sam go with Ruby, 5.18--Dean not trusting Sam to say no would destroy half the world, 5.21-5.22--Dean not wanting Sam to say yes = Dean doesn't trust Sam). I never thought they emphasized how Sam needed to change in order to repair the relationship. Don't get me wrong--Dean made a lot of mistakes in S4 and did need to do things differently. I just never thought show really gave Sam the redemption arc he deserved in S5 to show he was making the same types of changes in how he dealt with Dean. For me, his "I trust you" in 5.18 was nice, but it came out of nowhere--they didn't link it back to S4 or even the beginning of S5, when Dean and Sam laid down their grievances in 5.1 and 5.5 respectively. I thought that robbed the moment of some power and really didn't serve Sam as a redemptive step. Either way you see, I think it was that kind of scattershot approach to the boys' coming back together that made it feel inorganic and therefore incomplete.

I also agree with you that Jeremy Carver has written some clunker episodes overall, just like all the other writers (and your two examples would be my two excatly), but to me he's always shown a pretty firm grip on who the brothers are and what their relationship should look like. Spoilers are always hard because they're teases, but I'm hoping we get some new, great things for Sam, Dean, and Sam n' Dean. I could have lived with the boys not being completely fixed in S5 if the trajectory had continued, but instead the PTB just seemed to think they were "all better", and then last year they were just both so internal they just seemed to be orbiting in the same patterns instead of actively working together.

Without being specific with spoilers, I think this year I want show to really remove the feeling of the last season that Dean and Sam are stuck hunting and stuck with each other. I want the boys to come back together, really deal with their conflicts re: keeping things from each other, and have Sam and Dean go forward together, by choice as well as blood.

Well, that was a lot. I get excited about the possibility of show recapturing the essence of the brotherly bond.
# KELLY 2012-09-23 21:22
Obviously it's subjective by I guess I saw Sam change in several different ways. He no longer lied even in self-protection (such as in My Bloody Valentine when he told Dean he was craving blood), when he took off he talked to Dean about it first. He no longer had the arrogance that demon blood seemed to bring on. He said several he was weak and even said he was the least of team freewill. I saw his jumping in the pit as his final redemption for his mistakes in S4, but felt he had already come along way in his relationship with Dean. But I do think that, like you, Dean didn't seem to really accept the changes either.

Either way, I would like to see further repairs to their relationship. I agree I didn't like the idea that the only reason they were together and hunting was out of a sense of duty. That there were simply stuck, as you said, not that the really enjoy being together.

I would love for them to get back to the type of bond that they had, well except for the selling of souls for each other. That is a little TOO codependent.
# emmau 2012-09-23 22:10
Obviously this is subjective as well, but I found the "I'm the least of any of you" completely out of left field. Like many of the declarative statements in S5 that were meant to signify growth, I felt like they came wihtout much backing and there wasn't much follow-through on some of them. That was definitely one of those lines.

I will agree that 5.14 was a great show of Sam's growth (and another frustrating point when we had Sam lie to Dean out of self-protection and take off with only a "On a case" note and refused phone contact in S7, but I digress). I am fully willing to state that I hadn't considered that enough. I'm afraid I still didn't see where he came a long way in his relationship with Dean in S5 itself, and I disagree that Dean didn't accept changes in Sam, or else he really did have zero arc in S5.

I do further agree that show needs to show more of the bond and further repair the relationship, but no more soul selling needs to take place.
# sylvia37 2012-09-24 03:35
I was reading this conversation between you two, ( emmau and kelly) and it struck me because I was also thinking about this last night. I was one who really didn't like season 4, but I realized rather belatedly that I could have dealt with it better if they had, as you've said, repaired the rift. They had such potential in season 5.

I thought the first four or five episodes really looked like they were going to do it with the two of them being honest and hashing things out and really talking about important things. And then it turned into a contrived, plot driven mess in my opinion. It's like they said, "hmmm, we know we want them to be more or less reconciled in the hundredth episode because that will really be neato, so how can we get there? I know, let's have all the episodes between be about Dean finding out that he can't fix things and get him really depressed so it will come to a head, and we'll make everything Sam's fault so it will really look good when Dean doesn't give into Michael. Well, what about Sam? Oh right, um...he doesn't really matter. We'll make up something about him being angry so when we throw him in the pit at the end it will look like that was his problem all along."

Don't get me wrong, there were episodes I really liked, but for the most part, I thought it was poorly planned and then it's like they only planned up to PONR then couldn't figure out how to solve their problem so they threw Sam under the bus.

As to the actual point of this thread, I love this episode so much. It and Mystery Spot give me some hope that this season will have some good, emotional stuff for BOTH characters. Jeremy Carver has proven that he gets them and can write for both of them. Now I'm hoping it translates for the whole season.
# KELLY 2012-09-23 19:20
Bevie, I still love the show too. I was a little disappointed with how the season long storylines went nowhere last season, but it's still my favorite show on right now (It has to war with X-Files and Firefly for favorite ever). And I still have a smidgen of hope they are going to pick up some of those this season.

As far as the love and the caring being back, I think emmau answered better then I could.
# PaintedWolf 2012-09-25 04:45
I may be a little late to the party, but just for my part on season 4. I also absolutely hated having to watch the brothers torn apart. If there's one season that can twist my stomach into knots and break my heart like no other, it's this one. It ends up being a war between what I felt emotionally and what I noticed critically. For me, season 4 was hands down the best season they've done both construction-wi se and creatively. It was beautifully plotted, tense and pretty much kept me enthralled the whole way through. As I often say, brilliant, but hard to watch. As for my favourite season overall though, after much deliberation, it goes to season 2.
# winmomwannabe 2012-09-23 03:05
Your article made me run and watch this episode again and now I am typing with wet cheeks. So love this episode. Does make me long to see the amulet again. And waiting for the bitch face scenes was a hoot. Thanks again for the trip down memory lane.
# Geordiegirl1967 2012-09-23 07:41
This ep, Mystery Spot and PONR are among my top 10 faves. They showcase the brothers relationship brilliantly, subtly, believably and VERY movingly. So I had high hopes when I heard JC would be back and running the show. Unfortunately the spoilers we have heard, and his comments about s8, have left me more pessimistic than I have ever been about SPN and that even includes during the worst periods of s4 and early s6. The spoilers imply a completely ooc view of how Sam would react to Losing Dean, a depressing (to me) view of what the balance in the show should be between joint (for Dean and Sam) and separate storylines, an over emphasis on Cas and lots of other things I won't go into in case there are spoilerphobes reading.

I am trying so hard to still believe that we'll get more AVSC and less FTBYAM in s8, but I'm struggling. The spoilers are making it very difficult to keep the faith.

I guess we'll see how much of the fantastic brotherly stuff in JCs best eps was really down to him and how much was down to EKs vision for the show, and the brief he gave the writers.

Although I loved the second half of s6, and much of s7, IMO the brothers relationship - which is the heart of the show - has not been as well served, or given enough priority by the writers, since EK left. Fingers crossed s8 will see a return to form.
# Ginger 2012-09-23 08:18
Wonderful post. I think this was an EK brilliant idea and a JC brilliant episode.

I absolutely loved the title card in this one, and the other thing you mentioned...Oh how I miss Dean humiliating Sam. This one and Sam playing with dolls in Playthings. That Sam/Dean interaction used to crack me up every time. I'd like to see more of Sam's bitch face these days, too. Unfortunately, I think we've seen the last of all of that, what with the boys being 'all grown up' now.

We fans put a lot into that amulet. This is the episode that put the stamp on it, and then the show proceeded to deconstruct Dean, deconstruct Sam, and deconstruct the brothers' relationship, and isn't the saddest part of of what we have lost over the years. Until their relationship is put back together, if it ever is, I don't care to see the amulet return.
# Alice77 2012-09-23 15:29
What a fantastic recap of my favorite episode of this show. It’s amazing how much the brothers have been through since they last shared that Christmas together. A co-worker at DISH and I have long hoped that they would do another Christmas special, hopefully this season sees one. I am very excited for Supernatural to return; but with my busy schedule, I am glad that my Hopper has 2,000 hours of recording space. I love that I can program it to record entire seasons automatically; letting me spend my weekends catching up with everything I missed. The best aspect of this show is the relationship between Sam and Dean, it’s episodes like these that showcase it best.
# MindiWynne 2012-09-23 15:58
My dauughter was terminally ill and we had to postpone her admission to Hospice because she adamantly refused to miss this episode. She ended up going the next day. This was the last Supernatural show that she ever watched before she died. To this day it will always be up there in my list of "favorite tv shows ever". I love hearing the little extras behing the show. I think its awesome that the egg nog was really spiked!
# Geordiegirl1967 2012-09-23 17:00
So sorry for your loss MindiWynne. It must bring up really mixed memories for you to watch this episode. I'm glad your daughter got to watch it and that the show gave her so much pleasure.
# Sylvie 2012-09-24 11:38
I have such a hard time choosing a favourite episode from SPN, but this one right here is it. I watch it (as probably most fans do) every Christmas. I laugh, I cry, I cringe, especially as the God removes Sam's fingernail, ouchy! I absolutely love the Christmas village they go to. My parents used to take me to a really cheesy one, and I positively hated it! I couldn't stand Santa, always knew he was a fake, so I can kinda relate to Sam there. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but because it brings my family together once a year.
# PaintedWolf 2012-09-25 05:20
Sweet Peter on a popsicle stick, I love this episode. Last time I rewatched it (I'm hoping to do so again this Christmas) I was watching with my mom and sister and we all shared a collective awwwww at the gift exchange. It was just so perfect! Even with the gore and violence, I still think this is about the best Christmas special I've seen from any show.
# E 2012-09-29 09:12
This episode was one of my sleeper choices in the article about hidden gem episodes. I love this one so much.... such a great mix of comedy, drama and horror/gore. How many shows on TV can and have combined that many genres into one episode let alone one season. I love My Bloody Valentine for doing the same thing.

I hadn't noticed that giant Kincaid like painting on the wall! (I don't know how I missed it, it's gigantic.) How funny! This show is always doing clever things like this to enrich their episodes (or at least they used to, I am not aware of anything like this being done recently except perhaps in The French Mistake). I also love that I am still learning subtle details about episodes that are almost 5 years old that help enrich my re-watching enjoyment. Thanks!