(Season 1, episode 1)
The premiere introduced us to the show’s classic formula, which combines a monster-of-the-week format with adventure, humor, mystery, and heart. It had its flaws, but like any future love, you always remember the first date.
Sam: I swear, man, you gotta update your cassette tape collection.
Sam: Well, for one, they’re cassette tapes.
14. ”TALL TALES”
(Season 2, episode 15)
Dean and Sam investigate strange happenings at a college, but need to call in Bobby for help after they nearly kill each other out of frustration. The physical comedy in the episode is still the closest Supernatural has ever gotten to Three Stooges territory — and it was awesome.
Bobby: You’re bickering like an old married couple.
Dean: No, see, married couples can get divorced. Me and him? We’re like Siamese twins.
Sam: It’s conjoined twins.
Dean: See what I mean?
13. ”IN THE BEGINNING”
(Season 4, episode 3)
In this time-travel field trip, we learned that the boys’ mom came from a family of hunters and that she made a deal with a demon to save their father’s life years ago. Her death was the Yellow-Eyed Demon coming to collect. How can you not love a supersized serving of Winchester family history with a side of angst?
Dean: Sammy, wherever you are, Mom is a babe! [Pause] I’m going to hell… again.
12. ”BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN”
(Season 3, episode 11)
Dean tracks down Sam after he goes missing for over a week, only to find out that he has no memory of what happened during that time — and a lot of blood on his hands… literally. It was our first (but certainly not our last) look at Evil Sam, and it was terrifying in a great way.
Dean to now-unpossessed Sam: Dude, you full-on had a girl up inside of you for, like, a week. That’s pretty naughty.
11. ”MYSTERY SPOT ”
(Season 3, episode 11)
The episode took the brothers to a town where Sam began experiencing strange happenings Groundhog Day-style, later discovered to be the work of a Trickster. Poor, frazzled Sam was forced to witness Dean’s death over and over again. Torturous for him, hilarious for us.
Dean: Sammy, I get all tingly when you take control like that.
10. ”POINT OF NO RETURN”
(Season 5, episode 18)
In the 100th episode, Dean nearly said yes to Michael, but was stopped before damage could be done. Dean killed Zachariah, Adam took Dean’s place as Michael’s vessel, and the brothers worked out some major trust issues. Most importantly, the episode managed to pack more homoerotic references into a single episode than ever before. Hey, it was episode 100. They made it count in every way.
Dean: Cas, not for nothing, but the last person that looked at me like that, I got laid.
9. ”ON THE HEAD OF A PIN”
(Season 4, episode 16)
Torture. Betrayal. Lies. Beatings. No, it’s not 24, just a damn good episode of Supernatural, complete with a doozy of a reveal: Dean started the apocalypse after he began torturing souls in hell. Once we picked our jaws up off the floor, we collectively said, ”Wow.”
Dean: You guys don’t walk enough. You’re gonna get flabby. You know, I’m starting to think Junkless has a better sense of humor than you do.
Castiel: Uriel’s the funniest angel in the garrison. Ask anyone.
8. ”WHAT IS AND WHAT SHOULD NEVER BE”
(Season 2, episode 20)
In this alternate-reality episode, Dean’s greatest wish gets granted by a djinn, but it’s really not all he hoped it would be. John’s still dead and Dean’s relationship with Sam is in the dumps. The poignant look at who they are as people — not as hunters — was some of the best character development the show has ever presented.
Dean: I don’t understand, why are you doing this?
Sam: Because you’re still my brother.
Sam: What’re you calling me a bitch for?
Dean: You’re supposed to say “jerk.”
Dean: Never mind.
7. ”ABANDON ALL HOPE”
(Season 5, episode 10)
The already slim number of ladies on Supernatural took a hit once again when mother-daughter hunting duo Ellen and Jo Harvelle (Samantha Ferris and Alona Tal) went out in a blaze of glory. They did so to help our heroes escape the grasp of a pack of Hellhounds. Above all, the episode showed the price of saving the world in a way that hit home, especially for those who had come to appreciate what the Harvelles brought to the show.
Lucifer: Castiel, I’m told you came here in an automobile.
Lucifer: What was that like?
Castiel: Slow. Confining.
6. ”NO REST FOR THE WICKED”
(Season 3, episode 16)
We thought he was going to be saved. A main character… in hell? Never! Except, ”never ”came, and Dean went to hell, making good on a deal he made with a demon to save his brother’s life at the end of season 2. It’s up for debate which brother stole the acting crown in the last moments of the episode. Dean screaming Sam’s name while trapped in hell was haunting, but was Sam’s tearful farewell that broke our hearts. Ah! Forget it; they both win. Not up for deliberation? That this was a solid episode.
Bobby: Do I look like a ditchable prom date to you?
5. ”ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE: PART 2”
(Season 2, episode 22)
Part 1 of this intense season closer left us with a dead Sam and the end of the world approaching. But it was part 2 that wrapped up the Yellow-Eyed Demon plot and set up season 3’s epic main story line about Dean’s deal with the devil, which he made to bring Sam back to life. Dean’s tearful plea to Sam’s dead body, Bobby’s confrontation with the eldest Winchester, and the brief return of the boys’ father’s spirit made for one of the heaviest episodes to date, but it left us begging for more and forming an everlasting hate for the summer months. Stupid, hellatus.
Sam: …I’m going to get you out of this. I’m going to save your ass for a change.
4. ”A VERY SUPERNATURAL CHRISTMAS”
(Season 3, episode 8)
A roundup of Supernatural‘s best would not be complete without this heartwarming — albeit bloody — holiday episode that took us back to Sam and Dean’s childhood. It taught us the origin of Dean’s signature (and now cruelly disposed!) amulet and the root of the brothers’ relationship.
Sam: When you sacrifice to Hold McCar, guess what he gives you in return?
Dean: Lap dances, hopefully.
3. ”IN MY TIME OF DYING”
(Season 2, episode 1)
A massive car crash at the end of season 1’s finale left all three Winchesters’ fates unknown, but it was Dean’s life that hung in the balance at the start of season 2. As a grim reaper stalked Dean, Sam and John gave us a look at the bickering that drove Sam away to Stanford. But in the end, John acted on the words he never said and exchanged his life for his son’s by making a deal with the Yellow-Eyed Demon. There’s nothing sadder than seeing the tough guys fall…
Dean: Have you heard of an out-of-body experience?
Tessa: What, are you some New-Agey guy?
Dean: You see me messing with crystals or listening to Yanni?
2. ”LAZARUS RISING”
(Season 4, episode 1)
Dean was snatched from hell looking worse for wear and sporting a mysterious handprint on his shoulder (bonus points for a flash of abs). We met psychic Pamela Barnes (now resting in peace), who pointed them in the right direction, but only after getting her eyes burned out by an angel. And Sam’s suddenly a demon-exorcising badass (Wha?!). As if the 42 minutes weren’t crammed enough, we were also introduced to an unlikely show favorite: ”holy tax accountant” angel Castiel. No one knew where all these plots were going or how they were connected at the time, but the show’s mythology had never been so convoluted — or captivating.
Demon: So you get to just stroll out of the pit, huh? Tell me, what makes you so special?
Dean: I’d like to think it’s because of my perky nipples.
1. ”SWAN SONG”
(Season 5, episode 22)
Everything good about the 14 episodes of Supernatural we just talked about was in this incredibly sad and touching episode. Well, except for maybe humor. This was not funny. Not funny at all. But for an episode that was acting as a season finale and a fresh start for the series, you couldn’t ask for more.
Castiel: It’s starting.
Dean: You think, genius?
Castiel: You don’t have to be mean.
Dean: So what do we do now?
Castiel: I suggest we imbibe copious quantities of alcohol, just wait for the inevitable blast wave.