Even the show's writers know how bad ''Bugs'' is — they mocked the episode in season 4's ''The Monster at the End of This Book.'' Cliché-riddled (a Native American curse is behind the bugs) and replete with gross visuals, ''Bugs'' clearly indicates a show still trying to figure out its tone and style. Early episodes of Supernatural pulled from the vast wealth of horror shows and films to come before it, but in ''Bugs'' they forgot to make things scary and just left a disgusting hour for fans to watch.
After a relatively strong pilot, the show took a turn for the worse with its first monster (no demons or spirits this time!). Every supernatural show these days needs to include a wendigo episode it seems, but the Winchesters' battle with the monster is a rough second step for a show in its infancy. Even creator Eric Kripke admitted in a series retrospective the episode is one of their worst, and with a disappointing wendigo design to top it all off, the episode was a poor indication of the much stronger work that would come.
The two main plots in this episode featured Frank trying to figure out Dick Roman's plans and the Winchester brothers dealing with a handful of cursed objects, including a pair of ballet slippers that make people dance themselves to death. Dick Roman? No thanks. Cursed slippers? Again, no thanks.
Sam and Dean have actually had several dog-related cases, but the canine-related antics are at their worst in ''All Dogs Go to Heaven.'' The episode will make any dog lover just a bit wary of adopting a new pet for fear that it might be a murderous skinwalker (if they believe in that sort of thing, of course). And Sam admitting he has changed — a.k.a. lost his soul — is just a sad cap to a strange episode.
While Dean heads off to explain to Ben that Lisa going on a date isn't an ''emergency,'' Sam is left to work a case involving a dead sister, a kidney transplant, and a lot of mannequins. Of all the things to haunt, mannequins just aren't scary. And neither are kidney transplants. Plus, brother separation is never ideal.
In a not-so-memorable hour, the brothers are forced to face off with a black truck that keeps running people over/running them off the road/generally killing everyone in its path. Bringing in Dean's ex is a nice touch, but it doesn't take away from the whole haunted-black-truck thing. All in all, the episode lacks an edge.
Wonder Woman would definitely not want to be associated with these Amazon warriors. After going home with Dean one night, the secret Amazonian Lydia becomes pregnant and, in the blink of an eye, gives birth to a daughter. The only problem is that she's destined to kill her father. So Sam makes the difficult choice for Dean and kills the child in one of the series' most uncomfortable and unsavory moral dilemmas.
More forgettable than it is truly terrible, ''The Mentalists'' just doesn't have much going for it. There could be a lot to play with when considering the most psychic town in America, but the sibling ghost issues at the heart of the mystery are just lame. And the episode may mark the quickest turnaround for Sam and Dean fighting and then reconciling, which sucks all the drama out of Amy's death.
The Supernatural spin-off didn't quite live up to fans' expectations, and although it probably didn't deserve all the hate it received, it doesn't quite measure up to other hours. Bottom line: It's hard to compare when the hour is severely lacking in Sam and Dean (even though that's on purpose).
An episode that feels like it’s spinning its wheels — or web — more than anything doesn’t do much to move the overall plot forward while pitting the brothers against a lame spider-like foe.
The title kind of says it all.
Not even a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reunion can save this ho-hum episode about witches.
Remember the college student with the zombie girlfriend? Yeah, we sort of do.
We might have been able to live without the creepy zombie doctor, but at least Rufus and Bela both make an appearance.
An appearance by Jody Mills saves an otherwise average vampire episode (even though we’d come to love Alex).
Not only does Dick shoot Bobby, but there’s that whole unfortunate Turducken thing that ruined burgers of any kind for a while.
The goddess of truth makes an appearance that ultimately leads to Sam admitting that he hasn’t felt like himself since returning from the cage. Hint: It’s because he doesn’t have a soul.
Sam and Dean work with Mick to save Claire after she’s bitten by a werewolf.
Sam and Dean encounter a talking teddy bear.
Sheriff Donna calls Sam and Dean when a man in a giant fuzzy mask commits murder.
Sam as a yoga instructor is an image we’ll never forget. The episode, however, is slightly less memorable.
Coming back from the show’s best finale is tough, and try as it might, the premiere helps set the tone for an uneven season 6.
In which Supernatural asks us to remember who Crowley’s time-displaced son Gavin is.
Sam and Dean help twin witches Max and Alicia Banes find their mother, but the result is tragedy.
Dean acting like a dog is funny on some levels and just a bit too far on others.
Sam and Dean confront Amara while Castiel and Jack work a case involving a local community center.
The dreaded Khan worm is back, and this time it’s messing with Cole.
Eve’s appearance makes for good drama, but we’re not huge fan of the worm-in-the ear plot. However, Rufus’ death is worth noting. R.I.P.
If you wanted to learn more about Mick and Ketch’s backgrounds via flashbacks, then this is the episode for you. If you didn’t really care for either one of these British Men of Letters, then…
The Leviathans can’t help but be a nuisance, as two impersonate Sam and Dean and go off on a killing spree that lands the brothers on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
Guest-starring Alicia Witt as a mother using Enochian magic to avenge the murders of her daughter and angel husband, this episode provides more information about Castiel’s pre-Winchester days.
The magicians make for an entertaining hour, but not one we feel the need to re-watch.
A wood nymph brings the holiday spirit to the bunker.
Rowena is recruiting for a Mega Coven and “Uncle Crowley” is trying to inspire Amara to be evil, which includes having her watch some of Hitler’s speeches.
Mary Winchester rejoins the action when she teams up with Castiel and Dean to save Sam from the British Men of Letters.
Garth is back! But this time he's a werewolf.
The Winchesters join a chastity group to investigate a series of murders, but Dean has a little trouble paying attention to that word “chastity.”
Sam and Dean try to help out Prometheus by killing Zeus. Because, sure, that sounds like an easy enough goal in life.
Lisa and Ben’s first appearance is notable for obvious reasons, but let’s not forget all the creepy kids.
Dean holding the First Blade makes for some very mysterious drama, but we can’t quite look past the whole Snooki-is-a-crossroads-demon thing, though it is pretty hilarious.
Halloween turns deadly and the angel Uriel proves not all angels are alike, as he shows a much more homicidal tendency than Castiel.
Jody Mills and Donna Hanscum bond at a sheriff’s retreat.
What starts as a normal hunt ends with Dean fighting Moloch, a god, in a freezer.
Christian Kane guest-stars as an old friend of Dean’s.
The introduction of Krissy is a solid moment in the show’s history, but not one of the most exciting.
Yet another episode about one of the Winchester brothers keeping a secret from the other. This time it involves the British Men of Letters and a hellhound on the loose.
Kevin is back and he’s haunting the bunker, at least until Sam and Dean find his mom. Then, he can have the emotional farewell he always deserved. (Not that Dean’s manly cry wasn’t good enough, because it was.)
An attempt to find the Apocalypse World and save their mother goes horribly wrong and the boys find themselves in the monster-inhabited Bad Place. Not great Bob!
Mary tries to convince Sam to join the British Men of Letters with a vampire hunt that goes sideways when the alpha vampire shows up.
The God of Time sends Dean back to the '40s where he teams up with Eliot Ness, who just happens to be a hunter.
Family drama alert! A brainwashed Mary turns on her boys and helps sociopath Ketch seal them in the bunker without oxygen — because we needed another reason to not give Mary the Mother of the Year award.
Viewers get the first glimpse of the Nephilim’s powers when Castiel channels the unborn child to kill Dagon.
After one of the young apocalypse world hunters goes missing, Sam, Dean, Mary, and Apocalypse Bobby go looking for her, which leads to an emotional story about Bobby’s deceased son and a battle with a super-powered djinn.
The season 11 finale sees the resolution of God and Amara’s conflict, but introduces a new one: the British Men of Letters. Then there’s the little ordeal of a resurrected Mary Winchester.
The show finally takes a full-on shot at Twilight, showing the massive book and film franchise how exactly vampires are supposed to act.
The thinman isn’t the most intriguing villain, but the parallels between Ed and Harry’s relationship and Sam and Dean’s are way too good to ignore.
When Hansel gets his hands on Dean, the eldest Winchester brother suddenly finds himself stuck in the body of his teenage self.
Rowena’s brought in to help a sick Jack while Nick discovers who killed his family.
Dean is abducted by aliens that turn out to be fairies. Also, there are elves and a leprechaun.
Need we remind you of Sam’s amazing sweater?
If only Charlie’s introduction weren’t so entangled with all things Dick Roman, this episode would’ve ranked a lot higher.
Sam and Charlie battle a man-fly hybrid, while Dean introduces Jack to a real zombie.
It’s the official introduction of The Darkness, both as a full-grown woman and a baby.
The season 14 premiere introduces Jensen Ackles’ Michael and Sam’s “chief” as he leads all of the Apocalypse World hunters.
In a quasi-meta episode, deaths start occurring in a small town that have some strangely cartoon-like attributes. There are enough classic animation callbacks in the episode, including an actual 1-ton anvil, that you can just sense Wile E. Coyote waiting off screen for his cue.
Gabriel gets a backstory! And it involves Loki!
When Lucifer inhabits the body of POTUS, the Winchesters have to ask the British Men of Letters for help. Also, Lucifer impregnates a woman, so there’s that!
The title is great. The premise is great. The actual excitement level of the golem isn’t what it could’ve been.
This hour takes a different look at the Winchesters’ world when Castiel has left his human vessel. It’s not one of the show’s best episodes, but it’s worthy of some recognition.
Castiel meets his twin … sort of.
Any episode that starts in a comic book store is guaranteed to be fun, and this one doesn’t disappoint. It features a murderous Thundercats action figure, a fun callback to season 2’s “Hollywood Babylon,” and Dean fighting someone called the Hatchet Man, the main character of a horror series.
Sure, we’ve always liked Mary, but we didn’t realize how much until “Absence,” which used flashbacks to give Mama Winchester a beautiful and touching farewell.
The rapture is real! But more importantly, Castiel confesses his love for Dean before sacrificing his own life to save his favorite Winchester.
Castiel and Dean return to Purgatory while Sam has a little chat with Chuck.
Dean turning into an old man thanks to a witchy poker game makes for a solid comedic hour that would’ve ranked higher if the competition weren’t so stiff.
Garth attempts to be the new Bobby, but Sam and Dean have concerns about a guy whose ringtone is “Jump” by Kriss Kross filling that role.
One of Supernatural's scariest episodes came in its first season.
The episode lives up to its title, revealing that Sam and Dean aren’t the only Winchester brothers. But the family reunion isn’t exactly a fun time.
A classic example of the show’s early days as a mini-horror movie every week, “Hook Man” might not be the show at its best, but it helped defined the show’s monster roots.
Once again proving they know how to have fun, the Supernatural writers make Cas human and force him to work at a gas station. Also, he babysits.
What, you didn’t think we’d get a final season without Lilith showing back up at some point, did you?
After a cat-and-mouse chase through the bunker, Sam saves his brother from being a demon.
In a very non-traditional hour, Sam and Dean stumble upon some video footage that shows the werewolf transition of three college students … and the one of them that survives it all.
One of the series’ scariest episodes arrives in its first season, when the tale of Bloody Mary comes to life and makes people bleed from their eyes.
Who knew the supernatural could be so civilized as to hold an auction? Apparently they are in this episode, which also includes another appearance by the lesser-seen but just as fun to watch as her son, Mrs. Tran.
The Leviathan of it all hurts this episode’s credibility, but the return of Lucifer (in Sam’s visions) almost makes up for it.
Sam and Dean work a case that oddly feels like a game of Clue.
In this episode, Sheriff Jodi Mills, Sam and Dean’s surrogate mother, meets the newly resurrected Mary Winchester at the funeral of a fallen hunter.
The season 15 premiere picks up right were season 14 left off: Jack’s dead, Chuck has ended the world, and Sam, Dean, and Castiel are surrounded by zombies.
This mid-season finale marks the long-awaited return of Adam (and Michael) from the cage!
Even though Sam has died many times before, his mid-episode death here was still shocking and upsetting because of how relatively mundane it was.
Sam and Castiel enter Dean’s mind — where he’s the proud owner of a bar — in order to defeat Michael. The archangel is close behind, resulting in a major showdown that ends with Dean trapping Michael in his mind and declaring, “I'm the cage.”
Not only was “Wayward Sisters” a successful backdoor pilot for a potential spin-off, but it also gave many fans what they’ve been waiting for for years: a great story anchored by well-drawn female characters.
Any appearance by Charlie is a good one. Throw in the idea that Oz is a real place and Dorothy is actually a kickass hero and this episode leaves fans hoping that clicking their heels will bring them back to Oz just one more time.
This episode will always stand out for the introduction of Jesse, or as some refer to him, the Anti-Christ.
Sam wrestles with Gandhi before decapitating Paris Hilton. Thanks for this, Supernatural.
While the truth of the episode’s title might be dubious, this episode has a smart blend of drama in John’s funeral (or the closest thing to it) and a case that forces Sam and Dean to become employees at a circus. The mix of tones shouldn’t work, but, unsurprisingly, Supernatural makes it fun.
The ghost in the wall? It's not a ghost at all!
When Sam is infected by the Darkness, we’re introduced to Billie, the reaper who claims she’ll be the one to take the Winchesters when their time comes.
Dean’s hit with a spell that begins erasing his memory in an hour that’s both funny and, at times, devastating.
Metatron’s first appearance doesn’t quite hint at the power grab he will soon make, instead helping the boys while Kevin tries to break free from Crowley.
Zachariah sends Dean into a world where he’s got a job in corporate America and Sam works in tech support. And yet, inevitably, their fate finds them. Like most alternate realities, it makes for an entertaining hour.
The truth behind Yellow Eyes’ plans way back in season one return to haunt Sam as the brothers search for the final two Horsemen rings.
Horror hits home as Bobby’s home is overrun by ghosts as the brothers try to determine if Castiel is really an angel.
A good, yet fairly standard episode of the show is topped off when the brothers exchange Christmas gifts and enjoy some quality family time — eggnog included.
Robert Singer’s directorial debut on the show features a very scared Dean on a plane.
The first appearance of the Ghostfacers isn’t something we’ll soon forget, but it’s not quite as classic as their other appearances.
In the series' penultimate hour, Sam and Dean face off against Chuck, ultimately defeating him by transferring his power to Jack.
While the idea that breaking into Hell only requires a taxi driving smuggler is a bit silly, the second trial proves to be no easy task. Meanwhile, Kevin can’t seem to get Crowley’s voice out of his head.
Any appearance by Death is a good one, but this time, he decides to hand his powers over to Dean for a day. Oh, and Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund, pops up, just in case the episode wasn’t good enough already.
What if the Titanic never sank? Well, fate still has some souls to collect. More importantly, come on, Balthazar. What kind of angel could hate Titanic?
Former trickster/archangel Richard Speight Jr. directs this exceedingly fun installment, which pays homage to Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.
Although we weren’t dying for the show to revisit the Nazis of the Thule Society, we’re glad they did because it led to this fun episode where Dean kills Hitler, who was resurrected in a new body. (And, “Dean killed Hitler” is a sentence we'll never tired of writing.)
Garth’s final episode finds him saving the day when Sam and Dean experience what it’s like to be so very … normal.
It’s the biblical battle we’ve been waiting for the show to stage: Chuck, Castiel and angels, Crowley and the demons, Rowena and the witches vs. Amara, a.k.a. The Darkness. Yes, there was a cop-out ending, but that didn’t stop the episode from feeling epic.
Dean gets a virus that makes him scared of just about anything, including very small dogs. It’s another example of the show balancing drama — Dean might die — and comedy —and a cat might kill him.
Sitting at his typewriter, Metatron finally tells his side of the story in a wonderfully crafted hour.
Castiel, Crowley, Sam, and Dean all work together to bring down Lucifer, who’s currently living his best life as a rock star.
Midway through season 11, Supernatural took a break from the Amara of it all with this episode, which featured the more than welcomed return of Bobby and Rufus via flashbacks that ran parallel to the present day storyline involving The Winchesters hunting a soul eater.
Dean comes face-to-face with Billie, who’s now the new Death.
The boys are thrown in jail, but that doesn’t stop demons from popping up in their lives. At least Dean knows how to fit in after watching all those classic prison movies.
Not only do we meet the Tablets of God, but a new prophet is chosen: The soon-to-be-beloved Kevin.
Crowley (who apparently has demons infiltrating the NSA?) has to possess Sam to save him from Gadreel.
Eve meets her end in a dinner showdown. But the fight’s far from over as Castiel and Crowley meet up after all the bloodshed.
Any TV episode titled “Clip Show” is one to be wary of, but Supernatural doesn’t phone it in, instead bringing back old characters as part of a new case.
“Watchtower” introduces us to an intriguing parallel universe where Sam and Dean failed to avert the apocalypse, creating many possibilities for the show moving forward.
After a demon and angel showdown, Dean begins to open up about his time in Hell.
In brilliant meta fashion, the Winchester brothers head to a Supernatural fan convention. Hey, Chuck!
The introduction of Anna is matched with Sam finally filling Dean in on his “connection” with Ruby. Yes, there’s sex.
Sam takes out the British Men of Letters’ headquarters while Dean deals with Mary’s brainwashing by having a very emotional mother-son chat. Grab some tissues for this one!
It’s the big battle between Dean and Cain, and — spoiler! — Dean comes out victorious.
Dean says “yes” to Michael, allowing the archangel to possess him for a final showdown with Lucifer. Lucifer ends up dead, but he isn’t Michael’s only victim when the archangel makes it clear he has no intention of letting Dean go.
Sam uses his demon-blood powers to pull demon souls out of Famine and kill him. Also, Cas eats raw hamburger.
In the show’s first real attempt at comedy, Sam and Dean find themselves on a haunted film set. Aside: Every note the producer gives the director is something the CW told Supernatural at some point. And yes, by hour’s end, they kill the producer.
Not only does Charlie return, but Sam and Dean do a little LARPing.
Not your typical hour, “Red Meat” kicks off with Sam being shot and then allows the drama to unfold at a slower-than-usual pace by putting the boys in a survivalist scenario. It’s an approach the show hadn’t taken before, and one that worked beautifully to build suspense.
An important hour for the show, “Faith” marks the first real introduction of religion. Sure, it ends up being about a reaper, but with Dean’s life hanging in the balance, it packs an emotional punch.
The battle for the crown of Hell is finally decided with a little help from the First Blade. Crowley shows off a little of his paternal side without losing a bit of menace, as Abaddon pulls his son out of time as a bit of blackmail against her nemesis. She unfortunately doesn’t account for Dean’s newfound power, though, and meets a gruesome end at his hands while Crowley keeps his head on straight. Literally. He’s allowed to.
Sam and Dean make a deadly deal with Billie to escape the U.S. government.
After a lawyer's heart is ripped out, Sam and Dean travel to San Francisco looking for the werewolf responsible. And boy do they find the monster. It’s a woman named Madison, whom Sam actually ends up falling for. Because of his feelings, the brothers try to cure her of lycanthropy. Unfortunately that fails, and it falls on Sam to take Madison out, a truly heartbreaking turn, both because of the care the script puts into building Sam and Madison’s relationship and because of what this means for Sam’s arc when it comes to his mysterious powers.
A demonic virus has taken over a town, and when Sam gets infected, classic brother moments ensue. By episode’s end, Sam is healed and Dean leaves viewers with the cliffhanger of what John said to him before he died. (Hint: If you can’t save your brother, you’re going to have to kill him.)
In the hour that kicks off everything, we’re introduced to the Winchester family on the day that Yellow Eyes kills Mary and John begins his quest for revenge. Jump forward 22 years, and Dean is picking Sam up from college to go look for their father, who’s gone missing on one of his “hunting” trips. By episode’s end, the brothers have defeated a Woman in White, and Sam’s girlfriend has met the same fate his mother did all those years before.
Metatron seems unstoppable in his quest to become the new God. He has the angel tablet on hand, and it takes Gadreel sacrificing himself to save Castiel so that someone can put an end to Metatron’s reign. Metatron’s hubris is used in a trick that causes him to lose his angel army, leading to his imprisonment — but not before he injures Dean enough to leave him for dead. That is, of course, until he wakes up with a pair of all-black demon eyes.
Not only does Chuck return in the season 14 finale, but when the Winchesters refuse to follow through with his “story,” he puts an end to, well, the world. “Welcome to the end,” he says, just as he brings back every monster Sam and Dean have ever killed. In one of the series’ greatest twists, God is its final villain.
When Sam and Dean come across the Ghostfacers for the second time, they’ve got their own reality show. Only, things get a little tricky when one of their own actually dies while staying the night in a haunted house. Sorry, Corbett. But at least we get to see Ed and Harry again, right?
One of the series' most creative hours, this season 4 black-and-white episode sees Sam and Dean come across a movie-loving shapeshifter who pays tribute to iconic films with their kills (and definitely does NOT order garlic on their pizza).
When Sam shows up covered in blood after having gone missing for more than a week, it’s up to the brothers to figure out what happened. Spoiler: Sam’s possessed by Meg, who’s back from Hell to torture Dean. Thankfully, Bobby is able to expel Meg, but not before she’s said some pretty harsh things to Dean about his dear old dad.
Sam’s time without a soul finally comes back to haunt him, and the younger Winchester has to fight multiple copies of himself in his mind. The real Sam wins, but his prize is every memory from the horrible acts he committed during his soulless era. Meanwhile Castiel, drunk on Purgatory souls, destroys Raphael but allows Crowley to escape. Feeling unstoppable, he declares himself the new God. He doesn’t seem like he’ll be a benevolent one, though.
When the angels travel back in time to kill John and Mary before Sam is born, the Winchesters tag along to stop them. The battle kills Sam — who's quickly brought back to life — and introduces us to Michael, who first appears in the body of a young John Winchester to put a stop to the madness.
With Dean and Crowley off to find the First Blade, thereby running into the ridiculously charming Cain, Sam and Cas team up to extract the rest of Gadreel's grace from Sam. Along the way, Cas gives Sam a shockingly insightful PB&J-related speech that brings the two of them closer than ever before. As for Dean? Well, he walks away with the Mark of Cain on his arm. But what does it mean?
Now that Lucifer has been freed, Sam and Dean are in a bit of a rut. Cas has apparently been killed, Chuck can only tell them so much or incur the wrath of his angel overlords, and Dean has been asked to serve as the archangel Michael's vessel. Thankfully Cas returns and Dean denies Zachariah's request, but there's still one pesky little problem to deal with—Lucifer is around, and he's found a host in Mark Pellegrino.
''Seven'' introduces a number of interesting elements to the show, including another Biblically inclined villain in the Seven Deadly Sins. They are a thrilling foe to tackle as the show begins its third season, but the episode is also monumental for the first inclusion of a blade that can kill demons and the person who wields it. Ruby makes an impressive debut before going on to become a major player (in several different meat suits) over the course of the show.
Rest in peace, Kevin. Everyone's favorite prophet Kevin dies at the hands of Gadreel who, until this episode, had been posing as Ezekiel inside Sam's body. The angel commits the murder as a sign of loyalty to Metatron who has set out on his quest for domination of Heaven. Castiel is hoping to thwart Metatron's plans, but with the heartbreaking death of Kevin, the forces of good are beginning to dwindle.
Leave it to Richard Speight Jr., who played the notorious Trickster God/Gabriel, to direct this delightfully impish episode. In "Just My Imagination," Sully, Sam's imaginary friend from his childhood, pops up to ask the Winchester boys for their help because someone is out there killing imaginary friends. The delightfully imaginative premise allows for the show to reconnect with emotional elements from the show's early years that we haven't thought about since, which was a nice treat.
The series finale offered a beautiful end for Sam and Dean: Dean died hunting, the way he always said he would. Sam got to enjoy a more normal life with a wife and son before joining his brother in heaven. (And not just any heaven, Jack's new-and-improved heaven, the heaven they deserve.) The finale didn't fit seamlessly with the season that came before it, but when Sam and Dean found peace, so did we.
Told entirely from Castiel's perspective, ''King'' takes an intriguing alternative approach to the show's traditional storytelling. Cas is revealed to have been behind many of the season's most important events in a tragic but fascinating episode.
Sam spends most of the hour in demon-blood detox in Bobby's basement before finally escaping to find Ruby. However, when Dean catches up with him, he finally says the three words that will cripple Sam: ''You're a monster.'' From there, the brothers have one of their biggest brawls to date, which ends with Sam leaving Dean bloodied on the floor of a hotel room.
Dean's newest foe — videogame logic. Trapped in a Djinn-created dream, Charlie and Dean fight off wave after wave of super-soldier vampires. But the episode's about much more than a crazy concept. It's about learning to let go, which for Charlie means coming to terms with her comatose mother's death. It's a powerful lesson made all the more resonant by Felicia Day's performance—and it's okay to shed a few tears as she reads The Hobbit to her mother for what's presumably the last time.
With the apocalypse starting to set in, Dean and Sam find themselves outnumbered by demons in a small town. Luckily, they find refuge in a nearby church where townspeople have gathered believing that one of their own is a prophet who can hear angels. Only what drunk Cas helps the guys discover is that she's less of a prophet and more of a Whore of Babylon. After the guys take her down, Dean heads to Lisa's to say goodbye having made up his mind to say yes to Michael.
In the wake of the season 1 finale, the Winchesters are in bad shape. Surviving a car wreck, Sam and John contend with a few injuries while Dean lies dying in a coma. Winchesters do all they can to save each other, though, and John would never want to lose his sons to the line of work he introduced them to. So John sells his soul to Yellow Eyes, as well as the one thing that could kill the demon, the mystical Colt gun.
In an effort to save their father from Meg, the brothers enlist the help of Bobby Singer, a.k.a. the man who will become their surrogate father and a staple on the show. In terms of the mission, everything comes to a head when Yellow Eyes possesses John and Sam can't find it within himself to shoot his father. If that's not enough, the season ends on a massive cliffhanger when a car accident severely injures all three Winchesters.
After 10 seasons, Supernatural finally introduced the big man upstairs: God, a.k.a Chuck (Rob Benedict), the author/prophet we met in "The Monster at the End of This Book." Chuck summons Metatron to an undisclosed bar where he reveals his identity and asks the scribe's help in writing his autobiography. However, their very meta discussion leads to a twist that's even more surprising than the God reveal: the contemptuous Metatron ends up defending humanity and taking God to task for his absence, which is enough to convince God to join the fight to take down his sister.
The series' 300th episode brings Jeffrey Dean Morgan's John Winchester back for one of the most emotionally charged episodes ever as Sam and Dean get to have some long-awaited conversations with their dad, and more importantly, all four members of the Winchester family get to enjoy a dinner together. John doesn't get to stay for long, but his brief visit certainly has an impact.
In what writers and cast members have called a ''tribute'' to the fans, the 200th episode of the series finds Sam and Dean at an all-girls school. The twist? The girls are in the middle of producing a play that's inspired by Carver Edlund's Supernatural books. So Sam and Dean are essentially watching a high school production of their life. Toss in Calliope, the goddess of epic poetry, and a number of unforgettable original songs — ''A Single Man Tear'' might be the best — and it's a hilarious and heartfelt hour that any diehard fan would be proud of.
When Sam decides he no longer trusts himself to hunt alongside Dean, he gets a job as a bartender, which leaves Dean alone to help Castiel on his search for Raphael. Episode highlights include Castiel failing to sleep with a prostitute and Lucifer visiting Sam for the first time.
After a storm washes out the road, Sam and Dean find themselves trapped in a hotel full of gods (Kali, Odin, and Ganesh, to name a few), who are meeting to discuss what to do about the upcoming apocalypse. To top it off, the episode ends with a showdown between Gabriel and Lucifer that unfortunately leads to Gabriel's demise. Or is he still in that old porno video?
The Four Horsemen were a consistently strong aspect of the show, and War's appearance was no exception. Titus Welliver does an incredible job as War, setting the stage early in season 5 for just how imposing these figures could be. But really, his biggest impact is driving a wedge between Sam and Dean at a time when sticking together is key. And it never hurts to include an appearance by Ellen and Jo.
The show's first true villain, Yellow Eyes, meets his demise in a season finale that also foreshadows darker events on the horizon. Resurrecting Sam forces Dean to pay the ultimate price — his own soul, and not even the death of Yellow Eyes can erase that decision. It's a powerful and early example of the show willing to push the brothers to the brink without ever giving them a break. The day is saved — even though an awesome railroad devil's trap is destroyed — but trouble is only beginning to brew for Sam and Dean.
Bank robberies have been around since movies and TV shows started being made, but few of these hostage scenarios are perpetrated by a shapeshifter. It's one of the show's most smartly tense scenarios, as the shapeshifter could be anyone in the bank, but it's also an important episode for putting Sam and Dean's work in context as we discover the FBI has been tailing them. Oh, and that escape scene set to ''Renegade'' by Styx? Sam and Dean have never been quite as badass as in this episode's final moments.
In one of the show's biggest swings, the boys are zapped into a Scooby-Doo cartoon — a dream come true for Dean — where they work with the Scooby gang to solve a mystery, all the while trying not to ruin the innocence of Scooby and his friends. The result is FUN. Not only does the episode get points for even attempting such a crossover, but it breaks into the top 20 for its stellar execution in blending the two worlds.
Thanks to the Trickster, Sam finds himself in a Groundhog Day-type situation, only every day ends with Dean dying. By the end of the hour, Dean has died more than 100 times, comedy has ensued, and tears have been shed. But after Dean is shot in the parking lot in what feels like an all-too-real scenario, Sam has had enough. He's emotionally drained and doesn't care to listen to the Trickster's lesson about Dean being his weakness. He just wants his brother back, and that's what he gets.
Bobby is one of the series' most lovable characters, but all good things must come to an end. Bobby's troubled past is revealed, but what really sells his farewell is the episode's final scene. In his head, Bobby relives a night he shared with Sam and Dean, his memory of them fading away. The reaper waiting with Bobby gives him an ultimatum—cross over or remain as a ghost. And while we eventually find out Bobby's fate, the episode leaves it ambiguous. The seconds ticking away on the reaper's watch as he waits for Bobby's decision induce goose bumps.
In the show's 100th episode, Dean finds himself preparing to say yes to Michael, so much so that Cas gets angry and beats Dean into unconsciousness in a scene that is equally as powerful as it is heart-wrenching. The upsetting interactions continue throughout the hour until, in the episode's final moments, Dean seems like he's going to say yes but kills Zachariah at the last moment instead. The only downside? Poor Adam gets trapped into saying yes to Michael.
After weeks of the brothers working supernatural case after supernatural case, Sam finds himself kidnapped?by a bunch of homicidal humans. It's a horrifying twist that plays out over a suspenseful hour when Dean tries to rescue his caged brother before realizing that they're outnumbered by their biggest foe yet: Psychopaths.
One of season 5's most interesting throughlines was seeing how the show introduced the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. They all made impressive debuts, but none more so than Death. While the episode opens with another Horseman, Pestilence, it's Dean and Death's discussion in a Chicago pizza joint that steals the episode. The show's portrayal of Death is calm and collected, but Julian Richings brings such a powerful presence to the role that his introduction ranks among the all-time best on the show.
After a season-long build-up to the ''What will become of Sam?'' question, Yellow Eyes sticks Sam, and all of his other ''special'' children, into a Hunger Games of sorts, which ends when Sam takes a knife in the back and dies in Dean's arms. All in all, the hour stands out as unlike any other, but most importantly, it marks the first real death of a Winchester brother and therefore, a moment fans will never forget.
The hunt for Bela turns into the show's coolest bottle episode. The incarcerated Winchesters fight off an onslaught of demons at a Colorado police station. The brothers pull out all the stops from demon traps to salt barriers to keep the place safe, and the demons' influx makes for one of the show's most exciting sequences ever. Their struggle ends up being for naught, though; in a brilliant twist, Lilith is introduced and takes out everyone at the station that Sam and Dean risked their own lives to save.
In one of the greatest brother moments of all time, Dean begs Sam to stop the third trial because, even though it will close the gates of Hell, it will also kill Sam. Add in an almost-human Crowley talking about how much he loves Girls (and HBO in general), plus all of the angels falling from heaven, and you've got one of the show's best finales.
Sam and Dean have escaped trouble countless times before, but what would happen if they both actually die? Apparently they are sent to heaven, where they decide to use their time in the afterlife to find some connection to God. The brothers' ideas of Heaven is itself a treat, but their reactions to what one another would find in paradise is just hilarious. ''Moon'' is a brilliant way to handle the God question without actually introducing Him, while also dropping in a small but incredible hint that this may not have been the boys' first visit to Heaven.
In an attempt to convince Dean to say yes to Michael, Zachariah sends him five years into the future after a demonic virus has taken over and Future Dean now leads a militia that includes fan-favorite Chuck and orgy-lover Castiel. The kicker? In this world, Sam said yes to Lucifer. The drama culminates when present-day Dean comes face-to-face with Lucifer-Sam, who snaps future Dean's neck with his foot. Watching Dean try to deny his future is a feat in both storytelling and acting.
In another fantastic season close, Dean is dragged to Hell by a pack of Lilith-as-Ruby's-hellhounds. But there's much more to the season finale than that. In an effort to save Dean from his inevitable fate, the brothers and Bobby hope to take down Lilith, who's currently (and in predictably creepy fashion), possessing the body of a little girl and terrorizing her family. Dean is living on the edge of damnation, and he begins to pierce the veil between our world and the fiery afterlife that's waiting for him. Another show would have saved Dean. Not Supernatural.
For all of season 4, Sam and Dean thought they were trying to prevent the apocalypse. In fact, some of heaven's highest-ranking angels want the end times to happen, and they want the boys to end the apocalypse after it's begun. Of course, that revelation comes a little too late, just as a demon-blood-drinking Sam accidentally breaks the final seal and unleashes Hell on Earth. And what does that exactly mean? Well, it's time for the Biggest Bad of all to rise—Lucifer is freed from his cage in one of the series' greatest season-ending cliffhangers.
When Cas, Bobby, Ellen, and Jo team up with Sam and Dean to take down Lucifer, things don't go as planned. In one of the show's most heartbreaking goodbyes, Jo and Ellen blow themselves up to kill a group of hellhounds before Sam and Dean finally shoot Lucifer with the Colt, only to realize that, after everything they've been through, the Colt doesn't work on the devil. Instead, one of the show's strongest dramatic hours ends as the brothers are forced to sit by while Lucifer raises the horseman of Death.
Thanks to the Trickster, Sam and Dean find themselves trapped in a television world, which the show, in typical Supernatural fashion, uses to poke fun at the likes of Grey's Anatomy and Japanese game shows, and which culminates in Sam turning into KITT from Knight Rider. Comedy aside, the episode also reveals that the Trickster is really the archangel Gabriel. What's not to love?
The show once again pulls off one of its meta episodes in excellent style, with the Winchesters discovering there's been a book series written about their exploits. The books have amassed quite the rabid online fandom, replete with readers writing their own strange and uncomfortable fan fiction. It's a funny commentary on the show's audience that impressively never outright mocks them but celebrates their love of the show. But it's also important for the show's mythology, as Chuck (who might be God), the man behind the book series, is revealed to be a prophet of Biblical nature.
In the season 4 opener, Dean mysteriously appears back on Earth having somehow escaped Hell, and things only got better when we discover how he escaped: He was pulled out by Castiel. Not only did the hour mark the introduction of angels, but Castiel's entrance is still one of the best moments in the show's history.
If Supernatural has proven anything in its time on the air, it's that this show is not scared to take risks. And more times than not, its riskiest episodes end up being its strongest, and "Baby" is another example of why. An episode told entirely from the perspective of the Impala allowed the show to once again remind fans of what it does best: Brother bonding. And when you take powerful emotional moments and combine that with an unconventional style of filmmaking, what's not to love?
In the most meta episode of the series, Balthazar throws Sam and Dean into an alternate reality where they play actors named Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles on the set of a show called Supernatural. Things turn sour on set, as series creator Eric Kripke meets an untimely end and a Twitter-loving Misha Collins won't stop bothering Sam and Dean. (Fun fact: Misha the character writes a tweet on the show that Misha the actor actually tweeted out.) It's a concept that should be too crazy to work, but the writers and cast make it one of the all-time greats.
For creator Eric Kripke, the season 5 finale marked the end of the story as he'd imagined it, and that end included an epic showdown between Lucifer and Michael. With Chuck's voiceover narrating the Winchester brothers' story, Lucifer jumps into Sam's body and, after killing Cas and Bobby, beats Dean to a pulp before Sam gets a grip on the devil and jumps back into the cage. In other words, Sam goes to Hell?but for how long?
—Additional entires written by Jonathon Dornbush