We’ve been after Lynn to do her favorite “Supernatural” episodes, and after enough badgering, she’s come up with her top ones. For all of you still looking for a great holiday stocking stuff to get for that special friend or someone, don’t forget her library of “Supernatural” books you can get here. Several of them have become bestsellers with good reason, and she has truly proven herself to be a real “Supernatural” Super Fan!
We were honestly afraid we would be losing our FangasmSPN after “Supernatural” came to end its fifteen-year reign, but thankfully, she’s found another Eric Kripke show to write about with “The Boys” on Amazon Prime. That was a big sign of relief for us as Lynn is a true treasure!
The team here wanted to do a fun Web Story with her Top 20 so here it is in 2 Parts with some different fun pictures than here in the article. You’ll be able to see these on mobile or just click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.
Now we’ll let Lynn give her Top 20 “Supernatural” episodes.
I’m not even completely sure these are my “Supernatural” top twenty, because there are so many others that I love, but this is what popped into my head when I sat down to think about my favorite show and all its amazing episodes, as it heads into its final episodes.
20. Prophet and Loss: Season 14 Episode 12
The only late season episode to make my favorites list, this episode is the culmination of Dean’s suicidal desperation-fueled determination to lock himself in the Ma’lak box to ensure that Michael (currently trapped in his head) won’t be able to destroy the world – or the people Dean loves. While overall the Michael story line didn’t enthrall me, the final scene in which a terrified and angry Sam lashes out at his brother in a last ditch attempt to get him to change his mind was so riveting it’s unforgettable. Jared has said he struggled mightily with the scene, so emotional he couldn’t deliver the lines, and Jensen has said that Dean’s eventual pulling Sam in for a hug was as much Jensen hugging Jared as Dean hugging Sam. That genuineness came through, and their tears inevitably inspire some of my own.
19. Bloody Mary: Season 1 Episode 05
The scariest “Supernatural” episode of all, in my humble opinion. Sam and Dean try to help a family being haunted by the childhood slumber party favorite, Bloody Mary. I am just superstitious enough to start screaming “don’t say it don’t say it” to my television, because WHY would you do that?? The first time I watched this episode, I made the mistake of watching with my daughter with all the lights turned off in the room. When Bloody Mary climbed out of that frame ala The Ring, we started clutching each other and screaming our heads off. I still can’t watch that episode in the dark!
18. Just My Imagination: Season 11 Episode 08
Sam’s imaginary childhood friend Sully (the brilliant Nate Torrence) gives us some cherished insight into Sam and Dean’s childhood, and even more empathy for just how difficult that was for both of them. Dean’s eventual expression of gratitude and remorse, that Sully was there for Sam when he couldn’t be, was both heartbreaking and heartwarming. And Sully’s reminder to Sam that being afraid does not preclude being a hero? Spot on. This episode also starred Carrie Genzel, who will forever be remembered as having sparkle all over her face, and was the first directed by Richard Speight, Jr. — and would not be the last.
17. Everybody Loves A Clown: Season 2 Episode 02
I have to include this episode here, since it’s the one where I finally legitimately fell head over heels for this show. Up until this episode, I had been watching mostly because a friend was hooked and wanted to share the love, but “Supernatural” hadn’t seeped into my bones yet. This episode, however, made me look at the show in a whole different way – and I haven’t been the same since. ELAC begins with the boys saying goodbye to their dad. Sam and Dean’s tears – Jared and Jensen’s tears – felt so genuine that I stopped what I was doing (grading papers, oops) to just stare at my tv screen, totally pulled in. When Sam confessed just how not all right he was, Jared’s emotional portrayal grabbed me by the heartstrings. And when Dean finally let his own heartbreak out, taking a sledgehammer to his beloved Impala, I gasped out loud.
The amount of emotion, pain, rage, that Dean was holding back here – it’s palpable, the screen practically quivers with it as we watch. I remember thinking my god, who are these actors? How can they show so much emotion with so few words? How had I overlooked the complexity of these characters and not realized how nuanced and complicated they were – and how much they indeed felt? It’s not the mystery of what’s happening with the clown in this episode that’s compelling, it’s the tension of what’s going on between Sam and Dean as they grieve their dad. “Supernatural” was entirely character-driven back then, and I was hooked as a result. Deeply.
16. Bad Boys: Season 9 Episode 07
More insight into the boys’ childhood, this time with a focus on Dean’s. I love flashback episodes! More fodder for the John Winchester’s A Plus parenting file, because leaving Dean in a boys’ home for troubled teens to teach him a lesson when he was just trying to keep him and Sam fed as KIDS? Ouch. Sam realizing that Dean’s time there was in fact a positive – and ours that he gave all that up in an instant when he saw young Sam in the Impala needing him – were enough to make me reach for the tissues.
15. Croatoan Season 2 Episode 09
An early favorite, when everything the boys faced seemed so disturbing and so scary. The mysterious carving on the telephone pole, Sam’s visions. I love the ambiguity of the early seasons, as Sam and Dean struggle with figuring out what’s black and white and what really is not. But the real appeal of this episode is showing us in no uncertain terms just how committed Sam and Dean have become to each other by this point in the show’s run.
Even if Sam had turned out to be infected by the virus, Dean was unwilling to leave him – and in fact, unwilling to go on without him. Dean’s outburst of “You make a move on him, you’ll be dead before you hit the ground, you understand me?” I got chills. For real. Fandom has long argued about the merits of the brothers’ codependence, but it has been one of the hallmarks of the show and something that makes it unique – and to me, at least, compelling.
14. Pilot: Season 1 Episode 01
This episode is a retrospective favorite because it holds tremendous nostalgic significance now. When I first saw it, I had no clue how many of its lines would become iconic, and personally meaningful to me. Sam and Dean call each other ‘bitch’ and ‘jerk’ and it meant nothing then – it means so much now. Every other line of the pilot is iconic at this point! The episode also does a great job of setting up the relationship between these two brothers, showing us a little of who they are and how they’ve chosen different paths, but also making it very clear that the bond between them is still there and still strong. We’ll only find out just how strong as the season goes along, but the seeds of it are right there from the start thanks to Kripke’s brilliance and Jared and Jensen’s instant chemistry.
13. Lazarus Rising: Season 4 Episode 01
Written by Eric Kripke and directed by the venerable Kim Manners, the Season 4 opener is “Supernatural” at its best. Dean’s resurrection with its Manners signature crane shot, his emotional reunion with Bobby and then with Sam, and the dramatic introduction of Castiel all stand out. In two of my first books on “Supernatural”, Misha wrote about watching that episode with then writer and later showrunner Sera Gamble and some others.
When that scene came on, lightbulbs sparking and blowing out as Castiel walked in with trenchcoat and tie and the shadow of his majestic wings behind him, Gamble turned to Misha and said ‘your life is about to change’. He didn’t believe it at the time, but she was absolutely right. Castiel, instead of being on the show for a couple of episodes, remained until the final episodes, an integral part of ‘Team Free Will’. Bonus points for the iconic handprint and Castiel’s line “I’m the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition” and for Sam giving Dean back the Samulet, after wearing it himself the whole time Dean was gone.
12. Changing Channels: Season 5 Episode 08
One of the most innovative “Supernatural” episodes, Changing Channels sees the return of Richard Speight, Jr. as the Trickster – and eventually reveals that he is actually the archangel Gabriel. It’s a pivotal episode for that reveal, but it also has some hilarious moments as it spoofs everything from CSI to Grey’s Anatomy to a Japanese game show, with Sam and Dean stuck inside the meta world and Castiel frantically trying to get them out. Bonus points for the Herpexia commercial that Jared and Jensen nailed.
11. Scoobynatural: Season 13 Episode 16
Another of the show’s most innovative episodes and its only true crossover, the combination of “Supernatural” with Scooby Doo is one of the cast’s favorites too, as Jared, Jensen and Misha have often said. Somehow they managed to make the episode seem like both a true “Supernatural” episode and a true Scooby Doo episode, complete with the requisite montage and the required Scooby Doo ending (with Dean in a red ascot doing his best imitation). Also, Velma was absolutely right about Sam’s shoulders.
10. Mystery Spot: Season 3 Episode 11
“Supernatural” does Groundhog Day but with a turn toward the tragic. This episode is an unusual mix of very funny and very very not funny, as Sam endures his brother dying again and again in increasingly innovative and unexpected ways. Jared Padalecki shows us Sam’s agony and desperation as he tries again and again (and fails again and again) to save his brother, and the humor becomes darker and darker as the episode goes on. We (and Sam) get a glimpse of who he’ll be without his brother, an automaton, very nearly a madman. The Trickster is trying to teach him a lesson about how he needs to be able to let Dean go, but I think the lesson that Sam (and I) both learned is that the Trickster is a dick! (See what I did there?)
9. Bad Day At Black Rock: Season 3 Episode 03
This is one of my favorite comedic episodes of “Supernatural”, showcasing the formidable comic talents of Jared and Jensen, including a gift for physical comedy. Dean’s rabbits foot-enhanced almost superhero abilities that culminate in Ackles’ perfect delivery of “I’m Batman” and Sam’s misadventures trying to stay put in a chair in the middle of a motel room that unexpectedly catches on fire are both priceless scenes. The whole motel room saga shows off Padalecki’s ability to make me cry from laughter, and makes this one of those episodes I go back to again and again. Extra points for Jared’s plaintive “I lost my shoe” and one of the show’s most awesome guest stars, Sterling K. Brown.
8. A Very “Supernatural” Christmas: Season 3 Episode 08
Every show needs a holiday episode, and in true “Supernatural” fashion, this show has one that is anything but traditional. It starts with a ghoulish Santa shoving a bloodied dad into his sack in front of the shocked (and surely traumatized) eyes of the man’s small son on Christmas Eve and stays dark for most of the episode. Instead of Santa, we get a seemingly harmless suburban Christmas-loving couple who are actually minor gods collecting some sacrifices. There’s plenty of humor woven in, but there’s also violence (including the start of the show’s weird obsession with pulling out fingernails, eww). As always with this show, my favorite thing about this episode is what it shows us about Sam and Dean’s childhood and their relationship.
Flashbacks to a Christmas Eve and two little boys abandoned in a motel room, Dean stealing presents to give Sam a Christmas, still a heartbreakingly young child himself. Sam figuring out the truth about what their dad does and that monsters are, indeed, real. Dean’s guilt over not being able to protect his little brother and make it okay. And, oh my heart, Sam gifting Dean the amulet originally meant for their father, an acknowledgment of the part that his big brother played in taking care of him.
The last scene is one of my favorites in the series, the boys holed up in yet another motel on Christmas Eve, exchanging gas station gifts and drinking eggnog that Jared spiked for real to surprise Jensen. Serge Ladouceur works his magic on the last shot, Christmas music playing, Sam and Dean framed in the window, snow falling, and lights reflecting on the shiny black surface of the Impala just outside. Brilliant.
7. Sacrifice: Season 8 Episode 23
The first part of Season 8 was definitely not my favorite season at all, but the second half picked up steam and made a lot more sense. By the second half, Season 8 is a story of finding one’s humanity, with Mark Sheppard and Misha Collins as well as the Winchesters taking us along on their characters’ journeys, which culminate in this episode, the season finale. Castiel is human by the end of the episode, confused and wandering and alone, needing to find his place in a world that’s never been his. Crowley too finds some humanity by the end. We all fell way more in love with Crowley than we were probably ever supposed to thanks to Mark Sheppard’s brilliant portrayal, and in this episode the demon regains a lot of his humanity with the help of injections of Sam’s blood.
He struggles with long-buried emotions, finally and tearfully confessing his all-too-human need to be loved. Padalecki was amazing all season too, as Sam determinedly went through the trials, once again willing to sacrifice himself to save the world. The final scene, as Dean bursts into the church to stop the final trial because he’s found out that it will kill Sam, is one of those iconic moments I’ll never forget. Sam’s genuinely confused, broken, “So?” just about killed me.
Sam has been trying to convince Dean to have the will to live, and in the last episode Dean turns the tables, correcting Sam when Sam insists he’s done nothing but let Dean down. “Don’t you dare think that there is anything, past or present, that I would put in front of you!” And then another gorgeous scene, the angels falling from the sky as Sam and Dean and Cas look on. “Supernatural” really does know how to put on a season finale!
6. All Hell Breaks Loose (Parts One and Two): Season 2 Episode 21 and 22
I’m putting these together because they really did play as one episode, with an excruciating week long lag in between in which I did more crying than I have ever done over fictional characters in my entire life. I still can barely watch that scene of Part One without sobbing – Dean so relieved to find Sam and Sam’s face breaking into an equally relieved grin to see his brother come to save him, and then the crushing realization that that is not what’s going to happen. The absolute agony that Jensen Ackles brought to the screen as Sam died in Dean’s arms was almost unbearable.
I was unspoiled; shocked. I had never seen anything like it on television. And then Dean doing the unthinkable – selling his soul to bring his brother back. “Supernatural” had done such a good job of making sure we truly understood the brothers’ relationship that I never doubted that decision for a second. Jim Beaver and Jensen Ackles also deserved some kind of award for the simple scene in which Dean admits to Bobby what he’s done, and Bobby realizes for the first time just how messed up Dean is.
Season 2 really was a masterful season, with this two-parter taking us on a rollercoaster ride of despair and then into a moment of celebration, the culmination of a two-year fight, as Dean shoots the Yellow Eyed Demon. Of course on “Supernatural” nothing is that simple, and we end faced with Dean’s one year to live – and Sam’s determination to save him. In other words, “We got work to do.”
5. Swan Song: Season 5 Episode 22
Originally intended to be the series finale, Eric Kripke wrote and directed the fifth season finale – and it was, in fact, Kripke’s swan song as showrunner and writer for the show, though he remained an executive producer throughout “Supernatural”’s fifteen years. Misha Collins, Jim Beaver and Jake Abel all brought their A games to the episode, which ramps up to a fever pitch by the time we reach the iconic and devastating final scene.
Jared Padalecki’s portrayal of both Sam and Lucifer are a master class in acting, and Jensen Ackles’ depiction of Dean’s struggle to accept the sacrifice Sam is determined to make to save the world (but destroy himself) is equally powerful. When Bobby and Castiel warn that there’s nothing Dean can do to help his brother, that all he’ll see if he goes to Stull Cemetery is Sam dying, Dean Winchester responds with a line that describes my favorite fictional character better than any other. Dean: “Well then, I ain’t gonna let him die alone.”
The moment when the Impala drives into Stull Cemetery, classic rock blaring, made me burst into tears. There’s not a wasted second as Lucifer explodes into violence, but even as Lucifer/Sam is beating him senseless, Dean keeps reassuring his brother “I’m here, Sam, I’m not gonna leave you.” And that, in the end, is what saves the world. Sam looks at his brother, and he looks at Baby, and all the things that make her their home, and he remembers what’s really important – family. He breaks Lucifer’s hold and sends both himself and Michael (with their brother Adam) plunging into the pit.
A resurrected Castiel heals a battered and utterly broken Dean. I imagine that’s where the show would have ended, but because it was already renewed for Season 6, we do see Sam again at the end, peering through the window where Dean is living with Lisa and Ben. I remember being like WTF all summer long, waiting to find out what the hell was happening. Ah, the good old days of “hellatus”. Bonus for the sort of confirmation that Chuck the writer is actually God, which would turn out to be a lot more problematic than it seemed at the time many years later!
4. Red Meat: Season 11 Episode 17
There are two episodes in Season 11 that made this list, and Red Meat is the first. It may be the most suspenseful episode of the series because director Nina Lopez-Corrado is that good – the first time I watched, from the very first frame as the Winchesters are fighting for their lives, until the last scenes, the suspense did not let up. I watched with my heart in my throat as the werewolf picked up a gun and fired and Sam crumpled to the floor in agonizing slow motion, Dean watching in helpless horror. When we snapped back to “48 Hours Earlier” I might have screamed NOOOO at my television.
As we follow the story, Dean’s frantic attempts to save his brother as he fights off constant panic and Jared’s vivid depiction of Sam’s physical agony and dogged determination to survive and get back to his brother had me literally sick to my stomach with nerves. The heartbreaking scene where Dean discovers Sam has died (been killed actually) and has to leave him there to get the civilians to safety destroyed me. He leaves a lamp on for his brother, promising to come back for him, and I used up an entire box of tissues. Equally heartbreaking was Dean’s purposefully dying to appeal to Death. Jared and Jensen sold their characters’ pain so well in this episode that you cannot help but feel a visceral pain yourself just watching. All the kudos for that acting, as painful as it is to watch.
3. Baby: Season 11 Episode 14
Robbie Thompson is my all time favorite “Supernatural” writer, so it’s no surprise that there are multiple episodes of his in my favorites list. Baby is another imaginative and innovative episode – and is often cited by Jared and Jensen as their favorite one to film. The entire episode takes place from the perspective of the Impala, as she watches the brothers solve a case and take down a monster, but also just live their life on the road as they did for so many years, road food and drink between them as they banter and tease each other and make it hard to know whether we’re watching Sam and Dean or Jared and Jensen.
Dean singing “Night Moves” to Sam and Sam eventually joining him, Jared ad-libbing the lyrics changed to “Out in the backseat of my brother’s ’67 Chevy”? Priceless. Jared and Jensen have both talked many times about how much fun it was to film because they rigged up cameras all over the car and then they just let the two of them drive. They did the slates and the cut and everything else as they drove away together – and they relished it. Not many shows would trust their actors to do all that, but by Season 11, this cast and crew were more like family than anything else.
2. Fan Fiction Season: 10 Episode 05
This is another of Robbie Thompson’s gems. Written as a “love letter to the fans” for the show’s 200th episode, it’s one of the so-called “meta episodes” that comments on the show within the show. The young women who portray the actresses at the all-girls school are all amazing and the musical numbers are some of the best things to come out of the show. Add to that the real life emotional reaction of Jared and Jensen to watching and listening to the heart-wrenching performance of a slowed down ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ and this one is an instant classic.
Thompson gets fandom, so his commentary lands deftly, from the affectionate poke at the show’s most popular ships to the ultimate acknowledgment that we all see the story of “Supernatural” through our own perspectives – and that’s okay. The ending scene, with Dean hanging the facsimile of the Samulet on the Impala’s rearview and the boys driving off into the distance, never fails to make me tear up, in the best of ways.
1. The French Mistake: Season 6 Episode 15
Season 6 of “Supernatural” may not have been my favorite season, but it does have my all time favorite episode. With writer Ben Edlund’s brilliance, The French Mistake is the meta episode to end all meta episodes – Jensen and Jared playing Sam and Dean playing Jared and Jensen playing Sam and Dean! And Misha playing Castiel – but not the real one. All three are so incredibly hilarious that I cannot watch some scenes without collapsing in laughter even though I’ve seen them dozens of times. Castiel being an asshole is priceless, and all three in the ‘bad acting’ scene make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts.
Add to that a nice little sentimental twist at the end, as the brothers value their being brothers over possibly living in a world without monsters. “We’re not even brothers here, man” will never not make me tear up. Bonus points: I’m sort of in this episode? Yes it’s a real stretch, but I wrote an article in the issue of “Supernatural” Magazine that is in the fake Jensen’s trailer. That’s not why it’s my favorite though – it’s because no matter what is going on in the world, this episode makes me feel better. In fact, I think it’s time for a rewatch!
Now, off to watch those remaining episodes of “Supernatural!”