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Another week of Hellatus has come and gone so it's time for the second installment in this five-part series.

I want to clarify my purpose in tackling this project, the purpose is to pick the one, and only one, episode per season that I believe is the pivot point for the season as well the series as a whole. Each season has many, many excellent episodes as well as episodes that are not so excellent but have excellent moments, with that in mind, I try to pick one out of 22 (or in one case 16) that is the pivotal episode.

Rules for pivotal episodes:

As I've learned from Alice, rules are necessary when embarking on such an adventure. Thus, I have some rules regarding how I decided upon the pivotal episode of each season.

First off, it must add to what we know thus far, either for Sam or Dean or for the storyline as a whole.

Second, it must be built upon in future episodes and events.

Third, the episode as a whole must be strong, this is the pivotal episode, not necessarily the most powerful episode of the season but in no way can it simply have a pivotal scene while the rest of the episode is flat or uneven or even forgettable.

All right. With the preliminaries out of the way let's jump into Season 2.

The second season's pivotal episode came a bit earlier than last time and may be an episode that flies under the radar for a lot of people. I hope you'll hang with me though and then in the end, as always, I'm eager to read your thoughts and opinions.

While In My Time of Dying was critical for John's sacrifice, Dean's choice between going with the reaper or staying and eventually becoming an angry spirit (something that gets a nice repeat in Malleus Maleficarum as Dean learns that all demons were once human and that one day (in a few centuries or so in hell) he'll become a demon), Sam's struggles with John's seeming obsession with the demon as well as his own determination to save Dean, and it is a strong, very strong episode, it does not pivot the series, despite John's death.

Bloodlust, Simon Said, Croatoan, Hunted, Born Under a Bad Sign and What is and What Should Never Be have many crucial elements but some do not bear fruit for several seasons and others add to the complexity of the brothers' relationship but do not significantly change it. These six are particularly strong episodes in their own right as well as having nuggets within that add to the story overall but are not the pivotal episode.

Simon Said introduces Andy but since we already know there are other psychic kids, and that Gordon is over the edge, it adds layers to the story without altering the course. Sam's concerns over what the demon is doing and Dean's fears that he may not be strong enough to save Sam are all elements that we saw in Nightmare and continue the elements that we were introduced to and pivoted upon in Nightmare.

Croatoan and Hunted also add to the mystery of Sam and the psychic kids with the addition of Ava and the demon's kidnapping of her at the end as well as the revelation that Sam is mysteriously immune to some demon virus. Since Croatoan's mystery does not get anything further added to it until Season 5 it is hard to suggest this is a pivotal episode although the moment is certainly pivotal.

BUABS and WIAWSNB are powerhouse episodes giving each of the leads a chance to showcase their talents, but neither overall are pivotal. Meg returns and possesses Sam in order to torment Dean and also opens Sam up to being prey for other hunters. BUABS also introduces the anti-possession charms which get an upgrade in the form of tattoos and later the boys receive Enochian etchings on their ribs so their arsenal of hiding and protecting themselves grows a little bit more.

WIAWSNB allows a grief-stricken and increasingly burdened Dean a respite from his burdens by thrusting him into a fantasy world where his fondest wish came true, Mom never died. While Dean's realization that things aren't always as you would want them to be as he realizes that having mom and having a loving girlfriend and a 'normal life' are nice he does not have that which is ultimately most important, Sam. Add to that the realization that his life as a hunter does mean something and that many people are alive because of his and Sam's and John's efforts allow him to refocus his attention taking it off his losses and putting it on his purpose and his victories and we get a powerful episode in which Dean finds his purpose again, however events the next week knock him back down.

None of the above make my choice of pivotal episode for, if we look at what happens in Seasons 3, 4 and 5, we realize that none of that would have happened if not for the seeds planted much earlier in Season 2.

Comments  

Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-06-02 04:57
Actually, Elle2, this time I have no debate to start, as I agree with you. I am also of the opinion that the moments Dean spent at the crossroads trapping the demon and the brushes the brothers had with the other 'victims' laid the seeds for things to come.

Maybe for the first time, Dean actually saw a possibility to change fate if necessary, and since he was already more than a wounded soul at that point, eaten up by grief, guilt and beginning of losing hope, these exploits might have lodged themselves in his mind like a bullet. Sam, sensitive brother that he is, noticed that, thanks to his marvellous instincts, and brought it to Dean's (and our) attention.

Though we didn't know at that point when and how Dean was going to do 'the deed', I remember thinking: he will do it one day, albeit I was still thinking he might do it to exchange his soul for dad's. Well, this show proved me wrong more than once. BUt I love that about it - that it doesn't follow the well-trodden paths.

Elle2, I will be eagerly awaiting your other offers. Three more seasons to go.
Thank you! love, Jas
Karen
# Karen 2010-06-02 08:04
Hi Elle2
I was torn between Crossroad Blues and believe it or not Tall Tales.
I think you may be right with Crossroad Blues, you do have strong arguments, but I would like to voice why I thought Tall Tales should be in the running as well.
Tall Tales brought us the Trickster, who later turned out to be Archangel Gabriel, which added to the mytharc. Gabriel would then be the one to provide the information needed to re-open Lucifer’s cage and the importance of the horsemen’s rings. This in turn led us to Sam’s plan to say yes to Lucifer and to successfully re-trap him.
So what do you think, yes, no, maybe or is my bias for the Trickster showing. ;-)
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-06-02 09:41
Hi Elle2, Crossroad Blues, certainly set the stage for all the demon soul selling down the road, but In My Time of Dying really took home big messages for Dean that carried through all ther other seasons; his family, his brother, and his relationship with his father. I think both were very important episode for the series.

Look forward to the part 3!
Evelyn
# Evelyn 2010-06-02 11:32
I have to agree with you elle2 on this assessment. Crossroad Blues does bring a lot to the table in that it educates us more on crossroad deals which plays a huge part in the coming seasons. But as you stated, the core of this show is the brothers - the family drama - and CB hit a homerun in that aspect. I thing IMTOD and WIAWSNB would be a close 2nd and 3rd. And Karen, while Tall Tales is a good episode and it brings us the Trickster, it doesn't really move the story along as far as the family drama is concerned, which is what CB does in spades. The brothers relationship is the meat of the show and everything else are just side dishes. Looking forward to your thoughts on Season 3.
elle2
# elle2 2010-06-03 11:16
Hi, Jas, Karen, Sablegreen and Evelyn,

Thanks for the comments, this wasn't so contentious at all so far. Karen, while I do think the Trickster is a valuable character, in my opinion and based on the rules I arbitrarily set up :D the arrival of a valuable character in and of itself isn't enough to hang 'pivotal' episode on...but I'm with you for bias towards the Trickster...lov e him!

Also, IMTOD and WIAWSNB are definitely close in the idea of pivotal, they have pivotal moments, quite a few not to mention that they are truly classic episodes (what makes a classic anyway, can someone tell me? Oh, bother, I love them!)

Glad that you guys are enjoying the 'brain food' thus far...and each new article brings us that much further through Hellatus...heck , it's already three weeks old today!!!!

And Burn Notice premiers tonight, me likey!
ElenaM
# ElenaM 2010-06-04 00:24
Loved your picks for season 1&2--great analyses, and very much agree both Nightmare and Crossroad Blues marked key turning points for the series. Doesn't hurt that I love both, especially Crossroad Blues, a personal favorite. I find myself tending to think of Nightmare as a season 2 episode sometimes, given the way it introduced the psychic kids and was referred back to several times during that season... I think an argument could be made for IMTOD, in that John's death had significant repercussions through the rest of the series and definitely affected future events, but like I said, love your choices-- Can't wait for season 3!
koc
# koc 2010-10-07 01:51
just wanted to add im a big fan of the show
Angelsbliss36@aol.com
# Angelsbliss36@aol.com 2010-10-07 01:53
:shock: at NLpa
hmmm is Nick L? wow
sometimes hes an angel