I LOVE "Phantom Traveler." Is it flawless? Of course not. But still, this episode sets so many precedents. First appearance of demons and demonic possession. First appearance of Dean's homemade EMF reader. First time the boys put on suits to "look the part." The first time sulfur is found. The first exorcism performed and we learn for the first time how dreamy Sam's Latin is.  First time Robert Singer directs an episode and considering they had to film on an actual small airplane (no budget for a mock up set), an awesome job.
ElenaM's comment that she'll sometimes watch a "Long Arm of the Law" marathon made me think about other themes for grouping episodes. So, starting with ElenaM's suggestion, here are some more. And with over 90 episodes to pick from, there must be plenty of others, so suggestions please?   There's still two weeks of Hellatus for us to get through, you know.
"Dead In The Water" is an "on the fence" episode for me. There is plenty of good, but there is also plenty of bad. This is the debut for the series of Kim Manners as director and Sera Gamble and Raelle Tucker as writers. Even though this is the creative team that has taken the show to amazing heights, it's obvious here that everyone was still trying to find their stride. Even Jensen and Jared didn't have the same chemistry. If "Wendigo" felt like an X-Files episode, "Dead In The Water" WAS an X-Files episode. It had the same exact feel down to the pacing, suspense, somber tone, moodiness of the main characters and of course, the mysterious creature in the lake. The same lake used in a couple X-Files episodes. I imagine this is where all the rip off accusations started happening.  

Beyond that though, this Dean centered episode gave his character some deeper layers that is so well done. If we had gotten the macho bit again by the third episode, I'm sure viewers would have started to write off him off as a shallow pretty boy.  Instead, Dean takes a personal interest and connects with a boy, Lucas, who's deeply traumatized by witnessing his dad's death. Something Dean can relate. He even opens up to Lucas, telling him how he lost his mother when he was young, was scared and afraid to talk about it. Even Sam's thrown back by that confession. To me, that's one of Dean's best moments in the entire series. 


As far as episodes go, "Wendigo" for any other show out there today would end up being a mediocre effort. When compared to the 92 episodes that have aired for Supernatural so far though, it actually sucks. Not really bad, but bad enough where it makes the "What was Kripke thinking" files. The first clue that the monster story might not work? When you watch the three tools in a tent that are destined to be cave dweller food and don't care. Then the one thing you do care about, what the hell happened after Jessica is flambe'd on the ceiling, ends in less than a minute. The brotherly strife, which actually isn't bad, ends up being about finding Dad. They don't get very far. Sure, its episode two and that might be considered being impatient, but come on, throw us a bone. A least a nugget or two. Instead, we got a mission statement.

 
‘Abandon all hope, you who enter!’
 
- Dante Alighieri’s inscription at the entrance to Hell
  
We don’t know much about hell. In Supernatural’s universe it is a place where one month becomes a decade. It is a ‘prison made of bone and flesh and blood and fear.’ It is ‘a pit of despair’, where human souls are turned into demons via endless years of agony.
 
All we have seen of hell are a few peeks, as Dean, after being torn up by hellhounds, hung suspended from hooks violently forced through his wrists and ankles, shoulder and abdomen, screaming for help and for the one soul who meant everything to him – Sam. No one heard him. No one cared. Another glimpse of hell was given by flashbacks Dean experienced when he awoke in his coffin, remembering fragments of his time there – his panic stricken, wide open eyes, blood everywhere, accompanied by jarring screams.
 
And we are aware of what he told Sam: ‘…they sliced and carved and tore at me in ways that you… until there was nothing left. And then suddenly, I would be whole again, like magic. Just so they could start in all over. And Alistair… at the end of every day, every one, he would come over and he would make me an offer: to take me off the rack, if I put souls on. If I started the torture. And every day I told him to stick it where the sun shines… For thirty years I told him. But then I couldn’t do it anymore, Sammy, I couldn’t… And I got off that rack. God help me, I got right off and I started ripping them apart. I lost count of how many souls. The things that I did to them… … how I feel? This…. inside me… I wish I couldn’t feel anything, Sammy. I wish I couldn’t feel a damn thing.’
 
We don’t need to become familiar with any more details. To watch Dean and his reactions to the memories coming over him is more than enough. And, frankly, does anyone of us really want to know what the demons of hell did to him? What ever it was – it changed Dean profoundly. The man who returned from hell was still, essentially, Dean Winchester, loving brother and hunter of the paranormal, but he was also a broken, stunned and devastated survivor of torture. Being that, his reaction to an abnormal and unspeakable experience was absolutely normal and natural – in clinical terms it is described as posttraumatic stress.
 
Before explaining more about that, I will take a look at torture and the psychology of it. I believe it imperative to understand the phenomenon to be able to realize what it does to a person subjected to torture.
In honor of Supernatural starting in US second run syndication on TNT today, I thought that since I didn't start writing reviews until season three, when I actually started watching the show, for each season one and two episode aired I'll write a quick 500 word review. It's a nifty little challenge because once I get my analytical hat on, 500 words becomes impossible. Even for bad episodes like "Bugs" there's plenty to rant about.  Still, I'll try, for brevity with older episodes that already have been overanalyzed is probably desired.  Naturally, first up is The Pilot. Word counter starts"¦now.
Sam’s and Dean’s Good Intentions for 2010
 
 
It’s a celebrated tradition in several countries to begin a new year with putting down what we’d like to achieve that year or what we will stop doing.
 
Using suddenly emerging telepathic skills (New Year’s Eve-Champagne will do that to you), I sneaked into the minds of our dear brothers, had a look around, and – boy – what did I find there….
 
 (As usual, stills are property of CW and the copyright owners, screencaps were found at screencap-paradise.)
 
  
‘I’ll become the world’s gargling champion!’


 
Almost every episode has them.  Usually episodes can be categorized as either not a winner, dividing the fandom, or being a major classic. With almost every episode though, there is a small little moment between the characters that make us smile or giggle.  Subtle reminders as to why we love this show. They aren’t earth shattering or ground breaking, just enough to give us fond memories when looking back.  It also keeps us coming back for a rewatch.
 
In 2009, there were 22 episodes. 12 for season four, 10 for season five. So out of those, which ones gave me those little quick, happy moments? More than I thought.
 
Family Remains
 
A terrible episode, probably the worst of season four, but I still get all giddy over the shot of Sam Winchester trying to sleep in the back of the Impala. I still try to picture how uncomfortable that might be for a man that’s 6’ 4”, even if the car they’re driving is a boat. Dean’s angst only made Sam’s inability to sleep even better. 

 
It's been my goal to clean up and improve my Season Three recaps as I can.  I so far have only fixed "Mystery Spot," so in honor off the holidays here's my new and improved recap for "A Very Supernatural Christmas."  Enjoy!

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What a better way to celebrate this special holiday season than to re-experience the twisted, gory, heart-wrenching, fast-paced, cynical, and downright brilliant version of Christmas the Supernatural style. Kripke and Company are a bunch of sick bastards, and we love them for it.
This episode contains an overwhelming attention to detail so it’ll be impossible to overlook most of these elements that made up one of the most outstanding episodes of the series. It went all out, beyond the usual great writing and acting, giving us several unique camera shots, extreme set decoration, a brilliant cast of supporting characters, loads of eye catching background details, and even a clever cover story as to why Ypsilanti Michigan was looking so lush in December.
The writer of this episode, Jeremy Carver, gives us his first solo script here, and I must wonder how many Andy Williams Christmas specials he’s seen in his lifetime (I assume enough to drive him crazy). As with his other masterpiece, “Mystery Spot”, this script is very diverse, offering snappy and outrageous (in a good way) dialogue, a multitude of jabs at the history of Christmas culture, a progression of scenes going at a wild yet seamless pace that blended laugh out loud moments, powerful emotional ones and very disturbing ones.  Plus, it ruined Christmas. What could be better?
The directing on this episode is phenomenal as well, coming from J. Miller Tobin. This was his second outing for Supernatural. Considering his first episode was the stellar “Born Under A Bad Sign”, he already had an excellent track record with this show. What he did with this episode was nothing short of incredible.