Oh, this one's a doozy. You've got to admit, when trying to pick memorable episodes, "Skin" comes to mind. Upon watching this again, I forgot how much I liked it. It's not one I watch often. It's just too gross. However, there are some big bonuses. First, this is one of the best music selections for an episode. Forget how cool "In-Gadda-Da-Vida" is during that stunning and pretty graphic opening.   The entire sequence with "Hey Man Nice Shot" is thrilling and one of the best musical scenes done on this show. One of the freaking grossest too. But hey, a young show needs to make a statement. 
Quoting Supernatural
 
 
If you know what’s out there and once hoped to live a normal, apple pie life, you are quoting Supernatural. Needless to say, you despise chick flick moments and don’t do shorts, because saving people, hunting things is your calling.
 
After a while you find that this whole gig ain’t without perks, and the apple pie is freakin’ worth it. Furthermore, you are convinced that you’re not gonna die in a hospital where the nurses aren’t even hot, because after coming back from the dead you have been re-hymenated. And the dude will not abide.
 
So, fearlessly, you go on fighting, like your man Jack would, realizing that you get demons, but people are crazy, and, since his jokes are Bush league, you order your shotgun to shut his cakehole, while you’re quoting Supernatural.
 
When you’re happy to be tackling a straightforward, black and white case, you find that you’re a whole new level of freak. You don’t care, though, as M.Night level douchiness does not scare you, and when the greatest hits of mullet rock are on, you become the star of the zombie-ghost-orgy and hellfire rumba – and, don’t tell anyone, you’re quoting Supernatural.
 
Sometimes you meet a girl-drink drunk and no talent douchebags wearing sunglasses at night, but nevertheless you face Mission Pathetic in your loved-off MacGyver jacket, because you know that your friend built a ghost-proof panic room to hide in and you’ll always find a hoodoo priest to lay some mojo on you. You may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but you face with courage that river of crap that would send most people howling to the nuthouse, while you never stop quoting Supernatural.
 
Because clowns kill, you’re so occupied with honest-to-goodness monster hunts that your food in the fridge is not food anymore, it’s Darwinism, and, yes, it’s Supernatural, because all it takes are a couple of severed heads and a pile of dead cows and you’re Mr Sunshine, which is a whole new level of moronic, even for you.
 
Sometimes, though, you get careful, trying not to bruise this fine packaging, so you decide to rather man the flashlight instead of a gun and get gutsy by drinking purple nurples in a cheap bar, since you’re really pretty sure that will get you an actual case involving strippers.
 
And as long Santa’s shady brother or Ghostfacers don’t get in your way, as long as you don’t end up on soul plane, become a hellhound’s chew toy or an angel condom you will stay a bucket of sunshine and stop the big bad wolf and you will continue to be a rebel with a badge, frying ghosts extra crispy, dreaming of lollipops and candy canes, all the while quoting Supernatural. 
 
Many women have crossed the landscape of Supernatural.  They cover a variety of types:  maternal – Mary, Ellen, Missouri; some are lovers, Jessica, Cassie; some had potential for love/lover status Layla, Sarah, Madison, Lindsey, Jo; some were manipulative, Meg, Ruby, Bela; some were ‘in the right place at the right time’, Dr. Cara, Anna; andthere are the many damsels in distress.  For purposes of this article the ‘generic’ damsels in distress won’t be a focus, however, they might get a mention…maybe.

Many fans get overwrought when a woman character shows any interest in ‘the boys’, certain it seems that the CW and/or Eric Kripke are ruining the show by introducing ‘love interests’ or possible ‘love interests’ into the mix.  I’ll call those fans purists, the ones who only want Sam and Dean, two brothers fighting evil, killing evil, saving people and hunting with only each other to rely on.  I believe those fans are of the opinion that Sam should only have eyes for Jessica and that Dean should forever be devoted to mom and that no one, no one should force the boys to be with women as it messes with the core of the show; two brothers, driving the back roads, fighting evil.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with anyone who holds such an opinion, the purpose of this article is not to bash or berate or otherwise offend anyone’s sensibilities.  If you hold that opinion, that’s awesome.  It’s your opinion and by definition it is neither right nor wrong, it’s simply yours.  

The purpose of this article is to explore what I think women; especially women that the boys sleep with -- although others will get some discussion -- bring to the characters of Sam and Dean.  I believe the writers have been especially brilliant in using sex to show us another layer of the boys, you have to look for it, you have to analyze it and you have to ponder it at times but hey…it’s winter Hellatus, what else you got to do?

It's interesting how I'll easily cite the first half of season one as the weakest part of the series yet find two early episodes in a row I adore. Going for creep factor instead of emotional drama of "Phantom Traveler" serves "Blood Mary" very well.  As I said in a previous article, I think this is the creepiest episode ever done. 
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.