Hidden gems, unsung heroes, underrated favorites. We all have them. Personal favorite Supernatural episodes that never make the best or buzzworthy lists, but in their obscurity mean something to you. I have more of these episodes on my list than can be reasonably shared, so I wondered "“ if I could pick just one from each season, what would they be?
The results just make me smile. These episodes are constantly selected by me when it comes time to re-watch episodes for a season, yet I rarely see them brought up in discussions on this site or earn a mention when it comes time to recall quote worthy, shocking, brotherly, or funny moments. Time many have forgotten them, but I haven't!
So without further delay, here are my hidden gems by season.
Why: This episode is the fourth one of the series, but it's the first one ever to use demon possession. It's also the first time the boys put on their suits and pretend to be government agents. But that's not what grabbed me about it. Aside from the clever lines ("Poltergeist, I love that movie!") and a great story embracing the legend about demons crashing planes, this is actually a very emotional episode. I like how it exposed a deeper layer in the brothers (the following "Bloody Mary" does a good job of this too). The ending gets me every time. It's one of the best episodes in the series for score (the best going to "Home.") Plus, it's nice to see macho Dean Winchester have a fear of something. Vulnerability in a bad ass can be fun!
"The Usual Suspects"
Why: I just love this story from beginning to end. Up until this one, we never really saw Sam and Dean separated yet working together (Okay, maybe "Scarecrow" but this is more fun). They were always on the same page despite being in separate rooms and it was so damned entertaining to watch. I cracked up when both of them called their lawyer "Matlock" in separate rooms. Both brothers were at their cocky best, something we didn't see much with Sam until that point. We learned their method of getting hold of one another if they're separated. There was an X-Files reference! Linda Blair as a guest star was just awesome. I could go on and on, but let's just say it was a pure hour of fun that cleanly got away from the whole yellow eyes drama for a nice change of pace.
Why: Again, it's another story I love. The show has always been a bit heavy handed when it comes to parallels between the boys and the monster of the week, but I thought it was done perfectly in this ep. Up until this point, we knew that Sam was feeling some anxiety over Dean's looming deal, but this episode captured how bad it was affecting him emotionally. It was the predecessor to "Mystery Spot" which did that with three exclamation points and a sledgehammer to the skull (all in a good way). Remember, the show really didn't start to explore Sam's character very deeply until season three.
I love the idea of twisted fairy tales, which came from Ben Edlund and was perfectly written by Cathryn Humphris. The fairy tales provide the best way to get to the heart of Sam's issues and inspires some really awesome Dean one-liners. Plus I love the homicidal old lady. But the true strength of the episode is the emotional parallels. There's the construction worker whose two brothers were mauled to death before him. "He killed my brothers. How would that make you feel?" Sam's answer is crushing. "I can't imagine anything worse." Then later in the episode, after all is resolved and the talk revolves around letting go of someone you love, the true and very sad heart of the matter is revealed.
Dean: You know what he said? Some good advice.
Sam: Is that what you want me to do Dean? Just let you go?
Dean walks away, leaving Sam all alone to watch him go. I don't know why that gets me everytime I see it, but it does. One of the most understated and powerful brotherly moments in the series. Then Sam gets all unhinged and kills a Crossroads Demon, proving there's no way he's taking Dean's advice. We'll that's one way to vent after a frustrating day.
Plus, this still cracks me up just thinking about it...
"When The Levee Breaks"
Why: Man, think detoxing from something like heroin is bad? Demon blood is detox with numerous exclaimation points.
I know this episode was extremely hard for people to watch. But it was necessary and anyone who carefully watched season four knew this was exactly where things were going. This is the brotherly relationship at it's absolute lowest. It was the big crescendo after a carefully plotted season of slow unraveling of the brotherly bond and plenty of foreshadowing that started the moment Dean went to Hell. A lot of the story is from Sam's very jagged POV, but that's what makes the story that much more compelling. Sam POV stories are rare, and here we finally see how conflicted he is about his plan to ice Lilith. He knows it's suicide mission, but he still wishes Dean was by his side. He sought that one thing he's wanted his whole life, the chance to make a stand of his own and do it with full backing of his big brother, the one person that matters to him in this world.
What makes this story especially tragic is Sam hallucinates Dean rejecting him. It devastates him, but he realizes it wasn't real. When the real Dean though does the same thing in the motel room, this is where Sam's world is truly destroyed. It all carries onto the next episode as well. Without his brother's support, there's nothing left to live for.
One scene though really, really destroys me everytime I see it. Sam imagines his mother Mary, whom he never knew, giving him nothing but loving support for what he must do. She even gave him those gentle motherly touches that a child so craves. It's one of the most tragic scenes ever in Supernatural history. It goes to show how much Sam has been impacted by being raised without his mother, never knowing that touch and love. As a Mom, the shot Mary holding him and then slipping away makes me cry every freaking time.
"My Bloody Valentine"
Why: Ah, the Ben Edlund total mind-blowing shocker. Offbeat humor using a naked, white and pasty cupid with the mentality of a little child, Castiel suddenly channeling his inner Dean Winchester with a love of cheeseburgers, one horribily disgusting scene involving star crossed lovers who eat each other to death, and the very tragic story of two brothers who are so damaged in different ways that when Famine the horseman strolls into town, the results are just plain messed up.
Dean isn't affected because he's dead inside, and he finally sees for himself what happens when the full demon blood power inside his brother is unleashed. He's unstoppable. And can't control himself. That ends up being the warning signal that Dean can't bear. Sam can be manipulated to carrying out the demon plan, no matter how hard he tries to fight it. The end is a very solemn and tearful Dean pleading to the skies for help while Sam is locked in the panic room going through another excruciating demon blood detox. How that ended up becoming "I'm going to say yes to Michael" is anyone's guess, but this was the game changer for him. I eat this up everytime.
Why: This is another episode that pisses a lot of people off, but I love it from beginning to end. It's a very hard episode to watch for most. People complain about the ruthless and cold portrayal of souless Sam. Absolutely, that's what makes this episode so powerful. Imagine Sam, who's already feeling really off from the new fresh wall inside his head, see this horrible, sociopathic side of him through graphic memory flashes. Every memory shakes him up further and further until by the end of the episode he is a wreck. It's intense, very emotional, and what's worse is all Dean could do about it is watch. And joke about how impressive soulless Sam's sex life was.
Poor Sam. He so wanted to do the right thing, but he learned the hard way that he couldn't fix what that part of him did. He couldn't accept that it wasn't him. It was him. It was just the part of him he never liked. The dark monster within. It was only then, in that horribly deflated state, that it happened. Exactly what Dean feared. The Hell memories punched right through and Sam was a lifeless mess on the floor. I swear I didn't stop screaming for a week. Then we got the quick 30 second resolution in "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning," and I'm still screaming over that. Not in a good way.
Why: Picking one for season seven is really hard! To be honest, very few of the episodes in this season make me gush, let alone inspire me to watch over again. "The Girl With The Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo" comes very close, as does "Reading Is Fundamental." My favorite episode of this season is "Hello, Cruel World," but given the fact that many list that one to be one if not the season's best, it's hardly a hidden gem.
I don't know how many of you saw the film that inspired "Slash Fiction," aka "Pulp Fiction," but I love that film. I was able though to look past all the gory violence, the graphic perversion, and the completely sick and wrong attitudes of these people as things happen like accidentally overdosing on drugs or getting their brains blown out when the car hits a bump. When you look past all that, it's an extremely entertaining film.
Same with this episode. Once you got past the fact that copies of our beloved heroes were tragically mowing down innocents in a tear across the country, it's a very entertaining episode. Action packed, loaded with humor, hang on to the edge of your seat moments, and some really heartbreaking brotherly drama just to remind that this is indeed a Supernatural episode. It's a perfect way to introduce a cynical, wise-cracking, very paranoid bastard in Frank Deveraux. We FINALLY got a funny brotherly scene for the ages, all because of Dean's closet love for Air Supply. Also, for once, the good guys got a win. Considering there is hardly any of that in seasons six and seven, it's just something you want to cling onto for dear life. Yes, I can look past the dramatic ending, just because Sam and Dean parted in front of a Chevette equivalent (Acadian). Talk about new lows.
Those are my choices. Your turn! What are your hidden gems from each season and why? There's no wrong answer! Just plenty of fun.
I love Unforgiven and thought it also well written. Slash Fiction is one of the bearabl episodes of season seven.
If what defines a hidden gem is an episode that isn't necessarily beloved by fandom in general, but is loved by me, then here's my list!
season 1 - The Benders.
Not only do we have an awesome guest star in Jessica Steen, but we see Sam and Dean dealing with human cruelty and violence for the first time. I love Dean's line, "Demons I get, humans are crazy". It just goes to show how messed up these guys are.
Season 2 - Houses of the Holy
I'm a sucker for moments of vulnerability from either brother, but especially Dean. What gets me about this episode is the constant bickering between the brothers about God. Who knew it'd turn into a major theme of the show later on. My favorite scene is Dean telling Sam what Mary used to tell him at bedtime, that "angels were watching over him". Again, the vulnerability and the cruel, harsh reality of Dean's childhood and life after Mary died is all laid to bear in this moment. It's one of my favorite Dean scenes of the whole series.
Season 3 - Dream a Little Dream of Me
This season is harder, because it's so short and most of the episodes are either amazing, or terrible. There are only a few that I find are middling for fans, and DaLDoM is one of them. What I love most about this episode is that it's the moment Dean decides to believe in his own self-worth. That he is important and does matter outside of taking care of Sammy. His clarity in deciding to save his own life and his desperation to hide the fear of death from Sam all comes to a head, and it guts me each time, when at the end of the episode, Dean tells Sam that he doesn't want to die.
Season 4 - Wishful Thinking
I'm not sure this one exactly qualifies as a hidden gem, but it's one of my favorites from season 4. There's great humor, excellent brother moments, and while their relationship is strained, it's one of the last few times we see Sam and Dean not down-right mistrustful of each other. I also love that we finally got some forward momentum on Dean's memories of hell.
Season 5 - 99 Problems
This episode see's Dean giving up hope, and Sam trying to get Dean to care that the situation they are in is completely messed up. It's the start of Sam's major growth and for that reason alone I love it. I also think the monster story is interesting.
Season 6 - Let It Bleed
I feel like a person has to be a fan of Lisa to enjoy this episode. I liked Lisa a lot. I have some doubts about the realism of her letting Dean into her life like she did, knowing what she does about his work and life prior, but I can totally suspend disbelief regarding that. I thought Dean and Ben were quite connected, and the sheer terror and anger Dean felt when Lisa and Ben were taken was palpable onscreen. Every single time I watch this episode I am fully invested in the action and plan. Even Bobby's side story tracking down the kid who was at Lovecraft's dinner party was interesting. I kind of hate the memory wipe at the end, but again, I can suspend disbelief because it does produce the maximum amount of angst for Dean.
Season 7 - The Mentalists
I usually don't enjoy the episodes where the boys are separated and/or angry with each other, but this one is an exception. Not only did I think the monster/ghost story interesting and fun, but I loved Melanie. Her presence is what helped bridge the gap of Sam and Dean. And even though I hated everything about the Amy-storyline, it finally was "resolved" here. My only wish is that Dean's drinking, general distrust and depression had been more focused from this point forward. Season 7 was so rough because so many little things were put into play, but hardly any of them panned out in the end.
So that's my list!!
Thanks for sharing all this!
I know I'm in the minority regarding Let it Bleed! That's okay, though. :)
I would love to see Melanie again...the actress had amazing on-screen chemistry with Jensen!
I will add another to your hidden gems - Fresh Blood. It is a really good episode, and a fitting swan song for Gordon, but I particularly like it for two of the brother scenes. First, when they are in the motel room and Dean is about to go after Gordon. Sam tells him he knows how he is feeling, and that this is exactly how he acts when he is terrified - his speech about how he has been following Dean around, studying him his whole life, trying to be just like his big brother - gets me every time. Dean said in an earlier episode that he knows his father better than anyone - Sam was essentially raised by Dean and knows Dean better than anyone. Then, at the end of the episode, when Dean starts teaching Sam how to fix the car - because he is going to have to know these things in the future - makes me tear up every time. All in all, a beautiful episode.
MY mom is 84. she doesn't like the show because it is scary and bloody,but does watch with me sometimes anyway. The end of that episode made her cry like a baby. I reach for a tissue & she was to. I said "But you hate this show"; she answerd, "yeah, but he's goood!!"
Proving what we already knew-Jensen is the best actor on the planet!!
This was a very good list Alice and so agree about Phantom Traveller .
I would also for me add Simon Said as I love the brother interaction and it introduced Andy and I adore Andy and also Playthings for no other reason than that I love drunk Sammy.
I totally liked episodes involving story from Sam's POV.
When the levee breaks is such an awesome episode that no matter how much I rewatch it, I tend to find different layers of Sam's feelings. How he felt, what he needs to do .
Its like his responsibility to kill Lilith & that because he has been infected with demon blood. For the same reason, I like Metamorphosis too. It has some heart rendering confessions from Sam about using his power. Both these episodes very emotionally explain the reason Sam is doing what is considered wrong by Dean. Sam just wanted his brother's support & trust for once, just to let him do what he wanted in order to kill Lilith.
As for season 3, bedtime stories again shows the feelings of Sam. He was feeling very helpless after Dean advised him to let go. The frustration, the fear of losing his brother, the helplessness, all combined into rage leading to killing of crossroad demons.
For season 5, i want to add Good God Y'all. There is something about this episode, again how weak Sam felt when he realized that War- the horse man may have been telling the truth. He just wanted to move away from the destruction that could happen with him doing the job. He felt he could be dangerous to people around him & that confession to Dean at the end is equally crushing when Dean agreed with him and allowed him to leave.
Season 1 hidden gems for me are 'Hell House" and "The Benders". "Hell House" is just a thoroughly enjoyable episode with the brothers together and the "professionals" Harry and Ed. So mch fun, with the pranks and that silly laughing fisherman! Just enjoy the heck out of it! And "The Benders" has Dean desperately looking for Sam, Dean's awesome snark when tied to that chair, his scream of "I'll kill you all!" when he fears Sammy has been shot, and then Sam saves everybody all by himself! It was just great TV!
Season 2 has "Tall Tales". Not sure if that is a favourite but it probably is, so doesn't count here. But it was the first for the Trickster and I was so glad they didn't kill him. "Simon Says" I guess is the hidden gem here as I loved Andy (These aren't the droids you're looking for) Gallagher. Sam found a psychic kid who wasn't a monster, but he thought he was, even though he saved both Dean and the girl by shooting his twin. Sammy always seems to see the down side. I did want to shake him at times in season 2.
Season 3 - Agree with you Alice about 'Bedtime Stories" and the scene that gets me every time I see it and makes the tears come. "Is that what you want me to do Dean? Just let you go?" And the enigmatic look on Dean's face when he turns and walks away from the camera down the corridor getting smaller and smaller and I just want to bust out bawling! Poor desperate Sammy! How I hurt for him! (I tear up just writing that)
Season 4 - My hidden gem is "It's a Terrible Life" as I hated the division in the relationship and this is the only episode that showed the boys together, even if they didn't know they were brothers. It was such a relief from the mostly downers that preceded and followed it. This is the episode I "enjoy" the most in season 4.
As for 5 to 7 I can't think of any "hidden" gems, as the ones I enjoyed the most are enjoyed by most others as well. Perhaps "The Mentalists" as I enjoyed the message given to Dean from Ellen by the psychic in the museum. And I also cheered when Dean finally blew up at Sam and told him what I'd been muttering at him for the last 4 seasons. Haha!
Season 6 I guess is "Exile on Main Street" which I believe is no one's favourite, but I enjoyed Dean trying to be normal, and his relationship with Lisa and Ben. It pleased me and I don't know why. I loved Lisa and the way she accepted Dean as he has so very few people who are close to him (and none now, except for Sam). She loves him and I believe he loves her. Not in the hot romantic passionate way of the romance novels, but in the calm everyday way, with trust and love and knowing there is one who really cares about you. And I know Ben is his kid, because I want him to be.
Loved the article Alice. It made for a lot of thought and shows how differently each of us thinks and feels about the moments on the screen and makes me amazed at how differently each of us can view and interpret with such differences a show that we all love and cherish.
I so agree with you about Exile on Main Street. Maybe it's because I sometimes feel maternal toward the guys that I loved seeing Dean in a somewhat normal life. Circumstances were not ideal, but something about seeing Dean being a father and partner to Lisa was heartwarming to me. I hope Ben turns out to be his also. Yeah, only a handful of us feel like that though!
I also liked It's a Wonderful Life. Even in an alternate life the brothers meshed so well. Plus Eric K. said once in a commentary that he felt that without hunting Dean would be a loser. As much as I love EK, that comment bothered me as I feel that the qualities that make Dean a good hunter would help him in any other thing he might do. Would he be a scrapper and difficult sometimes? Yep.
So it was nice to see what might have been had he never became a hunter.
Alice, nice article. Even the episodes that I didn't love had wonderful moments that make me smile.
I don't think Dean would be a loser without hunting either. Look how good a PA he was in "Hollywood Babylon" and how well he fitted in in prison "Folsom Prison Blues".
He's a top notch mechanic and proved he is a capable construction worker. He's A-1 on the technical side too, as he built his own EMF out of a broken down Walkman. Who knows what other skills we haven't yet seen?
Really liked all your picks, and appreciated your reasons about Exile on Main Street. I feel the same way. In my Supernatural alternate reality, both brothers find someone to love and support them as they continue to be the smart kick-ass always saving the world hunters, we know them to be. After all, even super heroes need to hang their capes somewhere!
And I think I could write a whole article about the circumstances that might make Dean a loser without hunting, but why all those skills that make him so successful in hunting would also make him successful in other careers.
But for me, don't hate me;), Houses of the Holy, is a very close second for the simple fact that I love the scene where Sam and Dean are walking in a yard, jump the fence, and enter into the victim's house by using a pocket knife. I play it over and over - the walking scene especially, because seeing them walking (Sam you look so tall and sexy!) makes me need to push up my jaw, wipe the drool, and take a cold shower...
Okay, I'll stop now.
Season One - Phantom Traveller. I just love it all - the humour, the black suits (my oh my, Sam looked so very good in the black suit with the top button of his shirt undone and his tie loosened...oops , sorry, I digress ), the demon storyline and most of all the emotion.
I absolutely adore any angsty, vulnerable Sam scene and the end scene when he tears up after hearing his dad's voicemail gets to me everytime.
I also adore Dead Man's Blood. The relationship between Sam and John fascinates me and they had some fabulous scenes together in this episode.
Oh...and Bugs. Love it. And The Benders with Dean being so awesomely big brotherly and protective and those gorgeous smiles when they are reunited. Oh dear, Season One is a hard choice, I love so many episodes in that season.
Season Two - Houses Of The Holy. The last scene where Sam hopes he can be saved is one of my all time favourite scenes. As soon as Knockin' On Heaven's Door starts to play I'm reaching for my hankie. Just heartbreaking.
Seaon Three - My hidden gem is also Bedtime Stories. That last scene between the boys at the hospital is so heartbreakingly sad. Another S3 hidden gem for me is Malleus Maleficarum.
Season Four - Yeah, completely agree with you on WTLB. That scene in WTLB when Sam sees his mother also rips my heart to shreds every single time I re-watch. I also love Metamorphosis. The brotherly angst just about destroys me, I loved hearing Sam finally talk about the demon blood and what Azazel had done to him as a baby and I also loved finding out that teenage Sam was a mathlete.
Season Five - I find it hard to find a hidden gem here as a lot of the episodes I didn't especially enjoy and the few I did were enjoyed by most others and widely praised. I suppose I'd have to pick The Real Ghostbusters. I'm not (usually) a fan at all of the meta stuff and I remember dreading this episode but I ended up enjoying it.
Season Six - I completely agree with you on Unforgiven.
Season Seven - Again hard to pick a 'hidden gem' as the few I loved were loved by many (e.g Hello Cruel World and Plucky's). Umm...I guess I'll go for The Girl With The Dungeon And Dragon's Tattoo, mainly for the scene where Dean tries to talk Charlie through flirting with the security guy and Sam is giggling hysterically and also "Oh, you go, dumble-dork."
2. Houses of the Holy
4. Family Remains OR Are You There God? It's Me, Dean Winchester
5. Good God, Y'All
6. My Heart Will Go On
7. How To Win Friends And Influence Monsters
1. Provenance: for the scene where they enter the hotel room to disco alone, it's priceless. But more so for the fact that I love a good ghost story, and that little girl is f***** scary! And Sara, of course.
2. The Usual Suspects: for pretty much all the reasons you stated, and they referenced one of my favourite WWII movies, "The Great Escape".
3. Bedtime Stories: I love anything fairy tale related and most especially if it's twisted. That and the way Sam just blows away the crossroads demon at the end, man that was cold.
4. Monster Movie: I've always been a sucker for the old B & W monster movies. Many a Saturday was spent watching double bills of these when I was young. The bygone era of 35 cents for two movies! And before the MPAA obviously.
5. Free to Be You & Me: I know a lot of people hate when the brothers separate, I'm not one of them. And this one right here is the best one. My heart just breaks for Sam when he first sees Jessica in bed next to him, and then he realizes he's Lucifer's vessel. Nooooo!
6. Appointment is Samarra: one of my favourite Sera Gamble scripts. What's not to love? Death, Dean & Tessa all in one delectable episode. Oh, and SoullesSam trying to kill Bobby.
7. I'm going to have to go with you on this one. Slash Fiction was near perfection in every sense. And Dean singing Air Supply pining away for his Baby! Too funny. And Pulp Fiction happens to be Quentin Tarantino's best movie, IMO.
Okay, now I'm ready to be wowed with season 8. Bring it on Carver!
Man, I *love* this idea of yours!! So, I had to play too :)
Okay, I've decided to pick 2 per season because... well just 'cause.
Season 1: I too have mad love for Phantom Traveler. And on top of that mad love is that lovely sprinkle of the comentary that Jared and Jensen did on that episode. It's hilarious!!
The Benders. I love this one so hard. Officer Kathleen (love her!!). The"If you hurt my brother I will kill you. I will kill you ALL!" line from Dean (love him!!). Sam in a t-shirt kicking some serious hillbilly ass (MMmmmMMmmm). The creepy girl Missy (creepy girl is creepy). That eppie is rewatched, alot :)
Season 2: Everybody Loves A Clown. ELAC has the creepiest clown ever. I so had vibes to S. Kings IT with that clown standing by the road and waving to the girl in the car. And then again later, standing next to the bed of that boys parents', looking muy muy creepy again. Creepiest eppie of season 2 for sure. And then on top of that, there's some lovely Sam and Dean drama AND we meet ELLEN (and jo) and Ash and the Roadhouse. LOVE IT.
Nightshifter. Besides from the awesomely awesome kickass ending of all endings, this eppie is just a hoot! I really really love it. Ronald and Hendricksen. Sam having a hissy fit for having to babysit the slightly mad but lovable Ron at the bank. "Help him manage!? Are you insane??!!" and "UNDERSTATEMENT !" And Dean being his lovable snarky self with his lines of awesomeness and funny facial expressions. Plus, Sam the Fed was freaking hot. What can I say, I love me some bad guys and he definitely had a little bad boy streak at Rons home. *yum*
Season 3: The Magnificent Seven. I know a lot of people are not impressed with this eppie but I've always really loved this one. There are just so many golden moments in this one to help me through the cold dark winter nights. Deans one liners ("What's in the Box!?" "So what do you say we kill some evil sons of bitches and we raise a little Hell, huh?"). The bar scene with the demons and the hunter couple. The Greed demon and the Pride demon. Introduction of Ruby. The end scene with the boys. Yeah.
Malleus Maleficarum. This is also not on most of peoples' top lists but again, it's been a fave for me since the first time I saw it. I lovelovelove that scene where Dean starts getting mojoed and Sam is a frantic and desperate and Dean grabs him in pain and Sam is all "rescue mode" and goes after the witches (and how quickly he figures out the real culprit, SmartSam is hot, and smart). The scene with Ruby by the side of the road is awesome. I also love the demon confrontation scene at the witches house. And then the end scene, it's just heartbreaking and that gorgeous last shot of Dean alone in the parking lot.
Season 4: Metamorphosis. This one has drama out the wazoo, one of the best brotherly moments ever actually. I also really liked the Rugaru guy and his wife. The old hunter guy was the only 'meh' part of the eppie, he seemed like... well, an idiot. But boy oh boy the Winchester Drama.
Death Takes A Holiday also has some great guest acting with Pam and Tessa and the dead boy and Alistair. Just a really good eppie with great scenes and a dark under current that culminated in a sad sad end. *sniff*
Season 5: Good God Y'all. GGY has some awesome classic rock with some creepy mystery in an abandoned town. I like these kinda stories where the town folk has mysteriously disappeared and the story unravels quite quickly after the heroes arrive. I loved War the Horseman! Plus it had ELLEN (and jo) and RUFUS! And some lovely Sam and Dean drama. AND Sam left Dean! *sniff*
Funnily enough, the next Gem eppie for me is the next one from GGY. Free To Be You And Me starts off with a beautiful montage of the boys doing their own thing, separately (*sniff*) with another kickass rock tune. I really loved both of their separate (*sniff*) stories. I really liked Sams bartender skit and the hunter side of him that wouldn't stay away that eventually got him involved with those shady hunters that tried to unleash the mighty SammyDemonPower s. Lindsey was also a cool character. And then there was the Adventures of Dean and Cas with Cas being a totally lovable yet terrible FBI dude. The only iffy part of the eppie was the Whorehouse scene (because of the JIMMY factor). And then the end scene, oh dear. I've watched that scene more times that I can count. It's just one fabulous scene with Jessica and Lucifer and Sam and oh Sam. Wow. And *yum* for the pyjamas But *sniff* mostly.
Honestly, I don't really have ones from seasons 6 and 7. Mainly because I haven't rewatched any eppies so I don't really remember a lot from them. And plus those seasons just ended up being somewhat dissapointments for me. But maybe once some time has passed and I'll get the DVD's I'll be able to see them with kinder eyes.
Ouch, sorry for the length. *is unable to make short comments*
Love your picks. I love ELAC when they're having the discussion on the side of the road and Dean finally loses it with Sam and shouts "I'm dealing with Dad's death! Are you?" So powerful. And the tiny fissure between the brothers opens just a little wider.
And Malleus Maleficarum is a fav for the exact scene you mentioned. "Sam, something's wrong..." Cough up blood. And Sam is a man possessed.. to save his brother (oops.. bad choice of phrases.)
Season 1: Provenance. I love how caring Dean is in this ep toward Sam and his lingering issues re: Jessica, pushing him a little to move forward with his life. I love how conflicted Sam is, not wanting to get involved with Sarah for fear that she will end up dead. I loved Sarah too, she was spunky and able to keep up with the brothers and not shrink from the horror of it all. Also murderous little girls and dolls with human hair? Creepy. There were a lot of nice little touches in this ep; Sam and Dean look like hunting pro's in this episode, especially when they break into the auction house. They are so efficient and skilled, like I would expect them to be after a lifetime of hunting. And there's that wonderful little montage of the disco motel room which never fails to make me giggle.
Season 2: Oh boy, this was tough, there were so many good episodes; I think that Heart isn't really a sleeper, so it becomes a toss up between Houses of the Holy and Playthings. I love both of these eps mostly for the brother moments. As two other people have mentioned, Houses of the Holy in particular is a wealth of both Sam and Dean moments that are incredibly satisfying and insightful. One thing about this episode always makes me sad though; Dean the non-beliver of the two has his non-faith shaken if you will, and finds a reason to maybe start believing while poor Sam only gets to have his faith torn down. I felt incredibly bad for him at the end of the episode.
And just a quick aside about The Usual Suspects: watch the scene where Linda Blair meets Sam in his motel room again. Man, is she tiny, and Jared looks HUGE by comparison.
Season 3: For an uneven season it sure has some gems. Well, taking out all the obvious ones, for me its again a toss up between A Very Supernatural Christmas and Time is on My Side. 'Christmas' was so very good at showing how Dean's deal and his non-challant attitude (at least at this point) toward his impending death was wearing Sam down. Add to this some very Martha Stewart like villains ("St. Peter on a popsicle stick!") and a cringeworthy torture scene and we have a winner. I love how both brothers give a little in this ep to try and make things easier on the other, and that final scene with the Christmas presents just makes me go "aww!"
I love Time is on My Side for the creep factor. What an awesome and disturbing villain. Just think, he's probably still alive down in that hole the brothers buried him in. I'd love to see him come back with revenge in mind.
Season 4: Again, many to choose from but for me Jump the Shark was a bold move. Is this one considered a sleeper? I remember when the episode description came out and the melt down online regarding introducing another Winchester brother. People were aghast, horrified, incensed; they denounced the epi before it even came out. I love this episode for it's audaciousness and for the story itself. Adam as a character was awesome and totally believable as a Winchester brother, and leave it to Kripke to kill him off before we even knew he existed. His appearance brought up all kinds of unresolved issues from Sam and Dean's childhood. Dean was upset because Adam seemed to have gotten the best of John Winchester, the part Dean always treasured and saw too little of. Sam was upset because Dean wanted Adam to have college and a normal life, something that Dean never supported Sam wanting. Both were jealous of Adam, but didn't know how to resolve it or even acknowledge it. Also, it contains one of THE best Sammy torture scenes ever. Yeah, I'm sadistic like that.
Season 5: I really like Sam Interrupted, but have to go with My Bloody Valentine because of it's masterful balance. One issue I have always had with this show has been in the balance or lack-there-of in point of view. It seems sometimes that a writer can't write for more than one character at time. But in this episode Ben Edlund creates a wonderful storyline for each of the three major characters that all converge at the end. Very well done, and incredibly suspenseful. This is followed by one of the most heart-wrenching scenes at the end with Sam in detox screaming his heart out while Dean slowly begins to crumble.
Season 6: I am going to go with Unforgiven. I understand that many fans didn't like this episode, but I found it a realistic and unflinching look at what Soulless Sam was really like and the lengths that he would go to in resolving a case. I think for Sam, Soulless Sam represented the monster in himself he has always feared would take over one day; the monster he almost became in season 4. I loved his need to somehow make amends for this side of himself, even to his own detriment. And yeah, total gyp on the resolution scene to Sam's collapse in Mannequin 3 (one of my least favorite episodes ever).
Season 7: This season is a tough one as there are almost no "sleepers" to choose from. I mean, the episodes were either good (or at least pretty good) or just plain bad. I guess I'll have to go with Repo Man. I though this episode was pretty good but not as obviously good as Hello Cruel World or Slice Girls, which are two of the best from season 7 IMO. Repo Man had a great victim/villain in Jeffrey and if the previews to the episode hadn't RUINED IT (way to go CW) then Jeffrey's turnabout could have been quite a shock. Also, the disturbing insight into Sam's subconscious was pretty interesting. Its kind of bizarre that at one point Sam and Lucifer are almost allies working together to save Dean. How strange and twisted for the show to go there and then turn it back on itself. I could have gone with Reading is Fundamental except for one thing; I hate it when a show allows one of it's characters to look careless or foolish to service the plot. Case in point, Sam leaving the "Word Of God" unguarded in Castiel's hospital room to go after Meg. Arg! He would never be so careless, he's a consummate hunter for crying out loud. Then to top it off, we then get to see him running around in circles after Kevin who has stollen The Word of God. Ha, ha isn't that funny? NOT.
So, there are my fav sleepers. Wow, this is long! Sorry. I hope a few people wade though at least some of this! :)
I did manage to wade through your, er, rather long comment (You should see mine!)
Just wanted to say: Repo Man! I don't think I thought of that one when compiling my list. Perhaps one of the first episodes in a while that truly, truly creeped me out. Jeffrey was a complete surprise for me, and finally getting a glimpse of Satan-vision was pretty interesting. And poor Sammy when he realises he can't use the hand trick anymore. Oh, and Luci's laugh at the end...Yikes!
S1: Something Wicked-This is an episode Iâ€™ve rewatched a few times. I think itâ€™s because Iâ€™m a sucker for flashback episodes, and this was the first one. This was one episode where they got a bit heavy-handed with the parallels between Sam and Dean and the boys at the motel, but I think it was a good way to introduce the flashbacks, having them remind Dean of what it was like growing up. Not only that, we got to revisit an old case of Johnâ€™s, and I like the reveal of why Dean always followed orders, especially since it was brought up a few times that season. My favourite scene though is the one where Michael comes to tell them heâ€™ll help with the Shtriga. Not only was it a sweet moment, but I loved Sam listening in in the background:
Michael: You said youâ€™re a big brother, right? Youâ€™d take care of your little brother? Youâ€™d do anything for him?
Dean: Yeah, I would
Also, in one scene, it was, as far as I remember, the one and only time Dean addressed Sam as â€œlittle brotherâ€
S2: I love the Usual Suspects, but my pick for season 2 is a no brainer, since itâ€™s an episode Iâ€™ve always classified as a hidden gem: Crossroad Blues. This was the episode where they introduced Hellhounds (they still scare the crap out of me), and Crossroads Demons. I thought the way they interwove the Robert Johnson story into the mix was pretty awesome too. More than that though there was the emotional aspect of again seeing the effect of Johnâ€™s deal on Dean, and how he got this close to selling his soul to get him back.
S3: Fresh Blood-This episode was certainly an epic send-off for Gordon, and though I still havenâ€™t gotten over Sam beheading him with his bare hands, those arenâ€™t the reasons I love this episode. One, the conversation in the motel. It was heartbreaking enough watching Sam confess that heâ€™s been looking up to Dean his entire life and knows him better than anyone else in the world, but what really gets me is the heartfelt plea for Dean to be his brother again, just cause. Even Dean couldnâ€™t argue with that one. Two, the fixing the Impala scene. It just seemed such a natural brotherly moment, and yet it was tinged with sadness, like so much of their relationship.
S4: Oh, When The Levee Breaks. Talk about having your heart ripped to shreds. It was hard to watch, yet still brilliant, like so much of season 4. My pick here though is the much lighter Itâ€™s A Terrible Life. When I first watched this episode, I was a little disappointed at the ending, but on re-watch, I found I enjoyed the conversation between Dean and Zach very much. Ass-but that he was, Zach still gave Dean some pretty good advice. Watching Sam and Dean hunt without all their baggage (even if that baggage included their memories) was a breath of fresh air, particularly in this season as their brotherly relationship was crumbling.
S5: The Song Remains The Same- getting past the fact that I was pretty happy that Sam got to go time traveling too, I love this episode for all the interactions between the Winchesters, particularly with Sam. Not only had Dean already met young John and Mary, heâ€™d also experienced life before their mother was killed and John became consumed with grief and revenge. Sam was so overwhelmed when he first met them, holding on to Johnâ€™s hand and telling Mary she was beautiful (in a non-weird wholesome family kind of way, of course). He finally got some closure over Johnâ€™s death too. He may not have been the John Sam knew, but Iâ€™m sure it lifted a weight off of him, being able to tell him the things he shouldâ€™ve before he died. I thought it was effective that it happened when it did too, because I think Sam had an understanding of John and his motivations that he didnâ€™t when John died. It hurt that the boys were so willing to let themselves cease to exist to save the world. Still, though having to ask your parents to ensure that happensâ€¦I donâ€™t even have kids and it stings. I thought it was pretty wonderful all round. Also, all four Winchesters were in the Impala together-someth ing I never thought Iâ€™d see, and it had the introduction of Team Freewill.
S6: I absolutely agree with you here. Unforgiven is easily a contender for my favourite episode of season 6. Watching Sammy unravel as he discovered more and more of the brutal things he did while soulless was as heartbreaking for us, I think, as it was for Sam. It was a pretty brutal way to portray the character, but I think it had to be, otherwise weâ€™d be thinking â€œwell, that wasnâ€™t so bad,â€ rather than â€œoh my freaking Chuck, poor Sammyâ€, which is what I had on repeat in my brain as I watched. I think thatâ€™s the greatest tragedy about Samâ€™s character-heâ€™ s a good guy who tries to do the right thing, but that dark side of his always seems to bite him on the ass. And that final scene: Dean asks a question. Silence. Thudâ€¦ Iâ€™m pretty sure I was squealing through the whole thing.
S7: Agree here too. Loved this episode. It was fun once you got past how shocking the killings were, and the Air Supply moment (complete with My Little Pony) is a classic.
Damn, that turned out to be an essay..oh well
Carry on with the long comments, you won't see any from me as it took 4 hrs to type this! Only slightly kidding.
And one of my favorite episodes from season six was Mannequin. I loved the message; that sometimes there are no right answers. Sometimes every choice is wrong. You just gotta do what you think is right at the time. Plus it had one of the greatest brother talks!
Season 1 - There are several episodes here that I think deserve a mention, but I'm going to pick "Faith". This was one of the earliest episodes where I felt nervous for one of the characters, though I knew they were going to be saved. What sticks with me the most is that the very deserving young woman who comes to the faith healer is not saved. That was a tough story decision, and showed me that Supernatural believed in real consequences for action and inaction. Her parting words are something I appreciate.
Season 2 - "Crossroad Blues." I enjoyed Season 1, but this is where I started to glimpse where Supernatural was headed, and how far it might go. I loved seeing Dean give into another music style a go, but there was so much depth in the victims, and in the emotional connection to the brothers after what they've been through.
Season 3 - This is the hardest choice, because I think most of the episodes in Season 3 that are good are acknowledged as such. I'm going to cheat and pick two. First, "Dream a Little Dream of Me." This episode revealed some of Bobby's life as an independent hunter, but showed that he still relied on the boys for back-up. And the dream sequences were harrowing. Dean's confrontation with his demon self left me rattled. It was a brilliant, intense scene. Second, "Bad Day at Black Rock." The cursed rabbit's foot led to such much comedy, mayhem, and shoe loss that it was great fun. John's storage locker and his mementos of the boys were a wonderful touch. And of course Dean is Batman.
Season 4 - Season 4 is my favorite, and with the exception of about three episodes I enjoy it all. For underappreciate d though, I'll pick "In The Beginning". The first episode in which we discover that Mary was a hunter, and the tragic origin of the curse under which all Winchesters suffered. It was sweet and tragic.
Season 5 - "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid." Undead Karen Singer was charming, and I was almost sorry to see her laid to rest again. But it is Sheriff Jody who steals the show in her own tragic introduction to the supernatural. She lost her son, got back a soon to be monster in his place, then lost him again, and her husband too? And then she turned around and went zombie hunting in spite of the grief. She rocked it, and I'm glad she survived. I'm hoping she and Sam have kept in touch in Dean's absence.
Season 6 - "Appointment in Samarra." Death and Tess are wonderful character who have been used sparingly, and are the more wonderful for it. Death has the wonderful ability give perspective to Dean. The end of the bet was a foregone conclusion, and I liked it that Death knew it and Dean did not. The cat and mouse between Sam and Bobby was tense and excellent. And those last five minutes? Chills.
Season 7 - "The Mentalists." I know a lot of people didn't like this one, but I liked the exploration of Sam and Dean having to work with each other when they didn't want to. The resolution of the tension between them was relatively quick, but I like that they managed to act like adults and brothers. Having to sort the real from the fake among the victims was also a good twist.
Thanks for the chance to discuss some fun ones!
Great article. I wonder if my boss would believe me if I phoned in with a severe case of "Supernaturalit is"? A difficult & painful addiction which can only be cured by watching Seasons 1 through 7 in their entirety, so you can pick out all the diamonds in the rough!