Just like any work of art (and I consider Supernatural to be one in its own form), something that is poignant is subjective and deeply personal. So when I began brainstorming the Top Ten Most Poignant "Supernatural" Moments, I simply thought about those instances in the show where where I gulped down the lump in my throat while something familiar twisted inside myself. And take note; these are moments, not full episodes. Sometimes there are two occurances that happened in one episode, because for me, it only took a few words and a good camera angle to draw the box of tissues close.
Here's my list, and I would welcome your comments with additional moments. They are listed chronologically by episode, in otherwise no specific order.
10. Season 2. episode 17 -- "Heart"
This is the episode where I truly felt like I got to know Sam. In "Heart," he's smart, savvy, and finally turning the tables on his older brother, like I have been waiting for him to do ("...always with the scissors, Dean!"). And hey, the viewers finally got to see some of his great bod during that sexy romatic interlude with Sam's love interest, Madison. But the part that tore my heart out? Sam finally finds comfort and compassion in Madison, and he has to kill her to save her. And Dean has to watch him go through it.
MADISON: Sam…I’m a monster.
SAM: You don’t have to be. We can find a way, all right? I can. I’m gonna save you.
MADISON: You tried. I know you tried. But this is all there is left. Help me, Sam. I want you to do it. I want it to be you.
SAM: I can’t.
MADISON: I don’t wanna die. I don’t. But I can’t live like this. This is the way you can save me. Please. I’m asking you to save me.
DEAN: Sam. I’m sorry.
SAM: No, you’re right. She’s right.
DEAN: Sammy, I got this one. I’ll do it.
SAM: She asked me to.
DEAN: You don’t have to.
SAM: Yes, I do. Please.
9. Season 3, episode 2 -- "The Kids Are Alright"
In this episode, Dean reunites with Lisa and meets Ben for the first time. After practically inviting himself to the party, Dean is visibly shaken after seeing his very own mini-Dean in the backyard. What transpires is the next seven lines:
DEAN: So, I, uh, met Ben. Cool kid.
DEAN: I couldn't help but notice that, uh, he's turning eight. You and me...you know.
LISA: You're... not trying to ask me if he's yours?
DEAN: No. No, of course not. …..He's not, is he?
LISA: What? No.
DEAN: Right. Something wrong with your friend?
So Lisa confirmed to Dean that Ben is not his kid, but this is "Supernatural," right? Land of twists and turns? It was still early enough in the season for the viewers to think, "hey, maybe it really is Dean's son." A big part of me really wanted this for Dean. Remember, Dean has a year to live in this season, and to leave a son behind to carry on his genetic code is what any guy really wants. But Dean, in his caring-but-not-caring kind of way, immediately moves the conversation onto Lisa's friend. He shields himself from the hurt in this moment by switching subjects. Ouch, man. We knew that hurt.
8. Season 3, episode 16 -- "No Rest for the Wicked"
Lillith has Sam trapped and the hellhounds rip Dean apart as his brother is helpless to watch. With Dean's last breath, the last gaze of his eyes, he looks at Sam. He then re-awakens in Hell, screaming his name. Guh! Heart twisting!
7. Season 4, episode 13 -- "After School Special"
In this episode, Young Sam and Young Dean are once again beginning a new school. Dean looks forward to it with relish, but Sam is dreading being the “weird kid” again. While Dean hooks up with the school hottie, Sam has his hands full with a caring teacher, Mr. Wyatt, a new friend, Barry, and a bully, Dirk. Sam only wants to avoid a confrontation with Dirk, but unfortunately, he is pushed too far (“come on, lose-chester!”) and that Sam-temper monster raises its ugly head. The classic playground battle ensues. Sam is clearly the better fighter, getting the best of Dirk, and even christening him “Dirk the Jerk.”
I classified this as a poignant moment because this is not what I wanted for a young Sam (has anyone ever noticed that the word “lawyer” is written on the blackboard behind Mr. Wyatt in one scene?) I found myself to be disappointed in Sam. He's better than this, dammit! He is supposed to be above all this, leaving the scrapping for big brother Dean. Oh, well.
6. Season 4, episode 21 -- "When the Levee Breaks"
I don't know about the rest of you, but when I was a child, I always wanted to do right by my mom. So when Sam's mother, Mary, appears during his delision-filled demon-blood withdrawal, its time to cue the heartstrings. Here's the next poignent moment: "Make my death mean something. I'm counting on you, Sam. Don't let anyone or anything get in your way. Not even Dean," Mary urges her son. She strokes his face gently, and Sam leans into her touch, longing in his eyes. Although Mary's words are warped, we see the yearning in Sam's face to please his mother and to have her love.