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Here's a top ten list that's been on my to do list for some time. As you all know, Supernatural episodes are divided between mytharc episodes and stand alones. I've never taken a look at the stellar stand alone episodes that have given fans some extraodinary memories from the series.
What is a "stand alone episode" exactly? I thought I had an idea, but Supernatural always likes pushing those boundaries when it comes to its episodes. A lot of the MOTW (monster of the week) episodes have some sort of tie in to the mytharc. So, I went to Google and found this definition:
An episode that can stand alone on its own with a self-contained story that does not need prior viewing of any other episode to understand. It's usually an episode that breaks from the current arc to focus on a one-shot subplot or character.Okay, good to know. The question I've asked myself for every single episode on this list, "Could a new viewer watch this episode and not be confused?" I think all of these meet that criteria. Once I started listing and ranking qualifying episodes, the results surprised me a little.
By default, almost all of season four was eliminated. Almost all those episodes were part of the mytharc in some way. Also, by season seven, there's always some sort of tie-in, so for some episodes the rules were loosened. Not too much though, just enough for a person not to be confused, but knowing the history might change one or two of the scenes for them.
Once I came up with a list based on that definition, I ranked the episodes not only by gauging fan delight, but also those that make my re-watch list constantly. You know, the "go to" comfort episodes. A few that made this list are under the radar episodes that fans would never consider to be iconic, but as a standalone they're actually quite good. Not surprisingly, several are comedy episodes. Yep, more than half the episodes on this list were written by Ben Edlund.
Another surprise that I found, not a single season one episode made this list, even though most of that season was stand alone episodes. The problem is, my favorites from that season were all the mytharc ones. The others just didn't stand out like the other episodes on this list.
Okay, since the selection criteria has been spelled out, here are the top ten (with an Honorable Mention) Supernatural stand alone episodes. Up first, part one, aka an Honorable Mention and episodes 7-10.