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Time for part two of the Top Ten Supernatural Standalone Episodes list!  I didn't keep you all waiting too long.  For those that missed part one, the definition of a standalone episode is as follows: 

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.  

Also keep in mind that in later seasons, the definition of "standalone" gets stretched a bit, since just about every episode has some sort of tie in by then.  With that in mind, here's the remaining top six. 


6.  Monster Movie


Season:  Four

Why it's on the list:  Aside from being season four's only standalone episode?  Because so much awesome detail went into making this authentic tribute to the monster movies of old.  The lighting, the camera angles, the lenses, the black and white film, no detail was left untouched and the end result was something quite extraordinary.  It's rare to see a total achievement like this from everyone in the cast and crew.  

Once you look past the technical perfection, the fact this is another Ben Edlund comedy script isn't lost either.  Dean got to play the dashing hero who connected with the blonde bombshell in distress, and Sam was the lovable and rather gigantic sidekick.  The real star though ended up being Dracula (Todd Stashwick), who took trying to play straight up Dracula to howlingly new levels.  Dracula may be a vicious old school vampire, but this modern day version manages to make his grand escapes on a vespa, gets his outfits at a costume retailer, and pays for pizza with a coupon. Villains have it so rough anymore.   



Favorite scene:  Dracula has captured Dean and aside from the humiliation of dressing him in lederhosen just to strap him to a board and taunt him, his diabolical scheme of frying Dean to the crisp after loads of monolouging has an interruption.  He goes upstairs to his modern day house to find the pizza delivery guy has arrived with his pizza.  Once he establishes that there's no garlic on the pizza, he has some unfinished business before he pays for the it.  He pulls a piece of paper from his cape.  "I have a coupon."  






 
5.  Tall Tales

Season:  Two

Why it's on the list:  This is another of one of my all time favorite episodes.  It's the introduction to the beloved Trickster and all his delightful pranks.  This is an extremely clever script, using a ploy that is not new to television, but oh so new to Sam and Dean, showing the same scene from their different perspectives.  The trickster's pranks actually end up from a humor standpoint paling in comparison to Sam and Dean's recollections of each other's behavior during their investigation.  Sam sees Dean ruining the case by hitting on a local whore while Dean sees Sam all prissy, talking to him with only "blah, blah, blah" while he makes good with a sophisticated classy chick.  Sam remembers Dean stuffing his face so full of caramels that he has chipmunk cheeks, and Dean remembers Sam telling a college student that he's a "brave little soldier" before giving him a huge hug.  "You're too precious for this world."  



Favorite scene:  This makes top two of my favorite scenes in the entire series.  A college student, a dick, is chased by a bright light in the sky one night on campus.  Suddenly he's beamed up into the light.  He's clearly traumatized by the whole ordeal but tells all to Sam and Dean anyway.  Both are trying hard to keep their sympathetic faces, but their laughter breaks through once in a while anyway.  The kid was probed, again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and one more time.  Then Dean opens the door.  "What, did some alien make you its bitch?"  "They made me...slow dance."  Next thing Chris Deburgh's "Lady In Red" is blaring in the background, the disco ball is gleaming, and this kid is getting grouped by a she-alien as they sway to the music.  I still fall in the floor in a fit of hysterics every time I see this scene.  


 
4.  Clap Your Hands If You Believe

Season:  Six

Why it's on the list:
  What a wicked, way out there, completely bat shit crazy yet totally hysterical episode.  I mean really, just check out the dialogue alone.  It's a madcap, very biting, very insane comedy.  It's another Edlund classic and wow, he doesn't stop from beginning to end.  

By this time in season six, soulless Sam fatigue was starting to set in.  Edlund had the answer to that.  What if soulless Sam was unintentionally funny?  Let him try to pretend to care, but fail on oh so many levels.  Let him not hold back in what he's thinking, like telling the fairy lady that her story is missing a couple dozen cats.  Or not showing much concern on the phone as Dean is frantically being chased by that bright light in the corn, screaming about his close encounter.  "Third kind already?  You better run man, I think the fourth kind in a butt thing."  

Oh, but it doesn't stop there.  What does Sam do when Dean is abducted by aliens?  He investigates, he gets his info, but there's nothing more he can do for that night.  Sam has to be taught by Dean that it's not cool to have sex with a hippy chick in their motel room while he's missing.  He need to mourn the loss.  Oh yeah, Sam never gets it.  Sam's attempt at sympathy, telling Dean it's a "safe room," is as disturbingly funny as it sounds.  Dean's reaction makes it even better.  Who knew that soulless Sam could be so funny?



However, nothing that soulless Sam does tops Dean's now legendary line as he's being hauled away by the police for a supposed hate crime.  This line was so popular the night this episode aired, it trended on Twitter and outraged the gay and lesbian community.  



FIGHT THE FAIRIES!!!

Favorite scene:  This is a no brainer for me.  Dean is alone in the motel room checking out alien websites and David Bowie's "Space Oddity" is on the radio.  Suddenly the bright light, the same big bright light that abducted him a day earlier, is outside the motel room.  Dean is terrified and preps himself as the door bursts open.  In comes instead a small sphere of light.  It moves closer to Dean, and his close up examination in perfect sync with the countdown sequence in the music turns this encounter hysterically funny.  Suddenly, Dean sees.  "Nipples?"  Next thing Tinkerbell is knocking him around the room, all while the music goes into the chorus.  "This is Major Tom to ground control..."  Dean finally dodges and traps the thing in the microwave, turning it on and holding the door shut until his attacker explodes.  He gives out a triumphant "ah ha!" the screen goes to black and the microwave timer goes off.  Tinkerbell is done!



Just to prove how this episode just doesn't stop, the next scene Dean tells soulless Sam about the attack.  Once Sam figures out he's not allowed to laugh, he comes up with the side splitting icing on the cake to this entire ordeal, throwing a fairies theory at Dean.  "You're the one that pizza rolled Tinkerbell.  I'm just doing the math."  


 
3.  Nightshifter

Season:  Two

Why it's on the list:  "Nightshifter" proves that a standalone doesn't have to be funny to make it's mark.  This is a white knuckling, action thrill ride from beginning to end.  It's easily one of the best episodes of the series, let alone just another Ben Edlund quirky standalone.  It's fun, it's breathtaking, it's a situation that with every minute unravels before our very eyes.  How can Sam and Dean possibly come out of this alive?  Plus, who doesn't love a good old fashioned mandroid conspiracy theory?  



Favorite scene:  Duh.  You know it.  We all know it.  We to this day talk about it because it is the best scene ever!  As the FBI looks for Sam and Dean in the bank, two swat team members are seen entering a parking garage right when the slow open on Styx's "Renegade" comes on in the background.  It's Sam and Dean in clever disguise.  They slow down, approach the Impala, get in, and take their helmets off, clearly shaken by the entire ordeal.  "Hangman is coming down from the gallows and I don't have very long..."  Three beats and now it's time for Dean's infamous line.  "We are so screwed."  Kick in the Tommy Shaw yell from the song and the Impala peels away as the rocking portion of the song follows them out.  


 
2.  Frontierland

Season: Six

Why it's on the list:  I've bent some rules, for this episode is stretching boundaries in the "standalone" department.  Come season six, some rules need to be bent.  Still, I kept going back and forth over whether I should this it on here.  After all, it has a tie back Samuel Colt and his significance to the demon killing colt that's been a big part of the mytharc since the first season, there's the reference to the Elkins family, and all the information in the Campbell family library.  Plus, this isn't Sam and Dean's first time travel trip via angel mojo, and even the side story is Castiel's part of the mytharc!  

So why is it here?  Because how could I possibly leave the Western off?  It's iconic!  The western story itself, which is hunting a phoenix in the form of a cowboy in 1861, works perfectly as a standalone.  Who wouldn't enjoy Dean getting so excited about his trip to the old west that he has to go shopping, getting Sam a Roy Rogers style white shirt with yellow roses, himself a Clint Eastwood serape, and them both some not so period cowboy hats.  Once Castiel sends them back to 1861 Wyoming, Dean learns the ultimate lesson, what he saw in the movies isn't the real old west.  "Nice blanket."  Hee!  There's the eye opening trip to the saloon where the women have diseases and the whiskey tastes like gasoline, the ludicrous notion of Sam riding a horse and the smokin' hot Sheriff Dean in a full length waist coat and proper hat having his high noon showdown in the town square.  Throw in the call back to Back To The Future II at the end and even if the viewer knows nothing about Supernatural they're very entertained.  



Favorite Scene:  So tough with this episode!  I'll go with the final showdown at the town square, because that scene manages to get my hormones in a twist.  Dean's outfit, his square jawed glare, both men with coats flipped ready for the draw, and Dean has an ace up his sleeve that his phoenix opponent doesn't know.  Sam arrived with the colt in time.  Of course all of this is complicated with Castiel and Bobby back at home trying to get enough power back into Castiel to bring the boys home.  The timing is tight for sure and the back and forth is exciting.  The phoenix goes down thanks to Dean's quick draw but, the ashes cannot be retrieved in time.  Lucky for everyone, there's a Back to The Future II homage to play out.  Samuel Colt did care after all.  


 
1.   A Very Supernatural Christmas

Season:  Three

Why it's on the list:  Who doesn't talk about the Christmas episode?  It's legendary.  Sure it's a flashback episode, but it's all new information even to the most die hard fan.  It's a heartbreaking story for these boys who were often left alone even at Christmas by their monster hunting Dad.  It's the sort of thing any viewer can get easily sucked into.  

This is one of the most perfect scripts the series has ever had.  It's a roller coaster of laugh out loud funny parts, total horrifying gore to the backdrop of perfect Martha Stewart style Christmas living, a MOTW that has to be the most memorable ever (Ozzie and Harriet are cannibal Pagan Gods?), and a tear jerking look at Christmases past and present that reinforced that no matter how bad the Winchester boys had it, they have each other and that's all that matters.  It's one of the few warm endings ever done on this show and easily the most memorable.  The set decorators soared to amazing new heights with this episode as well.  It's no surprise that "A Very Supernatural Christmas" often makes the best episodes of Supernatural list.   



Favorite scene:  While I can easily cop out and say "every single one," how can I not say the final scene when Sam gives Dean his final Christmas.  We had just learned that Dean received his precious amulet from Sam as a Christmas gift when he was 12, so as Rosemary Clooney's "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" comes on, the first thing we see is adult Dean still wearing the amulet to this day.  He enters to see Sam with a tree laced with fishing lures and pine tree air fresheners.  He's got some seriously spiked egg-nog, and they both got meager presents for each other at the gas mart down the road.  They don't have a lot of words to say.  Just smiles as they kick back, drink their egg nog and watch the game together.  It all closes with the perfect picture postcard, Sam and Dean through the window while Christmas lights shine off the Impala in the snow.  This beats any Hallmark or any other warm and fuzzy holiday program I've ever seen.  




Okay, that's my list.  What's yours?  Please share what you think was missed and why it makes your list.  

 

Comments  

raelee514
# raelee514 2012-01-24 01:28
To this day... my friends and I when we see pizza delivery advertisements still will randomly turn to each other and go: But wait, I have a coupon!
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2012-01-24 02:18
Great choices, Alice.

Oh, and although I love Dean pizza rolling Tinkerbell, my favorite part of Clap your Hands was when Sam had that tiny cup in his hands and looked up with that look and said, "Do you have bigger cups"? I howl every time I watch.
annie
# annie 2012-01-24 14:55
Thats my favourite scene too. I loved seeing Sam's giant hands trying to hold that delicate little tea cup.

This was one of the only episodes of season 6 I actually liked the fact that it had me howling with laughter is a bonus.
rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2012-01-24 03:33
Alice, I liked your list. Your no. 1 is mine as well. Although I would add three more to your honorable mentioned list. One would be Faith. I just love that episode and I find that it's one episode that I gravitate back to. I love the hospital scene where Dean tells Sam that he needs to take care of his baby or he will come back and "haunt his ass". Another would be What Is and What Should Never Be. The whole episode is wonderful. How Dean responds to being with his mother is just heart-warming and heart-breaking all at once! Lastly, The Benders is still one that makes me jump. As Dean said, monsters they get...people are just crazy! That little girl was just creepy....
Alice
# Alice 2012-01-24 11:50
Thanks!

Actually, "What Is and What Should Never Be" was on this list originally, but it didn't pass the "standalone" test. For a new viewer, they really wouldn't have gotten anywhere near the emotional impact if they didn't see the Pilot and know how much Mary's loss has impacted Dean in his life. So it was taken off.

Faith was a finalist too. Great choice! As I said in the part one disclaimer, as much as I like season one, those episodes lacked a lot of the production quality that went into the other seasons. It's so tough with a show with this many episodes!
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-01-24 09:16
That was a great list. I just checked with Supernatural Wiki for some of the titles, and man, I don't know how you did it!

I do have a few favourites from season one though. Hell House (Sam in a bath towel, hello!...I know, a little shallow); Provenance, I love me a good ghost story, and that little girl was pretty scary; Something Wicked, Dean and kids in danger, it just brings something out in him that I love; The Benders, oh yeah, that little girl was creepy, reminds a little of the X-Files episode with the in-bred family; Playthings, a drunk Sam! need I say more; Heart, breaks mine everytime; Folsom Prison Blues, Dean sure does make a pretty good inmate; Live Free or Twihard, vampire Dean!
SecretWillow
# SecretWillow 2012-01-24 10:46
Monster Movie is the very first thing that pops in my head when I hear 'stand-alone episode'. Even if I'm listening to someone else talk about a whole different topic, when I hear 'stand-alone', I think Monster Movie. Like word association.

More than Dean pizza rolling Tinkerbell, the part that always gets me in Clap Your Hands if You Believe, is when Sam is trying to be supportive and empthatic, and he claps his hand on Dean's knee. Even though Dean has always reached out to Sam, to hug, to comfort, to offer support of all kinds, this time, given the circumstances - soullessness and close encounters, etc. - Dean flinches, and his eyes get shifty, and he looks like he's ready to vomit. I'm rolling every time.

I agree with rmoats8621, Faith and The Benders would also be good ones to add. Every once in a while, I'll use Dean's line, "Demons I get, people are crazy", out in public. I get a lot of horrified looks. Thanks for the great list.
green kelly
# green kelly 2012-01-24 13:47
For the last 3 Christmases, I have given my husband shaving cream and a skin mag, and he has given me an energy bar and motor oil--all in brown paper bags. I even get up early so I can run to pick his present up at a gas station before anyone wakes up on Christmas morning. The Christmas episode is, by far, our favorite episode of the entire series, one-shot or not.
buffsgirl
# buffsgirl 2012-01-24 14:37
Great list!

A Very Supernatural Christmas gets me every time I see it. I cannot hold back the tears when the camera pans out on the boys and we see the Impala outside the window while snow slowly starts to fall. Perfection.

Clap Your Hands if You Believe is one of my all time favorites. Maybe it was because I was a huge X-Files fan.... (Dean - "they were grabby, incandescent douche bags!" :lol: ). Although I adored the entire episode, the scene I rewind and watch two or three times in a row is when the guys are in the diner and Sam is giving the waitress the "silent how ya doin." Sam says..."So, say you have a soul and you're on a case and your brother gets abducted by aliens." The dialouge, their expressions, everything about this scene is pure genius. AND.... this episode had one of my favorite guest stars of all time. The woman who plays the fairy expert.... could she have BEEN more perfect!

Lastly, I'm sure we all have a lot of the classic music that is played on the show but everytime Styx "Renegade" comes up on my iPod I am instantly transformed to that scene from Nightshifter. Ideal music choice.

I have to go work for the mandroid now!
Bevie
# Bevie 2012-01-24 14:46
Your number one choice is also mine. Love it to death, especially the very last scene after Dean comes into the room with the camera focused on the amulet. Just reading about it brings back the emotion and starts the tears to fall. I guess I need help! :o Where is Jasminka lately anyway?

And I still want to see that amulet returned.

Loved all of your choices, but would add more like others have. Faith for sure, the Benders, Something Wicked and Provenance along with one of my very favourites, Hell House. Loved the pranks and the way they were with each other in that one. Also loved Edd and Harry, the inept "professionals" . Ha! :P
PENNY JAIME
# PENNY JAIME 2012-01-24 15:52
CLAP YOUR HANDS IS THE FUNNIEST EPI OF ALL THE SEASONS. I KNOW THIS SHOW ISN'T A COMEDY, BUT I LAUGH HARDER AT THAT THEN ANY COMEDY ON TV!!
MisterGlass
# MisterGlass 2012-01-24 21:37
It is amazing how good some of these standalones are. As soon as I saw the title, I immediately thought of "Tall Tales", and was glad to see it there. It is hard to think of another really good standalone episode to throw on here. "Provenance"? "Heart"?

Not "Bugs", obviously.

The Trickster was my first villain on the show, though my first episode was "Mystery Spot". I know why it isn't on here, but I thought it was the best possible almost standalone. If "Wishful Thinking" didn't have so many references to Dean's Hell I would put it on here too.

Thanks for the list Alice!
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2012-01-24 22:57
Terrific list Alice. I loved all your choices for standalones. They are all such wonderful episodes of television in their own right. Amazing too that so many were crafted by Ben Edlund. The man is a genius. (I would so love to spend an hour interviewing him about the creative process, and getting a glimpse of how his brain works. Sigh. Another thing to add to the wish list.)

I certainly can't argue with your pick of A Very Supernatural Christmas as #1. I love all the scenes you mentioned, but one of my very favourite parts is where Ozzie Carrigan-Pagan God is squishing Dean's mouth and about to pull the tooth, when suddenly the door bell rings?

Through smushed mouth Dean says "Aren't you gonna get that? You should really get that!" And "If you fudging touch me again, I'll fudging kill ya!"

Sigh. I almost wish the Carrigans weren't dead, because they were amazingly entertaining monsters. Can you imagine the comedy episode if they teamed up with Dracula.. All his scenes would be in black & white. All the scenes with them would be in garish too-bright colours!

I better go. I'm getting goofy creative.

These were great!

Pragmatic Dreamer :-)
Karen
# Karen 2012-01-25 10:39
Hi Alice
I love all your choices in both articles.
Bad Day at Black Rock, A Supernatural Christmas, Nightshifter, Monster Movie…
However my favourites will always be the Trickster ones (except for HOTG’s, will never forgive them for killing him). :-? :cry:
digyd
# digyd 2012-03-14 14:03
I'd have to go back to my Netflix to see the names of each episode and think hard about whether or not its a standalone in order to maybe come up with something different than what you have in these two parts. I doubt I will. Your picks were right on, even though I might favor different scenes than you. In Clap Your Hands, for instance, my favorite is when they are interviewing the fairy lady. Those tiny tea cups and just all they are learning...good stuff.

Overall, you are correct. Quality picks.