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:
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
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
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
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."
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.
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
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.