We've almost cracked the top 10! But before we get there, we still have to discuss our choices for number 11. And you're in luck because here they are!
Why: To me, this is the best season opener the show has had. The pilot is pretty amazing, too, but not better than this episode. Because I watched the first four seasons on DVD, I was still reeling from the fact that the show had the balls to send Dean to Hell. The way they brought him back was inspired. (And as an aside, I'm really, REALLY glad I didn't have to wait an entire summer between seasons 3 and 4.) Bringing the angels into the equation really hammered home the shift in the show from being about hunting monsters and saving people to being about something bigger, something cosmic, apocalyptic. It raised the stakes and changed the game, and none of us has looked back since.
This episode also gave us an amazing brotherly hug, a hug from Bobby, angel true voices, hell flashbacks, Sam doughing up the Impala, Ruby 2.0, Dean crawling out of his own grave, and semi-shirtless Dean! Who doesn't like semi-shirtless Dean? We were also introduced to two fantastic characters, Pamela Barnes and Castiel. It also marked the beginning of Dean and Castiel trying to outgrowl each other. The winner in that contest? The fans. Yum.
Favorite quote: I'm gonna have to go with one of the most iconic lines of the entire show:
Castiel: I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition.
Favorite scene: To probably no one's surprise, I'm going with Castiel's introduction. What a badass. The first time I watched the episode and he walked through that door, sparks flying, I was like, "who IS this guy?" Castiel's introduction ties Death's as the most badass. And then the dialogue between him and Dean! Castiel is just so confused about why Dean doesn't think he deserved to be saved. We wouldn't know for some episodes yet why in particular Dean didn't think he deserved it, but knowing Dean and his self-esteem issues, we all knew it would be angsty. Deliciously angsty.
(On page 2, sweetondean's #11)