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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!

Ardeospina's #11:

"Lazarus Rising"


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)

sweetondean's #11:

"A Very Supernatural Christmas"

Why: Who doesn't love this episode? For a lot of us it's become required Christmas viewing. I just adore it. It's great fun, with the horrific beginning complete with wide-eyed kid, ill-fated grandpa and bloodied Santa boot; a pair of Christmas crazed Pagan Gods in dreadful sweaters; the disgusting Santa hauling people up the chimney and well, remnants and bones scattered around the basement of the Carrigans; a drunk, stinky, porn loving Santa....I mean really! Too delicious. But mostly, it has awesome doses of broness.

I love the memories and reactions of both brothers to this Christmasy situation they find themselves in, mixed with all the worry and horror of where they find themselves in relation to Dean's deal.

Dean can't help but reminisce over Christmas, romantically thinking back to what he remembers as happier times, when he wasn't facing a future of torture in the pit. A time when Sam and Dean and dad were a family. But really, Dean's just scared and realising, this is his last year, his last year of everything, including Christmas. So he's desperately trying to hang on.
Sam says he remembers Christmas differently to Dean. He remembers being without his dad and he remembers disappointments. The Winchester's Christmas with beer can wreaths, reinforces how not normal their family life was and in subsequent episodes we've seen how young Sam craved normalcy growing up. But really, Sam's just scared, aware that this is Dean's last year and no matter where he looks, he can't seem to find a way to save his brother. So he's desperately trying not to face it.
They're both scared out of their wits, but neither wants to show it to the other. Dean is facing an eternity in Hell, Sam is facing life without his brother and these things hang like a weight over and colour many of the brother's interactions....
It's so hard to see them struggle with their feelings, both of which come from the exact same place, fear and impending loss. When they final figure it out, it's heartbreaking....
Sam: I don't get it. You haven't talked about Christmas for years.
Dean: Well, yeah. But this is my last year.
Sam: I know. That's why I can't.
Dean: What do you mean?
Sam: I mean, I can't sit around drinking eggnog, celebrating Christmas, when I know next year, you'll be dead. I just can't.
Then there are the flashbacks to a 12 year old Dean and 8 year old Sam, fending for themselves in some dingy motel at Christmastime. The interesting thing about this aspect of the episode is that Jeremy Carver didn't have these flashbacks in his original draft, but when he turned the script in, it was running short and Ben Edlund suggested he add some flashbacks in. I mean, can you imagine this episode without them?
We got to see Sam find out about the family business, the lengths Dean would go to try to give his little brother a "normal" Christmas, covering for his dad, stealing (chick) presents so Sam wouldn't go without. But most importantly, we got to see how Dean's amulet came to be. Given to Sam by Uncle Bobby to give to John, Sam chose, instead, to give it to Dean, because it was Dean who was there for young Sam that Christmas and I hazard a guess, quite a few Christmas' before and after.
Then of course, in the Christmas of the present, it's Sam who's there for Dean....
"A Very Supernatural Christmas" is a lovely look at what Sam and Dean mean to each other and the lengths they'll go for each other, for each other's happiness. It's just dripping with Winchestery lurve.
Favourite Quote: I think probably it would have to be Dean's response to Madge Carrigan's dislike for swearing.....because it's just so Dean.
Dean: You fudgin' touch me again, I'll fudgin' kill ya!
Favourite Scene: Sam and Dean's makeshift Christmas... d'uh! Dean coming back to the motel room to find, that despite everything, Sam is throwing a Christmas, for him. The look on Dean's face is such a mixture of surprise and love, oh my gosh. Then when they both pull out gifts for each other from the gas mart down the road..... What I love about this is how chuffed they both are with their presents. They're two guys with nothing, exchanging what are pretty crappy gifts, but which mean the world to them both, because they have nothing and these gifts and this moment represent so much. It's all the stuff that these two say to each other, without actually saying anything at all, which makes this scene so very wonderful.
The Winchester boys are such beautiful creatures, their hearts are so big. I'm always a little bit more in love with both of them after "A Very Supernatural Christmas". This episode is a perfect mix of what makes our show so fudgin' special. 

(On page 3, Alice's #11)

Alice's #11:

Point of No Return

Why?:  This was the very special 100th episode, a feat that was astounding at the time because "Supernatural" spent years on the bubble and cancellation block.  Jeremy Carver, one of the strongest writers on the team, was given to task to write something memorable (none of us knew at the time it would be Carver's last script until his season 8 return as showrunner).  He did, and I still well up in tears of sorrow and joy every time I watch this one.  

Considering Dean had ditched Sam and Castiel in the episode prior to say yes to Michael, this was a script where ALL the cast members were given a chance to shine.  This is where "Supernatural" has historically been its strongest, when everyone is together working as a team.  Re-watching this episode reinforces for me they should have never, ever, ever, never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever killed off Bobby Singer (still bitter!).  As much as I'm enjoying season 8, the episodes aren't the same without him.  His speech to Dean, with the hard edged "I promised you!" puts in perspective how far Dean had fallen.  

Dean and Sam's drama in this episode was more heart crushing to me than any other.  Dean had given up and run off, and was stunned that Sam tracked him down.  When Sam surprised him at the motel, he was crushed and hurt, and their reunion was unbelievably tear-jerking and painful.  Dean wasn't backing down, as Sam figured, so he brought help in the form of a trenchcoated angel.  

The tension was further complicated by Castiel, who was not passively crushed like Sam.  He was damned plain vocal about his anger.  And snarky too.  Hee, a snarky angel, go figure!  Dean's influence had clearly rubbed off on him.  I really loved it, though, when Castiel became uncorked after Dean escaped and beat the living heck out of Dean after finding him.  For one, it proved it he was a really badass angel.  Two, this was the one time Dean needed some sense literally beat into him, and I'm glad it came from Castiel and not Sam.  Yeah, it added to that whole Destiel mythos, but I loved it!  

The scene that make me bust out crying every time though is when Sam visits Dean in the panic room.  Dean delivers a crushing blow to his baby brother with brutal honesty as to why he's chosen to say yes to Michael

Dean: I just...I don't believe. 
Sam:  In what? 
Dean:  In you. I mean, I don't. I don't know whether it's gonna be demon blood or some other demon chick or what, but…I do know they're gonna find a way to turn you. 
Sam: So you're saying I'm not strong enough. 
Dean: You're angry, you're self-righteous. Lucifer's gonna wear you to the prom, man. It's just a matter of time. 
Sam:  Don't say that to me. Not you...of all people. 
Dean:  I don't want to. But it's the truth. And when Satan takes you over, there's got to be somebody there to fight him, and it ain't gonna be that kid. So, it's got to be me. 

That brought Sam to tears.  And me too.  Buckets.  

Favorite Quote:  I bring this one up a lot.  As much as I loved the lines during the "lover's quarrel" between Dean and Castiel, my fav is when Adam asks Sam and Dean how they plan on stopping the Devil.  Considering Dean wasn't on board with that plan, a smart answer was the only recourse.

Dean:  We're working on "the power of love."
Adam:  How's that going? 
Dean:  Mmm. Not good. 

Funny how the power of love is exactly what did save them, huh?  I love irony.  

Favorite Scene:  Who wouldn't pick that scene in the Jupiter room, Dean all ready to say yes, all while an injured Sam stares at him with utter devastation on the floor?  It's legendary!  Dean suddenly figures his way out, saying yes only if Michael ices Zachariah.  He winks at Sam, then ganks a fuming Zachariah in classic, badass, Dean Winchester form.  I jumped up screaming in triumph!  Dean is back!  Dean and Sam were back together on the same page, ready to take on the apocalypse their way.    

Coming up next, we work our way up to the top ten!  


# EILEEN NEGRON 2013-01-06 19:52
I'm like a crazed teen over this show! I just love the way the characters evolve. They come and go as the writers see fit and it always seems to work so far. I AM REALLY ENJOYING IT! :D :-* ;-) :P :D
# TexasGreatGrams 2013-01-06 20:44
Eileen, I agree with you. The writing is amazing and the acting is absolutely fabulous.
# EILEEN NEGRON 2013-01-09 20:14
Totally, Texas. It filled me up in some way where I am less unfulfilled. It's weird but I think it is the sense of sibling loyalty which mirrors that of my sister and I. And I am the light featured like Dean and she is the dark featured like Sam, except I am the younger of the 2. I love it and I hope it goes on for as long as they can hack it.
# Grace232 2013-01-06 20:04
Loved all of these episodes - and Point of No Return is right near the top for me - probably number 2. The line you did not mention that gets me every time is when Dean asked Sam why he was taking him with him, and Sam said, "you're still my big brother."

You all have inspired me - I am trying to get my favorites down to the top 15. Trying, at least.
Kimberly Farrell
# Kimberly Farrell 2013-01-06 20:45
All amazing episodes, and all on my top 15 as well! It's funny, once I finally decided my top 15, I have a hard time justifying one over another. Really, it's not just that they are all great episodes, but that they are great for such different reasons, and which reasons are more important changes with my mood. Love your analysis of these episodes, too. I hadn't really considered how well "Point of No Return" balances between all the characters before, but it's very true.

At #11, I have "Death's Door". Great storytelling and a brilliant idea to have the reaper in Bobby's dreams and use his desire to escape as a device to delve into his past on various levels. We got to learn a lot about Bobby along the way, not to mention seeing how much the boys meant to him. Sam and Dean trying to cope in the hospital definitely tugged on the heart strings a bit! So maybe this should be higher; I'm kind of kicking myself now. But it's done, and this isn't a list of which episodes are the most well-written, it's a list of my favorites, which means sometimes a better episode slips simply for being full of sadness.

"Idjits." - Bobby
# PENNY JAIME 2013-01-06 21:48
OOOHHH! All 3 of these are amazing. Lazarus Rising was epic for the series. (although I wish they would have left in the deleted part with Cas & Dean).So many amazing parts in that one.

The Christmas episode. I tear up when they give each other those AWFUL presents, that mean so very much to them both! The look on jensen's face when he tastes the "really" spicked eggnog. So great.

Point of No Return. Just, WOW! The scene you mentioned is so good to me, because Jensen is silent. He says more with his facial expressions than most actors say with pages of dialog.
# PaintedWolf 2013-01-07 01:48
Hi all, still loving your picks!
I loved that for their 100th episode they didn't blow their budget to do something extra special. They kept it low-key, and as they often do in this show, when it matters most, they take it back to basics, to the heart and soul of SPN-family. And the scene in the Jupiter room is just another example of how Jared and Jensen can say so much, without a single line of dialogue. I don't think I've seen another pair of actors that do that on TV.
AVSC is without a doubt the best (anti) Christmas special I've ever watched.
Lazarus was totally badass, although Death definitely takes my vote for best character introduction.
# Sylvie 2013-01-07 08:10
I agree with you Alice (about Bobby), every time I watch an episode with him, I can't help but wail in utter derpair :cry: that we don't get to see him or hear his wisdom anymore. He would be shaping our boys out in season 8, that's for sure.
# Hades 2013-01-07 11:27
Oh can we do a top 15 Sam episodes list too next? So many of my favourite episodes are Sam centric and I wouldnt mind discussing some of those episodes in regards to Sam and Jared with some of my fellow Sam/Jared appreciaters.
# Sylvie 2013-01-07 11:36
That's actually a really good idea. The possibilities are endless. There could be a top 15 Dean episodes, mytharc episodes, angel episodes, MOTW episodes! You think our lovely administrators are up for it next hellatus? ;-) They do such a great job, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more! :lol:
# Bevie 2013-01-07 14:32
As much as i LOVE "Lazarus Rising" (and it is in my top ten) it was the beginning of all the cosmic apocalyptic stuff that, to me, made the show just a leetle more unrealistic. I could believe monsters, demons and angels but war with Heaven and Hell and all to do with the brothers? Not so much. Also, it was the beginning of the great rift in the relationship that is my favourite reason for watching and loving.

A Supernatural Christmas is my number one. (Along with 5 or 6 others) :P Perfection! And I bow down to Ben Edlund if it is because of him the young Winchesters were in it. Sammy giving Dean the amulet was heart swelling and brought instant tears and Dean coming through the door to find Sam made Christmas for him, wearing that same amulet --- Just guh! sweetondean, how can it be so far down on your list? :sad: That final scene through the window with the snow and the lights on the Impala and knowing Dean is heading for hell just brought forth big sobs from me! :cry:

Alice, I couldn't agree more about Bobby! An awful awful awful awful AWFUL decision to kill him off! How Sera could have done that I don't know. As wonderful a writer as she is, this will always be a blot in my mind. :-x As good an episode as it is, and what a great acting job from Jim Beaver it was, it was not worth losing that terrific character from the show. Boooo!!

So sad to see Dean packing his meager belongings up in the box. Is that the second to last time we lay eyes upon THE JACKET of DOOM? So glad to see Sammy who brought along Cas to sort Dean out. Wasn't sorry for Cas to beat up my hero. He needed that! And he showed all his badassery in the way he scammed old Zach and got the chance to gank him just like he promised in "It's a Terrible Life". So sad poor Adam was so slow going out the door. He could have gone while Dean was dragging up Sammy from the floor. Ah well! Drah-mah!

Loving reading your choices so far! :-)
# suzee51 2013-01-07 20:35
Wow! Is this true?