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)
"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)
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 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."
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!