We're cracking the top 5 on our top 15 lists in truly hypnotizing fashion. It's the Top 5, where the rules of logic have no meaning! Read on, if you dare...
Why: Honestly, if you've seen this episode, you know why. It's a tour de force from start to finish. It's a master class in writing, pacing, acting, lighting, set design, directing, etc., ad nauseum. It's just flat-out amazing. Really. Think of every single positive adjective and superlative you can think of, and it applies to this episode. It's funny and moving and horrifying all in the same episode. It's an amazing hour of television.
When Sam figured out that it was the Trickster causing all the problems, I loved that because I thought the Trickster was such a great character, and I was so happy they brought him back. Not so happy he messed with Sam so much, but still, great character! Ugh, what a waste, killing him off.
Speaking of Sam, the glimpse into his psyche after Dean's "true" death and his months spent alone was fascinating. He really went full John, organized, methodical. He was scary, honestly. I think he was as frightening as Soulless Sam because he knew what he was doing and still did it. Sure, he wasn't as horrible as Soulless, but still scary. One has to wonder if that experience made him even more susceptible to Ruby's manipulations because he wanted to avoid the path he took in this episode at all costs. Ooh, theory: Gabriel did this to Sam 1: to show him he couldn't save his brother no matter what, 2: to make sure Sam would be open to Ruby and go down the Apocalypse path because he was tired of his family fighting, and since Dean's going to Hell and will play his part there, Gabriel wants Sam to play his part on Earth. Hmm... Wow, apparently I can't even write a top 15 episodes article entry without speculating about something...
Anyway, this episode is just damn good, and that's all there is to it.
Favorite Quote: Lots of Carver goodness in this one, but I'm going with...
Sam and Dean: Right, you're a mind reader. Cut it out, Sam... Sam! You think you're funny, but you're being really, really childish! Sam Winchester wears makeup. Sam Winchester cries his way through sex. Sam Winchester keeps a ruler by the bed and every morning when he wakes up -- Okay, enough!
Favorite Scene: I don't know what this says about me, but Dean's death montage is just the bee's knees in this episode. It's so ridiculous and amazing. Those deaths... Bad tacos! Slipping in the shower! Mauled by a dog! They make me laugh every time.
(Alice's #5 is on page 2)
Great episode choices for the Top 5!
You hit every highpoint of this episode. It is as close to perfection as it gets. Kim Manners and Serge (DP) did an amazing job on the visual of this episode. The light, the dark, the shadows and reflections all combined make this a masterpiece.
This episode makes you forget the dysfunction in Asylum and Scarecrow between the brothers and realize beneath it all they love each other.
Sams:I'll keep trying as long as you keep fighting... you can't leave me...gets me every fudging time.
Dean: Thanks for not giving up on me Sammy
Dean: My families in danger, my brother he can die w/out me. My corpse is going to rot in the ground and my family is going to die.
The look on Deans face when he finds out how angry spirits are born...they can't let go and you are about to become one. (oh he needed a hug at that moment).
When I watch that scene I always wonder what he was going to say if the demon smoke had not arrived.
The scene between John and YED, is beyond description. I can recite every word of it.
In the commentary version, Jensen and Kim both comment on the acting of all 3 characters in the last scene. Jensen and Kim also comment on the fact JDM made everyone cry during the last scene.
It is heart breaking to watch Sam start a fight w/dad and in a few minutes dad dies. Oh how I wish John had just said I love you instead of "I made some mistakes...I don't want to fight ok" then sends Sammy off to get caffeine. (guess that is I love you in Winchester speak)
Johns talk to Dean is sooooooo heartbreaking in so many ways. As you mentioned Deans reaction to his dad's compliments is to cringe (emotionally) and to say you are scaring me. What did John do to these poor kids over the years?
How dare John drop that secret on Deans shoulders.
Deans rant in Hunted 2/10 is so spot on. "I wish to god he had never opened his mouth, I wouldn't have to walk around with this screaming in my head all day."
This pick is perfect for #5, can't wait to see the pick for number 1.
Only 4 more lists to go!
Your numbers 5 and 6 are each and every one in my top ten at least.
Sammy giving the amulet to little Dean and then Dean coming through the door wearing it to find Sam has given him his last Christmas? Wibble wibble! The connection between the brothers is so very obvious and endearing. And Fred Lehne is an awesome Azazel!
And those pagan gods were awesome and hilarious at the same time.
So very much to love in Mystery Spot. Everything just perfect writing and direction and acted.
Kim again directing In My Time and boy, do we miss that guy! He grabs you and drags the emotions out of you whether you want it or not!
And the Christmas episode is the first one I actually paid attention to and from then on became a veritable slave to the show, which continues to this day. I thank God I was so tired of the mushy Christmas shows that I embraced the idea of a horrific Christmas one. And look what came of that? I inherited two boys who became as beloved as my own family had been and delights and hurts and fills the huge gap they had left.
Mystery Spot is my favorite episode.
Monster at the End of this Book, The French Mistake, Born under a Bad Sign and Point of No Return are all at number 2.
I don't usually watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Family Remains, Criss Angel is a Douchebag or After School Special (those last three are consecutive episodes I just noticed), Red Sky at Morning or Fallen Idols. The Mentalists actively annoys me.
Everything else is in the middle
I love this show ...
Even Fallen Idols - if you don't ever watch it you don't get to see the acknowledgement between the guys that Sam isn't actually entirely responsible on his own for the start of the Apocalypse. There were a whole bunch of Supernatural beings misleading both him and Dean (and Dean had some responsibility too).
But the rest of that episode? No.
I have a love/meh relationship with "Mystery Spot". I loved most of the episode, and found Dean's multiple, gruesome deaths side-splittingl y funny. (I think my favorite was the piano smoosh.) I also liked watching Sam work out who was behind it all, and was ecstatic that it was the Trickster. Then... meh. I was really disappointed in the end, because to me it felt like a too far of a stretch. Did Dean really die or was it an illusion for Sam? If he died, then Dean was being tortured and torturing in Hell the whole time, yes? They've established that's what happens when you die before the bill comes due. Or was it time travel? And what was the motivation again? Learn how to live without Dean? No, I just didn't buy it, personally. Too bad, because the rest of the episode is genius, and I wish they'd found a better way to tie it into the mythology. But I'm honestly glad their choices resonated with other fans more!
My #5 episode is "Wishful Thinking". Solid, hilarious episode featuring a giant teddy bear and some of the best acting I've seen from a kid. Her exasperation at being called "Little Girl" was priceless, as was the attempted teddy bear suicide scene. Loved when Dean helped out Todd after the wishes were reversed. As a bonus, we get the scene where Dean admits to Sam that he remembers Hell. What else can I say? Lots. But I'll stop now.
"Are we-? Should we-? Uh- Are we gonna kill this teddy bear?" - Sam
I don't have the same issue as you do with the end though. The 'Dean' in the episode is just a construct of Trickster. Dean's view of the last day was the only interaction he had with any of it. None of the deaths or the hell stuff happened to him. The events happened to Sam because he remembers that they did.
Mystery Spot is not only funny but really it is pivotal to the plot later on. Trickster broke Sam before he was done. He fundamentally changed him by 'killing' Dean over and over and by forcing Sam to see what life would be like when Dean was gone.
We will never know for sure, but Sam might have made different decisions that were more moral and less pragmatic if he hadn't had the six months of turning into the hunting machine he became. Even in the next episode - Jus in Bello - Sam is shown to be different when he is willing to let Nancy be sacrificed for the survival of everyone else. Pre-Mystery Spot Sam wouldn't have done that.
I like Wishful Thinking too. (Because I am a bad person) I think the puff of stuffing that blows out of the teddy bear's head when he shoots himself is hilarious
I also never saw it as a turning point for Sam - an influence, perhaps, but not pivotal. I guess I saw Sam, and John too for that matter, as being more pragmatic from the beginning. Both Sam and John seemed to have an underlying "ends justify the means" philosophy, whereas Dean seemed to be of the mind that "some means are off-limits no matter what the ends are" (until recently, of course). To be clear, I don't mean to judge one philosophy or the other, although this show has actually got me rethinking my own perspectives on this philosophical debate. I only mean to say that I would have expected Pre-"Mystery Spot" Sam to consider sacrificing one if it meant saving all. [And if Ghost Henricksen is to be believed, then in hindsight, Nancy might have been better off being sacrificed as opposed to tortured by Lilith. On the other hand, Ghost Henricksen is not to be believed. I'm an optimist.] Uh... this rant and it's just to explain that the development of Sam's character in "Mystery Spot" didn't have the same weight to me. But as you said, we'll never know! :)
Yeah, it was probably not a piano. I might be confusing that with every cartoon I've ever seen. And yeah, we are the WORST for laughing at Disturbing Dean Deaths and Ouch-in-the-Hea d Sad Teddy Bear Suicides!!! LOL!