Here it is, our #1-5 choices for the Ten Worst Episodes of "Supernatural." We know you all have been waiting in deep anticipation. All three of you! (I'm joking!).
For those that didn't catch Alice and Nate's choices for The Ten Worst Episodes, #6-10, they can be found here:
All caught up? Not jumping ahead, right? Great! Let's continue the list!
5 - I Believe the Children are our Future (5.06)
I will admit that this episode is very charming and entertaining - in the beginning. Yet by the end it’s all just a mess. How exactly can a demon (a former human soul transformed) & a human make a child more powerful than archangels? Two humans make more humans all the time and the results are never that powerful. This also goes against the general theme of both S5 and the show as a whole as Sam is much more of an antichrist figure. (Especially if you remember the concept that Christ is supposed to be “God with us” and is His vessel to walk among humanity - so Sam being filled with Satan and allowing Lucifer to walk among humanity is perfect as an inverse parallel. Heck even both of their mothers made agreements with spiritual beings.) The episode also has an insult at the Bible which isn’t even true. Of everything Kripke’s done, this is the episode I would most wish to jettison completely from his run. (You could fit 11.04 Baby in here with little changing.)
4 - The Prisoner (10.22)
“So. Charlie died last episode.”
“Are we… going to ask Cas for help? You know he can resurrect people, right?”
“Too late - would rather watch pretty flames.”
And that’s pretty much how the episode starts! It then goes downhill from there as Dean faces off against a secret society yet again which has somehow not had any problems despite all the world disasters that have happened in the show. But you see it was all very important we introduce that society so that… Dean could kill them all. That’s still not the worst thing about it. See, there’s this thing in writing that basically if you make a promise to the audience, you better pay it off. It has numerous terms like chekov’s gun or the gunrack rule - basically it means don’t lie to or cheat the audience. Well earlier in S10, Cain warned Dean that the latter would kill “first Crowley, then the angel.” That is essentially foreshadowing and promising the audience a path Dean’s character would take. So in this very episode we see… Sam try and kill Crowley. Then later on we do get to see Dean… not kill Castiel. Not even because Cas barely escaped or Sam stopped Dean. Nope. Dean just stops himself from killing Castiel all on his own. Meaning the show lied to us and there was no reason to trust anything Cain ever told us. It’s this repeated failure on basic storytelling principles that I consider Carver’s seasons to be the show’s worsts.
3 - Bloodlines (9.20)
This is one that seems to break my rules, but actually that is only because it is such a failure and ends up being memorable by it. Had this episode succeeded, it would definitely be canon as the cornerstone of the spinoff. A spinoff which - had it gone on for very long - Sam & Dean would be having annual crossovers with. All of that would have made it impossible to ignore. This means had this episode succeeded, canon would be broken even harder than it is now and as well as just the spirit of the show. Thankfully it failed. For additional irony, the episode had to go and break its own canon within itself which is a special kind of failure.
2 - Stairway to Heaven (9.22)
Like Red Sky, part of this episode’s problem is that I can barely remember what happens in it. But I do remember that this was the episode that made me swear I would never have any of Carver’s seasons on disc enter my home. (It’s a testament to the quality of 11.04 “Baby” that I nearly broke that rule.) I also picked this episode because it was just endemic of S9 as a whole - an awful, awful mess. Remember how Metatron was encouraging, almost forcing, Castiel to become a leader? Well now Cas is a threat. Maybe. Castiel’s group has a mole within it - even though we saw earlier that Castiel’s actions were sort of dictated by Metatron’s typewriter. So what does the mole even do? Why is he/she needed? Remember how Metatron started off the season by kicking angels out of heaven? Well now he wants them back in! Why? And to top it off, let’s kill Tessa! Why? Doesn’t matter, stop bringing those logical challenges here. If you told me this entire episode was improvised and there was no script, I would honestly believe you. Everything about this episode - this entire season - is just a mess.
1 - Taxi Driver (8.19)
Oh… oh my Chuck how I hate this episode…
For one thing, this is an episode where Sam goes into Hell to save a soul. All within the span of One. Hour. The very idea is one that demands you splitting it into a two parter at MINIMUM. For any sane group of writers, this would be a mini arc within the season covering 3-5 episodes in total. Then in the middle of this huge idea, we get “rogue reapers” added to the SPN universe. An idea which flies into the face of everything we were ever told about reapers, was implied about them, and basic common sense. Such a creature could take up an entire stand-alone episode just to examine and explain the concept. Following that, we find Bobby in Hell with an explanation that breaks all common sense with the show’s canon and rules. Oh and don’t forget the random celebrity cameo! Everything about this episode just gets worse and worse the more you think about it. And for me, there is no worse sin a story can commit than to demand you avoid thinking. But! But to make it all just the extra salt in a twisted knife wound - so many problems in this episode are easily solved with just a moment of thought and remembering plot points which had already been established within the show. This episode stands as a monument to laziness and apathy in the crucial middle of a season long arc that could have been one of the show’s most compelling.
(Coming on Page 2 - Alice's Choices)
5. We Happy Few
I know that this was a script that Robert Berens had to cobble together in a short amount of time because Jeremy Carver’s pilot was picked up by The CW and he had to bail on the show. Man did it show. Season eleven was building up very well until the previous episode, "All in the Family," taking the wind out of the sails of the very brilliant and exciting "Don't Call Me Shurley." As a matter of fact, “All in the Family,” “We Happy Few,” and the “Alpha and Omega were all spectacular failures. This was the worst of the three though, and it completely ruined in one episode a season long promising story in the making.
Right from the start, this one jolted in a very wrong direction. Lucifer, yes the very horrible villain who has plotted for the end of the world multiple times, killed scores of people, as well as inflicted horrific, damaging agony on our dear Sammy, was not only a guest in the bunker, but Sam and Dean tried to counsel him and Chuck in family therapy? Wait, what? Sam and Dean were treating him like an unruly child rather than the being that essentially RUINED THEIR LIVES? Why did they care if God and Lucifer reconciled? To beat Amara? Yeah, that went well. The whole thing was so cringeworthy, uncomfortable, and from a canon perspective, completely wrong on colossal levels.
I know Berens wanted to go with an Oceans Eleven type team up, except, from what I remember from Ocean’s Eleven, the team was successful in the end and I was wildly entertained. I don’t recall any of the team dying either. In this clunky ill-conceived script, numerous people joined in to fight for the greater good. and most of them died. Wait, what? Chuck was mortally injured and Amara in her tantrum won. What?? Let's not talk about how just about every character was written as a pod person, especially Sam and Dean, totally ruining any growth that they experienced all season. Everything about this episode was outright depressing. Did someone piss in Berens’ cornflakes?
4. Hammer of the Gods
It’s kind of funny, if this episode aired in any of the later seasons, it would be considered just another bad episode in a chain of mediocre to bad episodes. But this aired in the brilliant season five and man, it still pisses me off to this day. I mean, I’m still mad as effin’ hell when I think about this episode. In our theme of “tone deaf” themes, this was a slap in the face to all religions and beliefs out there. They’re all petty and inhumane cannibal Gods? The grossness factor was off the scale on this one (it didn't need to be) and Sam and Dean’s interaction with Gabriel was just totally out of character. They wanted Gabriel to betray his brother? Excuse me? Right after Sam and Dean's big reconciliation in "Point of No Return" and the heavy themes of family is all that matters? Then, fan favorite Gabriel, our fun loving Trickster, gets killed by Lucifer? Why? It was never really fully explained, until it just happened again in season 13 after Gabriel supposedly didn’t die (not a comfort since he didn’t come back our fun loving Trickster). Why do Gabriel’s brothers want him dead? Why did he want to kill them? This was our warning sign about what happens with Andrew Dabb writes at his worst. Unfortunately, we’ve gotten too many other examples since then.
3. Season Seven, Time For A Wedding
Since we're on the subject of Andrew Dabb stinkers...
Let me tell you how terrible this idea was. When Eric Kripke first broke that fourth wall with the introduction of Chuck in season four’s “Monster at the End of This Book” and then expanded it in “Sympathy for the Devil” and “The Real Ghostbusters,” the message was pretty clear. We fans are nuts but in the end, we're alright. We're even capable of saving the world. “Season Seven: Time For a Wedding” blew all of that goodwill apart for the sake of a cheap stunt, the marriage of Sam and annoying super fan Becky. WHAT?? She was mind controlling him into marriage? Could you make me more sick?
Becky crossed a serious line that no fan should or even would cross. What she did was practically sexual assault. The whole idea of fans are crazy but fun veered uncomfortably into unredeemable territory, essentially slapping loyal fans brutally in the face for their enthusiasm. It was a BIG screw to the fandom from Andrew Dabb. To this day I pretend it never happened, instead choosing to live off the warm feelings depicted in “The Real Ghostbusters.” Kripke knew what he was doing when chartering into this risky territory. Tease the fans and their behavior, but don’t outright insult them. This episode proved that disaster can happen when meta is tried by lesser hands. Edlund should have done this instead.
I know, this is a cheat. But honestly, how can one realistically pick which one of these craptacular episodes as worst? (Fine, Nate did, and he wasn't wrong). Not only were both terrible but they left lasting damage to fan goodwill. For one, who in the hell thought it was a brilliant idea to introduce the Styne family, aka Louisiana descendants of the Frankensteins??? WTH??? This show has always been grounded in researchable lore. The Frankensteins just smelt of desperation.
“Dark Dynasty” was the most vivid proof of how “Supernatural” just trashes strong female characters in the most disgusting way for nothing more than contrived plot twisting. Charlie Bradbury, a huge fan favorite and easily one of the best female characters ever on this show, is murdered by Jacob Styne in a brutal and bloody way, all for nothing more than a cheap stunt to trigger Dean’s murderous rampage in “The Prisoner.” Just about anything else could have done that! He was under the influence of the Mark of Cain! Sam stepping on his foot could have triggered that. Oh no, he skewers a poor Styne kid that wasn’t evil like the rest of his very wrong family. How will we ever forgive Dean? Well, if we had any kind of sympathy for the kid to begin with instead of being force fed his bland story, instead of still fuming over the fact that he got more time and attention put into his death than lesbian fan favorite and honorary sister to the Winchester brothers, then maybe the two parter wouldn’t have totally been the insult to loyal fans that it was. The mere fact that they’re having a “do-over” by bringing back alt-world Charlie doesn’t make it better. Not one bit.
When looking back at “Supernatural’s” history, one of the biggest failures will be it’s first attempted spinoff. So where did “Bloodlines” go wrong? First, by forgetting it’s roots. “Supernatural” did not gain popularity by being a CW teen soap opera with monsters. If anything, it gained popularity because it WASN’T that. It was unique, edgy, scary, fun, told a compelling family drama that was relatable to us all and had extraordinary chemistry between the two leads. Then why oh why did TPTB think that the polar opposite of all that would work?
Sam and Dean are pretty good hunters. So they didn’t know that the Chicago monster underworld was ruled by five families? Five vapid, shallow, one-note monster families that I was totally ready to watch all die by the end? One explosion at their lame monster night club was all that was needed! Proper SPN lore wasn’t followed either, like the fact that when shapeshifters change, they’re supposed to shed their skin. I didn’t see any shedding. But mostly it was too many random characters no one liked and a terrible plot that made it worse that even the bad, throwaway MOTW episode. It was just impossible to get the masses to accept this as a series. Or anyone.
Forget the story nitpicks though. In order for a spinoff to succeed, you need to get the base engaged yet do something that might appeal to new viewers. By introducing a wealth of brand new characters in one episode, giving them terrible dialogue and plot, and creating an episode that was worse than a forgettable MOTW episode, “Bloodlines” failed to capture the attention of either group.
The only shred of “Supernatural” in this story was that Sam and Dean were physically present. Even they looked out of place in this episode. In the end, they attempted to make a show that they thought The CW wanted instead of delivering something true to the franchise. In other words, it had failure written all over it.
So that's our ten, now it's your turn! Give us your list or at least tell us who's list you agree with more!