After a two-week break necessitated by all eyes turning to San Diego Comic-Con, let's resume the countdown of our favorite 100 Supernatural episodes! This week I’m counting down numbers 70 to 61!
How did we choose which episodes deserved to be on the Top 100 list? Rankings were determined by a group of rag-tag-war-torn fans who spend way too much of their time studying and writing about Supernatural! More specifically, participants in this ranking challenge included administrators and writers from The WFB, admins from the website Fangasm, and admins from Super-Fan-Wiki. Each individual’s rankings were tallied to create a consolidated list of our Top 100 Favorite Episodes - and by “tallied” I mean my computer-expert hubs took the excel spreadsheet and applied his math-genius skills, resulting in a formula that weighted and ranked the final results. Details about this epic project were described in "The Road So Far" introduction. It’s all about the Math, and say it with we – Math Don’t Lie. So let’s get to this week’s countdown!
#70 "Who We Are" (12.22)
Ok, so in the smallest of nutshells, this episode is essentially about Sam leading a group of hunters to attack the British Men of Letters bunker, while Dean tries to save Mary and break her out of her brainwashing, with the help of Lady Bevell. As Alice said, “this episode was both an action thriller and compelling family drama.” Still too short for a recap? Ok, then let me add what Elle had to say about this episode: “This one alternately makes me cry and cheer for joy, as we follow Sam and Dean’s simultaneous story-lines. And that is the essence of Supernatural.” Yep, that’s it. That’s the Show.
In spite of such a small recap, there are so many great moments in this episode! If you remember, Sam, Dean and Lady Bevell had been locked inside the Bunker, and obviously they are desperate to get out. Sam and Dean try everything! Ultimately, finally(!), Dean uses his grenade launcher to blast their way out and escape the Bunker!
Once they escape, they formulate a plan to take out the BMoL - a plan which does not include Dean, because he was injured and couldn’t fight. But it was a plan that did include Leader!Sam, and listen, I am here for that! So was Gail, who said she “liked seeing Sam the squadron leader kicking some BMOL ass!” Right?! I mean, Sam’s speech to the hunters before they launch their attack is just so, so, gah, Leader-y!
Sam (to hunters): I want you to follow me. Take the fight to them. To hit them before they hit us. We go in fast and hard and we fight and we beat them down until they give up or until they're dead. Look, they're well-trained and well-armed. Some of us might not make it back. But we will win. We will take down the bad guys because that's what we do. They're scared of us. Yeah. Good. They should be. Because that’s what we do!
And then we get another fan-favorite broment when they say “Bitch-Jerk” as Sam prepares to leave the bunker to fight the BMoL. Really? I mean, really? Sam might not make it back, so now they decide to say this beloved line?
Gail reminded me that before the big emotional scene between Dean and Mary, there is also an emotional scene between Dean and Jody. That brief moment is where Jody reaches out to Dean and gently touches his shoulder. So much is said in that moment without a single word spoken. #throwsalltheawardsatthem
And then there is the scene between Dean and Mary, as he tries to break her out of the brainwashing Ketch and the BMoL put her through:
Dean, to Mary: I hate you. You lied to me. I was a kid. You promised you'd keep me safe. And then you make a deal with Azazel. Yeah, it saved Dad's life, but I'll tell you something else that happened. Because on November 2, 1983, old Yellow Eyes came waltzing in to Sammy's room because of your deal. You left us. Alone. 'Cause Dad was just a shell. His perfect wife? Gone. Our perfect Mom, the perfect family... was gone. And I... I had to be... more than just a brother. I had to be a father and I had to be a mother, to keep him safe. And that wasn't fair. And I couldn't do it. And you wanna know what that was like? They killed the girl that he loved. He got possessed by Lucifer. They tortured him in Hell. And he lost his soul. His soul. All because of you. All of it was because of you. I hate you. I hate you. And I love you. 'Cause I can't - I can't help it. You're my Mom. And I understand... 'Cause I have made deals to save the ones I love, more than once. I forgive you. I forgive you. For all of it. Everything. On the other side of this, we can start over, okay? You, me, Sam. We can get it right this time. But I need you to fight. Right now, I need you to fight. I need you - I need you to look at me, Mom. I need you to really look at me and see me. Mom, I need you to see me. Please.
Oh. My. Heart.
As Kate38 said, “I can't be the only one who waited TWELVE seasons for Dean to have a chance to confront Mary, am I? Jensen has many Oscar-worthy moments in this series, and this one was in my top three for him.” Oh I agree, Kate, I completely and totally Agree.
So then the psychic link controlling Mary is broken, a fight between Dean and Ketch ensues, and ultimately Mary shoots Ketch (insert cheering heard 'round the world. Sorry, David.). Mary then admits she avoided Sam and Dean, acting distant and cold, in an effort to fix her past mistakes because being around them was too hard. Dean told her that her choices made the brothers who they are: men who save the world. MORE CHEERING.
Lastly, I want to leave you with this exchange between Sam and Dean, from the beginning of the episode, as they decide there’s no way out of the bunker:
Sam: Is this how you pictured it? The end?
Dean: Oh, you know it's not. I always thought we'd go out like... Butch and Sundance style.
Sam: Yeah. Blaze of glory.
Dean: Blaze of glory.
I mean, N-O. With the final season just around the corner, this is something I do not want to think about. Butch, Sundance, blaze of glory… all the No.
#69 "As Time Goes By" (8.12)
Another brief recap: Sam and Dean meet their grandfather, aka John’s father, aka Henry Winchester. Ok, and yeah yeah, we also meet Abaddon in this episode, but really, I’m hung up on Henry. Ugh, and then he dies at the end, and all of the implications of his death. I just can’t.
We find out so much in this episode from Henry. Like the entire Men of Letters existence, who they were, what they did, what they stood for. They had a bunker. And not just any bunker – this one was full of lore and research and weaponry, and so much more. Alice agreed, saying, “the story was incredible, and I love the introduction of the Men of Letters, Henry and Abaddon.” Elle also agreed, summing up the episode like this: “There is something special about this episode, because even though he’s a short lived character, Henry leaves a lasting impression. And lest we forget – he brings the boys to the Men of Letters fold. Oh yeah, and Abaddon. Sigh. But Henry and the MOL are a great expansion of the Winchester history – and Sam and Dean’s personal lineage.” (So I’m not the only one who felt sorta meh about Abaddon.)
And we find out that Henry fully intended to teach John about all of it, to make him understand this legacy. Henry was mortified to learn that is not how it turned out for his son:
Henry: John was a legacy. I was supposed to teach him the ways of the Letters.
Dean: Well, he learned things a little differently.
Dean: The hard way. Surviving a lonely childhood, a stinking war... only to get married and have his wife taken by a demon... and later killed by one himself. That man got a bum rap around every turn. But you know what? He kept going. And in the end, he did a hell of a lot more good than he did bad.
Nate Winchester offered a truly insightful perspective on this episode, one that I had not even considered. Nate said, “The legacy of our fathers is one of those... story themes that can really hit a guy - which is my way of saying this is another episode I could ramble on about for hours. This is another episode that I'm torn on. There was something... poetic in the original story where John's family were the "muggles" in the world, and Mary's the knowledgeable hunters. John actually being from a long line of secret book nerds however brings a different poetry to the unity of the families. We also do not near get enough time with the boys really learning about who their grandfather was, nor the grandfather learning about the family descended from him. This episode really needed to be a 2-parter with one part exploring the Men of Letters, and another part exploring the boys' family.”
And then of course, there is the introduction of Abaddon. Truly one of the most badass characters in the entirety of the show, expertly portrayed by Alaina Huffman. That praise aside, she freakin killed Henry. Really? Really?! The boys had this beautiful opportunity to learn more about their family, their father, and then Abaddon just waltzes in and kills him? In doing so, she forever alters the course of their lives! To make the scene just that much more dramatic, Henry tells the boys – his dying words to them - “You're also Winchesters. As long as we're alive, there's always hope. I didn't know my son as a man, but having met you two... I know I would have been proud of him.” Imma need a moment, folks. I need to find another box of tissues.
#68 "Wishful Thinking" (4.08)
Yet another short and sweet recap (I’m beginning to see a pattern here): Sam and Dean head to a small town to investigate a wishing well that actually grants wishes, often with dire results. Alice commented, “I’ve never laughed harder!” Lynn said this was “one of those innovative did-they-really-go-there episodes that the show is famous for!” I think we can all agree with that!
If you’re looking for something a bit deeper, then trust me when I say you can count on Nate Winchester to add an interesting perspective: “This is a great example of an episode where it has a ton of little things that do a good job selling it even if the whole package - the whole story - is... unremarkable. A big reason why I love this show: they take an 'ordinary' and utterly cliche story, like "wishes gone amok", and proceed to give us something new - in this case a suicidal teddy bear. The best storytellers always figure out how to turn a potential weakness into a strength.” Both Elle and Kate38 agreed, saying they absolutely loved the suicidal teddy bear.
Suicidal, depressed teddy bears? No worries. Sam and Dean know just what to do.
A personal favorite of mine is the little boy Todd, the brunt of the bullies’ attention. How many of us wish that we could’ve wished to finally have the upper hand on our bullies?
But this is Supernatural, this is our show, so of course, there was that Broment at the end, when Dean almost opens up to Sam about Hell:
Dean: I won't lie anymore. But I'm not gonna talk about it.
Sam: Dean, look, you can't just shoulder this thing alone. You got to let me help.
Dean: How? Do you really think that a little heart-to-heart, some sharing and caring, is gonna change anything? Hmm? Somehow... heal me? I'm not talking about a bad day here.
Sam: I know that.
Dean: The things that I saw... there aren't words. There is no forgetting. There's no making it better. Because it is right here... [ taps his head ] forever. You wouldn't understand. And I could never make you understand. So I am sorry.
Kate38 said that scene was perfectly written and executed. Lynn added, “It so hurts to watch that scene, to hear those words.” Ugh. (grabs more tissues)
#67 "Dream a Little Dream of Me" (3.10)
Well, I guess I should keep it up and try to give you another brief recap, so here goes… In this episode, Sam and Dean go inside Bobby’s dreams to fight an interloper who has Bobby trapped. How’s that for short and sweet?
Well, that’s the end of short and sweet, because the entire dream-scene with Dean is the one aspect that we all remembered, and loved, and left us utterly broken. Literally, everyone one of us participating in this countdown said the same things… “kudos to Jensen and his brilliant acting in that scene” … “Jensen was phenomenal in that scene, giving us two completely different personalities” … “Jensen playing Dean as a demon was unforgettable.”
Kate38 explained it this way: "Dean confronting himself was the high point of this episode for me. It was plain to me that Dean didn't deserve to die and go to hell, and that John put too much responsibility on him when he was a child. I'm glad that Dean finally took a giant emotional step forward and recognized that for himself.” Lynn added, “The scene showed us so much about who Dean is and what he struggles with, and broke our hearts into a million pieces.”
In the final scene of this episode, the proverbial Broment, Dean finally admits to Sam that he doesn’t want to die, and Sam promises they’ll find a way to save him. Nightsky said, “It was the entire dream scene that made Dean believe in himself and finally be honest with himself, and with Sam.”
Some of the memorable lines from Jensen as Dream!Dean:
I know how worthless you feel. I know how you look in the mirror and hate what you see.
What are the things that you want? What are the things that you dream? I mean, your car? That's Dad's. Your favorite leather jacket? Dad's. Your music? Dad's. Do you even have an original thought? No. No, all there is is, 'Watch out for Sammy. Look out for your little brother, boy!' You can still hear your Dad's voice in your head, can't you? Clear as a bell.
John thought you were a good soldier and nothing else.
Finally, Dean cracks, calling his father an "obsessed bastard" who couldn't protect his family, who let his wife die, and who wasn't there for Sam. He said he didn't deserve what his dad put on him, and he didn’t deserve to go to Hell. He grabs the shotgun and shoots Dream!Dean, symbolically killing the self-loathing part of himself.
Then Dream!Dean transforms into a black-eyed demon version of Dean, taunting him, saying, "You can't escape me, Dean. You're gonna die. And this? This is what you're gonna become!”
As Nate Winchester said, this line “was seared into fandom's memory and still haunts a lot of us.” Oh amen, Nate, Amen.
#66 "Provenance" (1.19)
It’s our first trip in the Way-Back Machine this week, all the way back to Season One! In this episode, Sam and Dean read John’s journal, and learn about a series of murders that spanned several decades. They think John was unable to solve it, so they travel to New York to investigate. As it turns out, the murders stem from a haunted painting. (Well, so much for short recaps this week.)
Yes, I suppose the case is interesting enough. But what is most interesting to me is the relationship between Sam and Sarah Blake, the art curator who worked for her father’s auction house (from where the painting had been sold). This relationship develops slowly throughout the episode, and I appreciate that slowness. Up to this point, we believed that Jessica was the only girl for Sam, but now we could see that maybe he could love again. And Sarah seemed so perfect for him – smart, sassy, beautiful. Nate Winchester agreed, saying, “I'll admit that, after Jessica, I always liked the chemistry between Sam and Sarah in this episode. The twist on the ghost tale was also a nice touch.”
At the end of the episode, Sam kisses Sarah. Yep, indeed Sam kisses Sarah. And he likes it. And she likes it. And I loved it. It does my heart good to see Sam happy.
#65 "Goodbye Stranger" (8.17)
Sam and Dean, along with Cas and a beat-up Meg, try to find one of Lucifer’s Crypts – and the angel tablet hidden inside - before Crowley finds it. (Ah, back to short recaps!) Gail sums up the episode like this: “Badass Cas! Sassy yet vulnerable Meg! I’m not a shipper, but Megstiel was wonderful in this episode! Cas, overcoming Naomi’s brainwashing – finally! I rooted for Cas to take the Tablet and he did, keeping it away from Heaven and that rotten Naomi! High marks, all around!”
Short recaps aside, there is so so much to enjoy in this episode! I’ll try to narrow it down to just a few of the more memorable moments.
First, let’s not forget that Cas is not himself in this episode. I’m honestly not sure what the technical term is for it… it is not flashbacks, at least not in the sense of “past memories.” But for lack of a better, more proper term, we learn via flashbacks that Cas is being controlled by Naomi, working for her to find the angel tablet. We also learn that he is lying to Sam and Dean, also per Naomi’s orders. And how can we forget that scene where Cas killed Dean over and over again, some sort of (sick) training forced upon him by Naomi!
Second, major Kudos to Rachel Miner’s performance as Meg in this entire episode! I believed that she had been beaten and tortured by Crowley. I believed every one of her lines, which were delivered perfectly. I completely believed that she was finding some sort of redemption as she helped Sam and Dean, and Cas retrieve the angel tablet from the old warehouse. Although the others were very present in the episode, the whole thing truly felt Meg-centric to me, and I loved it.
Kate38 agreed, commenting, "I've always loved Rachel Miner as Meg (even when she was a villain and I wasn't supposed to), and this episode gave her a good hero's sendoff.”
Some of Meg’s memorable lines included:
Sam: Wait -- so... A bunch of innocent people died so you could... buy yourself some time?
Meg: Hi. I'm Meg. I'm a demon.
Meg: You ever miss the Apocalypse?
Castiel: No. Why would I miss the end of times?
Meg: I miss the simplicity. I was bad. You were good. Life was easier. Now it's all so messy. I'm kind of good, which sucks. And you're kind of bad -- which is actually all manner of hot. We survive this... I'm gonna order some pizza and we're gonna move some furniture around. You understand?
Meg: Why are you sweet on me Clarence?
Castiel: I still don’t know who Clarence is.
Meg: You remember everything?
Castiel: If you’re referring to the pizza man, yes I remember the pizza man. And it’s a good memory.
Meg: Wait -- h-hold on. There's one part I don't understand. You hit a dog and stopped. Why?
Sam: That whole story, and that's your takeaway?
Meg: Oh, I heard the rest. You fell in love with a unicorn. It was beautiful, then sad, then sadder. I laughed, I cried, I puked in my mouth a little. And honestly, I kind of get it.
And then there’s the most epic line, when Meg tells Sam she’ll hold off Crowley, saying to Sam, “Go save my unicorn.” Gah. My heart.
Third, I simply cannot forget to mention that scene between Dean and Cas inside the warehouse, as they look for the angel tablet. Cas demanding that Dean give it to him… Dean realizing that something is wrong… Cas then beating the hell out of Dean. And then Dean pleading with Cas:
This isn’t you. Cas, I know you’re in there. I know you can hear me. Cas, it’s me. We’re family. We need you; I need you.
As Dean pleads with him, Cas flashes to Heaven where he is confronted by Naomi. She tells him it is time to choose, them or Heaven. Cas makes his choice and back in the warehouse, he stops beating Dean.
Kate38 said the scene “between Dean and Cas in the crypt exposed some things that were a long time coming and needed to be said." Amen.
And then, just as Dean and Cas emerge from the warehouse, and rejoin with Sam… Crowley kills Meg. Killed her! Just when she was turning into someone good! Just when she finally acknowledged her unicorn! Nooooooooo!
Dean: Listen, I may not be able to carry the burden that comes along with these trials... But I can carry you.
Sam: You... realize you kind of just quoted Lord of the Rings, right?
Dean: C'mon man, it's the Rudy hobbit. Rudy hobbit always gets a pass!
#64 "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (6.22)
The next episode in our countdown also includes Cas, but perhaps not in a way that we expected. Cas intentionally, willfully, albeit misguidely broke the wall inside Sam’s mind, and in this episode, we are forced to watch the aftermath of Cas’ action. That might be a short recap, but believe me, there is so much more to say about this episode! Kate38 summed it up, saying, "Leave it to Eric Kripke to break Sam psychologically into three pieces and show us what's happening without confusing us. I loved everything about this episode - the story was great, the slow unraveling of the truth to Sam was suspenseful, and it was all happening against the back drop of a nail-biting race against time for Dean and Bobby to stop another disaster. Add in a plot-twist by Castiel at the end, and this episode just shines like a jewel."
Nate Winchester agreed, adding, “Sam’s trip through his mindscape plus Cas & Crowley playing their own personal game of thrones - it's a finale that delivers the dramatic punch. It is satisfying to watch the normally naive Castiel pull a fast one on Crowley and Sam reassert his whole self.” Oh yah, dramatic, you betchya.
Yes, that’s right, this episode was written by Eric Kripke himself, and it was more like a study of what trauma does to us, what it does to us physically, emotionally, and mentally. We thought we were watching Sam with amnesia, running around with Robin, the bartender, in an attempt to figure out whom he was. We don’t realize until later that Sam was actually in a coma, his mind locked in a battle against itself, trying to shift through the pieces of himself, from the Sam we knew and loved, to Soulless!Sam, to Lucifer!Sam. The entirety of this episode was simply a flawless, breathtaking, heartbreaking performance by Jared; he made each piece of Sam so different, yet so compelling.
As if our hearts weren’t already broken by Sam’s struggle, our hearts are then shattered as we see Dean, sitting as Sam’s side, full of anguish and despair. Dean forces himself to leave his brother, along with a final plea for Sam to ‘get his lazy ass outta bed’. Dean leaves a note, telling Sam where he will be, and Sam's gun, beside him. That is such a powerful moment, and so gut wrenchingly horrible.
Sam: I'm the one who remembers Hell.
And we all realize, if Sam wants to make himself whole again, he has to remember it all – all the pain, all the trauma. ALL OF IT.
Kate38 mentioned the plot twist by Cas at the end. Dean and Bobby go to the building that was Crowley’s hideout, and then the cloud of demons rushes past and flips the Impala. Meanwhile, inside, Cas and Crowley are arguing about the souls, and Cas tells Crowley, “You have two options: flee or die.” Okay, yeah, it’s a good line. A great line, in fact. But there is just something off about Cas. It was absolutely horrible that he broke the wall in Sam’s mind, but now he is acting almost maniacal. And Crowley realizes it too. So Crowley flees, temporarily – he quickly returns with his new partner, Raphael. Even then, Cas doesn't seem to care. Instead, Cas disappears - having lied to Crowley about the blood vials - and performs the ritual himself. When Cas reappears in that room, he lets Crowley go free, but he kills Raphael! Dean knows immediately that something is horribly wrong - you could see it all over Cas’ face! Then Sam attempts to stab Cas (with an angel blade) but it doesn’t work… and Cas declares himself their new God. Kudos to Misha for an outstanding performance – I completely bought Cas as being off, unstable, maniacal. Gail said it was a great cliffhanger, and I agree – but geez, I hope Cas finds his way back to being the Cas who has learned how to care.
"Safe House" (11.16)
Should I keep going with the short (but sweet?) recaps? Ok! So in this episode, Sam and Dean investigate a creature trapped-but-released inside a house, a creature that had also been investigated by Bobby and Rufus several years earlier. Sam and Dean on a hunt, plus Bobby and Rufus – oh I am here for that!
Nate Winchester summed it up perfectly: “This is... more my preference for how Supernatural should do time travel - with entities and places that don't quite play by linear rules… plus it's a great throwback episode to the old Supernatural style where each episode felt like a mini-horror movie, this one brought back the chills.”
Nate referenced time travel, which is an interesting perspective because Alice and I sort of looked at it as flashbacks, where the past and the present collide… maybe it was both? Sam and Dean hunting the Soul Eater in the present, then a flashback to Bobby and Rufus hunting the same thing several years ago… and then at the end, we have all four of them hunting “together” inside the house at the same time but also not really at the same time? Listen, my head hurts… is this what a space-time continuum feels like? I think this must be what a space-time continuum feels like.
I loved how the writer really pulled together this whole space-time continuum thing by giving the characters similar lines, and as such, similar thoughts, but also very different approaches. For example, look at the scene where Present-time Dean gets ready to confront the Soul Eater, while Past-time Bobby also prepares for the confrontation:
Dean: Come and get me, you son of a bitch.
Bobby: Stay away from me, you son of a bitch.
Of course, what would our beloved show be without a moral-of-the-story? This time, the reminder came from Rufus, who was never one to be gentle with his choice of words:
Bobby: Been burning the midnight oil, last couple of weeks. Up for days looking for ways to stop the Apocalypse. Looking for anything. Sam and Dean are right in the middle of this thing. I'm worried about my boys, Rufus.
Rufus: Your boys? Hey, hey, alright. Okay. Papa bear. But you know more than anyone, Bobby... Even if we find a way to keep the world spinnin', not everyone's gonna be on that bus ride home. Sacrifice, greater good, all that jazz.
Bobby: Yeah, I know.
Rufus: Oldest rule in hunting, Bobby. You can't save everyone.
Nate Winchester and I agreed (not really a shocker at this point) on another key scene, where Sam and Dean talk about Bobby and Rufus, saying that they would have been great Men of Letters. Nate said, “It was also a treat to see Bobby & Rufus on a hunt together, making me wish we had a spin-off show of younger versions of themselves doing the hunting thing back in the ‘60s and ‘70s.” YEESSSSSSSSS. #spinoff #grumpymenofletters #brufus
"Dead in the Water" (1.03)
Alright, folks, get comfortable because this will definitely not be a short recap.
This is it. This is the one. The. One. The episode that sucked me into this incredible show and I haven’t seen the light of day since. Sam and Dean investigate a vengeful spirit that is drowning people in a small town. Ok, yeah, there’s supposed to be some level of flirting between Dean and the sheriff’s daughter, Andrea. But I don’t care about that. What is much more compelling is Dean’s relationship with her son Lucas. Lucas witnessed his father’s drowning, and he hasn’t spoken since. Dean does his best to connect with Lucas, to get him to talk. And oh my heart, Lucas gives Dean a drawing (it’s a clue to the drownings, but still, he gave it to Dean, because DEEEEEaaan.)
And Sam saves Andrea from drowning in her bathtub, and yes, that’s very compelling too.
And then Sam and Dean figure out the whole mystery, which involves the sheriff and a bunch of (bully) boys who drown another boy, Peter, when they were kids. Because they are stupid bullies doing stupid things, and a kid died. DIED. And the sheriff has known about this all these years, knowing Peter’s vengeful spirit was out there killing off the people who killed him. Seriously? Seriously? Bullies are so dumb. D-U-M-B. Just confess, will you? But oh no! Peter’s spirit grabs Lucas and drags him into the pond.
Cue. Dean-Freakin-Winchester. He just dives right in and searches and searches and ultimately emerges from the water – IN SLOW MOTION – with Lucas. Listen, Dean Winchester is a friggin’ hero and you can’t tell me otherwise. The End.
So that long rant was my opinion, but listen, the others Agreed with me:
Elle said this was “another classic Supernatural episode that reveals so much about Dean and Sam’s relationship and about the impact of Mary’s death.”
Nate Winchester said, “This is one of those episodes where the kills still creep me out. The boys getting a bittersweet victory in the end really sets the tone for how things are going to go in the show. The scenes between Dean and Lucas are the kind I wish we had got to see between Dean and Jack.”
Nightsky added this quote from Dean:
I saw something real bad happen to my mom and I was scared... See my mom, I know she wanted me to be brave. I think about that every day and I do my best to be brave.
Nightsky added, “Fabulous character development… I’m so impressed with how strong these early episodes are. Complete, compelling stories in 42 minutes.”
Yep, complete, compelling story-telling and Dean is a freakin hero and that’s really all there is to say about that. The End.
#61 "In the Beginning" (4.03)
Ok, back to small little nutshell recaps. In this episode, Cas sends Dean back to 1973 to Lawrence, where Dean tries to avert the events that led to his mother’s death. That small recap aside, there are so many fantastic scenes in this episode!
We meet a very young John Winchester in this episode! The first time we see him is in the diner when Dean sits next to him and tries to figure out where, and when, he was (throwback to Back to the Future). We also watch as Dean follows John to the car lot, and convinces him to buy the Impala instead of the VW van. There are countless other scenes that, as Journalbookbinder said, “offered great insight into the man John was before becoming a hunter.” Lynn added, “It was so heartbreaking to know what tragedy and trauma did to John Winchester.”
We also meet a very young Mary Winchester in this episode. And we discover that she is a hunter! Elle called that “mind-blowing!”
Dean: Sammy, wherever you are, Mom is a babe. I'm going to Hell... again.
Dean, to Mary: No matter what you hear or what you see, promise me you won't get out of bed.
Lynn said, “In that scene, Jensen shows us every ounce of Dean's shock and guilt at knowing that's exactly what happens as he tries not to cry.”
Mary: I wanna get out. This job, this life, I hate it. I want a family, I wanna be safe. You know the worst thing I can think of? The very worst thing? Is for my children to be raised into this like I was. No, I won't let it happen.
Alice summed it up so well: “This was a tragic, emotionally riveting backstory that finally explained what Mary did to Sam.” Read that again… what Mary did to Sam. Well said, Alice, because that is, in fact, the Truth. Mary made this decision, she made this Choice. Mary did this to Sam, in spite of being a hunter and in spite of knowing the consequences would be tragic and in spite of Dean’s warnings. Mary did this to Sam.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Azazel was there too! He finds the Campbell house, ultimately takes Samuel as his vessel, then kills Deanna, tracks down Mary and John, jerking John out of the car and killing him, forcing Mary to make that deal, then stabs Himself/Samuel (ensuring his death) before smoking out and disappearing.
So what even was the point of this little trip back in time? Oh yeah, so the Angels could learn Azazel’s endgame. Cas explains to Dean that he sent Dean back to 1973 to show him the whole truth, so that Dean would be aware of exactly what happened to Sam.
Cas: "Your brother is headed down a dangerous road, Dean. We're not sure where it leads. So stop it, or we will."
Elle said, “No matter how many times I watch this episode, I remember how much it stole my breath with every single second that first time, and I love it even more.” Nate Winchester agreed, adding, “While I could nerd out on Supernatural's use of time travel, I must admit that it is hard to hate it here with them using the opportunity to show Dean another side of his parents. The revelations hit hard in the gut and the interactions with his grandparents show us a side of Dean we don't often see. Plus we also learn that the only love in the show more predestined than John & Mary, was Dean & the Impala, and that didn't require a cupid.” Oh Amen, Nate, Amen.
That’s episodes 70-61 in the Top 100 Favorites list! Did any of these make it onto your list? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to join us again next week as we continue the countdown with episodes 60-51!
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See the whole list of our Favorite 100 Episodes from the beginning!
and the great stories that just missed the coveted Top 100: Honorable Mentions!
You can find them all with the tag Top 100 Episodes!
Need a little help compiling your Top 100 Favorite Episodes? Karen and Nightsky are sharing their Top 10 episodes of each season, to coincide with the #SPNSummer2019 Hiatus Rewatch. You can find those lists, and all of WFB's Top 10 articles in WFB's Article Archives!