Time to the countdown of our Favorite 100 Supernatural Episodes! This week I’m counting down numbers 60 to Number 51!
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!
#60 "I Know What You Did Last Summer" (4.09)
To continue the trend I started last week of writing short recaps: in this episode, Sam and Dean meet Anna, a psychiatric patient who can hear angels, and we learn more of the backstory between Sam and Ruby! Then Cas and Uriel show up, demanding that Sam and Dean turn Anna over to them, and that isn’t exactly a good thing.
One thing that really stands out about this episode is the chemistry between Dean and Anna. This is more than just another hook-up; Dean and Anna do this slow-dance-of-mutual-interest, and it is the kind of thing that just sucks you in and leaves you wanting more… wait, is this fanfic, this might be fanfic. As Nate Winchester said, “Anna knows pretty well the total story of Dean - even his worst secret - and still falls for him anyway. I think it's pretty sweet.”
Another absolutely fabulous part of this episode is the backstory between Sam and Ruby, told to us via flashbacks as Sam tries to explain to Dean why he trusts Ruby. Lynn summed it up like this: “The flashbacks of how bad off Sam was after Dean went to hell show us how Sam was every bit as desperate and unglued as Dean was when Sam died. And Jared’s performance was incredible! He nailed it, showing us just how horrible it was for Sam.” Nightsky agreed, adding, “Sam is lost, desperate, drunk. He looks so bad, and wants to die so badly. I don’t blame Sam for believing Ruby. She helps him for so long. I love all the broments, and all relationships confessed to and developed in this episode, but let's be honest: the sex scene between Sam and Ruby is sizzling hot!”
Another great part of this episode is the reminder of the brother-bond between Sam and Dean. Watching them hustle pool, knowing they’ve done this a thousand times before. Seeing them bruised and bloody and broken, and watching as they patch each other back together, something else they’ve done countless times before. Dean asking Sam to explain his trust in Ruby, and as Lynn pointed out, Dean finally asking in the right way, in the way that a big brother opens the door for the little brother to be honest, allowing Sam to feel a sort of safe space wherein he can finally tell Dean what happened while Dean was in Hell. Lynn said, “It felt like a big relief for me, that they were opening up a little to each other.”
We can’t forget that final scene where Cas and Uriel show up and demand that Sam and Dean (and Ruby) turn over Anna to them, because “She has to die.” Ooof. Listen, I love Badass Cas, but that was hard to watch! As Nate Winchester said, “We find an ‘innocent’ civilian who turns out to know more about what's at stake than even she realized, and this is also the moment in Season Four where the big reveal of the season's arc (Lucifer will be released) hits us at just the right moment.” Yeah, I think ooof is the right word here.
#59 "Inside Man" (10.17)
Short recap? Ok - Sam and Cas team up with Bobby to break Metatron out of Heaven’s prison in an attempt to save Dean from the Mark of Cain. But listen, that recap does not even come close to recapping this episode! Before I get to the things that participants had to say about this episode, I’ll remind you of some of the other memorable scenes.
Memorable scene #1: Dean, in a bar, hustling pool. Enough said, right? Enter Rowena, who’s determined to take him out. Okay, so maybe her big plan doesn’t exactly pan out the way she intended, but it is a glorious scene as Dean pins her to the table and they exchange words. I don’t have a clue what they said to each other, because Dean has her pinned to a table, and listen, the fanfic literally writes itself.
Memorable scene #2: Dean and Crowley in the bar, and Dean delivers this kick-me-in-the-feels speech:
Dean: A wise man once told me, 'family don't end in blood.' But it doesn't start there either. Family cares about you, not what you can do for them… family's there - for the good, bad, all of it. They got your back, even when it hurts. That's family. That sound like your mother?
Memorable scene #3: Crowley’s confrontation with Rowena.
Crowley: I'm choosing me. I put up with your lies, your sad little schemes because-because maybe you were right, maybe I did lose my edge. But that ends now. Tell me Rowena, if I were not the King of Hell, would you have ever bothered to pretend to care about me?
Rowena: You - you can't.
Crowley: I can, I'm bloody Crowley! I'm the King of Hell. I do what I want, when I want, and I don't take orders from you.
Now let’s get into what our participants had to say about this episode. First up, there was a general consensus that we all love Badass Cas! In this episode, he jumps into Heaven’s portal, he finds Bobby, and he takes Metatron’s Grace. As Gail said, “He’s a man of action!” Lynn added, “I like all the versions of Cas, but I love this original version of Badass Angel Cas, fighting for what he believes in, which is the same thing that Sam Winchester believes in – saving Dean. The two of them together are a force to be reckoned with, and damn, I like that.”
We all agreed that it was so refreshing to have Bobby back! We have a glimpse of his Heaven: living in his old house, drinking whiskey, reading a Tori Spelling autobiography, listening to the Gambler. Kate38 reminded me of another detail: “There's a picture of Bobby Singer in the dictionary next to the definition of devotion. Not even death and heaven can stop Bobby from helping his Boys.” Lynn said, “Jim Beaver is such an incredible actor, and so embodies the role of Bobby, that he makes every scene believable and emotional. I loved his partnership with Cas, and the way he proves he’s as sharp as ever in spite of his grumbling about having gone soft.” Alice, agreed, adding, “The return of Bobby reminded us under no uncertain terms how big of a hole his loss has left. He brings everyone together. Father figures do that.” Oh amen, ladies, Amen.
I think all of us agreed the scene of Dean having a nightmare and calling out “Sammy!” was gut-wrenching. And then to see Sam jump out of bed and run down the hallway, barefoot, gun in hand, rushing to protect his brother – ugh, just rip our hearts out! Nightsky said, “Did you notice that Sam sleeps with two lights lit in his room? Yeah, I’d be afraid of the dark too if I’d lived his life. It was an endearing scene that showed how much these brothers love each other.” Kate38 added, "I loved the nightmare sequence! After all the hostility in Season Nine, it was refreshing to see Sam so devoted to Dean all over again.” Alice summed it up perfectly: “The nightmare was powerful and very effective. Instead of focusing on Dean - we know he is suffering – the focus is on Sam as he watches his brother struggling and he’s helpless to stop it. It makes Sam's plight feel more desperate.” Yeah, my heart has shattered all over again.
Lastly, there’s that ending… Sam, sitting on his bed, reading the letter Bobby had written to him:
Bobby’s Note: Sam. So, this is weird huh? Look I just wanted to say that Cas told me what you're doing for Dean and I'm not asking you to stop but maybe going behind his back ain't the best idea. Your brother, he can be stubborn but I think he'd understand and I know it's the life: doing a little bad so you can do a lot of good but sometimes the bad is real bad and the good , it can come at one hell of a price. I ain't there on the ground and whatever you do, I know you'll make the right choice. You're a good man, Sam Winchester, one of the best and I'm damn proud of you son. I was content up here but getting a call from you, it's the happiest I've been in forever, no matter what it costs. So stay safe, keep fighting and kick it in the ass. --Bobby.
Alice called the scene “visually stunning… Sam, alone in his room, his single perfect man tear at the end… there it is, all exposed, that private agony that's slowly destroying him.” Lynn added, “We see the impact it has on Sam as Bobby tells him what Sam so desperately needs to hear and believe – that he’s a good man, the best. That Bobby is proud of him. My heart soared and ached for Sam at that moment, and when Bobby quoted the words from Jared Padalecki’s real life #AlwaysKeepFighting campaign, I started to sob. When he quoted Kim Manners iconic “Kick it in the ass,” I completely lost it. Brilliant brilliant brilliant, to tie the emotions that the character is feeling to the real life emotions of love and loss that all of us have experienced. It’s what Supernatural does best.” I think we can all agree with that. As both Nightsky and Alice put it: “This was a return of the classic storytelling of the entire team in a seamless way.”
#58 "Clap Your Hands If You Believe" (6.09)
Perhaps the shortest recap so far – Fairies!
This episode pays homage to The X-Files as Sam and Dean investigate a possible alien abduction, only to find out they are actually dealing with a leprechaun! Sam is left to go one-on-one with the leprechaun, who has offered Sam a deal to restore Sam’s soul. Sam refuses that deal, and a fight ensues, and ultimately Sam is able to spill the salt, which forces the leprechaun to sit down and count the grains, so Sam is able to defeat him.
Journalbookbinder said, “This one was just too good, so funny, and I loved The X-Files homage.”
Dean: Close encounter! Close encounter!
Sam: Close encounter? What kind? First? Second?
Dean: They're after me!
Sam: Third kind already? You better run, man. I think the fourth kind is a butt thing.
Nate Winchester said, “As a trekkie, of course I enjoy getting to see Robert Picardo (wish he got to be a season-long arc villain). Not only is the humor very well executed this episode, but the use of bringing "aliens" into the SPN world with a Winchester twist makes this one of my top 2 episodes of the post-Kripke era. The tributes to the show's "grandfather," also warms this old geek's heart.”
And let’s not forget this episode gave us some priceless gifs:
#57 "Point of No Return" (5.18)
This is the 100th episode of Supernatural, and it delivered in ways that only our show can! In the shortest, most unjust of recaps – Dean sneaks away to say 'Yes' to Michael.
Dean might think his plan is the best plan, but Sam, Cas, and Bobby emphatically disagree. Who can forget the scene when Bobby tries to talk some sense into Dean. Bobby’s words are both honest and heartbreaking. But Dean’s response, ugh, does anyone have any feels left?
Bobby: You can’t give up, son.
Dean: You’re not my father. And you ain’t in my shoes... What is that?
Bobby: That’s the round that I mean to put through my skull... Every morning, I look at it. I think, 'Maybe today’s the day I flip the lights out.' But I don’t do it. I never do it. You know why? Because I promised you I wouldn’t give up!
Cas didn’t like Dean’s plan either. Is that an understatement? I think that’s an understatement.
Cas: I rebelled for this? And this is what you give to me?
Dean: Just do it!
Gail said, “I loved it when Cas flipped out on Dean about giving himself up, after having rebelled against all of Heaven under Dean’s influence!” When I read Gail’s comment, I found myself agreeing with her – it was good to finally see Cas letting out his true emotions, but geez it was hard to watch! Gail also said she loved seeing Cas take on several angels at once (when they go to the warehouse to take on Zachariah.)
Meanwhile, the angels have a new plan – they don’t need Dean after all. They decide that little brother Adam is an adequate choice instead. So, as I mentioned earlier, Team Free Will heads to the warehouse in order to save Adam and to prevent all out war. That doesn’t go so well. Zachariah tortures Sam and Adam as he toys with Dean, trying to force him into saying yes (to Michael).
Dean: I said... before Michael gets one piece of this sweet ass... he has to turn you into a piece of charcoal.
Zachariah: You really think Michael’s gonna go for that?
Dean: Who’s more important to him now? You... or me?
Zachariah: You listen to me. You are nothing but a maggot inside a worm’s ass. Do you know who I am…after I deliver you to Michael?
And the broment at the end:
Dean: Just...let me say this. I don't know if it's being a big brother or what, but to me, you've always been this snot-nosed kid that I've had to keep on the straight and narrow. I think we both know that that's not you anymore. I mean, hell, if you're grown-up enough to find faith in me…the least I can do is return the favor. So screw destiny, right in the face. I say we take the fight to them, and do it our way.
Alice said the whole episode was the “perfect showcase of the brotherly bond between Sam and Dean.” Lynn agreed, but added, “I felt bad for Sam in this episode, trying so hard to hold it all together and getting zero help from either brother.” Nightsky summed it up, saying, “What Dean says to Sam about not believing in him is so painful to hear - both for Sam and for fans. He’s not entirely crazy for thinking it, but it’s hard to hear nonetheless.”
#56 "Ghostfacers" (3.13)
Sam and Dean investigate a haunted house only to find Ed, Harry and their crew are also there to investigate – and to shoot the pilot episode for their new reality show, Ghostfacers. Sure, sure, this will go well, right?
First, Corbett (part of the Ghostfacers crew) disappears. Now trapped inside the house for the rest of the night, Sam, Dean and the other Ghostfacers search the house for Corbett, while also trying to figure out why the death echoes are there. Then there’s another EMF surge, and Sam disappears. Yep, this is definitely not gonna go well.
Next, we see Sam and Corbett tied to chairs at a table with a birthday cake. The creepy bad guy, Daggett, emerges from the shadows and kills Corbett, and then puts a party hat on Sam. Ok, that’s it – I liked Corbett, and now he’s dead, and seriously, like, this is why we can’t have nice things.
Ok, so then Dean finds Sam just in the nick of time. Meanwhile, Ed talks to Corbett to get him out of his death echo and manages to get through just in time for Corbett to take on Daggett, who is attacking Sam and Dean in the basement.
Everyone (minus Corbett) escapes the house the next morning. Ed and Harry finish recording their pilot. After watching it, Sam and Dean warn the Ghostfacers that this is the kind of thing that could land them in straitjackets, or get them punched in the face, or both. Sam and Dean leave, but they slyly left a bag behind. Ed pulls out an electromagnet, which proceeds to erase all their hard drives, including their Ghostfacers pilot.
Maybe it isn’t a happy ending for the Ghostfacers, but our participants loved the episode! Elle said, “This is the epitome of Supernatural creativity and storytelling from new perspectives. This is one of the (many) great episodes of season three!” Alice agreed, adding, “This had to be the most fun that everyone on the set had. Hand cams and swearing? Not to mention, the script was hilarious.”
Gail added, “I liked the humor of the Ghostfacers and the name never fails to crack me up.” Journalbookbinder called the episode a “great parody, funny, creepy, and sad.” She also added the episode offered “nice treatment of a gay character (Corbett) even though he dies.”
Nate Winchester summed it up: “I love this episode because it took the opportunity to experiment with Supernatural and give us a ‘found footage’ episode, with someone other than the boys. A great precedent setting up some of their later experimentations and it should be honored for that. The Ghostfacers themselves are also always fun to watch as representatives of what we might imagine as mirror-universe style Winchesters.”