Time to countdown our Favorite 100 Supernatural Episodes! This week we've reached numbers 25 to 21! This is getting exciting!
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!
#25 "When the Levee Breaks" (4.21)
This is what television should be – an edge-of-your-seat rollercoaster ride of anticipation and emotion. Journalbookbinder agreed, calling this episode “gut wrenching and so emotional.” Kate38 added, "Hats off to Jared for his performance in this one. He truly looks broken and miserable."
In this episode, Sam is locked inside Bobby’s panic room to detox from the demon blood. He struggles and fights and questions and hallucinates his way through the detoxification process. Meanwhile, Dean struggles with his decision to lock Sam inside that room, wondering if it was the right thing to do.
Memorable Scenes: Sam’s hallucinations. All of them. As in, all of these scenes. Gail said something that really hit me. She said, “Sam is thinking like an addict.” Gail is so right. I think what makes it all so real, perhaps even too real, is Jared. He really brought his A-game to these performances, giving us every ounce of raw emotion and pure pain, bringing us wholly and completely into the panic room with him, bringing us wholly and completely into his battle with his addiction. Seriously, how does this performance not win an award?
Sam: I'm sorry. I am. But life doesn't turn out the way you thought when you were fourteen years old. We were never gonna be normal. We were never gonna get away. Grow up.
Young Sam: Maybe you're right. Maybe there's no escape. After all, how can you run from what's inside you?
Mary: Your brother doesn't understand. I was raised a hunter from a long line. We understand that there are gonna be hard choices. And we do what we have to to get the job done. Yes, our family is cursed. But you—you have the power to turn it into a gift. You can use it against them.
Sam: For revenge?
Mary: No, for justice. I know how scared you are.
Nightsky said, “This is one of the most memorable episodes for me in the series... the hallucination scenes are so emotional. I dearly love that Sam imagines Mary is on his side.”
Lynn said, “Sam’s hallucinations, especially when he hallucinates Alastair torturing him, is all so sickening. Nobody conveys physical pain as accurately as Jared, and here it makes this impossible to watch without it turning my stomach. Dean's anguish also kills me in this episode as much as Sam's. He refuses to ‘sacrifice Sam for the greater good, use him as a nuclear warhead.’ The whole episode makes me emotionally exhausted and mildly nauseous.”
Alice added, “This is the best Sam Winchester character study of the series. All his actions were humanized in this one agonizing story.”
Memorable Scene #2: Dean turns to Cas for help. Cas tells Dean that Sam is not the only one who can stop the apocalypse, that Dean could also stop it, if he would swear his obedience to God and the angels. Ultimately, Dean agrees.
Castiel: Consuming the amount of blood it would take to kill Lilith would change your brother forever. Most likely, he would become the next creature that you would feel compelled to kill. There's no reason this would have to come to pass, Dean. We believe it's you, Dean, not your brother. The only question for us is whether you're willing to accept it. Stand up and accept your role. You are the one who will stop it.
And god bless Bobby for always, Always speaking the truth:
Bobby: Correct me if I'm wrong, but you willingly signed up to be the angels' bitch?
Dean glares at Bobby
Bobby: I'm sorry. You prefer "sucker"?
Memorable Scene #3: Cas uses his powers to open the door to the panic room, allowing Sam to escape. As Sam tries to slip out quietly, he is confronted by Bobby. Sam takes advantage of Bobby’s moment of fatherly weakness (he doesn’t want to shoot Sam) and Sam knocks him out. Then Sam steals a car and escapes.
Memorable Scene #4: Dean finds Sam with Ruby. Dean tries to kill Ruby but Sam stops him. Sam and Dean begin to argue, until it becomes a heated, full-out fist fight.
Sam: Stop bossing me around, Dean. Look. My whole life, you take the wheel, you call the shots, and I trust you because you are my brother. Now I'm asking you, for once, trust me.
Dean: No. You don't know what you're doing, Sam.
Sam: Yes, I do.
Dean: Then that's worse.
Sam: Why? Look, I'm telling you -
Dean: Because it's not something that you're doing, it's what you are! It means -
Sam: What? No. Say it.
Dean: It means you're a monster.
Sam: You don't know me. You never did. And you never will.
Dean: You walk out that door, don't you ever come back.
Oh Dean. How could you say that? Oh Sam. How could you believe it? Oh. My. Heart.
#24 "Scoobynatural" (13.16)
Listen, this is the crossover episode we didn’t know we needed.
Alice called the episode “so clever and unique!” She added, “I watched a lot of Scooby Doo celebrity crossover episodes as a kid and this was by far the best. The best of Scooby Doo mixed with the best of Supernatural.” Nightsky had a similar reaction: "Scooby was one of my favorite childhood cartoons, as evidenced by the 2 foot sculpture of Scooby I proudly display in my home! Combining Scooby Doo and Supernatural was the perfect bridge of my pop culture life! Love at first fright!"
Gail called it “a very fun and entertaining episode,” adding that she gives it “high marks, especially since I’ve never seen an episode of Scooby Doo in my life!” She went on to say, “The fact that I could enjoy the show regardless of that fact is indicative of the great script writing.”
Lynn summed up the episode: “Part of what made this episode work so well is the Show’s uniquely effective way of blending humor with danger and outright horror. Not many shows can do it the way this show does, and it makes the darkness of the show bearable because it’s broken up from time to time with out-and-out laughter. I so relished that in this episode.”
Sam and Dean investigate a case of a cursed object, and yes, folks, you guessed it – the boys end up inside a cursed television and inside an actual episode of Scooby Doo.
Dean: Oh, my God.
Sam: That -- that -- that -- that's, uh, that's...
Dean: That's the Mystery Machine. We're not just in any cartoon.
Sam: We're in Scooby-Doo!
Dean: Son of a bitch!
Sam and Dean find Scooby and the gang at the malt shop. Dean asks if they can sit with them, and the gang tells the boys about a Colonel Saunders, who has left Scooby something in his will. Sam and Dean tag along with the gang as they go to the reading of the will, but not before Dean enjoys a sandwich.
Arriving at the mansion, Dean realizes which Scooby Doo episode they are in, "A Night of Fright is No Delight". Dean has seen this episode a million times. Everyone is expected to stay over night inside the mansion, which is haunted.
Dean: Oh, man. This is like a dream come true.
Sam: Your dream is to hang out with the Scooby Gang?
Dean: Sam, growing up on the road, no matter where Dad dragged us, no matter what we did, there was always a TV. And you know what was always on that TV? Scooby and the gang. These guys, they're our friggin' role models, man. Except Fred, he's a wad.
Sam: He's... What?
Dean: Just think about it -- we do the same thing. We go to spooky places, we solve mysteries, we fight ghosts.
Sam: Yeah, except our ghosts don't wear masks, and we don't have a talking dog.
Dean: I don't know. I mean, Cas is kinda like a talking dog.
And yes, Cas is there too, although he is perhaps confused. Or miffed. Or both?
Dean may have his eyes on Daphne, but Velma only has eyes for Sam.
What would a Scooby Doo episode be without the classic running-between-rooms scene?
The ghost is trapped inside the library. While Scooby and the gang are outside of the library, Sam and Dean confront the ghost. The ghost turns into a little boy who explains that his soul is tied to a pocketknife, and Jay from the pawnshop is using him to hurt other people. Sam and Dean then tell the gang that they were right, it was not a ghost, but actually the attorney Cosgood Creeps.
Then Dean says goodbye to Daphne. And then Velma, well, listen, you go girl.
The episode ends back at the Bunker, in the Dean-cave with the cursed TV. First Dean smashes the TV with a sledgehammer. Then Sam finds the knife and burns it with a blow torch.
Back at the pawnshop, Sam tells the owner (Alan) what Jay has been doing with the cursed knife, and they also mention that Jay is guilty of tax evasion. The police arrive, and well, has there ever been a better ending?
#23 "Pilot" (1.01)
This is it. This is how it all began.
Nate Winchester called this episode a “solid pilot that does a great job establishing a great series. Journalbookbinder added, “It kept me coming back for 15 years.” Alice said, “Still some of the best dialogue in the series.”
Kate38 said, "To me, the Pilot set the tone for the entire first 3 seasons, although it wasn't nearly the strongest episode. The formula - the classic rock music, the lighting, the story, and the relationship we saw established between the brothers - drew me in and never let go. I'll always be grateful for that."
Lynn summed it up: “What made the pilot compelling from the very start was the chemistry between those two brothers that Jared and Jensen brought to life so powerfully. Sure, it was scary and creepy and horrifying with people burning on ceilings, but what made me want to KNOW more was that there was so much more to Sam and Dean Winchester. They showed it in every small gesture and interaction - there was so much there, clearly, beneath the surface. Love, protectiveness, tension, resentment, anger, envy – just everything! Both Jared and Jensen were fearless from day one in showing us all those emotions, but doing it so subtly that we almost didn't realize it was happening. Until it was too late - we were hooked.”
Unforgettable Scene #1: Lawrence, Kansas. Twenty-two years ago. Mary Winchester hears a noise coming from six-month-old Sam’s nursery. When she goes to check it out, she see a figure standing over Sam’s crib, and realizes it isn’t John. He hears Mary’s screams, and rushes to Sam’s room. He finds Mary pinned to the ceiling, with a gaping wound on her belly. Suddenly, Mary is engulfed in flames.
John scoops up Sam and hands him to four-year-old Dean, telling him to take Sammy outside.
John wants to save Mary, but the fire is too intense. John is then outside, sitting on the Impala with Sam and Dean as firemen try to save the burning house.
Unforgettable Scene #2: It is now the present day. Sam hears someone breaking into the apartment he shares with his girlfriend, Jess. He confronts the intruder, only to realize it is his brother. Dean says to Sam what is perhaps the single most iconic line in the history of the Show:
Dean: Dad's on a hunting trip. And he hasn't been home in a few days.
Unforgettable Scene #3: Sam and Dean go outside to talk. They talk about a lot of things, including their missing father, the last case he was working on (which later turns out to be an urban legend of The Lady in White), their father’s obsession with hunting the thing that killed their mother, and why Sam isn’t hunting with them anymore – a conversation that really laid the foundation of this show, their individual characters, and their relationship:
Sam: I swore I was done hunting for good.
Dean: Come on, it wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t that bad.
Sam: Yeah? When I told Dad I was scared of the thing in my closet, he gave me a .45.
Dean: Well what was he supposed to do?
Sam: I was 9 years old! He was supposed to say 'Don’t be afraid of the dark.'
Dean: Don’t be afraid of the dark? What are you kidding me, of course you should be afraid of the dark! You know what’s out there!
Unforgettable Scene #4: On the road together, the boys stop for gas and food. Returning to the Impala, Dean finds Sam rifling through his cassette tape collection, and he delivers another one of the Show's most iconic lines:
Dean: House rules, Sammy. Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole.
Unforgettable Scene #5: Sam and Dean are inside John’s motel room, looking for any information they can find. Two more of the most iconic lines of the Show:
Unforgettable Scene #6: Sam returns to his apartment, and finds a plate of homemade cookies and a note from Jess. He thinks Jess is in the shower, so he collapses on the bed, exhausted. Then something drips onto his forehead, and he looks up… and sees Jess pinned to the ceiling, a gaping wound on her belly, engulfed in flames.
Dean rushes in and pulls Sam from the burning apartment.
Outside, standing by the Impala, Sam says:
Sam: Come on. We got work to do.
#22 "In My Time of Dying" (2.01)
Listen, I can’t. I need tissues.
In this episode, we pick up where we left off at the end of season one, with Sam, Dean, and John in a demolished Impala, being rescued by first responders. Dean is taken to a hospital, near death. John and Sam are also injured, but not as seriously as Dean. For the entirety of this episode, we watch as Dean struggles to come back to his body, struggles with Tessa, the reaper who is trying to help him cross over to the other side. We watch John recover, and ultimately do what he needs to do to save his boys. And we watch Sam struggle with wanting desperately for Dean to live.
Alice said, “I consider this to be the best-directed episode of the series. Kim Manners knocked it out of the park.” Journalbookbinder added, “The whole thing is seething with family dynamics, and the slow-mo coffee cup drop at the end is one of the Show’s most iconic moments.”
Lynn said, “Once again, Jared makes you feel every ounce of Sam's anguish as he watches his brother slipping away and he's helpless to stop it.” She added, “The glimpse into Dean's not-a-childhood, and John's apology for it is a scene that hits so hard… That's it, I need the tissues.” Same, Lynn, same.
Kate38 said, "Amazing episode in so many ways! Just the logistics alone - like having Jensen interact with the other cast member WITHOUT actually interacting - were genius. What stands out most for me is that scene between John and Dean when John acknowledges what Dean did for the family and apologizes for how things evolved. That's probably the first time Supernatural absolutely broke my heart."
Memorable Scene #1: Dean discusses death and dying with Tessa, and in that conversation, he says a line that truly became a mantra for the fandom:
Dean: So you're okay with dying?
Tessa: No, of course not. I just think, whatever's gonna happen's gonna happen. It's out of my control, it's fate.
Dean: Huh. Well, that's crap. You always have a choice. You can either roll over and die or you can keep fighting, no matter what —
Memorable Scene #2: Sam meets Bobby at a salvage yard. Bobby tells Sam he doesn’t think the Impala can be repaired. Sam vehemently disagrees:
Sam: Oh man, Dean is gonna be pissed.
Bobby: Look, Sam. This... this just ain't worth a tow. I say we empty the trunk, sell the rest for scrap.
Sam: No. Dean would kill me if we did that. When he gets better he's gonna want to fix this.
Bobby: There's nothing to fix. The frame's a pretzel, and the engine's ruined. There's barely any parts worth salvaging.
Sam: Listen to me, Bobby. If there's only one working part, that's enough. We're not just going to give up on...
Memorable Scene #3: John makes his way to the basement of the hospital and summons the Yellow-Eyed Demon. He wants to make a deal: he’ll give the demon the Colt in exchange for saving Dean’s life.
The Yellow-Eyed Demon: You conjuring me, John. I'm surprised. I took you for a lot of things. But suicidally reckless wasn't one of them.
John: I could always shoot you.
The Yellow-Eyed Demon: You could always miss. And you've only got one try, don't'cha? Did you really think you could trap me?
John: Oh, I don't want to trap you. I want to make a deal.
Memorable Scene #4: The Yellow-Eyed demon honors his deal and saves Dean. When Dean wakes up, John and Sam are arguing. John doesn’t want to fight anymore, so he sends Sam to get coffee. When Sam is gone, John tells Dean how proud he is of him. He also asks Dean to always take care of Sammy. Then John whispers something to Dean.
John: You know, when you were a kid, I'd come home from a hunt, and after what I'd seen, I'd be, I'd be wrecked. And you, you'd come up to me and you, you'd put your hand on my shoulder and you'd look me in the eye and you'd... You'd say 'It's okay, Dad.' Dean, I'm sorry.
John: You shouldn't have had to say that to me, I should have been saying that to you. You know, I put, I put too much on your shoulders, I made you grow up too fast. You took care of Sammy, you took care of me. You did that, and you didn't complain, not once. I just want you to know that I am so proud of you.
Dean: This really you talking?
John: Yeah. Yeah, it's really me.
Dean: Why are you saying this stuff?
John: I want you to watch out for Sammy, okay?
Dean: Yeah, Dad, you know I will. You're scaring me.
John: Don't be scared, Dean.
Memorable Scene #5: Sam returns with the coffee. He finds John collapsed on the floor. Sam and Dean then watch as their father dies. This is perhaps one of the most iconic scenes in the history of the Show.
You know where to find me – in my corner… sobbing… again.
#21 "On the Head of a Pin" (4.16)
Since I’m already sobbing in my little corner, I’ll just stay here for a while, okay?
In this episode, Cas and Uriel ask Dean to interrogate Alastair… and by interrogate, they really mean torture. And by torture, they really mean putting Dean in the position of becoming who he became while he was in Hell – someone who tortured others – and Dean hates that he gave in and gave up and became that.
The whole episode is a testament to Jensen’s incredible acting. When Dean is alone in that dungeon of a room with Alastair, he is chillingly, terrifyingly Scary. Every movement he makes, every expression on his face, every close up of his cold, cold eyes – it is all a testament to how Jensen was able to make me genuinely afraid of him. I completely and wholly believed that Dean was capable of unspeakable terror.
Lynn agreed. She said, “This is a favorite episode of mine, but not an easy to watch one. Jensen absolutely blows me away with his acting - his scenes with Christopher Heyerdahl were off the charts powerful and disturbing.” She also said, “This episode is a changing point for Castiel, as we watch him becoming emotional, getting too close to humans. He's also becoming a more fleshed out character. However, the real badass is Sam Winchester, showing up just in time to finish the job. We know why and how he's strong enough to do it, so the whole scene is just horrifying.”
Alice called the episode “a gut wrenching, emotional rollercoaster. A complex script that left me a mess at the end.” Journalbookbinder added, “Alastair is chillingly masterful and Dean’s torture skills learned in hell are terrifying. Elle agreed, saying, “The end of this episode makes me cry - it's one of the most devastating moments of television. Period.”
Gail said, “Alastair – so creepy! The actor/character has a unique way of speaking that might almost be laughable coming from another individual, but he makes it work. It was rotten of the Angels to make Dean do that. At least Castiel felt bad about it. That was a significant scene, because you can see the seeds being sown of his rebellion and change of allegiance. Anna recognized that doubt in Cas, who had the opportunity to kill her, but didn’t. It was good to see a smart Cas, not just a cold-hearted automaton. Poor Dean, realizing that he had been the first seal.” Poor Dean indeed.
Kate38 added, "This was an intense, pivotal, and overall fabulous episode. Is Chris Heyerdahl the creepiest S.O.B alive, or what? Although the rest of the episode doesn't lack a single thing, the scene between Dean and Cas at the end is what sticks with me most. When Dean realizes that he unknowingly broke the first seal, something inside him seems to break and remain broken for the rest of the season. Aside from the season finale, this episode was arguably the most pivotal of the season."
Memorable Scenes – All of the scenes involving Cas and his crisis of conscience: These scenes are great for many reasons. First, these scenes are incredible because of Misha and what he brings to this character. He truly looks confused, sad, even broken. Cas’ crisis of conscience is really more a crisis of his faith, and Misha conveys that struggle with such emotion, making each scene both heart-breaking and powerful.
Secondly, each scene shows us a slowly changing Cas. When Anna asks Cas if torture is part of God’s work, if these orders are in fact from God, you can see Cas’ doubts even though he refuses to question God.
Later, Cas wonders aloud if God is punishing them (the angels). Then when he sees a water valve on a drinking fountain, you can see his doubt written all over his face. He goes back to the warehouse to examine the water valve that mysteriously dripped onto the devil’s trap. When Uriel appears and tells Cas that he’s angry with God for creating the humans, that the plan was for Alastair to kill Dean, you can see so much pain in Cas as he struggles with the very idea of right and wrong, something he has never questioned before.
Uriel: Alastair was much more powerful than we had imagined.
Castiel: No. No demon can overpower that trap. I made it myself. We've been friends for a long time, Uriel. Fought by each other's sides, served together away from home, for what seems like forever. We're brothers, Uriel. Pay me that respect. Tell me the truth.
Uriel: The truth is, the only thing that can kill an angel... is another angel.
Uriel: You haven't even met the man. There is no will. No wrath. No God.
Anna stabs Uriel from behind
Anna: Maybe. Or maybe not. But there's still me.
Memorable Scenes – All of the scenes between Dean and Alastair: Cas takes Dean to an empty warehouse where Alastair is bound within a devil’s trap. Dean then proceeds to interrogate and torture Alastair, and Alastair taunts him every step of the way.
Alastair: John Winchester. Made a good name for himself. A hundred years. After each session, I'd make him the same offer I made you. I'd put down my blade if he picked one up.
Dean: Just give me the demon's name, Alastair.
Alastair: But he said nein each and every time. Oh, damned if I couldn't break him. Pulled out all the stops, but John, he was, well, made of something unique. The stuff of heroes. And then came Dean. Dean Winchester. I thought I was up against it again. But daddy's little girl, he broke. He broke in thirty. Oh, just not the man your daddy wanted you to be, huh, Dean?
Memorable Scene #3: Dean is unaware that a water valve is moving by itself and dripping water on the devil’s trap, but Alastair knows, and he continues to taunt Dean, telling him what is perhaps the single worst thing Dean can hear:
Alastair: And it is written that the first seal shall be broken when a righteous man sheds blood in hell. As he breaks, so shall it break. We had to break the first seal before any others. Only way to get the dominoes to fall, right? Topple the one at the front of the line. When we win, when we bring on the apocalypse and burn this earth down, we'll owe it all to you, Dean Winchester. Believe me, son, I wouldn't lie about this. It's kind of a religious sort of thing with me.
Memorable Scene #3, Part 2: Dean turns away from Alastair. When he turns back, Alastair is now free and he viciously attacks Dean.
Cas arrives, and he stabs Alastair with the demon-killing knife, but Alastair pulls the knife out and he attacks Cas.
Suddenly Alastair begins to choke. Sam has arrived, and he is using his powers to pin Alastair to the wall. He forces Alastair to admit that he doesn’t know who is killing the angels, and then Sam uses his powers to kill Alastair.
Memorable Scene #4: Dean is in the hospital. Sam sits by his side, hoping for a miracle. Cas arrives, and Sam begs him to heal Dean.
Dean wakes up and sees Cas is there with him. Dean asks Cas if the things Alastair said to him were true. Cas confirms that, in spite of the angels’ efforts, Dean did in fact break the first seal.
Castiel: It's not blame that falls on you, Dean, it's fate. The righteous man who begins it is the only one who can finish it. You have to stop it.
Dean: Lucifer? The Apocalypse? What does that mean? Hey! Don't you go disappearing on me, you son of a bitch. What does that mean!
Castiel: I don't know.
Castiel: I don't. Dean, they don't tell me much. I know our fate rests with you.
Dean: Well, then you guys are screwed. I can't do it, Cas. It's too big. Alastair was right. I'm not all here. I'm not… I'm not strong enough. Well, I guess I'm not the man either of our dads wanted me to be. Find someone else. It's not me.
You know where to find me. Send tissues.
So that’s episodes 25-21 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 20-16!
Twitter: @MamaPrior or @PriorStudios
Staff Writer, https://fangasmthebook.com/
Staff Writer, https://thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/
See the whole list of our Favorite 100 Episodes from the beginning! 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 6 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!