Supernatural Roundtable: The 25 Best Episodes

by Clarissa / May 20, 2015
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As of tonight, Supernatural will reach a milestone that few shows ever see: the conclusion of its tenth season. The little genre show that seemed perpetually on the bubble in its initial years will have surpassed 200 episodes and is still going strong.

Typically, we use the end of the season as an opportunity to do a roundtable review and look back on the season as a whole. But since Supernatural has reached such an important milestone, we’re going to do something a little different this time. Instead of looking back at only 23 episodes, we’re going to look back on all 218 total episodes. All fans are different in terms of the episodes they love. Maybe they’re partial to a particular writer or character and love episodes that feature them. Others prefer the comedy episodes or the dramatic ones. And others like the ones that have a heavy mytharc component, while some fans enjoy the “monster of the week” episodes. And yet, despite the large number of episodes in the Supernatural universe, there are episodes that come up again and again on the “best of” or “favorite episode” lists.

To honor the particularly excellent episodes produced over the last ten seasons, we’ve come up with our 25 favorite episodes (in no particular order), as chosen by a group of 7 Supernatural bloggers. In terms of participants, we have myself, Laura Prudom from Variety, Vinnie Chaffee and Becky Gilreath from WinchesterBrosDr. Lynn Zubernis from FangasmAlice Jester from Winchester Family Business, and Tina Charles from TV Goodness. Each of the 25 episodes below received a majority of — or all of — the votes from the participants and are particularly excellent episodes (in our opinion) that represent the best that Supernatural has had to offer over the years.

Sound off in the comments below if you agree with our picks or if we missed your favorite episode.

The season finale of Supernatural airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

Episode 5.10 “Abandon All Hope” (Written by: Ben Edlund)

This was a tragic and agonizing mid-season finale. From Crowley’s introduction to the showdown between Meg and Castiel (including the way he so casually used her body to escape the ring of holy fire) to the hellhound chase to the creepy view of an empty town full of only reapers, there are so many amazing visual elements of this episode. But it’s the Harvelle’s sacrifice that brings the tears. After being attacked by a hellhound while saving Dean, Jo bravely offers to detonate some bombs so that the others can survive. But her mother refuses to allow Jo to die alone and Ellen heartbreakingly holds on to her child throughout Jo’s death and her own suicide. The episode ends on a somber note, with the photo that the group had taken at an impromptu celebration the night being burned and all of our hearts being split in two.

Episodes 2.21 & 2.22 “All Hell Breaks Loose” (Written by: Sera Gamble & Eric Kripke)

These episodes are one of the rare two-part episodes in the Supernatural universe, so we’re going to count them as a single episode. Together, they represent the culmination of two seasons of a story arc. Although, technically, they represent the culmination of the Winchesters’ brothers hunting lives, which began the night Mary was killed and ended (at least in terms of this arc) the night that Dean killed Azazel. It’s not only that tense confrontation in the cemetery that makes this episode great, but everything that came before it. Sam and the other gifted children being kept trapped in that empty town was chilling and creepy, as was Azazel’s attempts to turn each of them into something monstrous. Then Jensen Ackles stole the show with two heartbreaking monologues: the first is when he’s cradling Sam’s dying body and the second is his speech over Sam’s dead body. Then comes the twist — Dean sells his soul — and thus sets in motion the Apocalypse storyline, even though it would be years before we fully understood the ramifications of Dean’s choice. This episode is full of tense moments, beautiful and tragic scenes between the brothers, Bobby’s fatherly angst and the last appearance of John Winchester (albeit as a ghost). In short, it’s everything a season finale should be.

Episode 4.16 “On the Head of a Pin” (Written by: Ben Edlund)

Ben Edlund delivered a masterful episode with “On the Head of a Pin” and all of the actors brought their A-games to the stage for it, particularly Jensen Ackles. Ackles deftly portrayed Dean’s internal war between the side of himself that enjoys torture and the side of himself that is disgusted by his own vices. The angelic in-fighting proved a fitting backdrop to the dark undertones of this episode, and it’s Dean’s quiet despair in the hospital room at the end that took this episode from creepy to tragic.

shadow

Episode 1.16 “Shadow” (Written by: Eric Kripke)

This is a gem of an episode in season 1, particularly because of two specific scenes: the long (and sexy) confrontation between Meg and the Winchester brothers, and the reunion between Sam, Dean and John. Nicki Aycox is fantastic as she swings from a somewhat rude stranger reuniting with Sam to a dark demon. And after a spectacular fall out of a window (topped off with a snarky remark from Dean), we got an emotional wallop as Sam and John were reunited for the first time in years.

born under a bad sign

Episode 2.14 “Born Under a Bad Sign” (Written by: Cathryn Humphris)

This particular episode is so unbelievably electric, with a terrific performance by Jared Padalecki. From the moment that a possessed Sam turns on Dean to the very last shot, you are on an unstoppable ride full of tense confrontations (the end scenes between the brothers) and even uncomfortable situations (the way that Sam attacks Jo in the bar). It’s a testament to Padalecki’s acting prowess that he was able to ooze so much evil from Sam’s pores while playing Meg/Sam and then switch back to the Sam we know and love when he was finally free from the demon.

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Clarissa is Managing Editor at ScreenFad and former Managing Editor of TVOvermind. A lover of genre shows (like Supernatural and Arrow) and quality dramas (like The Good Wife and Homeland), Clarissa provides on set and event coverage as well as news, spoilers and reviews for all things TV and movies. Follow her at @clarissa373 or email her at clarissa @ screenfad.com.