Back in 2005, a show on The CW premiered that would take the supernatural world by storm, going on for more than a decade, and creating hundreds of thousands of fans along the way. What was the name of this show? Why Supernatural, of course. After fifteen long years, the seemingly endless show about the Winchester brothers and their adventures of hunting monsters and demons has come to an end.
But with 327 episodes to pick from, fans often wonder what on earth could be the best episodes from within that long list of options to choose from. While each season most certainly has its own story and continues the main arch of the show, it’s these standout episodes that really made Supernatural the phenomenon it became. These are the best episodes from Supernatural, ranked. And obviously, there are some spoilers in here, so spoiler alert!
Honorable Mentions: Pilot, Bloody Mary, The French Mistake
Again, with 327 episodes, it’s always hard to figure out which episodes are truly the best of the best. While these three episodes didn’t make the cut, they are still great on their own and deserve a watch or two.
Supernatural's pilot really sets up the whole entire story of Dean and Sam and of their adventures but also shows the heart and soul of who they really are – as well as introduce a killer soundtrack with Dean’s favorite music. "Bloody Mary" shows a classic retelling of a common horror tale and goes to new heights to make a spooky ghost story even more terrifying. "The French Mistake" takes meta episodes to a whole other level and really “brings out” the acting chops for Dean and Sam (even though they are horrible at it). They’re all really worth the time to see.
10. Fan Fiction, Season 10, Episode 5
As one of the milestone episodes of Supernatural – and honestly one of the funniest – I found it hard to leave "Fan Fiction" off the list, which is why it’s placed securely at number 10. While it’s not the most dramatic or horrifying episode, it’s still funny to see the reactions of Dean and Sam seeing their lives put into musical form, especially by an all-girls school.
But what really makes this episode stand out is the treatment that it gives the long-term fans of the show. There are plenty of call-backs, references, and inside jokes that only fans who have seen the whole entire series would know, which creates this endearing tribute to viewers, despite the episode being super meta.
9. Devil’s Trap, Season 1, Episode 22
The Season 1 finale of Supernatural, "Devil's Trap," paves the way for so many interesting storylines to take place. It’s really a domino effect of what happens after this because a lot of big changes in the plot occur. Here’s where we start to see the downfall of John Winchester after he is possessed by a demon, and the fallout due to that.
But not only that, fans are introduced to Bobby Singer, a close family friend that later on in the series becomes almost a surrogate father for Dean and Sam. Even so, the cliffhanger that happens at the end of this episode is one of the best in the series and really sets up in motion for things that will happen later on. It’s one of the best season finales there is in the show.
8. Deaths Door, Season 7, Episode 10
I can only follow up the Season 1 finale of Supernatural with the very episode that signaled the end of Bobby Singer, "Death's Door." When the writers of Supernatural decided to permanently kill off the surrogate father to Dean and Sam, it was met with much controversy, as he was a beloved character.
But there’s no denying that it was a great episode. Not only do we get to see more of Bobby’s backstory in his darkest hours, we really get to see the bond between him and the boys expanded on more, making his departure even sadder. Truly an episode to remember.
7. Dark Side Of The Moon, Season 5, Episode 16
What makes "Dark Side of the Moon"such a great episode of Supernatural is that it really acknowledges one of the outstanding issues of the show – how often the Winchester boys die. But this episode really digs deeper into that by killing both Dean and Sam off in the first couple of minutes of the episode, and the viewers get to see what Heaven is like in this Supernatural universe – which paints a much different picture than what is normally told.
Turns out, Heaven is a bit different, almost lonely because everyone is off in their own little worlds rather than all together (not counting soulmates). Plus, the sequences of the boys' versions of Heaven are really heartwarming. Seeing Dean play with fireworks with young Sam is the cutest scene ever and worth the time to see.
6. Lebanon, Season 14, Episode 13
Another milestone episode, this being the 300th time the Supernatural logo has crossed people’s screens, "Lebanon" brings back plenty of fan favorites, including John Winchester, who hasn’t been seen since the season 2 finale.
"Lebanon" is another one of those heartbreaking episodes that really cross the boundary of what this show is. Sam and Dean’s whole entire arc has been driven by their broken family life, and now for the first time in forever, they actually get to spend some proper time with their family. For the time being, it’s sweet, and undeniably shattering when it is inevitably cut short. Truly a great milestone episode after the last one being about fanfiction, of all things.
5. Swan Song, Season 5, Episode 22
There’s a reason why "Swan Song" is always on so many of these lists, and it’s really because it is overall just an amazing finale – in fact, it would have been the series finale if the show wasn’t renewed and taken over by a new showrunner. It’s everything that fans would want in a finale, with tragic stories combined with thrilling fights and funny comedic moments, but the ending is what makes this episode a bit lower on the list.
It is a bit depressing how some of the storylines end without giving too much away and surely made waiting for the next season of this show ever-so-painful for fans who have been around for that long. And since this was intended to be the series finale before Supernatural was renewed, it most certainly would have caused issues down the road for unsatisfied fans. But even so, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still great and really messes with your emotions.
4. In My Time Of Dying, Season 2, Episode 1
I mentioned earlier on in this that the Season 1 finale of Supernatural is one of the best ones, but the Season 2 premiere, "In My Time Of Dying," capitalizes on that seriousness and makes it even better. It continues where the Season 1 finale left off, showing the damage of what has happened, but the story that takes place after is astounding from start to finish.
Most of the episode is really told from Dean’s perspective, but it ends in a completely different way that no one was expecting, and really sets the tone for how Season 2 was going to go down. While we all know that Dean (more than Sam) has had his fair share of deaths in the series, it’s one of the first times that really sticks with you, which is why it stays up here so high.
3. The Monster At The End Of This Book, Season 4, Episode 18
It’s because of this Supernatural episode, "The Monster at the End of This Book," that we can have episodes like "Fan Fiction" and "Don’t Call Me Shurley." Why? Because this is where we are introduced to Chuck – more commonly known as God himself. But what makes this episode truly special is how they introduced the fictional Supernatural universe within Supernatural itself.
I mean, Dean and Sam literally discover an online fandom dedicated to them, as well as slash fiction – which is entirely true. Just take a glance and look those stories up on Google. It’s always hysterical to rewatch this episode and see the two of them react to their lives being told in book form.
2. Lazarus Rising, Season 4, Episode 1
Often regarded as one of the best Supernatural episodes out there, "Lazarus Rising" introduces one of the series most beloved characters – Castiel, an angel of the Lord who is responsible for saving Dean Winchester from hell. Not only was the payoff of Dean’s resurrection much needed after being buried for months, but it also brought on Castiel, this godly angel that really shows that the eternal beings can be absolutely terrifying.
What makes this episode even better is the difference we see in Castiel. Of course over the series he starts to open up more and become a main character, so much that his godly demeanor fades and he feels more like a normal person rather than an angel, but the initial introduction of Castiel, with his deep voice and powers, is something to be marveled. It will always be an episode that will live in infamy in the series, which is why my number one pick ties in closely with this.
1. Despair, Season 15, Episode 18
I’m going to get some flack over this. Many will say "Lazarus Rising" is better, but I feel with certainty "Despair" is the better episode, and not just because it’s in the final season. The first reason is that this is the last time we see Castiel, compared to his appearance back in Season 4, and his departure is gut-wrenching. Not only does he confess the love that he has for Dean, the one that he raised from Hell, he gives himself back to the Empty, signaling the end of an era, a heartbreaking one.
The second reason is that this episode reminds me so much of Avengers: Infinity War. The heroes, Sam and Dean, despite everything they tried to do, have still lost, and the price that they paid for that is tremendous and hard to swallow, losing so many people that they care about in such a quick timespan.
But somehow, they persevere and still believe that they can get out of this because that’s what the Winchester boys do – they somehow survive, always. And that’s what made this episode the top for me – because no matter what, even when the world seemed to be falling apart for them, they still held onto hope. And that is a beautiful thing.
While the show has come to an end, we can always look back on these episodes with fond memories. What are your favorite episodes of Supernatural?
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Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!