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The Best Supernatural Episodes From Each Season

As Supernatural comes to a close after 15 seasons, we're looking back at the show's best episodes, from "The Benders" to "Scoobynatural"

Supernatural has been on TV long enough that it's one of a few currently airing scripted shows whose productions have twice been affected by real world events. First, the show's excellent third season was dramatically shortened by the 2007-08 writers' strike, and then its fifteenth and final season was forced to halt production in March as the coronavirus swept across the world. But throughout this wild ride, the series has continued to tell interesting, unexpected, and emotional stories.

Now, as we prepare to say goodbye to Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) for good, TV Guide is remembering the best episodes of the long-running show. The list has been limited to three episodes per season, which proved to be difficult, as the early seasons had far too many great episodes, while some of the latter had too few. But we feel confident that each episode chosen represents some of the show's very best work, whether it's a creative adventure that reveals the show's ability to think outside the box, a standalone hour that delivers the laughs, or a mythology-heavy episode that pushes the story forward. These are the best episodes of Supernatural each season.

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Season 1


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"Scarecrow" (Season 1, Episode 11)

While we love the meta masterpiece about a writer feuding with his creations that Supernatural has become, we still have a huge soft spot for the more straightforward horror episodes like "Scarecrow," which tells a relatively simple story about a Norse god that manifests in the form of a scarecrow made out of human skin (yikes!). Maybe it's because I grew up surrounded by cornfields, but even all of these years later I still remember "Scarecrow" as one of the episodes that frightened me the most. Plus, that cliffhanger reveal that Meg (Nicki Aycox) is a demon? That is a classic Supernatural moment right there. –Sadie Gennis

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"Faith" (Season 1, Episode 12)

One of the great early episodes to establish the believer-and-skeptic dynamic between Sam and Dean, "Faith" explored the idea of spirituality after Dean was nearly killed by a Rawhead and was given weeks to live. With no other options, Sam brought Dean to a traveling faith healer to cure him of his death sentence, where he was magically cured. Naturally, the boys investigate and find that a controlled Reaper is involved, and naturally, the Reaper gets set loose and tries to kill everyone. The mystery of the investigation penned by Sera Gamble and Raelle Tucker was bolstered by a real eerie atmosphere created by director Allan Kroeker, and "Faith" features TV's greatest on-the-nose song selection in a pitch-perfect montage to Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," continuing creator Eric Kripke's track record of knowing how and when to rock. (Note: Due to licensing, Netflix's version doesn't include the song, so just throw it out the window.) –Tim Surette

Sergei Bachlakov/The CW

"The Benders" (Season 1, Episode 15)

When it first debuted, Supernatural leaned hard into its horror roots, and the scariest episode of the show's entire run is this Season 1 episode in which the baddies of the week turn out not to be of the supernatural variety at all, but bloodthirsty humans who capture and hunt other humans for sport. The episode plays with traditional horror themes, but it also flips our preconceived notions about the genre on its head as a young female child is found to be a willing participant in the family's bloodlust and not another victim. When confronted with the knowledge that men and women are just as capable of committing heinous evil acts as the monsters and demons the Winchesters usually face, we (and they) are forced to acknowledge an unfortunate truth about humanity while realizing our world is terrifying enough on its own without the addition of the supernatural. It's this chilling legacy that not only makes "The Benders" one of the scariest episodes of the show, but one of the best and most memorable as well. –Kaitlin Thomas

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Season 2


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"Croatoan" (Season 2, Episode 9)

"Croatoan" was the episode of Supernatural in which the storytelling went from good to great. Not only did the hour explain a real-life historical mystery (where did the people of Roanoke go?), but the Season 2 episode was an incredibly character-driven one. As Sam and Dean struggled to survive in a town infected by a demonic virus, it pushed them to their limit, forcing them to confront the lines they were willing to cross in their mission to catch Yellow Eyes (Fredric Lehne). And when Sam proved to be immune to the virus, it forced the brothers to confront the truth about Sam and his mysterious abilities. –Lindsay MacDonald

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"Hollywood Babylon" (Season 2, Episode 18)

Some people watch Supernatural for the horror, some watch for the dynamic relationship between Sam and Dean, some watch to see how the fate of the world shakes out. I watch it for the piss-taking of the entertainment business. Supernatural's first major meta episode saw Sam and Dean head to Los Angeles to investigate a murder on a movie set, but more importantly, showed Jared Padalecki acknowledging the Gilmore Girls set on a studio tour and weather that was very Canadian, according to Sam. There was the usual burning of bones and such, but the twisty script was held up by all the winky-winks about the soul-sucking experience of working in Hollywood and Dean's love of craft services. It would serve as a blueprint for many of Supernatural's best self-parodying episodes to come. –Tim Surette

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"All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 2" (Season 2, Episode 22)

The first half of the Season 2 finale is remembered for being the first instance of one of the Winchesters dying, but it's when all hell breaks loose — to borrow from the episode's title — in the second hour that Supernatural revealed what it was truly capable of. Dean sells his soul to a crossroads demon in exchange for Sam's resurrection, but he only gets one year instead of 10 before he's dragged to Hell, so even though they successfully kill the Yellow-Eyed Demon, who's been haunting them all their lives (with an assist from the soul of John Winchester [Jeffrey Dean Morgan] and the Colt, of course), the fabric of Supernatural was changed forever in less than hour. Looking back at the show's legacy, the codependency of the brothers has sometimes been unhealthy and death has often felt meaningless, but at the time, Sam's shocking death and Dean's willingness to sacrifice himself for his brother was the show's high point, both in terms of the characters and the story. The third season would be spent with the knowledge of Dean's deal hanging over the brothers' heads, creating an inescapable but unseen threat and leading to some of the best stories the show ever told. –Kaitlin Thomas

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Season 3


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"Mystery Spot" (Season 3, Episode 11)

Supernatural's most memorable episodes sometimes present themselves as funny, standalone hours, and Season 3's "Mystery Spot," which finds Sam and Dean trapped in an endless time loop by the Trickster (Richard Speight Jr.), has its fair share of comedy. But with each of Dean's many deaths — and with Sam unable to prevent or stop each one — the bleak lesson of the hour becomes abundantly clear: It's not just that Dean's death is inevitable and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it, but that Dean is Sam's weakness (and vice versa), and there are plenty of demons and monsters who will try to exploit this. Despite the underlying theme, "Mystery Spot" remains one of Supernatural's most rewatchable episodes, as the writers found new and interesting ways for Dean to die ("Do these tacos taste funny to you?") and were able to inject plenty of humor into the dark subject matter, something that would continue for years to come. Supernatural has had a number of episodes that quickly became instant classics, and "Mystery Spot" is definitely one of them. –Kaitlin Thomas

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"Ghostfacers" (Season 3, Episode 13)

Supernatural loves to experiment with out-there storytelling devices, and Season 3's "Ghostfacers" did that and more by presenting nearly the entire episode as found footage. It was basically Supernatural's take on The Blair Witch Project, except instead of terrified teens, we got a bumbling band of wannabe ghost hunters (led by A.J. Buckley and Travis Wester) who eventually became fan-favorite characters that would continue to pop up here and there, right when the show needed a dose of humor. "Ghostfacers" is another one of the episodes fans can watch a million times and never get sick of. –Lindsay MacDonald

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"No Rest for the Wicked" (Season 3, Episode 16)

The Season 3 finale will definitely go down in history as one of Supernatural's best — and that's saying something, because this show knows how to craft an exquisite finale. Even after the writers were forced into a shorter season as a result of the 2007-08 writers' strike, the finale managed to pay off the season's main storyline by killing Dean and sending him to Hell as the payment for selling his soul to save Sam in Season 2. Even though we all knew what was coming, "No Rest for the Wicked" kept us believing up until the final moment that Dean might slip the net and get out of his deal, making the closing shot of him being tortured in Hell an even more powerful cliffhanger. –Lindsay MacDonald

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Season 4


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"Lazarus Rising" (Season 4, Episode 1)

After an awesome ending to Season 3 that saw Dean dragged to Hell, the Season 4 premiere had to reach an incredibly high bar to launch Supernatural into a new, equally compelling chapter, and holy cow, did it do just that. "Lazarus Rising" marks the introduction of angels into the series' already engrossing mythology, thus kicking off the angels and demons storyline, which many fans have found to be the best in Supernatural's long history. Most notably, though, "Lazarus Rising" introduced us to Misha Collins' angel Castiel, who would go on to become a lifetime member of Team Free Will, and honestly, that alone makes this one of the series' best episodes. –Lindsay MacDonald

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"The Monster at the End of This Book" (Season 4, Episode 18)

The introduction of Rob Benedict's prophet Chuck Shurley, the man who would later be revealed to be God, added another complex layer to Supernatural's ever-deepening mythology while simultaneously introducing one of its greatest meta jokes: the Supernatural books about Sam and Dean's adventures and thus, Supernatural fans. The show has always been at its best when it's poking fun at itself and the nature of its story. Creator Eric Kripke inserting himself into the series in this way is one of the show's most entertaining ongoing jokes — especially when Chuck acknowledges the ridiculous and egotistical nature of a writer doing this, or when the pen name for Chuck is Carver Edlund, after Supernatural writers and producers Jeremy Carver and Ben Edlund. But what starts out as a hilariously good time — Dean referencing "Sam girls" and "Dean girls" and Sam explaining slash fiction will never not be a high point, right alongside the dig at "Bugs" — turns into a terrifyingly dark chapter in the Winchesters' lives, as they must face the possibility they might never have had free will and everything about their lives has been destined from the start. –Kaitlin Thomas

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"Lucifer Rising" (Season 4, Episode 22)

We've said it before, and I'll say it again: Man, does this show know how to deliver an epic season finale. With the brothers divided after a vicious fight, Sam and Dean prepare to stop the apocalypse in their own unique ways — Sam with the help of the demon Ruby (Genevieve Padalecki), and Dean with angels Castiel and Zachariah (Kurt Fuller). Only, each brother realizes too late that they have been manipulated by their respective "allies," and Sam unwittingly breaks the final seal when he kills Lilith (Katherine Boecher). We're so used to seeing Sam and Dean as the heroes that the twist that Sam is actually the one who frees Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) and kickstarts the apocalypse is too devastating not to savor. –Sadie Gennis

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Season 5


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"Changing Channels" (Season 5, Episode 8)

This may ruffle the feathers of some Supernatural superfans, but it is my opinion that "Changing Channels" was the peak of Supernatural. That is to say, the show was never better than it was in this one episode. I know, controversial. But also correct. Set in the front half of Supernatural's final season under creator Eric Kripke's five-season vision, "Changing Channels" was Supernatural testing the limits of how meta it could go when Sam and Dean found themselves in various TV shows while playing one of the Trickster's games. It featured the greatest intro sequence of the show's run, full parodies of the series' real-world time slot rivals in Grey's Anatomy and CSI, and Jared taking one to the crotch. But what might get lost in your memory is that "Changing Channels" also featured some of the season's biggest reveals: that the Trickster was actually the Archangel Gabriel, and that Sam and Dean had to "play their roles" in the coming apocalypse, pitting them against each other like never before (and never since). Like in the best Supernatural episodes, the fun quickly turned to terror as the season's plot continued to take shape. –Tim Surette

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"Abandon All Hope..." (Season 5, Episode 10)

In the Season 5 midseason finale, the Winchesters' hunt for the Colt leads to their first encounter with Crowley (Mark Sheppard), the demon you don't even love to hate, you just plain love. Crowley's entrance into Supernatural includes everything that makes his character so great: his ability to plan five steps ahead, his complete lack of scruples, and his signature sardonic wit. But "Abandon All Hope..." isn't just such a fantastic episode because it gave us a character as beloved as Crowley. What really sets this episode apart is Sam, Dean, Bobby (Jim Beaver), Castiel, Ellen (Samantha Ferris), and Jo's (Alona Tal) journey to hunt down Lucifer. This battle with the Devil doesn't end well for our heroes, who not only aren't able to stop Lucifer from summoning Death (Julian Richings), but who also lose Ellen and Jo in the process. From moments of biting comedy to heart-pounding suspense to gut-wrenching grief, this episode has a little bit of everything we love about Supernatural. –Sadie Gennis

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"Swan Song" (Season 5, Episode 22)

Any list of best episodes is incomplete without Supernatural's unforgettable Season 5 finale, which concluded creator Eric Kripke's original storyline and would have been the series finale if the show hadn't been renewed by The CW. There were deaths and resurrections and even the stunning implication that Chuck is God (which wouldn't be officially confirmed until Season 11). But what really makes this episode special is how beautifully it highlights Sam and Dean's close but complicated bond, best illustrated when Sam — triggered by poignant memories with Dean — overpowers Lucifer long enough to sacrifice himself, along with Michael in Adam's (Jake Abel) body, in order to save his older brother and the rest of the world. And while the ending isn't perfect, it does offer up "closure" with Dean taking up a normal life with his girlfriend, Lisa (Cindy Sampson), and her son as Sam looks on from the outside. –Keisha Hatchett

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Season 6


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"Appointment in Samarra" (Season 6, Episode 11)

There's a recurring trope in Supernatural in which someone tries to teach one or both of the Winchesters a bleak but valuable lesson by forcing them into a pretty gnarly scenario (see: "Mystery Spot"). A similar thing happens in "Appointment in Samarra" when Dean strikes a deal with Death: Dean will take over as Death for one day in exchange for Death returning Sam's soul. At first, Dean does his job of reaping souls, but when it comes to a sick child he refuses. As a result of this, the girl miraculously heals, setting off a chain reaction of multiple deaths that would have been avoided had Dean not spared the child. In the end, Dean finally realizes that you can't cheat death and returns to the hospital to reap the girl. Even though the episode does end with Sam getting his soul back, the price of this "win" is an example of what Supernatural does best — telling a story about a family who sees just how unfair life can be, but who continues to fight for a better world even when the odds are stacked against them. –Sadie Gennis

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"The French Mistake" (Season 6, Episode 15)

Though Supernatural acknowledged itself in Season 4's "The Monster at the End of This Book," Season 6's "The French Mistake" went full ham on self-referencing, teleporting Sam and Dean to a world in which they were Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, actors in the TV show Supernatural. Ben Edlund's script spared no one involved in the show, poking fun at Jared and Jensen ("Why would anyone want to watch our lives?"), portraying Misha Collins as a tweet-obsessed hippie who just wanted to be accepted by "J-Squared," and killing off Misha, Eric Kripke, and Robert Singer. For some fans it was too much — to those fans I say take a chill pill — but this was the show at the height of its popularity at the time, and the result wasn't Supernatural patting itself on the back, it was a love letter to its fans, a thank you to the media who covered the show (a reporter asking Sam to "include the question in your answer" is very inside baseball), and recognition that it was just happy to be on the air. –Tim Surette

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"The Man Who Would Be King" (Season 6, Episode 20)

Castiel has stumbled many times in his journey from loyal soldier of heaven to full-fledged member of Team Free Will, and "The Man Who Would Be King" is the show's best exploration of Cas' devastating crisis of faith. Throughout the episode, we hear Castiel having a one-sided conversation with God — asking for guidance and recounting moments from his past, including turning points in his relationship with Sam and Dean — all the while he plots with Crowley in the present day without the Winchesters' knowledge. By jumping between the two timelines, it becomes easy to understand not only how Cas was able to justify his present-day actions but just how much he needed to believe he was working toward a righteous cause after being abandoned by God. Did I love when Castiel eventually went full egomaniac and declared himself the new God? Of course not. But this deep dive into Castiel's psyche is a fascinating look at one of the show's best characters. –Sadie Gennis

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Season 7


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"Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!" (Season 7, Episode 8)

In a season filled with more Winchester losses than we can stomach, this fun standalone episode really sticks out. Not only is it the first time we meet the laid-back hunter Garth (DJ Qualls) on-screen, but it also delivers some truly stand-out moments as Dean tries (and fails) to wrap his head around Sam agreeing to marry Supernatural superfan Becky Rosen (Emily Perkins). But even with the hour's focus on humor — which is one of the show's best qualities — the series still delivers a formidable villain in Guy (Leslie Odom Jr.) and even gives Becky a moment to shine as more than just an obsessive fangirl. –Keisha Hatchett

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"Death's Door" (Season 7, Episode 10)

Over the course of the series, Jim Beaver's Bobby Singer became such a staple of the show that watching this Season 7 episode is physically painful sometimes. Not only did "Death's Door" give us more insight into Bobby's character and his past — as both a hunter and as a surrogate father to Sam and Dean — it absolutely wrecked our feelings by killing him off in the most emotional way possible: fatally shot by Dick Roman (James Patrick Stuart), with the boys being unable to save him. And sure, death isn't always a permanent thing on this show — in fact, we've seen Bobby, or at least various versions of him, a few times since — but the emotional trauma it causes sure as hell is. –Lindsay MacDonald

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"The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo" (Season 7, Episode 20)

Look, Season 7 is no one's favorite season of Supernatural, but it does have its moments. One of those being the introduction of Charlie (Felicia Day). The tenacious hacker has become one of the series' most beloved recurring characters, and you can see why in this episode. There really isn't another character like Charlie in this world, and so when she teams up with the Winchesters against the Leviathans in "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo" it feels like a welcome break from the typical routine. But casting real-life geek icon Day as Charlie was the real genius move here, as the actress brings such an infectious joy to the role that we can't help but be overwhelmingly grateful that Charlie ultimately changes her mind about never talking to the Winchesters again. –Sadie Gennis

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Season 8


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"As Time Goes By" (Season 8, Episode 12)

When John Winchester's father, Henry Winchester (Gil McKinney), time-traveled to the future, met his hunter grandsons, and introduced us to the Men of Letters in Season 8's "As Time Goes By," we had no idea how important the organization and its bunker would one day become to the show. At a time when the show and its premise were beginning to grow a little stale, the Men of Letters breathed new life into it, introducing another layer to the deep mythology and monster-hunting elements of the series, while also revealing that John's father didn't abandon him like he'd always thought. It also gave Sam and Dean their first real home, which means a lot to two guys who've spent their whole lives on the road. Not to mention, "As Time Goes By" introduced us to Abaddon (Alaina Huffman), who was a pretty awesome villain, as far as demons go. –Lindsay MacDonald

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"Pac-Man Fever" (Season 8, Episode 20)

If you've ever wanted to see Dean and Charlie do a classic makeover montage to "Walking on Sunshine," this is probably your favorite Supernatural episode. And even if you didn't dream of that moment, you still probably love "Pac-Man Fever" because it's so much more than a geeky Charlie adventure (not that there's anything wrong with those episodes either). With Sam still struggling after the second trial, Dean decides to take on Charlie as a hunter-in-training. But after a djinn traps Charlie in a recurring nightmare set within a video game, Dean must help Charlie let go of her fears and face her past (and kill some communist vampires along the way). While some monster-of-the-week stories play out in the background with no real ties to the emotional core of the series, "Pac-Man Fever" is a great example of what these monsters can do when used properly: reveal new layers to our favorite characters that we had previously never imagined. –Sadie Gennis

Diyah Pera/The CW

"Sacrifice" (Season 8, Episode 23)

You can always count on a Supernatural season finale to deliver the goods, and this episode, which closed out the revitalizing Season 8, does just that. From Crowley's desperation after being tricked and captured by the Winchesters to Sam enduring a brutal series of trials to close the gates of Hell for good to Metatron (Curtis Armstrong) betraying Cas and draining him of his grace for a spell, "Sacrifice" certainly lives up to its title. But it's the spectacularly beautiful but devastating final images of angels falling from Heaven as a result of Metatron's plan while Sam, Dean, and a newly human Cas helplessly look on that stays with you. –Keisha Hatchett

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Season 9


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"Holy Terror" (Season 9, Episode 9)

Season 9's "Holy Terror" initially stands out for having one of the show's most memorable episode openings ever: A busload of church singers walk into a bar, whip out their angel-killing blades, and slaughter everyone inside before walking out covered in blood and going about their day like nothing has happened. From there, the hour only gets more jarring as we find out that not only is Ezekiel (Tahmoh Penikett) actually an angel named Gadreel, but he double-crosses Dean by taking full control of Sam's body and even killing Kevin Tran (Osric Chau). What a trip. –Keisha Hatchett

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"First Born" (Season 9, Episode 11)

Supernatural dug deep into biblical mythology for Season 9's "First Born," and meeting Cain (Timothy Omundson) was pretty next level. The "real story" of Cain — that he made a deal with Lucifer to save his brother's soul, on the condition that he killed Abel himself — evoked all those old feelings from the early days of Supernatural, when Sam and Dean couldn't stop falling over themselves to sell their souls for each other. This episode was proof that no matter how far from Eric Kripke's original five-season arc Supernatural gets, it will always be about brotherly love. –Lindsay MacDonald

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"King of the Damned" (Season 9, Episode 21)

Supernatural will always be the story of the Winchesters — Sam and Dean are what keeps us tuning in week after week — but there's no way the series would have lasted 15 seasons without its ensemble of fascinating supporting characters. That's why we love episodes like "King of the Damned," which puts the spotlight on one of the show's best recurring figures: Crowley. When Abaddon brings his son, Gavin (Theo Devaney), into the present day, Crowley becomes torn between his survival instincts and his newly discovered paternal instincts. It's not like Crowley is ever going to be named Father of the Year, but it was fun to see Crowley do something in this episode that we had never seen him do before: care about someone other than himself. –Sadie Gennis

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Season 10


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"Fan Fiction" (Season 10, Episode 5)

To celebrate the show's 200th episode, Supernatural staged a musical episode featuring songs like the original and hard-to-forget "A Single Man Tear" and a lovely Rent-esque rendition of the show's unofficial theme song "Carry On Wayward Son." Similar to some of the show's other great episodes, "Fan Fiction" pokes fun at the show itself, its bromance, and its emotionally manipulative narrative beats, but it does so while also acknowledging the importance of the show's longtime fans, without whom the show could not survive. Instead of mocking fan fiction — which was a worry for some fans before the episode aired — the hour is a celebration and love letter to it and the people who engage with it, as if to say there's room for everyone in the pool. Even though Sam has some fun with Destiel, it never feels malicious. There are also plenty of references to previous episodes, like the appearance of Adam, whom the show had ignored since the end of Season 5, and the return of Chuck in the hour's final moments, which seems to confirm what everyone had long suspected: that he is God. But the best moment of the entire episode might actually be Dean's initial insistence that "there is no singing in Supernatural," especially because by the end, even ol' Dean Winchester can't help but be moved while watching the show within a show play out. –Kaitlin Thomas

Katie Yu/The CW

"Hibbing 911" (Season 10, Episode 8)

Season 10's "Hibbing 911" holds a special place in our hearts because it introduces us to a recurring fan-favorite character, the wonderfully cheery sheriff Donna Hanscum (Briana Buckmaster), in excellent fashion. The Winchesters take a step back as the hour, set at a sheriff's retreat, focuses on Donna's odd-couple team-up with another beloved monster-hunting sheriff, Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes). Although Jody is initially put off by Donna's perky demeanor, she eventually warms up to her after a dead body is discovered at the retreat and things kick into high gear. Sure, Sam and Dean drop by to help, but it's the women who save the day and form a special friendship that lasts throughout the remainder of the series. –Keisha Hatchett

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"Brother's Keeper" (Season 10, Episode 23)

Supernatural's best episodes tend to be the ones that really delve into Sam and Dean's complex relationship, and the Season 10 finale does just that. Dean, desperate to rid himself of the Mark of Cain, calls on Death for help in a move that pits him against Sam. The brothers wind up in a brutal fight over the devastating moments that have led to this point, with Sam reminding his brother who he really is by showing him old family photos. In the end, Dean chooses family (as he should) and kills Death instead — a move that would have lasting implications for the show. The episode also delivers one hell of a standoff between Rowena (Ruth Connell) and her son, Crowley, proving that this show really shines brightest when twisted family dynamics are front and center. –Keisha Hatchett

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Season 11


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"Baby" (Season 11, Episode 4)

Supernatural has never been afraid of experimentation and the show really took things in a bold new direction with Season 11's "Baby." The entire hour, which revolved around the Winchesters' latest demon hunt, unfolded entirely from the Impala's perspective. The episode stands out for its incredibly unique concept while also highlighting one of the show's most iconic figures, Dean's beloved Baby. From a sweet Winchester heart-to-heart to a pair of young valets taking the car for a joyride, we saw everything through Baby's eyes. The episode is not just one of the most creative outings of the series, but a great tribute to the show's greatest unsung hero. –Keisha Hatchett

Katie Yu/The CW

"O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (Season 11, Episode 9)

Lucifer has long been one of the best story-drivers of Supernatural, and any episode that gives us great Lucifer and Sam content is an episode we love, but this Season 11 episode was particularly juicy. Not only did we get to see Lucifer in the cage, where he was once again goofy and malicious at the same time, but the episode also revealed that Sam's "mission from God" had actually been coming from Lucifer all along — the cage was weakened when Amara (Emily Swallow) was set free — and was part of his plan to escape. Is it wrong that at this point in the series, we actually started to root for Lucifer? –Lindsay MacDonald

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"Don't Call Me Shurley" (Season 11, Episode 20)

One of the best things about long-running TV shows is their ability to bring back fan-favorite characters periodically and spend quality time with them in ways we haven't in the past. Supernatural has brought a number of people back over the years, but one of the most successful examples is "Don't Call Me Shurley." The Season 11 episode saw the return of Rob Benedict's prophet/Supernatural book series author Chuck Shurley and finally, officially confirmed that he was God. While Sam and Dean deal with Amara's obsession with The Mist in the episode's B-plot, Chuck is joined by Metatron, of all people, for a surprisingly poignant hour that finds God writing his autobiography. This framework not only allows the show to engage in a thoughtful discussion about the nature of storytelling (and creators writing themselves to their work), but it also gives the show a vehicle through which to explore God as a being, as well as where he has been, why he abandoned his creations, and why he wants to parade around in a meatsuit like Chuck instead of as the all-powerful creator of life that he is. It is a deep character exploration that fills in some blanks and makes God feel, well, human. It takes a lot of balls to write God into your show and not only make him an active participant in the ongoing story but also attempt to explain his actions (or lack thereof), but Supernatural would never have gotten to be where it is if it didn't take these kinds of swings. And without this episode, who knows what the show's final season might have looked like. –Kaitlin Thomas

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Season 12


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"Regarding Dean" (Season 12, Episode 11)

"Regarding Dean" is a perfect example of Supernatural's ability to hit viewers where it hurts when they're least expecting it. In the Season 12 episode, Dean is hexed by an ancient family of witches and starts to forget things. At first it's just minor stuff, akin to blacking out after a night of drinking, but it soon becomes apparent it's a lot worse than that, and if Dean isn't cured, he'll eventually also forget how to perform the bodily functions that keep him alive. That obviously doesn't happen thanks to Rowena's interference, but in the interim, viewers are offered a glimpse of a simpler, happier Dean, one who didn't have his childhood ripped away and who doesn't carry the burden of saving the world over and over again. This Dean is goofy. He freaks out at the sight of dead bodies. He enjoys Scooby-Doo. This is a Dean who's innocent and carefree, but it's not the Dean Winchester we know and love, and the unfortunate truth is that the world needs the Dean who's burdened with purpose. This type of episode, one in which one or both of the Winchesters are forced to confront the normal existence they can never have, isn't new — the show has done them a lot over the years — but it never fails to break our hearts. –Kaitlin Thomas

Jack Rowand/The CW

"Stuck in the Middle (With You)" (Season 12, Episode 12)

This Reservoir Dogs-inspired episode, directed by Richard Speight Jr., employed all of Quentin Tarantino's signatures, including irregular pacing and a killer soundtrack. And much like the iconic film, the hour unfolds in a nonlinear way, centering on three key moments: Sam, Dean, and Cas meeting up with Mary (Samantha Smith) at a diner, their battle with the demon Ramiel, and the fallout from it in the barn in which a wounded Cas tells the Winchesters he loves them. It is a beautifully filmed episode that stands out for its style while also moving the season's arc forward. –Keisha Hatchett

Diyah Pera/The CW

"Ladies Drink Free" (Season 12, Episode 16)

Sam and Dean like to pretend they had no parenting experience before Jack (Alexander Calvert) came along, but that is rude to the relationship they built with Claire Novak (Kathryn Newton) over the years. This constantly evolving relationship is at the forefront of Season 12's "Ladies Drink Free," when the Winchesters run into her while working a werewolf case. While Sam is concerned that Claire has been lying to Jody and hunting on her own, Dean goes into full-on aggressive, protective big brother mode, threatening douchey bartenders who get handsy with her. The brothers' concern is enough to make your heart swell, but by putting Claire in danger, the show takes a well-worn monster-of-the-week setup and turns it into something meaningful, as it puts a face on the idea that not every case is black and white and some people deserve second chances. The Winchesters have to make a lot of complicated decisions in the show, but they never lose sight of what's important: family, both blood and found, and this episode really drives that home. –Kaitlin Thomas

Supernatural's 10 Scariest Episodes of All Time

Season 13


Dean Buscher/The CW

"Lost and Found" (Season 13, Episode 1)

It's easy to see how Jack was destined to become such a loved member of Team Free Will as early as his introduction in "Lost and Found." With little understanding of the world or how things work, the newborn nephilim struggles to control his powers while searching for his "father"... Castiel. Although Dean is itching to slay Jack, Sam sees the good in the boy right away and the two of them are able to start building the foundation for what hasn't just become a tender friendship, but a real family between the Winchesters and Jack. This episode also tugs at the heartstrings as Dean struggles with his grief over Castiel's death and Mary's disappearance, even begging Chuck to bring the angel and his mother back in a bitter prayer that goes unanswered. And seriously, if you didn't get a little bit teary-eyed during Sam, Dean, and Jack's funeral for Cas, Kelly (Courtney Ford), Crowley, and Mary, then we have no choice but to judge you. It's nothing personal, it's just how it is. –Sadie Gennis

The CW

"Scoobynatural" (Season 13, Episode 16)

It's a testament to the strength of Supernatural's most ambitious episodes that "Scoobynatural," an episode that saw Sam, Dean, and Cas turned into cartoons and trapped in an episode of Scooby-Doo, might not be the show's creative peak. (That likely goes to Season 5's "Changing Channels" or Season 6's "The French Mistake" for sheer absurdity.) The Season 13 adventure is one of the most imaginative episodes the show has ever done, but more than that, it proves that even in the show's advanced age, Supernatural can still balance the outright weird with thoughtful observations about its central characters, like when Dean's desire to preserve the innocence of the Scooby Gang is evidence of his own desire to escape back to a time before he and his brother were forced into the family business. Mostly, though, "Scoobynatural" reinforced what we knew years ago, which is that the show is at its best when it has the freedom to break from the constraints of stopping yet another apocalypse and laugh at itself. No other show could have pulled this off, but then again, no other show probably would have dreamt of it either. –Kaitlin Thomas

Dean Buscher/The CW

"Beat the Devil" (Season 13, Episode 21)

The first half of "Beat the Devil" — in which Sam, Dean, and the gang plot how to get into the Apocalypse World after Gabriel's ( Richard Speight Jr.) grace fails to do the trick — is a lot of fun. But the second half of this episode — in which Sam, Dean, and the gang actually venture into the Apocalypse World — now, that's just a straight up blast! (For us at least, definitely not for our heroes.) The mission to rescue Mary and Jack gets off to a rocky start when Sam gets taken down by a rabid vampire — not by Michael (Christian Keyes), not by the Devil, not even by God; just a run-of-the-mill vamp. But in a bit of a good news/bad news situation, Lucifer breaks free from Rowena's captivity and resurrects our Sammy. The episode ends with Sam, Dean, Cas, Jack, Mary, Gabriel, and Lucifer all together in the Apocalypse World, and boy, is this gathering worth the wait. This episode will also go down in history as the one in which Rowena and Gabriel have sex. So there really is something for everyone here. –Sadie Gennis

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Season 14


Dean Buscher/The CW

"Mint Condition" (Season 14, Episode 4)

Supernatural has toyed with horror and the genre's many tropes since the beginning, but never in a way that was quite as fun as this. In "Mint Condition," set during Halloween, Dean's love of 1980s slasher flicks, specifically the fictional All Saints' Day films, is at the forefront of the action. However, the episode is also a loving send-up to '80s pop culture, with references to ThunderCats, Hot Wheels, Zelda, Halloween, and more. When the villain in the films, known as Hatchet Man, is possessed by the ghost of a comic book store owner, Dean gets to indulge himself in childhood nostalgia, remembering the times he checked out of the horror movie that was his own life and into a scenario in which he knew the bad guys would lose. Some may call the episode filler because it doesn't deal directly with the overarching story or advance the plot in any way, but "Mint Condition" and episodes like it are just as necessary to Supernatural, as they not only allow the overall story to breathe, but they are often a great source of humor and insight to the brothers. (Plus, in an extra special reference for Supernatural fans, the episode mentions one of the Hell Hazers films; the second film in the fictional horror series was at the center of Season 2's "Hollywood Babylon.") –Kaitlin Thomas

Dean Buscher/The CW

"Lebanon" (Season 14, Episode 13)

After truly epic episodes celebrating Supernatural's 100th and 200th episodes, we were a little worried there might not be anything big enough for 300 episodes. Silly us. This milestone episode brought back John Winchester and allowed the boys to get in some much needed family time with their father and mother. The hour also resolved some long-standing issues between Sam and John, who'd had a turbulent relationship before John died early in Season 2. Watching them forgive one another for all their ancient history and finally get to say a proper goodbye was one of the most touching moments the show has ever given us. It's also worth noting that John and Mary hadn't shared the screen since the show's pilot, making this episode and their characters' on-screen reunion even more special. –Lindsay MacDonald

Diyah Pera/The CW

"Moriah" (Season 14, Episode 20)

The Season 14 ender was a monster of a finale... literally. The revealing hour tests the Winchesters' grit as Chuck, threatened by Jack's immense power, tries to manipulate Sam and Dean, who are still grieving Mary's death, into killing Jack. It doesn't work, though; in a bold move, Dean pushes back against Chuck, who then kills Jack himself and unleashes hell on earth after his favorite creations rebel against their creator and refuse to be his pawns any longer. As the episode closes, a chilling scene unfolds as demons descend upon the earth and close in on our heroes. It is a thrilling way to end the penultimate season that set the stage for one hell of a final run that positioned the Winchesters against God himself. –Keisha Hatchett

Supernatural's 12 Weirdest Episodes of All Time, Ranked

Season 15


Michael Courtney/The CW

"Last Call" (Season 15, Episode 7)

We waited 15 seasons for Jensen Ackles' real-life buddy Christian Kane to finally appear on Supernatural, and the episode did not disappoint. The stand-out hour delivers the fun with an awesome live musical performance, lots of drinking, a gruesome monster of the week, and even a rowdy bar fight that culminates with Dean killing his old hunter friend. Any episode featuring Kane and Ackles hanging out and having a good time — even if it ends badly for one of them — is a great episode in my book. –Keisha Hatchett

Bettina Strauss/The CW

"The Heroes' Journey" (Season 15, Episode 10)

Season 15's "The Heroes' Journey" calls back to Season 3's excellent "Bad Day at Black Rock," which found Sam experiencing bad luck after coming into contact with a cursed rabbit's foot. But that was an external force enhancing his bad luck. Here, Chuck has taken Sam and Dean's exceptionally good luck from them, forcing the Winchesters to simply experience a normal life full of the more mundane aspects of humanity for the first time, like colds, cavities, and parking tickets. The hour, which engages in slapstick, features a black-and-white dance sequence while Dean is getting his cavities filled by Garth, and even detours into monsters cage-fighting, also stands out for the way it explores the nature of heroes in storytelling and their accompanying journeys. Their luck problems would seemingly be resolved in the follow-up episode, and while it might have just been a ploy by Chuck to make the Winchesters doubt themselves and their abilities, it was also a highly entertaining hour that once again mixed Supernatural's well-honed sense of humor with meaningful stories about what it takes to be big damn heroes. –Kaitlin Thomas

Katie Yu/The CW

"Destiny's Child" (Season 15, Episode 13)

"Destiny's Child" had a lot going for it: An appearance from Jo (Danneel Ackles), Ruby's (Genevieve Padalecki) return after a decade-long absence, the Doppel-Winchesters (including Sam with a manbun!), Sam and Dean dropping by Hell to find a mystical object, Cas risking his life to find answers in the Big Empty, and Jack visiting the Garden of Eden and regaining his soul. It was an entertaining hour that balanced the comedy of Sam and Dean's alternate selves with the gravity of Jack coping without a soul and the Winchesters' long-standing grief over what he did to their mother. –Keisha Hatchett

Supernatural's series finale airs Thursday, Nov. 19 at 9/8c on The CW. An hour-long retrospective, Supernatural: The Long Road Home, will air prior at 8/7c.


In honor of Supernatural coming to an end after 15 seasons, TV Guide presents Winchester Week, a celebration of Sam, Dean, and the entire SPN Family. Find out how the stars feel about saying goodbye, look back on the best episodes and moments, and join us in sending the Winchesters off in style.