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Supernatural’s Top 15 Episodes

A breakdown of the most imaginative chapters in the show's 15-season run

Supernatural's Top 15 Episodes
Supernatural (The CW)
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    Supernatural could never end. Sure, the show ceases to exist without Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, but as long as they’re still alive and kickin’ it, the show goes on. Hell, the two stars could be 85 years old, sauntering around with nurses, and you could still find a way to make it work. That’s the power of this series, and also a testament to its seemingly infinite sandbox — the best in the business, come to think of it.

    None of this is hyperbole. For 15 years, the long-running CW series has run the gamut and back when it comes to world-building. We’ve seen Sam and Dean Winchester ascend to heaven, discover other worlds than these, join the Scooby gang, play themselves, attend Supernatural fan conventions, and flip through channels. At some point, the depths of hell become so commonplace, the two treat the place like a rest stop.

    There have been rough patches, sure. Season 6 takes some time to find steadier footing after series creator Eric Kripke concluded his five-season run. And, yeah, Season 12 struggles to find conflict after, well, seeing God throw down. But, the writers always find another misadventure for the two Winchesters to solve, even if it’s something as obvious as staging an entire episode in their car. They make it work.

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    Even now, this team just can’t quit. During their recent interview with Variety, Ackles and Padalecki admitted that they have another idea for an episode — one they just couldn’t fit into Season 15. “We called it Naked Supernatural,” Ackles admitted. “It was like the Naked Gun version of Supernatural. Everything that happened in the episode would have been tongue-in-cheek.” Fans are already demanding it.

    Odds are they’ll see it come to fruition. Again, there’s just no end in sight for the Winchesters, and that’s not because the creators are trying to exploit something and ruin a good thing. No, it’s because it’s too good a thing to walk away from — even after 15 years and 15 seasons. The fact that the creativity keeps coming speaks volumes about the series as a whole, and says even more about the characters in question.

    They’re family, we’re family, and it’s been one long family road trip ever since the show premiered on Tuesday, September 13, 2005. Let that date sink in. Try to imagine all the things that have happened since then: the places you’ve seen, the people you’ve met, the culture we’ve experienced. That should help contextualize the road so far, and add some weight to the entire journey. Will it end in November? Who knows.

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    All we can do is carry on.

    –Michael Roffman
    Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief

    Editor’s Note: Stay safe by picking up one of our custom face masks. A portion of the proceeds will benefit MusiCares’ COVID-19 Artist Relief fund supporting independent musicians.

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    15. “The Curious Case of Dean Winchester”

    22The Curious Case of Dean Winchester22 Supernaturals Top 15 Episodes

    Supernatural (The CW)

    Season 5, Episode 7

    The Road So Far: Stalled on trying to halt the Apocalypse, the Winchesters do what they do best: save people and hunt things like malevolent presidents, powerful children, and old foes.

    Now: The Winchesters roll into a town to probe the peculiar death by old age of a 25-year-old man. Bobby (Jim Beaver), Sam (Padalecki), and Dean (Ackles) then stumble upon a poker game where players can win big, but the stakes are even bigger. In this game, you bet years off your life, and both Bobby and Dean find themselves on the losing side of the game.

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    Carry On: Ah, there’s nothing better than a good ol’ poker flick. Maverick, Rounders, Casino Royale, The Gamber — with James Caan, of course — all boil down to one thing: the stakes. The sweatier the stakes, the better the game, and for Supernatural, writers Sera Gamble and Jenny Klein truly subverted the medium by tossing in a little Benjamin Button action. It’s one of the more brilliant conceptual marriages in the show’s history, toeing the line between comedy and intrigue as we watch Dean go grey.

    None of it would work if it weren’t so tightly wound. Gamble and Klein tie all the threads efficiently, from the story-of-the-week backstory involving Patrick (Hal Ozsan) and Lia (Pascale Hutton) to Bobby’s ensuing arc involving his own physical ailments. It’s razor sharp genre writing that affords the entire cast to flip the board. The greatest swap is seeing an elder Dean huff and puff behind an in-control Sam, who channels his inner Caan as he gambles his own life for the house. It’s funny, it’s gripping, it’s a diamond one-off.

    Team Free Will: Ackles reunites with his former Dawson’s Creek pal in Ozsan. Also, we get a good look at Dean as an old man via Medical Center veteran Chad Everett. How about that.

    –Michael Roffman


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    14. “Moriah”

    22Moriah22 Supernaturals Top 15 Episodes

    Supernatural (The CW)

    Season 14, Episode 20

    The Road So Far: The young Nephilim Jack (Alexander Calvert) has gone too far, killing Mary in a blast of anger. Sam, Dean and Castiel have locked him up in the Ma’lak Box in an effort to contain him – but it doesn’t work and now he’s free.

    Now: Sam and Dean are on the hunt for Jack, who is causing chaos around the world by forcing people to “stop lying.” Elsewhere, Chuck (Rob Benedict) appears with a weapon too good to be true, the Equalizer. In a classic Supernatural catch-22, the weapon promises to kill Jack, but also vanquish the individual that wields it. Naturally, the ensuing confrontation changes everything forever.

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    Carry On: The title “Moriah” comes from the Book of Genesis — specifically, chapter 22, verse two — and reads, “And He said: ‘Take now thy son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” So, it’s not particularly hard to parse out what showrunner Andrew Dabb was thinking when he chose this title for the season finale. After all, Jack has become like a surrogate son to Dean, and these last few episodes have been winding up to Dean being forced to kill Jack — an act he cannot bring himself to commit.

    Beyond that drama, the revelation that Chuck, aka God, has been orchestrating all their misery for their entire lives is quite the game-changer for Supernatural. It turns God from an absentee father of a benevolent nature to one of a malevolent force that actually makes quite sense when you consider the long-game storytelling. Narratively, the twist breaks the fourth wall in a different way, dissecting the agency the characters have when they’re being written by someone. They don’t want the pain that’s being thrust upon them, and that’s the key to it all – it’s finding the will to fight against what’s already been written.

    More importantly, if we drill down deeper, God’s love of putting the Winchester brothers through pain and suffering is a commentary on the audience who watch Supernatural. They, too, love it when the Winchesters experience loss and heartache. It’s a narcotic to the fans and the cheapest one on the market – the written word.

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    Team Free Will: Benedict reprises his role as Chuck/God here, while Lisa Berry returns as the formidable reaper, Billie.

    –Nathan Smith


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