It’s not secret that we absolutely love Supernatural, and to to celebrate the forthcoming DVD/Blu-ray release of Season 7 (pre-order it now on DVD for £26.97 or Blu-ray for £34.25 from Amazon.co.uk) as well as the recent premier of Season 8 in the US, we count down our 10 favourite episodes from the first seven seasons of TV’s hottest monster-hunting show…
10. Born Under A Bad Sign
Series 2, Episode 14
Sam disappears for a week and wakes up covered in blood and with a bad case of amnesia. What started as a trace-the-footsteps mystery quickly became a lot more sinister as the boys discovered that whatever Sam was doing during his blackout, it certainly wasn’t good. And just as the mystery deepened, Bad Sam exploded onto the scene, chock full of demonic vigour and targeting other hunters. Seeing Sam go darkside was a little weird and unnerving, but Padalecki put on a good show, and when considered as foreshadowing for Sam’s later soul-less escapades, ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’ painted a tantalising picture of bad things yet to come.
9. Mystery Spot
Series 3, Episode 11
Characters dying repeatedly in Supernatural is hardly unheard of, but during the course of ‘Mystery Spot’, Dean managed to rack up more untimely deaths than most. With the Trickster deciding to teach Sam a Groundhog Day-style lesson about the futility of trying to save Dean from his date with Hell, we got to see the boys endlessly relive a Tuesday that always ended badly for the elder Winchester. Death by shotgun, desk, axe, sausage and even labrador ensued with exceptional comic timing, but even as the episode offered up some light relief to an otherwise doom-laden series, it never let us forget that darker days were coming.
8. Bloody Mary
Series 1, Episode 5
Season 1’s early episodes made great use of classic urban legends – ghostly hitchhikers, hook-handed killers, backwoods townsfolk worshipping pagan gods – but ‘Bloody Mary’ was the first episode that stepped beyond the “scary just got sexy” promo spiel and showed us that Supernatural was quite happy to be just plain scary. ‘Bloody Mary’ was dark, bloody and exceptionally creepy (taking its cues from the new wave of slasher flicks and classic horror remakes of the early 2000’s, particularly The Ring), and made walking past a mirror without taking a second glance feel like a test of character for a good few hours after watching.
7. The Devil You Know
Series 5, Episode 20
Crowley, the man who would be king (of Hell). To omit one of Supernatural’s most entertaining characters from this list would be a crime and while most of Mark A Sheppard’s onscreen moments are gems in their own right, ‘The Devil You Know’ presented a glorious showcase for Crowley’s character and motivations – a brutal, scheming, self-serving bastard with a nice line in witty repartee and a strong survival instinct. The lies and half-truths, the deals and double crosses – everything Crowley did was deliberate and had a purpose – to ensure that what’s best for Crowley came to pass. It was never evil for evil’s sake, and that’s what made Crowley stand out – he’s a bad guy, without doubt, but you can’t help cheering him on.
6. The Real Ghostbusters
Series 5, Episode 9
A mysterious text message lures the Winchesters to… a Supernatural fan convention! If there’s one thing guaranteed to get your fanbase frothing with delight, it’s dedicating an episode to them, and that’s exactly what ‘The Real Ghostbusters’ represented – a tongue-in-cheek, grand acknowledgement of the debt owed by the producers to those that watched. The stereotyping was outrageous, but never malicious, and seeing the boy’s confusion at being confronted by devotees of Chuck’s novels sporting very familiar clothes and mannerisms (and assuming the Winchesters were fanboys themselves) made
for fantastic viewing. Throw in a ghost story featuring some seriously maladjusted orphans, and you’ve got a great episode.
5. The French Mistake
Series 6, Episode 15
The perfect mirror to ‘The Real Ghostbusters’, ‘The French Mistake’ sees the Winchesters whisked into an alternate reality where Supernatural is a TV show, Sam’s married to Ruby and Cass is a Twitter addict with a distressingly un-gravelly voice. The self-deprecating humour was relentless and fun, and the episode succeeded in delivering maximum fan service and marking itself as one of Season 6’s stand-out moments.
4. Weekend At Bobby’s
Series 6, Episode 4
Just what does Bobby Singer do when the boys are out ganking bad guys? ‘Weekend At Bobby’s’ gave us a brilliantly entertaining insight into the bearded mentor’s daily life dealing with constant requests from hunters, an amorous neighbour, automobile breakdowns, torturing demons and dodging the law. A perfect balance of humour and peril, we got to see a much-loved character in a new light – and he put an okami through a wood chipper.
3. Death’s Door
Series 7, Episode 10
Comatose and fading fast, Bobby struggles to evade his very own reaper long enough to deliver a vital clue to the Leviathan’s plans to the boys. Watching Bobby come to terms with his darkest memories and seeing how those events forged the irascible SOB we’d come to know and love made for harrowing viewing, and seeing Sam and Dean look on helplessly only hammered home just how integral Bobby was to the show. Loss of a loved one was a key theme revisited many times across the series, but rarely did it hit home this hard.
2. No Rest For The Wicked
Series 3, Episode 16
If there’s one thing we can count on Eric Kripke delivering, it’s a strong finale, and Season 3 didn’t disappoint. Time had run out, and Dean’s debt to the crossroads demon was due, with Lilith keen to collect. After a season spent trying to find ways to cancel Dean’s contract, Supernatural delivered one of its hardest lessons – sometimes the unavoidable really is unavoidable. It may not have packed quite the emotional punch of season 5’s Swan Song, but it wasn’t far off. And lest we forget – Bon Jovi rocks… on occasion.
1. Swan Song
Series 5, Episode 24
From Chuck’s flashback-laden monologue regarding a certain Impala, through accepting Sam’s fate as Lucifer’s vessel and his mental battle with the Big Bad himself to the final confrontation with Adam/Michael, Swan Song took five series’ worth of carefully built emotional investment in Supernatural’s characters and used it against us with all the subtlety of a rocksalt-loaded sawn-off. The real kicker came after the gate closed, taking Sam with it and leaving Dean battered, broken and alone. With Cass and Sam gone, Bobby dead, and a promise to leave hunting behind and live a “normal” life, Dean never looked so vulnerable. Even bringing Cass and Bobby back did nothing to soften the blow, because for 45 long seconds there was no happy ending in sight – Dean had lost everything, and we felt every moment of it. This was the big finale to Kripke’s five-season plan, and while no fan was unhappy to hear the show would go on, the truth is that if it had all ended there, we’d have accepted it as nothing less than the perfect ending.
Supernatural Season 7 is out 5 November 2012, pre-order it now on DVD for £26.97 or Blu-ray for £34.25 from Amazon.co.uk. The Season 1-7 box set is also available from 5 November, and you can pre-order that on DVD for £65 and on Blu-ray for £87.75.