From Route 666 to The Apocalypse: Ranking the episodes of Supernatural, Episodes 84-74

Throughout its six years on the air, 
Supernatural has had a substantial amount of good-to-great episodes, which made this list difficult to compile. However, like any long-running series, Supernatural has aired its fair share of missteps, problem children and downright horrible episodes. These things happen. Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be discussing all the series’ episodes, albeit briefly, in list form. From #126 all the way to #1. Remember, this list was made with my personal biases, tastes and thoughts in mind. I like to think about television more critically than the quote-unquote “general viewer,” but when it comes to something like Supernatural, I’m also a massive fan. I like certain characters, plotlines and seasons more than others, and I’m certain my list will reflect that. If you disagree, feel free to tell me why, but I’m certainly not presenting this list with some sort of scientific formula. This is how I see the series and these episodes, that’s all.

You can find all the entries in this list right here

Wow, I totally did not mean to go an entire week between entries on this list. I’m going to bust my hump to prevent that from happening this week and hopefully (fingers crossed), I can actually make it through the entire thing by the end of this week. In any event, here we go with numbers 84-74 on the list.

84. “The Song Remains the Same” (S5): Though “In The Beginning” and “The End” were very good episodes that saw Dean do some nifty and important time traveling, this mid-season five episode took things one step too far. It’s not that this episode messed up the timeline or created some sort of larger paradox, it was just kind of frivolous pointless. It was nice that Sam finally got to go on one of these time traveling journeys, but having the brothers fight and kill Anna with the help of Michael didn’t really do it for me. It is always good to see the young versions of Mary and John and I do love time travel, but there was a degree of purposefulness missing from this episode that the previous two had.

83. “Bloodlust” (S2) and  82.”Fresh Blood” (S3): Gordon is one of the series’ early additions to the world, but still one of my favorites. He went a long way in showing the audience that not all hunters are as heroic and compassionate as the Winchester brothers and served as very solid human antagonist in “Bloodlust” and “Hunted” before becoming a vampire in “Fresh Blood.” His obsession with Sam hinted at larger mythological concerns and created a fairly insane threat who had generally intimate knowledge of the brothers’ operations. The way Sam kills him in “Fresh Blood” is, to this day, one of the series’ best and most disturbing moments. And in general, I’ve always enjoyed how Supernatural portrays vampires, so there’s another check mark in the plus column for these two episodes.

81. “Frontierland” (S6): This episode had a wonderful hook, but I’m not totally sold on how it was executed. Sending Dean and Sam back to the past so that they can meet Samuel Colt in Wyoming was a really lovely idea and one that provided a number of mildly amusing gags about Dean’s love for westerns and desire to be a cowboy. That was all fun. However, the whole affair did feel a bit rushed and underdeveloped for what it could have been, I think. I know that so many of the series’ episodic gimmicks are just fun ways to mask plot mechanics and devices, but this one wasn’t very well-disguised. It’s still enjoyable, but I sort of expected greatness, especially with Colt involved.

80. “Are You There God? It’s Me, Dean Winchester” (S4): In the aftermath of Castiel’s first appearance and the whole reveal about angels, I probably would have preferred an episode with a larger mythological download, but this episode has a really solid narrative to go along with its fantastic title. Forcing the brothers to deal with some of the people they couldn’t save is miserably mean, but effective storytelling.

79. “Simon Said” and 78. “Hunted” (both S2): Although seasons four and five are rightfully recognized for their expansion of the series’ mythology, season two did a damn good job accomplishing similar goals throughout its 22 episodes. The stakes were a little smaller and the scope a little narrower, but episodes like “Simon Said” and “Hunted” go a long way in making the two-part S2 finale work so well. While “Said” is more humorous in tone compared to “Hunted,” both offerings solidly execute the introduction of two (well, three really) more of Azazel’s special children. These episodes work on an episodic level and as building blocks for larger mythological concerns, which makes them precursors to the kinds of episodes the series produced on a more consistent basis in seasons four, five and six. “Hunted” also features another solid appearance from Gordon, the star of numbers 83 and 82.

77. “Sam, Interrupted” (S5): To be honest, I’m kind of surprised it took the series five years to lock Sam and Dean up in a mental institution, but I’m even more surprised how wrenching this episode is once they get there. I guess waiting that long made for perfect timing, as the brothers (especially Sam) start to think about why they belong in a place like this anyway. Although I like most of the episodes in the early part of season five, this was one of the first to really examine how Sam feels in the aftermath of drinking the blood, letting Lucifer out of the cage, learning about his meat-suit fate, etc. and “Interrupted” succeeds substantially in that task. Both the atmosphere and the ebb and flow of the case are well done here as well.

76. “Free to Be You and Me” (S5): Splitting Sam and Dean up was a necessary, yet frivolous exercise, but this episode does a fine job of letting the Winchesters breathe a little bit since they are finally separated from one another after months of angst. Sam’s solo life isn’t tremendously intriguing, but dramatic enough and it especially picks up one Lucifer makes his play in the shape of Jess. Moreover, “Free” also features a really solid Dean-Cas story that deepens the heaven mythology without doing so much heavy lifting that it takes away from Sam’s dalliance with Lucifer. Just a solid early-season episode.

75. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester” (S4): Another fantastic title! In any event, even though every week is basically Halloween on Supernatural, it was fun to see the series tackle the holiday’s origins in a more proper way in this episode. Samhain was a really fun episodic villain and his showdown with Sam sort of jump-starts all the melodramatic tension that powers so much of Sam and Dean’s interactions in the second half of season four. There is some solid stuff with Cas and Uriel here as well.

74. “Mommy Dearest” (S6): Like most people, I have my problems with how season six handled its various narrative arcs, especially the introduction and usage of the Mother of All. The actress was pretty terrible and she wasn’t around enough to even becoming remotely menacing or threatening. Nonetheless, I really, really loved this episode. The Mother story made much more sense by the time “Dearest ended” and the reveal that Castiel had been working with Crowley was shockingly awesome. The investigation with the monster virus was well-paced and even though the following episode is his greatest performance on the series to-date, Misha Collins is very good in this one as well.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another batch of episodes. Thoughts?

Season breakdowns:

S1: 12
S2: 7
S3: 7
S4: 7
S5: 8
S6: 10


One response to “From Route 666 to The Apocalypse: Ranking the episodes of Supernatural, Episodes 84-74”

  1. Mostly agree because ranking episodes in the middle is tremendously difficult as you stated. I would put Bloodlust higher as well as Mommy Dearest. Simon Said is way higher for me. As for Frontierland, i was really liking the episode until what i think is the worst cop-out of the series (far worse than the mindwipe). The ending with the ashes coming by courier may have been a shout-out but it was one of the stupidest moves the writers ever made. By that time I was so tired of the Winchesters losing that having them get the ashes themselves would have been a big plus. Instead they chose the most asinine way to end the story. It ruined the whole episode for me.


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