Supernatural, the long-running television series created by Eric Kripke, has been a staple of the supernatural fiction genre since its debut in 2005. The show has garnered a devoted fanbase, affectionately known as “The SPN Family,” and has continued to captivate viewers with its blend of horror, humor, and heart.
Over its 15-season run, Supernatural has delivered a wide array of memorable episodes, each contributing to the show’s enduring popularity. In this ranking, we’ll explore the 20 best episodes of Supernatural, showcasing the series’ ability to balance supernatural thrills with profound character development. Whether you’re a seasoned fan or new to the world of the Winchesters, these episodes offer a captivating journey into the unknown. These are twenty of the best episodes of Supernatural, ranked in order of best to absolute best.
20. “The French Mistake” (Season 6, Episode 15)
“The French Mistake” is a delightful departure from the show’s typical format. In this meta episode, Sam and Dean are transported to an alternate universe where they are mistaken for their real-life actor counterparts, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. The humor stems from their bewilderment in this unfamiliar world, offering fans a unique behind-the-scenes peek and self-aware nods to the show’s cultural impact. This episode is a testament to the series’ willingness to experiment with its storytelling and is one of the best episodes of Supernatural.
19. “Swan Song” (Season 5, Episode 22)
“Swan Song” is an epic conclusion to the long-running battle between Heaven and Hell. As the apocalypse looms, Sam and Dean face heart-wrenching decisions to save the world. One of the best episodes of Supernatural, this episode is an emotional rollercoaster, culminating in a climactic showdown that showcases the brothers’ unwavering determination and the depths of their bond. It’s a fitting and poignant end to a central storyline.
18. “Mystery Spot” (Season 3, Episode 11)
“Mystery Spot” is a fan-favorite time-loop episode. Sam is forced to relive Dean’s death repeatedly, blending humor and tragedy seamlessly. The episode’s humor arises from the absurdity of Sam’s predicament and his determination to break the cycle. Beyond the laughs, it’s a standout episode that captures the essence of the show, combining supernatural elements with deep emotional storytelling. The message of one of the best episodes of Supernatural is that life’s precious moments should never be taken for granted lingers long after the episode ends.
17. “Baby” (Season 11, Episode 4)
“Baby” offers a unique perspective by unfolding from the viewpoint of the iconic Impala. This episode provides a glimpse into the brothers’ day-to-day life on the road, combining humor, heart, and a touch of horror. One of the best episodes of Supernatural, it’s a love letter to fans who’ve grown attached to the Impala as an integral part of the Winchester legacy. The episode’s narrative style, focusing on the Impala’s perspective, showcases the show’s creativity and willingness to experiment with storytelling.
16. “Changing Channels” (Season 5, Episode 8)
“Changing Channels” is a creative and humorous episode where Sam and Dean find themselves trapped in various TV shows, including sitcoms and game shows. This inventive concept and one of the best episodes of Supernatural showcase the show’s willingness to experiment with its format while staying true to its core themes. The humor stems from the absurdity of the situations the brothers find themselves in and their attempts to navigate the bizarre TV landscape. It’s a memorable episode that provides a break from the series’ usual tone while still advancing the overarching storyline.
15. “Sacrifice” (Season 8, Episode 23)
Serving as the eighth-season finale, “Sacrifice” explores themes of sacrifice and redemption. It culminates in a high-stakes showdown and reflects the characters’ growth throughout the series. This episode is a pivotal moment in the show’s history, highlighting the depth and complexity of the Winchester brothers in one of the best episodes of Supernatural. The emotional weight of their choices and the consequences of their actions take center stage as they confront formidable adversaries. “Sacrifice” serves as a powerful conclusion to a season filled with character development and world-altering events.
14. “All Along the Watchtower” (Season 12, Episode 23)
This episode marks a significant turning point in the series as Jack, the Nephilim, comes into his power. It features intense showdowns and emotional moments, introducing new elements to the Supernatural mythology. “All Along the Watchtower” keeps the show fresh even in its later seasons. The episode explores the complexities of parenthood and responsibility as the Winchesters grapple with the consequences of Jack’s immense power. One of the best episodes of Supernatural, it sets the stage for future developments and challenges, underscoring the ever-evolving nature of the series.
13. “Lazarus Rising” (Season 4, Episode 1)
“Lazarus Rising” marks Dean’s return from Hell and the introduction of Castiel. One of the best episodes of Supernatural, it sets the tone for the series’ darker and more complex narrative arcs. Castiel’s enigmatic arrival forever changes the course of the show, making this episode a pivotal moment in Supernatural. The episode explores themes of resurrection and redemption, offering a glimpse into the challenges and consequences of escaping Hell. Dean’s disbelief and skepticism upon his return add depth to the character’s development, setting the stage for the unfolding celestial conflict.
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12. “A Very Supernatural Christmas” (Season 3, Episode 8)
“A Very Supernatural Christmas” blends holiday cheer with gruesome supernatural elements. The episode explores humor and heart as the brothers confront a pagan god, making it a fan-favorite for its mix of holiday spirit and horror. The juxtaposition of holiday festivities with dark supernatural threats adds depth to the episode’s narrative. It showcases the brothers’ resilience and their unwavering commitment to protecting innocent lives, even during the holiday season. The heartfelt moments and the realization that family extends beyond blood ties are central themes that resonate with fans as one of the best episodes of Supernatural.
11. “The End” (Season 5, Episode 4)
In this post-apocalyptic vision of the future, Dean encounters a world ravaged by the apocalypse, and a morally ambiguous version of his brother, Sam. “The End” offers a thought-provoking glimpse into potential outcomes and choices, diving into the consequences of their actions. One of the best episodes of Supernatural, this episode explores themes of destiny and free will as Dean navigates a bleak future where the lines between right and wrong are blurred. The moral ambiguity of future-Sam adds complexity to the character dynamics and raises questions about the brothers’ paths.
10. “Inherit the Earth” (Season 15, Episode 20)
The series finale, “Inherit the Earth,” provides closure to the long-running saga of the Winchesters. They face off against God himself in a powerful conclusion to their epic journey. This episode serves as a bittersweet farewell to characters who’ve become like family to fans over the years. “Inherit the Earth” explores themes of destiny, free will, and the power of humanity’s choices in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. The emotional weight of the Winchesters’ final confrontation with God underscores the show’s core themes of family, resilience, and the enduring human spirit. It’s a fitting end to a series that has left an indelible mark on popular culture and is one of the best episodes of Supernatural.
9. “Yellow Fever” (Season 4, Episode 6)
“Yellow Fever” takes a humorous turn as Dean contracts a supernatural illness that induces extreme fear. This episode showcases the lighter side of Supernatural while still delivering some creepy moments. It’s a reminder that the show can balance horror and humor with finesse.
The humor in “Yellow Fever” arises from Dean’s comical reactions to everyday situations turned terrifying due to the illness. One of the best episodes of Supernatural, it provides a welcome break from the show’s darker storylines, offering a lighthearted and entertaining episode that explores Dean’s vulnerability in an amusing way. Despite its humorous tone, “Yellow Fever” also advances the character development of the Winchesters, showing the bond between the brothers and their resilience in the face of the unknown.
8. “Dead in the Water” (Season 1, Episode 3)
“Dead in the Water” is one of the early “Monster of the Week” episodes that helped establish the show’s formula. In this classic horror-inspired installment, the brothers investigate mysterious drownings in a small town, offering a glimpse into the early days of their supernatural adventures.
The episode combines elements of suspense and mystery with the supernatural, emphasizing the brothers’ resourcefulness and their commitment to helping those in need. “Dead in the Water” serves as an example of the show’s ability to explore different types of supernatural threats while maintaining a strong focus on its core characters. The episode’s eerie atmosphere and the brothers’ determination to uncover the truth add depth to the narrative, one of the best episodes of Supernatural.
7. “Red Sky at Morning” (Season 3, Episode 6)
“Red Sky at Morning” combines supernatural lore with high-seas adventure as the brothers investigate a haunted ship. This episode showcases the show’s ability to blend different genres into its overarching narrative, adding complexity to the Winchesters’ world. One of the best episodes of Supernatural, the episode introduces maritime legends and superstitions, expanding the scope of the supernatural threats the brothers face.
The haunted ship setting adds a unique and atmospheric element to the story, creating a sense of isolation and dread. “Red Sky at Morning” exemplifies the show’s ability to draw inspiration from various sources of folklore and urban legends, enriching the Supernatural universe with diverse supernatural entities and myths. The episode’s blend of suspense, horror, and mystery keeps viewers engaged while highlighting the brothers’ expertise in confronting the unknown.
6. “Hammer of the Gods” (Season 5, Episode 19)
“Hammer of the Gods” finds the Winchester brothers facing an assembly of powerful deities, including Lucifer himself. The episode delves into various mythologies and cultural beliefs, presenting a cosmic conflict that transcends earthly boundaries. It’s a pivotal episode that sets the stage for the series’ epic final showdown, emphasizing the significance of the Winchesters’ roles in the grand scheme of the supernatural world.
“Hammer of the Gods” explores themes of power, faith, and the consequences of divine intervention, challenging the brothers’ beliefs and testing their resourcefulness. The episode’s portrayal of the gods as morally ambiguous and flawed beings adds depth to the series’ mythology, presenting a thought-provoking perspective on the nature of deities. “Hammer of the Gods” is a standout entry in the series for its ambitious exploration of the supernatural world’s higher echelons and its impact on the mortal realm, one of the best episodes of Supernatural ever aired.
5. “Bad Day at Black Rock” (Season 3, Episode 3)
“Bad Day at Black Rock” offers a delightful dose of humor as Sam experiences an unusual streak of bad luck due to a cursed object. This episode showcases the show’s ability to balance darker supernatural elements with lighthearted moments. It’s a testament to the Winchesters’ resilience and their ability to find humor in the face of adversity, adding depth to their characters.
The humor in “Bad Day at Black Rock” arises from Sam’s comical misfortunes and Dean’s bemused reactions, providing a welcome break from the show’s more intense storylines as one of the best episodes of Supernatural. The cursed object premise allows the episode to explore themes of fate and free will, highlighting the brothers’ determination to overcome supernatural obstacles. “Bad Day at Black Rock” stands out for its entertaining blend of humor and horror, making it a fan-favorite entry in the series.
4. “The Monster at the End of This Book” (Season 4, Episode 18)
In “The Monster at the End of This Book,” the brothers discover that a series of novels chronicling their adventures actually exists. This self-referential episode blurs the lines between fiction and reality, offering a playful commentary on fan culture and the impact of storytelling. It’s a testament to Supernatural‘s self-awareness and its ability to engage with its dedicated fan base as one of the best episodes of Supernatural.
The episode explores the concept of fate and destiny as the brothers grapple with the idea that their lives are being written by an unseen hand. “The Monster at the End of This Book” delves into themes of agency and the consequences of one’s choices, challenging the brothers’ perceptions of their own narrative. This meta episode adds a layer of complexity to the series’ overarching storyline while providing a humorous and thought-provoking look at the intersection of fiction and reality.
3. “Hollywood Babylon” (Season 2, Episode 18)
“Hollywood Babylon” takes a satirical approach as the brothers investigate supernatural occurrences on a Hollywood film set. This episode provides a humorous glimpse into the entertainment industry and the challenges of making a horror movie. It’s a fun-filled episode that allows Supernatural to poke fun at itself and embrace its own status as a cult favorite. The episode’s humor arises from the absurdity of the situations on the film set and the brothers’ interactions with eccentric Hollywood personalities.
“Hollywood Babylon” is a lighthearted break from the show’s darker storylines, offering a humorous commentary on the filmmaking process and the exaggerated nature of Hollywood. The episode’s satirical take on the entertainment industry adds a fresh and entertaining dimension to the Supernatural universe, showcasing the series’ versatility in exploring different genres and themes as one of the best episodes of Supernatural.
2. “Sacrifice” (Season 8, Episode 23)
Serving as the eighth-season finale, “Sacrifice” explores themes of sacrifice and redemption, culminating in a momentous showdown and character growth. This episode is a pivotal moment in the show’s history, highlighting the depth and complexity of the Winchester brothers. The emotional weight of their choices and the consequences of their actions take center stage as they confront formidable adversaries.
“Sacrifice” serves as a powerful conclusion to a season filled with character development and world-altering events as one of the best episodes of Supernatural. The episode’s exploration of sacrifice as a recurring theme throughout the series adds resonance to the characters’ journeys and the impact of their decisions. “Sacrifice” offers a fitting and emotionally charged conclusion to a season marked by personal growth and the bonds of family, underscoring the series’ enduring themes.
1. “All Along the Watchtower” (Season 12, Episode 23)
This episode marks a significant turning point in the series as Jack, the Nephilim, comes into his power. It features intense showdowns and emotional moments, introducing new elements to the Supernatural mythology. “All Along the Watchtower” keeps the show fresh even in its later seasons. The episode explores the complexities of parenthood and responsibility as the Winchesters grapple with the consequences of Jack’s immense power.
It sets the stage for future developments and challenges, underscoring the ever-evolving nature of the series. The episode’s intense and emotionally charged confrontations raise the stakes and add complexity to the character dynamics. “All Along the Watchtower” is a standout entry in the series for its willingness to take risks and introduce new elements that shape the course of the Winchester brothers’ adventures.
Why We Love Supernatural
Supernatural stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of otherworldly fiction on television. Its 15-season journey is a testament to the power of storytelling and the impact of well-drawn characters. The 20 best episodes of Supernatural that we’ve explored here are just a glimpse into the rich tapestry of the Winchester brothers’ adventures.
As we’ve seen, Supernatural excels in blending horror, humor, and heart while continually reinventing itself. It has brought countless memorable moments to our screens, and its impact on popular culture is undeniable. Whether you’re a devoted fan or new to the world of Supernatural, these episodes are a perfect starting point to immerse yourself in a world where the supernatural is just a road trip away. So, grab your salt and iron, and join Sam and Dean on their extraordinary journey through the unknown.