What are the best Supernatural episodes? For 15 seasons, the Winchester brothers Sam and Dean, played by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, enthralled us in their exploits saving people and hunting things. Their family business frequently made it a terrifying watch, though it wasn’t afraid to have a laugh either.
Created by Eric Kripke, the horror series had aired 327 Supernatural episodes by the time the finale hit screens in 2020. That’s a lot of strange monsters killed, bizarre adventures, and occasional highly comedic side-quest. Devoted viewers of the TV series would say if you want to give it a look, you should just start from the first episode and work your way forward. To be honest, we wouldn’t discourage such practice either.
However, not everyone has that sort of time. There are just so many Netflix series, comedy series, horror movies and more to stay up on, not to mention The Winchesters, the Supernatural prequel. We’ve listed the best Supernatural episodes to make things easy for you, and if you like what you see, welcome to the family.
What are the best Supernatural episodes?
- The French Mistake
- What Is and What Should Never Be
- Fan Fiction
- Mystery Spot
- Lazarus Rising
- The Benders
- The Kids Are Alright
The French Mistake – season 6, episode 15
Supernatural loved to get meta and poke fun at itself, and The French Mistake is one of the show’s most clever episodes in that regard. The angel Balthazar, protecting Sam and Dean from Raphael, transports them to another dimension where they’re actors in a TV show called Supernatural, named Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, playing brothers called Sam and Dean.
They then have to navigate a televisual version of one off their misadventures, complete with actors playing creator Eric Kripke and then showrunner Sera Gamble, while working out how to get home. It’s absurd and hilarious, and showed the particular power Supernatural had to have a joke without losing sight of the core conflict.
What Is And What Should Never Be – season 2, episode 20
Gut-wrenching, this. Dean gets to see what life would be like if his mother was never killed. Turns out, it wouldn’t be the worst, though he and Sam never reconcile like they do in the pilot. The rest of the world suffers, because nobody can do what the Winchesters do.
This leaves Dean with a choice: stay where he is, or revert to normalcy because humanity needs him and Sam. An impossible choice, pushing Ackles to deliver a stand-out performance. A doozy to end Raelle Tucker’s short run as a writer on the show.
Baby – season 11, episode 4
It only took 11 season for Supernatural to finally dedicate an episode to the honorary fourth Winchester, the 1967 Chevrolet Impala. Shot entirely within the confines of the vintage automobile, we get a closer and yet more intimate look at what it’s like when the brothers Winchester work a case.
In this instance, they’re facing German vampiric-ghouls – as one does – a tricky brand of monster for the boys. They succeed like they always do, and the Impala waits patiently at each step, no matter the difficult. A love letter to a sturdy vehicle and finding your cornerstones in life.
Lebanon – season 14, episode 13
Once we got through season ten, it was clear the end is nigh. How much longer could this ride truly go? Even knowing full well that finish line is in view, Supernatural could absolutely rip our hearts apart. The 300th (!!!) episode is a prime example.
Through some time travel movie and space tomfoolery, Sam and Dean are reunited with both their parents, John and Mary Winchester. Their time is limited, and in order to preserve the memory, they have a family dinner together. Seeing them all so happy only drives home what a long, tragic tale Supernatural is. But it’s because of that sadness the good times deserve extra attention.
Fan Fiction – season 10, episode 5
Does it count as fan-service if the whole thing is about innocent fans? Fan Fiction, the 200th Supernatural episode, involves Sam and Dean and a high-school musical based on their story so far, and it’s one of the most incredible hours of television ever made.
At they try to avoid the production, on the heels of something that’s kidnapped a teach, but naturally Dean can’t help but pass comment. The brothers track down their culprit on opening night, adding authenticity to the stirring performance. Brilliant, genius, and a testament to the enduring power of Supernatural.
Mystery Spot – season 3, episode 11
Supernatural does Groundhog Day, but maybe better? Season 3’s Mystery Spot is such an efficient, engrossing episode, it’d be towards the top of choices for introducing someone to the series. Dean gets murdered while looking into someone’s disappearance, and Sam wakes up to find the day totally reset.
This happens over and over and over for what’s meant to be years, Sam eking out enough information to break the cycle. Scenes where he’s stuck trying to convince Dean about what’s happening add a psychological layer to the concept, and Padalecki proves he has plenty of acting chops.
Scoobynatural – season 13, episode 16
How do you keep something fresh after 13 seasons? Cross over with an animated series that’s been going since 1969. In all seriousness, this was a match made in heaven. Sam, Dean, and Castiel, after stopping a toy dinosaur coming to life, are transported into their new TV. Luckily, they land in Dean’s favourite episode of Scooby-Doo, and join the Scooby Gang in solving the case.
By this point, very little could surprise the Winchesters, so they accept their cartoon forms and get to work quick. The whole episode is delightful, full of good-natured gags and quips on the Scooby-Doo tropes they’re forced into. A stand-out for both parties.
Lazarus Rising – season 4, episode 1
Misha Collins as Castiel in Supernatural is a casting choice that not only shaped the very fabric of the show, but pop culture as a whole. OK, that second part might be an exaggeration, but the fact remains that Castiel, and Collins in the role, were indelible to Supernatural’s long-term storytelling and character work, and his introduction still feels momentous.
Just that shot of Collins in the rain, his wings fully drawn in the empty barn behind him, is enough to get goosebumps. At this point, we were merely on the precipice of the deity-bothering journey Sam and Dean were about to go on. Castiel enters the picture by granting Dean’s first proper resurrection – starting as they meant to continue.
The Benders – season 1, episode 15
We weren’t even through the first season before Supernatural decided to make clear that some demons are really just regular people. In The Benders, Sam and Dean fall victim to what they believe is something abnormal, before it’s revealed to be a family of hunters for whom people are the ultimate prize.
As an early episode, cooperation between the Winchesters is still forming. Some tension lies in whether or not they’ll get out unscathed, and this is definitely a close call, even by their standards. Penned by John Shiban, one can sense allusions to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Hills Have Eyes, and The X-Files, all culminating in of the scarier episodes of the show.
The Kids Are Alright – season 3, episode 2
It’s not hard to make small children creepy. The Orphanage and Children of the Corn are evidence of that. What starts as Dean visting an old fling to discover he might have fathered a son becomes something a little sinister when little ones start staring at them ominously.
Hiding in plain sight is a common trope of what Sam and Dean are facing, and The Kids Are Alright is emblematic of the personal insulation needed for hunting. They can’t form connections, because anyone close is at risk, including kids. Especially kids, even.
To give you more of what goes bump in the night, have a look at our lists of the best ghost movies, best vampire movies, best werewolf movies, and best zombie movies.