With Supernatural’s season 14 on hiatus last week due to Thanksgiving, there’s no new review to read, but we continue our look back over the past seasons and pick up with the top five episodes of season six.
Season six was new territory for Supernatural as it saw the departure of creator Eric Kripke as showrunner. He remained in the background helping with the writing, passing the torch to writer and executive producer Sera Gamble. Conscious that they were following on from the Apocalypse they knew they had to be inventive with the plotlines, as Gamble herself said in an interview.
“We were very aware that we had gone as big and epic as we could go, so we didn’t want to just slot in another big bad. We didn’t want to deal with a new story in that way because it would feel like a cheat. I don’t think you can go bigger than Lucifer and excite people.”
This season takes place roughly a year after season five and sees the return of Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) from his time in Hell, but all is not what it seems, and Dean (Jensen Ackles) is taken out of retirement, having been living with Lisa Braeden (Cindy Sampson) and her son Ben (Nicholas Elia) since the Apocalypse was thwarted.
Foolishly I expected this to be an easy season to choose my top five from due to it being the first without Kripke, but I was wrong. It took me a long time, and I’m still questioning my picks even now, but without any more ado, here’s the list.
Weekend At Bobby’s
The fourth episode is a little different to anything that came before it because Sam and Dean are not the main focuses of the plot, Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) is. The reason for this was that it featured the directorial debut of Jensen Ackles and was filmed before the premiere so that he had the prep time before having to go into filming. Throughout the episode, we see Bobby’s life when he’s not devoting his time solely to the Winchesters. We see how he manages other Hunter’s and their problems, deals with the amorous attention of a next-door neighbour and also the steps he’s taking to try and get his soul back from the new King of Hell, Crowley (Mark Sheppard).
It’s a superb episode which also features the return of Sherif Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) who now has an altered perception of Bobby’s life given her introduction in season five, and fellow Hunter Rufus Turner (Steven Williams). Jim Beaver carries this episode exceptionally well, playing seriousness and comedy with ease and he cements Bobby even further in fans hearts.
Live Free or Twihard
By the fifth episode it clear that there’s something really not right with Sam, since his return from Hell, and suspicions are also rising as to what the boys’ maternal grandfather’s, Samuel Campbell (Mitch Pileggi), agenda is. This episode takes it even further when Sam allows Dean to be turned by a vampire after an attack and seems to enjoy watching it take place. It’ll be a few episodes before we find out that Sam is Soulless, but this is the first major indication that all is not well. Samuel is revealed to know a cure for vampirism but it involves getting the blood of the vampire who turned Dean, so before that can happen Dean has to struggle with his increasing urges to drink human blood. He makes the mistake of returning home to see Lisa and Ben and although he avoids hurting them he still freaks them out, putting further strain on his relationship with them.
In addition to the pokes at Twilight’s expense, and other books and films, we also learn more about vampires in the world of Supernatural and are introduced to the Alpha Vampire (Rick Worthy). He is the second alpha the Samuel is after, still for reasons unknown, but again this is something that adds to the themes of distrust and possible betrayal that run throughout season six.
By the tenth episode, things have become even more complicated for the Winchesters. Dean now knows his brother is without a soul, they both know that Crowley is the one who has Sam’s soul, and the only way they’re going to get it back is by working for Crowley collecting monsters for him. Both brothers are unhappy about this but when they’re kidnapped by the demon Meg (Rachel Miner) who also wants to kill Crowley, they’re given an opportunity to turn the tables. If they can find where Crowley is and tell her, Meg agrees to torture him for how to get Sam’s soul back. For this grand plan, the brothers also enlist the help of Castiel (Misha Collins), who has been largely absent due to the civil war happening in heaven. The only remaining Archangel, Raphael (Demore Barnes/Lanette Ware) and his followers are trying to bring about the Apocalypse again and so Castiel and others are fighting against that. This episode stands out for some truly epic Soulless Sam moments with him threatening Castiel and not backing down, and of course the bloody toothy grin after making a Devil’s trap out of his own blood when locked up. But the best performance was given by Rachel Miner.
Rachel Miner was always fantastic in the role of Meg and it was a genuine shame when she was written out of the show, due to her multiple sclerosis becoming too severe to continue with acting, and it was this episode that sparked the idea of Cas and Meg becoming an item amongst a lot of fans. The pairing, affectionately known as Megstiel, came about after a passionate kiss and embrace was instigated by the angel when the two of them, and the Winchesters, became trapped by Hellhounds. It’s a shame that the two characters couldn’t further explore what Cas learnt from the pizza man.
The French Mistake
The French Mistake is a serious contender for the best episode of Supernatural of all time, the way it pokes fun at itself and its actors, the meta humour and the fact it has the audacity to kill off its creator Eric Kripke (or at least the fictionalised version of him played by Micah Hauptman), is a bold move that I don’t think many other shows could pull off in a way that works so well.
The angel Balthazar (Sebastian Roche) sends Sam and Dean into an alternate reality to protect them from an ambush by Raphael, and they find themselves in a world where they don’t exist. Or rather they are now two actors named Jensen Ackles and Jared Padaleski… I mean Padalecki. Sam finds that his counterpart is actually married to fake-Ruby (played by Jared’s actual wife Genevive Padalecki), and the alternate version of Misha Collins ends up being murdered by one of Raphael’s minions, Virgil (Carlos Sanz).
There are so many funny self-referential moments that you can pick up on new ones with each watch through and it truly is a stand out episode, even now eight seasons later.
The Man Who Would Be King
It was a hard choice between The Man Who Would Be King and the season finale, The Man Who Knew Too Much, but in the end, it was this episode that secured top spot. It is framed throughout by Castiel sitting alone talking to God, about all the concerns he has over his actions this season and seeking guidance as to whether he is doing the right thing. He tells his story about how he believes himself to be the guardians of the Winchesters but now he knows his path will put him at odds with them.
Cas is a character who has always tried to do the right thing, but on meeting Sam and Dean his entire worldview was challenged and with it his definition of the right thing. Due to his bringing back Sam from Hell without his soul, not something he intended to have happened, and his decision to leave Dean to his peaceful life with Lisa and Ben, it’s meant he’s had to make decisions without their guidance and falling into a partnership with Crowley was never the greatest of moves. Cas, however, is so far gone with his plans in the bid to defeat Raphael that it seems he’s left with no other choice.
As the episode progresses it becomes clear that Cas has made one too many mistakes and the Winchesters are now on to him, resulting in them trapping him in holy fire. It’s heartbreaking watching the angel now at odds with the Winchesters, but when he refuses to stand down Dean swears he’ll stop him.
The episode ends with Cas with him asking God for a sign, but yet again there is no answer and Cas is once more left disappointed by his father.
And that’s the list, and yet again a vast number of equally outstanding episodes didn’t make the final cut. So do you agree with the episodes presented here, or would you have picked a different five? Let us know in the comments.