[Can you tell what my favorite episodes are from the screenshots? Without checking below the cut!]
Detailed analysis of season 1 data indicates my favorite episodes are not normal. According to a compilation of IMDB and TV.com ratings, the six favorite season 1 episodes, in rank order are:
- First place: Home
- Second place tie: Pilot and Faith
- “Fourth” place 3-way tie: Scarecrow, Provenance, and Devil’s Trap
Only two of those episodes are on my favorites list. Consequently, the other two don’t get the love I think they deserve. These four are the only episodes that received my personal 5-star rating. (Although many others received 4 stars, still an excellent rating.) They’re in chronological order because I love them all equally.
1. Dead in the Water (103)
In addition to season 1’s “money shot,” we had a glimpse into the more serious side of Dean. Perhaps it made more of an impression on me because I had a better since of Dean, having started watching towards the end of the first season. Dean’s surface bravado was solidly etched in my mind, which made him showing his pain more impactful.
Yes, Dean emerging with Lucas was heart-stopping. But even before that, when the boys ran down the pier and dove into the water without any hesitation, I though “These guys really are heroes.” It beautifully defined their character.
2. Home (109)
Another episode in which pretty boy Jensen Ackles astounded me with the depth of his talent. Once again, Dean’s swagger is stripped away, and we see his fear of having to confront his past.
Jared Padalecki was great, too. This time Sam got to be the “big damn hero,” rescuing Saire and Richy from the fire. When pinned against the wall and speaking with his mother’s spirit, he had tears in his eyes.
Other things I loved: The scene of Dean telling Sam he carried him out of the house emphasized the brotherly connection. It was something Sam hadn’t known, and he was moved. And Missouri Moseley, one of my favorite guest stars from season 1. In a way, it’s too bad Loretta Devine is too busy to return.
3. Faith (112)
First of all, there’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” one of the best uses of classic rock in a series featuring classic rock.
Written by Sera Gamble and Raelle Tucker, the episode avoided two tv tropes, which made the episode special. The preacher wasn’t a charlatan. Although his healing power came from an unnatural source, he was innocent of that knowledge and truly believed his power was a gift.
The ending was powerful. Layla, the “girl of the week” or “damsel in distress” wasn’t saved. And yet, she was at peace. “…if you’re gonna have faith, you can’t just have it when the miracles happen. You have to have it when they don’t.” (So true!) And when Dean said he’d pray for her, “Well… There’s a miracle right there.”
4. Something Wicked (118)
I don’t know if the reason I love this episode so much is because it was the first one I ever saw, or because it’s really, really good. While the former gives it a special place in my heart, I continue to love it, even after 10 years, so I expect it’s the latter.
It had everything: an incredibly creepy, scary monster; “Monkeypuss” (a name I called my beloved Gigi); flashbacks; Dean angst, brotherly drama, “I was sleepin’ with my peepers open,” more Blue Oyster Cult, and Jeffery Dean Morgan. ‘Nuff said.
Several season 1 episodes received 4 stars (from me), but these three were
the best my favored ones.
- Bloody Mary (105): a famous urban legend with a Kripke twist, a frightening specter, and our first hint of Sam’s visions. (The dream in “Wendigo” doesn’t count.)
- Asylum (110): An eerie setting with ghostly inhabitants brings forth deep-seeded brother issues that are all too quickly glossed over.
- Hell House (117): I’m not ashamed to say I loved Harry and Ed. Plus it had my most favorite scene ever from season 1—the laughing fisherman/crazy glue stunt.