With the summer hiatus in full swing, it’s time to review my favorite Supernatural episodes from past seasons. We finished with season 5 in March and it’s time to pick things back up with season 6. The first season after Eric Kripke’s reign (and his five-season story arc) was inspired by film noir (I read that somewhere), with more emphasis on inner demons than external monsters. It wasn’t one of my favorite seasons.
Per TV Fanatic, TV.com, and IMDB, the favorite season 6 episodes are:
- (3-way tie): Weekend at Bobby’s (603, and Jensen Ackles’s directorial debut), You Can’t Handle the Truth (606), and Appointment in Samarra (611)
- The French Mistake (615)
- (tie) Caged Heat (610) and Frontierland (618)
(Incidentally, this list differs from my previous post of the Best of Supernatural Season 6 episodes, probably because I used a different metric back in 2013.)
Only two of these episodes make my list of favorites. With such disparity, I decided to see if I’d missed something. TNT kindly obliged by recently airing season 6, so I watched all the above episodes and a few others to see if my thoughts had changed. For the most part, they didn’t.
“Weekend at Bobby’s” did boast two of my favorite guest stars—Steven Williams as Rufus Turner and Kim Rhodes as Sheriff Jody Mills—as well as introduce new canon about burning a demon’s bones. But for me, the story simply wasn’t that engaging. Nor did I find anything particularly interesting or notable about “You Can’t Handle the Truth.” The main takeaway was Dean’s continued concern with Sam’s personality change. Since we still hadn’t learned that Sam was minus one soul, the episode was most notable for Dean beating Sam to a bloody pulp. (I actually counted the number of times Dean hit Sam. It was about 15! That’s more than the number of times he beat the Impala with a crowbar at the end of “Everybody Loves a Clown.”)
I understand why “Caged Heat” and “The French Mistake” are fan favorites. “Caged Heat,” in which the Winchesters plus Meg and Castiel, enter Crowley’s lair with moderately disastrous results, was a season turning point. And “The French Mistake” was a darkly humorous meta episode, which are nearly always enjoyable. But upon rewatching these two episodes, I still can’t give them higher than average ratings.
And thus, my favorite season 6 episodes continue to be, in preferential order
1. Appointment in Samarra (611)
Dean plays Death for a day in exchange for Sam’s soul. Sam doesn’t want his soul back, so he tries to kill Bobby in order to irreversibly damage his vessel. Dean fails at playing Death, Sam fails to kill Bobby. Yet Death still retrieves Sam’s soul. Read all about it here. And a little about it here.
2. Frontierland (618)
Sepia tones, Western music, a Bonanza-style title card, several nods to Supernatural lore, and a few nicely played plot twists; there’s a lot to love. Based on information gleaned from Samuel Colt’s personal journal (found in the Campbell family hidden library), Castiel sends Dean and Sam back to 1861 Wyoming. Dean gets to
play be sheriff, and Sam gets to meet Samuel Colt. It”s a classic in my book.
3. Clap Your Hands If You Believe (609)
Dean gets abducted by aliens, er, fairies, and goes nuts. Giangantic Sam fights a leprechaun and barely wins. And because it can’t be said enough, crazy fairy lady was right!
Three Honorable Mentions
My Heart Will Go On (617):
Balthazar saved the Titanic—on Castiel’s orders so that he’d have 50,000 extra souls for his war in Heaven—throwing the world into an alternate universe of mixed results. The good: Bobby was married to Ellen (and Jo was hunting in California). The bad: Dean drove a ugly-ass Mustang.
To correct the error, or simply out of spite, Fate started killing off all the Titanic survivors’ descendants in inventive, comically gruesome ways. Castiel only agreed to return things to normal when Fate threatened the lives of Sam and Dean.
The plot may have sounded trite, but the episode was full of heart, especially coming on the heels of Rufus’s death in “…And Then There Were None.”
Let It Bleed (621)
On paper, “Let It Bleed” didn’t sound very interesting. “Lisa and Ben are kidnapped by a demon.” But what made the episode stand out was the effect it had not just on Dean, but on Sam and Bobby as well. The level of fear, anxiety, and frustration each exhibited was profound. It culminated in a bittersweet ending, and one of Jensen Ackles’s finest performances. (Which is saying a lot since I consider him one of Hollywood’s best actors.)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (622)
The season 6 finale allowed Jared Padalecki to shine as Less!Than!Sam, Soulless!Sam, and Hellfire!Sam (™ Natalie) when Castiel broke the wall inside Sam’s head. Plus it featured Erica Cerra from Eureka fame. The episode was at its best when exploring Sam’s broken psyche. Unfortunately, it devolved into the Castiel/Crowley/Raphael showdown for Purgatory, with Dean, Bobby, and Sam looking on. Somehow I thought this would be a good setup for season 7 featuring a battle with Cass as the Big Bad, but instead, it turned out to be a season-long black goo fest of Leviathans. Oh well.
And there you have a half dozen episodes from season 6 that I would gladly watch again. How about you? What are some of your favorites from the season of Soulless Sam and the Mother of All?