5. Thin Lizzie 11×05 by Nancy Won
I love this episode. A lot. “Thin Lizzie” had a great throwback feel to it; from the opening of the show, to the case breakdown, to Sam fangirling over a famous serial killer – all of it was a fun reminder of how simple Supernatural used to be. But that wouldn’t be enough to get it to crack the top ten in such a solid season. Then it turned. The reveal in the middle of the hour, that we weren’t dealing with a ghost, but instead with the season’s big bad, was a shockingly pleasant surprise. Years of loyal Supernatural viewing has made it very easy for fans to guess what’s coming in an episode; so a genuine surprise (not a shock value murder but actual surprise) is a rare and welcome moment for long time fans. The sudden reveal of the Mark and Amara, and the exploration of the different ways that being soulless affects a person, was a excellent twist, and one that elevates this episode from being good, to being great. Bonus points: the little Sam doppelganger at the end is Mike from Stranger Things!
4. The Vessel 11×14 by Robert Berens
“The Vessel” surprised me. My initial recap of this episode was a glowing one, but I figured that I was overly kind to it on the night. But I was surprised at just how well it held up upon rewatch. The men on the submarine and Delphine, while they don’t have a ton of screentime, are given just enough material to make them all tragic victims by the episode’s end. Dean’s role as a witness is explored in a responsible and emotional way. The final scene of the two boys on the dock, as Dean unpacks his adventure for his brother, is a rare insight into what the Winchesters are when they fail. Dean doesn’t cope well with doing nothing; that his hands were tied by history was a self-reckoning that was heartbreaking to watch. And then, on top of all that, we were treated to the scene in which Lucifer reveals himself in Cas’ vessel, and the fallout of the fight that ensues with the shocked brothers.
3. Baby 11×04 by Robbie Thompson
“Baby” is a genius episode. Not so much in the traditional sense as the case of the week is a pretty standard one. But you knew what I meant. Told entirely from the point of view of our beloved Impala, “Baby” gave us a unique insight into the rarer moments in the Winchesters life. The moments on the road not involving case discussions, the times they just laugh or drive in silence. We saw Sam take a moment to act like a teenager. We saw a valet do as we all would and take the beautiful muscle car out on a quick adventure. We saw proof of what we always knew: that the car is more of a home than anything else these two wayward boys have ever known. Shot beautifully, “Baby” will be long remembered as one of the most unique episodes of Supernatural ever.