Largest Review/Discussion Fansite for Supernatural and SPNFamily Shows! Plot/Character Analysis, Spoilers, Games, News, Gallery, Interviews, Fun!

Article Index

Here's a top ten list that's been on my to do list for some time.  As you all know, Supernatural episodes are divided between mytharc episodes and stand alones.  I've never taken a look at the stellar stand alone episodes that have given fans some extraodinary memories from the series.  

What is a "stand alone episode" exactly?  I thought I had an idea, but Supernatural always likes pushing those boundaries when it comes to its episodes.  A lot of the MOTW (monster of the week) episodes have some sort of tie in to the mytharc.  So, I went to Google and found this definition: 

An episode that can stand alone on its own with a self-contained story that does not need prior viewing of any other episode to understand. It's usually an episode that breaks from the current arc to focus on a one-shot subplot or character.  
Okay, good to know.  The question I've asked myself for every single episode on this list, "Could a new viewer watch this episode and not be confused?"  I think all of these meet that criteria.  Once I started listing and ranking qualifying episodes, the results surprised me a little.    
By default, almost all of season four was eliminated.  Almost all those episodes were part of the mytharc in some way.  Also, by season seven, there's always some sort of tie-in, so for some episodes the rules were loosened.  Not too much though, just enough for a person not to be confused, but knowing the history might change one or two of the scenes for them.    
Once I came up with a list based on that definition, I ranked the episodes not only by gauging fan delight, but also those that make my re-watch list constantly.  You know, the "go to" comfort episodes.  A few that made this list are under the radar episodes that fans would never consider to be iconic, but as a standalone they're actually quite good.  Not surprisingly, several are comedy episodes.  Yep, more than half the episodes on this list were written by Ben Edlund.  
Another surprise that I found, not a single season one episode made this list, even though most of that season was stand alone episodes.  The problem is, my favorites from that season were all the mytharc ones.  The others just didn't stand out like the other episodes on this list.  
Okay, since the selection criteria has been spelled out, here are the top ten (with an Honorable Mention) Supernatural stand alone episodes.  Up first, part one, aka an Honorable Mention and episodes 7-10.  


# elle 2012-01-23 05:55
I love all the episodes you have listed here. They are my go to episodes when I don't want to worry about overall storyline but want to enjoy my boys. I especially love Hollywood Babylon and the Usual Suspects.

Gonna revisit these episodes tonight now....
# sylvia37 2012-01-23 06:14
Oh man, you've listed two of my all time favorite episodes. BDABR is, of course, on almost everybody's list, but Usual Suspects has always been close to the top. It highlighted how totally in sinc they were and I loved how they knew exactly what the other was doing even though they had no contact. It's what I really, really missed about later seasons.

The others are good too, and I particularly liked Curious Case of Dean Winchester. Chad Everett was stellar and Jared's poker game is a continued re-watch for me.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2012-01-23 07:20
So far, you've listed a few of my favorites.

Ghosfacers and Hollywood Babylon are both hilarious and a joy on any rewatch. And both seem to always have another hidden layer to find.

My favorite moment of BDABR has to be when Sam takes out the lamp and Dean asks if he's okay without even turning around. It's just a riot.

I look forward to seeing your next picks.
# Holmes 2012-01-23 09:26
Great!!!! You have a lot of my favorites!!!!! Including the best scenes of each episode!

And you have one of my all time favorite episode, the one that introduced my to this crazy unforgettable show, the one that started all , and sent me on this amazing ride . I still remember changing channels on one really boring day (7/28/07) and stopping, I wasn't sure why, on a scene that had this hot, tall guy talking with Linda Blair, asking her: "You want me to turn against my own brother?". I immediately fell in love with Sam, and just a couple of minutes later I fell in love with this Dean guy. And, what do you know?. By the end of the episode I had fallen in love with Supernatural. Since that moment on I haven't miss anything SPN related and I have supported Show on every moment, as I will until the end!. Thanks, Alice for remembering me of that wonderful day!

Can´t wait for the rest!!!!
# Sylvie 2012-01-23 12:40
Great choices and some of my all time favourites. "Usual Suspects" is by far the one that I watch over and over again. Like you said, they are separate for much of the episode, but are still very much in synch. I think that's one of the reasons I love "Time After Time" so much, it has that same brotherly vibe. I'm all giddy waiting for your next installment.
# Bevie 2012-01-23 13:34
Great choices that I agree with, though I have many of my own favourites from season 1. As I've said ad nauseum in my posts I LOVE LOVE seasons 1 -3 and so could never leave the first season off my list. (love Hell House myself more than Ghostfacers). In my round robin re-viewings I am always delighted when I am back to season 1 again. Since most of season 1 are stand alones, my list would need to be my top 30. :P

Loved the "Curious Case of Dean Winchester" for all your reasons and would have really loved a spinoff called "Grumpy Old Hunters" with Jim Beaver and Chad Everett.
Loved dear old Dean! (lots of "love" in this post, but then when it comes to this show that is what I feel most). :roll:
# SecretWillow 2012-01-23 20:39
Gotta agree with you there, Bevie, when you mentioned 'lots of love'. I was watching Lazarus Rising the other day, and every other word out of my mouth was 'love'. I loved that expression, I loved that scene, I loved that one-liner, I loved that effects shot. Lots of love.

I guess I never thought about The Usual Suspects as being a stand-alone episode before, just because of the tie-in to St. Louis. But that's really such a minor detail after all, the episode does work very well as a stand-alone. Thank you for giving me a different way of looking at it. The boys working in tandem was perfection, and a great expansion from earlier episodes. I'm reminded of Bloodlust when they first encounter Gordon. He leaves the bar first, and hides, and then the boys leave and go around the side of the building, and Gordon follows. There's never any indication that they're ever even aware of Gordon's presence, but they still have a plan every step of the way. It's great that The Usual Suspects seems to have expanded on that. I can't really picture them sitting in their motel room going over every detail to make sure their stories match. It's much more fun to think that they're just that psychologically linked, that it's effortless.

All these picks were great. Thank you. Looking forward to the rest.
# digyd 2012-03-14 12:52
I got on my treadmill this morning and turned on Netflix so I can get my more than daily dose of SPN. Hollywood Babylon is one of the ones I had seen the most time ago so I rewatched and I was going to come on here and see what was said about that episode. I love that it made your list, but I was thinking the first few times I saw it and I was thinking again this morning, is it ME or is Tara's voice TOO DARN DEEP?! Eh. I know. She can't help it but it sure made it hard for me to believe her "real" scream. I really don't like her voice. Can you tell? :-) But Dean acting like a fanboy was so adorable and I was wondering if he was using any of his real world experiences being on the other side of that adoration to draw on for that one. Fun stuff.

Anyway, Bad Day is absolutely one of my favorites strictly because I crack up every single time Sam gets to work trying to get that gum off his shoe. "I lost my shoe." Hilarious! Dang. I'm laughing just thinking about it. And he was so convincingly sad and pouty about it. Hard to watch him trip though. I keep thinking he's going to knock himself out, it's so loud!

Time for me to go read your part 2!
# digyd 2012-03-14 12:53
Oh! And yes, Ghostfacers over Hell House any day. I would love for them to do another episode, maybe purposely trailing Same and Dean this time but managing not to be seen.
# Kriss 2012-11-13 00:50
I personally love Mystery Spot. It has it all to me, humor, grief, and a sexy brooding Sam.