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Supernatural‘s Five Worst Episodes

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I tried. I even forced myself to watch “Red Sky At Morning” again, hoping to find some way to do a review that didn’t sound like an insensitive berating of what is clearly the one off episode of the season that every show is allowed. Even Eric Kripke himself admitted that this was not a good one, so for me to give a detailed criticism of something that is already known to be bad would be the equivalent of doing a restaurant review of McDonalds. Pointless.

My mind instead got distracted by a nagging question during a mood of reflection (really, it was an intentional diversion from another boring day at work) — just how bad was this episode? Did it compare with the truly stinky from the other seasons? When I look at this episode in that light, it turns out it wasn’t the worst. It was the best of the worst. So, I present the top five worst episodes ever of Supernatural, from bad to just plain awful.

5. “Red Sky At Morning” (Season Three)

Why is this one so bad? Bela. Need I say more? Any episode that gives her just as much screen time as the Winchesters screams a network ploy that once again proves The CW has no clue who’s actually watching this show. The ghost ship story was ludicrous, and considering the culprits of the murders were only shown briefly in the final confrontation, we didn’t get into what was happening.

Not that it mattered, because they sucked and their little fight was way too anticlimactic. Sure, there’s the often used device of the invisible villain, whose lack of presence is supposed to be scarier (re: Keyser Soze), but a ghost ship? People see a ghost clipper ship and then start drowning where there’s no water? Yeah, I’m quaking. Oh, and these people just happened to have killed a family member. How many people in Massachusetts see a ghost ship and happen to fit that criteria? Apparently more than we’d ever believe.

The premise of Sam being stuck with a horny elderly woman while Bela and Dean have their fun scheming to steal the hand (????) might have been acceptable on paper, but this failed in so many ways. I take that back, it doesn’t even look good on paper. What Sam experienced was more uncomfortable than funny, and Bela and Dean had no chemistry. This actually is a repeating theme in most of these bad episodes — “Sam or Dean” and “no chemistry with female hookup”. They can’t do better than each other, so why try (slashers, keep your minds clean)?

Redeemable moment: The first scene in the Impala, and the last one. The fights between the brothers continue, and what is said adds to the drama that has been building with these scenes ever since “Bad Day At Black Rock”. I especially loved the first scene, where Dean confronts Sam about killing the Crossroads Demon. “She was a smartass.” Yes she was, and that’s one of the few good lines of this entire script. The other: when Bela says, “When this is over, we should have angry sex.” Dean’s reply: “Don’t objectify me.” As much as I loathe Bela, that was funny. The big winner though was the brothers in tuxes. That alone bumped this episode to the top (or bottom, I’m not sure which) of the list.

4. “No Exit” (Season Two)

Why is this one so bad? For one, there was hardly any Sam in it. I read somewhere that was because Jared Padalecki was having surgery done to repair the broken wrist he sustained in filming “Bloodlust” (yes, it was broken without a cast in “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things”, but he actually broke it before that). Let’s see, no Sam, so ooh, ooh, just replace him with Jo Harvelle! After all, she and Dean have great chemistry, and are so hot together. Um, considering Jo didn’t make an appearance in the series again after “Born Under A Bad Sign”, I think we all saw the flaw in that logic.

To fault the lengthy screen time of Jo, though, wouldn’t be fair, since that wasn’t what sunk this episode. Kim Manners was even the director, so we know whatever went wrong didn’t come from there either. He did the best with the crap he was given. The true culprit was a sluggish story with weak dialogue, especially between Jo and Dean, and the fact that I was more scared by Ellen Harvelle in the end than the so-called ghost serial killer. The parallel of Jo being bait like what happened with her father and Daddy Winchester years ago harped on an arc that was never compelling to begin with. That story only ended up being satisfying in “Born Under A Bad Sign”, and only because evil!Sam recounting the truth was too damn hot.

Redeemable moment: The frosty and uncomfortable scene in the Impala on the ride back to the roadhouse. Dean and Ellen are in the front seat, and Dean is scared. Dean goes to turn on the radio to break the mood, and on comes Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice”. That’s perfect comedic timing! Too bad it was the only entertaining part of the episode.

3. “Hookman” (Season One)

Why is this one so bad? This is one of those urban legends that I’m sure looked great on paper, and I read how much Kripke loved this legend. The trouble was, Hookman was never scary. The directing was terrible as there was nothing done to build the tension, suspense, or drama. The episode was choppy and didn’t flow well. The scenes were reminiscent of some really bad slasher films. Too bad, because the writing wasn’t half bad on this one.

Aside from the poor directing, the acting sunk this one, too. The actress playing Lori wasn’t very good, and she and Sam had zero chemistry. The fact that Sam would take interest in a girl like this so quickly after losing Jessica wasn’t believable to me, and I don’t think Jared was sold on the idea either. He seemed uncomfortable most of the episode. As much as I adore Jared, he was still trying to find his footing with the character of Sam in these early episodes and hadn’t quite found it by this one. He struggled quite a bit with the scenes that didn’t involve Dean. The other actors, including Lori’s dad and roommate, well, I was rooting for Hookman against them.

Redeemable moment: Dean. This was one of his better episodes, but that wasn’t surprising since from the word go Jensen found his place in this series. Dean was loose, funny, bad ass, and he should have tried for Lori instead. Wouldn’t it have been great, him coming back to Sam later, bragging about nailing the preacher’s daughter? Isn’t there a Lynyrd Skynyrd song about that? This episode also introduced rock salt as a weapon against demons, which has proven to be very useful, and a great bit of the folklore that has defined this show.

2. “Route 666” (Season One)

Why is this one so bad? Two words. Racist truck. Does anything more need to be said? Actually, almost the entire episode was a hot mess. The story sucked, the characters sucked, the heavy-handed themes on racism were contrived (and sucked), and Dean was paired with an ex-girlfriend who was annoying, whiny, and a really bad actress. She and Dean should have never shared the same planet, let alone a bed.

While I'm sure many fans girls squealed when they heard Jensen was getting a sex scene, the end result was two of the most uncomfortable minutes I’ve ever seen on film. It was like two hens pecking at each other. We’re still waiting for redemption, for Dean deserves a steamy love scene with a hot female character like what Sam had in “Heart”. I say bring back Lisa, and let the sparks fly!

Also, since when is Cape Girardeau, Missouri a seaside town? Those weren’t riverboats at that marina. In my opinion, this was the worst written episode of the entire series. How this really bad episode got stuck in between season one classics “Faith” and “Nightmare” is beyond me. Another thing beyond me — this episode is actually the highest rated one in Supernatural history. I heard it was because the State of the Union address was on and The WB was the only station showing original programming. Watching this must have definitely been pure desperation.

Redeemable moment: The final chase scene, where Dean in the Impala is being chased by the ghost truck (that still sounds so wrong). That scene was actually interesting. Sam calls him on the phone, only to get “I’m in the middle of nowhere with a killer truck on my ass!” I need to work that line into regular conversation at work, just to throw people off. Sam guides Dean to an area and has him stop. The Impala and truck showdown, the truck charges, and then disappears into thin air just before it makes contact. Cool!

What was even better was when Dean asked Sam what had happened.

Dean: What if you were wrong?

Sam: Huh. Honestly, that thought hadn’t occurred to me.

Dean slams the phone down in disgust, muttering how he’s gonna kill Sam. Bwah! There was another classic quote in here, and it’s actually from Sam: “I miss conversations that didn’t start with ‘this killer truck’.” You and me both pal.

1. “Bugs” (Season One)

Why is this one so bad? Actually, it’s a virtual toss-up between this and “Route 666”. Each day I keep changing the order, but I ruled this as number one because the other’s redeemable moment was much longer. This was an episode that was loaded with great intentions. I even understood the mentality, go for something in the spirit of The Birds, but use bugs instead.

Unfortunately, everything went wrong, and this one goes down as one of the sorriest episodes I’ve ever seen in television. Where do I begin? For one, the bugs looked fake. That’s because they were. After filming, they discovered the bugs didn’t show up on film and had to CGI them.

If that was the only problem, I would have excused it. After all, working with the bugs ended up making for some great interview stories. The pacing of the story was way off, and that’s assuming there was pacing. The climactic bug showdown was pretty short considering they were supposed to be pulling an all-nighter. They didn’t do any sort of editing that showed breaks in the action, so six or seven hours was literately five minutes. The scene with the wise old Indian and his terrible story of tragedy against his people felt like it was chucked in there at the last minute, and didn’t add much to the story. They could have found out about the burial ground at the library.

Sadly, the acting again failed to deliver. The teenage bug kid wasn’t great casting, but what was even worse was the terrible parallel between that boy’s estrangement with his father and Sam’s. Their situations weren’t remotely in the same league, let alone the same ballpark. It was an awful way to force some backstory on us about Sam and John’s fight. Again, as with “Hookman”, Jared didn’t sell it. I didn’t believe his anger or pain toward Daddy Winchester, and I didn’t believe that he related to this kid, or honestly cared. My only comfort was that Jared’s acting began to improve immediately after this episode in “Home” and continued to steadily get better until he reached Jensen’s level with “Born Under A Bad Sign”.

Redeemable moment: Dean in the steam shower. That’s pretty much it, and it was way too short.

Honorable Mention (aka Bad, But Not Bad Enough): “Playthings” (Season Two)

This one had many great elements: gay jokes, creepy dolls, hoodoo curses, poking grandma with a stick, Sam all wet in a pool, and my absolute favorite, drunk Sam. Also, the story was pretty good. Still, something didn’t sit quite right with me about this one. I thought it was my mood, but in two more re-watches I still didn’t like it.

I didn’t like the mother, for she didn’t connect with either of the boys. I didn’t care if the guests got killed. Dean’s conversation with the old man seemed forced, actually Dean’s interest in this entire job seemed forced. This episode featured easily the worst motel room of the series. A wedding dress on the wall in the stately hotel room? They would actually give that room to a pair of hot-looking men? Uh, no. The little girl Maggie wasn’t creepy enough, and I didn’t realize how much so until seeing Katie in “The Kids Are Alright”. Sam was whiny the entire episode, especially with the whole “you promised you’d kill me” thing (although no one has ever looked sexier praying to the porcelain God). I think in the end, though, I don’t like dolls.

So, did anyone notice anything common about these episodes? First, let me list the writers: Rachel Nave, Bill Coakley, John Shiban, Eugenie Ross-Leming, Brad Buckner, Matt Witten, and Laurence Andries. With the exception of John Shiban, none of these writers went on to to great Supernatural writing success. Second, as mentioned before, bad hookups for Sam and Dean. Female characters have always been a problem, but they really become a problem in weak episodes.

Three of the episodes featured directors who never came back to the show, and with good reason. Also, the top three episodes on this list were from early season one, in which even Kim Manners admitted it took them half a season to find their groove. Luckily those of you watching the show from the beginning were patient and rewarded with the great second half of that season.

Considering these were also the five episodes Eric Kripke listed as his least favorite, I’m sure I’m not going to get a lot of argument about this list. Is there another one that should have been here? The only other one I can think of that fans might not have liked is “Ghostfacers”, but that was a "loved it" or "hated it" one, and I’m in the “loved it” category. If anyone has another episode they want to share, or wants to present their list, opinions are welcome! I’m just one crackpot reviewer.

Next week, “Fresh Blood”, aka “when season three found its groove.” Expect something gushing and long.

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About Alice Jester

  • Valerie

    I thought Sam’s situation with the older woman was really humorous in that it *was* uncomfortable for him. JP played it beautifully, as did JA for relishing his brother’s discomfort in ways that are all too familiar with me as someone with a brother. And though I never cared for Bela, I wouldn’t condemn the whole episode because she’s got too much screen time.

  • Mary (Bardicvoice)

    Hi, Alice!

    I’m more tolerant of a few of these episodes, but I’d agree that these were indeed the weakest. What always occurs to me, however, is that even the weakest episode has redeeming moments, something not the case on all shows. For example, I love the scenes between the brothers in Bugs, with Dean calmly and correctly diagnosing John’s reaction to Sam’s desire to go to college as fear, and telling Sam about John secretly checking in on him. And after that ridiculously short and totally unbelieveable night (I had to laugh when Kim Manners, talking about the episode once, mimed doing the finger down the throat to prompt throwing up!), again I loved the brother moment with Dean correctly noting that they’d find Dad, Sam would apologize, and they’d be at each other’s throats in five minutes. The relationship between the brothers is forever and always what this show does right, and Jensen and Jared together are magic as Dean and Sam.

    I’m less critical of Route 666 and No Exit, at least in part because of external issues for both episodes. Our killer truck was supposed to take place in Mississippi – until it snowed on location and they had to make a fast swap! (And I’ll confess I kind of liked the monster truck; I’ve known people so attached to and typified by their vehicles that I could accept their ghosts coming back in automotive form … *grin*) I also enjoyed watching Sam watching Dean, and reacting to something in his brother he’d never seen before. For No Exit, I could appreciate the need to work around Jared’s medical issues. I always disliked how Jo was written and executed as an immature flirt, but I did appreciate Dean trying to discourage someone else from making the same choices he had, and acknowledging for one rare time that he might have chosen differently, if he’d felt earlier that he had a choice.

    And if I go on much longer, this comment will be longer than your post! *grin*

  • cassi

    In general, I agree with most episodes on your list but I was suprised not to find “Wendigo”(the most awful episode of the entire series) and “Malleus Maleficarum” (there’s nothing wrong with portraying witches in the “special” SPN kind of way but this was painful to watch).

    I personaly think whether you like an episode or not depends on your interests (some legends don’t work for everyone), your personal involvement (some episode fail to drag you into the story and make you care about the character) and bad storytelling or acting. At least that’s my explaination for hating some SPN episodes.

    It’s difficut to make a list based on all episodes so I wil it for ech saison.

    Season 1: The only episode I really hate is “Wendigo”. A very akward legend, strange dialogues and on top of it the only monster in the entire series that is embarassing, slow, not scary and looked like a bad copy of Gollum. Never again!!
    “Provenance”, “Bugs” and “Hookman” had very boring legends which failed to entertain me or drag me into the story.

    Season 2: “Roadkill” with the most annoying female guest star before Bela. This ghost girl would have been perfect for “Ghost whisperer”, even the light at the end and the cheesy, akward afterlife talk between Sam and Dean had similarities to Melinda’s emotional speeches. Also a very predictable and poorly written story, the ghost status of highway girl was not a suprise. All in all, a very dissapointing episode.
    “Heart” (with the most akward sex scene that I have ever seen) and “Usual suspects” were watchable but weird. I think it’s funny that I love “Route 666″ and dislike “Heart” and that you have the exact opposite opinion.:)

    Season 3: Although “Red sky at morning” had too many Bela scenes it had a good legend, funny jokes and the most awesome special effect of the entire series, the water scene.
    The episode I can’t stand and which totally crashed was “Malleus maleficarum”. The worst and fake looking girl fight ever, a weird combination of “Charmed” meets “Desperate houswife” kind of story, bad directing, weird dialogues between the brothers and the “charming houswifes, etc. I stop know because the list is just too long.
    “Ghostfacers” was decent but had too little Sam and Dean action after the break.

    Of course, all episodes have at least one positive scene.
    Sorry that the post is so long!
    I would be interested to know what you think of “Wendigo” and “Malleus maleficarum”.

  • cassi

    Again sorry for the long post!
    I forgot to mention that even when I sometimes disagree with you, your reviews are always a pleasure to read!!!!!!!!

  • huppy

    This is my first time posting, but I have been enjoying reading this blog ever since I came across it about a month or so ago.

    Anyway, I agree with all Alice’s choices as bad episodes or weak episodes. I tried watching RSAM last night and I just couldn’t, it was so bad. Bela stealing the Hand of Glory from Dean’s inside breast pocket and substituting that bottle or paperweight was just too preposterous to believe. The old lady on Sam was not funny, just disgusting. Bela using the boys and then running back to them for help was no way to establish Bela as a remarkable character or somebody I wanted to see again. On my list RSAM would have to be the second worst episode.

    I have to say, though, that I think the worst SN episode was “Heart,” which didn’t make Alice’s list. The story was poorly written and confusing, and the characters were not interesting. I didn’t think the actress playing Madison had any chemistry with Jared. And what woman dumps her panties in front of a strange man? The parallels we were supposed to draw between Madison’s situation and Sam possibly turning evil were too heavy handed.

  • Kirsten

    Season three had a groove?

  • sharilyn

    I guess I’m in the minority concerning “Hookman,” as I can actually watch that one over and over and not be bored or disgusted by it. I agree with the person who didn’t like “Heart”; sure,Sam was smoking hot physically in that love scene,but for me there was no chemistry between Sam and Madison to explain why he cried so very hard at the end–so many tears that it just bugged me and seemed excessive. I hated “Route 666″ due to the weak, heavy-handed storyline and again,I just didn’t ‘feel’ the chemistry between Dean and Cassie. Some might say I am one of those fans who don’t WANT the boys to have chemistry with a female actor on the show, but that isn’t true; I LOVED Sarah and Sam together in “Provenance” and oddly enough found Dean and that demon Casey from “Sin City” to have a definite chemistry going. Too bad she WAS a demon, sigh…As for other episodes I hated, I agree that the witches episode stank, and for some reason I HATED with a passion “The Magnificent Seven.” After waiting all summer to see season 3, I was disgusted that they started it off with Dean’s overly hedonistic and disgusting behavior (and yes, I totally get the reasoning behind it and where Dean’s head was then, but I still had this visceral reaction of total repugnance toward Dean’s excessive tomcat behavior in this episode). Also, these unleashed demons that escaped from Hell at the end of season 2, especially the seven deadly sins, are supposed to be SO bad and scary and so on, but the actual ‘showdown’ with each one was nothing special and Bobby’s overly dramatic reaction to them in that one scene just seemed to fall flat cause to me the seven deadlies were destroyed all too easily; and for the rest of the season I really didn’t get the sense that the premise of all these super-evil demons running loose was given all that much attention. So that whole plot line just fell flat for me, though I realize with the writer’s strike they had to focus more on the dilemma of Dean’s deal coming due. Anyway, for me “The Magnificent Seven” is definitely my least favorite episode because I felt horribly disappointed after watching it; I just felt cheated emotionally after waiting all summer and expecting MORE somehow from the season 3 premiere.

  • MCM

    Call me biased, but I consider this list to be the worst of the best. 😀

    (And IMO, the worst episode ever was “Route 666.” I totally agree with your observation of Cassie.)

  • vichi

    Hi Alice, like always it is a pleasure to read your reviews.
    I must agree with you about those episodes, just in my case, their order is a little different.
    Indeed all these episodes have great moments between the brothers but the others characters involved are not ok. I didn’t like Cassie at all, didn’t fit with Dean and she was very irritating. I would love to see a love interest for Dean, but a good one, a character who can match his , because Dean is perfect in my opinion and he deserve the best woman.
    I have seen Supernatural 2 times already(each season)and some episodes more than 5 times(my favorites ones, especially from season2), but Bugs I only saw once. I can’t see it again and I don’t really know what I didn’t like about it.Maybe the story, the bugs…
    Someone said that Wendigo was the worst episode of the show. I actually liked this episode but I have to admit that the monster didn’t impressed me mutch.
    The brothers like always were great but the people around them don’t have chemistry with our boys.
    Sam and Lori? No way,it seemed a little forced their interest. But I really loved Sarah from Provenance.Like Dean said, Sam you should marry that girl:)
    Dean and Cassie? A nightmare. I wished that truck to kill her, but I was afraid she would become a spirit(an annoying one) and haunt Dean and us, so it was better that Dean just left her there. I actually loved Lisa in The Kidz are alright, and that Casey demon from Sin City.
    About Red sky at morning, I have to say it was one of the weakest episodes but this episode gave Kripke an ideea about Bella and he saw that her character is not working. In this episode we can find out some things about Bella’s history that make sense in Time is on my side.She saw the ship(wtf??? a ship?)and the only persons who can see it have something to do with the death of some relative. And Bela has her parents blood on her hands. Besides I really like the scene on the dock with Dean’s panic attack and the lines:Can I shoot her? Not in public… I wish you did that boys:”)
    Now, I can’t wait to see your review about the best episodes of the show, and I am really curious if on the list are my favorites one’s too:)
    Best wishes,

  • Heather

    So I’m going to take this episode by episode just because I can. lol

    Red Sky At Morning: Yes, it was a terrible episode. The story was crap. I still have a lingering fondness for Bela though. I loved her sassiness (though I didn’t always apreciate her pulling one over on the boys). There were a few moments that I really loved: Dean hyperventilating when he found the Impala was gone. Also towards the end when the ghost sees his brother again and they come together in a huge splash of water. Very cool effect in my book. But yeah, other than that, a terrible horrible episode.

    No Exit: I kinda sorta disagree here. Yes it’s definitely one of the weaker episodes but I don’t think it’s as bad as you make it out to be but then again I love Jo Harvelle. She’s awesome and pretty kickass and one of the few girls I can see Dean having some sort of long term relationship with. I really liked Dean trying to tell her what hunting really is and explaining all the things he’s had to give up while reminding Jo of all the things she has going for her. Plus Dean sleeping in the chair all sideways and twisted? Yes. Absolutely yes. *loves Dean* Oh and that last scene with them in the car? Hahaha. I agree. Best scene in the episode. Ellen is one terrifying woman.

    Hookman: I almost completely disagree. I mean yes, it’s not one of my favorite episodes but I don’t think it belongs in the top five… but then again considering the quality of Supernatural, it’s hard to find too many bad episodes. Heh. I like Lori and I love the scenes between her and Sam both outside her house when her dad gets attacked and then again inside the church. Plus this episode has one of my favorite profile shots of Dean EVER. It’s when he’s standing in the hallway facing Sam and Lori and the hookman comes up behind him, dragging his hook along the wall and Dean looks over his shoulder. BAM! TV magic right there plus a gorgeous Jensen Ackles. Dean really was just awesome in this ep… though I think he’s actually awesome in every ep but I might be a bit biased. Hee. Sure the Hookman wasn’t the strongetst bad guy we’ve had but I still thought the episode enjoyable.

    Route 666: sure it had some great lines… but a killer truck? Yeah. Got to agree with you on that one. Terrible. Dean and Cassie’s sex scene definitely made me uncomfortable as well while I’m usually rooting for Dean to wear less clothing. Lol. I didn’t think Cassie was that terrible, er at least the character, but yeah the actress wasn’t very good. All the scenes between just Sam and Dean though were great in this episode. The scene outside the house and killer truck conversation. Then of course the chase scene. Oh boys. I do love those two. Sorry Cassie! There’s not getting between them! and I mean that completely innocently despite being the Winchester slasher that I am. LOL

    Bugs: *hangs head* I try not to think of Bugs outside the fact that the kid who played Matt was cute (I’m 18. Give me a break) and the funny ‘sexual orienation’ jokes. I hate insects so I have to close my eyes during the spider and beetle scenes… *shudder* yeah. There’s not much else I can say about this episode except for the fact that I completely agree with just about everything you said. Dean in the steam shower is made of win. *grins*

    Yeah. Sorry that was so long. I just felt I had to make my own opinions heard on my favorite tv show. Hee. I really love your articles. I read them pretty religiously each week to see your reviews of Supernatural. It’s a fun way to spend the time waiting for hiatus to be over (Damn you CW! [in a bad way] Damn you Kripke! [in the best possible way]) Yeah. I swear I’m done now. hahahaha.

  • Heather

    oh and for the record: I LOVED ‘Heart.’ I thought Madison was a great character (panties on the table? YES!) and she and Sam had great chemistry together. I admit it, I cried at the end. From the parallels between Madison and Sam’s situations to the look on Dean’s face at the end when he can’t take the burden of killing Madison from his little brother. Plus I thought the love scene was sweet and romantic even if Sam did…er… EAT her a little bit. lol. Also, Sam getting hooked on a soap opera? What a GIRL! HAHAHAHAHA! Oh don’t worry Sammy! I’m sure Dean will still love you! I know I do!

  • Rosewood

    Thanks for the minimal RSAM review. I pretty much agree with the worst episodes. I place RSAM higher on the list than #5 though. I can forgive ‘growing pains’ in season 1 more than ‘writing lame’ in season 3.

    I’d rank No Exit higher in the bad list, because no episode of SPN should have more of a guest actor than Sam or Dean. (The exception is GhostFacers, which I loved except it needed one more scene with Sam and Dean.)

    I agree that whenever the monsters are weak, other things slide downhill (Playthings, Wendigo, Bugs.)

    Women! For a show with 2 regular female writers in seasons 1&2, I have no idea why they write the women so wrong. Occasionally they get them right – Mary, Missouri, Cop in Benders, Meg, Ellen, Sarah, Lisa, Casey. I’m starting to suspect those were luck in casting more than deliberate writing or casting choices at this point. Ruby is a decent character, poorly executed (in the writing and in the performance).

    Dean is not going for a Nancy Drew wannabe (Jo), nor a heartless thief (Bela). He’s going for a motivated Angelina Jolie badass hunter woman who could whipe the floor with him (like nearly every CRD Dean talked to), or a regular Mom/Respectable Nurse (Lisa for example). But in all cases, a woman, not a waif.

    I disagree that Sam had no chemistry with Madison. Though Dean is correct. Sarah is the one. “Sam, marry that girl.”

    And Dean better get some sex and affection when he gets back from Hell Kripke! He deserves it (and we so deserve to see it too).

    Thanks for blogging!

  • Ana

    Most of my bottom 5 come from Season 2, no matter what I think of any Season 1 episode, I can always find things I liked (for example, “Route 666″ may have the problem of the racist truck, but it had some great brother moments. Plus, we all (including Sam) learned something new about Dean), but I can’t say that about all of the Season 2 episodes.

    I agree with the others who disliked “Heart”. Heart definitely makes my bottom 5 for all three seasons. I did not like Madison and I thought the actress and Jared had no chemistry. The sex scene was really awkward. Plus, the show ruined a really good urban legend…*that* was the werewolf episode? Very weak. The show went overboard with the anvils in this episode, trying to show us how much Sam and Madison have in common, e.g., Madison has books on her bookshelf, so she must like to read like Sam does. Also, that underwear scene was awful.

    “Playthings” – This also makes my bottom 5 – it wasn’t even original, it copied scenes and dialogue from “Dead in the Water.”

  • huppy

    I agree with Alice and Ana, the poster above me, that Playthings was a weak episode. It doesn’t make my bottom 5 list–that is Heart, RSAM, Route 666, No Exit and Bugs–but I didn’t care for it. Sam was whiney and dopey (what a stupid thing to make Dean do: promise to kill you), the ghost story was dull, and the grandmother looked more like a great-grandmother at least. Definitely too old to be the mother of the innkeeper.

    The only thing I really liked in Playthings was the dolls and doll house! I am a doll collector, and though I do not collect the kind of dolls that were shown on Playthings, all dolls interest me.

    After I recorded it, I kept on freeze framing so I could look at the dolls. I was trying to figure out if they were actual vintage dolls or reproductions, and I think they are reproductions. (Not that anybody asked me.)

    When background props are the most interesting things on an episode, you know that the episode is not one of the best.

  • Eliza

    5. RSAM – I don’t hate this episode as much as some fans seem to but for this was the first time I felt that the writers were really dumbing down both the brothers just for the sake of Bela. That was the only problem I had with Bela.

    4. No Exit – This episode was slighlty more barable to watch after watching BUABS. I still hate the lack of Sam. But I guess my biggest problem while watching this episode was Jo was suppose to be Dean’s love interest. Which is ridiculous because she looked like a braty teenager. What really reddemed it for me was the gag reel.

    3. Hookman – I quite liked this episode because the Hookman legend actually scared me when I was younger but you’re right about the chemistry between Sam and Lori. Non existant. And the actress was really bad. (I just watched it yesterday so I should remember.)

    2. Route 666 – Why this episode isn’t numero uno in this list, I have no idea. I liked everything about this episode except the scenes with Cassie, which unfortunately were A LOT. And I thank the censor board of my country for taking out the sex scene because it is painful to watch. I rather skip 2 minutes of half naked Dean then watch that scene.

    1. Bugs – I like this episode because I hate bugs in general. But I think I like this episode since I can somehow manage to block the part that aren’t good about it. Then again, I don’t get how night turned into day so fast. Did God speed things up for the boys? We’ll never know.

  • ewanspotter

    Went through Cape Girardeau just last week and, sadly, there are still no racist trucks. Or ocean with shrimp boats in the harbor. Or crazy, deep-seated racism.

    But I digress.

    I always go into these things lists, “Oh man, that author is crazy!” or “that episode isn’t that bad, haven’t they seen…”

    But no. You nailed it on the proverbial head (and offered some good reasoning).

    Thankfully though, even the “worst” of Supernatural is always better than anything on, say, Smallville. So we can be proud that even when our show it as its worst, it’s still pretty good.

  • Alice Jester

    Sorry, everyone! I went away for a weekend and was so pleased to see this discussion going on without me. I’m a little late with my response, but better late than never I guess.

    I really missed that redeemable moment in RSAM, didn’t I? I’m not sure how I could forgot the scene of Dean hyperventilating over the Impala being gone. It even had one of the best lines of the season. Dean: Can I shoot her? Sam: Not in public.

    It’s strange to see that so many people didn’t like “Heart”, but then again, I find the Sam focused episodes the most polarizing. I really think he’s a character that’s not easy to understand. I didn’t think Heart was all that bad. Not the best, not the worst. I completely understood why Sam was so upset over having to kill Madison. It was a culmination of not only having to kill the first woman he really opened up to since Jessica (he came close with Sarah, but not quite), and all that had been bothering him recently about his “destiny”. It goes back to the same issues he had in “Playthings”, if he could save Madison, maybe he could save himself. Sadly, he couldn’t, and it all hit him hard. That was reflected in Dean’s tear as well. I do admit that the werewolf drama was weak, and many of the emotional moments were heavy handed, but I did get the end. I also loved the sex scene. Chemistry or no, Madison was way better compared to Cassie.

    As for “Wendigo”, I did actually hate that one at first. I thought it was a cheap X-Files ripoff. However, on the re-watch, it earned some points because we were just getting to know the characters and it exposed some decent backstory. I certainly wouldn’t rate it the best, but I didn’t think it was as bad as the ones I listed.

    “Malleus Maleficarum” would easily make the top ten list of worst episodes. Although, number six belongs to “The Magnificent Seven”. I did a detailed, scathing review on that one if anyone wants to know why. My review on “Malleus Maleficarum” was my very first, so I went a little gentle on it, but the reason that it didn’t make top five worst was because of the Impala in this episode. It was a proud showcase for the third cast member, and for that alone much of everything else was forgiven. I did hate the witches, especially Tammi, but loved the brotherly moments.

    Huppy made a point that happens to me too, but not with the dolls, with the cars. I’ll see a classic car in the episode and freeze the frame, rewind back and forth, to identify the exact model and year. I love how the car can be great, like the Impala or Bobby’s Chevelle, or terrible, like the AMC Gremlin in “Ghostfacers”. I’m still trying like mad to identify the car that ran over Dean in “Mystery Spot”. It’s driving me crazy!

    Thanks again everyone for all the thought provoking comments! All the opinions were good and entertaining to read. The next two weeks will be fun reviews since I absolutely love both episodes, then after that, I’m going to have to come up with more fluff pieces since I already reviewed episodes 9, 10, and 11. One of those definitely will be the top episodes of the series. That’s way harder BTW!

  • polly

    I agree with most of them.. however I did enjoy Red & No Exit. They are not as bad as Wendigo.

    And to be honest, Jensen’s acting saved a lot of the less interesting episodes..

  • Patty

    I didn’t like Windingo on first watch but it’s one of my favorites now. I find, as I re-watch episodes, my favorites change depending on what is going on in the story now. I am loving Houses of the Holy right now because I think it will play a huge part in S4. But that’s just me.

  • heraldtalia

    I actually loved watching the old lady grope all over Sam (guess I’m in the minority there), but I absolutely hated Bela in Red Sky. She was supposed to be funny but she just annoyed me. I agree with pretty much all of your choices, except that I actually liked “No Exit” with it’s real life creepy villian and the poetic justice he met in the end. I’m glad someone else agrees with me that Lori sucked out loud in Hookman and we all know the fan opinion of Cassie in Route 666.

    I’m hoping after the Bela disaster and the exit of Jo (who I actually didn’t mind so long as Dean didn’t end up with her), that the CW will have FINALLY learned that this show does not need a lot of love interests and female characters forced into the show. I love Lisa, but I don’t want her roadtripping with them or being on every week. I actually liked Jo, but didn’t need to see her all the time. Bela was just obnoxious. These characters just tended to take from the brotherly moments we all love so much.

    I really enjoyed reading this! Will you be doing a list for the best episodes?

  • les

    I agree that these are 5 of the weakest episodes. However, I think there were weaker episodes than “No Exit”. I really like Ellen and Jo doesn’t annoy me. I find the idea of other hunters backing-up and perhaps becoming extended family for Sam and Dean appealing.

    I’d replace “No Exit” with any of these: “Malleus Maleficarum”, “Roadkill”, or “Houses of the Holy”. Plot, dialogue, and/or acting [not JA or JP] was sub-par in all 3.

    I can’t think of anything I liked about “Route 666″ so that would be my least favorite episode. Not even Jensen shirtless could save that one. Geez, I’d pay money to see that boy nekkid ;P, but I fast forwarded through the love scene. It was past Akward and into ewww.

  • Elle

    I have to agree with most of the list, though I can find redeemable moments anytime Dean is on the screen. I really, really hate anything with Bela, simply because of the way the boys end up looking. I don’t believe Dean would allow himself to be conned by her once, let alone multiple times through out the season. Regardless of her back story, the character was crap and Dean was written “dumb” to make her appear witty. Come on, he *always* has a clever comeback!!

    No Exit was an okay episode, though I didn’t care for the whole backstory surrounding Jo’s father and John – too contrived. The end scene with Ellen is funny though and the bad guy was creepy.

    Good blog! Normally I don’t agree so wholly with reviewers, but you have excellent reasons for your “worst” contenders.

  • antychan

    I miss “Bloody Mary” on the list. And “Long ‘We-saw-dad’s-spirit-leave-the-world-and-go-we-don’t-know-where-but-in-this-episode-Dean-believes-his-dad-to-be-a-spirit-who’s-calling-him-because-he’s-so-scared-of-going-to-hell-mmmkay’ Distance Call”. Man, that last one was BAD.

    And you know what my problem with “Red Sky At Morning” was? Not Bela’s dumb, overused, clichéd, “We should have angry sex” (which was about as original as Tragic Abused Bela herself). The misogyny: Hot Young Guy Gets Molested By Deluded Old Chick. The Nation Cringes. It’s Supposed To Be Hilarious. (TM). I was disgusted, and not by Ellen Geer (who I think was very beautiful in fact). (And just for the record: I’m not a withering first-generation feminist. I’m only 26. But it still pissed me off.)

  • SNfan

    Yeah, Route 666 always bugged me. The worst part of it for me was how they showed Cape. I couldn’t get past it. I LIVE here, not in Cape exactly, but about an hour away, and I go there alot, has more places then most of the other area. Its the BIGGEST city in this area, not the small “seaside” town they made it out to be. They would have been better off setting it in New Madrid, which is right on the river. But that would have been too weird, cuz I lived there at the time.

  • Sue

    There were a few bad bad bad episodes in each season as there are in all our fav shows….but Supernatural keeps us coming back for more none the less…Thou I must say I did enjoy Heart…not because it was an awesome was ok…the scene that made me fall in love with this episode was Dean and the single tear down his cheek…awwwww..heart breaking moment…As for the over done tears..and yes they were over done by Sam…I would have to say you sleep with someone and then have to shoot them and see how you all react.
    Red Sky I must say wasnt that bad…it was horrific…I can even watch this episode again…I tried I did…and got throu it twice but im done…I must agree with all the ones on your list…they were all ranked between bad and awful…
    I really enjoyed Malleus Maleficarum but then again I enjoyed Charmed too…and I love Ruby…I find her a fascinating character. I really hope the rumours are false and that she does indeed come back. Bella was a waste of writing and screen time…t always seemed she was squeezed into a place she never really belonged…but bring back Ruby.

  • shamangrrl

    Just found this blog, and I love it!

    I pretty much agree with your whole list (with slight juggling of the order), but I’d have to swap out Hookman for The Magnificent Seven. Actually, I had a lot of issues with S3, and they’re all exemplified in M7. The writing was heavy handed, the exposition poorly written and excessively repetative (a big issue with S3), the baddies weren’t really that bad, the story didn’t really *go* anywhere, and I know that Kripke and Sera like killing people off, but by the end of S3, I’d really become sick of the redshirt syndrome. Ruby had the potential to be an interesting character, but I really think that (once again), the role was miscast. That seems to be a real problem for Supernatural. The casting people can’t seem to match the character on the page to an actress, going more for looks than talent. And with J2 burning up the screen, they can’t afford to have lesser caliber actresses up there. The difference is glaring and painful. Also, I really dislike the whole “dumb Dean” thing they introduced in S3, but this has gone on long enough.

  • Nick

    While Red Sky At Morning wasn’t a very good episode, I disagree with you in your reasoning. I love Bela, I just didn’t like the story too much.

    And No Exit I kind of liked…especially with Jo Harvelle in it. She’s a great character IMO.

  • sjwinchester

    *shudder* Route 666 gives me nightmares, and not in the way a good episode of Supernatural should…

  • Roney

    Something that almost everyone does if they have problems related to anxiety and panic is to try to uncover their own panic attacks causes. And it’s understandable. Panic attacks are truly horrific, and definitely the worst part about having any form of anxiety or panic disorder.

  • arcbeatle

    All of these were bad… But Heart is by far the worst abomination of any TV show episode I’ve ever seen ever. I have no idea how he liked the sex scene in it. It was gratuitous and… well, Random. Heart had plot holes so bug the Racist truck could stroll through them (She’s dangerous because she is so strong… she can’t open a closed door. What?) Terrible acting, nonsensical logic (“Well, I guess we should kill you for no reason”. ) Gah. I hate that episode…

  • Alice

    Oh, this list is so outdated, although I’d keep the top five the same. However, I’d expand to a top ten list and it goes like this:

    6. The Magnificent Seven
    7. Family Remains
    8. Wendigo
    9. Heaven and Hell
    10. Tie, Long Distance Call and Playthings

  • Vanessa

    The worst episode in terms of monster build up without payoff is “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester.” Firstly, I believe the episode was only produced because of the somewnat pithy title. But this was the Halloween episode, people! This is the one that should have given our elderly mothers heart attacks! Hell, it should have made we loyal fans crawl inside our microwaves to escape its terror. And after Sam finishes teling Dean about how heavyweight a baddie Shamain is, what form does he take? A paunchy hippie English teacher. And the witch is a pretty, no talent girl. And what about all of the things Samhain is supposed to do? He raises a couple cut rate, piddly zombies… That’s it. I could have directed this better. Seriously. And it was so not scary, and unworthy of the boys and the show itself. Did they run out of budget or time, on this one? There is simply no excuse for this oleo sandwich of an episode.

  • ndee

    If you think supernatural has bad episodes don’t watch it. Go spend your time and energy on more productive things rather than slaying an amazing show!

  • Rosie

    I liked all of season ones episodes for the most part however I will admit that each one had there weak points especially wendigo and route666 I however loved Skin it is one of my favorite loved the article thought!

  • Caz Winchester

    I loved Red Sky At Morning!

    I loved the story, the old lady, and the ship!
    I don’t like Bella but you don’t always get what you want.

    I also liked Bugs and Hookman.

  • Cyn

    I love Bella… only found this looking up if she was ever scheduled to return to the show for a few episodes. The ghost ship episode was not the best, but that was just bad writing. Route 666 was the worst episode in Supernatural history. I also thought the shapeshifter episodes were a bit lame except for the monster movies one, loved ghostfacers, etc. I liked the storyline with witches. I can’t stand the whole levithan dealie – it’s like they ran out of ideas… but maybe they’ll pull it together when they actually talk about wtf these creatures want. Oh, and I miss chuck.

  • MrsLJStark

    Being from Cape Girardeau MO, I was first excited to see my hometown’s name on the screen. By the end of the episode I was sorely disappointed. Correct, it’s not a seaside town. It’s the only inland cape in the US, right on the Mississippi River. You have a passing riverboat or barge, but that’s it. There is also no route 6 that goes through it. I read it was meant to be a town in Mississippi, but the episode taking place in May, when they filmed it was snowing. I guess they don’t know that May in Cape is 80-90 degrees, so it still looked unseasonably cold. So it kind of sucks that my hometown was used as a filler (not a good one either), but if they ever consider, there are plenty of speculated haunting a. At SEMO, there are a couple, then there are still remnants of the Underground Railroad. Plenty of opportunities. 😉

  • SteamboatBiLLY

    I agree that Bugs was one of the worst Supernatural episodes. I actually liked the ones with Bella. Probably because she was so attractive.

  • Darren Hood

    Jo on paper was a great choice for a show that was originally intended to be a manly man show. You want to know why Supernatural was on the chopping block for 3 straight years? It wasn’t the ratings. The show actually performed well in the numbers but what held it back was the demographics. A story about two brothers in a Impala going town to twon killing demons and ghosts and other supernatural creatures while bedding innocent women should have been a slam dunk in the male 14-19 demographic. A lot of those ads more geared more towards guys and when the numbers came back with females 18-49 demographic the show wasn’t profiting at all. So adding a female protagonist in season 2 to try to get male viewership in was a good move and anybody who says different needs to keep quiet. The only problem was the female characters were written poorly even by female writers! The actresses were also poorly chosen at times and came across needy, or naggy or simply redundant. I found that to be more of a problem than anything on your list of bad episodes.