Wren’s Top Five Episodes Of Season Eight

Just realised that I haven’t posted in almost a week, so I guess my Othello essay can go to hell for a couple more days.

So, Season Eight. (I like this project. I’m rather sad that I’m nearly done. Oh, well, I’ll do another one after Season Eleven.) To say that my feelings about this season were mixed wouldn’t be quite accurate- rather they were split neatly down the middle. Honestly I think that the first half is the weakest SPN has ever been, and I absolutely love the second half. A very interesting season.

I understand that many people disliked the Amelia arc- so did I, but I thought it was well-written for all that. In theory, it was a great idea, but what was with the sickly yellow haze over everything? I get that it was a deliberate choice to show Sam’s nostalgia and yadda yadda, but surely there are less hideous ways.

Without further ado:

1. Sacrifice

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Heartbreaking. There are three massive highlights of this episode for me: the falling angels at the end, for one thing. Stunning. And of course Sam’s massive breakdown, which is just… so awful.. and such a relief… and JP NAILS it. So obviously that’s the emotional climax of the episode. Wrote about it here. But maybe (dare I say it?) even more touching- just because of how shockingly unexpected it is- there’s Crowley’s speech. Yeah. You know which one. That speech.

I cried. For the King of Hell. It’s one of the best-written and acted scenes I’ve seen, period.

2. The Great Escapist

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This is a great personal favourite of mine. I’m a total sucker for brother fluff, and on the fluff scale this episode was basically candyfloss. Wrote about hurt/comfort in SPN here. Edlund’s last episode working on the show- a huge shame. I miss the particular flavour of insanity he brought to it. Anyway, this is another great Jared episode, containing one of my most-quoted SPN speeches- ‘I’m not clean.’

Brilliant. Shattering.

And ‘You rode a farty donkey.’ Never forget.

This is also one of my top two Kevin episodes. The scene where Crowley confronts him? So satisfying. Hilarious. And badass Cas is in full bloom. Hiding the angel tablet in his stomach? Digging a bullet out of his chest and killing another angel with it? I mean- what?

3. Pac-Man Fever

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Oh, god, I love Charlie in this so much it hurts. Such a funny touching episode. Dean’s protective behaviour kills me. And what a wonderful teaser.

4. Hunteri Heroici

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There are no words to adequately describe how nuts this episode is. I have no idea how Misha got through it. My God, some of his LINES.

‘What’s the word, Cas?’ ‘It’s a shortened version of my name.’

‘So we’re looking for some sort of insect-rabbit hybrid.’

‘WHY DID YOU KILL YOUR HUSBAND?’

And my personal favourite-

‘I’ll interrogate the cat.’

5. Everybody Hates Hitler

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Weirdly enough, I couldn’t stand this episode on first watch. I didn’t like the bunker (I was worried that the Impala might get pushed aside). I found the German accents fake and obvious (turned out that the main German guy was played by an actual German. Oops). I disliked the CGI height of the golem (which was not actually CGI at all; the actor, John DeSantis, is 7″2″).

I warmed to the bunker over the course of Season Nine, and to the episode on second viewing. The details are great- the sassy old rabbi (‘I hope they pay you to keep that bug up your ass’), the horrifying eyebrows of the (totally deadpan) librarian, Aaron smoking the ancient golem lore book, etc. ‘These guys are psychopaths’ – classic.

Turns out that John DeSantis, the golem, had a very interesting filmography.

Moonface

And I know what you’re thinking. No Goodbye Stranger? No, because five is a really crappy number and I couldn’t fit it on. However, as for the honourable mentions-

LARP And The Real Girl. This was where Charlie clicked for me. Also, Dean shooting the tree stump and shouting ‘THIS IS A REAL GUN’ cracks me up. My only complaint- what the hell is with that fairy’s mascara? It really bothers me.

As Time Goes By. It took me a few watches to warm up to this episode, but warm up I did. Gil McKinny is great in his sharp blue suit. And it’s the first entrance of the whirlwind of fabulous known as Alaina Huffman’s Abaddon. You know how fabulous she is? She’s pretty damn fabulous. She’s so fabulous that she her Google Images page has a subheading in the corner entitled ‘Abaddon supernatural hair’. It’s also rather touching- Henry Winchester looking round at his sleeping grandsons. Much brotherly solidarity here.

Goodbye Stranger. Much beloved of the Desties and the Megsties. The Cas-beating-up-Dean scene is harrowing (wrote about the reverse crypt scene here), but for me the real core of this episode was Meg’s journey through it. (Wrote about the Goodbye Stranger music cue here.) The scene where she’s discussing Amelia with Sam is great. ‘Go save your brother. And my unicorn.’ Tears. (Yeah. I’m Megstiel trash.)

Clip Show. Team Free Will eating popcorn and watching ancient exorcism videos. ‘You have a dungeon?’ And of course Sarah’s death, which I just find upsetting and awful. The way she and Sam look at each other, never touching. God. She sees how much he’s changed.

Bitten. Easily one of the best episodes in the first half of the season. The kids in this (haha- I say kids- they’re probably several years older than me) are all awesome. I love that they literally just gave them cameras and told them to go wild. This show is insane.

Trial And Error. Not keen on Miss ‘I like a man who can handle his meat’, but the family are hilarious and there are two fantastic broments. JA does some great work here. Him telling Sam that his dream is to see Sam fat and old and chugging Viagra. Heartcrack. (Also. J2 in glasses. Rowr.)

Southern Comfort. I like this little episode. A parallel to Asylum, an old favourite. And I love Garth.

Torn And Frayed, purely for Sam and Dean’s exchange, as soon as Cas can’t hear them: ‘Okay, what the hell?’ ‘I know.’ It’s the delivery more than the actual dialogue- look out for that moment if you watch the episode again. So funny. They’re like a couple of gossiping old women.

Also- randomly- I love Benny. Like, I love the character. None of the Benny-focused episodes really did it for me, to be honest, but I felt that I should just express my affection.

And Taxi Driver, despite the plot being an actual car crash- like, Sam walks down two corridors of Hell and just happens to find Bobby, who is in excellent shape despite being tortured for, ooh, a century or two? (Quite aside from the rather shoddy plot-point that got him into Hell in the first place.) And what a missed opportunity for a Hell-trauma throwback. But despite all this, the scenes with Sam in Purgatory and Hell- just like Dean’s Purgatory sequences- are some of the most gorgeous in the entire season.

Anyway, I’ll be interested to hear your responses.

Read my ramblings and Vivisecting SPN meta essays at https://cobwebqueen.wordpress.com/.

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36 Comments

  1. Here I come with my top 5:

    Okay, I have to hold my hands up and say this is one of my least favorite seasons of the show ever. I still cannot go back and watch it, after Carver heavily destroyed Sam making him appear jealous of Benny, and abandoning Kevin, the phones and NOT looking for Dean. Just a terrible way to go. Its taken me a lot to forgive JC! I will also say this now, I am NOT a Benny fan, I have my reasons…..

    The Great Escapist:
    I was never a very great fan of Edlund’s until I saw this little episode. I thought that the man was a genius. How flawless the episode was training two demons to be double Sam and Dean, have a fake boat, with a nutty Kevin on board who clearly wasn’t nutty as a fruit cake. Then came Crowley’s most memorable line ‘I was born to Direct’. The pure talents of Edlund were shining through. We also get to see a wet Sam coming up through an ice bath what shear joy. We also get to meet Slimy Metatron for the first time. Sam kept hearing high pitched noises Metatron noticing Sam was resonating with the trials, I clutched onto this thinking it was something HUGE, a wow moment, but not to be! The third part of the trial is to cure a demon, Crowley you’d best watch out!!

    Clip Show:
    I loved this so much and thought it was a cleverly well balanced little plot. I remember we all thought Jody was for the chop in the ladies loo’s. Crowley begins to put demands on the boys to stop in their battle to close his gates of hell. And if he doesn’t everyone that they have ever saved will die at his hands. Roll in Tim Collins from season 1 Windego, welcome back Sarah Blake from Provenance. So I wonder whom would have been next from the past if Crowley had the opportunity of Killing any more off. It would have been fun to see more characters from the past come back. I loved how the boys tried to rescue Sarah but sadly failed.

    As Time goes by:
    I adore time travel and haven’t left off from letting this point be known. I think the show is at its best when it goes back to the past. Re-living all those finer details, and bringing them back to life. This was the first time we saw Grandpa Winchester, and Henry wasn’t a bad looker. We were also introduced to Abaddon in this episode which was a great delight. I loved the wardrobe as a statement piece to deliver Henry from one time to another, cool! Dean was upset to learn that his grandfather had abandoned John but turned out later not to be true! We also learn that John was sung to sleep by this song. Sam learns from Larry that he must look after this key which takes us along to the Bunker and where we also get to understand more about the Men of Letters. It was very sad to see Henry die in the boys arms, saying he was proud of his grandsons.

    Goodbye Stranger:
    Had to include this Remember Naomi with all those Dead DEAN’S all over that warehouse floor. That moment gave me goosebumps like I’d never felt in years. I found that so chilling. So out there, and made me freeze in my tracks! I loved the popping back and forth from Heaven, Naomi ordering Castiel to kill Dean and that the fight breaks out in the crypt over the tablets. I loved the tablet story line which really didn’t go any where. We also lost a fan favorite Meg. A real gem of a character who was snuffed out by The King of Hell RIP MEG….

    Sacrifice:
    Was an amazing finale, even though Sam’s speech fell pray to haters thinking he was throwing it back at Dean. I found Jared’s acting very moving and so well done. How full of emotion he was and not bothered either way if he lived or died for the cause. Dean trying to talk Sam down from killing himself was beautifully acted. He was so close to curing Crowley who so deserved to be loved. What an amazing speech and so well acted by our Mark Sheppard. Sam drops down from trial sickness and the angels start falling from the skies. An awesome CGI moment.

    Mentions:

    What’s up with Tiger Mommy
    Torn and Frayed
    Freaks and Geeks
    Remember the Titans
    Citizen Fang
    Trial and Error
    Blood Brother
    We need to talk about Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Bella! Sorry for the late reply- been very very bogged down with work. So I’m intrigued- how come you don’t like Benny? 🙂 Just out of interest.
      TOTALLY with you on TGE. Adore that episode. It’d probably make it into my all-time top 10.

      Clip Show was great, but I have one bone to pick- WHY- WHY did the boys not put a pentagram round Abaddon’s chair? Sloppy. On the other hand, Taylor Cole is lovely. That scene hurts my heart.
      Love As Time Goes By. Gil McKinney was just perfect. *tears*

      And on Goodbye Stranger- yes yes yes. (I once saw a gif with a photo of the fake Deans all over the floor. It was captioned ‘now we know where all the Deans from Mystery Spot went’.) Anyway- killer episode.

      Re Sacrifice-
      Bella. Do not listen to those idiots. They are not worth your time or your acknowledgement. I absolutely love that scene and I think JP is immensely moving in it- they both are, but JP stole the show.
      And the Mark Sheppard speech. Goosebumps.
      The angels falling is one of the best images they’ve ever created. I have dreamed of that.

      Like

      1. So I’m intrigued- how come you don’t like Benny?
        As I said I have my reasons, but the main one being I felt he was just bought in as a plot device to come between the brothers. I have never seen Sam like he was around Benny even though in the end he warmed to the guy and could see why Dean trusted him. Benny I thought was a trouble maker. The whole time whilst in Purgatory he was pitching a fight between Dean and Cas. He forced Cas to tell Dean why he left him when they first arrived. He didn’t like the fact that there were three of them together in purgatory. Dean was his meal ticket out of Purgatory and felt as though Dean was a means to an end. He also saw Cas as a threat to the Levi and could see him angered by his presence the whole time moaning that the portal might not accept him because he’s not human. I loved the feel of purgatory and was an awesome set up, but just didn’t like the way they wrote Benny like some annoying trouble maker out for what he could get. Even when he was topside it felt like he was using Dean to get his fix of daily blood. I grant you he was there for Dean when Dean needed someone but I just felt it was very one-sided. Benny did save Sam and it was a fitting end but I still find his scenes hard to watch and wonder why so many fans clearly love the guy. The actor at the convention also got into trouble, so I am not even sure I like Ty Olson. I can’t hold that against him per say as we don’t know the truth. But I have my reservations still.

        B xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “didn’t like the way they wrote Benny like some annoying trouble maker out for what he could get”
          I didn’t get that at all. When did he make trouble?I really don’t remember 😦

          When he realized how much Dean wanted to get Cas out he helped and he actually saved Cas at least once. He saved Dean at least once that we saw. He DIED for Sam for goodness sake-a Sam that wanted to kill him!

          I really liked the character, I liked that Dean had a friend finally-but of course that had to end as usual.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. “I was suspicious at first- of course!- but I warmed to him. He’s one of a few really sincere characters, I think.”

              Me too-but I fell in love with him. Glad they didnt Ruby-ize him!

              Liked by 1 person

        2. Oh okay. I guess we had totally different experiences- it didn’t feel that way at all to me. I think he saw Dean as a way out of Purgatory, sure, but they also had this war-buddies thing going on as well- I think if Benny had been written as some random self-sacrificing do-gooder it could have been deadly. But each to their own 🙂
          Wren xxx

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          1. “think he saw Dean as a way out of Purgatory, sure, but they also had this war-buddies thing going on as well- I think if Benny had been written as some random self-sacrificing do-gooder it could have been deadly. But each to their own :)”
            True!

            Like

          2. I get that point of view 100% too! He was Dean’s war buddy and they fought side by side to the death. They both had something in common, and strove along to the end together. That friendship was great to watch. But I just felt this undercurrent that I didn’t like in the writing. I think they wrote Benny the wrong way. He did sacrifice a lot in the end, his own life and was a gallant hero and will never loose sight of this. It was just those early scenes that put me off the character.

            B xxx

            Liked by 1 person

            1. “But I just felt this undercurrent that I didn’t like in the writing.”

              I think you are observant-I think I heard originally they were going to make him end up bad..so you could have been feeling that vibe. For me there was just something about Tys portrayal that made me trust him and I am glad that’s the route they took!

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I didn’t trust him first viewing, so on the one hand I get where Bella’s coming from, sort of. He just looked… fishy. I warmed to him, though. I think he’s meant to seem ambiguous- I thought the way he was written was rather clever.

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                1. Fishy, you said it!! That’s exactly how I felt about him, and to a point still do. I wish I could warm to him more but just don’t get the love for him, sadly. Its the writing, its done its job on me, and I didn’t see through it. They were clever changing tack~!

                  B xxx

                  Liked by 1 person

                    1. “I suspect they wanted to make him a good guy while simultaneously leaving their options open…”
                      Exactly-like I said the original plan was him to be Dean’s ” Ruby” but the fandom loved him so much they were able to change midstream.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. I suspect they wanted to make him a good guy while simultaneously leaving their options open…
                      Good point too, they didn’t know how well the actor was gonna be received by the fandom, so were they playing it safe?

                      B xxx

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. “Good point too, they didn’t know how well the actor was gonna be received by the fandom, so were they playing it safe”
                      I guess they WERE playing it safe!

                      Liked by 1 person

              2. Barb, this is probably it. I got that feeling and still can’t shake it. That he came across as bad, and not good to start with. I have a feeling I remember this being mentioned before about the way he was first written. There were the odd moments I did trust him, but just couldn’t fully for some reason. Whether it was Ty’s acting, not sure what.
                B xxx

                Liked by 1 person

                1. “Whether it was Ty’s acting, not sure what.”
                  Just shows you how subjective it all is. I thought his acting portrayed him as good-so I guess it was great acting to keep us guessing-which I am sure was the plan by the writers 🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Just shows you how subjective it all is. I thought his acting portrayed him as good-so I guess it was great acting to keep us guessing-which I am sure was the plan by the writers
                    It also goes to show how differently we each portray what a character is trying to put across. I didn’t see it? I wonder what made them change their minds?

                    B xxx

                    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Also- randomly- I love Benny. Like, I love the character. None of the Benny-focused episodes really did it for me, to be honest, but I felt that I should just express my affection”

    The Benny episodes, especially the first few, are my favorites. I loved all the Purgatory scenes-they should have had 1 episode in Purgatory and 1 on earth with Sam and Amelia to show what was happening and then moved on to Deana and Sam in the cabin. So was Sam NOT happy to see Dean or is it just the way Jared played it? I have a lot of gripes with this season, although I loved quite a few episodes’, Good Bye Stranger being one of them. You should have put it on the best list and gotten rid of Bitten. It wasn’t a bad episode but an episode without Sam and Dean just doesn’t cut it for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really like Benny. (What did you think of The Werther Project?) And I’m with you on the flashback scenes! I think it would have worked a lot better how you describe. And I think Sam was clearly happy to see Dean- he didn’t even seem to consider the implications until Dean started talking about Sam looking for him.
      And re putting Goodbye Stranger on the list- it’s not a best list, barb! It’s just my personal favourites. 🙂 And I would have loved to squish Goodbye Stranger on there, but there were episodes that… I just liked… more.
      I admire Bitten for the stylistic departure 🙂

      What did you think of Bloodlines? That has no Sam and Dean. It’s also the only episode I categorically refuse to rewatch…

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      1. YEAH!! pleased you decided to put GBS on the list, it is a master piece, and should get all that recognition the story deserves IMO! I didn’t mind Bitten, but it wouldn’t have been in my top 5 no way, because we didn’t get that much of Sam and Dean. I liked the whole story behind the plot and remember a huge number NOT being a fan of Kate. Don’t get me started on Bloodlines, still can’t watch it, its a NO, NO from me!!

        B xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        1. GBS- you mean Goodbye Stranger? Yeah, it’s a great episode! I think 8 was shaky, but it had a lot of fantastic episodes as well. The second half was lovely, really focused. It was the first half that I felt was floundering. (And with the awful dull ep that was Heartache.)
          Not being a fan of Kate? Hmmm. I guess this is IMDB again, huh. There seems to be a certain animosity among fan factions towards any female on the show- either she’s not strong enough or she’s a bitch. Yet at the same time they’re calling the show sexist. This might be the subject for a meta.

          And let’s just all pretend Bloodlines never happened…

          Like

          1. “I guess this is IMDB again, huh. There seems to be a certain animosity among fan factions towards any female on the show- either she’s not strong enough or she’s a bitch. Yet at the same time they’re calling the show sexist. This might be the subject for a meta”
            Do a meta!

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Not sure its just IMDb, I couldn’t comment on this, as IMDb is the only real place I hang out on the net. So I don’t know for sure. I felt for Kate, the first time, but that dropped the second time she came on. Heartache was a bit corny the only good thing to come out of that episode was Jensen Ackles directing his own dad, YEAH!! I would love to see Alan again playing a different character and a bigger part! At least most of us agree on ‘Bloodlines’ that it was a big flop never to be mentioned again!!

            B xxx

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yeah, I thought the Kate actress did a great job the first time, but she didn’t affect me the second time. I wonder what went wrong?
              I don’t really care about corny- I just found it boring. And his own dad? Wow! Which character?
              Bloodlines was dreadful. You know the werewolf lady in it? That actress played Kronos’s wife in Time After Time After Time. She was pretty unconvincing in both roles.
              Wren xxx

              Like

  3. Wow. I am totally with you on this one– right down to mentioning Meg in Goodbye Stranger. Reading it I felt like someone read my mind! Really especially loved Jared’s work in season 8. (I may have been influenced a little by his season 8 hair, but I do think he did a great job, hair or not- lol)

    Liked by 1 person

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