Has it really been only a few months since “Sacrifice” aired and tossed us all unceremoniously into the wasteland known as “summer hiatus”?
Because it feels like it’s been decades.
In prepping for Tuesday’s premiere, I went back and watched season gr8 in an effort to make time pass by faster. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. The premiere is still not here.)
For good or for bad, Supernatural‘s 8th season was so well done that picking a top 10 was harder than I thought it would be; there are too many episodes to make a case for. Seriously, I switched the number 10 choice for an hour before settling, and I’m still not 100% in my decision. But choose I must! So get reading and see if you agree with what made my cut.
10. Blood Brother 8×05 by Ben Edlund
“Blood Brother”, while not the perfect hour, earned its position on the list by shedding new light onto an overdoen and tired group of monsters. Exploring Benny’s nest of vampirates was fascinating. Also, Benny. Benny was a fantastic side character, who was marvelously fleshed out in this episode; he got more background info in 42 minutes than Jo got in almost all of her appearances. It also didn’t hurt that actor Ty Olsson had wonderful rapport with Jensen on screen.
(mini review here)
9. As Time Goes By 8×12 by Adam Glass
Winchester Family Feels: is there anything more painful? An episode that could have listed based on its introduction of Henry Winchester alone, it truly sings thanks to everything else that it incorporated. This was where we first heard of the Men of Letters, the term “legacies,” and where we got the key to the Batcave. We learned that daddy issues are a genetic trait among Winchester men. We were introduced to Abaddon and, with her, Alaina “All-Star” Huffman. An unexpectedly important episode, complete with a devil’s trap bullet and self-sacrifice, “As Time Goes By” was a great hour.
8. A Little Slice of Kevin 8×07 by Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming
I may have slightly overpraised this episode on my first viewing; whether that was because I did not know the amazing episodes to come, or that I was suffering from mid-season hiatus disease I’m not sure. Still, the return of Castiel to the show was welcome after all the teasing done by FLASHBACK. The show proved that it wasn’t afraid to “go there” when it had Crowley chop off one of Kevin’s fingers – a moment that still gets me when I watch. We were introduced to Naomi and her manipulative brain-washing ways. Most painfully, we learned the reason that Cas didn’t make it out of Purgatory – he didn’t want to be saved – a revelation that nearly killed the fans.
7. Pac-man Fever 8×20 by Robbie Thompson
While pretty run of the mill in terms of monster plot, “Pac-man Fever” was an unexpectedly emotional and warm episode. Charlie returned! Armed with the knowledge of the Supernatural novels, she gets to play as us, the fans, throughout the episode. She quietly fangirls, she gets to (poorly) hunt, she ships Destiel. Most importantly? She gives the boys much needed encouragement; Charlie inspires them to trust each other and themselves. All of that and we get a frankly moving performance by Felicia Day. Compared to her first meh appearance in season 7, Charlie by this point has graduated to a major player; a strong, fun, intelligent female character to balance out the boys whenever she joins them.
6. Trial and Error 8×14 by Andrew Dabb
The episode that gave us Winchesters in glasses. Yes, please. All kidding aside, this was a great introduction to the trials arc of the season – complete with a seriously cool first trial to complete. Seeing the Hellhounds for the first time on the show was a thrill in and of itself. We also got Sam stepping up to the plate and taking charge for once. Not only that, but actively shaking his elder brother and telling him he needs to value his own life more. Since season 4, Sam has been in desperate need for redemption. In having him slay the Hellhound and take lead on the trials, the writers put a faith in Sam that had been missing for a long time.