Sam and Dean Winchester of Supernatural lead a exciting and at times confusing life as hunters. To truly understand them, we have to first understand their complicated family life. With the show in its 12th season it may seem a little daunting to decide which episodes to watch (and re-watch.) Here are eight episodes of Supernatural to binge watch to help you understand the Winchesters’ complicated family dynamics.
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1. Mary Dies, Season 1 Episode 1
The episode, “Pilot,” is about as good a place as any to understand the complicated family that is the Winchesters. This episode sets the family on their path toward becoming hunters. In the very first scene we see John and Mary Winchester with their little boys Sam and Dean. Mary ends up burning on the ceiling thanks to some unknown supernatural being. Their dad is driven by revenge to find what killed their mother and thus the Winchester boys became hunters.
2. John Dies, Season 2 Episode 1
In the episode “In My Time of Dying,” Dean has been hurt and things don’t look good. His dad, John Winchester, decides to make a deal with a demon and trades his own life for Dean’s, making the brothers orphans.
3. Dean Sells His Soul, Season 2 Episode 22
In “All Hell Breaks Loose 2,” Sam has been killed, so Dean decides to take a page out of his father’s playbook and makes a deal with a demon. In exchange for Sam’s life, Dean sells his soul and is given one year to live.
4. Dean’s Perfect Life, Season 2 Episode 20
In “What Is and What Should Never Be,” Dean is captured by a Djinn and is transported to a different reality, his perfect life. We see Dean with the perfect girlfriend, the boys’ mother Mary is alive and Sam is engaged to Jess, the love of his life. While this alternate life ends up being a dream-induced reality, it gives us a look at how things might have been if it hadn’t been for the monsters that killed their mother.
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5. Meet Adam, Season 4 Episode 19
In the episode “Jump the Shark,” Sam and Dean meet Adam, their half brother. It comes as a surprise to the boys and the viewers that their dad, while on one of his hunting trips, had a son with another women and Adam seems to have had a very normal life. As if the Winchester family wasn’t complicated enough.
6. Sam and Dean Go Back in Time, Season 5 Episode 13
In “Song Remains The Same,” Sam and Dean are transported to the past, where they meet the younger versions of their parents. It is a rare glimpse of when their parents were happy and planning to have a normal life and a normal family. We also find out that their mom, Mary, grew up hunting and did not want her future family to become hunters. Oops.
7. Sam and Dean Go to Heaven, Season 5 Episode 16
“Dark Side of the Moon” features both Sam and Dean getting killed and going to heaven. We get to see both of the boys’ versions of heaven. Dean’s heaven is being a kid again sitting at the table with his mom, Mary. Sam’s heaven is memories of when he was able to get out of the family business, and lead a normal life.
8. Mary’s Back, Season 12 Episode 2
The episode “Mama Mia” has the boys grappling with the fact that Mary is back from the dead. Sam and Dean are both genuinely shocked and ecstatic to be reunited with their mom who died when they were both very young. This episode is chock-full of heartwarming moments of the boys and their mom. Monsters beware; Mary Winchester is back in the game.
Which of these episodes is the most memorable for you? Do you have any other favorite episodes that explain why the Winchester family is so complicated? Tell us in the comments!
Supernatural season 12 returns Thursday, January 26 at 8/7c on The CW. Want more about Sam and Dean and your other favorite characters on Supernatural? Follow our Supernatural Facebook page!
(Images courtesy of The CW)