Supernatural has certainly had its fair share of season finale cliffhangers. There isn’t one ending to a season that isn’t designed to draw people into the next season premiere. Not all have been as good as others, especially when the episodes (or sometimes seasons) as a whole are taken into account.

Supernatural season 12 gained some of the feeling and flare the show had in the earlier days. That’s not easy to accomplish when a show is over a decade old and no longer has the original creator as showrunner. The season finale cliffhanger was arguably one of the best in recent years, but how does it compare with all the season finale endings throughout the 12-year run?

6. Season 11: Returning Mary Winchester from the Dead

Supernatural season 11 had to live up to the cliched and lackluster finale of season 10, releasing the one creature that fans expected. The Darkness was different, but the season 11 finale looked like it was going to play out as many others had done in recent years: Dean sacrificing himself for the world.

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While Dean did initially go off to die, he managed to convince Amara to make up with her brother. He was able to reunite a family, but that wasn’t the major twist. As a thank you, Amara had a gift: the return of the one he missed the most.

In the final moments, fans were greeted to the return of Mary Winchester, the mother who had been dead from the very first episode. Nobody knew where the show would go from here or just how Mary would feel 33 years after her death. It was a bold move that has had mixed reactions since.

5. Season 12: Introducing the Other World

Caution: There are spoilers in this section. If you haven’t seen the season 12 finale yet, I’d suggest moving onto the next finale.

Alternate realities and parallel universes can get messy. Supernatural has avoided them so far, but that changed with the most recent finale. Fans saw a world where Sam and Dean were never born, because John and Mary never married. The best part of the episode for many fans was the return of Bobby.

The worst? Well, it has to be the deaths of Crowley and Castiel, especially now we know that one of those characters isn’t going to come back.

The cliffhanger is one of the best in a while. It’s unclear just what the Winchesters will do next. Lucifer and Mary are trapped in the apocalyptic world, while Sam and Dean mourn the loss of their best friend and find a way to save their mother.

4. Season 5: Sam Returns from Hell

Supernatural season 5 made it look like the end. Sam had sacrificed himself to save the world, taking control of Lucifer and opening the door to Lucifer’s cage. Dean just watched as one brother pulled another into the pits of Hell and averted the apocalypse.

It looked like Dean would get his apple pie life with Lisa and Ben. However, the final seconds of the episode made it clear that it wasn’t the end. Somehow Sam was back.

That wasn’t the most intense part of those final moments. There was a look in Sam’s eyes that made it clear he wasn’t quite the same. Was he still Lucifer or had something happened to him while in the cage?

3. Season 9: The Introduction of Deanmon

When Dean took on the Mark of Cain, fans had an idea how it would end. He would be left fighting for his humanity. What fans didn’t realize was that he could never die; at least, not die and stay dead.

Metatron killed Dean in front of Sam and fans certainly wept. How would Sam bring his brother back? Would Crowley be able to help?

Rather than help, fans soon learned that there was a catch to having the Mark. One would never die entirely, but would come back as a demon. The last second was one of the best cliffhangers since season 5, as Dean’s eyes opened to blackness and Deanmon was born. Where would the brothers go from here?

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2. Season 1: Three Lives in Danger

Supernatural got off to an excellent start with the very first season, and the very first season finale has to be one of the very best. It’s in my top two, mainly because of that original feeling when watching it.

Very few shows opted for cliffhanger season finales in 2005. It was something exciting and encouraged fans to tune into the next season, just to find out who would survive that car crash. We believed that John would die, but remembered that Dean was already close to death. How could the show go on without Dean?

It was also a cliffhanger we didn’t see coming. That truck seemed to come out of nowhere.

1. Season 3: Dean Ends up in Hell

Throughout season 3 we hoped that Dean would be saved. Despite reminders that there was no way to reverse the deal without Sam dying, we hoped that the Winchesters would find a way.

Instead, it got to the season 3 finale and Dean’s soul still wasn’t saved. It all counted on this last case, which involved killing Lilith. A twist to the story meant Dean couldn’t be saved and the hellhounds took their prey. Sam could only watch as his brother was ripped to shreds.

As we wondered where the show would go from here, we got a vision of Dean crying for help in Hell, meat hooks sliced through his flesh. What would happen now that he was trapped in hell and could Sam save him before he became a demon?

Do you agree with this list? What was your favorite Supernatural season finale cliffhanger? Let us know in the comments below.

Supernatural season 13 premieres in the fall on Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW. Don’t forget to like our Supernatural Facebook page for more updates about the Winchester brothers.

(Image courtesy of The CW)

Alexandria Gunn

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Alexandria is a full-time freelance writer and journalist. Alexandria studied Computer Science at Aston University and Criminology at the Open University. She enjoys writing about TV shows and entertainment news. Other than writing, Alexandria loves reading, exploring new countries, and relaxing with her family.