Last week’s episode of Supernatural dared to do something that no-one has done before. The fourth episode of the 11th season, titled Baby was entirely set inside a car. More specifically, Dean Winchester’s prized possession, his 1967 Chevrolet Impala.
The Impala has been a part of the show as much as the main cast members Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. The car is it’s own character - we even find out it’s back story when Dean (Ackles) goes back in time. The episode shines a light on Dean’s ‘baby’, showing us what the car goes through while the brothers fight evil on a day-to-day basis. The bottle episode format makes it an enjoyable watch, despite the fact that the focus isn’t on the story. Baby is another meta-episode, a format that the show knows how to do best. Here’s eight other meta episodes that stepped up the game.
Mystery Spot (season 3, episode 11)
Sam ends up in a Groundhog Day situation, relieving the same Tuesday over again. He doesn’t think anything of it at first, but soon realises that the same thing is happening every day and Dean has no idea what’s going on. In fact, Dean somehow ends up dramatically/comically dying every day, and Sam can’t stop it unless he solves the case. The funniest death? When Dean is crushed by a piano. It’s a brilliant episode that stepped up the meta-episode in a messy season.
It’s A Terrible Life (season 4, episode 17)
What would happen if Sam and Dean weren’t brothers? This season four episode explored exactly that when an angel tries to show Dean what a ‘normal’ life would be like. Dean is working in a high-ranking job at a marketing company while Sam works a few floors below in tech support. They’re forced to team up when a mysterious suicide hints to a ghost on the premises - cue a cynical Dean who doesn’t believe the supernatural exists. The moral of the episode is that a hunter’s life is for them.
The Monster At The End Of The Book (season 4, episode 18)
Things go super meta when Sam and Dean comes across the ‘Supernatural’ book series written by a Carver Edlund. They learn that it’s being published for the last four years (the length the show had been on at that point) and a carbon-copy documentation of their lives. Like any fan base, there’s ‘Sam girls’ and ‘Dean girls’. The Winchesters learn that Carver Edlund is the alias for Chuck Shurley (Rob Benedict) a prophet of God who’s been tracking their every move.
Changing Channels (season 5, episode 8)
Sam and Dean end up stuck in TV land, a meta universe created by the Trickster. He sends them through a dizzying montage of TV show parodies, inviting them to play along, otherwise they’ll be stuck there forever. Cue overacting in a soap, unfunny jokes in a sitcom and a rival doctor stealing all the thunder in a medical drama. But things all change when Castiel (Misha Collins) turns up to the show and they realise that the Trickster may not be who he says he is. Changing Channels brilliantly showed how far the possibilities for the show can stretch.
The French Mistake (season 6, episode 15)
The sixth season’s episode blurs the lines between fiction and reality. Sam and Dean end up in an alternate universe and land on the set of a show called ‘Supernatural’. Sam and Dean still think they’re Sam and Dean but everyone on set is calling them Jared and Jensen. What?! They have no idea what’s going on and it’s all made worse when they run into Castiel, who’s now some Twitter-loving guy called Misha Collins (“What’s up with the names round here?”) and the demon Ruby (Genevieve Padalecki), who’s married to Sam/Jared. The French Mistake showed how seriously the creators take themselves in what is one of the show’s best episodes. Kudos for Jared and Jensen for stepping up the game and not being afraid to make fun of themselves.
Season 7, Time For A Wedding! (season 7, episode 8)
Building on the Supernatural book series, recurring super fan Becky and Sam are getting married. Dean can’t believe the news so he decides to investigate his suspicions. It turns out that Becky is dousing Sam with a love potion, convincing him that they’re in love. She inserts herself into an investigation, and Dean gets to the bottom of it, with hilarious results.
Hunteri Heroici (season 8, episode 8)
Castiel decides he wants to become a hunter like Sam and Dean, but things don’t go to plan during his first investigation. The episode explored cartoon insanity at its best when the villain causes a series of murders using classic gags. From frying pan hits to fake guns, it’s filled with all the jokes you expect for a fun ride.
Fan Fiction (season 10, episode 5)
Supernatural celebrated its 200th birthday in style during season 10. Remember those books by Chuck Shurley? They’re adapted into a musical by an all-girls school, where Sam and Dean are called to duty on a case when a teacher goes missing. The musical references Dean and Castiel fan-shipping, the past seasons and the emosh scenes between the brothers. The episode is basically a sweet love letter to the fans and a thank you for sticking around.
Do you agree? Tell us your favourite episode in the comments!