My Top 5 ‘Supernatural’ Episodes Written by Ben Edlund

Posted: September 9, 2009 in supernatural

Perhaps one of the best things to ever happen to Supernatural was the addition of Ben Edlund to the writing staff in season 2.

I could never presume to understand the workings of Edlund’s mind, but I am very thankful for it. His wildly bizarre imagination and darkly twisted sense of humor have made some brilliant hours of television, including Angel‘s “Smile Time” episode and Firefly‘s “Jaynestown” episode, not to mention the creation of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog‘s Bad Horse, which Edlund pitched on Angel. It’s no surprise then that some of the most memorable, funny and creative episodes of Supernatural also belong to him.

To celebrate Supernatural‘s premiere on Thursday, I present my top 5 Ben Edlund-penned episodes, in order of their airdate:

spnsimonsaid“Simon Said” (Season 2, episode 5)

Our first taste of a Ben Edlund Supernatural episode gave us Dean willingly giving up his car and singing REO Speedwagon, a trip to see “doctor badass” Ash at the roadhouse and the beginnings of Sam’s psychic friends club. And let’s not forget Andy’s tricked out van, complete with disco ball, a tiger rug and “Moby Dick’s bong.”

But the episode takes a dark twist when Andy discovers his long-lost brother, who uses his mind control abilities for more sinister purposes. In the end, when Andy wonders what he’s supposed to do now, Dean tells him, “You be good, Andy. Or we’ll be back.”

Best exchange:

Jo: “You’re afraid of my mother?”

Dean: “I think so.”

spnnightshifter“Nightshifter” (Season 2, episode 12)

Still one of my favorite standalone episodes, “Nightshifter” expertly mixes humor and action, ranking up the intensity to 11. The episode is essentially Supernatural‘s take on the bank heist trope, but instead of robbers, we have a shape shifter, a paranoid vigilante, two hunters and a whole lot of clueless bystanders all stuck in a bank. Not only are the Winchesters facing foes on the inside, they’re also trying to evade the police and FBI, who are just outside the doors.

“Nightshifter” manages the difficult task of staying self-contained and light (mandroids!), while ratcheting up the stakes going forward (the boys are now on the FBI’s radar more than ever). The closing escape montage set to Styx’s “Renegade” is the show’s best music moment so far.

Best line: “We are so screwed.” –Dean

“Bad Day at Black Rock” (Season 3, episode 3)

How could I not love an episode that drew inspiration from one of my favorite films, “Out of Sight”? The comedy-caper hour introduced viewers to Bela by initiating a game of cat and mouse over a cursed rabbit’s foot. The boys’ luck turns from sour to good to sour again, allowing Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki to show off their physical comedy chops. In one particularly hilarious and physical scene, the boys flail about comically trying not to get killed by the current possessors of the rabbit’s foot until Sam grabs the foot and takes out the owners without lifting a finger. Unfortunately, the longer Sam holds onto the foot, the more his luck turns and pretty soon, he’s losing his shoe, starting fires and falling flat on his face.

Best line: “I’m Batman.” –Dean

“Monster Movie” (Season 4, episode 5)

An inventive black-and-white hour that pays homage to the classic monster movies, while never losing the show’s trademark mix of humor, horror and Dean being horny.

There was some fantastic directing from Robert Singer in this episode, but what really caught my attention was the writing. Even more than the funny touches like Sam trying to rip off the not-shape shifter’s ear and Dracula asking if the pizza has garlic before telling the delivery boy he has a coupon, I was impressed by the shape shifter’s closing speech about wanting to escape to the make-believe world of the movies, which should speak to many television and cinema fans:

“Life is small, meager, messy. The movies are grand, simple, elegant. I have chosen elegance.”

“On the Head of a Pin” (Season 4, episode 16)

Edlund’s episodes are usually known for their offbeat sense of humor, but that all changed with this pivotal season 4 episode. Comedy made way for heavy drama as the angels sent Dean to torture Alastair, unleashing a bloody torrent of revelations about Dean’s time down under, Uriel’s plan and Sam’s demon blood drinking. The mythology-heavy episode had so many twists and reveals, it had my head spinning, in the best way possible. Edlund even managed to dig the John Winchester disappointment knife into Dean’s back some more as Alastair taunted Dean.


But it was not completely without comedy. One of the funniest moments of the season came from this episode as Castiel uttered with complete deadpan seriousness, “Uriel’s the funniest angel in the garrison. Ask anyone.”

I want to give it the best line, but the last exchange between Dean and Castiel absolutely floored me:

“I can’t do it, Cas. It’s too big. Alastair was right. I’m not a hero. I’m not strong enough. Well, I guess I’m not the man either of our dads wanted me to be. Find someone else. It’s not me.”

Honorable Mentions: “Wishful Thinking,” “Hollywood Babylon,” “Ghostfacers”

So how will Edlund top himself in season 5 of Supernatural? Only time will tell, but there is a chance of invisible ghost bees.

  1. Cori says:

    Apparently he’s one of those I either love or hate. He wrote my all-time favorite episode (Simon Said) and two others that are probably in my top 5 (On The Head Of A Pin and Bad Day At Black Rock). Unfortunately, he also wrote my two least favorite episodes of season 4 (Wishful Thinking and Monster Movie). I appreciate that he takes risks and thinks outside of the box!

  2. […] like my list of top 5 Ben Edlund-penned episodes may soon have a new […]

  3. […] before the premiere of Supernatural‘s fifth season, I presented a list of my top 5 episodes written by Ben Edlund. Since that post, Edlund wrote two more fantastic episodes I wish I could have included – […]

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  5. karslow says:

    JUS IN BELLO, best episode ever.

  6. Johana says:

    My all time favorite will always be Swan Song…no episode has ever beaten that one…I am not talking only about Supernatural episodes, like no TV show episode ever. The most touching and heartbreaking scene at the end of the episode. I love how they show the depth of Sammy´s love for his brother, not even the Lucifer could fight it. That scene made the whole season 6 heartbreaking, because it wasnt Sammy who was with Dean and based on that one scene I completaly agreed with Dean when he took the risk and put Sammys soul back into him. Coz all that time Sammy was in hell. My second favorite would be Lazarus rising, when Dean gets back from hell. Again..heartbreaking. My third favorite episode would be the French Mistake where Dean and Sam are in the paralel universe where their lifes are a TV show…the funniest episode so far…I will never forget that genius scene where Jensen and Jared play Dean and Sam playing Jensen and Jared playing Dean and Sam :D. And my number four would be The song remains the same – Deans talk to Mary, Sams talk to John and finally the death of Anna (I hated that bitch!) and the epic first meeting between Michael and Dean. Loved it!

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