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Countdown to Goodness: Supernatural and the End of the Winter Hellatus 

Photo Credit: The CW

Hellatus suddenly got a little bit longer. Next week’s “Like a Virgin” is the first new Supernatural since December 10, 2010. The first one back after the long hellatus is always greatly anticipated since fans have been waiting so long. To help you get through the next week, let’s take a look back at all the episodes that have called an end to the winter breaks and look forward to “Like a Virgin.”

Season 1

How 2005 ended: In “Asylum,” Sam had been possessed by an evil shrink which led him to do some questionable things to Dean. However, the mini-cliffhanger that came at the end was a simple call from Big Daddy Winchester. This was a big deal since they had been searching for him all season long.

Photo Credit: The WB/Sergei Bachlakov

How 2006 began: In “Scarecrow,” BDW’s call triggered a rift between the boys that had them go their separate ways. Dean worked the case of the “Dude, you fugly” scarecrow, who was sacrificing townspeople in order to ensure healthy crops and happy citizens. Meanwhile, Sam, was on his way to California to look for John when he met the mysterious Meg. “Scarecrow” had a little bit of everything: drama between the brothers; a great case; memorable lines (“Hope your apple pie is freakin’ worth it!”); and that amazing phone call between the boys when Dean basically told Sam he was proud of him. To this day, that phone call is one of my favorite Sam-Dean moments. Plus, the episode set up a little bit of the mythology of the rest of the season with the introduction of Meg. This is probably my favorite end-of-the-winter-hellatus episode.

Season 2

How 2006 ended: In “Croatoan,” Dean and Sam faced a demon virus; it turned out Sam was immune to the thing, which was pretty freaky. At the end, the boys were at the lake and Dean was talking about taking a break from all this. Going to the Grand Canyon was an option. But Sam knew Dean was hiding something. The cliffhanger was, once again, a quiet and simple moment. Dean revealed to his brother how right before BDW died, he told him something about Sam. And this whole first half of the season he was keeping it a secret.

Photo Credit: David Grey/The CW

How 2007 began: In “Hunted,” Sam didn’t take finding out the secret too well. After Dean told his brother Dad told him he’d have to save him and if he couldn’t save him he’d have to kill him, Sam wanted to take the offensive and figure out what was happening to him. Dean had the exact opposite plan; he wanted to lay low. Subsequently, Sam took off to find some answers, leaving Dean behind who ended up getting Gordon-napped. Once again, at the beginning of the second half of a season, the brothers were traveling separate paths.

Season 3

How 2007 ended: In “A Very Supernatural Christmas,” Sam and Dean battled pagan gods who were spoiling the holidays for everyone. This was the show’s first holiday episode and it featured flashbacks to when the brothers Winchester were wee little lads. We found out how Dean got his amulet; it was a gift from Sam. In the present, Dean knew this was going to be his last Christmas because he had saved Sam and given up his soul in the process. But Sam was in major denial and played Scrooge for much of the hour. In the end, Sam gave Dean his Christmas in a heartbreaking scene. But, for the first time, there was no cliffhanger to bridge the hellatus gap.

Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW

How 2008 began: In “Malleus Maleficarum,” the brothers faced off against some witches in an episode that was an evil version of Charmed meets Desperate Housewives. A demon manipulated the entire thing, plus, Ruby was again part of the action. She told Dean there was “no saving him from the pit” and he found out how all demons started off human, so that was a very real possibility for his future. And a new big bad is mentioned that eventually materializes as Lilith.

Season 4

How 2008 ended: In “Heaven and Hell,” the year ended in the most spectacularly heartbreaking ways imaginable. Dean had been to hell and back (literally) and had been less than vocal about his time in the pit. Dean confessed to Sam what he did while he was down there. First of all, four months was really forty years; and he was tortured day in and day out for 30 of those years. That’s when he finally took Alistair up on his deal and turned into the one doing the torturing. That would later come back to haunt him big time. But for weeks and weeks I’d re-watch that scene and couldn’t keep from tearing up.

Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/The CW

How 2009 began: In “Family Remains,” we got pure standalone and a pretty disturbing monster-of-the-week. It was a sad episode, mostly notable because we got another Dean revelation: while he was in hell torturing souls, he enjoyed it. He liked causing all that pain. And that bit of self-awareness was causing Dean an immense amount of anguish. So sad.

Season 5

How 2009 ended: In “Abandon all Hope,” hope was definitely lost as Jo and Ellen sacrificed themselves for the cause. That goodbye between Jo and Dean with the kiss was epic heartbreak. Also, Sam came face-to-face with Lucifer, who pretty much told the doomed Winchester life as his meat suit was inevitable.

Photo Credit: The CW

How 2010 began: In “Sam, Interrupted,” the brothers scammed their way into a psychiatric facility to solve the latest MOTW. The episode didn’t have much to do in the way of mythology, but did have one of the greatest scenes ever in the history of the show and that was when Dean pulled his pants down; raised his arms up; and yelled “PUDDING” in order to deflect attention from what they were really doing. Plus, Sam had some serious anger issues he needed to deal with.

Season 6

How 2010 ended: In “Appointment in Samarra,” Dean became Death for a day in order for the Horsemen to grant him his wish: to re-soul Sam. And that’s how the episode ended with Sam screaming and Supernatural fans wondering what state he was going to be in when 2011 began.

Photo Credit: Michael Courtney/The CW

How 2011 Begins (NOTE: VAGUE SPOILERS AHEAD): In “Like a Virgin,” Sam has gotten his soul back but has he gotten his groove back? An element returns to the show that was sorely missing this season and you guys will see AND hear it right off the bat. During the episode we’ll learn a little sumthin’ sumthin’ about Bobby’s past. Plus, as we know, the case involves a whole gaggle of virgins. I’ll be writing a recap for it over at, so let me know what you guys think after “Like a Virgin” airs.

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