I’m still on a Ben Edlund-high after the latest Supernatural. “The Man Who Would be King” was such a stellar hour of television it became an instant classic. To keep the Edlund-love going and to help get us through the extra week we have to wait for the finale, I decided to rank what I feel are the executive producer/writer/director’s top ten episodes:
1. “The Man Who Would Be King”
Up until this latest Supernatural, “On the Head of a Pin” was my all-time favorite Ben Edlund episode. But I now have to give “The Man Who Would be King” the edge because Edlund didn’t only write the amazing episode, he directed it. The way he structured it really worked; it was a complete experience from beginning to end. Edlund managed to make “TMWWBK” my favorite Castiel showcase after a season where I often wondered why we aren’t seeing the angel more. The payoff was well worth the wait. I still wish it came earlier in the season, but that’s just a small complaint. It gave us answers, asked some new ones and provided us with some of the most wonderful Dean-Cas scenes of the entire series. They were painful too because I really don’t want to see the familial relationship between hunter and angel shattered like it was but it resulted in such stellar work, I’ll put my concerns aside. Ben Edlund became my all-time favorite Supernatural writer with “The Man Who Would be King.”
2. “On the Head of a Pin”
Up until this episode, I only praised Edlund for his humorous take on everything. But man, this was a game-changer for him as far as I’m concerned. Dean was forced to face something he wanted to keep hidden. Down in hell, he got off the rack and started torturing souls. Uriel and Cas needed him to tap into those skills to get information out of Alistair. You could see the struggle on Dean’s face but he did it anyway. It was also the episode where we learned exactly what Sam was up to with Ruby — he was sucking on her demon blood which made him much more able to play with other demons — after all, he ultimately killed Alistair. The scenes featuring Jensen and Christopher Heyerdahl (Alistair) were filled with heartbreak, humor and pain. But my respect for Edlund grew immensely. “OTHoaP” was all about the drama and it was awesome. That last scene when Dean’s in the hospital defeated was one of my favorite Dean-Cas moments. It was sad but oh so good at the same time.
3. “The French Mistake”
This should have been an episode that didn’t work. How glorious was it that Edlund ended up knocking this one out of the park? Yes, it was another home run as Sam and Dean were sent to an alternate reality where they were mistaken for two actors — named Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki — and said actors played Sam and Dean Winchester on a TV show called Supernatural? It’s enough to make your brain hurt, but instead my stomach hurt because I laughed so freakin’ much. I loved the look into Jared’s life at the big mansion with his tiny wife and the giant-sized pictures of himself. And Jensen’s trailer with the model helicopter and huge aquarium and his dailies on a giant screen looping all day long. Three of my favorite things about “The French Mistake”: 1) Sam finding the clips of Jensen on Days of our Lives; 2) Misha texting his fans from the set; and 3) What may be the show’s all time most hilarious moment — Sam and Dean’s bad acting scene. OMG. I was on the floor. At this point, I just think Edlund can’t get any better.
4. Â “Bad Day at Black Rock”
For three seasons, I considered “Bad Day at Black Rock” Edlund’s funniest. Then a certain Season Six meta-episode came along. Regardless, “BDABR” is hilarious TV. It featured some classic lines I will never forget like “I lost my shoe” and “I’m Batman.” To this day, I think those are two of the best lines from any Supernatural. And the episode also gave Sam a lot to do comedy-wise. Much of the time he’s the straight man; but in “BDABR,” he was as funny as Dean, maybe even more. I really appreciated that. And I’m sorry, I know what people ended up feeling about Bela, but her introduction in this episode was pure perfection.
5. “The End”
Present versus Future Dean; the first sighting of Samifer (Sam as Lucifer); and Orgy Cas. This look at the apocalyptic world five years into the future was designed to help get Dean closer to saying yes to Michael. It was epically awesome with amazing performances by Jensen, Jared and Misha. They really brought to life a script that was dark yet beautiful. Yet, there are four more episodes I loved even more. This is an embarrassment of riches here.
This is a testament to how amazing Ben Edlund really is. “Night Shifter” is one of my all-time favorites, yet when I sat down to rank all of Ben’s Supernatural work, “Night Shifter” came in at number six. I have so much love for this Season 2 episode from the introduction of Victor Henriksen to Ronald’s conspiracy Mandroid theory to the last scene of Sam and Dean escaping the bank and the feds to the tune of Styx’s “Renegade.” I loved every second of this episode.
7. “Abandon All Hope”
If Ellen and Jo had to die, I’m glad they did it in a Ben Edlund-episode. He’s more known for his humor but he can really bring the drama. Ellen and Jo’s sacrifice was heartbreaking and really well done. Love how it all went down; Dean’s sweet kiss to Jo before she willingly gave up her life had me in tears. But the apocalypse was serious business and there had to be casualties. I wish the show could have saved the mother-daughter hunting duo, but they got a fine send-off. Their deaths were significant — they meant something. That doesn’t always happen on this show.
8. “Wishful Thinking”
Really all I need to say is giant, talking, suicidal teddy bear and fans will know why I adored “Wishful Thinking.” If there’s any better example of how Edlund’s quirky, twisted brand of humor makes this show so much better, it’s that teddy bear as well as Sam and Dean calling themselves “teddy bear doctors.” I can’t believe he made that work.
9. “Hollywood Babylon”
I didn’t think “Hollywood Babylon” was going to work either but it turns out I totally loved it. Consider this a precursor to “The French Mistake” because this one gave us a behind-the-scenes look into the making of a movie. I loved seeing Gary Cole and Dean being “one hell of a PA.” And the Sam/Gilmore Girls joke was priceless. The only kind of odd thing to me was that it came right after “Heart” when Sam was forced to kill the werewolf/girl he had just hooked up with — it was a little tough to reconcile the fact we got a purely comedic episode so soon after such a tragic occurrence.
10. “Clap Your Hands if you Believe”
I had a tough time choosing between “Clap Your Hands…” and “Monster Movie.” It came down to “Fight the Fairies” versus Lederhosen Dean. What gave the fairy tale the edge was the presence of Soulless Sam. Dean trying to teach Sam how to act like a sensitive, caring human was hilarious. Plus, Dean fighting Tinkerbell and then nuking it was beyond funny. It wasn’t a perfect episode, but I enjoyed it immensely.
Those are mine. What are your favorite Ben Edlund episodes?
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