Nearing its 13th season, real fans of Supernatural know that long ago, the show took on a life of its own. Watching Dean, Sam, and Cass “Carry On” the good fight all these years has made believers out of all of us. While loyal watchers would seemingly never walk away, there have been some moments in the show’s long run that have made even the most dedicated fans want to “Abandon All Hope.”
The CW series has always had a knack for tugging at our heartstrings in a way that’s different from any other show on television. We love the characters, we love the mythology, and for better or for worse, we love the storylines. Many of us who have followed the journey so far have remained tried-and-true, but these occasions were enough to question everything and almost had us cutting ties with the Winchesters for good.
Take a look back at 15 times we almost broke up with Supernatural… but didn’t.
15 Jo And Ellen Die
In episode 10 of Season 5 (“Abandon All Hope...”) the team assembles and goes in search of Lucifer in an attempt to take him out with the Colt. Sam, Dean, Castiel, and Bobby, along with Jo and Ellen, devised a plan we all thought would work… or at least thought might do some damage while still getting them all out of there alive.
Mother and daughter team Jo and Ellen Harvelle first showed up in Season 2. Fans instantly loved the reluctant hunters and their Roadhouse, their rough and tough attitudes, plus their relationships with the other characters. Bobby and Ellen had this possible soulmate thing going, and Dean and Jo had some serious chemistry. But in this episode, after their failed plan left Jo mortally wounded by a hellhound, Ellen (being the ultimate warrior mother) decided to die a hero next to her daughter and sacrificed herself for the greater good.
Losing that pair was by far the show’s most devastating blow since John Winchester. While series creator Eric Kripke made the first 5 seasons near perfect, Jo and Ellen’s departure from the series was a sad moment that ended up leaving a pretty big hole in our hearts.
14 Season 6
Sera Gamble’s entire first season as showrunner was enough to piss off any Supernatural fan. In all of its years on television, this might have been the most dangerous time for the show. Kripke had only planned for the series to run 5 seasons, but with such high ratings and huge fan following, the Winchesters obviously weren’t going anywhere. While assuming the role of executive producer, Kripke handed the keys to the kingdom to arguably one of Supernatural’s best writers, executive producer Sera Gamble. Fans were excited for the changeover, but that didn’t last long.
Unfortunately, it was a rough transition, and just not a very good season overall. While she and co-showrunner Robert Singer gave it their best shot to make it a new era, fans were not happy. The show added a different visual style and had way too many plotlines going at once. The Eve storyline was totally anticlimactic, and the whole Weapons of Heaven idea was just dropped. By the end of the season, they had left us with a soulless Sam and turned Cass into the bad guy. Needless to say, Sera Gamble’s reign was brief. By Season 8, writer/producer Jeremy Carver returned to save the day.
13 Cass Dies… Again
In “Hello, Cruel World” (episode 2 of Season 7) fans were completely shocked to see how the showrunners decided to wrap up the storyline they had spent building throughout all of Season 6: making Cass out to be the big bad. Ben Edlund wrote the episode, so viewers of course had high hopes. But shortly after the episode starts, they kill off Cass... again.
This time, though, his death held a bit more water (so to speak). The Leviathan-possessed former Angel died in one of the worst ways the show had seen (up until that point). The onetime hero walked straight into a body of water and seemed to just disappear, with only his trademark trench coat left floating behind. There would be no redemption for Castiel.
Whereas all of his other deaths were meaningful, this time, he would die the bad guy without ever getting a chance to be forgiven by Dean. Since star Misha Collins was absent most of the season and didn’t return until episode 17 (“The Born-Again Identity”) people thought this time, his character might be gone for good. After that stunt, they were lucky it wasn’t the fans who were gone for good.
12 Bye-Bye Bobby
Season 7 certainly saw its share of obstacles when it came to our desire to breakup with Supernatural. In episode 9 (“How To Win Friends And Influence Monsters”), Bobby Singer, who had pretty much stepped in as a surrogate dad after the character of John Winchester left the show, gets SHOT by a monster. After a life of “hunting”, you would think he would at least go out fighting in a battle with some scary supernatural creature -- not die running away after being taken hostage by Dick Roman (a Leviathan that appeared more sleazy than creepy).
But the bad Bobby storyline didn’t stop there. Although he officially died in the following episode, “Death's Door,” it wasn’t until episode 18 (“Party On, Garth”) that we find out Bobby went completely against character and opted for life as a ghost. Out of all of them, Bobby Singer knew best that choice would turn him into a vengeful spirit. What’s worse was in Season 8, when we find out he finally did crossover, but that he was sent to Hell. Viewers felt somewhat better once Sam was able to help him get to Heaven, but unfortunately, that would more or less be the end of Bobby Singer.
11 The Leviathans
Season 7 – 8 had the Leviathans. As God’s oldest creatures and the monsters who occupied Purgatory, you would think these guys would be frightening. Yeah, not so much. Overall, they were pretty terrible monsters; almost like shapeshifters, but with Pac-Man mouths and generally just not threatening at all. Also, in sticking with the theme from the previous season, there was no explanation as to what happened to them. One minute they were the most powerful creatures on Earth set to conquer the world, and the next, they were just gone. All we knew is that Dean and Cass went to Purgatory after killing Dick Roman, and according to Crowley, the rest of them just demobilized and scattered.
There were supposed to be hundreds of them, and then they were suddenly never mentioned again. When it comes to worthy adversaries and solid story arcs, the Leviathans rate pretty low on the list.
10 Season 9… History Repeats Itself
With Jeremy Carver and Robert Singer at the helm, fans thought it would surely be smooth sailing from here on out. While there were some shining episodes, a lot of Season 9 was filled with repetitive plotlines plucked from other seasons. Several storylines were the same ones we had loved once before, only with a twist. Aside from Cass, (the misunderstood good guy) who was now being hunted by his own -- which was Sam déjà vu, to say the least -- once again, Dean is keeping secrets and making bad deals to save his brother’s life. This time, instead of a Demon, he strikes an accord with an Angel named Ezekiel, helping him trick Sam into allowing the Angel to possess him.
Um, Lucifer? Michael? Don’t we already know this won’t end well?
This season was full of potential. It had some juicy ideas, but unfortunately, we had already seen most of them. You would think all three of them would have learned their lesson by now - apparently not.
9 Oh My God, They Killed Kevin! (You Bastards!)
When we first met Kevin Tran in Season 7, he fit right in as if he were the new Chuck, quickly becoming a fan-favorite. While the former college kid-turned-Prophet of the Lord had it pretty rough from the beginning, fans cheered him on through every obstacle as if he was solidifying his rightful place fighting side by side with the boys.
Kevin made it through 2 seasons; he survived the Leviathans, he made it through Crowley AND Abaddon, and he got past what he thought was the loss of his mother, only in the end to be killed by a possessed Sam under the orders of Metatron. In Season 9's “Holy Terror”, Gadreel (formerly thought to be Ezekiel) ends up smiting the prophet, essentially leaving Sam and Dean responsible for his death. After that, Kevin still couldn’t find peace. Later, in Season 9's “Captives”, we learn that he’s been stuck on Earth as a ghost AND that his mother was actually still alive – just being held captive all this time. It took the return of God in Season 11 to finally get poor Kevin Tran to Heaven.
8 The Death Of Charlie Bradbury
Charlie Bradbury ranked at the top as one of the most badass females that ever hit the Supernatural screen. We met the hacker-turned-hunter in Season 7 working for Dick Roman and watched her character develop over the course of 3 Seasons. She was super smart, quirky, liked LARPing, and the ladies, which meant she had no interest in Sam and Dean romantically whatsoever.
Everyone loved Charlie, so in “Dark Dynasty,” (Season 10 episode 21), fans couldn’t believe they would write off the beloved character in such an out-of-character way. While we knew her devotion to the Winchesters would probably be her undoing (as it is with most others), the disappearing act that led to her death was a series of really dumb choices not typical of Charlie at all. Her being taken out by Eldon Styne over the Book of the Damned left fans so upset, they even called out the showrunners out at Comic-Con.
7 Dean Kills Death. Seriously?
Oh, Death. When we were first introduced to Death as one of Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, we of course knew him as the boss of all Reapers, and would soon find out that he was possibly even older than God. But seriously, come on. He’s Death. We’ve seen the all-powerful being appear several times throughout years, usually as a reluctant aid to the Winchesters. But in the Season 10 finale, fans were in for a strange turn of events.
As the whole year was focused on the Mark of Cain, Dean had summoned The Pale Rider (once again) in hopes that he would end things. When Death informed Dean he couldn’t kill him (and that removing the Mark had consequences), they ended up striking a bargain which included a trade-off: Death would banish Dean to keep him from harming others, but only after Dean kills Sam. Sam, of course, agrees to sacrifice himself for the greater good, but did you think Dean Winchester would kill his own brother? Of course not.
After Death hands Dean his scythe, Dean turns his attention to The Grim Reaper and takes him out instead. So, what happens when Death is dead? Apparently...nothing.
6 The Mark Of Cain Turns Out To Be God’s Sister
While Season 10 focused on the Mark of Cain and touched on the mysterious Darkness that was unleashed, in episode 6 of Season 11 (“Our Little World”), it’s revealed that the Mark of Cain AKA The Darkness AKA Amara is actually God’s sister. How, might you ask, does the Mark of Cain end up being a person/celestial being? Good question.
The storyline gets even more curious as Crowley seems to adopt the child who we now know as Amara as his own and feeds her souls until she grows into an adult; eventually ditching an alliance with him mostly because of her bizarre infatuation with Dean. While we knew the two were connected over the Mark, Amara seemed intent on seducing Dean against his will, giving off a vibe that’s a whole other kind of creepy. The Mark of Cain turning into God’s sister and attempting to bond with Dean Winchester so the two could become one was a Supernatural moment that definitely had us wondering what the hell was happening.
5 Amara’s Change Of Heart
One of the most frustrating parts about Amara was that her character only had a single season arc. On top of that, you really couldn’t decide if you hated her or felt sorry for her. It seems maybe the showrunners faced the same dilemma, as she did suck the souls out of dozens of people and turned whole towns into rage zombies (Croatoan knockoff, anyone?) then was instantly forgiven. On the bright side, the Amara storyline brought Chuck back in episode 20 (“Don't Call Me Shurley”) when he was FINALLY revealed to be God. That part was great, but he only stuck around for a few episodes, and with him, came an underwhelming storyline to answer the big question of what he was doing all this time when things were falling to pieces on Earth.
The whole thing resulted in a relatively easy coax for Amara to give up and let love into her heart. In the end, she changed her mind about destroying God and the world after watching pigeons and having a 5-minute conversation with Dean. It was crazy underwhelming all-around.
4 Rewriting Mythology
Reapers made their very-first appearance in “Faith,” the 12th episode of Season 1. Back then, Reapers were terrifying, neutral beings who only showed up to escort souls into the afterlife. In Season 2, we met Tessa, a different Reaper, who looked less like a mortician and more like a college student. And while there where subtle changes over the years, it wasn’t until Season 8 when we were told all of a sudden that there were “'Rogue Reapers” who could be bought for a price and were somehow now visible despite not having a human soul to transport.
Before you knew it, Reapers had emotions. They were no longer unbiased. They were turning evil, possessing people, and they even got involved in the Angel war and attempted to kill Castiel. In Season 11, we met a Reaper named Billie. She tells the Winchesters that even though Death is dead, she’ll go on reaping souls, and threatens them with The Empty -- a new place from which there's apparently no coming back from. In Season 12, she comes for one of them. Mary offers up herself, but before Billie can take her, Cass takes the Reaper out with… of course, an Angel blade.
3 Next-level fridging
One of Supernatural’s biggest issues over the years has been the way they keep killing off female characters in an attempt to advance the storyline. Better known as “fridging” (see above entries for reference), fans have long spoken up in very public forums about how many times they’ve almost walked away from the show because of it. That being said, you would think after noticing the uproar that Charlie’s death had caused, the writers would be a bit more cautious. Nope.
In Season 12, Eileen Leahy, the poor deaf hunter who we first met in Season 11’s “Into the Mystic,” the one who lost her hearing to a Banshee as a child, was taken out by Arthur's hellhound. Come on! Eileen? Really? The girl’s grandfather had been inducted into the Men of Letters, making her a legacy, meaning in the end, she was eliminated by one of her own. Sheriff Jody Mills (who is thankfully still alive) informed the boys of Eileen’s death which, wouldn’t you know it, helped progress the season’s storyline. Not shocking, but upsetting nonetheless.
2 Witch Way Did Rowena Go?
Season 12 gave fans quite a bit to stew over to say the least. After spending the last 2 seasons in a love-hate relationship with our favorite witch Rowena, her death caught all of us off guard. The surprise wasn’t in the fact that they killed her off; it was how she went that left many viewers unhappy.
That’s because no one knows exactly what happened to her. Crowley’s mom was last seen in episode 13 of Season 12 (“Family Feud”). By this point, we were all rather fond of her and had half-expected she would at least stick around to the finale. But in episode 23, when Sam calls on her for help, Lucifer responds, describing her painful death. All we are left with is a vision of the Devil playing with a lock of her hair while a burned body lies on the floor. In the end, the writers sent Rowena off with a traditional “Irish Goodbye” that was oddly poetic.
1 Everyone Dies
Well, they finally did it. Supernatural managed to kill off almost everybody in one fell swoop. The end of Season 12 hit us with 2 back-to-back episodes, “Who We Are” and “All Along the Watchtower.” The first part saw the end of what was left of the British Men of Letters, which overall, most people didn’t mind so much. But part 2 had many devoted fans blasting the brutal finale.
While our hearts broke when we saw Castiel get taken out by Lucifer, we soon learned that Misha Collins will definitely be returning for Season 13 (thank God - again). However, it does seem we’ve come to the end of the crossroads with Mark Sheppard. Although Crowley went out a hero, he’s been a fixture since Season 5 (which is quite a feat on this show), meaning fans will undoubtedly miss his surly demeanor. The finale also killed off Kelly Kline and left Mary Winchester in an alternate dimension with the Devil (very deus ex machina). We did also see some favorites return for the 2-parter, such as Jody Mills and Bobby Singer, which might be just enough to give fans a glimmer of hope for the future.
Do you have a moment when you were ready to breakup with Supernatural for good? Let us know in the comments.