After 14 seasons, fans know what to expect from a Supernatural season finale. Kansas’ song “Carry On Wayward Son” plays over the recap. The episode wraps up the loose ends of the season-long story. Then, something unexpected happens. And the episode inevitably ends with a surprising, open-ended moment that makes fans' hearts race. After the questions the capper sets up, the following season can never come soon enough.
Supernatural has been churning out consistently high-quality season finales since it began, but that doesn’t mean they’re all equally great. And there’s one episode in particular that stands above the rest. Here, we’ve ranked every Supernatural season finale from worst to best. See if you agree with our assessment.
14 SEASON 11 — “ALPHA AND OMEGA”
In season 11 we meet God’s sister, the Darkness (aka Amara) as well as God himself. Yet, the season finale isn’t exactly transcendent. Most of the action revolves around Sam and Dean, along with Castiel, Crowley, and Rowena trying to build a soul-powered bomb to take out Amara. Once again, the plot hinges on Dean’s willingness to sacrifice himself, an occupational hazard that’s pretty much become a driving character trait at this point.
Ultimately, Dean doesn’t have to go through with the plan because he manages to reason with Amara instead. While his speech about family certainly speaks to one of the major themes of the show, it’s all a bit anticlimactic. It does end with two jaw-dropping moments though: Sam is shot by a woman from the British Men of Letters and Dean finds his mother, who perished when he was a young child, alive.
13 SEASON 13 — “LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL”
Much of season 13 explores the alternate dimension that comes to be known as Apocalypse World. It’s a place where angels and demons wage war against one another on Earth – with what humans remain caught in the middle. At the end of the season's penultimate episode, Sam and Dean rescued a band of people from Apocalypse World, including an alternate dimension Bobby, their mother, and the half-human/half-angel Nephilim Jack. In the process, they leave behind the angels Lucifer and Michael.
At the beginning of the season finale, Lucifer and Michael find their way back to our world. Lucifer, Jack’s father, seeks him out and tries to sweet-talk him into going away with him. At the same time, Michael goes after Sam, Dean, and Castiel. Ultimately everyone comes together and Jack discovers his father isn’t as benevolent as he seems. So Lucifer steals Jack’s grace, leading Dean to agree to being Michael’s vessel so he can save Jack and Sam from Lucifer. While Dean’s gambit works and he takes Lucifer out, instead of leaving Dean’s body as agreed, Michael takes it over completely. It's a twist that anyone who was paying attention could see coming, in an episode that, despite some surprising moments, is a little tepid.
12 SEASON 12 — “ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER”
In the last episode of season 12 the coming birth of the Lucifer’s son opens a rift in time and space. The rift, combined with Lucifer’s desire to find and take away his child, leads to all sorts of shocking outcomes: An alternate version of Bobby waiting on the other side of the rift, the end of Crowley, the demise of Castiel, and the loss of the Winchester’s mother Mary, who’s dragged into the rift with Lucifer just before it closes.
It’s a series of stunning losses in a show full of them. After so many times seeing characters leave and return, though, it was hard to know which characters were really gone for good. Season 12 was a difficult season in general and several of the plot points in this capper were difficult to swallow.
11 SEASON 9 — “DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES”
Between Metatron and the Mark of Cain, Sam, Dean, and Castiel have their hands full in this season finale. Metatron makes a play to become the new God. Meanwhile, the influence of the Mark has made Dean bloodthirsty. In the end, Metatron takes out Dean and then Cas gets Metatron imprisoned in Heaven after he broadcasts Metatron's confession of his crimes.
The episode has some nice moments, especially Gadreel sacrificing himself to atone for past wrongs. Still, the Metatron storyline is, well, kind of boring. Nonetheless, the last moments, where Crowley confesses that the Mark won’t let Dean go and Dean opens his eyes to reveal he’s become a demon, is gasp-inducing.
10 SEASON 7 — “SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST”
Throughout season 7, Sam and Dean battle the Leviathan who are a lot more formidable than your average monster. The leader of the Leviathan plans to turn people into a docile food source and it’s up to Sam and Dean, as well as Castiel, the demon Meg, and Crowley to stop him. For a show that largely operates in the shadows, this finale spends a lot of time in a big corporate office that would be a lot more sterile if it weren’t for all the deadly Leviathan running around.
While the seventh season’s storyline isn’t the best of the series, the finale is elevated by ghost Bobby finally letting go of his life on Earth. It also has a great ending that sees Dean waking up in Purgatory. Still, for such dangerous beings, it always seemed weird that the rest of the Leviathan became useless after their leader was gone.
9 SEASON 6 — “THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH”
Sam and Dean are in two very different places in this season-ender. An unconscious Sam grapples with himself as he puts the pieces of his fractured mind back together, including the part that remembers being in Lucifer’s cage in Hell. At the same time, in real life, Dean and Bobby are looking for Castiel and Crowley who plan to open Purgatory for the souls that exist there.
The metaphor of Sam wrestling with the different pieces of himself sets the episode apart from the series’ more standard storytelling. However, the ending, in which Cas powers up by swallowing the souls from Purgatory and essentially becomes the new God, is a little bit of a head-scratcher — as was Crowley and Cas’s Purgatory plan from the beginning.
8 SEASON 10 — “BROTHER’S KEEPER”
This is the second finale in a row that deals with Dean’s struggles with the Mark of Cain. This time, Sam and Castiel are doing what they can to get rid of it, although most of their work hinges on Crowley and Rowena. Ultimately, though, what really makes this episode is the appearance of Death, whose dry, bad-food loving presence was always welcome on Supernatural.
Dean and Death make a deal that leads Dean to threaten Sam’s life. It’s hard to say if Dean was ever planning to go through with dispatching his brother, but in a game-changing twist, he takes out Death instead. Also, the ominous cliffhanger sees the coming of the Darkness, a malevolent being on a scale Sam and Dean are told they’ve never seen before.
7 SEASON 1 — “DEVIL’S TRAP”
Looking back, it’s amazing how much of Supernatural was already in place in its first season. Not everything was a success, but the basics of the show were all there from the beginning. And although it wasn’t on the level of some other season finales, the season 1 capper was an engaging episode.
After a season-long introduction to all manner of things that go bump in the night, the season finale zeroes in on the demons’ attempt to get the supernatural-dispatching gun, The Colt. The Winchesters manage to keep it safe and also rescue their father. They even keep the Colt away from him when it turns out he’s been possessed by the yellow-eyed demon. The ending appears to be a clean victory for the good guys until a truck plows into the Impala in the show’s last seconds.
6 SEASON 8 — “SACRIFICE”
The season 8 finale can be summed up by one awe-inspiring final image: all the angels falling from Heaven. It’s a spectacular ending to a season that saw Sam take on the demon trials in order to close the Gates of Hell. While ultimately everything goes wrong — Castiel loses his grace, Sam must stop the trials to prevent them from ending his life — the episode has some great moments while it’s getting there.
The true MVP of the episode, though, is Mark Sheppard. His performance as Crowley, who Sam and Dean kidnap and attempt to make human again, is funny, heartfelt, and nuanced, revealing parts of the character we’ve never seen before.
5 SEASON 3 — “NO REST FOR THE WICKED”
This is another Supernatural season finale that includes an indelible final image: Dean in Hell suspended in chains calling for his brother. It’s scary and heartbreaking and left fans breathless. The rest of the episode centers on Sam, Dean, and Bobby desperately trying to figure out how to get Dean out of the life-ending contract he signed to bring Sam back at the end of the previous season.
This involves the incredibly disturbing introduction of Lilith, the demon who holds Dean’s contract. While she was glimpsed earlier in the season, this is the episode where fans got a thorough demonstration of just how diabolical she is.
4 SEASON 14 — “MORIAH”
The second to last season finale of the series was one of its best. It includes some hilarious moments, especially when Jack, the Nephilim, causes a worldwide problem when he commands humans not to lie. We learn first-hand why lying can be a good thing when an office Sam and Dean visit descends into chaos.
The episode also includes the return of God, God’s inadvertent confession that the Winchesters are his favorite show (we’re with you, God!), and his attempts to create a dramatically poignant moment by having Dean take out Jack. It all leads to a kicker of an ending where an angry God brings back all the demons and other creatures Sam and Dean ever defeated. Clearly, the brothers have their work cut out for them in their fifteenth and final season.
3 SEASON 2 — “ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE: PART 2”
The action of this season finale revolves around Dean, Sam, Bobby, and Ellen discovering the yellow-eyed demon Azazel’s endgame and doing what they can to stop him. Azazel’s grand plan is to open the Gates of Hell. It almost works out for the demon. The Gates are opened but Sam, Dean, and the others fight back.
That leads to the episode's most exciting moment. The brothers’ father emerges from the Gate and prevents Azazel from taking out Dean. That gives Dean enough time to use the Colt to shoot Azazel and finally end him. The episode also does a great job of setting up the subsequent season. Although they manage to close the Gates, the demons that already escaped were clearly going to keep Sam and Dean busy when the show returned.
2 SEASON 4 — “LUCIFER RISING”
Season 4 is a fight between Ruby and Dean over Sam and the use of his demon blood-powered abilities. Dean isn’t on board but Ruby convinces Sam of all the good he can do with his special skills. The season-ender is an edge-of-your-seat nail biter as Sam follows Ruby’s lead and Dean does pretty much everything he can to stop him, including making an ill-fated deal with the angels.
The biggest twist comes when it’s revealed that Ruby was conning Sam the whole time. She was using him to release Lucifer from Hell. Her momentary celebration of her victory before Sam realizes her betrayal and he and Dean take her out is pure gold.
1 SEASON 5 — “SWAN SONG”
There’s really no such thing as a bad Supernatural season finale. However, the season 5 finale is definitely the best. It’s a fully realized narrative from start to finish. The episode is the culmination of the storyline that was supposed to end with the brothers becoming the vessels for Lucifer and Michael. While Dean refuses Michael, Sam says yes to Lucifer in order to gain control just long enough to imprison Lucifer in Hell.
It’s a big Shakespearean drama that’s elevated further by the narration provided by the author Chuck. Chuck fills us in on the lives of the Winchesters through the backstory of their beloved Impala. It poetically frames the episode's action and makes the story especially meaningful.