25. “Bad Day at Black Rock” (Season 3, Episode 3)
What makes it weird: After happening upon a lucky rabbit’s foot, Sam’s luck drastically improves — he wins thousands of dollars in a lottery and finds a gold watch. But once he loses the foot, he loses his luck. And his shoe.
Does it work: Yes! It’s wacky and delightful. Sam’s reaction to losing his shoe remains one of his most precious moments ever.
24. “A Very Supernatural Christmas” (Season 3, Episode 8)
What makes it weird: When people start disappearing up their chimneys at Christmas, Sam and Dean suspect that an evil Santa is responsible. They end up discovering a far more diabolical enemy, pagan gods disguised as a sweet suburban couple.
Does it work: Yep. The episode is funny and surprisingly dark. As fun as an evil Santa would have been, the killer suburbanites are a nice touch.
23. “LARP and the Real Girl” (Season 8, Episode 11)
What makes it weird: Sorry, LARPers — LARPing (that is, Live Action Role-Playing) is inherently weird. Sam and Dean going undercover (and getting kind of into it) makes it all that much weirder. Also, there’s a fairy.
Does it work: Despite Supernatural’s occasional unkindness to the nerd community, this episode is pretty great. It helps that Charlie (Felicia Day) gets to mack on the hot fairy.
22. “Ghostfacers” (Season 3, Episode 13)
What makes it weird: Sam and Dean find themselves in the middle of a reality show when they bump into wannabe ghost hunters filming the pilot of Ghostfacers. And yes, it’s basically SyFy’s Ghost Hunters but way less professional.
Does it work: It really does. Ed (A.J. Buckley) and Harry (Travis Wester) are so much fun they got their own web series. And they also show up in the next episode on the list.
21. “It’s a Terrible Life” (Season 4, Episode 17)
What makes it weird: Sam and Dean don’t know each other. Also their names are Sam Wesson and Dean Smith, and they work for the Sandover Bridge and Iron Company, where employees are starting to kill themselves.
Does it work: It’s a bit jarring at first, but it’s all worthwhile in the end. It’s always fun seeing Sam and Dean out of character. Plus, we meet meddling angel Zachariah (Kurt Fuller).
20. “Monster Movie” (Season 4, Episode 5)
What makes it weird: The whole episode is in black-and-white, for starters. Perhaps more to the point, the monster is a Dracula-style vampire, like nothing Sam and Dean have seen before. And he’s also a werewolf. And maybe a mummy. (He’s a really nerdy shapeshifter.)
Does it work: Yes, especially if you dig references to classic horror.
19. “Yellow Fever” (Season 4, Episode 6)
What makes it weird: The episode begins with Dean running in terror from… a Yorkie. It turns out Dean is infected with fear and will literally die of fright in 48 hours. But as dire as the threat is, it’s hard to take seriously when Dean is screaming at just about everything, no matter how innocuous.
Does it work: It’s one of the funniest episodes of Supernatural to date. So yes. Yes, it does.
18. “Live Free or Twihard” (Season 6, Episode 5)
What makes it weird: The title kind of spells it out. When Dean and Sam investigate the disappearance of a girl named Kristen (ahem) — whose laptop password is “Pattinson” (cough) — they discover that a group of vampires is going after Twilight fans and other human vampire obsessives. Oh, and Dean becomes a vampire.
Does it work: It’s hard to live up to that title, but there’s still a lot to like. At the same time, this episode just isn’t as fun as it should be.
17. “Clap Your Hands If You Believe…” (Season 6, Episode 9)
What makes it weird: Sam and Dean are called to investigate a series of UFO encounters, which would be strange enough. But those UFO encounters turn out to be the work of fairies. A fairy is microwaved, a leprechaun gets tricked, and Dean tackles a little person.
Does it work: To some extent. As with other later Supernatural episodes, the concept is more exciting than the execution.
16. “Remember the Titans” (Season 8, Episode 16)
What makes it weird: Sam and Dean meet a man named Shane (John Reardon) — at least, that’s the name they’re given. Once they learn that Shane dies every day, the brothers realize he is actually the Greek mythological figure Prometheus, on the run from Artemis and Zeus.
Does it work: It mostly does. With so much going on in the background, it’s nice to take a break with such an odd little episode.
15. “My Heart Will Go On” (Season 6, Episode 17)
What makes it weird: Once again, we’re plunked into an alternate reality without any explanation. Here, Bobby is married to Ellen (Samantha Ferris), who is still very much alive. It turns out Balthazar (Sebastian Roché) changed fate so that the Titanic never sunk, screwing everything up in the process.
Does it work: Yes. It’s just really, really sad. Bobby has just lost Rufus (Steven Williams), and now he has to lose Ellen all over again. Poor Bobby.
14. “Pac-Man Fever” (Season 8, Episode 20)
What makes it weird: Charlie is captured by a djinn that feeds off fear. She’s trapped in a nightmare based on the video game The Red Scare, in which she (and later Dean) have to protect a hospital from super-soldier vampires.
Does it work: Yep, and once again, it’s a nice blend of fun and melancholy, once we learn the real reason Charlie is haunted by this particular hospital.
13. “Bitten” (Season 8, Episode 4)
What makes it weird: This is perhaps the most unusually formatted Supernatural episode, composed primarily of found footage, and with 20 minutes before the first commercial break. The plot revolves around three college students and their encounter with pureblood werewolves.
Does it work: For the most part, yes. It’s very light on Sam and Dean, but the story (and stylistic weirdness) is engaging enough to carry the episode.
12. “Mystery Spot” (Season 3, Episode 11)
What makes it weird: It’s Groundhog Day! Well, not exactly. But Sam keeps reliving the same day over and over again — and that’s especially problematic because it’s the day Dean dies. Eventually the day stops repeating, and Sam has to move on without Dean until he can track down the Trickster (Richard Speight Jr.).
Does it work: Yes! The time-loop trope has appeared in many sci-fi and fantasy series, but this is one of the most effective episodes of the genre.
11. “The Monster at the End of This Book” (Season 4, Episode 18)
What makes it weird: Sam and Dean learn about the book series Supernatural, which is about… two hunters named Sam and Dean. Things get very meta, very fast, as the brothers learn all about the Sam Girls, the Dean Girls, and — yes — slash fanfic.
Does it work: It so does. What’s great is that it actually makes a sort of sense, as the books’ author Chuck Shurley (Rob Benedict) turns out to be a prophet writing the Winchester Gospels.
10. “Hunteri Heroici” (Season 8, Episode 8)
What makes it weird: People are dying in oddly cartoonish ways, like getting smashed by an anvil. Sam, Dean, and Castiel discover that the man behind it doesn’t even realize he’s doing it: Fred Jones (Mike Farrell) is a senile psychokinetic who watches too many cartoons.
Does it work: It’s funny and gross, which is always a great combination. Plus, it has Castiel’s first attempts at being a hunter. So yes.
9. “Hammer of the Gods” (Season 5, Episode 19)
What makes it weird: Sam and Dean wind up at a hotel called Elysian Fields (wink, wink) where they encounter a group of gods attempting to thwart Lucifer’s apocalypse. Everyone from Chinese folk god Zao Shen (King Lau) to Hindu deity Kali (Rekha Sharma) make an appearance.
Does it work: Meh. There’s way too much going on. Also, while Supernatural has established the existence of multiple gods, this is really a lot to take in.
8. “Slumber Party” (Season 9, Episode 4)
What makes it weird: Well, it’s another Charlie episode, so what does that tell you? This one has Charlie and the Winchesters teaming up with Dorothy from Oz to kill the Wicked Witch of the West. And it ends with Charlie heading off down the yellow brick road.
Does it work: Sadly, not so much. While Dorothy explains that the Oz books screwed with her mythology, it’s still disappointing that very little here feels like Oz. Kind of a bummer.
7. “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie” (Season 7, Episode 14)
What makes it weird: There are evil clowns that explode into glitter and a homicidal unicorn, all because someone who works at Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie is in a very bad mood. But who cares about the human villain when Sam’s being chased by clowns?
Does it work: It might actually be a little too silly — if that’s possible — but it’s fun.
6. “Dog Dean Afternoon” (Season 9, Episode 5)
What makes it weird: Well, Dean turns into a dog. Not exactly — he just starts to act like a dog, which means yelling at the mailman, riding with his head out of the car window, and trying to kill pigeons. There’s a shaman involved, but did I mention Dean can talk to animals?
Does it work: It’s completely absurd and baffling on several levels, so yes, it definitely does.
5. “The Real Ghostbusters” (Season 5, Episode 9)
What makes it weird: Sam and Dean attend a Supernatural fan convention, where they encounter — you guessed it — a bunch of people cosplaying as Sam and Dean. In case that’s not enough, two of the Sam and Dean cosplayers are actually boyfriends. Aww.
Does it work: Yes, with a but. Supernatural is great at breaking the fourth wall, but it sometimes takes things a little too far in the way it characterizes fandom. Becky (Emily Rosen) always feels a little cruel.
4. “Fallen Idols” (Season 5, Episode 5)
What makes it weird: Oh, where to begin? A man is crushed by James Dean’s car. Sam is attacked by the supposed ghost of Gandhi. And the brothers face off against Paris Hilton. In fact, the monster is just a shapeshifting pagan god, but seriously, Paris Hilton.
Does it work: Better than it should! Never has “Special Guest Star Paris Hilton” been less of a bad thing. This is actually pretty fun.
3. “Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!” (Season 7, Episode 8)
What makes it weird: As the very meta title suggests, someone’s getting married. And it’s Sam! To… Becky. Naturally, this turns out to be the work of a love potion but the fact that Sam actually marries a fangirl sends this into WTF territory.
Does it work: It doesn’t. Again, Becky is just too cruel a caricature of fandom. The way she takes advantage of Sam is more unpleasant than funny.
2. “Changing Channels” (Season 5, Episode 8)
What makes it weird: The Trickster sends Sam and Dean into TV land, where they find themselves in a Grey’s Anatomy-esque medical show (Dr. Sexy M.D.), a sitcom, a CSI-style procedural, and a genital herpes commercial.
Does it work: Yes. It’s pretty much the best. The Grey’s Anatomy parody is particularly good.
1. “The French Mistake” (Season 6, Episode 15)
What makes it weird: There’s breaking the fourth wall, and then there’s “The French Mistake.” Sam and Dean are transported to an alternate universe where they’re the actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, filming a show called Supernatural. It’s exactly as insane as it sounds. And poor Misha Collins dies.
Does it work: Yes and no. Turns out it’s possible to take the meta too far. That having been said, everyone is clearly having a blast in this episode, and it’s at least entertaining.