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Supernatural: Tropes A to D
This page covers tropes found in Supernatural.

See also the episode Recap page for more trope examples.

Trope Based Episodes | Tropes A To D | Tropes E to L | Tropes M to P | Tropes Q to Z | YMMV | Shout Outs


    open/close all folders 

    A 
  • Absolute Xenophobe: Lucifer is the most evil of the archangels, and supremacist even by their standards (even the "good" celestials are fundamentalist racists who want to sacrifice half of the 'maggots', i.e. mankind, in the Apocalyptic showdown). His end goal is to use the Apocalypse to wipe out all of humanity because they became God's favorite children instead of him. The demons are minions he created himself to be fiercely loyal to him and further his plans, but he actually despises them even more than humans, and plans to kill them all afterwards. He considers the other gods besides his father abominations and murders most of them personally. The only major group he doesn't actively plan to exterminate are the monsters, but then he never has any interaction with them, and considering his opinion of God's other creations it's likely not a positive one. (Lucifer may just be indifferent to the monsters because they aren't actually God's creations, they're Eve's (Mother of All Monsters) children.) He wants angels alone to rule and inhabit Creation, and tries to tempt multiple celestials to join him.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • He meant well, but John Winchester was neglectful to the point of abuse and badly messed up both his sons. Even Dean, who began the series utterly devoted to John, eventually admitted that he was an "obsessed bastard."
    • Max Miller's father and uncle beat him up daily while his stepmother stood by and said nothing.
    • Bela's father sexually abused her.
    • Bobby's father beat him and his mother, at least until Bobby killed him
  • Abusive Precursors:
    • Lucifer, anyone? Many demons venerate him, not realizing that he loathes them and only created them to spite his father.
    • Lilith, the first demon.
    • Also Eve, the mother of monsters.
    • And the Leviathans
    • God himself is often accused of being a Neglectful Precursor at the very least. Ironically, the angels (especially Lucifer) are embittered because God supposedly favored humanity over them. But He has subsequently allowed angels, demons and monsters of all kinds to do horrific things to humanity without making more than a token effort to help and possibly (if He is indeed Chuck) deriving personal entertainment from watching it all.
  • Accidental Kiss: Bobby excitedly lays one on Sheriff Mills after she discovers that Borax can hurt Leviathans.
  • Adorkable: The titular character of Charlie in "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo" is very plainly this, almost excessively so.
    • Also, by his characterization Sam Winchester is this. As is Castiel in the earlier seasons and Kevin Tran, the AP student who is also A Prophet of God who can read his "Word" etched onto ancient tablets by the angel Metatron
  • Acting Unnatural: Parodied. Dean and Sam are transported to an alternate universe, where they are mistaken for the actors Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, who are currently filming this very episode of Supernatural. They decide to play along, failing miserably in the task of portraying their respective characters. Lampshaded by Robert Singer, who remarks that they apparently lost any shred of talent.
  • Action Girl: Anna, Bela,and Jo all qualify. Meg, Ruby and Abaddon are Dark Action Girls.
  • Action Mom: Ellen Harvellle and Sheriff Jody Mills both kicked all kinds of butt. Also, Mary Winchester, when pregnant with Dean in the episode "The Song Remains the Same".
  • Adult Fear: Episodes like "The Kids are Alright," "Home," and others deal with things that would scare the hell out of any parent with a young child.
  • Aerith and Bob: Frequently. Probably best exemplified by the fact that for the first two seasons, their primary enemy was the demon Azazel, and his Dragon, the demon Meg.
    • Meg is the name of the possessed girl, the actual demon's name never being mentioned. The demon comments once that she thinks it's hilarious that the Winchesters still call her "Meg". It seems that she eventually just adopts this as her name.
  • Affably Evil: Casey in "Sin City," the old Pagan God couple in "A Very Supernatural Christmas," Lucifer, Patrick (the card-playing he-witch in "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester") and most notably, demon king extraordinaire Crowley. Osiris often comes across as this in "Defending Your Life". Though some of these are just Faux Affably Evil
  • Aliens in Cardiff: Monsters and demons in Small Town America!
  • All Therapists Are Muggles: In the episode "Sam, Interrupted", Sam and Dean do go to a therapist and try to explain their problems. Shortly after they start into why they have these issues they get committed. (Fortunately, that was the plan.)
  • Almighty Janitor:
    • In "Tall Tales" the janitor turns out to be a Trickster, a demigod that can create things out of thin air in order to cause chaos and mess with people. Later it is discovered that he is actually the Archangel Gabriel.
    • In the episode "Dark Side of the Moon" the lone angel that God still speaks to is not Michael or any of the other archangels, but Joshua, Heavens' gardener.
  • All Urban Legends Are True: Except Bigfoot.
  • All-Powerful Bystander: The Trickster, God, and Death.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Bobby's house is destroyed by the Leviathans near the beginning of Season 7.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The only way to kill a Leviathan is to have the bone of a righteous mortal washed in the blood of a fallen angel, the king of fallen humanity, and a father of the fallen beasts on hand. That is basically the four main races of the series (a nun for humanity, Castiel for the angels, Crowley for the demons and the Alpha Vampire for the monsters).
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese theme song is called "Bad Drive" by BoA.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: The angel Castiel has a lot of vaguely Aspergers-like traits (Literalmindedness , limited interpersonal skills and No Sense of Humor) and schizoidal tendencies which he attributes to not having spent much time on Earth, even though none of the other angels (including a number who have spent less time) have any of his problems. Before the civil war, he seems to have been fairly well-liked and to have had a good relationship with his angelic siblings, so his quirkiness probably hasn't caused him any real problems. Ultimately, Cas is most likely just socially awkward, and it has nothing to do with him being an angel.
    • As the series has progressed several more angels, all relatively new to earth note , have been shown to have similar issues to Cas, albiet usually a lot less noticeable. It usually becomes apparent when Cas uses an expression he learnt from Sam, Dean or Bobby and the new Angel doesn't understand, mirroring Cas's behavior with Sam and Dean
  • AM/FM Characterization:
    • This show is a bit of a running example. Given that Sam and Dean drive state to state and coast to coast with nothing but a stack of classic rock tapes (Tapes!) to listen to, it provides both a soundtrack for the show, and an insight into the characters.
    • In an episode where Dean is dead, we get insight into Sam by his choice of music when Dean isn't around to exercise his veto power. In "Lazarus Rising", upon rising from the dead Dean discovers that the tapes have been replaced by an iPod and the classic rock by Jason Manns. He's not pleased.
      Dean: I told you to take care of her, not douche her up.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Sam and Dean bury Doc Benton (who's immortal) alive, chained up in a refrigerator. Another thing to consider: although he can't die, his body parts wear out, so eventually he'll rot away into a sentient and forever conscious pile of dirt.
    • The episode "The Rapture", in a slight subversion, has the good guys bestow this kind of fate upon another good person. Jimmy, the vessel for angel Castiel, begs Castiel to possess him to save his daughter from having a similar fate. It's essentially the fate for every human possessed by an angel or a demon, the angel deal being arguably worst since the human host can be killed when possessed by a demon but can't when possessed by an angel due to them having a built-in Healing Factor.
    • Also intentionally given by the good guys to H.H. Holmes, the USA's first recognized serial killer. They left the ghost underground, encircled by rock salt. And barricaded the place. And for good measure, sealed the entrance up with concrete in case of earthquakes. That ghost is NOT going anywhere anytime soon.
    • In the fifth season finale, Sam actually volunteers to trap Satan by allowing himself to be possessed by Satan and then jumping into an inescapable cage at the bottom of Hell. Because being locked up for all eternity with a very pissed-off fallen angel who has nothing to do but take out his frustration on Sam was the only way they could think of to prevent a global apocalypse. Downplayed because his body gets set free by Castiel not long after, and his soul a year later by Death.
    • Played for very dark comedy with a teddy bear brought to life by a child's wish, which finds it can't even commit suicide.
    • Sam and Dean use this to beat the high demon Abaddon in "As Time Goes By". First they shoot her in the head with a bullet engraved with a demon trap, permanently locking her in her meatsuit, which she can barely move. Then (offscreen) they cut her up into little pieces, and to boot it off, bury them in cement, encasing her for at least a few thousand years. As Dean put it, she'll wish they had killed her.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Used with many different characters throughout the series.
  • And Your Little Dog Too: People do this to Dean pretty often (in the form of "I'll kill your brother" or "Sam doesn't need legs"), and it's always a bad idea.
    • It's not a particularly great plan to do it to Sam about Dean, either.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: Surprisingly, the Devil and his followers. He actually wants to turn Earth into a massive nature preserve...but he also wants to murder most of humanity and zombify most of the survivors.
    • Many characters believe that this includes demons, who were all humans at some point. Lucifer never confirms or denies this, though he heavily implies it.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Dean's car in season 6; also manequins and dolls in the same episode
  • Angels, Devils and Squid: The mythology in the series has angels from Heaven, demons from Hell, and Leviathans from Purgatory (which Lovecraft himself attempted to access with a portal). The Angels are hardly paragons of goodness, but the Leviathans are predictably the most evil of all of them. Then there's The Fair Folk, who come from another dimension and seem to be in a different category of supernatural beings.
  • Angel Unaware:
    • Anna spent some time in mental institutions as a schizophrenic patient. She fell to become human, was born as a baby and grew up, then regained her own grace.
    • Archangel Gabriel, who had been hiding as The Trickster since seasons prior. He has been hiding on Earth for millenia and done such a good job of it that other magical beings and even non-Christian gods do not realize that he is an angel and not one of them.
    • The season 5 finale: [[Chuck finishes writing his story and vanishes with a knowing smile on his face. Debate is raging in the fandom about whether this means the writer was literally God.]]
    • An episode in season 7 reveals an amnesiac Castiel.
  • Answers to the Name of God: The show likes this trope:
    • Episode 2.16:
    Molly: Oh, thank God!
    Dean: Call me Dean.
    • Episode 4.15:
    Dean: (after seeing Alastair disappear in a bright flash of light) What the Hell?
    Castiel: Guess again.
    • And, from season 4's finale:
    Ruby: Now guess who's coming to dinner ...
    Sam: Oh my God ...
    Ruby: Guess again. note 
    • The Web episode in which the Ghostfacers meet Cas.
    Ed: *reacting to Castiel's sudden appearance* JESUS CHRIST!
    Castiel: *slightly confused* No...I'm Castiel.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: the Four Horsemen.
  • Anti Anti Christ: Sam, Jesse.
  • The Antichrist: Jesse
  • The Anti-God: Death is portrayed as God's equal and antithesis, with God as the creator, and Death as the ender. As the Anthropomorphic Personification of all death in the cosmos, he is far more significant than most of the Pagan gods in the series, who are more regular monsters with fancy titles. The Grim Reaper and God have both existed for so long that they can't even remember anymore which of the two came first, but Death thinks he will have to reap even God when creation ends. However unlike other examples of this trope he is neither evil, particularly destructive (aside from his "reaping") and is in fact one of the more benign entities in the show and possesses a dislike of the natural order being thrown into chaos.
  • Anti-Hero: Though the protagonists work for the greater good, they support themselves financially through gambling, hustling pool and credit card fraud.
  • Anvil On Head:
    • In season 3's "Mystery Spot", there's a "Groundhog Day" Loop where each day Dean dies a different death. The beginning of the day always starts the same way, and when he and Sam go outside, one of the things they see is movers trying to get a desk into a building from the ground floor. At the end of one Tuesday, out of nowhere it drops on our hero and kills him. Turns out the movers had spent the rest of the day trying to get it in the window.
    • In the eighth season episode "Hunteri Heroici", the villain, who is using a senile Reality Warper to inflict cartoon physics on selected portions of the world in order to facilitate burglary, drops a literal anvil on an unfortunate security guard. Dean later tries to drop one on the villain.
  • Anyone Can Die: Whether they stay dead is another matter.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Despite making a career out of hunting supernatural menaces and retaining enough experience and Genre Savvy to fill an aircraft carrier, Sam and Dean Winchester almost inevitably have an argument over whether or not the Monster of the Week could be the real thing or not. Most of this is justified, because presumably the brothers get a lot of dud cases where it's nothing supernatural at all. We never see those cases because an episode consisting of Sam and Dean rolling into town, poking around for a while, concluding "Oh, some guy just got spooked by a barking dog," and rolling out again would be really boring. It's therefore always a legitimate question whether there's actually anything weird going on. Another arbitrary element of this is that the role of the hard-line skeptic switches every time between Sam and Dean.
    • Subverted in a first-season episode where the MOTW turns out to be only an ordinary human serial killer.
    • One memorable scene has Dean explaining to Sam why he doesn't believe in angels (their mother said that angels were watching over them, but she was murdered by a demon), despite hunting demons straight out of Hell on a regular basis. When Sam points out that there's more folklore on angels than any other creature they've fought, Dean says that there's a lot of folklore on unicorns as well. Sam's response? "Wait, there's no such thing as unicorns?" In this same scene, Dean says that there's no God. This is an odd belief given that in this series the name of God and holy water are harmful to demons, and Christian exorcism rituals are effective. (According to the series creator, he just sees the rituals as another example of the hoodoo they regularly run across.) By the end of the episode, Dean is less certain that no higher power is at work. Worse, his atheism has been shaken by the events of the episode despite the fact that the "angel" in that episode turned out NOT to be an angel.
    • The episode "A Very Supernatural Christmas" featured a series of Christmas-related disappearances (including somebody getting dragged up the chimney). The brothers start to wonder if the monster is some sort of "Anti Claus". They end up doing some research on the concept, investigate Santa's village and try to apprehend the guy playing Father Christmas (who matches the profile of the Anti Claus, but turns out to just be a drunk). After that failure, they consult Bobby who tells them there is no such thing and that Sam and Dean are idiots.
    • Then comes another episode where all sort of weird things are happening in a single university campus. The only one that throws Bobby is an alien abduction. However, he doesn't act like it's impossible, he just says that even if aliens do exist, he's never come across any evidence of them.
    • "Clap Your Hands if You Believe" revolves around supposed alien abductions. Dean eventually begins to talk about how they have to "change their entire worldview" after one such abduction. It's actually a leprechaun, posing as an alien expert, and working with the rest of The Fair Folk, who fakes the "abductions" as part of a Deal With The Devil he has with various people.
    • Despite there being hundreds of years of lore and mythology relating to dragons that pre-dates their inclusion in fantasy fiction and video games, both Sam and Dean believe that they can not exist because they only exist in fiction and video games.
    • Since season one, the most consistent mantra has been that "everything's real but Sasquatch". It's actually exactly that. By season 4, angels and God are confirmed. Aliens have been confirmed by angels and above stating there's other planets and life forms they could be dealing with. Still no sight of Sasquatch.
  • Archangel Michael: Season 5 reveals that Dean is his intended vessel.
  • Archangel Gabriel: Season 5 reveals that he is the Trickster, and he went into what he calls "witness protection" and became Loki of Norse Mythology.
  • Archangel Lucifer: Season 5 reveals that Sam is his intended vessel.
  • Archangel Raphael: Season 5 reveals little of import about him, but he becomes a major Big Bad of season 6.
  • Arch-Nemesis: Azazel for John, and to a slightly lesser extent Sam and Dean. Raphael for Castiel. Crowley for Meg.
  • Artifactof Doom: Several of them in "Out With the Old".
  • Ascended Demon: "Clip Show" reveals that a modified exorcism and purified human blood can turn a demon into a human.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: Season 4 introduced a Prophet who had been seeing visions of the Winchester brothers' adventures and writing a book series about them, selling them as fiction because he didn't know they were real. It was humorously treated as a nice way of adding metafiction to the series, but this raised a lot of Fridge Horror issues about Sam and Dean's entire lives and thoughts, fully detailed, being openly available for everyone to see. In season 8 one of the villains finally gets his hands on the books. He uses them to track down and kill off the people they have saved in the past so he can destroy their life's work and deny them the only comfort they have in knowing that these people are still alive because of them, while deconstructing their heroic self-image to break them.
  • Asexuality: Angels generally don't care about sex or sexual orientation even a tiny bit. Now, hypocrisy is something else entirely.
  • Asshole Victim
    • All of the Trickster's victims are described as being "dicks."
    • The victims chosen in "Yellow Fever" were all described by Sam as being "dicks."
    • Subverted in "Defending Your Life". Dean initially dismisses Osiris' victims as this, only for Sam to point out they were all repentant for their crimes.
  • An Astral Projection, Not a Ghost: One of the hauntings dealt with some time in season 3 turns out to not be a spirit, but the projection of a girl in a coma.
  • The Atoner:
    • Sam in Season 5, in response to his behavior in Season 4.
    • Castiel in the seventh season episode "The Born-Again Identity" when he tries to fix what he has broken in Sam's head by absorbing Sam's crazy into himself.
  • At the Crossroads: The show takes the ancient association of crossroads with witchcraft and communion with the dead and the Robert Johnson Deal with the Devil myth and makes crossroads the preferred locale for demon deals. There is an entire cabal of demons (Referred to as Crossroads Demons) who can be summoned at a crossroads and specialize in making deals with humans in exchange for their souls.
  • Author Avatar: The prophet Chuck writes his books under the name of Carver Edlund. Two of the show's writers are called Jeremy Carver and Ben Edlund.
  • Author Appeal: Sera Gamble, one of the lead writers and executive producers on the show, is in fact a successful, award-winning writer of erotic fiction. Although she was not a writer on the show from the outset, Jared Padalecki has noted at conventions that she does seem to enjoy having Sam tortured. A lot.
  • Author Filibuster: The leviathan arc was basically one long rant about the evils of big business. The show's writers had done minor political Take Thats before, but this was the first time they'd let it take over the entire season. Supposedly these monsters are worse than anything the Winchesters have ever faced.
  • Autocannibalism: Leviathans who fail are forced to eat themselves, a punishment called "bibbing" since all that's left in the end is a bloody bib.

    B 
  • Backdoor Pilot: Episode 20 of the upcoming season nine has been confirmed to be one.
  • Back from the Dead: Multiple characters return from the dead, sometimes repeatedly. Sam, Dean, Castiel and Bobby are the characters who return to life and the continue living (Although sometimes they die again later on). Castiel probably holds the record, having died and come back an average of once a season since his introduction. Two of those have died so often that the show had to invent an extra afterlife to keep them from getting bored so often.
  • Backstab Backfire: Sort of Pyrrhic delayed-action one; Jake successfully backstabs Sam to death after being spared. Sam's brother brings him back to life. Sam shoots Jake repeatedly in the face next time he sees him. By this time, Jake has already opened the literal door to Hell - and Dean had to sell his soul to resurrect Sam. While neither Jake nor his Evil Mentor live to see it, their plan still succeeds and several seasons of destruction follow.
  • Bad Black Barf: Black fluid issuing from bodily orifices is usually ectoplasm and is one sign of ghost possession. Black smoke pouring out of the mouth is a sign of the end of a demonic possession.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Lucifer fiercely despises the demons, his own creations, even more than he does humans. He sacrifices around a hundred of them to raise the Horseman Death, dismissing them as cannon fodder afterwards when he sees Sam's shocked face. He maintains a facade of being their savior leading them to victory over Heaven, but it increasingly becomes clear that he plans to exterminate them all after he has destroyed the Earth with their help.
    • The Horseman Famine readily kills his demon minions. He kills one for not getting him his lunch (a human soul) on time and sends two more to collect Sam so he can capture them instead and drink their blood. He offers the rest to Sam as well and eats them when Sam refuses to indulge him.
    • The Big Bad Leviathan leader Dick Roman really deserves the "Dick" part when it comes to his treatment of his own staff and kind. Of course one wouldn't expect anything else from a species of eternally hungry Eldritch Abomination, but his enjoyment in punishing anyone who displeases him in any way appears to exceed his desire for his kind to conquer the earth and devour humanity. At one point he forces one of his scientists to "bib" and devour himself when his attempts at turning humans docile and apathetic (and thus easier to farm and eat) had a 0.03% chance of other humans becoming rage-filled cannibals, while in another episode he eats an unlucky leviathan who failed to retrieve a package replaced with a borax bomb (the only thing that hurts Leviathans, at least temporarily).
    • Joyce Bicklebee from the episode "Out With The Old", is a smaller example, a Leviathan posing as a real-estate agent. Her irritability led her to eat four of her assistants who displeased her, then ordering around her latest one like a dog on a leash and threatening him with the same fate. It's really no surprise when he switched sides by helping the brothers dispose of his superior when the opportunity presented itself, and giving them information on the Leviathan's intents.
  • Bad Dreams: The main characters get hit by these a few times.
    • In season four, Dean spends many nights tossing over his nightmares of hell. In season seven, Dean is once again having nightmares, this time about Castiel's death and Sam's hallucinations. Well, mostly about killing Sam's monster friend and keeping it a secret.
    • Sam had nightmares throughout Season 1. While some were visions, the ones where he watched his girlfriend die over and over again still affected him like this. In season seven, his hallucinations of Lucifer began as nightmares.
    • In one episode, Bobby's nightmares are used against him by a Monster of the Week, as are Dean's.
  • Background Halo: In a promo pic of Dean.
  • Bad Bad Acting: Sam and Dean playing Jared and Jensen playing Sam and Dean
    • Averted, of course, by the amazing acting from Jared and Jensen playing Sam and Dean playing meta!Jared and meta!Jensen playing Sam and Dean.
  • Badass Boast:
    • The angels get a few of these.
      Castiel: You know who we are and what we will do. I won't say it again. Leave now... or we lay you to waste.
      Castiel: You should show me some respect. I dragged you out of hell, and I can throw you back in.
      Zachariah: In Heaven I have six wings and four faces, one of which is a lion.
      Lucifer: I will never lie to you; I will never trick you; but you will say yes to me.
      Castiel: Maybe someday, but today, you're my little bitch.
    • Anna gets two in "On the Head of a Pin":
      Castiel: We still have orders to kill you.
      Anna: Somehow, I don't think you'll try.
    And, later:
    Uriel: There is no will! No wrath! No God.
    Anna: stabbing him in the throat Maybe, maybe not. But there's still...me.
    • Demons get these too:
      Crowley: I've sold sin to saints for centuries.
      Crowley: What you people never seem to understand is that you ARE NOTHING! Fleeting blips of light. I. Am. Forever.
      Crowley: gets punched in the face You're good...stabs his opponent...but I'm Crowley.
    • Sam, demanding (not asking for) Castiel's help, say's he'll force the incredibly powerful angel to help them
      Castiel: Will you, boy? How?
      Sam: I don't know. But I'll find a way. And I don't sleep.
    • Dean is absolutely no exception, as he claims so in two words.
      Dean: (after throwing a pen into a gun) I'm amazing... (knocks mook out with a TV remote) I'm Batman.'''
    • The Grim Reaper probably gets the ultimate one.
      Death: I'm as old as God. Maybe older. Regardless, at the end I'll reap Him too.
  • Badass Longcoat:
    • Castiel as part of his regular outfit.
      • Although it looks decidedly less badass when worn over a mental patient's scrubs.
    • Dean in the episode "Frontierland."
    • Angel-hitman Virgil.
    • Both brothers get one in season 7's "Out With the Old".
  • Badass Family: The Winchesters, the Campbells and the Harvelles.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Dean does not have Sam's Psychic Powers to work with, but he holds his own pretty damn well against the Monster of the Week with a shotgun, some Latin, holy water and kick-ass fighting skills.
    • When Castiel's angelic abilities dwindle to nothing during his estrangement from Heaven in season 5, he switches to knives, guns, and the odd molotov cocktail to get the job done.
    • Sam too. He only really uses his powers during seasons 4 and some of 5.
    • Hunters in general. It's kind of in the job description.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Some episodes end in a resounding victory for the villain and a crushing defeat for the Winchesters. A notably high number of these are season finales (indicated with an asterisk:*).
    • 2.15 "Tall Tales": The Trickster succesfully deceives the heroes into destroying an illusory projection of himself, and he gets away scott free for his crimes.
    • 3.16 "No Rest For The Wicked"*: Dean's last attempt to prevent his oncoming one-way tour to Hell by taking out Lillith fails completely. Lillith outsmarts them, and banishes Ruby downstairs to take over her meatsuit. Dean is ripped apart by Hellhounds while Sam is unable to help, Lillith escapes, and the last shot is Dean crying out for his brother in the bowels of Hell.
    • 4.22 "Lucifer Rising"*: After all the effort throughout the entire season to stop Lillith from freeing Lucifer, it turns out that the angels are in on it and Lillith's death is the final seal. Sam is manipulated into destroying her, Dean is too late to stop him, and the Archangel rises. At least Ruby got what was coming to her, but Lillith dies with a smile on her face.
    • 5.10 "Abandon All Hope...": Lucifer turns out to be immune to the Colt, making the entire episode and Ellen and Jo's sacrifice pointless from the jump. Lucifer slaughters a town and raises Death, good people have died, and Team Free Will is left distraught. The best that can be said is that they escaped Lucifer's wrath.
    • 5.19 "Hammer of the Gods": Sam and Dean's plan to use the evil gods against Lucifer turns out to be a pipe dream, as they never stood a chance. Even Gabriel proves to be too outmatched, and Lucifer kills him, reducing the Winchesters' chance of ever killing him to zero. Gabriel does provide one last hope, and posthumously gives them the means to trap his brother.
    • 6.22 "The Man Who Knew Too Much"*: A gone-off-the-deep-end Castiel outsmarts and defeats his infernal, celestial, and monstrous competition in the quest for Purgatory. In the final scene he destroys Raphael, sends Crowley into hiding, shrugs off an attack with an angel blade, and declares himself the new God.
    • 8.23 "Sacrifice"*: Metatron manipulates everyone and kills off the extreme if well-intentioned angel who served as an antagonist earlier in the season. He completes his ritual and every angel falls from Heaven.
  • Bait the Dog: In season 5, Bobby makes a deal with the demon Crowley for his soul so they can find the location of Death, the last of Lucifer's Horsemen. Then Crowley goes out of his way to give Bobby back the use of his legs even though Bobby never bothered to include it in their contract and even promises to give back his soul when everything's done. Except the next season Crowley fully intends to hang on to it and send Bobby to Hell in 10 years and Bobby has to spend the entire episode getting it back.
  • Ballistic Discount: A mind-controlled man pulls this off in one of Sam’s visions, finishing by shooting himself.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: In order to find clues about the Monster of the Week, the boys regularly pose as police, FBI, priests, Forestry Service rangers, Homeland Security agents, Center for Disease Control officers, Health Department inspectors, state police troopers - once they even pulled out badges to convince a little girl that they were teddy bear doctors.
    • Garth is the master of this tactic, despite his slight frame and nerdy looks. He's successfully disguised himself as an active duty member of the military and a Texas Ranger, among other things. Not bad for guy who was originally a dentist.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: For the amount that Sam and Dean get their asses handed to them, they should be a lot more noticeably scarred up than they are.
    • Appears as early as season 1, where there are multiple instances of one or both brothers receiving rather deep and expansive facial wounds, all of which are of course completely gone by the next episode.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Happens repeatedly, with Sam and Dean both becoming supernatural menaces as a consequence of utilizing dangerous supernatural forces against their enemies or to solve their problems. Castiel likewise went from humble, unassuming angel to amok A God Am I while trying to save Heaven and Earth.
  • Because Destiny Says So: The whole reason Lucifer and Michael want to fight in season five.
  • Because I Said So: Dean still pulls this on Sam and Castiel once, and their Dad abused this trope their whole lives.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Samuel Colt and Elliot Ness were both hunters.
  • Being Good Sucks: Sam and Dean's job as hunters is dangerous and completely unremunerative and, aside from individual thanks from the people they save, the good they do is largely overlooked. The law is after them for a good portion of the series, both their parents and the great majority of their friends and allies have died in the fight, Dean's been sent to Hell and back for his efforts, Sam goes to hell, too, and when his body is pulled out but not his soul, he spends a year and a half being a soulless Jerk Ass and spends a season haunted by hallucinations relating to his time in hell, and all without a roof over their heads. It's a wonder these guys can even get out of bed in the morning.
  • Being Human Sucks:
    • In the episode "The End", Dean is flung into an After the End future where Hell has overrun the Earth. With the Heavenly armies departing the planet, Castiel the angel becomes human, and immensely depressed.
    Castiel: I'm human.
    Dean: Well, welcome to the club.
    Castiel: Thank you. Except I used to belong to a much better club.
    • Regular timeline Castiel in season 5 is also slowly losing all his angelic powers after his rebellion, until he's just a flesh and blood human after he burns himself out completely. He starts moaning to Bobby (who is a wheelchair-bound cripple at that point) how useless he feels, for which Bobby gives him an earful—at least Cas can still walk.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil:
    • Ruby states that demons used to be humans, before their humanity was tortured out of them in hell. Dean himself gets tortured enough in Hell so that he finally breaks and starts torturing others and enjoying it because it isn't him, though he apparently doesn't keep it up long enough to turn.
    • It's also implied that Anna's Face Heel Turn is a result of her being tortured in Heaven.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Sam and Ruby, before they eventually hook up. Also Castiel and Meg.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Sam Winchester has always got a kind word for someone shell-shocked from a brush with the supernatural, prefers to do research rather than pick locks and break faces, and will most certainly fuck you up if you even think about hurting his older brother.
    • Castiel may seem amusingly out of touch much of the time, but you really don't want to make him angry. Hell, not even Castiel's True Companions are safe from this. At a perceived betrayal, Cas beats Dean to within an inch of his life. Cas going off the rails is not a pretty sight.
    Dean: "Word of advice—don't piss off the nerd angels."
  • Beyond the Impossible: Normally, unless you are soulmates, you are limited to your own personal sphere of Heaven. Unless your name is Ash, who managed to discover a means to hack Heaven and walk between the difference spheres, for the express purpose of partying with famous figures from history.
  • Big Bad:
    • Azazel in Seasons 1 and 2 and Lilith in Seasons 3 and 4. Late in Season 4, it turns out that Lucifer has been the true Big Bad all along and everything in the plot, going back to decades before it, was according to his plan.
    • In Season 6, after much competing between Crowley, Eve, Raphael and Castiel, the true Big Bad turns out to be Cas, who manipulates everyone else in order to become God.
    • And in the Season 7 premiere, we learn that Cas accidentally released some ancient beings called Leviathans, which take control of his body and (seemingly) kill him, before mass possessing numerous humans. They (specifically, their leader, Dick) then become the new Big Bad.
    • In season 8, Crowley once again appears to emerge as the latest Big Bad. And the heretofore unseen Angel Naomi steps up to the plate as well. At the last second however, they both get trumped by Metatron, who succeeds in killing Naomi and manipulating Castiel into a spell that casts the angels out of heaven. Abaddon also comes back in at the eleventh hour to try to overthrow Crowley as King of Hell, seemingly setting herself up as the new bad for Season 9
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The show tended to have more or less consistent Big Bads for its first four seasons, before using this trope in season five:
    • In season five Lucifer is freed from his Cage, and starts the Apocalypse. He wants to wipe out all humans, as well as the demons, and turn the Earth into his own personal playground, considering it a last testament of God's work. On the other side of this are the forces of Heaven, led by the Archangel Michael. While Michael is the Lesser of Two Evils between the two, he still intends to destroy part of humanity as a "necessary sacrifice" for defeating the forces of Hell and bringing about Paradise on Earth. The Winchesters finds them both despicable, and strive to find another way to beat the devil. In the end, Lucifer and Michael both get trapped in the Cage.
    • Season six takes it even further, featuring four seperate Big Bads. Early on in the season, to start with, we have Crowley - the new King of Hell - who wants to find Purgatory and take control of its souls, and the Archangel Raphael, who is trying to take control of Heaven and restart the Apocalypse. Then, midway through the season, we meet Eve, the "Mother of All", who wants to overrun the world with her "children". And then, a few episodes before the season finale, we find out that Castiel has been in a tentative alliance with Crowley to find Purgatory so that he can defeat Raphael and prevent his plans from coming to fruition.

      Eve is killed about the same time we find out about Castiel and Crowley's alliance, so that knocks her out of the competition. This all comes to a head in the season finale, where Castiel cuts Crowley out of the deal; Crowley retaliates by teaming up with Raphael, only for Castiel to Out Gambit them both. He absorbs the souls of Purgatory, kills Raphael, and sends Crowley running, all before proclaiming himself the new God.
    • Season eight has the Winchesters fighting both Crowley and the angel Naomi — the latter indirectly most of the season through her Manchurian Agent Castiel — for control of the Word of God tablets. Abaddon gets in on the act near the end of the season as a potential Starscream for Crowley while Naomi has a Heel Realization in the finale, only to be killed by Metatron, who casts a spell to banish all angels from Heaven.
  • Bigger Bad: For the first 4 seasons the primary villains have been working on the imprisoned Lucifer's orders to bring about the Apocalypse and prepare Sam Winchester as the archangel's earthly vessel. He is freed in season 5, and steps down to Big Bad as he again walks the Earth and plans humanity's extinction.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Happens often when one brother has barge in to save another at the last minute.
    • In "On the Head of a Pin," Anna saves Castiel just as he is about to be killed by Uriel.
    • Castiel pops in to save Sam and Dean in the Season 5 premiere. He plows through two angels and scares Zachariah away.
  • Big Entrance: Castiel's first scene. All the lights start flickering and bursting, the roof starts rattling, and the barn door breaks open, and Castiel casually strolls in amidst the howling wind and sparks.
    Dean: (panicked) Who are you?
    Castiel: I am the one who gripped you tight and raised you from Perdition.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Sam lets one out at the end of the pilot episode when Jessica dies.
    • In "All Hell Breaks Loose", Dean also lets out one when he just finally found Sam and seen him get stabbed in the back. Helped by the fact that the viewers are probably feeling the same thing and his look of complete panic and devastation at the sight of his little brother getting knifed.
    • This is Gordon's reaction in "Fresh Blood" as he's being turned into a vampire.
    • Played absolutely hilariously when a wishing well turns a girl's teddy bear into a life-sized, sentient being. A very depressed, alcoholic, somewhat perverted, plushy sentient being. Eventually, he (it?) decides to end it all and sticks a shotgun in its mouth, graphically blowing a cloud of fluff across the room. Which doesn't kill it, as apparently cotton batting doesn't double for brains. Despairing, the teddy raises its paws to heaven and implores "WHHHYYYYYYY?!"
    • Dean reacts this way in "Swan Song" when Sam!Lucifer telekinetically snaps Bobby Singer's neck.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Winchesters and Campbells. The Host of Heaven is probably even worse.
  • Biological Weapons Solve Everything: Used in the 7th season by the Leviathans against the other monsters. they used a special chemical in fast food that would make the body's of humans who ate it to be deadly to all monster species, and this is a series where every on is a Humanitarian.
  • Black and Gray Morality: As the show becomes more and more of a Crapsack World, it's only right that they should start to wallow in this too. Dean and John's deals with the devil are seen more as selfish suicides than Heroic Sacrifices, they later kill demons without any thought to the human host, John was a suicidally broken man who fucked up everything, Dean's annoying martyrdom, low self esteem and messed up death wish frustrates Sam and Bobby and Sam's willing to destroy everyone and everything that might hurt Dean. After all this, you start to get the impression that becoming evil might look like a much better deal. Castiel gives a speech to Dean about how every human is a work of art and thus all precious to God. When Uriel's disdain for humanity is answered by an icy cold "You're close to blasphemy", you can't say that Good doesn't exist or that it doesn't care. It's just very outnumbered.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Most demons have these. Only special snowflakes like Azazel and Lilith get to stand out, and the Crossroads demons as well.
  • Blessed with Suck: Sam's visions of doom. As one of a group of psychic children, some of whom have powers such as Super Strength, Mind Control, Telekinesis and the ability to electrocute people with a touch, he gets uncontrollable, painful visions of violent deaths. As one of the other psychics put it: "Dude, [that] sucks."
  • Blind Seer: Silas in the Rising Son comics, and Pamela in the main series after having her eyes burned out by Castiel.
  • Blood from the Mouth: It would perhaps be easier to list episodes where this did not happen.
  • Blood Lust: Several creatures.
  • Blood Magic:
    • Human blood is used by demons to contact other demons, and can be used by angels to communicate across dimensions.
    • Demon blood can be drunk by certain chosen humans in order to give them demonic powers and control over other demons.
    • Any blood can be used to create sigils to ward off and disperse angels, and specific quantities of virgin blood can be used to open doorways to purgatory.
    • Crowley and Castiel's blood is particularly valuable, as it's needed to kill a Leviathan. Same goes for Alpha blood.
  • Bloody Bowels of Hell: How Meg-in-Sam describes Hell in "Born Under a Bad Sign."
    • This is later changed when Crowley takes over as ruler of Hell, making it even worse! Instead, you suffer an eternity of endlessly waiting in line, only to get to the front and discover you're at the back of the queue again.
  • Bolivian Army Cliffhanger: The show is fond of these:
    • Season 1 Finale: John and the boys have just been in a nasty car accident. We see them in the destroyed car, but don't know if they are alive or dead until the season 2 premiere.
    • Season 3 Finale: Dean is killed by hellhounds, and his soul is sent to Hell, leaving his future uncertain. Overlaps with Downer Ending.
    • Season 4 Finale: Castiel is facing off an archangel, said to be one of the most powerful entities in existence, and Sam and Dean are faced with Lucifer rising from his cage.
    • Season 6 Finale: Castiel gives the boys an ultimatum: bow down and swear their love to him, their new Lord God, or be destroyed.
    • Season 7 Finale: Castiel and Dean just killed Dick Roman, but are dragged along with his soul into the dimensional realm of Purgatory, where the soul of every monster that ever lived hunt for all eternity. Sam is left completely alone back on Earth, which is now the site of a turf war between the remaining leaderless Leviathans and Crowley's demons. Oh, and Kevin the prophet is now Crowley's prisoner.
  • Bound and Gagged: Sam for a few minutes in "Bloodlust" and Dean for about half of "Hunted." Sam has visions of being this when he is going through demon blood withdrawl.
  • Brainwashed: Heaven's preferred methodology for dealing with insubordination.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Krissy from "Adventures in Babysitting."
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Sam. Poor Castiel. And poor, poor Dean.
  • Break The Gamebreaker: Any time Castiel was killed or sent away by sigil; basically the whole of his depowering in five. In season 7, As soon as Castiel gets his memories and full angelic power back, he becomes insane since he takes Lucifer into his mind. When he recovers from *that*, he's a cloud-cuckoo-lander who would rather watch insects than fight...especially since he's still guilt-ridden from giving the Leviathans a free ride in the first place. The Same could be said of the Colt, at first it had only four bullets left, but could kill anyone, even those protected from typical means of death. They used all the bullets conservatively and only missed once. In Season 3 it gets unlimited ammo, making it a gamebreaker, so it is stolen by Bella after a few episodes, and not seen again until Season Five. Where Lucifer reveals he is immune to its effects, and it chronologically has not been seen since, although it has appeared in some time travel episodes.
  • Breather Episode: Usually the signal for the next episode to crank the Angst! Up to Eleven.
  • Brick Joke: In The Devil You Know, Crowley angrily shouts that demons are rampaging around the Earth, causing death and destruction and also "ate [his] tailor!!" Six episodes later, in Weekend at Bobby's, it's revealed that Crowley was a tailor when he was human.
    • In The French Mistake, after getting thrown into the "Real World", the directors discuss salvaging the footage of the brothers being thrown through the window by freeze-framing right before the interference. At the end of the episode, when they're getting thrown back into their own universe, how do you think they film it?
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: In the season five finale, Sam invokes this trope to stop the apocalypse. He invites Lucifer to possess him, then throws the both of them back into the Devil's Cage.
    • In the season seven finale, Dean and Castiel kill Dick Roman, but the backlash causes them to be sucked into Purgatory along with his soul.
  • Broken Angel: Castiel, more and more as Season 5 progresses, and to an extreme in the future timeline of episode 4 "The End".
    • As of Season 7, completely broken. And insane.
    • Season 8 took completely broken and insane Castiel, put him back together, just to break him even more fully as the season goes on, until by the finale he's managed to drag the entire Heavenly Host down with him too. The writers must hate the poor guy.
  • Broken Hero: Both Sam and Dean qualify, though their optimism has been somewhat drained by circumstance.
    • Cas (from season five onwards) and Bobby definitely qualify too. Although Bobby is probably the most functional of the group, he's still alcoholic and pretty messed up about his wife's death.

    C 
  • Cain and Abel: Hinted from day one. Season 5 tells us that Dean is supposed to be the vessel for the Archangel Michael, while Sam is supposed to be the vessel for Lucifer, and the older is supposed to kill the younger.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Happens twice in the pilot episode for Sam. First, his Dad goes missing and Dean comes to get him. He refuses that after killing the Monster of the Week, but watching his girlfriend burn up on the ceiling like his mother finally forces him to take the call for good.
    • In fact, any time either boy starts thinking about getting out of the business, they're dragged back in by rather brutal means. The Call doesn't just know where you are, it will stalk you from Hell and back. Literally. As in, angels besieged Hell and dragged Dean out because they had work for him. They dragged the brothers back from Heaven, too.
    • In seasons four and five and most of three, The Call is in fact semi-omniscient beings, requiring them to travel under a couple different types of mystic shielding. It steps up from hex bags to ribcages engraved in Enochian so Heaven and Lucifer wouldn't turn up and explain with nasty graphic examples why You Can't Fight Fate.
    • The other Call instances are mostly equally engineered, although the menace that sends soulless Sam into Dean's neighborhood in season six, dragging Dean slowly back onto the road after over a year of retirement, was just a monster seeking revenge on them for an earlier kill.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: When Gabriel and Lucifer come face to face, this is the first thing Gabriel proceeds to do with his arrogant brother. "Lucifer, you're my brother, and I love you; but you are a great. Big. Bag o'dicks!" As Gabriel goes on, he insists that humans are not only better than Lucifer thinks, but deep down Lucifer is just jealous of 'Dad's' new creation. Lucifer does NOT take this well.
    • Bobby does this to his drunken, abusive father in "Death's Door", though technically it's an interactive memory of his long-dead father rather than the real thing.
    • Bobby also once did this on Dean and Sam's behalf, as seen in a memory in "Death's Door", where he gave John a piece of his mind for not treating them like children. This is probably what started the argument mentioned in Series 1 which ended in Bobby pointing a shotgun at John and threatening to shoot him.
  • Came Back Wrong:
    • In Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, Angela, the zombie, came back violently insane.
    • Heavily implied/outright stated for Sam and Dean after Seasons Two and Three, respectively.
    • In season 6, Dean's suspicions that Sam is different since returning from Hell are confirmed by Castiel, who reveals that Sam has no soul. This is remedied by midseason.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You:
    • In season 4, Uriel tells Sam to cease his demon blood consumption at once, because the minute he stops becoming useful to the angels, he intends to kill him.
    • In season 5, the boys and Crowley capture another demon who serves and looks after the Four Horsemen. They need him to reveal the locations of Pestilence and Death, but the situation is complicated because this demon is revealed to have tortured and roasted Jessica, Sam's deceased love interest. The demon gives a disgusting gloat about his crimes, and Sam can just barely resist killing him on the spot and getting his revenge because they still him.
    • In the seventh season, a slipping Castiel does this to Crowley because he still has use for him despite Crowley's counterbetrayal to him the previous season. He directs Crowley to downsize Hell and maintain the Cage for the two remaining Archangels. Crowley happily obliges.
    • In season nine, Dean and Sam use Crowley to get the First Blade and find Abbadon, intending to kill him after.
  • Cartwright Curse: Poor Sam.
    • Lampshaded in "Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!"
  • The Case Of: The episode named "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester".
  • Cassandra Truth: Gordon was right all along about Sam. Subverted: while Sam definitely has darkness in him and accidentally started the Apocalypse, he sacrifices himself to save the world instead of siding with the demons or helping Lucifer take over the world.
    • For being the Messenger of God, Gabriel seems to have this problem more often than not. When warning Sam in Mystery Spot about how badly his plan to save Dean was going to fail, on top of the obsession of it all was going to kill him, he didn't listen. Guess what happened. When trying to convince the pagan gods from Hammer of the Gods that their idea to gank Lucifer was only going to get the whole Legion of Doom toasted, nobody listened to him and subsequently tried to kill him while he tried talking sense into them. The end result went as badly for anyone who didn't take him seriously as expected.
  • Cast from Lifespan:
    • A Deal With the Devil usually includes selling your soul after a fixed amount of time (effectively reducing your lifespan to that amount).
    • There was an episode with a magic user who played poker with people, and the chips represented years of his life. If he won he got 25 years back, but if he lost he aged 25 years. He did this so he and his wife could be immortal. He wasn't all bad though (as he keeps telling everyone). Notably, he deliberately folds to let an old man see his grandson grow up.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Averted—surprisingly— when Dean startles awake from dreams of his time in hell with nothing more than a slight twitch.
    • Played straight when Dean wakes up from a nightmare in 7.05 "Shut Up, Dr Phil".
  • Catch-22 Dilemma: Doesn't actually cause a problem, but lampshaded in "Like a Virgin" when Dean finds out that the only way to kill a dragon is with a sword forged using dragon's blood.
    Dean: So you need one to kill one, but you got to kill one to make one. How does that work out?
  • Catchphrase:
    • Bobby's "Idjit"[sic] and frequent exclamation of "balls".
    • "Son of a bitch!" - Dean's cuss phrase of choice.
    • Dean: "Bitch!" Sam: "Jerk!" (kind of an informed catchphrase, only said two or three times on screen)
    • Dean: "Good times," delivered deadpan when facing some insurmountable problem.
    • Dean refers to killing things as "ganking" them.
    • Crowley often calls people "darling" and when frustrated is known to say "Bollocks!", ironically the British equivalent of balls.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Implied in an episode, although when two male characters who are not having sex spend all their time together, it is to be expected.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: Heaven. Apparently God organized it this way from the very beginning, as particular angels belong to specific organizations. Anna, Castiel and Uriel were in a garrison. The Cupids are responsible for pairing up human beings. Naomi directs something analogous to the CIA/NSA. Metatron was originally part of the "typing pool" before getting promoted to God's personal stenographer. Zachariah was a subordinate to the Archangels, tasked with getting the Winchester's into their roles for the coming Apocalypse. They have a full celestial hierarchy except for the missing God. Fortunately for the souls of dead mortals, they don't run into all this organizational stuff because they all get put into their own personal heaven, seemingly to minimize the amount of effort the angels have to spend on them.
  • Celestial Paragons and Archangels: Archangels have showed up, particularly in seasons 5-6. The only resident Archangels are Archangel Michael and Archangel Raphael. Lucifer is still one even after his fall, but is no longer part of the Heavenly Host. Archangel Gabriel went missing too. Interestingly, Uriel is present, but is not an Archangel.
  • Cessation of Existence: As of the conclusion of Season 6, it's strongly implied (though not spelled out in so many words) that this is the fate of angels and demons who die in the show. (Unless God, or presumably Lucifer, takes a personal interest and brings them Back from the Dead.)
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Horsemen's rings are needed to trap Lucifer in Hell again.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Hey, remember how throughout season five, the angels want Dean to be the vessel for Michael but he keeps rejecting them? Remember how the ability to be a vessel is a bloodline trait? Remember the Winchesters' half-brother Adam from a few seasons back who turned out to have been killed by a ghoul? Remember how the angels can bring people back from the dead?
    • Midway through Season Six we meet Bobby's friend Dr. Visyak, a professor with knowledge of the supernatural. In the penultimate episode of the season, we discover that she is an escapee from Purgatory, and is the only one who knows how to open a portal to it.
  • Chekhov's Skill: In "On the Head of a Pin", Alistair escapes from the devil's trap when Uriel manipulates a nearby water pipe. In "Abandon All Hope...," Cas pulls something similar on Meg to get out of the angel equivalent of said trap.
  • Chess with Death: Dean has one of these with Death: in exchange for bringing Sam's soul back to his body Dean has to do his job for a day. Dean ends up failing the test, but Death returns the soul anyway. Firstly because his real reason for the task was to show Dean what forces he was messing with by constantly resurrecting, and also because Sam and Dean's current investigation suited his purposes. He may have wanted a day off too.
    • Also, the whole premise of "The Curious Case Of Dean Winchester" revolves around this trope, even though the game of choice is poker.
  • The Chew Toy: With what they go through and the fact that they looked so darned pretty when being put through pain, both of them (but especially Dean) are walking a very fine line between this and pure-and-simple Woobification.
  • The Chooser of The One: This was basically Azazel's role. First, he chose a variety of kids who were possible candidates. Out of this group, one of them would be chosen ultimately. The idea was that the chosen one would not only free Lilith from hell, but also be instrumental in releasing Lucifer as well as become Lucifer's vessel.
  • The Chosen One:
    • Sam Winchester is essentially the chosen one of the series. He was chosen to be the vessel for Lucifer. Everything that has happened, including the death of his mother, to Azazel/YED bleeding in his mouth, to the development of Sam'a special abilities has led up to the fact that Sam was the one that would eventually destroy the world.
    • Dean Winchester as of season 4. Unfortunately, the guy's gone through so much Break the Cutie trauma by this point, that it's doubtful if he can actually fulfill this role. In season 5 it's revealed that he's the intended vessel of the Archangel Michael, which he doesn't agree to.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Subverted in 99 Problems. The very Christian anti-demon militia in Blue Earth, Minnesota is Lutheran.
  • Christmas Episode: The Christmas episode A Very Supernatural Christmas has Evil Santa, sacrifices to gods (and what says Christmas more than watching someone's fingernail be torn off?) and a surprisingly effective ending. Sniff. And a tree decorated with air fresheners and fishing flies.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Sam has this whenever he's not otherwise occupied.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Both Castiel and Crowley exhibit this to some extent, although Castiel genuinely wants to be good while Crowley is as evil as they come.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The writers managed to do this in the span of a single episode in season 5. It introduced Jesse Turner, a young boy explicitly identified as the Anti-Christ. This resulted from a union between a demon and a human, which somehow imbued him with high-level Reality Warper powers, an ability neither species displayed in any way. Possibly realizing how little sense it made that this would result in the most powerful character depicted in the show up to that point (with the possible exception of God) and the Story Breaker Power it entailed, the writers immediately sent the character off to nowhere, and he's never mentioned afterwards. It's technically also Put on a Bus, but it goes straight past even Long Bus Trip because everyone immediately forgets he ever existed at all.
  • Classical Movie Vampire: Beautifully (and hilariously) played with in "Monster Movie," this vampire turns out to be a lonely shapeshifter who admires the old Universal movie monsters.
  • Cliff Hanger: Every season finale.
    • Season one: Azazel escapes and a truck drives the Impala off the road, leaving Dean and John unconscious.
    • Season two: The Devil's Gate has opened, allowing thousands of demons to escape and walk the earth. Dean has made a deal which gives him one year to live.
    • Season three: Dean is killed and dragged to hell when his deal comes due.
    • Season four: Sam kills Lilith, inadvertently freeing Lucifer from hell.
    • Season five: Sam throws himself into hell in order to defeat Lucifer, Castiel returns to heaven and Dean goes to live with Lisa in order to fulfill his final promise to Sam. The final shot of the season is of a mysteriously-resurrected Sam staring creepily through Lisa's kitchen window while a single streetlight flickers.
    • Season six: Castiel absorbs all the souls in Purgatory to give himself enough power to defeat Raphael, and subsequently declares himself the new god, demanding that Sam, Dean and Bobby bow down before him or be destroyed.
    • Season seven: Dick Roman is defeated but Dean and Castiel are dragged to Purgatory with him. Crowley takes Meg and Kevin prisoner, leaving Sam alone on earth with the remainder of the Leviathans.
    • Season eight: Metatron cuts out Castiel's grace to use in a spell that will banish all the angels from heaven, leaving him human. Sam goes into convulsions after failing to complete the trials on the demon tablet and he and Dean watch helplessly as the angels begin to fall to earth.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: Sam may have kicked the demon blood habit, but shanking demons for a living is doing nothing for his self-control.
  • Comatose Canary:
    • Dean at the beginning of Season 2.
    • Sam in season six. After getting his soul back from Death it is mentioned at the beginning of "Like a Virgin" that Sam has been "asleep" for almost ten days. Also at the beginning of the last episode of Season 6 "The Man Who Knew Too Much" as the mental wall keeping all of the hell memories at bay has been destroyed by Cass
  • Companion Cube: The Impala to Dean.
  • Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit: When Sam and Dean travel back to 1978 in "The Song Remains The Same", Dean off-handedly suggests they invest in some Microsoft stock while they're at it. Sam says they may have to if they can't find a way back.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: At least two such characters show up:
    • Ron Reznick in "Nightshifter", who is convinced that the shapeshifter attacks he's been doing independent research on are caused by "mandroids".
    • In "Slash Fiction" paranoid whackjob Frank Devereaux doesn't put much stock in magic, but he's sure that "The government's been cloning people for years."
  • Continuity Drift: In the first season, vampires were shown to require blood in much smaller amounts than in other shows and movies (it took weeks for an entire coven to drink enough blood to kill two people). This is very difficult to reconcile with later appearances (i.e., they were somehow unable to drink cow blood without slaughtering the cows, despite having a huge supply and being easily able to go from cow to cow?).
    • It should be noted the vamps draining the cows are really brimming with blood lust because, while they just need blood to survive, they want human blood. The slaughtering of the cows may be less consequential and more a brutalization for the sake of brutalization, just to work out some of that tension. Besides, John's journal says "victims are taken to the nest to be drained for days or weeks." It doesn't specify the number of victims and it doesn't give a specific amount of time.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Sometime off-screen third season, the Winchester brothers each got a possession-blocking protective tattoo. From that first appearance onward, the tattoos can be seen from time to time over the collar of their shirts, though attention is almost never drawn to them again.
      • The tattoos were featured prominently in the season 8, episode 2 episode, and were used as a means to convince Kevin Tran and his mother to get similar tattoos to ward off possession.
    • Dean's amulet, which at this point has been missing from the show for two full years, appears on Dean's neck in a flashback in the season 7 episode "Repo Man."
    • In "Home", Sam hands the kid he just rescued to the kid's big sister and says "Take your brother outside as fast as you can, and don’t look back," echoing his father's words and actions to Dean in the pilot.
    • Dean slams Sam against a wall in "Pilot" for questioning the family mission; Sam slams Dean against a wall in "Salvation" for doing the exact same thing.
    • In "What Is and What Should Never Be" there's a ton, visual and verbal, to the pilot episode: Mary going down the stairs (replaced by Sam), Dean and Sam fighting in the dark after Dean breaks in, "Lookin' for a beer," etc.
    • After finally killing Azazel at the end of Season 2, Dean tosses the Colt in the Impala's trunk, says, "We've got work to do," and closes the trunk, which is what Sam says and does (though not with the Colt) at the beginning of Season 1 after Azazel kills Mary and Jessica. This gets yet another Call Back when Dean is resurrected in Season 4 and Castiel tells him that he was brought back "Because we have work for you."
    • Season finales "Devil's Trap" and "No Rest For The Wicked" both involve Sam helplessly pinned to a wall by that season's Big Bad as said demon murders Dean in front of him.
    • Compare the Season 3 and Season 5 finales:
      [hellhounds are ripping Dean to shreds, killing him]
      Sam: No!
      Lilith: Yes! (tries to fry him)
      • and:
      [Lucifer snaps Bobby's neck like a twig, killing him]
      Dean: No!
      Lucifer: Yes! (tries to beat him to death)
    • While trying to convince Sam to come with him, Dean admits that he doesn't want to do it alone. He mentions this again in season seven while on trial in "Defending Your Life".
    • Uriel frees Alistair from a Devil's trap by loosening a bolt and letting water drip onto the devil's trap. Castiel uses a similar trick to free himself from a ring of holy fire.
  • Cool Car: The Impala. So much so it even has its own Fan Nickname: The Metallicar.
  • Cool Sword: The angels carry these, as they are among the few things that can actually kill them. By season eight, other characters including Meg and Crowley have started carrying them and they have shown to be useful in killing other supernatural creatures including demons, hellhounds and even reapers.
  • The Coroner: A different one appears in many episodes (since they're moving all over the country working on cases) to explain to the Winchesters how the latest Victim of the Week met his or her gruesome end.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Sam Winchester's entire life consists of a plot to do this to him. It sort of works, to the point where the Big Bad manipulates him into starting the Apocalypse thinking he was preventing it, but it doesn't stick.
  • The Corruption:
    • At the end of season four, Castiel tells Dean that consuming enough demon blood to kill Lilith will permanently mutate Sam into a monster. Possibly, God cleaning it out of his system prevented this.
    • In the finale of season 6, Castiel has turned evil and absorbs the souls of Purgatory into himself upon which he declares himself the new God. In the first episode of season 7, he goes around killing corrupt and wicked people on a massive scale to prove his "godhood", but it eventually turns out that he's also hosting far older, nastier entities who are corrupting him. His body slowly degrades and mutates and he gets temporarily taken over to perform indiscrimate massacres, ending with being totally under their control after he loses the souls. His body goes through a meltdown under the strain, and the monsters escape out into the world.
  • Cosmopolitan Council: In Hammer of the Gods, the council composed of ten gods, including Odin, Mercury and Kali.
  • Council of Angels: Heaven is apparently somewhat of a bureaucracy, as God has gone AWOL. In season six Heaven has descended into full scale civil war as Michael, its former leader (After God), has been trapped in Hell with Lucifer.
  • Crapsack World: And how. Earth is pretty much the playing field for the cosmic battle between heaven and hell, and to make matters worse just about every monster ever referenced in mythology exists and most feed on humans. There isn't even any reprieve in death: if you're 'lucky' enough to go to heaven you can expect a matrix-style simulation where you relive your best memories but never actually get to reunite with any of your loved ones. God is AWOL and the operation is overseen by the angels: a Celestial Bureaucracy of squabbling, petty Eldritch Abominations who won the Superpower Lottery but have the emotional maturity of five-year-olds. If you end up in hell, on the other hand, you can expect to endure an eternity of agonizing torture until you eventually become a demon yourself. There is a third option: if you happen to get turned into a monster you might get to live for a few centuries before some hunter kills you, and which point you'll get sent to Purgatory and forced to engage in eternal, never-ending combat with every other monster that ever died. Really, it's no wonder most of the characters are dealing with major depression.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Most hunters, but especially Bobby. Let's recap, shall we? The guy blesses the beers he has in his fridge, making detecting a demon hiding in a friend as easy as offering him a beer. He built a demon- and ghost-proof panic room made out of solid iron coated in salt covered in devil's traps in his basement - because he had a weekend off. He apparently has weaponry and ingredients all over his house in case he gets ambushed or needs to work a spell. He has a bank of telephones in his kitchen so if an undercover hunter needs to have someone phone their "superior" for verification, he can pose as anyone from the FBI to the CDC to the Federal Marshalls. And if the hunters can't use regular phones, he has a satellite phone link and a radio. When being chased through his house by a soulless Sam, he hides in the closet...and when found, activates a lever inside that drops Sam into the basement. He has hundreds of books of lore (some going back thousands of years) on monsters of all kinds scattered around his house, and copies secreted in lock-ups scattered around the country, and apparently around his own house as well, in case his already-extensive knowledge of the supernatural comes up short or something is stolen or destroyed. In his own words: "Hi, glad to meet you. Bobby Singer. Paranoid bastard."
    • In "Mother's Little Helper" Sam is revealed to have made a recording of himself performing an exorcism that he can play from his smart phone if he's otherwise unable to.
  • Creator Provincialism: It is...interesting...how the vast majority of the important events of the apocalypse take place in the continental United States. Kali is actually rather upset over this fact, and laments that "Westerners" are trying to take away her rightful spot in her own Apocalypse.
    • Possibly Justified. The Apocalypse is taking place in America because that's where Sam and Dean are. It wouldn't make a whole lot of sense for Lucifer to be doing his thing in the Middle East or Europe or anywhere else when his intended vessel lives in America. Now, the fact that Sam and Dean are American in the first place is all on the writers, but they can hardly be blamed for that.
    • Fortunately Castiel is on hand to pop over to the Holy Land to fetch any necessary Plot Device that the boys have need of, thus sparing them the onerous burden of international travel. As long as you have the right roadies you don't have to put any more effort into obtaining Holy Oil from Jerusalem than J-Lo does to getting Perrier from across town.
  • Creepy Child: The show is fond of this trope in general, but Lilith possessing little girls is by far the creepiest example.
    Hookman: Yeah, how original. Supernatural bringing in more creepy children. Sigh.
  • Crossover Cosmology: Just like All Myths Are True, so do all gods exist. Though they are apparently not all equal given how easily Lucifer mows down a dozen of them in "Hammer of the Gods."
    • Given the incessant complaints from pagan gods about losing their followers, it's likely that this is why the Christian/Jewish/Islamic God is capital-G God while the others are barely more than ordinary monsters
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Teetering on the precipice of this trope. While pretty much all of the Apocalypse storyline contains heavy use of individual elements and characters from Christian eschatology, the actual usage of God, Lucifer, the angels and the demons, to say nothing of the complete and utter absence of Jesus, really ends up presenting a pseudo-Christian world where most of the Biblical characters are really Captain Ersatz versions of the ones from the source material and their link to the religion overall is essentially as a fantasy remake of the original with updated, modernized, characters cherry-picked for dramatic convenience.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Winchesters, especially, get their asses handed to them by the Big Bad all the time.
    • This happens several times with Alastair and Lilith, who pwn humans and angels alike to begin with, only for Sam to eventually kill them with his brain.
    • Anything attempting to take on an archangel ends up burned to dust with a simple touch, or exploded with a snap of the fingers. Lucifer slaughters pagan gods without breaking a sweat and then kills his brother - the archangel Gabriel - just as easily.
    • In the Season 6 finale the final battle between Castiel and Raphael ends up being like that. Amped up on purgatory souls, Castiel merely snaps his fingers and Raphael explodes into bloody goo.
  • Cut Apart: In "Folsom Prison Blues", Sam and Dean pull a jailbreak and go to the cemetery to destroy the remains of a nurse who is haunting the prison. The FBI is headed to the cemetery to recapture them. The camera cuts back and forth until it is revealed that the FBI was directed to the wrong cemetery.
  • The Cutie: Dean, before the issues came through thick and fast.
    • Possibly subverted too, seeing as how whenever the boys act all cutesy and 'normal' (Sam in the beginning of Season Three was quipping loads but falling apart trying to save Dean, and in the comedy episodes "Hollywood Babylon"/"Folsom Prison Blues", fans thinking that Dean was somehow really off were proven right in "What Is And What Should Never Be" when it was revealed that he had only been getting worse and more suicidal), something is usually very wrong with them.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Played straight in Sam and Dean's case. Sam's death is the final straw for Dean and he makes a desperate and suicidal Deal with the Devil to bring him Back from the Dead.

    D 
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy:
    • Crowley. He correctly deduces Lucifer's inherent hatred of demons while his demonic compatriots are all blind to this. In Season 6, he takes the Winchesters very seriously as a threat and takes appropriate steps to foil them (including faking his own death), even pointing out all the Big Bads who were killed or defeated by failing to do just that. He uses the Winchesters to dismantle the Leviathans while staying on the sidelines. All this means he ends up outliving every other villain on the show.
    Am I the only game piece on the board who doesn't underestimate those denim-wrapped nightmares?!
    • In "Season Seven, Time For a Wedding!," Becky doses Sam with Love Potion, and then conceals it from Dean with the knowledge she learned from reading the Supernatural novels. She instantly realizes the guy who's been giving her the love potion is a Crossroads Demon when he flashes his demon eyes at her, and is reluctant to accept this offered Deal with the Devil. And the devil in question has been taking advantage of loopholes in the deal.
    • "The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo," Charlie learns about Leviathans and reasonably assumes the person she got the info from is nuts. Then she accidentally learns they're real, and promptly tries to pack up and vanish. When the Winchesters show up, she reasonably assumes they're Leviathans until they prove otherwise. For the duration of the episode, she tries to stick to her skill set instead of getting into fights and leaves as soon as the episode is over. She literally puts herself on a bus.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: Lampshaded in "The French Mistake."
    Misha Collins: (typing into his phone) Ever. Get. The. Feeling. That. There's. Someone. In. The. Back. Seat? Frowny-face.
  • Dark and Troubled Past / Dysfunction Junction: If you haven't realized already that this show relies heavily on this trope, then you obviously have not seen the first episode. Or any episode. Or were severely inebriated or high while watching... Or some combination of the above. Even Bobby (previously the Only Sane Man...okay, still the Only Sane Man but for this show that doesn't say much for his comparative sanity) has massive problems.
  • Dark Messiah: In Season 4, Sam heads this way, fully expecting/intending to die killing Lilith and willing to shoot a few dogs to do so. In his arrogance, he doesn't realize he's played right into Lilith's hands until it's too late.
  • The Dark Side: After spending three seasons trying to avoid "going dark side," a demon blood-addicted Sam skids down the slippery slope after attacking and attempting to choke Dean following a failed intervention in which Dean called him a monster. Sam kills Lilith, therefore (inadvertently) starting the Apocalypse by freeing Lucifer.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: By the end of the fourth season, Sam pretty much runs out of legitimate excuses for his dark side-skirting behavior. He cops to this in early Season 5.
  • Darker and Edgier: Season 1 is more or less a show about two brothers trained to fight the supernatural, looking for their lost father. Then things go downhill.
  • Dating Catwoman: Most times where a villain takes an interest in one of the heroes it's just unidirectional Foe Yay. There are some cases where the heroic one reciprocates, though.
    • Sam Winchester (a hunter of supernatural monsters) and Ruby (a demon). She eventually seduces him while mentoring him to kill other demons, and they start a physical relationship. In a later episode their foreplay jumps straight into Hemo Erotic territory when she lets him drink her blood, to which he is addicted. When he admits it to Dean, his brother is more than squicked out.
    • Castiel and Meg share a lot of sexual tension before they make out, and later express their love for each other. An angel and a demon, how poetic.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Sunlight is not deadly to vampires, but it causes a nasty sunburn, thus they usually sleep during the day and hunt at night.
  • Dead Baby Comedy: Crowley's "muffins" in "Slash Fiction."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both of the brothers. Especially Dean.
    • Especially true in late Season 4 and 5. Dean has completely run out of fucks to give.
    Bobby: I thought you were on-call for angel duty?
    Dean: I am, in my car, on my way to murder the bitch.

    Dean: (facing down Raphael) By the way, hi, I'm Dean.

    Adam: (talking about Plan B for stopping the Devil) Great, what is it?
    Dean: Well, we're working on The Power of Love.
    Adam: How's that going?
    Dean: Not good.

    Lucifier: Sorry if it's a bit chilly. Most people think I burn hot. It's actually quite the opposite.
    Dean: Well, I'll alert the media.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • In several episodes, including "In My Time of Dying" and "Crossroad Blues." Plus, it's a major plot point in Season 3.
    • Recurs in Season 5 with Bobby.
    • Crowley as well. Turns out he sold his soul while human for a "few more inches below the belt."
      • Crowley loves dealing out these things, too, being King of the Crossroads and all. In the seventh season finale, Dick Roman, the head Leviathan, gets one, which the two go over in detail. In the Season 8 finale, he tries to pull one on Sam and Dean but they nab him instead.
  • Decapitated Army: The Season 7 finale. When the Leviathans' leader Dick Roman is killed by Dean and Castiel, Crowley comments that they won't be a Big Bad-level threat anymore, since Roman's been their leader since basically the dawn of time and losing him will throw them into confusion. The remaining Levis are quickly dispatched by Crowley's own demon army.
  • Dean Ex Machina: Dean always seems to pop up and save the day whenever Sam (or anyone really) is in trouble.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Having Castiel around and fully angeled-up is basically the Easy Button, so he gets hit with this a lot.
    • The first time, he time travels back to when the Winchesters' parents were still alive, and the effort alone nearly kills him.
    • The second time, he brands an anti-angel sigil on his chest to send a bunch of angelic Mooks to God-knows-where. This had the nasty side effect of sending him to God-knows-where, as well as stripping him of his remaining powers.
    • The third time, Castiel is busy fighting an off-screen civil war in Heaven and being one of the Big Bad Ensemble of the season.
    • The fourth time, after he absorbs every soul in Purgatory, he is soon "killed" by the Leviathans inside of him. He later reappears as a normal human without any memory of being an angel, and gets his powers back just in time for...
    • The fifth time, where he absorbs Sam's memory of being in Hell, which drives him crazy and has him committed in a hospital.
    • The sixth time, he gets stuck in Purgatory with Dean but stays behind when Dean manages to escape. He is saved by Naomi, who makes him her Manchurian Agent and prevents him from helping the Winchesters any more than necessary.
    • Finally, he gets Brought Down to Badass because of Metatron.
  • Death by Gluttony: Played for horror in the Season 5 episode "My Bloody Valentine." The Horseman Famine compels a town full of people to eat and drink themselves to death in truly horrific ways. A young couple eat each other to death while having sex. One man binges on Twinkies until he can't swallow anymore, at which point he starts shoving them down his throat with a toilet brush. Another man wants fries so badly he shoves his hands and then his face into a fryer where the fries are still cooking. Even Castiel, an angel who doesn't feel hunger, is compelled by Famine's presence to devour raw meat off the floor. Eventually Famine itself is defeated the same way: When he fails to tempt Sam with the blood of several demons, Famine eats the demons himself. Sam then exorcises the demons, ripping them right out of Famine's guts.
  • Death by Pragmatism: Subverted by Ruby.
  • Death Faked for You: Dean and Sam after their run-ins with multiple law enforcement personnel. Most notably in Season 4 and in the Season 7 episode "Slash Fiction."
  • Death Is Cheap: Played straight. Sam and Dean have died multiple times. Castiel has been dead at least three. One episode even had Sam and Dean killed by a couple of mooks trying to prevent the Apocalypse; Dean even tells them he will be back and he will be pissed when he comes back. Bobby was even killed once or twice and got better (until Season 7, when he was Killed Off for Real).
  • Death Is Dramatic:
    • Averted in "Mystery Spot," as none of Dean's on-screen deaths are dramatic/demonic-related. Especially his final death, where he gets shot by a mugger. No going out in a blaze of glory, it could have been easily prevented and nothing heroic about it whatsoever.
    • Played straight with many other deaths, most notably those of Jo and Ellen and Bobby Singer.
  • Death Is the Only Option: At the end of Season 5, Sam allows himself to be possessed by Lucifer, then jumps into Lucifer's cage, trapping both of their souls and killing himself in the process.
  • Death Montage: Courtesy of the "Groundhog Day" Loop episode.
  • Death Seeker: The brothers live here.
    • Dean's earliest brush is Season 1 episode "Faith" when he learns that a faith healer saving him caused the death of a young man. After his dad dies for him, he becomes tired of this life, selling his soul to get Sam back when he dies. By Season 5, Dean's even more tired of the life, even willing to be possessed by Michael to stop Lucifer.
    • In Season 1, Sam was willing to die killing Azazel/YED, and in Season 2, he wanted to be killed before his destiny could change him. Sam's entire Season 4 arc was suicidal, as was Season 5, which ended with Sam jumping into Hell's solitary confinement to take Lucifer with him.
  • Debate and Switch: Frequently, usually in the form of whether to let someone who is doing bad things against their will (e.g., a werewolf) go, or kill them. The person usually dies or makes some sort of Heroic Sacrifice by the episode's end.
    • Not quite lampshaded, but somewhat self-consciously averted in Season 8's "Bitten." The brothers briefly discuss whether the 'noble' werewolves can be left alone, decide in favor, and then sit quietly for a moment as if waiting for the last body to turn up.
  • Demonic Possession:
    • While demonic possession features heavily, particularly in later seasons, only one of the brothers has ever been possessed, and that was only once. This is explained through the use of protective charms and, later, through magical protective tattoos.
      Henrickson: Smart. How long have you had those [tattoos of magical possession protection]?
      Sam: Not long enough.
    • Season 4 introduces the concept of angelic possession, as seeing the true form of an angel can burn out your eyes. See Blind Seer.
    • Season 6 also introduces ghosts possessing inanimate objects, or dolls to be more specific.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils:
    • Abaddon is a Knight of Hell (possibly the last), one of the first-fallen demons handpicked by Lucifer. As such, she displays abilities not used by any other demon, and can only be killed by an Archangel (who are all conveniently either dead or locked in Hell).
    • Crowley is the self-proclaimed 'King of Hell' and currently rules over all of the tortured souls there. So, after Lucifer was locked in the Cage, Crowley is the top of the demon totem pole. Before that, he was the 'King of the Crossroads,' in charge of all Devil Deals.
  • Den of Iniquity
    Castiel: This is a den of iniquity. I should not be here.
    Dean: Dude, you full-on rebelled against Heaven. Iniquity is one of the perks.
  • Depending on the Writer: Sam's bitchiness and self-absorption, along with Dean's ditziness, go up and down like a bloody yo-yo.
  • Depth Of Field:
    • This show seems to LOVE having Dean and Castiel in the background/foreground of one another's scenes. Seriously, they do it all the freaking time. Some fans find this very useful for making LJ icons and so forth.
    • The shallow depth of field in most close shots is starting to work against them with the advent of HD; seeing Dean's stubble or Bobby's whiskers slip in and out of focus through the course of a scene as the cameraman fails to hold it just right is a common occurrence.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Dean crosses this in "On the Head of a Pin," and it takes angelic intervention to snap him out of it.
    • Bobby, Dean and Castiel all crash through this over the course of two consecutive episodes in Season 5. Sam probably crossed over at the end of Season 3.
    • Dean appears to have crossed it again in Season 7, to the point that he seems resigned to being blown up by Jo in "Defending Your Life."
  • Devil but No God: Basically assumed true until Season 4, where angels of the Lord started showing up. God is confirmed to exist in Season 5, but he refuses to do anything.
  • Did Godzilla Just Punch Out Cthulhu: Demons, angels, Archangels, the Horsemen, God... In Season 5, the entire purpose of Team Free Will was to stop this from happening between Michael and Lucifer. Because this would unfortunately have the tiny little side-effect of destroying nearly all life on Earth.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Dean attempts to steal Death's ring from him, but gets caught. Death sits him down, offers him pizza and then tells him how annoyed he is that although he is infinite, eternal and will eventually reap the entire universe, he is stuck being tagged to one tiny little planet with one puny little being (a.k.a Lucifer). ... upon hearing this, Dean has a little trouble swallowing his pizza. Death does this a second and a third time when the Winchesters (mostly Dean) encounter him, as he has quite a fondness for fast food.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?:
    • Winchesters! Stop pissing off insanely powerful creatures who already do not like you! Azazel, Lucifer, Crowley—take your pick; the Winchesters have insulted or enraged every supernatural Big Bad that roams the earth.
    • "Castiel. Did you just Molotov my brother...with holy fire?" "Uhh...no."
  • Did You Just Index Cthulhu?: The Winchesters are fighting Eldritch Abominations every other day of the week, what do you think?
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Sam and Dean actually manage this once or twice. Although as often as not, their attempts will end up in Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?:
    • Lucifer manages to trap Death into his servitude. Death, who is very annoyed that he's being leashed by a petulant child with daddy issues (...yes, that is how Death perceives the Devil), proves that it's not a good idea to piss off an eternal and infinite force of nature by actually helping the Winchesters imprison him again.
    • The Winchesters attempt it themselves in Season 7's first episode in a last-ditch effort to stop the newly god-like Castiel. Death warns them that it won't end well for them, but he doesn't follow through on his threat after Castiel unbinds his restraints because the "mutated angel" is a bigger concern for him.
  • Diner Brawl: Happens frequently, especially towards the end of Season 8.
  • Dirty Business: The first season finale has the first instance of the Winchesters being able to kill a demon...if they're willing to ice the innocent, possessed human too.
    Dean: Killing that guy, killing Meg—I didn't hesitate, I didn't even flinch. For you or Dad, the things I'm willing to do or kill, it scares me sometimes.
    • In Seasons 4 and 5, every time Sam drinks demon blood to fuel his powers, he looks at it this way.
  • Disabled Snarker:
    • Pamela, after she loses her vision (although she was plenty snarky before that, as well).
    • In Season 5, Bobby.
  • Disappeared Dad: For a while, at least.
    • A lot of John Winchester's issues apparently stem from the disappearance of his own father, Henry. Henry time-traveled to 2013 to escape Abaddon, unwittingly bringing her over with him, and died at her hands.
  • Disc One Final Boss:
    • While at the time of Season 2, Azazel was a very major threat, compared to what we've seen in the rest of the series, but he could certainly be considered this now.
    • In Season 6, Crowley appears to be this to Eve, the Mother of All. Except, in actuality, she was the this to him. In the season finale, it turns out that they were both this to Castiel, of all people.
  • Disney Death: The Season 5 finale, BIG TIME. First, Castiel and Bobby die abruptly and shockingly. And then Sam, one of the two main characters, apparently dies too in what appears to be a chilling Kill 'em All ending. By the end of the episode, however, God brings Castiel back, Castiel resurrects Bobby and then, right before the credits, we see Sam is back too.
  • Disposable Woman: There are already two by the first episode. So basically, the show's entire plot was fueled by this trope. In fact, one wonders if there were any women on the writing team. Well, except for all the Fetish Fuel. (Although, to be fair, those two women were not forgotten. The men who loved them basically declared war on the forces of Hell over them. Also, really, anyone who's not actually Sam or Dean dies, regardless of sex.)
    • Hell, even Sam and Dean tend to die every once in a while. Well, Dean's actually died dozens and dozens of times...they just keep coming back. Death Is Cheap for them.
    • One of the reasons women get treated the way they do is the fanbase and their "Keep those sluts away from our boys" mentality that pops up whenever strong (or even merely decent) female characters appear in the show.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: "Don't objectify me!" cries Dean to Bela, after she proposes they have angry sex.
  • Distressed Damsel / Distressed Dude: So they might be big, tough men, but they've got nabbed enough times for this trope to apply. Sam is more often the one in peril, but when Dean is captured, he is usually captured for longer (for instance, in "Hunted"). Notable instances are when Sam is taken in "The Benders" (and then it was subverted by him getting out and Dean winding up being captured instead), in "Bloodlust" (although the vampires just wanted to talk with him and they release him afterwards), in "Home," "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 1," "Long Distance Call," "Time Is On My Side" and "Ghostfacers." Dean is captured in "Hunted," "Wendigo," "What Is And What Should Never Be," "Monster Movie" and "Scarecrow." Both are captured in "Skin" (Dean gets them out), "A Very Supernatural Christmas" (they somehow managed to get out off-screen) and "Shadow" (Sam gets them out, though Dean was pretty close). To list all the times one has been helpless/at the mercy of the MOTW so that the other can save him would be far too long especially in the case of Sam, Season 1 (and Dean managed to catch up in Seasons 2 and 3)—it's more than half the episodes. Not to mention that every episode there is at least one person (usually female) who needs to be rescued.
  • Does She Have A Sister: In "Tall Tales," Sam recounts how the past days went by to Bobby. When talking about the past night, he plays up his brother Dean's drunken sluttiness; Dean, well-intoxicated, is all over a random girl he picked up in the bar and uses the inversion when he proudly declares to Sam that the girl has a sister and gives his own brother an obvious wink in case he didn't catch on yet. Sam isn't interested.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The Monster of the Week in "Something Wicked" was played like a pedophile.
    • The male vampire in "Fresh Blood" is portrayed like a date-rape sexual predator.
    • Boris, the vampire in "Live Free or Twi-Hard," is presented like a drug pusher who exploits the glamorous modern views of modern vampire literature to have pretty boy vamps seduce impressionable girls, get them addicted to blood and essentially force them into prostitution to seduce the next batch of pretty boys to the cause.
  • The Dog Is an Alien: There are Skinwalkers who can take the form of a dog. One of them becomes attached to the family he lives with.
  • Doppelgänger: Shows up in "Skin," "Nightshifter," "The End" (to an extent) and "Slash Fiction".
  • Do Not Pass Go: Said verbatim by the demon Alastair during Dean's Cold-Blooded Torture of him.
    Alastair: Go directly to Hell. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Death embodies this trope, and everyone knows it. Dean, who has at one point threatened to hunt freaking God down like he hunts down everything else immediately shuts up in Death's presence. When they mess things up in Season 6 and the Leviathans get out of Purgatory, Death tells Dean what he needs to do to put them back in and Dean snarks for the first time in Death's presence. Death immediately turns around and says "Figure it out." Dean shrinks down and obeys.
  • Don't Fear The Reaper:
    • Tessa, one of the Reapers. Admittedly, some of the other Reapers we see range from creepy to outright scary, but Tessa appears to spirits as a gorgeous/hot, compassionate and genuinely sweet servant of Death, and Sam and Dean even willingly save her from a grisly fate in Season 4. Though during her role there, she's a bit more snippy than in her first appearance, mostly dismissing the bros when they try to help a dead young boy who has yet to pass on. The reason being, for the latter, was that she was supposed to take Dean until he was brought back to life by Azazel thanks to his dad making a deal.
    • Death himself, the boss of the Reapers, also appears. Death is a Cosmic Entity who is as old as the universe and about the same age as God (or older; neither he nor God can remember). He runs on Blue and Orange Morality and has seen the death of entire galaxies and will eventually reap God! Hence, he is extremely pissed off that he is bound to one tiny planet circling around a barely newborn sun in a young galaxy that usually wouldn't even be a blip on his radar, due to "a spoilt brat having a tantrum" (a.k.a Lucifer). Dean has a little problem swallowing his pizza after being told this. Just a gentle reminder that, no matter how much of an Eldritch Abomination Lucifer may seem, there is Always a Bigger Fish. A much bigger fish. This Death is also given a very human trait, one he shares with Dean: he really likes cheap but tasty food such as pizza, bacon dogs and fried pickles.
    • In a later episode, Dean wants Death's help to restore Sam's soul and Death gives him a test where Dean has to do Death's duties for a day. Dean fails the test but attempts to fix his mistake as much as he can. Death is impressed that Dean was able to understand how serious and important Death's job actually is and gives Sam his soul back.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: Lucifer begs Gabriel, his beloved younger brother, not to stand against him, and says this trope nearly word for word. Gabriel retorts that "No one makes us do anything," a criticism of Lucifer's tendency to blame others for his own actions, and attacks him. It doesn't work out well for Gabriel.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi:
    • Narrowly averted, probably by Author's Saving Throw, when Sam is implied to have had sex with the demon Ruby, but it has been established that demons possess the bodies of living people, so Sam would be a rapist. Fan backlash was immediate and soon a flashback scene was written showing that Sam refused to have sex with Ruby until she explained that her body had just flat-lined in the hospital when she took it over and there was nobody else in it...which of course has Unfortunate Implications in itself. If the body is technically dead, and Sam has sex with it, doesn't that mean...
    • In the episode "The French Mistake" where Sam and Dean get sent to the real world and it is implied that Sam gets intimate with his actor's wife. The Reality Subtext makes this merely amusing, but purely from an in-story perspective, Sam is a rapist.
    • The episodes "Wishful Thinking" and "Trial and Error" both have a man making a woman fall in love with him with magic (a magic coin and a Deal with the Devil). In both cases, the word "rape" isn't mentioned, and the situation's only treated as "How did this guy ended up with that girl?".
    • In "I'm No Angel," a Reaper possesses a girl named April and seduces newly human Castiel into having sex with her after providing him with food and shelter. Aside from the issue with dubious consent that is brushed aside for Cas, there are serious implications that April was raped against her will under possession. Yet the brothers show no concern or alarm over the matter aside from high-fiving Cas for losing his virginity. This matter is worsened in where Dean and Cas discuss how "hot" April was, disregarding the fact that she was raped, had stabbed Cas and was murdered by the brothers.
    • In "Rock and a Hard Place," we get to see an uncharacteristic behavior from Dean, who stalks a reformed porn star trying to move on from her past with the sole intention of sleeping with her despite her objections to his advances. Yeesh.
  • Downer Ending:
    • "Metamorphosis" ends with the boys both on a whole new level of fucked-up and their relationship at an all-time low, "Red Sky At Morning", "Jus in Bello" (demons kill nearly everyone), "Crossroad Blues", "What Is and What Should Never Be" (the bit where Dean decides to get back to reality is more of a weak and mewling 'yay' moment and Sam can't even convince him that what they do is worth it), "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 1" (Sam dies, but he recovers), "Heart" (Sam kills Madison, see Wangst), "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things" (Dean's crying over John's death and there's nothing Sam can say to make it alright), "Everybody Loves A Clown" (Dean shows how violently not okay he is by smashing his beloved car seventeen times), "In My Time of Dying" (John sells his soul to save Dean), and...this is too depressing. There are a lot of downer endings for this show. A lot.
    • The third season finale sets a whole new record by ending with Dean dead and in Hell, all of Sam's determination to save him over the course of the whole season thwarted. The season ends with Dean being torn apart by meat-hooks and desperately screaming for his brother over the credits. And no one knew if there would be another season because of the writers' strike.
    • "Heaven and Hell"
    • "Jump the Shark": Not only has Adam, the kid the brothers were trying to save, been dead all along, he actually was their half-brother. When Sam suggests calling in a favor from Castiel to bring him back, Dean replies it's better to leave him where he is because the world is going down the pooper pretty soon anyway.
    • The penultimate episode of Season 4, "When the Levee Breaks," laid a damn good claim to the record (Dean and Sam have a seemingly irrevocable parting of the ways) until "Lucifer Rising" managed to one-up it: God is M.I.A., the senior angels want the Apocalypse so they can beat the demons and care not about the collateral damage, Ruby is evil and has been manipulating Sam all along, and Lilith is the final seal and killing her will free Lucifer...which Sam learns about ten seconds after killing her. *gulp*
    • "Abandon All Hope...": Jo and Ellen die heroically to save Dean and Sam and give them a chance to kill Lucifer, which doesn't end up working. Oh, and Lucifer successfully raises Death, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
    • "Dark Side of The Moon": Well, if the episode starts with our heroes getting shot in the chest with a shotgun, it's a pretty good indicator of how the story's gonna go. Let's see—Dean is resentful of the fact that Sam's version of Heaven is completely made up of times that he was away from his family; Zachariah is personally out for vengeance upon Sam and Dean for moderately petty reasons; Joshua informs them that God knows everything that's going on but just doesn't give a damn; Castiel, Dean and Sam basically give up their faith... But hey, at least we got some laughs out of Ash, right?
    • "You Can't Handle the Truth": Sam's been acting weird all season not because he's a doppelganger or still possessed by Lucifer, but because he's emotionally dead. The episode ends with Dean beating him unconscious and not stopping. The next episode reveals that this is because Sam has no soul anymore.
    • "The Man Who Would Be King": With Castiel subsequently "betraying" the Winchesters and Dean begging Castiel to reconsider. To finish off your already distraught heart, they end with Castiel pleading with God to tell him if he's "traveling the wrong path" only to get no answer from God.
    • "...And Then There Were None" ends with Bobby pouring Rufus' favorite drink over the latter's unmarked grave. They earlier had an argument about an unresolved issue between the two, which Rufus never forgave Bobby for. Bobby was then possessed and killed his best friend.
    • "The Man Who Knew Too Much": Castiel destroys the wall in Sam's mind, sending him into a coma (he does get better...kinda), then reneges on his deal with Crowley, leading Crowley to team up with Raphael and force Cas to hand over the blood needed to open Purgatory. For a while, it looks like Crowley and Raphael are going to become the new Big Bads, BUT THEN Castiel returns, having absorbed every single soul in Purgatory, lets Crowley escape and obliterates Raphael. All seems okay, right? WRONG. Castiel then declares himself the new God and issues an ultimatum to Dean, Sam, and Bobby—worship him or die. End of Season 6.
    • In Season 7's "Hello, Cruel World," the fates of Castiel and Bobby don't look so good, the Leviathans appear to be nigh-invincible, Sam's hallucinations of Lucifer take a turn for the worse, and the episode ends with Sam and Dean being rushed to the very hospital that the monsters have taken over, unable to defend themselves. In addition, the brothers' last safe haven, Bobby's house, has been torched.
    • "Death's Door": Bobby is dead and has yet to make the choice of whether or not to move on, Dean and Sam are totally and completely alone but for each other, they have no Cas, no Impala and now Bobby is gone. And the Leviathans are running around, still thinking the Winchesters cannot stop them, and the only clue the brothers have to stopping them is a group of numbers (454895) that link to the Leviathan's plan that Bobby caught a glimpse of and was very scared by it. Dean and Sam have faced hardship, but this is the harshest situation they've ever been in.
  • The Dragon: Meg for Azazel and then Lucifer. Though she outlives them both.
    • Ruby and Alastair for Lilith.
    • Lilith and Azazel to Lucifer.
  • Dramatic Irony: After finding out what Castiel has done, Dean tells him he should have come to them. As revealed in the flashback in "The Man Who Would Be King," Castiel wanted to, but didn't because Dean was so happy living with Lisa and Ben and he didn't want to ruin that. But it was ruined anyway, thanks to him bringing Sam back to life (but without his soul).
  • The Dreaded: "Picasso with a Razor" Alastair and Abaddon Knight Of Hell.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Sam, for the first two seasons.
  • Dream Sue: In "Tall Tales" (which is The Rashomon), Dean retells an evening in a bar to Bobby as if he is a romantic Dream Sue, with hints of being a perfect hunter as well. The entire setting is glamorized, and a girl just completely swoons over him and showers him with praise, while he insists that he has to do his "duty" of interviewing her because lives are at stake. Sam, by contrast, is turned into a whiny jerk who simply wants to interrupt Dean and his lover, eventually just descending into whining "Blah Blah Blah."
    • In Sam's version, Dean's flirting and drunken antics are exaggerated as well.
  • Dream Walker:
    • Angels can enter dreams to speak with the dreamer and deliver messages if they need to. This is sometimes the only way angels can communicate with Sam and Dean who are often warded against (via hex bags) or physically marked against (via writing etched onto their ribs by Castiel) angels finding them personally.
    • Azazel is also shown to be able to communicate with people this way, though he can sometimes also influence the dream.
    • Sam and Dean have to do this when Bobby and later Charlie are trapped in nightmares.
  • Dream Weaver: "Dream a Little Dream of Me" has a substance that allows one to do this.
  • Dress Up Episode: Quite a few, given the number of different officials Sam and Dean end up posing as. "Frontierland" and "Time After Time After Time" are two of the most notable.
  • Dramatic Sit-Down: In the Season 4 finale, Sam sits on the floor and stares on in horror after he realized that, by killing Lilith, he set Lucifer free. Ruby monologues until Dean bursts in and they kill Ruby together.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Dean in "What Is And Never Should Be." Sort of. Damn alternate universes make these things confusing.
    • Another two for Dean would be "Croatoan" where he stays with his possibly psychotic-due-to-being-infected brother and "Faith" where he accepts his pending death and doesn't even run away when the Reaper is after him. My God, that kid is screwed up.
    • Sam in "Salvation" and, in an I Cannot Self-Terminate moment, "Playthings."
    • Another for Sam would be the angst-filled, additional I Cannot Self-Terminate in "When the Levee Breaks." In the finale of Season 4, Sam doesn't believe he will—or want to—survive either.
    • Almost happens to Dean in "Point of No Return," also arguably Castiel.
    • Sam at the end of Season 5 (with Dean and Bobby's reluctant approval!) in "Swan Song" (unless deliberately planning on jumping into Hell is seen as anything other than suicide).
    • Dean slips into suicidal Death Seeker mode quite often given the opportunity. He will sacrifice himself in a heartbeat to save someone and his complete lack of self-worth adds some very disturbing implications to his actions.
    • In Season 7, this seems to be where Sam's hallucinations are trying to push him; in "Hello, Cruel World," Lucifer suggests it three times.
    • Dean seems to have backslid into this again in the Season 7 episode "Defending Your Life," where he is way too calm at the prospect of Jo killing him by gas explosion.
    • Let's not forget the Suicide Bear in "Wishful Thinking."
  • Drowning My Sorrows:
    • The standard Winchester coping mechanism. Especially Dean. This seems to be a common thing among hunters in general.
    • Castiel engages in this in "99 Problems," though it's tough for him due to his angelic constitution:
    Castiel: I found a liquor store.
    Sam: ...and?
    Castiel: And I drank it!
    Later, Dean asks where he's been and he replies, "On a bender."
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: At the end of Season 6 and the beginning of Season 7, this has happened to Castiel after he absorbed all the souls in Purgatory to gain the power to prevent Archangel Raphael from restarting the Apocalypse. After proclaiming himself a new god, he threatens his friends' lives, goes out for some Disproportionate Revenge and then accidentally releases unkillable monsters on the world.
  • The Dutiful Son:
    • Dean obeys his father without question and berates Sam for questioning his orders. He is just as capable of being a dutiful brother and as shown by "What Is and What Should Never Be," he tends to idolize Sam. But it was revealed by the shifter in "Skin" that he/Dean does resent Sam for getting to leave. Dean also manages to combine this with Troubled, but Cute.
    • Michael is this Up to Eleven, as he continues to follow his absent father God's orders millennia after God suddenly abandoned his sons and is determined to murder Lucifer not because of his plan to kill all humans, but because he thinks it's what God would have wanted. Dean's relationship with John and Sam mirrors the relationship between Michael, Lucifer and God. As it is in Heaven, so it shall be on Earth and all that.
  • Dying Curse: In "Death Takes A Holiday," the boys talk Pamela into helping them into the spirit realm, despite her objections that it is a stupidly dangerous endeavor. Sure enough, she gets hurt protecting their comatose bodies. As she dies, Pamela tells the Winchester boys to curse Bobby for introducing her to them.

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