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This page covers tropes found in Supernatural.

See also the episode Recap page for more trope examples.

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

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  • Eager Rookie: The Season 2 episode "No Exit" centers around Jo Harvelle who wants to be a hunter like her deceased father, Bill. Her mother, Ellen, doesn't want her to be in the field. Jo finds a case and her mother gives it to Sam and Dean instead. Jo sneaks out to work the case anyway. Jo is irritated when Sam and Dean insist on helping her work the case, but on more than one occasion Dean has to point something out that Jo doesn't know. Eventually, Jo accuses Dean of being sexist and treating her like less than a hunter because she's a woman. Dean insists women can be hunters and that he's treating her like a rookie with no experience. Sure enough, Jo is kidnapped by the Monster of the Week and has to be rescued although she does ultimately assist in defeating the baddie.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The first season's finale did not start with the recap having Kansas' "Carry On Wayward Son" as the background music; the episode prior to the first season finale, "Salvation", had it over the "The Road So Far" segment at the start of that episode, and the Netflix version replaces it with another song. Almost every season finale from Season 2 on will have "Carry On Wayward Son" over the recap.
    • The first demon seen in the series in the fourth episode has his voice be deeper and more demonic. Every demon after him speaks with the voice of the human they possess.
      • This episode also features a few inconsistencies with demons. The episode states that demons usually possess someone with a weakness, like an addiction or some sort of emotional distress. At the beginning of the episode, this is demonstrated when a demon possesses a nervous flyer. Sam even states that simply Dean panicking leaves him wide open to demonic possession. Later in the series, it is shown that demons can possess anyone regardless of strength or willpower, even John Winchester, for example.
    • The first season was also inconsistent as a whole with how demons possessed humans. The demon in episode 4 enters his victims through the eyes, while the season finale shows a human standing become spontaneously possessed, as evidenced by the eyes suddenly turning black. For the rest of the series, as early as the first episode of Season 2, demons only enter their targets through the mouth as a thick cloud of smoke.
    • In Season 1 John is unsure whether Meg herself is a demon in human form or is possessed by one. Though it was the latter, this implies that some demons can take on human forms rather than possessing them. Meg also summons a demon that takes the form of a living shadow. In the Season 2 finale, Ava summons a demon that takes on the form of a little girl and uses said demon to kill off the Special Children trapped in the town. From Season 3 onwards, demons always possess human bodies and the idea of demons taking on human or other forms is never brought up again.
    • In early Season 2, when Dean and Sam first encounter the Roadhouse, it's clear the concept that there's a whole subculture of hunters beyond their own family and a few close friends is news to them, and that John kept this from them. Later seasons would intermittently introduce other hunters that Dean and/or Sam knew from having gone on hunts with them pre-series.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: For such a dark series, the finale is surprisingly uplifting. The Winchesters finally break free from God's manipulation, allowing them to choose their own destiny. Dean dies after an ambiguous Time Skip (Word of Saint Paul says several years), but Sam is able to retire from the hunter lifestyle and raise a family, eventually being reunited with Dean in Heaven after dying peacefully of old age.
  • The Earth-Prime Theory: There are many alternate universes with many alternate Sams and Deans, but the two main characters inhabit the "real", Prime Universe. This is because God is easily distracted, so he often creates more universes to explore every possible story. In the final season, after it is revealed that God Is Evil, he starts dismantling the rest of the multiverse, then starts planning a "hard reset" of the Prime Universe to recreate it in In Their Own Image... despite, well, having already done so. He just hates Sam and Dean that much.
  • Eats Babies:
    • Lilith apparently eats babies, according to her helper demon who was trying to get babies out of the maternity ward for her in the Season 4 finale.
    • Demon king Crowley offers the Leviathan leader Dick Roman a bag of baby uvula muffins to smooth over the alliance he wants to make between their armies. Dick declines, but not on moral grounds; he just considers Crowley a pest to be exterminated. Crowley lets him keep the present.
    • The demon Abaddon threatens to take over Dean's body and make him kill children and eat infants in Season 9's "Devil May Care."
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • Angels' true forms. Physically, they (to each other) meet the descriptions of them in religious literature. People look at an angel in his true form have their EYES BURNED OUT. They inhabit human vessels to be able to interact with other humans safely, however. It's notable that they're one of the few, if not only, creatures fitting the definition of an Eldritch Abomination in this series, as the other adversaries are almost all Humanoid Abominations.
      Zachariah: My true form has six wings and four faces, one of which is a lion's.
    • Leviathans and other creatures from Purgatory. They are even referred to by H. P. Lovecraft and by Death himself as the "Old Ones," and Lovecraft was actually killed by one of these things he had been writing about. Their true form happens to be some form of tentacle monster with More Teeth than the Osmond Family. We're never actually shown their true forms, but they can slaughter angels without breaking a sweat.
    • As of the Season 10 finale, there's the Darkness, a destructive force that existed before creation. And the Winchesters managed to let it out of its cage once more.
    • Before God and Amara even existed, there was only absolute nothingness. This giant nothing is actually sentient, has a true form that even ANGELS would go mad just from seeing, and its mindset is noticeably more alien than that of any other deity or cosmic entity. Similarly to Lovecraft's Azatoth, it is usually sleeping forever as a mindless entity.
    • There's also the Lovecraft Lite Yokoth and Glythur in "The Thing", who come from an Alternate Universe which they've mostly devoured.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: In episode "Hammer of the Gods", this is lampshaded and played straight on two occasions.
    • Dean is walking down the hotel's hallway and passes a room with a live elephant toweling itself off. Upon processing this, he doubles back and the room now has a naked fat man toweling himself off, who declares "This ain't no peep show!" and slams the door in Dean's face. Turns out the naked fat man is actually Lord Ganesh, the Hindu Elephant God.
    • Later, Loki barges into the gathering of gods and tells them all they need to talk about the elephant in the room (Lucifer). When the fat man immediately protests, Loki retorts "Not you, Ganesh!"
  • Elite School Means Elite Brain:
    • Sam Winchester, the one characterized as the smarter of the two Winchester brothers and the more intellectual, book-smart one who does the research, is introduced in the first episode as attending Stanford for law.
    • Ash, the mullet-wearing hunter who hangs out at a dive bar, is a computer genius who went to MIT. He uses this fact when Dean questions his intelligence on first meeting.
  • Elseworld: The series has used this trope several times, including the episodes "What Is And What Should Never Be" (the Winchesters never became monster hunters), "It's A Terrible Life" (Sam and Dean working in an office building), "The End" (as a potential Bad Future where Hell triumphed in the Apocalypse), "The French Mistake" (the Winchesters wind up in an alternate universe where they're a bunch of actors) "My Heart Will Go On" (mostly the same as the regular world, only the Titanic disaster being averted by time travel ultimately affects the lives of several main characters). In nearly all of these episodes the Winchester brothers must find a way to return to their reality and are or become aware they are not in their own world.
  • Embarrassing Ad Gig: In "Changing Channels", a reality warping trickster forces Sam and Dean to live out various TV shows, including, to Sam's dismay, an advertisement for herpes medication.
    Sam: [woodenly] I am doing all I can to slightly lessen the spread of... of... genital herpes. [forcing a pained smile] And that's a good thing.
  • Embarrassing Ringtone: In "The Real Ghostbusters", evil spirit children trapped Sam and Dean along with many patrons at a hotel convention. To get the spirits to free everyone, Sam and Dean recruited an actress to play the ghost of the stern, turn-of-the-century school mistress (who Sam and Dean mistakenly banished earlier) to scare the ghost boys into releasing the hold on the hotel. Everything was going well until the actress' cell phone rang with a jaunty hip-hop tune. Cue her Oh, Crap! moment as the evil spirit children smiled menacingly, realizing she wasn't the school mistress and they had no reason to be scared.
  • Empowered Badass Normal:
    • Sam Winchester shifts into this in Seasons 4 and 5 when he starts gaining direct control over his psychic abilities and uses it to fight demons. However, he eventually abandons them and returns to being a Badass Normal.
    • In Season 6, Dean was temporarily vampirized in an episode and used his new powers to infiltrate and destroy an entire coven, but his transformation was ultimately reversed in time.
    • In Season 7, we have Ghost Bobby.
    • In Season 9, there's Dean after he gets the Mark of Cain and the First Blade.
  • The End of the World as We Know It:
    • In Season 4, Sam inadvertently started this trying to stop it.
    • In Season 10, Sam does this intentionally to remove the Mark of Cain from Dean, and Death specifically wants him dead to prevent this trope. It doesn't work.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • The brothers team up with Crowley to stop Lucifer, who plans to wipe out humans and demons alike.
    • Ironically, in Season 6's "Caged Heat," they would then team up with Lucifer-loyalist Meg against Crowley.
    • Later in Season 7, where Crowley promises to keep his people off the boy's backs while they squash the Leviathans.
    • When the Darkness threatens all reality in Season 11, it causes angels, demons, and witches to ally against her.
  • Enfante Terrible: There's a number of supernatural entities in the show that take on the appearances of children, such as the changeling children from "The Kids Are Alright", but special mention goes to Lilith, the first demon whose preferred vessels are little blonde girls, and who happily plays into being a cute precocious murderous child.
  • Engineered Public Confession: In Season 9's finale, "Do You Believe in Miracles?", Cas tricks Metatron into explaining his evil mastermind plan on the angel-radio mic.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Averted. Five-minute self-esteem boosts/pep talks seem to have no effect in the Supernatural!Verse. Usually epiphanies are learned over days, weeks, or even years of grueling fights with monsters and family alike before someone says something that makes Sam or Dean think about something slightly differently.
  • Erotic Dream:
    • Sam has one of these featuring Bela, and is very flustered when he figures out who he's been dreaming about (after waking up with an extremely dopey grin on his face). His face wasn't the only thing grinning. No joke; this is actually referenced when Dean calls him over as he's waking up. Sam starts to rise, then glances down and hesitates, using a stretch to cover for his...awkwardness. He's even more flustered and awkward when Bela shows up shortly after to talk with him and Dean.
    • Dean himself dreams in a later episode of being entertained by two strippers, one in a naughty devil's costume, the other in an angelic one. When the angel Anna drops in, she says she didn't expect his dreams to be like this, and Dean is embarrassed.
    • Dean has a romantic one early in Season 6 about his live-in girlfriend Lisa. He's gotten sucked back into the hunting life, but it's made clear he'd rather be at home in bed with Lisa.
  • Escaped from Hell: During the Season 2 finale, the Hell Gate opens and John Winchester seizes the opportunity to claw his way out of Hell, alongside hundreds of demons, one of which includes Lilith, the first demon turned by Lucifer.
  • Eternal Love: Don and Maggie Stark, powerful witches who have been together for centuries, feature in a Season 7 episode. They've been fighting, and ordinary people get caught in the crossfire, but they reconcile at the end. As Don says to Maggie, "You're the one I want to never grow old with."
  • Ethereal White Dress: This show loves to clad very good, often doomed women (Mary, Jess, and a murdered angel in Season 4) in flowy white dresses and also very bad women like Lilth in them.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The one thing guaranteed to piss off the Alpha vampire is to insult his mother, Eve.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • The show seems to love playing with this trope. In some cases, the monsters are monsters because of what happened to their loved ones previously at the hands of other monsters or hunters, and some actually form close-knit "families."
    • It's implied that the demon Ruby had grown to like Sam and expected him to be rewarded by Lucifer after he unwillingly freed him, though it doesn't stop her for being a manipulative bitch and killed by the brothers.
    • Pestilence is hinted to have some affection for the demon accompanying him when he hugs her. He also cares a great deal about his "brothers," the other Horsemen. He's royally pissed off at Sam and Dean for taking two of them out before they got to him and plans to torture them gruesomely as payback.
    • Lucifer wants to wipe out all humanity and the demons and turn Earth into his own pristine Paradise. He does show affection for angels, though, especially his three direct brothers, the other archangels. He begs his younger brother Gabriel not to turn against him and is on the verge of crying when he has to kill him. His reunion with Michael is filled with mutual regret over what happened in the past and Lucifer again tries to convince his older brother to stop fighting each other. Subverted when Gabriel and Michael both point out that he loves himself even more and is only going on a petty temper tantrum against God for creating humans, although his affection for his brothers appears genuine.
    • Subverted when it's discovered the demon Crowley had a son, Gavin, whom Bobby was sure could be used as leverage against him. Turns out they both despise each other. Crowley basically proclaims he couldn't care less what Bobby does to Gavin and that he would even relish the idea of him tormenting his soul. His son gets him back by betraying the location of Crowley's bones in hopes that the Brothers Winchester could burn them. Double Subverted even later on when Crowley becomes more human after a botched demon cure was performed on him. Abaddon kidnaps Gavin from the past and tortures him in front of his father, leading to Crowley caving in to her demands and admitting he genuinely loves Gavin. After Abaddon's defeat, Crowley saves Gavin from dying an early death in the past and provides him with a new home in the present as a farewell gift, and he is notably upset in Season 12 when Gavin returns to the past in order to stop his lover from becoming a vengeful ghost.
  • Everybody Lives: Rare in the show since at least one victim appears in each episode and the brothers have to kill the Monster of the Week. However, several episodes manage to keep everybody alive:
    • "Home" (1x09): The poltergeist is exorcised before it kills anyone.
    • "Mystery Spot" (3x11): Dean is killed over 100 times, but only in the Trickster's reality.
    • "Wishful Thinking" (4x08): Everything goes back to normal after the curse is reversed.
    • "The Monster At The End Of The Book" (4x18): Lilith escapes before the heroes come to kill her.
    • "When the Levee Breaks" (4x21): Much of the episode is spent with Sam trying to escape the panic room.
    • "Inside Man" (10x17): The episode involves Sam rescuing Bobby from Hell.
    • "Alpha and Omega" (11x23): Chuck's death threatens to end the universe, but him and Amara reconciling prevents this.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Crowley is disgusted when one of his allies betrays a temporary alliance they made to cut him out of their deal completely and gives him the option of dying or fleeing, despite all the help that Crowley provided to accomplish their goal. Crowley notes that not even he would commit such a blatant backstab (or, rather, frontstab, since the betrayer announces his intentions upfront).
    • Also notably from Crowley of all people: "This isn't Wall street, this is Hell. We have a little something called integrity."
    • Balthazar is a rogue, hedonist angel who takes up the demons' hobby of making deals with humans for their souls. However, when he learns that his part-time employer and friend Castiel is working with Crowley to locate Purgatory and take control of its souls, he's so horrified that he switches sides and teams up with the Winchesters to stop them. This ends up costing him.
  • Evil All Along:
    • Ruby was the only demon who had so far actually helped the Winchesters, yet the Season 4 finale showed us that she was working for Lucifer all along and helped Sam specifically for him to kill Lilith, and so bring back Lucifer to Earth.
    • "Repo Man" (7x15): Back when they were hunting Lilith, Sam and Dean exorcised a demon out of a man named Jeffrey. In Season 7, women were dying in the same way the demon killed them back then, so the brothers return to the town. It turns out Jeffrey and the demon were working together and had a relationship.
    • In the finale of Season 8, it turns out that the angel Metatron, who advised the brothers on the last trial to seal Hell and was guiding Castiel in another set of trials to seal off the corrupted Heaven, was not as harmless as he appeared — he didn't warn the Winchesters that completing their trials would kill Sam, and the trials he was helping Castiel with were actually components of a spell to banish all angels from Heaven as petty revenge for being forced to leave Heaven himself.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
    • Averted most of the time. A majority of villains seem to be fully aware that the best way to manipulate somebody is to threaten their loved ones and/or other innocent people. Demons essentially consider this standard practice, as do angels.
      • Naomi fully recognizes that Castiel's loyalty to Dean is absolute, and that even under Mind Control he might not be able to betray him. So she subjects Castiel to a lengthy series of Virtual Training Simulations in which he has to kill clones of Dean dozens of times until she is satisfied that he will be able to do it for real. But when actually forced to face Dean, he pleads with Naomi, who decides to take direct control of Jimmy (Castiel's vessel) and mercilessly beat a pleading Dean to death because she knows he can't kill him. She doesn't count on the angel tablet she sent Cas to fetch being able to free him of her control, though...
  • Evil Elevator: In Season 4's "It's a Terrible Life," a security guard gets killed by a malfunctioning elevator in a haunted office building.
  • Evil Gloating:
    • The demons usually use their gloating to mess with Sam or Dean's head and shake them up, either by telling them horrible truths or lies which could be real or playing on their own insecurities. The higher-ups are all really good at this.
      • In the first season finale, Azazel/YED does this. Dean lampshades it with "Just kill us, 'cuz I just can't take the monologuing." This just fuels Azazel's Breaking Speech.
      • Brady, in particular, gives one of the most disgusting ones in "The Devil You Know." While tied up, he gloatingly tells Sam how he manipulated him by possessing his friend back in college, and how much he enjoyed burning his girlfriend Jessica alive, setting Sam on the path to going back to hunting. It's so effective that Sam almost ruins the plan by killing him.
    • In later seasons, the angels, fallen and otherwise, demonstrate that they can't resist monologuing either.
      • Lucifer in particular is either gloating to his enemies or trying to use More Than Mind Control on people he wants/needs to be on his side.
    • Noticeably, Dick Roman and Amara refrain from this completely.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold:
    • Demonic and ghostly activity often causes a sudden localized drop in temperature.
      • Lucifer shows this trope by freezing a window with his breath, and states "Sorry if it's a bit chilly. Most people think I burn hot. It's actually quite the opposite.", a Shout-Out to The Divine Comedy where the lowest level of Hell, reserved for the worst of the worst sinners, is actually deathly cold.
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • As Season 5 goes on, more and more characters start to point out that, for all his wisdom and power, in trying to bring on the Apocalypse, Lucifer is being little more than a bratty child throwing a tantrum because he didn't get a second serving of ice cream. He doesn't listen.
    • Zachariah goes to the trouble of making a fake Mary Winchester, just so he can make out with her to Squick Dean and Sam. He even proudly tells them, as he's doing it, that he's petty. It should tell you something that on this show you can hear an angel refer to someone as a MILF.
    • Oddly enough, despite his status as a Reasonable Authority Figure, Death casually kills a man for bumping into him and not apologizing shortly before ranting about how annoying it is being made to do Lucifer's petty bidding.
    • In Season 11, Amara's motivation to destroy the universe is more or less because God started creating things and stopped paying attention to her.
    • In Season 15, Chuck's vendetta against Sam and Dean entirely rests on the fact that they refuse to play out his preferred ending and kill each other. Especially petty is him manufacturing a literal Kick the Dog moment by making Dean think there's another survivor (a dog he nicknames "Miracle") of the Depopulation Bomb, only to snap the dog out of existence and smirk at Dean from afar.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Invoked. The tagline of the show is "Scary just got Sexy!". Also see: Crossroads demons, Meg, Ruby, Lucifer, Soulless Sam, Amara, and many, many others.
  • Evil Mentor: The demons usually take up this role towards the heroes.
    • The Yellow-Eyed Demon, Azazel, fancied himself this and sort of managed it, in a ham-handed way, with the rest of his specials, but Sam has a personal grudge and Heroic Willpower and a big brother, so it never really worked. Ruby's the follow-up.
    • Ruby, even if her intentions are good. She spends a season being mysterious and helpful before Dean dies, and then provides the bereaved Sam with emotional support and encourages him to develop his Psychic Powers, which are of demonic origin, in order to avenge Dean. Even though he'd promised Dean he wouldn't use them. She gets him hooked on demon blood, a power booster that turns out to be highly addictive as well as revolting, and ultimately uses him to free Lucifer. She was Lilith's inside woman all along.
    • Alastair to Dean. When Dean was in Hell, Alastair tortured Dean for decades until he broke completely, and then taught him the arts of torture so his student could apply his teachings on the new arrivals. Plays up the avuncular thing kind of the way Azazel used to. Thankfully no signs of Stockholm Syndrome — at least not that survived his resurrection.
    • Lucifer toyed with the role as well. These idiots will not leave Sam alone. On the other hand, Soulless Sam in Season 6 didn't need Samuel's influence to be a cold sonuvabitch.
    • Crowley to Cas in Season 6, a bit. Not that the latter isn't the more powerful, but the former leads him by the nose with the hope of knowledge he can use to end the war in Heaven, and his partnership with the devil's replacement drags him down until the Moral Event Horizon makes a faint whooshing sound as it flies by. Somewhere around the time he started killing his friends so they couldn't stop him, maybe? And then he succeeds and goes batshit insane.
    • In the eighth season episode "Freaks and Geeks," Victor Rogers takes in three orphaned teenagers and trains them to hunt the sort of monsters that killed their families. If that was all he did, it would be downright heartwarming by Supernatural's standards. Unfortunately, he's also the one who arranged their families' murders in the first place and had innocent people turned to play the part of the villains for the Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Evil Orphanage Lady: Exploited in an episode. A group of ghost children in an abandoned former orphanage help the hunters banish the ghost of the mean old women ostensibly torturing them. Turns out the woman was a good ghost and the only thing keeping the evil children in check.
  • Evil Redeemed in a Can: In contrast to how Lucifer grew worse after his first reimprisonment in the Cage, "Our Father, Who Aren't In Heaven" reveals that Michael's decade of imprisonment down there has actually done him a lot of good. By the time he's escaped the Cage, Michael's gone from being the most apocalyptically extreme "Well Done, Son!" Guy in the universe to a celestial drifter, he's formed a genuine friendship with his vessel Adam (who he originally regarded as nothing more than a necessary meatsuit), and he's notably less callous to the value of human life now than he was before.
  • Evil Versus Evil:
    • The Apocalypse turns out to be this, as neither demons nor angels are truly on the side of anyone besides themselves, as demonstrated in "The End" and Season 13's Apocalypse World, where either Lucifer or Michael win, but both result in humanity being hunted down and decimated.
    • Season 6 ends up using this trope by the end. In order to stop Raphael from restarting the Apocalypse, Castiel allies with Crowley to gain control of Purgatory's souls. Crowley and Castiel start hunting down monsters to find it, which pisses off the progenitor of every monster on Earth and prompts her to come down and destroy them and humanity in the process. The Mother of All is killed early in the run, leaving the other three. Castiel eventually jumps off the slippery slope and decides to become the new God, so he cuts Crowley out of the deal. Which causes Crowley to, in turn, ally with Raphael against him. Castiel outwits them and becomes the new Lord.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion:
    • In Season 5, Crowley — a powerful, successful and very evil demon — helps the brothers to combat Lucifer and the world-shattering threat of the Apocalypse, as he's quite enjoying himself.
    • In Season 7, Crowley does this again, as the Leviathans are organizing the wholesale slaughter of mankind, every other monster race besides themselves, and threaten to destroy the demons if they weren't occupied elsewhere. Over the course of the season, he subtly aids the Winchesters to find a means to kill the Levi leader and destroy their army.
    • In Season 11, Lucifer, Crowley, all the other demons, and Rowena all join forces with the Winchesters and the angels in order to prevent the Darkness from destroying all of creation, since obviously that would destroy them, too.
    • In Season 13, Lucifer himself eventually goes into an omnicidal hissy-fit after his half-angel son Jack finally rejects him for his evil actions, stealing Jack's grace so he can wipe out all Creation. Dean decides that teaming up with a "merely" genocidal version of Michael is worth it to stop Lucifer for good.
  • Evolving Credits: The series changed its main title sequence every season, as well as various one-offs for specific episodes. These usually tied in to the major theme of the season or its Big Bad. For instance, Season 5 had blood disippating against a blinding white light (because Lucifer walked the Earth), Season 7 had the credits explode into Ominous Obsidian Ooze (the true form of Leviathans), and Season 9 had burning angel wings (because Metatron banished all angels from Heaven), Season 11 features the logo against a black haze (the Darkness), and Season 12 has the Men of Letters emblem (focusing on the British Men of Letters).
  • Exposition Beam:
  • Expy:
    • Sam and Dean are both named and modeled after the characters from Jack Kerouac's, "On the Road," Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, respectively.
    • Season 1 is full of bits which are lifted from The Ring. Examples include the boy scrawling a black circle endlessly until it's a pitch black well in 01X03, the water flowing down the stairs when the mother killed the children by drowning in 01x01, the girl crawling out of the mirror (complete with jittery effect) in 01x05. The writers must really have loved that film. 01x04 also has the bathtub water going black, just like The Grudge.
    • The Reaper named Tessa is an Expy of Death from The Sandman.
    • Bela Thorne has a lot in common with Selina Kyle/Catwoman, which according to the writers was not an accident.
    • "Frontierland" borrows a lot from Back to the Future Part III. Dean goes by "Clint Eastwood." He and Sam get costumes which the locals make fun of. Sam gets a package from Samuel Colt over a hundred years later, and the guy who delivers it says everyone at the post office has been wondering if Sam would actually be there to receive it, etc.
    • Castiel was originally supposed to be John Constantine, but rights issues got in the way. His look is still heavily borrowed from the character, though his personality gradually evolved into something different.
    • The demon Crowley is an Expy of, er, the demon Crowley from Good Omens, himself named after occultist Aleister Crowley. Fanfiction writers have been known to make use of this, though as time goes on, the similarities between Supernatural-Crowley and Good Omens-Crowley are becoming fewer and farther between.
    • Also from Good Omens, Jesse Turner from "I Believe The Children Are Our Future" is stated by Kripke to be based on the character of Adam.
    • The Colt is an Expy of the Ace of Winchesters, an all-killing gun from Hellblazer.
  • Extra-Strength Masquerade: The Masquerade has sometimes bordered on this. It's implied the Men of Letters were responsible for maintaining it in America, but they've been defunct for half a century. Morticians and medical examiners are frequently receiving the bodies of supernatural victims, whose afflictions they state are unlike anything they've seen before. One of the most glaring examples occurs in "Bloodlust" when the morgue receives a decapitated vampire's body, which of course has retractable solid fangs inside the head's gums.
  • Eye Scream:
    • A Season 3 episode involved an immortal parts-stealing doctor, a melon baller and Jared Padalecki's pretty, pretty face.
    • Most humans who look at the true form of an angel will have their eyes burned out. This also happens to the host when angels exorcise demons.
    • In "Bloody Mary," the title ghost, in the coroner's words, "essentially liquefied" her victim's eyeballs.
    • In "Nightmare," the kid is shown killing his mom by telepathically plunging a knife into her eye.
    • In "The Benders," little pint-sized Missy Bender was told to keep watch on Dean. Which she did by holding the point of a knife about half an inch from Dean's eyeball.
  • Eye Color Change: Many non-humans are able to show their true nature by changing the colour of their eyes, whether voluntarily or otherwise:
    • Rank-and-file demons have black eyes, scleras and all.
    • Crossroad Demons, like Crowley, have red eyes.
    • Azazel and the other Princes of Hell have yellow irises.
    • Samhain, the Demon of Halloween, had pale grey irises.
    • Lilith and Alastair, the first two demons created by Lucifer, have white eyes.
    • Angels, when using their angelic power, are able to make their irises glow a pale shade of blue.
    • Nephilim — angel-human hybrids — are able to make their irises glow silver. Nephilim who were born from a union of human and archangel, however, have glowing gold eyes.

  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Anna, after being tortured in Heaven, becomes a Well-Intentioned Extremist willing to wipe Sam from existence to stop Lucifer's rise.
    • Castiel goes off the deep end in the Season 6 finale.
    • Dean, thanks to the Mark of Cain, turns into a demon, at the end of Season 9.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Lilith, one of the first demons and pure evil, likes to possess little girls in white dresses and affect a girlish manner. She even does the girlish thing when possessing an adult woman, making her attempts at seduction much creepier.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner:
    • In Season 5, right before Ellen pushes the button to blow up herself and the hellhounds, "You can go straight back to Hell, you UGLY BITCH!!!"
    • Also:
      Dean: [after hunters shoot and kill Sam] You go ahead and kill me. But when I get back... I'm gonna be PISSED.
  • Failure-to-Save Murder: Sam feels like he's done this throughout the seasons.
  • The Fair Folk: As of Season 6, fairies officially exist. Considering that the gods of all the major religions have already been shown to exist, this isn't so much a surprise, but it does confirm that there are different kinds of magic, particularly Wild Magic, which plays differently into the whole angels and demons power struggle.
  • Faking Amnesia: Dean fakes a case of Death Amnesia after being pulled out of Hell by Castiel. It's possible it's actually true at first, but by an episode or two later, he's blatantly lying.
  • Fallen Angel:
    • Fallen angels are angels who have been cut off from Heaven; the resulting affect on angels varies depending on how high said angels are on the celestial hierarchy. Their reason may range from simple AWOL to full-on rebellion, but all of them inevitably land themselves a spot on Heaven's Most Wanted List, so each individual fallen angel come up with ways to evade the armies of Heaven.
    • For the average angelic foot-soldiers, being cut off from Heaven will restrict some of their abilities (Healing Hands, Resurrection, killing touch, etc.) and leave them with a limited amount of angelic energy. Deplete said energy will effectively turn them human.
      • Anna, knowing this, cut her angelic energy (called "grace") out when she left Heaven. Reborn as a human, it was nearly impossible for the Heavenly Host to find her among the billions of people on Earth. Even after she regained her Grace, she remains a fallen angel, as she was never seen using an ability that required a connection to Heaven on-screen.
      • Castiel is probably the more traditional fallen angel, slowly losing his powers throughout Season 5.
      • Balthazar's defection might eventually result in him running into this problem as well, so he keeps himself charged with human souls.
    • For seraphs, even after severing ties with Heaven, they still keep all of their abilities. And though they can be exhausted when over-using their power, their angelic energy can be self-replenished with rest.
      • Castiel in late Season 7 and Season 8 is a fallen seraph. He is clearly weakened by his time in Purgatory probably due to over-taxing himself in Monster Land, but soon self-recharged after his release.
    • For Archangels, being cut off will have absolutely no effect on them. They will keep all their abilities, complete with an unlimited self-sustained power source to boot.
      • Lucifer, of course, is a fallen Archangel. The demons of this setting are all derived from human souls; if Lucifer took any other angels with him when he left, they go unmentioned and are apparently dead now. If any demons are former angels, they are most likely all drained of their angelic powers long ago, became human, then damned in Hell due to not being high enough on the angelic food chain.
      • Gabriel. The reason he can skip out of Heaven and keep all his abilities is because he is an Archangel.
  • Fallen Hero: Oh boy, does the show love its fallen heroes.
    • Sam and Dean themselves are AntiHeroes. They save a great many people and sometimes the world, but they aren't above making deals with demons or killing innocents and they cause lots of collateral damage. They often try to move into more traditional heroism, but it doesn't always work.
      • By the end of Season 5, Sam has become an Anti-Villain. He's working with a demon, kills an innocent nurse to drink her blood and betrays Dean, all to stop the apocalypse. He fails. He gets better until Season 10, where he removes the Mark of Cain from Dean despite the warnings that it will unleash The End of the World as We Know It.
      • Dean is tortured and then becomes the torturer in Hell before being freed in Season 4, greatly traumatizing him and notably making him a lot darker and violent than he was in the first three seasons. In Season 9, he gains the Mark of Cain and starts a descent into darkness.
    • John Winchester is a good man who becomes so obsessed with avenging his wife, he raises his sons to be monster-killing child soldiers. He meant well, but even his Heroic Sacrifice for Dean just screws Dean up more.
    • The higher-up angels are all anti-villains, willing to sacrifice billions of human lives to get paradise on Earth. Lower-tier angels are initially kept in the dark about these plans, and Castiel is even tortured into submission so he won't tell Sam and Dean the truth.
    • In Season 6, Castiel becomes an anti-villain in his attempts to stop Raphael from restarting the Apocalypse. This leads to him getting Drunk on the Dark Side.
  • False Prophet: The Villain of the Week in "99 Problems" is the Whore of Babylon, whose goal is to damn as many souls to Hell as possible. She does this by convincing the citizens of a small town that she's a prophet and manipulating them to commit heinous crimes by using their devotion to God against them.
  • False Start: Supernatural arguably pulled this twice in Season 9. In 9x06, the very serious, resolute tone with which Dean tells Cas he "can't let him do this" in the car in front of Nora's house, and the following dramatic pause, seem at least at odds with Dean's supposed feelings on the matter and with the lighter tone Dean uses immediately after when he reveals he actually just means Cas should fix his clothes. Something similar happens in 9x22, when Metatron comments Cas choosing Dean over his angel army by saying with a final tone that "[Cas] is in love"... to which he adds after an unnaturally long pause, "with humanity".
  • Family of Choice:
    • Dean and Sam had a rough start to life, with their father raising them on the road after their mother was killed by a demon. Their father's obsession with the demon led him to make often-unrealistic demands of the boys, but family friend Bobby did his best to let them be kids whenever Sam and Dean stayed with him. The brothers consider Bobby family and he tells Dean (in the Season 3 finale): "Family don't end with blood, boy." In the Season 7 episode "Death's Door," Bobby says:
      Bobby: I adopted two boys, and they grew up great. They grew up heroes.
    • In one episode, soulless Sam has to cast a spell requiring the blood of his father... and he tries to get Bobby's.
    • Castiel is an odd example: an angel essentially caught in a tug of war match between his "true" brethren in heaven and his new human family in the forms of Sam and Dean. He tries to become a Hunter at one point after losing his angelic powers and outright says that he looks up to the brothers (particularly Dean) as they taught him what it means to be human. The bonds between them even allow him to break Naomi's hold on him, when she tries to make him kill Dean.
    • Charlie is another example. Both she and the Winchesters refer to each other as their big brothers/little sister respectively at one point ...which makes what happens to her late in Season 10 especially tragic.
    • Jack chooses Castiel as his father before he's even born, and Kelly and Castiel prepare for his birth like expectant parents. Later, Sam, Dean, and Castiel all serve as father figures to Jack.
    • Lampshaded in Season 14's "Lebanon", when John laments that he wanted Dean (presently living in the Bunker with Sam, Castiel, Jack, and Mary) to have a normal life after Yellow Eyes:
      John: My fight. It was supposed to end with me, with Yellow Eyes. But now you – you are a grown man, and I am incredibly proud of you. I guess that I had hoped, eventually, you would… get yourself a normal life, a peaceful life, a family.
      Dean: I have a family.
  • Fan Disservice: Quite a lot.
    • In "Skin," the Skinchanger in Dean's form takes his shirt off. Then he peels off his skin next.
    • In "Sex and Violence," the Siren has sex with one of its victims. It's taken on the form of a beautiful woman, but when the camera pans over to a mirror reflection, it looks more like a rotting corpse.
    • In "My Bloody Valentine," a couple begin making out. Then she takes a bite out of him, and he takes a bite out of her; they eventually eat each other to death.
    • In "Point of No Return," Castiel takes off his shirt, but he carved an angel-banishing sigil into his chest beforehand.
    • In "Meet the New Boss," Castiel unbuttons his shirt while standing in front of a mirror, but his body then deforms as the Leviathans he is hosting try to break out.
    • Played for Laughs when Dean travels back in time to The Wild West in "Frontierland." He's looking forward to sampling the saloon girls, only Surprisingly Realistic Outcome and the girls turn out to be homely types with skin blemishes that suggest they have The Disease That Shall Not Be Named.
  • Fandom Nod:
    • "The Monster At the End of This Book" features the brothers discovering there are books chronicling their adventures and fans of the books who like to complain about the storylines. Some of them are "Sam Girls" while others are "Dean Girls" and, to the brothers' mutual disgust, some fans ship them together.
    • "Sympathy For The Devil" features Becky, a fan of the In-Universe books, who writes Wincest fanfiction and crushes on Sam to the point of sexually harassing him.
    • "The Real Ghostbusters" features a ''Supernatural" convention with much of the merchandise, cosplay and panels straight out of real cons.
    • "The French Mistake" is absolutely full of references to and parodies of the show's fandom, the actors and other creators' public images, and Misha Collins's Twitter obsession.
    • "Fan Fiction," the 200th episode, features such fandom words as "Samulet" and "Destiel."
  • Fanservice: The first episode had a ghost with more cleavage than you could shake a stick at. The trend continued. Even the brothers themselves are Fanservice. Heck, in sex scenes, the camera looks at them more than their partners, as a rule.
  • Fantastic Aesop: "After School Special" brings us this — don't assume that just because somebody acts like a jerk, they don't have problems of their own. And besides, if you do lash out at them, they might get so angry they'll come Back from the Dead for revenge.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Pretty much all supernaturals see humans as either food or scum. Angels are particularly egregious about it, such as using the term "mud monkeys" to describe us. Though not all monsters or angels follow this thinking.
    • In turn, most humans see supernaturals as things that need to be killed even if trying to live in peace and leave humans alone. Sam and Dean have flip flopped on this issue, but generally hold a Kill 'Em All view point.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The monsters in the show all fit an urban myth feeling, until they started incorporating all kinds of mythology, no matter how much of a square peg, round hole it was. There are ghosts, demons, angels, gods, zombies, fairies, vampires, werewolves, witches, wendigo, extra-dimensional monsters, possessed trucks, a Frankenstein-style Mad Scientist who is effectively immortal through the theft of new organs, and many more. In "Hammer of the Gods," various pantheons from around the world sent representatives in a meeting to discuss ways to stop the Judeo-Christian Apocalypse. Attendees included Odin, Mercury, Kali, Baldur and Ganesh, to name a few. So far no aliens, though. This was lampshaded a bit when one of the brothers said that everyone knew there was no such thing as Bigfoot. Bobby can usually find info on new monsters, after the writers let up on the use of John Winchester's diary. At some point, Team Winchester realized they were dealing with monsters that were entirely unprecedented.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: In the first episode, a ghost is killing men who see her hitchhiking and pick her up. Subverted in that her victims have an ulterior motive — she is smoking hot and the drivers are hoping the pickup turns into a hookup.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • In Hell, you're basically tortured, daily, in unimaginable ways, for decades on end, unless you agree to do the same to others. Dean held out for thirty years.
    • The end of Season 5 had Sam stuck in hell's solitary confinement with vengeful archangels Fallen Angel Lucifer and Michael torturing him creatively for a hundred and eighty years or so, given no such alternative as Dean was given. Oh, and Adam is probably still there.
    • "Bibbing" for Leviathans. Made worse since if they don't eat themselves fast enough, they'll simply regenerate and have to start all over again.
    • In Season 14, Dean's solution to being possessed by Michael is similar to Sam's, where he intends on locking himself in a magically warded coffin and sinking them both to the bottom of the ocean for eternity.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • Alastair aka Picasso with a Razor loves to smile and chat up his victims as he's carving them up. He also inverts the trope in the episode "On the Head of a Pin", when he becomes Dean's torturee and spends the whole time dispensing advice, commenting on Dean's technique, or reminiscing about the good ol' days back in Hell, when he apprenticed Dean in the arts of mutilating people.
    • Lucifer begins as Affably Evil before Characterization Marches On sets in. He treats Sam with affection, and never insults his victims or even raises his voice. However, his appearances in Season 7 onwards place him squarely in the Faux Affably Evil camp, where it doesn't take much for his seemingly cool demeanor to vanish and for him to start mocking people and shouting.
    • Crowley is presented as an Affably Evil Noble Demon in series five, but Season 6 reveals that he's more Faux Affably Evil, as he starts getting more and more into torture. He's obsessed with bargains (as befits his "king of the crossroads" status) but will take on any persona which will get the job done.
    • Dick Roman, the leader of the Leviathans. Having stolen the identity of a billionaire businessman, he likes to talk in a friendly, forward thinking fashion while planning the enslavement of mankind. Best exemplified by him talking to a subordinate about turning his failure into a "teachable moment" by making him eat himself.
      • Also things like this, said in an unnervingly CEO-ish way:
        Dick Roman: Sam... That is not how we communicate from a place of yes.
  • Fertility God: The brothers end up facing a Vanir, a Norse Fertility God, in "Scarecrow". Brought over to America by Scandinavian colonists, the town of Burkitsville entered an agreement where each year they would provide it with two blood sacrifices, and in return it would ensure its blessing fell upon the town, granting them constant bountiful harvests and sparing their town from financial struggles. The Vanir itself manifests in the form of a Scarecrow. It's killed at the climax when they torch its sacred tree, that was the source of its power.
  • A Fête Worse Than Death: "Scarecrow" involves a Town with a Dark Secret where the local harvest festival is celebrated by sacrificing two human lives to a god.
  • Feud Episode:
    • One "Rashomon"-Style episode deals with the brothers fighting, which, as Sam pointed out, is understandable for two guys who spend all their time cooped up in a car together. Bobby is not amused.
    • Generally happens quite a lot. Sam and Dean have, more than once, gotten so pissed off at each other that they go their separate ways for an episode or two, only to inevitably reunite a couple weeks later. Dean and Cas have also spent a couple episodes with one angry at the other.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Considering the show uses demonic possession a lot, this trope crops up now and then.
    • In the Season 1 finale "Devil's Trap," John resists possession and gives his son a chance to kill YED.
    • In Season 5, Bobby successfully fights off possession by one of Meg's henchmen long enough to stab and cripple himself with a demon-killing knife so he didn't kill Dean.
    • Dean deliberately invoking this trope with a "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight is how Sam takes down Lucifer at the end of Season 5.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: In "Meet the New Boss," the Winchesters try to bind the Grim Reaper to force him to dispatch a rogue angel who achieved godhood. They eventually fail, but Death doesn't immediately vaporize them. Instead he goes out of his way to create another eclipse so that the Winchesters can reverse the ritual that started all this mess and tells them to compel the angel to do it, but emphasizes that it's not a Cosmic Entity's job to save one tiny planet every time it's on the edge of disaster.
    Dean: "Compel"?
    Death: Figure it out.
  • Filth: This is a frequent joke in the series, both with the "Casa Erotica" porn film series and the "Busty Asian Beauties" magazine that Dean is a fan of. When the world is about to end (again), Sam catches Dean Drowning His Sorrows and looking at Hentai. In another incident, Castiel the Angel is confused about a porn film with a Pizza Boy Special Delivery scenario.
    Castiel: Why does the pizza man keep slapping her rear? [Beat] Perhaps she's done something wrong.
  • Final First Hug: Sam and Dean would die for each other, have killed for each other, would sell their soul for each other, but the first time they hug is at the end of Season 2, when Sam's just been stabbed in the back and dies in Dean's arms.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Played with. The demonic hierarchy seem to be able to change Hell's shape at will, with the Fire and Brimstone version featuring occasionally.
    • The first glimpse we get of Hell is through the Devil's Gate in the final episode of Season 2, and what we see is a rock passageway lit from below by what looks like fire or lava.
    • Then, subverted in the last episode of Season 3, when we see someone actually in Hell, which looks like a thunderstorm with metal chains and sharp hooks everywhere, with the guy himself in the middle of it. The subversion is undone only in flashbacking nightmares, with the fire and brimstone reflected on his face. A closeup just of his face, at that.
    • Finally, in Season 6, we see someone else remember Hell, and it is a completely straight Fire and Brimstone Hell. Season 10 flashes back a couple times to things (wires?) strung through the flesh for restraint, but no fire or brimstone. Body restraint for one, a Fire-Brimstone a face-only view for the other, shown in the reverse order from the previous guy in Hell.
    • Then later once Crowley is in charge of hell, it's just people waiting in line in a dingy hallway. Forever. They take a number and join the queue. And once they get to the front of the line? They go back to the end.
      Crowley: No one likes waiting in line.
  • Fire Keeps It Dead:
    • This is the main reasoning behind a "hunter's funeral." Hunters burn the bodies of other hunters killed on the job so that they can't be turned into zombies, resurrected as vengeful spirits, animated by demons, or tampered with by some other supernatural means.
    • "Salt and burn the body" is the standard solution to malevolent spirits and such. If the body's already been cremated, the boys need to find an alternate solution. Sometimes this means finding the little bit of the body that wasn't burned and setting fire to it.
  • Flanderization:
    • Dean going from very flirt-happy to being a man-whore extraordinaire. Not to mention the poor eating habits and the humor.
    • And while he was never really seen as a good father anyway, John seems to be getting more despicable every time they mention him.
    • Castiel seems to be getting more socially clueless over the years, despite the fact that he observed humans for centuries and now interacts with them regularly.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: John and Dean, with Dean being the primary example. While he very easily believes in the supernatural (hence the name of the show) and Hell, he simply flat-out refuses to believe in things like angels, Heaven, and God."Gods" are simply very powerful monsters, but you can still "gank" them. Dean is forced to face his lack of belief after he returns from Hell, when faced with the angel Castiel. Cas becomes a regular on the show, as does their "prophet" Chuck. Even the demons (re: Lucifer) end up stressing the fact that God exists — He might not be there, but He does exist. Lucifer goes on this long-winded spiel about his devotion to his Father (God) being the reason for his falling from Heaven. Dean, while eventually admitting to the fact that God exists, never fails to ruffle the feathers of all the angels he comes across, simply for the fact that they are, as he puts it, "dicks." This is where at least 60% of the humor from Season 5 onward comes from, still managing to question the core accuracy of the Bible, or just religion in general.
  • Flatline Plotline:
    • In "Death Takes a Holiday", to figure out why the people in a town have stopped dying, Sam and Dean decide to try astral projection so they can see ghosts and reapers.
    • In "Appointment in Samarra" Dean has himself temporarily killed so he can contact and make a deal with Death. According to the man conducting the procedure he has a 75% success rate.
    • In "Red Meat", after believing Sam has died, Dean kills himself via drug overdose and tells the victim they rescued to get a doctor to bring him back, though he says if she can't, there's "no hard feelings".
    • In "First Blood", Dean makes a deal with the reaper Billie to temporarily kill him and Sam, so they'll be taken out of their maximum security prison cells and left in the morgue, where they can then escape.
    • In "The Big Empty", Dean temporarily kills himself to speak to the ghosts haunting an abandoned asylum and ask where their remains are.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Meg and Castiel were attracted to each other before she becomes his caretaker in late Season 7, but after that, they grow very attached to each other, something she mocks Sam and Dean about since he's gone full Cloud Cuckoolander and will likely follow her anywhere.
  • The Fog of Ages: Death can't remember if he is as old, or older than, God. God, apparently, doesn't know either.
  • Foil:
    • God and the Darkness serve as this to each other. Whereas God creates literally everything in the Supernatural franchise, the Darkness can do nothing but destroy and has decimated countless worlds. This is understandable, as the two beings are literally opposites. God represents being, creation and light while the Darkness represents nothingness, destruction, and of course darkness. However, while they may have started out with God as the good guy and the Darkness as the villain, their fates would end up the complete opposite. In fact, while the Darkness realizes how much of a monster she is and ultimately reforms for the better, God is revealed as a complete jerkass who considers Creation nothing more than his personal entertainment. Amara managed to take responsibility for her mistakes and ultimately does a Heel–Face Turn, but Chuck destroys everything he ever created out of spite, never owns up to any of his actions and remains a villain through and through.
    • If there's a sibling duo, chances are they're meant to parallel to Sam and Dean:
      • While Michael and Lucifer show some regret at their situation in Season 5, neither of them are willing to reconcile the other's perspective and remain steadfast that the other is wrong, as opposed to Sam and Dean who underwent Character Development in Season 1 and come to understand each other's view on their father and stand against him, as well as ultimately allowing the other to kill each other (Dean in "Swan Song", Sam in "Brother's Keeper") instead of fighting back.
      • In Season 9, it's established that the Biblical Cain killed Abel after finding out his younger brother was praying to Lucifer, becoming a Knight of Hell in exchange for Abel getting to go to Heaven. Compare that not just to Dean's own demon deal for Sam, but also to his willingness to let Sam die of his demon blood detox as long as he dies human, and his general apprehension for Sam's destiny as Lucifer's vessel.
      • In Season 11, it's implied that all these "older sibling killing the younger for a good reason" is due to Chuck attempting to justify his own imprisonment of his sister, the Darkness, which inadvertently causes Lucifer, Cain, and Dean's corruptions through the Mark of Cain which was used to seal Amara away. Further highlighted by Dean, who convinces Amara and Chuck to reconcile by comparing his own relationship to Sam, and suggests that Amara only cared so much about him because he reminded her of her own brother.
      • Season 12 introduces the hunter twins Max and Alicia, who basically speedrun Sam and Dean's character beats from Season 1 through 3 in "Twigs and Twine and Tasha Banes". Max and Dean bond over the Impala while Alicia and Sam discuss how Max was born with magic like their witch mother, but Alicia doesn't have it and feels like the odd one out in their otherwise tight-knit family. Their mother ends up dying on a hunt and replaced with a magical replica by a witch who made a demon deal for her magic, who offers her power to Max in return for him taking on her demon deal. Dean kills her before Max can accept, but after Alicia ends up killed by the replica of their mother, Max ends up taking the deal, resurrecting her as a magical doll.
  • Food as Characterization: The Winchester brothers are blue-collar monster-hunters who live on the road, so they tend towards simple restaurant fare and fast food. Dean loves burgers so much that one angel tries to bribe him with a platter from his favourite restaurant, while Sam, the more conscientious and forward-thinking of the pair, tries to balance out the heart-stopper meals with salads.
  • Food Chain of Evil: It turns out that Sam gains power by feeding on demons.
  • For the Evulz: Zig-Zagged. Many a Monster of the Week is driven by hunger or insanity, but many are also just gleeful dicks.
  • Forced Perspective: Used frequently in downplayed form to keep Jared Padalecki and his 6'5"/196cm height from looking so insanely large. When he's not seated or leaning on something, he's placed some vertical distance away from other characters to keep his height, especially his height difference compared to Jensen Ackles (6'1"/186cm), from being so obvious.
  • Forced Sleep:
    • In "What Is And What Should Never Be" the djinn induces a sleep state, where a person's greatest wish is true, while he drains blood from his victims.
    • Angels have the ability to induce sleep in human targets by touching their forehead. Castiel demonstrated this with Bobby in his first appearance but otherwise rarely uses it, opting for the Touch of Death instead.
  • Force Feeding:
    • Inverted when the forced feeding wasn't the torture, but the cure to torture: Dean is writhing in agony on the floor coughing up blood due to a hex when Ruby busts down the door and bodily hurls him onto the bed before forcing a potion down his throat, breaking the hex and saving his life.
    • Dean tortures Alastair in "On the Head of a Pin" by pouring a whole bag of salt in his mouth.
    • Just being in Famine's presence push peoples to consume the thing they crave the most for until they die, either it's Twinkies, alcohol or another human being. Hope your stomach is strong enough.
  • Flies Equals Evil: Pestilence is constantly surrounded by flies. Justified, since flies are vectors of disease.
  • Foe Romance Subtext:
    • Bella and Dean have this in some of their early interactions, and it turns into full-blown text when she sees him in a tux and suggests they have angry sex.
    • Meg and Castiel have a lot of sexual tension in their early interactions, which develops into a Will They or Won't They? later.
    • Castiel and Crowley tend to act like husband-and-wife/husband-and-mistress in their interactions, and the other characters notice it.
      • In 6.20-6.22, Crowley calls him 'kitten' and 'sweetie', while Dean and Balthazar make bitchy comments about them being a couple ("THAT marriage is going swimmingly"), Balthazar quite seriously asks if they're "in flagrante", and Crowley reminds Cas "you're the bottom in this relationship".
      • In "The Man Who Would Be King," we're shown Castiel and Crowley having a secret meeting before the backstory of their partnership is explained. The song playing on Crowley's stereo "Me and Mrs. Jones," is an anthem to adultery and a (deliberate?) nod to their symbolic affair. In the next episode, when Sam and Dean reveal to Balthazar that Castiel is trying to find purgatory, Dean calls him Crowley's "butt-buddy".
      • In season seven, we've got more:
      Crowley: You fancy a drink before you smite me?
      Castiel: No.
      Crowley: You like to bend 'em right over, do you?
      • In another scene with Castiel and Crowley in the same episode, when they have a fight about Crowley sending his demons to kill Sam, Dean, and Bobby, Crowley says "Well, I got news for you, kitten: a whore's a whore's a whore," regarding Castiel's conflicting loyalty. Castiel proceeds to slam him up against the wall and gets right in his face.
      • Castiel's archangel brother once calls him a "pretty boy angel", and the male demon Crowley very discreetly checks him out while acknowledging the following:
      Crowley: There's a lot of angels swooning over've got what they call "sex appeal".
      • When Castiel and Crowley meet again to clash over the Word of God, Castiel threatens the King of Hell in his weakened state, Crowley can't help but turn even that into a double entendre:
      Crowley: Maybe you can get it up, but you can't keep it up!
    • Sam and Lucifer have a great deal of it.
      • Season 7 gets off to a good start what with Hallucination!Lucifer calling Sam things like "bunkmate" and "his little bitch in every sense of the word", plus comments about he had missed interacting with Sam: "The rapier wit, the wittier rape..." Note that at this point, Lucifer isn't actually there. Which means that it's a mutual situation where Sam's mind that generates all of Lucifer's comments. "Aww, he wants to hold your little hand... How sweet."
      • Balthazar more than implied that they had this kind of dynamic way back in the middle of Season 6 with comments about Michael and Lucifer "hate-banging" Sam. Even earlier on, Castiel was making some extremely suggestive comments about how traumatized Sam would be as a result of the two pissed-off angels "taking out their frustrations" on him.
    • Dean and Amara appear quite attracted to each other, something she uses to her advantage, though the fondness goes both ways as Dean succeeds in talking her out of destroying the universe.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend
    • Adam Milligan, the third Winchester brother, who was last seen in "Swan Song" being thrown into Lucifer's Cage while serving as the host of the Archangel Michael. While Sam was likewise thrown in, being the host of Lucifer at the time, after he was rescued, both him and Dean don't really bother trying to find some way of getting Adam out as well. In "Appointment In Samarra" Dean does ask Death to save Adam's soul, only to be told he can't have both. Of course, he chooses Sam. So it really is implied that Adam will spend the rest of eternity as Lucifer and Michael's punching bag.
    • Sam and Dean are abruptly, and almost hilariously reminded of said friend in Season 10, episode 5, "Fan Fiction" in a throwaway line.
    • Then Adam himself reappears with Michael, when it's revealed Adam hardly felt the millennia passing as Michael kept him unconscious to spare him Sam's fate, and it's proven both God and Lucifer were outright lying. He and Michael still chew out Sam and Dean regarding this.
  • Foreshadowing: Has its own page.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With:
    • Played with the Crossroads Demon, who almost always takes form of a sexually appealing woman. Considering that the demon seals her Faustian deals with a kiss, this probably plays into her advantage. Same goes for Lilith. Subverted in later episodes. The demons will appear in whatever body they've decided to possess, and they don't always pick a body that is sexually appealing. Crowley in particular didn't, and still expected his client to seal the deal with a kiss, much to the (male) client's disgust.
    • In one squicky aversion, a young woman (Mary Campbell, Sam and Dean's mother) sealed a deal with a kiss while the demon was possessing the body of her father.
    • In addition, angels have to possess human "vessels" in order to interact with humans, because seeing an angel's true form will burn out a person's eyes and its true voice causes shattered glass and bleeding ears. Castiel eventually reveals his true form is "about the size of your Chrysler Building."
    • Played straight in Dark Side of the Moon when the brothers visit Heaven. While there, the garden at the center of Heaven will change its appearance according to what the viewer most expects it to look like, becoming the botanical gardens in Cleveland for Sam and Dean. Also, angels still appear human and wingless, which is even lampshaded by Zachariah:
      Zachariah: In Heaven I have six wings and four faces, one of which is a lion. You see this because you're... limited.
    • In later seasons after his angelhood is restored by God, Castiel has several conversations in Heaven with other angels, while no humans or other "limited" beings are around. They still appear as their human vessels, likely so they're identifiable to the audience.
    • Reapers also tend to appear in the form of a human to the recently deceased, such as Tessa appearing to Dean as an attractive young woman when her true form proved rather frightening to him.
      Dean: You sure are a lot prettier than the last reaper I saw.
      Tessa: You saw my true form and flipped out. It kinda hurts a girl's feelings.
    • In a later episode, the ghost of a young boy was frightened of even Tessa's human form, until on Dean's advice, she changed her denim and leather outfit into a cute white dress.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • "What Is and What Should Never Be" involves a Dying Dream Lotus-Eater Machine where Dean imagines a world where Mary never died and he and Sam grew up as normal people. Everything seems perfect except that he and Sam lack their characteristic bond due to not growing up so close, and Dean's Self-Deprecation portrays him as a deadbeat sleaze who lies and steals from his own family.
    • "My Heart Will Go On" involves an alternate timeline where the Titanic never sunk, the ramifications of which cause the Impala to be swapped out for a Mustang, Ellen to survive Season 5, and Dean to win at rock-paper-scissors.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: One Winchester each and one non-demon ally each.
    • Sanguine: Dean and Garth — two wise-guys who speak their minds, the former a Deadpan Snarker whose supernaturalist belief/knowledge is just enough to make him a capable hunter, otherwise a very naturalistic here-and-now worldview.
    • Choleric: John, the hunting Winchester patriarch who instilled leadership in elder son Dean (also as atheistic as he); Bobby, the go-hard-or-go-home fellow hunter.
    • Melancholic: Sam, the serious-minded Winchester prayer warrior (stark contrast to Dean); Kevin, a prophet of God
    • Phlegmatic: the motherly Mary; the laid-back and helpful Sheriff Jody Mills.
    • Eclectic: the half-brother Adam; Castiel, the angel who balances/wavers between God-given (or once God-like) authority and servant-like raw human feelings unusual for an angel.
    • The archangels also form a classical one:
  • Fourth Wall: Warped, stepped on, demolished, reconstructed, and, as of Season 6's episode The French Mistake where Sam and Dean become Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki in an alternate dimension where they're filming Supernatural, deconstructed, forced into an alternate dimension, and then rebuilt upside down in a bar where every hour is happy hour and everyone drinks for free.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The Season 5 episode "Swap Meat" and lampshaded. Sadly, it wasn't between Sam and Dean, instead Sam's body is swapped with that of a teenager.
  • Freedom from Choice: The angels tend to default to subservience and are confused by the concept of free will, since they were designed to be obedient soldiers in God's army. God abandoned them, but Michael picked up the slack for millennia. Then after the archangels are locked up or killed, Heaven falls into chaos. In Season 13, Lucifer suggests that the few remaining angels make him Viceroy of Heaven since they need a leader. They quickly oblige.
    Castiel: You are free now, all of you! God gave you free will!
    Angel: But what does he want us to do with it?
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires:
    • Lenore and her friends from "Bloodlust", who are vegan vampires feeding on animal blood instead of humans.
    • Ruby spends most of her screen-time trying to convince everyone that she is a good demon, but she's lying.
    • Season 9 introduces a church of werewolves who repress their monstrous instincts and make a point of not harming anyone.
  • Fright Beside Them: This happens in the very first scene of the pilot. At night when Mary Winchester is about to check on the then-six month old Sam in his crib, she stops at the door seeing a dark figure looking over the infant believing him to be her husband John. However when she goes downstairs and sees that John Winchester is in a recliner in the living room she realizes to her horror that the figure is a threat who has broken into their home. She tries to go back and protect Sam, but instead gets killed by the intruder eventually leading to the Winchesters to seek vengeance for her murder several years later.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Zachariah to Adam in "Point of No Return".
    Zachariah: We didn't lie, we just avoided certain truths to manipulate you.
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • Pretty much the only thing that has ever gotten better is Sam's guilt over Jess dying. And that's just because he has had much more pressing issues to deal with lately.
    • "Meet the New Boss" could have been called "How Can the Situation Get Worse." OK, Castiel is now a God. Not too bad at first; he's not going to kill the Winchesters and Bobby. OK, killing hypocrites and leaders of other religions is a bit much, but he does get rid of the Ku Klux Klan. After 200 deaths, he seems to become an Omnicidal Maniac, killing people for the fun of it (if his Slasher Smile is anything to go by). Finally, he gets possessed by the Leviathans, who proceed to go "This is going to be so... much... fun..."
    • The Season 8 finale... Thanks to Metatron? There are no more angels, permanently forcing them from Heaven. Thus the power has shifted completely to Hell.
    • The whole show, y'all. If you made a line graph of how things are going for the boys over time, it would look like a bolt of lightning: bad... worse... plateau... worse... plateau... way worse... Like Dr. Cartwright, Dean's imaginary therapist from "Sam, Interrupted" put it, " do you get up in the morning?"
  • Future Badass: The Dean we know and love may be already be quite badass, but his future self in "The End" takes it to a whole new level. He's also a total douchebag.
  • Future Me Scares Me: In "The End," Dean is disturbed by his future self's propensity for violence, torture and willing sacrifice of innocents.

  • Game Face:
    • Demons possessing a person's body look exactly the same as a regular human, except when their eyes go solid black. Used quite often as a dramatic reveal on the show.
    • The Leviathans, also body-hijackers, would show their true form whenever they would devour people, with their face splitting open to reveal a gaping jaw lined with hundreds of teeth.
    • Season 13 reveals that Lucifer showed his true face to Rowena before he killed her at the end of Season 12, and what she saw that traumatized her more than anything else he did to her. Sam, who also saw Lucifer's face in the Cage, sympathizes that it's something horrific.
  • Gasp of Life: Given that Death Is Cheap, Sam, Dean, and Castiel have all died multiple times, and a few times they've sucked in their breath when resurrected. Sam does it in late Season 2, Sam and Dean do it after returning from Heaven in Season 5 and Castiel does in after being resurrected by Gadreel in Season 9. It also happens after Sam and/or Dean deliberately die so they can enter the spirit world, which happens a few times as well.
  • Genre Blindness: Played for Laughs. One of the boys, usually Dean, constantly speculates that the events have a mundane explanation in spite of events almost never going that route.
  • Genre Roulette: Pick a week, load in a bullet, and spin to see where the Mood Whiplash lands. Some serious Out Of Genre Experiences occur, however they're all done very well, so the emotional and psychological continuity is generally preserved in the long run. Every variation on the horror genre is done, of course. Also plenty action-adventure genre. Comedy and parody feature heavily. You can also throw in slice-of-life, surrealistic Mind Screw, and philosophical debate on the nature of life, death and the human soul, a dash of romantic tragedy, and your occasional fantasy adventure-land and/or alternate dimension.
  • Geometric Magic: Sigils and wards are the most effective means of constraining beings like demons and angels. Hunters use it often. Demons and angels even frequently use it against each other. However, it turns out that Metatron, as the Scribe of God, has the power to erase such things at will, even those that would normally impede an angel such as himself.
  • Get It Over With:
    • In fourth season episode "Heaven and Hell," Dean is given an ultimatum by Uriel — to hand Anna over to die, or go back to Hell. He initially doesn't think that Uriel do it, but once convinced he will, still tells him to go ahead, much to Uriel's surprise. He switches to threatening Sam instead, and this time Dean complies, exactly as Sam had planned.
    • In the Season 5 episode "Dark Side of the Moon," Dean is sitting in his hotel room at gunpoint as Roy and Walt argue over whether or not to kill him. He finally growls, "Go ahead, Roy, do it. But I'm gonna warn ya — when I come back, I'm gonna be pissed." This can be viewed as a variation on the trope because Dean knew Zachariah would just resurrect him anyway.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: This is basically what the demon curing ritual created by father Max Thompson does to demons. Aside from changing them back into human souls, the purified human blood also slowly forces the demon to feel empathy and compassion. When it was used on Crowley, at first Crowley mocked the attempts to purify him. But toward the end of the ritual, he expressed remorse and a need to find redemption. Even though Crowley wasn't cured (because Sam stopped the ritual before it was done), he still retained some human emotions (along with an addiction to injecting himself with human blood because Good Feels Good).
  • Ghost Invasion: This is the start of Chuck's plan against the Winchesters and the world in the last season, letting the souls out of Hell and allowing them to attack the earth en masse. This phase only really lasts for a couple of episodes, but ending it requires the death of Rowena.
  • Ghostapo: Apparently, the Nazis studied magic during WWII. They formed necromancers who could raise the dead.
  • Ghostly Chill: Cold spots indicate past or impending ghostly hijinx.
  • Ghostly Goals: Many ghosts are created through unjust deaths, hatred for someone living (or some kind of person living who resembles someone they hate), or simply by refusing to accept death.
  • Ghost Pirate: In Season 8, Dean learns that his new vampire friend Benny's old coven used to raid ships in search of new victims. He quickly dubs them "vampirates".
  • Gigantic Moon: In real life, the moon looks about the size of a pea held at an arm's length... not a baseball.
  • Gilded Cage: In the Season 4 finale, Zachariah and the other angels detain Dean in one of these to keep him from getting himself killed since he's one of the only people suitable to host the Archangel Michael and to prevent him from stopping Lucifer's escape. It's a lavish and opulent room stocked with Dean's favorite beer and the best burgers he remembers eating from his childhood; the angels even offer him Ginger and Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island because Dean has always had a thing for them, but he passes. In a moment of helpless despair, Dean almost gives in and tries to drink one of the beers right before Castiel breaks him out.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    • From 6.07 "Family Matters," as Dean wants to get involved in the hunt on the Alpha Vampire:
      Dean: [to Samuel] Big Daddy bloodsucker? I ain't gonna miss that. But this is your deal, I get it. I'll follow your lead. I trust you.
      Dean: [outside] I don't trust him.
    • From Season 14's "Optimism", Dean tells Jack that Sam is a smart guy, only for the next scene to cut to Sam dopily playing with a fidget spinner.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Dean takes a keen eye to the Foe Romance Subtext between Ruby and her Evil Mentor (who was possessing a woman) in "Malleus Maleficarum", and has an Erotic Dream about two women (one dressed as an angel, the other a devil) doing a striptease together.
  • Girl of the Week: In early seasons, Sam and Dean would occasionally have flirty interactions with girls involved in their case of the week, who would never be seen again after their first appearance. Obviously, averted with the supporting female characters who either date one of the boys over the course of several episodes (Lisa, Eileen) or aren't interested in them at all (Charlie, Donna).
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Turns out Dean, Sam and Bobby all have been in "foxholes" with fellow hunter Annie Hawkins.
  • Glamour Failure: Mainly the true reflection variant (sirens, changelings, wraiths), but also physical defect variant (the "flip-to-silver" eyes for the shapeshifters, a retractable layer of fangs for vampires), being burnt by holy water...
  • Glowing Eyes: Angels have eyes that glow as a manifestation of their Grace, regular angels like Castiel have a light blue, Lucifer's are red, and the nephilim Jack has gold.
  • Go into the Light: In the episode "Roadkill," a ghost who had been unaware of her death or the years that had passed since then goes into the light after she's told.
  • A God Am I:
    • Castiel as of the Season 6 finale, wherein he absorbs all the souls of Purgatory into himself. He proceeds to do to Raphael exactly what Lucifer once did to him, shrug off a Back Stab with an angel-killing dagger, and declare himself the new Lord.
      Castiel: I'm not an angel anymore. I'm your new God. A better one. So you will bow down and profess your love unto me, your Lord...or I shall destroy you.
    • When the brothers first meet Chuck, and prove to him that they are indeed the characters he has been writing about, his immediate reaction is this trope. The brothers didn't believe him, and he turns out to be a Prophet. At the end of the following season, it's implied that he actually is God.
      Chuck: Well, there's only one explanation. Obviously I'm a god.
      Sam: You're not a god.
      Chuck: How else do you explain it? I write things and then they come to life? Yeah, no, I'm definitely a god. A cruel, cruel, capricious god. The things I've put you through ...
    • Lucifer is worshipped as a god by the demons since he is, after all, technically their Creator. In "Hell's Angel," he makes the case to the angels that God Is Evil and suggests that if they want, they can start calling him God. In Season 13, he desires to reunite with his Nephilim son Jack so, in his words, they can be better gods than his own Father. When Jack refuses his offer of We Can Rule Together, he takes Jack's angel grace and plans to reshape the universe in his image.
  • God is Dead: Or so it seems (and a couple different characters claim) until half-way through Season 5. See next several points below.
  • God Is Evil:
    • The characters spend a long time thinking God is deadbeat dad who abandoned the universe to tear itself apart, often invoking this trope in their conversations about him. It takes until the tenth season for God to appear in person and challenge their view on Him.
    • Played straight in the Season 14 finale, when it's revealed that He only created the universe to serve as entertainment for Himself, and that all the hell the Winchesters have gone through comes from Him taking a special interest in them because they're His favorite show.
  • God of Evil: Subverted by Lucifer. He's revered by the demons as an actual god of evil, but in reality he's "just" an archangel who is several orders of magnitude below his heavenly Father. Though he can mop the floor with just about any pagan god, possibly because Gods Need Prayer Badly.
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: The Apocalypse boils down to Lucifer and the rest of the angels having daddy issues, and God enabling it all (while being perfectly aware of the fact that it is going on) by simply continuing to avoid his kids. Even Death finds this annoying, especially when Lucifer drags him into the middle of it against his will.
  • God's Hands Are Tied:
    • Demons and monsters run loose throughout the series with seemingly no checks and balance from the side of good aside from a ragtag group of human Hunters. When celestial back up does arrive, their plan hinges on two human brothers.
    • In Season 11, God can't kill Amara and could only seal her away, as both of them are needed to maintain the continued existence of the universe.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: We see evidence of Hell and evil from the very beginning of the series. We don't see even a hint that Heaven or God might be real until Castiel appears in the first episode of Season 4.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The show is not entirely consistent. The pagan gods have been stated to rely at least to a degree on worship and sacrifice supposedly being more powerful in ancient times compared to be about on the level of monsters and lesser demons in modern times. Yet some gods like Kali and Ganesha are no more powerful than other lesser known gods despite having hundreds of millions of followers. The Abrahamic God appears not to rely on this since He existed before the universe and is responsible for creating humans.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Several characters think this point has been reached at various times.
    • In Season 5, after seeing a bleak future in which Lucifer won in Sam's body seemingly because Dean didn't say yes to Michael and losing all faith in Sam, Dean's ready to let Michael have him even though it will mean most of the world is destroyed. Sam convinces him not to.
    • By the end of Season 5, everything has gone so far to hell that having Sam say 'yes' to Lucifer and toss himself back in his cage is the only option. Of course, at the end of Season 4, they'd all pretty much realized that they were screwed.
    • In Season 6, best buddy Castiel decides that the only way to prevent the Apocalypse from being restarted by Archangel Raphael is to make a Deal with the Devil and take in the power of all the souls in Purgatory. This turns out to be a bad idea.
  • Going Cosmic: Seasons 4, 5, and (to some extent) 6 focused increasingly on the Apocalypse and there have been a number of angels speechifying about the world as they see it, including Lucifer.
  • Golem: The rabbis of the Judah Initiative made one to fight the Thule Society during World War II. By the modern day it's been bequeathed to a non-observant Jewish guy who doesn't know what to do with it because he never paid attention to his grandfather's teachings. In fact, he used the pages of the instruction manual he was given as wrapping papers for his smokes. The golem is a little ticked off by this, since it is supposed to receive guidance from its rabbi, not the other way around.
  • Good-Guy Bar: The Roadhouse, though that's more of a Scrappy Guy Bar.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Lets put it this way: Angels are considered the step above Demons on the Villain Pedigree of the show.
  • Good People Have Good Sex:
    • Played straight, once Fridge Brilliance sets in: Dean, on the rare occasion he has a sex scene, is shown to be very much a "lover," with deep and romantic engagements. Sam (whose entire life was actively orchestrated by Hell), on the other hand, fucks, to put it bluntly. It's a contrast to their personalities too, since Dean is the shameless flirt who Really Gets Around and Sam often acts much more compassionate and is more respectful towards women.
    • Justified, however, for Sam without his soul, as he actively doesn't care about anything emotional.
  • Good Versus Good: The series addresses this in the second season arc involving Gordon Walker. He is a hunter, a relentless one, but only interested in killing vampires/demons — at first. However he crosses over into Grey or Black Morality, when he doesn't relent from trying to kill a group of vampires who have abstained from feeding and are trying to just live their lives, and it is also implied he kills supernatural creatures solely out of hate for turning his sister and ruining his life.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Might as well be renamed the Supernatural Extra Death Shot, because almost every episode involves a victim of the week biting it with a spray of blood or teddy bear stuffing on something else.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The Horsemen's rings. Good thing they already got 2 when they learn that.
  • Grand Theft Me:
    • In the episode "Swap Meat," a teenaged boy changes bodies with Sam, who has to track his own body down.
    • In Season 9, Gadreel takes over full possession of Sam and leaves with his body.
    • In Season 13's finale, Michael does the same with Dean's body.
  • Gratuitous German: Whenever there's an episode featuring the Thule, a group of German necromancers who manipulated the creation of the Nazi party.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • 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.
    • Then in the Season 10 finale we find out about the existence of an evil even further up the food chain then him. It's revealed that before God and his Archangels ruled over creation the universe was instead run by a malevolent force known as The Darkness. God and his archangels eventually defeated it and sealed it away into the Mark of Cain which was transferred to Gods greatest lieutenant Lucifer. However the Darkness corrupted the Mark and in turn corrupted Lucifers mind and made him hate humans. This means that, barring Eve and the Leviathans, The Darkness is responsible for every supernatural Big Bad since Season 1.
  • The Grim Reaper: featured a few episodes with a black-haired reaper, who guides the deceased to their afterlives.
    • Lucifer summons Death himself in Season 5's 'Abandon All Hope'. He is one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the boss of all reapers. He also claims to be at least as old and as powerful as God, and that in the end, he'll reap Him too, although it turns out he's lying about the former and wrong about the later.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: "Mystery Spot" has poor Sam living the same Tuesday over and over, each ending with Dean's death. Dean's deaths become more and more comically gruesome and absurd as the episode continues, leading to Mood Whiplash.
  • Guttural Growler:
    • Dean gets increasingly gruff over the seasons, which was already notable mid-way through the show, continues going to basically the end of it. Especially jarring when the show uses a Season 1 or 2 clip in the "previously on" segments.
    • Castiel, too, is fairly growly, although this is on purpose; actor Misha Collins felt that as Castiel's natural voice shatters windows and makes people's ears bleed, his voice in his human vessel should be rather tough-sounding. (He has also confirmed that he and Jensen Ackles 'compete' during their scenes together to see who can sound growlier, although this may not be literally true.) It was even lampshaded by Dean himself in "The French Mistake", when he tries to mimic Misha's gravelly voice while pretending to be Jensen playing Dean.
    • Bobby could also be considered an offender, as could Crowley... it's pretty much just a cast full of BatVoice.

  • Half-Human Hybrid:
    • Jesse is half-demon, having been given birth to by a possessed woman. He looks no different from a normal human, but is described by Castiel as being more powerful than either a human or demon.
    • Two And A Half Men implies that regular shifters are all the half-human offspring of the alpha shifter.
    • "Clip Show" introduces the half-human, half-angel Nephilim, considered by Heaven to be an 'abomination'. Castiel and Metatron kill the only one on Earth, a woman named Jane, as part of the trials to close Heaven.
    • Later, Jack is introduced, who is a Nephilim that is the child of the archangel Lucifer and a human woman named Kelly Kline.
  • Halloween Episode: "It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester." A man dies from eating candy filled with razor blades, a girl drowns in boiling water while bobbing for apples, and the brothers attempt to stop two witches from raising the demon Samhain before Castiel and Uriel destroy the town.
  • Hanging Up on the Grim Reaper: When Bobby Singer is dying from a bullet in the head a reaper comes to escort him to the afterlife. However, Bobby repeatedly resists, going further and further into his mind to escape the reaper, despite the reaper's attempts to persuade him that he's done enough and it's his time to move on. In the end, when Bobby is at his last resort, the bullet having destroyed every last part of his brain, the reaper tells him to make a final decision. "Well, Bobby? Stay or go — what's it gonna be?" It's revealed in later episodes that he chose to stay and resided on Earth as a ghost.
  • Hannibal Lecture:
    • As he seems to have a neon sign on his forehead saying "self-loathing woobie with Daddy Issues", Dean tends to get this done to him a lot. The Crossroads Demon (twice), The Yellow-Eyed Demon (twice), Sam whenever he's under the influence... The list goes on.
      • Perhaps the best example of a Hannibal Lecture is the torture/interrogation scene with Dean and Alistair. Supposedly, Dean is extracting information on "who is killing the angels," but not only does Alistair have no idea, he strings Dean along and gives him a thorough mindfuck in between bouts of being eviscerated. The power dynamic in this scene goes back and forth like no other, between Dean relishing Alistair's pain and Alistair breaking Dean down.
      • The scene in My Bloody Valentine when he corners Famine in a diner is one of the most painful examples on the show:
      Famine: Have you wondered why that is? How you can even walk in my presence?
      Dean: I like to think it's because of my strength of character.
      Famine: I disagree. Yes. I see. That's one deep, dark nothing you've got there, Dean. You can't fill it, can you? Not with food, nor drink; not even with sex. Oh, you can smirk and joke and lie to your brother, lie to yourself, but not to me. I can see inside you, Dean. I can see how broken you are, how defeated; you can't win and you know it, but you just keep trying, just keep going through the motions. You're not hungry, Dean, because inside you're already dead.
    • A broken one came from Lucifer in the late Season 5 episode "Hammer of the Gods" in a speech to Mercury.
      Lucifer: You know, I never understood you pagans, you're such petty little things. Always fighting, always happy to sell out your own kind. You, are worse than humans. You're worse than demons. And yet you claim to be gods. No wonder you forfeited this planet to us. And they call me prideful.
    • Done by several Leviathans in 7.06 "Slash Fiction." Bobby mostly shrugs off his double's taunts, but Sam gets hit hard by Leviathan!Dean's revelation that he killed Amy.
    • In Clip Show (Episode 8.22), Crowley gives Our Heroes an epic verbal beat-down about the futility of their existences and their attempts to justify their lives. Crowley realizes that the thing keeping Dean and Sam going is the people they save; so, to force the end to the trials and to regain control of the Demon Tablet, Crowley begins to systematically kill everyone they save. The speech in question is given as one of the saved former victims chokes to death in the background, while Dean and Sam frantically and futilely search for the hex bag.
  • Hate Plague:
    • The blood-borne Croatoan virus introduced in Season 2, which makes people violent and crazy.
    • The Darkness' release creates a cloud of black haze that infects people and makes them violently attack others in order to try and infect them as well, though it causes them to die soon after. Sam manages to cure himself and others using holy fire.
    • The Darkness' attack in "Don't Call Me Shurley" also takes the form of a dark cloud that causes people to believe in their worst fears and start killing those around them, beginning by driving a woman to think her husband no longer loves her and killing him. When Sam is infected again, and he admits to Dean that he doesn't think they can stop the Darkness, and that he thinks Dean will choose Amara over him. Dean tells him he's wrong, and tries to die with him by inhaling the smoke, only to realize his connection to Amara has made him immune.
  • Hate Sink: While Zachariah always came across as a condescending prick, he at least seems to be on humanity's side, until he reveals that Heaven had no intention of stopping the Apocalypse. Tasked with convincing Dean Winchester to allow himself to be possessed by the Archangel Michael, Zachariah uses any methods he can to convince Dean to say yes, up to and including torture, even going as far to resurrect his younger half-brother Adam Milligan, making it appear that Heaven is using Adam as substitute vessel for Michael, to lure out Dean. Torturing Sam and Adam in front of Dean, Zachariah boasts of his superiority before he is finally killed.
  • Have You Seen My God?: Only four angels have, and we have to take their word for it until Season 11.
  • Heal It with Booze: Sam and Dean have used this method for years. Demonstrated one time when they were Trapped in TV Land on "Dr. Sexy, MD" — Doctor Dean got shot and Doctor Sam had to operate.
    Sam: I need a pen knife, some dental floss, a sewing needle, and a fifth of whiskey. Stat!
  • Healing Factor:
    • Angels are capable of healing the humans they possess.
    • The Leviathans have this as part of their skill-set. Edgar recovered from having a car crush him, and Borax, while capable of hurting them, only causes temporary damage. When they have their heads removed, it reattaches itself.
  • Heaven: Home turf for the angels. The whole place and its residents take A Form You Are Comfortable With, and viewers have no idea what it actually looks like to the angels themselves. For the souls of mortals that end up there it is a Lotus-Eater Machine.
  • Heaven Above: Heaven is a regular setting that's often referred to by pointing upwards or talking about what's "above." The only really consequential use of this trope comes late in the show when the Darkness attacks Heaven, which causes Earth's sky to be ravaged by thunderstorms.
  • The Hedonist:
    • The future version of Castiel in "The End." Having lost his powers and given up on trying to save the world, he turns to copious amounts of drugs and sex to occupy his time.
    • Gabriel (also known as the Trickster) appears to be this, tormenting others for his entertainment, creating women out of thin air, gorging himself on chocolate and other desserts. Then it's revealed that, although he does enjoy it, he actually means some of the lessons he claims to be trying to teach and seems a little miserable under his Trickster persona.
    • Then there's Balthazar (funny how all of these are angels). His reaction to the good guys derailing the Apocalypse is to grab a bunch of valuable weapons, fake his own death and start doing whatever the hell he wants on Earth ("This morning I had a menage a...what's the French for twelve?"). When Castiel catches up to him, he insists he's just following the example Cas set. "You showed me we could do anything, so I'm trying everything."
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door:
    • Although Castiel is unarguably trying to be the good guy, most of his character action in the plot involves him working behind the Winchesters' backs for what he believes is the better good, only for his plans to backfire or for him to realize that he's on the wrong side.
    • Crowley is Castiel's opposite; he desperately wants to be the Big Bad, but circumstances and greater threats keep forcing him into Enemy Mines with the heroes. When we first meet him in Season 5, he helps the heroes fight Lucifer because he correctly believes that once humanity is destroyed, Lucifer will turn on the demons. Once Lucifer is dealt with, however, he declares himself the King of Hell and spends most of Season 6 as an antagonist. But once Season 7 rolls around the new threats of Castiel and the Leviathans force him to reluctantly aid the heroes again for a return to the status quo. But of course, as soon as that's dealt with, he immediately betrays them and goes back to being a bad guy for Season 8, only for that season to end with Crowley's humanity being partially restored and Knight of Hell Abaddon announcing her plans to usurp Crowley's throne, and Season 11 and 12 both involve him trying to protect his place on the throne from Lucifer.
    • In Season 9, Gadreel's allegiance is all over the place. He starts out as a guardian in Heaven, then he lets Lucifer inside the Garden of Eden and is punished for his crime. After his unexpected release he tries to atone by helping Dean save Sam, only to be convinced by the conniving Metatron to join his new army. He joins the Winchesters again, but the vengeful Dean is having none of it. Gadreel eventually helps Castiel infiltrate Heaven but fails and commits suicide in a final act of atonement.
  • Heel Realization:
    • The moment at the end of Season 4 after Sam has killed Lilith and Ruby revealed that Lilith was the final seal, not the one who was going to break the final seal, is Sam's moment when he realizes he's just an Unwitting Pawn who screwed up big time and brought about the apocalypse. His face conveys complete devastation and he's barely even paying attention when he and Dean kill Ruby.
    • There's a pre-emptive version in Season 5 when Dean realizes where his current path leads if he cuts Sam out of his life, after he's sent into the future and meets himself.
      Sam: What made you change your mind?
      Dean: Long story. The point is... maybe we are each other's Achilles heel. Maybe they'll find a way to use us against each other, I don't know. I just know we're all we've got. More than that. We keep each other human.
    • In Season 7, after getting Drunk on the Dark Side and Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, Castiel finally realizes he's out of his depth after his Disproportionate Revenge turns into an unintended massacre when the Leviathans inside him take over.
  • Hell: Home to the demons and place of torment for damned souls. Time appears to move more slowly there for imprisoned souls, thus making an eternity of torment seem even longer.
  • Hell Has New Management: This is technically what Crowley did with a few hundred years of bureaucracy and backstabbing an otherwise Machiavellian business. He died, went to Hell, became a demon, worked his way up the ladder to head of purchases, survived the demises of every other major demon in Hell in the countdown to Apocalypse as all Lucifer's faithful raced into the fray to assure his victory...and then defected to Team Free Will and helped seal the head honcho back in his cage and save the world. In the absence of significant competition he promptly established himself as King of Hell. Three seasons later, after angering every other being more powerful than himself that still exists, he retains his hold on this position. He's rather responsible about it, too. "This isn't Wall Street, this is Hell. We have a little something called integrity!"
  • Hell Hound: The series has invisible hell hounds that work for demons. They can only be seen by the people they've come to kill.
  • Hell Invades Heaven: This seems to be Lucifer's PR to his demon mooks after they release him and start the Apocalypse. Meg cheerily taunts a captured Castiel that they're going to win against the angels and invade Heaven itself. In reality, Lucifer wants the demons to have no part in his plans and considers them worthy of annihilation.
  • Hell on Earth: Sam breaks the final seal by killing Lilith and Lucifer is unleashed from his imprisonment. Lucifer's intention is to do this, making Hell on Earth. Ironically the demons aren't to be a part of it, as the Archangel absolutely despises them and wants to wipe them out along with the humans, so he can preserve his Father's last flawless creation.
  • Hero's Classic Car: The brothers' '67 Impala, which turns out to be the most important object in the universe.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In "Abandon All Hope," Ellen and Jo (who was already dying from being slashed by a hellhound) lure the hellhounds into their hideout and blow up the building, allowing Dean and Sam to escape and try to kill Lucifer.
    • John exchanges his life and soul for Dean.
    • Deconstructed with Dean's Deal with the Devil to sell his soul for Sam's life, which is portrayed as more of a product of Dean's abandonment issues and lack of self-worth than heroism.
    • A dying Jimmy Novak gives up going to Heaven when he convinces Castiel to use him as a vessel instead of his daughter, Claire.
    • Sam with his whole in Season 5 finale Swan Song: He throws himself (and more to the point, Satan, who's possessing him) into hell's solitary confinement in order to prevent the planet from being razed, with certain knowledge that Lucifer's going to spend eternity torturing him.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation:
    • Dean suffers from a pretty crippling inferiority complex.
    • In the Season 5 ep "The Song Remains the Same," Dean sums up Team Free Will (Sam, himself, and Castiel) as "one ex blood junkie, one dropout with six bucks to his name, and Mr. Comatose over there."
  • Heroic Willpower:
    • Shown by John in "Devil's Trap" when he is able to resist and trap the possessing Azazel for a moment, and by Dean in "The Magnificent Seven" when he resists Lust's charms. Averted in "Sex and Violence" when Dean and Sam are helpless against the siren's spell and need Bobby to bail them out.
    • Dean, who apparently resisted Alastair's offer to escape torture in Hell by torturing other souls. He refused the offer every day for thirty years. However, this pales in comparison to John Winchester, who refused the same offer for one hundred years, and then escaped Hell.
    • Displayed by a demon-possessed Bobby in "Sympathy for the Devil" when he breaks the demon's hold just before it can kill Dean, and instead, stabs himself with Ruby's "kill-all" knife.
    • Sam in Season 5 finale Swan Song took control of his body while the devil was riding it just so he could throw himself and the devil into hell's solitary confinement.
    • Sam in Season 6 finale. He manages to overcome his "inner demons" and drag himself to assist Dean and Bobby in the battle against Castiel and Crowley despite obviously suffering under the strain of his "hell memories".
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Sam and Dean are the dictionary definition, eschewing all and any romantic entanglements for each other and, by later seasons, settling into the domestic life with no aspirations of moving on or away.
    Dean: Because in the end it was always you and me. It was always you... and me.
  • He Who Fights Monsters:
    • Gordon Walker is the purest example, literally becoming worse than the monsters he hunts taking them out.
    • John was this way about everything related to Mary's death, hence the obsession with YED.
    • Dean whenever he's lost family. Such as when he encounters Gordon in Season 2 after his father dies; when he so loses faith in his brother that he agrees to the angels' plan in Season 5 even though it will destroy most of the world; and in Season 7 when he kills Amy Pond (not that one) because he can't trust a monster not to kill again, complete with a Beatrix Kiddo moment with the woman's son afterward.
    • Sam was this after Dean died in Mystery Spot and the Season 3 finale. While he thinks killing Lilith is the only way to prevent the Apocalypse and feeding demon-blood-fueled powers also lets him save the hosts when exorcising demons, his obsession with killing Lilith leads him to break the final seal, releasing Lucifer from Hell.
    • Future Dean in "The End" (5x04). After losing his brother to the devil and failing to stop the apocalypse, he becomes heartless and unsympathetic, willing to sacrifice all of his loyal friends for a chance to kill Lucifer.
    • In Seasons 6 and 7, re-angelified Castiel has taken a particularly nasty route to this, starting with a Deal with the Devil, moving on to murder and betrayal, and then Jumping Off the Slippery Slope with murder and Mind Rape of friends even before diving into With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
  • Hidden Depths:
  • Hiding Behind Religion: Castiel eventually decides to go on a rampage against these sorts of people. Among other things, a homophobic reverend is killed in front of his flock, a corrupt right-wing senator is slaughtered along with her campaigners, and racists take such a sound beating that the Kuu Klux Klan is forced to disband.
  • Historical Rapsheet:
    • The demon lord and Torture Technician Alastair implies that he had a hand in the concentration camps, noting how he hasn't been on Earth since "Poland, '43".
    • In "No Exit", the ghost that Sam, Dean, and Jo are hunting turns out to be H. H. Holmes.
    • The Horsemen War claims that he has been responsible for most of the conflicts throughout human history, specifically citing both World Wars, the Middle East, and the Sudan for the past century.
  • History Repeats: In "Changing Channels," Gabriel says that fights between Lucifer and Michael used to break out all the time. The Apocalypse is just a grand-scale version:
    Gabriel: What you call the Apocalypse, I used to call Sunday dinner!
  • Hollywood Healing: Throughout the series, though very noticeable in "Shadow" when the Winchesters get their faces slashed up by a shadow demon but show up in the next episode completely scar-free.
  • Hollywood Homely: Played straight by Felicia Day's character in "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo." She is, well, Felicia Day. She's never really shown to be socially awkward situations aside), and not treated as such, and her devotion to her nerdy pursuits is certainly not in question. Just a regular geek that's treated in universe like a nerd.
  • Hollywood Psych: Averted. If it gives them a chance to increase the depression some more, then they're usually very good with psychology.
  • Holy Halo: In Season 8, the Angels are confirmed to have them when a Nephilim says she can see them, but like their wings they are invisible when they're in their human hosts on Earth.
  • Holy Is Not Safe: Angels can possess people as well as demons, although they require consent, but anyone imagining angelic possession won't leave them worse for the wear is in for a grave disappointment. Those who're possessed are liable to end up like lobotomy victims. This seems to vary based on the strength of an angel, though. Raphael and Lucifer were shown to destroy their vessels, but Castiel's vessel Jimmy and his daughter were okay post-Cas; Castiel tells Dean that being possessed by Michael would be even worse. It may be based on bloodlines and general strength of the vessel, as well. Young John Winchester isn't harmed when he's possessed by Michael.
  • Holy Water:
    • Demons are highly susceptible to holy water, as you'd expect. In this instance, the characters make their own by blessing regular water with a rosary and a Latin chant; how this works when at least one character explicitly doesn't believe in the existence of the being who's blessing the water and whom the rosary is sacred to is left as an open question.
    • One of Bobby's favorite tricks is beer with just a little bit of the stuff — if his visitor is human, they'll never even notice. If they're not, they burn. At one point, the main characters assault a building full of demons by consecrating the sprinkler system.
    • The Season 1 episode "Salvation" sees John bless the contents of a rooftop water tower in preparation for a showdown with demons inside the building.
    • In Season 3's "Jus in Bello", Sam and Dean are held in a cell in a police station, which is then besieged by demons. They prepare for battle by holifying the only water avaiable: the toilet.
  • Homage: In Season 5, the pair get captured by The Archangel Gabriel, who puts them through a series of Homages to Grey's Anatomy, CSI: Miami, and 'e'Knight Rider''.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Buckets of it in all seasons, although there is debate about what is intentional and what is accidental.
    • Kripke has cited Jack Kerouac's On the Road as one of many early influences on the show and the main characters of that book (Sal and Dean) have lots of sexual tension between them. Making their counterparts in the show brothers didn't seem to scrub the narrative of that dynamic.
    • Depending on the situation (and writer of the individual episode), Dean can appear coded as bisexual. He flirts with a young, male sheriff's deputy at one point, has an obvious crush on the character Dr. Sexy, MD and knows there is a gay bar in Miami called Purgatory.
    • Castiel's affection for Dean is noticeably intense and treated sometimes as a Running Gag and at times a genuine love story. In the final season, Castiel finally admits to being in love with Dean while Dean's feelings are left ambiguous.
    • After Sam asked Balthazar for "angel advice" in 6.11, Balthazar immediately makes a quip about his "boyfriend" and Sam simply responds with "Cas can't help me."
    • Lucifer's attachment to Sam comes off as menacing, stalkerish, and sexual. It pretty much confirmed that he raped Sam during their time in Hell.
  • Honor Before Reason: Both brothers:
    • Dean, in regards to Sam, in "Born Under A Bad Sign." But of course, this show being what it is, they do their best to try and break him because of it.
    • Sam, with several human enemies and a few monstrous ones. Not killing human Gordon leads to being hunted by him yet again, but not killing vampire Lenore turns out to be useful. Yet still horribly sad.
  • Hookers and Blow: Dean is flung a few years into the future to see the outcome of his choice of action. They lost. Future!Castiel is seen arranging orgies and doing drugs like there's no tomorrow. Because there might not be. He's also been turned mortal.
  • Horny Devils:
    • John encounters a town filled with succubi in the Rising Son comic prequel series.
    • Richie mentions killing a succubus in "Sin City."
  • Horror Hunger:
    • The Wendigo and Rugaru are former humans who transformed into man-eating creatures (although for different reasons.
    • The Crocotta, Wraiths, Rhakshasa and probably others are monsters who eat humans or part of them (like their soul).
    • Sam Winchester in Season 4 becomes addicted to demon blood
    • Famine can push people's desires Up to Eleven, and he himself eat souls.
    • The implication in the last two episodes of Season 4 that Lilith eats babies is suggested in Season 7 to be something demons equate with rank. Whether this is necessary or just overkill isn't specified.
    • The kitsune who show up eat human brain material. It's specifically stated to be mandatory, and Amy normally gets by with material scavenged from the mortuary but her son becomes ill without fresher brain matter. (Amy gets it for him, so we don't actually see a kitsune overwhelmed with hunger at any point.)
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse:
    • War shows up in "Good God, Y'All!" driving a red Mustang. "Abandon All Hope" ends with Lucifer greeting the newly-summoned Death, though we don't see Death until "Two Minutes to Midnight," in which Death informs Dean that Lucifer didn't summon him so much as bind him to his will, which really irritates him. Famine appears as a withered old man in "My Bloody Valentine," and Pestilence shows up at the end of "Hammer of the Gods."
    • All the Horseman drive cars with their corresponding colors and theme. War has a cherry red 1965 Mustang Fastback, Famine gets driven around in a black Cadillac Escalade, Pestilence rides a rustic green 72 AMC Hornet station wagon, while Death is seen having a pale white 1959 Cadillac.
  • Hot as Hell:
    • The recurring Crossroads Demons may be in a different body every time, yet, somehow, they are always hot women. Invoked, since they're specifically using those hosts to make their deals more palatable to their male clients, which is sealed with a kiss.
    • Demon Queen Lilith wears this type of meat suit, whenever she's not possessing a little girl to torment her family.
    • Satan himself is played by Mark Pellegrino, and the muscular Jared Padalecki.
    • In "The Song Remains the Same," Dean has a dream in which he's serviced by a stripper in a red devil's costume.
  • House Squatting: The Winchesters are forced to do this in Season 7 due to being hunted both by the FBI and by Nigh Invulnerable, body-snatching Leviathans. This leaves them unable to stay in motels or anywhere they may come in contact with the public.
  • Ho Yay: Oh yeah, plenty.
  • Humanity Ensues: Vampires can be cured if they have not already fed after being turned, and in Season 8 the brothers find out that demons can also be cured. While the attempt on Crowley fails, he does end up becoming a little more human than before, whereas in Season 10 the cure works on Dean, but he's still held back by the Mark of Cain.
  • Humanity Is Infectious:
    • Both Gabriel and Castiel believe this.
    • A literal version happens with Season 10 Crowley who ends up addicted to human blood as a result of being partially cured from being a demon.
  • Humanoid Abomination:
    • A lot of creatures in the series hijack human bodies because their real forms are incorporeal, but the angels are the only ones who qualify for this trope. Their celestial forms are decidedly of the Eldritchy variation, variously described as "multi-dimensional wavelengths of celestial intent" and the size of the Chrysler building. Whenever they appear in their true forms, all that is seen is a blinding light that engulfs the entire area, a booming deafening sound that are apparently their voices, everything in the vicinity getting destroyed due to their awesome presence, and are so much of a Brown Note that any humans nearby have their eyes burn out of their sockets and die. To manifest on Earth they use human vessels, which are purely intended as A Form You Are Comfortable With.
    • Also implied to be the case for demons, despite their true forms usually appearing as a cloud of gray smoke; Ruby evokes a visceral reaction from Anna, a fallen angel who can see Ruby's true form.
    Anna: Her face!
  • Human Resources: The Leviathans's endplan is to turn humanity into cattle farms and feed on them forever.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Winchesters encounter numerous pagan gods imported to America that survive on human sacrifice. One god grants the community it lives in the traditional benefits of its presence and appeasement, including bountiful harvests and mild weather. On some occasions the Winchesters arrive to thwart the sacrifice, on some occasions they are the sacrifice. Every other god is portrayed as man-eaters.
  • Humans Are Bastards: This is one what Lucifer and a fair number of angels think. Given the number of times a supernatural threats humans are responsible for combined with human on human depravity it is not entirely without merit. The main characters try to be better, but with mixed results.
  • Humans Are Flawed: This is what Gabriel actually believes. His speech to Lucifer in "Hammer of the Gods" contains exactly that trope.
  • Humans Are Insects: Death has this opinion on humanity. As a timeless force of nature he simply operates on such a different level from the protagonists and the enemies they fight (including The Devil, who forced Death into his service) that he honestly doesn't care if the world gets incinerated, and views humans as microbes — barely noticeable and utterly insignificant. Although the "annoying protozoa" do manage to inconvenience him eventually, and he has to give them repeated lectures not to mess with cosmic principles.
  • Humans Are Special: God originally thought so going so far as to order the angels and archangels to bow before them. Generally, the main characters hold human life as higher than any other sentient lifeform including angels. They usually show little to no hesitation at killing them even if said life is not a threat to humans. Human problems and the affect things have on humanity take precedence over how it effects others.
  • Hungry Menace: Many of the monsters that the Winchesters face off against are a threat because they have to feed on humans somehow, either by being a Picky People Eater, just finding humans tasty in general, or engaging in Soul Eating. Sometimes it's just some mindless monster that has to be stopped (werewolves, wendigo), but others (vampires, leviathans) are fully aware of their own status as apex predators. Some monsters even attempt the Vegetarian Vampire route, which sometimes saves them, though not always. On the other hand, the nastiest antagonists are typically those that don't need humans to survive per se (demons, gods), leaving them no excuse for their atrocities but For the Evulz.
  • Hunter of Monsters: Core premise of the show. The Winchesters hunt supernatural monsters, which they were raised to do by their father after their mother was killed by a demon.
  • Hypocrite: Keeping track of how often the Winchesters rely on supernatural solutions to supernatural problems, or cut dubious deals with everyone from demons to Death himself, is an overwhelming task. Often, a large number of their problems arise from prior recourse to such things.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Lucifer or all people (or angels as the case may be). Nobody dicks with Michael but him.
  • Hypocritical Humor: This exchange from "Heaven and Hell":
    Uriel (an angel): How dare you come in this room... you pussing sore.
    Alastair (a demon): Name calling. That hurt my feelings... you sanctimonious fanatical prick.

  • I Cannot Self-Terminate:
    • In Season 2 episode "Born Under A Bad Sign", Sam pleads with Dean (who obviously can't) to kill him after he kills another hunter while possessed. At the end of Season 4 in "When the Levee Breaks", while suffering withdrawal from demon blood, Sam tells Bobby to shoot him if he wants to help. Neither of them commit to it.
    • In "Heart." Sam's one night stand was a werewolf, but they cured her... except not. There's no cure and she'd already killed a few people, so she asks Sam to shoot her instead. Ouch.
  • Iconic Outfit:
    • Castiel. The holy tax accountant suit, loosened tie and signature trench coat combo — work it, Cas. In the seventh season premiere, he went to a church and replaced the standard Christian stained-glass painting of God/Jesus with that same outfit. Man, Castiel must love that suit and jacket.
      • When Cas loses his grace and becomes human and has to go into hiding, he ditches the trench coat in favor of less conspicuous clothes. By the time he decides to enter the game again, his coat is beyond retrieving — so he finds another one of the same color and length in order to get as close as possible. One can only assume that if he found a third coat resembling the first one more he'd swap for it in an instant.
      • In a Season 12 flashback, it's revealed that Castiel has been on Earth before, in the early 1900s, using a female vessel. When we see her, she's wearing (you guessed it) a collared white shirt and a tan jacket.
  • I Have Many Names: The Reapers, apparently. When Dean meets a particular Reaper again in "Death Takes A Holiday" who tried to guide him to the afterlife in a previous episode, she restores his memory with a kiss. When he calls her "Tessa", the alias she used while disguised as a human, she simply replies "Yes, that is one of my names".
  • I Just Want to Be Normal:
    • Sam's wanted this for his entire life, and eventually managed to get out of the hunting life and go to college, only for Jess to die and him to develop psychic powers. While he still expresses a desire to return to California, and at one point ends up leaving Dean midway through Season 1, it doesn't stick. By Season 10 he expresses that hunting is his life, as long as it's alongside his brother.
    • Dean also has desires to leave hunting and be normal, as shown in the Shapeshifter Guilt Trip of "Skin" and the flashbacks of "Bad Boys", but only manages to get it at the end of Season 5 when Sam tells him to live a normal life after Sam traps himself in Hell. However, it's deconstructed as he's plagued with nightmares of his hunting life, and when Sam and Bobby deliberately keep him Locked Out of the Loop on Sam's return, he's furious about it.
      Sam: You finally had what you wanted, Dean.
      Dean: I wanted my brother, alive!
      Sam: You wanted a family. You have for a long time, maybe the whole time. I know you. You only gave it up because of the way we lived. But you had something, and you were building something. Had I shown up, Dean, you would have just run off. I'm sorry. But it felt like after everything, you deserve some regular life.
    • Runs in the family. Their hunter mother desperately wanted to get out, raise a family and live a normal life.
    • Jimmy Novak is a normal man who gave himself as a vessel for Castiel, and when Castiel is ejected from him by Heaven, desires to return to the family he'd abandoned for a year. If only it were that simple.
    • Subverted humorously on one occasion where Sam is forced to switch bodies with a teenager via witchcraft. Sam lies to the kid that he'd give anything for his life, then tells Dean, "that kid's life sucked" (which was basically true).
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Zig-Zagged. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't:
    • It fails on Sam in "Asylum" when he's possessed by a ghost, Dean has to knock him out instead.
    • Fails again in "Sex and Violence", when Dean's under the influence of a siren's venom, and Sam is equally incapable of stopping Jack in "Metamorphosis".
    • Succeeds in "Swan Song", though it's more of a "I Know You're In There Somewhere" beating, since Dean's not actually fighting.
    • Also succeeds in "Goodbye Stranger"; Dean manages to shatter Naomi's control over Castiel by telling Castiel how much he means to Dean.
      Dean: Cas, fight this! This is not you! Fight it!
      Castiel (to Naomi): What have you done to me?
    • Fails in "Soul Survivor", where Sam says this trope verbatim to Demon Dean and begs him to let him finish the demon cure.
    • Succeeds in a roundabout way in "Brother's Keeper", after Dean, at the height of the Mark of Cain's corruption, gives Sam a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown and prepares to kill Sam with Death's scythe, only for Sam's Last Words to be that he believes the real Dean is a good person, snapping Dean out of it and causing him to kill Death instead.
    • Also "Peace of Mind": Cas manages to break through a mind-controlled Sam – though only after invoking Dean.
    Castiel: You have to keep fighting. You can't lose yourself, because if you do, you fail us. You fail all of those that we've lost. You fail Jack. Sam, you fail Dean.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Sam's girlfriend died the same way Sam and Dean's mother did. This gives Sam the incentive to leave his old life behind and hunt demons with Dean. Sam feels responsible for her death because he wasn't there to save her and he saw her die in prescient visions but didn't believe them.
  • I Lied:
    • Dean Winchester is trying frantically to save his father when he gets stonewalled by a demon. He tortures her, bargains for information, then sends her back to burn in hell with this trope.
    • Abaddon, a demon in one of the later seasons, is really fond of using this trope. On several occasions she forces someone into a bargain by taking their friends captive, but will decide to kill everyone anyway after getting what she wants.
  • Imaginary Enemy: In the seventh season, Sam begins hallucinating that Lucifer (the Big Bad of Season 5) is tormenting him as a result of having his soul mangled in Hell. Even though this Lucifer is a hallucination, and Sam knows he's a hallucination, he still manages to cause quite a bit of trouble, including invoking Schrödinger's Butterfly and nearly tricking Sam into shooting Dean. The hallucinations get worse as the season progresses, until finally Sam has a mental breakdown and can't even manage basic functions like eating and sleeping. Castiel saves Sam by transferring the hallucination to his own mind. Being an angel, he eventually recovers.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • In "My Bloody Valentine," a man and woman on a date really, really want each other, so much so they go from kissing to devouring each other alive. The woman's roommate says that when she found them, the man, while dying, was "still chewing." It turns out that they are driven to this by the presence of Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
    • Wendigos were humans who became monsters by succumbing to cannibalism.
  • Immortal Breaker: The series has multiple weapons capable of killing immortal beings:
    • Samuel Colt's weapon The Colt, a handgun. However, it turns out there are some beings that are immune to it, such as Lucifer himself.
    • Archangel blades are the only things that can kill other archangels, though with the added caveat that it only works if the wielder themself is also an archangel.
    • Death's scythe can kill anything, even Death himself. As Dean demonstrates to him.
  • Immortality Immorality:
    • Subverted in Season 3's "Time Is On My Side" with an immortal doctor who needs to replace his organs when they "wear out"; Sam steals his notebook, complete with the formula for how to become immortal. Turns out it's not some dark magic ritual that involves drinking blood from a baby's skull, it's just science — very weird science. The brothers eventually bury the notebook with the doctor, not wanting to have to prey on others to survive. It seems like they didn't stop to consider the positive implications of that kind of immortality paired with organ cloning technology...
    • And subverted again in the Season 5 episode "The Curious Case Of Dean Winchester," where the leads come across a witch who lengthens his life by playing Texas Hold'em with humans. At least 25 years of life is the buy-in: winning means you can regress to your younger self or not age for that amount of time, while losing means you age rapidly or die. There are no tricks involved, as the only ones who play the witch are those who search him out knowing full well what the game entails. Interestingly, the witch never cheats (he's been playing and winning so long, he doesn't feel the need to), tries to dissuade potential players whom he believes don't have a real shot at winning, and on one case, he folds a hand he's certain he'll win and voluntarily ends the game, just to give an aging opponent enough extra years of life for him to see his granddaughter's Bat Mitzvah. He's a pretty nice guy.
  • Imperfect Ritual: Spells and rituals usually require exact components and execution and improvising can be dangerous. In one instance a hunter followed instructions and repeatedly stabbed a rare monster with special mystical dagger but was wrong about how many times he had to stab it. The monster revived but luckily Bobby discovered that putting it through a wood chipper negates the need for an elaborate killing ritual. In another instance Sam and Dean are going against two powerful witches. They try to use a spell against the witches but it requires chicken feet. All they can get on short notice are frozen chicken feet. In the end it is left ambiguous whether the substitution broke the spell or whether the witches were just too powerful to be harmed by it.
  • Impersonating an Officer: The brothers impersonate police and FBI agents a lot to get close to witnesses, as do several other hunters. Bobby backstops the boys' aliases if someone wants to call their superior. One episode shows Bobby has a whole wall of phones labeled with each alias, though in the same episode the trope fails because it turns out the sheriff they're talking to knows Bobby. This backfires when they're investigating a LARP event — one of the LARPers identifies their FBI badges as fake because he used similar ones in the past, congratulates them on the quality, then chews them out for being dressed for the wrong setting.
  • Implausible Deniability: "Swan Song." In plain view of everyone, Castiel hits Michael with flaming sacred oil.
    Lucifer: [incredulous, rhetorical] Did you just molotov my brother with holy fire?
    Castiel: [knows perfectly well Lucifer saw the whole thing] Um... no.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: The Colt and Ruby's knife, both of which happen to be Achilles' Heel for demons.
  • Impostor Exposing Test:
    • When Sam comes Back from the Dead in Season 6, he ties Dean up so that he won't attack him, then cuts himself with a silver knife and swigs a mouthful of salty holy water to prove he's really himself. Dean had the same set of tests run on him when he got back from Hell.
    • In another episode, a parasite has infected one of the characters, but they can't be sure who. They had earlier figured out that electricity was so effective on the parasite that it would be forced to leave the host, so the characters had to take turns shocking themselves to prove they didn't have it.
  • In Mysterious Ways:
    • God's presence is 0% for the first three seasons. Then in Season 4, He sends an angel to revive Dean from Hell and starts being a lot more proactive. When Dean questions Castiel about it, Castiel begins to state this trope, but Dean cuts him off and warns him, "If you say 'In Mysterious Ways,' so help me, I will kick your ass." A later episode shows that God's ways are so mysterious, even most of the angels don't know what's going on.
    • The archangels, and Lucifer, all seem very certain their father is real, but that he is either dead or just gone forever. As one might imagine, this distresses them. Castiel wants to find him and ask what's up.
    • They found out from an angel named Joshua that God is on Earth and aware of Apocalypse, but simply doesn't care. Cue to severe despair for Dean, and both a tremendous loss of faith and start of severe alcoholic problems for Castiel in following episodes.
    • Later it is implied that Chuck, the prophet who began writing Dean and Sam's adventures for profit, might have been God the whole time and was slightly guiding them. Of course, considering some hints from Gabriel, Lucifer and others and the way all angels and humans are, it still doesn't excuse him of being one hell of a lousy father, considering Gabriel decided to ditch them and turn into the Trickster, Lucifer... well, you know the rest. In retrospect, this means that when Chuck was apologizing for making them live bad writing, he was apologizing for their entire lives.
    • In a later episode (Reading is fundamental) Castiel outright invokes this trope by reacting to Dean's question on what kind of sense some angelic plan makes with "That's God and his shiny red apples."
  • Incest Subtext:
    • Sam and Dean grew up with minimal boundaries and are startlingly blasé about each other's sex lives, get jealous of each other having friends and love interests that could come between them, repeatedly forgo relationships with other people to stay with the other, act like a recently-broken up couple whenever they fight, and after Dean makes an attempt on Sam's life while under supernatural influence, Dean asks Castiel if Sam "wants a divorce". They are frequently paralleled with romantic couples (usually of the criminal variety such as Butch and Sundance, Thelma and Louise, Leopold and Loeb, but also with their own parents), only started sleeping in separate rooms some of the time in their 30s, have many domestic moments after moving into the Men of Letters bunker. The series finale confirms that they are literal life partners in the textbook sense, with neither of them getting together with other people until after one of them dies.
      • In Season 9, Cain passes on the Mark of Cain, which Dean needs to kill a Knight of Hell, which has the side-effect of rendering its wielder uncontrollably bloodthirsty and uninhibited. Cain recounts how his wife Colette loved him despite his past atrocities, and convinced him to give up his life of violence, only for Abbadon to possess and kill her in an attempt to bring Cain back to Hell. As her dying wish, she asks him to live a life of peace, which he does. Five episodes later, Sam is taken hostage and tortured much the same way to get Dean to use the First Blade. At the worst of the Mark's influence, Dean states that he's evil and that Sam is evil for refusing to let him go. Even after Sam takes a Curb Stomp Beatdown and eventually agrees to die, he still tells Dean that he's a good person, giving Dean the power to overcome the Mark and kill Death instead.
      • In Season 11, Sam's successful removal of the Mark of Cain unleashes Amara, the Destruction to God's Creation, who fixates on Dean and forms a connection with him, sparing his life several times and also making out with him. In an episode where Dean faces a creature that takes on the appearance of one's deepest desire (previously taking on the appearance of a husband and a woman he was having an affair with), it takes the form of Amara, to which Dean is disbelieving while Sam suggests it's simply due to Amara's sheer power and not representative of Dean himself. However, under the influence of Amara's fog, Sam reveals his fear that Dean will choose Amara over him, which Dean adamantly denies and proceeds to try and die with Sam. The kicker is that Dean, in the season finale, outright states that Amara wasn't really in love with him, but instead she just wanted Chuck. And he's right.
        Dean: You don't want to be alone. Not really. I mean, hell. Maybe that's why you wanted me. But deep down, you didn't really want me... 'cause I'm not him.
  • Incoming Ham: Gabriel when he steps into the conference of gods. "Can't we ALL just GET ALONG?"
  • Informed Ability:
    • Done a few times when it comes to describing people as intelligent. Besides the odd character like Sam and Ash, who demonstrate that they are especially knowledgeable in certain fields, often the writers will just throw in a toss away line that explains that the character in question reads/owns a lot of complicated books so they must be smart, despite often making horribly poor decisions and never doing or saying anything that might demonstrate said intelligence.
    • Sometimes Sam and Dean's "great" hunting skills which is odd considering that, once per episode, at least one of the brothers is put in harm way and only gets out of it through dumb luck. John Winchester sticks out: touted as the best hunter ever, yet all of his appearances see him screwing up and needing to be rescued by Sam and Dean.
    • The Jefferson Starships are so named because they're "horrible and hard to kill." This is after the group slew an entire police station of them with relatively little effort.
    • In a highly unexpected Subverted Trope — notable for how rarely a show successfully pulls it off, the Season 2 episode "Crossroad Blues" features a man who sells his soul in order to become a great artist. They do actually show a number of his artworks, all of which are interesting and emotive. How great they actually are still remains a matter of opinion, of course, and the writers acknowledge this by having the character create artworks that he pours his heart into, but never actually manages to sell.
    • Played straight with Gordon Walker, a hunter who specializes in vampires. He's supposed to be among the best at tracking and killing them, but two of the three vampires we see him fight manage to get the upper hand. The first time he's bailed out by Sam and Dean, the second he's not so lucky.
    • The Leviathans, main enemies of Season 7, are supposed to be even more powerful than angels, and demonstrated when Edgar easily dispatches two angel mooks. The problem is there is little outside this scene to indicate this is actually the case. Angels are super strong, able to teleport, Nigh-Invulnerable, capable of healing major injuries and resurrecting the dead, can kill most monsters and demons just by touching them, and can even Time Travel and alter reality. In fact, they're so powerful that in three seasons Sam and Dean only ever managed to outright kill one angel — and even then, only because Dean took him by surprise. Leviathans are also Nigh-Invulnerable and can shapeshift, but have little else going for them, and have actually had trouble fighting demons, witches, ghosts, and even normal humans, all of which were previously established as being much weaker than angels. So rather than actually making the Leviathans seem frightening, the scene just comes off as a desperate attempt to establish the leviathans as a credible threat by invoking The Worf Effect.
  • Informed Attractiveness: While certainly a handsome man, characters on the show constantly act like Dean is the hottest guy ever, while Sam (you know, Jared Padalecki) is too nerdy to be as attractive.
  • Insistent Terminology: Sam asks that Dean not call him "Sammy" in the first episode, saying that it's a kid's name. It doesn't stick, but Sam makes it very clear to anyone else who does that Dean is the only one who can call him that.
  • The Insomniac: Sam starts staying up all night in the first season when he's having nightmares about Jessica. In a much creepier example, he also stops sleeping entirely in Season 6, when he's lost his soul. And for several days in Season 7, to the point where he nearly dies, after the hallucination of Lucifer left over from his time in hell becomes unbearable. Discussed in Season 14, when Sam's overbooked with managing the Apocalypse World Hunters:
    Sam: So we'll work harder.
    Dean: How, Sam? You get sleep three hours of sleep a night.
    Sam: All right, then I'll sleep two.
  • Instant Expert: The psychics in the show are able to develop their powers quickly if they give in to the demon's will; regular practice doesn't have as sudden and extreme results.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • The fact that Sam was drinking demonic blood to power his psychic exorcism powers was revealed to the audience in 4x16, "On the Head of a Pin." Dean didn't find out until 4x20, "The Rapture." He wasn't happy.
    • Sam and Dean are in the dark about Castiel being possessed by Lucifer for several episodes of Season 11.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Most female demons, especially Ruby, Meg, and Dental Hygienist!Lilith, love macking on the boys while smacking them around.
  • Interspecies Romance: And these are just the canon ones...
    • Gabriel (angel) / Kali (goddess).
    • Jeffery (human) / his Demon.
    • Dean (human) / Anna (angel).
    • Sam (human) / Madison (werewolf).
    • Sam / Ruby (demon).
    • Sam / "Amy" (kitsune).
    • Bobby (human) / Eleanor (monster).
    • Charlie (human) / Gilda (fairy).
    • James (human witch) / Portia (familiar).
    • Meg (demon) / Castiel (angel).
    • Crowley (demon) / Naomi (angel).
    • Hayley (human) / Prometheus (titan).
    • Prometheus / Artemis (goddess)
    • Castiel (angel) / April Kelly (reaper).
    • Larry (human) / Maritza (Pishtaco).
    • David Lassiter (shapeshifter) / Violet Duval (werewolf).
    • Bunny Lacroix (human) / a shapeshifter.
  • In the Blood:
    • Destiny grabbed the Winchesters by the veins in that they are apparently descended on both sides from a line of archangel vessels, and were born to house Lucifer and Michael for their final apocalyptic battle on earth.
    • Lampshaded in "It's a Terrible Life" where Zachariah's lesson was meant to teach Dean;
      Zachariah: The path you're on is truly in your blood. You're a Hunter. Not because your dad made you, not because God called you back from hell, but because it is what you are. And you love it, you'll find your way back to it in the dark every single time and you're miserable without it.
    • The Man of Letters Henry Winchester is dismayed at first to learn that his son and his grandsons became mere hunters, but later admits that they're still his descendants, and if circumstances were different, would have made brilliant Men of Letters themselves.
  • In the Doldrums: Crowley invokes it when he reshapes hell into a long, long, long queue. And when you reach the end of it? You start it again.
  • Invasion of the Baby Snatchers: "The Kids Are Alright" had this with a rather frightening twist; the children were replaced by changelings, exact replicas of the real thing, but they sucked blood from their mothers and killed their fathers. The real children were kept in cages.
  • Invisibility: "Wishful Thinking" had an invisible kid (among a few other things) due to a real (evil) wishing well. The kid wished for it purely so he could peep in the ladies' locker room. Late in the episode, he gets hit by a car (he lives), but it's unclear whether this is due to the kid's bad luck or the well causing the bad luck to happen.
  • Invisible Jerkass: In the "Wishing Well" episode, a boy wishes to become invisible so he can spy on women in the shower. It fails, due to the kid's complete lack of reflex and agility.
  • Invisible Monsters: Hell Hounds are invisible to everyone but their target. They can also be seen with glasses that were burned by holy fire.
  • Invisible Streaker: In "Wishful Thinking," this is how the invisibility of one of the users of the magic wishing well works.
  • Ironic Episode Title:
    • "Everybody Loves a Clown" and "The Kids Are Alright." Lies!
    • "Jump the Shark" seems like this at first. That it was the least viewed episode of the season in America isn't exactly a big surprise.
  • Iron Maiden: The preferred torture device of Alternate Universe Archangel Michael is an iron maiden stored in a backroom of his base (a dilapidated church), which he initially uses to interrogate the captured Lucifer by impaling him on its spikes.
  • Is the Answer to This Question "Yes"?: Played with. Frank from Season 7 has some interesting notions on what is or isn't obviously true.
    Dean: Think you can crack it?
    Frank: Can a dog play poker?
    Dean: ...I don't—
    Frank: [exasperated] The answer is "yes."
  • It Only Works Once: In Season 7, Sam and Dean eventually acquire a Villain-Beating Artifact that can be used to kill an otherwise Nigh-Invulnerable Leviathan, but it can only be used once. They decide to target their leader Dick Roman, hoping that his army will collapse without him. When the weapon is finally used, it sucks both Dean and Castiel along with Roman into the monster afterlife.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Dean holds a lot of survivor's guilt, especially "Faith" when he's dying, Sam takes him to a faith healer and he's healed, except someone else died for him; the entirety of Season 2 over his dad dying to save him; when Sam dies in "All Hell Breaks Loose"; and breaking the first Seal, as well as Season 5 when he blames himself for Jo and Ellen's deaths as well. There's a bit early in Season 7 where Dean, only half-joking, says, "Unemployment? That's on me."
    Dean: There's always something eating at me. That's who I am. Something happens, I feel responsible, all right? The Lindbergh baby—that's on me. Unemployment—my bad.
    • Sam holds similar issues, blaming himself for seeing Jess' death in premonitions and not taking them seriously, not being able to save Dean from Hell, unintentionally breaking the last Seal and starting the Apocalypse. It reaches a tear-filled culmination in the Season 8 finale as well, with Sam admitting that his foremost confession to purify his blood for the use in the demon-curing exorcism was the admittance of how he failed Dean. It only spirals downwards from there.
  • It Tastes Like Feet:
    • In the episode "Malleus Mallificarum," Ruby saves Dean from a curse with a disgusting cure. While it's witchcraft, he seems to think "it tastes like ass".
    • A similar gag re: pizza in the seventh-season episode "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie" —
      Tyler: That stuff tastes like butt.
      Dean: What? Come on, it can't be that bad. Let's see here. [takes a bite] Uh... [spits it out in disgust] That is butt.

  • Jerkass Gods: All of the pagan gods on the show including the "nicer" ones like Balder are human-eating monsters. The sole exception is Prometheus who is a type of "proto-god." God himself is supposedly good, but comes across more as a deadbeat father whose abandonment of heaven have caused all the major problems in the show from Season 4 onward and has done nothing about any of those problems or the general mess Earth has been.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Zachariah may be an unpleasant, vain, self-involved feathered pain in the butt... but he warned Adam that Sam and Dean would be too busy saving one another, would forget about him. When Dean had the chance to only save Adam or Sam, he needed about two seconds to pick Sam. They then forget about him... just as Zachariah predicted.
    • Crowley warned Kevin Tran that trusting the Winchesters would get him killed and... well...
    • Metatron to Castiel in "Book of the Damned":
      Metatron: If I'm gonna die, I want answers. Like, who are you now? Like, you're obviously not an angel of the lord. And what about all of this "walking the earth like Kane from Kung Fu" crap? Cleaning up heaven's messes. How many more rogue angels are there out there? And what are you gonna do once you're done with all that? Go back to Heaven? Please. The angel formerly known as Hannah has restored order up top. Smoothest it's run since God cut the ribbon on the pearly gates. So tell me, Castiel, truly, what is your mission now?
      Castiel: [Beat] You shut up and keep looking.
      Metatron: [sighs] Can't say I try.
    • The British Men of Letters have a point in trying to a) exterminate every supernatural creeper in America and b) using methodical and scientific methods instead of the piecemeal methods of Sam/Dean and other American Hunters. Where they went wrong was in having people with no actual combat experience running the show (as seen in “The Raid”), and in employing various Psychos for Hire like Ketch and Toni.
  • Jesus Taboo: Despite the huge amount of Judeo-Christian mythology used on the show, Jesus is notably absent as a character, or even as a hypothetical participant in the End Times storylines. There are a number of theories about his identity in the text. The Leviathans and other inhabitants of Purgatory, as well as the forces of Hell, believe he was just a human with some good ideas. The Old Gods suspect he was created by God to help encourage humans to hunt them down and cover up God's cupability in creating the Pagan gods as proxies. Amara, God's own sister seems to regard Christ as simply her brother in a Paper-Thin Disguise. Castiel belives Jesus truly was the Son of God. There are also strong hints that his true identity was simply the Angel Joshua. In particular, the "party line" that Castiel believes in that matches traditional Christianity has by far the least support in the text. In the end Jack Kline basically takes his place in the story as the true heir of God.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind:
    • "Dream A Little Dream of Me" features Sam and Dean wandering through Bobby and then Dean's heads in order to wake Bobby up from a magically induced sleep, where Bobby's darker consciousness takes form of his deceased wife, whom he killed when she was possessed by a demon.
    • In Season 12, Dean enters Mary's mind to try and wake her up from the British Men of Letter's hypnotism, to find she's willingly keeping herself in a fantasy world before Azazel killed her.
    • In Season 14, Sam and Castiel enter Dean's mind to try and talk him out of Michael's Lotus-Eater Machine world where Dean runs a bar with Pamela from Season 4.
  • Judgement of the Dead: Zigzagged. The Grim Reaper and his army of lesser "Reapers" are responsible for ferrying souls to the afterlife, but they do not judge which afterlife they are destined for. This role was originally carried out by God, and after he went missing the Angels hired the pagan god Anubis to continue judgment in his absence. However, when the Winchesters attempt to blackmail Anubis into altering somebody's destined afterlife, he flatly declares that neither he nor God can actually change it: people themselves are responsible for their fates, through the choices they have made in life. Free will and all that.
  • Jumped at the Call: Jo Harvelle and Claire Novak are both teenagers eager to become independent hunters, despite the worries of the adults in their lives.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope:
    • Season 2, "Bloodlust". The Winchester brothers met rogue vampire hunter Gordon Walker while looking for a nest of vampires. Gordon seems like a decent enough chap and a worthy ally, and Dean likes his "kill all the monsters and enjoy the hunt" philosophy. Dean and Sam end up fighting when Sam reveals that other hunters say Gordon is bad news. Before this can go any further, Gordon takes a swandive off the slope when the local vampires turn out to actually be peaceful, having sworn off killing humans, yet he still attempts to slaughter them. Then he tries to feed Sam to the head vampire to prove she's still a monster, and attacks Dean when they try to protect her. Bad move.
    • This is Castiel's entire character arc during Season 6. Desperate to defeat Raphael in the civil war in Heaven, Castiel begins performing many morally questionable acts, not the least of which is allying with Crowley, and rapidly skipping several shades of grey. This ultimately culminates in the season finale, where he jumps right into Villain Protagonist territory when he absorbs all the soul energy of Purgatory and declares himself the new God.
  • Just Between You and Me: None of the demons seem to be able to resist the temptation (except for the BigBads) to gloat and exposit their grand plans. The rest of the monsters are strangely immune.
  • Just Testing You: In "A Very Supernatural Christmas".
    Sam: We've seen that wreath before, Dean.
    Dean: Where?
    Sam: The Walshes'. Yesterday.
    Dean: ...I know... I was just testing you.

  • Kids Play Matchmaker: After Dean and Lisa break up, Ben tricks them into meeting one another again for a date in an attempt to bring them together again. It doesn't work, and Dean even lampshades the situation by irritably telling Lisa that they were 'Parent Trapped'.
  • The Kid with the Remote Control: In a more literal sense, there is Jesse, who didn't even know that he had it.
  • Killed Offscreen:
    • In "All Hell Breaks Loose", a couple occur. Dean and Bobby discover the Roadhouse has been burned down offscreen, causing the deaths of a bunch of hunters including Ash, whose severed hand is discovered among the ruins. Ash's reappearance in Heaven three seasons later puts any doubt over his death to rest. Lily is killed while trying to escape the Ghost Town, with her body being found hanging from the windmill.
    • Henriksen, Nancy and Sheriff Melvin Dodd in "Jus in Bello" are seemingly killed by Lilith in a blast of white light, but Henriksen's ghost reveals in the next season that that was not the case: according to him, Lilith actually spent forty-five full minutes torturing them to death before she blew up the police station.
    • In "First Born", the hunter Tara is last seen trying to fend off a demon who pays her a visit. When said demon later confronts Dean and Crowley, he mentions he found out where the two are and what they're up to by interrogating Tara and apparently flaying her alive.
    • Charlie is murdered offscreen by Eldon Stein. The last we see of her alive is her making a stand with her Oz-native blade, before Sam and Dean arrive at her location too late and only find her corpse.
    • Toni. When Dean is awoken from his mind link with Mary, he finds Toni with her throat slit, thanks to Ketch, which is made worse by the fact that it's due to Dean handcuffing her to the table beforehand, leaving her unable to escape.
    • Lucifer kills Rowena for the second time in "All Along the Watchtower", and while the killing is not shown, her burnt corpse is. Not that it stops her from resurrecting.
    • "Let the Good Times Roll" opens with Bobby and Mary discovering Maggie's bloodied corpse in the forest outside the Men of Letters bunker. It gets undone via resurrection by the end of the episode.
    • Mary Winchester in Season 14. "Game Night" ends with her trying to snap Jack out of his violent episode. "Absence" opens with Dean and Sam learning from Rowena that she's died. Dean later finds her ashes and Jack materializes her dead body, but her death itself is never shown in the episode.
    • Eileen Leahy, twice. After her first death, Sam gets a call from Jody that she is dead and identifies her body. She's furthemore one of the first people to be Reduced to Dust by Chuck in "Despair", although she doesn't appear in the episode itself. Sam only knows she's gone because her texting suddenly stops and he finds her phone on the front lawn of her house. She's returned to life again, like everyone else by the season finale.
  • Killed Off for Real: Several recurring characters every season:
    • Season 1: Jess, Meg Masters (the human vessel).
    • Season 2: John, Andy, Ava, Ash, Jake, Azazel.
    • Season 3: Kubrick, Gordon, Victor, Bela.
    • Season 4: Pamela, Alastair, Uriel, Lilith, Ruby.
    • Season 5: Jo, Ellen, Anna, Zachariah.
    • Season 6: Christian, Gwen, Samuel, Rufus, Rachel, Eve, Dr. Visyak, Balthazar, Raphael.
    • Season 7: Chet, Bobby, Frank, Edgar, Dick Roman.
    • Season 8: Channing, Martin, Samandriel, Meg Masters (the demon), Benny, Tommy Collins, Sarah Blake, Josie Sands.
    • Season 9: Kevin, Bartholomew, Abaddon, Tessa, Gadreel.
    • Season 10: Gerald, Guthrie, Cain, Amelia Novak, Charlie, Death.
    • Season 11: Hannah, Metatron, Simmons.
    • Season 12: Vince Vincente, Mick, Dagon, Lady Bevell, Doctor Hess, Crowley, Kelly Kline.
    • Season 13: Gabriel, Apocalypse!Kevin, Asmodeus, Lucifer.
    • Season 14: Lily Sunder, Maggie, Apocalypse!Michael, Nick, Mary, Dumah.
    • Season 15: Belphegor, Rowena, Michael, Lucifer, Billie, Castiel, Dean, Sam.
  • Killer Finale: Dean is Killed Off for Real in the series finale. After a Time Skip, Sam dies of old age.
  • Kill It with Fire: The only way to kill off a Wendigo or a Rugaru ("Wendigo" and "Metamorphosis"). Also, salting and burning remains is standard operating procedure of Dean and Sam.
  • Kill the Host Body: At first the Winchesters, on the rare occasion that they encountered a demon possessing someone, would go through a lengthy ritual to force the demon out of the body and banish it back to hell. Eventually this was dropped when they acquired a demon-killing gun, and later, a demon-killing blade. They never address the sheer number of innocent people they've killed by killing demons in this fashion, showing that they've become more callous to collateral damage the longer they've been fighting the forces of evil.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Examples abound, both with the main cast and side characters.
    • Just between Sam and Dean, we have John's Last Words to Dean being that he needs to save Sam or kill him, Sam himself begging Dean to kill him in "Playthings" and "Born Under A Bad Sign", Dean willing to let Sam die from the demon detox than give him demon blood, and in the cases where either of them get possessed by their respective archangels.
    • In the Season 1 finale John Winchester ordered Sam to shoot him with the Colt to take the demon out as well. (He didn't.)
    • Bobby became a hunter after he killed his wife when she was possessed by a demon. Then he kills her again when Death brings her back to life but learns that she's turning into a flesh-eating zombie. Naturally it pains him a great deal.
      Bobby: She was the love of my life. How many times do I have to kill her?
    • This is the background of recurring antagonist Blood Knight Gordon Walker, whose sister was turned into a vampire.
    • Sam's first girlfriend after his episode-one bereavement turns out to be a werewolf who asks him to kill her. Or there's that time Sam nearly strangled Dean to death, or that time Sam shot Dean, or that time Sam was possessed and shot Dean, and possessed and killed him in the Bad Future.
    • Downplayed in Season 6, with soulless Robo-Sam determined to prevent Dean from restoring his soul. Rogue angel Balthazar informs him that to get his soul to reject reunion with his body he needs to pollute it with a crime such as patricide. Robo-Sam can't feel love, but apparently Sam's regard for Bobby as a surrogate father is enough for murdering him to be 'good enough.'
    • Invoked by Naomi in Season 8, as it's revealed that part of the process of putting Castiel under her control to keep him loyal to Heaven involved forcing him to kill false projections of Dean—over and over and over again—until he can kill the real Dean. Even after everything, he still can't.
    • Plenty of lesser instances, particularly where family members or Love Interests of both recurring and incidental cast turn out to be or turn into monsters.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: In "Dark Side of the Moon", Zachariah reveals that he uses a simulation of Sam and Dean's mother as a sex toy, much to their disgust. He even calls her a MILF.
  • Knight Errant: Sam and Dean, but primarily Sam. While they may have other goals during the series — finding their father in Season 1, trying to negate Dean's contract in Season 3 — they always stop by in whatever wayward towns are being haunted even if they don't have personal reasons to, and deal with the supernatural threats there.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Dean loses it when Sam's in danger. They each go overboard when they lose their brother.
  • Knight Templar:
    • Gordon Walker is a hunter who tries to kill Sam and other psychic kids because he firmly believes that they'll turn against humanity and that Sam is the Antichrist. He considers his position unassailable enough that he won't let morality stand in the way of stopping Sam.
    • Nearly all the angels qualify, considering they believe that they're following the will of God. And most don't want to let free will get in the way of that.
    • And since the end of Season 6, also Castiel — well, until he became much worse...
    • Lucifer himself viewed humans as murderous apes who ruined planet Earth, which he referred to as God's last perfect masterpiece. His Humans Are Bastards belief as well as his self-centered, self-righteous personality caused him to rebel against God.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: The Leviathans are not giant sea creatures, but rather are perfectly capable of living on land and while they are seldom seen in their true form, there's no sign that this true form is any bigger than the human disguises they use. But there are good mythological reasons for calling them by the name "Leviathan": Their backstory is related to biblical mythology; they are Eldritch Abominations that are all about having a predatory appetite; and when their true form is shown, the view isn't very clear, but it definitely has More Teeth than the Osmond Family.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Many monsters have some sort of weakness or vulnerability, such as silver or a wooden stake. Barring certain creatures, most will also fall to the Colt or an angel blade.

  • Lack of Empathy: In Season 6, Sam without his soul loses his characteristic compassion and becomes wholly apathetic to other people's emotions, including his own.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • In "Everybody Loves A Clown" (Season 2: Episode 2) when Sam and Dean are hunting the Rakshasa in the Funhouse and it goes invisible Dean says "shouldn't we see his clothes".
    • In "Changing Channels," when the boys catch The Trickster/Gabriel, he asks where they got the item necessary for the trap. Dean's response? "Well, you might say we pulled it out of Sam's ass".
    • In "Jump The Shark," Sam and Dean get a phone call from someone who claims to be their long-lost brother. The very next shot is "Cousin Oliver's Diner."
    • As Chuck hilariously points out;
      Chuck: It's not jumping the shark if you never come down.
  • La Résistance: Future!Dean in "The End" is the "fearless leader" of some of the few remaining humans.
  • Last of His Kind: There are two separate classes of Demon Lords and Archdevils that were reduced to the last individual.
    • Cain becomes the last Knight of Hell after Dean kills Abaddon, though Abaddon is the last Knight who actually serves Hell.
    • Asmodeus became the last Prince of Hell, of which there are only four (Lucifer modeled it after the Four Archangels), after Azazel, Dagon, and Ramiel all bit the dust. Ironically, it's pointed out that he was actually the weakest of the bunch, but he managed to outlast his siblings through cunning.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The show lasted 15 seasons with major plot shakeups almost every season, making this inevitable. Several major character deaths can be spoiled simply by their eventual absence in promotional materials, such as Bobby who, while appearing in every single season, is no longer a regular after Season 7, and almost every previous season's cliffhanger is immediately spoiled by the next season's trailer. When one of Team Free Will die or the world starts ending (again), the question isn't so much if they get out of it but how.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • In the Season 2 episode "Hollywood Babylon," Sam remarks that the (strangely overcast) weather in L.A. is "practically Canadian." Supernatural is of course shot in Vancouver, Canada.
    • In Season 4, the show gained an In-Universe fandom counterpart that pokes fun at the real life fandom, after the Winchesters discover that they have been written about in a popular book series (complete with fan-girls and fan-boys), then they meet the author of said books, who apologizes for the poor writing in certain panned episodes. In a Season 5, they even went to a fan convention all about the Supernatural series. And this is saying nothing of Dean's "they do know we're brothers, right?" reaction when he finds out about Wincest, and equal apprehension towards Destiel ("Shouldn't it be pronounced Deastiel?") in Season 10.
    • There was also Crowley's remark to Castiel in a Season 6 episode: "Castiel. Haven't seen you all season." alluding out-of-universe to Castiel's minimal appearances.
    • Crowley does this again with Castiel when he mentions that Cas is the angel of Thursday and today wasn't his day. During that season, Supernatural switched to Friday nights.
    • "It's about time we had a nice black and white case." was spoken at the start of the episode that was shown in black and white.
    • In "There Will Be Blood," the Alpha says, "See you next season," as Sam and Dean are leaving.
    • "The French Mistake" obliterates the fourth wall, with Sam and Dean stumbling into a universe where their lives are a TV show starring Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, and Misha Collins.
  • Left Hanging: The show ends with a number of plot threads left unresolved:
    • Most infamously, Cas confesses in the antepenultimate episode that he's been in love with Dean for years, and possibly the entire time they've known each other. This revelation, as well as the question of how Dean feels about the confession (including whether or not he reciprocates, which the show pointedly does not confirm or denynote ), is never addressed again.
    • Earlier in the season, it was established that Cas' grace was fading. Nothing ever comes of this.
    • Every afterlife was in some sort of disarray—the Empty was awake, the dead angels and demons inside it were asking to be let out, Hell was in chaos, and the angels were gone. The only acknowledgement of any of this in the finale comes from a throwaway line about Jack and Cas, who has somehow been brought back from the Empty offscreen, fixing Heaven.
    • The last we see or hear of Eileen is when she vanishes along with everyone else on Earth but Sam, Dean, and Jack, much to Sam's despair. While she presumably does come back, Sam never mentions her again, and Word of God states that Sam's wife in the Distant Finale isn't necessarily Eileen, though it could be.
  • The Legions of Hell: Whole bunch of demons get out of hell in "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part II." In "The Magnificent Seven," Envy (yes, that Envy) says "We are legion." And there's a horde of attacking demons in "Jus in Bello."
  • Leitmotif: Dean has two: "Americana" and "Dean's Family Dedication Theme".
  • Lesser of Two Evils: Subverted. Lucifer the archangel is released in Season 5 and starts the Apocalypse, and the Winchesters are stuck in a battle between Hell and Heaven. The demonic armies want to destroy the Earth and take over Heaven, although Lucifer plans on killing them too, while the angelic bureaucracy is barely better, being a corrupt military theocracy who want to bring about Paradise and find the slaughter of half of humanity in the ensuing fight between Lucifer and Michael acceptable losses. The Winchesters are too powerless to kill either of them, and after being stuck between two bad options for an entire season Dean almost gives in to Heaven's demands, but the team pulls him back and they continue looking for more options.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Happens a few times, but most notably in "Skin", when the brothers are hunting a shapeshifter. See where this is going?
  • Liberty Over Prosperity: This is Sam and Dean's motive for rejecting the angels' plan to destroy the earth and rebuild it as a heaven.
    Dean: You can take your peace... and shove it up your lily-white ass. Cause I'll take the pain and the guilt, I'll even take Sam as is. It's a lot better than being some Stepford bitch in paradise.
    Castiel: [a season later] You got what you asked for, Dean. No paradise, no hell, just more of the same. I mean it, Dean. What would you rather have? Peace... or freedom?
  • Life Drinker:
    • In "Something Wicked", an immortal creature called a shtriga drains the life force from people, mostly children.
    • In "The Curious Case Of Dean Winchester", a 900-year-old Irish witch uses an enchanted card game to "win years" from his opponents, and used them to extend his own life and that of his wife, who had become tired of living forever and wanted to die.
    • The Darkness, Amara, grows up from a newborn to a woman by consuming human souls.
  • Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: The true form of God is a pillar of blinding light. His archangel children are also able to take on this form although the angels aren't exactly explicitly good, especially Lucifer. Meanwhile, The Anti-God is the Darkness who is a literal mass of Living Shadow.
  • Light Is Not Good: All but two of the angels seen so far are manipulative dicks who despise humanity just as much as their big bro Lucifer (who himself is one of the oldest examples of this trope). One of them tries to stop Sam and Dean from being born, in an attempt to stop the Apocalypse. It's implied to be a result of Brainwashed and Crazy and Being Tortured Makes You Evil. The other eventually goes nuts, and declares himself the new God.. Later seasons show the angels as a bit more diverse. Some angels are indifferent to humanity. Some are psychopaths. Many do want to help humanity, but don't really know how since they are clueless about the mortal world and are used to being told what to do with free thinking being strongly discouraged. Come the Season 14 finale, turns out God Himself is also not good to put it kindly.
  • Literal Split Personality:
    • In the Season 6 finale, Sam is stuck in a Mental World where his identity has split into three personalities: Sam, Soulless Sam, and the Sam who's been tortured in the Cage. Finding his way out of there requires the other two to merge back into him.
    • In "There's No Place Like Home," Charlie comes back from Oz having been split into Good Charlie and Dark Charlie by the Wizard of Oz so that they could win the battle for Emerald City. We later discover that the Wizard of Oz is actually the evil half of a Man of Letters named Clive Dillon who had been split into two as well by witches while traveling in Oz. This proves to be the key to helping Charlie as Clive Dillon injures himself to force the Wizard to come and help him, allowing them to steal a key he had that allows them to merge the two Charlies.
  • Little Miss Badass: In "The Rapture," Jimmy's (Castiel's vessel's) daughter is possessed by Castiel and proceeds to kick major demon ass.
  • Living Emotional Crutch:
    • The brothers share a mutual one. They definitely have their troubles when they are together, but when Sam is gone, Dean falls apart. Case in point: the beginning of "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 2" (S02, E22). Dean is also this for Sam to an equal extent: when Dean went to Hell, Sam practically destroyed himself (and probably would have ended up killing himself had Ruby not stepped in) trying to get Dean back. It's lampshaded as early as Season 5 (out of 15).
      Zachariah: You know Sam and Dean Winchester are psychotically, irrationally, erotically codependent on each other, right?
      • This is eventually deconstructed in Seasons 8 to 10. Sam and Dean become too reliant and dependent on each other, and this behavior ends up becoming self-destructive for the both of them, with Sam Driven to Suicide when he thinks Dean doesn't need him, and Dean Gaslighting Sam to keep him from ejecting Ezekiel, who's keeping Sam alive. Their refusal to let go of the other leads both brothers to make some very poorly thought and selfish decisions that harm each other and drive them apart, though they never manage to stay apart. Things come to a head at the end of Season 10, when Dean calls himself evil for bearing the Mark of Cain, and calls Sam evil for the lengths he'll go to save him.
      • Reconstructed when Sam admits at the start of Season 11 that they have to save people other than each other, and makes an effort to spare lives. This lasts about a handful of episodes before Sam appears to die on a hunt and Dean's willing to kill himself to get him back, with the Reaper Billie Lampshading his dependency. That said, they manage to be somewhat more aware of this trope, enough that in the Season 15 finale Sam specifically survives without Dean after Dean asks him not to bring him back and asks him to live on.
      Billie: It's cute, though. You pretending you're trying to save Sam for the greater good, when we both know you're doing it for you. You can't lose him.
  • Living Lie Detector: Both Sam and Dean are very good at knowing when someone is lying to them. Averted in that they are pretty good at lying to each other, usually to spare the other's feelings.
  • Lockdown:
    • The Men of Letters bunker is designed to go into lockdown under certain circumstances. It does so during the fall of the angels at the end of Season 8, trapping Kevin inside for days. In Season 12, Ketch locks Sam, Dean and Toni inside their own bunker and leaves them to die slowly.
    • In "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo", Dick Roman orders that his corporate building be locked down once he realizes Sam and Dean have infiltrated the building. Despite this, Sam and Dean are still able to shatter a window and escape with Charlie.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Adam, Gwen, Christian, Mark and Johnny Campbell are all this to Sam and Dean, as John never told them about their half-brother, and Mary's extended family were all murdered by demons soon after Mary's own death.
  • Look Both Ways: Dean gets hit by a car in "Mystery Spot" and dies. Since it's part of a time loop, he resurrects the next day.
  • Losing the Team Spirit: Twice:
    • In Season 5, After finding out that God refuses to help them with the apocalypse, both Dean and Castiel aren't quite as dedicated to Team Free Will as they were before.
    • In Season 13, Dean coins "Team Free Will 2.0" consisting of the original trio and Jack the Nephilim, only for Jack to suffer a Heroic BSoD when his powers accidental kill a bystander, and he leaves the main cast for a few episodes.
  • Loss of Inhibitions: Famine can induce Horror Hunger and augment people's desires to make them hungry for whatever their weakness may be, such as alcohol, drugs, sex, or in Sam's case, demon blood.
  • The Lost Lenore: Sam and Dean's mother for them and their father, Jess for Sam, Bobby's wife.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine:
    • "What Is And What Should Never Be": After fighting a Djinn, Dean wakes up in a world where his mother is still alive and he and Sam are living normal lives. This included a slight inversion; rather than creating a perfect world for Dean, it granted him a specific wish, that being that the demon had never killed his mother. As a result, their father never became a monster hunter, all the people the Winchesters saved are dead and Sam and Dean have absolutely nothing in common. Eventually Dean realizes that, rather than changing the past, the Djinn just messed with his head to make him think he was in an alternate reality. Unusual in that Dean chooses to try and leave before he realizes that it's an illusion. Just believing that all of the people he and Sam saved are 'actually' dead now is enough to make him go for the Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Heaven works this way, with each individual soul (or pair of soulmates) occupying a personalized paradise meant specifically for them. Unfortunately, each soul (unless they have a soulmate) is actually alone in their Happy Place and any loved ones they interact with are just fantasies. These other people may not even be in Heaven. They could still be on Earth, in Hell, Purgatory, etc. However, at least one clever individual, Ash, figured out how to move between different people's personal paradises.
    • In Season 14, Dean is stuck in one created by Michael in order to stop him from fighting back against his possession. Sam and Castiel have to take a Journey to the Center of the Mind in order to make Dean realize he's not actually running a bar with Pamela.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Dean, natch. Future!Castiel may also qualify, considering his casual attitude towards group sex.
  • Lovecraft Lite: The Winchesters have faced numerous Humanoid Abominations and similar threats inspired by Lovecraft's work, but they have always been presented as beatable foes. While the series often drifts towards the cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, even in the darkest moments there's always a glimmer of hope.
  • Loved I Not Honour More: Subverted. Dean and Lisa make a real go of this. Even after she finds out about just how dangerous the Hunter's life is she still chooses to stand by him. However, being as this is Supernatural, it doesn't end well. His work, as well as his extreme devotion to Sam puts a serious strain on their relationship, as well as the emotional state of Ben who has at this point come to see Dean as a father. It comes to a head at the end of Season 6 where Demons kidnap the two of them and nearly kill Lisa. Rather than put them to any further risk, Dean decides to have Castiel wipe their memories of his existence to protect them, and allow them to move on.
  • Love Goddess:
    • Angels of love are called "Cupids", who manifest as nude men rather than diapered babies, though Season 8 shows us that they can masquerade as inconspicuously dressed men, or even women, if necessary.
  • Love-Interest Traitor: In Season 4, Sam's love interest Ruby turns out to have been manipulating Sam into freeing Lucifer and in Season 11, Hannah briefly betrays Castiel to the other angels in order to get information on the Darkness.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: When it comes to the Winchesters, love doesn't just make you crazy, it makes you co-dependent, depressed, self-destructive, and suicidal.
  • Love Makes You Evil: In "Sex and Violence," a Siren imitated their victims' ideal lover/friend, driving the deluded saps to kill for the Siren's love.
  • Love Potion:
    • The brothers learn that Heaven, via Cupid, matched their parents (and possibly even their entire family line), so that Sam and Dean were born.
    • In the episode "Wishful Thinking" a nerdy guy uses a Wishing Well to make his dream girl love him "more than anything." It works -- The girl loves him so much that she feels pleasing him is more important than her own happiness, and is willing to commit murder to keep them together.
    • In Season 7, Becky uses a literal love potion on Sam. It goes well enough for her, with no one else affected, the potion not being too strong, etc. The only problem is that she doesn't have enough of it, so she has to resort to restraining Sam to keep him from escaping. She decides to let him go when she learns that it would cost her soul to keep him for a few decades.
    • In Season 8, there's a man who made a demon deal to make a woman fall in love with him, with the effect dissipating after the demons collect his soul.
  • Lucky Rabbit's Foot: One of the episodes centers on a cursed rabbit's foot. If you touch it, as long as you had it in your possession, you have phenomenally good luck. As soon as you lost it, your luck would turn and soon you would die through sheer bad luck.
  • Lunacy: Werewolves transform into their feral state on nights during the week leading up to the full moon (with the exception of Pureblood-type werewolves, who are unfazed by the lunar cycle). Making this trope feel a bit more eerie is that werewolves not only experience total memory blackout when they revert to normal, but that they actually need to fall asleep at night for the effect to kick in.