Follow TV Tropes


Supernatural / Tropes M to P

Go To

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

    open/close all folders 

  • Machine Empathy: Dean seems to have this in regards to his Impala. This concept becomes very important as the show goes on.
  • Made of Iron: Justified for demons, angels, et al. Sam and Dean, however, have sustained more head injuries between them than Muhammad Ali.
    • In "Lucifer Rising," Dean socks Castiel across the jaw, and it actually clangs like metal.
  • A Magic Contract Comes with a Kiss:
    • This is how you make a deal with a demon. And no, it's not always with an attractive woman.
    • Parodied mercilessly when it's discovered that Bobby made a deal with Crowley, a demon who's been helping them. When Sam asks if they kissed, Bobby denies it, at which point Crowley clears his throat and shows the latest picture on his camera.
      Bobby: Why'd you have to take a picture!?
      Crowley: Why'd you have to use tongue?
  • Make a Wish: The episode "Wishful Thinking" features a working wishing well.
  • Magical Negro: The black psychic Missouri who provides guidance, information, and lots of Sassiness, even smacking Dean on the back of his head and telling him to stop cursing her out in his thoughts.
  • Mainlining the Monster: Sam did this a bunch of times with demon blood. Sam used it during the Season 4 arc to enhance his psychic capabilities to be able to remove a demon possessing a victim without harming the host. He then becomes somewhat addicted to the substance, even keeping a victim possessed so that he can "bulk up" for the final fight.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Lucifer, after being shot in the head by the Colt, the series until-then kill-everything weapon, crumples to the ground... before taking a deep breath and staring back up at Dean.
    Lucifer: Ooooowwwwwww!
  • Male Gaze/Female Gaze: An odd one, this. There's a hot girl every episode and lots of attention gets paid to her cleavage, of course, but there's been slow, lingering shots panning up the boys' long legs and arses, half of their promo shots for Season 2 consisted of hooker poses and you just can't deny that they're wearing a bit of lip gloss and eyeliner in Season 1 episodes. When there's a sex scene, the camera generally spends more time looking at Sam or Dean than his partner.
  • Mama Bear: In episode 8x02, Mrs. Tran is willing to sell her soul to the god of greed to save her son Kevin.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt: Obviously Sam and Dean share a background, and they both "hunt" (demons) but manly Dean who accepts his blue-collar roots can not merely fix but rebuild cars, while Sam who went to college and wanted to be a lawyer (and whose masculinity Dean likes to make fun of) isn't allowed to drive any more and does not know how to do anything similar.
  • Manly Tears: You have to admit, they cry a hell of a lot for two, supposedly manly, blue-collar soldiers/warriors.
    • For its infamously poor treatment of female characters, the series' frequent depiction of male protagonists feeling and acknowledging severe emotional pain and distress without degrading their masculinity or playing it for laughs is refreshingly progressive.
    • In "Fan Fiction," the episode where Sam and Dean discover an all-girls high school staging a musical about their lives, "Sam" sings a song about "Dean" called "A Single Man Tear."
  • Man of Wealth and Taste:
  • Married in the Future:
    • In an alternate timeline in one episode, Bobby is married to the long-dead Ellen. They're cute together.
    • "The French Mistake" uses the "wedding photo" method to demonstrate that Jared Padalecki is married to Genevieve Padalecki, the actress who played Ruby 2.0
  • Mars Wants Chocolate: Downplayed, where the Grim Reaper (who notes that he does visit alien planets) decides to ignore Lucifer's orders to wipe Chicago off the map and killing millions more during the Apocalypse. One of the reasons he gives for this is that he likes the city's pizza — this Death is a fast food junkie.
  • Martyr Without a Cause: All three Winchesters.
  • Masquerade: Ghosts, monsters, demons, angels, pagan gods and pretty much every supernatural thing short of gray aliens and Bigfoot exist, and most of them hunt suburban humans for prey, whilst humans who broke the Masquerade (often when a monster killed their loved one) take up hunting and killing them. More often than not however, hunters have no assistance from the government or other authorities who are as unaware of the Masquerade as the general population, and commit identity fraud routinely when investigating supernatural happenings and are regarded by the laws as criminals. The U.S. used to have the Men of Letters helping to maintain the Masquerade until the 1950s, but since then, the Masquerade in America has at times bordered on Extra-Strength Masquerade. The British Men of Letters (who have authority in multiple other countries) still enforce the Masquerade and are no stranger at all to Killed to Uphold the Masquerade.
  • McLeaned: Many of the characters who were killed off because their actors got regular roles on other shows.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Anna Milton, a fallen angel.
    • Harvelle means female warrior.
    • Ben means son.
    • Sam/Samuel means "name of God" or "God has heard" which is rather ironic considering that he was Lucifer's vessel.
    • Dean means leader.
    • Castiel means "shield of God."
    • Tessa/Theresa means harvest. She reaps the souls of the living.
    • In one episode, a girl called Lily is revealed to have the power to kill someone by touching them. The lily flower is often a symbol of death.
    • Lucifer takes a man named Nick for his host when he first escapes Hell. One of the many nicknames for the devil is "Old Nick."
  • Men Don't Cry: Completely and utterly averted. Both brothers cry often throughout the series. Dean cries so routinely, and beautifully, that the fandom created the term "single man tear" to describe his crying style.
  • Mental World:
    • Sam is stuck in one in the Season 6 finale of Supernatural after Castiel destroys the mental barrier that is keeping his traumatic memories from potentially turning him into a vegetable.
    • Dean and Sam also enter Bobby's nightmare world in another episode.
  • Mercy Kill: While soulless, Sam encounters five men who are All Webbed Up and infected with venom by a spider demon. Instead of taking them to a hospital, he arbitrarily decides to shoot them to spare their agony, then burn the bodies. Unfortunately the spider demon was actually creating more of itself, and the result is Immune to Bullets and fire. One of the victims, an ally Sam used as The Bait to find the demon, survives and wants revenge. He points out that rather than sparing him, Sam has actually created more monsters.
  • Merger of Souls: Castiel became something far more powerful by absorbing the souls of Purgatory. Unfortunately one set of them was too powerful for him and took over.
  • Metallicar Syndrome: The Impala, of course. This changes in Season 7, when the Leviathans soon learn how well they can use society's infrastructure against the Winchesters, and the Impala is hidden for most of the season, and the brothers rely on stolen cars for half the time.
  • Milky White Eyes: Upper level demons.
  • Naomi is a master of this, at one point attempting to use Castiel to kill Dean before stealing the angel tablet. This particular incident is what breaks her control.
  • Mind Screw:
    • "What Is And What Should Never Be" and "Mystery Spot."
    • "Dark Side of the Moon." At least until it was explained that Sam and Dean are actually in Heaven, reliving their fondest memories.
  • Minion Manipulated into Villainy: In Season 5, Lucifer convinces Nick, a man overcome with despair after his wife and child were murdered, to become his earthborn vessel. This seems random until in Season 14, it's revealed that Lucifer ordered one of his demons, Abraxas, to target his family to get Nick in the right state of mind to agree to the archangel's offer. However, in spite of this revelation, by this point Nick is so fraught with Stockholm Syndrome that he still continues to search for Lucifer and serve him.
  • Minion Shipping: The two demons from "Sin City", Casey and the priest.
  • Missing Mom: She's killed by demons when Sam turns six months old, in the pilot.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • Being Heterosexual Life-Partners who always travel and work together, the brothers are sometimes mistaken for a gay couple. Luckily for them, all they have to do is quickly mention they're brothers and not be bothered with any further questions (or delve into a Not That There's Anything Wrong with That discussion).
    • In "The French Mistake", this continues with Sam and Dean transported into the bodies of their actors Jared and Jensen. This despite the fact that both actors are married — wait a minute.
  • Monochrome Casting: The vast majority of the cast is white, though there are some background characters of varying ethnicity. Almost all recurring characters are white, the few exceptions tend to die horribly (but then again, who doesn't?).
  • Monster Lord: Azazel, Crowley, Alistair and Lilith are powerful, high-ranking demons. Bobby refers to Death as the "Big Daddy Reaper". The Alphas and Mother of All also count, as well as Dick Roman, the leader of the Leviathans.
  • Monster Munch: The Cold Opening usually involves a random civilian being killed in spectacular fashion (and often eaten) by the Monster of the Week.
  • Monster of the Aesop: The episode "You Can't Handle the Truth" featured the Roman goddess Veritas who was killing people by making people around them tell the truth about anything, just when Sam and Dean are dealing with trust issues of their own because Sam is barely acting like a normal human (because he lacked his soul, it turns out).
  • Monster Progenitor: Season 6 introduces the concept of Alphas, the progenitors of various monster types such as shifters, vampires and skinwalkers, and then the Mother of All Monsters, who spawned the Alphas.
  • Monster/Slayer Romance: Sam and his brother Dean are both hunters, but the former has had relationships with a werewolf, a kitsune, and a demon, and the latter with an amazon who used him as a Glorified Sperm Donor and an angel who later experienced a Face–Heel Turn and tried to kill both of them before they were born. However, this is subverted when Sam has a fling with a female doctor who is suspected to be a siren, but turns out to be a Red Herring.
  • Monster Threat Expiration: The series has moments like this in some episodes. The wendigo in the same-titled episode is shown to be a lightning fast, shadowy death machine and an expert hunter. Yet when the main characters confront it in its lair it just lumbers along casually despite the fact it knows they have weapons that can hurt it. It's not really surprising when it dies in one shot.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: All the creatures are this, mostly due to the budget of the show never having been that high, regardless of what their "true" mythological counterparts have been described to look like, generally every monster tends to be simply a humanoid with a Game Face, however a good few of the creatures are implied to have "true" forms, case in point, Dragons, the Dragons we see look like ordinary humans, but can superheat their hands and are durable to the point only one weapon can hurt them, but when we see one kidnapping a woman, only their shadow is seen, and are described to look like reptilian bats.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • In "Mystery Spot", Dean keeps dying, we laugh hysterically because they're showing the funny ones, and then Dean dies for real, which breaks Sam completely, and we feel guilty for ever laughing at all.
    • Notable in "Swan Song."
      Dean: Assbutt?
      Castiel: He'll be back, and upset, but you got your five minutes.
      Lucifer (as Sam): Castiel... did you just Molotov my brother with holy fire?
      Castiel: Um... no.
    • The sixth season episode "Live Free or Twi-Hard" starts with a dead-on Twilight parody but switches to angsty after the first act.
    • "Ghostfacers" has a lot as well. Between the incompetence of the Ghostfacers crew, the depressing ghost's story, Corbitt's death and Ed's tearjerker farewell and the Ghostfacers bumps before every commercial break, the episode is all over the mood map.
  • Moral Dissonance: The Winchesters seem to care less and less about killing the demons' human hosts as the show goes on, though this may be a result of the sheer number of demons they encounter. And Dean's Moral Myopia means he'd rather kill them all than risk Sam using his powers to save the hosts, especially once he finds out demon blood fuels them.
  • Moral Myopia: Dean's attitude towards the possibility of Sam turning into a monster or otherwise being abnormal; he's perfectly willing to kill strangers who might go darkside, but simply refuses to do so with his brother even when presented with clear indications of this happening, because he couldn't bear to live without him.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The Leviathans, whenever they reveal their "true" face. Essentially their entire head is occupied by mouth.
  • More Than Mind Control:
    • This is basically what Ruby did to Sam with the help of demon blood.
    • Lucifer used this to successfully gain permission to possess Nick.
    • Zachariah also attempts to do this to Adam in "Point of No Return," in order to separate him from the Winchesters, before revealing that he was just using Adam as a pawn to draw Dean into the open.
    Zachariah (to Adam): They're not your family. Understand? want to see your mom again or not?
  • Most Important Person: Sam and Dean are this to each other. Though some fans will always insist differently.
  • The Most Wanted: In Season 5, Sam and Dean Winchester are wanted men from every angle. The angels are after them, wanting them to fulfill their destiny in the apocalypse. The demons and monsters want to kill them for being hunters. The FBI wants them for their suspected role in the death of an FBI agent and in connection with many crimes where their heroism looks like criminality. And their fellow hunters want to kill them for accidentally freeing the devil.
  • Mother of a Thousand Young: The Mother of All, the Big Bad of the second half of Season 6.
  • The Multiverse: As of Season 6, we have Earth, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, an alternate future, the Trickster's alternate realities, the universe where their lives are a TV show, and of course, Fairy World (of which ''Oz'' is a subset, as of S9). The Masquerade for normal humans has gone beyond just covering up for things that go bump in the night (oh, and the apocalypse). And, of course, Heaven itself is a mess of alternate realities strung together.
  • Multiversal Conqueror: The finale of Season 12 introduces Apocalypse World, a run-down wasteland ruled by the Archangel Michael in the aftermath of the war between heaven and hell. He's planning on invading the main universe that the heroes live in, which he refers to as Paradise World, since he wants to "trade up".
  • Mundane Afterline: Once Crowley takes over hell, he dispenses with the lava, thunderstorms and chains and makes everyone wait in line for eternity. When they get to the front, they go right back to the end again. "That's efficiency." Oh, and for some reason they're all dressed like Sam and Dean.
  • Mundanger: The series has featured a couple of these: a Cannibal Clan in "The Benders" (named after a real-life cannibal family nicknamed The Bloody Benders), feral children in "Family Remains", and a pair of psycho social pariahs in "#thinman".
  • Mundane Solution: Decapitation is only a minor setback to a Leviathan, but they can be burned by Borax, which can be found in common household cleaners. They regenerate even from that, of course.
  • Murderous Mannequin: In "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning", the Monster of the Week possesses mannequins to kill its victims. It sure was lucky that all of its targets happened to work with mannequins or use sex dolls, though.
  • Must Make Amends: Season 5 is this for Sam after accidentally starting the Apocalypse and freeing Lucifer and in response to his behavior in Season 4. The second half of Season 6 starts like this for him after he finds out what he did while soulless.
  • Must Not Die a Virgin: Just before an encounter with an archangel that the characters believe will prove fatal, Dean, on hearing that Castiel "never had occasion" to lose his virginity, attempts to set him up with a hooker (called Chastity, no less). Hilarity Ensues.
  • My Horse Is a Motorbike: The Horsemen don't ride horses. They ride in style, baby. Except Pestilence, naturally.
  • Mystical Plague: The Croatoan Virus, which turns people into rage-filled zombies, is demonic in origin. Specifically, it was developed by the Horseman Pestilence on Lucifer's orders in order to herald the Apocalypse.
  • Mystical City Planning: A large system of train tracks in the US Midwest actually forms a huge demonic seal intended to keep a gate to Hell closed. The Winchester brothers break the circle.

  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    Nick's "wife": I'm an angel. My name is Lucifer.
  • Natural Disaster Cascade: After Lucifer's rising instigates the Apocalypse — albeit behind an unbroken Masquerade — natural disasters including a spike in earthquake frequency and freak storm systems (plus North Korean nuclear tests) occur throughout the fifth season; although the characters don't really encounter the disasters and instead they're exclusively related via the news. These disasters are merely a prelude to Lucifer and the archangel Michael's final battle which will decimate the planet.
    • In the penultimate episode, Lucifer sends Death to Chicago to wipe it off the map with a catastrophic storm which will in turn set off a "daisy chain" of more natural disasters. Fortunately for Chicago, Death likes the pizza.
  • Nay-Theist: Sam and Dean, after a certain point in Season 5. You would be too if the angels were, on the whole, dicks and it looked like God didn't care about stopping the Apocalypse.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name:
    • The British Men of Letters. They attempt to commit nationwide genocide of all monsters regardless of whether or not they're causing harm to anyone, they have the likes of Ketch promoted as their ideal enforcers, there's emphasis in the first couple Season 12 episodes on their overt use of surveillance to make their territories "safe" from monsters, their leaders such as Dr. Hess (even her name makes you think of concentration camps!) have a very sterotypical-Nazi air of self-superiority and Faux Affably Evil about them, they favor clinical, cold executions of and experiments on monsters compared to the American hunters' more guns-and-machete, kill-em-outright ways, and it's made clear in the season's last few episodes that they're disproportionate sticklers to Killed to Uphold the Masquerade.
    • The angels also have moments of this.
      • Naomi drilling into angels' eyeballs to mess with their minds at her whim feels chillingly like a concentration camp environment, not least helped by the cold, sterile and chrome environment of her office in Heaven.
      • The angels in Apocalypse World take it a step further, taking humans to concentration camps to be exterminated, and holding cold-blooded executions of captured humans in remote areas, and successfully exterminating humans to near-extinction and seeking to finish the job. Their overt worship of their world's Michael (who's effectively their universe's ruling authority in Chuck's absence) also in this context seems subtly similar to how Hitler was regarded as the Führer.
  • Near-Death Clairvoyance: "In My Time of Dying"
  • Neck Lift: The demons are fond of this. Notably, Azazel to Dean in a drug-induced vision and Alastair lifting up Dean and placing him on his own torture rack while berating Dean on the sloppy job he did on Alastair.
  • Neck Snap: Most bad guys prefer this method of killing someone, with demons usually doing it with Telekinesis. Since it's mostly supernatural beings, the ease with which the neck breaks is justified. Most notably, this is how Lucifer eventually kills Dean in an alternate future.
  • Necromantic: Shows up in a Season 2 episode, "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things", by way of an ancient Greek resurrection spell.
  • Neurodiversity Is Supernatural: Sam's body living without a soul is treated like sociopathy.
  • Never My Fault: Lucifer sees himself as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, and for the longest time in the show you believe him. He's constantly saying how wrong it is that he was a faithful servant of his father, and his only crime was to not bow down before humans, and with how imperfect they are, you can hardly blame him. Then in "Hammer of the Gods", his younger brother Gabriel reveals the truth: he wasn't forced to bow down before them, it was the fact that God loved him most of all before transferring his affections to humans. In retaliation, Lucifer twisted a human soul into a demon, trying to get his father to admit they were horrible creations and destroy them, thus getting to be front and center again. Death even refers to him as a bratty child having a temper-tantrum. He gets called out on it again in the Season 5 finale, when Lucifer is about to have his climatic showdown with his older brother Michael. He tries to talk Michael out of it by saying that God controls everything, and thus he forced Lucifer to be the devil, so it's not his fault. Michael promptly says that he hasn't changed a bit and he's still blaming everyone but himself for what he did.
    • Dean shifts the blame off of himself and onto other people constantly, most often Sam and Cas. Lucifer being freed was just as much his fault, if not more, as Sam's, yet Dean blames Sam for it repeatedly, even after Sam repents. Oftentimes, trouble occurs because of Dean's refusal to listen to Sam and Cas's advice.
    • In Season 11, God blames the failure of creation entirely on his creations refusing to acknowledge any of his own failings. When confronted with it he tries to make excuses or deflect blame It takes Metatron, Lucifer, The Winchesters and ultimately the necessity of Lucifer to fight Amara for God to take any responsibility at all for how things have turned out.
  • Never Sleep Again: The M.O. of a Monster of the Week
  • New Era Speech: Castiel gives one to what remains of the Host of Heaven after he's done killing most of them.
    Castiel: Understand... if you followed Raphael, if you stood against me... punishment is certain. There is nowhere to hide. The rest of you — our Father left a long time ago. That was hard. I thought the answer was free will. But I understand now — you need a firm hand, you need a Father. And I am your Father now. Be obedient, children... or this will be your fate. [motions to hundreds of angel corpses on the ground] It is a new day... on Earth and in Heaven. Rejoice.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • At the end of Season 4, Sam spends most of the season getting the power to kill Lilith so he can stop her from breaking the final seal and freeing Lucifer. In actuality, Lilith was the final seal, and by killing her he causes the release of Lucifer and kick-starts the Apocalypse. Oops.
    • At the end of Season 6, Castiel absorbs the monster souls of Purgatory to get the power to defeat Archangel Raphael, who wanted to restart the Apocalypse. But in doing so, he unleashes the Leviathans, creatures that God locked away to stop them from eating everything else.
    • To an extent, Dean as well, not only for breaking the first seal between Seasons 3 and 4, but also for revealing to Azazel beforehand that his plans were going to work.
    • Sam and Dean are unable to kill Abaddon so instead they dismember her and bury the pieces. Later when they find out about the final trial to shut hell they decide to use her as a test subject. She gets loose while they're on the phone with Crowley.
    • By finding Metatron and bringing him up to date on recent events (such as the failed apocalypse and that the Arch Angels are dead or sealed up) set into motion his plot for revenge, using Castiel as his Unwitting Pawn.
    • Death tells Dean that he'll make sure Dean can't hurt anyone else as a result of the Mark of Cain, but only if Dean kills Sam because all their issues stem from their ridiculous codependency. Dean actually agrees to this, but when the time comes he chokes and scythes Death instead, apparently... killing?... him. Then the spell to remove the Mark goes off, and since its existence was the lock on the latest ultimate Sealed Evil in a Can, the Winchesters are all set for their next season of getting punched in the face by monsters.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • Lucifer thinks raising Time Abyss Death and keeping him on a leash will help him. Mistake.
    • Zachariah sends Dean into a bleak future to convince him he must say yes to Michael. The trip also convinces Dean he has to stick with his brother, which lets Sam talk Dean out of the Michael thing and lets Dean give Sam the strength to take control of his body from Lucifer long enough to throw him back into the Cage.
    • Famine reawakens Sam's craving for Demon Blood and sends two of his men to be "snack" for him, knowing that unlike everyone else affected Sam can't die from having too much, and makes him powerful enough to kill demons. When Sam simply exorcises Famine's demonic bodyguards, Famine chooses to devour them. while Sam's powers don't work on Horsemen, he can painfully kill the demons inside of Famine.
    • Could be construed as the case with Naomi's handling of Castiel. Cas was able to easily beat Dean badly enough that he would not have been able to prevent Cas from simply taking the tablet and teleporting away. Indeed, he could have overpowered Dean and taken it as soon as Dean had it out of the box. But Naomi's insistence that Cas kill Dean led to him breaking free of her control. A classic case of a villain overplaying their hand.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: A number of types of this trope appear in the show:
    • God: Pagan gods can be killed by mere mortals, but the trope does apply to the Big G, since it seems like Death is the only entity that could kill him.
      • The Pagan gods appear to pretty much just accept anyone of sufficient power to garner worship into their number without any requirements beyond that, so it's likely that them being mortal-slayable varies a lot from case to case, too.
    • Divine protection mixed with Resurrection: In Season 5, Sam and Dean are functionally incapable of staying dead. If they do die then the angels (in Sam's case, specifically Satan) will just resurrect them because they can't be used as angelic vessels if they're dead.
    • External Repair: Dr. Benton is a scientist who somehow gained immortality, but his body kept on decaying. In order to continue functioning he regularly harvests new organs.
    • Extreme Luck: Whoever acquires the rabbit's foot, at least as long as they have it in their possession.
    • Regeneration: The Leviathans recover from almost anything. The only known means of immobilizing them so far is to chop off the head, and then keeping it absolutely out of reach of the body so it can't just reattach itself. The only thing that can kill a leviathan is the bone of a righteous person dipped in the blood of the king of hell, an alpha monster, and a fallen angel. These ingredients are nigh impossible to obtain.
  • No Dead Body Poops:
    • Averted in the "Groundhog Day" Loop episode.
      Dean: Of course I peed myself. Man gets hit by a car, you think he has full control over his bladder? Come on!
    • Subverted in "Free to Be You and Me" when Dean prevents the angel Castiel from insta-transporting him somewhere: "The last time you did that I didn't poop for a week!"
  • Noble Demon: Possibly played straight with Casey in Sin City.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: Sam(Noble) and Dean(Roguish) are very good examples of this trope
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • In "Sin City" a demon mentions that Dick Cheney has a "parking spot" in Hell reserved for him.
    • In "Criss Angel Is a Douche Bag," Criss Angel never shows up, but the show makes fun of him through a character named Jeb Dexter, an incredibly arrogant magician who bears an incredible resemblance to Criss Angel and does card tricks that are staged like fake demon possessions (which really upsets Dean). He dies horribly, of course. The show also makes fun of him, quietly, by naming the episode Criss Angel Is A Douche Bag
    • In Season 6, there's a vampire named "Robert" and the teenage girl named "Kristen", as well as a series of totally-not-Twilight books that Sam and Dean rip the living bejeezus out of. The episode is (brilliantly) titled "Live Free or Twihard".
    • Supposedly, Ruby was a character that was written for Kristen Bell, but she denied the role, which is why the first Ruby looks VERY similar to her.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • Castiel delivered one of these to Dean Winchester, when Castiel caught him attempting to surrender to Michael, which the angel considered a betrayal.
    • In 4x16, when Alastair unexpectedly freed himself from the devils-trap. And having been tortured by Dean for a few hours, he was quite pissed.
    • In the Season 5 finale, Dean puts himself on the receiving end of such a beatdown when he refuses to leave his brother while Lucifer is possessing Sam.
    • In 6x13, a soulless-Sam gives one to a cop who's grown suspicious of his cover.
    • In 8x17, Cas, under Naomi's control, gives a serious one to Dean. Fortunately, Cas breaks free of Naomi's control before killing Dean, and heals the injuries he inflicted.
  • Nostalgia Heaven: Except that, because they're projections of your friends/family, instead of actually getting to meet up with your loved ones, the characters who find out are decidedly unhappy.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • From "Yellow Fever":
      Dean: The truck stop waitress with the bizarre rash...
    • From "And Then There Were None", and possibly "When the Levee Breaks", there's the situation in Omaha between Bobby and Rufus.
    • Sam, Interrupted
      Sam: Martin is a great hunter.
      Dean: Was... until Albuquerque.
    • In "Out With The Old" Sam and Dean are tracking down a cache of cursed objects an antique store has unknowingly unearthed and sold off piece by piece. The objects compel people to kill themselves in a Turned Against Their Masters sort of way (with a dash of Death by Irony). (For example, an antique tea kettle compels a woman to kill herself by pouring the boiling water down her own throat). Sam and Dean split up to get the last two, Sam going after a gramophone an Dean going after an antique "gentlemen's magazine".
      Dean: How does porn kill a guy?
      Sam: You probably don't want to know.
      Dean: Hey, got the porn. Just in time, too.
      Sam: What was he doing?
      Dean: Uh, like you said; you don't wanna know.
  • No-Sell: This happens quite often. To name but a few:
    • Earlier in the series, Dean gets into an argument with the angel Castiel that ends with Dean punching him in the face. Cas' head moves a little from the impact, and Dean nearly breaks his hand. And he clearly didn't learn his lesson, as he does the same thing in a later episode with a Cupid, with the exact same result.
    • In "Hammer of the Gods", Lucifer gets immolated completely by the Hindu goddess Kali, but when the flames dissipate he's still standing in the same spot looking bored.
    • Lucifer gets another good one after being shot by the Colt. After a moment when it looks like it's all over he gets up and spits out the bullet.
    • A particularly amusing example was Sam's nonchalant immunity to Veritas' truth-inducing powers, and the epic fit she throws when she realizes he can lie to her with impunity.
    • Used rather terrifyingly with the Leviathans. For the first quarter of the season the only thing that worked was dropping a car on Edgar to slow him down or cutting of their heads and separating them from their bodies. The only way to kill them is with a bone of a saint dipped in the blood of an Alpha monster, a fallen Angel and the king of Hell.
  • The Not-Love Interest: As the Central Theme of the show is family (blood or of choice), very many characters have this dynamic. Sam and Dean are the most apparent but hardly the only one.
    • Jo might have UST with Dean but the most important person in her life is Ellen.
    • Bob has done and sacrificed more for Sam and Dean than even his wife. His last memory before he dies is of them.
    • Kevin's closest bond is with his mother Linda. Half of their story is finding their way back to each other.
    • Dean ends up being the not-love interest to pretty much every dude he forms a close bond with, most notably Sam and Benny. Jury's out on whether Castiel counts as an actual love interest or not.
    • God's is Amara. Their warring love/hate relationship is responsible for All Creation.
  • Not So Different:
    • Michael and Lucifer lecture Dean and Sam about this, who are their respective vessels. Michael tell Dean that he is dutifully obedient to his father (God), that he cast Lucifer down because he defied him, and that he practically raised his younger brother, taking care of him "in a way most people could never understand". Lucifer tells Sam that he loved and idolized his older brother and begged him to stand alongside him in refusing to bow down to humanity, but that Michael instead called him a "freak" and a "monster", casting him down because he was different and had a mind of his own.
    • Eve gives this speech about herself and their mother in "Mommy Dearest".
  • Not So Extinct:
    • The attack pattern of the Monster of the Week points to a dragon, but dragons aren't real... This might sound like Arbitrary Skepticism given what the Winchesters do for a living, but enormous flying reptiles that breathe fire are a bit harder to miss than Wendigos, vampires and so on so maybe it's justified... However, it turns out that dragons are shapeshifters, and throughout the episode only appear in their human forms.
    • When they first appear, vampires are said to be all but extinct, but they have quite a few appearances through out the series.
    • The Knights of Hell were thought to be extinct until Abaddon shows up. Still, she's the Last of Her Kind, all her fellow knights were destroyed by their ex-leader Cain.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • In the Season 4 finale, as explained to Dean by Zachariah, it's revealed that Heaven has allowed the Apocalypse to unfold because they desperately want to defeat Lucifer and his demons and finally create paradise on Earth. However, while Zachariah's boss the Archangel Michael is a genuine Well-Intentioned Extremist who believes it is his destiny to slay his brother, Zachariah himself doesn't give a damn about any cosmic plans and is only going along with it to further his own advancement in the angel hierarchy while feigning good intentions.
    • The British Men of Letters in Season 12. Their original purpose was to simply research the paranormal and pass that knowledge on to hunters who would kill any threats to humanity. After the American chapter was wiped out by demons, the British Men of Letters was determined to avoid the same fate. So they made a deal with the King of Hell that he could make demon deals for souls as long as demons never attacked the island and they began killing all monsters whether they were harming humans or not. 50 years later they got tired of watching the American hunters, who by now had never even heard of the Men of Letters, flounder on their own, so the British Men of Letters invaded, tried to force their system on the entire US hunter network, and when it was forcefully rebuked as far too brutal, they decide to eliminate the American hunters. Over the year the British chapter was in the US, they murdered as many, if not more, humans than the monsters, including murdering the very hunters they were meant to help!
  • The Nth Doctor:
    • Demons who come back later on take on new bodies (Ruby and Meg.)
    • Raphael coming back in a female vessel after his first vessel is killed. Alternate Michael later does this as well residing for a short time in the body of an unknown man, a female CEO, and then Dean Winchester, and Hannah's last on-screen appearance has her inhabiting a male vessel.

  • Odd Couple: Sam and Dean.
  • Off the Rails: The angels. All of them. It seemingly started with Lucifer, but has only been getting worse over the ages as God has continued to refuse to speak to any of them except for Joshua (allegedly). At present, even devout angels who long resisted succumbing to despair over God's absence, such as Castiel, have all broken ranks to pursue their own agendas. God, masquerading as the author Chuck Shurley, appears to be finding this entertaining and is allowing everyone to do whatever they choose while making quiet adjustments from behind the scenes now and then to keep the game running, such as ensuring that none of the main characters stays dead for long.
  • Offing the Annoyance: During Death's character-defining intro in "Two Minutes To Midnight", he takes a stroll in Chicago looking like a normal human and a rude guy too busy with his phone makes the mistake of bumping into him and scolding him. Death barely glances back, slightly brushes his coat as if getting rid of a pesky fly, and the guy immediately drops dead right on the street. As is later seen, however, it's not used to villainize him; he just operates on such a larger scale that he actually is just getting rid of what to him is nothing more than a petty microbe.
  • Offscreen Teleportation:
    • Primary mode of travel for angels. Though it's sometimes only offscreen for the audience; there've been a number of instances of Sam or Dean watching as an angel vanishes.
    • Crowley can do this, and quite possibly is better at it than Castiel. When Cas does it, you hear wings. When Crowley does it, you hear nothing. Considering that Crowley is a demon, this is quite possibly intentional Paranoia Fuel invoked on his part. It's also a sign of upgraded-Cas' power that he can do it silently now.
    • It also seems that any demon that is summoned will also teleport, and it will also do it offscreen.
    • In Season 6, Eve, like the angels, is capable of doing this while Dean is looking directly at her. She just appears behind him, and still somehow manages to surprise him.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • We get a pretty epic one at the end of Season 4, because it doesn't get much worse than finding out that you've just accidentally unleashed Lucifer when you were trying to prevent exactly that.
    • Oh, Crap! reactions all around, at the end of Season 6:
      'Castiel: 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.
    • Every season ends on a Oh, Crap! (2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 13) or a Downer (1, 3, 5, 7 and 12)
  • Oh Crap, There Are Fanfics of Us!: This happens in-universe thanks to Chuck's books. Combined with a huge Take That! at fans who write things like that in the form of Becky, a Loony Yaoi Fangirl who admits to Chuck and Sam that she writes a lot of the stuff out there. The guys aren't exactly thrilled when they realize what "SlashFic" means.
    Dean: There are Samgirls and Deangirls, and... what's a slash fan?
    Sam: As in... Sam-slash-Dean. Together.
    Dean: Like, together-together?
    Sam: Yeah.
    Dean: They do know we're brothers, right? ...That's just sick.
    Sam: Doesn't seem to matter.
  • Older Than They Look:
    • Sam and Dean have both aged mentally several decades beyond their physical ages. Dean spent around 40 years in Hell, which means that he's mentally in his early 60s. Sam spent over a hundred years in Lucifer's Cage (it's not explicitly stated how long, though). This is not touched on much in the series.
    • Anyone who has been in Hell long enough to be a demon is incredibly old, and angels are unspeakably ancient — but they tend to possess the bodies of young, fit people. Notable are the demon Lilith, who likes possessing little girls, the angel Samandriel, who picked a teenage cashier as his vessel, and the main timeline's Michael, who's possessing a nineteen-year-old Adam Milligan..
  • The Omniscient:
    • The Grim Reaper is functionally omniscient. Every time Dean tries to tell him something, the bored-looking Death notes that he's already aware. He does show surprise when the Winchesters summon him and ask him to kill an evil god for them, so it seems he needs to focus his all-knowing powers for it to be effective.
    • God, naturally, also seems to possess this trait. When they try to ask for his help, he relays through an Angelic messenger that he already knows everything they want to tell him, he just doesn't care. He did write their story, after all...
  • One Bad Mother: The Mother of All is the progenitor of all monster races, and resides in Purgatory, the afterlife where all monster souls go to prey on each for eternity. She eventually returns to Earth to protect her young by making everyone on the planet one of her children. To make the point even more obvious to Sam and Dean, she transforms into their deceased mother Mary Winchester to mess with them.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. Many of the minor characters, particularly those only appearing one episode, share a first and/or last name. Truth in Television, as multiple people can have the same name. (There are also multiple actual Steves.)
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Dean has to pull a sword from a stone in "Like a Virgin". When it doesn't work, he just blows it up.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Inverted; Sam seems to become more and more Southern as the series goes on. While his actor is a Texan, Sam's earlier accent is closer to Jared's. While Jensen Ackles is also a Texan, his accent is nothing like Dean's. Dean's accent has also gotten more Southern, though a lot more overtly.
    • Crowley's accent is quite English, despite his Scottish heritage that he shares with his mother, Rowena. when the two of them argue, his posh manner of speech starts to slip into something closer to her accent.
  • The Ophelia: Sam and then Cas both deconstruct very prettily in Season 7. Although it's possible to interpret Cas' behavior in terms of Zen attitude and his characteristic lack of people skills.
  • Ordered to Die: Dick Roman, leader of the Leviathan monster race, orders a minion who failed him to eat himself. Since they have a built-in Healing Factor, this is a ridiculously cruel punishment even by the standards of other Bad Bosses featured in the show.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: In "The End", both Deans are annoyed (or, you know, scared by) their Other; in "The French Mistake", Jensen (Other Dean) and Jared (Other Sam) manage to be annoying without actually being present.
  • Our Angels Are Different: As Dean puts it, they're more "dicks with wings" than Roma Downey. Like demons, they possess (albeit willing) people in order to move about on Earth, and they can relinquish their grace and be reborn as humans.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The souls of the damned who've had their humanity tortured out of them in Hell, they appear as black smoke unless they are possessing someone.
    • Zig-zagged a bit in the case of Lucifer, who is a demon in the Christian mythological sense (a fallen angel), and hell-hounds, which were never anything other than demons from "birth".
    • Cain, who is one of the first demons, was transformed by the Mark of Cain, which was bestowed by Lucifer and isn't actually God's curse as in the Bible: the power that transformed him into a demon comes from God's sister, who is roughly speaking the Gnostic demiurge. The Mark of Cain is also what corrupted Lucifer in the first place, as God gave it to Lucifer because he thought the latter could handle its power It then corrupted the archangel and he was originally going to give it to Abel (who thought he was talking to God, but wasn't) before Cain offered to trade places with Abel and let his brother go to heaven, which the Devil accepted on the terms that Cain was to be the one who killed his brother.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Ancient beings from Purgatory who resemble "Giant Bats", have heat-hands, can shapeshift into human form, serve a being they only refer to as "Mother" and can only be killed by a weapon forged in their blood. They also have hoards of gold and collect virgins for their rituals.
  • Our Genies Are Different: In "What Is and What Should Never Be", the Winchester brothers track down a djinn that appears to grant whatever its victim wishes for, altering the world around them. But Dean learns first hand that the djinn just puts his victims in an acid-trip-like state, hooks them up to an IV, and drinks their blood for a few days until they die (but it feels like years in the djinn-induced-acid-trip). The victims do occasionally get flashes of reality, though, which allows Dean to figure out what's happening and escape.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Ghosts appear regularly on the show. Their appearances are heralded by a Ghostly Chill. They can be repelled with salt and iron. Laying them to rest usually involves destroying their remains with fire, though one was simply persuaded to Go into the Light. Hostile ghosts tend to be pale with stringy hair. Many attack the living through telekinesis, and some are capable of possession. Benign spirits and those who don't know they are dead can be indistinguishable from the living. Eventually all ghost that haven't ascended to the afterlife end becoming vengeful spirits.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Ghouls are of the Arabian demon variety and take the appearance of the last person they have fed upon. Though to give an actual reason for why they have to be killed (saying that they desecrate human remains would be a bit weak when the Winchesters have to have burned a whole cemetery by this point) the ones they encounter have started eating living people. Funnily enough the second set of ghouls they encounter are also perfectly happy to eat the living. What, did a ghoul write an awesome new recipe book for fresh meat in the last few years?
  • Our Gods Are Different: The series seems to be based on Henotheism — there are multiple pagan gods (who are scarily powerful but can still be defeated and killed), with the Judeo-Christian Creator God as the one that is actually omnipotent but inaccessible. Appropriately enough "Word of God" confirms American Gods was a major influence on Supernatural, so it likely works on similar rules. Therefore, Kali and Ganesh were simply versions of the gods brought over by settlers. In America, a largely Christian country, an Judeo-Christian angel is more powerful. Had the fight taken place in India, it would have been a different result.
    • The Judeo-Christian god is eventually shown to be not quite omnipotent or indestructible, either, it's just that nothing with the juice to harm him and the actual desire to do so shows up until later seasons. Death notes that he'll eventually reap god (though he has no intention of doing it before it's time to do so), it's somewhere between implied and stated outright that Lucifer's rebellion had a chance of actually succeeding, and eventually a being shows up that's sort of a mix of Death and the Demiurge that can simply take him on directly.
  • Our Souls Are Different: You can sell 'em to demons (or angels!), string 'em up in Hell, and torture them! And when you need to move 'em around, a briefcase is all you'll need (admittedly, this was the means of soul transportation employed by Horsemen of the Apocalypse, not that of a mortal human). Humans can apparently survive without them, and simply lack emotions, empathy, and the need to sleep when lacking one. Monsters have them too, while ghosts and demons are respectively trapped and corrupted souls. Angels don't have them. Nor do Leviathans, being far older than the creation of souls.
  • Our Titans Are Different: Chronos shows up in Season 7 as a time traveler who needs to kill to control where he can time travel to, and is seeking to get back to his love. An amnesiac Prometheus shows up in Season 8.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They are. This is lampshaded in Monster Movie, where they encounter an apparently typical Bram Stoker Dracula and are completely baffled. The really funny part is that the witnesses immediately identify it as a vampire, whereas this would probably not be the case with an actual vampire. Also, in Season 13, the alternate earth's vampires have regressed into a more feral, bestial state and Look Like Orlok because the angels have slaughtered most of humanity and the vampires are starved of prey as a result.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: In addition to werewolves (who infect humans with their bites, eat hearts and look like humans with fangs and claws), there are also shifters (Shapeshifting Doppelgangers), rugaru (humans who transform into hideous, cannibalistic monsters), okami (who look like humans with wolf teeth, have superhuman athletic ability and are nigh invulnerable to anything other than a bamboo dagger blessed by a Shinto priest or a woodchipper) and skinwalkers (who can turn into wolves and are vulnerable to silver).
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The series has examples of most of the subtropes, with no consistent portrayal of zombies as a whole. There's a Revenant Zombie in Season 2 who was brought back by a friend because he was still in love with her after she died. As he used dark magic to resurrect her she naturally Came Back Wrong and had to be nailed back into her grave. People infected by the Croatoan virus are Technically Living Plague Zombies who would turn the planet into zombie land if Hell's plan succeeded. Death also resurrects a bunch of people from their graves in Season 5 on Lucifer's orders, who seem fine at first and like typical revenants until they turn, where at first they slowly lose their consciousness and then gain a taste for human flesh. One of them, Bobby Singer's wife, also states that she cannot sleep.
  • Out of the Closet, Into the Fire: After Castiel confesses his love to Dean, he finally experiences happiness, summoning the Shadow which immediately takes him to the Empty.
  • Overly Long Scream: In the second-season episode Hollywood Babylon the brothers investigate a possible haunting on a movie set. This trope is one of the signs of how terrible the horror movie being filmed is.

  • The Paralyzer: The angels have the ability to render people unconscious by touch, though they don't use this nearly as often as their killing touch because most of the show's angels are, well, fanatical pricks. Castiel demonstrates the non-lethal version on Bobby on his first appearance.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • It might have been a better plan if John had told Dean what was going on and ordered him not to come after him instead of just taking off, leaving Dean to think he did something wrong or that something bad happened to John.
    • God vanished, leaving the soldierly angels without a father or direct orders.
  • Parental Favoritism:
    • Played with in the case of the Winchesters. Throughout Season 1, Sam thinks that John hates him (when he left for college, he told him to never come back) while Dean is the one who obsessively follows his Dad's orders and can't seem to comprehend not following an order. But it's slowly revealed that Sam is the one who John cares the most about (although this could just be through the eyes of Dean) while Dean is the one who had to grow up too fast and was treated, well, more like a soldier than a son. Although John did try to make it up by doing a deal to save Dean's life, Dean's Daddy Issues (the fact that he still thinks he wasn't good enough for him and that he still thinks he's the one who should have died) continue to this very day. And the Yellow-Eyed Demon knows this. He even taunts Dean by saying that John arguing with Sam was 'more concern than he's ever shown you.'
    • Also exists among the angels, as Gabriel points out that they all know that "He loved you best. More than Michael, more than me", discrediting Lucifer's claim that he hates humans because God loved them more. Gabriel reveals that Lucifer hates humans because he thought that God preferred them over him.
  • Parental Savings Splurge: John tells Sam a story about how when Sam was born, he decided to put aside some money for Sam and Dean to go to college, and that every month he added $100 to that fund (presumably until John's obsession to find the demon that killed Mary kicked in). Sam gets a scholarship and so doesn't need the money anyway. When Sam asks his dad out of curiosity what happened to the money, they both laugh as John admits that he "spent it on ammo".
  • Parents as People: Whether you think he's a useless bastard of a so-called father or a good guy just trying to raise two pretty difficult kids (if "Tall Tales" and "Hell House" were anything to go by) on his own under horrible circumstances, you have to admit that John is just as multi-layered and complex as Sam and Dean.
  • Parental Issues: Forget "Supernatural: Scary Just Got Sexy", the show's real tagline should be "Supernatural: Where Even The Angels Have Daddy Issues." (But only because God's just another dead beat dad with a bunch of excuses.)
  • Parody Episode: Supernatural likes to play with this trope once a season (in its first half) — while the Winchester brothers are still chasing a mystery, the format and/or subject matter of the episode (and their case) takes a comedic tone and it becomes obvious that it's parodying something:
    • In Season 1, they made fun of Ghostbusters in "Hell House
    • In Season 2, they did "Hollywood Babylon," which was an Affectionate Parody of the show itself with some blink-and-you'll-miss-'em Take Thats to the WB/CW executives.
    • Season 3 had "Ghostfacers," which was a parody of both the Ghost Hunters and The Blair Witch Project, as well as reality shows in general.
    • in Season 4's aptly-named "Monster Movie", Universal Studio's classic monster movies were awesomely and affectionately homaged.
    • Season 5 brought us the instant-classic "Changing Channels" which parodies Grey's Anatomy, a typical three-camera laugh-track sitcom, Knight Rider, a commercial for a genital herpes prescription medication, and absolutely skewers CSI.
    • Season 6 gives the ultimate Self-Parody with "The French Mistake", in which the show mercilessly satirises itself and everyone working on it.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Subverted, played straight, and both times lampshaded in "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo".
    • While trying to hack into Frank's encrypted hard drive, Charlie thinks she found the password in the remarkably simple "WarGames" when this yields results. Then Frank's hard drive opens a program revealing that it's a false lead and taunts her.
    • Played straight while she's hacking into Dick Roman personal computer, which is locked by the password "W1nn1ng".
  • Past Experience Nightmare: The main characters get hit by these a few times.
    • In Season 7, Dean is having nightmares about Castiel's death and Sam's hallucinations of Lucifer. Well, mostly about killing Sam's monster friend and keeping it a secret.
    • Sam had nightmares throughout Season 1. While some were visions, the ones where he watched his girlfriend die over and over again still affected him like this.
  • Patricide: Soulless Sam asks the rogue angel Balthazar for a spell that will allow him to keep on being soul-free. Balthazar tells him he has to taint the vessel with a spell that requires him to commit an abominable act: spilling the blood of one's father. When Sam points out that his father (John Winchester) is already dead, Balthazar clarifies: you need the blood of the father, but the father needn't be blood (Bobby Singer).
  • People Farms: It is ultimately revealed that this is the plan that the Leviathans were working on all through Season 7 — they create a food additive drug that, upon ingestion, makes humans slothful and complacent, causing them to fatten up and dull up, so that they can be marched into the slaughterhouses the Leviathans are building under the guise of agricultural factories. Oh, and the drug is lethal to any other monsters that feed on humans, since the Leviathans don't want any competition for their food.
  • Perma-Stubble: Dean and Castiel.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Castiel briefly becomes one at the end of Season 6. While he was already quite a powerful supernatural being to start with, he upgraded himself with what essentially amounts to a supernatural nuclear reactor: 40,000,000 souls from a transdimensional monster afterlife. He goes mad with power and goes around killing hundreds if not thousands of people around the globe and showing his godly 'benevolence' by performing miracles. It's repeatedly mentioned that he's unstable and might take a large part of the planet with him when he reaches critical point. He's eventually compelled to give up his powers because he's housing far meaner beasties inside him.
  • Phone Call from the Dead: In the episode "Long Distance Call" several people, including Dean, seem to get this kind of call from deceased loved ones.
  • Phony Psychic: Sam and Dean run into an entire town of these in "The Mentalists". Lampshaded to no end, but particularly when Dean mentions that Pamela was one of the few genuine psychics they have encountered. There are actually some real ones as well, including the villain, who has summoned the ghost of a dead psychic to kill the impostors, while her equally psychic and ghostly sister tries to warn people about her.
  • Physical God:
    • The various Pagan and other non-Abrahamic gods seen in the series are all physical beings with tremendous powers, but can be killed with the right weapons.
    • The Trickster. Here, a Trickster is a pagan god. He can reshape reality and mess with time. Dropped a guy into a wormhole For the Evulz. Good times. A few other Pagan gods have also featured in the series. In Season 5, it's revealed that the Trickster is actually not a pagan god at all, but an Archangel, specifically Gabriel, who's hiding from his brothers.
    • The demons revere Lucifer as a god because he created their race. Lucifer himself recognizes the usefulness of such blind obedience, but despite his own immense power regards himself as simply God's son. After he gets released, Meg directly describes the archangel in these terms to Castiel.
      Meg: Lucifer is the Father of our race. Our Creator. Your God may be a deadbeat, but mine... mine walks the Earth.
    • At the end of Season 6, Castiel becomes one. Or at least that's what he claims. He proceeds to take a very active role in managing his new kingdom, roasting half of Heaven, killing people all over the world who displease him, and presenting himself as a wrathful but just deity.
  • Pitiful Worms: The Angels that adhere more openly to Fantastic Racism deride humans as either monkeys or maggots. Zachariah, a higher-tier and particularly smug Angel topped it by describing Dean as "nothing but a maggot inside a worm's ass".
  • Plagued by Nightmares:
    • Sam experiences psychic visions, usually of premonitions of people in danger or people who are going to die in the future. These dreams occurred during the first and second seasons. Although these dreams would often help Sam and Dean during a hunt, they would also be incredibly scary and traumatic for Sam as quite a few of them would occur at night when Sam was sleeping. It's also incredibly disturbing for Sam as Sam continuously sees morbid thoughts and visions of people constantly dying and there is nothing that Sam can do to prevent it or stop it from happening. However, there were some cases in which Sam and Dean were able to prevent or stop the premonitions from coming true.
    • In Season 4, Dean spends many nights tossing over his nightmares of hell. In Season 7, Dean is once again having nightmares, this time about Castiel's death, Sam's hallucinations, killing Amy Pond and keeping it a secret.
  • Plague Zombie: There's the Croatoan virus, a demonic virus that turned humans into 28 Days Later-type zombies, and was especially created by Pestilence to wipe out most of humanity as part of Lucifer's apocalypse.
  • Playing the Victim Card: Lucifer loves to whine and moan about how Humans Are Bastards, that he was The Unfavorite in God's eyes and unjustly became the fall guy for every ill in the world. His own brother Gabriel calls him out on this being nothing more than a shallow excuse to justify his own malicious actions against humanity, pointing out that Lucifer was actually their father's favorite, not him or Michael.
  • Plot Armor: An incredibly rare invoked example; the reason why the Winchesters always survive their adventures yet those around them die in droves is because God Himself was controlling the story and was too interested in their lives and development to let them die. Notably, after God is depowered and Jack is put in His place, Dean dies during a fight with a vampire just because he gets stabbed by a rusty nail.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Half the time, lives could have been saved if the brothers just came out and said they were paranormal investigators from the start, without trying to pass themselves off as cops — at least assuming they were believed, since most people don't believe in the supernatural.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: invoked Discussed in "Fan Fiction", where Sam actively wonders what his and Cas's ship name would be.
    Sam: What about...Sastiel? Samstiel?
  • Possessing a Dead Body:
    • In Season 4, the demon Ruby took to possessing a human body that was technically dead after Sam objected to her using a living person's. The woman in question was comatose and had just been removed from life support before she moved in.
    • In the final episode of Season 4, it's also shown that decades earlier the demon Azazel murdered a convent of nuns so that Lucifer could use one of their dead bodies to talk to him from his prison.
    • Castiel was initially using the human Jimmy Novak as his angelic host. However, Jimmy's fate is left ambiguous after Castiel is killed off and brought Back from the Dead several times, but it's eventually confirmed that Jimmy's soul was sent to Heaven after Castiel's first death at the Archangel Raphael's hands. This means that for most of the series, Castiel has been occupying an otherwise lifeless body.
    • In the opening of Season 15, a rift torn open between Earth and Hell causes every hellbound soul to flee and grabbing every host they can get their hands on. This results in a localized Zombie Apocalypse when everybody in the cemetery starts rising up and attacking the Winchesters. The usual method of dispatching a ghost is to burn their bones, but since they aren't even in their original bodies, all it would really do is slow them down and continue attacking in ghost form.
  • Possession Burnout: What happens to whatever body Satan is possessing.
  • Postmodernism:
    • In "The Monster at the End of This Book," the Winchesters discover they are the lead characters in a series of horror novels with a small but fervent fandom. Online research turns up fan criticism, Sam!girls, Dean!girls... and slash fiction. When the boys track down the author (who at first believes they are his fictional characters brought to life), he apologizes for all the emotional torment and bad writing they've been subjected to.
    • invokedWhen they meet a fangirl who writes Sam/Dean slash fics... well, you can imagine. The boys are understandably squicked.
      Dean: They do realize we're brothers, right?
    • There's an episode where they end up at a Supernatural convention.
    • The episode where Sam and Dean end up in an alternate dimension where their life is a TV show called "Supernatural". They have to act. It isn't pretty.
    • And then the 200th episode, "Fan Fiction", featured a girls' school doing a musical about their lives, courtesy of Chuck's books. The terms "Samulet" and "Destiel" were used, and the girls sang "Carry On My Wayward Son". The Fourth Wall has basically been salted and burned at this point.
  • Post-Rape Taunt: An unintentional example in a town where a deity is causing everyone to speak nothing but the absolute truth. A man who is being treated by a dentist friend suddenly starts gloating about having molested his friend's daughter one night, which of course is immediately followed by the enraged dentist getting "creative" with his tools.
  • Power Incontinence: Chronos, the Greek God of Time, is the only deity shown who had next to no control over his powers. He's like a Darker and Edgier Sam Beckett: warping through different time periods seemingly at random after spending some length of time in one. The only way he can manipulate the coordinates is through human sacrifice. So when he wants to keep himself anchored to a specific period because it's home to the mortal woman that he fell in love with, a lot of people end up dying.
  • The Power of Family: The fifteen year run of the show could basically be summarized as "Family and Free Will above all". The power of family has helped the Winchester brothers defeat humans, monsters, demons, angels, death, Death, the Apocalypse, and a whole host of other seemingly insurmountable odds. In one such case, Sam's fond memories of the life he's spent with Dean is what allows him to retake control of his body from possession by the Devil himself.
  • The Power of Love: Discussed in "Point of No Return."
    Sam: There's another way.
    Adam: Great. What is it?
    Dean: [sarcastically] Well, we're working on the Power of Love.
    Adam: How's that going?
    Dean: Not good.
  • Power of Trust: In Season 5, Sam's (basically misplaced) trust in him is all that keeps Dean from going through with it after saying yes to Michael.
  • Power Trio: Sam, Dean, and Castiel (circa Season 5). They even have the in-canon team name "Team Free Will".
    Dean: Well, this is it.
    Sam: This is what?
    Dean: Team Free Will. One ex-blood junkie, one dropout with six bucks to his name, and Mr. Comatose over there. Awesome.
  • Power-Up Food: When angels' (or a Nephilim's) Grace is depleted or outright stolen, consuming Grace from other angels will temporarily restore some of their angelic powers, or (if not all of their native Grace was taken) will speed up their Grace's replenishment. Castiel reluctantly does this twice after his Grace is completely drained until he gets it back, and Lucifer does it to speed up his own recovery after being partially drained. It's tried on Jack but it doesn't work out well.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Every time a Deal with the Devil is made, the victim is supposed to get to live for 10 more years before the demons come for him. Crowley is outraged when a lesser demon comes for his victims early:
    Crowley: There's a reason we don't call our chits in early: consumer confidence. This isn’t Wall Street, this is Hell! We have a little something called integrity. If this gets out, who'll deal with us? Nobody! Then, where are we?
  • Precautionary Corpse Disposal: Hunters must burn a body and anything associated to it in order to either destroy an existing ghost causing problems or, as a precaution, to keep one from forming. When done for fallen comrades, this is called a Hunter's Funeral.
  • Pre-Climax Climax:
    • Done in "Heaven and Hell", except the girl (actually, an angel who has lost her "grace") suggests it to Dean, who is a little put off by the fact that it's usually him who uses that line. It doesn't stop him, though.
    • Subverted in "Abandon All Hope...", where Dean tries it with Jo, only for Jo to say that if this is really her last night on Earth, she'll spend it with dignity.
  • Pretender Diss:
    • The monster hunters dislike wannabe-hunters, since they tend to derive their knowledge of monsters from popular fiction — which can get them and others killed. When Dean meets Samuel, Samuel tests him with a question about vampires that a wannabe would fail.
    • Sam and Dean are also very derisive of Vampire Wannabes and vampire fandom in general. Supernatural's vampires are, with very few exceptions, brutal killers who will use their fans for food without second thought. And the exceptions don't act anything like Pattinson.
    • Death himself delivers one to a power-tripping Castiel in the Season 7 premiere. "I know God, and you, sir, are no God."
  • Prison Dimension: Purgatory mainly functions as the afterlife for all the monster souls in the universe. However, the Grim Reaper later reveals that it was originally built by God as a prison to prevent the primordial Leviathans, God's first beasts, from eating the rest of creation.
  • The Problem with Fighting Death:
    • Discussed. To stop Lucifer, Dean tries to kill Death, unaware that he could've gotten what he wanted without killing him, as they both had a common interest in stopping the "bratty child". Dean assumes that Death would be angry at this, but it turns out the problem with a human fighting Death is that the human just doesn't matter.
      Death: You have an inflated sense of your importance. To a thing like me, a thing like you, well...Think how you'd feel if a bacterium sat at your table and started to get snarky. This is one little planet in one tiny solar system in a galaxy that's barely out of its diapers. I'm old, Dean. Very old. So I invite you to contemplate how insignificant I find you.
    • He later gambles with him and buys him a hotdog, but continues to impress upon him the depths of his insignificance at every opportunity. It's here that Death also clarifies that he himself cannot, in fact, die. Which makes the end of Season 10 a little... murky.
  • Promotion to Parent:
    • Bobby for the boys, although considering Dean's daddy issues, fans would have preferred him to remain a friend-type. Explicitly stated in "It's a Terrible Life" and most of Season 4.
    • Deconstructed with Dean for Sam: it left him with a whole ton of issues — not the least of which is his lack of a spine when it comes to family — and an unhealthy need to keep Sam alive and safe.
    • Michael also claims that he was this to his younger brother Lucifer.
  • Prone to Sunburn: Vampires can survive sun exposure but get extreme sunburns, hence why they tend to operate at night.
  • Properly Paranoid: Frank. Even dying messily doesn't stop him from being effective.
  • Proscenium Reveal: "Hollywood Babylon" opens with two terrified 20-somethings, Wendy and Brody, in the woods. Brody runs away; Wendy calls for her friends, hears a noise, turns toward the camera and screams — unconvincingly, at a tennis ball stuck on top of a movie camera. "Cut!" calls the director. "Wendy" is actually Tara Benchley, the lead actress of Hell Hazers 2.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Averted averted averted. Sam's psychic powers begin as harmless visions that help them save people in peril, but still cause all main characters to completely freak out because they must be evil. Turns out, they are.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Sam, when he uses his psychic exorcism powers against particularly difficult demons.
  • Psychic Powers: Sam and the Special Children. Pamela Barnes and Missouri Mosely are more garden variety clairvoyants.
  • Psycho Serum: Sam Winchester spent half the season break between three and four, and all of Season 4, using demon blood to enhance psychic powers conferred upon him by feeding him demon blood as a baby. This allows him to kill demons without necessarily killing their hosts, a power no one else in the setting except angels ever demonstrates, and angels rarely bother. There turn out to be three definite problems with the system:
    1. The woman providing him with it is engaged in a long-term manipulation to help the current Big Bad with her Thanatos Gambit to free Lucifer.
    2. Most definitely an unavoidable problem: The stuff is incredibly addictive, and his growing addict behaviors are not good for any other part of his emotional life.
    3. It apparently is, to some degree, slowly turning him into something other than human. To what degree his bad behavior stems from this instead of straightforward addiction is impossible to determine; he never seems to approach outright Transhuman Treachery, and he demonstrated a capacity for being dangerously obsessive before he started on the stuff. A majority of his choices were actually pragmatic logic for the greater good, but they sure wrecked his relationship with his brother, who has this weird power to be right about everything even when it's for the wrong reasons.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: