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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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    Q 
  • Quieting the Unquiet Dead: In the episode "Bad Boys" the ghost is a mother violently protecting her son from beyond the grave. The Winchesters' usual method of burning bones and other relics doesn't work, so they need the boy, Timmy, to reassure the mother that he'll be okay without her attacking people.
  • Quit Your Whining:
    • Bobby to Sam and Dean at various points.
      Bobby: You stupid, stupid son of a bitch! Well, boo-hoo. I am so sorry your feelings got hurt, princess! Are you under the impression that family's supposed to make you feel good? Make you an apple pie, maybe? They're supposed to make you feel miserable! That's why they're family!
    • At the end of Season 5, Castiel has been stripped of his angelic powers. When he starts to angst about the loss, Bobby basically shames him out of it — Castiel might be only human now, but hey, so are the rest of them, and Bobby, who's in a wheelchair, has a lot more reason to feel useless.
    • Zachariah delivers one of these speeches to Dean, mainly to show what utter dicks the angels are, as Dean's Heroic BSoD at the time was well deserved — Dean taking up the knife while he was down in Hell was the breaking of the First Seal of Lucifer's Cage. So, basically, Dean set the Apocalypse in motion, even if Sam was the one who set Lucifer free.
    • Cas gives one to Kevin when Kevin's complaining about another tablet for him to translate having turned up.
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    R 
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Seasons 4 and 5 in a nutshell.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The entire subculture of hunters, who have no budget and receive no pay for what they do. They do, however, earn a bunch of psychological issues along the way.
  • Raised as a Host: In Season 5, it is revealed that Sam and Dean Winchester's parents Mary and John were coupled on Heaven's directive through a cupid. The Winchester bloodline goes back to Cain and Abel and gives them the ability to be hosts for the Archangels Michael and Lucifer in preparation for their final fight on Earth once the Apocalypse has begun. Naturally, Sam and Dean rebel.
  • Rape as Drama:
    • Implied to have happened to Sam while in Hell. The first time he has a hallucination of Lucifer, he greets him with "Hi, Sam. Long time, no spooning." It's compounded further when he tells him, "You're my bunkmate. My bitch. In every sense of the word." and refers to him as "bunk buddy". Crosses into Fridge Horror. More or less confirmed in "Repo Man" (S07, E15):
      Lucifer: That's what I'm talking about, Sam. Real interaction again, I miss that—the rapier wit; the wittier rape.
    • Implied heavily between Alastair and Dean too. The former mentions "poking and prodding" way too often.
      Dean: They sliced and carved and tore at me in ways that you...until there was nothing left.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: The Season 2 episode "Tall Tales", told through the accounts of both Dean and Sam, is rife with instances of unreliable narrations. Their stories, while the same in essence, differ greatly in the portrayal of Sam and Dean's characters — in Sam's version, Sam comes off as intelligent and mature while Dean is petty and obnoxious. Dean's account shows Sam to be stiff, temperamental and full of angst and Dean as a smooth-talking player and level-headed hunter.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • The episode "Ghostfacers" (S03, E13) references the writers' strike that caused Season 3 to be shortened to sixteen episodes.
    • Crowley's speech about how much he hates his job as King of Hell since all the ursupations and challenges to the throne he's had to deal with is uncomfortable to watch if you know how disillusioned Mark Sheppard was with the show at that point, specifically because of how much Badass Decay his character suffered in favor of Lucifer.
  • Reality Warper:
    • The Trickster, a demi-god that likes to roam around, deflating egos, breaking the haughty, and causing mayhem in general. While not actively evil, the Trickster's sense of humor can, on occasion, be quite lethal. As of Season 5, it has been revealed that the Trickster is not a demi-god at all but is actually the Archangel Gabriel posing as the Norse god Loki. He ran away from his family because he couldn't take all the fighting. Season 13 does feature the actual Trickster who lent Gabriel his appearance, and he's just as much as, if not more so, of a magician.
    • Some of the more powerful angels have reality warping powers. Zachariah is the biggest user but other angels, including a promoted Castiel demonstrated mild reality warping powers.
    • Jesse, The Antichrist, made childish stories come true by merely believing them.
    • Apparently, this can also happen to powerful psychics. Fred Jones was a powerful psychic who grew senile and lost control of his powers, making cartoon physics come true.
    • Double Subverted by the Djinn, who appear to grant wishes by altering reality, but are in fact simply trapping their victims in a Lotus-Eater Machine while draining them of their blood. In Season 14, the evil Archangel Michael has given them a "power-up" making them into a straight example, now able to read their victims' minds and bring their nightmares into actual reality.
  • Reality-Writing Book: Chuck the Prophet writes books about two characters he thinks he made up named Sam and Dean Winchester, who have lives identical to the real Sam and Dean. At some points what he writes lines up with what's happening to Sam and Dean at that exact time.
    Dean: I'm sitting in a laundromat, reading about myself sitting in a laundromat reading about myself. My head hurts.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: The Winchesters on one hand clearly believe this — Sam more unconsciously than Dean, since he has some pretensions toward normality — but, on the other hand, they strongly disapprove of killing humans, and even Dean is not too impressed by killing frivolously. Their resistance to killing humans is broken down somewhat over the years of war and the fact that the only way they have, most of the time, of killing demons (and angels) kills the hosts as well, and they use it without hesitating, but it's still not something they're willing to do without good reason. Humans aren't in their jurisdiction.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Obviously subverted, as the show has no real theme song, but the unofficial theme that is used for season finale recaps and such is "Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas, although not the whole song.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie:
    • "Hollywood Babylon" (S02, E18) had a trailer for Hell Hazers II: The Reckoning.
    • Season 14's "Mint Condition" introduces the All Saints' Day series, with a brief intermission featuring a trailer of a cheesy 1980s horror film.
  • Real World Episode: In "The French Mistake" (S06, E15), Sam and Dean Winchester get blasted into a version of the real world where everyone sees them as Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, stars of the television series Supernatural. It gets very meta. Among the things the Winchesters discover: Bobby is named for a show producer, Jared got married to the actress who played Ruby, Supernatural is filmed in Vancouver, and Sam and Dean CANNOT ACT. Misha Collins (Castiel) and series creator Eric Kripke get Killed Off for Real.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Not that The Grim Reaper is there to in any way help the Winchesters, or anyone for that matter, but he values order, and is in charge of keeping the cycle of life and death continuing so the chaos doesn't destroy the universe. He is incredibly fair-handed in doing this, allows completely for the events of free will to be followed to their natural conclusion, and doesn't use "destiny" as an excuse to fuck people around. This means that all the angels and demons out there who play havoc with the natural order, arrogantly declaring that they can do whatever they want, REALLY piss him off (particularly considering how insignificant they are in comparison to him). As a result, if the Winchesters' aims coincide with his own, he will help them out. He is also the only entity in the whole of existence who Dean actually respects and is scared of. And considering his exposure to both God and the Devil, that is saying something.
    • Henriksen had elements of this, too. For most of his part he's a hardass outsider who does nothing but interfere and make the Winchesters' job tougher, but as soon as he has proof of demons' existence, he takes Sam and Dean's side and teams up with them.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Bobby gives an EPIC one to Sam and Dean in "Weekend at Bobby's" (S06, E04).
    Bobby: Sam. Dean. I love you like my own. I do. But sometimes... sometimes, you two are the most whiniest, most self-absorbed sons of bitches that I've ever met! I'm selfish? ME? I do everything for you! EVERYTHING! You need some lore scrounged up, you need your asses pulled out of the fire, you need someone to bitch to about each other. You call me, and I come through. EVERY. DAMN. TIME! And what do I get for it? Jack with a side of squat!
    Dean: Bobby...
    Bobby: Do I sound like I'm DONE?! Now look. I know you got issues. God knows, I know. But I've got newsflash for ya. You AIN'T the center of the universe!
  • Redemption Equals Affliction: In an attempt to atone for his actions in Season 6, Castiel absorbs Sam's mental trauma and suffers a mental breakdown as a result.
  • Redemption Equals Death:
    • Henriksen. Unusual example in that he was never bad, and hunted the boys because he thought they were psychos. He was a bit of a jerk about it though.
    • Subverted in "Swan Song" (S05, E22), when Sam saves the world by inflicting a Fate Worse than Death unto himself to lock up the Devil. At the end of the episode he's mysteriously back on Earth, watching over Dean from afar.
    • After spending most of the season trying to earn said redemption, Gadreel realizes that he's focused on nothing but this, forsaking his true mission of protecting humanity. As a result, he commits suicide to free Castiel from Heaven's prison.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Particularly in Season 1, with Dean being red and Sam being blue. Through the magic of Character Development, they have, at times, switched places.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: The feral twins from "Human Remains" evidently survived this way for years, and one kills and begins eating a rat on-screen.
  • Reference Overdosed:
  • Refuge in Audacity: In "The Monster At The End Of This Book", when questioned about how he can write about the Winchesters' lives with such exact detail, Chuck proposes that he's a "cruel, capricious god", which the Winchesters shoot down. It's hinted in the Season 5 finale and outright confirmed in Season 11 that he was outright confessing the "god" part and the Season 14 finale that he was confessing the "cruel, capricious" part.
  • Relative Error: In the early seasons, Sam and Dean would get Mistaken for Gay practically once a season, and were usually quick to clarify that they're just brothers, but in "Bugs" and "A Very Supernatural Christmas", Dean plays it up for case investigations, to Sam's chagrin. The final time this happens in front of them is Season 9's "The Purge", and Sam and Dean don't even blink.
    Alonso: Hey, new guy. Quit flirtin' with the trainer and keep scoopin', huh?
  • Religious Horror: Though it starts out more All Myths Are True, the show inclines increasingly towards this as it goes on.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Throughout the series, the Winchesters keep running into hunters and old friends of their father that they knew growing up. These friends were usually never mentioned before their initial appearance, and are frequently never mentioned again onscreen afterwards, despite the brothers talking about all the adventures they had together and the time spent with their father. Given that most hunters die horribly instead of retiring, it's a Justified Trope; you try not to get too attached to people who usually end up eviscerated or worse.
  • The Remnant: After Lucifer was thrown back into his Cage during the Apocalypse, thanks in part to the help of the demon Crowley, who subsequently took over Hell, there remained a remnant of demons who were still loyal to Lucifer and seeking to release him again, which the reigning Kings of Hell never quite managed to stamp out.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Gordon Walker briefly becomes this for Dean in Season 2 after John's death in the first episode of the season. That is, until Gordon starts showing his true colors....
    • Heck, Sam even called him out on it, accusing Dean of using Gordon as a replacement for their dad. Thankfully, when Dean sees the full extent of Gordon's sadism and learns that Gordon murdered his own sister without hesitation after a vampire turned her, he is horrified (and rightfully so.)
  • Rescued from the Underworld:
    • Sam tries to do this for Dean after Season 3 but repeatedly fails, and Dean is eventually broken out from Hell by an army of angels, including Castiel. Despite angels largely trumping demons in terms of power, it was stated to be a difficult mission that caused the deaths of several of Castiel's siblings.
    • Castiel manages to rescue Sam's body from the Cage after Season 5, but fails to bring back his soul, leaving Sam The Soulless. It takes Dean making a deal with Death to bring back Sam's Damaged Soul.
    • Bobby is sent to Hell despite Crowley seemingly voiding his demon deal in Season 7, and Sam is tasked to rescue him as part of the God Trials in Season 8.
  • Reset Button: Used several times, though the principal characters are typically left aware of what happened.
  • Resurrective Immortality: The remnants of the Thule Society in Season 8 have this. The Holocaust was used as a source of bodies to perform necromantic experiments. If one the Society's members dies, he will resurrect after some amount of time unless the body is burned.
  • Retired Badass:
    • When Bobby and Rufus are first introduced, they seem to be more or less retired from hunting, though they quickly become more involved with the plot.
    • Sam takes a 10-Minute Retirement early in Season 5 and Dean retires from hunting from the end of Season 5 until a couple of episodes into Season 6.
    • A Season 6 episode involving time travel showed that Samuel Colt ended up like this in his later years (though Sam was quick to point out that there's "no such thing" as fully retiring from the hunter lifestyle).
    • In the series finale, Sam retires and has a kid, who has an anti-possession tattoo, but otherwise neither of them are shown hunting.
  • Retcon:
    • It's initially stated that Lucifer was condemned to the Cage for turning Lilith, the first demon, only for Season 8 and Season 13 to introduce the Knights of Hell and the Princes of Hell, demons supposedly turned by Lucifer himself.
    • A more subtle one, in Season 5 and Season 6 there is an established gap of one full year, putting the show's then-consistent with Real Life timeline one year ahead. Then came the space between Season 7 and 8, where another year-long skip happens... but it's said to be 2013, the same year as when the season was airing, instead of 2015.
  • Retroactive Idiot Ball: Season 6 involves Crowley trying to find Purgatory, desiring to take all of its souls to empower him, going to extreme lengths, including trying to capture the Alphas and angering Eve. Season 8 however, reveals that not only do Reapers have the power to go to Purgatory and Crowley has a corrupt one on his payroll, but their is backdoor from Purgatory into Hell (where Crowley is king of). Even if one assumes he didn't recruit him till later, it begs the question why he never simply kidnapped a reaper to interrogate them.
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: Sometimes when burning bodies, they'll throw the lit lighter onto the oil. Often enough to possibly be the Trope Codifier.
  • Revenant Zombie: A Revenant appears in "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things" (S02, E04). She is reanimated by an Ancient Greek spell, exactly as she was in life — with the exception of superhuman strength, virtual immunity to physical damage, and a single-minded focus on punishing her boyfriend and the woman with whom he was cheating on her.
  • Revenge: Daddy Winchester ruined his kids' childhood in his efforts to find and kill Azazel to avenge his wife's death, and Sam ruined his own life trying to kill Lilith to avenge Dean, even after Dean returned from the pit.
  • Revision:
    • Sam's girlfriend Jessica was killed by a demon in the pilot episode in the same manner (burned to death on the ceiling) as the Winchesters' mother. It was pretty clearly intended to be the Yellow-Eyed Demon/Azazel, whom Sam and Dean finally took out at the end of Season 2 to avenge Mary and Jess. Then a Season 5 episode revealed that one of Azazel's former minions was the actual hitman, a demon who possessed Sam's college friend Brady.
    • In Season 11, it's revealed that Lucifer was corrupted by the Mark of Cain, which contained Amara, instead of simply rebelling of his own volition as was established in Season 5.
  • A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: When Sam takes a 10-Minute Retirement and tries to live a "normal" life in "Free To Be You And Me" (S05, E03), a girl curious to learn about Sam's past but at a loss for words to describe his peculiarity gives Sam the opportunity to quip that he's "a riddle wrapped inside an enigma wrapped inside a taco".
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In "The Prisoner", Dean goes on one of these against the Stein family after they kill Charlie.
  • Rousing Speech: Subverted in "Sympathy for the Devil" (S05, E01). Dean makes one of these for Bobby's benefit, but later admits to Sam that he just was trying to keep Bobby's spirits up, and they have no hope of winning.
  • Rule of Funny:
  • Running Gag:
    • Dean and the Magic Fingers. Heh. And eww. And heh.
    • "Lucky guess."
    • Busty Asian Beauties. Dot com.
    • Casa Erotica.
    • All the Mistaken for Gay jokes.
    • Sam calling Dean's bluffs about competence. "Name three children that you even know", "Name the last book you read".
    • Dr. Sexy, M.D.
    • The boys' aliases relating to classic rock. According to "Weekend at Bobby's" (S06, E04), Rufus Turner does something similar, though he uses the much-less-believable "Luther Vandross" and "Reuben Studdard".
      • Classic rock in general, both Dean's love for it, and Sam's distaste.
    • Dean's "guilty pleasures".
    • Sam and Dean playing Rock, Paper, Scissors (and Dean losing because he always picks scissors) to determine who will carry out unpleasant tasks. Dean eventually wins. In Season 6. With scissors. In an Alternate Universe.
    • Funnily enough, the number of times the Winchesters die could also be seen as this. Mentioned by Bobby at the start of "Dark Side of the Moon" (S05, E16).
    • Someone will question Sam and Dean's credentials, especially if they're posing as some kind of federal agents. "I didn't think the Feds would have any interest in [this case]" is the standard line. They'll usually reply with something about the current administration.
      "It's a new, kinder administration."
      "Well, change you can believe in."
      "War on terror."
    • In Season 8, we're often reminded that Kevin Tran, Prophet of the Lord, was in Advanced Placement.
    • Dean goes through so many cellphones that his voice mail even lampshades it.
      Dean: This is Dean's other, other cell... so you must know what to do.
    • Castiel assuring the others that something isn't as bad as they think it is, only to immediately add that it's actually much worse.

    S 
  • Sacred Flames:
    • Angels are incapable of crossing the flames from ignited holy oil, much as table salt wards off several other types of monsters.
    • In Season 11, Sam finds out the cure to infection by the Darkness's fog is to burn it out with sanctified fire. He ends up curing several infected by trapping them in a ring of said fire.
  • Sadistic Choice: A lot of them throughout the series.
    • In Season 1, the brothers found the Yellow-Eyed Demon and can finally shoot him dead with The Colt. Except, it's possessing John, and killing the demon means killing their father as well.
    • In Season 2, when Sam is possessed and forces Dean to kill him or he'll kill Jo.
    • In Season 4, when Dean swears fealty to the angels (who are, aside from a handful of exceptions, Jerkass Knight Templars at best and outright monsters at worst) so that Sam doesn't have to use his demon blood powers to defeat Lilith and become a monster.
    • In Season 5, when Zachariah tortures Dean and Sam with several horrible diseases unless they consent to being possessed by Michael and Lucifer.
    • In Season 6, when Sam Came Back Wrong as The Soulless and his soul has been in Lucifer's Cage in hell for a year and a half, or about 180 years in hell time. Either he gets his soul back and could die or go insane due to his soul's memories of hell, or he does not get it back and it's only a matter of time before it ends bloody because soulless Sam is a sociopath and has shown to be a danger to everyone around him. Also subverted when Death makes Dean choose whether he'll save Sam or Adam's soul from the cage and Dean immediately chooses Sam's soul without hesitation.
    • In Season 8, Crowley gives the brothers a choice: stop the Trials Of God to close the gates of hell and surrender, or he'll kill everyone the brothers have ever saved.
    • In Season 9, Sam is dying from the Trials and his body is damaged in ways even an angel cannot heal. But the angel, Gadreel, could heal him if he possesses him, so Dean has to choose between letting his brother die or tricking him into letting an angel possess him against his will.
    • In Season 10, when Dean has the Mark of Cain. Sam and Castiel can either let Dean with its influence and let him turn into a horrible demonic mass-murderer like Cain over time, or remove the mark and release The Darkness on the world.
    • In Season 13, when Lucifer forces Jack and Sam to kill each other. Dean either letting Lucifer kill his brother and the rest of the universe or make the deal with Alternate Michael to become his vessel in order to gain the power to kill Lucifer also qualifies. Dean lets Alternate Michael in on the condition that it's temporary and the archangel allows Dean to keep control of his body, but after Lucifer is dead, Alternate Michael unsurprisingly goes back on the deal and takes Dean over completely.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Many of the pagan "gods" that appear in Season 5 bear little to no resemblance to their original incarnations; Kali, Ganesh, Baldur, Odin, Mercury, and Baron Samedi (among others) are shown feasting on human flesh. While many of the figures did accept living sacrifices, including human sacrifices in some occasions, they all heavily frowned upon actually consuming human flesh, and in Roman tradition (the origin of Mercury) cannibalism is one of the prime sins forbidden by the gods. Or that's what they wanted you to think. In the Supernatural!Verse, most widely-known details about myths are wrong. An angel even states "Your Bible gets more wrong than it does right."
  • San Dimas Time: In "Frontierland", the past and present timelines are synched, so Sam and Dean can only remain in The Wild West for as long as Cas waits in his own time, after their departure, to bring them back. Also used in "Time After Time", where Sam and Jody must perform a ritual to summon Chronos to the present by citing a precise moment in his past, which Dean, who is stuck in the past, takes advantage of in order to return to the present along with Chronos.
    Castiel: You only have 24 hours.
    Sam: What? Why?
    Castiel: Well, the answer to your question can best be expressed as a series of partial differential equations...
  • Sapient Fur Trade: Sam used demon blood 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.
  • Satellite Love Interest: An arguable subversion with Jo in the second season. Word Of God said that she was originally conceived as a Love Interest for Dean, and that she was rapidly phased out of the series due to negative fan reaction.
  • "Save the World" Climax: The show starts with two brothers hunting ghosts, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures in the US while looking for their father. By Season 5, they're trying to prevent the Biblical Apocalypse from occurring.
  • Saving the World:
    • As of Season 5, the stated goal of the Brothers Winchester, due to the Biblical Apocalypse.
    • Also the plot during the middle of Season 6 with them trying to stop the Mother of All — or Eve, if you will — and then consequently trying to stop Crowley from gathering Purgatory's souls.
    • Then again in Season 11 with the Darkness, which threatens to destroy the universe.
    • And again in Season 14 with the Apocalypse World Michael who wants to destroy humanity and overrun it with monsters and angels.
    • Finally, the final Season 15 involves saving The Multiverse from God.
  • Say My Name: You'd think the boys were in danger a lot or something. Bonus points if "Sammy" is used.
  • Schrödinger's Butterfly:
  • Scotireland: Demons call Crowley "Lucky the Leprechaun" behind his back because his real name is Fergus MacLeod.
    Bobby: MacLeod's Scottish, Einstein.
  • Screw Destiny: Dean usually says something to this effect whenever Sam's dark and evil destiny is brought up. And, as of the beginning of Season 5, whenever his own destiny is brought up.
    Dean: Screw destiny, right in the face.
  • Scully Box:
    • Both Katie Cassidy (5'7") and Genevieve Padalecki (5'4") played the demon Ruby. Since almost all of their screen time was spent in the company of the 6'5" Jared Padalecki (Sam) and 6'1" Jensen Ackles (Dean), tall, spiky heels became a standard of Ruby's wardrobe from the get-go. Cassidy has stated these caused her to lose her balance on more than one occasion.
    • According to Richard Speight Jr.. (Gabriel), he (5'8") had to use four of these while sharing a scene with Padalecki and Ackles. Without them, he wasn't even in the frame.
    • One scene had Rowena (played by the 5'2" Ruth Connell) both wearing heels and standing on a curb while she talked to Sam, who was standing in the road gutter. She still just barely reaches Padalecki's shoulder.
    • Even Ackles himself has had to use this, particularly in earlier seasons where the show was more or less just him and Padalecki talking in the same shot, usually done through having walking scenes done with Ackles on a padded ramp, or by giving him taller shoes. As a result Dean's height fluctuates from being just slightly shorter than Sam's to his actor's height of being half a head shorter than Padalecki.
  • Sealed Cast in a Multipack: On more than one occasion, Sam and Dean have accidentally released scores of demons from Hell and have to go kill them.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Thus far the end of every even-numbered season has involved letting some great evil out of its can. Seasons 3, 5, and 7 have been about dealing with these evils.
    • Season 2 ends with the Devil's Gate being opened with no warning and a mass of demons got out along with their leader Lilith, the new Big Bad.
    • Season 4 ends with Lucifer being freed from his cage by Thanatos Gambit.
    • The Leviathans were the real problem with opening Purgatory for the power of its souls at the end of Season 6. According to Death in the Season 7 premiere, Purgatory was specifically created by God to serve as a can for them.
    • In Season 8 the Winchesters do this to Abaddon by cutting her up and sealing the pieces in boxes and burying her, still alive. Later they dig her up to use as a guinea pig for their final trial but she gets loose.
    • Season 10, sadly, is not an exception.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: The Men of Letters, a secret society of scholars hoarding knowledge and ability in combating the creatures of evil and using their personal elite cadre of hunters to dispose of major threats. They're defunct nowadays, seeing as how Abaddon killed most of them in 1958 and what few survivors there were gave up. Sam and Dean use their headquarters as a base of operations and their library as a source of knowledge for the second half of Season 8. We're also shown that they've had foreign counterparts fulfilling similar roles of being a centralized anti-monster force in "Everybody Hates Hitler" (S08, E13).
  • See You in Hell: The last thing Dean says to Bela before she's killed by hellhounds. In a slight variation of this trope, Dean means it literally.
  • Seeking Sanctuary: Attempted in "Salvation" (S01, E21) and "I Know What You Did Last Summer" (S04, E09). It fails both times.
  • Seen It All: To the point where the aversions become important plot points, most notably in the first two episodes of Season 4 and the first half of Season 6.
  • Self-Parody:
  • Self-Sacrifice Scheme: It would take longer to write out the examples here than than it would take to just watch the complete series in full.
  • Self Stitching: It's the Winchester version of health care.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Played with. At first, it might look like the Winchester brothers are this trope played straight, with Sam being the Sensitive Guy and Dean being the Manly Man. It turns out that hard-drinking, hard-playing, weapons-happy Dean is more often in a nurturing role than little brother Sam, empathizes more with children and, even though he hides and denies it, can get very emotionally-involved once he engages in a (not necessarily sexual) committed relationship; anger-issues, surprisingly-ruthless Sam is the one who prefers talking it out, nonviolent solutions, and helping civilians. Interestingly enough, the fact that Sam is in general more prone to discuss feelings can make him look more sensitive/less manly than Dean but, as a result, help him cope with events in ways that, on a deeper level, are less affected by insecurities.
    • There's also the matter of how the two brothers' sex scenes are choreographed. For all his talk of womanizing and ditching chicks, when we see Dean in bed with a woman, starting with Cassie in Season 1, he's presented as romantic and loving. On the other hand, even with the women he cares about, Sam is shown to be dominant and aggressive. This is made explicit in a montage from Season 6 with Dean dreaming of his long-term girlfriend Lisa and soulless Sam having casual sex. It boils down to: Sam f*cks, Dean makes love.
  • Serial Escalation: Every season finale is able to one-up the previous one: the Season 4 finale, when Lucifer is released, the Season 5 finale, when Lucifer and Michael go against each other, the Season 6 finale, when Castiel declares himself God, Season 7 traps Dean and Castiel in Purgatory, Season 8 sees the fall of Heaven, Season 9 sees Dean turn into a demon, Season 10 sees the release of the Darkness. Season 11 is more downplayed, as Dean resolves the Myth Arc through words instead of fighting, while the cliffhanger is that Sam is shot by a British Woman of Letters. Season 12 sees Castiel die, Mary get trapped in Apocalypse World with Lucifer, and Lucifer's nephilim son being born and asking for his father. Season 13 then sees Dean fully possessed by Apocalypse World Michael and vanishing, and Season 14 tops it all off with a God Is Evil reveal.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong:
    • In "In The Beginning" (S04, E03), Dean thinks that his jump into the past is to set right what once went wrong (Castiel all but states it outright), but not only does it turn out he was only meant to witness what went wrong and not change it, it looks like he actually helped cause it.
    • "The Song Remains The Same" (S05, E13) had an angel go back to that time to try to kill their mother before they were born. While she succeeds in killing their father, he is brought back as a vessel for Archangel Michael, who kills the angel.
    • Balthazar does this in Season 6's "My Heart Will Go On" when he unsinks the Titanic, though not it's not for altruistic reasons but so that there's more human souls to use as a power source.
    • In "As Time Goes By" (S08, E12), Henry wants to return to 1958 and be a father to John, but Dean fears that it'll have unforeseen consequences and stops him by force. Dean is taken aback when Henry points out that his return could mean that the Apocalypse and all the other sealed evils that have killed thousands of people would never have been released. Henry doesn't realize that the angels wouldn't let the Apocalypse go off the rails that easily.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: The daeva are seen only as shadows attacking their victims in the episode "Shadow" (S01, E16), and the death of the first victim is depicted using her shadow, which is covered by a spray of blood.
  • Sham Supernatural: Played for laughs in "Live Free or Twihard", in a nod to the then-current Romantic Vampire Boy craze. Sam and Dean investigate a string of kidnappings of young women suspected to be vampire activity. The first target they go after turns out to be a regular teenage boy who dresses up as a vampire to pick up girls. (In Sam and Dean's defense, this turns out to be the actual vampires' M.O. as well.)
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: The first season "Skin" involves one that takes on Dean's form, telling Sam how Dean resents him for being able to leave for college and how he resents their father for leaving despite Dean doing everything he asked.
  • Shapeshifters Do It for a Change: Played with in an episode where a Siren is seducing and murdering various guys "she" meets at a strip club, where she is, of course, impersonating one of the girls. Later on evidence seems to point towards it having assumed the form of a medical pathologist to seduce Sam, when in fact it has assumed the male form of an FBI agent to enthrall Dean. Not because Dean is bicurious or anything, but because the Siren doesn't just limit itself to sexual desire. What Dean really wanted was a brother figure he could see eye to eye with.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: A Siren shows up in "Sex and Violence" (S04, E14). It projected visions of the ideal woman to its victims, while its real shape looked more like a rotting corpse. Strangely, it tries the same thing on Dean but as a man, as Dean wasn't looking for a bedwarmer but a friend/brother who looked up to him.
  • Sharing a Body:
    • All angels and demons have to possess human vessels in order to walk the Earth, with the only difference being that demons can possess indiscriminately, while angels require explicit permission. (Almost) every angel and demon we see in the series is sharing space with a human soul; and sometimes, we even get to meet them.
    • Meg Masters is the name of a girl possessed by a demon throughout the first season; we're never told the demon's real name, but she continues to go by Meg even after possessing a different host. We meet the real Meg Masters in "Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester" (S04, E20), when one of the broken 66 Seals results in the ghosts of people the Winchesters failed to save coming back to haunt them.
    • Castiel's vessel is a man by the name of Jimmy Novak, and we meet him in "The Rapture" (S04, E20). Castiel is extracted from Jimmy's body offscreen, and Sam and Dean have to protect him from demons that want to question him. He eventually dies when Castiel does in the season finale, and although Castiel is returned to life in his image, Jimmy is not, making Castiel one of the only angels or demons that is not sharing a body.
    • One of the others is Ruby, who took a brain-dead coma patient as her second vessel at the behest of Sam.
    • Other angel vessels include Caroline Jones, Hannah's vessel, and Donnie Finnerman, Raphael's.
    • Apocalypse World's Michael takes Dean as a vessel at the end of Season 13; he reneges on his agreement to allow Dean control of his body, and kept Dean trapped in his own head. In "Nihilism" (S14, E10), Dean works together with Sam and Castiel to trap Michael in Dean's mind, instead.
    • The main universe's Michael ends up possessing Dean's half-brother, Adam Milligan, instead of Dean himself. At the end of Season 5, Sam pulls himself, Adam, Michael, and Lucifer (who is possessing Sam) into Hell in order to stop the Apocalypse. Sam is later freed by Castiel (though not without leaving something behind), and so is Lucifer, during Season 11, leaving Michael and Adam in Hell for upwards of a decade. Upon their escape in the show's final season, they're shown to still be happily cohabitating, even able to swap control of Adam's body at will—something no other angel and vessel pair have been shown to do. Some readings of their interactions can even imply the presence of a romantic relationship between the two.
  • Shirtless Scene:
  • Shoot the Hostage: Season 6 reveals that Soulless Sam once shot a woman being used as a Human Shield by a monster he was hunting. Once she falls over dead, he then kills the monster.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog:
    • The whole third season. Sam tries so hard to save Dean from eternal torment and gets increasingly unhinged, Dean more or less gets over his suicidal nature and tries hard himself because he's terrified, they both bring the crazy, clingy panic in spades...and, in the end, none of it means anything, because Dean's dead and in Hell anyway. (Though he was later resurrected by heavenly forces).
    • "Abandon All Hope..." (S05, E10). After retrieving the one weapon that can kill Lucifer and stop him from raising Death the Fourth Horseman, and Ellen and Jo Harvelle's heroic sacrifice to give Sam and Dean the chance to do this, it turns out that Lucifer is immune after he gets back up again with a sore head. Lucifer kills everyone in the town and raises the Pale Rider, Team Free Will is forced to flee, and Ellen and Jo have died for nothing (and they don't come back).
  • Shout-Out: See here or the individual episode pages.
  • The Show Goes Hollywood: "Hollywood Babylon" (S02, E18) and "The French Mistake" (S06, E15).
  • Show Within a Show:
    • "Changing Channels" has the brothers trapped in several tv shows, including Supernatural as a sitcom, a sadistic Japanese game show, a procedural cop show very much like CSI: Miami and Dr. Sexy MD, a parody of Grey's Anatomy of which Dean is a huge, albeit closet, fan.
    • The ultimate meta episode "The French Mistake" has Sam and Dean transported to a universe where Supernatural is a tv show and they are played by actors Jensen and Jared.
  • Shown Their Work: Castiel is the Angel of Thursday. The character was introduced during Season 4, when the show aired on Thursday. More significantly, Castiel resurrected Dean on September 18, 2008. Which was a Thursday. Crowley even calls him this in one episode, in a nifty example of Shown Their Work and Lampshade Hanging at the same time.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Told to various villains by Sam and Dean.
  • Sibling Team:
    • Sam and Dean, obviously, and they have counterparts throughout the show.
    • The witches who raise Samhain in Season 4 have been working as a team for 600 years.
    • Castiel and Uriel in Season 4 work together in a good cop, bad cop way. Castiel and Anna also work together, with her encouraging his rebellion.
    • Lucifer and Michael are arch enemies, but they will team up against anyone who tries to stop them.
    • Alex and Claire are adopted sisters who are each a Distaff Counterpart of Sam and Dean.
    • Season 12's Max and Alicia are a twin Brother–Sister Team who, like the above, parallel Sam and Dean.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The Winchester brothers contrast in many different ways. Dean is loud, boorish, slutty, and a Big Eater, in a nutshell. But he goes quiet (and even mute) when hurting, turns all his angst in on himself, and his whole life is wrapped up in Sam and his family. Sam is mostly celibate, is rarely shown to be eating, and tends to be the quiet one while Dean takes control. But he gets louder and more dangerous when he's upset and his main Fatal Flaws are Pride and self-absorption. And he's far more independent than Dean, showing signs of wanting to flee the nest through the entire show's run, and, unlike Dean, would probably be able to go on permanently with his life if deprived of his family and hunting. The sex scenes (Dean in "Route 666" (S01, E13), "Heaven and Hell" (S04, E10), and "The Slice Girls" (S07, E13) and Sam in "Heart" (S02 E17), "I Know What You Did Last Summer" (S04, E09), and "Sex and Violence" (S04, E14)) show a difference between them too. Sex is fun for Dean; he doesn't mind being pushed down on the bed and letting the woman have her way with him. But for Sam, it's violent and kinky and it's clear he has to be the one in control and dominating.
  • Significant Sketchbook:
    • In early seasons, Daddy Winchester's journal, complete with illustrations, helps the brothers on their monster hunts.
    • In Season 4, mental patient Anna's accurate depictions of the coming apocalypse tell the brothers that she isn't crazy.
  • Single Tear: Dear God, the show loves this trope. Television Without Pity says it best about the ninth season premiere:
    A tear falls from Dean's eye and skips down his cheek. It took just under seven minutes for the One Perfect Tear to make an appearance. Welcome back, salty old friend.
  • Sinister Car:
    • In the Season 1 episode "Route 666", the ghost of racist Cyrus Dorian takes the shape of his old pickup truck for the sake of murdering the three black men who took part in his murder as well as the mayor who kept his murder covered up.
    • Also gets invoked when Sam and Winchester's own Chevy Impala gets possessed by a ghost in both the pilot episode and the Season 6 episode Mannequin 3: The Reckoning.
  • Sleep Deprivation Punishment: During Season 7, Sam is suffering from hallucinations of Lucifer, due to him remembering his time in Hell. As the hallucination can't physically harm him, its main method of torture is ensuring that Sam can not sleep. After several days it clear he's been driven to the brink of insanity.
  • Sleeps with Both Eyes Open: From Season 1, Episode 18:
    Old Woman In Hospital Room: Ahhh, nonsense. I was sleeping with my peepers open. And fix that crucifix would ya? I've asked four damn times already!
    Sam: [laughs] I was sleeping with my peepers open?
    Dean: I almost smoked that old girl, I swear. It's not funny!
    Sam: Oh man, you should have seen your face!
  • Sleight of Handiness:
    • "Criss Angel Is A Douchebag" sees the brothers investigating the world of stage magic while trying to find a real magic user who's started killing people. They encounter Jay, an elderly magician and escape artist who has a particular knack for card tricks (at one point demonstrating a trick to a friend where he pulls three aces from a pack by seemingly randomly shuffling them, and when asked about the forth ace, reveals it?s already in his friend?s pocket). At the end of the episode, he uses his skills to swipe and plant one of the warlock's magic tarot cards, catching him in his own curse.
    • Earlier in the same episode, whilst trying to figure things out, the brothers tied Jay up. But, being a professional escape artist, the moment they took their eyes off him, he slipped out of the ropes and seemingly vanished from the room (really, he was hiding in a cupboard, but he fooled them into thinking he was gone).
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate:
    • It's not clear whether fate truly exists or if it just appears to because powerful beings have exerted significant effort to maneuver their game pieces into position, but the show ultimately comes down in favor of free will — against all odds, the Winchesters manage to Screw Destiny in the end.
    • Until Season 6, when Atropos, one of the Fates of Greek Mythology, makes an appearance. And subsequently never shows up again.
    • While Season 11 has Chuck (who is God) explain that he intentionally gave humans free will and everything that's happened in the world is because The Gods Must Be Lazy, Season 14's finale establishes that he's still been manipulating Sam and Dean's lives and is furious when Dean won't kill Jack and decides to end the universe and start over. While he's able to coerce other versions of Sam and Dean into killing each other (his ideal ending), the main Sam and Dean refuse, and ultimately Jack usurps him as God.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Very much on the cynical side. However, it does provide the page quote for Humans Are Flawed.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: Flip-flops between the two so often that you start to think the show is manic-depressive.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Hallucifer is completely incapable of using chairs correctly.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Meta example: Jared Padalecki tends to come off as rather silly at times, yet in one DVD commentary, the director mentions his complete and utter destruction of chess opponents.
  • Smoldering Shoes: In "Hunted" (S02, E10), Sam walks into a grenade trap set by fellow hunter Gordon Walker. After the explosion, Gordon sees Sam's Smoldering Shoe on the floor. Subverted when Sam walks up behind Gordon and holds a gun to his head. It helps that Sam had recently met a fellow psychic who had foreseen his death.
  • Soap Within a Show: Hilariously, in "The French Mistake" Sam and Dean are transported into a reality where their life is a TV show. Dean is absolutely horrified to discover that his actor starred in the soap drama Days of Our Lives (which is an actual show that Jensen Ackles starred in).
    Dean: Don't like this universe, Sammy. We need to get out of this universe.
  • Sold His Soul for a Donut: In the Season 6 episode "Weekend at Bobby's", Bobby Singer confronts Crowley in order to get to his soul back after a deal he made with him in the last season. Singer in his last dialogue with Crowley brings up that back when the latter was a human prior to his death and rebirth as a demon, he made a deal with a demon in order to be "in the double digits below the belt".
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Seasons 1-2 initially had the Yellow-Eyed Demon as the Big Bad, who gets replaced by the more powerful Lilith in Seasons 3-4, and then by the Devil himself in Season 5. Lampshaded, along with Villain Pedigree, near the end of Season 5 when Sam asks Dean if he remembers when they just fought things like wendigos. When it comes to the Big Bads, the usual downside of the Man Behind the Man structure is averted, as the lower-ranking villain usually has to free the higher-ranking villain before they can step in. Yellow-Eyes released Lilith, who went on to release Lucifer. After Season 5 this trope is subverted, since Lucifer was thrown back into Hell, and none of the Season 6 Big Bads are more powerful than him. Then briefly played straight again when Castiel becomes a villain so powerful that he can destroy the Winchesters and almost anyone else with a finger snap if he wanted to, but his power is unstable and he is forced to repent and give it up. In Season 7, the new main villains are the Leviathans, who are the first that Sam and Dean can actually beat in a straight fight, though they still need a MacGuffin to wipe them out. After their defeat it's back to demons and angels in Seasons 8 and 9, until Season 10 where the threat is the Mark of Cain turning Dean into a monster and Sam's own moral greyness in trying to cure him, ultimately unleashing Season 11's Darkness. Season 12 shares two separate villains in the British Men of Letters and Lucifer, while Season 13 and 14 both involve angels and demons again.
  • Soul-Crushing Desk Job: In "It's a Terrible Life", Dean Smith and Sam Wesson have no memory of ever being the legendary badass monster-hunting Winchester Brothers. Instead, they both work in corporate America, Dean as a big wig executive, Sam at a dead-end cubicle job as tech support. Both sense that they are out of place, but neither can figure out why. Sam has increasingly bizarre nightmares as his memories try to re-surface and he frequently questions how he ended up in such a crappy job. By the end of the episode, after successfully killing a ghost that was haunting the building, he can no longer contain his dissatisfaction, uses a club to destroy his always-ringing telephone and quits, to the bewildered stares of his frightened co-workers.
  • Soul Eating:
    • The Crocotta is a Monster of the Week which feeds on human souls. They're fairly low on the monster totem pole all the same, living in filth and only being able to lure in victims by being a Voice Changeling.
    • The much more powerful Famine also eats human souls, though demons will do in a pinch. Which isn't that surprising, since demons in this setting are essentially corrupted human souls rather similar to ghosts.
    • In Season 11, it is revealed that The Darkness/Amara is eating human souls and growing with the power that they provide. Unusually for the trope, that entity claims that its victims continue to exist within it, in some kind of alternate afterlife.
  • The Soulless: The show has dealt with living people getting separated from their souls several times, and the results are rarely if ever pretty. Generally, soulless people still retain their consciousness, memories and most aspects of their personalities, but losing their soul causes some nasty psychological problems to manifest, although the precise effects vary from person to person.
    • Sam is soulless throughout the first half of Season 6. As a result, he never sleeps at all but remains well-rested, he has an abnormally high pain tolerance, and though he feigns empathy until he learns what's wrong with him, it becomes apparent post-diagnosis that his ability to feel any empathy or concern for others besides himself got left behind with his soul, although he still remains committed to hunting monsters as it's what he knows. Ironically for this trope, Soulless!Sam is uncertain about whether or not he wants to get his soul back, since he thinks his lack of empathy has rendered him ruthlessly efficient as a hunter, and when he learns his soul's severe mutilation when it was in Lucifer's Cage means that restoring it would probably do him more harm than good, he goes to every effort up to and including trying to kill Bobby to render his soulless state irreversible.
    • In Season 9, Sam discovers that an outbreak of violent incidences are caused by the perpretrators' souls being extracted by demons: a housewife with a couch potato of a husband casually beats him to death without raising her voice an octave, and a teenage son goes off on an uncharacteristic rant about how he hates everyone and stabs a woman at a restaurant with a fork.
    • Amara creates several Soulless due to eating people's souls while leaving them alive in Season 11. In "Thin Lizzie", Sydney goes on a murderous rampage after losing her soul, kidnapping her beloved babysitting charge and killing both his useless, good-for-nothing parents so she can take care of him, and as a person who's had a troubled life she freely feels released by her soullessness; Len meanwhile admits that his life passions and aversion to violence (including chewing off his own fingers to reach a goal, and killing another person) have completely disappeared with his soul, but he still manages to hold onto morality enough to only kill while saving Sam and Dean's lives, and to take the heat for the murder spree so he can't hurt anyone else from in a jail cell if he devolves further.
      • Donatello is revealed to be another victim of this when he returns in Season 13, although he remains quite well-adjusted and helpful, using the motto "What would Mr. Rogers do?" as a substitute for his lost moral compass. However, a side-effect of losing his soul is that reading one of the Word of God tablets now has a corruptive effect on his mind, turning him into a psycho, which Team Free Will speculate is because the souls of prophets such as Donatello normally act as a filter against the tablets' corruptive power; although he does recover from this after being rendered braindead for a time.
    • In Season 14, Jack accidentally burns his whole soul away by overusing an Enochian sacrificial spell. In following episodes, he grows quiet but shows increasing signs of developing a violent and unstable streak, although he still holds onto morals and even his love for Sam and Dean. His soul is restored in Season 15, which causes him to break down in tears over killing Mary.
  • Soul Power: There are several soul manipulators:
    • Over the course of Season 6, it's revealed that angels can use souls to gain extra power. In the season finale, the angel Castiel absorbs all the souls in Purgatory and declares himself the new God. This backfires badly since souls aren't the only residents in Purgatory.
    • The Men of Letters can use the power of their own souls to perform particular feats of magic, such as Time Travel.
    • Season 12 introduces the witch Lily Sunder, who harnessed the power of her own soul and could use it to fight angels. However, her magic burns off parts of her soul and continued use will eventually render her soulless.
    • Similarly, in Season 14 [[spoiler:Jack burns off part of his soul in order to kill the Archangel Michael, which worries Sam and Dean and Castiel.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • At the end of Season 1, the Winchesters are driving away from a confrontation with Azazel when their car is hit by a truck driven by a possessed driver. As the camera shows Sam, Dean, and John lying bloody and unconscious, the song "Bad Moon Rising" plays cheerfully on the car radio. Considering the subject matter of the song, it's oddly appropriate.
    • In "Born Under a Bad Sign" (S02, E14), while Sam is questioning Jo, a record player can be heard playing "The Crystal Ship" by The Doors.
      "Before you slip into unconsciousness, I’d like to have another kiss..."
    • In the Season 3 finale, Dean starts belting out some classic rock to distract himself from his impending doom. Sam joins in, and it's a fun brotherly moment for the thirty seconds before they realize they're singing "Wanted Dead Or Alive".
    • In "Swan Song" (S05, E22), to interrupt a tense moment (possibly the last moment before a large portion of the planet is nuked), Dean pops in a cassette and drives the Metallicar into the middle of Michael!Adam and Lucifer!Sam's pre-battle staredown, blasting the music. The song of choice? Def Leppard's "Rock of Ages", complete with "German" (gibberish) intro.
    • They use "Bad Moon Rising" again in "Out With The Old" (S07, E16) over the brothers' discovery of Frank's damaged, blood-covered trailer.
  • Special Edition Title: The series has made special opening credits for several episodes:
  • Spoiler Opening: Averted in "Meta Fiction" (S09, E18). Richard Speight, Jr. is not listed in the opening guest credits so as not to spoil the return(-ish) of Gabriel. This is also true for Matt Cohen as Lucifer's approximation of John Winchester in "Baby" (S11, E04).
  • Species-Specific Afterlife: Only human souls go to Heaven or Hell. Monsters (vampires, wendigos, etc) go to Purgatory when killed. Angels and demons who are killed go to the Empty.
  • Stable Time Loop: "In the Beginning", "The Song Remains the Same", "Time After Time" all feature time travelers who think they can change the past, only to realize that is impossible and destiny can't be changed.
  • Staging an Intervention: In an effort to get Sam off the demon blood, Dean and Bobby Singer confront him and have him locked up in a rehabilitation chamber. It doesn't stop Sam, as he is transported out by the angels as part of their plan to start the Apocalypse.
  • Standard Power-Up Pose: Some demons do this when the black smoke, which is their essence, leaves the meatsuit they're currently wearing.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers:
    • Surprisingly rare. Most Love Interests die before they have the chance to go through any struggles together with their man of choice, or simply have an idyllic relationship with their men before they get killed off.
    • Dean and Lisa, the series' first attempt at a genuine, long-term romantic relationship on-screen, definitely became this by the sixth season. The only truly normal time they had together was the first weekend they spent with each other before the series started; otherwise, their relationship was complicated by monsters, demon deals, dead loved ones, soulless people, and The End of the World as We Know It. They try hard to be together anyway, but Lisa finally gives up on the idea of there being a "them" and tries to move on with her life when a vamp'd Dean pushes her son Ben, despite still caring about Dean and he her. It is highly unlikely that they will ever get a happy ending together, especially since Dean had all of her and Ben's memories of him erased. Losing Lisa pained Dean, but he has resigned himself to never having the life he (literally) dreamed of with her.
    • Sam and Amelia. They were in the most serious relationship Sam had had since Jessica when Amelia's husband was revealed to still be alive, prompting Sam to try to do the right thing by breaking things off with Amelia so that she could go back to Don, even though Sam really just wanted to stay with her. Amelia turned out to be the same way; she was still in love with Sam even with him gone and Don back. Sam and Amelia eventually decided that they would settle this by arranging a meeting spot and time; if both of them turned up, they would know that the other had picked them, and they would get back together and Amelia would divorce Don; if one turned up but not the other, that person would know that it wasn't going to happen. Amelia arrived at the meeting spot, proving that she was willing to give Don up for Sam, but Sam decided that he had more responsibility to seeing the trials through and didn't show even though he was still just as in love with Amelia as she was with him. Given that ending, they also seem unlikely to get back together.
    • Sam and Eileen. Sam finally falls for a woman with whom he can be completely honest and who, being a hunter who lost her own parents as a baby, truly understands Sam. For a while, it seems like the two might have a chance - at least after she's resurrected - but she disappears from the world thanks to Chuck and is never mentioned again. Word Of God is that she could be Sam's unseen wife from the finale, but not necessarily.
  • Starter Villain: Constance Welch, a Woman in White haunting a small stretch of highway. She's hunted by Sam and Dean before they begin searching for the Yellow-Eyed Demon and is Dragged Off to Hell at the end of the episode.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Castiel being the primary offender — although Crowley likes to do it, too — and Dean the primary victim.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • When Dean is marked as a target of The Fair Folk, he's stalked and eventually attacked by someone who looks like a hobo. He never speaks, and no mention is made of what kind of creature he is, even though he looks nothing like the fairy, elves, and leprechaun that we see. He wears a red wool hat, looks like he hasn't shaved in a few days, and stares silently at his victim...like a garden gnome. Or, you know, a redcap.
    • In "The End" (S05, E04), the camp in which the resistance is based is called Camp Chitaqua, implying that the remaining humans have found themselves up a certain creek...
    • The show's repeated use of "Carry On Wayward Son" in "The Road So Far" sections is a Stealth Pun, since not only are Sam and Dean wayward sons of an equally wayward father, but the Winchesters are from Kansas (the state) and the song is by Kansas (the band).
  • Stepford Smiler:
  • Stockholm Syndrome: In "There Will Be Blood" (S07, E22), there's Emily, who has come to see the Alpha Vampire as her "daddy".
    Dean: Wow, you win a trophy in Stockholm Syndrome!
  • "Stop the Hero" Twist: Throughout Season 4, the Winchesters, under contract from Heaven itself, have been fighting demons led by Lilith to stop them from breaking the seals to Lucifer's cage. By the season finale, "Lucifer Rising" (S04, E22), Dean discovers that the angels have been lying to them and want the Apocalypse to happen. Sam, who is on his way to kill Lilith, will inadvertently be the cause of the Apocalypse because Lilith IS the last seal. Despite last-minute help from the rebel angel Castiel, Dean is too late to stop Sam.
  • Story-Breaker Power:
    • "I Believe The Children Are Our Future" (S05, E06) introduced Jesse Turner, the purported Antichrist, who (due to being a half-demon Half-Human Hybrid) gained really high-level Reality Warper powers following Lucifer's presence on Earth (which raised all sorts of Fridge Logic questions), and was obviously more powerful than any other character seen up to that point. Having probably realized this, the writers quickly abandoned the character by writing him to Australia at the end of his first appearance.
    • Castiel is made of this trope. Angels are among the most powerful beings in the Supernatural universe. Even "grunt" angels like Castiel can effortlessly dispatch most demons and monsters, heal fatal wounds, and resurrect the dead. While this was fine for Story Arcs where he was fighting other angels, who were equally powerful or even stronger than he was, it trivialized the Monster of the Week episodes, as Cas could just locate the monster and zap it in two seconds. Thus, the writers were forced to continuously include excuses and storylines which explained why he couldn't help the Badass Normals. In the seventh and eight seasons, the writers continuously toy with the idea of killing or permanently incapacitating Castiel, but they won't because he's one of the most popular parts of the show and his episodes get the best ratings. Also, he's funny and arguably the show's heart, so his other attributes make the show more enjoyable. The writers just need to figure out how to depower him (it's not like the show is any stranger to the "Only the Author Can Save Them Now" effect, anyway). Indeed, the Season 8 finale ends with Castiel's Grace being taken from him, effectively turning him human.
    • Ezekiel/Gadreel is worse about this than Cas ever was. Introduced immediately after Cas loses his powers, he quickly becomes the show's go-to fix-it guy. In nearly every episode since his introduction he has served as some form of Deus ex Machina, including bringing Cas and Charlie back to life, healing Sam from the trial sickness and a slashed neck, and scaring Abaddon away when she and her mooks have the upper-hand against the Winchesters. They try to avert it by saying he's been weakened by his fall from Heaven and doesn't have enough power to be constantly doing this, and yet every time he's needed he's able to muster the strength without issue. But the worst part is since he's using Sam as a vessel they can't even not have him around when it's inconvenient to the plot like they did with Cas.
    • The series has suffered from the story-breaking power of the angels in general since about Season 6. Word Of God admits that, in hindsight, they made them too powerful and have had to come up with numerous Drama-Preserving Handicaps to keep them from solving everything singlehandedly, hence the proliferation of angel-killing blades and the angels' tendency to Forget About Their Powers. In Season 7, they introduced the Leviathans, who were (supposedly) even stronger than angels and, unlike the angels, were all villainous, but a direct comparison of the Leviathans' abilities versus the angels' was still hilariously one-sided in the angels' favor. Season 9 had to issue a species-wide Nerf by casting the angels out of Heaven and burning off their wings, removing their ability to teleport and weakening their other powers.
    • The Colt, a supernaturally powered gun that can supposedly One-Hit Kill anything. Originally it was limited by the number of bullets it had — any old regular bullet wouldn't work, they had to be enchanted like the gun — so the heroes had to save them for kills that really mattered. In Season 3, however, the heroes figured out a way to make new bullets for the gun after extinguishing the original supply. Without the limited ammo, the gun quickly became story-breaking as Sam and Dean no longer needed to figure out monsters' weaknesses and could just kill anything they came across by shooting it. Once they realized this, the writers had Sam and Dean lose the Colt, and replaced it with Ruby's knife, which is also a One-Hit Kill, but only works on demons. The Colt briefly resurfaced in Season 5, only for it to be revealed that it actually can't kill everything, as the Winchesters discover, to their horror, that archangels like Lucifer are immune. It's lost again after only a single episode in the heroes' possession and never seen again until its reemergence in Season 12.
    • Angel blades, the primary weapon angels carry, which later fall into human hands. Like the original wielders, they are extremely overpowered in that they can kill basically everything in the attic and the basement, including angels, Nephilim, Hellhounds, demons, the aforementioned near-omnipotent Antichrist, and even Reapers. The refugees from Apocalypse World even mention melting them down to make angel-killing bullets. These weapons tend to drop in and out of the story, though, and one tends to wonder why nobody tried to use such weapons on the Monster of the Week, as they more than likely would work.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred!:
    • In "Asylum" (S01, E10), Dean does this to a very pissed-off Sam who's had his head messed with by a ghost. Dean even hands Sam a gun and tells him to do it. Sam does. The gun isn't loaded. Dean's not stupid. Or even suicidal yet.
    • In "Lucifer Rising" (S04, E22), Lilith pulls this with Sam when he'd rather reunite with his brother than kill her like she wants him to so he'll inadvertently break the last seal.
    • In "The Devil You Know" (S05, E20), a captured demon gloats to an enraged Sam that he killed Sam's girlfriend Jessica and just how much he loved doing it, and when Sam prepares to slit his throat he's goading Sam into killing him, because it will ruin the Winchesters' plan. Sam eventually resists the urge.
  • String Theory: In the very first episode, the brothers find their father's research laid out on a bulletin board. They are often seen doing this themselves, and even Bobby is shown to do it on his hunts.
  • Stuffed In A Fridge:
    • The horrific deaths of minor characters Jess and Mary serve to spur Sam and John, respectively, on their quests for revenge.
    • There are many male characters whose primary motivation is a dead woman from their past, including Bobby and Gordon.
    • In "Bloodlines" (S09, E20), Ennis, a new hunter, sees his fiancée brutally murdered seconds after he proposed to her.
  • Subbing for Santa:
  • Suddenly Shouting:
    • Crowley does this a lot.
      Crowley: Am I the only game piece on the board who doesn't underestimate those denim-wrapped nightmares?!
    • So did Pestilence.
      Pestilence: If Satan wants them so bad he can GLUE THEM BACK TOGETHER!
    • Even angels get into the act.
      Zachariah: I'd walk these halls and people would AVERT THEIR EYES—I HAD RESPECT!
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Increasingly prevalent in later seasons, where angels frequently spout Technobabble to the effect of Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything and Crowley has demons working on R&D. Even "Angel Radio" can be hacked into by those with the technical know-how (which makes sense, since angels are supposed to be basically wavelengths with a consciousness. Or "multidimensional wavelengths of celestial intent", which makes less sense, but hey). When asking why Cas cannot heal an ailing Sam, the answer is decidedly non-magical sounding:
    Dean: Hey, what did you mean back there about Sam?
    Castiel: It's difficult to say. It's something on the subatomic level and his electromagnetic field—
  • Suicide as Comedy:
  • Summon Bigger Fish:
    • In the Season 7 premiere, the Winchesters and Bobby summon Death to deal with God!Castiel. Subverted, though, in that Cas merely snaps Death free of their binding spell, defusing the situation. The potential danger of doing this is beautifully lampshaded by Crowley:
      Crowley: You really believe you can handle that kind of horsepower? You're delusional! They'll both mash us like peas.
    • Done in Season 15's "Despair", by Castiel, who invokes his deal with the Empty to kill himself and take Billie with him.
  • Supernatural Elite: The Alphas, who are also the first of their kinds. All are dead now as of Season 12.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent:
    • Downplayed when Mary Winchester is brought Back from the Dead in the Season 11 finale; technically, she's not even thirty yet while Sam and Dean are pushing forty, but Samantha Smith (Mary's actress) is older than Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki (Dean and Sam's actors), so it cheapens it a little.
    • When Jack temporarily dies, he visits his mother in Heaven. The age differential is exaggerated because she's reliving one of her childhood memories at the time; it's only when the young man approaching informs the little girl that he's her son that she changes back to her adult self. Also, because of his inhuman nature, Jack himself aged to adulthood pretty much overnight after he was born, so even when they're both their "correct" ages, it's still unusually marginal.
    • The goddess Fortuna looks like a forty-year-old woman, but her Semi-Divine son seems to be in his mid-thirties.
  • Supernatural Soap Opera: The Winchesters spend as much time dealing with their own angst as they do fighting supernatural monsters.
  • Supernatural Repellent:
    • A ring of salt will protect you against ghosts. Another way to get rid of ghosts in the Supernatural-verse is iron, although it's also used to just kill or weaken them normally.
    • Demons can not cross a line of salt. They can also be trapped inside a Devil's Trap, a modified pentagram, which can be used the other way around too: after Bobby covered the panic room in anti-demonic sigils, Ruby was unable to enter it.
    • Angels can be warded off with Enochian sigils, and outright banished temporarily with a sigil written in blood. The angelic version of a Devil's Trap is a ring of holy fire.
    • Fairies have to count every grain of salt if it is spilled in front of them.
  • Supernormal Bindings: Sets of shackles intended to restrain demons and angels.
  • Superstition Episode: In "Bad Day at Black Rock" (S03, E03), Sam accidentally invokes (by touching) a cursed rabbit's foot. He has incredibly good luck for a while until he inevitably loses it (as Bobby puts it, "everyone loses it"), and then Sam's luck goes extremely bad. Not a straight example, because the rabbit's foot is a cursed object, so it isn't just superstition — though how it works is based on superstition — because touching the rabbit's foot really IS good and then bad luck.
  • Super Weight:
  • Surprise Car Crash: In the cliffhanger of the first season finale episode, a semi-truck from out of nowhere slams into the side of the main characters' Impala and knocking them off the road.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • While Sam and Dean have been able to overcame a vast majority of their differences, when Sam learns that Dean put an angel in him without his permission, resulting in Kevin's death, he stays mad at Dean until the end of the season, when Dean dies.
    • In season 15, the brothers get on the bad side of Chuck aka God who has been "writing" their adventures. In anger, Chuck strips the pair of their Plot Armor as they suddenly are hit by new issues:
      • Sam has a hard time not being distracted while in the kitchen and burns his hands grabbing a hot pot without potholders, spilling boiling water and pasta all over the place.
      • Dean suddenly has multiple cavities from his tendency to eat junk food. On top of that, Dean has his usual meal of multiple burgers and beer and is soon throwing up.
      • Their hacked credit card no longer works because no credit card gives unlimited funds.
      • They discover that lockpicking is a long and tedious process, not something that can be done in seconds.
      • The Impala breaks down as it's a 50-year old car that's been driven all over the country, and essentially totaled several times and reconstructed. Maybe Dean's gift for car repair and maintenance really was a god-given gift.
    • After season 5, Angels start to replace Demons as the default Mook. As a result, Sam, Dean and even Castiel, all end up killing their fair share of angels throughout the series. During the season 8 finale has all the angels in heaven literally fall down to Earth. Season 9 makes it very clear that there aren't many angels left. Despite this fact, the heroes never shy away from taking out the angels. Eventually the angel population decreases so much, that there are less than a dozen angels left in heaven. Despite the angels being massive jerkasses, they're still divine protectors, and the universe needs them.
  • Survivor Guilt: There's plenty, most of it Dean's.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The angel Balthazar to Gabriel who was apparently killed in Season 5.
  • Sycophantic Servant:
    • Dean. He just has to think their father sent a cryptic message, and he'll jump. He makes Lugnut look like an independent thinker. Later in the series, he comes to resent his dad. Oh, the magic of Character Development.
    • Ruby to Lilith, just behind the curtain.
    • The majority of demonkind, Meg included, become this to Lucifer in Season 5.
    • Michael to God, his father.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Lucifer keeps wanting this from people, to the point that Dean actually quotes the song title at one point in disgust.

    T 
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Since this is a show that runs on Sealed Evil in a Can, there are a few of these. In all cases escape requires extensive outside intervention.
    • Lilith et.al. merely get out of the general Hell at the end of Season 2, and Dean goes there and is not considered a particular escape risk at the end of Season 3, but Season 4 revolves around keeping The Devil in his, referred to as "the Cage" or "Lucifer's Cage", which is locked with sixty-six seals that Lilith's breaking. Season 5 winds up being about putting him back in it — this time with his brother Michael, Sam, and Sam's half-brother Adam. Sam gets out half a season later, but only with the help of Death.
    • From Season 6 onwards there's Purgatory, which in this setting is the holding tank for non-human souls. It turns out to have originally been built to contain the Leviathan, a race of horrible unkillable shape-shifting black slime things God didn't know how to unmake and was worried would consume the rest of creation.
    • It's eventually revealed that the Mark of Cain serves as one for the Darkness, whose destructive hatred for God's creations corrupted Lucifer.
  • Take That!:
  • Take That, Audience!: The show makes a lot of jabs towards fans.
    • In "The Monster At The End Of This Book" (S04, E18), Sam and Dean meet Chuck, a prophet who has been writing their story into a series of pulp novels. Sam and Dean wonder why anyone would read about them, and find themselves confused by the fans who ship their characters.
      Dean: Although for fans, they sure do complain a lot.
    • In "The Real Ghostbusters" (S05, E09), Sam and Dean attend a Supernatural Convention. The fans present are caricatures poking fun at the audience.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • In "Abandon All Hope..." (S05, E10), Ellen and Jo blow themselves up along with the hellhounds chasing Sam and Dean.
    • In "Point of No Return" (S05, E18), Castiel carves an angel-banishing sigil into his chest and literally takes four angels with him to...wherever banished angels go.
    • This was the plan to defeat Lucifer. It worked.
    • Season 15's "Despair" Castiel does this to kill Billie by summoning the Darkness.
  • Taking Over Heaven:
    • Castiel absorbed the souls of Purgatory and slaughtered Raphael and his angel followers before claiming total dominance over Heaven.
    • The former scribe angel, Metatron, managed to take over Heaven by tricking Castiel into helping him banish all angels in Heaven to Earth and cultivating the power of the Angel Tablet to make himself virtually unstoppable.
    • Lucifer briefly takes over Heaven in Season 11 in order to lead them against the Darkness.
  • Talking to the Dead: Unfortunately happens a lot.
  • Tamer and Chaster: Although Supernatural has never been blantantly oversexualized, the early seasons did make use of the fact that its two male leads are very attractive, using shirtless scenes, sex scenes, lots of talk of one nighters, and the tag line "Scary is the new Sexy". By the seventh season, these have all but disappeared and it's rare to see any of the leads not fully dressed in three layers. In-universe, it's a sign of the characters aging in a "been there, done that" fashion. When the series started, Dean was 26 and Sam was 22 and Season 15 they were 41 and 37, respectively.
  • Technically Living Zombie: The Croatoan zombies, the "hyper-adrenalized cannibalism" created by the Leviathans' food additive, possibly the zombies raised by Death in "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid", and those infected by the Darkness in Season 11. The last of whom are even capable of being cured through holy fire.
  • Technicolor Magic: Witches' magic in particular seems to be associated with purple light in later seasons, comparative to the bluish-white light associated with angels and the blackness, red light or simple lack of color associated with demons. A djinn enhanced by the alternate reality Archangel Michael's grace in Season 14 also displays purple eyes instead of the standard blue eyes of his kind.
  • Teleportation Rescue:
    • In the Season 4 finale "Lucifer Rising", Sam and Dean are watching Lucifer escape from his Cage, when an unknown force (implied to be God) teleports them both up to a plane flying overhead.
    • In the Season 5 episode "Abandon All Hope...", Sam and Dean are captured by the Devil himself while he's performing a sacrificial ritual to raise the Pale Horseman from his slumber. Their angel friend Castiel (who had been previously captured and escaped) teleports to where they're held to teleport them away from the danger zone.
  • Temporary Love Interest: Sam's girlfriend dies tragically in the pilot after being onscreen for only two scenes. The brothers amass quite a collection of broken hearts as the series progresses.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: "Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox" involves a demon crashing a hunter's funeral and killing off the guests one by one, with the added caveat that the hunters have to figure out who's possessed and who isn't.
  • Terms of Endangerment:
  • Thanatos Gambit: The plan to free Lucifer involved Lilith getting Sam to kill her.
  • Theme Naming: Unsurprisingly, the angels' names all have an element that means "God". Well, fittingly, not Lucifer. Higher ranking demons also tend to have Biblically inspired names, including the -el suffix, despite none of them being fallen angels.
  • Themed Aliases:
    • Sam and Dean tend to use classic rock aliases when going undercover, like Catholic priests Father Simmons and Father Frehley. Sometimes they use other famous-names-with-connections-to-each-other aliases as well, like Agents Ford and Hamill from the US Forestry Service. They've only been called on this once or twice.
    • In one episode, Castiel, having arrived at the scene before the Winchesters, picked their aliases. In keeping with the popular musicians theme, he introduced them as Agents Spears and Aguilera. Dean was not pleased. He later introduces himself as Agent Beyoncé, to a man who clearly doesn't believe he's for real until he starts catching on to his friend being possessed.
    • In the final series, Castiel and Jack call themselves Agents Swift and Lovato.
  • There Is No Cure:
    • Lycanthropy is portrayed as almost-completely incurable, with the show's first werewolf episode seeing Sam and Dean try and fail to cure a werewolf using a bogus method, and being forced to accept at the episode's end after scouring all their sources that there's no curing the werewolf in question. From Season 12 onward, this is downplayed when it's discovered the British Men of Letters have an experimental cure which can work if the lycanthropy is caught in the early stages of infection.
      • Transhuman monsters ("monster" meaning the supernatural creatures descended from Eve) are overall implied throughout the show to be incurable unless their infection is caught in the early stages. On top of the aforementioned werewolf treatment, vampires can only be turned back into humans if they're fed a special potion before they feed on blood for the first time.
    • Dean's future self in "The End" mentions the Croatoan Virus currently ravaging the world is incurable.
    • A variation occurs in Season 9 with Sam, Dean and Kevin looking to find a way to reverse the effects of the Fall (which has expelled every angel in Heaven to Earth and has destroyed all angels' wings except for Metatron's and the archangels'). Their efforts reveal that according to God himself, the spell's effects are irreversible. That being said, later episodes reveal there is a workaround for the "angels locked out of Heaven" part.
    • Subverted with the Mark of Cain. Part of the Season 10 Story Arc is finding a way to rid Dean of the Mark, and when Team Free Will confronts Cain himself on the matter, he bitterly declares there is no cure. The Season Finale however reveals that Death is capable of removing the Mark from a person in exchange for another bearer taking their place, and there's also a powerful spell that can erase the Mark entirely (at a cost).
    • In Season 14, Castiel turns to God for help restoring Jack's soul, which has previously been burned away by his overuse of an Enochian soul-burning ritual. However, God says even he can't reverse it due to souls being too complicated for him to recreate. Subverted, as it's shortly thereafter revealed God's word is about as untrustworthy as they come, and Jack's soul is successfully restored by his visit to the Garden of Eden in "Destiny's Child".
  • Thicker Than Water:
    • The Winchesters, to a particularly disturbed level in the main characters.
    • Notably averted with more distant relatives, such as the Campbell clan and Henry Winchester. Samuel Campbell resents Sam and Dean for their perceived roles in his daughter's death, and neither of the brothers are particularly bummed when he dies. Meanwhile, though Henry comes around to his grandsons being hunters (as opposed to the more respectable Men of Letters), Dean still intentionally condemns Henry to the future because he can't risk losing Sam and doesn't trust Henry's ability to fix things from the past.
    • Sam and Dean's half-brother Adam Milligan appears to be this when he is first introduced, getting along quite well with both of them despite being strangers, only for it to turn out to be ghoul masquerading as Adam. The real Adam Milligan is mostly uninterested in Sam's entreaties to work with him and Dean to stop the Apocalypse, or in having much of any relationship with the brothers at all.
  • This Bear Was Framed: Happens more than once when a murder committed by an animalistic supernatural being, like a wendigo or a werewolf, is written off as a bear attack by the police.
  • This Is Not My Life to Take: A variation. A hunter couple walks into a bar which turns out to be full of demons. One of them possesses the husband and forces him to drink something that melts his insides. Later, Sam and Dean work with the wife. They capture one of the demons. After he tells them what they need to know, Dean hands the book with the exorcism spell to the wife to perform the ceremony. She does it gladly. While this doesn't actually kill the demon, it sends it back to Hell (and no, they don't like it there).
  • This Is Reality: Happens at least twice:
  • Time Abyss:
    • Death. With massive amounts of terror, Uncanny Valley, Cryptic Conversations, and all other manner of unsettling tropes. In his few appearances he has explained several times that he will persist throughout eternity, and is the only thing that could truly never die. He also says that he'll eventually reap God Himself as well.
      Death: This is one little planet, in one tiny 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.
      Dean: I gotta ask, how old are you?
      Death: As old as God. Maybe older. Neither of us can remember anymore. Life, Death, chicken, egg.
    • Angels are no slouches either. Castiel (one of the younger, less-powerful angels) remembers when the first fish crawled its way onto land. One of his older brothers warned him not to step on it, telling him, "That's a very important fish, Castiel", implying that it was going to be the progenitor of some future evolved species (possibly/probably humans).
    • Naturally, God, Amara, and the Empty all qualify, since they predate the creation of the universe.
  • Time Master:
    • Fate can stop time. She uses this power to cause overly elaborate, almost cartoonish deaths.
    • Angels possess time travel abilities, although it doesn't work as wel if they're cut off from Heaven (Castiel tries it, and ends up badly bloodied as a result).
    • Chronos had the Blessed with Suck version. He can travel through time, but since he has no control over it, he's just constantly teleporting from one period after another.
  • Time Travel: Sufficiently-powerful beings (angels) are capable of time travel, though it's not used often and changing the past was supposedly impossible until the Screw Destiny at the end of Season 5. In Season 6, Balthazar rewrites history by saving the Titanic; Atropos, one of the Fates, already ticked at the main characters for putting her out of a job, draws the line at changing the past and coerces Castiel and Balthazar into putting things back the way they were.
  • Time Travel Episode:
    • In the episodes "In the Beginning" and "The Song Remains the Same", Dean is sent back in time by the Angels to meet his parents before either he or Sam were born.
    • In "Frontierland", Sam and Dean travel to the Old West to find an Achilles' Heel they need to kill one of that season's villains.
  • Time Travel Escape: In "King of the Damned" (S09, E21), the demon Abaddon decides to coerce her rival-for-power Crowley by kidnapping his son Gavin from the year 1723 and torturing him. By the end of the episode, Crowley (who has regained part of his humanity) refuses the Winchesters' demand that he send Gavin back in time, because the boat that Gavin will use to emigrate to the American colonies will sink in a storm. As a last gift, Crowley sets Gavin up with a new life in 2014. Deconstructed, eventually, in Season 12, when Gavin's escape causes his girlfriend to smuggle onto said doomed ship assuming he'd be there, only to suffer at the hands of the sailors without Gavin to protect her. She becomes a vengeful ghost and is quelled by Gavin returning to his proper time and dying alongside her.
  • Title Drop:
    • Played with in "Wishful Thinking" (S04, E08). Sam claims to be writing a book to get a witness to talk to him. When she asks the title, he has to think quickly and comes up with "the working title is...Supernatural?"
    • Dean delivers this speech to Lucifer in "The End" (S05, E04):
      Dean: You're the same thing, only bigger. The same brand of cockroach I've been squashing my whole life. An ugly, evil, belly-to-the-ground supernatural piece of crap. The only difference between them and you...is the size of your ego.
    • Sam does this in "The French Mistake" (S06, E15). A twofer, since he's actually referring to a fictional representation of the real show, rather than some other element in the story.
  • Together in Death:
    • This was probably what Dean was expecting to happen when he was Driven to Suicide in "Croatoan" (S02, E09). Sam would go crazy, kill him, and most likely feel so guilty that he would put a bullet in his brain, or Sam would go crazy, Dean would shoot him, and then eat a bullet.
    • Happens twice in Season 11, within three episodes of each other. In "Red Meat", Sam seemingly dies from a bullet wound while on a werewolf hunt, and Dean overdoses on pills in order to talk a Reaper into bringing Sam back, telling the victim he rescued that if he dies there's "no hard feelings". Then in "Don't Call Me Shurley", a repeat of the Croatoan situation happens, with Sam infected by the Darkness' fog, which compels people to believe their worst fears and kill people. Dean tries to infect himself with the fog and die with Sam, but finds out he's immune to it due to being connected to Amara.
  • Tomato in the Mirror:
    • In "Roadkill" (S02, E16), part of the Monster of the Week doesn't know she is actually dead, a spirit haunting a stretch of highway, until the end of the episode.
    • The Monster of the Week in "Heart" (S02 E17) has no memory of her transformations into a werewolf, so she doesn't truly realize what she is until Sam traps her in her apartment closet and she awakens to see how she's torn the place up.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Poked fun at in the episode "Tall Tales" (S02, E15), with Dean over-exaggerating Sam's empathy in a recollection.
    Sam: [to an interviewee] You brave little soldier. I acknowledge your pain. Come here. [hugs him] You're too precious for this world!
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Castiel was quite badass in the beginning, but along with his Character Development, there was a slight bit of Woobiefication. Then, in the Season 5 premiere, he enters a room where Zachariah is torturing Sam and Dean, kills two of Zachariah's fellows without even blinking in a really awesome fight scene (in contrast to the former ones, where Alastair and Uriel handed him his ass) and threatens a really-scared Zachariah (who is a senior upper-level angel) to fix Sam and Dean, and "[he] won't ask twice".
  • Garth, as of Season 8. In his first appearance, the guy barely seemed capable of tying his shoelaces, but as of his appearance in "Southern Comfort" (S08, E06) he seems to have stepped into Bobby's shoes, rebuilding the hunter network and supplying information to other hunters on how to gank various monsters.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Sam and Dean's methods of dealing with the supernatural have grown steadily more militant with each season, veering almost into Van Helsing Hate Crime territory. In early seasons, both Sam and Dean would usually attempt to force demons out via exorcism and occasionally reflect on the innocent person being possessed after they were forced to kill one. By later seasons, Ruby's Knife has become their go-to solution for dealing with any demon, exorcism is rarely ever being attempted anymore, and Sam and Dean don't seem particularly bothered anymore about killing enough possessed people to populate a small county (although given the odds that the meatsuit is still alive...). Sam attempts to rectify this in Season 11, trying to exorcise or neutralize demons instead of just killing them, but it doesn't stick.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Many characters display this over the course of the show in response to torture, although it's usually just meant to piss off the torturer as they're still in agony when it's actually applied. One of the few who doesn't even display any physical signs of discomfort when he's captured and interrogated (read: getting electrocuted) is the Alpha Vampire. This trope is also Crowley's reason for changing Hell from physical torture to an eternal waiting line.
    Alpha Vampire: [bored] Ow. Please stop. That hurts.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Occurs throughout the series. They usually die.
  • Too Powerful to Live: In the Season 6 finale, Castiel rose a few power levels too many by absorbing all the souls in Purgatory. He quickly declares himself a god in his supermode, and blows up an archangel with a finger snap. He loses his powers barely an episode later to be replaced by another set of less-powerful baddies, and the Winchesters actually have to involve the cosmic Grim Reaper to offer any meaningful opposition to the villain.
  • Touch the Intangible: Iron chains can be used to trap and contain ghosts.
  • To Unmasque the World: For the most part, the Winchester brothers think people are better off not knowing about the things that go bump in the night and the people they save agree. But in the Season 2 episode "Nightshifter", bank security guard Ronald Resnick is convinced that the people committing crimes around town are half-man, half-robot mandroids and the public deserves to know the truth. The brothers are split with one arguing they should tell Ronald he's right and the other arguing that knowing the truth will get him killed. In the end, the truth does get him killed but it's because he holds up a bank in order to attract the attention of the FBI and demand an investigation. However, the FBI just sees a crazy man with guns and hostages and kills him in order to save the hostages. The episode ends with the masquerade still firmly in place and the FBI now determined to arrest the Winchester brothers for their part in the bank robbery.
  • Top God: The pagan gods are more or less on the level of most of the monsters that the humans fight, likely as a result of Gods Need Prayer Badly. In contrast, the angels are largely untouchable, with few exceptions, and the most effective way of killing an angel thus far in the story has been to persuade another angel in one way or another to do so, with Zachariah as the sole exception. Then consider that even in their own belief system they aren't the top of the food chain, and we have this trope. The abrahamic God, or as he prefers, "Chuck", is one of a handful of primordial entities that precede all creation, which is inextricably tied to Him. These include The Anti-God, The Grim Reaper, and the embodiment of Primordial Chaos.
  • Torture Technician:
    • Creepily enough, Dean after going to Hell.
    • His "mentor" there, Alastair, also obviously qualifies. Alastair is in fact considered Hell's greatest torturer, called "Picasso with a razor" by at least one other demon.
    • Meg studied under Alastair. Though we almost never see her actually torturing, we see how good she is at resisting torture, often offering critique of her torturer's technique. ("The best torturers never get their hands dirty...")
    • If Sam's flashbacks are anything to go by, Lucifer has a gift for this himself — not that that should be any surprise.
    • Crowley has a few on staff and is more than skilled at it himself.
    • Very surprisingly, Castiel, who is blatantly hinted to be better in this art than even Crowley. Shocks both Dean and Bobby. Beware the Nice Ones indeed. When we see him in action, it's not pretty.
  • To Serve Man: Quite a few monsters are prone to snacking on people or specific parts of them, but the Leviathans certainly take the cake, as their entire MO seems to be "they eat everything, mostly people".
  • Totally Not a Werewolf:
    • The series introduced "skinwalkers", who can transform into wolves (or dogs, at least) and are distinct from the actual werewolves who do transform with the lunar cycle, but into humans with evil eyes and bad teeth. However, they do share a number of characteristics, including the ability to infect people by biting them, and an allergy to silver. Not very surprising, then, that the brothers thought they were hunting a werewolf when they started looking into the skinwalker.
    • The monster in the black and white episode "Monster Movie" was actually a shapeshifter, but the boys kept confusing it for other monsters because it emulated all of them because of its love for the universal horror classics, to the point that it seemed like a straight-up Monster Mash before it turned out to just be the one monster. What clued them in that something was up is because its appearances didn't fit the description of the other monster species at all, such as a Classical Movie Vampire instead of the savage, but otherwise able to pass for human vampires they're used to.
  • Touch of Death:
    • At the end of Season 2, when all of Azazel's children meet up, they say what powers they have: visions (Sam, Ava), mind control/thought projection (Andy), etc. Then Lily says that when she touches people, their hearts stop...and she accidentally touched her girlfriend.
    • Demonstrated by the Fourth Horsemen, Death himself, during his spectacular introduction. Also, when Dean becomes Death for a day, he kills people simply by touching them.
    • Angels have a specific form of killing touch: it burns out the victims' eyes and liquefies their organs. Works on humans, monsters, and demons.
  • Tracking Spell: There are multiple types of these used through out the series. One notable one involves setting a map on fire, leaving only a piece that had the name of the town the target was staying in intact.
  • Tragic Hero: Anyone who isn't evil. The two main characters' flaws are different flavors of desperation (Sam's obsession and Dean's devotion). Or maybe the same flavor — desperation for approval from an absent father — given different focuses based on their roles in the family.
  • Tragic Mistake:
  • Transhuman Treachery: Most monsters; most of the Special Children, especially Ava and Jake; and Gordon Walker after he was turned into a vampire who thought anything was worth killing Sam. However, there are a number of sympathetic monsters who try their best not to harm humans, such as the vegan vampires of Season 2, and later Season 9's werewolves, including Garth.
  • Trapped in TV Land:
    • In the Season 5 episode "Changing Channels", the Trickster/Gabriel traps Sam and Dean in thinly veiled parodies of Grey's Anatomy, CSI: Miami, and such.
    • Reversed in "The French Mistake". Sam and Dean get thrown out of the show into reality! It's a Mind Screw.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Long enough just for Sam, Dean, and Castiel that trying to summarize them may as well summarize the entire show.
  • Trespassing to Talk:
    • In a Season 4 episode, the Winchesters find Castiel and Uriel waiting in their motel room to recruit them for a demon interrogation.
    • In Season 13, Ketch does this in order to drop off Gabriel.
  • Triang Relations: Loki/Kali/Baldur. Probably a Type 7. Maybe Type 8.
  • Trick Bullet: A devil's trap bullet is an ordinary bullet with a pentagram carved onto the tip. It was first devised by Henry Winchester as a way of stopping Abaddon. When someone fires one of these bullets into a demon, it acts the same way as a devil's trap by debilitating the demon and keeping them from moving or using their powers, but it can be removed with some effort.
  • The Trickster: A straightforward example in that the creature is even called the Trickster. He gives Karmic Deaths to Asshole Victims.
  • True Companions:
    • As brothers who would literally sell their souls for one another, Dean and Sam started out this way and have added Team Free Will to the roster. Bobby's probably more of a father than their real father. In later seasons, Dean tells Castiel he's like a brother to him and they call each other family, and Castiel rebelled against Heaven to help Dean and Sam.
    • When Dean meets a version of himself from five years in the future in "The End" (S05, E04), one of the clearest signs that Future!Dean has changed for the worse is that he sends a group of his comrades and friends, including the emotionally-broken Future!Castiel, into a blatant trap to act as an unknowing distraction and ultimately get killed. Made worse by the fact that it's implied that Castiel, at least, knew exactly what Dean was doing but went along with it anyway. Present!Dean is understandably horrified by this.
    • Bobby considers them like sons to him, and in "Death's Door" (S07, E10) says to his abusive father in a memory while he's dying:
      Bobby: I adopted two boys, and they grew up great. They grew up heroes.
    • Sam and Bobby are uncomfortable with the thought of Castiel possibly allying with Crowley and Dean refuses to even listen to their arguments. When they find out Sam and Bobby were right, nobody likes it, and Dean, in particular, is outright brokenhearted. He eventually snaps at Castiel for betraying him (and the rest of the team). If this wasn't enough to stress how much the four are True Companions, even when they are supposed to be enemies after this revelation, Castiel keeps helping and protecting the Winchesters, and Dean and Castiel, though in an unusual, weird way, somehow keep interacting affectionately. When they meet again in Season 7, Dean can't bring himself to be angry at Castiel for long and even defends him. After Castiel absorbs Sam's insanity, Sam is back on good terms with him, too, and the Winchesters take care of him while he's busy being the Cloudcuckoolander.
    • In Season 8, Dean could have left Castiel in Purgatory, but decided to stay and look for him to escape together, and the search went on for nearly a year.
    • In Season 13, Jack becomes this, at least to Sam and Castiel, who believe in his humanity despite his father being Lucifer.
  • True Sight:
    • As his time runs out in Season 3, Dean starts to be able to see Demon's true faces and hellhounds.
    • Angels are naturally able to see the demons' true faces (which are apparently rather monstrous) instead of the face of the person that the demon is possessing. They have other abilities like that as well, since even de-powered, Endverse!Castiel immediately recognizes past Dean is not from his timeline.
  • Tsuchigumo and Jorogumo: One of these showed up in season 6, having started hunting prey in midwestern America. Specifically, this spider-woman was interested in men between the ages of 35 and 50 to implant with her offspring so they could feed on them as they hatched. Sam realizes that that this made both him and his much older partner Samuel unsuitable prey, but coldbloodedly lured the local middle-aged sheriff into a trap so it would take him back to its lair, then killed the monster, her offspring, and even the sheriff after "thanking him" for his sacrifice. Only that last one didn't take, and after becoming a monster himself he was pissed.
  • Tulpa: The Monster of the Week in "Hell House" (S01, E17) is one that exists solely because the locals believe in it. Because they can't really stop people from believing in it, they torch the titular house instead.

    U 
  • Umpteenth Customer: One episode involves a rabbit's foot that grants increasingly good luck until it is lost, at which point it grants increasingly bad luck that ends with death. During the good luck run, Sam wins free meals for life at a restaurant. While eating, he loses the foot to a savvy thief. As Sam's luck turns bad, some people are out to kill him; they didn't know where he was until they...see a picture of him getting his award and thus can find him.
  • The Unchosen One: Sam and Dean dive very heavily into this, particularly Dean, who is even more stubborn about not embracing his destiny and not letting Sam embrace his. Considering their destinies, this is probably for the best.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Having had their memories wiped, Sam and Dean work regular office jobs and don't know one another. Sam dreams of the truth, so when he sees Dean in the elevator he asks if they know each other. Dean thinks Sam is hitting on him.
  • The Underworld: Subverted in the form of Purgatory, which is where the souls of all monsters go when they die, as well as serving as a prison for certain powerful, evil creatures that God did not want running loose in His creation. It looks much like a forest on Earth but is Deliberately Monochrome.
  • Unexpectedly Real Magic: A symbol from a theology textbook is used in a prank, and accidentally activated turning the prank ghost real.
  • The Un-Favourite: John Winchester had the remarkable ability to make both of his sons feel like this. And then a third son comes into the picture, who is also convinced Dad liked the other two better.
  • Unreliable Narrator: "Tall Tales" (S02, E15), told through the accounts of both Dean and Sam, is rife with instances of unreliable narrations. Their stories, while the same in essence, differ greatly in the portrayal of Sam and Dean's characters — in Sam's version, Sam comes of as intelligent and mature while Dean is petty and obnoxious. Dean's account shows Sam to be stiff, temperamental, and full of angst, and Dean as a smooth-talking player and level-headed hunter.
  • Unrequited Tragic Maiden:
    • Jo has a big crush on Dean in Season 2, which Meg in Sam's body uses to torment her. When she returns in Season 5, she's more confident and a better hunter, so much so that she turns down last night on earth sex with Dean. However, she makes a Heroic Sacrifice after being mortally wounded, earning a chaste by still romantic goodbye kiss from Dean. Later, he's confronted by her ghost and shows great remorse over her fate.
    • If interpreted as romantic, Season 15's revelation that Castiel is in love with Dean, and it's implied he's aware that Dean cannot reciprocate his feelings (something he wants but knows he cannot have), and dies saving Dean. While he's later resurrected, Dean shows no interest in seeking him out.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Sam started acting like this in Season 6, becoming a hunter without any moral lines he wouldn't cross to catch a monster, such as using a hapless sheriff as bait then executing him after he's been infected with The Virus, and shooting a woman who was being used as a human shield. His actions sicken both his brother Dean and their grandfather Samuel Campbell, both of whom may stretch the rules a bit but still have some standards. It's eventually revealed that this change in character is because Sam has lost his soul.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • Dean refers to whatever he imagines Angel sex is as "cloud seeding" - to Cas's discomfort.
    • Before Castiel sends the Archangel Michael away temporarily with holy fire in "Swan Song", he calls him "assbutt". Everyone kind of stares at Cas for a second before the end of the world gets back on track.
    • In "Baby", Sam says he'll "dig into the lore" about a possible case while Dean heads out to a bar. The next morning, Dean comes back to find Sam has hooked up with a waitress, and teases him about it:
      Dean: "Digging into the lore". Is that what the kids are calling it these days?
  • Unwitting Pawn: Just about every main protagonist.

    V 
  • Valentine's Day Episode:
    • "My Bloody Valentine" (S05, E14) from Season 5. It focused on desires rather than love, as the Horseman Famine's arrival in a town causes everyone's desires to go overboard. Sam starts craving demon blood, Castiel, affected by his vessel, starts consuming hundreds of burgers, but Dean is seemingly unaffected. Famine speculates it's because he's dead inside.
    • Season 11's "Love Hurts" is set during and after Valentines Day, involving what is sold to a suburban housewife as love spell but ends up being a curse that is transmitting through kissing in order to kill off cheaters and the spouses who put up with it, with the added feature of those cursed being killed by the image of those they love the most.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Pretty much a summary of Season 11's overarching mythology plot. The Darkness' moniker is whispered by fearful souls, and the immortals quake, but no one really knows what she's capable of. She rarely shows her powers on screen and when she does, it's powers that are visually unimpressive like fog (albeit fog that kills people). Her powers are never fully explained, only implied by the fact that she is God's sister who has inverse powers. What exactly she plans to do to the universe is never completely explained beyond the idea that she wants to "end it." Her relationship to God isn't really explained until the last three episodes, and her infatuation with Dean is never really clarified until the very finale, where he suggests it's because she sees him as a Replacement Goldfish for her own brother who abandoned her. It's almost like the writers wanted to create a threat that would be difficult for any combination of the Winchesters, Castiel or God to neutralize, but had to make stuff up on the fly.
  • Vampire Doctor: Multiple such monsters appear, with three taking advantage of their position to prey on victims and a fourth using it to feed on people in a way that beinifits both themselves and their "victims":
    • In Something Wicked This Way Comes, the Monster of the Week is a shtriga (a spirit that feeds on life force) that uses its sinister powers to hospitalize and feed upon the life force of various children while posing as a doctor trying to cure them.
    • In Sam, Interrupted, a wraith poses as a nurse at a mental hospital, taking full advantage of the fact that the patients there are supposedly 'insane' so that she can feed on them without having to at all worry about anyone believing her targets' attempts at warning others about her actions.
    • In The Purge a Peruvian fat sucking monster called a Pishtaco works at a fitness center and takes advantage of the fact she feeds on human fat to harmlessly feed by giving people special treatments at a spa. Her brother, also an employee, also attempts to take part in such a style of feeding, but ends up unable to keep control of himself while feeding.
  • Vampire Monarch: The show reveals the Alpha Vampire in Season 6. He is the progenitor of all the vampires, while he himself was sired by the mother of all the monster races. It's implied he might be tens of thousands of years old, he has a psychic connection to all his "children", and orders them to turn more people to prepare for a war against Crowley's demons.
  • Vampire Refugee:
    • Gordon had the perfect set-up for becoming a Vampire Refugee, but since he knew there was no way to undo the change, he decided instead to kill Sam and then himself. Instead, Sam killed him.
    • In Season 6, this trope was played completely straight as Dean gets bit, angsts, kicks some ass, and then gets cured at the end of the episode.
    • In Season 13, the same cure is used on Donna's boyfriend, Doug, when the seemingly mundane human trafficking operation they're looking into turns out to be run by various monsters, including a vampire. Unfortunately for Donna, Doug refuses to become a hunter and dumps her.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Exploited by the vampire Hugo in "Live Free or Twihard" (S06, E05), to recruit young women into his vampire coven. Spoofed in the same episode when Dean runs across a teenager who wears fake vampire fangs to pick up girls.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crime:
    • Gordon Walker loved pulling these.
    • Sam and Dean veer into this increasingly in later seasons, though Sam is usually the one to sympathize with monsters in earlier seasons and makes some efforts in Season 11 to avoid killing demons' hosts. In season 8, Dean's friendship with Benny averts this, despite Sam and Martin's best efforts, but doesn't last long enough for Dean to ever warm up to the nephilim Jack despite Sam and Castiel's willingness to trust him.
  • Vengeful Ghost: The series has this as a constant theme, with one of the most frequent Monsters of the Week being vengeful spirits who are unable to move on and seek revenge on the ones who murdered them. Some examples:
    • In "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning", the ghost of a woman is out to kill her former coworkers in revenge for a Deadly Prank they pulled on her that inadvertently got her killed.
    • Defied by Bobby Singer, as he realizes that he's beginning to turn into one when he's about to kill Sam, and in "Survival of the Fittest" he asks the brothers to destroy the flask that's keeping him tethered to the mortal world, which they do.
    • In "Plush", a children's party performer who is Mistaken for Pedophile is accidentally killed by two fathers in town when they were trying to scare him out of ever hurting a child again. He returns as a ghost possessing his beloved costumes and killing those he blames for his death, the two fathers and then his sister for giving them information that allowed them to get the jump on him.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Admit it, until "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, E20)/"All Hell Breaks Loose" (S02, E21/22) came around, you completely missed the hints in "Hollywood Babylon" (S02, E18)/"Folsom Prison Blues" (S02, E19) that there was something very, very wrong with El Deano.
  • Villain Ball: Every villain on the show, eventually. All of them. Even Crowley, who, in his own words, is the only one to not "underestimate those denim-wrapped nightmares!"
  • Villain-Beating Artifact:
    • A special Colt and the bullets that go with it (made by Samuel Colt himself) can be used to kill practically anything. Only five beings in the universe are immune to it. Lucifer is one of them. The gun goes missing for several seasons, before it is eventually destroyed by the demon Dagon.
    • Ruby gave the boys a special dagger (identified as an ancient demon-killing blade of the Kurds by Henry Winchester) which is used to kill demons (and the human they possess at the time, if they're still alive). Regular daggers don't kill demons, just the host body.
    • In one episode the Monster of the Week is a dragon. As Sam and Dean learn, the only way to kill a dragon is with a sword forged with the blood of a dragon. Dean points out the anomaly: "So you need one [sword] to kill one [dragon], but you got to kill one [dragon] to make one [sword]. How does that work out?"
    • A Leviathan can only be killed with a bone-knife forged through a complex ritual that takes much of Season 7 to complete. Morever, It Only Works Once, so the Winchesters decide to save it to target their leader and deal with the rest later.
    • The Equalizer of Season 14 and 15 is capable of killing a nephilim and harming God, though it's never used to kill Him as Lilith destroys it.
  • Villain Decay:
    • Meg in Seasons 1 and 2: Remorseless demon who commits multiple murders for little reason, says she has done much worse for much less, tortures, threatens, and taunts the Winchesters, kills many of their friends, possesses, frames, and nearly rapes Sam, kidnaps Jo and traumatizes her, and nearly tricks Dean into killing Sam. Meg in Seasons 6-8: Snarky Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain and sort-of Love Interest for Castiel who dies a sort-of hero via a combination of Redemption Equals Death and You Shall Not Pass! to Crowley.
    • Crowley's character arc has taken a few weird turns over the seasons, to the point where he zig-zags the trope. He was genuinely threatening in Seasons 5-7 and a rare demon who avoids the Villain Ball, but not above entering an Enemy Mine with the Winchesters solely for his own benefit. In Season 8, he became more evil than ever, capping it off with trying to kill everyone the Winchesters have ever saved. Due to a partial demon cure, he becomes a lot more emotional in Season 9, and spends most of his time chained up in a cellar. His position is all but usurped by Abaddon, and the Winchesters openly express their disgust at how inconsequential the supposed King of Hell has become. Then a gambit of Crowley's played out at the end of the season — Dean is now a demon, and in Crowley's claws. However, he manages to suffer this again in Season 11 and 12, where he's usurped by Lucifer and ultimately kills himself in an All for Nothing sacrificial ritual to seal Lucifer in an alternate universe.
    • The Leviathans. When Castiel was their host, Leviathans were Ax-Crazy, frightening, mysterious Eldritch Abominations dripping black ooze who Death liked, probably because they were implied to be the things that inspired H. P. Lovecraft's stories. Although the writers tried to keep them menacing throughout the season, they misused them constantly, and their leader became fodder for constant dick jokes. That's quite a fall from their not-too-far-off early days. The Decay was reversed in the Season 8 Purgatory flashbacks where the Leviathans could make genuinely-intimidating antagonists again, but Jeremy Carver (the season's show runner) opted to not use them outside of said flashbacks.
    • Hell itself is absolutely terrifying in early seasons, in part because we only see glimpses of it and the descriptions of what Dean went through are unspeakable. From Season 6 onward, gone is the Hellraiser style CGI and we only see a set and Crowley changes the torture to a less vivid, more Sartre-inspired line waiting scenario. Sure, we know that what Sam experienced in the cage was ghastly, but the more Hell is portrayed through an ordinary set, the less scary it seems.
  • Villain Episode: The Season 9 episode "Meta Fiction" focuses on the evil Angel who has become the new Big Bad. The episode opens as he directly addresses the audience to tell them a story about how he outsmarted the Winchesters and has become as omnipotent as a god. He proceeds to rewrite everything as he sees fit to cast himself as a "hero" against the "villain" Castiel. Even the intro title is changed to reflect his name instead of that of the show.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left:
    • "Monster Movie": Spoofed with Dracula putting away on a moped, including honking the horn.
    • "Caged Heat": Meg finally does this after a subversion, when she sees Crowley seemingly die; escaping before Dean could kill her with their Enemy Mine concluded. Dean admits that it was smart on her part.
    • Invoked in the season 6 finale when Crowley is Out-Gambitted and teleports away:
      Crowley: Exit Stage Crowley. [vanishes]
    • Then subverted in the season 7 opening. The other bad guy who outsmarted him knew all along where Crowley went, the only reason he allowed him to leave in one piece at all is because he still has use for him.
    • "Devil May Care": As soon as Abaddon realizes there is an angel present, she flees.
    • "War of the Worlds": Once the Winchesters get confirmation of Ketch's identity, he uses a smoke bomb to cover his escape and then flees.
  • Villain Has a Point: Lucifer's speech to Michael about God making him the Devil and setting up the Apocalypse as some sort of test sounds like his usual excuses...except Chuck's monologue at the end establishes it was all a test slanted in favor of humans.
  • Villain in a White Suit:
    • In a Bad Future where most of humanity has been wiped out by a Zombie Apocalypse engineered by Hell, Lucifer takes to wearing a white suit in his strongest vessel, Sam Winchester. After all, his name means "Lightbringer". In Season 15 one of Chuck's endings has Sam possessed by Lucifer in said suit again.
    • In Season 13, the Prince of Hell Asmodeus were an identical suit to Lucifer's.
  • Villain Pedigree: Once demons started planning to free Lucifer and bring on Armageddon, ghosts and vampires kinda got taken down a notch. Then in Season 4, angels are taking demons down a notch themselves. And then by Season 7, the Leviathans, who're even older and more powerful than angels and are nigh-indestructible are introduced. Though they'd be scarier if they weren't allergic to borax.
  • Villain Team-Up:
    • Subverted. Crowley tries to pull one with the boss Leviathan (he even bakes gluten-free baby uvula muffins for the occasion!), but gets shot down.
    • He also tried one on Naomi, who left without a word when he turned around. He was upset, mostly because that's his thing.
    • Occurs with the forces of Heaven and Hell (and Rowena) against the Darkness in Season 11, where they attempt a coordinated assault on her including a heavenly smiting. Unfortunately for them, it doesn't work and she destroys a good chunk of their numbers.
  • Villainous Rescue: When the Winchesters have been taken captive by a dozen pagan gods from different pantheons, they are "rescued" when Lucifer arrives and kills the gods.
  • Villain Reveals the Secret:
    • In Season 6, the evil goddess Veritas, who forces everyone around her victims to speak to them with Brutal Honesty before killing them, reveals that Sam Winchester isn't really human since he's able to lie to her. Dean, who has been disturbed by Sam's psychopathic demeanour throughout the season, is shocked by this. As it turns out, it's because Sam has no soul due to a resurrection gone wrong.
    • In Season 7, when a leviathan who has taken on Dean's form confronts Sam, it reveals to him because he knows it will hurt him that Dean killed Madison, a werewolf Sam believed would not kill humans again, even after he told Sam he agreed that she was good.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Averted in "Jus in Bello" (S03, E12). While sacrificing the virgin might save their lives, our intrepid heroes instead choose to fight it out.
    Dean: Stop, stop! Nobody kill any virgins!
  • The Virus:
    • The Croatoan Virus is a demon-made virus which in its premiere makes people Ax-Crazy, but in later episodes outright turns them into mindless Technically Living Zombies.
    • This trope is also Played Straight in Season 6 by vampires and Jefferson Starships when the Monster Progenitors direct them to start turning as many humans as possible into their own kind, with the aim of cutting off the flow of souls to Hell.
  • Visionary Villain:
    • In the episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two" (S02, E22), the Yellow-Eyed Demon is committed to bring about a new era.
      Jake: You're talking about the end of the world.
      Yellow-Eyed Demon: No, not the end— the beginning... a better world, where your family will be protected. More than that. They'll be royalty. Buddy boy, you have the chance to get in on the ground floor of a thrilling opportunity.
    • Lilith was also envisioned as one of these. She genuinely believes that she is acting in the better of her species (Demons), and is looking to save them from their (literally) hellish existence. She even willingly allows Sam to kill her, knowing that it will release Lucifer, whom she believes will as the ruler of the universe create Paradise. She even tells a Mook that they are going to "save the world". Unfortunately for her, Lucifer despises demons and seeks to destroy them and humans.
    • Lucifer, the first Fallen Angel, seeks to destroy humanity with a Zombie Apocalypse, defeat his brother Michael, and turn the Earth into a new Eden, as he considered it "God's last great work". It's hinted that he also promised his followers something along the lines of Hell Invades Heaven, but it's just smoke and mirrors. Lucifer despises demons as well for essentially being corrupted human ghosts.
    • Dick Roman, the leader of the Leviathans, took to building a shadowy empire after his kind was released from Purgatory, infiltrating human companies and governments so they could feed the general population with addictive food that would make them both fat and docile, as well as poisonous to any other monster species that could rival them. Basically, turn the Earth into a giant buffet for Dick and his kind to feed on.
    • Subverted by Metatron. He manipulates Castiel and the Winchesters into banishing all other angels from Heaven and burning off their wings, but it turns out he didn't really have any real plan beyond getting revenge for his banishment. As the angels trapped on Earth descend into another civil war, he wavers between ruling the vacant Heaven, playing benefactor to Gadreel, toying with the Winchesters, or becoming a Dark Messiah to humanity, but none of it goes anywhere. After he's deposed and order is restored, even he admits that he was really a Big Bad Wannabe.
    • Michael from the Apocalypse World has already run his own dimension into the ground, then seeks to become a Multiversal Conqueror to get payback on God. When he arrives in the Prime Universe, discovering that there are hardly any angels left, he starts to perform experiments on monsters to perfect them into an Ultimate Lifeform for himself to rule over.
  • Vitriolic Brothers: While Sam and Dean are Heterosexual Life-Partners who are insanely devoted to one another, they also fight like cats and dogs a lot of the time. They're two tough, extremely stubborn men with very different personalities, spend far too much time together, and often deal with ethically-questionable issues (specifically, which monsters deserve killing and when), which can foment serious disagreements.
  • Voodoo Shark:
    • After the episodes "Taxi Driver" (S08, E19) and "I'm No Angel" (S09, E03) caused a backlash due to several nonsensical changes to the abilities and motivations of Reapers, CW Executive Chad Kennedy attempted to address the changes on his Twitter by stating that Reapers were actually a type of angel. Not only did this fail to actually fix most of the continuity issues, it made absolutely no sense with previous canon regarding both Reapers and angels, and only served to make the issue worse. This retcon eventually got introduced into show canon in the later episode "Stairway to Heaven" (S09, E22), and it was just as nonsensical then.
    • The episode "#Thinman" (S09, E15) opens with several seemingly-impossible murders, which makes the Winchesters think they were committed by a ghost or some other supernatural creature. At the end, they are revealed to be the work of two normal humans working together. While this does explain the monster's apparent ability to teleport, it fails to explain the first murder. What made it unusual, besides the murderer's appearance, was that the victim was found in a room locked from the inside. No matter how many killers there were, this should still be impossible to pull off unless one of them stayed hidden under the bed until the police came in and pretended to have just arrived, which, no matter how you look at it, should be extremely suspicious.
  • Voodoo Zombie: There's "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things" (S02, E04), where a girl killed in a car crash is brought back as a zombie by a guy who had a crush on her using an ancient spell. She's actually pretty normal, apart from being completely psychotic.
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    W 
  • Wainscot Society: Mostly averted, but played straight with the mafia-like monster families running Chicago in "Bloodlines".
  • Walking the Earth: Sam and Dean travel around the contiguous United States looking for supernatural occurrences.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Some monsters' weaknesses fall into this, like salt for ghosts and demons, and leprechauns having to count out any spilled grain they come across — said weaknesses are taken from common mythology, though, so they get a pass. And then there's the Leviathans' weakness...BORAX.
  • We Can Rule Together: Lucifer tries to tempt Castiel, a fellow fallen angel, into joining his cause. Castiel tells him he'd die first. And Lucifer's overall plan through the entire series was to get Sam to agree to be his vessel, and in the end Sam says "yes" — but only so he can trap him in an inescapable prison.
  • We Didn't Start the Führer:
    • The demon Alastair implies he had a hand in the creation of the extermination camps in Nazi Germany.
    • In a later episode, the Horseman War comments that he was over in Germany to wreak havoc during both World Wars.
  • We Have Become Complacent: In Season Seven, the Leviathans' plan to take over involves enforcing this via drugging the food supplies with doping additives.
  • We Help the Helpless: The brothers mainly occupy themselves with tracking down monsters who are terrorizing various victims of the week. They don't get paid in anything but gratitude and even that is sometimes lacking.
  • The Weird Sisters: Atropos, one of the three Fates, claims that "her two sisters are bigger and badder than [Atropos] in every way."
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: It is safe to say that the entire Supernatural universe has daddy issues.
    • John Winchester to both his sons. In the Season 1 finale, his dad telling Dean how proud he is that Dean saved Sam's life using one of the Colt's bullets tips him off that his dad's possessed by the Big Bad, since his dad would be furious that he "wasted" a bullet. Even when Dean gets an attaboy and sign of trust from his father, it comes with a Dark Secret that endangers his relationship with his brother, and his dad dies for him. Sam feels like he can't earn his father's approval because his flaw is what he is , so he acts out. Dean believes he'll earn approval when he's good enough for his dad, and thinks that he ruined any chance of being truly "good enough" when he was nine years old. We later learn that John has his own daddy issues, though in Henry Winchester's defense, he certainly didn't intend to get stuck in the future.
    • All the angels suffer this, more or less, because God is a crappy parent. Castiel's devotion to his father leads him to start rebelling against his fellow angels and siding with humans, whom he thinks of as his father's "works of art". Come Season 6, Castiel's still trying to carry out his father's wishes by leading one faction of Heaven against the archangel Raphael. And since that's gone horribly right...
    • The demon Azazel, original nemesis of the Winchesters, evidently had this with Lucifer, and his whole program was geared toward getting Hell open to free Lilith so she could bust out Lucifer, in both cases using the "very special child" Lucifer told him to procure; i.e. Sam. He in turn encouraged this from his own "children", such as the demon known as Meg.
    • Sam has this with Dean even more than with John, which makes sense, as Dean raised him more than John did. He confessed in "Sacrifice" (S08, E23) that his "greatest sin" was letting Dean down so that Dean couldn't trust him, and was determined to finish the Trials, even if they killed him, so that he wouldn't fail Dean again.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Vampire hunter Gordon Walker kills monsters but generally does not care if innocents get caught in the crossfire.
    • Sam Winchester shows shades of this in Season 3, when he's willing to do anything to stop Dean from going to Hell, but he doesn't do anything particularly extreme until Season 4, where he starts off with good intentions (drinking demon blood so he can exorcize demons without killing the hosts) only to careen off the slippery slope through addiction and manipulation by Heaven and Hell, ending with him rationalizing killing a possessed nurse in order to gain Lilith's location and unintentionally kickstarting the Apocalypse.
    • In Season 6, the Big Bad of the season is revealed to be Castiel. To defeat Raphael and keep the Apocalypse from being restarted, he has decided anything is acceptable — in this case, allying with Crowley and opening Purgatory, the afterlife From Whence Monsters Come. The Winchester boys do their best to stop him, until he kills his angel allies, distracts his human allies by breaking Sam's mind, and betrays Crowley to take all the souls' power for himself and then declares himself the new god.
    • The British Men of Letters seem to be top-notch and organized, boasting of how they've kept England monster-free for centuries. However, it turns out the reason is because they see all monsters as deserving death. They wiped out a werewolf clan that had done no harm to anyone and when an innocent teenager was bitten, had her killed in her hospital bed before she turned. They soon become so convinced they're right that they decide to wipe out all American hunters as being part of the problem.
  • Wendigo: One of them showed up in the second episode. Par the course, it's formerly human, feeds on human flesh, and lives in the woods. It also only feeds once every 23 years and keeps some of its victims in "storage".
  • Wham Episode: Often. Namely, every season finale, most season openers, and what feels like every other episode after Season 4.
  • Wham Line: Often.
  • What Cliffhanger: The end of "Croatoan" (S02, E09) is...disorienting, to say the least.
  • What If?: At least two episodes ("What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, E20) and "It's A Terrible Life" (S04, E17)), but in "Jus in Bello" (S03, E12), Agent Henriksen expresses regret at having accomplished so little in his life compared to Sam and Dean upon finding out that the two aren't psychotic Satan-worshiping murderers. Too bad he bites it that same episode.
    Henriksen: My job is boring, it’s frustrating. You work three years for one break, and then maybe you can save few people. Maybe. That's the payoff. I've been busting my ass for 15 years to nail a handful of guys and all this while, there's something in the corner so big. So, yeah, sign me up for that big, frosty mug of wasting-my-damn-life.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: At the very end of "No Rest For The Wicked" (S03, E16), Dean is chained in a St. Andrew pose, whose "martyr" status fits Dean like a glove. Sam and the crucifixion in "Swan Song" (S05, E22).
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The identity of the Roadhouse contact who told Gordon about Sam being one of the Special Children. Once "Hunted" (S02, E10) aired, fans speculated on whether it was Ash, Ellen, or Jo. Most believed it to be Jo (by far the least popular of the choices and thus the most desirable to be The Stool Pigeon) because she had been revealed in her blog to remain a friend of Gordon's despite her mother's attempts to keep Gordon away from their family, so fans assumed that she had told him about Sam either out of spite towards the Winchesters or simple ignorance as to what Gordon would do with the information. The truth is much less exciting: there was a cut scene showing Ellen throwing a shady hunter out of the Roadhouse, with the shady guy intended to be Gordon's contact. Of course, there's still the little matter of how anyone — much less the random hunter — found out about Sam and the Special Children, although Ellen does mention that she could think of a few people off the top of her head who could have put it together.
    • The angels Uriel recruited for Lucifer's side were never even mentioned again after Uriel's death, much less appearing or having any impact on the plot. It is possible that they were found and executed for conspiracy after the discovery of Uriel's plot, or perhaps just unwilling (if they only agreed to save themselves), or too scared to support Lucifer after Uriel's death, or they were only supposed to be involved when the big fight went down...but, if so, none of these scenarios were even alluded to in canon.
    • The altered voicemail in the Season 4 finale. It pushed Sam over the Despair Event Horizon...and never came up again. Presumably, the brothers figured it out off-screen, but it was never explained.
    • Daphne, Emmanuel's wife, is never mentioned again after Emmanuel remembers he is Castiel in "The Born-Again Identity" (S07, E17).
    • The Leviathans' inexplicable disappearance from the plot from Season 8 on (apart from the Purgatory flashbacks). Their absence was made more conspicuous because they had supposedly been everywhere at last count — the Winchesters had only actually succeeded in killing one of them in the previous season, and it was stated in the finale that they would have to spend time taking down the rest.
    • The Colt, a major plot point of the first three seasons — it was the only way the main characters had to kill demons, initially. However, near the end of Season 3, Bela stole it and gave it to Lilith, and it's never mentioned again. Then, in Season 5, it's revealed that Crowley has the Colt, and they get it to try and kill Lucifer. They lose it once again, and it isn't seen or mentioned again until Season 12. We learn that Crowley gave it to Ramiel, a Prince of Hell in an attempt to get him to take the throne of Hell. Mary steals it back and gives it to the British Men of Letters and it later ends up back in the Winchesters' hands. Unfortunately, it gets destroyed in The Future.
    • Jesse Turner, the Cambion. The episode in which he appears seemed to suggest that he and his Reality Warper powers would become a very integral part of the plot. He disappears at the end of that same episode, and has neither been seen, nor mentioned sense.
    • The Alpha Vampire. Toward the end of Season 7, the Winchesters discovered They would need his blood to forge the weapon to kill Dick Roman. He cooperates, but makes it clear that he's no friend of the Winchesters and is only helping them because the Leviathans are a bigger threat. He even leaves Dean with the words "See you next season...". He makes no appearance at all come Season 8 and seems to have been pretty much forgotten at this point. He comes Back for the Dead in Season 12.
    • Dean's amulet is thrown out in Season 5, but suddenly reappears at a pivotal moment in Season 11, where it's revealed that Sam kept it for the past six years. Its reappearance coincides with fulfilling its initial purpose in Season 5, the presence of God. However, despite the clear emotional reaction from both brothers, it's never discussed or seen again for the rest of the show after the scene where Dean pulls it from Sam's pocket.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Killing monsters almost regardless of circumstance? Fine. Killing evil humans? A big no-no. A few episodes do explore this with the brothers realizing it is not always so black-and-white. Some monsters do not want to kill, but sooner or later give in to their violent urges. Other times a hunter will want to kill a monster because it is a monster regardless if it's hurting anyone, although usually these episodes involve said hunter getting called on this attitude. A similar attitude is extended to both demons and angels.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Sam gets a lot of these after he fails to keep his brother from being dragged off to Hell and goes off the deep end for failing to bring him back. Ruby gives him a reason to live by feeding him her blood to enhance his powers to exorcise demons. In Season 4, the prophet Chuck is the first to call him on the way he fuels those powers:
      Chuck: Come on, Sam—sucking blood? You gotta know that's wrong.
    • In Season 6, soulless Sam gets plenty of these. In "Live Free or Twihard" (S06, E05), Sam intentionally lets Dean get bitten and turned into a vampire in order to track down the other vampires in the nest and because Sam knew there was a cure.
    • Dean says it almost verbatim ("Sam" instead of "hero") in "Clap Your Hands If You Believe..." (S06, E09) when he finds Sam having sex instead of trying to find him after Dean had been kidnapped by "aliens".
    • In Season 6, Castiel gets one in "My Heart Will Go On" (S06, E17) from Fate over how Balthazar altered history by stopping the Titanic from sinking on Castiel's orders, to create 50,000 new souls to aid his side of the civil war in Heaven.
    • Dean, Sam, and Bobby confront Castiel on the fact that he's working with Crowley and trying to open Purgatory in order to win the civil war in Heaven.
    • A particularly awesome example in "Meet The New Boss" (S07, E01): Death calls out God!Castiel.
  • White Sheep: Sam just wants to live a normal life rather than kill monsters.
  • Whole-Plot Reference:
    • "Monster Movie" (S04, E05), shot in black and white, was a wonderful parody of/homage to the classic Universal monster movies from the '30s and '40s.
    • "4x18 The Monster At The End of This Book" is one to Wolves of the Calla, the fourth book in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, where in his quest to find the Dark Tower, Roland and his Ka-tet meet Stephen King in Maine, who is writing a book about Roland and his Ka-tet's quest to find the Dark Tower. Dean is even hit by a van much like the book version of King is prophesized to die by (and the one the real life King was actually hit by) in the story.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?:
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: The prophet Chuck says something to this effect in "The Monster at the End of This Book" (S04, E18). He writes this crap, and when Chuck believed that Dean and Sam were at his doorstep because his writing had come true, he apologized to the brothers for making them live through "bad writing" like the "racist truck" and the "ghost ship".
    Chuck: If I'd known it was real, I would've done another pass.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Dean is terrified of flying and ends up screaming his head off while the plane is about to crash in "Phantom Traveler" (S01, E04). Sam, scared to death of clowns, still bursts out crying when he sees Ronald McDonald on TV (or so Dean claims). It's telling that in "Weekend at Bobby's" (S06, E04), Dean was willing to endure an all-night flight to Scotland so they could locate Crowley's bones and thus gain leverage to break the hold Crowley had on Bobby's soul.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity:
  • Wolverine Publicity: Castiel's role in Season 6 seems to consist mostly of this. He gets his own solo TV bumper (the Winchesters have to share one), is one of the three characters featured in the publicity stills, and his actor is usually given top billing at conventions. He's even credited on IMDB for episodes he hasn't appeared in at all.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • The villain of "Hollywood Babylon" (S02, E18). All he wanted was to make a gritty, real ghost story flick, but McG was making it into a generic summer blockbuster.
      Walter: I was making a work of art, and he was replacing it with cleavage and fart jokes.
    • As of "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (S06, E22) it looked like Castiel was heading down this road for Season 7, but absorbing all of Purgatory and hosting then releasing Leviathans changed that.
    • Lucifer acts like this is the case, and his excuse that he was cast out of Heaven simply for speaking his mind might have more than a grain of truth to it, not to mention in Season 11 when it's revealed that the reason why Lucifer is the way he is is due to God entrusting him with the Mark of Cain, whose influence eventually corrupted him and caused his rebellion. As a result, even God Himself refuses to see Lucifer as a villain. However, he makes no effort whatsoever to change his behavior, and will always go back to throwing a tantrum and destroying everything when things don't go his way.
  • Word Of God: A literal version appears near the end of Season 7. Dick was searching for it, and a new prophet — Kevin — was created specifically to read it.
  • Words Do Not Make The Magic: In "The Curious Case Of Dean Winchester" (S05, E07), the Winchesters run into an Irish warlock called Patrick who takes years from people's lives with a deck of enchanted cards and uses the years to extend his own life indefinitely. When Dean loses 50 years in a gamble, he tries to reverse the process by breaking into Patrick's safe and stealing the cards. The warlock interrupts them and tells them not to bother.
    Patrick: The magic isn't in the cards, idiots. It's in the 900-year-old witch.
  • The World Is Always Doomed: Starting around the five-season mark. After defying destiny and preventing an Apocalypse led by Satan himself, the Winchesters find there's still no shortage of world-class threats. An angelic Civil War leads to Castiel getting a literal god complex and rampaging across the world. This in turn leads to the release of the Leviathans, a whole new breed of primordial monster who organize the harvesting of all of humanity for food. After they're defeated, the Winchesters try to close the Gates of Hell until a manipulative angelic scribe banishes all angels except himself out of Heaven, making Earth the new playing ground for all the remaining factions from the attic. Another season or so after that conflict is resolved, The Anti-God is released to destroy the universe. After she and God reconcile, Lucifer becomes a threat again, before he's upstaged by a Blood Knight counterpart of the Archangel Michael who aims to conquer this dimension. The Winchesters just can't catch a break at this point.
  • Worst Aid:
    • Sam scooping Dean up and cradling him after he'd been hit with enormous force by a car (he got better), with blithe disregard for his spinal column. We can probably assume he was so shocked he lost it.
    • Dean loosely wrapping Sam's recently slit wrists in "Jump The Shark" (S04, E19) was another example of how this should perhaps not be done.
    • Not to mention a few episodes where they find people who have recently drowned and instead of trying to save them using CPR, wait for them to cough up water or just sigh and walk away.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Azazel's purpose in ordering the killing of Sam's girlfriend Jessica was to drive Sam to The Dark Side, and this works better if he admits to Sam that he was responsible, sooner or later. The demon who did the actual killing, Brady, also brags about having done so, and his motive appears to be significantly more about evil for its own sake than his master's.
  • Write Back to the Future:
    • Done by Samuel Colt in "Frontierland" (S06, E18), when he delivers a jar of phoenix ashes to Sam after meeting him in the past.
    • Dean does this in "Time After Time" (S07, E12) after being sent back to the 1940s. He and Sam are in the same house, just decades apart, so Dean figures out where Sam would be sleeping and etches his name onto the baseboard of a wall where Sam will see it, leaving a note underneath.
  • Wrongly Accused:
    • Much of the reason the FBI is after Sam and Dean, though it certainly doesn't help that they've genuinely committed a host of comparatively minor crimes in the process of hunting demons. They still would get at least a few years for the credit card fraud, the impersonations, and the grave desecrations, even if they'd been able to clear their names of the murders.
    • Several full episodes have been built on the legal repercussions of the brothers' activities. In "The Usual Suspects" (S02, E07), Dean is arrested for the murders committed by the shapeshifter in "Skin" (S01, E06) and on suspicion of Anthony and Karen Giles' murders and Sam for aiding and abetting same. In "Jus in Bello" (S03, E12), the brothers are set up for arrest by one of the season's antagonists, which brings in Agent Henriksen to witness what the Winchesters have actually been doing. He survives the subsequent Hilarity Ensues, but not the end of the episode. Henriksen is also after the brothers in "Nightshifter" (S02, E12) and "Folsom Prison Blues" (S02, E19). The brothers are in hot water with the law again, after several seasons of being legally dead, in "Slash Fiction" (S07, E06), when a pair of Leviathans take on their forms and go across the country on a murder-theft spree.

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  • Xanatos Gambit: The Horseman Pestilence planned an impressive one in which he had infected his victims with swine flu. This results in a nationwide demand for the flu vaccine, which is successfully created by Niveus Pharmaceuticals and ready to be distributed across the country. However, this vaccine actually contains the Croatoan virus which would turn the humans into zombies. He has nothing to lose by people dying of swine flu and a lot to gain by making them take the vaccine. Which is a reference to the original 1976 swine flu vaccine with nasty side effects that left a whole generation wary of flu shots.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Ruby's part in a certain gambit only comes into play because the last survivor of Azazel's kids was Sam, who wouldn't knowingly have broken the last seal, or anything else that would have been asked of Jake had Sam stayed dead, instead of Jake or Ava, who were better at taking Azazel's orders. Lampshaded when Azazel mentions that he was worried when Sam died, but Dean fixed that. Besides, he had a backup plan.

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  • Yandere:
    • Angela, the crazy dead girl from "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things" (S02, E04).
    • Hope ("I love you more than anything") from "Wishful Thinking" (S04, E08).
    • As of "Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!" (S07, E08), Becky. Becky. Becky. She drugs Sam and marries him while he's under the effects of the love potion she feeds him. She even got Dean to leave Sam behind for a moment, but when the effects of the potions go away, she knocks him out, ties him into a bed, and puts a sock in his mouth so she doesn't have to listen to him tell her this isn't the right thing to do. She also knows all about his past from the books that Chuck has written. She gets all possessive over him and almost took a deal with a crossroads demon who killed people early to collect their souls to keep Sam for 25 years.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • Everyone knew all too well that as soon as Dean decided he didn't want to go to Hell in "Dream A Little Dream of Me" (S03, E10), his fate as Hell's eventual bitch was sealed.
    • Shooting Lucifer in "Abandon All Hope..." (S05, E10). For a few moments, it looks like it worked and Ellen and Jo's sacrifice was worth it...and then he gets up. The expressions on Sam and Dean's faces. They thought they'd managed to win for once.
    • "Heart": That sweet, beautiful lawyer's secretary Sam fell in love with? She's actually a werewolf, and you have to kill her. Sorry, Sam.
    • Sam in "Mystery Spot" (S03, E11). He's forced to see his brother die, over and over again, just months before Dean's deal will send him to Hell. When he finally catches the Trickster and breaks the time loop, making it to the next day... Dean dies again, anyway. The Trickster finally breaks the loop by the end of the episode, but the damage is done.
  • Yaoi Fangirls:
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: Largely averted throughout the franchise, which almost universally uses bluish or pure white supernatural lightning. Played Straight with the Wicked Witch from Oz, who uses green lightning attacks, and with Apocalypse World, where apocalyptic red lightning flashes in the sky above the wastelands.
  • You Are Already Checked In: The brothers check into an evidence warehouse using Homeland Security IDs in "Phantom Traveler", but are forced to flee once some very serious suits from the actual Homeland Security arrive at the desk.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: In "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two" (S02, E22), when Dean reveals to Bobby that he made a Deal with the Devil in order to bring Sam back to life, costing him his own life in a year, Bobby asks how could he possibly have such a low opinion of himself in order to stoop to such a decision.
  • You Are Not Alone: In "Swan Song" (S05, E22), when Sam has been taken over by Lucifer, Dean tells him that it's okay, he's there, and he's not gonna leave him. Dean's presence enables Sam to throw himself into Hell's solitary confinement to trap Lucifer.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: An angel's real voice will make your ears bleed and their real visage will burn your eyes out. Cas claims that his true form is the size of the Chrysler Building, but there's no telling whether that's true for all angels.
  • You Can't Fight Fate:
    • Dean attempts to do in "In The Beginning" and "The Song Remains The Song", by warning the past version of his mother about Azazel. Unfortunately for him, the first attempt fails and the second attempt results in the Archangel Michael wiping his parents' memories so the future will occur as planned.
    • Happens literally in "My Heart Will Go On" (S06, E17), when the Greek goddess Atropos intimidates Castiel into sinking the Titanic again after Balthazar unsunk it.
  • You Got Spunk!: In "In The Beginning" (S04, E03), the Yellow-Eyed Demon says this to a young Mary Campbell as she's attacking him.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • Famine devours one of his demon Mooks when he loses a soul that he was supposed to bring to Famine for consumption.
    • The Leviathans have a standard practice for this, called "bibbing". It's called this because the failed Leviathan in question is made to wear a bib, and then forced to eat themselves. When their leader gets really mad, however, he decides not to "waste a perfectly good meal".
    • High-ranking angel Zachariah fully expects his boss Michael to do this to him when he lost track of the Winchesters once again. Subverted, as Michael instead gives him another chance to fulfill his mission. Zachariah later remarks to Dean that, in Heaven, a "firing" is very literal.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Crowley enters an Enemy Mine with the Winchesters in Season 5 because he believed Lucifer would pull this trope on the demons if he won the Apocalypse. It's all but stated outright that he was right.
  • You Monster!:
    • Dean makes it very clear he disapproves of Sam's psychic powers in Season 4, saying that if he didn't know Sam, he'd want to hunt him, but he doesn't outright call Sam a monster until Zachariah fakes a voicemail from Dean in order to give Sam the final push to kill Lilith.
      Dean: Listen to me, you bloodsucking freak. Dad always said I'd either have to save you or kill you. Well, I'm giving you fair warning. I'm done trying to save you. You're a monster, Sam — a vampire. You're not you anymore. And there's no going back.
    • In "Swan Song" (S05, E22), Michael has this retort to Lucifer when his younger brother tries to persuade him to join him one last time.
      Michael: You are a monster, Lucifer. And I have to kill you.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Demon deals involve granting a wish in exchange for one's soul being dragged to Hell after a specified amount of time, typically ten years, though it can vary. Dean has a year to live at the end of Season 2 due to selling his soul. That said, some can negotiate to serve the demon who holds their contract and prolong their human life.
  • Your Heart's Desire:
    • The Djinn trap their prey by making their deepest wishes come true — by putting them in a hallucinogenic trance while the Djinn drains all their blood over the course of several days. Dean was once caught by a Djinn who made him experience an alternate world where the Winchesters' mother was never killed by a demon.
    • The Siren of Season 4 and the Qareen of Season 11 both take on the appearance of the person a victim loves the most, and Dean becomes the target of both. The Siren takes on an idealized version of Sam, whereas the Qareen becomes Amara, though both it and Sam imply this is due to Amara's influence.
  • Your Magic's No Good Here: In the episode "The French Mistake", Sam and Dean are hurled into a dimension where their lives are actually a television show. The Archangel Raphael follows them there, but when he tries to kill them, he discovers that his powers don't work because nothing supernatural exists there. The Winchesters beat him up until other crew members intervene, allowing the angel to escape.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Appeared in "Hell House" (S01, E17) when some kids accidentally create a tulpa, a monster that only exists if you believe in it. Another form of this trope shows up in "Dream A Little Dream of Me" (S03, E10), where dying in a dream leads to actual death.
  • Your Mom: In "Family Matters" (S06, E07), Christian Campbell catches Dean snooping around Samuel's office. As Dean comes up with a weak excuse about needing to call someone in privacy:
    Christian: Ah. Samuel's locked office. Pretty private. Who you calling?
    Dean: Your wife. Let her know I'm not gonna make it over tonight.
  • Your Vampires Suck: "Live Free or Twihard" (S06, E05) has this exchange when Sam and Dean enter a teenage girl's room heavily decorated with Twilight-esque vampires:
    Sam: Vampires?
    Dean: These aren't vampires. These are douchebags!

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