The Winchesters’ ‘Supernatural’ Viewing Guide

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It’s crazy to think that it’s been almost two years since Supernatural aired its finale on The CW. Beginning in 2005, the show centered on brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles), who hunted monsters across the USA. Supernatural was an instant hit, spanning 15 seasons and over 300 episodes, volleying between monster of the week stories and season-wide arcs.

The show’s finale, “Carry On”, was somewhat divisive among the Supernatural fandom, with quite a few fans questioning some of the choices. Though if the ending left a sour taste in your mouth, don’t worry, the franchise is returning with a new show to carry on the legacy of Supernatural and brothers Sam and Dean Winchester.

The Winchesters comes to The CW in early October as a prequel to the original series, narrated by Ackles as Dean Winchester, who will also reprise his role in the first episode. The show is set to tell the show of John Winchester (Drake Rodger) and Marry Campbell (Meg Donnelly), the parents of the brothers from Supernatural, as they meet and fall in love during the 1970s. A love story in a supernatural world? Sign me up!

The journey so far in Supernatural…leading to The Winchesters

As much as The Winchesters is a love story, it also explores these two as they monster hunt together as well as search for their missing fathers. The Winchesters being the first realized spin-off of Supernatural makes a lot of sense for this franchise. John and Mary Winchester are just as much a part of Supernatural as Dean and Sam. The death of Mary and the search for John is the force that pushes Sam into joining Dean once again in the family business of monster hunting. 

The Winchesters Viewing Guide- New Look
John Winchester (Drake Rodger) and Mary Campbell (Meg Donnelly). Promotional artwork for The Winchesters (WB/CW)

However, considering that it’s been a few years since Supernatural has been on and fifteen seasons is a lot to watch prior to The Winchesters’ premiere, we thought it might be beneficial to provide a guide with a crash course in John and Mary’s appearance in the flagship series. Just to help catch you and ourselves back up to speed! Therefore without further ado, we present you with The Winchesters viewing guide.

[Note: Some episodes may only feature either John or Mary, however, all are provided with links to the Supernatural Fandom Wiki for more information. Beware of possible spoilers for Supernatural and The Winchesters below!]

The Winchesters viewing guide

Additional notes on The Winchesters viewing guide

While compiling this list of episodes, some lines had to be drawn in the sand when determining what was important essential viewing and what wasn’t. As I stated before, the death of Mary and the legacy of John are so incredibly important to the show, that a good chunk of the episodes make mention of one or the other. So for the purpose of this guide, we tried our best to stick to the physical appearances of these characters in Supernatural.

As well, many of these episodes have stories that come after the upcoming prequel, therefore they have no impact on what happens in the series. Mary will still die at the hands of Azazel, a demon, when her children are young. John will still set off on a journey of revenge that will result in his untimely death and instill some severe “daddy issues” in his two sons. However, these episodes are all that exist of these characters so far and perhaps the best way of re-familiarizing viewers with John and Mary Winchester.

Important episodes from Mary and John’s past in The Winchester’s viewing guide

Perhaps three of the most important episodes from the list are three that deal with the past, specifically when John and Mary are young. In the third episode of season four, “In The Beginning” Dean has transported back in time to 1973 Kansas and finds himself face to face with a young John Winchester (Matt Cohen) and Mary (Amy Gumenick). This episode explores the couple in their very early stages of a relationship, with Dean getting to learn more about his parents during a simpler time.

The Winchesters
LtR: Dean (Jensen Ackles), John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Mary (Samantha Smith), and Sam (Jared Padalecki). Supernatural (WB/CW)

In season 8 episode twelve “As Time Goes By”, Sam and Dean are visited by their paternal grandfather Henry (Gil McKinney), who is looking for their father for help. This episode not only provides a plethora of information about John but also about the entire Winchester family and the legacy these monster hunters have acquired. This episode also helps build the wider “Men of Letters” mythos that carries through a lot of the later seasons of Supernatural.

The final episode that highlights Mary and John’s younger years is “The Song remains the Same”, the thirteenth episode of season five. In this episode, Dean and Sam are both transported through time to stop a fallen angel from killing their parents. Throughout the episode, Dean and Sam meet their parents at the stage in their life where they have given up hunting and wish to settle down with a family. This provides some interesting information for the brothers, along with a bit of closure.

Final thoughts on The Winchesters

As someone who has fallen on and off the Supernatural fandom train, I know overwhelming the show can be. With the 15 seasons and 320 episodes, all of which build off of each other, there doesn’t seem like a great place to jump in unless you are prepared to watch it all.

However, with this guide and The Winchesters right around the corner, this is the perfect time to jump back into this fandom. John and Mary began it all and this new show is finally telling their story in its completion. Fans will get to see them fall in love and begin their new life together of monster hunting and eventually child-rearing.

I think The Winchesters will invigorate the Supernatural franchise, perhaps launching it into a new direction and securing its future on The CW for many years.

The Winchesters premieres on October 11th on the CW and the next day on the CW App. What are your feelings about The Winchesters? Will you be tuning in? Let us know over on social media. And if you haven’t checked it out lately, read my review on another CW fan-favorite, Stargirl, which just began its third season last week.

Review: Stargirl Season 3 Premiere and Look Ahead

Stargirl season 3 premiere banner

Source: Supernatural Fandom

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