The Meaning of Episode Titles

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Introduction

"Supernatural" is a TV show that uses a lot of popular culture references and fully understands itself as a postmodern text, as it draws from famous texts not only of its own genre, but also "shops" through over a hundred years' worth of popular culture products.

Apart from obvious references of the story, plots, and characters itself (see e.g. Hero's Journey), as well as references made by the characters (see Trivia of Episodes, and They like to watch), an increasing number of episode titles refer to several cultural texts, most commonly songs (of the Mullet Rock variety), as well as horror films and other classical movies (with a preference for the fifties, sixties, and seventies).

Season 1

1.01 Pilot is the pilot episode. 1.02 Wendigo, 1.04 Phantom Traveler, 1.05 Bloody Mary, 1.07 Hook Man, and 1.08 Bugs name the monster of the week. 1.03 Dead in the Water, 1.06 Skin, 1.11 Scarecrow, and 1.16 Shadow describe the monster of the week—the ghost of a drowned boy, someone who changes skins, an aspect of the local fertility god, demons who are visible only in silhouette. 1.09 Home, 1.10 Asylum, 1.17 Hell House, and 1.21 Salvation name the setting. 1.12 Faith names the key theme of the episode. 1.14 Nightmare, 1.19 Provenance, 1.20 Dead Man's Blood, and 1.22 Devil's Trap name elements key to the plot.

1.13 Route 666

Route 666 is the sixth spur of the famous "motherline" Route 66, and the last remaining stretch of road was renamed into Route 491 in 2003. Route 666 has also been called "The Devil's Highway"(Source). It wouldn't be the Devil's Highway without a number of strange incidents.

1.15 The Benders

The Benders were a family of 19th century mass murderers from Kansas(Source and Further Reading).

1.18 Something Wicked

The title refers to a line from Shakespeare's Macbeth: "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes". More on the phrase at Wikipedia. "Something Wicked This Way Comes" is also the title of a Ray Bradbury novel in which two teenage boys encounter Mr. Dark, the owner of a mysterious carnival, who has offered secret desires to several people, only to bind them in service to the carnival. One of the chapters in the episode Something Wicked on the Season 1 DVD is called "...this way comes."

Season 2

2.01 In My Time of Dying

"In My Time of Dying" is a song by Dean's favorite band, Led Zeppelin, released in 1975; it is a cover of "Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed" recorded by Blind Willie Johnson in the late 1920s.

2.02 Everybody Loves a Clown

"Everybody Loves a Clown" is a song by Gary Lewis & The Playboys, released in 1965.

2.03 Bloodlust

Bloodlust! is a 1961 movie, in which a crazed hunter kidnaps people and hunts them for sports on his estate. While this sounds more like The Benders, the "crazed hunter" most certainly is Gordon Walker.

2.04 Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things

Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things is a 1972 low-budget zombie movie by Bob Clarke.

2.05 Simon Said

Simon Says is a game for children, in which one of the players becomes "Simon", and the other players must do as Simon says. "Simon" has to start each sentence with "Simon says...".

Simon Says is also a 2006 horror film.

2.06 No Exit

No Exit is a play by French existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre, in which three people are locked into a room (which might be hell) together. While they wait to eventually be freed of their prison, a complex dynamic starts to develop between the three of them...

2.07 The Usual Suspects

Movie Poster for the 1995 film 'The Usual Suspects'

The Usual Suspects is a 1995 movie by Bryan Singer, in which a con-man, interrogated by the police, tells a convoluted story of events that lead up to a massacre and fire at the docks. Using flashbacks, he tries to explain how he and his fellow partners-in-crime were on the boat that was involved, but not everything is as it seems. The episode draws heavily from the style of the film, using flashback and narration as well, as Sam and Dean tell their story.

2.08 Crossroad Blues

The plot of the episode is heavily inspired by the story of Robert Johnson, without whom Dean's favorite music would likely not exist. One of Robert Johnson's songs is entitled Cross Road Blues.

2.09 Croatoan

The title comes from a plot element, in this case the mystery of Roanoke, explained by Sam and Dean in the episode itself.

2.10 Hunted

The title directly references the plot, in this case Sam Winchester being hunted by Gordon Walker. Several movies of the same name exist, but none of them holds any plot elements shown in the episode.

2.11 Playthings

The title comes from a plot element, namely the dolls which Dean and Sam thought were being used for hoodoo.

2.12 Nightshifter

The title comes from plot elements, namely the shapeshifter and the bank incident that takes place during the night.

2.13 Houses of the Holy

Houses of the Holy is a 1973 Led Zeppelin album. (Incidentally, the seventh song on the album is "No Quarter"—in the same episode, Dean runs out of quarters when using the Magic Fingers.) Led Zeppelin also used the title for a 1975 song.

2.14 Born Under a Bad Sign

Born Under a Bad Sign is the title song of a 1967 Albert King album.

2.15 Tall Tales

Tall tales are elements of American folklore, as such as they are tales about extraordinary heroes or deeds done, "larger than life". In this case, the term 'tall tale' would appear to be used more generally to mean 'fantastical story', as in the absurd stories published in the Weekly World News which inspire the monster of this episode, which do not have particular resonance with American folklore.

2.16 Roadkill

This is a direct reference to a plot element. The word generally refers to animals who are killed on the road by being hit with a car; this describes two of the characters to some extent.

2.17 Heart

This is a direct reference to a plot element, namely the missing hearts of werewolf victims. This could also be a reference to the love that Sam feels for Madison.

Cover of the infamous novel by Kenneth Anger

2.18 Hollywood Babylon

Hollywood Babylon: The Legendary Underground Classic of Hollywood's Darkest and Best Kept Secrets, is a book by Kenneth Anger, said to unveil the secrets of Hollywood in the 1920s through 1950s. There's also a song by The Misfits titled "Hollywood Babylon".

2.19 Folsom Prison Blues

"Folsom Prison Blues" is a 1955 song by Johnny Cash.

2.20 What Is and What Should Never Be

"What Is and What Should Never Be" is a 1969 song by Led Zeppelin.

2.21 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part One and 2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two

"All Hell Breaks Loose" is A) a set phrase (idiom) and B) a song by The Misfits.

Season 3

3.01 The Magnificent Seven

Movie Poster of "The Magnificent Seven"

The Magnificent Seven is a 1960 western with Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson. It's also the name of a song by the English punk band The Clash.

3.02 The Kids Are Alright

"The Kids are Alright" is a 1965 song by The Who.

3.03 Bad Day at Black Rock

Bad Day at Black Rock is another film by John Sturges with Spencer Tracy.

3.04 Sin City

Sin City is the name of a comic title by Frank Miller (a movie adaptation was done in 2005). "Sin City" is the part of the fictional city described in the comic which is ruled over by prostitutes and other seedy/shady characters. "Sin City" is also an AC/DC song.

3.05 Bedtime Stories

This is a direct reference to a plot element. Fairy tales are sometimes referred to as bedtime stories, because they were read to children at bedtime.

3.06 Red Sky at Morning

The title of the episode comes from an old piece of weather lore" “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailor’s warning”. Red sky at morning is said to signal rain.

3.07 Fresh Blood

The title is a direct reference to plot elements, namely vampires, especially newly created vampires, and their diet. It is possible the new vampires would need fresh blood or could be considered themselves fresh blood, i.e. someone new or 'fresh'.

Title Card for 3.08 A Very Supernatural Christmas.png

3.08 A Very Supernatural Christmas

This title plays on two standard TV tropes: the Christmas episode and the Very Special episode. The Christmas episode is, rather obviously, a one-off episode of a series set around that holiday. The Very Special episode was an episode of a series that focused on an Important Issue such as cancer or addiction and was usually very earnest and serious.

There is a different title card for the episode which is preceded by a version of the old CBS Special Presentation Indent. Sleigh bells are heard and the a Christmas ornament explodes on the screen and then the episode's title appears.

3.09 Malleus Maleficarum

Malleus Maleficarum means Hammer of the Witches in Latin, and it was the title for a fifteenth century treatise on witches. It was used to support argue the nature and reality of witchcraft and was used in the persecution and murder of women accused of witchcraft across Europe in in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

3.10 Dream a Little Dream of Me

"Dream a Little Dream Of Me" is the title of a song first recorded in 1931. The song, a version by Mama Cass, is heard during the episode during Dean's dream of Lisa.

3.11 Mystery Spot

The title is a direct reference to a plot element. The episode title refers to a tourist attraction near Santa Cruz, California called the Mystery Spot that was open in 1939. Just like in the episode, it is reported be a place where the laws of physics and gravity have do not apply. There are other mystery spots but the Santa Cruz location is the original.

3.12 Jus in Bello

The title is a direct reference to a plot element. Jus in bello means "justice in war" and refers to the guidelines for "fighting well" once war has begun.

3.13 Ghostfacers

The title is a direct reference to plot elements. The title and style of the episode are a parody on the American reality television series Ghost Hunters, which has been airing since October 6th, 2004. In the show, Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes investigate paranormal activity.

3.14 Long-Distance Call

"Long Distance Call" is the title of the season 2, episode 22 episode of The Twilight Zone by Rod Serling, in which a boy is able to communicate with his deceased grandmother through a toy phone. "Long Distance Call" is also a 1951 song by Muddy Waters.

3.15 Time Is on My Side

"Time Is on My Side" is a song by the Rolling Stones.

3.16 No Rest for the Wicked

"No rest for the wicked" is a phrase from the Book of Isaiah, verses 48:22 and 57:20-21. It is also the title of a 1988 Ozzy Osbourne album and a Godsmack song.

Season 4

4.01 Lazarus Rising

The title is a direct reference to a plot element. In the Gospel of John, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.

4.02 Are You There God? It's Me, Dean Winchester

The title of this episode refers to the Judy Blume book Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

4.03 In the Beginning

In the Beginning is a Journey album released in 1980. It compiles the first three albums they released before Steve Perry joined the band. It is also the phrase that opens both the Book of Genesis and the Gospel of John in the King James version of the Bible.

4.04 Metamorphosis

The title is a direct reference to plot elements. The Metamorphosis is a novel by Franz Kafka about a man whoa wakes one day to find himself transformed into a giant cockroach, and the conflict this causes with his family. In this episode the character Jack Montgomery goes through a transformation into a rugaru, and Sam and Dean clash over Sam's continued struggle with the demon blood he was fed by Azazel and how it has affected him.

4.05 Monster Movie

The title is a direct reference to a plot element. Monster movie is a slang term referring to films with a struggle between humans and monsters - like King Kong. In this episode, the protagonist is himself a monster - a shapeshifter and he is also obsessed with classic horror films and devotes himself to recreating them.

4.06 Yellow Fever

This title is a play on the virus yellow fever caused by the bite of the yellow fever mosquito and the American slang "yellow" meaning a coward. Dean is infected with ghost sickness or "yellow fever", the yellow referring to the fear induced by the supernatural infection.

4.07 It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester

The title of the episode references the 1966 Peanuts movie It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

4.08 Wishful Thinking

The title is a direct reference to plot elements, namely the wishing well key to the plot and how, given that all the wishes in the episode go spectacularly wrong, it's wishful thinking to believe wishes work. It could also be a reference to a 1965 British rockband named Wishful Thinking

4.09 I Know What You Did Last Summer

I Know What You Did Last Summer.jpeg

I Know What You Did Last Summer is a 1997 American slasher film based on the 1973 novel of the same name by Lois Duncan. The film changes many aspects of the book, which was not a slasher novel. The film also draws inspiration from the urban legend known as The Hook.

4.10 Heaven and Hell

"Heaven and Hell" is the album title and title song of a 1980 Black Sabbath album.

4.11 Family Remains

The title is a direct reference to plot elements: it is a play on 'remains' referring to a corpse, and remains, as in what is left of a family after tragedy.

4.12 Criss Angel Is a Douchebag

There is a show named Criss Angel Mindfreak staring Criss Angel, a magician, who performs stunts. Angel has a reputation of being a douchebag.

4.13 After School Special

A term coined by the ABC for their made-for-television movie series dealing with conflicts of teenagers. See also CBS Schoolbreak Special.

4.14 Sex and Violence

This is an obviously named episode that deals with a sex demon and ends in violence. The concepts of sex and violence are thought to be contributing factors is the deterioration of morals and family values. Sam and Dean forget their family bond and have a violent confrontation because of the sex demon. The title is also the name of the pilot episode of The Muppet Show and an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.
The title of the episode may be a reference to the Jane's Addiction song "Ted, Just Admit It..." which contains the lyrics "sex and violence" and "sex is violent," or to a song by The Exploited titled "Sex And Violence"

4.15 Death Takes a Holiday

This 1934 movie was the inspiration for the title of 4.15 Death Takes a Holiday.

The title comes from a 1934 Fredric March movie where Death decides to live his life as a mortal.

4.16 On the Head of a Pin

The title comes from the old question "How many angels do you fit on the head of a pin?"

4.17 It's a Terrible Life

The title is a play on the title of the 1946 movie It's a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart as a man who wonders what life would have been like if he were never born.

4.18 The Monster at the End of This Book

The title is from the Sesame Street book where Grover cautions the reader that there is a monster at the end of the book and they shouldn't go there. At the end, Grover finds out the monster is himself.

4.19 Jump the Shark

The title is a television term taken from an episode of Happy Days where Fonzie jumps a shark. It usually denotes that a show is past its prime.

4.20 The Rapture

The title is a direct reference to a plot element, namely the Rapture, which is a term used to describe the events surrounding the second coming of Christ where the faithful is taken back to Heaven.

4.21 When the Levee Breaks

"When the Levee Breaks" is a 1929 blues song, covered by Led Zeppelin in 1971.

4.22 Lucifer Rising

This is the title of a 1972 experimental film by Kenneth Anger as well as an album by the Swedish heavy metal band Candlemass. It is also a play on the title of Season 4's first episode, Lazarus Rising.

Season 5

5.01 Sympathy for the Devil

This was the cover for the Rolling Stones' Album Sympathy for the Devil.

"Sympathy for the Devil" is the name of a song by the Rolling Stones and a movie by Jean-Luc Goddard.

5.02 Good God, Y'All

The episode title "Good God, Y'All" is from the line 'War! Huh! Good God y'all' a lyric from the song "War" originally sung by Edwin Starr and covered by many including Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Bruce Springsteen.

5.03 Free to Be You and Me

The title of the episode refers to a 1970s children's record and TV show "Free to be... you and me". This clip from the show is particularly relevant as the kids in the clip talk about how they feel about their siblings.
Another reference - when the CW was formed in 2006, its initial promotional campaign featured the tag "free to be...".

5.04 The End

The episode title might refer to The Doors' song "The End", which uses themes of the apocalpyse and a world gone mad ('all the children are insane'). The song also evokes the image of the devil ('the snake is long, 7 miles, (..) and he's old, and his skin is cold'), and has an oedipal part, where a son goes to murder his sister, brother and finally father, to confront his mother, who he wishes to have sex with. Furthermore, the song was used in Francis Ford Coppola's iconic war movie, Apocalypse Now.

5.05 Fallen Idols

The episode title probably refers to idols in both the religious sense and the cultural-icon sense.

5.06 I Believe the Children Are Our Future

The title is a lyric from Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love of All".

5.07 The Curious Case of Dean Winchester

The title is a play on the title of the F.Scott Fitzgerald short story, later made into a movie starring Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, in which the protagonist ages backwards.

5.08 Changing Channels

The title is a direct reference plot elements, namely the many TV shows featured in the episode, which include Grey's Anatomy and CSI: Miami; Grey's Anatomy and another show in the CSI franchise air Thursday nights at nine, the same time slot as Supernatural.

5.09 The Real Ghostbusters

The title of the episode refers to a 1980s animated TV show based on the movie Ghostbusters.

5.10 Abandon All Hope...

"Abandon All Hope" is a reference to the final line of the inscription over the gate of Hell in Dante's Inferno - "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" - according to Canto III of Dante's Inferno.

5.11 Sam, Interrupted

The title is a play on the memoir by Susanna Kaysen and the movie based on same, both entitled Girl, Interrupted and depicting Kaysen's stay in a mental health facility. Misha Collins has a bit part in the movie; a more important character is played by Clea Duvall, who costarred with Jensen Ackles in Ten Inch Hero.

5.12 Swap Meat

The title may be a pun on swap meets, also known as flea markets. Also, humans are referred to as "meatsuits" because angels are able to occupy their bodies. Sam and a teenage boy swap bodies, so the title could be a reference to that.

5.13 The Song Remains the Same

The Led Zeppelin album Houses of the Holy opens with the song "The Song Remains the Same"; the song is also the title track on a Zeppelin live concert album.

5.14 My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine is a 1981 movie. In 2009 Jensen starred in a 3-D remake: My Bloody Valentine 3D.

5.15 Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

This 1982 movie was the inspiration for the title of 5.15 Dead Me Don't Wear Plaid.

Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid is a 1982 movie. In this film, Steve Martin interacts with (now dead) stars of 40s and 50s noir movies through use of clips from their movies.

5.16 Dark Side of the Moon

The title of the episode refers to the 1973 Pink Floyd concept album Dark Side of the Moon. The episode was originally called “Your Whole Life Flashes Before Your Eyes” Source.

5.17 99 Problems

The title comes from a song by Ice T, famously covered by Jay-Z, entitled "99 Problems"; this is the ninety-ninth episode.

5.18 Point of No Return

The point of no return is the point at which events have progressed far enough that stopping them becomes impossible, or the narrative climax. The 100th episode celebrates typically the number required for syndicating a series into royalty-producing re-runs, although Supernatural was already in syndication before the episode aired (seeTNT). It may also be a reference to the Kansas album Point of Know Return or to that album's title song.

5.19 Hammer of the Gods

The title is a line from Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song", referencing the hammer of Thor; the episode includes two gods from the same pantheon as Thor, Odin and Baldur, but does not include Thor himself unless he is one of the unidentified gods.

5.20 The Devil You Know

The title may reference the debut album of the group Heaven & Hell, whose members were all previously part of Black Sabbath; more likely, it is a reference to the idiomatic phrase "better the devil you know than the devil you don't".

5.21 Two Minutes to Midnight

The episode gets its title from the Iron Maiden song "Two Minutes to Midnight." The song's title and subject refer to the Doomsday Clock.

5.22 Swan Song

The phrase "Swan Song" in modern jargon refers to a final work or performance, or the final part of a story. It was also the name of the record label founded by Led Zeppelin.

Season 6

6.01 Exile on Main St.

"Exile on Main Street" – the episode’s title – is also the name of a double LP released by the Rolling Stones in 1972. It is an album that features songs that represent the genres that Sixties rock could be deconstructed back to - like blues, gospel, soul - a return to its roots. It was also recorded over a period of change and personal upheaval for the band although during the time Jagger also married and had a child.

6.02 Two and a Half Men

6.02 Two and a Half Men references this show.

This episode's title, "Two and a Half Men" is a reference to the TV sitcom of the same name starring Charlie Sheen. It has probably been chosen because Sam and Dean are two adults and the baby they are taking care of counts as a fractional person; also, Sam and Dean are fully human and the baby half human. Also, this is the second episode of the season.

6.03 The Third Man

This title is likely based on the famous 1949 noir film The Third Man, starring Joseph Cotton. The phrase 'the third man' is used to describe an unidentified individual involved with the mysterious death of Harry Lime. At Comic Con 2010, Kripke described this Season as being very noir in style.

6.04 Weekend at Bobby's

The title of the episode is based on the comedy "Weekend at Bernie's."

6.05 Live Free or Twihard

The title of the episode is a combination of the titles of two movies : "Live Free or Die Hard" and "Twilight". A Twihard is someone who fans Twilight to a degree bordering on obsessive.

6.06 You Can't Handle the Truth

The title of the episode refers to a famous quote by the character Colonel Jessep from the play and later film A Few Good Men. Jensen appeared in a production of the play in Fort Worth in June 2007.

6.07 Family Matters

The title of the episode refers to Family Matters, a 1990s sitcom featuring the Winslow family and the nerdy Steve Urkel.

6.08 All Dogs Go to Heaven

The title of the episode is also the name of a 1989 animated film.

6.09 Clap Your Hands If You Believe...

The title of the episode is reference to a line from J.M. Barrie's "The Adventures of Peter Pan", in which Peter asked the children dreaming of the Neverland to clap their hands if they believed in fairies in order to keep Tinkerbell alive. It is also the name of a 1989 animated film.

6.10 Caged Heat

The title of the episode is the name of a 1974 women-in-prison exploitation film directed and written by Jonathan Demme.

6.11 Appointment in Samarra

The title of the episode is a reference to an old story about the inevitability of death, most famously retold by W. Somerset Maughm, which was credited as the inspiration for the 1934 novel of the same name by John O'Hara.

6.12 Like a Virgin

The title "Like a Virgin" is a reference to the 1984 song by Madonna of the same name. The song was the subject of a famous dialogue in the movie "Reservoir Dogs." Madonna later gave the film's director a signed CD with the dedication "To Quentin. It's not about dick, it's about love. Madonna."

6.13 Unforgiven

The title of the episode is the name of a 1992 Noir-Western film directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. The Unforgiven is also a heavy-metal song by Metallica. The band said the horns in the intro are reversed sound from a Western movie but never confirmed which one. It is believed to be from the 1965 Spaghetti Western For a Few Dollars More staring Clint Eastwood.

6.14 Mannequin 3: The Reckoning

This movie and its sequel were the basis for the title of 6.14 Mannequin 3: The Reckoning.

The title refers to the 1987 movie Mannequin and its 1991 sequel Mannequin: On the Move where a store mannequin comes to life.


6.15 The French Mistake

The title refers to a famous sequence in Mel Brook’s movie Blazing Saddles. At the end of the movie, the action from the movie which is set in the Old West, crashes through a wall (literally breaking the Fourth Wall) onto the set of a musical on the Warner Brothers lot. The song being performed in the musical is called The French Mistake.

The term "French Mistake" purportedly refers to a straight guy having a gay sexual encounter he later regrets Source.

6.16 ...And Then There Were None

The episode title “And Then There Were None” is a reference to a 1939 Agatha Christie crime novel in which ten people are lured to a remote island and then stranded. Each person was involved in the deaths of other people, though they were never found out, and found guilty by whoever orchestrated their arrival on the island. Although there appears to be no one else on the island, each of them dies by a method described in the Ten Little Indians nursery rhyme until they are all dead.

6.17 My Heart Will Go On

The episode title “My Heart Will Go On" refers to the Celine Dion song of the same name which was the theme song for the 1997 movie Titanic. Jensen once did an ad for Titanic-related merchandise. The movie was also referenced visually in 4.10 Heaven and Hell when Dean and Anna have sex in the Impala. The image of Anna's hand streaking down the foggy car window is reminiscent of the iconic scene from Titanic when Jack and Rose are having sex.

6.18 Frontierland

Frontierland, the name of the episode, is also the name of one of the themed lands at Disneyland, which is a Disney version of the 19th century Old West. It features the rides Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The original title of the episode was ‘Gallows Pole’, which is a song based on an old folk song about a woman trying to buy her freedom from the executioner. Versions Dean would like are by Leadbelly and most famously by Led Zeppelin.

6.19 Mommy Dearest

Mommy Dearest is the name of a tell-all autobiography by Christina Crawford, who details an abusive childhood at the hands of her mother, actress Joan Crawford. The film of the book starring Faye Dunaway has become a camp classic, particularly for the scene where Crawford rails hysterically at Christina for using wire coat hangers: "I told you - no wire hangers EVER!"

Dean references this when he says to Eve: "Beat me with a wire hanger, the answer's still no."

6.20 The Man Who Would Be King

The Man Who Would Be King is a short story by Rudyard Kipling, made into a 1975 movie by John Houston starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine. It tells the story of two ex- officers of the British Raj who become adventurers and become hailed as deities in a remote village in the Hindu Kush. They lead successful battles against the villages enemies, but become wrapped up in their own delusions of grandeur. Eventually the villages turn against them. In the movie, the story unfolds as the surviving character relates his story to a journalist. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), the episode aired exactly one week after the royal wedding, in which Prince William (second in line to the British throne) married his long-time girlfriend.

6.21 Let It Bleed

The title of the episode, ‘Let It Bleed’’, is also the name of a 1969 Rolling Stones album. This is the fourth episode to be named after a Rolling Stones song or album. The others were 3.15 Time Is on My Side, 5.01 Sympathy for the Devil, and 6.01 Exile on Main St. The episode was originally titled ‘The Haunter of the Dark’ which is the name of a story by H.P. Lovecraft, the one that he is finishing in the teaser of the episode.

6.22 The Man Who Knew Too Much

The title of the episode ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much' is the name of a 1956 Alfred Hitchcock movie, a remake of his own earlier 1934 version of the movie. It’s also famous for featuring the song Que sera sera by Doris Day who starred in the movie with James Stewart.

Season 7

7.01 Meet the New Boss

The title of the episode "Meet the New Boss" is a lyric from the song "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who: "Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss". The song is widely known as the theme music for the TV series CSI: Miami, which Supernatural parodied in 5.08 Changing Channels.

7.02 Hello, Cruel World

The title is a play on the phrase "Goodbye, cruel world" which is often referenced as a person's last words before they commit suicide.

7.03 The Girl Next Door

The Girl Next Door is a term used to describe a cultural stereotype of a young woman who is good natured and fits accepted cultural norms of femininity. It is the name of many songs and movies, however the one that most closely fits this episode of Supernatural is a Japanese erotic animated movie (i.e. hentai) of the same name in which a man is haunted by the memory of a young woman who helped him when he was injured as a child. This may be a shoutout to the fact that in 7.01 Meet The New Boss, Dean is watching "Asian cartoon porn"

7.04 Defending Your Life

The title of the episode Defending Your Life is also the title of a 1991 movie starring Albert Brooks. In the movie, when people die they must defend their life in an afterlife court. If they can prove they have conquered their fears, they pass on to the next phase of existence. If not, their soul is sent back to Earth.

7.05 Shut Up, Dr. Phil

The episode title "Shut Up, Dr Phil" is a reference to TV personality and relationships advice guru Phil McGraw.

7.06 Slash Fiction

The episode title "Slash Fiction" is a play on three references. First it is a reference to the Tarantino movie Pulp Fiction. Slash or slasher refers to a sub-genre of horror movies.

Slash fiction is also the name of a genre of fanfiction which pairs two characters of the same gender in a sexual relationship – see Slash for more information. There are references in the episode that compare Sam and Dean to a couple - Honey Bunny and Pumpkin from Pulp Fiction, Mickey and Mallory from Natural Born Killers as well as Mr and Mr(s) Smith.

7.07 The Mentalists

The title is a reference to the CBS series The Mentalist, about a former con man "psychic" who uses his experience to aid police.

7.08 Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!

The title refers to this episode featuring the first wedding in Supernatural.

7.09 How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters

The episode title is a play on the famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie first published in 1936.

7.10 Death's Door

Death's Door is a colloquial saying to refer to the point just before dying.

7.11 Adventures in Babysitting

Adventures in Babysitting was a 1987 comedy movie.

7.12 Time After Time

The title shares the name of Cyndi Lauper's 1984 smash hit song.

7.13 The Slice Girls

The episode title plays off the movie 2009 movie Splice and the 90s UK girl pop band The Spice Girls. Splice was the tale of two scientists who mix human DNA with animal to create a hybrid which matures rapidly.

7.14 Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie

The title refers to the chain fast food place in the episode "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magic Menagerie", which is similar to the real life chain Chuck E. Cheese, which combines kids arcade games, entertainment and fast food. The name "Pennywhistle" may be a parody of Pennywise, the evil fanged clown in Stephen King's novel (and subsequent movie) It.

7.15 Repo Man

Named after Repo Man. A reference to the movie Repo Men, which is about collections agents who repossess people's organs in a future reality where people can buy organs, but at a very high price.

7.16 Out with the Old

"Out with the Old" is the first part of a saying, "Out with the old, and in with the new."

7.17 The Born-Again Identity

The episode title "The Born-Again Identity" is a play on the 2002 spy thriller movie The Bourne Identity (which was based a novel of the same name by Robert Ludlum). In the film, the main character Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon, finds himself suffering from amnesia, and his attempts to discover who he is. Along the way he finds he has a number of skills – speaking multiple languages, proficiency in hand-to-hand combat – that give him clues to his identity.

7.18 Party On, Garth

The episode title is a reference to a popular SNL skit called Wayne's World in which the two main characters would introduce themselves by saying "Party on, Wayne." and "Party on, Garth."

7.19 Of Grave Importance

The episode title refers to a phrase "of great importance".

7.20 The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a 2011 thriller movie.

Dungeons and Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game first published in 1974. Charlie Bradbury, the girl introduced in this episode, has very likely played this game at some point, assumed from her geekish nature.

7.21 Reading Is Fundamental

Reading is Fundamental is a nonprofit literacy organization in the United States.

7.22 There Will Be Blood

There Will Be Blood is a 2007 drama movie.

7.23 Survival of the Fittest

The episode title is a reference to phrase originating in evolutionary theory, as an alternative description of natural selection.

Season 8

8.01 We Need to Talk About Kevin

The episode title is a reference to the book We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver and later made into a movie. The book is based around a series of letters from a woman to her husband, about her concerns about their son Kevin who eventually commits mass murder at his high school.

8.02 What's Up, Tiger Mommy?

The title "What's Up, Tiger Mommy?" is a mashup of two references. One is to the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, about her experiences growing up between two cultures, and of being a parent. The other reference is to the 1966 Woody Allen comedy What's Up, Tiger Lily?" which dubbed original dialogue over the footage of a Japanese spy movie.

8.03 Heartache

"Heartache" is likely a reference to the fact that the organs of Brick Holmes have been split up and distributed to various people. Also at some point, Randa Moreno, the girl who got the heart, tries to take out Dean's heart.

8.04 Bitten

This episode is about werewolves, and how they keep turning others via bite. Hence the title, "Bitten."

8.05 Blood Brother

There was a band from 1997 to 2007 called The Blood Brothers. However, this episode more likely references a blood brother by oath. Blood brothers swore loyalty to each other through a blood oath ceremony in which each person makes a small cut on their hand or forearm and they press the cuts together. Their blood then "flows" in each others' veins and they are thus "blood brothers."

8.06 Southern Comfort

Southern Comfort is also a type of liquor.

8.07 A Little Slice of Kevin

The episode name refers to the saying "A little slice of heaven" - which refers to a highly desirable place or person. It was also the title of an 80s Kiwi pop song by Dave Dobbyn.

8.08 Hunteri Heroici

The title Hunteri Heroici, is a play on the Looney Tunes cartoon convention of giving fake Latin species names to characters, for example Speedometrus Rapidus for the Roadrunner. During the the episode, there is a freeze frame where Dean is labelled as Hunterus Heroicus and Dr Mahoney labelled as Grotesques Villianus. The tags were presented in the typeface Comic Sans, a much maligned typeface, although in this situation, very appropriate.

8.09 Citizen Fang

The title Citizen Fang could be a reference to the 1995 movie Citizen X which was based on the true story of the hunt for a serial killer in Russia. It could also be a reference to the 1941 movie Citizen Kane.

8.10 Torn and Frayed

Torn and Frayed is a Rolling Stones song from the 1972 album "Exile on Main St."

8.11 LARP and the Real Girl

The episode title “LARP and the Real Girl” is a reference to the 2007 movie Lars and the Real Girl starring Ryan Gosling, about a guy who develops a relationship with a doll.

8.12 As Time Goes By

The episode title is also the name of a song written in the 1930s, and most famously sung by Dooley Wilson in the movie Casablanca. It is also the tune playing on the music box that Henry buys for John to help him sleep after he is scared by the movie Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. Sam says he remembers John whistling it sometimes.

8.13 Everybody Hates Hitler

The title of the episode is a play on the UPN/CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris. Every episode title began with "Everybody Hates… ". Supernatural Producer Jim Michaels was a producer on Everybody Hates Chris.

8.14 Trial and Error

Trial and error is a common method of problem solving. In this episode it refers to the first trial of the Trials necessary to close up Hell.

8.15 Man's Best Friend with Benefits

The title of the episode is a play on the term "man's best friend" that is used to refer to dogs and the 2011 movie Friends with Benefits starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis.

8.16 Remember the Titans

While there are many movies about Titans and the Greek gods, Remember the Titans was a 2000 movie starring Denzel Washington about the desegregation of a football team.

8.17 Goodbye Stranger

Goodbye Stranger is a reference to the song of the same name by British rock band Supertramp

8.18 Freaks and Geeks

The episode is named after a 1999/2000 TV comedy called Freaks and Geeks about a group of outsiders at high school.

8.19 Taxi Driver

The episode is named after the 1976 Martin Scorsese film Taxi Driver.

8.20 Pac-Man Fever

The title of the episode is a reference to the 1982 song "Pac-Man Fever" by Buckner & Garcia, which celebrated the popularity of the iconic arcade game Pac-Man.

8.21 The Great Escapist

The title of the episode is based on the 1963 movie The Great Escape about Allied POWs escaping a German prison camp in World War II.

8.22 Clip Show

Clip Show refers to an episode of television which is based around clips from old episodes, usually by having characters reminisce, or dream about the past. They are cheap episodes to produce. The title here refers to the re-appearance of characters from past episodes: Tommy Collins from 1.02 Wendigo, Sarah Blake from 1.19 Provenance and Jenny Klein from 7.05 Shut Up, Dr. Phil.

8.23 Sacrifice

This episode is so-named becaused Sam is put in a position where he has to sacrifice himself for the world.

Season 9

9.01 I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here

The title "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" is a song from the musical Annie and is sung when the orphan Annie arrives at the mansion of Millionaire Oliver Warbucks. Watch it here

9.02 Devil May Care

The term "devil-may-care" is used to describe someone with a careless or reckless attitude, the phrase is a shortened form of "the devil may care, but I do not." The phrase's origin dates all the way back to around 1785–95. It is also the title of a 2008 James Bond novel.

9.03 I'm No Angel

I'm No Angel may refer to the 1986 album (and song) of the same name by the Greg Allman Band.

9.04 Slumber Party

This episode is so-named because Dorothy and The Wicked Witch of the West have been slumbering for years. The title could also be a reference to a sleepover, also called a slumber party where a group of friends spend the night at one friend’s house and might stay up all or most of the night chatting, watching movies/TV and eating junk food. Charlie, Sam and Dean do just that.

9.05 Dog Dean Afternoon

The episode title "Dog Dean Afternoon" is a play on the name of the 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon.

9.06 Heaven Can't Wait

The title of the episode is a play on Heaven Can Wait, a 1978 film starring and co-directed by Warren Beatty, about a man who gets a second chance on Earth after dying prematurely. There was also a 1943 film of the same name, about a man who must tell his life story before be admitted into Hell (Spoiler: He ends up in Heaven).

Writer Bob Berens said it referred to the film of the same name and also that "Cas and Crowley have been sidelined, Cas in his human life, Crow in the bunker. But the call of heroism/villainy beckons" source.

9.07 Bad Boys

"Bad Boys" is also the name of a 1983 movie about a kid played by Sean Penn who is sent to reform school for killing a gang member, where he must deal with the dead man's vengeful brother.

9.08 Rock and a Hard Place

"Rock and a Hard Place" is a song by The Rolling Stones from their 1989 album Steel Wheels.

9.09 Holy Terror

Holy Terror was the name of a 2011 graphic novel by Frank Miller in which a superhero called the Fixer battles Muslim terrorists.

9.10 Road Trip

This might be a reference to the fact that Gadreel stole the Impala.

9.11 First Born

The title of the episode "First Born" could be a reference to the fact that Cain was the first born son of Adam and Eve in Biblical mythology, as well as being known as the first murderer.

9.12 Sharp Teeth

Sharp Teeth is the name of a 2008 verse novel by Toby Barlow, about werewolves.

9.13 The Purge

"The Purge" in the episode title refers here to both the physical process to rid the body of toxins or waste often undertaken as part of extreme dieting, and the emotional process Sam and Dean are undergoing in their relationship.

9.14 Captives

9.15 #thinman

The title of the episode "#THINMAN" refers to the meme generally known as the "Slenderman," often called the internet's first urban legend. The meme was spawned by a "paranormal pictures" photoshop contest on the Something Awful (SA) Forums. The idea may have in turn been inspired by the German legend of the Tall Man. The hashtag in the title is used on Twitter to help other users search for terms.

9.16 Blade Runners

The title "Blade Runners" is a reference to the 1982 science fiction film Blade Runner, which is about a "Blade Runner," a retired special operative for the LAPD, who's job it is to track down replicants (bioengineered androids) on Earth. It also plays on the fact that Sam, Dean and Crowley are making their "run" to get the the First Blade in the episode.

9.17 Mother's Little Helper

"Mother's Little Helper" is a track from the Rolling Stone's 1966 album Aftermath. In the '60s the sedative Valium was known as "mother's little helper" due to its popularity amongst women.

9.18 Meta Fiction

Metafiction in a TV show (or book or other text) occurs when the show, or a character, demonstrates they are aware of their own fictional nature. See our entry on Meta Episodes for the use of this device in other Supernatural episodes. The title could also be a reference to METAtron and his efforts to write his own story that didn’t turn out as he planned so what he wrote became, in essence, fiction.

9.19 Alex Annie Alexis Ann

The episode title is a play on the title of the 2011 psychological thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene.

9.20 Bloodlines

This episode is also a backdoor pilot for Supernatural: Bloodlines, a series set in Chicago and based on the characters introduced in this episode.

9.21 King of the Damned

King of the Damned is the name of a 1935 British film about prisoners revolting against the Governor on a prison island.

9.22 Stairway to Heaven

"Stairway to Heaven" is the most widely known of Led Zeppelin's songs.

9.23 Do You Believe in Miracles?

"Do You Believe in Miracles?" is a reference to the lyric in the 1975 single "You Sexy Thing" by British pop group Hot Chocolate.

Season 10

10.01 Black

This is likely a reference to the color of Deanmon's eyes.

10.02 Reichenbach

The episode title "Reichenbach" may be a reference to Reichenbach Falls, the series of waterfalls in Switzerland where Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis Professor Moriarty originally met their ends in the short story "The Final Problem" (Holmes was brought back to life after fan outrage). In this episode Cole confronts his nemesis - Dean.

10.03 Soul Survivor

"Soul Survivor" is the final track on the Rolling Stones double album, "Exile on Main St".

10.04 Paper Moon

This is probably a reference to "Paper Moon", a movie from 1973 about a con artist duo of a man and a girl pretending to be father and daughter during the Great Depression.

10.05 Fan Fiction

"Fan Fiction" refers to stories written by fans that make use of material provided by a media text. In this episode, Marie has written a fan fiction script for her school play. Other creative and transformative fan activities include create art, videos and cosplay. See Fanfiction for more details.

10.06 Ask Jeeves

Ask Jeeves was a question/answer based search engine founded in 1995. Jeeves is also a name that is most associated with butlers, the name having become prominent through it's use in the series of short stories by P.G. Wodehouse, which were adapted into the ITV series Jeeves and Wooster. This reference was probably drawn from the prominent role of the butler, Philip, in this episode.

10.07 Girls, Girls, Girls

"Girls, Girls, Girls" is also the title of Mötley Crüe's fourth studio album, as well as song from the album.

10.08 Hibbing 911

This may be a reference to the comedy series Reno 911!, but with the word Reno replaced with Hibbing due to the setting of this episode. The comedy was focused around law enforcement, which is probably why it was chosen for this episode about Sheriff Jody Mills and Sheriff Donna Hanscum at a sheriff convention.

10.09 The Things We Left Behind

The title "The Things We Left Behind" is likely a reference to the Stephen King short story "The Things They Left Behind" which is about a man suffering survivor's guilt following the attacks of 9/11.

10.10 The Hunter Games

"The Hunter Games" is a reference to the book/film franchise The Hunger Games.

10.11 There's No Place Like Home

"There's no place like home" are the words Dorothy says in The Wonderful World of Oz to get back home to Kansas. Fitting, since the entire episode is about Charlie's return from Oz. Sam also quoted the line "There's no place like home" at the end of 9.04 Slumber Party and Dean did at the end of 2.20 What Is and What Should Never Be.

10.12 About a Boy

About a Boy is the title of a coming of age novel, which was later adapted into a film and TV series. The title of the novel was also a reference to the Nirvana song "About a Girl."

10.13 Halt & Catch Fire

"Halt & Catch Fire" is a reference to the computer machine code instruction that will cause a computer to stop functioning. There is also a TV series of the same name.

10.14 The Executioner's Song

"The Executioner's Song" is a reference to the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Norman Mailer, which documented the events surrounding the execution by the State of Utah of murderer Gary Gilmore. Norman Mailer also wrote a poem of the same name.

10.15 The Things They Carried

"The Things They Carried" is a collection of short stories of the same name by Tim O'Brien. The stories chronicles a platoon of American soldiers in the Vietnam War, and are based on O'Brien's own experiences.

10.16 Paint It Black

This episode gets its title from the Rolling Stones song of the same name.

10.17 Inside Man

An inside man is someone who helps with the execution of a crime by working inside the target, like Bobby did in this episode. The episode title "Inside Man" probably refers to the 2006 movie Inside Man about a bank heist directed by Spike Lee.

10.18 Book of the Damned

The Book of the Damned is a work of nonfiction by Charles Fort and was published in 1919. The book deals with various types of paranormal phenomenon ranging from UFOs to the existence of giants and fairies. The Book of the Damned that first appears in this episode appears to have more in common with the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis from the Evil Dead film series, which was bound in human flesh and inked blood, and written in ancient Sumerian.

10.19 The Werther Project

"The Werther Project" is a reference to the Werther effect or copycat suicide. This episode is also when the Werther Box is introduced.

10.20 Angel Heart

"Angel Heart" is likely a reference to the 1987 horror/noir film of the same name.

10.21 Dark Dynasty

This really isn't an apparent reference to any specific thing. "Dynasty" refers to the Styne Family, and the word "Dark" is put in front because this family is creepily dark. The title could also be a reference to the America reality TV show entitled Duck Dynasty, which is about the Robertson family and their successful family owned business making products for duck hunters.

10.22 The Prisoner

The episode's title is from the Iron Maiden song "The Prisoner," which is based on the British TV series of the same name.

10.23 Brother's Keeper

"Brother's Keeper" refers to one of longest lasting phrases in the universe, found in Genesis 4:9 & 4:10:

"Then the Lord said to Cain, 'Where is your brother Abel?' 'I don’t know,' he replied. 'Am I my brother’s keeper?'"
"The Lord said, 'What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.'"

Season 11

11.01 Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire

"Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire" is the name of song by Moxy, a 1970s Canadian hard rock and heavy metal band from Toronto. It could be a reference to the idom, "out of the frying pan into the fire," which is used to denote going from a bad situation to a worse one.

11.02 Form and Void

The episode title "Form and Void" is a reference to Genesis 1:2, on the state of nature before creation:

"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep."

11.03 The Bad Seed

"The Bad Seed" is a reference to the 1954 novel and 1956 film of the same name about an 8-year-old girl who is also a sociopath.

11.04 Baby

The title of the episode "Baby" refers to Dean's nickname for the Impala, first used in 2.03 Bloodlust and continued throughout the series. Dean uses the diminutive in the following episodes: 2.03 Bloodlust, 2.05 Simon Said, 3.08 A Very Supernatural Christmas, 6.15 The French Mistake, 7.06 Slash Fiction, 7.01 Meet the New Boss, 8.02 What's Up, Tiger Mommy? and 9.04 Slumber Party.

11.05 Thin Lizzie

"Thin Lizzie" is a reference to the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy and accused murderer Lizzie Borden.

11.06 Our Little World

"Our Little World" is the title of a song by Stephen Sondheim from the musical Into the Woods (a favorite of writer Robert Berens). The song is sung from the perspective of Rapunzel and her mother the Witch, who has her daughter locked away from the world in a tower.

11.07 Plush

This is likely a reference to the monster of the week, who dressed up in costumes while killing people. The first such costume was a plush bunny, hence the title.

11.08 Just My Imagination

"Just My Imagination" is a reference to the Rolling Stones song of the same name, a favorite song of writer Jenny Klein's.

11.09 O Brother Where Art Thou?

"O Brother, Where Art Thou?" is the title of the 2000 adaptation of Homer's The Odyssey by the Coen Brothers. In Homer's Odyssey, the protagonist Odysseus travels to the underworld to speak with the spirits of the dead in order to find a way out of his predicament of being lost at sea.

11.10 The Devil in the Details

"The Devil in the Details" refers to the idiom the devil is in the detail.

11.11 Into the Mystic

"Into the Mystic" is a reference to the song of the same name by Van Morrison.

11.12 Don't You Forget About Me

"Don't You Forget About Me" is a reference to the song "Don't You (Forget About Me)," which is famous for its use in the John Hughes film The Breakfast Club.

11.13 Love Hurts

"Love Hurts" is a reference to the song of the same name by The Everly Brothers, which was most famously covered by Scottish hard rock band Nazareth in 1975. "Love Hurts" was also previously used in episode 6.14 Mannequin 3: The Reckoning, which was also written by Eric Charmelo & Nicole Snyder.

11.14 The Vessel

The Vessel is likely just a reference to the fact that Sam and Dean realize that Lucifer is possessing Castiel's vessel, Jimmy Novak.

11.15 Beyond the Mat

Beyond the Mat is a 1999 documentary about pro wrestling. It takes a look behind the scenes and at life outside the ring of three wrestlers -- Mick Foley, Terry Funk, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts.

11.16 Safe House

This is likely a reference to the 2012 movie of the same name. In the movie, the "safe house" is attacked. This relates to the episode in that even the victim's home is not truly safe.

11.17 Red Meat

Red meat is the typical diet for werewolves, which are the monster of the week in this episode.