To date, we’re 13 seasons into the CW’s hit series Supernatural – a show that started out as a monster-of-the-week romp, but has since woven a rich tapestry of mythology. Kripke and the gang never could have predicted such longevity.
All things considered, they’ve done a good job keeping track of things, but with well over 200 episodes in the can, the writers are bound to slip up once in a while and they’re especially liable to start pulling narratives out of nowhere. It’s hard to blame them considering they thought they were going to be done after season 5. Had they known the legs that their little show would have, they might not have brought out the apocalypse until much later.
With all that in mind, we’re willing to throw them a bone every once in a while (like ret-conning Loki into the angel Gabriel, and introducing a parallel dimension wherein Bobby is alive, the Winchesters were never born, and the angels rule a post-apocalyptic wasteland). But some of the plot holes, inconsistencies, conveniently discovered powers, and dropped plots are so glaring that they simply must be addressed.
That’s just what we plan to do with Supernatural’s 15 Unforgiveable Plot Holes We Can’t Unsee.
15. Leviathans: Supernatural Storm Troopers
As the Big Bads of season 7, the Leviathans were truly scary, and as God’s first creation, they were bound to have flaws.
What are their powers, really? There’s lots of talk about how dangerous and indestructible they are. Yet, they never really bring out the proverbial big guns when faced with the two hunters famous for killing supposedly unkillable monsters. They’re allegedly more powerful than angels, but a lot of them go down like storm troopers. If they can heal from anything, why not just blow up the Winchesters and be home in time for cornflakes?
Also, why the elaborate corporate-based people-farming scheme? Seems like a lot of work for monsters that could just turn the world into an on-demand buffet. Oh right, because they’re immobilized by cleaning products and a lack of leadership. That’s some serious M. Night Shyamalan logic right there.
14. The Fairies
In season 6, Dean stumbles into a crop circle, learning the truth about alien abductions. It’s fairies, y’all. They nab Dean because a cobbler made a clandestine deal that requires first-born sons in exchange for elf labor. According to one leprechaun, once you’ve been to Fairyland, you’re marked and they will never stop tracking you to bring you back.
Being marked also grants victims the ability to see fairies in the world, and Dean starts spotting them everywhere… for one episode. After that, the spritely bounty hunters seem to forget all about Dean and he never sees another fairy.
Too bad, because fairies boast powers that surpass angels. The leprechaun claims he could restore Sam’s soul for a price. With all the desperate situations they get into later – requiring all kinds of deals and sacrifices – they never think to ask a fairy for help.
13. John Winchester: Dad Or No Dad?
Season 4 episode “In The Beginning” employs a clever Back to the Future homage when Dean travels back to 1973 and runs into a young John Winchester in a diner. While Dean looks on agape, John chats with an acquaintance that ends the conversation with, “Say hello to your old man for me.” John smiles and says he will.
But in season 8, Sam and Dean are bewildered when they meet their grandpa because – as they tell a time-traveling Henry Winchester – John claimed he grew up without a father. Henry reveals that he’s a Man of Letters and, given the present situation, realizes his mistake for abandoning his family. Before he can travel back to 1958 to change history, Abaddon kills him in the present, thus cementing him as an absentee father.
This begs the question – who was that guy in 1973 talking about?
12. What Is The Winchester Destiny, Anyway?
According to angels and demons, the Winchesters are pretty special guys. And we don’t mean their supernatural handsomeness. Back in the day, the angels fixed up John and Mary to create Sam and Dean (ancestors of Cain and Abel) with the express purpose of using the brothers as vessels in the world-ending battle between Heaven and Hell.
Or is it that Sam was part of a crop of special children bred to help Azazel free Lucifer from the Cage? Or maybe they were meant to reunite God with his estranged sister, Amara.
Of course it’s possible they don’t really have a destiny and everyone is just manipulating them to meet their own ends. Everyone lies to them at some point, including God, so it’s hard to really trust anybody. But if they do have a fate that’s written in the stars, it’s a convoluted one.
11. Angel Power: The Ultimate Deus Ex Machina
Angels are basically the Supermen of the Supernatural universe. They have pretty much every power you can think of, unless it doesn’t suit the narrative.
Angel-banishing sigils sometimes banish the angel who uses them and sometimes don’t, depending on what the writers intend for Castiel. In season 4, Castiel banishes Zachariah without banishing himself, but in season 5, Castiel is also banished, along with 5 other angels.
Uriel says that only angels can wield angel blades, but tell that to Zachariah, who died at Dean’s hand. They can read minds and rip humans apart on a sub-atomic level with a finger-snap, but still Lucifer lets Mary get close enough to clock him with Enochian brass knuckles.
An angel’s true form will kill a human, but only if they’re not principal cast members. With all these plot-specific powers or weaknesses, it starts to smack of retconning.
10. What’s The Deal With Vessels?
Vessel are another device that tend to mold to plot needs. Sam and Dean were always destined to be Lucifer and Michael’s vessels, but wait! A half-Winchester brother will also suffice. Sam must drink gallons of demon blood to withstand being Lucifer’s vessel, but Dean has no such regiment to prepare for Michael. Demons can possess anybody, but angels can only use “true” vessels and need the host’s permission. They conveniently never specify what makes a “true” vessel.
Sometimes vessels are conscious, but other times they’re completely suppressed, like when Michael says that, “Adam isn’t here anymore.” An archangel possession will “hollow out” the vessel but Michael promises Dean would survive. A vessel can expel an angel by revoking consent, but not if the angel keeps them from self-awareness.
So God’s vessel laws bind angels… unless they find a loophole (and they always do).
9. Is Garth Still Partying On?
Garth was an easy-going hunter who hooked up with the Winchesters in season 6 and popped up a few more times until he got turned into a werewolf. When last we saw him, he’d found puppy love and was living amongst a group of peaceful lycanthropes (their preferred moniker). Their community was exposed when a small faction went rogue and started killing people. Fortunately, the Winchesters were on the case and let Garth go on his merry way after dispatching the troublemakers.
But in season 12, the Men of Letters reported having killed all the werewolves. Sam rationalizes that Garth was deep enough under cover to stay off their radar. Indeed, Dean confirms his safety when he calls Garth to warn him. But they never check in with him again.
Garth: If you’re reading this, call us!
8. Death’s Character Doesn’t Scan
Death is incredibly old, claiming to pre-date all things, including God. He remembers when God created the Leviathans. Strangely, though Death knows all about Amara, she doesn’t know him. Sure, she’s been locked away for most of existence, but Death hasn’t been around much either, instead delegating most of his work to Reapers.
Death can do all kinds of things, including easily break someone out of the Cage. However, he won’t remove the Mark of Cain unless Dean agrees to kill Sam, because otherwise, the Darkness will escape and destroy the world. But if, as Death tells Dean, humans are little more than “bacterium” to him, why does he care at all? Because of his love for Chicago-style pizza?
Also, if Death can fulfill his threat to kill Dean before he can do another binding spell, why did he let Dean summon him the first time?
7. How Long Was Sam Really At Stanford?
At the PaleyFest television conference in 2006, series creator Eric Kripke copped to this error when confronted by astute fans. Sam was originally meant to be 20 years old, but at the last minute, they changed his age to 22. The implication was that Dean was pulling him away from his senior year of undergrad, thus lending more weight to his sacrifice. Unfortunately, they neglected to change Dean’s line about how long it had been since Sam left home.
When Dean delivers his famous pitch about their dad going missing on a “hunting trip,” he references that they haven’t seen each other in 2 years. Without the knowledge of the writing oversight, it doesn’t make any sense that a smart 22-year-old on a law school track would only be a sophomore in college.
6. Family Is Everything (Except For Adam)
The Winchesters talk a big game about the importance of family. They do all sorts of stupid things in the interest of saving and/or resurrecting one another. Dean even kills Death, knowingly unleashing the Darkness, just to avoid killing Sam. But when it comes to their half-brother, Adam, that all goes out the window.
At press time, Adam languishes in Hell’s Cage, along with Michael. Though they’ve since revisited the Cage numerous times, they’ve made no further attempts to extract Adam. At one point, Sam was in there with Adam and Death offered to spring one of them for Dean. Dean barely hesitates to choose Sam.
The writers meta-acknowledge this in season 10 when Sam and Dean exchange guilty looks over an Adam mention in a fan-written musical, but they don’t feel guilty enough to do anything about it.
5. What’s Up With The Anti-Christ?
With a title like “The Anti-Christ”, you’d think Jesse Turner would be a much bigger deal. The cherub-cheeked cutie appears in a single season 5 episode. Castiel claims that though Jesse’s not the only “cambion” – a human/demon hybrid – he is the one destined to assist Lucifer in the war against Heaven.
Indeed Jesse has myriad powers as long as Lucifer walks the Earth, including teleportation, telekinesis, conjuring, demon control, and matter manipulation. Ironically, he seems like a good kid. At the end of the episode, he teleports to an unknown location. Though Lucifer keeps popping up and another of his son has been introduced in season 13, no one has heard from Jesse since. Perhaps he’ll come back now that a Nephilim is on the scene.
There’s also a fun Internet theory that he may have become Jesse Custer from Preacher.
4. Where Are The Four Horseman Rings?
When Death gave Dean his ring for a day, he expressly stated it was on loan. Presumably, Death retrieved it at their deal’s conclusion, and still had it when Dean killed him. Perhaps Billie picked it up when she got promoted from Reaper. But that still leaves the rings of War, Pestilence, and Famine. What happened to them after they formed the key to the Cage in season 5?
Presumably Dean still has them locked away somewhere. Is there a mystically protected safety deposit box somewhere in Middle America? That’s an awful lot of power to never re-visit. There have been numerous world-ending confrontations since season 5 and while Team Free Will was scrimping for solutions, they never thought to give one of those rings a go?
3. Hair Growth In Purgatory
At the start of season 8, we learn that Dean has been trapped in Purgatory for the past year, having been sent there with Castiel when they killed the Leviathan leader, Dick Roman. When Dean finally finds a way back to Earth, having fought countless monsters in the process, he’s understandably scraped up and worse for wear. That is, apart from his usual haircut and clean-shaven mug. One might assume that since Purgatory is a sort of after-life, human body functions don’t apply.
On the other hand, Castiel emerges from Purgatory with a full beard (while his hair remains the same length). With all his talk about never needing to sleep or eat, we didn’t even know Castiel could grow a beard. Where’s the episode that shows Castiel hilariously struggling with human grooming rituals?
2. Ghosts Always Turn Vengeful (Except When They Don’t)
Sam and Dean had certainly encountered vengeful spirits before Bobby died, but a lot of them were the ghosts of bad people or else had good reason to harbor a vendetta. However, when Ghost Bobby attacks Dick Roman (who is a bad guy, mind) the boys obsessively fret that Bobby is becoming vengeful and decide they must destroy the object that ties him to the mortal coil before he goes full poltergeist. If they succeed in time, Bobby will go to the Other Side and be at peace.
But why are they so convinced that Bobby’s spiritual corruption is inevitable? By season 7, they had encountered several ghosts who were anything but vengeful. In fact, the episode just prior to “The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo” features a century-old ghost named Victoria who helps them destroy Van Ness.
1. Low Stakes For The Stars
Despite many curve balls, Supernatural has one guarantee: Sam, Dean, and Castiel will keep dying to save the world and they’ll always come back. At first, it’s incredibly moving to see a beloved character accept their fate and sacrifice themselves for the greater good. But after awhile, it starts to lose emotional weight.
Sam and Dean have literally been to Hell and back. Castiel has died and transformed numerous times. In season 13, the Winchesters burn Castiel’s body, telling Jack, “What gets burned stays dead.” Meanwhile, Castiel is wide-awake in the Empty, and accomplishes something that no other being in the history of all things has ever done. As he puts it, “I annoyed an ancient cosmic being so much that he sent me back.”
Sam, Dean, and Castiel are likely never going to be anything worse than “mostly dead”. Kinda takes the sting out of i, huh?
Can you think of any other glaring plot holes in Supernatural? Let us know in the comments!