Favorite Fourth Episodes of SPN

Which fourth episode of a season is your favorite?

The Phantom Traveler
Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
Sin City
The End
Weekend at Bobby's
Defending Your Life
Slumber Party
Paper Moon
American Nightmare
The Big Empty
Mint Condition

Okay, so a bunch of you have expressed anguish over having to choose between episodes in the past three polls--I am feeling your pain here. "Baby", "American Nightmare", and "Mint Condition" are all solid favorites of mine that have been revisited multiple times. ("Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things" is also fabulous, and absolutely gorgeous, but not one I find myself just randomly rewatching.) So, using that metric, "Baby" just barely edges out the other two. But it's a photo finish!
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Three final favorites

Closing out this little series of vid recs, here are three that I dearly love, all by SecretlyToDream, but all with very different moods. For instance, this first one feels very much like the music video for some artsy psychological horror movie:

Pushing beyond melancholy/despair into hope, which is perhaps the essence of the show:

I suspect I've already shared this one before, but I don't care--it's hands-down my favorite SPN vid. The editing is so tightly tailored to the music, the words fit the grand sweep of heaven/hell/everything between that the Winchesters have to deal with, and every time I watch it I notice some new nuance. It's like visual poetry.

crack fic: Dean and a Horse (part 9 of ?)

It gets weirder from there, much to Dean's dismay. A pair of sparrows shows up to deliver cherries and a warning that Dean's--Reginald's? whatever--servants have sent forth a search party to find him, on the assumption that he's been kidnapped. When they stop at noon to let the horse rest, squirrels bring them chestnuts and news that the ferry ahead of them is out and they'll have to detour down the river several miles to the nearest bridge. They ford at the ferry anyway, on the theory that it'll help obscure their trail, and when they emerge a tiny toad has hitched a ride on Dean's dampened knee. It doesn't say anything, just peeps occasionally, and when Dean goes to flick it off, its skin is so soft that he winds up just petting it gently with one finger.

It hops away when they dismount for the night, escaping just before a couple of herons show up with fish for their dinner--and the advice to head north when they hit the swamp because there's a dragon sulking about in the southern bit.

"Do you know how much further to the tower with the giant trapped inside?" Dean asks. His boots are still soaked from fording the river, he hasn't eaten real food in what seems like forever, and the horse's spine had gradually turned razor-sharp over the course of the day. It's a good thing this is all just make-believe, or he'd be worried about permanent damage to certain important parts of his anatomy.

The herons confer, making noises at each other like a choking cat with its head stuck in a pipe, before the one on right croaks, "We don't know about a giant, but there's a tower with a princess to the south, where the dragon is."

"Great," Dean says, and waits until the herons leave before he turns to Benny. "I know you didn't sign on for dragons and it's probably not my brother, but I have to go check anyway. The witch that made the spell that zapped us here had a weird sense of humor--she'd probably think it was hilarious to turn Sam into a pretty princess."

"I'll think on it," is all Benny says, and they settle down into what's becoming their evening routine--Benny tending fire and food, Dean brushing down the horse and checking its feet and complaining quietly about how this whole thing is complete bullshit. But the fish-on-a-stick turns out pretty tasty, and he's able to find a mostly rock-free place to curl up in his bed roll, and the rabbit that decides to tuck itself into the crook of his neck is soft and warm and almost makes up for the lack of a memory foam mattress.

poem: The soul has bandaged moments

- Emily Dickinson

The Soul has Bandaged moments –
When too appalled to stir –
She feels some ghastly Fright come up
And stop to look at her –

Salute her, with long fingers –
Caress her freezing hair –
Sip, Goblin, from the very lips
The Lover – hovered – o’er –
Unworthy, that a thought so mean
Accost a Theme – so – fair ­–

The soul has moments of escape –
When bursting all the doors –
She dances like a Bomb, abroad,
And swings open the Hours,

As do the Bee – delirious borne –
Long Dungeoned from his Rose –
Touch Liberty – then know no more,
But Noon, and Paradise –

The Soul’s retaken moments –
When, Felon led along,
With shackles on the plumed feet,
And staples, in the song,

The Horror welcomes her, again,
These, are not brayed of Tongue –

Favorite third episodes of SPN

Which third episode of a season is your favorite?

1 - Dead in the Water
2 - Bloodlust
3 - The Kids Are Alright
4 - In the Beginning
5 - Free to Be You and Me
6 - The Third Man
7 - The Girl Next Door
8 - Heartache
9 - I'm No Angel
10 - Soul Survivor
11 - The Bad Seed
12 - The Foundry
13 - Patience
14 - The Scar

I'm tempted to say "Dead in the Water" just because I've watched it so many times while zmediaoutlet and I were working on ch. 3 of In a Cursed Hour--though I do also love the visuals, and the glimpse it gives us into everything that Dean's trying to hard to hide about himself, the soft places under his seeming armor. "In the Beginning" is another great one--our first time-travel episode, and the show knocks it out of the park. Guess I'll have to decide when this poll actually goes live....

ETA: Okay, so I goofed, and 3.03 is Bad Day at Bad Rock, not "The Kids Are Alright". I can't edit the poll code anymore, so just go ahead and vote for "The Kids Are Alright" if you mean "Bad Day at Bad Rock", which is what I'm going to do.

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The editing/clip selection on this one feels very similar to a bunch of other vids I've seen, but the song choice makes it worth watching. There's that sense of desperate looking for someone who's not there but should be.

This one fascinates me--it's a unique format, as far as I know, but very effective.

Beautifully edited, but the sense of loss and alienation is almost disorienting.

Includes a hug, but no sense of relief anywhere.