Favorite first episodes of SPN

Which first episode of a season is your favorite?

1 - Pilot
2 - In My Time of Dying
3 - The Magnificent Seven
4 - Lazarus Rising
5 - Sympathy for the Devil
6 - Exile on Main St.
7 - Meet the New Boss
8 - We Need to Talk About Kevin
9 - I think I'm Gonna Like it Here
10 - Black
11 - Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire
12 - Keep Calm and Carry On
13 - Lost and Found
14 - Stranger in a Strange Land

Hiatus (the final one) is upon us, and I thought it would be fun to revisit the past seasons, one set of episodes per week. So--which opening episode is your favorite?

Mine is probably "In My Time of Dying"--and not just because we get Dean wandering around barefooted in scrubs. Kim Manners gave us some gorgeous and startling visuals, and Ouija board scene is still a favorite, even twelve seasons later. Sam's determination to find a way to save Dean, John's self-sacrifice, Sam's devastation on finding John dead.... Pretty close to a flawless episode, all around.

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lot of wonderful moments/scenes/sequences in those other options but IMToD is a rich, complete, gorgeous episode in its own right, as well as setting up s2 beautifully. love it!
I'll admit, the set-up for this poll is a little unfair to some of the later season openers, which really function as 2 and 3-part mini-arcs.
There are so many great first episodes, but my favourite is "Lazarus Rising", the start of the episode with Dean clawing his way out of the coffin and walking to the empty gas station is so classic. Dean's reunion with Bobby's moving and funny, and his reunion with Sam is so lovely. A very close second for me is "In My Time of Dying" for the reasons you gave.
Oh yes--"Lazarus Rising" would probably stand in second place for me. Beautiful shots, some strong emotional content, and it's self-contained enough that it can be enjoyed on its own without requiring the subsequent episodes to provide a satisfying story arc.
I love the Pilot, but am choosing "In My Time of Dying" because the Pilot isn't just a Season opener, it's the series opener, so it stands on its own as sometime different, in my mind. And "In My Time of Dying" is just a fantastic episode, for all the reasons you list!
Fair enough! ;) The Pilot definitely has some of my favorite visuals (like my long-time default icon here).
This is so so so hard to choose. I thought it would always be Lazarus Rising, but Black definitely gives it some serious competition.
Oh yes--Black was a fascinating opener because it was so different from what we'd expected based on 9.23. And thanks to Jared's injury, Sam looked almost fragile in his desperate need to find Dean.
'Lazarus rising' is my stand out favourite. Jensen was just brilliant. Those opening sequences...just breathtaking. 'In my time of dying' comes a close second for me, for all the reasons you mentioned, followed by 'Black' in third place, again largely thanks to the brilliant performances of our boys, and Mark Sheppard. :)
It's funny--I didn't expect so much of a consensus when I set up the poll. It'll be interesting to see if that continues for later episodes, or if things will even out a bit more as we hit some of the MotW stories.
"Lazarus Rising" is so beautifully filmed, it's almost magical. The opening and closing scenes are epic. I loved the reunions, and seeing Sam use his powers. "In My Time of Dying" is also a very good choice.
Magical is a good word for it--there's a distinct feeling of liminality throughout the whole thing.
Have to join you with "In My Time Of Dying", closely followed by "Lazarus Rising", then all the others
I'm checking "Lazarus Rising", because that's the one I've rewatched the most, and gorgeous little Cas! But "In My Time Of Dying" is a close second. It's absolutely beautiful.

I wrote a silly piece of crack called "In My Time Of Driving" and it's easily my favorite SPN parody fic title, followed by "Hen Houses Of The Holy".
I can't pick a favourite! Can I get back on this when I rewatched all the openings? Such a hard decision to make.
I had a hard time choosing between "Lazarus Rising" and "In My Time Of Dying", but decided on the former ... Dean clawing his way out was just such a memorable scene, plus all those gorgeous shots and emotional context. And if I had a third option, it would be "Black"...
Man, there's way more of a consensus over favorite opening episodes than I anticipated when posting this. I wonder if that will continue, or fall apart as we leave the big arc episodes?
it's so hard //whines//

but imma have to go with the Pilot, without that, i wouldn't be here <3
An excellent reason!

And yeah--some of these poll are going to be absolutely brutal to pick a favorite. But I figure that's good--it'll get us to really think about some of our favorite moments on the show.