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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Ugh, oh no. XD I agree with all your picks (and definitely rewatched 2x04 MANY a time, though that was when there were only 4.5 seasons of canon to work with, not 14, XD) but went with 7x04 because EVEN THOUGH OKAY SURE IT'S KIND OF DUMB I adore the sequence of rapid-fire case-solving at the beginning, and Dean being super not into the idea that the case isn't done when they finally get back to the motel and it seems like it's time for bed. And Sam just being generally troubled by Dean's disposition (and then fighting so hard to save him using his mad West Wing skills!). I liiiiive for this kind of A+ content and I can't not vote for my weird little "I've probably seen this episode more than anyone but its editors because it's not objectively a great episode but I love my weirdly-shaped lumpy baby so so so so so so much").
it's not objectively a great episode but I love my weirdly-shaped lumpy baby so so so so so so much--haha, yes. I think this is how I feel about the show in general. "Yes, I know it has warts, I can point every one of them out to you, but I love it anyway so please shut up and let me enjoy it."
Rewatched S7 recently and was struck by how underrated Defending Your Life really is. The execution was, erm, rocky, but the concepts in there are rich and so, so important to the era. I will go to my grave wishing that we'd gotten more of that root difference in what Hell meant for Sam and Dean—not so much in whatever may have happened there, but in how they conceptualized it afterward—threaded throughout the rest of the reason, and even beyond it.

But we didn't, so I'm left to headcanon and fic about how a part of Dean resents and envies Sam his Hell experience and the fact that he was never offered the choice to torture. How Sam gets to feel like he's expiated his sins now because Sam was never in a position to do anything other than suffer down there. Of course Sam gets to be pure coming out of it. Of course Sam doesn't have to measure the extent of his virtue, for the rest of his life, in how many years he held out. Sam never had to hold out at all.

I'm sure it's a part Dean keeps deeply buried. But I'm also sure it's there.

TL;DR I also have FEELINGS about this episode that I know was kind of weird and built out of craft store foliage and styrofoam
It's an odd little thing indeed, but as you say there are definitely depths to it. And I love the closing scene where they're in a field of flowers....

Photo finish here for Baby and Weekend at Bobby's. Baby just edged out by a nose.
It's got to be Baby for me, I think I've watched that episode more than any other! It has everything - humour, angst, brothers together - laughing and singing as well as bonding, a great monster of the week, and of course Baby! But The End, Weekend at Bobby's and Defending Your Life are all joint second place for me.
Hard time picking between The End and Baby, but hey ... it's Baby. That episode had it all, brothers bonding, laughing and singing, plus the general angst and humor and a really unique way of filming perspective!
Going against the apparent current here (yay me!) and voting for "The End". "Baby" and all the other episodes are close behind, but this episode is still top-notch acting for me, from almost everyone. The many differences between 2009!Dean and 2014!Dean, Hippie Cas, Samifer in the white suit,...

Other favorites:
"Defending Your Life" - still hoping we get the name of the third witness against Dean (my money is on Sam)
"Baby" - so many wonderful insights in the day-to-day life on the road XD
"Weekend at Bobby's" - another wonderful episode full of insights into the life of our favorite surrogate father figure XD
"Phantom Traveler" - jj1564 has posted a gif of the by now legendary first scene (during the opening credits) with Dean asleep in the bed and the camera wandering up his body... *dreamy sigh*
"The End" really is a spectacular episode--if we're just talking quality, I might have to give it top ranking. I've watched "Baby" waaaaay more times, though. ;)

(re: 1.04--Bob Singer knew where the goods were from the very start.)
Metamorphosis! the fight between Sam and Dean kills me.

I love these polls! Thanks for doing this.
Glad you're having fun! Seemed like it might be a good way to revisit and celebrate the show, and it's going pretty well so far. (Though I'll be taking a little break from LJ this month, so the next one won't go up until July.)
I voted for The End, though for a coin-flip I could've used different criteria and gone with Baby. But seeing the results, now I wish I could change my vote to American Nightmare because—okay, granted, the competition was stiff with this one, but Magda, man. That one scene where Sam judges Mrs. Peterson—and it feels like Biblical judgment, it's so intense—is just... it was literally hair-raising to me. Maybe 15 seconds of some of the absolute best, most intense acting in the history of the show. And as bitter as I am that it stands in such isolation, the episode is that much more important for even tip-toeing up to the line of addressing Sam's history and powers.

TL;DR, The End is a better episode overall, and Baby is near to my heart, but I wish to formally adopt American Nightmare pls
Oh, Magda! I was absolutely gutted when she got shot at the end--I so wanted her to get to live out in wide spaces, with someone who would actually care for her.

Someday maybe I'll write a little AU where she manages to escape Ketch somehow.
Even though I dearly love Baby, The End has been a huge favorite of mine since season 5, so I'm choosing that. It showed the importance of the brother's relationship... when they fell apart, the world fell apart. Jensen was brilliant as both Dean's, and Jared blew me away as Lucifer!Sam. All of it was so epic!