THE ROAD SO FAR…
Eariler this year, myself and fellow Scribe, the inimitable Shauna Granger, wagered on who could watch all of Buffy or all of Supernatural in the least amount of time. I made it to Season 5 of Supernatural by the time she finished Buffy. Tried. Really I did.
I loved Supernatural so much that, even though I lost the bet, I continued on and finished the series. And now. almost a year after I started, I’m happy to say I’m finally caught up.
What an absolutely wonderful ride it was.
There’s so much about Supernatural I’ve come to adore over the course of this year – the humor, the drama, the Cas Eating Stuff, the Racist Ghost Trucks, and so much more.
One thing I was consistently impressed with the during the entire run of Supernatural was the quality of the villains. I’ve always said a compelling antagonist is just as important to a story as compelling protagonist. One you can truly hate, but maybe at times also empathize with. I’ve tried to follow my own advice and have tired to write compelling villains in all of my stories. So, now that I’ve seen all there is to see, I thought it appropriate to look back on the whole Supernatural series and reflect on some of the great villains the show has crafted.
And it seems only fitting that my final Supernatural vs. Buffy post be me first post on Spellbound Scribes.
SPOILERS below, so if you’re caught up with Supernatural – tread lightly.
So without further adieu, my Top Ten Supernatural Villains:
Eve, to me, was the perfect example of excellent concept, but terrible execution. The idea there was a Mother of All the different monsters the WinBros battled over the years is a really great one, and should have provided formidable foe for the boys in S6. Imagine, if you will, her leading an army of the creatures the Bros had vanquished in previous seasons – Vamps, Werewolves, and Dragons – on the march to extract revenge for there fallen brethren?
Well that’s not really what happened. Instead she killed some truckers, made some people murder each other and then was quickly dispatched by Sam and Dean well before the end of the season. I’m gonna be honest, I thought S6 was the worst on of all (though I did love Homebody Dean). It was a bit of a meandering mess – seemed to me like the new writers weren’t sure what to do after the wrap of the big Lucifer storyline in S5 and were just trying to find their feet.
A full season narravtive focused on Eve and the monsters of Purgatory, instead of muddling it up with Souless Sam and Crowley & Castiel fighting over whatever and the Raphael stuff, would have been much better, in my opinion.
9. Gordon Walker
Gordon is another Hunter who appears throughout S2, most as a rival to the WinBros, but with methods much more severe than Dean and Sam, even killing humans . He even shows up in S3 as a vampire to further menace the Bros.
Admittedly he’s a fairly minor villain in the grand scheme of the Supernatural mythos. The reason he’s on the list is because I’ve always had a soft spot for the Hero’s Evil Mirror trope. Gordon might not have been the most threatening villain they faced, but he did provide a glimpse of what Sam and Dean might become if they became so obsessed with Hunting and lost sight of their own humanity. The episode in S2 where he challenges Sam to kill him, did well to show they would never cross that line, even so early in the series.
8. Dean Winchester
Okay, hear me out. I know there was only like three or four episodes in S10 with Demon Dean (though I’m not convinced, based on the last episode, that we’ve seen the last if him), but what we have seen is awesome.
I’ve been firmly #TeamDean since the beginning, but he’s always had this dudebro vibe about hie. Deanmon is that vibe turned up to eleven – he’s the ultimate arrogant douchebro villain. Drinking, carousing, just being an overall jerk to everyone around him. The way he dismantled Cole, taunting him about devoting his entire life killing Dean, only to have all of his dreams of vengeance crushed so definitively was just brutal.
Deanmon just does not give a single eff about anyone but himself. Not even Sam, who he abandoned, sold out to Cole and mocked mercilessly for lamenting their lost brotherly love. Some of it cut really deep too – like blaming Sam for the death of their mother – and even though it was the demon speaking and not Dean himself, you can tell it really hurt Sam in away that much of the physical injuries he suffered over the years did.
And how can you not love that Deanmon x Crowley Bromance?
The would-be King of Hell in S8 and 9 after Crowley is incapacitated by Sam and Dean. Chosen by Lucifer himself to be one of the fabled Knights of Hell – who according to legend slew the other Archangels – she is much more than just another demon for the boys to slay.
What I liked so much about Abaddon was the dichotomy between her and Crowley as rulers of Hell. Crowley abided by the traditional ways of soul collecting – contracts, coercion – still evil and deceitful stuff to be sure – but in a classy old school demonic way. Abaddon was all about gaining devotion through intimidation and violence. She had no repsect for the old ways and sought to take the Throne of Hell by any means possible. Anyone so power hungry they would break even Hell’s code of honor is truly a foe to be reckoned with. As vicious as Crowley is sly, even besting him in combat at the end of S8, Abaddon would have been been higher up on this list, were she not overshadowed by the other Big Bad in S9.
But we’ll get to him later.
6. Meg Masters
Supernatural’s first Big Bad holds a special place in my heart. Even though she was the henchman of Ol’ Yellow Eyes, I thought Meg was a much more effective foil to the Winbros in S1. Mostly because he lingered in the background, while Meg did his dirty work. Plus she acutally had some personality, where I found Yellow Eyes to be a much more one-dimensional baddie. With a combination of cunning and cruelty, Meg provided a plapable and sustained threat to Sam and Dean beyond the Monster of the Week creatures that were so prevalent in the early seasons.
Meg returns in S7 to be more of an ally to the WinBros than a foe – helping them out against Crowley, who she did not take too kindly to as the new King of Hell. I liked Meg Two, more then Meg One. Even though she wasn’t so much of a villain anymore, but more just a demon looking out for her own self interest. She was funny and snarky, and had some great chemistry with Dean. Meg is also one of the few villains in Supernatural that actual had some sort of redemption, sacficing herself so that the WinBros and Cas could escape with Angel Tablet.
She actually got a full character arch over the course of nine seasons, which in and of itself is pretty impressive.
Another Mid-Boss type villain like Meg, Ruby was one of the main antagonists in S3 and 4. Also like Meg, we were treated to a Ruby One and a Ruby Two.
She was very effective in fomenting distrust between the WinBros, Dean thinking that she was manipulating them for her own ends, and Sam convinced that she was going to help them destroy Lilith and keep Lucifer from being unleashed.
What made Ruby so great is that there was some real doubt as to whether she was on the same side as the WinBros or just pulling their strings for her demonic masters. Her character had depth, because while there was always a lingering doubt over her true intentions, for most of her time on the show she seemed to have a real kinship with Sam.
Of course, she did end up betraying Sam and Dean, but the fact she and Sam had such a close relationship made that betrayal all the more painful.
The first four seasons of Supernatural built up to this, the Biggest of the Big Bads, Morningstar himself – Lucifer!
Played with a simmering, tempered evil by Mark Pelligrino, Lucifer was the Big Bad I had been hoping to see since episode one. Unfortunately, I thought he was a bit underused in Season 5, appearing only for what seemed like a quarter of the episodes. But when he was there, he was commanding and threatening presence.
So why then is he at #4, if his was actually in the show so little? The parts he was in were truly magnificent. When faced with a villain as powerfully as him, there was a real doubt as to how the WinBros could emerge victorious. He was supposed to be the endgame for the series and he carried the presence of a truly unstoppable force. He was also a well rounded character, sympathetic for the fact he was cast out of heaven for not revering mankind, no truly great sin as we were led to believe, but became wicked and embittered after so many years of imprisonment.
Also, each season required Sam and Dean to acquire some sort of McGuffin to beat the Big Bad, and having to defeat each of the Four Horsemen (Death, most notably) was easily the best of these fetch quests in the series.
It was a close call between the Number Two and Three slot.
If you told me Booger from Revenge of the Nerds would be cast perfectly as a vile, conniving and manipulative Angelic Scribe, I would have called you a crazy person. His resume is pretty solid – manipulated Cas and the WinBros the get the angels kicked out of Heaven, killed Kevin (by proxy, but still), convinced the world that he was a messianic figure. Not bad. But what puts Metaron over the top is how he’s played with such perfect, sniveling creepiness by Curtis Armstrong.
He has the self-righteous smugness of a powerless man given finally the power he always desired, but gained through the most deceitful ways. He’s like a Super Angel Internet troll. But here’s the thing – he’s not entirely wrong. Heaven was a mess, abandoned by God, consumed by civil war – all good reason for someone to step up in a void of leadership to take control. His intentions would not be so bad were it not for his methods being so despicable.
Some of my love for him also come from being a writer and of course, one of my favorite episodes of the series was ‘Meta Fiction’. The way Metatron talks about the nature of stories, how he believed he was the hero of this story, not the WinBros and Co, showed a real depth to the character and he was not just another one note villain. And this one quote is just perfect:
What writer doesn’t love a good twist? My job is to set up interesting characters and see where they lead me. The byproduct of having well-drawn characters is they may surprise you. But I know something they don’t know – the ending. How I get there doesn’t matter as long as everybody plays their part.
2. Dick Roman
When I first started watching, everyone warned me about S7. Everyone said S7 was the worst, that the show went off the rails before getting back on track for S8.
I thought the Leviathan storyline was a nice breather from all of the Angel/Demon stuff in the previous six seasons before delving back into it for S8. It wasn’t earth-shatteringly great or anything, but I enjoyed it. Much more than I thought I would based on the dire warnings I got about it.
The highlight was, of course, the main villain for the season – Mister Richard Roman. The personification of the evils of capitalism, Dick Roman was a ruthless businessman possessed by an ancient malevolence. Much more subtle in his wickedness than many of the other WinFoes, Roman plotted to take over the world by subjugating the populace through his company’s products and making mankind a renewable food source for the Leviathans.
Smart. Subtle. Sinister.
The meta-commentary associated with his character about the nature of business in America and the slavish devotion to consumer products people been trained to trust was just excellent,too. Roman had the perfect combination of arrogance and intelligence to be the figurehead for this particular brand of evil.
And he killed Bobby, so yeah.
Snarky. Clever. British.
As much an adversary as he is an ally to the WinBros, Crowley is one of the most complex and well crafted characters in the entire show. Malicious and deceptive when he needs to be, but also flawed and surprisingly human when you least expect it.
He’s everything a good villain should be.
He’s a legitimate threat to the heroes, still an empathetic figure at times.
He’s hateable as he is lovable.
He’s just a great character, and end of the day, hero, villain, whatever, being a great character, one that the reader or viewer actually cares about, it what’s most important.
10 thoughts on “The Wicked & The Divine: Villainy in Supernatural”
Awesome first post, dudebro! I agree with pretty much most of your list, but I would give Metatron the higher spot for his villainy, though the Bobby storyline does put Roman in perspective. But I think Cas trying to be God deserves a spot on the list, I mean, he was pretty messed up!
Oh, and I totally agree; I think Dean being healed is a red herring.
Metatron & Dick were a toss up for me. I think what pushed Dick over the edge was how bad I expected S7 to be and how much I ended up enjoying it, mostly because of him.
And yeah, we definitely need more Deanmon action this season.
So, I come to this post having watched exactly THREE episodes of Supernatural. Three. Count ’em. No amount of cajoling (ahem, Shauna) has persuaded me to watch more. However – and this is pretty huge – your dissection of the villains has me…intrigued.
Maybe someone needs to do a Top-Ten-Supernatural-Episodes-for-Dummies-type post…
Welcome to the blog, Brian!!
*long suffering sigh*
It should be noted, I had to bet, BET, Brian he couldn’t watch the first 7 seasons of Supernatural than I could Buffy, so he did it out of spite and fell in love just like the rest of us.
So you’re implying I just need the correct incentive?
This is true, but it was that little bit of extra incentive that got me past some of the not-so-great parts of the first season. Liv – you should definitely give it a try, it’s a wonderful show with some truly great characters.
Awesome list, Brian!
Love this, Brian! Not gonna lie, I disagree with some of your rankings, but that’s taste, right? I personally think Abaddon was one of my favorite villains ever, although I did hold out hope that they would develop her a little deeper like they did with Crowley. Great list!
Thanks! I Of course we all have our favs. 🙂 I loved Abaddon, I just wish she had been given a season to herself instead of playing second fiddle to Metatron.