The inspiration for the Supernatural season 1 episode titles

Photo Credit: Supernatural/The CW by Sergei Bachlakov Acquired from CW PR
Photo Credit: Supernatural/The CW by Sergei Bachlakov Acquired from CW PR /

Now many of the Supernatural episode titles are based on popular culture, especially music, but what about in the past?

If you look at Supernatural episode titles now, you’ll usually see titles of songs or adaptations of movie titles. This has been something from early on in the show. In fact, it’s something that’s happened from the very beginning.

It’s time to take a look back at the Season 1 episode titles. Here’s the inspiration for each one, whether monster, song or movie.

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Supernatural: Pilot

The very first episode is just called “Pilot.” No, it’s got nothing to do with flying a plane. The term pilot is given to the first show of a series. Sometimes the pilots are unaired. In cases of spin-offs, like the upcoming Wayward Sisters, the pilots are known as “backdoor pilots.” They take place within an episode of the parent show.

In Supernatural’s case, the first episode was the pilot episode of the series. It wasn’t given a special name. If it was “Woman in White” or “Dad’s on a Hunting Trip” would have been good options.

Dead in the Water

The third episode of Supernatural was the first instance of popular culture being used as episode title inspiration. Now “Dead in the Water” is a song by Ellie Goulding, but in 2005 the song wasn’t around. There were multiple places of inspiration, though.

There was a 2002 thriller movie, a 1991 TV movie and a couple of novels all with the same name. The title was perfect for the episode, since it focused on the lake where a vengeful spirit lived.

Skin, Home, Asylum

Sometimes the episodes would focus on places or events that were happening. “Skin” was the focus on the shapeshifter and how he lost his skin and would change at will. Meanwhile, “Home” and “Asylum” focused on the places where the Winchesters would need to go.

Meanwhile, “Nightmare” was a reference to the dreams that Sam had been getting throughout the episode and “Dead Man’s Blood” was a reference to the way to take down vampires.

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Wendigo, Phantom Traveler, and more

The majority of the episode titles are based on the monsters or creatures in the episode. “Wendigo” was a reference to the wendigo that the Winchesters face in the woods. “Bloody Mary” and “Hook Man” were references to the urban legends. “Bugs” was a reference to the creatures that would become the not-so-scary monsters throughout the episode.

This method of naming continued for a lot of early Supernatural episodes. The titles were easy to remember, but they weren’t exactly original. After all, if you type in “Scarecrow” or “The Benders” into Google, you do get a lot of non-Supernatural related content.

Something Wicked

It’s possible that “Something Wicked” was a shortened version of a novel and movie the showrunners gained inspiration from: “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” Coincidently, it’s also the inspiration for the Charmed pilot episode, although the title is “Something Wicca This Way Comes.”

The novel and movie are about a carnival. One of the creatures certainly has the long fingers like the shtriga.

This is now the name of a movie, starring Supernatural‘s Jame Patrick Stewart. Yes, Dick!

Faith and Salvation

The two titles stand out, as they are linked together in a way. Both “Faith” and “Salvation” have links to God. While “Salvation” was mostly about the place name, it was also a link to the Winchesters looking to bring an end to their hunt; searching for their own salvations.

Meanwhile, “Faith” was everything about losing, keeping and having faith. It was a word mentioned throughout, both between the Winchesters and from the church members and pastor.

Devil’s Trap

The final episode title is the one that stands out the most. It’s a connection to two elements of the show. The first is that it’s the item used to trap Meg, so the Winchesters can send her to Hell. However, there’s also the trap Azazel sets for the Winchesters. He unknowingly takes over John’s body and makes them choose between the death of their father and their own deaths.

Next: Ranking all the Supernatural Season 1 episodes

Did you realize where all the titles came from? The use of pop culture inspiration started, but it wouldn’t be until later seasons that it would grow more prominent.

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