The premiere of Supernatural’s 15th season will be the beginning of the end for Sam and Dean Winchester, as the beloved CW drama concludes its 15-year run. It could very also mean the end of the road for one or both of the monster-hunting brothers, but that's hardly unfamiliar territory.
It’s a well-established trope that the Winchesters treat death like a revolving door. Sometimes they go kicking and screaming into the unknown, other times they go willingly -- usually to stave off an apocalypse-level crisis or in place of the other brother. Sometimes, death even comes to them in small and inconsequential ways.
Whatever the circumstances, we've tallied up all of Sam and Dean's fatal moments (at the time of this writing) to find out who has the hardest time staying alive. Place you bets, now!
SAM: SEASON 2, EPISODE 22
Sam is stabbed in the back in "All Hell Breaks Loose - Part One," both metaphorically and literally. The killer is Jake Talley, one of the group of demon-blood enhanced people to which Sam belongs. Jake, an ex-soldier, turns Sam's own knife against him, and only a deal with a crossroads demon enables Dean to bring him back.
DEAN: SEASON 3, EPISODE 11
"Mystery Spot" forces Sam to helplessly watch his brother die over and over again in a Groundhog Day parody engineered by the Trickster. After suffering heart attacks, electrocution and piano droppings, Dean's death count totaled a staggering 103. Once Sam figured out who was to blame, the fun and games came to an end.
DEAN: SEASON 3, EPISODE 16
Dean’s time on the clock finally ran out in “No Rest For the Wicked,” and hellhounds came to collect. Dean is ripped to shreds by the invisible beasts and dragged to Hell for eternal torture in what remains one of the show’s grimmest moments. His escape was facilitated by Castiel, not long before making his first appearance on the show.
SAM: SEASON 4, EPISODE 8
Like "Mystery Spot," "Wishful Thinking" is Supernatural at its horror-comedy best. In a bizarre occurrence that could only have been brought on by the actualized power of wishing death upon someone, Sam is struck down by lightning. Luckily, the wish is reversible.
SAM & DEAN: SEASON 4, EPISODE 15
In "Death Takes a Holiday," Sam and Dean find a way to kick the bucket, even when the Grim Reaper is MIA. In a world where dying is impossible, the pair fix the natural order of things by leaving their bodies for the astral plane with the help of Pamela the psychic. She also restores them back to the physical plane when the job is done.
SAM: SEASON 5, EPISODE 13
In a Back to the Future-riffing episode, "The Song Remains the Same," the Winchester brothers travel back in time to prevent their parents, John and Mary, from being assassinated by the angel Anna. She hopes that preventing Sam from being born will mean Lucifer has no vessel in the future. However, she instead ends up murdering the time-displaced Sam with a lead pipe. He's soon saved by another angel, Michael.
SAM & DEAN: SEASON 5, EPISODE 16
After failing to prevent the apocalypse from starting, Sam and Dean find themselves the least-popular members of the hunting community. This comes to a bloody head in "Dark Side of the Moon" when they're gunned down by hunters Roy and Walt. Nothing short of the hand of God brings them back this time.
SAM: SEASON 5, EPISODE 22
"Swan Song" was Supernatural's intended ending, as creator Eric Kripke had initially planned. So, naturally, a Big Heroic Sacrifice in the final push to put the Devil back in his box was in store. Sam, along with his half-brother Adam, managed to do just that, but they were caged in Hell with Lucifer in the process. Like Dean, Sam was later "ripped from Perdition" by Castiel.
DEAN: SEASON 6, EPISODE 11
Dean chose to die for seven minutes in "Appointment in Samarra" so he could retrieve his younger brother's missing soul. The extremely risky medical procedure was overseen by Robert Englund's Dr. Robert, an old family friend, who also ensured Dean came back to life again.
DEAN: SEASON 7, EPISODE 23
After spending a season hunting down the Leviathan -- the first beast created by God -- the Winchesters learn that cutting off the head will take care of the body. Their victory in "Survival of the Fittest" comes with a heavy price: Dean's mysterious extradition to Purgatory. While this is arguably just Dean being trapped in another dimension, Purgatory is a destination for deceased mortal souls, so we think it counts.
DEAN: SEASON 9, EPISODE 23
Another season finale, another Dean Winchester death. This time, Dean meets his end at the hands of the angel Metatron in "Do You Believe in Miracles." The Scribe of God, who chose to take up the pen and powers himself, put an angel blade through Dean's heart. The Mark of Cain revived him, but as a demon rather than his usual human self.
SAM & DEAN: SEASON 12, EPISODE 9
In "First Blood," Sam and Dean are incarcerated in a secret government facility after being framed as the killers of president of the United States. (The real culprit? Lucifer, of course.) The escape involves making a deal with the Reaper, Billie, to kill and later resurrect them when their bodies have been removed from their cells.
DEAN: SEASON 13, EPISODE 5
When dealing with a household of spirits with unfinished business, Dean falls back on the tried and tested die-and-go-t0-the-astral-plane method to investigate in "Advanced Thanatology." While he's successful, Sam's attempts to resuscitate him aren't, until Billie, now the new Death, lends him a hand yet again.
Sam and Dean have brushes with death every other episode, but there have been at least two instances when their fates were truly almost sealed.
In the 22nd episode of Season 1, "In My Time of Dying," Dean is gravely injured after being hit by a truck. Just as his spirit is about to depart with a Reaper called Tessa, John Winchester makes a deal with the demon Azazel to spare his son's life.
In the first episode of Season 5, "Sympathy For the Devil," villainous angel Zachariah tries to force Sam and Dean to submit to his will by afflicting Dean with Stage Four stomach cancer and Sam with ... no lungs. Castiel intervenes to make Zachariah "put these boys back together," but it's unclear whether the Winchesters actually died off-screen.
It's worth mentioning that as as well his numerous canonical deaths, we've witnessed Dean's demise in four alternate timelines, including having his neck broken by Lucifer in a post-apocalyptic 2014 and being choked out by Chronos, the god of time.
THE FINAL SCORE
Excluding the near misses and instances outside of the main timeline, Sam has died a total of eight times while Dean has died 112, if you include the 103 from the "Mystery Spot" episode. And you can bet, with the final season right around the corner, those scores will be going up one last time.