If one group of evil spirits gets the Winchesters the most angry, it’s definitely demons, and Supernatural sure had a lot of them. From the original demonic antagonist the Yellow-Eyed Demon to Lilith and eventually the “King of Hell” Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard), there’s no short list of demonic adversaries that Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) had to tackle across 15 seasons and 327 episodes. But, of all the demons in the show’s expansive history, one stands out among the rest: Meg.
This demon underwent a strange redemption arc over the course of her tenure on the series (which ran all the way through the eighth season). Still, there’s no denying that Meg’s most powerful moments on Supernatural occurred in the show’s very first batch of episodes. Freshman year can be hard, and at the beginning, Supernatural was still trying to figure out its brand. It knew that it was a weekly horror road show, that much was certain, but Season 1 has no angels, few demons, no “Road So Far” sequence (until the finale anyway), and only a single Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) appearance. Yet, one thing it got right from the get-go was its demons.
Meg Masters Was A Force to Be Reckoned With
Originally played by none other than the late Nicki Aycox, Meg first appeared in “Scarecrow,” a fan-favorite about, well, a pagan god that masquerades as a small-town scarecrow. Despite the seemingly outlandish premise, this episode is one of the best monster-of-the-week stories on the show, and much of the episode follows Sam and Dean on their own separate adventures. While Dean stays behind to deal with the monster, Sam decides to leave in search of their father, and it’s then that he meets a fellow hitchhiker named Meg Masters.
At first, we’re led to believe that Meg is just a normal drifter like Sam, hoping to hitch a ride out of town to escape her intrusive family, but by the end of the episode, we learn that Meg is working for the Yellow-Eyed Demon after she slits her driver’s throat and uses his blood to call up her demon dad. Meg returns a few episodes later, this time in Chicago during the episode “Shadow.” Turns out, she’s been tracking Sam and Dean for the Demon in hopes of luring their father, John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), out from hiding. Surprisingly, it works, and Meg nearly has the three Winchesters killed before they get away.
Aycox’s Meg returns once more in Season 1 during the two-part finale “Salvation” and “Devil’s Trap.” Here, she’s at her most bloodthirsty and frightening, but nothing’s scarier here than her exorcism (more on that in a bit). In the early years of Supernatural, Meg was one of those villains that you just loved to hate, and there’s no denying that her time on screen was always powerful. Mostly, that was because of Nicki Aycox herself, who was a perfect cast.
“Devil’s Trap” Changed the Game, In More Ways Than One
With the first season finale “Devil’s Trap,” Supernatural took a dark turn. Within the first five minutes (after that powerful classic rock intro), Meg kicks down Bobby’s door demanding the Colt. After throwing Dean across the room and threatening the boys something fierce, Meg is caught in a Devil’s Trap (hence the name) and Sam begins to perform an exorcism. The first of its kind on the series, this exorcism set the tone for the rest of the show, which (in many ways) failed to capture the intensity and intimacy of its first attempt.
This exorcism isn’t exactly on the same level as something you’d seen in The Conjuring or The Exorcist, but it’s definitely one for the TV record books. As far as network television was concerned, this bit is particularly scary, and the way the demon continues to lie to the Winchesters despite its pain is something that later demonic adversaries could’ve learned a thing or two from. The first 15 minutes of this episode are certainly not for the faint of heart, and Aycox delivers an impeccable performance in her final moments as the Winchester’s first demon rival (well, second if you count Yellow-Eyes).
Tragically, Nicki Aycox isn’t in the rest of the episode — which is an exceptional finale, by the way — but after the demon is sent back to Hell, the real Meg Masters dies soon after, using her final breaths to help Sam and Dean find their father. By Season 2, the demon Meg returns, this time possessing Sam himself (“Born Under A Bad Sign”), which is one of the scariest bits the show ever forced us through. Sure, Jared Padalecki does great, but nothing beats Nicki Aycox’s snarky and sadistically delicious portrayal of the demon, which sadly came to an end too soon.
Nicki Aycox’s Meg Was the Scariest Demon the Winchesters Faced
During her four-episode tenure as the technically unnamed demon known as Meg, Aycox used a combination of her signature look, her commanding presence, and a twisted smile to scare audiences, and it worked. In the series’ fourth episode, “Phantom Traveler,” the first demon the Winchester’s battle onscreen is somewhat chaotic. There’s no rhyme or reason for its desire to crash planes, it just does. But with Meg, this demon was tactical and deceptive. At one point, she even leads Sam to believe that he has the upper hand, only to turn on the brothers and nearly kill them.
Plenty of demons on Supernatural use scare tactics such as telekinesis and spooky eye reveals to put our heroes (not to mention us) on edge, but Meg used her sexuality, emotional manipulation, and even witchcraft to lure Sam into a false sense of security. Thankfully, it doesn’t work, but even after throwing her out a window, the Winchesters aren’t free of Meg quite yet. Her return in “Salvation” is even more impactful as she begins to slaughter John Winchester’s friends and allies one by one until he gives her what she wants: the demon-killing gun known only as the Colt.
But possibly the most tragic part of Meg’s story is the young woman, the actual Meg Masters, trapped inside her own body. The frightening revelation that the actual, human Meg saw almost everything the demon made her body do, and felt all the pain the Winchesters inflicted on her, is horrible (though, believe-it-or-not, the anime adaptation is much worse). It only gets worse when, after exorcising the demon, Meg’s body falls apart since the demon partied too hard in its “meatsuit.” Aycox returns to the show only once more in the Season 4 episode “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Dean Winchester,” this time as the vengeful ghost of Meg Masters who is sicked on the Winchesters by Lilith. Apparently, resting in peace wasn’t an option.
‘Supernatural’ Made Demons A Lot Scarier In the Beginning
Of course, part of the reason Meg is one of the best demons (especially the earliest iteration of the character) to ever step foot on the show is that demons were just a lot scarier when Supernatural was still in its early years. Back then, the series fully committed to being a weekly horror show and was still a few seasons away from becoming a full-blown sci-fi/fantasy. This means that the stakes were still pretty high, and while the Winchesters still cheated death (often more than once), there were genuine consequences.
Consider the likes of Meg or the Yellow-Eyed Demon compared to Season 13’s Asmodeus (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) or Belphegor (played by Alexander Calvert) from the final season. The first two are not only more frightening in sheer tactics, single-mindedness, and personality, but there was a lot more mystery to demons back in the show’s early years compared to the back half of the show. Asmodeus wasn’t much more than comic relief at times, while the Yellow-Eyed Demon was always a serious threat, even when he cracked a joke. Additionally, demons didn’t get redemption arcs, as Supernatural committed them fully to evil, even in the case of Ruby (Katie Cassidy, Genevieve Padalecki) who was revealed to be a double agent the entire time.
‘Supernatural’ Had Plenty of Great Demons Over Its 15 Seasons
There’s no denying that Supernatural had its fair share of exceptional demonic antagonists. Lilith was one of the best, and Season 4 introduced us to a number of multi-colored-eyed demons including Alistair (played best by Christopher Heyerdahl), who was one of the most frightening. As far as fan-favorites go, Crowley and the Azazel (played most by Fredric Lehne) have some of the best material to work with, and were arguably some of the most notable of the Winchesters enemies (and, in Crowley’s case, eventual allies).
As time went on, Aycox was eventually replaced as the demon Meg by actress Rachel Miner come Season 5, who gave a considerable effort in making the villain her own. For a few years, it worked great, Meg was still as diabolical as ever, but soon the angel/demon plotlines became tired. One of Supernatural’s biggest flaws the longer it ran was not knowing what to do with certain characters, effectively turning them into caricatures of their previous selves. While Meg didn’t suffer that fate, her redemption arc in the later years is a far cry from the character we first met back in Season 1, a villain who would stop at nothing to take her revenge on Sam and Dean.