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Pete Martell

Sam Winchester: aka Moose

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Just wanted to go ahead and create this. I always have ideas for title threads, but some aren't great, and I'd be interested in hearing other ideas. The mod said they'd add the title after a decision is made.

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Resurrecting.  We really needed to name this Moose BTW.

 

Reflecting on Sam in Black:

- He was Psycho Sam with that fish-eye lens at the end of torturing Dar the demon gal.  He seemed to have gained his composure during the "4 weeks later" but there was definitely shades of Mystery Spot. I'm 100% convinced we'll get flashbacks to him going Jack Nicholson-Shining Class psychotic at some point during those first few weeks after he lost Dean.

- "What happened....happened." Poor Jared. He sold it well but this is just Carver giving us the big ol' anvil of "WHAT HAPPENED?" tease.  They use the flashback method so often. I understand why (get the season going, reveal some mystery, etc...) but I guess I could have picked up on there was more to the story without this anvil.

- I loved the seething during the Crowley conversation.  I think Crowley COMPLETELY busted Sam's chops with every line of dialog in that conversation.  Not that I want Sam hurt -- but when Sam skewers Crowley (actually, there's a line... my bets on Cas), Crowley will have earned it.

- Having mini-Army guy take him down was ridiculous.  I'd rather he had tasered him.  And I give Sam a pass for struggling with opening the car hood and being in a mentally distracted state --- but IDK...I think he was thrown under the bus to get to the plot point of 'captured'.  Do better Carver. 

Where his head is at now: He seems like he's gotten control of himself but the word "barely" comes to mind.  I thought he was going to lose his shit several times last night. So kudos to Jared for selling Sam's grief and confusion.  Sammy needs a hug.

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IMO "Not Moose" on Crowley's caller ID for Dean is one of the 5 funniest gags this show has ever done. I laugh every time. I don't like Squirrel for Dean but 'Not Moose"? That's brilliant.

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ITA.  I don't know how to change titles but "Not Moose" was f*cking hilarious. Even though I think Crowley is TOTALLY in love with his bad boy bestie right now.

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- Having mini-Army guy take him down was ridiculous.  I'd rather he had tasered him.  And I give Sam a pass for struggling with opening the car hood and being in a mentally distracted state --- but IDK...I think he was thrown under the bus to get to the plot point of 'captured'.  Do better Carver.

 

This. I'm sure he's got a taser in that bag of his somewhere. If not then he's already failed as a hunter, or whatever he is. 

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Watching some interviews with Jared about Sam in s8. He sure sings a different tune now about s8 than he did then. I mean I get that he's spinning for show's sake and to keep his job but he actually seems pretty excited and in favor of Samelia and that Sam lost everything so he was on his own and he wants to stay out of hunting and doesn't really feel bad that he didn't look for Dean and that his heart is not into hunting.  And that Sam definitely wants outs. And now in s10 it's all about family. 

 

I love the consistency in this show.....lol

Edited by catrox14

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Well, I don't think Jared's take has anything to do with the show's consistency. And he is allowed to change his mind.

 

I like that we get at least to some degree Sam's POV on what is wrong with Dean. Or rather, he is slowly discovering it while we are watching. It is a refreshing change.

 

Well, until we get the obligatory flashback to tell us what went wrong with Sam and Castiel. Sigh. Sometimes, I get very tired watching this show.

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Watching some interviews with Jared about Sam in s8. He sure sings a different tune now about s8 than he did then. I mean I get that he's spinning for show's sake and to keep his job but he actually seems pretty excited and in favor of Samelia and that Sam lost everything so he was on his own and he wants to stay out of hunting and doesn't really feel bad that he didn't look for Dean and that his heart is not into hunting.  And that Sam definitely wants outs. And now in s10 it's all about family. 

 

I love the consistency in this show.....lol

 

I'm not sure I'd put lack of consistency in Jared's lap, he doesn't write the crap he has to spin. What I remember of Jared's interviews from the start of S8 is that he wasn't sure where this story was headed. I recall him saying he was surprised they had given Sam a love interest and I think he was doing his best to toe the party line. You have to also remember with early interviews, he has only seen one or two script and probably didn't know what it would amount to in the end. So, in hindsight, he probably does feel the story isn't what he thought it would be. But that's kinda par for the course with these guys, IMO. If you compare the beginning interviews of seasons with the end of the season (especially post-Kripke era seasons), I think you'll find many disparaging differences with both Jensen and Jared's remarks.

 

 

I like that we get at least to some degree Sam's POV on what is wrong with Dean. Or rather, he is slowly discovering it while we are watching. It is a refreshing change.

 

So far, this is the only thing that's been actually interesting to me and the only thing that feels kinda new to me. Demon Dean isn't really doing much I haven't seen Regular Dean do and the story is basically what I expected; Crowley is basically what he's always been and what I expected; Cole is pretty typical for this show and mostly what I expected; and even though Castiel isn't exactly what I expected it's not particularly interesting or different, so meh. I can't believe I'm saying this, Sam's storyline this season--while somewhat expected-- has been the only thing that feels like something I haven't seen it before. Or maybe something I haven't seen in a very long time at least.

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I never said nor was implying Jared is to blame for the writing or the consistency in the show.

 

I've always thought Sam was the main character and that his POV has always been represented even if I disagreed with Sam's  POV. As much as I thought Sam not looking for Dean was problematic I do think there was some precedent that Sam would maybe not look for Dean because of his past times of leaving the fold and wanting a normal life. It was damaging to Sam's character but it was not 100% OOC either. 

 

I think it's bothered  Jared how much the audience turned against Sam after s8 and that they didn't entirely accept Sam's perspective in s9 either. That's why IMO he changed the lines in the s9 finale to "I lied", which works for and against Sam.

 

 Jensen has been more reticent to speak his mind about what's happened with Dean and he's generally more diplomatic in his disappointment. The most vocal I've heard him be was about the loss of the Benny arc.

 

Again not disparaging Jared at all. Just noting how wildly different it was then vs now

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I'd argue they tell us Sam's POV, but rarely show it. Personally, I've never felt like neither Sam nor Dean were "the" main character, I feel they're equal in the story itself. But they do tend to show us Dean's POV and tell us Sam's, IMO.

 

For instance, in S5, every episode had me seeing Dean lose faith, but Sam's gaining faith was more told to us at some point. Take My Bloody Valentine, Sam controls his addiction; while Dean is lacking in hunger. Both have big developments in their stories here, but what we end on is Dean praying for help--showing Dean's loss of faith--and Sam detoxing off screen. They never showed us Sam's emotional reaction to the events of this episode, instead I'm left to infer what it probably meant to Sam because they never showed it. IMO, they rarely show us Sam's emotional life, but tend to jump forward and tell it to us in the next episode. This is why Dean is generally a more connecting character for me, I get to see how things effect him.

 

I'm not complaining or trying to advocate for my favorite character to get more screen time--I don't play favorites nor would I ever try to advocate they wrap the story around my liking one character over another--that's just nonsensical storytelling, IMO. I'm just using it to explain why I'm finding Sam's side of things to be something new this season. We're seeing Sam's emotional reactions to things, not being told it later. It's something a tad refreshing in a show that tends to fall into the same ruts year after year. Usually, I'm saying that Sam's story is the same expected "something's wrong with Sam" storyline.

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I've always thought Sam was the main character and that his POV has always been represented even if I disagreed with Sam's  POV. As much as I thought Sam not looking for Dean was problematic I do think there was some precedent that Sam would maybe not look for Dean because of his past times of leaving the fold and wanting a normal life. It was damaging to Sam's character but it was not 100% OOC either. 

 

I only somewhat agree here. It is true that in the past, Sam has wanted a normal life, but that was pretty much back in season 2 with one weird and poorly constructed aberration in season 4 ("Chris Angel..."). Dean has expressed wanting or dreaming of a normal life much more recently than that, and at multiple times more recently and sometimes in contrast with Sam (as in "Swap Meat"). Starting in season 2, Sam has said over and over again that he's done with and no longer wanted a normal life in episodes ranging from "Everybody Loves a Clown" and "What Is.." all the way through to "Swap Meat" to "Mannequin 3..." and whatever episode that was in season 7 where Sam said that hunting made him feel grounded with more episodes in between. Even his self-forced quitting experiment in it, in "Free to Be," showed him having the urge to call Bobby concerning cases and wishing he could be back in it and helping. So while I agree it wasn't 100% out of character, for me it was about 90% at least for where Sam's character was currently at. If we're talking season 1 or even some of season 2 Sam, then sure it would maybe be in character at about maybe 50 or 60% (I think that era Sam would still have wanted to save Dean). But not for me season 3 Sam and beyond (not counting soulless Sam who would totally have done that except he would've slept his way across America before he shacked up with one woman.)

 

Or at least I should say it was out of character for Sam, in my opinion, in the way it was presented. If I'm going to believe that Sam is going to revert back to a desire from that long ago, I wanted to see a reason - and a big one at that. Hitting a dog is not that reason. Shrugging and saying "just because" is not a reason. I needed a scene in Sam's point of view showing (not telling) me why Sam had this change of mind from the previous 4 or 5 seasons, not endless stupid scenes of what could have been domestic bliss that I didn't care about because it made little sense without a why and contradicted 4 years of character development. Because they didn't show me a why - and it really wouldn't have been that difficult - I spent most of the first half of season 8 thinking that maybe the flashbacks to Amelia weren't really real, but some delusion or exaggeration in Sam's mind, because that made more sense to me than what they were really showing me (especially with the exaggerated way they shot those scenes and some of the ridiculous situations - yeah like cookie baking just because Jessica never gave Sam a birthday cake. Pull my other one, show.)  When they've had a character in the more recent past flat out say something like Sam did at the end of "Swap Meat"  and as emphatically as he did with no episodes since then contradicting that opinion, why am I supposed to buy that Sam would go back to wanting "normal" unless I'm shown a reason for it?

 

So I basically came away with the impression that the best explanation for why Sam didn't look for Dean was because the show plot didn't want him to. I don't think that's what they wanted me to think, but with the total lack of effort they put into telling me why Sam went that route, that's pretty much what they left me with. They tried to skip ahead to the "good stuff" (which really wasn't, and I'm not sure why anyone would think it was, either) and in the end gave the character and the viewers the short end of the stick. (Pretty much a twig, if that. More like a fake magic bean.)

 

So I agree with DittyDotDot, I too am enjoying seeing these things actually unfolding from Sam's point of view and seeing his emotional reaction to them in these recent episodes. About damn time.

 

Although I am also enjoying the demon Dean part of it as well, so even better for me.

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The entire "let's pretend we're Jared and Jensen acting" bit in The French Mistake. Poor Sam. He tried (the arms swinging aimlessly is a real high point) .

His looks of increasing exasperation while scritching the dog's tummy in Dog Dean Afternoon.

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I thought he absolutely knocked it out of the park in last week's 'Soul Survivor'. Between the pain, terror, guilt and exhaustion, I was really moved by Sam's situation.

I'm a personal fan of drugged up or delirious Sammy. So 'San, Interrupted' and 'The Great Escapist' are favorites for me.

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I have to say I thought Jared was best in his scenes with Cole. I don't think angst and worry are amongst Jared's best tools. I just wasn't feeling Jared's performance here. I wish I could explain it better. Like I get what Sam is supposed to be going through but I feel like it never quite lands like I hope for. It's not a bad performance at all but I feel like his worry face is sometimes tangled up in his judgey Sam face. But I do think Jared is learning how to use his voice to greater effect.

I did love dynamic between Jensen and Jared if not entirely Jared's performance. Again not anything that made it bad or even mediocre but for me, just something a bit lacking maybe. But maybe that's what they wanted. Maybe it was supposed to be Sam being worried and judgmental.

It also possible that I am projecting my annoyance that the writers didn't really address in a meaningful and satisfying way, how we get from 'not looking for Dean in s8 and not seeming to still want brothers in s9' to this willing to do super sketch things at any cost to find Dean' Sam here. And no a Crowley mention of hitting a dog is not sufficient. I don't want Crowley speaking for Dean. I wanted Dean to really go after Sam about that change of heart. Maybe Jared was shading. In some guilt into the performance? Again, it was a great episode and Jared was good but felt off.

Edited by catrox14
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What were your favorite Sam moments of the series? Most of mine hail from the first three seasons, though Season 5 has some great ones as well. 

 

I'll play along. I have a harder time with some of Jared's acting choices, but I think Jared's best when he's not really Sam. Meg-in-a-Sam, Soulless Sam, Lucifer-in-a-Sam are all good, solid performances by Jared. And I think he's charmingly funny in episodes like Bad Day At Black Rock. But, I think one of his very best moments is at the beginning of Metamorphosis. I don't know what Kim Manners did to him here, but he and Dean are arguing and Dean's punching him and breaking lamps and then Travis calls. There's something in that moment of Jared pinching his eyes while trying to have a conversation with Travis that reminds me that Jared can do these things.

 

Oh wait, was this supposed to be my favorite moments of Sam or my favorite Jared performances? In that case, there's many Sam moments from the first few seasons:

  • Greatest hits of mullet rock in The Pilot
  • Awkward clown chair inhabiting in Everybody Loves A Clown
  • Just about anything from Born Under A Bad Sign
  • Pretty much anything from Tall Tales
  • Dying in All Hell Breaks Loose I
  • "I lost my shoe" and other stuff from Bad Day At Black Rock
  • The best hug ever in Mystery Spot

 

I'm sure there's a few from later seasons, but I think that should do it.

Edited by DittyDotDot

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The best hug ever in Mystery Spot

 

Ooh, one of my favorites as well. I loved Sam and Jared's performance throughout "Mystery Spot." And I agree. If I had to choose a hug from the series, that would be my favorite. Sam (and Jared) made me feel the love, thankfulness, and utter relief in that hug.

 

I have many more of both - Sam moments and Jared acting moments - but I think I need some time to do them justice (sometimes they overlap for me anyway), so I'll be back later tonight perhaps.

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My favorite Jared performances are also when he's not Sam.

 

Hands down, Samifer by a mile and half and then some is the best work IMO he's ever done. Both in THE END and other episodes.  I think MegSam was awesome too.

 

I think my favorite Sam moments are when he's picking at Dean in Hell House and the pranking. And then in s3 when he's really trying to find a way for Dean not to go to Hell. I hated Sam in Yellow Fever because he was being an ass to Dean when Dean was suffering but again some great Sam-acting from Jared.  

 

I agree with about the pinching of the eyes in Metamorphosis but  I thought the pinching of the eyes was because it was actually Ruby on the phone and he had to pretend it was Travis because he said "Yeah, it's good to hear your voice too".

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I agree with about the pinching of the eyes in Metamorphosis but  I thought the pinching of the eyes was because it was actually Ruby on the phone and he had to pretend it was Travis because he said "Yeah, it's good to hear your voice too".

 

That's interesting. I've never considered he might think Ruby was on the other end. To me, it just feels like he's just trying to hold it altogether in that one moment. His secret is out; Dean's pissed and about to walk out the door; and then this call comes in to pile on top. But if you pile on top the idea that he thought Ruby might be calling him adds something else to it.

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Oh yeah. I thought it was Ruby from the get go. For me, the way Jared played it was as though he'd gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar when he answered the phone. And then had to pretend it wasn't Ruby since Dean and Sam had just been having this huge fight about Ruby so he had to pretend otherwise.  I just can't fathom even for Sam that he would tell another male hunter "Yeah, it's good to hear your voice too" and said in a rather soft voice.  I'm totally convinced that was Ruby. 

 

 

ETA: Just for fun I rewatched that whole scene and now I'm ruined forever because of this entire exchange.....oh Dean...Dean...Dean :(.

 

 

SAM:Dean, what are you doing?

DEAN just ignores him and continues packing.

SAM:What, are you, are you leaving?

DEAN:You don't need me. You and Ruby go fight demons.

DEAN grabs his bag and starts for the door. SAM stands in the way so DEAN has to go around him.

SAM:Hold on. Dean, come on, man.

DEAN turns around and punches him in the face with his right hand. SAM whirles around by the force. DEAN just watches him as he turns back around to DEAN.

SAM:You satisfied?

DEAN hits him again, and then throws his bag on the floor. SAM touches his lip, which is bleeding.

SAM:I guess not.

DEAN:Do you even know how far off the reservation you've gone? How far from normal? From human?

SAM:I'm just exorcising demons.

DEAN (yelling):With your mind!(calmer)What else can you do?

SAM:I can send them back to hell. It only works with demons, and that's it.

DEAN grabs hold of him and pushes him backwards, walking with the force.

DEAN:What else can you do?!

SAM:I told you!

SAM pushes his hand away, and they stop.

DEAN:And I have every reason in the world to believe that.

He begins to walk away from SAM.

SAM:Look, I should have said something.

DEAN stops, his back still to SAM.

SAM:I'm sorry, Dean. I am. But try to see the other side here.

DEAN turns around and faces him.

DEAN:The other side?

SAM:I'm pulling demons out of innocent people.

DEAN:Use the knife!

SAm:The knife kills the victim! What I do, most of them survive! Look, I've saved more people in the last five months than we save in a year.

DEAN:That what Ruby want you to think? Huh? Kind of like the way she tricked you into using your powers?

DEAN:Slippery slope, brother. Just wait and see. Because it's gonna get darker and darker, and God knows where it ends.

SAM:I'm not gonna let it go too far.

DEAN smiles at that, walks over to the wall and hits the lamp on the side table, making it crash and fly. DEAN looks angry again.

DEAN: It's already gone too far, Sam. If I didn't you know... I would wanna hunt you. And so would other hunters.

SAM looks up at him.

SAM:You were gone. I was here. I had to keep on fighting without you. And what I'm doing... It works.

DEAN:Well, tell me. If it's so terrific... then why'd you lie about it to me?

SAM looks down with that.

DEAN:Why did an angel tell me to stop you?

SAM looks up, surprised.

SAM:What?

DEAN:Cas said that if I don't stop you, he will. See what that means, Sam? That means that God doesn't want you doing this. So, are you just gonna stand there and tell me everything is all good?

 

Oh my poor Dean.  Ugh that just hurts so much now. Like Dean just oohhh why didn't you remember this...whyyyyyy? ( I mean I know why but still"

 

And yes I am ever more convinced that Dean's addiction to killing is going to be the parallel to Sam's demon blood of s4.  We even have someone willing to hunt Dean. :(:(

Edited by catrox14

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I'm not convinced it was Ruby, but could buy Sam had thought it might be Ruby calling when he answered and it turned out to be Travis. Sam already had his hand caught in the cookie jar earlier in the warehouse, then Ruby skedaddled with the formerly-possessed guy. To me, it's not at all like he had his hand in the cookie jar, but it's just another thing to pile on and he's just trying to hold it together in that moment. I'm not sure how the rest of the episode makes any sense if that was really Ruby on the phone. They do go meet Travis and do a hunt with him because Travis called and asked for help. So, how did Sam know Travis would want his help later? I think the only reason Dean doesn't walk out that door right then and there is because Travis--an old friend of their father's--calls and asks for help.

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I can see your point there. I was thinking that maybe Ruby had the information and was giving it to Sam, because she was working him like none other

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I thought maybe Sam was saying that it was good to hear Travis' voice because that meant that Travis was still alive. Since they lost a whole bunch of hunters during the calling of the witnesses, Sam might have been glad that Travis made it through and vica-versa, because Sam identifies Travis by name first and then says "Yeah, it's good to hear your voice, too, yeah..." meaning Travis said it to Sam first, likely also surprised/glad that Sam wasn't killed in the hunter massacre. There was an "uh" in there also where Travis was likely mentioning something about the incident, so I tend to think that it was Travis and that DittyDotDot is correct in the interpretation that it was just Sam trying to keep it together and stay professional when Travis had job information.

 

If Sam had caller ID, he would likely have known if it was Ruby calling and not answered the phone.

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I just figured it was Ruby and that he knew it was Ruby and that he just used Travis as the excuse. 

 

But I just came away with that because of they way Jared read the line that I thought it was Ruby.  But I can see your points easily too. 

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I can 't believe we didn't talk about Soul Survivor here.  I'll sum up my thoughts about Sam in "Soul Survivor" here with the following phrases:

- Freaked much? The guilt was so evident on Sam's face. It was bad enough what he did with Lester but Demon!Dean knowing and taunting made it worse.

- Ouch. Do you need a mop to clean up that emotional sucking chest wound? (When Dean blames him for Mary's death and ruining his life)

- Was he more terrified of being caught by Demon!Dean or having to kill Demon!Dean? I'd argue the latter. And I think him pulling down the Ruby knife indicates he'd rather die than kill even Demon!Dean.

 

Onto Paper Moon. I think they did a good job of showing Sam now walking a mile in Dean's moccasins this episode. Back at the start of S5, Dean found himself questioning every move Sam made. Now Sam is doing that with Dean.  Sucks, doesn't it? I also liked how they showed him struggling with the Lester situation.  I know many think it's not a big deal, but I think the show is saying it was.  Having Sam deny it's a big deal is like a flashing neon sign: THIS IS A PROBLEM.  I'm reminded of the time back in Hollywood Babylon when Walter said Marty had to stay (so he could kill him) and Dean said:
 

 

DEAN Sorry, can't do that. It's not that we like him or anything, it's ... just a matter of principle.

Source: Supernatural Wiki

Sam and Dean used to be very clear - they save scumbags and good people, they don't differentiate. I believe the level of scumbag that was Lester is on purpose precisely to get them back to not making a call on whether or not a victim "deserves it".  They'll save them anyway.  They may trash the scumbag verbally or get him stuck in jail, but they don't stand by and let them die.  Sam not only didn't save Lester, he led him to his death. Doesn't matter what a total LOSER Lester was -- Sam showed him how to make a deal to murder his wife and get him killed 10 years later (with his soul going to hell).  So I think Dean was right - Lester is on Sam more than Dean.  Even tho there's no excuse for Demon!Dean committing murder, Sam should not give himself a pass for what happened to Lester.

 

So I was glad Dean brought it up. Because it shows Dean is re-evaluating the morality of THEIR actions and because he knows Sam is going down the unhealthy denial path that Dean tread so many many times.  It kinda came across as "quid pro quo" but I think Dean was right to not let Sam just ignore it.  I'll be stunned if this doesn't come back as a major topic for several episodes. 

 

And of course this helps Sam recognize two things: what it means to be that driven (like Dean was for so many years) and that he needs to set boundaries.

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things: what it means to be that driven (like Dean was for so many years) and that he needs to set boundaries.

Sam knows exactly what it's like to be that driven though. He was obsessed with killing YED and with killing lilith. This is the first time Sam has put Dean of efore anyone else that I can remember. And I am not entirely convinced that it is about saving Dean as much as it is about assuaged his heretofore unknown guilt about Dean.

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Possibly. It'll be interesting to know. Sam gave his PTSD speech as rationale. Seems that drove him. But was it fueled by grief and guilt equally or one more than the other? Don't know.

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Sam knows exactly what it's like to be that driven though. He was obsessed with killing YED and with killing lilith. This is the first time Sam has put Dean of efore anyone else that I can remember. And I am not entirely convinced that it is about saving Dean as much as it is about assuaged his heretofore unknown guilt about Dean.

 

I don't think this is the first time Sam has been that obsessed with saving Dean though. He's been that obsessed before, and to me it might be even more of a red flag that Sam did know where that lead before, but he still went there again. The last time he was this obsessed with saving Dean - starting in "Mystery Spot" - he was that close to being ready to murder an innocent person in order to do a ritual to call The Trickster so he could get Dean back. We've seen both Dean and Sam ready to sacrifice themselves to save the other - Dean when he made the deal and Sam in "No Rest..." and "I Know What You Did..." - but that might be the first time when one of them considered sacrificing an innocent person in pursuit of that goal. And Sam knew where that obsession lead in "Mystery Spot," but he still went there again with Lester.

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I agree. Here's what I should have said:

 

And of course this helps Sam recognize two things: what it means to be that driven (like Dean was for so many years) and that he needs to set boundaries again. Because Sam thought he was passed this. 

 

I was running out of time and wasn't very clear.  Sam, IMO, thought he had matured beyond the obsession thing. He thought he was setting brotherly boundaries last year.  And then it all went out the window when Dean died.  NORMAL, BTW. Something I believe all humans do is think they've learned a lesson and then relapse.  Only on TV do they have these huge life moments that change years of patterned behavior.  Most of us vow to be different but slide backwards (a little or a lot). 

 

So Sam's 'pushing the limits' was worse than he's admitting.  Dean senses it.  This will need to be addressed by both.

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From TPTB thread...

After seeing Dean mauled by hell hounds and being unable to keep his promise to save Dean from hell, I can well understand how Sam was in a bad shape, suicidal and all, and ripe for Ruby to manipulate. I don't hold that against him. I don't see that as pure arrogance and even if arrogance was a part of all that, so what? The guy is not perfect, only human after all. He is allowed a few flaws, just like Dean,

 

  As I said over there: I think Mystery Spot also did a HUGE number on Sam's head. Interestingly enough, Gabriel did that who schtick to try and get Sam OVER losing Dean. I think it backfired in an EPIC way.  Now technically it was the Trickster at the time, but IMO, he came across as actually trying to do the boys a solid.  Dean never remembered dying and getting shot by a bullet is a heckuva lot better than mauled by a Hell Hound.  But IMO Sam came out of that traumatized.  First he went the John path with simply obsessed (I personally think the scene where he's taking the Mystery Spot down to the studs with an ax while Dean calms the owner is hilarious).  Then he turned RoboHunter when Dean died for 6 months.  I think it's underestimated what those 6 months did to his psyche.  He tapped into a pretty dark place during that time. There was no Ruby helping him and yet he still was able to skewer Bobby based on his BELIEF that it was really the Trickster.  That's some pretty "out there" IMO behavior.  You have to have a great deal of confidence in your own intellect (which, yes, is a weakness for Sam) but you also have to set aside any of your warm fuzzies. 

 

Then after Mystery Spot, we had the episode where he investigated Doc Benton and he was seriously considering the Frankenstein route rather than let Dean die.  Again, without Ruby.  That is some seriously whacked mindset.  It was great that Dean set him straight but both Dean and Bobby (who I don't think knew the details of Mystery Spot), should have seen the red flares then*.  Finally, he was willing to try whatever crap Ruby wanted him to do at the 11th hour. 

 

In sum, I think Sam's mental trauma over Dean's death was very well developed and well forecast.  I think his success in Faith and Mystery Spot, combined with the guilt/sadness of Dean trading his soul for Sam's life, set him up for a big fall.

 

*Not that Bobby could have done squat if Sam wasn't listening.  Dean is really the only one who could ever divert Sam off a path he's committed to (at least in the up to that point).

 

Having said all this - even with Sam open to manipulation by Ruby. Sam still made the choice that natural law didn't apply** to him and he let her lead him darkside.

 

**I like Lisa's comment to Dean: she loves her sister but if she died she wouldn't try to resurrect her.   

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So two things I'm noticing about Sammy this season: 

 

1) His reactions to suspecting Dean of lying/obscuring the truth/hiding something have been scaled waaaaay back. I'm also seeing more concern from him. I believe he's always had concern for Dean, but that's usually shown during a big event/fight/losing him, not in a subtle kind of way. I don't know if its scripted or if it's Jared's choice, but it's working for me. IDK, Sam just seems more grown up this season. 

 

2) His hair. Always a thing, but this season its a bad thing. I can't with the bob--its either got to be shorter or longer. It's mind boggling that the hair department still can't figure out Sam's hair after ten seasons. 

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So two things I'm noticing about Sammy this season: 

 

1) His reactions to suspecting Dean of lying/obscuring the truth/hiding something have been scaled waaaaay back. I'm also seeing more concern from him. I believe he's always had concern for Dean, but that's usually shown during a big event/fight/losing him, not in a subtle kind of way. I don't know if its scripted or if it's Jared's choice, but it's working for me. IDK, Sam just seems more grown up this season. 

 

2) His hair. Always a thing, but this season its a bad thing. I can't with the bob--its either got to be shorter or longer. It's mind boggling that the hair department still can't figure out Sam's hair after ten seasons. 

 

1) I agree. This is more the Sam I knew before Carver took over. Not only has his reactions been scaled back, but it seems like they are allowing Sam to smile and enjoy things a bit more. He's not coming off as the constant contrary and pissy-pants to me this season. What ever it is they did to make this happen, I hope they keep it up.

 

2) It's really become laugh inducing to me when Jared takes off his hats at cons and the crowd goes wild. Do you think the hair department thinks the fans like his hair? On a related note, I'm currently re-watching S6 and his hair seems better than I remembered.

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I think it's jsut a running joke now about Sam's hair. TPTB want Sam to have long hair. They won't let him cut it and Dean can't have long hair. I'm surprised they even let him grow it longer for demon!Dean.

 

I think Sam's hair has looked pretty good this year. I really hated it last season.  It's almost like if they cut it 1/2 inch it's too short and doesn't meet TPTB standard and if it grows 1/2 inch too much it becomes That Girl's hair.   I think this year it's pretty decent and I liked it in s8.

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From the Hunted (2x10) thread:

 

I'm going to go on a little rant here...it absolutely grates on my nerves that Sam just up and leaves in the middle of the night with out even leaving a note or something to let Dean know he was at least okay. That's what John did a year earlier--actually their asshole-of-a-father at least had the courtesy to give Dean a call and tell him to be careful.  I'm not begrudging Sam his wanting to find some answers and I'm not begrudging him going to find them, I'm just a bit annoyed at how he did it. It's very 14-year-old behavior. And trying to put Ellen in the middle of it was even more crappy, but the most annoying part for me was that he couldn't call and let Dean know he was okay, but the moment someone starts shooting at him it's time to call Dean for help. Seriously, 14-year-old-behavior. Okay rant over.

 

I've been wondering what makes Sam difficult (for me, anyway) to grok to. Some of it is the writing for him can be kind of all over the place -- but even when it's not, he still often comes off as inscrutable to me for some reason.

 

DittyDotDot's comment above about Sam acting like a 14-year-old kid in Hunted got me thinking that maybe I don't feel like I "know" who Sam is, because Sam hasn't been in enough control of his own life throughout the run of the show to really be able to get a bead on how he thinks or what he cares about?

 

Maybe the issue is that we don't get to see him make a lot of his own choices on screen? The biggie was applying to college imo. Even though it was so long ago now, I'm still kind of bewildered/confused by the idea that he worked so hard to get straight A's in his infinite number of high schools and even bothered to apply to college and all of that. That takes a lot of force of will. So does pulling together a whole new life for himself that's nothing like his old one. Yet he was also able to drop it with a minimum of fuss and embrace his new/old life completely. That kind of force-of-will and pragmatism are things that I really like and find interesting about Sam, and the reason I really like Mystery Spot is because it brings those traits to the fore and actually explores them pretty thoroughly. I wish the show would spend more time on that stuff.

 

Actually, when he didn't have a soul, Sam was even more like that. One of my favorite moments is when Soulless!Sam gets trapped in a cell in that monster prison, and immediately bites open a vein to draw a devil's trap in his own blood, then laughs at the demons stuck inside it. That actually did seem to me to be bizarrely "Sam-like" even though it was something that seemed really inhuman at the same time. That's a big reason I liked SSam, tbh. He seemed very much like Sam, while still seeming very strange. Thinking back, it's so strange to me that it feels like I "know" Soulless!Sam better than OriginalFlavor!Sam. But that's the case, regardless. Idk, why was Soulless!Sam easier to grok to? Or maybe other people don't feel that way?

 

Or maybe an issue with Sam seeming inscrutable is that his decisions are often reactionary and impulsive, so they're hard to really draw any insight into the character from? Like the decision to jump back into the car with Dean when he saw Jessica murdered, or even the decision in Hunted to ditch his brother and investigate the psychic kids how he wanted? Not to say that the decisions didn't make sense, but they were reactions to other people's decisions (i.e., YED's decision to murder Jessica, Dean's decision that they should lay low), rather than Sam's decisions in their own right, so they aren't that elucidating in terms of who Sam is imo.

 

Or maybe an issue is that his decisions are incoherent? His big decisions to quit the Trials and then to die in peace the next day (?) are technically onscreen, but they make no sense and Sam doesn't even really try to explain them and the show doesn't do much to give us insight into them imo (though, I think that's more the writing for the character not making sense rather than the writing trying to show that Sam as a character doesn't make sense, but YMMV).

 

Also, I think that Sam having so little agency might make him more difficult to empathize with in general. Well, at least for me. Not sure why -- maybe because it makes him seem useless or dull? Or like there's no reason to keep an eye on him/he's not a threat because he doesn't have the power to do anything anyway or is just "buffeted by the winds of fate" etc? Which doesn't actually make sense, because he's got at least as much power as any other character on the show, but so rarely seeing him make decisions for himself and so often seeing him in some state of "failed rebelliousness" gives me that vibe anyway. Plus, the way that there's always someone or other trying to look after him (even when Dean's been out of the picture for some reason, he's always hooked up with some girlfriend or in touch with Bobby or dredging up the Campbells, there's always SOMEONE looking out for him, he's never alone for any length of time iIrc, save in the time lapse in Mystery Spot) also gives me this vibe like he's cosseted, which also doesn't actually make sense.

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Actually, when he didn't have a soul, Sam was even more like that. One of my favorite moments is when Soulless!Sam gets trapped in a cell in that monster prison, and immediately bites open a vein to draw a devil's trap in his own blood, then laughs at the demons stuck inside it. That actually did seem to me to be bizarrely "Sam-like" even though it was something that seemed really inhuman at the same time. That's a big reason I liked SSam, tbh. He seemed very much like Sam, while still seeming very strange. Thinking back, it's so strange to me that it feels like I "know" Soulless!Sam better than OriginalFlavor!Sam. But that's the case, regardless. Idk, why was Soulless!Sam easier to grok to? Or maybe other people don't feel that way?

 

I rather enjoyed Soulless Sam--though I do think I'm fairly alone in this--partially because he was Sam, but also wasn't Sam. It was Sam unfiltered. Soulless Sam did and said whatever popped into his head rather than overthinking everything. He could be funny, creepy and terrifying all at once. It was something slightly different, so I found it a nice change of pace. Granted, I'm sure I would've gotten bored with it if they'd kept it up much longer and lots of it didn't make all that much sense. I agree that he seemed to be more proactive in his story--even if things didn't go his way in the end--so maybe that also played a part in it.

 

 

Also, I think that Sam having so little agency might make him more difficult to empathize with in general. Well, at least for me. Not sure why -- maybe because it makes him seem useless or dull? Or like there's no reason to keep an eye on him/he's not a threat because he doesn't have the power to do anything anyway or is just "buffeted by the winds of fate" etc? Which doesn't actually make sense, because he's got at least as much power as any other character on the show, but so rarely seeing him make decisions for himself and so often seeing him in some state of "failed rebelliousness" gives me that vibe anyway. Plus, the way that there's always someone or other trying to look after him (even when Dean's been out of the picture for some reason, he's always hooked up with some girlfriend or in touch with Bobby or dredging up the Campbells, there's always SOMEONE looking out for him, he's never alone for any length of time iIrc, save in the time lapse in Mystery Spot) also gives me this vibe like he's cosseted, which also doesn't actually make sense.

 

This is one of the reasons why I thought the set up at the end of S7 was so ripe with potential--everyone was left isolated and alone. It's weird to me that they didn't capitalize on that, but instead immediately gave both Sam and Dean a "friend" rather than exploring what it would mean for them to be totally on their own. Oh well, such was not the case, so whatever?

 

 

maybe I don't feel like I "know" who Sam is, because Sam hasn't been in enough control of his own life throughout the run of the show to really be able to get a bead on how he thinks or what he cares about?

 

Maybe the issue is that we don't get to see him make a lot of his own choices on screen?

 

The show seems to like to have Sam's story always be some sort of drawn out mystery so they can pull a "gottcha" by the end of the season, but I think they lose what the story means to Sam when they hold so much back. It's still totally mind-boggling to me how Ruby ever convinced Sam to drink blood in the first place--not just blood, but demon blood. I really could've used more clarification on that point, but the show didn't want us to know what was making Sam so off-kilter yet, so they filled the screen with sexy Ruby times instead.

 

For the most part, I get it and can follow along, but it does make it hard to connect with a character when I don't even know anything he specifically likes or doesn't like. I mean, yeah, it has been said that he likes to read, but what he likes to read would give me more understanding as to who he actually is. Does he order salads all the time because he likes them or because he just likes to eat healthy? Personally, I feel some of this is because the writer's themselves don't know the answers, so they skip over it.

 

Okay, I'll now throw a little theory out there that's helped me to get passed some of these issues. As a younger sibling, nobody asked me my opinion very often and I rarely got to choose much of anything--TV show to watch, the movie we went to see, music we listened to, where we ate--I was just along for the ride and usually I didn't put up too much of a fuss about it. I'd say this is probably what developed my eclectic tastes in most things. Every now and then though, I just couldn't take it anymore and would rebel and refuse to do whatever everyone else was doing--I like to say I was picking my battles, but I'm sure my siblings would say I was being a contrary brat. But when I did make a decision, I did it wholeheartedly and never half assed it--mostly out of stubbornness. Maybe I'm just projecting, but I see some of that in Sam. He seems to have no particular taste in music, food or whatnot, but when he asserts himself, he does it whole-hog. Doesn't really help me "know" Sam more, but I think it helps me understand him a bit more.

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I guess I feel like I don't know if I don't know Sam. I mean he is inscrutable but I think that was set up in s2 for the mystery and then continued in s4 with the demon blood thing. And I think jared chooses to play him that way. Sam is to himself.

I feel like what I know about Sam are things that don't necessarily endear me. I care about Sam, and I worry for Sam, but I don't know if I like him if that makes sense. I probably care more about Sam because Dean does.

As to Sams tastes etc, the choices of him eating salads is 100 % a Jared acting hoice because he doesn't want to eat the stuff Jensen eats. I have just accepted that Sam tries to be health conscious. I don't need to hear him say I a health nut to believe he is more health conscious than Dean.

I am also a younger sibling and understand the choices are often made for the younger sibling but I think once Sam went on his own to college he established himself as independent. He got in the car at the end of the pilot because of Jessica. No other reason. And he's stayed because he wanted and be with Dean. I don't think it's really deeper than that.

I don't know that Sam is a really deep guy to be honest. I could be wrong but I think Sam just doesn't have a lot a passion about things. I think he loves deeply but not passionately. Hes serious. I don't think he cares about TV shows on movies into the same way as Dean. I think Sam might also be prone to addiction and so he tries to not drink as much as Dean. I think Sam still wonders if he's wrong.

I think also because Dean is kind of an open book about his emotions for a guy that watches doesn't talk about his feelings they are usually all over his face. IMO that makes Sam look aloof and he's probably not as inscrutable as we think but compared to Dean he's like an angel and demon tablet that needs some translation.

All that said, I don't think it's actually problematic either. I think much of the mystery of Sam Winchester is intentional. He's often for more mature than Dean. He is less emotional on the surface but I don't think he's underdeveloped or underwritten.

I have moments of "aww Sam" and there are things I don't really like about Sam's characteristics even if I sort of still like Sam. I have to say I think a lot of it for me is Jared's acting. I feel like with Dean, Jensen has layered him of his own accord and there is more of an internal life to what had been a woefully underwritten character for the first season.

I think with Sam, Jared must be choosing to play him as inscrutable to match the first seasons but he's not taken him much past inscrutable. Don't get me wrong. Jared is a really good actor and he has some wonderful moments.

ETA: Egads I'm posting via mobile and half my post went wonky so I am editing the rambling crap.

Edited by catrox14
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To me, it's immaterial to whether I like a character as a person or not, I still want to know what makes them tick and I don't really feel like I know that about Sam. For instance, I think Crowley is awful--he was an awful human too, IMO--but I love him as a character and I feel like I know him far more than I know Sam. I understand what drives him and why he makes the choices he does. I don't feel like every character I see on my screen needs to be likeable, but they should be knowable if I'm gonna follow along with them. I can only say I don't dislike Sam, but I don't know if I actually like him either because I really don't know much about him--mostly, I find I'm indifferent to Sam. Which only causes a problem because he takes up a lot of screen time and I find it difficult to watch so much of the show with indifference.

 

 

 

As to Sams tastes etc, the choices of him eating salads is 100 % a Jared acting hoice because he doesn't want to eat the stuff Jensen eats. I have just accepted that Sam tries to be health conscious. I don't need to hear him say I a health nut to believe he is more health conscious than Dean.

 

I'm aware the salad-eating is Jared's choice, but Dean's love of food was created from a choice Jensen made as well. The writer's just found a way to capitalize on it and make it about character though. That's what's missing with Sam, IMO. I don't think anyone has really ever been all that interested in Sam as character, only as a plot device. They need him to do certain things, so he does them, but there's not much thought given to the why, IMO.

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I'm aware the salad-eating is Jared's choice, but Dean's love of food was created from a choice Jensen made as well. The writer's just found a way to capitalize on it and make it about character though.

 

But it`s not anything more than a gimmick with Dean either, a comic relief that is actually not very complimentary on paper: haha, see the uncouth, uneducated sloth. In those moments they write for Homer Simpson. The only reason that it doesn`t come across like it onscreen is that Dean looks like Jensen Ackles so that is not a connection the mind goes to easily.

 

With Sam, my problem isn`t that I don`t know the character. It`s that he consistently displays traits I just find off-putting. And that both in writing and acting those traits are displayed as great things. Which makes them vastly more off-putting for me. Now, Dean displays off-putting traits (for me personally, that is) too but because the writing always gets on his cases about them - and sometimes even with traits I find admirable - it creates the opposite effect for me. 

 

It`s actually while SoullessSam bugged me, too. It was just more of the things I can`t stand and had enough of at that point with the character. And still it was a continouus parade of "isn`t it funny/awesome/badass". For me, not so much. 

 

When the writing "gets on Sam`s case" for something, it is mostly just for stuff he can`t be blamed about which creates "oh, the poor martyr" effect. My main problem with the character was always ego/pride/hubris/superiority and it still is. They can put in scenes like "I`m the least of you" which don`t feel in the least bit genuine to me because it is still followed up by the greatest Chosen One who ever Chosened One pimping. So spare me the manipulation, writers. It was the same with the trials. And all the apologies that went the line of "I feel so bad because YOU DID this terrible stuff". Again, spare me. None of that I find endearing. Or feel sympathetic to.

 

Meanwhile the scenes that speak to me, there are so far and few between because I think the writers feel it will besmirch and tarnish the character or something. When the Horseman of War had him prisoner and basically called him out on the pride thing or when the Demon Pride himself did? That ironically made me sympathetic to the character. Just because I think they have a point doesn`t me I don`t emphasize with having that trait or struggling with it or the difficulty to have it pointed out to you.

 

But those get swallowed up in a sea of "my sweet, brave, caring Sam, there is nothing he can`t do" pointers. And seriously, the best, most likeable, most sympathetic character in all of fiction couldn`t survive that for long in my eyes. 

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I think the questions of why Sam drank demon blood and went with ruby were answered. He wanted revenge on

Lilith at any cost. I don't think it particularly matters what the tipping point was for the first step. Like with Dean taking on the MoC it was an impulsive act born of desperation, vengeance, and a goal of taking down the enemy at all costs.

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I think the questions of why Sam drank demon blood and went with ruby were answered. He wanted revenge on

Lilith at any cost. I don't think it particularly matters what the tipping point was for the first step. Like with Dean taking on the MoC it was an impulsive act born of desperation, vengeance, and a goal of taking down the enemy at all costs.

 

I know he wanted revenge and that's why he worked with Ruby, I totally got that and they did show that aspect sufficiently. But I'm more speaking to how she actually convinced him to ingest blood in order to get that vengeance. Whether he wanted revenge or not, taking that first swig of demon blood is a big moment--I'd actually say that was his moment of no return--far bigger than him having sexy times with a demon, IMO. Just as Dean's moment of no return was when he agreed to take on the MoC and I'm sure I would have been disappointed if they hadn't shown us that moment.

 

As I said up above, I always understand why Sam does the things he does, I just don't know how he does the things he does.

 

 

But it`s not anything more than a gimmick with Dean either, a comic relief that is actually not very complimentary on paper: haha, see the uncouth, uneducated sloth. In those moments they write for Homer Simpson. The only reason that it doesn`t come across like it onscreen is that Dean looks like Jensen Ackles so that is not a connection the mind goes to easily.

 

Well, I'd say that's all a matter of perspective. I wouldn't consider every person who enjoys food to be uncouth, uneducated and/or a sloth. I think the difference isn't that Dean looks like Jensen Ackles, but that he doesn't act like Homer Simpson. I don't think Dean's love of food has anything to do with him being a silly, dumb, sloth, but is more about his zest for life and finding joy in the littlest things.

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I don't think Dean's love of food has anything to do with him being a silly, dumb, sloth, but is more about his zest for life and finding joy in the littlest things.

 

And yet I wholeheartedly believe if he had a very different look physically, those scenes would take on a whole different tone. Writing-wise, I think they have nothing else but Homer-esuqe "humour" in mind in those scenes which is why I don`t count it as a character thing.

 

Equally, there have been some references to Sam`s healthy eating. Usually, those are humour moments, too. Earlier in the show when his College past was more referenced, it was played as "he had a higher education and is therefore enlightened and eats greens" - yes, the writing totally always was this simplistic and silly in my mind - whereas these days it`s more "haha, look at the guy, as if he got that big on salad instead of steaks". 

 

It`s the same level of "character moment" or lack thereof that eating is for Dean IMO. In both cases, I`d say the reasons for it are shallow at best.

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Meta wise, Dean's love of food comes from Jensen's acting choice to snag free food (weenies on a stick) while pretending to console the bereaved in Nightmares. They kept the running gag of 'opportunistic' eater for a while but it took on a darker subtext (in-universe) when we found out repeatedly that Dean knows hunger as a child and Sam does not. Evidence: Converation regarding hunger in Metamorphosis, Dean feeding Sam as a child, Dean stealing food as a basis of his time on the farm with Sunny in Bad Boys. Then add the connection of pie=Mom love. So what started out as opportunistic turned kind of sad in later years. Dean has always enjoyed food, sex, sleeping. To me it reflects a life of sometimes depravation and he truly sabots it when he can get it.

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Whether he wanted revenge or not, taking that first swig of demon blood is a big moment--I'd actually say that was his moment of no return--far bigger than him having sexy times with a demon, IMO. Just as Dean's moment of no return was when he agreed to take on the MoC and I'm sure I would have been disappointed if they hadn't shown us that moment.

 

Yes, I think that a huge issue is that Sam's turning points and big climactic character moments tend to take place off-screen. It makes the character seem distant and his plotlines anti-climactic imo. The show usually knows enough not to do that with Dean, which just makes it stranger (and thank god they at least do that, otherwise we'd never get to see anything interesting or get resolution to any story arcs).

 

I think that the comparison of Dean getting the MoC onscreen with Sam drinking demon/Ruby's blood for the first time in a pretty good one. Other relatively recent things that bugged me because they weren't onscreen were Sam deciding to move in with Amelia and then Sam deciding to purify his blood by asking for forgiveness for what he's done to his brother. Those were both pretty vital to his entire arc in that season, and they were only hinted at, at best.

 

What's strange is that it's straight up a writing mistake to have the interesting/climactic stuff take place off screen like that -- that's a pretty basic thing that you're taught in like, Screenwriting 101. So I'm not really understanding why it's a stumbling block in the first place, let alone why it's been a stumbling block for *years,* and mostly just for this one character (again, thankfully. I'm glad they've quarantined Sam off as the one whose story mostly takes place offscreen, lol. I'd hate for that contagion to spread to the rest of the cast).

 

Maybe they think that Sam is just such a straightforward character that we don't need to see him actually do or express things at his life's turning points in order to feel that we know him? Idk, I agree that he's not especially deep -- that's again, something that I like about him. It cracks me up how he's smart but apparently just doesn't have "soul" at all. And that's especially cracked me up since they actually did the Soulless!Sam plotline. That's another reason I thought that SL was sort of genius. But even though he's not especially deep, he still is (supposed to be) a full character and not just a plot device, and by not seeing the major turning points/decisions for his character, he ends up seeming pretty unknowable imo.

 

One moment that sticks in my mind as very "Sam" was actually that time in S8 -- I think the finale? When he was delirious with fever and he got all stubborn about finding out what was going on with all the books that he'd seen in the hotel lobby, and when Dean tries to stop him from "investigating," he becomes very desperate and tells Dean that he's got to do the Trials because they're purifying him. Just everything about that seemed very "Sam" to me, and I was so happy to see it, because it felt like Sam was "back." So often, it feels like he's just absent -- and often, I don't even miss him until it seems like he "appears" again and I realize that he's been gone for so long. I mean, he's virtually always onscreen in the background or helping in the investigation somewhere, but there are long stretches where it feels like he's not really *there.* Is that making sense? That's what I mean about Sam often seeming so inscrutable -- he's *there,* and I understand JP's choices pretty much all the time (I don't personally think it's an acting problem), and Sam is almost always technically doing stuff to aide the plot -- but I don't feel like I'm learning anything about his character at those times, there are long stretches where it feels like there's zero character growth for him or even exploration of his POV. Repo Man was another episode where I was really happy with the show going into Sam's head and it was satisfying to really get a sense of what was going on in there.

 

 

I don't know that Sam is a really deep guy to be honest. I could be wrong but I think Sam just doesn't have a lot a passion about things. I think he loves deeply but not passionately. Hes serious. I don't think he cares about TV shows on movies into the same way as Dean. I think Sam might also be prone to addiction and so he tries to not drink as much as Dean. I think Sam still wonders if he's wrong.

 

[...]

All that said, I don't think it's actually problematic either. I think much of the mystery of Sam Winchester is intentional. He's often for more mature than Dean. He is less emotional on the surface but I don't think he's underdeveloped or underwritten.

 

IA that he's not very deep, but imo that doesn't really make him easier to understand or even predict. In fact, it makes him more confusing imo because it seems like there's no underlining or consistent reason(s) for why he does what he does. Maybe the show tries to make him "mysterious" (which IA seems (mind-bogglingly) intentional) because they think he's too predictable otherwise? But for me, Sam often seems to be coming out of left field. Do you guys generally find him predictable?

 

What do you mean by more mature? Or, what would be "mature" in general? (Honest questions). I don't find either of the Winchesters immature or childish overall, though of course sometimes they do act childishly.

 

What I think of as "childish" is trying to solve problems with fanciful or illogical or convoluted plans, and not understanding the actual limits to or your actual responsibilities in a situation. I also don't think childishness is entirely a bad thing, because there's also a certain freedom, optimism, and innocence to thinking in a "childish" way imo -- in looking for BIG MAGIC SOLUTIONS!!1! and imagining that everything can be fixed in one fell swoop or by one grand gesture (or maybe in imagining things can be fixed at all). But maybe that's a strange definition of "childish"? I think that both Sam and Dean do that a fair amount, but it's not something I personally dislike in either of them, or something I'd really want either of them to lose.

 

Sam tends to bewilder me mostly because he seems able to do (character-based/emotional) things that I would consider impossible, but the show usually treats those things as...Idk, self-evident or totally plausible, and I have trouble wrapping my head around that. Like how Sam managed to go to college and start living a *totally different* life than he'd ever lived, with zero angst or confusion or anxiety. Not just the actual "going to college" thing, but in terms of making friends and getting into this serious relationship and living with his girlfriend and stuff. How was he able to do that? How was he able to do that again with Amelia? Or even with Ruby, in a way? *Why* did he do that (either time)? What did he do when he hit a rough patch and he needed to get his head straight again? (Or did he never hit a rough patch and never needed to get his head straight?!!). And then he was able to just switch 100% again to another totally new life hunting with Dean, with barely a glance back, too. He also went through the whole thing of being (semi?)-estranged from his family just fine, apparently, and then rejoined them with barely a hiccup and then had his father die about ten seconds after their estrangement ended, without really any angst, either. I'm not asking for more angst per se (Dean produces plenty enough for both of them, I guess), I just don't understand Sam's perspective in general, because it seems like he's so bizarrely flexible and so bizarrely pragmatic. That's a reason I liked him in S7 -- at least I understood what was going on with him! S8 was just a blur in terms of Sam's characterization, it felt to me like he was barely there. And in S6 and S9, there were long stretches during which he *literally* wasn't there, he was in the Cage or he was possessed.

 

What bothers me most in terms of enjoying/understand the show as a whole is that I don't understand his side of the relationship with Dean very well. I don't understand what he expects from his brother or even wants from his brother, and I don't understand what responsibilities Sam thinks he has in the relationship. Most recently, it's been confusing me how he just doesn't seem (physically) wary of Dean, and it's been strange to me how he just keeps telling Dean to take it easy but then doesn't seem to be working independently to try and figure out the MoC stuff himself. Maybe he's supposed to be working independently, but the show is trying to do the "Sam's SL is ~mysterious~" thing again and not actually showing that to us? It comes off to me like he's being so strangely passive, like he just expects Dean to fix this himself.

 

That's actually something that I haven't understood in previous seasons, too. Sometimes it's pretty obvious that Dean needs help, and Sam's not an idiot, but Sam in general has been very passive about taking the lead in those times, too. That's what I mean by not understanding what responsibilities Sam thinks he has toward his brother. It seems plausible to fanwank that Dean's his big brother, so Sam assumes he's basically infinitely capable. Dean *does* also seem to want to give Sam that impression most of the time. But then, other characters have tried to get under Sam's skin by going on about what they assume Sam's hidden feelings to be about Dean being weak or needy, so I guess that handwave doesn't fully make sense. Plus, I don't know what being the younger sibling is like, I don't have any siblings myself, but who even overestimates their parents that way, let alone an older sibling? That's also what I mean about Sam's lack of agency making him seem difficult (for me, anyway) to empathize with. He comes off as irresponsible/callous/entitled to me because it seems like he's liable to just let his loved ones (including his father) twist in the wind and isn't prone to feeling any guilt or fear for them or look for ways to protect them -- but then he apparently *does* love them? I don't get it.

 

What I mean about not understanding Sam's expectations of his brother is mostly that it's hard for me to understand what Sam thinks is "too much" to expect or ask of his brother, and what he assumes his brother will give him? My heart melted and tbh I will love Dean forever, regardless of how irritating or horrible I think he might be in any given circumstance, just for that one scene at the end of Nightmares, when he tells Sam "as long as I'm around, nothing bad will ever happen to you." But I don't understand if Sam just has always implicitly assumed that was the case and so it's nbd for him, or what. And if he has always just implicitly assumed that Dean would look out for him no matter what, and considers Dean someone he can count on to be able to come through (which apparently Sam does, considering he's never taking the lead in trying to protect him), then I don't really understand how Sam even perceives risk or danger. I mean, if you just have a bedrock assumption that someone basically infinitely capable will help you and you won't ever be alone, then what *is* risk or danger, really? Idk, I'm not looking for Sam to be grateful especially, and there are obviously bad things about Dean constantly obsessing over Sam's safety, in that Dean puts a lot of constraints on Sam's freedom in order to "protect" him or "save" him (which I also think is interesting and which I was happy the show started going into with the Gadreel, etc, stuff -- even though that's since fizzled). But I just don't even understand what Sam fears if he has such faith that Dean will always have his back and he won't ever be truly SOL?

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What truly bothers me is how side-lined Sam is becoming this season.  Reading summaries for Episode 10, they talk about Dean and the MoC, Castiel and Claire, and Crowley and his mother.   There is no mention of Sam's role at all, which seems weird for one of the two main stars.  Don't get me wrong - I have no problem at all with Dean having the primary MoC story arc, with Sam carrying the B story, but  the B stories have absolutely nothing to do with Sam.  Once he cured Dean of being a demon with Castiel's help, he really became pretty inconsequential.   

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