I hope you've enjoyed our Auld Lang Syne series! The Winchester Family Business staff has certainly enjoyed sharing our favorite articles with you throughout this holiday season. Since I helped pull together all the articles in the series, I thought it was fitting that my reflections be last.

It wasn't hard to pick my favorite reflections. There are a few that mean a great deal to me personally for reasons I will share below. The challenge was limiting my choices to the top 5! I had to leave some out, such as my Behind the Scenes report from the Chicago set of "Bloodlines". That wasn't the first time I had watched live filming (I still remember being in the audience of The Bozo Show when I was very young, and twice being at the taping of The Oprah Show, which was always filmed in Chicago), but it was definitely my most exciting set visit! I was able to talk with Jim Michaels for a few minutes and ever since then I believe he remembers who I am. It was also a crazy few days jumping into my car and frantically driving into the city to try to catch Jared and Jensen when they were spotted in town (I always just missed seeing them!!).

I also had to leave out "What is it Like Going to a Supernatural Convention" (I tried to creatively approach a complicated event); "Sam and Dean's Bedrooms" (because that was just so much fun to write and Jerry Wanek noticed the article); and "The Miracle of Supernatural" (because I wrote that letter from a very emotional place). OK. I'm cheating. I mentioned these even if they aren't in my top 5 (being the site editor has to have some perks!)

My Five Favorite Reflections

So what made my favorites list? Number 5 would probably have to be my hour long interview with Lynn Zubernis of Fangasm fame. Having a full hour of undivided time for an interview is certainly rare, but what made this article special was how much I personally grew from the interaction. I specifically asked questions that had troubled me as a middle-aged fan who fell hard for a TV show. Lynn's book touched on several of the answers, but the deeper insights she shared during our talk really helped me understand and accept being in a fandom. I highly recommend reading this interview (and her book!) in you are interested in learning more about yourself and why Supernatural means so much to all of us.


Next on my list is my character study of Sam Winchester.  Jared had commented at a Supernatural convention that Sam is the cumulation of Season1 Sam, Season2 Sam, etc. That observation really struck me, so I researched and thoughtfully examined what Sam Winchester was like in each of the first 8 seasons of the show. I'm particularly proud of the outcome because it helped me understand his growth as a person and a brother. A few weeks later, I published an even longer, more elaborate character study of Bobby Singer, but Sam's is still close to my heart.

Sam 8.0
Originally Published: June 17, 2013

My next choice is special because it is very personal. On the birthday of my nation, the Fourth of July of 2013, I reflected on what it means to be a hero. My examples all related to someone being kind and "saving" a friend or family member. I can't read the article without shedding a tear.  It is also a small tribute to a fire fighter friend of my daughter who had just lost his life in the line of duty. Yeah, tears every time.

Who are You Heroes?
Originally Published: July 4, 2013

As with several other WFB writers, I have to include my first article for The WFB in my list of favorites. The first article starts the journey. It is often inspired by something that moves each of us so much we are driven, compelled, to write about it, even if we have never written a story before. There is also the immense emotion that accompanies seeing your personal story on line for the first time, forever becoming a part of a website you admire. My fateful event was attending my first Supernatural convention. It affected me so deeply, I had to write about the unbelievable metamorphosis that had taken place to get me to walk into that auditorium. I labored over this article for weeks, but I still pull it out, read it and smile, because it brings me back to every emotion I feel when I think about Supernatural.


Auld Lang Syne Selection

There was never any question which article would be my favorite. It has to be my letter to Jared after his performance in "Sacrifice".  This article is my most widely recognized writing. It was only my fifth piece for this website so I was still unbelievably naive and new to both writing and the Supernatural fandom. I was deeply moved by Jared's acting in this episode, but my emotions were compounded by his sister-in-law's horrible car accident that happened within days of when Sacrifice aired. Jared flew home for the emergency, missing his personal appearances at Supernatural conventions in England and Italy. I was so touched by what he must have been feeling given his state of mind after filming "Sacrifice" that I sat down and wrote this letter in one draft. Genevieve (who was pregnant at the time) saw it and replied to The WFB twitter acount that this meant a great deal to both her and Jared. Of course I was thrilled beyond measure that they read this. Then 5 months later, Jared tweeted me personally that this letter helped him in what we now know was an afternoon of depression for him. Every single day to this day, someone likes or retweets his thank you to me, which means that every day I receive a Twitter notification and copy of his tweet. It makes me smile everytime, even now, more than two years later.  It is certainly not my most eloquent writing and it isn't profound, but every syllable was written from my heart and both Jared and Genevieve were touched by it.

Dear Jared  (A Reflection on "Sacrifice")
Originally Published: May 21, 2013

samlistenstodean
Dear Jared,

It has been almost a week since your SPN family sat in front of their TV screens in awe of the season 8 finale. If everything was as it should be, you probably would have watched it with us, live tweeting occasional comments and interacting with friends, fans and fellow cast members. I imagine you would have experienced a few anxious feelings wondering how the episode would be received, but after a while you would have relaxed a bit, and allowed yourself to absorb the joy of knowing that the show was a success. It should have been an hour of exhilaration and professional pride for you. Instead of basking in excitement, however, I know you are completely consumed with a family crisis right now, so I assume you either missed the show entirely or have not had the time or the heart to tune into fan reactions. At some point in the future, though, when your life starts to return to normal, you will check in with Twitter and emails again, you will think about work again, and you might just have a fleeting sadness that you missed the enthusiasm that surrounded the season's end. You gave so much of yourself to us in that episode that I thought we should return the favor. So I would like to capture here the thoughts and feelings of as many fans as possible while the finale's effect on us is still raw and unmuted by the passage of time.

Jared, your performance in "Sacrifice" was nothing less than stunning. The entire episode was a masterpiece, but your portrayal of Sam's suffering and heartbreak was breathtaking, literally. Every analyst's review and fan comment I have read has used words like "award-winning" and "ground breaking" with phrases like "raised the bar yet again" and "hit it out of the park". You brought passion to every minute of Sam's self-doubt, physical pain and human need. The scenes with Mark Sheppard were touching, believable and transformative. (You have mentioned that working with a variety of other actors stretches your creative capabilities, so I am so glad you got a chance to craft that scene with such a deeply talented actor as Mark. Together, the two of you struck a perfect balance between intensity and sensitivity, resulting in an incredibly moving character exposé.) Then Sam's climatic revelation to Dean was arguably the most poignant scene in the series. It was long ago established that you and Jensen have unmatched chemistry, and while he added immeasurably to the emotion of that dialogue, you truly owned that moment. Your gut-wrenching confession of (perceived) failure was a window into our most guarded human frailties. You showed us a human's soul, leaving our hearts pounding and our nerves wrecked. (I can't imagine filming that scene several times to get the angles, camera shots, etc. perfect. You had to go through that over and over again!)

I can't say I'm surprised. While your acting is always superb, over the past eight years you have given us several outstanding performances as Sam. You reduced us to puddles of empathy in "Heart" (s2), "Croatoan"(s2) and "Mystery Spot"(s3). We enjoyed your humor and comedic timing through entire episodes of "Bad Day at Black Rock" (s3), "The French Mistake" (s6) and "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie" (s7), as well as through quick one-liners, as in "Reading is Fundamental" (s7). You left us awed in horror as you transformed yourself into a mocking and sinister Possessed!Sam in "Born Under a Bad Sign" (s2), showed us unforgiving rage in "Fresh Blood" (S3), then mystified us as you delivered a haunting, emotionless Soulless!Sam in season 6. There have been the intense, highly emotional scenes such as those in "I Know What You Did Last Summer" (s4), "Sex and Violence" (s4), "When the Levee Breaks" (s4), "Swan Song"(s5), "The Man Who Knew Too Much"(s6) and "Hello Cruel World" (s7) (Sorry! I started out to list just a few of my personal favorites but the list just kept growing!). Then, at the end of season 8, you began the road to your best performance yet in "The Great Escapist". None of these achievements, though, prepared us for the perfection we saw in the finale, in "Sacrifice". Your vulnerability was gripping and unforgettable.

Without taking away from the prior seasons' accomplishments, the distinction that elevated this episode's performance was that the impact did not come from what was happening in the scene. The audience was not affected by watching you die from being stabbed in the back, or watching Dean be killed after a season of trying to save him. We were not watching you kill Lilith or raise Lucifer. No, the power of your scenes came solely and completely from what was said and how it was said. There was only dialogue. There were simple movements like you drawing blood on yourself, holding a syringe up to Crowley or showing your arms to Dean but these were there only to support the dialogue. The intensity of the moment came entirely from the honesty of the human emotion. The movements of your eyes, voice inflections, breath, posture, the way you walked, the way you stood and the heartbreak in your face all delivered the dominance of this episode. Acting at its absolute finest.

During the New Jersey convention panel, Jensen said you were "wrecked" after filming the finale. With all respect, you did look tired. Then when your family crisis happened and you had to leave Rome unexpectedly, Jensen said you were "heartbroken" about missing Jus In Bello. He said that interacting with fans rejuvenates both of you and that talking to fans is what makes the long hours of your filming schedule worth it. So ironically, while we were watching a fictional show about sacrifices, you were being asked to make a real life sacrifice of your own for the good of your family. Hopefully, though, our comments give back to you some of that wonderfully grateful, positive enthusiasm that you missed. I wasn't one of the people affected by your absence in Italy or England, but I know I can speak for at least some of them when I say there is no need to explain further or to feel bad. We are your family too. We understand. We are proud of what you did and we support you.

Our love to you, Genevieve and her family. Our thoughts, hopes and good wishes are with you all. When you are ready, read these comments, and understand what your performance meant to us.

Love and gratitude

Nightsky
and your SPN family

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WFB friends, I know many of you already left your reactions to "Sacrifice" in review comments, but this is the place to discuss what you specifically thought of Sam in this episode. What did you think of Jared's performance in the finale? How did it affect you? Feel free to list your favorite "Sam" moments of the series as well or good wishes to the family! I will tweet or mail this to him at a future date (when it seems appropriate), but even if he never sees it, we will have recorded our reactions and that kind of positive energy always has a way of reaching its intended target!


Copyright 2013, Nightsky

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I'd love to hear what you thought of the WFB's Auld Lang Syne series. Would you like us to do this again sometime? Do you have any favorite articles or series of articles that we missed?
The entire staff of The Winchester Family Business wishes you all a wonderful 2016. We hope to keep your trust and your readership for many more years to come!

Comments  

sugarhi15
# sugarhi15 2016-01-08 21:09
I just read all your articles and as always a pleasure to read. My favorite of course, which i would've loved to add my name to personally is the letter to Jared. That letter was amazing and true to it's every word. I thank you for writing it.

I also enjoyed very much your article on Sam Winchester....a nd even though it's late in coming I just wanted to add my thoughts as well.....

Wonderful insights to which i totally agree. I have written many posts during season 8 and today which I too have concluded that everything that's happened to this point, has happened for a reason. I agree whole hearted that when you look at spn as a whole instead of episodic, it's a well thought out continuous story that grabs your heart and doesn't let go. I would like to mention one significant event that I've always believed played a role in Sam's evolution which I believe still might influence him today, but most certainly did up to the last ep of season 10.....

I think Dean's death in s3 has influenced Sam most of all. Sam has always pretty much abided by dean's wishes. Sam did everything he could to try to stop dean's death and was even willing to do things dean didn't want. But Sam never did. Dean didn't want Sam to used Doc Benton's book, so sam reluctantly buried it. Dean didn't want Sam to use his powers to save him, so he listened to dean and ultimately watched his brother get torn apart. Failing to save his brother at that moment, has greatly influenced most of his actions thereafter. Season 4 Sam was driven by power yes, but it goes way deeper than that. Sam's guilt and failure at saving dean drove him to such grief that he was willing to die by lilith's hands. it was ruby who saved him . then she used his grief and his need for redemption against him. While I agree that s8 was a bit of a reboot for Sam, I found his running away from his life pretty understandable given what happened to him since jumping in the pit. Sam went through alot both mentally and emotionally in s6 and s7. He lost his mind, he lost bobby twice, he lost Cas, Kevin and Dean. The last words to Sam from Bobby.....when it's your time to go....go. Sam was clearly shown to have gone through some kind of meltdown in the flashbacks....b ut it's his words to Dean that said it all....."I thought you were dead. It's kind of hard to stay in a business that killed my whole family.
He also noted that he kept a promise. I have always believed that it would've been all to easy for sam to do something to try to bring his brother back from the dead, cuz it is what he believed happened. He thought his brother and cas died. But Sam, as he's always done, did what he believed his brother wanted. He kept a promise to no try to bring him back...instead Sam grieved and ran away....he ran away from his life and lived in a fantasy world.....and he chose amelia to save her...because he couldn't save his brother.....yet again. So twice now Sam failed to save Dean. Dean's inability to deal with his own issues had him take his misguided anger out on sam...even though he was angry with himself. In Dean's attempt to believe benny was the exception to his own monster rule, instead of facing the fact that he was in fact friends with a killer/monster, which means he became what he feared himself to be in purgatory, he inadvertantly pushed Sam away nearly destroying their relationship... and thus ultimately driving Sam to be willing to sacrifice himself for fear of ever failing his brother again. It's what drove Sam to do the trials....to give dean that life he felt he deserved.

It's also what drove Sam in s10. Sam stopped at nothing to save Dean. In season 9 Sam listened to Dean, did as he asked....gave him the lead as he always does. Dean sucker punches him and once again Sam witnesses his brother dying and he couldn't save him....it makes no never mind that Dean went off on his own. Sam feels responsible.... .He felt responsible for Kevin and now he feels responsible for Dean. So s10 Sam is more driven this time. He no longer abides by dean's wishes.....damn ed if he makes that mistake again, no this time Sam is going to save his brother whether Dean likes it or not.

Ironically though it doesn't last....because Sam will always do as his brother asks in the end. Sam was ready and willing to sacrifice himself because dEan asked him to. Sam will always do what his big brother asks of him in the end. Sam after all always has and always will look up to his big brother. ;)


thanks for the trip back in time....i look forward to the articles and reviews to come.....:D
nightsky
# nightsky 2016-01-09 13:07
Thank you so much for reading all the articles I listed! That's amazing!! I was going to say you are so sweet...then I remembered your screen ID and had to laugh at the pun! :)
You give beautiful insight into Sam. I agree with your psychoanalysis of him, and it really helps understand a lot of his actions. I love analyzing these brothers. They are so complex.
Lilah_Kane
# Lilah_Kane 2016-01-09 12:34
Liked all the articles that you wrote. This series was also great. Sometimes it is good to take a step to the past to remember the good old times and maybe bring that same feeling to the present. Every article has done that for me. :)

- Lilah
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2016-01-09 15:11
Haven't commented on them but have read and enjoyed the Auld Lang Syne articles. I started watching the show in S8 and went back and watched the first 7 seasons in short order. I came across the WFB site around the mid season 8 break and went back, reading some of the articles and reviews of important episodes from prior seasons, season review articles, etc. It was interesting and informative to see other people's perspectives and takes on Supernatural.