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"Ever since I came back, I am a better hunter than I've ever been! Nothing scares me anymore because I can't feel it. I don't know what's wrong with me. I think I need help." Soulless Sam---You Can't Handle the Truth
Soulless Sam was perhaps the most daring aspect of Season 6. To turn a main character completely around is always risky. No other element seemed to be more polarizing. He was also perhaps one of the most unpredictable and puzzling characters the show has ever had. What made Soulless Sam a success can be attributed equally to both the writing and Jared Padalecki's outstanding portrayal. 

From the very start, when Sam arrives to upset Dean's apple cart, we can tell that something is wrong with him. The blank expression on his face as Dean hugs him sets off alarms. He is colder, the compassion and empathy that marks his character gone. Like Dean, we feel uncomfortable with him. Every instinct tells us that we can not trust this version of Sam. 

There are many things that can be discovered by exploring the character of Soulless Sam. He exists to teach us about ourselves---and the human condition. Soulless Sam reminds us of the darker side lurking in all of us. He is the mirror we shudder to gaze upon. By examining the differences between him and the real Sam, his relationship to Dean, and how he tested the brotherly bond, insight into the question surrounding souls can be achieved. 
We learn that souls are considered a power source for Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. Each soul starts out human essentially. Some are destined through deed or deal to go into the pit. Others are to ascend into their own personal Heaven. And some are twisted into the souls that end up in Purgatory upon their death as a monster. We also know that both Angels and demons seem to have the ability to tap into their power source. Castiel uses 50,000 souls on loan from Crowley to blast Raphael. He later taps into Bobby's soul to retrieve Sam and Dean from the Wild West. They're referred to as a nuclear power source. 
Whatever their power, there is a value that is much more significant in human terms. What does it mean to have a soul? Is it possible for someone who does not possess one such as Soulless Sam to retain any of their humanity? Veritas, in the episode "You Can't Handle the Truth," calls Soulless Sam out on his bluff. He's lying blatantly to her---something he shouldn't be able to do. Upon further inspection, she declares, "You're not human! What are you!"

The world's two major religions, Christianity and Islam, both acknowledge the existence of the human soul. For Christians and Muslims alike, it is immortal and one's life should be concerned with its fate after the mortal life has ceased. Good deeds and people will be rewarded in the afterlife with Heaven, while those who commit evil acts shall find their punishments in Hell. 
But what about while one is currently living? 
There is no question that there are good and bad people. Some people set out to help and are generous, while others try to harm and are selfish. Some people prefer to be humble while others boast. Each individual person on Earth has their own personality and perspective. How much of this is due to the physical body, and how much of this is the soul? Is compassion and emotion centered in our physical nature, the chemical reactions that occur in our brains or does it transcend into the spiritual? Is our ability to connect with and interact with our fellow human beings something that comes from our soul or sheer necessity to sustain our physical bodies? How much of our morality is tied up with our spiritual health or lack there of? 
If there is such a thing as a soul, is it possible for a person to live and function without one?
With Soulless Sam, we see this question raised and answered. 
Most of the season's dealings with souls centers around their marketability and their value. Their power is sought by everyone involved for their own reasons. Balthazar, in "The Third Man," is buying human souls by selling the pieces of the Staff of Moses, one of the many weapons he stole from the weapons room in Heaven. We learn that souls are a hot commodity, possibly the only thing left with value. 
But the biggest lesson we truly learn is that from watching Soulless Sam. We learn the truth about their real value. Without his soul, Sam has been reduced to a rational being with no sense of right or wrong. He knows the difference, but simply has become amoral. He is incapable of feeling. He has no real understanding of what it is to be human. 

First, let's take a look at the steps that led to Soulless Sam.
Looking back as far as Season 1, the path to Soulless Sam was largely set into place. Sam, for better or worse, has always been the monster at the heart of the show. He has always been a pawn in a cruel supernatural game. Sam was the one infected with Azazel's demon blood at six months, chosen for a destiny as Lucifer's vessel. He experiences intense visions as his powers start to emerge. It isn't until the fourth season that we see them fully utilized, used to exorcise and kill demons with thought alone. 
At least two episodes stand out as stark metaphors to what Sam is and what Sam might become: "Heart," and "Metamorphosis."
In "Heart," a desperate Sam tries to save Madison, a young woman bitten by a werewolf. It isn't hard to imagine that Sam sees himself in this situation. She is a kind, gentle woman, and yet under the sway of the full moon turns into a vicious killer. Sam goes against both instinct and hope in order to try saving her. They read a myth that states that if the one who turned her is killed that it could reverse the curse. For a time it seems that it has worked. A night with the moon full comes and goes and she is perfectly human. It isn't until she's fallen asleep and woken up turned that they realize they have failed.
It's harsh foreshadowing for Sam and his own potential fate.
"Metamorphosis" tackles Sam's growing drive for power. They are hunting a rugaru, a monster that starts out human until the gene that gives them their insatiable hunger switches on.  We watch as Jack Montgomery goes from happily married man to ravenously hungry. He eats everything in sight, including to our disgust a package of raw ground meat. Nothing seems to stop his hunger or his drive to acquire more food. A fellow hunter, Travis, tells both brothers that it is only matter of time before he starts to eat human flesh. 
Again, Sam wants to save him.
Again, Sam fails.

This isn't too far from Sam's addiction to the demon blood that fuels his powers. The more he drinks, the more he craves. It isn't until "Lucifer Rising," that Sam learns the truth: he never needed the blood. The powers were there all along. Ruby had cruelly turned him into her pawn for her own gains. By the time Sam realizes how she had manipulated him it was too late. Much like Jack, he had an insatiable hunger that could not be fulfilled no matter how hard he tried. 
Towards the end of season 5, Sam realizes that since he released Lucifer that he must be the one to put him back into the Cage. He plans on saying yes and then throwing himself into it with Lucifer trapped inside. 
Against all odds, it works. It is the biggest sacrifice Sam will make. 
It's also what gives rise to Soulless Sam, although he is the result of another supernatural power play---this time at the hands of Castiel. 
Psychologically speaking, Soulless Sam is a sociopath. He knows what feelings are and that he should exhibit them. He knows the difference between what is appropriate and inappropriate. Soulless Sam knows what society expects. Much like other sociopaths, however, Soulless Sam just can't manage to make it seem believable. There are too many flaws, too many instances that make those around him nervous. 
The only advantage Soulless Sam seems to have is the memories of the real Sam. He has a wealth of information to tap into that gives him the ability to put his facade in place. The fact that he knows he must hide what is wrong is a testament to how rational his being is. He is all thought with no heart. Without seeing someone without their soul, we might not have had the chance to understand the truth about them. 

The truth is, despite the power source they provide to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory, their value to humanity is far greater. In "Appointment in Samara," when Death gives Sam his soul back after Dean's failure to be the great and terrible Horseman, he tells Dean, "It's all about the souls."
In terms of what transpired at the end, Death could have meant the moves that both Castiel and Crowley were making. It's highly likely, though, that Death was teaching Dean another lesson as well. He says, before retrieving Sam's soul from the Cage, "This is hard for you, Dean. You throw away your life because you've come to assume that it'll bounce right back into your lap. The human soul is not a rubber ball. It's vulnerable, impermanent, but stronger than you know... and more valuable than you can imagine."
Let's examine how Dean ended up at this point. 
As early as season two, Dean has known one thing: he must either save or kill Sam. Their father, right before his death, whispered this order to Dean. As early as "Croatoan" and "Born Under a Bad Sign," Dean is faced with this test. Each time, he chooses to save Sam. He says to a possessed Sam, testing Dean's resolve, "I would rather die."
In the episode, "Playthings," Sam begs Dean to follow their father's last order. He says, "You have to watch out for me, all right? And if I ever turn into something that I'm not, you have to kill me."
Even in the episode, "The End," when Dean sees what the world will become if he doesn't stop his brother from saying yes to Lucifer, the lesson he learns is not to kill Sam, not to say yes to Michael, but to save Sam. 
In "Swan Song," Dean faces his worst nightmare: Sam has said yes to Lucifer. Instead of trying to find a way to kill the Devil, he instead reaches out to Sam. Even through a vicious beating at his brother's hands with Lucifer at the controls, Dean holds firm, telling his little brother that he is there for him. He then has no choice but to watch as Sam throws himself into the Cage upon wrestling control back from Lucifer.
This, however, will not be the final test for Dean.

It's what emerges from the Cage that will test Dean---more than anything else has ever done: Soulless Sam.
Ever since Sam jumped into the Cage, the only thing Dean has wanted is his brother back. He says so, to Soulless Sam in "Exile on Mainstreet," when he exclaims in exasperation, "I wanted my brother----alive!"
This is a bad case of "be careful what you wish for, you might not like what you get."
It's fair to say that Soulless Sam is as about as far away from the real Sam as one can get. He's not evil per se, but he's most certainly not a kind individual. All of Sam's empathy is stripped away and the only thing left is a rational shell. Just about everything that makes Sam who he is is either missing or suppressed by this new, cold personality. If there was ever a time for Dean to follow through on this last order and request, this would probably be the time.
Dean certainly thinks about it. He expresses to Bobby in "You Can't Handle the Truth," "He threw me to that vamp. I'm telling you, it's not my brother." 

At this stage, he doesn't know---and Soulless Sam doesn't, either---that Sam is missing his soul. He just knows that something is wrong. Sam isn't Sam. He behaves differently, he is colder and far more ruthless. He's not sure that there will be a chance to save Sam this time. This person walking around with Sam's face borders upon being a monster. 
So, why doesn't Dean follow through?
No matter what Dean feels about Sam prior to the revelation that Sam's soul is still in the Cage, he must still see his little brother before him.  It's one thing to talk about his concerns with Bobby about Sam, it's another to follow through on killing him. Both brothers have been told repeatedly that the other is their weakness. Dean has never been able to willingly hurt Sam---physical altercations aside. He just can't pull the proverbial trigger. His entire life has been devoted to protecting and nurturing Sam. 
It's also safe to say that Dean  has abandonment issues. Throughout the series, Sam has been running away from Dean and to an extent Dean has been chasing after Sam. This element has been present since the pilot. Sam left Dean behind to go to Stanford. He leaves Dean behind in "Scarecrow" to find their father in California. Sam leaves Dean in "Hunted" to solve the mystery of the other psychic children. He goes missing due to demonic possession for a week in "Born Under a Bad Sign." Sam disappears in front of Dean in "All Hell Breaks Loose I." Sam sides with Ruby in "Lucifer Rising," against Dean's wishes. Sam leaves Dean---possibly for good this time---in "Free to Be You and Me."
And yet, Sam always ends up coming back to Dean. 
Once Sam returns to Dean in "Exile On Mainstreet," he is persistent in trying to convince his brother to join him. It's something a younger Dean without the responsibility and obligation of a new family would have dreamed about hearing. Upon leaving Lisa and Ben behind to rejoin Sam in "The Third Man," it's Sam that expresses, "Better for everyone." 
It should be Dean's biggest wish being fulfilled: being back with his brother, in the family business of saving people and hunting things. 
Instead, it's a nightmare. This is not Sam---and most certainly not Sammy. 

Soulless Sam, despite being callous and unfeeling, never tries to run. He doesn't abandon Dean. 
That's where the real enigma of Soulless Sam begins to emerge. 
Let's return to the hug in "Exile On Mainstreet" a moment. This is not an emotionally charged reunion---at least not for both brothers. Soulless Sam has a rather blank and dispassionate expression on his face as he stiffly returns the hug. We're left with a distinct impression that Soulless Sam has no care or concern for Dean. Yet, that's not the whole truth. 
Gwen Campbell, upon meeting Dean, says, "Good to finally meet you. Sam's gone on and on."
In the episode, "All Dogs Go to Heaven," Soulless Sam candidly says to Dean, "I don't really care about you."
So which is the truth?
In a word: both.
Since Soulless Sam retains all of the real Sam's memories, he knows and understands that Dean is an important figure in his life. He might not have the emotional attachment or the capacity to form those types of connections, but he rationally knows that Dean is a person he can trust---even if Dean might not be able to trust him. 
And yet, we see him allow Dean to be turned into a vampire in "Live Free, Twi Hard."

Soulless Sam is nothing if not a walking and talking contradiction. 
So why does Soulless Sam behave the way he does towards Dean? Is it simply because he needs him to get his soul back? He's a pathological liar, so anything and everything that comes out of his mouth is suspect. He says things people want to hear when it suits him and says things without a word filter when it amuses him. 
Yet, it's not that simple. Not with Dean. 
The other strange question concerning his behavior is just how many opportunities Soulless Sam had to kill Dean. Because he doesn't sleep, Soulless Sam could have easily disposed of Dean any given night. He could have, at any time, felt that Dean was a threat to his very survival. After all, Dean had made it his personal mission to return Sam's soul to him. Even before both Castiel and Crowley pronounced that as a bad idea, it had to occur to Soulless Sam that he would cease to exist once the soul was put back into place. If he had truly decided that he did not want it back, Dean would have become a detriment, not an asset. Rationally, Soulless Sam would have had no qualms about committing fratricide if it meant his survival. 
Nothing demonstrates Soulless Sam's drive to survive more than his actions in "Appointment in Samara." He is desperate and looking to keep his soul from being returned to his body. To do so, he must commit patricide. With John Winchester dead, Bobby Singer, their surrogate father is made to be a substitute.  

Soulless Sam's actions shock and horrify us. We shudder to think what might have happened if he had succeeded. The monstrosity of that single act would have been unforgivable. It is not the act, however, that scares us. It is the reason. Soulless Sam is not doing this out of malice. He is not trying to exact revenge. This is not a crime of passion or evidence of a broken relationship between these two. It is a matter of survival. 
Soulless Sam says more than once, "I got to do this, Bobby."
If Soulless Sam doesn't do this and Dean should succeed in his deal with Death, he will cease to exist. He knows this. His instincts tell him he must find a way to stop this or die. Certainly, both Castiel and Crowley's pronouncements that he would be reduced to a vegetative state has something to do with his anxiety, but it is only the surface reason for his actions. He must have concluded that regardless of what happened to the body, he would no longer be. 
This exemplifies all of our basal instincts. Faced with death, we struggle and fight to live. Soulless Sam is this primal urge personified. We fear this portion of ourselves because it is unpredictable and often vicious. In a civilized world, we have whitewashed a lot of our nature. Soulless Sam is a dark blend of both our instinctual selves and our rational being---and the combination is a scary one that makes us shy away from him. 
Could it be, however, that Soulless Sam, deep down, feels some sort of pull from Dean and is unconsciously falling into old habits? Does it somehow trump his survival instincts? 
After all, in the episode "Clap Your Hands If You Believe," Sam follows Dean's lead. He might not care that Dean was abducted and had set out to amuse himself with the waitress, but when Dean said to do something, he did it.

Sam's soul had been in his body his entire life up until jumping in the Cage. Is it possible that his soul would have left enough of an impression that it would hold some sway over Soulless Sam? Or could it be that while Sam's body and soul were separated there was still a connection between the two that pushed Soulless Sam to follow Dean? 
On one hand we can clearly see Soulless Sam's apathy for Dean. In others, he seems to fall back into step with what the real Sam would have done. In the episode â"Family Matters," Soulless Sam and Dean set out to follow and track Samuel's activities. They set up an elaborate ruse, where Soulless Sam will ditch Dean to remain with the Campbells. Soulless Sam is going to become a mole more or less, reporting back to Dean on what is happening. Unfortunately, the plan falls through and Soulless Sam thinks fast on his feet. He attaches a GPS tracker to one of Samuel's vehicles instead.
What makes Soulless Sam choose Dean over the Campbells? He had been hunting with them for over a year now and had seemed rather comfortable within their family. Is it because he knows that Dean will make the better partner? Does Soulless Sam know that Dean will make him keep more in line? 
It's part of what makes Soulless Sam so utterly unpredictable. Almost upon a whim he can change course instantaneously. 
Yet, the one constant seems to be that he will listen to Dean.  It doesn't mean he won't use Dean to serve his purposes, but if Dean gives him an order, he seems to take it. 
The other contradiction that arises in Soulless Sam is how he ends up rescuing Dean at various intervals. He doesn't have to spend any time looking for Dean in "Clap Your Hands If You Believe," and yet he does. He doesn't have to slide the knife over to Dean in "You Can't Handle the Truth." In "Caged Heat," Soulless Sam fights his way to get to Dean by making a Devil's Trap out of his own blood. While a good portion of this has to do with his own survival, he could have made his way out of the prison alone and left Dean behind. He doesn't. 

Soulless Sam runs purely on instinct. It's not hard to argue that it's instinct of the real Sam to try and come to Dean's aid. It's what Sam and Dean do for each other, after all. This might be evidence of another residual effect of Sam's soul upon the body that Soulless Sam now drives. Maybe that's what it all really is---as with any of Soulless Sam's actions. His instinct says to do something, he follows. His instinct would tell him that Dean is important. He might not have any emotional attachment, but there's certainly a strange and inexplicable pull that Soulless Sam can only obey. 
Which in turn brings us back to why Dean doesn't follow through on killing Soulless Sam.... 

Keep Going with Part 2: Soulless Sam


# purplehairedwonder 2011-06-22 00:14
Hooray, I'm so glad someone is tackling this subject. I've been puzzling over Soulless Sam's odd connection/loya lty to Dean for awhile now. In "Exile on Main Street," Soulless Sam had a slight smile on his face and gave a small nod when Dean hugged him--Dean couldn't see his face so it wasn't like he needed to fake that. Soulless Sam tells Dean that "things are just better with you here" even though Dean was right, he was rusty and would slow down uber-hunter Soulless Sam--yet he wanted Dean with him. And, like you say, Soulless Sam repeatedly chooses Dean or rescues him when it doesn't seem logical for him to do so.

At the same time, I think Soulless Sam let Dean get turned by the vamp because a) he knew there was a cure (logic) and b) Dean was the only one he trusted to actually get the job done.

Crowley told Dean Soulless Sam would sell him for a soda, but I don't think he would. There's some weird, illogical loyalty there that doesn't make sense in terms of everything else we know about Soulless Sam. Does Soulless Sam, even without his soul, feel some draw to his soul mate? Are there remnants of Sammy still in there? I dunno, but it's sure interesting.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-22 06:41
Thank you. I think it's easy to take Soulless Sam on the surface value and dislike him or reduce him to a bad guy. He's not. He's much more complex than that and it amazes me just how much Sammy is really there amongst all that is not.

I also think Crowley was wrong. Soulless Sam would not have sold Dean. I think you're right about his reasoning in "Live Free Twi Hard." He knew Dean would be able to handle it, or his rational self believed it. It makes sense.

I hope you'll like the second part as much. Soulless Sam has intrigued me since I first watched through that portion of season 6. Each time I see it now, something new pops out, a gesture I missed or a facial expression, or some type of tip off that belies the complexity of this most mysterious of characters. He certainly does make us think!
# Sebe 2011-06-22 00:35
Love this. I've always loved, but been confused by some things Soulless Sam did. When Samuel betrayed them and Sam went to shoot him, Dean just put his hand on the gun and lowered it and Sam listened even though he was clearly furious and wanted their grandfather dead.

Even back in the first episode, after keeping away from Dean for a year (which is another thing I wonder why), he came to save him. He didn't have a real reason to let Dean know he was alive. He could have let him think it was another hallucination and just watched Dean to get the djinns. And at the end when he told Dean 'It's just better with you', that sticks in my mind even now.

Can't wait for the next part!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-22 06:44
Yes. It doesn't make sense that Soulless Sam would do almost everything Dean told him to do, but he does. It makes you really wonder why, because by all rights Soulless Sam had no qualms about killing anything or anyone that got in his way. We know that from what he did to Robin. If he felt shooting someone in the face would serve his purposes and help his survival, he'd do it!

It's interesting that Soulless Sam does stay away for so long and then reveals himself, but you gotta wonder if that isn't some strange pull not even he understood. Just being in Dean's orbit again must have been irresistible.

I hope you'll like the next part as much.
# rmoats8621 2011-06-22 01:49
Great analysis! I'm looking forward to part 2. :lol:
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-22 06:45
Thanks. He's the type of character that I couldn't shake. The more I thought about him, the more he wouldn't leave me alone.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-22 06:46
Thanks, Alice. I'm so honored to have an article posted here. I love all the photos you chose. I hope to have another one written soon!
# Sylvie 2011-06-22 08:38
Thanks Far Away Eyes, that was a great analysis, I'll be looking forward to the second part. I loved Soulless Sam. Don't get me wrong, I'm elated that we finally have Sammy back, but he had so many layers. It was fun trying to decide what made him tick. Even without a soul, it's like his brain knew that Dean was an important, even vital part of him. And I agree that he could have gotten rid of Dean any time or even stayed away from him, but it's almost like he was pulled back.

No matter what it is that keep these two together, soulmates and all that, it's very compelling. From season one they have always been each others Achilles Heel and yes the bad guys know it, but they are also each others Yin and Yang. You cannot have one without the other. Dean was great with Lisa, but was he really happy? I don't know that he can be without his brother, soulless or not.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-22 13:45
Thank you. I have to admit that I was really nervous about it.

I was struck by the way Soulless Sam just took that brutal beating by Dean. It doesn't fit a lot of what he did, but when you factor in how he followed Dean without question it makes sense. Real Sam would have had some more debate at times, too.

Either way, he was an interesting character to follow.
# Linda-bookdal 2011-06-22 09:56
Wonderful analysis, Far Away Eyes. I am looking forward to the next part. I especially like how you juxtapose Soulless Sam as the product of Sam's journey. Sam's soul was always a commodity, to a certain degree, in the world of SPN. It was the battleground upon which much of the storyline took place and so the fruition of that plot seems to be appropriate in terms of Sam losing his soul. I find the issue of the Dean/Soulless Sam relationship intriguing, as if perhaps biology can't quite escape the spiritual, perhaps experience etches emotion into the DNA?
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-22 15:32
I think you bring up a very good point. They have made it pretty clear that this is what he was like without a soul, but the question outside of souls and spiritual questions is the biological one and if anything Soulless Sam was a very biological creature. He really took that be fruitful and multiple thing to heart if you'll recall.

I didn't totally pick up at first on the metaphor episodes the first time through the series, but when I sat down and started it over, boy did I ever notice how Heart and Metamorphosis foreshadows a lot for Sam and his fate.

I'm glad you liked it and hope you'll like the next part as much.
# Linda-bookdal 2011-06-22 21:20
What I find interesting is the how the show really depicts morality as a spiritual issue. Soulless Sam did have an ethic - he examined the situation and chose the most efficient route, which is very Darwinian. Evolution is not a sentimental process, so in a way, the show actually combats the notion of evolution by tying the need for Soulless Sam to "die" in order for the world to be righted.

I especially liked his "internal" dialogue with the "innocent" Sam during the season finale, which I had some issues with because it infantilized the soul and that I was rather disturbed by. (note to self - stop digression). Anyway, I really liked that Soulless Sam thought he had to take charge and he was the one who could survive - I also find it interesting that he seemed to have known the "Hell" Sam. I think there were a plethora of avenues to go with that episode and some worked, but I think some avenues they rushed through. Of course, in the interest of full disclosure, my first article here was a defense of Soulless Sam, so I'll admit to a bias toward all discussions involving him :).

I can't wait to see how you unfold the next part.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-22 21:32
I think it's interesting that you take it that way. Soulful Sam might have seemed innocent, but he wasn't, either. He didn't understand why he knew things like which room was the safest or best option to stay at in a hotel, but he KNEW it. He wasn't all together helpless or infantile to me---just confused and a bit in the dark, which is what played so well with the light elements of the episode.

Soulless Sam, on the other hand, was not as capable as he tried to sell. He was bluffing a lot, I think. I think he was hoping if he could somehow "kill" Soulful Sam that he'd take over again and I don't think it would have worked that way. He was scared in that moment, knowing that this was it or die for good---and to him death was being fully reabsorbed by Soulful Sam into his rightful place---as that survival and toughness we all need in us to live.

I think it's interesting that him and Hell!Sam would have had some chats or that he had observed him enough to know something he didn't or couldn't tell Soulful Sam. He would have understood some of that horror, but I don't think it would have mattered to him in the same way---it would be so detached as everything else was.

I'm just stunned by the feedback I'm receiving here. It means so much to me that this is being received so well. I was nervous to comment on a review not so long ago as it was! So thanks for liking this so much.
# trene 2011-06-22 10:25
Great article. Now that Soulless Sam is behind us and we have had 12 episodes with the real Sam I can say that Soulless Sam is fascinating. Trying to figure out the hows and whys of him is fun. It really was a risky, and I think successful move on the writers part and Jared took it and ran with it.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-22 15:35
I never feared that Soulless Sam would become permanent, so I watched him with fascination from start to finish. He makes me ponder a lot about the human condition, and because he's almost NOT human it makes you really go back and think about what it really means.

Jared brought his A game to Soulless Sam. He totally sold this guy to us and rather we liked him or not, we believed him and knew he was most certainly NOT Sammy----usuall y with just a facial expression here or a manner of speaking there. The bigger stuff totally gave him away, but it's the little stuff that nags. Jared totally made certain those little things showed and damn it was amazing to see on the screen.

Thanks so much for your comment!
# Ellie 2011-06-22 12:46
Very interesting and good analysis of the enigma that is Souless Sam. I look forward very much to the second part he certainly is a character that polarized .[ :-)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-22 15:36
I know a lot of people hated Soulless Sam---and I understand why. To me, it just showed how the character did his job. You weren't really supposed to "like" Soulless Sam. He wasn't nice or a good guy really. And I hope you'll like the second part of the analysis as much as the first!
Veronica Bianchi
# Veronica Bianchi 2011-06-22 13:07
Excellent your report!. Soulless Sam knew that Dean did him good because it gave him the instinct and the actions that he did not have. He also knew that there was something wrong and that his brother was the only one who could take the right path. The truth is that Sam was terrific but soulless du look was never so sensual and seductive! Very sexy!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-22 15:39
I think Soulless Sam figured out very quickly once he allowed Dean back into his life that the ONLY person who would have the patience and wherewithal to DO something and help him was his brother. Samuel had no clue what to do with him, and Bobby wasn't as closely involved to know enough about what might be wrong. I think Soulless Sam ran on pure instinct, but mostly on a survival's instinct. He didn't have the instinct to know about compassion or mercy or running into save someone because it is the right thing to do. That's where Dean had to come in the most.

I agree. Soulless Sam was very sexy. I just don't know that I'd want to sleep with him. Who is to say he won't shoot you in the face afterwards? He kept everyone on their toes and that's why he's scary.
# Bevie 2011-06-22 14:34
Interesting article and a very fascinating read.

I too am intrigued with soulless Sam, much more than when he first showed up and we didn't know what was wrong with him. I was disappointed in his brotherly non-reaction to reuniting with Dean. Now that we've seen the whole season I find myself really enjoying the episodes with soulless Sam.

Looking forward to the next part. :-)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-22 15:40
I had no doubt that they were going to fix the relationship between Sam and Dean. Soulless Sam was just one of those steps we had to take along the way. And yeah, now that we have the whole package of a season to play with, a lot of his part of the story can take on different lights and be a much more enjoyable ride. We all know Sam's gonna get his soul back and be Sammy again!

Thanks so much for your comment!
# nancyL 2011-06-22 20:03
Wow, interesting article.

In 'Swan Song', we had Jared playing the Sam that we know and love against Lucifer!Sam that we met in 'the End'. We were impressed with how easy it was to tell the two apart. At the end, we all wondered WTF was up with Sam and the look on his face and the busted streetlight.

Fast forward one (or is it two) year(s), and we have our answers to the questions from 'Swan Song'. But now we have Jared playing three distinct facets of Sam. We have the Soulless One for twelve or so episodes, we have our (and Dean's)beloved Sammy, plus we have Hell!Sam. Each one is different and yet they are all Sam.

'The only advantage Soulless Sam seems to have is the memories of the real Sam'.
I think that the Soulless One was like a computer. He had the 'facts' or the memories, but he had no feelings attached to them. He knew that Dean was important to him, but he did not understand the love that he once felt for Dean.

I mentioned a few times in the beginning of season six, that there should have been a time travel episode featuring Sam from 'Mystery Spot' or season three in general, coming face to face with the Soulless One and watch what happens. I think that is what we saw in TMWK2M. Sammy killed the Soulless One, not only for what he had done to Dean, and proved that having a soul makes you better.

Looking forward to part two. :-)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-22 20:26
I agree that Soulless Sam had all of the facts without the heart. He remembered everything that had happened up until the Cage so he knew what he had done in the past when it came to Dean. He might have even had an understanding of WHY he had done those things, but just couldn't transfer that to a real sense of empathy or feeling. It must have felt often like he was watching someone else's life---and in a way he was.

I've been fascinated with Soulless Sam as soon as I saw him. He is the polar opposite to Sammy in almost every way, and yet there is enough essence of the real deal there that he isn't an absolute total monster, either. Considering the fact that if he HAD been that bad he would have either left Dean to die by the djinn poison or would have shot him numerous times speaks to the fact that he's more than a black and white baddie or antihero. He's that shades of grey element that permeates Supernatural personified. And each decision he makes is in that shades of grey realm more or less with a few exceptions. He doesn't think like a person with compassion or mercy. He sees an opportunity to make a kill and he takes it damn the consequences.

It is also the element of which that makes Sammy strong. Without this portion of himself, Sam would be much more docile and unable to take all the body blows delivered through out the series---and in a lot of ways it is the same thing in each of us that gives us that strength to get up again and face the difficulties in life.

I hope you'll enjoy part two. I know Soulless Sam was not one of your favorite parts of season 6. From a writer's perspective, I found him utterly fascinating and intriguing because they had managed to turn a character inside out and upside down---all without assassinating said character beyond recognition--at least in my humble opinion.

I look forward to your response to the second half!
# nancyL 2011-06-22 21:07
I am sure that Jared enjoyed playing Sam as this completely new animal.

I remember that in the dvd commentary for WIAWSNB, both Jared and Jensen said it was weird not having that closeness that they were use to. So the beginning of this season must have been fun and yet still have that same weirdness.

Hopefully we have seen the last of the Soulless One, but I do not want Sammy to be 100% 'cured' when season 7 starts. Unless God!Castiel fixes what he f@@ked up in the first place. :lol:
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-22 21:13
I got the distinct impression from the way Jared played Soulless Sam that he enjoyed the challenge immensely. What a wonderful way to grow within one's craft while not totally leaving a character behind!

I don't see us being totally done with Sam getting over both Hell and Soulless Sam. We might get some flash backs of both in season 7, but I don't really see them reprising Soulless Sam. He's most certainly going to be struggling with a lot. I don't really know which will be harder to swallow: what Lucifer and Michael did to him, something he freely accepted would happen upon jumping into the Cage or the awful things he did while Soulless, something he never wanted nor asked for. It's hard to say how they'll handle it, but I'm just here for the ride.
# AndreaW 2011-06-22 23:06
Oh no, I don't want this fake god to cure Sammy from his memories. Sorry Sammy, but I want the drama that will surely come with the memories, not to mention the potential for great brother moments given the circumstances.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-22 23:36
Judging by the angst meter that the SPN writers adhere to, I doubt they'd go for that easy cop out of a fix, either.

I expect to see Sammy struggling with the refusion of his whole self---and let this also open up Dean's old Hell wounds that he's never let heal, too! I'd love to see them actually deal with both and let them turn to one another in the process. It would make for great TV and we all know it.
# cd28 2011-06-23 14:28
Nice article. I wonder if we're going to find out next season that there was more going on regarding soulless Sam's motives toward Dean. Sam has his memories back now, but we weren't given time in the finale to find out what he remembered.

Sam seemed to need Dean for some reason, and like you, I questioned soulless Sam's sincerity when agreed with Dean that he should get his soul back. But at the same time, whenever Dean started to back off from following Crowley, Sam used the "don't you want to get my soul back?" line to pull Dean back into the fold. So I think that part still needs to be explained. It may be that Sam was sincere in wanting his soul back before he overheard Cas, or it may be that he had another reason for wanting to work for Crowley. If there was something else going on, it may completely change our perception of soulless Sam's actions toward Dean.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-23 15:35
It's hard to say why Soulless Sam would have pushed Dean to keep working and looking for his soul when in reality the truth is he might not have wanted it at all. I think it goes back to when he told Dean that he doesn't feel anything and that he knows something is wrong. He says "I think I need help." Soulless Sam might not have had emotional attachments, but I get the feeling that he knew something was wrong and that it could possibly get worse. The longer he went without a soul, the worse it might have become so to speak, I think.

I guess we won't really know if there is more here than what we've conjectured until next season.

Thanks so much for the comment to the first half of my article. I'm so overwhelmed by how well received it's been thus far!
# Katie 2011-06-24 00:19
''If there is such a thing as a soul, is it possible for a person to live and function without one?

With Soulless Sam, we see this question raised and answered. ''

I think there was some part of Sam's soul in him, like maybe 0,0000000000000 0000000001%, but just enough to control the body and be able to take decision. And in the finale there was 3 Sams, which would make sense cause Sam was seperate by Cass in Swan Song, then again by Death in App. in samarra, which make 3 distinct person. You put 2 behind the wall and when the wall collapsed, and the 'real' Sam killed the other 2, he collected back his Soul part.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-24 06:26
It's really hard to say if he had any of the soul at all or if there was some strange connection between the body topside and the soul in the Cage.

I think of the Soulless portion as Sam being cut in half more or less, and then he's made into thirds by Death, as you said. He had to reforge the three pieces to become his whole self again. It's interesting to think he might have had a tiny piece of his soul there, but it's one of those questions we might not ever have the answer to!

Thanks for the reply!
# FMJemena 2011-06-28 07:28
Great article and great posts! Thanks all! Much to deliciously chew on tonight. I hope the SPN writers have put on these threads we noticed for some reason and we'd get to have the whole weave seen in S7... Of all the Sams we saw (incl. Sam-Robin), I wanted to know more about Hell!Sam. What he experienced, what he thought throughout his stay in the Cage with the 2 angelic brats. What made him go on. He makes me itch to write up possibilities.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-28 07:35
I'm glad you liked my article. It was a lot of fun to explore how Sam had gotten there in the first place and what happened to him during it.

I, too, would love to hear much much more about Hell Sam. We only saw him oh so briefly, but Jared managed to bring him to life and tease us just enough to want more. I'd love to see what season 7 brings to the table on this issue. It should be very interesting and hopefully a beautifully told story.