Article Index




(If you missed part one of the analysis, check it out here.)



In "You Can't Handle the Truth," Dean is in full panic mode concerning Sam. He discusses the situation with Bobby, considering either walking away from Sam or shooting him. He is uncomfortable, anxious, and agitated. Sam is not and has not behaved like his brother since he came back into Dean's life. He watched Sam stand idly by as Castiel tortured the young boy, Aaron, to discover that Balthazar had purchased his soul. Sam hadn't simply not raised a fuss, he had stared in open fascination. It was one major red flag for Dean that something was more than wrong with Sam. 
 
Bobby gets Dean to hold off handling the situation permanently by saying "He's your case." 
 
This gave Dean a purpose. If there was a chance to save Sam, Dean would take it. 
 
Once Dean discovers what is wrong with Soulless Sam, he switches effortlessly into saving him. He might not like Soulless Sam, and this version of his brother might be all monster in his eyes, but Dean knows that it is not Sam's fault. Once he takes his aggression out on Soulless Sam at the end of "You Can't Handle the Truth," Dean patiently puts up with what ever Soulless Sam dishes. 


 
He might be upset or exasperated by Soulless Sam's lack of care or concern in "Clap Your Hands If You Believe," but he doesn't throw in the towel. Dean has three options on the table that he could have taken at any time prior to his deal with Death in "Appointment at Samara." He could have killed Soulless Sam, he could have left him and returned to Lisa and Ben or gone hunting solo, or he could have done whatever it took to save Sam. In this case, that was returning Sam's soul from the cage. 
 
With Dean being who he is, there really was one option all along. At this stage, it is too far ingrained in Dean not to do everything in his power to save his little brother---rather that little brother wants it or not. 
 
What about the year Soulless Sam was away from Dean? We only learn about it through dialogue and flashbacks. It's fairly early in the season when we realize that Samuel might not quite know what to do with Soulless Sam. He is resurrected nearly forty years after his death at Azazel's hands, and thus is a fish out of water. He's trying to run the Campbell hunting family with new technology, new family members, new everything. Between 1973 and 2011 everything has changed essentially. Samuel Campbell has been taken out of the natural flow of time and inserted more or less where he does not belong.


 
If that wasn't difficult enough, Samuel has to contend with one of his grandsons---and not the one he met. Not only did Samuel not know this grandson before his resurrection, he is dealing with a version that is unpredictable. He does not have the insider information on what Sam Winchester was like before reemerging from Hell. All he knows is this cold, ruthless, hard man that makes him feel uneasy more than once. 
 
As early as "Two and a Half Man," as Samuel gets frustrated about the murdering of parents and abductions of the infants, he expresses just how off he finds Soulless Sam. He senses that Soulless Sam seems not to care about the case on an emotional level. He says, his tone extremely frustrated, "You've got me wondering sometimes, Sam." 
 
It's also the first time we see Soulless Sam question what might be wrong, too. 
 
Samuel has a lot on his plate. He's keeping a lot of secrets. He's struggling to exist in a world without his beloved daughter.  He's trying to find the Alpha monsters for Crowley, a task that must make him feel sick, but he's a desperate man. As confident as Samuel seems to those in his family, he's very insecure and quite a bit lost. 
 
While Mary's son is in his midst, it just doesn't seem to be enough. Samuel's worked hard to put his new family around him. He has built up his compound, filling it with as many Campbells as he can get to join him. Even though he's working for a demon, it helps ground him and give him purpose. However, Soulless Sam happens to be amongst them, and it isn't hard to think Samuel suspects that he's let a monster into his home. 


 
It isn't until "Live Free Twi Hard" that we really get to see how disturbed Samuel is by Soulless Sam's actions. He confronts him about what led to Dean being turned. Samuel knows that Soulless Sam was in on the conversation about the cure. To have him lie about it confirms the truth: Soulless Sam allowed his own brother to be turned, all without telling him there might be a cure. While he's here to deal with one grandson turned monster, he's standing in the same room with one that is much more frightening. Soulless Sam can't simply be cured by any simple long lost Campbell recipe. 

Even so, Samuel tries to be the guiding force for his family. He has taken Soulless Sam under his wing in many ways, and it would seem despite his cold exterior that he's managed to somewhat gain Soulless Sam's trust. When he has an issue with a case, he calls his grandfather for advice. When he's stuck with the baby in "Two and a Half Men," despite Dean's objections, his first thought is to take it to Samuel. 
 
Soulless Sam simply states, "Samuel. He'll know what to do." 
 
Soulless Sam has no connections to family or others. He is incapable of forging any such bonds. Yet, he seems to gravitate towards the Campbells mysteriously. When Samuel tells Soulless Sam to hunt something, he does it. When Samuel mentions there is a big hunt coming up, it's Soulless Sam that raises his hand first. He seems to listen to his grandfather for inexplicable reasons.


 
It is a dichotomy that is later repeated once Soulless Sam and Dean are reunited as partners.
 
We don't realize just how much Samuel struggled with Soulless Sam until we see the flashback episode "Unforgiven." Samuel is struck dumb by Soulless Sam's brutality. He freezes at a moment when he should have taken action. It's probably not the first time he's felt fear being in his grandson's presence, but it might have been the first time he saw just how ruthless he could be. 
 
As they are leaving town after a case, a local cop stops them. He is angry and confronts them about their status as federal agents. He demands that they get back into town with him and answer some questions. At first, Samuel and Soulless Sam try to talk their way out of it, but quickly the tables turn. Soulless Sam's patience runs out and he sets out to murder the cop with his bare hands. It's the most vicious thing we see Soulless Sam do, and it's probably the spark for Samuel to find a way to incorporate Dean into his hunting family. 
 


Clearly Samuel needs help to leash this "human" monster. 
 
We know he knew about Dean because he had met him before his death. Samuel is also smart. He might not know the real Sam by any means, but he does know how to get answers from the hunter grapevine. It wouldn't be hard for him to figure out that Dean is the key to fixing his troubles with Soulless Sam. If he can somehow bring Dean into the fold, he can turn Soulless Sam into his care rather than struggling to do it himself. 
 
The djinn attack on Dean had to seem like a gift for Samuel. Up until now, he's had strict orders to keep Dean retired. When he saw an opportunity to reel Dean in, he took it. Samuel just didn't count on Dean's instincts or mistrust. Regardless, Samuel got what he wanted out of the deal.
 
Once Dean rejoins Soulless Sam in "The Third Man," Samuel is no longer the one keeping an eye on him. He no longer has to look over his shoulder with his grandson in the room. Soulless Sam has more or less left his family to rejoin his brother. Dean has effectively removed the problem for him. He only has to deal with Soulless Sam as an outsider. 
 
Seeing what Soulless Sam does to Dean has to be confirmation of all the fears Samuel had about him. Soulless Sam wasn't just a driven hunter. He wasn't simply hardened by growing up in the life. He was a monster and part of Samuel had to feel like he had dodged a bullet in the year Soulless Sam resided and hunted with the Cambells.
 
There is no question that Soulless Sam had a twisted view of what it meant to be a hunter. This is partially from his lack of empathy and possibly from the mentoring he had when with the Campbells. Soulless Sam says to Dean in "The Third Man, "Yeah. I mean... I've been hunting non-stop for the past year, kind of... kind of in the wild, you know? So, yeah, I suppose I'm a little rough around the edges."


 
It's so much more than that. 
 
Hunting is a rough job with no pay and little thanks. It's not a stretch to imagine that it hardens anyone who pursues it. Each hunter that the show has introduced has had some hard edge. John Winchester was a driven and obsessed man. He was the epitome of the hardened soldier. Gordon Walker allowed his hatred of vampires to transfer to Sam, turning him into a ruthless man. Others, like Rufus, become tired and weary before their time. 
 
Sam and Dean are no different. Each one must fight their own demons---literally and figuratively. They have both experienced so much and seen so much. Sam has spent much of his life trying to leave the hunter's life behind---only to discover that there is no escape. Dean, as early as season two, exhibits his own fatigue. Both hide behind their respective masks, their edges rougher than any civilian they will help. 
 
Even so, they both excel at it. They have their share of a failures, yes, but the wins far out weigh their losses. What makes them so successful is their compassion and drive to save as many as they can. Sometimes it leads them to make impulsive decisions that do not pan out. A last ditch effort leaves the person they intended to save dead. It's hard to say if they hadn't tried the outcome wold have been different, but that's not what matters. It matters that Sam and Dean at least tried. 
 
In "Exile on Mainstreet," Dean rushes in to his neighbor Sid's home in an attempt to save him. He has no thought for his own safety---only the guilt that this is happening because he lived in the house next door. Dean Winchester does not know the word quit when another's life is at stake. Unfortunately, Dean is too late. He finds himself caught up in the djinn's attack a second time, until Samuel and the rest of the Campbells rush to help both Soulless Sam and Dean.
 
After the encounter, Soulless Sam admits that he wants Dean with him because of what he just did. It was reckless and unsuccessful, but that's not why. Soulless Sam says, "You just went. You didn't hesitate. Because you care, and that's who you are. Me? I wouldn't even think to try. "


 
Soulless Sam, unlike Sam, does not have the drive to do whatever it takes to save others, even at great risk to himself. He has one drive and one drive only: survive. He claims in "You Can't Handle the Truth," "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."
 
In some ways he's right, but mostly he's wrong. Soulless Sam might be able to hunt longer, more frequently, moving from one case to the next. Not having the need to sleep gives him this advantage. He's also capable of going into a situation with a level head and with a clear strategy. There is no fear in him, so he never has to worry about being frightened about his life or his family. Soulless Sam also never has to worry about anyone truly having leverage over him. 
 
But it's those things that are a determent to Soulless Sam as well. He misses the whole point of hunting. Dean say in the first season episode, "Wendigo," "Saving people, hunting things, family business." It's more or less the Winchester motto---and it is meaningless to Soulless Sam. He misses this crucial point. Soulless Sam doesn't hunt to save anyone. He doesn't hunt out of some need to redeem himself, nor because it will help others. Soulless Sam hunts for two reasons: because it is all he knows and because he enjoys it. 
 
We see how twisted his view on hunting really was in the episode "The Man Who Knew Too Much." Sam's protective Wall after Death had returned his soul has been destroyed by Castiel. He is trapped inside his own mind, where he meets a nice woman in a bar. Her name is Robin, and it isn't until he learns who she really is that he understands just how his Soulless self operated. In a flash of memory, Sam sees Soulless Sam face off with a demon that is holding Robin hostage as leverage. The real Sam would have done whatever it took to get her out alive, even if it meant being taken or killed instead. Soulless Sam commits his ugliest act here. 
 
He shoots her point blank, and coldly says, "There goes your leverage." 


 
This is not "saving people, hunting things, family business." This is murder. 
 
Soulless Sam's other major mistake occurs in "Unforgiven." Here, they are hunting a monster not seen in America ever before. They do not know the lore as well as they might another creature, so Soulless Sam and his partner at the time, Samuel, have little choice but to fly by the seat of their pants. It is Soulless Sam who convinces the sheriff of the town to be the bait for this creature. He then lies to his face. He promises the sheriff that nothing bad will happen and that they'll be right there if something should. Before they can do anything, the monster has grabbed the bait and Soulless Sam shrugs it off. After all, they'll simply follow the GPS back to its lair. 
 
Upon arriving, they find the sheriff and the other missing victims entombed in spider silk. Both Samuel and Soulless Sam make the mistake of thinking that these individuals will be food. The sheriff is still alive and Samuel suggests that they try to save him. Soulless Sam nixes the idea, deadpanning, "They're just dead men walking. "
 
His solution is cold. He simply goes to each one and puts a bullet between their eyes. 


 
The real Sam would have been trying to save the sheriff---even if Soulless Sam's pronouncement that they couldn't be saved either from death or being turned is correct. His compassion would not have allowed it. It's the same compassion that lead to his last ditch efforts to save Madison back in season two. 
 
Soulless Sam simply does not have this drive. It's why he's not the better hunter. All the rationality and skill does not make for a great hunter. It is a balance between the know how and the heart to pursue it that makes a hunter great. 
 

Comments  

Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-23 21:17
I love all of the photo choices, Alice. Thanks so much again for giving me this chance to post this article.
MetamorphicRocks
# MetamorphicRocks 2011-06-23 22:28
This was an excellent analysis of Soulless Sam, and I really enjoyed reading both parts. I think you have very interesting ideas that may explain his sometimes contradictory behavior regarding Dean. I also liked that you incorporated some explanations for Samuel's actions as well. I am eager to find out how Sam will be dealing with his memories of Hell and of being soulless in season 7. I agree that there is potential for some very powerful, moving discussions between Sam and Dean about Hell that could facilitate healing in both of them. I hope we get to see something like that!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-23 22:39
I found Samuel almost as intriguing as Soulless Sam. He was just as contradictory in a lot of ways. And as I rewatched a good portion of the Soulless Sam episodes, I really got the sense that Samuel just didn't want this problem on his hands. He had so much going on and he just didn't have the patience to figure out why Soulless Sam was so harsh and cold.

It's hard to say how they'll approach Sam and Dean's Hell experiences. I hope that they'll DEAL with them, however. I don't want Castiel or any other angel to simply wipe them away or repress them or lessen them. I want the brothers to talk about it and now that they both remember, it hopefully lead them to becoming that much closer. Hell, before Dean realized what was wrong with Soulless Sam he tried everything to get Sam to talk about Hell. I think it's a great sign for the brotherly bond and relationship--- and the potential for them to deal with this painful segment of both their lives.

Thanks for your comment. I'm so pleased that you liked my analysis of this character so much. He was a puzzle and I love puzzles---I couldn't leave it alone until I had it figured out to my satisfaction.
rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2011-06-23 23:12
I must say that I loved this article and your analysis of Soulless Sam. I found just as interesting your inclusion of Samuel in this discussion. I believe that you're absolutely right about another point. Samuel was a fish out of water. He didn't belong here and I think he knew it. He also didn't know how to deal with Sam, not knowing him from before. However, Samuel did know Dean and he also knew that he was an excellent hunter besides being Sam's brother. So, he could be trusted to deal with Sam. I also believe that Samuel, at least at first, didn't want any harm to come to his grandsons. You can see that in "Live Free, Twi-Hard". Samuel could have easily killed Dean and not worried about saving him, but he did care enough to cure him. I think the farther he interacted with Crowley and reminders of his deal and missing his beloved daughter, the more he started to go down his own dark path. How sad!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-24 06:23
Samuel, to me, in some ways reflects Dean. Both would rather have cut their own arm off rather than let their loved one (Mary, Sam) be hurt. Samuel was being promised that if he did this demon dance he would get his beloved daughter back and as it seemed more and more like it would never happen the more he got desperate. And since he really didn't KNOW Sam, blood relation or not, it was no contest to him which he would save---just like Dean would do anything for Sam. And yes, I can't imagine being resurrected forty years later after I died and being thrust into a foreign world. Think about everything that has changed between 73 and 11. It must have been utterly overwhelming.

I'm glad you liked this article so much. It was a lot of fun to write.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2011-06-24 11:42
Thank you Far Away Eyes, your second part certainly didn't disappoint. I'm glad you brought Samuel into the picture. I agree that for him coming from 1973 into 2011 must have been very strange indeed, not to mention being brought back from the dead along with a grandson he never knew. In fact, never having met Sam in the past like he did Dean, how was he to know that Sam wasn't always like this? i.e. this cold dispassionate person. He just jumped on the occasion to unload Sam onto Dean the first chance he gets. You could tell that Sam just made him really nervous.

We've seen bits and pieces of Soulless Sam in the past seasons. As you demonstrated from his cold killing of Jake and Gordon. That cold killer side has always been in him I think, maybe it's the demon blood that has been in his system his whole life. Soulless Sam is actually like a sociopath, blending into society but not caring about anybody but himself. The fact that he's always been a hunter and a very good one at that, just makes it easier for him now that he doesn't care what happens to his family. He's cut off from Dean for a whole year, and even when they are back together, he stills cuts himself off, because he just doesn't care about him.

I hope that season 7 will show us the brothers bonding over Hell and not having it erased from their memories. There needs to be some closure for both of them over this very angst ridden season. And I would love to know why Samuel was in Hell when he was resurrected. We all assumed he had been pulled down from Heaven at first. He was killed by Azazel, he didn't make any demon deals, did he?

This show has so many layers to uncover, I love it!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-24 13:42
Soulless Sam is most certainly a sociopath. He was mostly cut off, but he still did so many strange things with Dean that almost made it seem like he did.

Samuel really didn't know what to do, that's for sure. I don't know that he was in Hell, though. We never really got that answer. Cas brought him back if you ask me.

Thanks for your comment!
rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2011-06-24 14:58
In the episode "The Man Who Would Be King", Crowley stated that he knew that Samuel was on the bench. I took this as meaning that Crowley knew that he was in Hell and had the power to return him to Earth in order for Samuel to assist Crowley and Castiel in their search for Purgatory. Maybe Samuel did make a deal in the past? Or did something that caused him to go to Hell? This is an interesting thing that could be explored although I doubt that it will be.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-24 16:00
I took that comment more or less to mean that Crowley was aware of Samuel. He was Lilith's right hand, and I'd be stunned if he hadn't been aware of what Azazel was doing even back in 73. It's one of those could go either way things. I don't know that Samuel made a deal and ended up in Hell.

We know, from Azazel, that demons cannot bring back the dead unless a deal is made, though. I place my bet on Castiel at Crowley's behest.
cd28
# cd28 2011-06-24 13:43
Just wanted to comment on the distinction between the coldness we've on occasion seen in souled Sam vs. the coldness of soulless Sam.

With souled Sam, what we saw in Mystery Spot, with Jake, and with Gordon, was repressed rage. To quote Star Wars, "fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to the dark side."

The demons victimized Sam at a young age, killed Jessica just when he was starting to adjust, and then used Dean's impending season 3 death to try to manipulate Sam into channeling that fear into going darkside. It was the lesson that Gabriel was trying to teach Sam in Mystery Spot - to warn him off that path.

Soulless Sam was the absence of fear, the absence of love and loss, and the absence of rage. He was just cold.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-24 15:58
I agree with you that Sam's actions in those examples were born from emotional stress and rage, while Soulless Sam never ever exhibited this type of thing. I just think that there is a coldness inside that rage, too. He didn't fear, he didn't have love or rage, he just killed to kill, yes, but this is only a sliver of what makes up Sam's rage in those other instances.

I don't really think it was born from his being infected with demon blood at six months. I think it's just demonstration of that fundamental human condition we all have. In both the Gordon and Jake example, there was a threat to Sam's life, so he acted accordingly. Sure, he was royally pissed both times, but that was survival instinct kicking in as well---and that's ALL Soulless Sam really had left.
cd28
# cd28 2011-06-24 17:00
I don't question that the killings were justified, but we were talking about the "coldness" to them, so I'm really just talking about the rage here.

It's an interesting question what he was born with and what was the result of the demon blood. His father also had the potential for obsessive behavior and an obsession for revenge (which I think is a slow-burning rage) and Sam shared that personality trait with his father. So that was obviously his nature and not the blood.

But I also think it's been established that Sam grew up feeling that something was different and thinking of himself as a "freak" or "monster," and that was often his trigger for snapping into a rage. We saw it in After School Special when the bully called him a freak during a fight. Sam's rage with Jake started after Jake told him that he had killed him, and Sam realized that he had been brought back from the dead (he definitely crossed the line to being a freak then). Gordon continually told Sam that he was a monster that needed to be killed. And Sam's trigger near the end of season 4 was believing that Dean had called him a monster.

So although Sam always had the potential for rage, the demons worked hard to make sure it was triggered, and it started with Yellow Eyes turning him into a freak.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-24 17:11
I absolutely agree that this was a trigger for Sam and always has been. I can't imagine that any of us would handle this any differently if faced with the same problem, either.

He most certainly had a rage that Soulless Sam didn't. They poked the bear, so to speak, calling him a freak and monster and what not repeatedly. There really wasn't a bear TO poke with Soulless Sam. He simply killed or maimed without impunity in a cold hearted manner. I just think when he did it in the cases of almost killing Bobby before his soul was returned and with Robin he was making the logical and cold decision to save himself over another. Survive or die is kinda Soulless Sam's motto, and it's the only aspect of his cold outlook on life that factored into Sam's rage and violence.
cd28
# cd28 2011-06-24 17:16
I think we might be saying the same thing. I agree with this, except that I'm not sure what you mean by the last line after the comma.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-24 17:25
What I mean is when you strip away all of Sam's rage, the reasoning for his actions, you're left with that cold hard ruthlessness that Soulless Sam had. He acted ONLY with that in mind. Everything else had been stripped away and removed. It's that single portion of Sam's larger emotional whole that Soulless Sam ran on. Take away all of his emotions and his investments in those around him and the one sliver that is a cold blooded being that kills to survive without any sense of conscience. Does that make sense?
cd28
# cd28 2011-06-24 17:30
Yup. Makes sense.
Bevie
# Bevie 2011-06-24 15:49
That was an amazing and insightful anslysis of Soulless Sam. Together with the first part it makes an extraordinary in depth look at the character.

I love that I am agreeing with all of your points and will always have more understanding of the soulless one when watching repeated episodes on my dvds.

I also appreciate how you have portrayed Samuel. Much kinder than others I have read. I felt sympathy for him (except for feeding Dean to ghouls, Geez! But then he was getting desperate, and he did love Mary so very much) and didn't want to see him die that way. But then, they always die on this show, don't they?

I now find it awesome how Jared portrayed Sam's different selves so expertly and so very subtly and never over the top. How far he has come! Jared and Jensen make up a most formidable duo, perhaps the best one ever. Kudos to both of them!

And you Far Away Eyes, are a great writer and analyzer and should really write more for us to enjoy. ;-)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-24 16:13
I'm so humbled, Bevie. I just wrote this to get this character to leave me the hell alone. Ever since they introduced Soulless Sam, I've been trying to figure him out. He's such a complex and layered character. It's so easy to take him on surface value, but to peel away some layers the things you find out!

I have to admit that I was angry with Samuel after he threw both boys under the bus, but in retrospect, he was just as screwed over as they were. Imagine you're him for a minute, you've been dead for forty years, you are suddenly brought back and everyone you love is DEAD. Your wife, your daughter, everyone. Hell, even the guy your daughter wanted to run away with is dead! All you have is the small group of Campbells you've assembled----an d the son of your beloved daughter. Then, you're told if you do this work for this demon he'll give your daughter back! I can't fathom how painful that had to be. I just got the distinct impression that he didn't know what to make of Soulless Sam with everything else on the plate. I know I wouldn't know what to expect with Soulless Sam in the room.

I do hope to have something else written during this Hellatus. Who knows, maybe I can join the review circuit come Fall??
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-06-24 19:18
Part Two Yeah!!! :-)

For Dean there was, is and will always be only one option: keep Sammy safe. If that meant killing the Soulless One in the process of putting back his soul, then it was a done deal.

When Death told Dean that he had to choose between Sam and Adam, I think the whole fandom went 'dah'. :lol:

I agree with cd28, the killings of Jake, Gordon and the Sam we saw in the middle of 'Mystery Spot' after Dean's 'death', that was all a result of rage and really nothing in common with the Soulless One. There was a lot of emotion in all those moments, Soulless Sam had no emotions whatsoever.

You could see the difference in the two 'reunion' hugs. The one in 'Exile', Dean was holding on tight, and Soulless Sam was faking it. He had a funny look on his face, to me it was like he was saying to himself, 'ok, how long do I let Dean hold me, until I push him away?'
But THE HUG from 'Like a Virgin', that was genuine love, that was even better than THE HUG from 'Lazarus Rising'.

I agree with you that Sam without a soul, may actually had been a good thing, in the sense that now Dean appreciates what he has in Sam. They are season one close, could season seven bring us the return of 'bitch/jerk', Dean and Sam's way of saying 'I love you' to each other? :-)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-24 19:39
Wow. I'm glad that you liked my piece.

I absolutely agree that those actions really have nothing in common with Soulless Sam, but I think that small sliver of survival instinct is what ties them together---it's all that actual emotion stripped away and left with just the cold drive to survive. It's a good thing that it is THERE in the real Sam, it's bad when it's the ONLY thing in Soulless Sam. Without this, Sam wouldn't be able to live---none of us really would.

Yes, the two hugs are so important. The first one is so unemotional on Soulless Sam's part, and I like how you described it. He might have a strange pull towards Dean, but he really doesn't want to get all touchy feely, either. When Sam hugs him that second time, we can tell he's hanging onto Dean for dear life.

I think Soulless Sam was necessary. It really gave both brothers pause and understanding of their bond in a way they would have never done otherwise.
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-06-24 20:03
Exactly, season three was I think, the last time that we saw any closeness between the two of them. Of course, we also had the anguish of Dean's deal.

Season four, we started off with a hug, but we had them lying to each other right away. Then there was Ruby and the demon blood. In 'Sex and Violence', it came to a head and they were miles apart. We ended with them killing Ruby, but rising Lucifer, but they were reaching for each other as Lucifer arose.

Season five, Sam was guilty and Dean was pissed. Then when they finally were getting close again, goodbye Sam. :sad:

Season six began with heartache, but ended with love. Okay Castiel had gone completely bananas, but Supernatural was always been about the love two brothers have for each other, and that is where we ended up.

Let us hope that season seven keeps Dean and Sam at each other's side and watching each other's back. :D
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-24 20:16
I really hope that in season seven we start to see both brothers open up to one another. In seasons one and two (and a portion of three), they already had a shared and common history and experience more or less. Both knew what it was like to hunt with their father and what it was like to chase the demon that had killed their mother. It isn't until Dean is left facing his deal and it comes due that they start to have different experiences that neither could relate to. Sam couldn't understand Dean's experiences in Hell and Dean couldn't understand Sam's "embrace" of being the monster so to speak. So, they began to drift apart. It isn't until we see Soulless Sam and how they reacted to that in their own ways that they start to return to one another. After the soul is back in Sam, they are so unified.

I'd love to see them talk about it, deal with it, share. They both now can understand each other's experiences so much more and the potential for exploring that is set up largely in The Man Who Knew Too Much. It's just hanging there like low fruit waiting to be picked. I hope they pick it and run wild with it.
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-06-24 20:42
From the end of 'The Third Man';

DEAN 'Yeah, I get that. I just don't think I'm getting the whole scoop. You went to hell, Sam. And believe me, I know what that does to a guy.'
SAM 'To you.'
DEAN 'What?'
SAM 'You know what it does to you. It -- it tortured you. You know? I think it still does. But, Dean... I'm okay'

Now we know that Sam was Soulless when he said this garbage and we also know that in a sense he was lying, because we saw Hell!Sam, and he had been tortured. So right there, Sam and Dean have a common ground. They can have a couple of beers and compare stories, even though I do not think that Sam ever did any torturing of his own, a la Dean. But they can cry on each other's shoulder and find strength in knowing that they both survived Hell.

I smell t-shirt. :lol:
'Winchesters, ask us about Hell' :lol:
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-24 20:50
It's really hard to say what they might have done to him in the Cage. I don't think they had Sam torturing anyone, either, but would you really put it past Lucifer to have made Sam torture a Dean look a like that he conjured up, mainly because he knows it would hurt? I wouldn't.

And yes, that whole conversation was a tip off to how wrong Sam is at that stage, being Soulless and all, but what really makes me happy about it is the fact that DEAN wanted to talk about Hell. He was reaching out here and while Soulless Sam shot him down, I hope he comes back to this and tries again. This showed true growth for Dean here, and I want to see that go further.
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2011-06-24 21:13
Hi Far Away Eyes,

Excellent two-parter. So much to think about, including a new persepctive on Samuel, which is much needed. I think he is a fascinating, out-of-time & place character, who wasn't used as well as he could be. I also had trouble understanding his almost immediate condescension to Dean, starting in EOMS. He met Dean in 1973, back when Dean was acknowledged to be a good hunter. I thought he might have retained some memory of, or acknowledged that. Maybe it's just that by the time he met up with Dean again, Samuel had too much to deal with to have any emotional energy to reach out to Dean. But I still don't really buy the selling out of the grandsons for the possible return of the daughter. Especially when in FR, Dean stopped Sam from killing Samuel. That was a missed opportunity for more trust, or at the very least more open communication.

As for Soulless Sam, he did provide a fascinating look at souls, and at humanity in its most basic state. I kind of think of him as the Reptilian Brain - eat, procreate (a lot and go shirtless to attract more mates!), and survive. But it also gives a glimpse of how we developed emotions, and the capacity to love. Something drew him back to Dean. It might have been the soul's imprint (I think that is a lovely romantic idea.. Makes you believe in the potential for real soulmates!). Or, it might have been the pull of all of Sam's memories of Dean. Or, it might have been Dean's soul calling to Sam's soul, and Sam's soul calling to his body. If there's a connection between an angel and its host vessel (remember Castiel calling up Raphael in the mechanic's body in the hospital), it stands to reason there's got to be some connection between our souls and our bodies. It would explain those out-of-body experiences!

I don't think Soulless Sam worried too much about being resouled at first, because I think in his arrogance, he always believed he'd be the dominant one. He started to doubt that when both Castiel and Crowley warned him of how that terribly damaged soul could kill that fine sociopathic body as well. Then, he switched into full-on Survival mode, and in order to do that, he had to kill Bobby.

As for Dean, like so many others have said, his Prime Directive is to Save & Protect Sammy. As soon as he realized Soulless Sam wasn't Real!Sam, that's when the Prime Directive kicked in. It's what kept him going through everything, even the vampire life. He only seriously started to consider killing Soulless Sam when he thought he'd failed at Death's deal and no longer had any hope of getting Sam's soul back. When he looked at what Soulless Sam was capable of, and how much that went against everything RealSam stood for, that's when Dean began preparing himself to kill his beloved brother.

I also really liked the first half of the season because it showed a different Dean. He had to be everything Soulless Sam wasn't -- more thoughtful, more compassionate, ask the questions first and THEN shoot. I think JP was awesome at Soulless Sam. I think the subtleties of JA's performance as Disoriented!Dea n are sometimes overlooked. Dean was still Deam, but he was constantly having to compensate for his brother, and that meant he couldn't really be himself either. Plus, he was trying to figure out if you can straddle the hunting and non-hunting worlds. That had him off-balance too. He was trying to pass as authentic in both worlds.

Finally, I do think Dean gained valuable insight into all the richness of Real!Sam because he had to spend so much time with Soulless Sam. But, I think by the end of Swan Song he'd already learned most of those lessons. I think that's what made the grief at Sam's supposed death so much more profound. He knew exactly what he'd lost.

Which leads me to suggest that at some point, I'd like to see Sam come to a new appreciation of some of Dean's strengths and unique personality traits. We know from his "I'm not leaving my brother alone out there" how much he loves Dean, and needs to stand beside him. I'd just like an episode which shows Sam how different life would be if he didn't have his Dean. I know MS and IATL were kind of about that, but only slightly. I just think an episode which has Sam gaining a new perspective on Dean's intelligence and capabilities might be neat. Then he might understand some of Dean's actions better too. We got a glimpse in SW, but I'd like more.

Sorry. That was long-winded, but you gave me a lot to consider!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-24 21:54
Don't worry about being long winded. I'm often worried that I talk too much.

I've been fascinated by Samuel almost as much as I was about Soulless Sam---I also agree that he was rather under utilized. I think he was so turned around and upside down and backwards by the time Dean arrived on the scene that you have a point about him not having the patience to really reach out to Dean. I also think a lot of the fact that Christian was possessed the whole time and needling Dean did NOT help matters. It's a shame that they didn't get to do more with that angle of the season.

I absolutely agree with you about Jensen's performances in the first half. I know he's expressed that he had a lot of difficulty with it, but I think he played it wonderfully. We really got to see Dean struggle with his life, and the choice between the two weighed on him almost as much as Soulless Sam did. Both Jared and Jensen gave A+ performances in my opinion.

I agree with you that we should see Sam really get to have an episode where he learns more about all the things Dean really does or believes. There's so many little things he does or takes care of, there's a lot of intelligence overlooked all too often (let us NOT forget that he is the one that came up with rock salt rounds), and there's the honest to God love he has for those he chooses as family. I hope we do see a lot more of this in the seventh season, the brothers coming together more, sharing, experiencing things, and growing as a brotherly pair.

Thank you so much for responding to my long, LONG article. I had no idea how people would take it and so far it's been better received than I ever expected.
cd28
# cd28 2011-06-25 11:09
I think Sam appreciates Dean as much as Dean appreciates Sam. Sam's said that he grew up worshipping his older brother, and the scenes in AVSC where he gives Dean the amulet and in After School Special where he's mimicking Dean when the two boys are introduced to the class shows that this is true.

I always thought that Sam's decision to leave the family to go to college and to work with Ruby in season 4 against Dean's wishes were more about Sam needing to follow his own path rather than being about Sam not appreciating Dean. I know you didn't say that Sam doesn't appreciate Dean enough, but it seems to be the POV of a number of fans.

I'd love to see more episodes that explore what's in Sam's head in general. I think giving us a better understanding of Sam would put some of this Sam vs. Dean fan discussion behind us.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-25 11:35
I absolutely agree that Sam appreciates Dean. I just would love to see the writer's explore that a bit more. There is so much there and it could grow both characters so much. I hope that season gives us that.

Yes, I think Sam has always wanted his own path, but I think he's sure now that it includes Dean. I am a Sam and Dean kinda gal, so favoring one over the other has never made any sense to me.
Brynhild
# Brynhild 2011-06-26 08:17
Quote:
I absolutely agree that Sam appreciates Dean. I just would love to see the writer's explore that a bit more. There is so much there and it could grow both characters so much.
And we have to remember Dean's self worth issues. I'm sure that a LOT of those could heal if Sam would express his appreciation and esteem for Dean as a person and a hunter (and not just love for the brother), NOW, as an adult, ad not a four years old kid.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-26 10:50
Absolutely! Sam loves Dean, no question. It'd be great to see him tell Dean in adult terms that he looks up to him and values his unique abilities. Dean often undervalues himself and it'd be nice to see Sam counteract that with word and action. He's already helping by no longer running away. Now he can do and show more. I hope that we get to see that.
Ellie
# Ellie 2011-06-26 17:39
Quote:
Absolutely! Sam loves Dean, no question. It'd be great to see him tell Dean in adult terms that he looks up to him and values his unique abilities. Dean often undervalues himself and it'd be nice to see Sam counteract that with word and action. He's already helping by no longer running away. Now he can do and show more. I hope that we get to see that.
Quote:
Absolutely! Sam loves Dean, no question. It'd be great to see him tell Dean in adult terms that he looks up to him and values his unique abilities. Dean often undervalues himself and it'd be nice to see Sam counteract that with word and action. He's already helping by no longer running away. Now he can do and show more. I hope that we get to see that.
I see the same problem that has been going on for the most run of this series . Deans self worth his issues . It will always come at the expense of Sams issues .and he is the one who said ''I am the least of you all'' .

No doubt we will get Sam telling Dean what he needs to be hear.
cd28
# cd28 2011-06-26 18:17
I kind of agree. Not to sound unsympathetic to Dean, but Sam, Bobby, and Lisa have all tried in the past to pound some sense into Dean's head regarding his low self-esteem and have all failed. I'm not a psychiatrist, so I don't know what kind of help Dean needs, but Sam didn't cause Dean's self-esteem issues, and I'm pretty sure he's not in a position to solve them.

I am, however, very hungry to see some movement in Sam's storyline. While the soullessness storyline was somewhat interesting to debate, in truth it had very little to do with who Sam was, nor did it move Sam's personal growth storyline forward at all. The lesson of the importance of souls could have just as easily been demonstrated using Joe the Bartender, and we lost half a season to tell Sam's story (how Lucifer and Hell changed him). When Sam did get his soul back, the Great Wall served to further delay Sam's story from being told, until the finale and (hopefully) next season. So, to be honest, if the first Sam centric we get in the new season is about Dean, I may just throw something at my TV. Just sayin' :-*
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-26 18:27
To me, I think both brothers need to open up to each other about their issues. I don't think Sam can fix Dean or Dean can fix Sam, but if they actually open up to one another we might get to see both characters grow even further.

I don't know what they'll do right out of the box concerning the brother's relationship in season 7, but I think that the possibilities are rather endless. Both are now fully beyond both their Apocalypse destinies and no longer tied to that issue. Now they can turn to each other and grow as a brotherly pair and do things they might not have otherwise.

I've always watched without expectations (probably because I jumped in at a time when I could watch so much of it so quickly) and I don't really know what direction they'll take. The only thing I'm saying is that I'd love to see the brothers actually share and show each other things that they might not have in the past---evidence of their monumental growth.
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-06-25 14:32
I think that the god Eric Kripke said it best in this exchange from TMWK2M:

TORTURED!SAM: (scoffs) 'Why is this so important to you?'

SAM: 'You know me. You know why. I'm not leaving my brother alone out there.'


Sam loves Dean. period, end of story. :D
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-25 15:23
Yep. I absolutely agree.

Both Brothers love each other very very much.
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-06-25 20:52
This is completely off the topic but were the cousins also bought back from the dead? Remember in 'the Kids are alright', Sam found out that all of Mary's kin and friends were killed, so how come there are these cousins all of a sudden?
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-25 20:54
You know, I don't think we were ever really explained how these cousins are here. It's one of those gap things. It's possible that there was another branch that Samuel hooked up with upon his resurrection that wasn't connected with Mary or him. It's one of those we'll never know things, I guess.
cd28
# cd28 2011-06-26 18:20
They're all like third cousins or more, so I just figured they weren't killed by YED because Mary never knew them.
LordAniline
# LordAniline 2011-06-26 18:32
Wow, really in depth article and wonderful read. It took me awhile to read the whole thing but only because I didn't want to miss anything. I keep thinking back to Death's cryptic words to Dean, "it's about the souls". From the audiences' and Dean's POV we saw the ramifications of soullessness and the great importance they hold in the form of the true Sam when he returned. Death also said that souls, while stronger than one would think, is also vulnerable and impermeable, which means souls can be destroyed or ruined beyond all restoration. This calls into question the state of Sam's soul, his true self, and the fallout from the tearing down of the Great Wall of Sam. Which brings me to the other side of the coin.

The only one that doesn't appear to understand the true value of souls is Castiel, he and other angels only view souls as form of commodities or tools of war i.e. creating 50,000 more human souls for Cas war machine, as Fate called it. Castiel, while probably inadvertently, caused Sam to suffer untold number of years of hell-torture when Castiel first hid and then lied about existence of soulless Sam. Then it all culminated into the breaking of the wall, a cruel and unnecessary act that caste Sam back into his internal hell, despite Castiel own warnings on the effects of those hell memories to Dean not too long ago.

The soul became a dividing and severing line between Dean and Castiel. The moment the two disagreed about Sam's soul (rescue him or leave him in the cage), the writing was on the wall.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-26 18:41
Thanks. I'm so humbled by everyone's reactions to my article. I really did not know what to expect!

It's a good point that you make about Castiel and the other angels. They do not see souls as being important beyond used as weapons or the value they could provide for their power.

I do wonder what the unnecessary time in Hell did to Sam's soul and now that the Great Wall has collapsed what it means for him---now that he's reforged himself in The Man Who Knew Too Much. I think he's stronger than we give him credit for, and Death was absolutely right. The soul IS far stronger. I go back to Hell Sam's accusation to Sam before he's reabsorbed: You're not strong enough. Way to poke the bear there, Hell Sam. If there's anything worse than hurting Dean in Sam's world, it's telling him that he CAN'T do something. It's what I think gave him the strength to function after being made whole again.

Thanks so much for reading my article and taking so much time on it. I really want to work on another one, but I will be going on vacation this Friday, to the NJ convention the week after that and another week after that so it's anyone's guess when I'll get to my next piece. I've got the topic picked out if that helps!
LordAniline
# LordAniline 2011-06-26 19:02
What struck me about HellSam was that he was compassionate in spite his sufferings; he wanted to spare the narrative Sam and beg him to "find Jess" and live out the remains of his lifetime spared from the Hell memories. That's just so.... Sam. Others mentioned seeing moments of soulless Sam in the true Sam when he killed Jake and Gordon. Just as powerful are evidence of the compassionate HellSam in nearly all of true Sam's antics throughout of the many seasons. They are all part of the true Sam and he was determined to be whole again for the sake of his brother.

Have a great vacation!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-26 19:09
Yes. He was. It's kind of a shame that we haven't had a chance yet to see this version of Sam more, and now that he's whole again I hope we can explore this time.

Hell Sam did have all of the compassion that Soulless Sam lacked. He knew these memories were harsh and awful. And yes, I think he knew the outcome before narrative Sam stabbed him. He KNEW that it was coming before it did. I think it's because he was closer to the true Sam than Soulless Sam. Soulless Sam should have realized that he was going to lose before he started simply because Sam was even more determined than he was. Hell Sam understood that and fed right into it.

I do hope to have a good vacation. Considering I'm gonna be at the next SPN convention for some of it I think it'll be fun and exciting. Who knows, maybe I'll write up a little report and share that here.
Caroline Luu
# Caroline Luu 2013-09-02 08:52
I really love how you talk about things in SPN from every aspect (without getting bias) I agree that Souless Sam knows the differences between right and wrong but he just doesn't care. All of his actions is base on pure logic, benefical or not. Souless version is like a machine with survival instinct and knowledge of feelings but incapable of experience feelings or empathy. (scary)

The Campbells might be relatives to him but the family concept does not mean much to Souless Sam. They are more like colleagues to him. They work better together but they will not sacrify their lives for him while Dean will. Sam is not just his brother but his reponsibility and protecting Sam is Dean's goal of life. Dean need his brother more than anything. He will stop at nothing to bring back his brother soul.
"They don't need you. Not like you need them" - Azazel

Souless Sam knows that and he may not be able to feel but he has the knowledge of what it means. My opinion is, as logically thinking, base on what Dean had done and will do to save his little brother, siding with Dean is a wiser choice in a long-run.

And I think that Souless Sam may have considered killing Dean so he wont have to have his soul back but it won't bring any good since Castiel is in Heaven and can resurrect Dean. Or he was somewhat telling the truth about wanting his soul back (until he knows that he will be completely destroyed if he getting his soul back)

P.s. I'm not native English speaker so please excuse me for my bad grammar. It would be lovely if you could point out my mistakes :D