In my recent letter to Jared about his outstanding performance in "Sacrifice", I reminisced about how well Jared has been building the character of Sam over the past eight years. Jared offered a similar observation at the New Jersey convention when asked about Season 8 Sam. He observed, "Season 8 Sam is not season one Sam, he's just season one Sam, plus season two Sam, plus season three Sam, season four Sam, yeah, that's a lot of seasons of Sam." (as reported by Alice in her New Jersey convention report).  We are all the sum of our experiences. Every thought, emotion and reaction we have is defined by what we have cumulatively learned through all our yesterdays. Jared's portrayal of Sam is enriched by Jared's constantly evolving experience as an actor.  Every guest star with whom he interacts and every script he interprets all combine into his ability to make Sam more complex and more compelling to the audience. Equally, Sam's character has evolved as he has grown up.

So who was Season 1 Sam, Season 2 Sam, etc.? Several fans commented that they never really understood Sam until the last few episodes of Season 8. So knowing all that we now know about Sam, I thought it would be interesting to take a photographic journey through Sam's crucible experiences.  While it might be visually gratifying (and a great deal of fun) to look at dozens of pictures of Sam throughout the years (believe me, I am tempted!), as with all of us, specific moments more or less defined who he is today.  Those events forged his values, altered his beliefs and self-image, built or weakened his confidence, and shaped his personality. Together they dictated how he reacted to all of Season 8's trials. The most revealing way to examine his character's growth is to experience his life's crucial moments in exactly the way he did, in chronological order. As we move forward through time, notice not only Sam's transformation, but also the sophistication and complexity of how Jared portrays Sam. Every single nuance built into the masterpiece that was the final shot we had of Sam... his shattering emotional confession to his brother.

 

Season 1 Sam

Innocent Sam

image8
("Pilot" 1.01)

The archangel Michael argued that the events of Sam's life were predestined by fate long before he was born.  Sam's personality, self-image and view of the world, though, were undeniably shaped by all of the traumatic events that surrounded him.  His first defining moment happened when he innocently lay in his crib at six months old (While irrelevant to Jared, how could we even think of starting a photo essay of Sam's life without his adorable baby pic!).  Azazel returned to Mary's family to collect on their deal, and Sam's struggle with the demon blood within began.  In season 8's "The Great Escapist", we learned that Sam sensed his impurity even as a child.  He felt unclean and unworthy, probably contributing to him feeling like a "freak" his whole life.

Young, Rebellious, Hopeful, Innocent Sam, in love with a girl and a dream

SamandDean
("Pilot" 1.01)

When we were first introduced to Sam as a young adult, he knew about monsters and evil.  He grew up without a mother, largely living on the road with a volatile, obsessed father who was gone most of the time.  Once close to his brother, he pushed Dean away in an attempt to build a "normal" life. Then tragedy struck again, and Sam was transformed:

Guilt and Revenge Driven Sam, Heartbroken and Determined

 image5
("Pilot" 1.01)

Just at the moment when he believed he had escaped the hunter's life for good and could enter law school, Jessica was killed and Sam's world changed forever. He became determined to find his dad and Jessica's killer. The rest of season 1 showcased Sam's single-mindedness.  He would not allow anything or anyone to deter him from these missions.  We see that focused resolve several times in his life, but especially throughout the Season 8 trials. Jessica's death also convinced him that he was "cursed" and that "death follows [him] around" (1.19 Provenance). His astonishment at his "perfect" relationship with Amelia reflected this doomed expectation.

Powerful Sam (Emerging)

image4

(1.09 "Home")

Azazel's demon powers within his children began to awaken in Sam when he turned 22.  His visions of the future scared him because he was being forced to acknowledge his emerging power and the reality that he could no longer delude himself into believing he would ever be "normal". His understanding and eventual mastery of the "evil within" was possibly the most significant step forward in his knowledge and acceptance of himself.

Season 2  

Self-Sacrificing Sam

image5("Croatoan" 2.09)

There were many times in the first two years in which Sam put himself in danger to save Dean's life during a fight, but "Croatoan" was one of the first moments when Sam offered up his own life for the greater good. Dean could have walked away unscathed without Sam, so this was not a choice of trading Sam's life for Dean's. This was Sam making a choice to end his own life to save strangers' lives. This self-sacrificing courage climaxed in "Swan Song" but it was also the core strength needed to continue with the three trials once it was clear that they were destroying Sam from within. Jared added many layers to Sam's motivations and character in Season 2.

Demon Sam

image6image7
("Born Under a Bad Sign" 2.14)

Season 2 was also the first time we witnessed the intimate role demons had in Sam's life.  While complete possession only happened once (thanks to Devils' Trap tattoos), it foreshadowed a long line of events when demons overtly or covertly manipulated Sam.  We later learned in "Swan Song" that demons had been grooming Sam since childhood.  No one could have more reason to want to close the Gates of Hell.

Defeated Sam

image8
("Heart" 2.17)

In this unforgettable scene from Jared, we saw Sam's ideal world broken once again. We cried with Sam as he was forced to concede that not everyone could be saved.  He couldn't save Max, he couldn't save Madison, and a year later he would be forced to face the reality that no matter what he did or how obsessed he became, no matter what price he was willing to pay, he couldn't save Dean. All this history built to the ultimate realization in the season 8 finale that he had to "let go" of his mission because he couldn't (or shouldn't) save the world from demons.

Dying/Dead Sam

Samdying01
("All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 1" 2.21)

Only about Supernatural could I write the following sentence:  Dying and being dead became a recurring theme is Sam's life. His untimely deaths and ultimate resurrections happened so many times that death became a hollow threat. So when Dean told him he would die if he completed the third trial, Sam's pitiful reply of "So?" could have had a double meaning.  Clearly, its emotional impact came from his confession of not believing his life was worth saving, but what if the writer's were also foreshadowing or at least acknowledging that dying had never before been permanent so why should it now stop the brothers from completing their quest?

Season 3 

Little Brother Sammy

image10
("Bad Day at Black Rock" 3.03)

[personal note:  I have looked at hundreds of pictures to create this photographic journal through Sam's life, yet I laugh every time I look at this picture! He lost his shoe! Aww, poor Sammy.]

Sammy needs Dean.  It doesn't happen very often, but there are times that Sam feels his vulnerability and only his big brother understands and can come to his rescue. Several episodes at the end of Season 8 showed Sam weak and exposed, with Dean taking the role of protector and care-taker. In the end, when Sam was too fragile, sick and confused to make sense out of what was happening to him, Sam simply listened to his big brother and did what Dean asked him to do: he stopped the trials.

Vindictive, Scary, Vengeful, Deadly Sam

image11
("Fresh Blood" 3.07)

Was this the first time we saw just how dangerous Sam could be when pushed too far? As Sam's hunting experience deepened and his rage intensified, there could be no doubt of the fierce dominance he could command.  The stark contrast between this warrior (shown again in several situations throughout the years) and the wracked shell of a man created by the trials made Sam's condition in the Season 8 finale breathtakingly shocking.

Obsessed Sam (Driven Sam fully realized)

image12
("Mystery Spot" 3.11)

Although we had already learned that Sam would blindly devote himself to a mission, Season 3 Sam intensified his reaction to isolation and duty by developing an obsessive compulsion to succeed in his quests.  His responses to everything were becoming more extreme.  Jared was showing Sam without any trace of innocence, hope or youth, motivated solely by rage and drive.

Season 4 

Powerful Sam (Fully Realized)

image13
image14
("Lucifer Rising" 4.22)

So much of Season 4 was about a Sam filled with hate, anger, passion...and power. Gone was the youthful Sammy.  He was blindly rebellious again, convinced that he alone was right. He was put into several situations where either he legitimately had to save Dean (e.g. "Yellow Fever" and "On the Head of a Pin") or where he perceived himself as the only player powerful enough to save people. His blind embrace of this power ended in the disastrous final scene of "Lucifer Rising". This direct foreshadowing replayed itself at the end of Season 8, when Sam alone had the power to stop demons from walking the earth (openly as in an apocalypse or subtly as they had for centuries) and Dean trying to stop him from the ultimate conclusion. Clearly, Sam learned from his past, and four years later he listened to his brother.

Season 5

Repentant Sam

vlcsnap-00151
("Sympathy for the Devil" 5.01)

Our most significant steps forward in self-realization often come from learning from our mistakes. While he would always have the potential for great power, throughout Season 5 Sam learned the price paid for wielding that power.  He learned humility, and that it is often more important to know when to not use great power. At the end of Season 8, Sam had the power to close the Gates of Hell literally in his blood, but once before he had used the power in his blood to try to save the world.  Faced again with this exact choice, he backed away from the precipice and left the world's fate unchanged by his hand. 

Lucifer Sam(fully realized Demon Sam converges with Self-Sacrificing Sam)

image16
("The End" 5.04)

In a chilling recharacterization of Sam, Jared portrays a composed, confident Lucifer. While not technically"possessed" (Sam gave his permission), Sam was brutally affected by his time as, and with, Lucifer (in the cage).  It would be nearly a year before we would begin to see the mental insanity that Lucifer and Hell imposed on Sam.

Season 6

Soulless Sam

EOMS048
("Exile on Main St." 6.01)

I'm not sure it was intentional, but what a brilliant way to give Sam (and Jared!) a few months rest from the emotional turmoil that had been Sam's life for the past several years! Jared has frequently cited Soulless Sam as his favorite character because it was a challenge and a treat to play someone different for a while!  The audience got a great mystery for half a season and the writers got to explore several "what if" scenarios with Sam.

Season 7

Hallucifer Sam (i.e. Lucifer-on-my-Mind Sam)

image18
("Hello, Cruel World" 7.02)

image19image20
("The Born-Again Identity" 7.17)

Then it all caught up with Sam. Demon blood leading to Lucifer leading to Hell.  We can't escape our yesterdays and this was Sam's time of reckoning.  It was a great way to pull together all that had happened up to this point, but with Castiel's solution to take on Sam's pain, the writers pushed the "reset" button for Sam. Physically and mentally fit again, with seven years of hard-learned lessons behind him, Sam was ready for season 8.

Season 8

Smart Sam

image21
("Everybody Hates Hitler" 8.13)

This year further developed aspects of Sam that we knew existed but hadn't been extensively explored previously.  I would now add to the list "Smart Sam" or "Academic Sam".  His intelligence was quickly established in the Pilot with his LSAT score and his "full ride" to Stanford, but the first seven seasons largely took Sam's intellect for granted. Thankfully, several episodes this year highlighted his independent intelligence, culminating in "Everybody Hates Hitler" when Sam used the Men of Letters' bunker for the first time.

"LARP and the Real Girl" also thankfully (for Sam and Jared) resurrected the lighter sides of Sam's character that had long ago been beaten down.  The "Fun Sam" that loved practical jokes was rekindled when he allowed himself to role play. Riot and Portia-as-a-dog also reminded us of "Animal Lover Sam", who had shared several adorable scenes with dogs (remember Season 5's Bones?).  Best of all, we were treated to scenes of "Loving Sam", shirtless and in bed with beautiful women (For fear of being totally side-tracked from my character study, I didn't pull out the scene from Season 4's "I Know What You Did Last Summer" or some of those great soulless mornings-after scenes from Season 6. Feel free to indulge in your own photographic research!).

I detect a few new aspects of Sam's character are also being introduced in Season 8.  I personally never picked up on a "Jealous/Insecure Sam", but these were clearly the motivations in some of the scenes in "Blood Brother" and "Southern Comfort".

image22
("Blood Brother" 8.05)

Mostly, though, Season 8 invoked almost every Sam that had been developed in the prior 7 years. Repentant (e.g. "We Need to Talk about Kevin" and "Sacrifice"), Rebellious and Hopeful (Amelia), Driven (the trials), Powerful and Deadly (e.g. "Trial and Error"), Self-Sacrificing (Amelia and the trials), Hallucinating, Defeated, Little Brother and Dying Sams were all used in the many, many epic shots of Sam in Season 8:

Repentant 

image23

Self-Sacrificing 

image24

Powerful and Deadly 

image25

Hallucinating

image26

Little Brother
 image27

Defeated

image28

Dying

image29

 


So in eight years, Sam lost his innocence but gained the wisdom that comes from age; he learned to control or judiciously choose to not use his supernatural powers; he lost hope then found a way to regain his optimism.  He became a legendary hunter, but is also embracing his intellectual prowess. And might I say, he lost his boyish charm and became a fiercely handsome man (or is that Jared??).  I leave you with that thought. 
 
[Pictures credited to www.homeofthenutty.com. Episode references researched through www.supernaturalwiki.com ]. 


Comments  

Trucklady
# Trucklady 2013-06-17 22:31
Outstanding nightsky!! What an awesome way to show Sam/Jared's growth than with all those fabulous pictures all in one bigger than life page. Sam has been through the mill and just keeps pushing through. I never get tired of watching these guys and in fact (reveal) I watch them every day and more than one episode and if for some reason I can't watch due to commitments, my day just is not complete. I'm rewatching Season 8 now that I just spent the last week and half rewatching all the other seasons. So glad to have this site to fill a void. Thanks again.
nightsky
# nightsky 2013-06-20 21:35
I know what you mean about your day not being complete if you don't get to watch the Show! I have missed watching it for weeks now, and I'm starting to feel a little off balance!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-17 22:44
Bravo. What a nice look at Sam through the years and how he has become the man we know today. You've left me with lots to think about Sam here. It really is a culmination of what has happened to us that shapes us, and for Sam these events have clearly made him the beautiful man he is today. Thank you for sharing this lovely piece on Sam.
nightsky
# nightsky 2013-06-20 21:40
I am glad you enjoyed it! I LOVED writing it! The more I looked at his pictures through the various episodes, the more parallels I saw between the seasons. I really understood a lot more of why he reacted the way he did in certain situations. Just when I am proud of myself for figuring something out, I realize that the show writers probably had that in mind all along (after all, they had to plan it and write it), and I feel humbled for missing it in the first place! Layers upon layers upon layers. That is what I love about this show!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-23 12:39
Yes. I think that this is why the show endures and is utterly rewatchable. There's a new layer, a new insight no matter how many times I see it. That's what I really enjoy about it. It seems new all the time for that reason.
KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-06-17 23:08
Wonderful insight of Sam/Jared throughout the seasons. I've really enjoyed the ride and it was nice to reminisce with you here. Oh, and the photos weren't bad either ;-)
Lynn
# Lynn 2013-06-17 23:37
Seeing the evolution of Sam laid out here really makes me feel like I've watched him 'grow up' in a sense - evolution really is the right word. Pretty amazing that Jared's portrayed Sam's development, with all its twists and turns, so powerfully. :)
nightsky
# nightsky 2013-06-17 23:59
Quote:
Oh, and the photos weren't bad either ;-)
I suggest you expand each picture to be the full size of your computer screen (If you have a touch screen where you can "pinch apart" the pictures to enlarge them). Having the pictures fill the screen is really a great way to appreciate the facial expressions of each Sam. Oh, and did I mention how nice they are to look at??
blushenka
# blushenka 2013-06-18 08:17
May I just say I very much enjoyed reading your article!
Other than that I've not much to contribute, except agreement with the points you've made. Also, you have me some food for thought regarding some issues I've not considered before, such as the parallel between Swan Song and Sacrifice - about the wisdom of not using the power one had - I never considered it that way. I'm...getting Lord of the Rings vibes from Supernatural again :D Also interesting what you said about Sam being 'reset' at the end of season 7. It makes sense....clearl y Sam was so damaged and having been literally through everything during the past 7 years, that the only way to save him was a 'reboot': shut down and restart, and voila Sam v.8 - a Sam who many fans refused to believe was real at the beginning of Season 8.... (yes, I'm alluding to the 'conspiracy theories of an alternate universe / still in purgatory, which I read here and hoped were true...) Could this reboot be responsible of him 'turning over a new leaf' and not looking for Dean? I'm afraid I'm mostly thinking out loud here and my thoughts on this new Sam v 8.0 are kind of jumbled in my head. I'm planning a SPN rewatch seasons 1 - 8 so I can see season 8 in perspective, in an attempt to find a place for it in my headcanon. :)
Also: re your last statement: I totally agree with you, Sam 8.0 conjures thoughts of 'Oh dayum, when did this pup grow up so fine' (Not that he wasn't fine before. But now he's like you said 'fiercely handsome'.)
nightsky
# nightsky 2013-06-19 10:43
Quote:
Also interesting what you said about Sam being 'reset' at the end of season 7. It makes sense....clearly Sam was so damaged and having been literally through everything during the past 7 years, that the only way to save him was a 'reboot': shut down and restart, and voila Sam v.8 - a Sam who many fans refused to believe was real at the beginning of Season 8.... (yes, I'm alluding to the 'conspiracy theories of an alternate universe / still in purgatory, which I read here and hoped were true...) Could this reboot be responsible of him 'turning over a new leaf' and not looking for Dean?
Blushenka, Now you've given me something to think about. I read a great analysis of why Sam would not have looked for Dean (I can't remember exactly where). That article speculated that Sam was just being logical in that he didn't know what happened to Dean so how could he look for him? Sam had tried and failed in all his other attempts to save Dean, so this time, when Dean was either dead or MIA, why not try to honor Dean by following their promise of moving on with their lives. I personally still struggled with the way the writers developed this storyline. I never considered that they might have been continuing with their "reboot" of Sam by having him do many things that were opposite of the choices he had made previously in his life. Was he still so scarred, so traumatized by being used by demons his whole life, then Lucifer, Hell, being crazy, etc. that he just had to try something different - he just couldn't care anymore? I can honestly believe that and make that a plausible motivation for Sam's actions. Now I need to have the writers put that reasoning into an episode so it openly becomes part of Sam's story.
Sabath68
# Sabath68 2013-06-19 16:36
greetz from Berlin,

I have the same logical problem "he just couldn't care anymore?" I mean, Sam was always the one that "over / über" cared. Even when he was in the psychiatric ward with his Lucifer hallucinations, he cared about the girl with the dead brother ghost problem. And than Dean disapears and suddenly it doesn't matter normal life goes on? Dosn't fit. In german we say it doesn't have hands and feet...
Therefore I agree that it would be nice if the writers could provide an explanation in some way or other.

Back to topic
Danke schön Nightsky for the beautiful written insight. From the begining of SPN I prefered the character Sam. The fascinating complexity of this fictional protagonist played by Jared felt real and funny to say believable. His thourough emotional acting is stunning, but without his co. partner Jensen, Jared imo could have never played so intense emotional. To act in such emotional way, their has to be a foundation of trust with your acting partner. And this confidence shared in reality, that Jared and Jensen partition, mirrors unstudietly in the show.
Jared and Jenson magicially changend this weired fictional TV-Horror-Teeni e serial show into something mature and worthwhile.
Spontaneous I would say, thats the true form of art.
(Sorry for my german / english :oops:)
nightsky
# nightsky 2013-06-24 21:57
Quote:
greetz from Berlin,

His thourough emotional acting is stunning, but without his co. partner Jensen, Jared imo could have never played so intense emotional. To act in such emotional way, their has to be a foundation of trust with your acting partner. And this confidence shared in reality, that Jared and Jensen partition, mirrors unstudietly in the show.
Jared and Jenson magicially changend this weired fictional TV-Horror-Teenie serial show into something mature and worthwhile.
Spontaneous I would say, thats the true form of art.
(Sorry for my german / english :oops:)
I LOVE your observation about the trust that was needed between these two actors in order to produce such an emotional scene. For Jared, or any actor, to expose themselves that much would really require a very safe relationship to exist between cast members and crew. I would actually extend this to speculate that an actor may not extend himself to the extreme that was provided in "Sacrifice" without him/her really, really having that same level of trust in their audience. An actor would have to feel that the fans would appreciate the effort required and would respond to the emotion displayed with appreciation and understanding. Rarely have I seen this level of emotion on a TV show.
artsydenise
# artsydenise 2013-06-18 10:18
Excellent article!
Sam's evolution from hopeful youth to weary warrior has been mesmerizing and heartbreaking, and his tour de force performance in S8 finale was breathtaking. Jared's skill as an actor has grown and refined over the years and I can't wait to see what he does next.
debbab
# debbab 2013-06-18 10:30
A wonderful article. SInce Sacrifice, I have re watched episodes from previous seasons as well as season 8. From the days when Jared'/Sam's acne was somewhat poking thru the makeup as was his vulnerability. to the multidimensiona l actor/character . I have a new appreciation of Mr. Padalecki's acting abilities(not that they were not noticeable before). Your articles chronologuing the character/actor s's growth make the re-watches all the more interesting.
debbab
# debbab 2013-06-18 10:30
A wonderful article. SInce Sacrifice, I have re watched episodes from previous seasons as well as season 8. From the days when Jared'/Sam's acne was somewhat poking thru the makeup as was his vulnerability. to the multidimensiona l actor/character . I have a new appreciation of Mr. Padalecki's acting abilities(not that they were not noticeable before). Your articles chronologuing the character/actor s's growth make the re-watches all the more interesting.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2013-06-18 12:10
Thank you so much for this walk down Samory lane. Put all together like that, it really shows us how Jared has developped this character over 8 seasons. And he keeps on growing...in character, not in height! I can't wait to see what he will do with Sam in season 9. And, yes, Jared gets more and more handsome as he gets older. :oops: I never did understand why Rory Gilmore never decided to stay with Dean...oups, different show. :lol:
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2013-06-18 14:24
Great article.

What's really strange for me is going back and watching the earlier episodes and making note that I know more about this character's future at that time then they do. And even that actor. (Who they'd be married to and whether or not they'd have a child, for example.)

It's kind of weird watching them talk about Hell and the demons and how there are no angels and watching John do and say things knowing what happens in the later seasons.
nightsky
# nightsky 2013-06-19 10:50
Quote:
Great article.

What's really strange for me is going back and watching the earlier episodes and making note that I know more about this character's future at that time then they do. And even that actor. (Who they'd be married to and whether or not they'd have a child, for example.)

It's kind of weird watching them talk about Hell and the demons and how there are no angels and watching John do and say things knowing what happens in the later seasons.
I've had that same reaction! I just rewatched "Provenance" and couldn't stand knowing that Sarah dies a few years later! Then in "Houses of the Holy" hearing Dean argue that there are no such things as angels! I literally yelled at the TV, "An angel is going to become your best friend soon!!" It's stranger to go back in time in the characters' development more than the plot lines. Maybe they're more personal?
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2013-06-18 16:14
Thank you for this, Nightsky. It really is most lovely.

You know, perhaps it’s because we’ve seen JP physically grow from the almost baby faced Sam that we saw in season one to the big, chiseled strap of a Sam that we have in season eight but it almost feels as if we can see the cumulative effect on Sam's face of what he has experienced as he went through them.

I mean, looking back at the picture of Sam in season one, there is no way I’d have envisaged him as someone who would be Lucifer, who would go to hell and back, who would be driven by obsession, or power or filled with self loathing and regret. Looking at season 5 Sam, you can see the repentant but you could also still see the innocent and the powerful and the deadly. And looking at Sam in season 8 you (or I!) can see a trace of the innocent, the self-sacrificia l, the little brother, the powerful, the repentant, the scary, the obsessed etc. The dude has done a lot, he’s experienced a lot and he's learned a lot about who he is, and you can tell that by his face. Not in a bad, wrinkly way but in more of a ‘His face tells many stories’ kinda way. It’s a very expressive face.....

Oh, I don’t know, I can’t say it any better than that!

Thanks!
nightsky
# nightsky 2013-06-19 11:02
Tim the Enchanter, I think you said that beautifully! Your comments made me reflect a little sadly on all that Sam has gone through. I've gone through my own share of ups and downs in life, yet I don't think one would see such a difference between my picture at 22 (the age when Dean when to get Sam) and now *ahem* several years later. Jared has changed SOOOO much physically and emotionally (e.g. matured, married, child) that his changes magnify the changes we perceive in Sam. Dean's personality has changed a great deal as well, but I don't think Jensen has changed physically or emotionally as much as Jared. Jensen was older (in comparison to Jared )when the series began, so we didn't get to see as much of his baby face as Jared! Still, back to my original point...I really have to wonder how many people's lives can be seen on their faces in the same way Sam's life can be read on his?
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-06-18 22:15
Thank you nightsky. This was so enjoyable. That face , those expressions. Pain, sadness. regret, anger, power, vulnerability, intelligence, and love. Who needs dialogue Mr. Padalecki. You say more with your face than most actors do with pages of words. Sometimes you've had to.
R.M. Benedict
# R.M. Benedict 2013-06-19 08:26
Nice...VERY nice summation there. Balanced, thoughtful, and respectful of Jared's acting prowess, which has indeed grown formidable over the last eight years. Thank you for sharing this fantastic article. =)
Amyh
# Amyh 2013-06-19 11:19
I loved this article. Loved seeing how Sam and jared has grown through the years. Suchh and incredible incredible man.
BookLady
# BookLady 2013-06-19 18:58
Thanks, Nightsky! Loved it!

Both Jared and Jensen are skilled and subtle actors who take their craft seriously. I know they have mentioned it, but they are fortunate that they are both invested in bringing out the best in each other's performances. It shows in every episode even after 8 years, going on 9. I doubt either will allow the other to phone it in no matter how long the series lasts.

Aren't we lucky ones?!
eilf
# eilf 2013-06-22 21:22
I want to ask a question and none of the recent articles seem relevant. This one is the closest since it applies to Sam.
I just saw a tweet from Kevin Parks from last month where he said that the person's back seen in episode one is Don's and the scene is expanded and shown in Episode 9 (which is Citizen Fang):

Kevin & Jill Parks ?@SNkevinandjil l 16 May
@mimisuek yes it was Ameilia' husband. In EP. 809 we continued that sequence and that is when we revealed the husband.

Is this now common knowledge and I just missed it? I skimmed through Citizen Fang and I can't see any sign of seeing Don outside the house but I easily could have missed it. If anyone else knows where it is in the episode can they let me know 'cause I would love to see it for myself :D
Thisoldbag
# Thisoldbag 2013-06-22 22:47
Well, if that is the case, I completely missed it. I will need to rewatch. Perhaps it was left out of the final cut.
Thisoldbag
# Thisoldbag 2013-06-24 09:52
I finished my rewatch and also the episodes before and after. No, I did not see Amelia's husband in the shadows. I also looked at the tweet from KP and I actually could not see the original question.
So, either a different question was asked and he responded. Or, the scene was just cut and the issue fades away (bummer). Or, the scene was cut because they realized it would be a disappointing resolution. Or, KP was just B.S.ing. Perhaps someone else has more insight into this question.
nightsky
# nightsky 2013-06-24 21:41
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to record the 1st half of Season 8, so I can't personally rewatch 8.09. I did, however, just go back and read a detailed recap of the episode (scene by scene) and there is nothing at all in there about that "mysterious person" scene, or about a revelation of it being Don. After 8.09 was aired, I also wrote a WFB article (A Pre-Finale Letter to Jeremy Carver) about open issues from Season 8. The mysterious person question was specifically included in my list and no one corrected me or said that the issue had been resolved. LONG way of saying that you are not crazy! Before your comment quoting Kevin Parks, I had never heard anything about the figure being Don. My guess is that the extended scene ended up on the cutting room floor. I have to believe, though, that Jeremy Carver knows that the fans do not yet have an answer to this burning question. A tweet is not going to reach all of the worldwide viewers of the show.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-06-25 02:09
I'm like 90% sure they either wrote a scene showing it was Don and then didn't shoot it or they shot the scene and didn't include it, because some time around mid-season there was an interview with Carver that asked who was watching Sam and he flat out said it was Don and we would see it in episode 9, and then it really didn't happen on screen. So, I don't know if they decided it was more interesting to leave it open, or they thought it was shown or what. But for a while the absolute answer was it was Don, but Lord they couldn't have been more incomprehensibl e if that is the case.
st50
# st50 2013-06-25 07:37
I'd also heard - quite a while ago - that the shadow figure was supposed to be Don, but it was never shown on screen to my knowledge.
I think they filmed it and before the episode was complete, Carver came to understand that the entire thing wasn't playing overly well, so he decided to leave it unresolved. I doubt they'll ever go back and do anything with it now. It's just another tantalizingly dangling plot point.
E
# E 2013-06-25 08:18
I had heard as well that it was supposed to be Don watching Sam from outside the house, but I agree with the rest of you, it was never shown definitively on screen in any way as to who it really was in either episode nine or any other episode. It's become a huge dangling plot point IMHO. I must say though, if it actually WAS supposed to be Don, I am glad that the scene was never resolved because having it be Don, a character with three lines and incidental to the entire Supernatural universe is just nine kinds of lame. They set that whole scene up to be so loaded, so sinister that to have it be just "nearly dead Don" is such a flabby, inconsequential let down. I think that they should retcon this in season nine in some cool way; let us find out later that it was maybe Metatron and that he had been planning the assault on Heaven since the beginning and knew that Sam was going to start the trial somehow, or Crowley, setting into motion his plans to thwart the Winchesters bid to close the gates of hell, or the alpha vamp for some plot point that has yet to be determined, or Benny or almost anyone other than Don. It needs to be something more weighty, sinister and relevant to the story as a whole rather than it being this one off character that nobody could care less about.
Thisoldbag
# Thisoldbag 2013-06-25 08:24
I agree. Having that set up and then it being Don would be very disappointing unless he has some other part to play.
st50
# st50 2013-06-25 08:29
I agree as well. The payoff just isn't there.
Amyh
# Amyh 2013-06-25 12:03
I agree...absolut ely no payoff. There could be if its revealed Don is a hunter and he and Sam become friends and occasional hunting partners.

Now that would be payoff to the Amiela Storyline. Sam finding and developing a friendship with someone.
eilf
# eilf 2013-06-25 17:45
I am glad to see I am not alone in this!
leah unlogged
# leah unlogged 2013-06-25 16:38
Couldn't agree more E, we speculated about that all season long!
sugarhi15
# sugarhi15 2016-01-08 20:59
Wonderful insights to which i totally agree. I have written many posts during season 8 and today which I too have concluded that everything that's happened to this point, has happened for a reason. I agree whole hearted that when you look at spn as a whole instead of episodic, it's a well thought out continuous story that grabs your heart and doesn't let go. I would like to mention one significant event that I've always believed played a role in Sam's evolution which I believe still might influence him today, but most certainly did up to the last ep of season 10.....

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

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

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