He could exorcise demons from people with his mind, and leave the human host aliveâ€¦. the most notable host being Amelia, the wife of Casteilâ€™s vessel, Jimmy in Rapture. But there were many others, and Iâ€˜m sure those hosts were very happy Sam was hooked on Rubyâ€™s blood. All in all, Sam did a lot of good with his â€˜darkâ€™ side in season 4.
Since then Sam has shown no powers at all. He has had his legs broken and lungs removed in Sympathy For The Devil, levitated, pinned against a wall (again), and choked in I Believe The Children Are Our Future; strangled by Leshii!Ghandi in Fallen Idol, and held hostage by a witch while Dean died in The Curious Case of Dean Winchester. He also stood by while Dean was levitated, choked, and slammed into few walls also in I Believe The Children Are Our Future; and thrown into a tree by Lucifer in Abandon All Hope ....none of which he allowed in earlier seasons. He let War get the best of him in Good God Yâ€™All , and stood by when hell hounds attacked Dean, Jo and Ellen in Abandon All Hopeâ€¦.not the Sam of season 4. What happened?
Basically, it seems Samâ€™s powers have disappeared, causing many to wonder where they have gone, or even if they still existâ€¦.myself included. So I thought it would be good to revisit Sam, and his abilities during the hiatus.
Samâ€™s powers were introduced to viewers in season 1, where they began as dreams, more commonly called precognition. Precognition is actually the most common of all the extrasensory perception, occurring 60 to 70 percent of the time in dreams. It may also occur spontaneously in waking visions, auditory hallucinations, flashing thoughts entering the mind, and the sense of "knowing." All of which we saw as Samâ€™s powers progressed through season1â€¦.giving Sam some serious migraines.
In addition, we are told that Samâ€™s psychic abilities were very powerful by a strong psychic herself, Missouri Moseley, in season 1â€™s Home. A fact that Pamela Barnes confirmed in season 4â€™s episode Death Takes a Holiday.
We watched all the way through season 2 as Samâ€™s powers, at the hands of Azazel, brought about Samâ€™s death and resurrection, and the opening of Hellâ€™s Gate in All Hell Breaks Loose Part I and II. Indeed, it is also hinted that the Sam Dean brought back from the dead may not be the same Sam who died at Jakeâ€™s handâ€¦.a thought that the series revisited in season 3â€™s episode Sin City. Certainly the eyes of Sam as he killed Jake and Casey, were anything but the â€˜puppy dogâ€˜ eyes we had come to know and love in season 1.
We are also given a chilly warning from Dad. If Dean can not stop his brother, he will have to kill him. I still have to wonder if John meant stopping Sam from opening Hellâ€™s Gate, killing Lilith, or agreeing to become Luciferâ€™s vessel. I vote for Hellâ€™s Gate, since John did reappear at the end, and through a look and hand on Deanâ€™s shoulder, indicate Dean had done the right thing. Besides, killing Lilith was a very good thingâ€¦nobody else could ever have done it, and who wants her running around in season 5, Ruby either for that matter. And we know, as long as the boys are together, Lucifer will never take over Sam. (And yes, I think Kripke & Co could decide to up the tension for SPN fans, and separate the boys again. But come Detroit, Sam and Dean will face Lucifer as a well-honed, well-oiled machine, with quite a supernatural army to help.)
With season 3 came Rubyâ€¦the 200 year old demon witch whose only purpose, as stated in season 3, was to help Sam figure out his powers, and keep Dean from going to hell. A powerful concept that Sam, indeed anyone looking to save a loved one, would readily accepted, and Sam did. Of course as season 3 and 4 progressed, we found Ruby was just using Sam for his powers. She became that little devil on Samâ€™s shoulder â€¦manipulating him through the past 2 seasons using his empathy for humans, his guilt about his brother, and the Winchester self sacrificing drive. Pushing him to the â€˜darkâ€™ side to free Lucifer and start the apocalypse. (One has to wonder where Samâ€™s guardian angel was all this time. Wasnâ€™t he supposed to be on Samâ€™s other shoulder?)
We all know the result of Samâ€™s and Rubyâ€™s pact. Ruby showed Sam the way alrightâ€¦she showed him the benefits of drinking demon blood, a substance that had addicting potential as well (When the Levee Breaks). Using the â€˜boosterâ€™, Sam had more power than most angels, as per Cas in On The Head Of A Pin (hummmmâ€¦wonder if that includes archangels J ), without it, he was thrown into withdrawal, hallucinating about the monster and freak he thought he was, and had been, since a very young age. His cold turkey detox produced more telekinetic abilities, this time directed at Sam himself. Still no little angel on his shoulderâ€¦..or was thereâ€¦enter Castiel, exit Sam.
With the help, and encouragement of Ruby, Sam get a new fix of blood, actually a whole body, and does what only he canâ€¦.kill Lilith, a feat that both demons and angels were very intent on having him do. And in the process, lets Lucifer out, not realizing Lilithâ€™s death was the final seal. A fact Ruby was very skillful at concealing from him. (Still have to wonder why Bobby was not more up on all the â€˜sealâ€™ lore.)
Ruby then offers Sam some very startling information. Sam had thought that his powers were from the blood itself, but according to Ruby, it was never the demon blood.â€¦it was always him. Her comment, â€œYou didnâ€™t need the feather to fly; you had it inside you all the time, Dumbo.â€ So what was the demon blood? â€¦.a stimulus without which Samâ€™s powers apparently lie dormant. Not an uncommon event, and a stimulus can be internal as well as external.
We have seen over the series that Samâ€™s special abilities can be activated from various factors, and manifest themselves in a number of paranormal ways. In Home, his precognitive abilities were activated by his motherâ€™s ghost, in Nightmare he tapped into his precognitive and telepathic abilities and linked with Max, one of Azazelâ€™s other psychic kids. In the same episode, an adrenalin surge, brought on by a vision of his brotherâ€™s death, activated his telekinetic abilities allowing him to move a bookcase to get to Dean. But even these were not the first appearances of his abilities. We were told in flashback episodes (one being After School Special) that Sam has had special abilities from a very young age, a characteristic Sam already referred to as the â€˜freak/monsterâ€™ part of him.
Throughout the series, Sam had always wondered why himâ€¦and every time the answer was always the same, â€œbecause it had to be youâ€. Why? Because, the series has built up the concept that Sam was born with an innate strong natural talent for various psychic phenomena . Maybe those abilities were â€˜turned onâ€™ by Azazel, maybe only amplified. The fact is the creators have made a definite effort to show those powers exist, and the phenomena they manifest can be affected by various factors, not the least of which is emotion, and like any natural talent, without the proper training to control itâ€¦it can be used, and misused, by himself and others.
In Sympathy for the Devil, Sam stated his yearning for demon blood was goneâ€¦whoever put him on the plane cleaned him right up. â€œSupernatural methadoneâ€ Dean saidâ€¦I donâ€™t think either one fully believed it. Yes, Sam did seem fineâ€¦certainly not experiencing the withdrawal we saw in When the Levee Breaks. From a medical POV, a chemical addiction is not eliminated in the span of a few minutes, but a psychological one could beâ€¦and realizing you had been played for a fool, let your brother down, wrongly interpreted all you thought was right and released on the world an evil force of unimaginable powers, could certainly have made a psychological impressionâ€¦.pushing any remaining vestiges of paranormal power back into dormancy, but not eliminate that natural ability.
For all purpose, abilities are what you make of them. Anything can be used for good or bad. From day one, both Sam and Dean were taught that paranormal powers were bad. Why? Why does being different equate with being bad? Why is Samâ€™s powers considered the â€˜darkâ€™ side?
He used his special abilities to very good ends in season 4, and not without some very personal consequences. He opened a door in himself that everyone has, but very few have to face with such huge ramifications. Sam summed it up in Good God Yâ€™All, "I tell myself itâ€™s for the right reasons, my intentions are good and it feels true you know? But I think underneath I just miss the feeling. I know how messed up that sounds, which means I know how messed up I am. The thing is the problemâ€™s not the demon blood, not really. What I did I canâ€™t blame the blood or Ruby or anything. The problemâ€™s me, how far I'll go. Thereâ€™s something in me that scares the Hell out of me"
Having powers is a very ego building, power hunger feeling. And thatâ€™s the â€˜somethingâ€™ Sam is referring to. How did War sum it up, â€˜that lust for power thatâ€™s always been inside, the need to be strong again, but not just strong, stronger than everybodyâ€™. Did Sam believe his demon blood addiction because he didnâ€™t want to believe he had such extraordinary powers himself? Did it make it easier for him to tap into his powers because he could blame the feats on something other than himself? Could that be what Lucifer is referring to when he said he knows Sam better than he does?
There is no question in my mind that Samâ€™s powers are the reason he has been chosen for Luciferâ€™s vessel. With the stimulus Luciferâ€™s evil soul can provide, there is probably no limit to what Samâ€™s abilities can do.
If you are going into a war with an enemy, having the same abilities is a definite advantage. This is no different. If Sam and Dean both continue to ignore Samâ€™s ability, they go into a battle unpreparedâ€¦ that spells disaster. They each need to accept Samâ€™s powers, and learn how to use them to their advantage......not giving Lucifer any edge. Hopefully this is what the writers have in store for the boys.
With a boost from demon chemistry, Ruby had Samâ€™s talent erupt into an awesome power. But, I donâ€™t believe Sam needs a chemical stimulus to turn on his power, just the right motivation from the right person. He maybe hiding or denying his ability because he, and Dean, have always been told its wrong. But that is not necessarily the case. If Sam and Dean had approached Samâ€™s abilities in a positive way, they may have avoided the demon and angel chess game they have been living, and taken over control of their lives a long time ago.
Samâ€™s powers are still there, waiting for the next stimulus to open them upâ€¦hopefully that instance will be with the acceptance and approval of his brother, which will truly make them an unstoppable force indeed. And give the fans some wonderful special effects for the season 5 finale.