Pick your favorite alter ego of Sam Winchester. Possessed Sam? Demon Blood Sam? Evil Sam? Mind-Controlled Sam? Discussing the many faces of Sam sounded like an easy topic for my latest Con-tinual panel of Supernatural media professionals... until I started listing the many times and ways that Sam wasn't the brother we all know and love!

Odds are that the same one or two images come to mind for all of us when we think of days when Sam "wasn't himself." But when challenged to really consider how often Sam had to fight for control of his body, mind and soul, I discovered that Jared Padalecki played an alternate version of Sam Winchester in at least one episode, and often in several episodes, in nearly all 15 seasons of Supernatural. That's a lot of faces for Sam!

What is the best way to do justice to all the versions of Sam we witnessed over the years? We could revisit Sam's journey chronologically. That would recreate the way he experienced his life being hijacked by supernatural forces. It's a bit more interesting, though, to look back at 15 years through the lens of accumulated memories. How many times was he possessed? How many times was he broken down by supernatural powers? All those traumas compounded each other. They could have insidiously perverted who he was as a person, yet, somehow, he chose to forge his trials into a more authentic, stronger, more compassionate Sam. No wonder he inspires so many of us. 

So, I've chosen to group Sam's experiences into the categories of forces that overpowered him - both supernatural and human. Let's see how many I found, then you add the ones I've forgotten! Part 1 covered the times when Sam was truly a monster, by all the definitions that matter to a hunter (possessed, cloned, turned, etc.). Part 2 will explore the faces of DemonBlood!Sam! Soulless Sam will continue the chapters in Sam's life in Part 3, with Parts 4 through 6 covering how the "Trials" affected Sam, how many ways he was "Broken" to the point of death, and how many ways Sam was "Conjured" by the supernatural! 

“Four Stones in Hand” is a phrase meaning you’re on the offensive even before you’re sure you’re going to be attacked. This episode was all about how people solve problems. Even problems that aren’t their own.

The title of this week’s episode supposedly refers to anticipating being attacked—which can be prudent, or overly defensive, depending on the situation. Oddly, I couldn’t find any history on the saying, even when I searched Mexican dichos. So I don’t know whether it’s just obscure, untranslated, or was made up for the episode.

Can I just say that the entire Walker clan would be better off with grief counseling? Because they’re not doing a bang-up job healing on their own. At least this week, everyone finally admitted they weren’t okay, which is progress.

The Morning After

“Four Stones in Hand” is a welcome exploration of how people deal with trauma, and often struggle to redefine who they are at their core when their reality becomes unbearable. This character driven story was written by Paula Sabbaga, the same writer who penned the enjoyable “Bar None” and “Tracks” episodes, so it has believable character growth and storyline continuity in common with those earlier stories. Its distinguishing characteristic is the strength of individuals' narration of their new understanding of self (i.e. it had great speeches of “a ha” moments!).

Episode 15.  So what now for Cordell Walker and company?  Seems that it's Micki's turn for a little drama.  There's plenty for the others as well too.  

Here is the official synopsis of episode 1.15, "Four Stones in Hand," courtesy of The CW:

WALKER TRIES TO HELP MICKI FORGIVE HER MOTHER – Micki’s (Lindsey Morgan) real mother, Mercedes (guest star Leticia Jimenez), tries to make amends with her daughter but Micki doesn’t want anything to do with her. Walker (Jared Padalecki) steps in to help and lands in a heap of trouble. Meanwhile, August (Kale Culley) suffers from PTSD after what happened at the Ranch.Tessa Blake directed the episode written by Paula Sabbaga (#115).  Original airdate 6/24/2021.Every episode of WALKER will be available to stream on The CW App and CWTV.com the day after broadcast for free and without a subscription, log-in or authentication required.

This preview clip shares what that heap of trouble might be for Walker.  Can't keep a good lawman down! 

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This episode is all about healing. It is about people rocked by trauma coming together and healing together. It returns the series to warmth and love after weeks of devastation.  The story follows three different groups and their journey towards healing. 

This series could have been Hill Street Blues with Stetsons—gritty, incisive, asking thought-provoking questions about policing, and dealing with the personal cost to officers and their loved ones. 

Instead, it’s Gilmore Girls with Guns.