Monday, April 20, 2015

The Road So Far: Sam Winchester (Part Four)

the entirety of this post will be spoilers. proceed at your own risk.

When we left off, several months ago, I was discussing the importance of two particular episodes in showing Sam’s character development: Houses of the Holy (Season 2, ep. 13) and Born Under a Bad Sign (Season 2, ep. 14). Sam had just been weighed down by the incredible guilt of knowing that he was responsible for the death of a fellow hunter, and he couldn’t forgive himself.

It doesn’t just end there for Sam, though. He meets Madison, and, for the first time since Jess, he lets himself love again. He lets himself imagine a future away from the world of demons and hunting and pain. And then he finds out that she’s a monster and must be killed because she cannot be saved. The parallels between Madison and the reason she had to die and Sam himself are kind of hard to ignore, you know? Sam, in his own eyes and, to some extent, even Dean’s was a monster. And John had ordered him to be killed.

The third episode that I think has incredible impact on and provides insight into Sam’s character is All Hell Breaks Loose (Season 2, ep. 21-22). First, Sam’s worst fears are confirmed. He’s the reason why both his mother and Jess died, and THEN the idea that he’s a monster is confirmed with the knowledge that the demon bled into his mouth. He finds out that he really does need to be saved, and is forced to watch good people turn to killing.

More than that, he’s forced to fight. And he has the chance, during the episode, to turn to violence in the same way that Ava and Jake do. But he doesn’t. He doesn’t use his powers to do what Azazel wants.

Okay. This is what I really love about this. We’re starting to see Sam come full circle here.

Sam has always thought that he’s a freak. We’ve talked about this. We’ve cried over this. We know it to be true. Over the entire second season, we see that Sam definitely has the capability of becoming a monster and that he believed he was going to become one.


So he didn’t become one.

And then Dean arrives on the scene and everything is okay. Everything has to be okay because Dean’s there. Because that’s what Dean does and he’s right there.

And then Jake stabs Sam.

We focus so much, during that scene, on Dean’s facial expressions, his pain, gAH EVERYTHING DEAN BECAUSE FEELS AND PAIN AND DEAN. What we don’t really focus on is Sam. Sam’s reaction. And I think that Sam’s reaction is equally as important as Dean’s.

Here’s what I think:

I think that maybe Sam didn’t think this was such a bad way to go. He went out defying the demon. He died doing the exact opposite of what he was supposed to be doing — the opposite of what Azazel and Gordon and John thought he would do. They all thought that Sam would need to be killed because he was going to kill others.

They never considered the possibility of Sam choosing to do the right thing on his own.

But he did. He had a choice, something that we see over the course of these episodes. We see that he has the exact same choice as Jake. And he chooses not to kill Jake. He could have made excuses. “He’s trying to kill me,” or, “he’s not human anymore,” but he doesn’t. He doesn’t. Sam Winchester has always seen the good in people. The humanity. And he shows time and time again that the most important thing to him (besides his family) is not hurting anyone. He doesn’t kill Jake because he doesn’t want to be responsible for hurting anyone, regardless of who they are.

Sam didn’t kill Jake until Jake started using his powers to hurt others. He didn’t kill him until his death protected others.


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