It has been almost a week since your SPN family sat in front of their TV screens in awe of the season 8 finale. If everything was as it should be, you probably would have watched it with us, live tweeting occasional comments and interacting with friends, fans and fellow cast members. I imagine you would have experienced a few anxious feelings wondering how the episode would be received, but after a while you would have relaxed a bit, and allowed yourself to absorb the joy of knowing that the show was a success. It should have been an hour of exhilaration and professional pride for you. Instead of basking in excitement, however, I know you are completely consumed with a family crisis right now, so I assume you either missed the show entirely or have not had the time or the heart to tune into fan reactions. At some point in the future, though, when your life starts to return to normal, you will check in with Twitter and emails again, you will think about work again, and you might just have a fleeting sadness that you missed the enthusiasm that surrounded the season's end. You gave so much of yourself to us in that episode that I thought we should return the favor. So I would like to capture here the thoughts and feelings of as many fans as possible while the finale's effect on us is still raw and unmuted by the passage of time.
Jared, your performance in "Sacrifice" was nothing less than stunning. The entire episode was a masterpiece, but your portrayal of Sam's suffering and heartbreak was breathtaking, literally. Every analyst's review and fan comment I have read has used words like "award-winning" and "ground breaking" with phrases like "raised the bar yet again" and "hit it out of the park". You brought passion to every minute of Sam's self-doubt, physical pain and human need. The scenes with Mark Sheppard were touching, believable and transformative. (You have mentioned that working with a variety of other actors stretches your creative capabilities, so I am so glad you got a chance to craft that scene with such a deeply talented actor as Mark. Together, the two of you struck a perfect balance between intensity and sensitivity, resulting in an incredibly moving character exposé.) Then Sam's climatic revelation to Dean was arguably the most poignant scene in the series. It was long ago established that you and Jensen have unmatched chemistry, and while he added immeasurably to the emotion of that dialogue, you truly owned that moment. Your gut-wrenching confession of (perceived) failure was a window into our most guarded human frailties. You showed us a human's soul, leaving our hearts pounding and our nerves wrecked. (I can't imagine filming that scene several times to get the angles, camera shots, etc. perfect. You had to go through that over and over again!)
I can't say I'm surprised. While your acting is always superb, over the past eight years you have given us several outstanding performances as Sam. You reduced us to puddles of empathy in "Heart" (s2), "Croatoan"(s2) and "Mystery Spot"(s3). We enjoyed your humor and comedic timing through entire episodes of "Bad Day at Black Rock" (s3), "The French Mistake" (s6) and "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie" (s7), as well as through quick one-liners, as in "Reading is Fundamental" (s7). You left us awed in horror as you transformed yourself into a mocking and sinister Possessed!Sam in "Born Under a Bad Sign" (s2), showed us unforgiving rage in "Fresh Blood" (S3), then mystified us as you delivered a haunting, emotionless Soulless!Sam in season 6. There have been the intense, highly emotional scenes such as those in "I Know What You Did Last Summer" (s4), "Sex and Violence" (s4), "When the Levee Breaks" (s4), "Swan Song"(s5), "The Man Who Knew Too Much"(s6) and "Hello Cruel World" (s7) (Sorry! I started out to list just a few of my personal favorites but the list just kept growing!). Then, at the end of season 8, you began the road to your best performance yet in "The Great Escapist". None of these achievements, though, prepared us for the perfection we saw in the finale, in "Sacrifice". Your vulnerability was gripping and unforgettable.
Without taking away from the prior seasons' accomplishments, the distinction that elevated this episode's performance was that the impact did not come from what was happening in the scene. The audience was not affected by watching you die from being stabbed in the back, or watching Dean be killed after a season of trying to save him. We were not watching you kill Lilith or raise Lucifer. No, the power of your scenes came solely and completely from what was said and how it was said. There was only dialogue. There were simple movements like you drawing blood on yourself, holding a syringe up to Crowley or showing your arms to Dean but these were there only to support the dialogue. The intensity of the moment came entirely from the honesty of the human emotion. The movements of your eyes, voice inflections, breath, posture, the way you walked, the way you stood and the heartbreak in your face all delivered the dominance of this episode. Acting at its absolute finest.
During the New Jersey convention panel, Jensen said you were "wrecked" after filming the finale. With all respect, you did look tired. Then when your family crisis happened and you had to leave Rome unexpectedly, Jensen said you were "heartbroken" about missing Jus In Bello. He said that interacting with fans rejuvenates both of you and that talking to fans is what makes the long hours of your filming schedule worth it. So ironically, while we were watching a fictional show about sacrifices, you were being asked to make a real life sacrifice of your own for the good of your family. Hopefully, though, our comments give back to you some of that wonderfully grateful, positive enthusiasm that you missed. I wasn't one of the people affected by your absence in Italy or England, but I know I can speak for at least some of them when I say there is no need to explain further or to feel bad. We are your family too. We understand. We are proud of what you did and we support you.
Our love to you, Genevieve and her family. Our thoughts, hopes and good wishes are with you all. When you are ready, read these comments, and understand what your performance meant to us.
Love and gratitude
and your SPN family
WFB friends, I know many of you already left your reactions to "Sacrifice" in review comments, but this is the place to discuss what you specifically thought of Sam in this episode. What did you think of Jared's performance in the finale? How did it affect you? Feel free to list your favorite "Sam" moments of the series as well or good wishes to the family! I will tweet or mail this to him at a future date (when it seems appropriate), but even if he never sees it, we will have recorded our reactions and that kind of positive energy always has a way of reaching its intended target!
Copyright 2013, Nightsky