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 a 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 explored the faces of DemonBlood!Sam, followed immediately by post-demon blood, Soulless Sam in Part 3. Part 4 continued Sam’s saga by looking at how he was broken by his memories of Hell once his soul was restored. Sam was whole then for a short time, until he slowly deteriorated through Hell’s trials, traced in Part 5. To wrap up, just for fun, this installment looks at how many ways Sam was bewitched, bewildered and beguiled by supernatural mischief!
“I’m Just Not Myself Today” (aka “Not in His Right Mind”) Sam
When is Sam not Sam? Apparently quite often, as he is a favorite target of supernatural forces who love to steal his mind, borrow his body, or commandeer both at the same time!
Dosed!Sam – 7.08 “Season 7, Time for a Wedding”
Definitely not in my Top 10 list of favorite Sams, stalker fan Becky roofied Sam with a demon’s potion so he would “love” her as much as she “loved” him.
Sam went from a drugged-out-of-his-mind groom at a Las Vegas wedding, to a devoted obsessed husband, confusing the devil out of poor Dean.
The honeymoon only lasted as long as Becky’s supply of the Love Potion #9. She eventually came to her senses and helped the boys (and Garth) trap the demon responsible for the deal, so we (and Dean) were spared from looking at Sam’s puppy love grin any longer!
BodySwapped!Sam – 5.12 “Swap Meat”
What’s worse – supernatural forces vying to claim you as a vessel, or a group of teenagers who selfishly want to help those supernatural forces succeed? Sam ends up in the middle of a teenage coven’s dangerous experiment with the occult and gets body swapped with 17 year old Gary!
To make it even funnier, Jared (who was probably 28 at the tie of filming) humorously played the role of a boy who hadn’t yet experienced alcohol, sex…
or being a healthy, handsome, muscular hunk of a man!
This body swap was different than possession for Sam because he felt like himself. He was fully conscious and had all his faculties but he was walking around in Gary’s body while his own body was inhabited by the hijacking teen. Jared adeptly switched between both roles with nothing but dialog and body language to tell them apart!
Scam!Sam – 8.21 “The Great Escapist”
For a brief time in season 8, Crowley used his demons to create illusions of Sam and Dean to trick Kevin into translating the Angel Tablet.
Watching the theatrical production from the point of view of Crowley as a director, we saw Sam, who we don’t know at the time isn’t really Sam, banter with the prophet about food, work and taking care of himself.
Facial expressions should have clued us into the scam. “Looks can be deceiving” was all too true in this case!
This may have been Jared’s shortest digression as another version of Sam, but he took advantage of the brief illusion to deliver several great out-of-character witty lines! It was fun to see Jared portray an actor portraying Sam!
Sitcom!Sam – 14.15 “Peace of Mind”
At the other end of the spectrum from the sociopathic, cloned Leviathan!Sam of season 7, prissy, Sitcom!Sam appeared in a 1950’s town after Sam’s mind was overpowered by a disturbed psychic who longed for simpler times.
Once again finding himself married to a stranger (or near-stranger), Sam made a convincing Ward Cleaver, i.e. a 50’s sitcom picture-perfect husband. Do you think Sam knew that Mr. Cleaver’s actor, Hugh Beaumont, was born in Lawrence, Kansas? Maybe Charming Acres Sam and Mr. Cleaver were related!
Sam’s WandaVision self seemed completely content until Castiel tried to break the spell on Sam and the town. Then Sam’s peaceful, straight-laced, picture-perfect facade was replaced with an incensed mob-mentality killer!
Press *Next* to see more of Sam’s alternate personalities!