With it now officially being Summer Hellatus, per tradition I have started rewatching the show over. I am struck by how much Padalecki and Ackles have grown into Sam and Dean's shoes through the seasons---and astonished by how quickly they grasped these two characters from the very start. I was particularly impressed with Padalecki's performance in "Bloody Mary," as Sam is confronted with the spirit wearing his face. It made me think of his other dual role performances---and reminded me just how much I love those scenes. They are often some of my all-time favorite in the whole of the series.

  
Dual roles are difficult to pull off---especially when those characters share a scene together. It can come off as clunky and awkward. It can feel completely unnatural, and toss the viewer from the story in the process. Done well, however, and they can mesmerize. Although played by the same person, we can believe that they are actually two (or more) distinct individuals.  It can make for an incredibly powerful scene packed with emotion.
 
If anyone should teach a class on performing dual roles, it's Jared Padalecki. He has an uncanny talent in performing them on screen and making them gripping, powerful, and separate from one another. Just by looking at a character we can tell which one it is. He makes it look artful. Throughout Supernatural, we've had the privilege of seeing Jared Padalecki perform dual roles---and each time is just a bit better than the last. Let's look at a few of these roles and examine what made them so amazing.
 
"Bloody Mary" Season 1:

MirrorSamBloodyMary

This is only the fifth episode of Supernatural, but here we are treated with Padalecki playing two versions of Sam. In this episode, we can sense that Padalecki is really starting to grasp just who Sam Winchester is---and then to have the ability to give us another version, albeit one twisted by a spirit in a mirror, is extraordinary. Each Sam---the one in the mirror and the one afflicted by the Bloody Mary curse---are their own characters. It is clear just in how Padalecki carries himself in each performance.
 
The one in the mirror is vengeful, angry, and cruel. There is almost a sinister beauty in Padalecki's performance, illustrated with a subtle vicious smile and his eyes narrowed in accusation. There is a glee for the spirit as it catches Sam, and a righteousness ripe in its voice as it whispers, "It's your fault. You killed her. You killed Jessica." As the scene progresses, we see Padalecki make use of his large frame, making this version, even inside a mirror, seem much larger than the Sam outside. He makes the spirit's voice sharp as it berates Sam for doing nothing about Jessica's death. Padalecki almost snarls this bit of dialogue, driving it home to the real Sam suffering, "You never told her the truth---who you really were. But it's more than that, isn't it? Those nightmares you've been having of Jessica dying, screaming, burning---You had them for days before she died. Didn't you!?! You were so desperate to ignore them, to believe they were just dreams. How could you ignore them like that? How could you leave her alone to die!?! You dreamt it would happen!!!"

SamBloodMary

And at the same time, we watch as Padalecki makes the real Sam's suffering more than just bleeding from the eyes and struggling against the effects of the mirror. We can see in his face all the anguish about Jessica's death. There is guilt there, too. He shows us that Sam is a wreck, consumed with his grief. It is a subtle performance---but Padalecki has to convey this without saying a word, which makes it all the more remarkable. From his prostrate position on the floor, he also makes his frame seem small and exposed----as Sam's secret is being laid bare before us. It is the story manifesting itself within his body language. Padalecki has Sam fold in on himself, his hand clenched tight over his heart as another gesture speaking to the emotional pain. It is a tense scene as written, but watching Padalecki perform both parts with such skill makes it that much more powerful emotionally. It's because of his performance that we are invested. Although it is a short scene, it lingers long after viewing.
 
"Swan Song" Season 5:

LuciferSwanSong

Fast forward five seasons. Sam Winchester VS. Lucifer himself. Sam has said "Yes" and Lucifer is in control here---but he is willing to "take the gag off" and chat with his chosen vessel. Like "Bloody Mary," this takes place with one character standing in front of a mirror while another is trapped inside---but this time it's the reverse. Sam is locked in that mirror. What Padalecki manages to pull off in this scene is all the potential seen in that short season one scene come to full flower.
 
Padalecki channels Mark Pellegrino, the principle actor for Lucifer, and brings in enough of his tendencies to make the performance seamless. We see a stunning glimpse of this in the garden scene in "The End." Padalecki plays a frightening Lucifer, not because he is triumphant here, but because he makes us sympathize with the Devil. Padalecki also is just as calm, making Lucifer almost seem rational and right. We want to believe him, to agree, to switch sides---and yet we are also horrified by him all at once. He mimics enough of Pellegrino's facial expressions and vocal tones to sell this character, especially on the line, "I win. So I win." It's a remarkable performance that grips on its own---but lays the ground work for what is to come in "Swan Song."
 
Padalecki makes full use of his long frame in the entrance shot to make sure we see just how pleased Lucifer is with his true vessel. The smirk on his face as he stretches says it all. He states with the utmost patience, "Sam. Come on. I can feel you... scratching away in there." Satisfaction drips from his words, his triumph complete. There is a confidence in his stances, and we can almost sense he's becoming taller as the scene progresses.
 
He tells Sam, "You got me all wrong, kiddo. I'm not the bad guy here," and it sends chills through us because it comes off almost vulnerable in its sincerity. Lucifer believes this statement thoroughly---and we buy into it because Padalecki sells us on it in his performance. But it is when Lucifer takes the "gag" off that it becomes its most powerful. This scene mirrors almost exactly the scene from "Free to Be You and Me," where Lucifer first reveals himself to Sam. They have a similar conversation that is replayed in the mirror after Sam has finally said "Yes." Sam, in the mirror, appears angry and vulnerable, nearly defeated.  Padalecki makes Sam's face look anguished. And yet, he shows us Sam's steely resolve when he snarls the line, "I'm gonna rip you apart from the inside out. Do you understand me?"

SamInMirrorSwanSong

Lucifer easily turns this on Sam, and questions him. He asks it in a rational way, appealing to logic. It turns one of Sam's strengths into a major weakness. He asks, "Who are you really angry with? Me? Or that face in the mirror?" Padalecki makes the Devil speak slowly, calmly. He also adds in a chilling sincerity to his words. We almost want to believe Lucifer when Padalecki delivers the lines, "I'm inside your grapefruit, Sam. You can't lie to me. I see it all -- how odd you always felt, how... out of place in that... family of yours. And why shouldn't you have? They were foster care -- at best. I'm your real family," and "It is. And I know you know it. All those times you ran away, you weren't running from them. You were running towards me. This doesn't have to be a bad thing, you know. I let Dean live, didn't I? I want him to live. I'll bring your folks back, too. I want you to be happy, Sam."
 
As Lucifer continues to taunt Sam, Padalecki puts all the emphasis into Sam's denials of the Devil's claims, and yet when he says the line, "No, that's not true," we can hear a hint of doubt---that Sam isn't sure himself anymore of what is the truth and what is Lucifer's lies. He refuses to back down, however, and tells the Devil, "I don't want anything from you." As Lucifer points to the demons standing behind him, however, we see Sam break. Padalecki crumbles his expression and his voice wavers when he points out, "That's Mr. Bensman... One of my grade-school teachers." In that moment, we can sense that Lucifer has won this round---and as Padalecki delivers the line, "So, what do you say you and I blow off a little steam?" that Lucifer believes he has triumphed completely. Trapped in the mirror, Sam's expression is crushed and helpless. We can see that he finally realizes how set up his life has been for this very moment---and Padalecki makes us feel every wound in that awful realization.
 
"The Man Who Knew Too Much" Season 6:

SamTMWKTM

Season 6 brought us the dark character of Soulless Sam. Alone, he is chilling, cold, aloof, and without conscience. Padalecki plays him effortlessly, showing us an off putting version of Sam Winchester that makes us shiver. We follow him in the first half of the season, alarmed from the outset by his emotionless responses to Dean and to the victims of the monsters they hunt. We are frightened by Soulless Sam's ruthlessness. There is a dangerous element hovering around Soulless Sam, tangible in how he carries himself alone. We really don't get to fully appreciate this, however, until we see him face off with the real Sam.
 
Sam has fractured after Castiel breaks the Wall Death built inside his head. He wanders without memories of who he is---and is viciously stalked by the Soulless portion of himself. When they finally cross paths, Padalecki shows us just how different these two characters really are. Sam is emotional. Whatever he feels---be fear or confusion or resolve---flickers across his face for all to read. Padalecki makes Sam seem smaller as he crouches and stumbles away from his ruthless doppelganger. There is a vulnerability in his performance as he scrambles to figure things out. Our hearts break as Sam utters, "I---I don't remember anything." He is clearly at a disadvantage facing this adversary that knows exactly what is going on. And yet, as Sam crouches down by a tree, a cold resolve settles over his face and his intelligence wins the day.
 
On the other side of the equation, Padalecki shows us one last performance as the cold Soulless Sam. He is calm, collected, and unreadable as he's been since his introduction. This isn't emotionally personal for this character---but being that he is a "piece" of Sam, he knows just what buttons to push. There is almost a vicious amusement in this dialogue. Padalecki delivers chilling lines that hit hard such as, "And someone just won a copy of the home game. We're inside your grapefruit, Sam. Son, you've been juiced," and "Well, your BFF Cas brought the Hell-wall tumbling down and you, pathetic infant that you are, shattered into pieces." and "I was sharp, strong. That is, 'til they crammed your soul back in. Now look at you. Same misty-eyed milksop you always were. That's because souls are weak. They're a liability. Now, nothing personal, but run the numbers. Someone's got to take charge around here, before it's too late." Sure, he is taunting Sam here, but Soulless Sam has always been about his own survival, and that is no different here. We can see it in how Padalecki makes Soulless Sam's frame stand tall with his back straight and his stance confident. Soulless Sam knows he has the upper hand, and as he stalks Sam through the woods, he is slow and deliberate.

SoullessSamTMWKTM

He continues to taunt, the hint of triumph and amusement filling his cold voice. Padalecki makes this last appearance memorable, putting all he has into this character. And as he takes a bullet in the chest, we see him look down in quiet disbelief, subtly showing his shock at being defeated. Before he is reabsorbed into Sam, however, Soulless Sam leaves one last taunt hanging, delivered dead on by Padalecki, "You think I'm bad? Wait 'til you meet the other one."
 
The other one. Not only does Padalecki show us his talent in playing these two characters off one another, he gets to show us yet another Sam---the one that remembers Hell. What's impressive here is just how different this Sam is from the other two. What makes it even more remarkable is that really Padalecki is playing two new versions of Sam here---first the Sam that remembers his Soulless year and Sam that remembers the time in the Cage. In this scene, we see these two characters weave a powerful story together all through Padalecki's performances alone. As Hell Sam he is broken and defeated. It is written all over his face and in his raw voice. His shoulders sag and he totters on his feet. Unlike facing Soulless Sam, this version has no fight left, only pleadings and harsh warnings. It's heartbreaking to hear Padalecki deliver the lines, "Humpty Dumpty has to put himself back together again, before he can wake up. And I'm the last piece," and "Sam, you can't imagine. Stay here, go back, find that bartender, go find Jess, but don't do this. I know you. You're not strong enough." On the other side, Sam, now 2/3rds of the way back together, has all the steely resolve that Soulless Sam had plus the emotional depth he lacked. He is steadfast facing down his Hell version, firm and determined, and nothing says that better than the line, "You know me. You know why. I'm not leaving my brother alone out there."

MTM183

What's so memorable about all of these scenes is the fact that it is Padalecki that brings all the characters to life. Through his skill, he makes each character involved their very own, and we are transported into the story. We aren't distracted by the fact that only one actor is involved---instead we are awed. Padalecki shows us that dual roles---or in the case of "The Man Who Knew Too Much" with multiple roles---are a worthy story telling tool. They can enhance the story, plunging us into deeper emotional depths. When we examine the mechanics, we are further awed by just how adept Padalecki is at pulling these various roles off---and against one another no less.

Comments  

Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2013-06-14 13:44
Hmmm, I think a few rewatches are in order!

Thanks, Far Away Eyes.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-14 18:32
Thank you, TIm!

I had to rewatch these scenes, too---even if it meant skipping way way ahead in my series rewatch. Too good to pass up.
Super
# Super 2013-06-14 14:15
Hi Far Way Eyes.

Great article and I very much agree. These guys can play off so well against each other but also very well against themselves which must be so, so hard.
I can still remember watching Bloody Mary for the first time. It freaked me out! I also remember rewinding that mirror bit quite a few times, if you catch my drift ;) Jared just nailed it! I really like that eppie, it's one of my season 1 faves for sure. Allthough, I gotta admit, there are a lot of fave eps in season 1 for me :)

This article also made me miss the original concept of Swap Meat, that was, that Sam and Dean were going to swap bodies. Now THAT is something I'd like to see, Jared playing Dean and Jensen playing Sam! Maybe start a twitter campaign for season 9 or something?

My personal fave though is the Swan Song scene. Man, what a chilling, creepy performance. I rewind that alot too when I watch it. Jared just blows me away, every time. Especially the whole "You were running towards me." That always gets me all goosebumpy.

Tim is correct, I gotta rewatch these scenes because you are absolutely right, they are amazing!

Thanks FWE!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-14 18:37
Thanks for the comment!

I'm glad you think I did these scenes justice. I wanted to convey just how well done they were. As I've continued my rewatch, I find myself rewinding other scenes that just strike me as awesome. The "Bloody Mary" one was the first scene that I did that in and I had to do an article!

I, too, would love to see Sam and Dean have to switch bodies. Jared and Jensen would nail it and knock it out of the park. I don't know if a Twitter campaign would work, but we could always try! Perhaps Robbie Thompson should write that episode!

I remember as I was getting caught up on this show in early-mid season 6, and i found out that Jared would end up eventually playing Lucifer. I was apprehensive. The Devil is a very big character, a difficult role to do without it going cheesy or wooden or clunky. I was stunned by how well Jared did it and felt a bit ashamed that I hadn't had more confidence. Now? "The End" garden scene and "Swan Song" are some of my favorite scenes in the entire series. It's just how he pulls Lucifer off as a "hero in his own mind" that makes it magical.

I hope you enjoy your rewatch!
Grace232
# Grace232 2013-06-14 14:26
Thanks for this great article. I started out as a huge fan of Jensen (still am, in fact). That guy can do more with an expression or just his eyes than most actors can do with pages of dialogue! The episode that blew my mind, though, and made me realize how fabulous Jared is, was Born Under a Bad Sign. I know he was not playing against himself, but he was playing a different character. He gave an absolutely chilling performance as Meg. These two guys are two of the best actors I have seen, and in addition to all the steller Sam episodes you mentioned, I would add BUABS.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-14 18:43
Thanks for the comment!

I actually considered adding in BUABS, but didn't because we never see the characters interact off one another. That episode is awesome, too. Jared really nailed it and I remember my first viewing being shocked that it wasn't Sam at all that whole time, but Meg.

I really love both these actors so much, and it's just amazing how skilled they are. Thanks again!
Trucklady
# Trucklady 2013-06-14 14:45
Great comparison and disecting of the dual roles of Jared. He is an awesome actor and these scenes just show how talented he is. There are also a number of dual roles for Jensen that, if not already done, could be.

I just love your articles FarAwayEyes and look forward to them everytime I get a notification that something else has been posted by you.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-14 18:45
Thanks for the comment!

Yes, Jensen has his own stellar dual roles. Who knows, as I keep going on my rewatch I might do the same with him. His acting in "Dream A Little Dream of Me" always gets me. And of course "The End."

I'm glad you love my articles so much. They're fun to write---and besides, if I didn't I think I might go crazy.
Trucklady
# Trucklady 2013-06-14 18:53
Quote:
Jensen has his own stellar dual roles
His first dual role was Skin and the only time I believe he was supposedly on camera at the same time was after he killed the shapeshifter. That scene was a little rough but not for lack of acting. I think it was just the way the two parts were edited together but yes, it would be great to see what you come up with in a dual Dean role.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-14 19:05
Yes, very true. "Skin" does feature two Deans, and that end scene where Dean shoots the other is very short. It's pretty neat how these two actors can pull off more than one version of the character. "Slash Fiction" also has that element, too!
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2013-06-18 02:35
You are forgetting Jensen in triple role..he is a director too..a good one .
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2013-06-14 15:40
Thanks for this Far Away Eyes. You had one of my favourite episodes in there, season 5's Swan Song. You're so right about Jared, he managed to channel Mark Pellegrino's cadence, especially when he says: Quote:
“I win. So I win.”
. That sent chills down my spine then and it still does. I lent my season's 5, 6 & 7 to my niece, and now I desperately want them back so I can watch it again! :sad: I hope you do the same for Jensen, he had some really good ones too, especially in Dream a Little Dream. Oh, man I love these two acors. ;-)

Thank God for you gals during Hellatus. What would we do without you to bide our time until October? :lol:
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-14 18:47
Thanks for the comment!

It is amazing how well he took what Pellegrino does with Lucifer and applied it to his version of the character. That's not just skill, that's careful consideration for his job. Not every actor would do that.

I may do the same eventually for Jensen. I am in early season 2 of my rewatch, so there's a chance!

Thanks again!
E
# E 2013-06-14 17:47
Thanks so much for this Far Away Eyes. I absolutely love to watch this man play against himself, it's so eerie and effective. In Swan Song I knew when it was Sam and when it was Lucifer just by looking at him. He would somehow tighten the muscles in his face differently when he was Lucifer, making his face look hard and cruel in a way that was so 'unSamlike' that it was easy to see who was who in all of his dual scenes.

And I agree with Grace, his work in Born Under a Bad Sign, even though he wasn't playing against himself in a dual role, gave us an early glimpse of his amazing talent to inhabit another character. I hope that they continue to give him these great opportunities to show us what he can do.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-14 18:51
Thanks for the comment!

Yes. This man acting off of himself is just amazing. It's probably one of my all time favorite things about the show, and I am always amazed at how well he does it. I sometimes feel spoiled by how well Jared and Jensen do that and when I see other actors in other shows sometimes try to do it it seems not as good.

May he get lots of opportunity to blow us away again with his acting, huh?
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-06-14 18:09
Thanks so much for this article. I agree with Grace that BUABS was another stunning performance by Jared.

I really appreciate this article because I have come across a persistent meme in fandom that Jared is a lesser actor than Jensen. I never felt that way. I have always felt that both guys were good at what they do and have only improved as the show has demanded better performances. It's great to see Jared get the recognition for the great job that he does.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-14 18:54
Thanks for the comment.

I haven't really seen those memes, but I do know sometimes that Jared is slighted in favor of Jensen and vice versa, and that's a shame. The show is only the success it is because these two actors are so good at their craft. Sure, the writing has a role in it clearly, but it would never translate as well without these two outstanding actors bringing Sam and Dean to life.

I love both actors and both characters. As I sat down and wrote this piece, I really wanted to convey that about Jared this time. The man has inspired so much in my life through his acting, and his dual roles play a huge role in that especially.

Thanks again!
TeresaPezzino
# TeresaPezzino 2013-06-14 19:06
Great article! One thing that amazes me about Jared is how much of his acting is physical. His stance, the way he turns his head, just the way he moves his eyes makes him seem like an entirely different person. He can go from total warmth to total coldness at warp speed.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-14 19:14
Thanks for the comment!

Yes! Jared has this uncanny ability to turn on a dime emotionally it seems. I'm no actor, but I can appreciate how hard that has to be.
eilf
# eilf 2013-06-14 19:48
I love watching people stretch their acting muscles. And Jared and Jensen do get the opportunity in this show in ways they probably couldn't on other shows. The playing variations on their characters that they do is so much fun to watch. And yes if you just look at the eyes in the top photo above you can see that isn't normal everyday 'Sam', how cool is that?

You have me watching Bloody Mary now, which is great because it has grown to be one of my favorite episodes.:-)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-14 22:36
Thanks for the comment.

That's what I love about this show. Now I watch not only this show to watch the story, but I watch all my shows to see how actors bring me the story. These two actors, Jared and Jensen, do it better than just about anyone else on TV right now. And it's amazing how both of them can just shift minutely to bring a whole new version of either their character or a different character---as Jared did playing a possessed by Meg Sam in BUABS.

Just awesome.

Enjoy Bloody Mary!
Kristin L.
# Kristin L. 2013-06-14 23:21
This is beautifully written, and exactly how I feel about Jared's exquisite talent as an actor! Well done, Allison. :D
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-15 11:41
Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you feel I captured his excellence at acting.
KG_SPN
# KG_SPN 2013-06-15 00:52
Thanks for your article Far Away Eyes. I love all those episodes, as well as Born Under A Bad Sign. If I didn't have a lot work to do this afternoon, I'd go and watch them again right now (maybe later) ;-)

We are so lucky to have two incredible actors portraying Sam and Dean. I am constantly impressed by their performances, and, just when I think they can't do any better, they deliver a finale like Sacrifice. It's really wonderful.

Also (personal note for you), I've just read a story where the lead character was playing off against a version of himself... and I can totally imagine Jared in the role. As you've shown with the examples here, they are some of Jared's best performances :P
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-15 11:44
Thanks for the comment!

Oh I had to rewatch just the scenes discussed really for the article, but this whole article got sparked from watching "Bloody Mary." It was just awesome.

What I am absolutely adoring about my rewatch this summer is seeing it in BluRay. It's allowed me to watch it like it's the first time again and I can really appreciate more than ever before how good these actors truly are. They just get better and better as the series goes along, and what really impresses me is just how much of that talent is there from the very start, being honed to a fine art. Jared and Jensen really knock it out every week.

I'm glad you saw him in the role for my novel. I wouldn't want anyone else to play those two characters in a film version. Who knows? Someday maybe??
Sali
# Sali 2013-06-15 11:30
Great article, really I can't find enough words to describe how amazing it is.
Jared acting is always amazing, he act against himself perfectly and he is more than perfect in doing different characters with the real meaning of different characters, he make us feel they are really different persons and his amazing talent appears when he do different characters or different versions of his character in the same scene.
Jared is brilliant actor.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-15 12:00
Thanks!

It's really amazing to me that actors can do things like this, isn't it? I'm not an actress by any stretch of the imagination, but I do respect storytellers in any medium. To me, Jared told us the story just by acting in these scenes, and that's beyond amazing. How he managed to do it, I don't know. It's a brilliant talent to be able to do things like that and do them so convincingly that you buy into the various versions of a character this way.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2013-06-15 11:33
@Percysowner: I was one of those people who always lauded Jensen over Jared as far as acting but seeing this article does make me realize my mistake. It's not so much that Jared is lesser than Jensen, it's just he's a different style of actor than him and I just prefer Jensen's style. I forgot just how good Jared is in some of these very challenging roles. So thank you,Far Away Eyes for bringing it home to me.

I found Jared's performance as Lucifer in The End to be one of his most chilling as it was the first time I was seeing what A Lucifer/Sam combo would be like. I still get shaken whenever I rewatch that scene. It floors me every time and takes me a while to recover from it.

And also my favorite version of him I love to hate is Soulless Sam. This is a terrifying and fascinating character. As if Sam had been possessed by a giant arachnid. (Very appropriate considering some of the acts Soulless Sam got up to.)

A wonderful article. keep 'em coming, please.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-15 12:07
Thanks!

I think Jared and Jensen are both excellent actors and what really impresses me about both of them is just how much they work together to bring both Sam and Dean to life.

The scene in "The End" is also one of my all time favorite scenes in the series. Jared really awed me the first time I saw it and every time I watch it since it just gets better with age. It's just so well done.

Oh yes. Soulless Sam. I loved the character. First piece I ever wrote about Supernatural was about Soulless Sam. He's a very unique character. What really floors me about Jared's performance as him is how he managed to not only change his whole body language and demeanor from the normal Sam, but that he was able to somehow make his eyes look so absolutely cold just on acting alone. That's beautiful skill. I love your analogy of the character being a bit like a giant arachnid. That seems very appropriate.

Thanks again!
suzee51
# suzee51 2013-06-15 12:47
It's just my opinion but if you started watching SPN at the very beginning, the reason that I think many viewers felt that Jensen was a much stronger actor had to do with the writing. Jensen was given a more complex, layered character to play. His scenes drew the viewer in. While Sam was much more a one dimension character whose scenes were less developed.

Think about the characters of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker (which Kripke has admitted to using for inspiration in creating Dean and Sam). Han Solo is a much more layered, interesting character. While Luke Skywalker (while the main character and the hero) is much more milktoast.

I see the character of Sam in the beginning as milktoast - yes, he is adorable with the floppy hair and the puppy eyes. But it is the snark and depth of the character of Dean that originally shines. For me, there was an instant identification with the character of Dean. It took many more episodes to hook me in to the character of Sam. And again, for me, when Jared portrayed Lucifer in "The End" or "Swan Song" that was when I saw a truly powerhouse performance from Jared. How many actors have said how much easier it is to portray a villain than a "nice guy"?

Yes, Jared has done some brilliant acting in this series - and yes, Jensen has also. But sometimes I feel that it comes down to what each of them is given to work with. If the writing is weak then it is much harder for an actor to display true skill. When either Jared or Jensen is given inspired writing, BOTH of them knock it out of the park. And it is a travesty that neither of them have ever been recognized for acting awards.
Caro
# Caro 2013-06-15 13:43
I sadly have to agree with you. Although I've always appreciated Jared and his acting, and he's been "my guy" from day one, but the writing has not always been there to support his talent. When the writing is good (for him) he does truly shine. That is why I really appreciated his effort in S8 especially in Sacrifice. Once again he was afforded the opportunity to show his ability and talent. The actors are only as good as the writing when it comes down to it. I'm hoping Jared continues to get stronger writing for "Sam" in the future.

Thanks Far Away Eyes for another wonderful article. You once again make some wonderful points. I appreciate your acknowledgement of Jared's talent and always thank you for your support of both guys and their tremendous under appreciated talent! Another great article!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-15 15:03
Thank you, Caro. I'm glad you appreciated this take on Jared and his acting. I may lean Sam/Jared, but I like to identify myself as a Sam and Dean/Jared and Jensen kind of gal. Who knows, I might get struck by something Jensen does as I continue my rewatch and talk about his skill.

Thanks again!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-15 15:00
Thanks for the comment!

I can understand the reasoning for why Jensen was favored initially especially. I do know, however, some people I've talked to that aren't in the fandom that felt that Sam's character was the better of the two, and that Dean was a mean brother to him and everything else while Sam's sweet and trying to be a good person and all of that. I think there's two sides to the whole argument, and depending which side you lean or fall on can sometimes determine which actor or character you favor, too.

I think you bring up very valid arguments about Sam's character in season 1 especially. He is a bit sweet and at times not nearly as screen grabbing as Dean, but I think that is partially due to the mystery they wanted to build around him. We can argue forever if there was a weakness or not in the writing about that, but I think it's one reason we see Dean getting a lot more zingers and fleshed out character aside from the Star Wars inspirations we know were used.

I lean Sam/Jared personally. I admit that. But I respect and adore both actors/characte rs, and what I love about both is that they don't act the same and that their characters are different. It's what makes the show work for me---seeing two totally different approaches meld together to tell us a beautiful story that captures our hearts, minds, and imaginations.

It is an absolute shame that neither have had the recognition they deserve for being able to tell us some very powerful and emotional stories week to week and season to season. I've found that their performances linger long after viewing, and it's often channeled into something very much like this article.

Thanks for bringing a richer layer to the discussion!
Amyh
# Amyh 2013-06-17 13:11
Quote:
Thanks for the comment!

I can understand the reasoning for why Jensen was favored initially especially. I do know, however, some people I've talked to that aren't in the fandom that felt that Sam's character was the better of the two, and that Dean was a mean brother to him and everything else while Sam's sweet and trying to be a good person and all of that. I think there's two sides to the whole argument, and depending which side you lean or fall on can sometimes determine which actor or character you favor, too.

I think you bring up very valid arguments about Sam's character in season 1 especially. He is a bit sweet and at times not nearly as screen grabbing as Dean, but I think that is partially due to the mystery they wanted to build around him. We can argue forever if there was a weakness or not in the writing about that, but I think it's one reason we see Dean getting a lot more zingers and fleshed out character aside from the Star Wars inspirations we know were used.

I lean Sam/Jared personally. I admit that. But I respect and adore both actors/characters, and what I love about both is that they don't act the same and that their characters are different. It's what makes the show work for me---seeing two totally different approaches meld together to tell us a beautiful story that captures our hearts, minds, and imaginations.

It is an absolute shame that neither have had the recognition they deserve for being able to tell us some very powerful and emotional stories week to week and season to season. I've found that their performances linger long after viewing, and it's often channeled into something very much like this article.

Thanks for bringing a richer layer to the discussion!
Far Aawat eyes...I think the reason Dean standds out so much in season 1 is the writers focused on Sam learning about who Dean is beyond what he remembered. So basically the viewers were learning who Dean was at the same time Sam was. Think about Wendigo...we get Dean giving teh 'family' motto. Dead int he water...we along with Sam are flies in the wall as he talks to Lucas about when Mary died.

So...in the beginning we as well as Sam were learning about Dean, getting to know who he is as person....basic ally breaking down the sterotype of Hero/big brother to the real man underneath.

Its just too bad that it took 8 years for Dean (and the majority of viewers) to pause ans take the time to look beyond the sterotype of 'younger brother' in need of protection/Dean s albatross. To see the real man underneath.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-17 16:19
Quote:

Far Aawat eyes...I think the reason Dean standds out so much in season 1 is the writers focused on Sam learning about who Dean is beyond what he remembered. So basically the viewers were learning who Dean was at the same time Sam was. Think about Wendigo...we get Dean giving teh 'family' motto. Dead int he water...we along with Sam are flies in the wall as he talks to Lucas about when Mary died.

So...in the beginning we as well as Sam were learning about Dean, getting to know who he is as person....basically breaking down the sterotype of Hero/big brother to the real man underneath.

Its just too bad that it took 8 years for Dean (and the majority of viewers) to pause ans take the time to look beyond the sterotype of 'younger brother' in need of protection/Deans albatross. To see the real man underneath.
I have to say I agree with that. We are watching things through Sam's eyes and learning about his brother and family---things he didn't really know. We see that again in "Something Wicked," when Sam learns about the Shtriga. It is an interesting way to use perception of the story when we, the viewer, realize we're Sam in that instance. We're watching Dean with him, learning with him.

I do think, however, there's been much much more to Sam all long, too. It's just a matter of looking for it and finding the man underneath. From the beginning, Sam has spent his whole time trying to figure out just who he is and where he belongs. Dean has always kinda known he was going to be a hunter and that was his lot and so he became a much firmer character right away, whereas Sam is a bit more fluid. That's kinda my take on it, though.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2013-06-18 02:37
Nicely told.
Amyh
# Amyh 2013-06-19 10:57
I have to say I agree with that. We are watching things through Sam's eyes and learning about his brother and family---things he didn't really know. We see that again in "Something Wicked," when Sam learns about the Shtriga. It is an interesting way to use perception of the story when we, the viewer, realize we're Sam in that instance. We're watching Dean with him, learning with him.

I do think, however, there's been much much more to Sam all long, too. It's just a matter of looking for it and finding the man underneath. From the beginning, Sam has spent his whole time trying to figure out just who he is and where he belongs. Dean has always kinda known he was going to be a hunter and that was his lot and so he became a much firmer character right away, whereas Sam is a bit more fluid. That's kinda my take on it, though.

I absoolutely agree with you...there is far more to Sam and its a matter of looking for it. TNT recently started from the beginning and it really hit me that while Sam spends a lot of time watching Dean and rethinking his own preconcieved notions of who he thought Dean was; Dean doesn't do the same. Dean has this preconceived notion of who Sam is even after 4 years apart and 8 years later Dean still has not attempted to change his views or understanding of Sam.

It really feels like if Sam doesn't fit into Deans preconceived view of who Sam should be (that 18 year old pre series kid) even 8 years later Dean sees it as a betrayal of him, their family and lets it feed into his 'abadonment' issues. I think most of fandom agrees that after Dean disappeared (AGAIN) and Sam lost everyone he loved Sam simply couldn't face the loss. AGAIN. "I imploded. I ran."

I think most of us agree that the writes were trying to say Sam fell apart. What bothered me about the storyline is his family, the ones who supposed ly loved him (and knew him best) couldn't see that. They couldn't or wouldn't see that their deaths and disappearences after everyting Sam had been through with the soulessness and nearly dying himself was simply one time too much. Its simply seen as a betrayal that Sam didn't look.

If my brother can't fathom that the loss of him is devistating to me when he knows what my loss to me does to him....then yeah, i dont think i would even try to talk to him. He simply wont listen. i think even high on demon blood in season 4 Sam had Dean pegged. 'Dean will never know who Sam is and never will. (Dean knows the Hunter because he in large part trained him but not the person) Simply because Dean has never tried to get to know Sam (outside of his preconceived ideas of who he is)
love2boys unlogged
# love2boys unlogged 2013-06-15 17:54
I also started watching with 1.01, but without any influence by the fanbase until 6 months ago.

My unbiased ;-) view was that both actors and their characters were brilliant and fascinating from the very beginning. Farawayeye's article supports that. The comments seem to support that. So it came kind of as a surprise to me that Sam's character was seen to begin as 'milktoast.' He kicked ass in Bloody Mary, the 5th episode!

And Sam was great in the episodes leading up to 1.05. Think about how he stood between the Wendigo and the family with his arms outspread. He totally sold that to me. I watch that scene over and over. Sam was so brave! Hmm. And remember how we felt for him in the campfire scene in the same episode.

Jared may have been young, but he was still a very good actor and the stories were written to have many scenes where he could showcase Sam's complex emotions (about John, for instance) right from the beginning of the series. The writing helped to immediately pull me into Sam's character, since it was more complex than Dean's character at that time.

I enthusiasticall y validate and support Jared and Sam's kick-assed-ness from the very beginning!!!!! Jensen and Dean were out-of-the-park amazing right from the start as well.

I agree that they were written differently. Thank goodness. But they were both written to be strong when necessary, emotionally vulnerable and interesting.

I guess that is why my name is love2boys.
kaj
# kaj 2013-06-16 04:31
You should make an article for the companion. "The Dual Role of Jensen Ackles" It's not complete without it. Because we're not favoring one boy over the other aren't we? :-D
Sharon
# Sharon 2013-06-16 05:10
Quote:
You should make an article for the companion. "The Dual Role of Jensen Ackles" It's not complete without it. Because we're not favoring one boy over the other aren't we? :-D
No it is simply a article acknowledging Jared's acting in the dual roles he has played . And defining dual roles that is all.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-16 11:18
Thanks for the comment!

I love to refer to myself as a Sam and Dean girl, a Jared and Jensen girl.

I do have plans to write about Jensen's acting down the road, too. His acting floors me just as much. This time an article finding Jared's acting amazing captured me. I don't know what my rewatch will shake out about Jensen's but stay tuned!
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-06-16 12:43
I love how everyone gets their moments of recognition on this site. This is one of Jared's. Well deserved. :-)
LEAH
# LEAH 2013-06-16 13:02
I have always loved Jared's acting in this series. It took he and Jensen a few episodes to find their footing but since then it has been full steam ahead. There has never been a moment when I felt that they were phoning it in. Jared is very self deprecating, at times, about his acting. That is another thing that I love about him. Those moments when he was playing other versions of himself were when I realized how good this guy really was. His performances in the last several episodes of this season have, to me, elevated him to one of the best on tv!! Thanks Far Away Eyes.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-16 14:22
Thanks for the comment.

I agree. It took a few episodes for both Js to really capture just who Sam and Dean are, but it sure didn't take long and it's amazing how they just get better as the seasons have progressed at telling us their stories.

I have always felt that they both put everything they have into their performances. Not once have I ever sensed that they were just going through the motions or half assing the effort. I don't think that's how they approach acting.

As I keep going on my rewatch, i find myself rewinding moments, ways one of them said something or conveyed something with a look or gesture, mostly because it amazes me and I need one more look to full appreciate what it is they do.

Thanks again!
jzep
# jzep 2013-06-16 19:00
Thank you for writing such a positive piece on Padalecki's performances. Yes, every single version of his Sam's and Meg, Lucifer were so believable and brought out different and strong emotional reactions from audience. His soulless Sam wouldnt of been so disturbing if he didn't nail it like he did. Thank you for acknowledging how well he played those multiple challenging roles.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-16 20:13
Thanks for the comment!

I'm glad you liked the positive slant on this piece. Of all scenes in the show's history, these are some of the ones that I love the most and I really wanted to convey that if at all possible.

I agree about Soulless Sam completely. He's disturbing because of how Jared plays him, and that is part of the beauty in that performance.

Thanks again!
Lynn
# Lynn 2013-06-17 23:39
It takes a talented actor to pull off these contrasting roles, to make the differences subtle enough that we still see the same character, yet clear enough that we recognize the differences.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-18 20:19
Thanks for the comment.

Yes. Jared has such nuance in his acting and he really knows how to play those different shades well, I think. I can't imagine trying to sell that many different sides and make them so clear.

Thanks again.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2013-06-18 02:43
I was one of those people who liked Jared's acting from the beginning of the show.Jared has not stagnated and has grown every episode and has wow ed me with his acting.Especial ly his dual roles, soulless Sam and my personal favorite,Sam as Lucifer when Dean goes to future.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-06-18 20:22
Thanks for the comment.

I agree 100% that Jared has only grown through the series. He manages to bring fresh approaches to his portrayal, yet keep it consistent enough that I never feel he's getting too far away from the Sam we first met. He's added way more layers over time, but that hopeful young man we met at the start is largely still there.

And yes, that scene with Dean meeting Lucifer in 2014 is probably one of my favorites all time.

Thanks again!
KimJ
# KimJ 2013-06-24 19:21
Jared is often sorely under-rated as an actor. These dual roles, and indeed every time he plays a different version of his chatacter from being possessed by Meg to each of the examples given here, truly show off his amazing talent.