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But the man is on edge. As Dean comes back ‘home’ he is almost shot by his brother, and cracking a joke doesn’t change the fact that Sam starts to behave like a trauma survivor. The first hints are there – hypervigilance, jumpiness, and those are paving the way for the first memories to emerge from behind that wall. With Sam so stressed out, that wall can’t hold for long. 

In this state he can’t stay in their hideout. As soon as Dean leaves to pay the shocked husband of the latest victim a visit, Sam is heading out, too, to meet Brenna for help. Can’t hold a Winchester back on a mission like this. Unfortunately Dean can’t reach him, again, since he’s figured out that all this seems to be about Sam. A trap for his brother. 
More flashbacks. In Brenna’s home he remembers another scene that took place there – the Winchester Grandfather and Grandson talking about their job. And Sam made clear that family ‘just slows you down’. Haven’t we heard that before? We have. In season four’s "Sex And Violence" In the end, under the spell of the siren, both Sam and Dean smashed each other’s’ heads in with ugly truths. Again the critical limits of the Super-Ego were shut out, only raw instinct speaking. 


More and more I come to the conclusion that Soulless Sam was still Sam. It was the part of Sam that focused on satiation of base instincts and needs. Like a newborn baby that doesn’t know anything of suspending or delaying one’s needs, governed by the self-absorbed Id. I’m hungry, and I want my food now. I see my goal and I do anything to get there. 

Taking this into account it makes perfect sense that Sam feels responsible, since that part of him Dean so desperately tries to deny worked those deeds. I don’t think it’s possible to entirely separate Soulless Sam from Re-Souled Sam. Dean does it, based on his early established basic urge to keep his brother safe. 

Don’t get me wrong – I love my Sam. I do. And looking at him in this way is painful. But I would do him an injustice if I sugarcoated it for him (she said of a fictional character…). The idea is to embrace all of him and try to deal with that package. 

What Soulless Sam did were his choices, resulting from using his intellect and his common sense, much as he did throughout season four. Sam grieving for Dean made some very unpopular decisions based on the same factors, he behaved like another person, almost without conscience, really. Back then Sam chose to work with Ruby despite his conscience. He chose to kill that nurse in "Lucifer Rising" despite his inner turmoil, for the greater good. Even in "Jus In Bello" he considered killing a virgin to thwart Lilith’s plan. He found a way to block out his conscience’s protests and the pain it caused him to act against his usually compassionate nature.

There has always been a side to Sam’s character that was willing to make difficult, almost barbaric decisions. And Sam is aware of that. It’s in his nature, too. He tried to make amends for it through season five and died for it. But there was no redemption. Not so far. His soul, the vulnerable, idealistic, kind part of him, was trapped in hell, while another was roaming the earth committing even more deeds that eventually were going to render his body uninhabitable for his soul.

It’s a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. Sam isn’t making any attempts to dismiss it. I think it’s a very brave step, owning up that. What would we do if we did something that terrible? Would we try to set it right? Would we kill ourselves? 

It’s already eating away at him. And it’s weakening the ‘Great Wall of Sam’. More memories come flashing back, their emotional impact increasing. He remembers the arachne now. And he will soon remember exactly what he did to Roy. I have a feeling that Sam already senses that he might be directly responsible for Roy’s disappearance, and he tries to give Brenna whatever consolation he can muster up. Alas, words are just shadows of emotion. In a moment like that there is nothing one could say that would actually soothe another’s pain. But – it’s the compassionate gesture that counts. 
Leaving Brenna’s house Sam notices a huge piece of web – and again almost shoots his brother whose instincts led him straight to this place. Of course Sam wouldn’t stay out of it, come on! He’s a Winchester. 
Sam’s revelation that he remembered slowly works on bringing Dean’s own wall down. As long as he keeps an eye on his brother, Sam is safe. That’s his personal mantra. I think it is also of major importance to Dean that Sam never hears of what he did to his older brother. I can imagine Dean being afraid of Sam’s distressed reaction to that – perhaps the one blow that could bring the wall down? I haven’t thought of it so far, but watching Dean desperately rejecting Sam’s guilt issues brought this idea up. He tries to get his brother out of town, as soon as possible, but Sam is, yes, a Winchester, and as stubborn as they come. 


Dean can’t be fooled. And his own despair can’t fool him either. It’s not hell Sam remembered. ‘Not yet, anyway.’ He knows from personal experience that you can’t hold memories like that back, doesn’t he? And he needs to get his brother away from possible triggers.
Traumatized people know exactly how the trigger game works. And their instinct bids them to run. Because they are aware of the terror that awaits them if they allow memories to be awakened. Dean reacts with that personal experience in mind, and he’s as adamant as if he was hanging to his own life by a thread.  


‘I don’t think you get the risk here, Sam. Do you get that every time you scratch that wall that you’re playing Russian Roulette?’
‘… I’m starting to think that I might have done some bad stuff here, Dean, and I don’t care if it’s dangerous, I have to set things right, ‘cause I’ve got a friggin’ soul now and it won’t just let me walk away. I’m staying here and I need you to back me up.’
The plot thickens or shall we say – the web begins to show a certain pattern.

Soulless Sam did what hunters have been doing for millennia: if you want to catch a certain animal, ahem, monster, you need the kind of bait that will attract their attention. If you want fish to bite, use a worm. If you want a lion to run into your trap, use a goat. And if you want to catch a spider, use live, moving bait. It’s quite common in the hunting world. The only difference here is that Sam used a human being instead of something else. And that is cold, even to an experienced hunter as Samuel. 

Sam’s back up plan worked. They found the arachne’s lair. And the moment the enwrapped victims begin to move, I feel reminded of Aliens. All I could think of was – you can’t save them. They have something in them, spider mommy uses them to breed some new ones… 

Sam quickly decided that any help would come too late, and I assume that he was right. He drew his conclusion by thinking of brown recluse spiders. Now those, according to my dictionary of spiders, are native to the United States from about Nebraska to the Gulf of Mexico. With Kansas lying in that area, it’s safe to presume that Sam has seen bites of these particular spiders. Their venom is hemotoxic which means that it destroys red blood cells and disrupts blood clotting and can cause organ degeneration. Part of the function of hemotoxic venom is to aid digestion. So, such a bite can be deadly, but rarely is. More frequent are cases of necrosis, the death of living tissue, which can result in the necessity to remove the damaged tissue surgically to prevent larger areas from being affected. First signs of this are cutaneous lesions, much like those we see on Roy’s and the other victims’ faces.  Chances are, their blood was already losing its clotting abilities and proteins were broken down to help digestion. In Aliens killing the victims was the right thing to do, and I guess that applies to this scene as well.


The manner in which Sam conducted the coup de grace sends chills down my spine. Unfortunately, shooting the victims wasn’t enough. They should have decapitated them. I wonder if the other ones are walking around somewhere, preparing for the Mother of All’s master plan.

Connecting the dots, Sam and Dean rush to Brenna’s house (don’t you have winter clothing, guys? It’s a miracle that you don’t catch any severe colds the way you dress and eat?!) where Roy already showed up. He’s pissed. Revenge is a strong drive, indeed. A moment later both Winchesters are glued to the wall. In the following showdown it’s Brenna who saves the day by freeing Sam who then cuts of her husband’s head in one smooth swing. She probably knows that there was no other way, but that doesn’t mean that it hurts less. She can’t deal with Sam’s apologies, not now. 

Sam, however, can’t take Dean’s encouraging offer. 

‘Sam, you gotta understand, all that crap last year, all of it… none of it was you.’
‘Let’s be crystal clear, okay? It was me. ‘


There’s nothing Dean could respond to that to make Sam feel better. Or himself. Dean’s view of the situation is at its core a philosophical one, and he distinguishes his perception of Sam in terms of en-souled or soulless, which allows him to be close to his brother again – a necessity for the grieving elder Winchester who never managed to come to terms with losing his brother. 

Despite the physical resemblance he states that soulless Sam was not his brother, while Sam argues that it was him. To Dean the soul is the one essence that outlines a person’s nature, character and humanity (something he didn’t detect in Soulless Sam), while Sam feels the need to own the deeds he committed as he sees them as a part of himself and doesn’t really draw a dividing line. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sam also remembered, perhaps more than ever, that the decisions he made a few years back after having lost Dean and being with Ruby were not entirely different from the ones he made without his soul. He found a way to somewhat regulate his suffering by pushing the pain away by becoming hard and unyielding.
I expect this argument to continue throughout the following episodes, as Death stated that it was all about the souls, so perhaps the show will give us some more philosophical/theological/metaphysical theories to ponder. I would welcome that, as I love to wrap my head around these questions. 


And then, triggered by all the pressure that has been building up, Sam experiences a dissociative seizure, I would presume. These seizures resemble an epileptic one, but the reasons are different and so is the neurological pattern, and since Sam has never had any neurological abnormalities, I’ll go with dissociation which is very common in the wake of severe trauma. 


It can be understood as a phenomenon in which a psychological state is converted into physical and/or neurological symptoms, as a manifestation of an emotional processing of a traumatic event. During a dissociative seizure, the person affected is mostly non-responsive, entrapped in their flashbacks. Patients I’ve had that showed these seizures could need more than an hour (and longer, of course) to come back. These phenomena can hardly be avoided in the case of very severe and continuing trauma as Sam has experienced in Hell. I wonder where we will go from now on. 
Sam, with his soul and thereby his centre of humanity, kindness and honour restored, will be more vulnerable to what he did without his soul and to the memories that will keep coming. What he has experienced in the past and the wrong decisions he has made (while believing to be doing the right thing in order to save his brother and the planet) will make him even more adamant to atone. He had no chance as of yet to even fathom what his soulless alter ego did, and I hope that this new assignment he’s given himself will help him gain some equilibrium, because I believe that he will need the notion of being capable of redeeming himself in whatever way to carry the weight of the agonizing memories that will be coming up. 


Dean, on the other hand, will also struggle with this development. He can’t hold Sam back from his task of fixing things. He will need to be there for his younger sibling, as he has always been, and find a way to cope with his own fear. Not for the first time I wish the writers would give these guys a break. They are in need of some peace. 

The title ‘Unforgiven’ seems like a compass foreboding future episodes. I hope to be wrong, though. Personally I want to believe that anything can be forgiven if a person is truly, deeply sorry. I try to forgive whenever I can, but I am still a novice when it comes to forgiving evil deeds. The most difficult task, however, will be for Sam to forgive himself. That is, in general and to my personal experience, indeed hard, and harder even might it be to understand why somebody does what he does. But most important, too.
This episode moved me and I like it the way the story was depicted. Using black and white for the flashbacks (like an allegory for Sam’s loss of his soul’s colours) and the usage of light and shadow was brilliant. The acting was extraordinary, and Jared Padalecki had multiple scenes to show the variances between the two Sams. I guess some fans will not be satisfied with this Sam-centered episode. But I think it was necessary to give him room to find out – through personal experience in flashbacks – what the enemy he intends to fight feels like.  I certainly hope that Sam will slow down now in his quest, but I doubt that he will heed the warning the last flashback from hell gave him. Or – I will be surprised again.


# Richard 2011-02-14 21:05
I haven't the time at the moment to read your entire article (I'll be saving it for later), but I came to this part and I wanted to let you know how happy you have made me. "He knows he committed terrible deeds, and he needs to find ways to atone for that. He can't undo what he did, but he can try to change the fate of others in need. He has to try, it's the very essence of who he is."
Truer words were never written. Thank you.
# Jasminka 2011-02-15 00:40
Thank you, Richard. I'm happy you felt touched by that particular paragraph. I have to admit when I wrote it, there was that warm familiar feeling in my stomach - a deep emotional response to Sam.

Have fun reading the rest of it. I know it's quite long, ahem... :o
Cheers, Jas
# CitizenKane2 2011-02-14 22:16
I enjoyed reading this. Thanks :)
# Jasminka 2011-02-15 00:41
My pleasure, CitizenKane2, thank you for commenting!
# Yvonne 2011-02-14 23:37
Oh ow.

Ow Ow Ow OW?!

You know, I thought my heart was already hurting all it could over this ep, and then I read your wonderful, in-depth, insightful article and Nope! More hurting. Oh Sammy. Oh Dean. *Plants self on couch.* Ready for therapy doc. Where’s the tissues?



There so needs to be some kind of Winchester mail order hug available for fans. It’s the humane thing to do.

Ok, I now realize WHY I dislike RoboSam so much. It’s because he does represent that rational side of our Sammy. Only taken to an extreme. Scary. Very, very scary. And I can really empathize with Dean in NEEDING to believe that SoulSam is entirely separate from RoboSam. Man, this is a dark, dark road the show is walking. It’s poking at things, monsters, real monsters. The monster in us all. How extremely unnerving.
And I love how the lighting on Sam was used to depict this in that photo you have up of Sam in the cell. (Sammy in cage! Floor. Thud. Me.) Half his face in light, open, honest, empathetic, SOULFUL. Half in dark, unknown, questionable, a bit frightening. You rock Serge!

And thank you for your small tribute to John. He is always with them isn’t he? (((John)))
# Jasminka 2011-02-15 00:47
Awwwh, Yvonne, thank you. There's plenty of room here on my couch, make yourself at home (why am I smiling at the thought of you planting yourself on it? The sweetest pictures come to mind ;-) ).

I think every person is capable of commiting horrific deeds, it's just a matter of the extreme situations that require them. If it's cutting off your own arm to survive or kill someone to survive.

Perhaps that's why, as you wonderfully mentions, we disliked Soulless Sam so much. Because he is a mirror in which we see the darkest parts of ourselves?

Just love your comment, dear. You send me from welling up to laughing tears. Well done on an early morning before I have to go to another heavy day at work (I'm getting a new patient today who's just as troubled as my poor Sammy...)

Love, Jas
# Yvonne 2011-02-15 22:56
*iz at home*

Tell me, does that sweet picture include a certain Winchester next to me?

And yes, the 'mirror' is what I was getting at. Makes me wonder if, in part, that is where all our legends and stories of scary creatures come from. These are just tales of what we fear within ourselves. Fear is the mother of anger and hate. So instead of owning our own broiling mass of dark emotions within, we project it out into the night. "Something else, something slithery, or frightful is responsible for this thing I feel. But not I. No, not I."

Really just rambling now. But it would be an interesting study.
# Jasminka 2011-02-17 03:47
of course, dearest Yvonne. He comes by every once in a while and I always encourage him to stay to meet you. And - it doesn't take much persuasion. He feel quite comfy next to you! :-)

There are actually various theories that say exactly that - that most monsters came to life to mask our own dark sides. Sounds plausible, doesn't it?
Love, Jas
# Kalixa 2011-02-15 00:05
Great informative article!! Thank you so much for bringing your knowledge of the mind and applying it to the show - there was so much in here that I did not know about...such as the existence of dissociative seizures.

I hadn't realized that Sam's jumpiness was a symptom of trauma, I just thought it was a little funny how jumpy he was - it makes much more sense now, and I really have to commend the writers/Jared for giving it thought.

I loved this episode and all the questions it brings up about the nature of the self and the soul. I can't wait to see how they develop the theme further...but I do want my poor Sammy to be alright.
# Jasminka 2011-02-15 00:49
Thank you, Kalixa! This is how I read Sam's reactions and when I look at patients I have had and still have, I recognize many parallels.

I don't know if the writers give it all that much thought. They're all the more brilliant if they do, and if it's all creative instinct, wow, then I'm rendered speechless.

:-) , Jas
# Junkerin 2011-02-15 07:22
Hi Jas!
Did you see Sam after his seizures? Is he somewhere on this big couch?
Well I liked your thoughts about SoullessSam. And I have to admit even I didn´t realy liked him, he had his moments (I liked to watch him alot).
Your artikel about "Es, ich and Über-Ich" is very informativ. I once read that the bad is there where no empathy is. So what part is the soul and like Cass sad that´s an philosopical question.
Sam has to aczept his SoullessSelf as a part of himself and I´m hoping he can do this without tearing the wall down
# Jas 2011-02-15 08:08
Hi, Junkerin, thank you for your comment. Why, of course, Sam feels very much at home on my couch, so he decided to move in… ;-)

It’s difficult to answer your question about bad or evil – and what part the soul is. I think a soul is combined of our capability to feel empathy, our moral codes, and the like (if you like check out my article on Sam and the Mystery of the Missing Soul, I have said a lot about it there).

And what is evil – is a philosophical (and often theological) question people have been pondering for ages. You know, you just inspired an article, dear. I’ll write something about that, soon! :-)

In a few words – evil might just be the opposite of good. But the definitions of what is what differ from culture to culture.
I think that basically everyone might be capable of committing evil deeds is driven to ther brink of what they are able to bear. I have heard it from patients often and found it in countless case studies.

The phenomenon of duality is found all over the world – without good there is no evil, and would we recognize evil if there was no good? There are some deeds universally considered as evil, like for example murder, child abuse or rape, but even with these examples, we have to take into account their social/cultural /moral context.

And the answer is never easy – nor should it be.

Since empathy is the capacity to understand and, to some extent, share emotions experienced by another person, it probably is the very essence of compassion. And that, well, is one of the core traits of Sam.

I’d say, from what we know of the younger Winchester, that Sam already accepted his soulless self as a part of himself – would he try to make amends if he had not? I don’t think so.

Alles Liebe, Jas
# Junkerin 2011-02-15 08:22
Hi Jas,
Yes I think you right that Sam accepted Soulles as a part of him.
Did Freud said where the soul is or what part?
As for good and bad, or lets say ethics, I don´t think there is a diffrence between culture. As you put it murder is bad in every cutures. Every relegion tells you to be good and even the rules are mostly the same.
Yes it is hard to define good but usuly it is easy to point out bad.
Discussing with you is almost so much fun as watching SN :-)
# Jas 2011-02-15 10:13
And what about the - for example - Maya that murdered their own to sacrifice them to the Gods? Or the fanatic terrorists that think murder for 'the cause' is justified? I think it is a very fine line...
Viele Grüße, Jas
# Junkerin 2011-02-15 10:23
Well I don´t know about the Maya but for the fanatic terrorists their religon (bible,coran etc.)doesn´t justified murder.
# Jasminka 2011-02-15 15:18
I agree that their religion doesn't justify murder, but for ages people have been committing deeds of utmost brutality in the name of whatever god.

I don't mean to bash any religion, don't get me wrong. But people are flawed, and they sometimes use religious messages to justify what they do, even kill and torture.
And it's people who bring any religion to life, and, unfortunately, that sometimes has very little in common with the original words of prophets.
# Mstngsali1 2011-02-15 14:30

As always, wonderfully thought through and I just love how you can look at the characters from the psychoanalyst point of view.

I think a lot of the reason RoboSam was disliked so much is because Sam has always been the sensitive brother that empathizes with people. To have Dean become RoboDean wouldn't necessarily be all that different. Dean ponders in "My Bloody Valentine" that he's not falling victim to famine because he's "well fed". Now we find out later that Dean isn't affected because he's "dead inside" but even before Dean's stint in hell, he's never been one to abstain, from anything.

What all that rambling comes down to is that RoboSam and Sam are a real study in contrasts. If the positions were reversed, would RoboDean and Dean would there be as much dislike? I know this much, I would really miss his sense of humor! :)
# Jasminka 2011-02-15 16:00
Interesting idea, Mstngsali1, what if their positions were reversed?
From my personal point of view, I'd say the conflicts within me as a viewer would be similar, as would my compassion.

But, we'll never know, since I don't believe that in a possible season seven the writers would reverse their roles. Or would they? ;-) Ah, you never know with Gamble & Co.

Thank you so much for commenting. Cheers, Jas
# alysha 2011-02-15 19:21
Great insight! If any episode deserved some tie on the couch, it was this one. Soulless Sam was so driven by his Id, like an animal almost but with all those memories. I'm glad you've brought up souled Sam's behaviors under extreme stress and grief. Souled Sam has shown a few times when he lets cold intellect lead him. Unfortunately, that cold intellect is always in him and was what the soulless man basically ran on.
# Jasminka 2011-02-16 03:45
Thank you, alysha, for your kind words. More and more I understood this man better (I hope) and that is making it possible to accept Sam as a whole, the tender, compassionate man and the cold-hearted killer. These are facets of him. And now, with his soul back, he has more control over it, since he's not governed entirely anymore by his Id. I really feel for that man.
Thanks, Jas
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2011-02-15 22:09
Hi Jas,

Very thoughtful article, and wonderfully insightful comments.

At first, I totally agreed with Dean that Sam shouldn't be held to account for RoboSam's actions. But, I think I'm changing my mind on that.

Something was bothering me about absolving Sam of all blame, and you identified it when you pointed out the fact that many of Soulless Sam's actions mirrored what he did after Dean's death in Mystery Spot, and what he did with Ruby and the demon blood. He has behaved coldly, and almost without emotions in the past. He just took it to the extreme, when the moral compass of his soul was missing.

That being said, I think it's reasonable to expect Sam would feel guilty for the wrongs he's done, and want to atone for them. Dean said exactly the same thing in "Family Remains". No matter how many people he saved it would never make up for all the hurt he had caused while torturing souls in Hell.

So, both brothers have a desire to right the wrongs of their past, and seek redemption.

Also, both brothers were forced into doing horrible things. Sam's soul was taken from him, and that's what helped set RoboSam loose to wreak havoc. Dean was systematically tortured until he broke, because that action was needed to break the First Seal. Neither brother acted totally of their volition. But they both feel as if they had full control, and full choice.

I think most of us would react in a similar way. If you couldn't have control over the traumatic situation you find yourself in, at least you can give yourself control over how to fix the mistakes or tragedies it brought about.

Like others have said, I too wish the writers would have Dean talk to Sam about his own time in Hell. I think it might help Sam understand some of the fear that is driving Dean now. After all, he does have firsthand knowledge of the horrors of Hell. As well, it would serve as a reminder that Dean suffered in the Pit too. And he might have valuable information to share with Sam about living with the bad things you've done. (And if there's a Great Wall of Sam, you can bet there's a Lead-lined Chamber of Dean, or something like that. I might have to thihk of a better name.)

I also think Dean HAS to believe that Soulless Sam and Sam are two distinct entities. Otherwise, he has to find a way to accept that his beloved brother allowed him to be turned into a Vampire, which almost killed him, and very likely may have cost him his bit of domestic happiness, his opportunity to convince himself he is more than a killer.

For me, it's like what goes through your mind when you're attacked by someone you know. You really want to believe it was the alcohol or the drugs that caused them to hurt you. For awhile that explanation seems plausible and the wall holds. But one day, you come face to face with the realization that they still had a choice, and choose to harm you. That takes a while to work through. For Dean, it would be just one more thing he pushes down, seals over and decides he'll deal with "tomorrow".

And, we may yet see that come to pass. Or, instead we might see what happens when the Mount Vesuvius of Dean's Emotions actually erupts.

Finally, there must be something in the air (or on the airwaves anyway) becaue I've been musing on Evil as well..

Cheers, and thanks for listening.
# Jasminka 2011-02-16 04:01
Hi Pragmatic Dreamer and thank you for your kind and elaborate comment!

That’s exactly what I felt – a shift in my position in regard to Soulless Sam. It was too easy to absolve Sam completely of all blame, and people/situatio ns are never this simple. That made me think after noticing the parallels between some of his actions over the last year and those in the past. And, as you wonderfully point out, there are similar parallels in the brothers’ acceptance of blame, too.

You are right, actually is all about control in the aftermath of a trauma. A traumatic experiences boils down to an utter loss of control, to victimizing a person (be it by some other’s hand or a natural disaster), and that fact leaves a major impact.

Dean has regained some of that control in the meantime. He lives with it. Though it has rarely been a topic in their discussions, from what we see how Dean goes about his life, it’s safe to assume that he has found a way of coping. The inner demons of terror are still there, but he’s not become a drooling mess himself. I would love to see him advise Sam on how to live with it.

You know, I’d expect Dean’s volcano of emotions to implode rather than erupt, actually. He has always been the quiet sufferer, the one who would swallow his biggest pains, while Sam has been the more openly aggressive and angry one (except in those extreme situations where he became dangerously quiet. I can relate to that very well, as this is how I react. Don’t be afraid when I vent loudly, but when I am angry and very quiet, run. My words will hurt. More and more I understand why I feel so close to Sam. I hope it doesn’t mean that I’d be capable of what he did :oops: ).

I am very curious, though, how the writers will bring on the ‘moment of truth’ – if they plan to do it – when Dean realizes what we’re discussing here. Poor lad.
Interested in hearing your musings on evil, too, dear, to bring our various points of view together here at the WFB will be fun! Thank you. Best always, :-) Jas
# Yvonne 2011-02-15 22:47
Oh wow, the "Lead-lined chamber of Dean."

Well put. He certainly is an expert stuffer. An admitted expert stuffer according to "Sam Interupted". And Lisa certainly picked up on that. Considering that she brought it up, maybe the show will comment on his own well buried memories. Ugh, it'll be messy if it all does come up. But the poor guy needs something other than liquor, that's for certain.

Interesting thoughts, thanks for sharing.
# Julie 2011-02-16 04:34
Well Jas you have really gone there with this one, you should not make me think so much this early in the morning.
You have included so much information here and it does help to explain the behaviour and rationale of `RoboSam`. I am very interested in the analogy of `him` and a new born as in many ways he was almost child like in his simplistic attitudes to everything, of course no new born could be held responsible for any behaviour they exhibit, but he is a grown (or overgrown) man, here the similarity ends. Children learn and absorb like eager sponges Robosam had no desire to learn anything he was laser focused on what he saw as his quest at any cost, no concern for any collateral damage this may incur.But I still do not see him as evil, the acts he committed were but he had no concept of right or wong as we learned, no moral compass to centre on , nor did he want one , this explains his reluctance to have Dean with him- `family slow you down`.
Some of this information does throw up grey areas challenging my long held black and white views that I share with the elder Winchester that this was not Sam. This is going to be debated for so long and will never be answered to everyones satisfaction. For me though, where as there can never be any doubt that physically Sam was present, and indeed did commit all the acts we know about (I dread to think of the ones we are yet unaware of, part of me does not want to know), It was an empty shell there, The Essence of the man was totally absent and for me that is what matters.
The question for me now lies in whether the real Sam is actually culpable in the events of the last year ? I think absolutely not. No more than he was in shooting Dean, attacking Jo and the murder of Steve Wandell in Born Under a Bad Sign. But the problem is he actually feels he is and no matter what reassurances he recieves from Dean, he believes it. Until he can free and forgive himself from this imagined guilt things are dangerous as he is going to try to atone for them and in doing so scratch at that damn wall.
He has made difficult and sometimes the wrong decisions in the past but often these were made under extreme circumstances. Yes, we saw him as cold and calculated in Mystery Spot, but here he was battling through extreme grief after watching his brother die many times, then, when he thought he had broken that cruel cycle, he did lose Dean, this time for real. This version of Sam always seemed to me to be on automatic pilot. The Sam who, with Ruby, killed and drained Cindy Mcllellan was then under the influence of the demon blood. This changed him, almost beyond recognition, as Dean told him `It`s not something you are doing , it`s what you are`, and he did things like this, which had he not been `hopped ` up he would never have contemplated.
I just hope that the horrific glimpse behind the wall will make him listen to Dean and not persue his quest to right the wrongs that were comitted in `his`abscence as this is literally `The Road to Hell`.
Ok here endeth a long ramble that could go on and on , this one seems to have really inspired these doesnt it?
As a footnote, I loved the `poop deck` referance, but that brought up a question which has puzzled me for so long, why does Sam never go to the loo? 6 seasons and he has not `been` once!
Oh and Dean could so have taken that 72oz surf`n`turf. ;-)
# Jasminka 2011-02-17 03:48
Sorry for stressing you on an early morning, Julie! ;-)

Yet, I’m actually happy to have been (a bit at least) successful in challenging your black and white views, since I am, as you know, a champion of the grey areas in life.
I think it’s going to be a huge metaphysical/et hical question to be addressed in future episodes, and you’re quite right – there won’t be satisfaction for everyone.
You make my point – people are capable of extreme behaviour under extreme circumstances. And Sam was forced in the past to act extremely for reasons he didn’t like but accepted.

Thanks a lot for elaborating on your thoughts. Next time we’ll feed that surf’n turf to your boy, eh?
Love Jas
# AndreaW 2011-02-16 05:04
Jas, from all the theories I heard about RoboSam, who he is and who isn't, yours is the one that makes the most sense for me. So Good Sam and Bad Sam are both... Sam. OK, it's disturbing, but I still love my Sammy and I know in my heart that his good side is the winner. But he has to believe it too himself. Dean, I think, already does. But not Bobby.

I heard some spoilers about episode 16 which I don't want to comment on, but I'm under the impression that that is gonna be an important and defining episode. Dean, Sam, Bobby and Samuel together, with so many unresolved issues between them all. What do you think of the possibilities?
# Jasminka 2011-02-17 03:55
Thank you, AndreaW! I’m happy that you found something for you here! And, you know, I never stopped loving Sam, even though the Soulless version of him was difficult to accept, and it was hard to like that person. Somehow I still couldn’t shed my affection for the man, perhaps because it has grown now for some years and I always believed that there was a good reason for his behaviour. And there was.
Cheers, Jas
# Junkerin 2011-02-16 06:27
Hi Jas,
What an interesting way this discussion is taking. Nazis, Ethics....
Maybe you can get your hands on the "Geo Magazin" it dealt recently with the thema Good, Bad, and why we are both. It althought tryed to established some "basic rouls" for mankind.
# Jasminka 2011-02-17 03:54
Thanks for pointing that out to me, Junkerin, but I already have that issue of Geo Magazin. It's a part of my job to read stuff like that.
Cheers! Jas
# Suze 2011-02-16 07:36
Good artical Jas, I was never clear about Ids and what not before. They sound a lot like Transactional Analasis' Parent/Adult/Ch ild states. It's an intersesting take on the whole soullessness thang and makes a lot more sense of all the Was-That-An-Emo tion-I-Saw-Befo re-Me? stuff we shoved around a few weeks ago.

Yume, you sound like a good egg, but your Grandad's bad choices were his load to carry. Don't beat youself up over stuff that happened before you were born, or there's no end to it. We've just got to keep an eye out for what's going on now.
# Jasminka 2011-02-17 03:56
You see, Suze? It so is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportion when you paraphrase Macbeth! Thank you, dear! Love Jas
sonia mary
# sonia mary 2011-02-16 13:48
eles retrata sam que é apaixonante literalmente si transformar em monstro, coisa que sam sempre lutou pra não si transformar porque tinha coinciencia .quando não a mas conciencia ele poderia ser realmente o vaso de lucifer e tudo daria certo pro lado do mal como o sangue do demonio mas ele lutou até o fim pra estragar os planos de lucifer eo demonio. pensou que mesmo com tudo que sam faz ele tem meu apoio pois outro sucumbiram com o poder ele poderia ser poderoso tem tudo que queria poder sexo mas não ainda com sua alma ainda tem crise de remorso por tem feito tudo errado .sente dor de ter feito algo monstruoso e sabe la oque ele mas fez . mas culpa sempre foi seu inimigo numero um então haja remedio para depressão gosto de spn porque me divertia agora fico triste por tanta culpa pra cima de sam como ele aguenta não sei mas jared faz um excelente trabalho. gostaria de ver os pontos a favor sobre sam alguém poder escrever um antigo defendendo ele .
# Jasminka 2011-02-17 03:58
Sonia Mary, I would love to answer to your comment better, but I don’t speak Portuguese, I’m sorry. But – thank you for commenting! :-)
Best, Jas
# magichappening 2011-02-16 15:16
An unexamined show is not worth living.

Wow. Every time I think I know Sam and Dean and this show and its fans, I am blown away again. Thank you so much, Jas, for writing this. And to everyone who has commented so insightfully and courageously. I am truly in awe.

Once again I have been forced to re-evaluate my own assumptions and my reactions to this wonderful show. Whoever made the point about us reacting so badly to Soulless Sam because he gave us a glimpse of the monsters that live within us made me sit back. Wow. Is that why I was so sure that he was not human and not Sam?

Your answers about the human capacity for evil are definitely food for thought, Jas. Supernatural ‘personifiesâ €™ evil (in a way) by often portraying it as other than us - as monsters and ghosts and goblins and ghouls. But those ‘creatures’ and that potential exists within each of us, and Supernatural also explores that dimension. And that is why Dean becoming a torturer in Hell and Sam becoming a merciless killer are so much more difficult to deal with than vampires and dragons.

The point that someone made about the need for Dean to separate the two Sams, otherwise it would mean that he would have to accept that his little brother was capable of anything, up to and including Dean’s own ‘murder’, was a good one. Another commenter mentioned the fact that Dean had never met Mystery Spot Sam or the Sam when Dean was in Hell. So this cold version of Sam was completely new to Dean, and he was horrified. This is the baby that was put in his arms, he helped raise and has watched over and loved his whole life. How could that person and this cold, ruthless hunter be the same person? They MUST be different people or the universe, Dean’s universe, would not make sense. It begins spinning backwards.

Soulless Sam looked Dean in the eye and lied to him (repeatedly), watched with a smile as Dean was ‘killed’, felt no remorse for his actions (indeed could not), admitted to killing innocents, and worst of all, to not caring at all for Dean. To Dean, his family (Mary, John and Sam, and the surrogate one he found in Bobby, Lisa and Ben) is the most important thing in the world and makes his life and the fight worth it. If Sam, as the most important member of that family, does not care for him and indeed is doing harm, what is the point in any of it? Does Dean have to look for new meaning in his life or a new lodestone? Tough things to face.

I liked your point of us all having walls, Jas, and how Sam worked to get through Dean’s own wall after Dean came back from Hell. And Dean’s admonitions to Sam to not scratch the wall are perhaps echoes of his own efforts not to open the door to the lead-lined chamber of Dean (brilliant, Pragmatic Dreamer!) Those memories of Hell would seem to strains the limits of Dean’s own sanity and they, and the feelings they bring in their wake, appear only to be drowned by whisky (but perhaps they have learned to swim). Sam’s insistence on wanting to know to put things right, stirs the murky depths of Dean’s own memories and forces him to face what he is capable of himself again. He almost died inside the last time he did that. To think of doing that again or Sammy doing that…Sammy’ s seizure must be his worst fears realised.

Perhaps part of being someone’s soul mate is keeping them sane, as well as human. Perhaps Sam and Dean feel the horror and regret for each other’s actions that would be too overwhelming to go through themselves. They can forgive and love the other despite the mistakes made and wrongs done – otherwise, in their own souls, they would truly remain unforgiven. This way they give each other the ability to continue the fight. I do hope the writers give them some respite and redemption soon.

They have earned it.
# Jasminka 2011-02-17 03:59
It might well be, Magichappening, that the resentment concerning Sam within the fandom stemmed from one function of the Soulless version: he was a mirror to our own evil facets, in a way. And a reaction like that often is unconscious until a certain train of thought digs it up…

And I share your respect for the comment above. Actually I expected that I was going to stir up another controversy and am so glad that this didn’t happen. Because it wasn’t meant to be controversial, but, well, you never know within this fandom of ours…
We all have survival strategies, and Dean likes to use avoidance, even in his assessment of Sam, and alcohol, which was also Sam’s drug of choice. And, well, avoidance is the classic, and pretty much everyone of us uses that when our own inner walls get scratched – until that technique doesn’t work anymore or we decide to change it.

Let’s hope that Sam and Dean find some peace, really. They can grow here. Love the other despite whatever happened. Isn’t that the core of that particular emotion?

Thank you so much, take good care, Jas
# Karen 2011-02-17 11:24
Hi Jasminka

My knowledge of the human psyche is as masterful as my ability to bake.
Burnt cookies anyone? :-x
I guess when it comes to soulless Sam, how can someone be responsible for things when their true essence isn’t there?
When their conscience, empathy and moral compass has been removed?
I would have to stand by Dean on this one, be it denial, but to me it wasn’t Sam. It wasn’t the real Sam, the true Sam that we have all known and loved.
I know we have seen some reflection of a robosam prior to him being soulless, but never once did I feel that Sam had lost his humanity. I guess the closest to that would have been the killing of the nurse, but between the affects of the demon blood, the constant nattering of Ruby telling him this was the only way to stop Lillith and the fake voice message from Dean, I truly understood why Sam followed through with it. I didn’t condone it, but I did understand it, and I also don’t doubt for a moment that the guilt was ripping Sam apart.
I guess what it all boils down to, is no matter what I will always love both Sam and Dean, despite all of their flaws and their mistakes. I will always find a way to defend them, or at least try to understand their reasons behind their actions.
Thank you Jasminka for this wonderful, in-depth article.
# Jasminka 2011-02-17 14:16
Karen, dear, thank you for your comment!

You know, what I’m saying is, that it was a part of Sam, not entirely him.

It was that part that is able to commit terrible deeds, and perhaps the part every one of us owns, too. I’ll be elaborating more on the ability of turning evil (even as a heartily good person) in a future article, but let me just say this – in extreme circumstances people can react extremely. Even against their nature.
Sam did that in earlier seasons, and of course he never lost his humanity (I’m sorry if it came across as if I meant to say that which was not the case), and this soulless version of him, well, was he less human because he was able to do what he did?

Humans are capable of horrific things. It’s a part of who we are. I think if we think of the term human (respectively humanity) as an idealistic description of a soulful person, then the Sam we saw in the earlier episodes probably can’t be described as human.

But if we look at the term as a description of the Homo sapiens in general, then he was nothing but. His limitations were gone, just like they go with other people capable of bad deeds.

For me that was equally painful to watch. But the more I wrapped my mind around it, the more I understood the various phenomena that are a part of the human nature, even Sam’s, as I explained.

And as for defending Sam and Dean – I guess I’ll do that as long as there will be show to watch. :-)
Thank you! Love Jas

P.S.: I can’t bake either…
# Karen 2011-02-17 15:41
Hi Jasminka
Maybe we should take a course in baking together. I promise I won’t burn the place down. :lol:

I know you were not implying that Sam had lost him humanity, I’m afraid I didn’t express myself the way I wanted to and I do apologize for that.
I will have to rethink my wording…
Thanks again for your article…love Karen
# Jasminka 2011-02-18 00:33
Ah, don't worry, Karen! I don't see any reason for an apology, really.

But I love the idea of a course in baking. Just imagine the fun we'd have, plus the dough in our hair and on our clothes... ha, good times :D !
Love always, Jas