|“||"We are not evil. We’re far from perfect, but we are good. That thing on your arm is evil, but not you. Not me."||”|
in "My Brother's Keeper"
Samuel "Sam" Winchester (born May 2, 1983) is a hunter as well as a Man of Letters, along with his older brother Dean. He is one of the main protagonists of Supernatural. Both Sam and Dean are related to the Winchester and Campbell families - a Letters family and a Hunting family respectively. The pair also share a bloodline with Cain and Abel. Because of this, Sam was predestined to be the vessel of the fallen archangel Lucifer (whilst Dean was Michael's). Sam is friends with angel Castiel, Prophet Kevin Tran, the demon Meg and former lover turned enemy of demon Ruby. He is also the reluctant ally of demon Crowley and for a time was forced to be an unknowing and unwilling vessel for the angel Gadreel (before expelling him).
After the demon Azazel killed their mother, both Sam and Dean were raised in the hunting life by their father John. Sam left the Hunting life to pursue a career in law, and most likely would have married his college sweetheart Jessica Moore. At the series' start, Sam was reluctant to start hunting again. When Jessica was killed, he was pushed back into the hunting life. However, he has been repeatedly known to try and back out of Hunting in the hope of finally having a normal life as he wanted.
Sam is very mentally strong, evidenced by his ability to overpower possession by Lucifer. It has been argued that he is the smarter of the Winchester brothers, although Sam himself would disagree.
Over time Sam has resigned himself to the Hunting lifestyle and has repeatedly sacrificed himself for the greater good, highlighting his selfless nature.
Sam Winchester was born on May 2, 1983 to John and Mary Winchester in Lawrence, Kansas. He is the couple's second child, four years younger than his older brother Dean. When Sam was exactly six months old, on November 2, 1983, his mother, Mary, was killed in his nursery by the Yellow-Eyed demon, Azazel. Mary walked in on Sam's nursery while Azazel was feeding the infant demon blood to turn him into one of the special children. He has developed slight mental trauma due to this day and doesn't like Halloween.Infant Sam is saved from the ensuing fire when his father takes him out of his crib and gives him to a four year old Dean, who then carries him outside. John unsuccessfully tries to rescue Mary and becomes somewhat emotionally unstable.
Sam and Dean spent their childhood moving from town to town while their father hunted the supernatural being that had killed their mother. He trains his sons in Hunting and kills anything supernatural he comes across. As soon as able, Sam was left in the care of Dean. However, when Dean grew old enough to go on hunts with John, Sam was left alone.
Sometime in the late 1980's, John was hunting a Shtriga in Fort Douglas, Wisconsin and left Sam and Dean alone in a hotel room. While watching a TV show as Sam slept, Dean got bored and went out. But when he came back, he found the Shtriga feeding on Sam. John arrived quickly, providing the suspicion that he used his children as bait.
Until he turned 8 years old, Sam believed his mother had died in a car accident and his father was a traveling salesman. When he found his father's journal, he demanded that Dean explain. Dean confirmed the existence of the paranormal. When Sam was nine years old, Sam created an imaginary friend named Sully, who unknown to him was a Zanna sent to guide him. Sully was there for Sam when he wasn't allowed on hunts. He attempted to encourage Sam to run away and live his own life, but when John changed his mind and permitted Sam to accompany him and Dean, Sam rejected Sully as a fake, causing his imaginary friend to leave. When Sam was eleven he spent his Thanksgiving with another family. He remembers it fondly as it was (according to Sam) his first actual Thanksgiving; for the other Thanksgivings he and Dean would have a bucket of extra crispy chicken while their dad would pass out on a couch. Sam loved this memory so much that it actually appeared on his road to Heaven, which shows only the happiest and most loved memories of a person's life. Sam started hunting alongside his brother and father around the age of twelve. However, he began to crave a normal life without monsters when a teacher of his, unaware of the whole story, encouraged him to seek alternatives to "the family business." On the 4th of July 1996 Sam and Dean snuck out to a field with fireworks where, according to Dean, they had burned the field down - this is one of Dean's Heaven-Road memories, and, as they share a heaven, also one of Sam's.
Dean frequently left Sam at Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie before going to hang out with girls, which is possibly a cause for Sam's fear of clowns. When Sam was about 15, John and Dean left Sam alone to hunt a kitsune while Sam compiled the research for them so they could kill it properly. This is where he met Amy, who, unbeknownst to Sam, was the daughter of the kitsune that John and Dean were hunting. Sam eventually learned his friend was a kitsune but decided to let her go when she had killed her own mother to save his life. Later on, Dean killed her, betraying Sam's wishes and request for him to leave her alone.
At some point Sam ran away to Flagstaff, Arizona while Dean was watching him. He stayed there for 2 weeks and while he was there he took in a dog and called it Bones. Sam eventually went to Stanford University, but was unable to return to his family, as John had forbade him from returning. While there, he had a long-term relationship with Jess. A year after that, their father got closer in looking for the thing that killed their mom, and left Dean to hunt solo. A few years later, John went missing, so Dean fetched Sam from Stanford and they both go looking for him. This is when the series starts.
|“|| Sam: "I swore I was done hunting for good."|
Dean: "Come on, it wasn't easy, but it wasn't that bad."
Sam: "Yeah? When I told Dad I was scared of the thing in my closet, he gave me a .45."
Dean: "Well, what was he supposed to do?"
Sam: "I was nine years old! He was supposed to say, 'Don't be afraid of the dark.'
Dean: "Don't be afraid of the dark? What, are you kidding me? Of course you should be afraid of the dark! You know what's out there!"
In much of Season 1, the Winchester brothers hunt down mystical creatures and urban legends like the Wendigo, folklore's Bloody Mary, and Shapeshifters. Generally, each episode revolves around a relatively uniform structure: the brothers find a case and solve it.
Although Sam's brother, Dean, has been mainly responsible for gathering hunting leads at this point, Sam's episodes of precognition and telekinesis soon direct them to where several of their hunts take place.
At the start of the series, Sam is a senior at Stanford University who is applying for law school. Sam also has a girlfriend, Jessica Moore, whom he lives with and is secretly planning to marry. One night, Dean comes to Sam's apartment to seek his help after their father goes missing; although reluctant at first, Sam eventually accompanies his brother. After defeating the Woman in White and discovering a trail to find their father, Sam returns to Stanford. Upon his return, Sam witnesses Jessica's murder in the same style of his mother's, prompting him to embark on a journey with his brother to find their father and kill the demon responsible. Sam does not get over Jess' death quickly, but by the end of season 2, she is almost never mentioned.
One of the first instances when Sam experiences precognition is in Home: he awakens from a vision of a woman screaming from the second story window of the Winchesters' old house. Afterwards, Sam insists they find out what's going on. When Dean refuses until Sam gives him good reason, Sam eventually confesses that he "has these nightmares" during which he can foresee terrible events. This is also when Sam tells Dean that he had nightmares about Jessica's death days before it had occurred. Dean initially dismisses his brother's abilities as coincidence and is overwhelmed with the idea of going home. In contrast, this is one of the many moments when Sam's desire to know the truth outweighs his emotions.
In Scarecrow, the tension between Sam and his father becomes clear when John calls Sam to tell him important information regarding a separate hunt. When Sam asks to know where John is, John insists that Sam "just does his job" and takes down some information, also saying that Sam and Dean are not allowed to help him in the fight against Azazel. Sam also displays increasing resentment towards Dean for unquestioningly playing the role of a dutiful son to their father's requests. Once on the road, they begin discussing the hunt their father has asked them to go on and Sam confronts Dean about his loyalty to John. While Dean is persistent in learning more about the new hunt, Sam decides to go look for their father in Sacramento, California. During his journey, Sam runs into another lone traveler by the name of Meg Masters, a spunky blonde who takes an immediate interest in Sam. Although acquaintances, the two soon begin to develop a kinship due to their similar feelings of resentment towards their families. Later in the episode, it is revealed that Meg is in fact, a demon. Later, Sam and Dean reconcile when, to Sam's surprise, Dean praises his brother's ability to stand up to their father. When Sam tries to call Dean the next day, he tries for three hours unsuccessfully until he decides to go looking for him. Throughout this episode and especially during this moment, Sam displays a loyalty to his family unlike what is seen in Dean; While Dean is keen on following orders from John regardless of where he lands, Sam is more likely to go wherever he believes his family needs him, despite what anyone (family included) has to say.
Sam has another premonition in Nightmare when a man's murder is staged to look like a suicide. Dean is still reluctant to believe Sam's ability though this becomes another hunt that is determined by yet another one of Sam's visions. When the brothers arrive at the scene of the man's murder in Michigan, Sam becomes more perplexed with his ability and Dean begins to place more trust in Sam's premonitions. Throughout the rest of the episode, Sam continues to successfully predict the murders of innocent people. Later, the brothers learn that the murders have been at the hands of a troubled young man by the name of Max Miller. Here, Sam has a waking vision, a first at this point, of Max confronting his stepmother with a kitchen knife that will undoubtedly end in her murder. After learning of the man's troubled past, Sam's first impulse is to try and talk Max out of murdering his stepmother, insisting that they both share similar qualities. During their conversation, Sam learns that Max's real mother was killed years ago in his nursery while he was sleeping, which becomes the first time Sam has heard of another sharing his experience. Sam begins to wonder if there is a connection between his abilities and his own mother's death for the first time. This is also the first episode when Sam's ability to move objects is revealed when Max almost kills Dean.
In Shadow the brothers learn the real identity of Sam's old acquaintance friend, Meg Masters, when she plots to use the boys as bait for their father, John. This episode is also a good example of the contrast between Dean's "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality and Sam's more methodical approach to think things through; Upon learning the true identity of Meg, Dean insists they interrogate her right away when Sam suggests they learn who she's been having private meetings with first. Sam also expresses his desire to live a normal life "when this is all over", much to Dean's disappointment. "Dean, when this is all over, you're going to have to let me go my own way." (Sam to Dean in "Shadow" 1.14)
|“|| Dean: "I don't want you to leave the second this thing's over, Sam."|
Sam: Dude, what's your problem?"
Dean: "Why do you think I drag you everywhere, huh? I mean, why do you think I came and got you at Stanford in the first place?"
Sam: " 'Cause Dad was in trouble. 'Cause you wanted to find the thing that killed Mom."
Dean: "Yes, that, but it's more than that, man! You and me and Dad ... I mean, I want us to be together again. I want us to be a family again."
Sam: "Dean, we are a family. I'd do anything for you. But things will never be the way they were before."
Dean: "Could be."
Sam: "I don't want them to be. I'm not gonna live this life forever. Dean, when this is all over, you're gonna have to let me go my own way."
— Sam and Dean arguing about the future
Sam and Dean bust out with a bit of comic relief as they pull pranks on each other throughout Hell House. Otherwise methodical and often serious, Sam unleashes his more humorous side with antics like leaving Dean to start his Impala with the radio set to what sounds like Latin music on full blast and putting super-glue on Dean's beer. Dean, in turn, puts itching powder in Sam's underwear. Sam also enjoys mocking the Ghostfacers (who make their first appearance in this episode) during their random encounters.
In Something Wicked, the audience sees their first peek into Sam's childhood, before he knew anything about "the family business". The viewer also begins to see a glimpse of the bond that exists between Sam and Dean as brothers. As young children, it seems that Sam looked up to Dean a lot more than he ever looked up to John; most likely because John was almost never around. It becomes clear that Sam is the more pure and innocent of the two when he refuses Dean's suggestion to "dangle a kid like meat on a hook" in order to kill a witch. In the end, they decide to go through with the plan. It is learned during this episode that Sam was once almost killed by the very same witch they are hunting.
For the first time since Jessica's death, Sam finds romance with Sarah Blake, an art dealer's daughter, in Provenance. The brothers come across a murder in which a mysterious painting is the culprit and they must find out how to stop it from happening. Unwilling at first, Sam decides to take Sarah out for dinner as a means of gaining information about the painting. During their conversations, Sam takes a liking to Sarah despite his conflicting feelings of guilt. Later, Sarah becomes one of the first few women in Sam's life who learns about Sam and Dean's real line of work.
The brothers are reunited with their father in episode 20, Dead Man's Blood. John claims that a man named Samuel Elkins taught him everything he knows about hunting and that he needs his gun, the Colt , for some unknown purpose. The tension between Sam and John becomes increasingly clear when John insists they go after a nest of vampires in search of the Colt. En route to the vampires nest, Sam pulls to the side of the road and initiates an altercation with John, demanding to know where they're headed and why. An enraged argument ensues until Dean is able to separate the two. Later, Sam and John reconcile and resume their search for the Colt. After Sam and Dean prove their strength as hunters, John agrees to let the brothers help him in his fight against Azazel.
With every reason to believe they have a lead on Azazel and now armed with the legendary Colt, the three Winchesters head out to Salvation, Iowa in Salvation. When he learns more about his past and Azazel's habits from John, Sam begins to feel overwhelming guilt for the murder of his mother, Jessica, and the seemingly random families that Azazel is targeting. Sam has another waking vision of a family being attacked in the same fashion Mary and Jessica were killed, presumably because he was within walking distance of the home in which it is set to take place. Around the same time, Sam also tells John for the first time about his visions and nightmares.
Shortly thereafter, Sam receives a call from Meg asking to speak to John. They discover that she is the one responsible for killing John's friends and says she won't stop until she gets the Colt. From there, John leaves the brothers once again to pass off a fake Colt to Meg in hopes that she will cease the murders.
As Sam and Dean wait outside the home of the family who is about to be attacked, Sam makes sure to tell Dean "thank you for always being there. . . just in case." This shows that Sam truly values his relationship with his brother and the realness of their mortality when up against Azazel. This is also the first moment Sam outwardly expresses his appreciation for Dean as his older brother.
They end up saving the family, although they fail to confront Azazel as they watch his silhouette in the second story window of the burning home. Afterwards, Sam expresses immense guilt for not stopping the demon and anger towards Dean for not allowing him to run inside the house. At this point in the series, Sam has become more invested in the hunt for Azazel, showing more conviction than even John or Dean at times. When Dean tries to convince Sam there was nothing they could do to stop the Yellow-Eyed Demon, Sam goes into a rage and throws Dean against the wall. Dean pleads with Sam, saying that the three of them is all he has and that he refuses to let Sam die. Sam immediately realizes that John hasn't responded to their calls and demands they go looking for him again.
|“|| Dean: "I mean it. If hunting this thing means getting yourself killed, then I hope we never find the damn thing."|
Sam: "That thing killed Jess. That thing killed Mom.
Dean: "You said it yourself once. No matter what we do, they're gone and they're never coming back."
Sam: (shoves him against the wall) "DON'T YOU DARE SAY THAT! Not you! Not after all this!"
— Sam's obsession in killing Yellow Eyes
Devil's Trap begins where the last episode left off when Dean calls John only to hear Meg's voice on the other end. At this point in the season, Sam's regard for logic and reason seems to have gone out the window as he's become more careless in his thoughts and actions, and more obsessed with avenging the deaths of his mother, Jessica, and possibly his father's. However, Sam still struggles noticeably with the idea of exorcising Meg knowing that once he does, she will die from her wounds. Once she is exorcised and passes away, Sam once again assumes the role of astute researcher, looking for ways to outsmart their enemies on their trek to rescue their father.
When they meet up with John, Dean realizes that John is possessed by Azazel and is ready to fire the Colt when he and Sam are thrown against the wall. When Azazel challenges Sam to make the gun float to him, Sam is unable to use his ability unlike previously seen in Nightmare. However, it is during this episode when Sam begins to learn more about Azazel's plans for him "and all the other children" like him.
Once John is able to regain control of his body for a fleeting moment, the hold on the brothers is released. Dean is in bad shape when Sam grabs the Colt and shoots Azazel's vessel in the leg. Sam is soon thrown into a terrible dilemma when John yells for him to shoot while Azazel is still occupying his body. In the end, Sam is unable to kill his father and shots him in the leg causing Azazel to leave John's injured body and escape once more. The conflict that takes place in Sam's mind is evidence that despite his and John's past misunderstandings, his loyalty and love for his family is a bond not about to break, even if it means ending the hunt for the Yellow-Eyed Demon. On the contrary, John expresses his frustration with Sam for not shooting him when he had the chance.
The season finale concludes with Sam, Dean, and John leaving Salvation, Iowa when they become the victims of a horrific crash; While a very injured Sam is driving the Winchesters to the hospital, a semi-truck crashes into them, causing massive damage to Dean's Impala with the Winchesters inside. At this point in time, their fate is uncertain at best.
|“|| Dean: "I thought that once the demon was dead and the fat lady sings, you were going to take off. Head back to Wussy State."|
Sam: "I'm having second thoughts. [..] I think Dad would've wanted me to stick to the job."
Dean: "Since when do you give a damn what Dad wanted? You spent half your life doing exactly what he didn't want, Sam."
Sam: "Since he died, okay? Do you have a problem with that?"
— Sam's change of heart
in Everybody Loves a Clown
In the first episode of this season, In My Time of Dying, Sam confronts the demon-possessed man who is responsible for the collision that occurred at the end of Season 1. The demon backs down and exits the man's body before the Winchesters are airlifted to a hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In desperation, Sam unsuccessfully checks to see if John or Dean are even alive. Later, John wakes and despite his wounds, Sam is able to move about the hospital. He is in pieces when he learns that Dean's injuries are life-threatening.When Sam visits his father, John sends him off with a list of items he needs from Bobby. Although he is unsure of what John is planning to do, he soon finds out from Bobby that John is planning to summon a demon. Outraged, Sam confronts John about his seemingly lack of concern for the welfare of his family. During the altercation, a glass of water crashes to the floor which causes them to believe it could be Dean in an attempt to contact them from 'the other side'. Afterwards, Sam promptly falls into research mode and acquires a Ouija board in an attempt to confirm their suspicions.
Here, a part of Sam's personality is revealed to have more faith in peculiar methods of communicating with the dead and therefore appears to be more open-minded to certain devices that Dean might consider cliche. In addition, once Sam learns that a reaper is after his brother.
In the end, it is John's sacrifice that saves Dean rather than Sam's ingenuity. During the conversation between John and the Yellow-Eyed Demon, it is revealed that John knows "about Sam and the other children" like him.
Sam demands to know where John has been when Dean wakes up from his coma, to which John replies he was "out taking care of some things." Sam is ready to argue when John calmly insists he doesn't want to fight anymore. Puzzled at his father's sudden agreeableness, Sam leaves to get John a cup of coffee only to return to his father's body lying on the floor of John's hospital room. The final scene cements the looming and painful guilt Sam experiences for reacting defensively during his last moments with John.
Everybody Loves a Clown takes place roughly a week after their father's death. Sam shows his expertise with cracking codes for the first time in the series by gaining access to John's voicemail and tracing a message from a woman named Ellen. The brothers soon learn that Ellen Harvelle and husband William were once friends of John. They soon embark on a hunt involving murderous clowns who are possessed by demons. Sam's intense fear of clowns is first revealed in this episode.
Tensions between Sam and Dean beginning with this case when Dean questions Sam's quickness to jump on the case. Dean experiences resentment towards Sam, who now seems more willing to do what he thinks their father would have wanted him to do. At the end, Sam admits that what he is doing is too little too late.
|“||I miss him, man. And I feel guilty as hell. And I'm not alright. Not at all. . . but neither are you.||”|
— Sam speaks about their father to Dean
in Everybody Loves a Clown
In Bloodlust, Sam is put off when they meet a hunter by the name of Gordon Walker. Said hunter is Sam's diametrical opposite, seeing no shades of gray when it comes to hunting. This contrast is illustrated when Sam is kidnapped and then set free by a vampire named Lenore. When Gordon finds the vampires, he is ready to kill when Sam insists they are harmless to humans.
Sam delves deeper into the role of researcher and finds many of the brothers' leads. Sam begins to search for psychic children like him to find out Azazel's plan of which they are a part. After meeting Andrew Gallagher and his psychotic twin Ansem Weems, other "special children", Sam begins to fear every one of them are meant to become murderers, himself included. Eventually Sam learns from Dean that before their father's death, John told Dean that Azazel is planning to turn Sam evil and that Dean must save him but if he cannot Dean must kill him. Although angered at his father and brother upon learning this revelation, Sam concludes to save as many people as possible so that he can change his destiny and forces Dean to promise to kill him just like their father asked if he went evil.
|“||The more people I save, the more I can change. [...] You have to watch out for me, alright? And if I turn into something I'm not ... you have to kill me. [...] Who knows what I might become? Even now, everyone around me dies!||”|
— Sam to Dean
In Born Under a Bad Sign, Sam is possessed by the same demon responsible for Meg's possession in Season 1 . It is also hinted at that this is also the same demon that lead to the death of Ellen's husband. It becomes clear that if the time comes for Dean to shoot his brother, Dean would not be able to do so. In this episode Sam (while still possessed) also kills another hunter. Sam is somewhat disturbed by Dean's inability to kill if he needed to, but Dean reassures him there's still hope for Sam.
Over the course of the season, Sam and Dean get in trouble with authorities, particularly during hunting cases in Baltimore and Milwaukee. While Sam is at first merely a "suspect" and Dean classified as a wanted criminal, misunderstandings from the cops charges both him and Dean as felons. FBI agent Special Agent Henriksen begins to obsessively hunt them down, believing them to a be a threat to society and forces both brothers to continuously cover their tracks. Sam and Dean allow themselves to be arrested only once while doing a case for an old friend of John's, but soon break out of prison.
In the episode What Is and What Should Never Be, Sam and Dean are not close in the alternate reality created by a djinn . Neither Sam nor Dean had ever hunted, and Jessica is Sam's fiancee. As in reverse to reality, their mother is alive. In real life, after Dean breaks out of the alternate reality and helps destroy the djinn, Dean confesses to Sam how tempting staying in that world was because of how much hunting cost them. Sam, however, denies his negativity and declares no matter how horrible their life was, saving people was worth it.
|“|| Dean: "I wanted to stay. I wanted to stay so bad. Ever since Dad ... all I can think about is how much this job 's cost us. We've lost so much. We've ... sacrificed so much."|
Sam: "But people are alive because of you. It's worth it, Dean. It is. It's not fair ... and y'know, sometimes it hurts like hell ... but's it worth it."
— Sam and Dean
in What Is And What Should Never Be
In All Hell Breaks Loose Part 1, Sam is transported to an abandoned town along with Azazel's other chosen children. There Sam finds other children like him and tries to protect them without knowing what was coming next. One by one each are killed, including Ava who had been there for five months killing special children to survive. In a dream, Sam is visited by Azazel and learns the demon's plans all along: he and the other children will kill one another and the last one surviving will lead a demon army. Sam also discovers the reasons behind both Jessica and his mother's deaths; Jessica was killed because her death would lead Sam back into hunting. As for Sam's mother, it is revealed Mary interrupted Azazel during the process of feeding Sam demon blood, and thus was killed. Sam is horrified to know he has demon blood in him and adamantly refuses to follow through on Azazel's plans.Only him and Jake Talley are left at this point, but unlike him Jake doesn't trust Sam and decides to kill him to survive, then kill the yellow-eyed demon. Reluctantly Sam fights him and, though injured, wins through skill. Sam is tempted to kill him, but instead leaves him unconscious. As Sam leaves and sees Dean, Jake suddenly comes up and stabs him in his spine, leaving him dying in Dean's arms.
In All Hell Breaks Loose Part 2, Sam's body is now at Bobby's, a broken Dean is stood watching over him. Dean doesn't want to bury Sam despite Bobby trying to convince that it's for the best. Desperate and depressed, Dean speeds off in the Impala to the crossroads where he sells his soul to the Crossroads Demon in return for Sam's resurrection. Sam wakes up at Bobby's confused as to what has happened. In pain, Sam looks in the mirror at the marks on his back before Dean returns and bundles him into a hug. Sam is determined to track down Jake straight away, but Dean convinces him to take it slow. While they are eating, Sam and Dean discuss the events that took place. Sam states that he only remembers seeing Dean running towards him then a white hot pain in his back. With the help of fellow hunters Bobby Singer and Ellen Harvelle, Sam and Dean track down Jake, but are unable to stop him from opening a gateway to Hell on Azazel's orders. However, Sam shoots Jake and kills him in cold blood, showing uncharacteristic cruelty which shocks both Dean and Bobby. Azazel alludes that Dean might not have brought back "pure Sam".
After the gateway is closed and Azazel is finally killed by Dean, with assistance from John who escaped from Hell, Sam realizes he died and Dean sold his soul to bring him back. He was only one year to live before he goes to Hell. Sam is angry and hurt to know his brother's incoming fate, but promises Dean he will save him no matter what it takes.
|“|| Sam: "You shouldn't have done that. How could you do that?"|
Dean: "Don't get mad at me. Don't you do that. I had to. I had to look out for you. That's my job."
Sam: "And what do you think my job is? You've saved my life over and over. I mean, you sacrifice everything for me. Don't you think I'd do the same for you? You're my big brother. There's nothing I wouldn't do for you. And I don't care what it takes, I'm gonna get you out of this. Guess I gotta save your ass for a change."
— Sam after finding out Dean's deal
in All Hell Breaks Loose - Part 2
|“||You know what, Dean? Go screw yourself [...] I don't want an apology from you. And by the way, I'm a big boy. I can take care of myself. So will you please quit worrying about me? I mean, that's the whole problem in the first place! I don't want you to worry about me, Dean. I want you to worry about you! I want you to give a crap that you're dying!||”|
in Red Sky at Morning
Sam obsessively looks into anything he can to stop Dean from going to Hell, but Dean believes there's no way out of it and seemingly already accepted his fate. Instead he lives life to the fullest and insists that Sam stop looking. Sam resents his brother for making the deal, telling it had been selfish and hypocritical for putting this burden on him, but Dean doesn't care. Against his brother's wishes, Sam continues looking into ways to break his deal.
During this time, Sam is followed by a mysterious female demon named Ruby. She saved him from other demons and he learns from her that the Yellow-eyed Demon killed off his mother's friends who were connected to his nursery fire. Ruby insists she only wants to help him. Sam doesn't trust her, but begins to have doubts when Ruby tells him she can stop Dean from going to Hell.
While doing a case in Ohio, Dean is trapped with a lustful demon, causing Sam to come to his rescue. As a race unfolds, the demon calls forth help. Sam is well aware of this too. As the seductive demon breaks free due to help, Sam is forced to kill one of them with the refurbished Colt (which Ruby helped make). As Sam is about to pull the trigger on the Casey, Dean pleads for him to stop. Too late, Sam fires, killing her. Sam is guilty about this, knowing he not only killed demons but humans too, but Ruby tells him collateral damage is necessary in the coming war. Sam distrusts her and is tempted to shoot her with the Colt, but Ruby reminds him if he does, he'll never be able to save Dean. Sam agrees to their alliance and reluctantly accepts he'll have to do things he doesn't want to.
|“|| Sam: "Y'know what? You keep dangling that, but last time I checked, Dean's still going to Hell!"|
Ruby: Everything in it's own time, Sam. Here's a quick pro quo here. We're in a war."
Sam: "Right, but some reason you're fighting on our team. [...] Maybe I'll just use it on you."
Ruby: "Go ahead, if it makes you happy. It's not gonna do much for Dean though. (Sam slowly lowers the gun) That's my boy. You're gonna have to do things that go against that gentle nature of yours. There'll be collateral damage ... but it has to be done."
Sam: "Well, I don't have to like it."
Ruby: "No. You wouldn't be Sam if you did. On the bright side, I'll be with you. That little fallen angel on your shoulder."
— Ruby's early manipulations of Sam
in Sin City
Sam grows increasingly frustrated with Dean's refusal for him to destroy his deal, who doesn't want to risk Sam dying as a result. Desperate and angry, Sam even summons Dean's crossroad demon in hopes of forcing her to let him out of his deal. The Demon explains it's not in her power and her death wouldn't break it, revealing she has a boss and is just a "saleswoman". At point-blank range, Sam kills the demon anyway with the Colt - and the young woman possessing her.
Tensions mount between brother once again when Dean finds out he killed the crossroad's demon. Dean is angry at his impulsiveness and risking his life, but Sam replies that he will not apologize for just trying to save him. At Dean's continued apathy about his deal, Sam's anger bursts. He doesn't care that Dean feels bad for him and just wants him to care that he's dying.
Soon after, Sam is again "hunted" by Gordon Walker, who just broke out of prison. In a surprising turn of events, Gordon himself is turned into a vampire and a "killer", but is still fixated on killing Sam before killing himself. Sam is pitted against Gordon, injured and without a weapon. Sam is forced to improvise and gruesomely strangles him with barb wire so tightly he ends up decapitating him. Dean is surprised at this action, but Sam shows no remorse.
Sam continues to become more ruthless and is willing to kill anything demonic even if his prey is part human, as in human witches. He continues to insist on using Ruby and stops Dean from trying to kill her. Sam later reveals that he is trying to become more like Dean who is more willing to kill human enemies. This reasoning is Sam's view that if he fails to save Dean's soul he must be ready to face a world full of demons on his own.
|“||We have to start looking at the big picture, Dean. Start thinking in strategies and- and moves ahead.[...] Look, Dean. You're leaving, right? And I gotta stay here in a craphole of a world alone. So the way I see it, if I'm gonna make it, if I'm gonna fight this war while you're gone, then I gotta change.[...] Into you, Dean. I gotta be more like you.||”|
— Sam explaining his hardening personality
in Malleus Maleficarum
In Mystery Spot, Sam is set in a timeloop by Gabriel where he is forced to watch Dean die over and over again while being powerless to stop it. Driven mad by desperation and fear, the two brothers catch Gabriel and force him to break the loop. Sam wakes up on a Wednesday--the next day--only to watch Dean die again, this time more permanently. For six months Sam is hardened by grief and loneliness, hardly contacting Bobby and obsessing over finding Gabriel. Sam is even willing to kill an innocent girl just to summon the monster.
At last when the Gabriel appears, instead of revenge, Sam simply pleads to undo it and bring his brother back. Gabriel explains he did all this to teach him a lesson- that this is how life without Dean will be like and sacrificing himself over and over for him will bring nothing but more pain and blood. Sam doesn't care and just wants Dean back. Reluctantly Gabriel undoes it and takes Sam back to Wednesday six months before, but not before alluding to a dark future for Sam. Sam is left permanently changed by the experience, realizing truly for the first time he will not be able to save Dean.
|“|| Gabriel: "Sam, there's a lesson here that I've been trying to drill into that freakish Cro-Magnon skull of yours.[...] This obsession to save Dean? The way you two keep sacrificing yourselves for each other? Nothing good comes out of it. Just blood and pain. Dean's your weakness. And the bad guys know it too. It's gonna be the death of you Sam. Sometimes you just gotta let people go."|
Sam: "He's my brother."
Gabriel: "Yup. And like it or not, this is what life is going to be like without him."
— Gabriel's advice to Sam
in Mystery Spot
After the Colt is stolen by Bela, Sam and Dean track her. However, Bela outsmarts them and gets them arrested by Agent Henriksen. The brothers are jailed once more, but trouble brews when the town is overrun by demons. After convincing Henriksen of the threat, the brothers and everyone inside shut themselves inside the building and give them protection. It's also revealed that both Sam and Dean have a pentagram tattoo on the left side of their chest to prevent them from being possessed. He must have had this tattoo done between Season 2's Born Under a Bad Sign and Jus In Bello.
During the shut-in, Ruby appears and reveals a spell to expel all surrounding demons from their bodies, but to be done they must sacrifice a virgin. Dean refuses this, but Sam considers it and justifies it sacrificing one person to save everyone else. This showed Sam's dark side was intensifying. In the end, Sam goes along with Dean's plan - to fight and exorcise them all through a recording. The group makes it through the night, but after the brothers leave are all wiped out by Lilith, a powerful demon who is leading the army while out to kill Sam since she sees him as her rival. She is also revealed to hold Dean's contract to his soul.
In the Season Finale, Dean is down to 30 hours and Sam suggests they summon Ruby. Dean is furious at this, reiterating all Ruby does is lie and tells him not to summon her, but Sam does it anyway. Sam is angry Ruby lied to him about being able to save Dean, but still has hope. In the end neither fully trust her and they take her knife before heading for Indiana where they find out Lilith is located. Their plan is to kill her and stop Dean from going to Hell. After many attempts to try to kill Lilith, the brothers fail. Dean discovers Lilith is possessing Ruby's previous body and sends Hell Hounds after him. A crying Sam pleads Lilith to stop as he watches Hellhounds maul his brother's body.
After Dean is dead, Lilith shoots a "burning white light" at Sam. Sam is unharmed, proving he's immune. Lilith is scared her powers don't work on him and Sam takes the opportunity to stab her with Ruby's knife. Lilith gets way, leaving Sam with Dean's body. Devastated by his brother's death, Sam hold his body and cries over him.
|“|| Sam: "Don't, Dean! I'm not gonna let you go to Hell!"|
Dean: "YES, YOU ARE! Yes, you are. I'm sorry. I mean, this is all my fault. But what you're doing, it's not gonna save me. It's only gonna kill you."
Sam: (tearful) "Then what am I supposed to do?"
Dean: "Keep fighting. Take care of my wheels. Sam, remember what Dad taught you ... okay? And remember what I taught you."
— Dean and Sam
in No Rest for the Wicked
|“||You want to know why I've been lying to you, Dean? Because of crap like this. [...] The way you talk to me, the way you look at me like I'm a freak! Like I can't tell the difference between right or wrong![...] I've got demon blood in me, Dean! This disease pumping through my veins and I can't ever rip it out or scrub clean! I'm a whole new level of freak! And I'm just trying to take this ... this curse and making something good out of it. Because I have to!||”|
After Dean's death, Sam has cut off all contact with Bobby. Even still, he tries several methods on trying to bring Dean back including making a deal with the cross-road demon. Still looking for a way to revive his brother, he lodges in Illinois, close to where his brother is buried. After a resurrected Dean reunites with Bobby, the two go to visit Sam. They find him with a girl, enjoying his "wild side." The girl is actually Ruby, a fact Sam immediately hides from Dean. Now trying to find information on who saved Dean, their search leads them to a diner where they meet demons who claim they know who broke Dean out. Dean, obviously knowing it's a bluff, slaps a demon twice in the face, gets up and nonchalantly leaves. Sam, however, tells Dean that they are demons and they need to die or other people will. Dean protests against this. Later, Sam returns to the diner to confront the demons. As he enters, he is attacked but realizes that the demons have had their eyes burned out. He calls forth Ruby to see if she has found anything. As the two discuss, Sam shows that his powers have developed and he is able to exorcise demons using his powers. Sam hides Ruby's involvement as well as his psychic powers from Dean, going so far as to deliberately lie and deceive him to keep Dean from finding out what he's up to. Sam admits he doesn't know if he trusts Ruby or if he's doing the right thing, but he wants to keep using his powers because he feels like he's "helping" people.
Sam helps Dean defeat the spirits of Agent Henriksen and Meg Masters in Are You There God? It's Me, Dean Winchester. Despite Sam's good intentions, Sam's abuse of his psychic ability is concerning the angels, casting insight on him going down a "dangerous" road. Castiel declares to Dean he must stop him, or the angels will kill Sam themselves.
Sam's powers rapidly develop, with guidance from Ruby in Metamorphosis, but Dean finds out Sam is using them and furiously lambasts him. Sam stands by his choice, believing he could control his darker side and that he was helping people. He soon blows up against Dean's judgmental attitude and admits he lied because Dean couldn't understand how he feels. Nonetheless, after seeing Jack succumb to his darker rugaru side, Sam sees Dean was right and decides to stop using his powers.In It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester, Sam and Dean work to stop the rise of a powerful demon called Samhain, who's rise would signal another broken seal. Sam finally meets Castiel as well as Uriel, but becomes dillusioned by their cold, methodical approach to things, including sacrificing a whole town just to stop a broken seal. When the brothers fail and the seal is broken, Sam sets out against the demon by himself. Despite his promise to Dean, Sam exorcises the demon psychically and sends him back to Hell. Unbeknownst to him, Dean saw it.
In I Know What You Did Last Summer, Dean finally gets an explanation of what happened to Sam and Ruby in the four months he was gone. Shortly after Dean's death, Sam has summoned the Crossroads Demon, hoping to switch places with Dean, but was promptly rebuffed. Ruby returned shortly after and, "betraying" Lilith, saved Sam. The pair had sex at least once, and Ruby began focusing against Lilith and helping Sam develop his powers, eventually going so far as convincing him to drink her blood to strengthen him. Sam, along with Dean and Ruby, protected Anna Milton, a fallen angel when Castiel and Uriel arrived and demanded the girl be turned over to them to be killed.
Sam and Dean continue to protect her in Heaven and Hell, tracking Angel's angel grace only to find it stolen. Sam develops a plan to bring demons and angels together in hopes they'll take each other out, but Dean was forced to give up their location to Uriel in a dream when they threatened Sam's life. Sam's plan, however, worked and distracted their enemies just long enough for Angel to get her grace and become an angel again, disappearing in a white light. Sam soon after learns about Dean's experience in Hell and that he tortured souls for at least "ten years".
Dean and Sam continue hunting, but eventually Ruby finds Sam again by Criss Angel Is A Douchebag and pressures him to indulge his psychic power. He promptly refuses, but gets second thoughts when she reminds him how close they are to an apocalypse and strengthening his powers would help put a stop to it. Sam envisions a future again where he's no longer hunting and believes if he puts a stop to Lucifer, then he would stop evil at it's source. Sam ultimately reconsiders and decides to take Ruby up on her offer.
Sam continues his secret chats and meetings with Ruby, steadily strengthening his psychic power. However, he hides this from Dean, which his brother quickly catches on. In Sex and Violence, manipulated by a siren's spell, Sam claims he's been lying to Dean because he sees himself as a better hunter and believes he can fix this all on his own. When the spell wore off, Sam apologizes and tells him that had been the spell, not him, but tension between them is obvious.
In Death Takes A Holiday, Sam and Dean arrive at a town where no one is dying and discover another seal by Alastair is about to be broken by killing two reapers. During this time, Sam's powers have strengthened significantly to the point Alastair's powers have no affect on him. They astral project to a spirit world to save the reapers and manage to save Tessa, saving the seal but at the cost of their psychic friend Pamela Barnes' life. In Pamela's dying moments, she tells Sam she sensed how he killed the demon who killed her and that if he thinks he's using his powers for good, he's wrong. Sam is deeply unsettled by this.
|“||I know what you did to that demon, Sam. I can feel what's inside of you. If you think you have good intentions, think again.||”|
— Pamela's grim last words to Sam
in Death Takes a Holiday
In On The Head Of A Pin, after Dean is whisked away by the angels to torture Alastair, Sam wants him out of it and contacts Ruby. It's revealed the reason Sam's psychic powers were strengthening was because he had been drinking demon blood. Sam also states Dean isn't strong enough to handle Alastair or the apocalypse, hinting his words under the siren in Sex and Violence hadn't been entirely a lie. Sam makes it to the angels' position and saves Castiel from a freed Alastair. Instead of exorcising him, Sam now has the ability to kill him psychically.
In The Monster at the End of This Book, Sam and Dean meet a prophet named Chuck Shurley who wrote books about their lives. When Chuck has a vision of Lilith coming to town and sleeping with Sam, Dean and Sam do everything to prevent it. Sam, however, wants to draw Lilith out to kill her. Dean refuses, knowing they weren't ready to fight her. During this time, Sam reveals he's addicted to demon blood but only started to take the burden off Dean's shoulders and stop the Apocalypse himself. Chuck wonders if he drinks for power and control rather than helping Dean, but Sam denies it. Sam does runs into Lilith, but she proposes a deal she'd stop breaking seals if Sam and Dean both die. She wouldn't survive to the Apocalypse so wants to live. Sam rejects it, not trusting her, but Lilith claims it's his own arrogance and desire for revenge that fuels him. Sam seems to agree to deal, then attacks her. When an archangel almost appears, Lilith flees. It's revealed Sam never considered agreeing, reasoning Lilith was only lying. Dean, however, knows demons rarely break their contracts and is unnerved Sam might rather chose revenge than self-sacrifice.
It is revealed in The Rapture that he is now addicted to demon blood, but continues to drink it in spite of this. His psychic powers fluctuate due to lack of demon blood, driving Sam to drink from a demon he fights in the midst of battle directly in front of Dean. Dean is strangely silent about it, but after receiving a call from Bobby, Sam is tricked by both of them and locked in Bobby's panic room to detox him from the demon blood.
Sam is subjected to a series of hallucinations during his detox, symbolizing his conflicting feelings of guilt (Young Sam) and self-loathing (Alastair/Dean) along with his desire for revenge and belief he's doing the right thing (Mary Winchester). Unknowingly, Sam is freed by Castiel under the angels' orders and goes to meet Ruby, who tells him the final seal can only be broken by Lilith. Dean eventually catches up with him, demanding Ruby dead and to stop with the demon blood, but Sam insists she's going to help him kill Lilith. When Dean calls Sam a monster, Sam snaps and punches him, letting to a bitter brawl between the brothers. Sam dominates and nearly kills Dean, but stops at the last minute. Sam, fully powered with demon blood, goes to kill Lilith and leaves Dean with the cold words: "You don't know me. You never did. And you never will."
|“||Dean, I need her to help me kill Lilith. I know you can't wrap your head around that, but maybe one day you'll understand. I'm the only one who can do this, Dean. [...] I'm being practical here. I'm doing what needs to be done.[...] Look. My whole life, you take the wheel, you call the shots, and I trust you because you are my brother. Now I'm asking you, for once, trust me.||”|
— Sam's final appeal to his brother
in When the Levee Breaks
During Lucifer Rising, Sam struggles with the guilt of his last encounter with Dean and begins to wonder if he was right. However, Ruby pushes him, and Sam goes so far as to bleed and suck blood from innocent woman still possessed by a demon in her subconscious. It's revealed that Sam had been manipulated by Ruby the entire time. Sam succeeded in destroying Lililth, but it brought him further from humanity than he had ever been before, indicated by his eyes briefly turning black. Lilith was revealed to be the final Seal and Lucifer was freed from his cage. Sam is devastated and broken at the plague he unleashed on Earth, scarcely responding to Ruby's betrayal in his shame. Dean arrives too late, but kills Ruby. Sam, ashamed beyond words, can only apologize to Dean. The season ends with Sam and Dean watching as Lucifer rises from his cage and the Apocalpyse begins.
|“||Dean ... he's coming.||”|
— Sam as they watch Lucifer rise
in Lucifer Rising
|“|| Lucifer: "Sam. My heart breaks for you. The weight on your shoulders, what you've done, what you still have to do. It's more than anyone can bear. If there was some other way ... but there isn't. I will never lie to you. I will never trick you. But you will say yes to me."|
Sam: "You're wrong. [...] Why me?"
Lucifer: "Because it had to be you, Sammy. It always had to be you."
— Lucifer and Sam
in Free To Be You and Me
God teleported Sam and his brother onto a plane, saving them. In the direct aftermath of freeing Lucifer, Sam is stricken with guilt and takes full blame for the Apocalypse and all his mistakes. He tries desperately to redeem himself to stop the Devil's plans, though his relationship with Dean is severely damaged to the point Dean no longer trusts him. Sam accepts this and works with him to think of ways to kill the devil.
While Sam and Dean fight to save a town from War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Sam is tempted by his cravings for demon blood. Sam, however, avoids this. He is confronted by War who describes him as being his "poster boy" because of Sam's desire for power and control. After defeating War, Sam realizes while he justifies his actions by drinking the blood for "the greater good", all it truly was was his own greed. Sam sees himself as too dangerous to be hunting and temporarily separates from Dean.
|“||From the minute I saw that blood, it was the only thought in head ... and I tell myself it's for the right reasons, my intentions are good, and that it feels true, y'know? But I think, underneath, ... I just miss the feeling. I know how messed up that sounds, which means I know how messed up I am. Thing is, the problem's not the demon blood. Not really. I mean I- what I did, I can't blame the blood or Ruby or ... anything. The problem's me. How far I'll go.||”|
— Sam's epiphany
in Good God, Y'all
Sam has another attempt at a normal life, but is strapped down by his guilt and natural hunter instincts. He is confronted by two hunters who discovered he started the apocalypse and force him to drink demon blood, though Sam's willpower has strengthened and he spits it out. During this time, Sam is tormented by Lucifer, in the form of the deceased Jess, who tells him he can never change. Eventually, Lucifer appears in Nick's body and tells Sam that he is his true vessel, in conjunction with Dean being the archangel Michael's true vessel. Sam is horrified to be vessel of the Devil and says he'd kill himself first before he consents. Lucifer tells him he will agree - sooner or later - before disappearing, leaving Sam shaken.
In The End, Sam calls Dean and wants to work with him again in effort for redemption and change his fate. Dean is surprisingly unfazed about Sam being Lucifer's vessel and declines working with him again, reiterating they were only each other's weaknesses. It's implied that this choice is what motivated Sam to accept Lucifer in the post-apocalyptic future that Dean goes to, prompting Dean to call Sam back and decide they make their own destiny and "keep each other human".
Sam does his best to rebuild his relationship with his brother although they're are no longer as close as they once were because of his betrayal and find it hard to reconnect. They appear to come some form of middle ground in Fallen Idols where Sam pushes Dean to treat him professionally and as a equal no matter what grudge he still holds against him. Sam also reveals Dean's superiority and constant treatment of him as his "kid brother" partly pushed him to Ruby.
In Changing Channels, Sam and Dean are thrown into an alternate universe by the Trickster where they're in TV shows and have to "play their roles". Eventually it's revealed the Trickster they know has been the archangel all along and that his "lesson" was for them to "accept" their roles as Michael and Lucifer. It's also revealed Sam's rebellious relationship with John directly mirrored Lucifer's with God and that's why he was the "fated vessel". Sam and Dean still refuse, though begin to wonder how they could stop the "inevitable".
|“||Why do you think you two are the vessels? Think about it. Michael, the big brother, loyal to an absent father, and Lucifer, the little brother, rebellious of Daddy's plan. You were born to this, boys! It's your destiny! It was always you! As it is on Heaven, so must be on Earth. One brother must kill the other. [...] Why do you think I've always taken such an interest in you? Because from the moment Dad flipped on the lights around here, we all knew it was gonna end with you. Always.||”|
— Gabriel to Sam and Dean
in Changing Channels
Sam and Dean learn that the Colt is in possession of a demon named Crowley, who hands it to them surprisingly amicably for "survival" against the devil. Sam and Dean spent their "last night on Earth" with Jo, Ellen, Bobby, and Castiel in Abandon All Hope only to set out the next to find and kill Lucifer the next day. Meg arrives and sicks hellhounds on them, one of which mortally wounds Jo in the clash. The team takes shelter in a hardware store surrounded with salt. Jo convinces them to built a bomb and she'll use it to take out the hellhounds while they go and kill the devil. Ellen stays behind to let the hellhounds in and both die in the blast.
Sam and Dean find Lucifer and face off against him, only to find the Colt has no effect. Lucifer talks to Sam about how they can relate to each other and one day, no matter what he does, he will say yes to be his vessel. Sam refuses, though is visibly shaken by the archangel's confidence and their similar experiences. Lucifer applauds Sam's rage, telling him one day he'll need it. Afterwards, the brothers return to Bobby's and grieve for their friends' in the end pointless sacrifice.
Sam and Dean soon check into a mental institution in Sam, Interrupted to help their old friend Martin hunt a wraith. Both brothers are driven crazy by the monster---literally---hindering their case. Sam hallucinates patients spewing hate and venom at him for starting the Apocalypse, calling him evil. He also nearly kills their shrink, mistaking him for the wraith. While they kill the monster, Sam is shaken by it playing on his inner rage and admits to Dean ashamedly he's been angry all his life but he doesn't know why.
|“||Most of the time I can hide it ... but I am angry. I'm mad at everything. I used to be mad at you and Dad, then Lilith, now it's Lucifer, and I make excuses. I blame Ruby or the demon blood, but it's not their fault. It's not them. It's me. It's inside me. I'm mad all the time ... and I don't know why.||”|
— Sam's confession
in Sam, Interrupted
Sam is soon targeted by Anna to destroy Lucifer's vessel and end the Apocalypse. Sam, Dean, and Castiel follow her into the year 1978 in "The Song Remains the Same" to stop her from killing their parents so either are never born. They manage to protect their parents, though Anna enlists past Uriel and catches up with them. Anna lands a fatal blow on Sam, but the archangel Michael appears in John's body and smites while her restoring Sam and sending him back to his own time to complete their "destiny". Sam, Dean, and Castiel all come home in one piece, though both brothers feel the weight of the destinies the angels have for them more than ever.
In "My Bloody Valentine", Sam still has a craving for demon blood. He is affected by the Horseman Famine's ability and he attacks and drinks from Famine’s henchmen. Sam, however, refuses to drink from Famine's other henchmen when he comes to save Dean and exorcises all five of them with ease. With more effort, Sam manages to kill Famine by channeling the demons inside while Dean and Castiel look on. However, Sam is locked immediately in Bobby's panic room by Castiel and Dean, detoxing the blood from his system once again.
Sam and Dean's distance was emphasized in "Dark Side of the Moon", when Sam’s version of Heaven was completely devoid of his family and involved incidents that happened while he was away from the Winchesters, which causes Dean to discard the amulet Sam gave to him years prior. Dean is discouraged by Sam's different views of what Heaven is. While in Heaven, after getting shot dead by hunters, Sam and Dean meet Joshua--- an angel that "talks" to God. God's message to them is to stop looking for him and he doesn't see the Apocalypse as "his" problem. The brothers return back to Earth. Sam is still resolved to think a way out of this, but Dean has already given up.
In "Point of No Return", Sam takes the information he learned from his experience in Heaven and puts all his trust and faith in Dean, who admits he doesn’t believe in Sam and is convinced Sam will say “yes” to Lucifer at some point. However, Sam is shown to still have faith and belief in Dean and it is this faith that stops Dean from saying “yes” to Michael.
In "Hammer of the Gods", when Sam and Dean are forced to work with other gods against Lucifer, they team up with Gabriel, who finally decided to support their side. They manage to lure Lucifer there and Gabriel stays behind in hopes of defeating him, but is killed in the process. Nonetheless, Gabriel offers them their first real chance of defeating Lucifer: find the four "keys" to Lucifer's Cage, lure him there, and use it to seal him back inside his cage. The four "keys" are the rings of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The brothers already have War's and Famine's so set out to get the other two.It is revealed in "The Devil You Know" that Sam's good friend from Stanford, Brady, was possessed all that time and Sam has been manipulated by demons even back then. Brady taunts Sam that perhaps the reason he is so angry and so easily manipulated by demons is because of all the demon blood inside of him and because he is just like them. Sam does not deny this, but acknowledges this as an 'interesting theory'. After discovering that Lucifer can be locked back into Hell using the rings of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Sam considers allowing the Devil to possess him in order for Sam to push him back into Hell. He discusses it with Bobby, who is at first very irritated by the sudden plan, but comes around to his way of thinking by "Two Minutes To Midnight" when there is clearly no other choice. When Dean finds out, he argues with Sam that he cannot do it, but later gives in to his plan, as it seems to be the only option left. Sam makes Dean promise not to try and bring him back from the cage, as that is too risky.
|“||For the record ... I agree with you. About me. You think I'm too weak to take on Lucifer. Well, so do I. Believe me, I know exactly how screwed up I am. You, Bobby, Cas ... I'm the least of any of you. [...] It's true. It is. But ... I'm also all we've got. If there was another way ... but I don't think there is. So I don't know what else to do. Except just try to do what's got to be done.||”|
— Sam justifying his decision to Dean
in Two Minutes to Midnight
|“||So you got to promise me something. [...] You got to promise not to try to bring me back. [...] Once the Cage is shut, you can't go poking at it, Dean. It's too risky [...] You go find Lisa. You pray to god she's dumb enough to take you in and you - you have barbeques and go to football games. You go live some normal, apple pie life, Dean. Promise me.||”|
— Sam's last request for his brother
in Swan Song
|“||I'm not your brother. I'm not Sam. [...] I don't even really care about you. Except that ... I need your help. [...] I've done a lot worse than you know. I've killed innocent people in the line of duty. But I'm pretty sure it's not something the old me could've done. And maybe I should feel guilty. But I don't. [...] I don't if how I am is better or worse. It's different. You get the job done, and nothing really hurts. That's not the worst thing. But I was thinking. And it was ... it was kinda harder. But there are also things about it that I remember I ... Let's just say I think I should probably go back to being him.||”|
— Soulless Sam to Dean
in All Dogs Go To Heaven
Things get stranger between Sam and Dean, as Dean starts to notice that Sam has been acting differently ever since he came back into his life. Sam uses a baby shapeshifter as bait to draw in the Alpha, stands aside when Castiel tortures a kid for intel on the angel buying souls (Balthazar), he even lets Dean get turned by a vampire to get more information on the Alpha Vampire. When Dean confronts Sam about it, Sam, however, lies and says he "just froze". When the brothers are held captive by the Goddess of Truth, Veritas, in You Can't Handle the Truth, the goddess reveals that there is something wrong with Sam. Sam tells Dean that he's still Sam, but he knows something's wrong with him, and he admits at Dean's urging that he might need help. Dean responds by beating Sam unconscious and calling Castiel for assistance.
Upon inspection in Family Matters, Castiel determines Sam is physically healthy but his soul is missing. Dean plans to keep Sam tied up, but Sam sets himself free and convinces Dean to work with him. Later, Sam and Dean meet up with Samuel, who informs them that he's got a lead on the Alpha vampire. But when Dean sees Sam walking the vampire into a van, he confronts Sam, and Sam states that Samuel needs to interrogate the Alpha. Sam helps Dean find out where Samuel is taking the creatures for interrogation and question the Alpha vampire about Purgatory. But when the Alpha breaks free and attacks Sam, Christian reveals himself as a demon and teleports the vampire away. Crowley then appears on the scene, and claims to be the one who raised Sam from Lucifer's cage, and the one in possession of his soul. He tells them that if Sam ever wants it returned, he and Dean need to help Samuel capture creatures for him. Sam almost shoots Samuel in aftermath for selling them out, though Dean stops him. Sam convinces Dean they have to work for Crowley temporarily until they found another way to get his soul back but when they do, they'll kill Crowley themselves.
Sam's behavior, however, shows that he is definitely conflicted over whether or not he actually wants his soul back. He tries to convince Dean that he is still the same Sam. He works Crowley's cases without question and claims that his brain works better than ever. But his actions contradict this, as when dealing with a skinwalker case in All Dogs Go To Heaven, Sam orders Dean to take a shot at the pack leader, even when there is an innocent in the way. Sam later comes clean to Dean about himself. He admits that he's not the old Sam and that he doesn't even care that much about Dean, besides the fact that he needs his help. He also says he's done a lot worse than Dean's aware of, including killing innocent people when they get in his way. After some thought, Sam reluctantly tells Dean he should probably go back to being the old Sam and get his soul back. Dean acknowledges this.In Clap Your Hands If You Believe, Sam struggles with understanding emotions and is more openly rude and crass since Dean knows something's wrong with him. He confronts a leprechaun, who offers a deal to lift Sam's soul from the cage. Sam expresses curiosity, but banishes him and the other fairies. When asked by Dean why he refused, Sam suggests that deals have never lead them anywhere good. Dean then questions whether Sam is having second thoughts, which Sam denies with a simple "No."
Sam and Dean continue to work for Crowley in Caged Heat, despite Dean's remarks about them not getting anywhere. The brothers are unexpectedly captured by Meg, who wants them to give her Crowley's location. Sam makes a deal with her: they will give her Crowley if she promises to torture Crowley to get him to give Sam back his soul. He then calls Castiel to join the group for searching for Crowley. Samuel gives the party the location, but once inside Crowley's prison, Sam and Dean are captured by Crowley's demons, as the two have been sold out by Samuel. The two are put in separate cells, and while the demons take Dean away to have him killed by ghouls, Sam escapes his cell and saves Dean. The brothers confront Crowley and Sam demands his soul. When Crowley refuses, Castiel burns the demon's bones. Sam overhears the negative side effects of what having his soul back in what do to him from both demons and Castiel, such as insanity, death, or paralysis. Sam's soul had been tortured over a year by Michael and Lucifer in the cage do might possibly destroy. Sam's second thoughts increase. Dean tries to reassure Sam, but Sam tells him that he does not think he wants his soul back after all.
|“||I heard Cas and Crowley when they said it'd either kill me or turn me to jello, Dean! I've heard enough! [...] It's my life! My soul! And it sure as hell ain't gonna be your head that's gonna explode when this whole scheme of yours go sideways!||”|
— Sam refusing to get his soul back
in Appointment In Samarra
In Appointment In Samarra, Dean informs Sam and Bobby that he has made a deal with Death that could result in Sam getting his soul back. Death will put up a "wall" in Sam's head to protect him from the memories of Hell. Bobby is given the job of watching Sam while Dean does Death's job for a day. But Sam slips Bobby's watch to summon Balthazar. He asks Balthazar for a way to keep his soul out of his body and Balthazar tells Sam that he has to make his body uninhabitable for his soul by committing patricide, so Sam resolves to kill Bobby. Bobby realizes what Sam is up to, however, and manages to drop Sam into the basement. Sam again finds a way to escape, and when Bobby goes outside to look for him, Sam knocks him out from behind. He ties Bobby to a chair and prepares to kill him, but Dean shows up in the nick of time and knocks Sam out. Sam wakes up chained to the bed in the panic room and Death shows up to restore Sam's soul to his body, with the latter screaming in pain. Sam (his soul) spent approximately 180 years in Hell.
Sam wakes up about a week later in Like A Virgin, with no apparent memory of Hell or even his year without a soul. He is emotional, sensitive, and full of life, much unlike "RoboSam." He questions Dean on a number of occasions, as to how he got back, and if he even tried to live a normal life. But after a while, Sam starts to have feelings of deja vu. And when Dean and Bobby both remain tight-lipped, Sam tricks Castiel into filling in the blanks of his year being soulless. After getting rid of a couple of dragons, Sam apologizes to Dean about all he's done, feeling guilty and expressing a will to set things right. He is apparently not angry, but grateful about Dean trying to protect him. However, he wants to know what he did while he was soulless. Dean does not divulge any details, knowing the risk of Death's wall crumbling.
|“||I kind of feel like I got slipped the worst mickey of all time ... and I woke up to find I burned the whole city town. And you can say it wasn't me, but I was the one with the zippo in my pocket, y'know? So I'm not sure it's that cut and dry. And look, I appreciate you trying to protect to me. I really do. But I gotta fix ... what I gotta fix. So I need to know what I did.||”|
— Sam's quest to redeem his missing year
in Like A Virgin
In Unforgiven, Sam tries to catch up on the year he was "gone." He receives a mysterious text from an unknown number, giving coordinates to a small town where three women have disappeared in the last week. Upon arriving, Sam already begins to have flashbacks of his time there, and remembers that he used the sheriff as live bait to track down an Arachne. Upon finding the Arachne's lair, he killed it, then shot all of the captive men (including the sheriff). But it turns out the sheriff didn't die and is now an Arachne himself. Sam manages to decapitate him and, feeling guilty, agrees that they shouldn't have come to town. As he wonders about what else he could have done, he collapses on the floor and has a flashback of himself burning in Lucifer's Cage. He is out for a whole minute before waking up, but Sam tells Dean that it felt like a week had passed by.
Later, Sam, Dean, and Bobby all track leads for the Mother of All Monsters, Eve. They team up with an old friend, Rufus Turner, and run into Gwen and Samuel. Samuel notices the difference in Sam, who he only knew when he was soulless.The team of hunters realize that what they are hunting is a Khan Worm that takes possession of a person's body and kills anyone around them. It first possesses Dean, who shoots Gwen. Then possesses Samuel, who is shot by Sam. A possessed Bobby kills Rufus, and is later knocked out by Dean only to be interrogated and almost killed.
In Frontierland, Sam remembers the Campbell Compound had a hidden library, where they might be able to find something about killing Eve. Dean finds Samuel Colt's journal, where he reads that Colt killed a phoenix. He suggests a plan to head back in time and bring back the ashes. Castiel sends them to 1861 and Sam finds Samuel Colt, who is retired, but gives him the Colt, which Dean uses to kill the phoenix. They return before they can grab the ashes, but a delivery was made to Sam from Colt himself, containing his broken cell phone and the ashes.
In Mommy Dearest, Sam, Dean, Bobby, and Castiel head to Eve with the ashes. They find out that Eve is currently populating the small town with new monsters. However, once the boys confront Eve (who has taken their mother's form), she proposes an offer: to bring her Crowley, who is apparently alive, and she will let the group live. Dean protests that they don't work for monsters and persuades Eve to bite him, and Eve is killed after discovering phoenix ashes in Dean's bloodstream. Sam and Bobby suspect that Crowley faked his death, and that Castiel purposely meant to burn the wrong bones.Dean tries to remain loyal in The Man Who Would Be King, and argues in favor of Castiel, but Sam and Bobby remain suspicious. Castiel gives himself away, however, and the three trap Castiel in holy fire to interrogate him. Not only does he confirm his alliance with Crowley, but he reveals to Sam that he was the one who freed Sam from Lucifer's Cage, not Crowley.
In Let It Bleed, Castiel arrives at Bobby's place to try to explain himself and Bobby notices that he stole a journal that suggested that horror writer H.P. Lovecraft had attempted to open a door to Purgatory. Ben calls Dean to tell him that men are coming for him and his mom after killing her boyfriend. Crowley then takes the phone and gives him the warning to back off in order for Lisa and Ben to keep breathing. Sam and Dean summon Balthazar for help on finding Lisa and Ben, and they manage to rescue them from the demons. Once in the hospital, Dean asks Castiel to wipe their memories of him.
In the season finale, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Sam is stuck in his own head after Castiel brings down Death's wall. He runs into the soulless version of himself and kills him, which gives him the memories of his soulless year. Sam then arrives at a grim facade of Bobby's house, where he finds the version of himself from Hell. The Hell Sam pleads for him to remain unconscious and ignorant, but Sam insists on putting himself back together because he can't leave his brother out there alone. He stabs and integrates with his other self, now remembering Hell.
|“|| Sam: "What happened in the cage?"|
Tortured!Sam: "Trust me. You don't wanna know."
Sam: "You're right. But I still have to."
Tortured!Sam: "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."
Sam: "We'll just have to see."
Tortured!Sam: "Why is this so important to you?"
Sam: "You know me. You know why. I'm not leaving my brother alone out there."
— Sam's resolve
in The Man Who Knew Too Much
Sam wakes up and continues on to Crowley's headquarters, where he sees an overpowered Castiel return to destroy Raphael. Sam picks up an angelic blade and stabs him in the back. But Castiel simply pulls the weapon out and says the blade won't work because he is not an angel anymore. He proclaims himself their new God, and gives them the choice to either venerate him or be killed.
|“|| Sam: "Meat hooks ... chains ... you. It's not real. It's just my brain leaking memories from the cage 'cause of the wall breaking down. That's all." |
Lucifer: "Hmm. That's very good, your little theory. It's wrong. Sam, this isn't you going guano. Everything else is. [...] Everything ... from the second you sprung out of that locked box."
Sam: "That's impossible."
Lucifer "No. Escaping was impossible. I have to say, I think this is my best torture yet. Make you believe you're free and then ... yank the wool off of your eyes. You never left, Sam. You're still in the cage ... with me."
— Sam's hallucinations
in Meet the New Boss
Soon after Sam tells Dean and Bobby about his flashbacks and hallucinations. Knowing he has a problem Sam decides to stay behind on hunts. He is soon tricked by Lucifer, and brought to a warehouse by him where he is manipulated into almost shooting Dean. Dean manages to snap Sam out it using the pain from his scar, and they return to Bobby's. There they find it in ruins and Edgar waiting for them. Sam is knocked out, but Bobby manages to save him at the hospital.
In The Girl Next Door, he notices a case that he worked when he was a teenager. He leaves Dean without giving him any information and takes the Impala to track down the clues. He eventually finds Amy again, and asks her why she's killing. She tells Sam she has a son, and he needed the live meat after he fell sick. After she assures him that she will not kill again, he lets her live. Returning to the motel room, he meets with Dean again. He tells Dean about Amy and defends her despite being a monster, telling Dean to leave her be and just trust him.
|“||Look. I see the way you look at me, Dean. Like I'm a grenade and you're waiting for me to go off. I'm not going off. Look, I might be a freak, but that's not the same as dangerous. [...] I spent a lot of my life trying to be normal, but come on. I'm not normal. Look at all the crap I've done. Look at me now. I'm a grade-A freak. But I'm managing it.||”|
in The Girl Next Door
In Defending Your Life, Sam and Dean are hunting Osiris who is putting the guilty on trial. Sam puts his old pre-law skills to use in attempt to save Dean's life. After managing to save Dean, Sam admits he no longer feels about his mistakes and sees himself as being fairly punished for it by his torture in Hell. Sam even goes as far to say he feels good and hopes someday he can fully move on from the past.
|“||I think I just ... don't feel guilty anymore. [...] I just ... y'know, I feel like I did a lot of stuff I should've felt bad for, and then I paid a lot of dues and came out the other side, y'know? [...] I guess I just feel like ... my past is past and I can finally move on with me life. You know, hopefully.||”|
— Sam admitting he doesn't feel guilty anymore
in Defending Your Life
In Slash Fiction, Sam and Dean are put under the polices' microscope yet again after Leviathan clones of them start a mass-killing spree, turning them into FBI's most wanted. Bobby manages to discover Leviathans are weakened by cutting off their heads and using sodium borax. The brothers defeat their doppelgangers and convince a police officer to cover for them by declaring them dead. Sam, however, learns from Leviathan Dean that Dean killed Amy behind his back. Sam is furious and confronts Dean before storming off and separating from him.
Sam is reunited with Dean a week later in Lily Dale. Sam is still angry with Dean, but grudgingly works on the case with him. They figure out that Jimmy Tomorrow has Marget Fox's Bones. Sam tries to reason with Jimmy without any luck and is forced to shoot Jimmy. Sam burns the bones and later makes up with Dean and they hunt together again.In Season 7, Time For A Wedding, Sam is drugged with a love potion and marries Becky. When he comes back to his senses, Becky knocks him out and ties him to a bed. Sam convinces Becky to let him go and help them trap Guy. Sam is angry at Becky drugging him and annuls the marriage, though reluctantly tells her to try to be hopeful and one day she'll find someone right for her. Sam seems to be coping better at this point with his hallucinations of Lucifer in his own way, but Dean is still privately concerned about his stability.
In How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters, Sam does a case with Bobby and Dean where burgers are changing people and eventually turning them either stoned or into a man-eating monster. Sam grows concerned over the apathy Dean is beginning to exhibit and worries he's putting too much pressure on himself between Sam's broken wall and losing Castiel. He, Dean, and Bobby find out that its a Leviathan plot and meet Dick Roman, the leader of the Leviathans who secured himself as a powerful business to spread across the country more rapidly. They all manage to narrowly escape his headquarters, but Bobby is fatally shot in the head as they escape.
|“||I don't know, Bobby. Seeing Lucifer's fine with me. [...] Look, I'm not saying it's fun. I mean, to be honest with you, I kind of see it as the best-case scenario. At least my crazy's all under one umbrella, you know? I kind of know what I'm dealing with. A lot of people got it worse.||”|
— Sam's apparent coping of his hallucinations
in How To Win Friends And Influence Monsters
In Death's Door, Sam and Dean rush Bobby to the ER. Sam is worried for Bobby, but readies himself for the worst. He still suffers from his hallucinations of Lucifer, which he holds at bay by pressing into the scar in his hand. Sam is worried for Bobby, but readies himself for the worst. Surprisingly, Bobby manages to wake up briefly and writes numbers on Sam's hand before dying tragically.
Weeks pass after Bobby's death. Both brothers are still devastated by loss, though Sam copes with his more grief more productively than Dean and still tries to focus on helping people. Dean manages to discover the numbers Bobby gave them were coordinates to a subsidiary of Rick Roman, though they have no idea why it's so important.
Sam grows concerned and frustrated by Dean's consuming obsession to kill Dick Roman and lack of interest in other cases that aren't revolving around him. After strange activity leading to hints for their case, Dean starts to believe Bobby is haunting them and is linked to his flask. Sam refuses the idea and even gets angry, reminding him they had no proof. Dean unknowingly conceives a daughter named Emma with an Amazon, who ages rapidly and reaches teenage years in three days. The tribe are monsters and have a rite of passage for the daughters to kill their fathers. Dean hesitates to kill her, but Sam shoots her. Dean is clearly uncomfortable, causing Sam to lecture him and remind him he had to kill Emma just like Dean "had" to kill Amy. Sam confronts him about his behavior after losing Castiel and Bobby, but Dean shuts him out.
In Repo Man, Sam allows Lucifer's hallucination to help him find Jeffrey who had taken Dean hostage. After helping him however, Lucifer reappears. Sam tries to make him go away by causing pain to himself through his scar but to no avail. Lucifer tells him that by allowing Lucifer to help him, he had in turn given Lucifer a firmer grip on his mind.
Sam hallucinations of Lucifer worsens every day, pressing into his scar to dispel him still not working. In Out With The Old, Sam starts to deprive himself of sleep due to the constant torment Lucifer gives him. Dean is concerned about his brother and while Sam admits Lucifer is stressing him more than usual, he tries to say he's fine and continue working hunting jobs.
In The Born-Again Identity, Sam is admitted into a psychiatric ward after he had a full blown psychotic episode with Lucifer. Sam is resigned to his condition, though Dean desperately looks into anything to heal his mind. Despite his insanity, Sam manages to help a fellow psychiatric patient named Marion by saving her from the ghost of her dead brother. Sam is unable to sleep and is on the verge of death as Dean stumbles upon Castiel who is reincarnated and using the name Emmanuel.
|“|| Sam: "None of this is real."|
Lucifer: "And yet ... you know what really sucks? It doesn't really matter. Because I won. Your madness won. I mean, look at you. It's hard to believe you were the guy that saved the world once."
— Sam slipping deeper into insanity
in The Born-Again Identity
Dean, along with Meg, brings a amnesiac Castiel to Sam to heal him. As Castiel slowly regains his memories, Sam slips into complete insanity and can't tell the difference between what's real and what isn't. Castiel is unable to cure Sam, but is able to transfer his hallucinations to his own mind. Sam seems better than ever and gets his sanity back, but at the cost of Castiel's.
In Party On, Garth, it is revealed that Sam tried to use the ouija board to contact Bobby's spirit. He didn't tell Dean because he didn't want to drag him in, and admits that he didn't contact anything. After Dean's sword is suddenly thrown up in his hand during a fight, Sam still doesn't believe his brother that Bobby can still be around and tries to tell him he's just confusing his grief.
Soon enough, while working a case in Of Grave Importance surrounding ghosts who are in torment of another spirit, Sam and Dean discover Bobby's spirit has been following them. He had been tied to Dean's flask and at first couldn't communicate with Sam for that reason. Sam and Dean are happy to see Bobby, but uncomfortable to know he hadn't moved on and found peace. Bobby justifies this and just wants to help. Sam unsurely wonders if Bobby helping them as ghost could maybe work, but Dean is less convinced.
Soon after, in The Girl With The Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo, Sam and Dean receive an automatic email from Frank, who had been recently killed by Leviathans. The message informs them a hacker of Dick's at Roman Enterprises is hacking into Frank's information about them. The hacker turned out to be Charlie Bradbury, who discovered the truth about Dick Roman and Leviathans after hacking it. It's discovered that the Leviathan's ultimate plan is to turn people into "perfect cattle" for their meals. Sam and Dean rush to location by GPS tracker on Frank's hard drive, managing to get a reluctant Charlie to sneak in Dick Roman's office and get his private information. Bobby, however, set on vengeance follows them despite Sam and Dean's warnings.
Charlie manages to get Dick Roman's information and give the brothers a chance to steal a private package being transported to Dick, but is injured accidentally by Bobby who lost control seeing Dick. Sam and Dean narrowly escape, discovering the package to be an tablet. Charlie survives with a broken arm and departs, leaving the brothers with an unknown tablet and concerns of Bobby turning into a vengeful spirit.
Sam and Dean crack up the angel tablet in Reading Is Fundamental, unknowingly calling Kevin Tran as the new prophet. Simultaneously Castiel awakens in the mental ward. The brothers rush over to a now insane Castiel who still manages to decipher the tablet as the Word of God. During this time, the tablet is stolen by Kevin. Sam and Meg pursue him, discovering his identity from angels who are after them. Sam, Dean, Meg, and Castiel take Kevin to their safehouse to ward them off. Sam is grateful towards Castiel for taking on his memories of Hell and swears to help him.
|“||I know you never did anything but try to help. I realize that, Cas, and I'm grateful. We're all grateful. And we're gonna help you get better, okay? No matter what it takes.||”|
— Sam's promise to Castiel
in Reading Is Fundamental
After defeating the angels who found them, with help of Kevin's translations decipher the tablet and discover how to kill Leviathans: a bone of a righteous mortal dipped in blood of the fallen. The brothers get blood from Castiel--- a fallen angel--- and set out to find the other too.
Dick Roman's power grows. By There Will Be Blood, Dean and Sam are resorted to eating organic food on a daily basis as all other foods are infected by Leviathans. The brothers discover the other blood types are from an alpha and Crowley. Crowley refuses to give his blood right away so Sam and Dean go after the Alpha Vampire. After discovering the Leviathans plan to exterminate not just humans but monsters, the alpha grudgingly gives them his blood. Sam and Dean's plan is successful so until they go to the motel to find Bobby gone and the place ransacked. While Dean is unwilling to accept Bobby becoming vengeful, Sam is realistic and knows that soon Bobby will be no different than the ghosts they hunted.
In Survival of the Fittest, Sam and Dean collect a bone from a dead nun and try to summon Crowley for his blood but he doesn't show. This cause the brothers to doubt Crowley's help but sure enough he appears later with a vial of his blood. He explains the deal Dick tried to make with him of giving them another demon's blood, but has the "real deal". Neither Sam or Dean trust Crowley, but know they have no other choice. During this time, Sam figures out Dick Roman had Leviathans clone themselves as him in his headquarters to make him harder to spot. Bobby, still possessing a maid, recklessly goes there. Bobby nearly kills Sam as he tries to stop him and the maid, but snaps out of it just in time.
In the aftermath, Bobby appears and finally asks the boys to burn his flask. He was too close to being a vengeful spirit. Sam doesn't blame Bobby for nearly killing him and both him and Dean are sad at losing their surrogate father yet again, but do the right thing and put him to rest. Castiel, who had initially refused to help them fight despite being able to identify which Leviathan is the real Dick, is convinced by Dean and set out to SucroCorp with him and Meg.
The next day, Dean and Castiel go after Dick while Sam tries to find Kevin who had been kidnapped. Meanwhile, Meg distracts the Leviathans outside. Sam finds Kevin and Dean and Castiel successfully kill Dick together. Sam appears with Kevin just in time to watch Dick explode in black goo, Dean and Castiel disappearing along with him. Crowley appears to a startled Sam, kidnapping Meg and having known all along the weapon would have "side-effects" for the users. Crowley mocks Sam, then leaves with Kevin Tran. Sam is left alone in the building, looking lost and completely in the dark about where Dean is.
|“||Can't help you, Sam. [...] You got what you wanted. Dick's dead, saved the world. So I want one little prophet. Sorry, Moose. Wish I could help. You certainly have a lot on your plate. It looks like you are well and truly ... on your own.||”|
— Crowley's ominous words to Sam
in Survival of the Fittest
|“||As far as I knew, what we do is the thing that got every single member of my family killed. I had no one. No one. And for the first time in my life, I was completely alone. And honestly, I-I didn't exactly have a roadmap. So yeah, I fixed up the Impala ... and just drove.||”|
— Sam recalling the aftermath of Dean's disappearance
in We Need To Talk About Kevin
After Dean and Castiel disappeared, Sam was left alone with no leads and finds nothing on Kevin or Meg's whereabouts. Without Dean, Sam develops a cynical perspective on the "family business" after losing so many people and retires from hunting. Sam didn't know where Dean was or what happened to him, but didn't try to look for him and assumed he was dead. Instead, Sam ditches his old phones for hunting and drove off with the Impala.
Early in the year, Sam accidentally hits a stray dog. He takes it immediately to a veterinary clinic where he meets a vet named Amelia Richardson. Sam keeps the dog and takes care of it, at first just calling it "Dog". Sam manages to get a job as a handyman at the motel he was staying in where he runs into Amelia there, who was staying there. Amelia at first distrusts him, but the two get closer and connect over having no one else to go to. Sam develops feelings for her. Sam learns Amelia's husband died in Afghanistan eight months before and Sam admits he recently lost his brother. While Amelia is at first hesitant to be with him because she doesn't want pity, the two form an understanding and bond over their shared losses.
|“||I don't pity you. Okay? I don't. You and I .. we're a lot of things, but we're not to be pitied. Look, I lost my brother Dean a few months ago. It felt like my world imploded and came raining down on me, and ... I ran. Just like you.||”|
— Sam connecting to Amelia
in Southern Comfort
At some point, Sam moves in and enters in a relationship with Amelia and the name their dog Riot. Sam even has his birthday celebrated, something he rarely did hunting, and would later reflect on this as one of his fonder memories. While still keeping tabs on the supernatural cases around town in the news, Sam ignored the cases and rationalized it as job for another hunter. He realizes it's not his job to save everyone and just decides to move on with his life.
Eventually, Sam meets Amelia's father Stan Thompson. He's skeptical of Sam, who knows he's running from something and believes he's being with Amelia for the wrong reasons. Sam admits he recently lost his brother, who he still grieves for, but refuses he's with Amelia wrongly. Stan warms up to him and they have a nice family dinner until Amelia gets a call, revealing her husband Don is still alive.
With Don home, Sam and Amelia get a rut. Sam respects her relationship with her husband, but still believes them together is right. Amelia agrees. Sam talks with Don who tells them to respect Amelia's choice, whatever that is, if he really loves her. Sam feels bad and decides to leave Amelia, encouraging her to be with her husband.
|“||I know that you and Don deserve a chance, okay? And ... I think you know that too. Just give him a chance. Like you gave me. I mean, Amelia ... you saved me.||”|
— Sam to Amelia as he leaves
in Citizen Fang
|“|| Sam: "People were okay, Dean. [...] Look, I did what we promised we'd do. I moved on. I lived my life. [...] Look, it wasn't like I was just ... oblivious. I mean, I read the paper every day. I saw the weird stories. The kind of stuff we used to chase.|
Dean: "And you said what? 'Not my problem'?"
Sam: " Yes. And you know what? The world went on. [...] People will always die, Dean. Or maybe another hunter took care of it. I don't know, but the point is, for the first time, I realized it wasn't only up to me to stop it."
— Sam's new outlook
in We Need To Talk About Kevin
After Dean returns from Purgatory with the help of a vampire named Benny, Sam reunites with his brother after a year. Sam tells Dean he had retired from hunting ever since Dean disappeared and had been in a relationship with a woman named Amelia. Sam admits he hadn't looked for Dean because he had no one to help him and thought he was dead. Dean is betrayed by this and resents Sam's decision to quit, especially after he goes through Sam's old mobiles which were filled with messages from Kevin months old after he escaped from Crowley. Sam is guilty over this and agrees with Dean they need to go find him.
As they look for Kevin, strain between Sam and Dean is obvious. Dean criticizes Sam's quitting even after reading about supernatural cases in the news, which he admits he ignored. While Dean still believes it's their responsibility to save people, Sam disagrees and admits in the last year he finally realized he didn't have to save everyone. Eventually, Sam locates Kevin and the brothers find him in hiding, but alive. Kevin reveals Crowley made him read off another tablet about demons, which included ways to kill/banish them or close the gates of Hell forever. Dean is motivated by prospect of closing the gates of Hell forever, though Sam is more unsure for Kevin's sake. Crowley and his demons appear for Kevin, but all three of them escape.
|“||Kevin ... I owe you an apology. Look ... when you disappeared and Dean disappeared... I needed to clear my head. And ... I'm thinking maybe you were one of the pieces I should've picked up.||”|
— Sam apologizing for ignoring Kevin
in We Need To Talk About Kevin
In What's Up, Tiger Mommy?, Sam officially returns to hunting with his brother. After Kevin's request to see if his mother was still safe, they stake out her house and save her from demons. Despite Sam and Dean's protests, Mrs. Tran wants to stay with them to help protect her son. After discovering the tablet had been stolen, they eventually track it down to a demonic auction and are put against Crowley for the tablet. When Kevin is auctioned as being a "pair" to the tablet, Ms. Tran offers up her own soul for him and the tablet. Crowley takes this opportunity to possess her and a fight breaks out. Crowley exits out of Ms. Tran to his original vessel and manages to leave with the tablet. Ms. Tran, however, is left traumatized by possession. In the aftermath, Kevin and his mother trick the Winchesters and disappear. Kevin leaves them a note saying not to find them and he wasn't going to get killed being useless to them (as Crowley warned).
Sam reluctantly continues to work cases, but it becomes clear in Heartache his heart just isn't in it. He shows a appreciation for simpler things in life and even has applications to a university. Dean pushes Sam to accept hunting again, but his fresh purpose in the job only alienates Sam. He admits to Dean they want different things in life and after closing the gates of Hell he wants to give up hunting for a normal life.
|“||Dean, listen. When this is over, when we close up shop on Kevin and the tablet, I'm done. I mean that. [...] Dean, the year that I took off, I had something I never had. A normal life. I mean, I got to see what that felt like. I want that. I had that.||”|
After another failed attempt to locate Kevin in Blood Brother, Dean leaves after getting a call from Benny for help and doesn't tell Sam where's going. Sam is annoyed over his secretive attitude and angered further when he finds out Dean went to a vampire nest helping a "friend". Eventually, Sam is made aware of the situation and meets up with them after the nest was destroyed. Sam officially meets Benny, though quickly realizes he's a vampire. Sam and becomes extremely jealous of Benny's relationship with Dean. He also feels hurt that Dean has a friendship with a vampire when he killed Sam's friend Amy for being a monster just the year before.
In Southern Comfort, Sam is angry for Dean for trusting a vampire and refuses to see what he sees in Benny, bringing up Amy that Dean had killed a year before just for a monster. The tension between them boils when Dean is possessed by a specter that forces people to kill the person they hold grudge against. Dean zeros in on Sam, who feels betrayed by him---more recently for not finding him in Purgatory---and reveals he never fully forgive him for his past mistakes. When the specter is defeated, Sam sees right through Dean's attempts to brush it off and stands up to him, telling him to admit what bothers him on what he did and get over it or he'll drive Sam away.
|“||Own up to your crap, Dean. I told you from the jump where I was coming from, why I didn't look for you. But you? You had secrets. You had Benny. And you got on your high and mighty, and you've been kicking me ever since you got back. But that's over. So move on. Or I will.||”|
— Sam stands up to Dean
in Southern Comfort
In A Little Slice of Kevin, Sam is astounded when Castiel mysteriously returns from Purgatory without any memory of how he got out. Afterwards, they discover Crowley is kidnapping future prophets to help him decipher the tablet without Kevin. Soon enough, Crowley does indeed kidnap Kevin again and the brothers receive a call from help from Mrs. Tran. Sam, Dean, and Castiel infiltrate Crowley's hideout. Castiel manages to secure Kevin and distract Crowley, breaking the tablet in two before he can escape with it. Crowley gets away with one half, leaving the group with the other half of the tablet and Kevin. Kevin agrees to help them close the gates of Hell and they set out to find Crowley.
In Citizen Fang, Sam's distrust of Benny worsens when a trail of vampire kills leads right to where Benny has settled down in. It's revealed Sam had Martin Creaser to keep tabs on him if any bodies appeared. At Dean's behest, Sam agrees to give Benny the benefit of the doubt, but Martin is adamant Benny is responsible. Dean sends Sam a fake S.O.S. text from Amelia to get him out of the way. Sam rushes to the rescue, only to find Amelia with her husband and perfectly unharmed. Meanwhile, an innocent Benny is forced to kill Martin in self-defense. Sam figures out Dean tricked him and is angry over it, only for Amelia herself to appear to him.
In Torn and Frayed, Sam and Amelia catch up. She admits to Sam that she still loves him, and will be with him if he wants to stay with her. Sam takes a few days to consider her offer, and helps Dean and Castiel rescue an angel named Samandriel from Crowley in the meantime. Dean tells Sam that he will give him his full blessing if he decides to stay with Amelia, but Sam admits he's been having second thoughts about a normal life with everything going on with the tablets and Kevin. Amelia shows up at the rendezvous point, but Sam chooses to stay with Dean.
|“||She does make me happy, and she could be waiting for me if I went back. I'd be a very luck man if she was. But now ... with everything staring down at us, with all that's left to be done ... I don't know.||”|
— Sam's second thoughts
in Torn and Frayed
In As Time Goes By, Sam and Dean meet their grandfather, Henry Winchester, and help him take down a demonic Knight of Hell named Abaddon. The brothers discover their ancestors on their father's side were Men of Letters--- chroniclers of the unknown and unexplained that had immense knowledge, which they usually passed to hunters worthy. Henry dies protecting the key. Sam and Dean give him a funeral with his other deceased Men Of Letters friends. They're lead to the headquarters, and after further research and working a case with the Juda Society, Sam takes up the throne as the next "legacy" and becomes a Man of Letters.
Kevin finally manages to decipher the demon tablet in Trial and Error, and using Kevin's translation of the Word of God, Dean convinces Sam that he should be the one to attempt the trials to shut Hell's gates. hey track a hellhound towards a farm were Crowley made multiple deals. Upon realizing Dean's motivation to do the trials is a suicide mission, Sam argues with him. Dean tracks the hellhound and nearly killed, but Sam kills it instead, fulfilling the requirements for one of the trials.
In the aftermath, Sam confronts Dean over his apathetic, low opinion of himself and expresses his complete faith and admiration in him. Sam tells him he knows he can do the trials instead, but wants Dean to believe in him too. Dean reluctantly lets Sam be chosen for the trials and the first ritual is complete.
|“||I want to slam the gates shut too, okay? But I want to survive it. I want to live and so should you. You friends up here. Family. [...] You're right, okay? I see the light at the end of this tunnel. And I'm sorry you don't. I am. But it's there. And if you come with me, I can take you to it. [...] You're not a grunt, Dean. You're a genius. You're the best damn hunter I've ever seen. Better than me, better than Dad. I believe in you, Dean. So please, please believe in me too.||”|
— Sam choosing to do the trials
in Trial and Error
In Man's Best Friend With Benefits, Sam is frustrated by Dean who is still trying to convince him not to do the trials. Sam believes it's because Dean's unable to trust anyone but himself. Eventually, Dean clarifies he does trust him and by trusting him he should respect his choice to do the trials. Meanwhile, the effect resulting from the trial is revealed when Sam coughs up a spot of blood, but hides it from his brother even though he seems visibly shaken.
While working on a case in Goodbye Stranger, they run into Castiel and discover that Crowley has been searching for Lucifer's crypt, seeing as it contains the angel tablet. They also discover that Crowley has been torturing Meg for information, as she knows the true whereabouts of their location. They rescue Meg, who takes them there, but Dean insists that Sam stay outside while he and Castiel look for the tablet. Sam declares that he feels fine, but Castiel tells him that the effects of the trial have damaged Sam in ways that not even he can heal and that they've changed him on a "subatomic level". Meg and Sam discuss the year he spent with Amelia, and Meg tells him that she understands his desire for a normal life and a relationship. She is then killed by Crowley while trying to protect them and Castiel. They escape from Crowley and Sam and Dean have a heart to heart, promising not to lie to each other.
In Taxi Driver, Kevin translates the second trial as needing to "rescue an innocent soul from Hell". After meeting up with a rogue reaper named Ajay, Sam and Dean discover that Crowley had secretly sent Bobby's soul to Hell, and Sam goes with Ajay to try and rescue him. Sam reunites with Bobby and they take the portal through Purgatory. When Ajay doesn't show, Sam and Bobby are forced to fight monsters and are trapped in there. They're rescued by Benny, who agreed to let Dean kill him to help him save Sam from Purgatory with the plan to bring them both back.Benny leads them out of Purgatory, but chooses to stay behind, not able to fit in Earth. Sam and Dean send Bobby's soul to Heaven, completing the second trial. Sam tells that he was wrong about Benny, and that he was a good person after all.
Sam continues to get sicker and sicker from the trials, and becomes convinced that he won't get better until he finishes them. Sam, however, starts to remember things and begins to feel like the trials are changing him: purifying him. Crowley captures Kevin in The Great Escapist, and leads Sam and Dean to believe that he is dead. They go off looking for a way to translate the third trial by themselves, and run into an angel named Metatron. Metatron reveals that he was the scribe of God and the original author of the tablets before he went into hiding on Earth. Sam and Dean convince him to rescue Kevin from Crowley, and he tells them that the third trial requires them to "cure a demon".
|“||You know, I've been remembering things, little things, so clearly. [...] You used to read to me when I was little. I mean, really little, from that--- from that old ... Classic Illustrated comic book. [...] Knights of the Round table. Had all of King Arthur's knights, and they were all on the quest for the Holy Grail. [...] I remember thinking I could never go on a quest like that. Because I'm not clean. I mean, I was just a kid. You think maybe I knew? I mean, deep down, that ... I had demon blood in me, and about the evil of it, and that I'm--- wasn't pure? [...] It doesn't matter anymore. Because these trials ... they're purifying me.||”|
— Sam on the effects of the trial
in The Great Escapist
In Clip Show, Sam and Dean watch a series of old exorcism videos in the Men of Letters files that detail how to cure a demon. The brothers dig up Abaddon and intend to cure her to finish the trials, but Crowley calls and reveals he's killing off all the people they ever saved if they don't surrender. Abbadon escapes. With no demon to cure, Sam and Dean go after Crowley, but Crowley threatens to kill Sam's old fling Sarah Blake if they don't give up the tablet. Sam and Dean do everything they can to protect her, but can't manage to save her life in time. Sam, grieving, considers surrendering, but Dean tells him to push him on.
In the season finale, Sacrifice, Crowley threatens to murder Jody Mills, and Sam and Dean agree to give up the trials in order to save her life. They arrive to make a deal with Crowley, but capture him with some of the bunker's demon-proof handcuffs, revealing that they are planning on using him for the third trial. They lock Crowley down in a church and Sam begins the process of curing him, injecting him with Sam's human blood which he blessed by confession once every few hours. Dean is called away to help Castiel in his attempt to shut the gates of Heaven, and Sam is left to finish the ritual alone. He notices that Crowley becomes more and more human as the night goes on, and Crowley finally admits to Sam that he just wants to be loved. Abaddon appears, planning on killing Crowley and taking over Hell, but Sam manages to set her meatsuit on fire, seemingly killing her. Dean arrives just in time to stop Sam from completing the trial, who learned completing it would result in his death. Sam doesn't care and thinks closing the gates of Hell is worth it. He explains that he feels like all he does is let his brother down, and admits how hard it's been for him to see Dean turn to Benny and Castiel instead of him. Dean tells Sam that he'd never put anything or anyone in front of him and that Sam is the person he cares about more than anyone else.
|“|| Dean: "Think about it. Think about what we know, huh? Pulling souls from Hell, curing demons. Hell, ganking a hellhound! We have enough knowledge on our side to turn the tide here. But I can't do it without you."|
Sam: (distraught) "You can barely do it with me. I mean, you think I screw up everything I try. You think I need a chaperone, remember? [...] You want to know what I confessed in there? What my greatest sin was? It was how many times I let you down. (tearfully) I can't do that again. What happens when you decided I can't be trusted again? I mean, who are you going to turn to next instead of me? Another angel? Another ... another vampire?"
— Sam's confession to Dean
Dean asks Sam to stop the final trial, claiming that they can do more good as a team. Sam agrees, but the effect of the trials doesn't subside and Sam cries out in pain. Dean helps Sam outside and they witness all the angels falling from Heaven.
|“||Honestly, I feel better than I have in a long time. I mean, I realize it's crazy out there, and we have trouble coming for us, but I look around and I see friends, and family. I am happy with my life, for the first time in ... forever. I am. I really am.||”|
— Sam to Dean
in Devil May Care
Sam is now in a coma as a result of the trials. In his mind, he is starting to give up and considers letting himself die. His desire to live and his desire to die manifest themselves as images of Dean and Bobby, respectively, and they fight among each other in his head. Sam finally agrees with Bobby and apologizes to the vision of Dean in his head, saying goodbye. He comes face to face with Death, who has come to collect him personally, and Sam asks him to make sure that his death is permanent this time. Meanwhile, in the real world Dean has asked an angel named "Ezekiel" to help him cure Sam. Ezekiel tells Dean that the only way he can save Sam's life is if Sam allows him to possess his body. Dean realizes that Sam would never agree to such a thing, and in a moment of desperation agrees to help Ezekiel trick Sam into saying yes. Ezekiel shows up in Sam's head, disguised as Dean, and begs Sam to live so they can stay together. Sam agrees, and Ezekiel possesses his body. He promises Dean that Sam will never know he's hiding inside him, and that as soon as he's healed Sam he'll leave.
In Devil May Care, Sam is still unaware that he's harboring an angel, and is surprised to find out that Dean left Crowley alive. Dean argues that Crowley can help them track down all the demons on Earth, and him and Sam lock him up in the bunker's dungeon. They receive word that Abaddon is still alive and is kidnapping hunters, so go on a rescue mission. During the hunt, Sam is overpowered by three demons and Ezekiel takes over, destroying all of the demons and causing Abaddon to flee. Ezekiel stabs all three of the corpses with Ruby's knife, so that he and Dean can maintain the illusion that there aren't any angels involved. When Sam wakes up, Dean tells his brother that he was the one who defeated all the demons. Later on, Sam recovers at the bunker and reveals to a guilty Dean that he feels a lot better about his life now than he has in a long time.
In I'm No Angel, Ezekiel takes over Sam halfway through a conversation to reveal to Dean that angels are chasing Castiel. Sam and Dean try to reach Castiel before the angels can get their hands on him, but run into a dead end. Worried for Castiel's safety, Dean asks Ezekiel to locate him, and they manage to find him just as a rogue reaper stabs him through the chest. Dean kills the reaper, and Ezekiel uses his powers to bring Castiel back to life. Sam and Dean bring Castiel back to the bunker with them. Sam begins to question things, but Dean comes up with an excuse to pacify his brother's curiosity. Ezekiel takes over and admits that he can't stay in the same place as Castiel since he's a target for dangerous angels. He tells Dean that if he doesn't kick Castiel out of the bunker, he'll have to leave and Sam will die. Dean is forced to send Castiel away in order to save his brother's life.
Dean continues to hide Ezekiel's presence from Sam, coming up with cover stories to explain away the discrepancies that Sam is starting to notice more and more. Ezekiel also heals Sam a number of times, saving his life from fatal injuries and healing Dean's friends whenever they are in danger. But after every use of his power, he tells Dean that each time means longer that he'll have to stay inside of Sam to recharge.
In Heaven Can't Wait, Sam works with Dean and Kevin on figuring out how to send the angels back to Heaven. Dean is called away by Castiel for a case so Sam reluctantly stays behind to help Kevin research. After finding nothing, Sam decides to ask Crowley if he can translate the ancient language of the spell Metatron used. Crowley refuses until he's allowed to get a "call" to Abaddon. Crowley reveals the Heaven spell is irreversible, leaving Earth plagued with dangerous and confused angels.
In Rock and A Hard Place, Sam is shown to be constantly tired and admits to Dean he feels he can't recharge his batteries. In a fight against Vesta, she tells Sam that his organs are completely burned and that he's nothing but "duct tape and safety pins inside." Sam is worried by his and confides in Dean, telling him he's feels like something's wrong with him. Dean tries to pass the symptoms of Ezekiel's presence off as a lingering effect of the trials, but Sam admits that he thinks something is just wrong with him and that he'll never be normal. Dean can't stand Sam thinking about himself that way, so he decides to tell him the truth. But Ezekiel takes over and warns Dean to not even try. Dean instead tells Sam's it's not him and to not worry. Sam begins to realize Dean's lying to him.
|“||What if there's something wrong with me? Something really wrong? [...] Why does it have to be something else? It's always something else. We're always scraping to find some other explanation when maybe ... it is just me. [...] I'm a mess, Dean. You know it. And sometimes I feel like maybe I'm never gonna actually be alright.||”|
— Sam's fears
in Rock and a Hard Place
In Holy Terror, Sam and Dean go on a case to investigate multiple angel slaughters. They meet Castiel, who is attempting to help his angel brethren, even as a human. After this encounter, Ezekiel takes over and reminds Dean that he can't be near Castiel, so Dean sends Castiel away again. Ezekiel walks outside and runs into Metatron, who reveals that he knows that "Ezekiel" is actually Gadreel, the angel who let Lucifer into the Garden of Eden, and was locked up for thousands of years. Metatron offers him a role in the rebuilding of Heaven and Gadreel is so desperate to clear his name that he accepts, so Metatron gives him a piece of paper with an assassination target for him to take care of. Meanwhile, Dean starts to worry that "Ezekiel" hasn't been telling him the truth. He and Kevin plan a spell that can knock the angel out of control so he can talk to Sam, but Gadreel overhears the conversation and changes the symbol, tricking Dean into believing he's Sam and knocking him out. Gadreel kills Kevin (the assassination target) and steals Sam's body, leaving Dean crying over Kevin's corpse.In Road Trip, Sam in a fantasy world inside his own head by Gadreel, where he believes he is working on cases with Dean. Dean, Castiel and Crowley capture Gadreel and attempt to separate his mind from Sam's so that Sam can expel the rogue angel, but fail, so Crowley possesses Sam and explains the situation. Sam remembers everything during Gadreel's possession---including Kevin's death--- fights Gadreel until expelling the angel from his body. Castiel heals some of the effects from the trials that Gadreel wasn't able to and promises to stay and keep healing Sam until he's better. Sam is furious at Dean's deception over the last few months and stricken with guilt over Kevin's death. When Dean decides to leave, Sam lets him.
|“|| Sam: "You lied to me. Again. [...] I was ready to die, Dean!"|
Dean: "I know, but I wouldn't let you. Because that's not in me."
Sam: "So, what? You decide to trick me into being possessed by some psycho angel? [...] I was willing to die, Dean. And now ... Kevin ...!"
Dean: "No. That is not on you. Kevin's blood is on my hands, and that ain't ever getting clean. I'll burn for that. I will. But I'll find Gadreel and I'll end that son of a bitch. But I'll do it alone. [...] I won't drag anyone through the muck with me. Not anymore."
Sam: "Go. I'm not gonna stop you."
— A furious Sam parts ways with Dean
in Road Trip
While Dean is off on his own in First Born, Castiel discovers that Sam still has some of Gadreel's grace within him, and they try to use it to locate the angel. And even though Sam is willing to sacrifice himself for it to work, Castiel is not and he completely heals Sam, telling him that he wouldn't want to lose him and eliminating the last of the grace.
In Sharp Teeth, Sam and Dean reunite on a case while looking for Garth. And although the brothers work the job together, Sam tells Dean that he's still angry and that they obviously aren't on the same page anymore. He says that they can't be brothers anymore, only hunting partners. In The Purge, after Dean refuses to apologize, Sam tells him that he wouldn't have done the same thing if their situations were reversed.
In Captives, Kevin's spirit is revealed to be haunting the bunker and can't move on due to the after-affect of Metatron shutting down Heaven. He asks the brothers to locate his mother, still kidnapped by Crowley. After saving Mrs. Tran and filling her in on Kevin's death, she decides to take his spirit with her until he can move on. Sam and Dean make peace with Kevin and vow to find a way to send him to Heaven. Kevin encourages the brothers to get over the issues between them, but Sam is still unwilling to forgive.
In Blade Runners, Sam, Dean and Crowley team up to locate The First Blade, the only weapon that can kill Abaddon. Working together, they locate former Man of Letters Cuthbert Sinclair who has the Blade. Revealing themselves to be Henry Winchester's grandsons, Sam and Dean are able to get into Cuthbert, aka Magnus's lair. However, when Magnus learns that Dean possesses the Mark of Cain, he teleports Sam outside as he plans to add Dean to his collection. With Crowley's help, Sam gets back inside, but is captured by Magnus who plans to torture Sam to make Dean willing to do what he wants. Crowley frees Dean who decapitates Magnus with the First Blade and Sam has to talk him out of the uncontrollable rage he experiences as a result. In the aftermath, Sam suggests killing Crowley now that they have what they want, but Crowley steals the Blade from them, only intending to give it back once they've found Abaddon.
In Mother's Little Helper, Sam is forced to take a case by himself because Dean insists that he's too focused on finding Abaddon. Sam travels to Milton, Illinois where normally good people suddenly become violent murderers. Sam stops one of the murders and finds out that the affected people are similar to what happened to him when he was soulless. Hearing Julia Wilkinson, an ex-nun, mention demons, Sam asks her what happened and learns that Henry and Josie Sands (Abaddon's vessel) traveled to the town in 1958 to investigate similar happenings. Julia reveals that Henry and Josie exorcised two of the demons creating soulless soldiers for a demon army. But one was Abaddon who possessed Josie and had the other demon continue her work in secret. Sam travels to the convent and finds the demon and the victims' souls captured in jars. Sam uses a recorded exorcism to distract the demon, then kills her and releases the souls back to their owners. After thanking Julia for her help, Sam returns to the bunker and tells Dean what he learned.
Sam and Dean finally manage to capture Gadreel in Meta Fiction, but Sam chooses to return him to Metatron to trade for Castiel's life. They plan on trapping Metatron at the exchange, but Metatron reveals that he's been using the angel tablet to charge himself up, and now he has powers equal to God.
The Winchesters help Castiel with an interrogation in King of the Damned and learn that Metatron has a secret door to Heaven. Crowley calls them with Abaddon's whereabouts, so they travel to his location in order to kill her. Dean tells Sam that Crowley warned him about some demons in the basement of the hotel, so Sam goes down to check. But when the room is empty, Sam realizes that Dean lied to him in order to get him out of the way. He arrives just in time to see Dean kill Abaddon with the First Blade, but he won't stop brutalizing the corpse and Sam struggles to get Dean to finally drop the blade. They spare Crowley's life and tell him to return his son (that Abaddon plucked out of the time stream as a bargaining chip) to his proper time, but Crowley refuses and disappears. On the drive home, Sam tells Dean that he's concerned about his worrisome attachment to the blade and asks that they get rid of it now that they don't need it anymore. Dean refuses.
|“|| Sam: "Look ... I'm glad it worked out, okay? I am. And I'm glad the Blade gives you calm or whatever, but Dean, I gotta say ... I'm starting to think the Blade is doing something else too [...] Like something to you. Look, I'm thinking until we know for sure that we're gonna kill off Crowley, why don't we store the blade somewhere distant. Lock it up somewhere safe? Okay?"|
Dean: " ... No."
— Sam's concerns on the Blade
in King of the Damned
In Stairway To Heaven, Sam continues to worry about Dean's growing dependence on the First Blade. He asks Dean to leave it at the bunker while they go to help Castiel, and his brother agrees. They find that some of Castiel's angel followers are attacking others in suicide bombings. Dean stays behind to interrogate the group while Sam and Castiel search for Metatron's doorway to Heaven. They find a warehouse full of traps, but once they get past them, the whole thing turns out to be a fake. Sam and Castiel return to find that Dean lied about keeping the blade, and that he's killed Tessa the reaper with it. Castiel's army ask him to kill Dean for his crimes, but Castiel refuses and the rest of his angels leave. Sam tries to bring up the blade again, but Dean tells him that he's the only one who can kill Metatron and that Sam doesn't have a say in anything they do until that's done. Gadreel shows up at the bunker, telling the three of them that he's defecting from Metatron's side after finding out that he secretly orchestrated all of the angel bombings. He asks for their forgiveness, but Dean attacks him with the First Blade.
In the season finale, Do You Believe in Miracles?, Sam and Castiel try to restrain Dean from killing Gadreel and manage to lock him up in the bunker's dungeon. They find Gadreel and (after some reluctance on Sam's part) all decide that Dean is their best bet at defeating Metatron. They return to the bunker to find that Dean has escaped, and while Castiel and Gadreel try to sneak into Heaven, Sam goes after his brother. He finds Dean working with Crowley and tells him that they have to do this together, Dean agrees and they go after Metatron. Dean starts to apologize about letting Gadreel possess Sam and Sam forgives him, then Dean knocks Sam out, telling him that it isn't his fight. Sam wakes up and goes after Dean, but arrives too late to stop Metatron from stabbing him through the heart. Metatron teleports back to Heaven and Sam tells Dean that he lied about being okay with killing Metatron no matter the consequences. Dean dies in his arms and he cries over his brother's body. He takes Dean's corpse back to the bunker and tries to summon Crowley for a demon deal in order to save Dean. Not knowing that Crowley shows up on his own to place the First Blade in Dean's hands. Crowley places the First Blade into the apparently dead Dean's hands, and Dean' eyes open. They are all black, revealing him to have become a demon.
|“|| Sam: "Shut up. Shut up. Just save up all your energy, alright? We'll stop the bleeding. We'll ... we'll get you a doctor or-or I'll find a spell. You're gonna be okay."|
Dean: "Listen to me. It's better this way. The Mark. It's making me into something I don't wanna be. [...] What happened to you being okay with this?"
Sam: "... I lied."
— Sam as Dean is dying
in Do You Believe In Miracles?
|“|| Dean: "Did you ever stop to think that if I wanted to be cured, I wouldn't have bailed."|
Sam: "That was Crowley."
Dean: "It really wasn't."
Sam: "It doesn't matter, alright? Because whatever happened, whatever went down, we will fix it."
Dean: "We will? Because right now I'm doing all I can not to come over there and rip your throat out ... with my teeth. I'm giving you a chance, Sam. You should take it."
Sam: "I'm gonna have to pass."
Dean: "Well, I'm not walking out that door with you. I'm just not. So what are you gonna do? Are you gonna kill me?[...] You don't know what I've done. I might have it coming."
Sam: "Well, I don't care. Because you're my brother and I'm here to take you home."
— Sam reuniting with his demon brother
In Black, Sam is shown to have been desperately searching for Dean for the past 6 weeks, and has a sling on his arm. Sam is torturing a demon to get information on Dean's whereabouts to no success. It's later revealed in Soul Survivor Sam manipulated a jilted man named Lester into making a deal with a Crossroads Demon to information. He had failed to find any other demons and used his last resort. Sam had never intended for Lester to actually make the deal, but couldn't stop him in time. Afterwards, Sam and Castiel have a conversation over the phone about Dean and Castiel reveals that Sam's shoulder was injured by a demon.
Sam discovers that Dean is a demon through video surveillance of a store. Sam calls a phone left be a demon and reaches Crowley, who tells Sam about what's happened. Sam tries to track Crowley down, only to be kidnapped by Cole Trenton, who is looking for Dean in revenge. Sam tries to warn Cole about Dean and refuses to tell him where his brother is, compelling Cole to decide on torturing him. Cole calls Dean on Sam's phone and threatens his brother's life unless he shows, but Dean says that it's Sam's problem and abandons him.
In Reichenbach, Sam is being tortured by Cole, but manages to escape. Sam is told by Crowley where Dean is and tracks his brother down. Once he finds Dean, Sam tries to reason with him, but Demon Dean just mocks and threatens him. Sam says he doesn't care what Dean has done, and is determined to turn his brother back to normal. Afterwards Cole throws a smoke bomb in the bar, knocking out Sam as he goes to fight Dean. When he's conscious, Sam captures Dean with Devils Trap handcuffs. Crowley takes away the First Blade and hides it. Sam lets Crowley go, but promises to kill him next time he sees him.
In Soul Survivor, Sam traps Dean and begins the curing ritual. Sam still tries to reason with his brother, but Dean is unaffected, mocking their mission in saving lives and calling Sam a monster just as as him if not worse for letting Lester sell his soul. Sam is clearly guilty over the Lester incident, but pushes on in curing his brother. When Dean's body starts to reject the treatment, Sam worries he's killing him and calls Castiel for help.
|“||You don't get to quit. We don't get to quit in this family! This family is all we ever had! [...] This is me pulling your lame ass out of the fire. You're welcome.||”|
— Sam to Dean as he cures him
in Soul Survivor
When the curing ritual is almost complete, Dean is less demon enough to break out of the Devils Trap and tries to kill Sam with a hammer. Sam catches Dean with demon knife to his throat, but is unable to kill him. Castiel appears and detains Dean. Sam completes the rest of the demon-curing ritual and Dean is human again.
In Paper Moon, Sam and Dean hunt werewolves, who turn out to be Kate from Season 8 Bitten and her sister. The episode starts with Sam and Dean sitting on deck chairs drinking beer, before deciding to go on the hunt.
In Fan Fiction, the 200th episode of Supernatural, Sam and Dean stumble across an all-girls school that is putting on a musical of the Supernatural books. Sam reveals that he was a theatre kid, and it is all very jarring for the boys, but in the end, Sam kills the god behind the kidnappings. In the episode, the lead girl that plays Sam, hands Dean a makeshift Samulet, which Dean later hangs on the mirror of the Impala, after telling her 'I don't need a symbol to remind me how I feel about my brother'. The episode ends with the boys driving off into the sunset in the Impala.
In Hibbing 911, Jody Mills calls Sam to tell the boys she found a case. Sam and Dean go to meet her and help with her on the case of werewolves. Sam and Jody are shown to have a close relationship in the episode, and 'passing notes during class'. Sam confided in her about Dean becoming a demon. In the end, Dean tells Sam that killing the werewolves made him feel like himself again. The boys also cross paths with Sheriff Donna from The Purge.
In The Things We Left Behind, Sam and Dean go help Castiel reach out to Claire Novak. At a scene at a bar, Sam and Dean talk about their father John Winchester and how he raised them right. The boys tell Castiel that it wasn't always easy, but they loved their father. At the end of the episode, Dean gives in to the mark and slaughters many people in a room which Sam then comes in to discover. Sam holds Dean's face and begs him to tell him that he had to do it, very concerned for him.
In The Hunter Games, Sam and Castiel work desperately to find a way to remove the mark from Dean. Castiel takes Metatron out of prison briefly for the brothers to use him for information. Metatron tells him the blade is needed. Sam distrusts him and disagrees with Dean's recklessness to get the blade, but knows they're out of options. They enlist Crowley who takes the blade out of hiding, but naturally refuses to give it to them until needed. Sam and Castiel run in on Dean torturing Metatron for more information and stop him from killing him. Dean is disturbed by how easily he almost killed again, but Sam tells him he'll just have the fight the mark's power harder the way Cain did.
|“||Cain still has the mark, right? And he lived with it. For years, he's lived with it. So yeah, the mark is strong, but Dean ... maybe there's a part of you that wants to give him. And maybe you have to fight that, y'know? Maybe ... part of that powerful force has to be you.||”|
— Sam encouraging his brother to fight
in The Hunter Games
Sam does his best to find a cure for the Mark of Cain and his supports Dean through his turmoil. By Halt & Catch Fire, Sam is hopeful that they can find a cure in Cain when Castiel is close to finding him. After saving college students from a vengeful spirit, Dean has given up on finding a cure from the mark and can't live anymore with false hope. Sam protests, determined there is a cure, but Dean has made up his mind. He'll fight off the Mark of Cain as much as can until the day he can't and he wants Sam to stop looking.
Despite his brother's wishes, Sam continues to look for cures for the Mark of Cain. In Inside Man, Sam lies to Dean and goes with Castiel to get Metatron back, hoping to get more answers about the mark. They contact Bobby's spirit in Heaven to be a decoy while Castiel gets him out. Castiel removes Metatron's grace, making him human, and Sam shoots him in the leg. They find out Metatron lied and never really know how to remove the mark. Castiel keeps him alive so he can find his original grace.
When he gets back to the bunker, Sam doesn't tell Dean what happened. He's given a letter by Bobby from Castiel. In the letter, Bobby warns Sam to be careful of consequences while removing the mark and to not keep lying to Dean. Sam doesn't seem to know what to do.
In Book of the Damned, Charlie comes to him and Dean with the Book of the Damned while being on the run from the Stynes family. It can break any curse and could get rid of Dean's mark. It's a dark magic book, but Sam doesn't care and works unsuccessfully with Charlie to translate it. Sam talks to her about hunting and admits he embraces it now, but can't do it without Dean. Aware of the dangers of the book, Dean orders them not to use it. Dean instructs Sam to burn it as the Stynes attack them. Sam instead burns a different book and lies to Dean. Sam, guilty but desperate to save his brother, conspires with Rowena in secret to translate the book.
|“||When Dean came to get me at school, I told myself ... one last job, y'know? One more job. And then when--when ... I lost Jess, I again told myself one more job. There's always one more job, y'know? And one more job and one more job, and I was going to go back to law and--and my life. [...] I guess I really understand now that ... this is my life. I love it. But I can't do it without my brother. I don't want to do it without my brother.||”|
— Sam to Charlie about hunting
in Book of the Damned
In The Werther Project, Rowena agrees to help Sam translate the book as long as he helps her kill Crowley. Sam agrees. She gives him information about a codex from the Grand Coven that will help him translate the Book of the Damned. Sam goes to the address alone, only for Dean to follow. Sam manages to explain the backstory of the Werther Box without raising suspicion from Dean. Sam opens the book, triggering the people around to resort to suicide. This is done to Sam through his guilt using the book and then again by using his blood to stop the box's work. Sam nearly kills himself, but Dean uses his own blood to shut it down and saves him. Dean has the Werther Box destroyed, but Sam is still lying to his brother.
In Dark Dynasty, Sam enlists in the help of Castiel and Charlie as Rowena tries to translate the book. Both his friends are reluctant to lie to Dean, but agree to help save him. At the same time, Sam works with Dean on a case involving the Stynes and manage to capture one. The Styne escapes and targets Charlie, who is decrypting notes on the Book of the Damned in a motel. Dean finds out and is furious at Sam for lying to him and putting Charlie in danger. Sam and Dean rush to her rescue, but arrive to see Charlie dead.
In The Prisoner, Sam is guilt-ridden by Charlie's death and his part in it. Dean blames him completely and separates from him to go track down the Stynes in revenge. Sam decides to stop his work with the Book of the Damned, but receives an email from Charlie on how to translate the book, which she sent seconds before she died. Under his bargain with Rowena, Sam tries to kill Crowley, but fails and by default reminds Crowley of his evilness. Sam hears from Castiel the massacre Dean left behind at the Styne's base and is horrified his brother is too far gone.
In Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire, Sam is knocked out by the Darkness washing over the Impala and wakes to find Dean gone. To Sam's shock, he finds Dean a mile away in a field. Dean tells Sam that the Darkness saved him and has now taken the form of a woman. Leaving the area, they find a group of dead road workers and a live one who is now a monster Sam calls a Rabid. Having been infected by the Darkness, the man attacks them before being killed by Deputy Jenna Nickerson. Learning that the town of Superior, Nebraska has been infected by the Rabids, Sam debates with Dean about killing the people, letting them die when they burn out or searching for a cure. Eventually Sam has Dean bring Jenna and the baby Amara to safety, but stays behind to lure the Rabids away and to find a cure. Hiding in a closet, Sam fights an infected nurse and kills her, but gets splashed in the face by her blood. The Rabids break into the closet, but sensing that Sam is infected, leave him alone. Sam later looks in the mirror and realizes he is infected though he keeps this from Dean when he calls, stating simply that he will keep searching for a cure.
In Form and Void, Sam creates a makeshift cattle prod and captures a Rabid who can still talk. Sam questions the man about the infection and begins his search for a cure with little luck. The Rabid eventually dies and Sam follows the sound of someone singing O Death to find a young woman who recognizes him. The woman, Billie, reveals herself to be a Reaper and tells Sam that the new Death intends to toss Sam and Dean into a void when they die so that they can't ever come back. Billie informs Sam that he is "unclean in a biblical sense" and will die soon before leaving. Sam continues his search with no luck and eventually goes to pray to God for guidance. Sam receives no response, but moments later gets a vision of himself being tortured that he doesn't understand. Near to being consumed by the infection, Sam remembers Billie telling him that he is "unclean in a biblical sense" and does a search for purifications from the Bible. Finding a reference to fire and holy oil, Sam uses a sponge doused in holy fire on himself and it cures him. Having found a cure, Sam uses music to lure a group of Rabids into the hospital chapel where he traps them in a circle of holy fire. The holy fire cures the Rabids and the group sets out to cure the surviving people in the town. Returning to the bunker afterwards, Sam is stunned to hear that the Darkness is actually a little girl and that Dean's encounter with the Darkness in the form of a woman was apparently a vision. Following a groaning, the two find Castiel begging for help.
In Just My Imagination, Sam is reunited with his childhood friend Sully, who has come to Sam and Dean for help in solving the killings of fellow Zanna. As they investigate the deaths, Sam learns that Sully was left very upset when Sam abandoned him as a child. Sam later apologizes, and tells Sully about The Darkness.
Sam and Sully get lured to a warehouse through a text sent from Dean's cellphone. The culprit is revealed to be Reese, a woman who lost her sister thanks to Sully. Sam and Dean manage to talk Reese into letting go of her past and start over.
In O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Sam is convinced he must seek out Lucifer since he believes it to be God's wish. Despite Dean's dislike in the idea, the brothers seek out Crowley for help. Crowley then has Rowena captured so she can find a means to have Sam and Lucifer talk without Sam being in the line of danger. With the Book of the Damned and Nadia's Codex, Rowena figures out a way to cast a spell that will summon Lucifer in Hell without opening the Cage.
Sam, Crowley and Rowena travel to a deep part of Hell, where they intend to meet Lucifer. After the Devil appears, stuck inside a cage with holy fire surrounding him, Sam approaches him and tells him about the Darkness and that God wants Sam to seek out Lucifer's help.
Lucifer agrees to help on the grounds that Sam become his vessel. Sam however, rejects this offer, and hopes there to be another way. Just then, the wards holding Lucifer as well as the holy fire are extinguished. Sam soon finds himself stuck inside the cage with Lucifer. He initially doesn't express fear, but when Lucifer reveals his visions were from Lucifer and not God, Sam begins to cry.
Sam has shaggy brown hair that grows longer and smoother in later seasons; he had a fringe as a child as well as in the first two seasons. Over the course of the show, he grew the fringe out. His eye color seems to change; sometimes they appear light green, sometimes they appear brown, etc. He is noted by other characters to be handsome. Sam is very tall, 6'4" having a muscular build with broad shoulders and a muscular chest. This is especially ironic considering that he used to be teased for being short and wiry as a teenager. Like Dean, Sam often wears multiple layers of clothing (namely plaid shirts) as well as jeans and boots. Recently in Season 8 of the series, Sam, who is known for always having a clean shaved face, has been sporting some facial stubble similar to Dean.
Sam is usually kind, empathetic, intelligent and independent. In the 200th episode, he is described as 'sweet, brave, selfess Sam'. He is often the exasperated voice of reason in his relationship with Dean, who in turn sees him as a geek or prude, and teasingly calls him "bitch". Dean has respect for Sam as a hunter and trusts Sam to "have his six". Sam is repeatedly telling Dean that killing humans is wrong, and does not enjoy the job as much as Dean. He does not seem to drink alcohol as much as Dean does and has a much healthier diet than his brother (Dean scoffs at Sam's diet and calls it "rabbit food"). Sam also has a phobia of clowns, due to his brother often leaving him at Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie when they were children. This is not helped by the fact that every time they have encountered a clown in the show, it has tried to kill them. Sam can become a very different person when Dean is dead, as evidenced by his change in Mystery Spot and what is shown in I Know What You Did Last Summer, becoming almost psychotically angry.
Sam has phenomenal mental power. This is most evident in Swan Song, where he is able to mentally overpower possession by Satan himself to stop the apocalypse. Other incidences include My Bloody Valentine, in which Sam is able to resist Famine's temptation and not drink more demon blood, exorcising the demons and killing Famine instead.
Because of his intelligence, Sam is usually assigned the role of researching information for hunts; he is the "brain", whilst Dean is the "muscle". He normally remembers details that Dean overlooks and is prone to make connections quicker than his brother. He also knows a great deal of information that causes Dean to label him a "walking encyclopedia of weirdness". In college, Sam scored a 174 out of 180 on his LSAT, which Jessica noted was "scary good" in the series pilot. In spite of their bickering, Sam has looked up to Dean since they were children and knows him better than anyone else. He tries to get Dean to open up about his emotions and problems, and encourages him to take care of himself; on several occasions, he has even been frustrated by his brother's fixation on placing Sam's well-being above his own. However, Sam shows similar protective tendencies towards Dean, particularly after Dean makes his deal and returns from Hell as a shadow of who he used to be, to the point that Sam's memories of Dean allowed him to regain control of his body while possessed by Lucifer. Sam tends to be driven by feelings of anger and vengeance.
As a teenager and even as a young man, he argued with his father constantly whenever they were together. Sam wanted to live a normal, "apple pie" life instead of continuing to hunt, which led to most of his arguments with John and his estrangement from his family at the beginning of the series. However, Dean once stated that despite his own best efforts to be like John; liking the same music, clothes and cars; being the good son, the soldier and the Hunter; Sam always has been and always will be more like John than Dean is. Sam and John clash and argue so much because they are so similar. Sam does not take this as a compliment, and it is clear that while Dean truly idolized his father, both boys are not always overly fond of their father due to his secrets, mysterious actions, and his strict treatment and upbringing of his sons.
After Jessica's death, Sam became fixated on vengeance, but still held out hope for eventually returning to Stanford. Early in Season 1, Sam was more focused on finding Jessica's killer than he was on following John's instructions on which hunts to take, something that often put him at odds with Dean. He was obsessed with revenge, and was even willing to sacrifice his life to kill Azazel, although he ultimately proved that he valued Dean's life over the demon's death in "Devil's Trap".
After John's death in In My Time of Dying, Sam focused all of his attention on hunting instead of returning to a normal life. He felt guilt for angrily confronting his father in his final moments and for not realizing that he had been planning on sacrificing himself. Sam put all of his energy into doing what he thought John would want him to and kept trying to get Dean to deal with their father's death in a healthy way. After the reveal of John's ultimatum to Dean and the discovery of the other "special children", Sam became terrified that he would somehow turn evil. He made Dean promise to kill him if anything were to happen. Everything came to a head in All Hell Breaks Loose: Part One, when Azazel placed all of the special children in a death match. Sam was killed (metaphorically and literally stabbed in the back) because he refused to murder another human being, but when Dean brought him back to life by selling his soul, Sam killed his murderer without hesitation. And after finding out Dean had made a demon deal, Sam declared that he would save his brother no matter what.
In Season 3, Sam spent most of his time trying to save Dean from his deal. He became frantically obsessed with doing everything he could to stop Dean from going to Hell - even going so far as to try to convince Dean to turn them both into monsters and harvest organs for their survival in Time Is On My Side. Sam kept struggling to come up with some way to save his brother to the very end, but ultimately wasn't able to. And he was forced to watch helplessly as hellhounds tore Dean apart.
Following Dean's death and condemnation to Hell, Sam became so fixated on avenging his brother and killing Lilith that he almost turned himself into a monster. Due to his grief at Dean's death, the demon Ruby was able to manipulate Sam into a sexual relationship and convinced him to start drinking demon blood, claiming it was the only way he would be able to avenge his brother. Sam drank so much that he became an addict; showing the same symptoms and going through an immensely torturous detox (at the start of season 5, Sam's addiction is gone, but later he has to drink a great deal in order to house Lucifer in his body). Even after Dean returned, Sam was unwilling to let the desire for vengeance go and he continued the affair in secret. Sam was repeatedly warned by Dean and Castiel that he was making mistakes, but he disregarded their advice, believing that he was the only one who could stop Lilith from releasing Lucifer.
After Zachariah manipulated a fake voicemail message from Dean, saying that he didn't love Sam anymore and was planning on killing him, Sam decided to take Lilith down on his own in a possible suicide mission. Sam was able to defeat Lilith with his powers, but didn't realize that Ruby had lied to him and that Lilith was actually the final seal to unlock Lucifer's Cage. And as a result of his arrogance, Sam ended up being the one to release Lucifer from Hell and begin the apocalypse.
Sam felt extremely guilty over his role in freeing Lucifer throughout the majority of Season 5, and spent a large portion of his time trying to make amends. He also took responsibility in his part of starting the apocalypse. In Sam, Interrupted, Sam confessed that he always felt angry and he didn't know why; as well as the fact that he tended to blame other people for his anger, instead of accepting it as a personal flaw. In Swap Meat, when he temporarily switched bodies with a teenaged boy and was forced to lead said teenager's life, he told Dean that the boy's ordinary life "sucked", and seemed to decide to forgo normal life in favor of being a hunter. In Swan Song, Sam's desire to set things right finally culminated in him sacrificing himself to save the rest of the world, throwing himself into the Cage with Lucifer and Michael in order to protect his brother. It was thought that Sam would be trapped in the Cage forever, but the final show of season 5 reveals that Sam is not in the Cage at all, but on Earth, alive.
At the start of season 6 (one year later), Sam reveals himself to Dean, and they begin Hunting again. however, something about Sam is strange; he let Dean get turned into a vampire in order to find a nest. It is later revealed that, whilst his body and mind are not in the Cage, his soul is. During the time that Sam was soulless in Season 6, he lacked empathy and behaved like a sociopath. Without any emotions or sense of morality, he was often willing to overlook the deaths of civilians as collateral damage, which was an extreme departure from Sam's normal desire to help people and protect the innocent. Without his soul, Sam also felt nothing for any of his loved ones, telling Dean point blank that he didn't care about him, and he even tried to murder Bobby in an attempt to prevent his soul from being returned to his body. After his soul was replaced, Sam again felt great remorse for his actions and spent the rest of the season struggling to make up for what his soulless self had done.
In Season 7, after Castiel brought down the wall in Sam's head, Sam began to lose his sanity as a result of the damage done to his soul in Hell. He started to see hallucinations of Lucifer tormenting him, and had a hard time determining what was real and what was a flashback of his torture in the Cage. Dean managed to help Sam distinguish between the two, and Sam was able to block out the worst of the hallucinations. However, in Repo Man, Dean was captured by a serial killer and Sam became desperate enough to save his brother's life that he turned to Lucifer for help. He was able to save Dean, but the reliance on his hallucination meant that he could no longer turn them off, and his visions became so severe that Sam almost died due to fatal insomnia. Dean became determined to save his brother's life in The Born-Again Identity and, luckily, came across Castiel. Sam's mental stability returned when Castiel absorbed Sam's insanity into himself to atone for his actions.
After Dean and Castiel's disappearance in Survival of the Fittest, Sam spent a year thinking that his brother was dead (which he technically was). He "spiraled" out of control for a while, but eventually found some semblance of normality with Amelia. It was at this point that Sam started to re-imagine the possibilities of a normal life. After Dean's reappearance, Sam immediately returned to his side, but Dean was hurt when he found out that Sam hadn't looked for him while he was in Purgatory. Sam defended his choices of quitting hunting and grew jealous of Dean's close relationship with Benny, which led to a growing strain between the brothers. After bumping into Amelia once more, Sam realized that he wanted to stay by Dean's side and chose his brother over his ex-girlfriend. Sam became determined not to let Dean down again and took on the weight of the trials to prove himself. They took an extreme toll on his health, and as Sam got sicker, he became ever more defensive of Dean's attempts to mother him. He eventually got to the point where he was so ashamed of letting his brother down that he was willing to commit suicide in order to finish the trials. Dean managed to talk him back from the edge, but they weren't able to cure Sam before he succumbed to the effects.
Sam started Season 9 in a coma, dying from what the trials had done to his body. He remained somewhat suicidal, deciding to go with Death if he could promise that no one would be able to get hurt by bringing him back. But Dean managed to trick Sam into allowing the angel Gadreel to possess him, and for the first half of the season, Sam seemed to be in a much healthier place emotionally. However, once Sam found out that Dean had lied to him, he became furious. He told Dean they couldn't have a brotherly trust anymore and their relationship remained tense until the end of the season. Eventually, Sam's worries over Dean's reliance on the First Blade took precedence over Sam's anger, and when Dean attempted an apology, Sam forgave him. But they made up just in time for Sam to see his brother die in his arms, and Sam's grief at Dean's death propelled him to try and make another demon deal.
In Season 1, Sam owns a laptop, which he uses to gather information for hunts. In Season 2, he finds it in the wrecked Impala, busted. Sam soon replaces it but in Season 7 this other laptop is smashed by Frank Deveraux on the basis that it is not safe and the Leviathans may be tracking it, forcing Sam to once more replace it. For the first three episodes of Season 6 Sam owns a black Dodge Charger with the license plates I4Z 0892 which Sam has customized for hunting. It is destroyed in Castiel's fight with another angel in "The Third Man", something that Dean was pleased to see. In terms of laptops in Season 1, he owns what appears to be a Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop, which he uses to gather information for hunts. The first time Sam uses the laptop is in the second episode "Wendigo", where he plays a video message. In terms of cellphones in Season 1, Sam uses a Palm Treo cellphone. By season 2, Sam appears to own a Verizon-branded Motorola Q which has on at least one occasion (in "Hollywood Babylon") been used to visually track unseen ghosts. This phone however was destroyed in the third season episode "Fresh Blood." In the fourth season, namely "Sex and Violence", Sam is seen using the BlackBerry 8800. Sam has used the Blackberry Bold 9000, as first seen in the season 4 finale, "Lucifer Rising". Sam is seen using the HTC One in the season 10.
It is a common misconception that Sam uses a chromed Beretta 92FS loaded with silver rounds. However, it has been officially stated by Christopher Cooper that it is a Taurus Model 99 (though it appears in most shots to be a Model 92, which is a bit thicker around the trigger guard than the Beretta) with mother-of-pearl grips. It is a standard 9mm with a 10-round magazine. When he was soulless, Sam utilized a Heckler & Koch Mark 23 Model 0. The boys do own a blue steel Beretta 92, but it is predominantly used by Dean in the series. Sam also uses a pistol grip 4-shelled 12 gauge shotgun loaded with rock salt. Sam often uses close range weapons while Dean seems to prefer the longer range weapons. Sam also uses Ruby's demon-killing knife, after taking it from her. During the latter seasons, both he and Dean start to employ angel blades, taken from dead angels when they turn against the Host of Heaven.
Powers and Abilities
Due to his training as a hunter by his father, Sam is skilled with firearms and melee weapons. Like Dean, he is skilled in criminal acts, such as lock picking, computer hacking, and car jacking. Both Winchester brothers are excellent shots, and are very skilled at both armed and unarmed combat. It is revealed that John started training the boys when they were quite young, as Sam, at 14 years old, manages to beat a boy twice his size to the ground without much effort. In the first two seasons he is often hesitant about using these skills because of his desire to be a 'normal' citizen, however this lessens over time. On two separate occasions, Dean has warned the powerful vampire Benny not to underestimate Sam, as he could and would kill him given the chance. He is proficient in hand-to-hand combat and possesses remarkable physical strength for a human, being able to hold his own and even overpower certain supernatural creatures such as certain types of monsters and lower-level demons. The most recent example being him overpowering a Hellhound and killing it single-handedly. His strength has limits, as he was also overpowered and badly beaten by a teenaged Djinn, however at that time he was weakened from the trials and not at full strength. He is also well-versed in weapons use, from blades to firearms and can kill any creature that is affected by this type of weaponry..
Sam has vast knowledge of the supernatural and is considered an "encyclopedia of weirdness" by Dean. Both of them have some knowledge of pop culture, as they frequently make references - such as Dean calling Sam "Dumbledork". He is skilled in reading, speaking and memorizes text and spells in foreign languages (usually Latin) and is often stuck with doing the research for their latest hunt. Having learned how to make hex bags from Ruby, Sam also possesses the ability to hide from demons. In season 5, Castiel carved sigils into Sam and Dean's ribcages, which hides them from angels. Sam is also quick to think on his feet; succeeding in preventing a demon from escaping his vessel by reciting an exorcism chant backwards. He is also shown to have an adequate knowledge of Spanish. Sam is perceptive to body language and can easily pick up on unconscious gestures to read their "poker face" - he is very good at poker. He is an expert tactician, able to fight or diplomatically steer his way out of many complicated situations, and generally prefers to use words instead of brute strength. He also has a great sense of direction and time, at one point being able to find a vampire's nest while blindfolded by keeping track of the time, the number of turns the car took and the sounds he heard during the journey. Also, soulless Sam was able to simply maneuver himself out of a knotted rope.
Sam has an in-depth knowledge on the workings of various law organizations (FBI, CDC, Police, etc) enough to pose as one if the situation requires it. Sam is also the technology expert of the duo, as he's the one doing research and technology-based jobs.
Sam has also demonstrated that he possesses great willpower. Upon seeing something from his past in the Impala, he was able to use his memories to briefly overpower Lucifer's possession of him and regain control of his body. Even Death himself believed Sam was the only one who could overcome Lucifer, and even thought of it as an honor when he was going to reap him, and all this is saying something. He later replicated this feat with the less powerful Gadreel, though in that scenario he seemed to use his anger as well as his will.
One of his greatest traits is his physical and mental endurance. After his revival and having his soul restored, Sam managed to cope with the mental hallucinations caused by being tortured by Lucifer for several months - at one point staying awake for about four days straight - while remaining a functional hunter, before ultimately starting to cave in. The next year, when undertaking the trials to close the gates of Hell, despite the extreme physical damage and resulting weakness it caused him, Sam still managed to perform some respectable feats, such as knocking Dean unconscious with two punches.
Sam also expelled Gadreel from his body, but that is a skill all humans possess, as angels need a human's consent before occupying their bodies.
During Dream a Little Dream of Me, Sam temporarily gained the ability of Dream Walking through African Dream Root which allowed him to enter Dean's dreams and battle Jeremy Frost. Sam was able to shape the dream similar to Jeremy's ability to distract and kill him. Bobby suggested that his psychic abilities may have had something to do with this, but Sam didn't think so.
In several episodes, like Dean and Bobby, Sam has shown the ability to cast spells despite not being a witch. These include summoning and tracking spells and the Fairy Banishing Spell. When the shapeshifter was fighting Sam in "Skin," it was luminously obvious that he was trying when fighting him, even though he had super strength. After taking a semi rough beating from Jake in "All Hell Breaks Loose - Part 1," Sam was able to kick him around with just one foot, and also later into the fight, with just one arm. When two ghouls tore into him in "Jump the Shark," Sam lost a ton of blood but he was able to retain consciousness and it didn't do any permanent damage. Sam was able to outwit a nine-hundred year old witch in poker in "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester," when Dean and even Bobby couldn't. In "...And Then There Were None," Sam spotted a tripwire when Rufus, Bobby and Dean didn't see it.
Special Child Abilities
As a result of being fed demon blood as a baby by Azazel and thus being branded as one of the Special Children, Sam has exhibited over the course of the series various supernatural powers and an immunity to demon powers and diseases. Initially his powers were weak and fluctuating due his inexperience and later hesitation of using said powers. At the start of the fourth season, Sam has begun drinking demon blood under Ruby's tutelage in order to become stronger, eventually manifesting the ability to exorcise demons with his mind. By consuming ever greater amounts of demon blood (which became an addiction to him), his powers continued to grow to the point where he could exorcise and destroy white-eyed demons such as Alastair and ultimately Lilith. After Lucifer's release, it was finally revealed that the reason Sam was fed and compelled to feed on demon blood, was to strengthen and prepare him as the perfect vessel for the fallen Archangel on Earth. When having consumed several gallons of demon blood, Sam destroyed Lucifer's demon bodyguards with a minor thought. Sam would lose his powers and craving for the blood on two occasions: first when Lucifer was released and God took him and Dean away from Lucifer and cleared Sam from the blood, the second, when he was resurrected and released from Lucifer's Cage. Sam's powers included:
- Precognition - Sam possessed the power to see into the future and even have visions of people in danger.
- Clairsentience - Initially, Sam's powers manifested solely as a form of heightened senses allowing him to sense the presence of supernatural. Sam is able to sense supernatural presences in the old Winchester family home and was able to sense Dean's spirit during a time of great stress.
- Telekinesis - When under extreme situations, Sam displayed minor feats of telekinesis. His power grew considerably the more demon blood he consumed to the point where he could throw around and restrain top-level demons such as Alastair and Lilith by using his mind with the wave of a hand.
- Super strength - The demon blood also increased Sam's physical strength, allowing him to overpower low-level demons and humans, including his brother Dean.
- Immunity - Sam was completely immune to a variety of demonic powers and of those of other Special Children. Even before he started to consume demon blood, he was unaffected by Andrew Gallagher and Ansem Weems' Mind Control powers, the Croatoan Virus, and Lilith and Samhain's White Light. Although Lilith was initially able to use telekinesis to incapacitate Sam, he became immune to her powers (including her telekinesis) after she tried to kill him with White Light. As he continued to drink demon blood, he even became immune to other demons' powers, such as Alastair's telekinesis. However, after he stopped drinking demon blood, he lost his immunity to other demons' powers.
- Exorcism - Under Ruby's tutelage, Sam learned how to use his powers to exorcise demons with his mind. Initially he had extreme difficulty with controlling and maintaining this power due to his initial hesitation of drinking demon blood. Though he was able to exorcise Samhain with a minimal consumption of demon blood, he was unable to do more than make Alastair choke and later on had no effect whatsoever on Lilith. However once he committed himself to drink the blood and destroy Lilith, his powers grew to the point where he could exorcise virtually any demon. After drinking two demons dry he could exorcise five demons at once. As he continued, his powers evolved to the point of being able to permanently kill demons.
- Demon Detection - Under severe craving for demon blood due to Famine's power, Sam could detect demons within a short proximity.
- Demon Torture - Sam also was able to cause demons extreme levels of pain which he used to torture them for information. He was so skilled at this ability that Alastair (who had a very strong will and withstood hours of torture from Dean and the angels) broke within seconds and another demon begged for death.
- Demon Destruction - After drinking more blood than usual from Ruby and having been honing his powers for months, Sam was able to kill a demon as powerful as Alastair. By drinking an even larger amount of blood from both Ruby and another demon, drinking that demon dry, Sam managed to kill the firstborn demon, Lilith, though it still required extreme concentration and difficulty and left him drained of his abilities. When preparing to say yes to Lucifer, Sam drank several gallons of demon blood, which allowed him to kill Lucifer's demon bodyguards with minimal mental effort and without moving.
Throughout the course of the series, Sam has died multiple times. He has died as many times as Dean, excluding Mystery Spot. His resurrection seems to have been the catalyst for Sam's increasingly cold nature and it has been insinuated by Azazel that when he was resurrected, he did not come back "100% pure Sam".
- The very first time Sam died was in All Hell Breaks Loose - Part 1, where he was stabbed in the back by Jake Talley. He was resurrected by the Crossroads Demon in All Hell Breaks Loose - Part 2, but Dean paid the ultimate price with his soul.
- Sam was struck by lightning and briefly died in "Wishful Thinking" when Hope wished him dead. However, this was quickly reversed.
- Zachariah takes Sam's lungs in "Sympathy for the Devil" long enough for Sam to die briefly. Castiel orders him to return the boys back.
- During the episode "The Song Remains the Same", Sam was killed by Anna to prevent him saying yes to Lucifer. Michael brought him back, however.
- Both Sam and Dean were killed in the episode, "Dark Side of the Moon" by two angry hunters for starting the apocalypse, but were resurrected by Joshua.
- During the Season 5 finale, "Swan Song", Sam sacrificed himself by leaping into Lucifer's Cage, dragging Michael, Adam, and Lucifer down with him. He went briefly to Hell but appeared at the end of the episode, staring at Dean's new family having dinner. It's later revealed that Castiel resurrected him but without a soul. When Death finally brought back his soul, he placed a wall in Sam's mind.
- Sam and Dean - Sam and Dean are brothers.
- Sam and Castiel - Sam and Castiel are friends (Mid-season 9 best friends)
- Sam and Crowley - Sam and Crowley are allied.
- Sam and Bobby - Bobby was like a father to the boys.
- Sam and Ruby - Sam and Ruby were enemies who became lovers, and then enemies again.
- Sam and Jessica - Sam's girlfriend while at university. Her death was the reason he started hunting again (Jess was killed by Azazel.) Sam was planning to propose to her.
- Minor Relationships - Other relationships Sam has had.
- "So get this..."
- "Wow. I must be the star of this thing."
- "Dean, did you service Oberon, King of the Fairies?"
- "Sam: So, now ah, what's the deal with all this TV crap?"
"Dean: Yeah, amen Padaleski."
"Sam: -Lecki, I'm pretty sure."
- "Dean: Seriously. Why? Why would anybody want to watch our lives?'
"Sam: Well, according to the interviewer, not very many people do."
- "Dean: They're after me!"
"Sam: Third kind, already? You better run, man. I think the fourth kind is the butt thing."
- 'Why shack up with a family? Is it a kinky thing? Do you like to play with your food? Roll over, Lucky. Speak."
"Lucky: Go to hell."
"Sam: Already been. Didn't agree with me."
- "Ever since I came back, I am a better hunter then I've ever been! Nothing scares me anymore, because I can't feel it."
- "You've got a whole Dr. Huxtable vibe coming off you. You're like... father material."
- "Why? Because Crowley said so? Because we trust him now? Like I trusted Ruby? Or like I trusted Brady back at school?"
- "No drinking, no gambling, no pre-marital sex. Dean, they basically just outlawed 90% of your personality."
- "Unleash the Kraken. See you tomorrow morning."
- "Oh, hey, Chuck, look. If you really want to publish more books, I guess that's okay with us."
"Chuck: Wow. Really?"
"Sam: No, not really. We have guns and we will find you."
- (to Gabriel) "So which one are you? Grumpy, Sleepy, or Douchy?"
- "It's like Mission: Pathetic."
- "Dude, you just got whaled on by Paris Hilton."
- "Umm... Becky, can you... quit touching me?"
- "You don't know me. You never did, and you never will."
- (about Adam) "He's a Winchester. He's already cursed."
- "You got something against magic?"
- "It's not food anymore, Dean, it's Darwinism!"
- "I lost my shoe"
- "I win. So I win."
- "Dude, you're not going to poke her with a stick."
- "Be my brother again, cause, just cause."
- "He's... He's... He's... stealing candy"
- "Dean, what are you doing!"
- "I'm here for you, you brave little soldier"
- "Too precious for this world"
- Dean: "Can I shoot her?" Sam: "Not in Public
- "Wait, there's no such things as unicorns?"
- "Dude, I'm not using this ID. Because it says 'Bikini Inspector' on it."
- "And you know what? After we kill it, we can go to Disneyland!"
- "You're bossy, and short"
- "Yesterday was Tuesday right? But today is Tuesday too!"
- "What kind of house doesn't have salt? Low sodium FREAKS."
- "Sammy is a chubby 12 year old, It's Sam, ok?"
- "You peed yourself"
- "You confusing reality with porn again"
- "I'm Sam. Fucking. Winchester."
- "It doesnt matter who you are, it only matters what you do"
- "You're Jensen Ackles and I'm something called a Jared Padalecki"
- "It was how many time I let you down"
- "I have Genital Herpes"
- "I'm doing all I can to slightly lessen the spread.. of.. of genital herpes"
- "It was night and now its day"
- "if there's a key, there has to be a lock"
- "and that's a good thing?"
- "You don't know me. You never have and you never will"
- "He's a winchester, he's already cursed"
- "Dude, when have I ever forgotten the pie?"
- "Get out of me"
- "I've got demon blood in me, dean"
- "No. No you don't. You don't get to quit in this family. This family is all we've ever had"
- Sam has killed one major antagonist; Lilith at the end of Season 4. He's also killed two secondary antagonists; killing Jake Talley and Alastair. In season 5 Sam defeated main antagonist Lucifer and secondary antagonist Michael by sending them to Hell.
- Sam's birthday is May 2nd, which means his zodiac sign is Taurus.
- Sam's aliases include Agent Hamill, Robert Singer, Mr. Berkowitz, Detective McCreedy, Father Frehley, Dr. Jerry Kaplan, Deputy Marshal Frank Beard, Detective Dante, Police Chief Phil Jones, Agent Page, Detective Bachman, Special Agent Gabriel
- Sam's character is influenced by Luke Skywalker of Star Wars.
- According to Eric Kripke, Sam was originally the main protagonist of the series and the story centered around him.
- Sam suffers from coulrophobia, the fear of clowns.
- Sam was named after his and Dean's maternal grandfather, Samuel Campbell, just as Dean was named after their maternal grandmother, Deanna Campbell.
- He only allows those closest to him, such as Dean and John, to call him "Sammy", as Gordon Walker learned the hard way in "Bloodlust". However Lucifer, Azazel, Crowley, Ruby, and Meg also called him Sammy a few times.
- Sam had a magician phase, mentioned in "Criss Angel Is A Douchebag"
- Sam displayed more powers in Supernatural The Animation. In "Rising Son", it's shown that he made a stag-like monster implode when he was 7 years old. In Part 1 of "All Hell Breaks Loose" he knocks an onrushing Jake back with some kind of energy and in Part 2 uses it to sever Jake's arm. He then beats Jake to death, possibly with super strength.
- Sam is one of two characters shown to have been possessed by both an angel and a demon, the other being his father. However, unlike John, Sam has been possessed by an angel and a demon at the same time.
- In "The Song Remains the Same", Michael reveals that Sam is descended from the biblical Cain, the first murderer, who killed his younger brother, Abel. The "curse" Sam often describes as hanging over his life may be the remnants of the legendary curse God laid on Cain as a punishment for his crime, the "Mark of Cain." which the story will briefly explain in First Born
- Many of the characters Sam is romantically or sexually connected to end up either dying, being revealed as a supernatural being, or both; exceptions include (to the best of our knowledge) Lori Sorensen ("Hook Man"), Dr. Cara Roberts ("Sex and Violence"), Lindsay ("Free to Be You and Me"), and Amelia Richardson (Season 8). Dean referenced this trend in-show in the episodes "Sex and Violence" and "Season 7, Time For A Wedding". Sam himself brings it up in "Rock and a Hard Place," saying that most of his relationships don't end well while at a chastity group with Dean whole-heartedly agreeing.
- Sam is the only Winchester to not have successfully made a deal with a demon, as both Mary and John made deals with Azazel whereas Dean made a deal with a female Crossroads Demon.
- Sam, like several other members of 'Team Free Will', has been to Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven.
- Sam has twice been able to seize control of his body after being possessed by an angel. His father and Bobby Singer had previously managed to seize back control from demons, but for shorter periods of time than Sam and against foes much weaker than Lucifer or Gadreel.
- Sam is the only being on the show to be possessed by five different beings: Meg, Lucifer, Gadreel, The Wicked Witch and Crowley.
- Despite being briefly possessed by him, Crowley never actually did anything to control Sam's body, a first for someone being possessed.
- Soulless Sam was similar to the concept of a philosophical zombie, a creature in a thought experiment that has no soul/mind/internal experience but acts exactly as if it does, e.g. exactly like a person.
- When Sam had no soul, he used a different gun than that of the normal Sam uses. This was seen prominently when Soulless Sam and normal Sam confronted each other: each used the gun they preferred to use while in control of Sam's body.
- Sam has attempted the Demon Curing Ritual twice and used it successfully once: to cure his own brother.
- Even though he's had a stronger connection to demons he's the only Winchester to become possessed by an angel twice. Once by the Archangel Lucifer and second time by Gadreel.
- Sam likes to drink red-eyes.
- ↑ The Girl Next Door
- ↑ Blood Brother
- ↑ Southern Comfort
- ↑ Heartache
- ↑ We Need To Talk About Kevin
- ↑ Hunteri Heroici
- ↑ Citizen Fang
- ↑ My Bloody Valentine
- ↑ The Girl Next Door
- ↑ Out With The Old