|“||You know, I finally get why you and Dad butted heads so much. You two were practically the same person. I mean, I worshipped the guy, y'know? I dressed like him, I acted like him, I listened to the same music. But you were more like him than I will ever be.||”|
BackgroundEditSam is John's youngest child with Mary, who was killed in Sam's nursery. John pulled baby Sam from his crib when he saw Mary on the ceiling. After that, John protected Sam fiercely, and whenever he went on hunts, he told Dean to watch out for Sammy. John didn't tell him about hunting or about what really goes on in the dark. When Sam told John that he was afraid of the thing in his closet, John gave him a .45.
Sam started asking questions as he got older (about 8 years old) about what John does and why they always have to move. One Christmas, Sam asked if John was going to be home. Dean told Sam on Christmas Eve what John really does when he left them. Sam cried himself to sleep with tears of disappointment (because John was not going to be there when he woke up). Sam gave Dean the necklace he was going to give John, because Dean was there when John was not.
As the years go by, Sam and John's relationship became more and more rocky. They constantly argued and fought. Sam, like his brother, was brought up in the hunter lifestyle. But unlike his brother, Sam wanted to be normal and realized how messed up his childhood was. When Sam wanted to go to college, he and John had a huge argument that ended with John telling Sam if he leaves, he should never come back. Sam and John didn't talk for two years after that.
|“||Dad, NO! After everything we've been through, all the time we've spent looking for you, please, I've gotta be a part of this fight. Clearly this fight is just starting, one we are all going to have our parts to play. For now you've gotta trust me son. (pauses) Ok, you've got to let me go.||”|
— Sam and John
Sam joins Dean in the hunt for John after John goes missing. Sam realizes that John is no longer at his last known spot. Finding John becomes Sam's mission after Jessica's death and he rather go look for John instead of helping people and doing jobs. Sam and Dean do get a lead on John when they discover his old number has been re-activated. But it goes straight to voice mail.Then Sam gets a vision about their old house and they head back there. They solve the case and leave. Unknown to them, John was actually in town watching silently over his boys. John still doesn't want to make himself known to Sam and Dean just yet. Though in Scarecrow, John calls Dean's phone and Sam answers. Sam asks John where he is and if hes okay. John tells Sam hes fine, but Sam needs to trust him. John continues by saying he hunting the demon that killed their mother and he wants Sam and Dean to stop looking for him. He tells Sam write some names down, but Sam refuses. He is more concerned with finding John than a job.
Dean takes the phone and does as John asks. As they head towards the job, Sam figured out where John was and wants to go there instead. Sam wants to help John hunt the demon rather than do the job. This makes Dean and Sam separate for a bit, but Sam chooses Dean over finding John.
Sam and John are reunited in Shadow. Its the first time they have seen each other since the fight they had two years ago. John tells Sam its good to see Sam. Sam answers with a Yes Sir. They continue on about talking about the fight they had before Sam left, and then they are attacked. Due to John's weakness to the boys, Dean suggests they separate. Sam doesn't want to though, since they had just found John. John tells Sam they all have their parts to play and Sam need to let John go (quote is above). So Sam and John go separate ways.They meet up again in Dead Man's Blood when John joins them in the hunt for vampires. As they head towards the abandon car's location, Sam begins to get angry at John for not giving them any information on what going on. This causes Sam to stop the Impala in front of John's truck. Sam voices his anger to John, but Dean splits them up. The anger remains as they prepare to raid the nest, then John explains to them what the colt is and how it is essential to killing the demon. Sam and John later have a heart to heart. John tells Sam that he never wanted this life for Sam. In fact, when Sam was born, every month John put $100 in an account for Sam to use to go to college with. But when Mary died, that thought slipped away. Sam asked where that fund went and John reveals he spent it on ammo. Sam and John relationship grows from there. John eventually agrees to stay with the boys and hunt the demon together.
|“|| John: "This isn't the life I wanted for you [...] You gotta understand something. After your mother passed ... all I saw was evil, everywhere. And all I cared about was keeping you boys alive. I wanted you ... prepared. Ready. Except somewhere along the line, I ... I stopped being your father and I became your drill sergeant. So when you said you wanted to go away to school, all I could think about was, my only thought was that you were gonna be alone. Vulnerable. Sammy, it just ... never occurred to me what you wanted. I just couldn't accept the fact that you and I were just different."|
Sam: "We're not different. Not anymore. With what happened to Mom and Jess ... well, we probably have a lot more in common than just about anyone."
— John and Sam make peace
in Dead Man's Blood
So they begin looking for Yellow Eyes. John shares his research with Sam and Dean. John also finds out about Sam's visions and isn't too happy they didn't tell him about it. Dean points out that it's damn near impossible to get John on the phone. John agrees reluctantly. This shows that John may know more than he's letting the boys know. Then John and Sam separate due to Meg's threats. Sam does confront the demon, but the demon gets away. Like John, Sam wants to go after the demon no matter the costs, but Dean stops Sam.
So with John captured the boys go and find him. They find him, but Sam makes sure John isn't possessed first by dripping some holy water on John. John appears not to be possessed and they get him out. In the abandoned cabin, Dean figures out that "John" isn't really John. Sam is forced to choose between the two. Sam chooses Dean over "John". "John" actually was Yellow Eyes possessing John. Yellow Eyes pins both of them to the wall and begins to physically crush Dean's organs.
John manages to overpower the demon just long enough for Sam and Dean to escape. Sam grabs the Colt and aims it at the demon, who is now back in control. The demon responds, "you kill me, you kill Daddy." Sam responds with "I know". He shoots John in the leg, making the demon lose control of John once again. John is able to briefly keep the demon inside him and begs Sam to kill them both, while Dean tells Sam not to do it. Sam, unable to kill his father, allows the demon to escape. John is very angry that Sam didn't listen to him. Sam responds by saying that killing the demon isn't important, family is and they will get another chance. John realized his son was right and agreed to hunt the demon together.
After the encounter, the family drive off in the Impala, but are slammed into by a truck.
|“||Can we not fight? You know, half the time we're fighting, I don't know what we're fighting about. We're just butting heads. Sammy, I, I've made some mistakes. But I've always done the best I could. I just don't want to fight anymore, okay?||”|
— John to Sam
in In My Time of Dying
Sam later confronts John on the items he requested (they were for demon summoning). Sam believes John wants to use it summon the demon to kill it. In other words, kill the demon rather saving Dean. John responds back by yelling at Sam that he doesn't know anything. Sam continues on how revenge isn't going to help Dean. Then they notice the glass fly off the table. Sam later discovers that Dean's spirit is around and tells John this. John promises Sam not to hunt the demon until they know Dean is okay. When John summons Azazel, John reveals he knew all along the demon's plan for Sam and others like him. Later on, Dean wakes up and John comes to his room. Sam asks where John was last night and if he went after the demon. John asks Sam if they cannot fight (quote above), and this surprises Sam. Plus gives Sam a hint something is not right.Sam asks if John is alright, and John says yes and asks Sam to get him a coffee. Sam leaves to get John a coffee. As John talks to Dean, it's later revealed he told him to take care of Sam and try to "save him", but if he couldn't Dean would have to kill him. When Sam returns with the coffee, he finds John on the floor no breathing, and shouts for help. Sam and Dean watch the nurses trying to revive John, but nothing works. Sam and Dean give John a hunter's funeral.
Since John's death Sam gains a respect to John and honors his memory by taking jobs. He even tells Dean when he explains why they took a job is because "It what Dad would have wanted." Sam also no longer has a desire to return to college. Although it does take Sam awhile to accept John's death.
|“||You're right. About me and Dad. I'm sorry that the last time I was with him, I tried to pick a fight with him. I'm sorry I spent most of my life angry at him. I mean, for all I know he died thinking that I hate him. So you're right, what I'm doing right now is too little, too late. I miss him, man. And I feel guilty as hell. And I am not alright.||”|
— Sam to Dean over John's death
in Everybody Loves a Clown
Sometime later, Sam learns from Dean that John sold his soul to save Dean and was now being tortured in Hell. Dean is guilt-ridden, believing that John's legacy should've been honored better, but Sam disagrees and believes John's legacy is them staying alive and still saving people no matter where he was now. Eventually, Sam learns from Dean John's final cryptic message to him: For Dean to "save Sam" no matter what and that if he couldn't, then kill him.
|“|| Dean: "He said he wanted me to watch over you. To take care of you."|
Sam: "He told you that a million times."
Dean: "No, this time was different. He said that I had to save you."
Sam: "Save me from what?"
Dean: "He just said that I had to save you. That nothing else mattered. And if I couldn't, I'd ..."
Sam: "You'd what, Dean?"
Dean: "That I'd have to kill you. He said that I might have to kill you, Sammy."
— Dean telling John's ominous message
Sam sees John one last time when John escapes from Hell and saves Dean, allowing him to finally kill the demon. Sam tearfully nods at his father who, crying, smiles and nods back at him before moving on. Sam is left stunned by John's appearance, wondering if it was really him, if he really could have escaped Hell. Dean reassures him that it was, saying that the door to escape was open and if anyone was stubborn enough to escape, John was.
Season 4 Edit
In Jump the Shark, Sam and Dean learn of their half-brother Adam Milligan who was calling for John. Sam was shocked to hear that his father may have had another son but considered the possibility unlike Dean. After Sam saw his father in a picture with Adam, he was surprised though told Dean that he was right. When learning Adam was looking for his mother, Sam wanted to help Adam by teaching him how to hunt like their father taught him while arguing with Dean about not endangering the young man's chance at having a normal life. Sam admits to Dean that he hated their father at times for his treatment of him, but slowly saw why he was hard on him and he needed to show Adam how to hunt. Sam later stated Adam was cursed simply for being a Winchester's son. After killing the ghoul that masqueraded as Adam, Sam finally understood why their father raised them the way he did and while burning the dead Adam's body he felt sad at his fate. Sam also took Dean's words about him and John being similar in stride, as Dean told him to take it in anyway.
In Changing Channels, Sam learns from Gabriel that he is Lucifer's vessel because his relationship mirrors that of Lucifer's with God. He is told that like Lucifer he is "rebellious to daddy's little plan".
In The Song Remains the Same, Sam goes back in time with Dean to save their parents from Anna Milton. Sam and young John have a moment together. Sam talks about his dad (future John) to John. John asks Sam how Sam knew about the supernatural and Sam tells John, his dad did. John wonders who would raise a child in this lifestyle and tells Sam his father was supposed to protect him (not knowing he's talking about himself). Sam responds by telling John that his father was trying and died trying.
Sam tells John what he wanted to say before John died in Season 2. Sam talks about how he used to hate his father but now, Sam understands him which shows Sam and John are very alike more than Dean. Like how his father was trying to keep it together after Sam's mother died. Sam tells John that he understands, why he did, what he did, and that Sam forgives him and loves him. Fate, not being kind as it is, brought Michael along and he possessed John to kill Anna and resurrect Sam. Afterwards, he erased John's memory of ever meeting Sam. This event also caused Sam to worry about his fate with Lucifer since Michael got his father to say Yes.
During Point of No Return, Sam told his half-brother Adam (who was resurrected) while John had faults he was still a good man. He even stated John wished to protect Adam from the supernatural even if it did lead to Adam's death.
In Swan Song, Sam demanded Lucifer resurrect his father and mother to get his consent but Lucifer refused.
After meeting Henry Winchester, John's long-lost father, Sam was accepting of him even thinking his time traveling was the reason for Henry's supposed abandonment of his son.
Sam even has Dean stop him from going back in time after Henry felt pain from reading John's journal detailing his life as a hunter as he feels that same pain every time he reads it. When Henry witnesses the skill and ingenuity Sam and Dean display, it causes him to be proud of his son despite being a hunter, stating that although he didn't know John as a man, he knows he would've been proud of him due to Sam and Dean. The experience with Henry causes Sam and Dean to see a new side to their father and wonder what life would've been like if Henry had never left John.
During Lebanon, Sam help Dean in trying to expel Michael from his mind while using a magic pearl but its effects cause John to appear. John is hostile until he realizes who they are and learns that he was pulled into the future. Along with Dean, Sam happily updates his father on what's occurred before watching him reunite with Mary.
Very soon, Sam and John talk with the latter apologizing for turning him away when he went to college. Sam tells his father that he forgave him long ago and the only thing that saddened him was his death. Father and son shared a moment by hugging, finally making amends.
After the dinner, Sam shares one last embrace with John and Sam destroys the pearl and John disappears back to 2003. Sam was sadden to witness this but accepted that it was the right choice. Meanwhile, John wakes up in the Impala during 2003, seemingly believing the events were a dream, before telling Dean that he's coming home. Though John was sent back to the past, it is hinted that he still remembers everything and is pleased with the outcome.
- Sam and John share the distinction of being the only Winchesters to have been possessed by both a demon and an angel: John was possessed by Michael and Azazel, and Sam was possessed by Meg, Lucifer and Gadreel.
- Azazel and Meg are apparently father and daughter, while Michael, Lucifer and Gadreel are brothers. Gadreel is also an angel who has a history with Lucifer.
- Sam's relationship with John is far better than Lucifer's relationship with God, with the latter pair never seeing eye to eye and their lack of contact making it difficult for either of them to understand the other.
- According to Adam Glass, there was a scene cut that featured Henry Winchester telling Sam he saw more of John in Sam than he saw in Dean.