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I kind of see it as the best-case scenario. I mean at least all my crazy's under one umbrella, you know? I kind of know what I'm dealing with. A lot of people got it worse.
~ Sam to Bobby Singer.
I don't feel free. What we've done, what we've lost, right now, that is what I'm feeling, and sometimes it's like I can't even breathe. But maybe tomorrow. (...) Maybe I'll feel better in the morning.
~ Sam Winchester.

Samuel William "Sam" Winchester is one of the two main protagonists of the TV series Supernatural, alongside his older brother Dean. He is the main protagonist along with Dean, who are supernatural hunters who fight religious and supernatural monsters and creatures. He is the son of John Winchester and Mary Campbell, and despite trying to have a normal life at the start of the series, became a supernatural hunter like his father. In addition, Sam received supernatural powers after being fed demon blood, and is also the true vessel of his enemy, Lucifer.

He is portrayed by Jared Padalecki, who also played Clay Miller in the 2009 Friday the 13th remake. The character was also played by Dylan Kingwell and Colin Ford young, Alex ferris as a child, and Colton James when the character switched bodies with Gary Frankle.

Appearance

He 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 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.

Personality

Though Sam is usually kind, empathetic, intelligent and independent; he can also be arrogant and stubborn. He is often the exasperated voice of reason in his relationship with Dean, who in turn sees him as exaggeratedly prissy and teasingly calls him "bitch". Dean actually has respect for Sam as a hunter and trusts Sam to "have his six". Sam shows some obsessive-compulsive tendencies, such as the desire to be in control of his situation and being fastidious about cleanliness and order. He does not seem to drink alcohol as much as Dean does and has a much healthier diet than his brother (Dean himself scoffs at Sam's diet and calls it "rabbit food"). Sam also has a severe 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.

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 both boys are not overly fond of their father.

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. As a result of his arrogance, Sam ended up being the one to release Lucifer from Hell and beginning 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 finale 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 put back, 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, nearly 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. However, 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.

Abilities

  • Master Hunter Skills: Having been trained by his father John Winchester, one of the best Hunters in history, Sam is a highly accomplished hunter, one of the best to ever exist, although he has admitted that his skills are not on par with Dean and his father. Sam has proven capable of handling his own against highly formidable supernatural threats and with aid from his brother, stop world-ending threats. With his year of hunting with his grandfather, Sam has learned more things such as learning of cures for monster poisoning and being capable to kill unique monsters. While inferior to Dean, Dean has been seen to hold his brother's hunting skills at high regard, being confident that Sam is capable of killing the powerful vampire Benny, which he used to warn him.
    • Master Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Sam is a highly capable martial artist. From a young age, he was trained as a child, as Sam, at 14 years old, manages to beat a boy twice his size to the ground without much effort and quickly best Amy Pond's bullies by himself. Even while rusty, Sam was still fairly proficient in hand-to-hand combat and he quickly got back in shape and continued to improve his abilities in fighting, being able to hold his own and even overpower certain supernatural creatures such as certain types of monsters and lower-level demons with his remarkable strength as well as easily defeat many armed humans. While inferior to Dean in terms of skill, Sam is by no means not capable of standing up to him and with his superior strength backing him up, he can even overpower Dean while he was clouded by his emotions, making him one of the very few humans to have ever defeated Dean. Even while Dean was powered by the Mark and had easily surpassed Sam's strength, Sam was still able to briefly stand his ground, able to deflect some of Dean's blows and land his own, but was ultimately trounced soundly. He has also proven to be able to frequently outfight or challenge incredibly trained and skilled fighters, as shown by how he effortlessly beat Deputy Sheriff Atkins to a pulp, came out victorious over Gordon Walker despite having been disarmed and briefly overwhelmed, overpowered fellow Hunters Tim Janklow and Reggie Hull, disarmed and stood up to a S.W.A.T officer before getting arrested, proved to be more than a match for Lady Toni Bevell, who had earlier matched his mother Mary, also briefly overpowered Luther Shrike, an immortal with centuries of fighting experience, armed with the Demon Killing Knife, punching and disarming him of the weapon, and took on two secret agents simultaneously without getting a single blow before ultimately being held in gunpoint. Sam also briefly traded blows with the Alternate Michael before being quickly subdued and was able to punch him through the cooler after Michael got distracted. He has even been seen to be capable of standing his ground against particularly powerful supernatural creatures, as shown by how he was able to retain the upper hand over Jake despite his superior strength, only being killed upon being caught off-guard, fight against Samhain, intercepting the demons charge with a vicious uppercut and briefly overwhelming him with a flurry of blows before the latter overpowered him, briefly get a grip on the Grigori Tamiel and held him off for a time, landing a punch, before being tossed aside, briefly held his own against Lucifer alongside his brother and Castiel despite being weakened from the severe beating the Devil put him through, managing to land a hit on him despite being weakened from a brutal beating from the Archangel, albeit he caught him off-guard and was soon knocked down, stopped Ramiel's attempt to stab Dean with the Lance of Michael and managed to hold him off in a struggle over the Lance of Michael as well as punch him once, holding him off long enough for Mary to stab him from the back and allow him to gain control over the Lance and kill him with it, killed an Apocalypse World Angel in his rescue of Charlie and Ketch, took on a group of Asmodeus's demons and killed one each time he fought them, stood his ground against Kipling for a time, ultimately holding him off long enough to surprise and kill him, and when he, Dean and Castiel were trapped by a large number of zombies unleashed by God, despite being separated from his brother and friend, Sam successfully managed to kill off multiple zombies on his own using both a fence post as a weapon and hand to hand combat. When fighting Virgil, Sam was able to punch and then restrain and subdue him for Dean to pummel him in their first fight and even managed to defeat the battered Virgil quickly, punching and then throwing him to the ground. Out of all the people controlled by Chip, Sam was the only one able to fight against Castiel, albeit Castiel was holding back, briefly putting Castiel into the defensive before being lifted off his feet and thrown to the ground, and was even able to catch him off-guard and defeat him.
    • Master Swordsman: Although he uses blades less often than Dean and does not seem to be as skilled as his brother, Sam is nevertheless considerably capable in swordplay and has displayed the ability to wield bladed weapons skillfully to kill supernatural creatures. Sam recently managed to use a single fence post to skillfully fight off and kill multiple zombies unleashed by God.
    • Master Marksman: Sam is an excellent marksman, having been trained by John how to use firearms since his childhood. Just like Dean, he is capable of outshooting most humans he met and can put down most supernatural creatures vulnerable to this type of weaponry. Even while badly injured, he is still capable of accurately hitting his targets.
  • Genius-level Intellect: Acknowledged by the extremely intelligent Dean to be the smarter one, Sam is incredibly intelligent. He has a vast knowledge of the supernatural and is considered a "walking 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 texts and spells in foreign languages (usually Latin) and is often stuck with doing the research for their latest hunt. 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 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. He is very proficient in criminal acts such as lock picking, computer hacking, and carjacking. Sam has 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 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. Sam came up with a plan to let Lucifer possess him and take control and jump in the cage. His plan successfully averted the Apocalypse since he dragged a protesting Michael as well. In "...And Then There Were None", Sam spotted a tripwire when Rufus, Bobby, and Dean didn't see it. He was also smart enough to exploit the demon, Kipling's mistake of being distracted by admiring the demon-killing knife (instead of immediately killing him with it) in order to stab him with it when he was caught off guard. During Mother's Little Helper, Sam is shown to keep a recording of an exorcism spell on his phone. While strangled by a demon, Sam played the recording to keep her distracted and when she went for the phone. He recovered and stabbed her with the Demon-Killing Knife. Sam even put Garth Fitzgerald IV in Michael's army as a double-agent to discover the latter's plan. When he, Jack, and Castiel were cornered by Michael's monsters, Sam recalled Jessica watching them and called on her. Despite Violet showing up, his plan worked as they escaped the threat. Sam also used the mind-link device to enter Dean's mind, he correctly deduced where Dean was and realized Michael was powerless and stalling for his monsters to retrieve him. Sam also came up with the idea to have Castiel and Jack go after Noah Ophis since he realized the latter's foresight doesn't work on angels. Sam was even proven to be smart enough to be able to slowly realize the true nature and motives of God, piecing together from the way that he acted while they talked about the alternate universes and Jack and how he looked to enjoy as Dean was about to kill Jack that from the beginning God was merely playing him, his brother, and Castiel and that he enjoyed watching them struggle, and he was also able to realize something was off from Billie's apparent sincere desire to kill God, whereas both cosmic beings completely tricked Dean and Castiel, and after figuring out her plan, while tortured by The Shadow, Sam was quickly able to come up with a plan to make the latter willingly surrender the book that tells how God dies by both tricking the cosmic being that Billie sent him there to retrieve the book with a message that she will live up to her bargain and then threatening the Shadow that if it doesn't let him, then it will never sleep again.
  • Indomitable Will: 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. His mental endurance is shown by how 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. He didn't even break when he was tortured by Lady Toni Bevell or her Ms. Watt, even making threats to kill them while tortured. Sam was also able to easily resist God having Eileen torture him and remain defiant, drawing on the hope that Dean and Castiel will save him and remaining defiant even as Chuck showed him visions of an impending doomed future, ultimately forcing Chuck to reveal the full scope of chaos that would happen if they had locked him away. It is also shown that Sam has greater willpower than Dean: In the future shown by God, even with the loss of Eileen, Sam remained determined to keep hunting until he was turned into a vampire whereas Dean gave up. Likewise, unlike Dean, Sam was able to completely resist the temptation of getting rid of God in exchange for Jack's life, remaining optimistic for a way to defeat God without having to sacrifice Jack, and once learning of Billie's true goals, persisted into making Dean give up trying to sacrifice Jack to kill God until he finally succeeded, unintimidated by Dean's threat to shoot him, thus foiling unexpectedly God's plan for them to kill each other, much to his rage.
  • Top Physical Conditioning: Known for being the stronger one between him and Dean, except when Dean had the Mark, Sam possesses remarkable physical strength, pain tolerance, and durability to the point of being capable of overpowering lesser supernatural creatures with his strength and withstanding powerful blows from superhuman foes without much trouble. 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. He was also able to strangle Garth, a grace-enhanced werewolf, into unconsciousness. 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. 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. While being tortured by Ms. Watt, an expert torturer, Sam didn't break, stating that after being tortured by Lucifer, there's nothing they can do to break him. Ms. Watt was impressed and shocked by this, stating that no one could take the amount of pain Sam did and not break. He was also tortured mentally by Lady Toni Bevell and was not only able to see through it but faked his reaction to it to trick her and attempt an escape. He has displayed the ability to quickly recover from particularly severe beatings from beings of superhuman force, as he could remain conscious after a severe beating from Lucifer and remain quite able when fighting him alongside Dean and Castiel and in addition to briefly able to struggle for control of the demon knife with the demon Kipling, he was only briefly distorted and quickly regained full consciousness after being beaten by him and managed to kill off the demon when he was distracted. Sam was even able to pin down and make Castiel, a powerful Seraphim, struggle to keep him from stabbing him with an angel blade, albeit granted Castiel was not using his full strength and trying to reason with Sam in "Peace of Mind".
  • Intimidation: Due to his legendary reputation, Sam is extremely intimidating to various monsters and demons. During Guy's talk with Becky Rosen, he voiced his fear when seeing him and acknowledged how easy it would be for Sam to kill him. The best example of this is how Kipling acknowledged that his henchmen feared Sam and after killing Kipling, Sam was able to abolish the position of Ruler of Hell by threatening that any contenders for the position would have to go through him.
  • Leadership Qualities: Though Sam, for the most part, follows Dean's leadership, he has shown to be a capable leader himself. This is best shown by how he led the assault on the British Men of Letters stronghold and won, despite the casualties suffered by his side, and how he is currently leading his own network of Hunters.
  • Multilingualism: Sam is fluent in Latin and written Enochian, knows enough Spanish to have a conversation, and knows a few gestures in the American Sign Language.
  • Expert Pool Player - Due to a lifetime of hustling, Sam has become an expert pool player, something required for hustling to survive. However, in his younger years, Sam was more reluctant to hustle pool and preferred more honest means of getting money as commented by God in Swan Song. As seen in The Gamblers, this talent is not linked to the extra luck granted by God to Sam as one of the heroes of his story. Even after being "downgraded" to a normal person, Sam was good enough to defeat Fortuna in a game and states that he learned his skill at pool from Dean.

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Trivia

  • Sam is the only character to appear in every episode of the series, as Dean was absent in "Stranger in a Strange Land" due to being possessed by Apocalypse Michael.
  • Sam's character was heavily influenced by Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars series.
  • According to Eric Kripke, Sam was originally going to be the main protagonist instead of sharing it, and the story would have focused on him.
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