|Actor|| Jared Padalecki|
Alex Ferris (Young Sam in 1.18)
Colin Ford (Young Sam in 3.08, 4.13, 4.21, 5.16, 7.03 & 11.10)
Nathan Smith (Young Sam in 5.22)
Hunter Dillon (Young Sam in 9.07)
Dylan Kingwell (Young Sam in 11.08)
|Dates|| May 2, 1983 - 2007 (killed by Jake/resurrected by a crossroads demon)|
2010 (locked in Lucifer's Cage/pulled out soulless by Castiel)
2011 (regains his soul)
|Location||Lebanon, Kansas (HQ)|
Listen to me, you've got this dark pit inside you. I know. Believe me, I know. But that doesn't mean you have to fall into it. You don't have to be a monster... It doesn't matter what you are. It only matters what you do. It's your choice.
– Sam Winchester, 4.04 Metamorphosis
- Born May 2, 1983, the same birth date as Eric Kripke's son.
- Son of John & Mary Winchester; younger brother of Dean Winchester and older half-brother of Adam Milligan
- He is named after his grandfather Samuel Campbell
- Sam dies in 2.21 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part One after being literally and figuratively backstabbed by Jake Talley. He is resurrected in 2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two after Dean makes a deal with a crossroads demon.
- Sam dies of a lightning strike induced by a wish from Hope Lynn Casey, reversed moments later along with all the other wishing-well wishes.
- Sam nearly dies of asphyxia after Zachariah removes his lungs, reversed moments later at Castiel's order.
- Sam dies when Anna stabs him in the gut, reversed a few minutes later by Michael.
- Sam dies when angry hunters shoot both him and Dean for Sam's role in starting the Apocalypse.
- Sam dies of unknown causes (presumably from the fall) after jumping into Lucifer's Cage to trap Lucifer inside, brought back by Castiel.
Sam's police record appeared in 1.15 The Benders as follows:
- Samuel Winchester:
- Born: May 2, 1983
- Place of Birth: Lawrence, Kansas
- Physical description: 6'5" or 6'6", 180-190early series or 220-230 current as of 11 Dec 2010 lbs, brown hair, green eyes 1
Sam, and Dean's, middle name (if they have one) is unknown. In 11.23 Alpha and Omega, Lady Antonia Bevell has cork board with information on the family. Sam's birth certificate can also be seen and it lists Sam's full name as Samuel William Winchester. However, as Sam's birth date is incorrectly listed as April 13, 1983, the veracity of the information is in doubt.
Relationship with the Yellow-Eyed Demon
- Sam is one of the Special Children
- A link between Sam’s powers and the YED is first suspected by the boys in 1.14 Nightmare, when Sam discovers that Max Miller’s mother dies the same way Mary Winchester did.
- Sam: I mean, either telekinesis or premonitions, we both had abilities, you know? Maybe it was after us for some reason.
- In 2.01 In My Time of Dying we find out that John knows "the truth" about Sam and the other children like him.
- In 2.05 Simon Said Sam meets two other people with powers, Andy Gallagher and his evil twin Ansem. Ansem reveals that a man "with yellow eyes" has visited in his dreams and revealed he has big plans for the Special Children.
- In 2.05 Simon Said Sam and Dean also discover that not all Psykids had their mothers die in a fire when they were six months old.
- In 2.09 Croatoan, Sam is infected with a demon virus. This is revealed to have been an experiment engineered by YED, when Duane Tanner contacts him on a blood goblet to report:
- Duane Tanner: I don't think any more tests will be necessary... The Winchester boy, definitely immune as expected.
What the experiment was for remains unknown.
- In 2.10 Hunted Dean reveals that before he died John told Dean that he would have to save Sam, and that if he couldn't do that he might have to kill him.
- In 2.21 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part One the Yellow-Eyed Demon appears to Sam in a dream, and explains that his plan is for the children with special powers to fight amongst themselves until the strongest is left to lead a demon army. He tells Sam, with his leadership qualities and hunter training, is his favorite.
- In the same dream, YED admits to killing Jessica so Sam would go back to hunting. He then shows Sam a vision of what happened the night Mary died. Sam sees that YED fed drops of his blood to baby Sam, and that Mary knew the Yellow-Eyed Demon. Sam does not tell Dean about this.
- After Sam's resurrection the Yellow-Eyed Demon implies to Dean that Sam came back changed.
Lucifer's True Vessel
- In 5.03 Free to Be You and Me, Sam is revealed to be Lucifer's true vessel.
- In 5.04 The End, Dean is teleported five years into the future, it is revealed Sam of 2014 said "yes" to Lucifer in Detroit. Lucifer kills Future!Dean.
- In 5.22 Swan Song Sam says "yes" to Lucifer in order to force him back into Hell.
- It is revealed that Sam, with the aid of the Impala which resurfaced certain powerful memories, could in fact resist Lucifer; thanks to the Impala, one of his memories were triggered which allowed him to regain control of his body.
- Surprisingly enough, despite the weighting odds, Sam manages to absorb the memories of his experiences in Lucifer's Cage, and was able to resist them from decimating him for a period of time.
- Lucifer once again attempts to use Sam as his vessel in 11.10 The Devil in the Details in order to escape the cage. However, despite mental and physical torture, Sam stalwartly refuses to consent to Lucifer again, and Lucifer is forced to find a different vessel.
Powers & Abilities
Sam has been shown to possess talents such as telekinesis and precognitive abilities (manifesting as visions). As the series progressed, Sam has learned to further develop his powers allowing him to exorcise demons from their human vessels and eventually to kill demons.
Sam's premonitions began "about six months" before Jessica's death. Initially they only occur when he's sleeping (through dreams), but by 1.14 Nightmare they occur when Sam is awake. Sam cannot control when the premonitions occur or what they're about, and they are often accompanied by intense headaches. Sam and Dean theorize that Sam only has premonitions when they are somehow related to the Yellow-Eyed Demon. This is likely true, for Sam ceases to experience visions after the demon's death in 2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two, which also suggests that his visions were a result of some sort of link between himself and YED.
Occurrences (in chronological order):
- Pre-series: About 6 months before Jessica's death, Sam begins having "nightmares" - visions of her death while he's asleep.
- Sam has a sleeping vision about the occupants of the Winchester's old house in Lawrence being in danger.
- 1.14 Nightmare
- Sam has a sleeping vision about the death of Max Miller's father.
- Sam has his first vision while awake - the death of Max's uncle.
- Sam has a waking vision of Mrs. Miller's death.
- Sam has a waking vision of Dean's death.
- Sam has visions of another woman being killed by the Yellow-Eyed Demon.
- Sam has sleeping & waking visions of other psychics, Andy Gallagher and Ansem Weems.
- Sam has sleeping visions of Dean killing Duane Tanner.
Sam first displays telekinesis during a moment of desperation, allowing him to move a heavy cabinet blocking his path to Dean. Sam tried to repeat this ability afterward but was unable to do so. In fact, his telekinesis did not manifest again until after he began training with Ruby and drinking her blood. By the time he wields his power again, Sam is shown to be highly adept at hurling a demon as powerful as Alastair across a graveyard with little effort. He can also maintain a grip on demons, preventing them from moving or using their powers.
- Sam moves a cabinet trapping him in order to save Dean's life.
- Sam throws Alastair with telekinesis after he proves immune to Alastair's own telekinesis. He seems to be able to simultaneously hold a demon telekinetically and use his exorcism powers on it.
- Sam uses his telekinesis to throw Lilith across a room.
- Sam uses his telekinesis to throw a demon across the room after he gives in to his demon blood cravings.
Sam can force a demon to leave its host through sheer force of will. Initially, using this ability caused Sam a great deal of stress and would often result in severe headaches and nosebleeds, but with time and practice he was able to exorcise a demon without these side-effects. Once removed, the demon "smoke" falls to the ground and burns a black circle as it descends back to Hell. Unless the host is already dead, the vessel will survive this process (though he admitted to unintentionally killing a few during training).
- In 4.01 Lazarus Rising we learn that Sam is now able to exorcise a demon by holding out his hand and forcing the demon to leave the possessed body and return to Hell. He was taught that skill by Ruby.
- In 4.04 Metamorphosis Dean finds Sam practicing his exorcism powers and brings him to promise him that he will never use them again.
- In 4.20 The Rapture, Sam attempts to exorcise a demon who is attacking Jimmy Novak's family. However, he is unable to do it. Later, in the warehouse where demons are holding Amelia and Claire Novak, Sam exorcises a demon from Jimmy's wife Amelia, after drinking blood from the neck of a demon possessed human.
- In 5.14 My Bloody Valentine, after Sam gives into his craving for demon blood, Famine offers his demons to Sam so he can drain them of their blood. Sam refuses and instead exorcises all five demons at once before exorcising the demons that Famine has consumed and effectively defeating him.
Sam has immunities to demonic attacks that steadily expand over time. At first, Sam was vulnerable to all forms of demon powers, being easily overpowered by telekinesis from both YED and lesser demons. However, his first bout of immunity manifests after being exposed to the Croatoan virus. Sam proves immune, and is later able to survive Lilith's "light" without any harm. Though still susceptible to the telekinetic attacks of other demons (like Alastair, for example) and possession by the Meg!Demon, Sam eventually reaches a point where no demon can harm him so long as he's high on demon blood. To this end, Lilith is practically defenseless against Sam during their final confrontation.
- Sam is immune to both Andy Gallagher and his twin brother Ansem Weems mind controlling powers.
- Sam is immune to the demonic virus that was spreading in the town through blood-to-blood contact.
- Lilith turns her power on Sam after killing Dean (in the same manner she used in "Jus in Bello") Sam shields himself with his arm, and after the light dies down, he is shown to be completely unharmed, and apparently immune to Lilith's power.
- He is also able to withstand Samhain.
- Sam proves immune to Alastair's telekinesis.
- Lilith herself says that Sam is immune to her power.
Execution & Torture
When fueled by a certain amount of demon blood, Sam powers are strong enough to allow him to not only exorcise demons, but kill them too. Killing a demon creates the same light inside their body as when they're killed by the Colt or Ruby's knife. When killing Alastair, Sam was able to do so with ease, but Lilith required extreme concentration and will, the result of which drained him of all his powers upon completion. After consuming several gallons of demon blood in preparation for becoming Lucifer's vessel, Sam was powerful enough to kill two demons without moving a muscle. Sam is also capable of inflicting intense pain on any demon, which proves useful in torturing them for information for the agony is so great that Lilith's servant begged for death after just a few minutes of exposure.
Sensing the Supernatural
Sam has a sixth sense that allows him to detect impressions or a sense of supernatural presence. Sam describes this as a "vibe" (1.10).
- Sam is able to sense supernatural presences in the old Winchester family home.
- Sam was able to sense Dean's spirit during a time of great stress.
When Sam came back from Lucifer's Cage his soul was left behind which left him completely emotionless. Castiel sticks his right arm into Sam's chest and reveals to Dean that, the reason for Sam's cold/relentless behavior is because his soul is missing because of him being in hell. He has said himself that he doesn't feel anything anymore, with no remorse. The new Sam will do anything to kill monsters, even let his own brother be turned into a vampire. Sam claims that it has a few benefits that have allowed him to become a better hunter: he doesn't need to sleep or really eat anymore, he has a higher pain tolerance and was able to lie to the goddess Veritas, even though she can make all other people, even Dean, tell the truth.
This soulless version of Sam has also been proved to be quite dangerous, with his lack of emotion or empathy for others makes him something of a sociopath. He doesn't seem to care about those he works with, or even his brother Dean, as he just uses those close to him to achieve his own ends. This comes to an end by the middle of season six, when Death restores Sam's soul.
Age 6 months: Sam is visited in his nursery by the Yellow-Eyed Demon, who drips demon blood into his mouth. When Mary interrupts him, the demon kills her, pinning her to the ceiling and setting the house on fire. John saves Sam and Dean carries him from their burning home. that is the reason for him having demon blood.
Age 8: Dean and Sam are again on their own in a motel in Broken Bow, Nebraska on Christmas Eve. Until this age Sam believes his mother died in a car accident, and doesn't know John is a hunter. On finding John’s Journal, Sam confronts Dean, who confirms that supernatural beings exists, that one killed their mother and that their father hunts them.
Age 13: On July 4, 1996, Sam and Dean set off a box full of fireworks in an empty field. As Dean recalls, they "burned the field down."
Age 14: In summer 1997, Sam, Dean and John hunt a werewolf.
Around age 15: In 1998, Sam researches kitsune alone in a library and feeds the information to Dean and John, who are hunting one, by cellphone. He wants them to stop bothering him so that he can try to have a normal time. At the library he meets a girl named Amy, and helps her fend off two bullies. She invites him to her house in thanks. They have common ground in that their families are always on the road, and they feel out of place, like freaks. They kiss. Amy's mother returns, and Amy hides Sam in a closet. Amy and her mother are both kitsune, and her mother has seen Dean and John tracking her. Amy tries to sneak Sam out, but her mother finds him and would have killed him, but Amy killed her instead. Sam lets Amy go.
Sometime as a teenager (presumably): At some point in his teenage years, when living in Flagstaff, Arizona, Sam ran away from home on "Dean's watch"; he was gone for two weeks and adopted a dog, "Bones", and lived on junkfood.
Sam is 22 and about to enter law school, when Dean turns up unexpectedly at his apartment in Palo Alto. The two have not spoken for some time (see Canon Discrepancies for how long). But their father is missing, and Dean asks Sam to help find him. After a weekend of searching, Sam returns to the apartment he shares with Jessica only to find that she has been killed in the same manner as his mother.
This spurs Sam to embark on a journey to find their missing father and get vengeance on the demon. While John Winchester is missing, he occasionally contacts the boys to leave them new missions to complete. The boys fend off mystical creatures such as the Woman in White, the wendigo, folklore's Bloody Mary, and shapeshifters. Through these missions, Sam begins experiencing episodes of precognition and once displays telekinesis.
The season finale concludes with Sam, Dean, and their father John escaping from a clash with the Yellow-Eyed Demon in Salvation, Iowa. While Sam is driving the Winchesters to a hospital after Dean and John were hurt, a truck crashes into them, causing massive damage to Dean's Impala with the Winchesters inside.
In the beginning of the second season, Sam takes a more active role in the hunting. He tells Dean that this is what their dad would have wanted him to do. the Yellow-Eyed Demon's plans for Sam are still unknown. Dean and Sam meet with three people that John once knew: Ellen Harvelle, her daughter Jo, and their computer genius associate Ash. They assist the brothers in their hunting. In 2.05 Simon Said, Sam displays immunity to Andy Gallagher's power of mind control. He is also immune to the demonic sulfur virus in 2.09 Croatoan.
In 2.10 Hunted, Sam learns what his father told Dean moments before his death: that the Yellow-Eyed Demon plans to cause Sam to become evil and use him and "children like him" as soldiers in an upcoming war. Dean was told that if he could not save Sam, he would have to kill him. Sam is convinced that he must save as many people as he can in order to change his destiny, as he drunkenly states in 2.11 Playthings. In 2.13 Houses of the Holy, Sam has a vision of what he thinks is an angel, telling him he has been chosen to kill someone evil. The angel is later revealed to be the spirit of Father Thomas Gregory. We learn in this episode that Sam has faith and prays regularly.
In 2.14 Born Under a Bad Sign, Sam is possessed by the demon which had previously possessed Meg Masters. While possessed Sam killed Steve Wandell, attacked Jo and shot and beat up Dean. It is initially difficult to exorcise as it has used a spell (signified by a brand on Sam's arm) to bind itself to Sam's body. In 2.20 What Is and What Should Never Be, Sam and Dean aren't close in the alternate reality created by a djinn. Neither Sam nor Dean had ever hunted, and Jessica is Sam's fiancee.
In the first episode of the season finale of season two, 2.21 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part One, Sam is trapped in a haunted abandoned town in South Dakota with other psychics like him. It was revealed that there is demon's blood in Sam and his mother Mary Winchester knew who the demon was, much to Sam's surprise. He is stabbed by a soldier named Jake and dies in his older brother's arms just as he and fellow hunter Bobby arrive to the rescue. It is unknown where Sam's soul went after his death, although in 5.16 Dark Side of the Moon, Ash says that Sam and Dean have been to Heaven before upon their deaths, and that "angels must’ve Windexed your brain."
In the second episode of the season finale, Dean made a deal with a crossroads demon to deliver himself to Hell in one year, in exchange for Sam's life. Sam doesn't know of what happened while he was dead, and is in fact unaware he was ever dead in the first place. In the following battle to prevent Jake and the Yellow-Eyed Demon from unleashing a demonic army, Sam shoots and kills Jake, unloading over ten bullets into his body. This is the first time Sam kills a man, or someone that isn't a demon, and he seems to show no remorse. The Yellow-Eyed Demon questions Dean if he is sure that what he brought back 100% pure Sam, but this is never elaborated on. Sam figures out that he was dead, and tells Dean he'll get him out of the deal he made, no matter what.
Throughout season three Sam's quest is to find the loophole in Dean's contract with the crossroads demon in order to save Dean from going to Hell. For a while, Sam is quietly and fondly exasperated about Dean's hedonistic tendencies, but Dean's borderline suicidal behavior is bothering him a lot. Sam tries everything in his power to save Dean, he even goes as far as to summon the crossroad demon and shoot her with the Colt.
He receives unlikely help from Ruby, a demon who reveals that not everybody in Hell is opposed to Sam, that in fact, there a demons who are very much behind Sam. Sam also learns, that he holds dubious fame as the "boy-king" or rather "the Antichrist," something that brings fellow hunter Gordon Walker to pick up his trail and hunt him down. In the episode 3.07 Fresh Blood Sam kills Gordon using nothing but his own two hands and a wire.
A notable episode is 3.11 Mystery Spot, in which, after having lived through a groundhog-day like setting for over 100 times in which Dean is killed and Sam can't save him, Sam has to fend for his own with Dean in Hell. The episode shows what will become of Sam when Dean goes to Hell - namely a single-minded, dead-inside hull of a person.
To save Dean, Sam even goes as far as to consider using a questionable scientific method which helps a homicidal doctor, Doc Benton to stay "alive" in a Frankenstein-like body.
Ruby, who claims to know a way to help Sam save Dean - but who revealed to Dean that she was lying in episode 3.07 Fresh Blood - is trying throughout the season to get Sam to embrace his demonic powers.
Throughout the course of season four, Sam's activities while Dean was in Hell are slowly revealed. Sam was in despair after Dean's death, and tried to make a deal with a crossroads demon, but no demon would deal with him. He drinks to excess and acts recklessly, until Ruby makes contact with him and begins to teach him how to use his demon-given powers.
Ruby possesses the body of a comatose woman whose soul has already fled. In a short time, Sam and Ruby become lovers, and Ruby is able to shake Sam out of his depression to some extent. Together, they hunt demons and Sam exorcises them and sends them back to Hell using his powers. Sam is overwhelmed when Dean returns from Hell, but the two quickly begin fighting. Castiel informs Dean of Sam's use of his powers, leading up to a minor fallout between the brothers, as Dean tries to get him to stop using them and stop hanging out with Ruby.
Sam, who is more religious than Dean, is delighted to find that angels are helping them, but is severely disillusioned in 4.07 It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester, when he finally meets Castiel and another angel, Uriel, and the angels attempt to destroy an entire town. Also a shock is that Uriel treats Sam with complete disgust, threatening to kill him as soon as Sam is no longer useful. Sam promises Dean to stop using his abilities, but quickly breaks the promise.
Season four shows a colder, less emotional Sam. He blatantly lies to Dean and has also become much more accepting of collateral damage and incidental loss of human life.
Finally, in 4.16 On the Head of a Pin, we find out that Sam has been drinking demon blood to fuel his powers. In this episode, he has become strong enough to torture Alastair to the point of making him reveal information (though Dean's torturing methods could not make him give any information away), and then subsequently kill Alastair.
In 4.20 The Rapture, it is easy to see that Sam has become very addicted to demon blood, showing all of the signs of a drug abuser. Apparently, he has not seen Ruby in awhile, which therefore means that he has not had much demon blood. He desperately calls Ruby and drinks the last of his supply. Though previously he was strong enough to kill Alastair, a very powerful demon, now he can't even exorcise a low-ranking demon. Dean is worried about Sam because he recognizes that Sam is strung out and that he cannot use his ability. Later, when Sam and Dean go to save Jimmy Novak and his family from demons, Sam loses control and drinks a demon's blood, right in front of Castiel and Dean. This leads Dean to call Bobby Singer, and together, they lock Sam in Bobby's panic room to help Sam detox.
In 4.21 When the Levee Breaks, Sam hallucinates while detoxing from demon blood. He thinks he is being tortured by Alastair and then he seems himself as a fourteen year old. He also sees his mother, and then thinks that Dean is taunting him and calling him a monster. Later, Castiel lets Sam out of the panic room on the angels' orders. Sam immediately takes off to find Ruby where he drinks a lot of her blood and learns that there are only a few seals left, and the last seal must be broken by Lilith herself. Dean eventually finds him which results in a major fight where Sam almost strangles Dean. As Sam turns to leave, Dean echoes John Winchester's words, saying that if Sam leaves, he should never come back.
In 4.22 Lucifer Rising, Sam works with Ruby to reach Lilith before she can break the final seal. When Sam and Ruby finally reach Lilith, he kills her, with his eyes turning black because of the amount of demon blood he had to ingest. Once Lilith is dead, he learns that Ruby had been working to raise Lucifer all along. When Dean bursts into the room, Sam holds Ruby while Dean kills her with her own knife. Sam and Dean then watch in horror as Lucifer's door is finally opened.
In 5.01 Sympathy for the Devil, following Sam's actions and Lucifer's release, Sam tries desperately to redeem himself by trying to stop the devil’s plans. However, Dean and Sam temporarily part ways, leaving Sam in a normal life until he is approached by Lucifer, who appears in the form of the deceased Jess. Lucifer tells Sam that he is his true vessel, in conjunction with Dean being the archangel Michael's true vessel.
Dean and Sam reunite shortly after this and Sam does his best to rebuild his relationship with his brother although the brother’s are no longer as close as they once were and find it hard to reconnect, a fact emphasized in 5.16 Dark Side of the Moon when Sam’s version of Heaven was completely devoid of his family and involved incidents that meant he was away from the Winchester's which causes Dean to discard the amulet Sam gave to him years prior.
In 5.18 Point of No Return, Dean 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.
It is revealed in 5.20 The Devil You Know that Sam's good friend from Stanford, Brady, was possessed all that time and Sam has been hounded by demons from 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.
Sam still lives with a craving for demon blood. In 5.14 My Bloody Valentine, Sam is affected by Famine's ability and he attacks and drinks from Famine’s henchmen, becoming strong enough to exorcise five demons at once and eventually defeats Famine although he is soon returned to Bobby's panic room. Sam also admits that he is angry all the time although he is unsure as to why, a trait that Lucifer tells him he will need when Sam finally agrees to be his vessel.
After discovering that Lucifer can he locked back into his Cage using the rings of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Sam considers the enormous task of allowing the Devil to possess him in order for Sam to push him back into Hell.
In 5.22 Swan Song Sam finally says "Yes" to Lucifer, prior to which he consumes an incredible amount of demon blood to strengthen his body. Lucifer appears to take full control of Sam and starts a number of natural disasters around the globe. He also gathers all the remaining minions of Azazel who have been keeping watch over Sam his entire life (including a grade school teacher and Sam's prom date, Rachel Nave). Lucifer informs Sam that they were always meant to be this way, two parts of the same whole and that Lucifer is Sam's true family.
Lucifer meets Michael in the chosen area for the final battle, during which he kills both Castiel and Bobby and severely injures Dean. However, Dean tells Sam that he's there for him and after glancing into the Impala, Sam's memories return enough for him to take control of his body again. Sam opens the gate to Hell and pulls Michael in with him, effectively stopping their battle.
Dean accepts Sam's final request, to find Lisa Braeden and live a normal life, and sits down with them in their home. However, just outside the window, staring in at them, is Sam.
A year after the events of season five, Sam reveals himself and reunites with Dean in 6.01 Exile on Main St. after Dean is attacked and poisoned by a djinn. Sam reveals to Dean he has been back practically the entire time and has spent the past year hunting alongside the remaining Campbells.
Dean and Sam begin hunting together again in 6.03 The Third Man. However, it is immediately apparent that Sam is not the same person he was before. He is shown to be a more cold and calculating person than before and also a more efficient and ruthless hunter, particularly when he doesn't object to torturing a young boy in order to gain information about their case which horrifies Dean.
When Dean confronts Sam about the fact he is acting differently, Sam denies that Hell affected him in the same way that it did Dean and that he is absolutely fine though Dean doesn't buy it.
In 6.05 Live Free or Twihard when Dean is changed into a vampire, Sam is shown observing the change with a small smile on his face. Samuel Campbell confronts Sam about knowing about the cure for being turned which Sam denies ever having known and suggests that Sam actually allowed Dean to be turned to be used as a bait, something the old Sam would never have considered doing.
In 6.07 Family Matters, with the help of Castiel, Dean discovers the reason for Sam's cold, relentless behavior is because his soul is missing. It is confirmed by Crowley that he was barely able to bring Sam's body back from the cage and his soul is still in there with Michael and Lucifer. It is suggested by Castiel, Crowley and even Death that Sam's soul is "mutilated" and "flayed to the raw nerve", and even if they are able to retrieve it, Sam may die from the damage done.
In 6.11 Appointment in Samarra, Dean makes a bet with Death that if he could be him for a day, Death will bring Sam's soul back. Sam does not want his soul back and goes to extreme lengths to prevent this from happening, even almost killing Bobby. However, even though Dean loses the bet, Death does bring Sam's soul back and creates a mental wall within Sam's mind to deal with the memories of Hell before he forces it back into Sam's screaming body.
Sam remains unconscious for ten days after the return of his soul. When Castiel examines his soul at the beginning of 6.12 Like a Virgin, he says that it feels as though it was "skinned alive," and doubts Sam's survival. Nonetheless, Sam does regain consciousness, and has no memory of the past year and a half, either from Hell or from Earth. He is overjoyed to see Dean and Bobby alive and well, and eagerly hugs them both. He is hungry, and curious to know how he has been saved. Dean chooses not to tell him what has actually happened, and Bobby reluctantly follows his lead. Sam is ready to start hunting at once and joins Dean to investigate the disappearances of some girls under strange circumstances. Sam believes that Dean never went back to Lisa after the Apocalypse was stopped, and when Dean tells him briefly that after a year, his relationship with Lisa did not work out, Sam is sympathetic. As they interrogate witnesses, Sam's empathy and thoughtfulness provide a stark contrast to RoboSam's methods.
Sam is quick to realize that Dean is not telling him the whole truth, so he prays to Castiel. The angel appears, glad to see Sam intact. Sam hides his memory loss, and from Castiel's questions, realizes that he had been on Earth without his soul. He hides his surprise, and asks the angel to help him remember some of the details that are fuzzy. Dean and Sam rescue the girls and defeat a dragon, and when they return to Bobby's, Sam apologizes to Dean for what he did while he was soulless. He feels that he needs to make amends where he can, even if he is not entirely responsible.
As they investigate a case in 6.13 Unforgiven in a town Sam visited while soulless, he begins to remember flashes of the missing year. He discovers the brutal way in which he dealt with the victims of an arachne, one of whom was turned and drew him back to the town. At the end of the investigation, he drops to the floor convulsing as he recalls some of the torment he endured in Lucifer's Cage. He awakens after a few minutes, remembering about a week of his experiences in the pit. Sam is sufficiently recovered to run the next case himself, and encourages Dean to follow up on a call he received from Ben. In 6.15 The French Mistake, Sam and Dean are thrown into an alternate world where Sam is an actor married to the actress who played Ruby. He lives in a mansion decorated with art of himself and owns an alpaca. In spite of the wealth he has in this world and his enjoyment of his alternate universe wife, he wants to return to his own world, where his life matters.
Eve remains a focus for the brothers, and they track her during 6.16 ...And Then There Were None. They find themselves the victim of her new creation, the Khan worm, which possesses Samuel Campbell. Sam is forced to kill him, and in spite of everything, regrets that his grandfather has died. The brothers lose Rufus, but manage to save Bobby. The brothers also deal with repercussions from the angelic civil war, including Balthazar's saving of the Titanic, and the attempts by Fate to kill off the survivors. Sam and Dean agree to act as bait for her, and she is stopped when Castiel agrees to re-sink the Titanic.
Eventually, Sam remembers that there is a hunter's library in the Campbell Compound, and leads Dean and Bobby there in search of a way to kill Eve. They discover that phoenix ash is her weakness, and that Samuel Colt reported the death of a phoenix in 1861. They arrange for Castiel to send them back in time. Dean tracks the phoenix while Sam goes to find Samuel Colt. He proves he is from the future using his Blackberry, and impresses Colt with his knowledge, but the older hunter is not interested in helping, as he is 'retired'. Sam reminds him that hunters cannot retire, and persuades him to give up the Colt so that Dean can use it to kill the phoenix. They do not get the ashes, but Samuel Colt manages to send a package to Bobby's house in the present day using the information from Sam's Blackberry.
Sam, Dean, Bobby, and Castiel go in pursuit of Eve armed with the ashes. They find a city that Eve has populated with monsters in 6.19 Mommy Dearest. Together they manage to defeat Eve after she drinks the phoenix ashes when she bites Dean, but discover that Crowley is alive. Sam and Bobby both suspect that this can only have been because Castiel is in league with Crowley. They are proven right in 6.20 The Man Who Would Be King. Sam, Dean, and Bobby try to find Crowley on their own, but are blocked by Castiel, who has, as they discover, been spying on them. They trap him in a flaming ring of holy oil to interrogate him. Castiel tries to defend himself, revealing that he resurrected Sam. Sam is shocked, and suspects Castiel of having deliberately left his soul behind.
Crowley strikes at the brothers in 6.21 Let It Bleed, kidnapping Lisa and Ben. Dean tortures demons to find them, and Sam tries to keep him calm. He offers to take over, but Dean refuses. Sam prays to Castiel for help even though Dean suspects Castiel's complicity in the kidnapping. Castiel listens invisibly. The brothers later summon Balthazar, telling him about Castiel's involvement with Crowley. The angel is surprised, though he lies to cover it. He later gives them Lisa and Ben's location. The brothers go to rescue them, but Sam is caught, and Dean must complete the mission alone. They rush an injured Lisa to the hospital, where she is expected to die, until Castiel appears and heals her. Dean then has him take away all their memories of the Winchesters. Sam disagrees with his decision, and thinks it is a low thing to do.
In 6.22 The Man Who Knew Too Much, Sam finds himself fleeing from the police near John's lock-up. He hides in a bar and tells the bartender Robin he does not know who he is. After a few flashes of memory surface, she drives him to his hotel, and he finds Bobby's address. They head for South Dakota, and it suddenly switches from night to day. Sam also smells whiskey and Old Spice aftershave. A soulless version of himself tries to kill him. Sam realizes that he is trapped in his own mind. He manages to kill his soulless counterpart and absorbs him. He then remembers the last year, including Robin, a woman whom a crossroads demon was using as a human shield, who Sam shoots. He makes his way on his own to his mental version of Bobby's place and finds the version of himself that remembers Hell. They talk, and though it may kill him, Sam decides to face the memories so that he can wake up and help Dean against Cas. He awakens and goes after Dean and Bobby. He finds them in the aftermath of the Purgatory opening ritual that Castiel performed. The angel has killed Raphael and is not willing to give up the power of the souls that he has taken in. Sam stabs him from behind with an angel blade, but the weapon does not kill him. He welcomes Sam, and tells Dean, Sam, and Bobby that he is a new god, a better god, and that they must worship him.
In 7.01 Meet the New Boss, after his unsuccessful attempt to kill Castiel, Sam's condition begins to deteriorate. Because the brothers continue to oppose him, Castiel chooses not to repair Sam's wall. He leaves, and Dean and Bobby take Sam back to Bobby's place. Sam begins to experience hallucinations, seeing Hell, but does not reveal his problems. Castiel is killing people, Dean has given in to despair, and even Death will only provide a way to reopen Purgatory. When Castiel's very public actions become more erratic, it is Sam that prays for him to let them help him before it is too late. Castiel responds, and they return to Crowley's lab to reopen Purgatory. Sam goes after the jar of blood they need, but is stopped by a vision of Lucifer.
The souls in Castiel are returned, but he is taken over by Leviathans, who use him to disappear into a reservoir. The Winchesters and Bobby regroup in the aftermath during 7.02 Hello, Cruel World, and Dean and Bobby confront Sam about his obvious troubles. Sam admits that he is seeing the Devil, who tells him that he is still in Hell, being tormented. His hallucination tries to convince him that killing himself is the only solution. Sam is tricked into going alone to an empty warehouse. Dean finds him, and convinces him that he is back on Earth by helping him see the difference between real physical pain and pain in Hell.
When they return to the salvage yard, they find Bobby's house destroyed, and no sign of the hunter. The brothers are attacked by Edgar the Leviathan, and are so badly injured that they are taken to the Sioux Falls hospital, which is also infested with leviathans. Bobby appears in 7.03 The Girl Next Door, and manages to get Dean and Sam, with an additional head injury, away to hide at Rufus's cabin. As they heal, Sam insists to both Dean and Bobby that he is well. Sam soon spots a familiar killing pattern in local papers, and leaves Dean behind while he tracks it. He knows the kitsune responsible, Amy Pond; her met her when they were kids, before finding out what she was, and even asked her out. Sam leaves her alive now because she was hunting for her sick son, and swears she is finished. Dean pretends to accept Sam's decision, but secretly goes after Amy and kills her.
Sam knows something is wrong with his brother. Sam uses his long abandoned legal training in an attempt to defend Dean from Osiris' judgment, but his brother gives in without explanation, and Sam must defeat Osiris in a more traditional way. Sam tries to get Dean to open up, while also attacking Dean's alcohol use. Matters are complicated when two leviathans masquerade as Sam and Dean in 7.06 Slash Fiction and go on a killing spree in hopes of exposing the brothers. Bobby sends them to Frank Devereaux, who gives them new fake IDs and destroys Sam's computer, and charges him for another one. Sam and Dean are eventually caught by police, and the Leviathans come after them. Dean manages to behead them with an axe, but not before the one pretending to be Dean reveals the truth about Amy to Sam.
The brothers separate for a time, but reunite to investigate a series of murders in 7.07 The Mentalists. They discuss their viewpoints on Amy, and though Sam remains unhappy about it, they agree to move on. On their annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas in 7.08 Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!, Sam summons Dean to a Little White Chapel, where Sam eagerly marries Becky Rosen. She has drugged him with a demon love potion, and as it becomes less effective Becky resorts to tying up Sam to keep him around. In spite of his drugged state and Becky's other obstacles, Sam is able to help with the case to defeat the demons who want Becky's soul.
Investigating murders in New Jersey during 7.09 How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters, Sam, Dean, and Bobby, run across the Leviathans again. They are tampering with the food supply through the Biggerson's Restaurant chain, and Sam and Bobby take the lead after Dean ends up drugged. After Dean recovers, they go after the leviathan test facility, but during their escape Bobby is shot in the head by Dick Roman. The boys rush him to the hospital, where Sam sits in the waiting room, continually massaging his scarred hand to keep the monsters in his head at bay. Bobby awakes briefly, gives the brothers a series of numbers, and dies.
The brothers retreat to Rufus's cabin to mourn. Sam suggests that they notify Bobby's old contacts about what happened, but Dean is uninterested. Sam receives a surprise call from one of them, Krissy Chambers, and investigates the disappearance of her father on his own in 7.11 Adventures in Babysitting while Dean is with Frank Devereaux. Sam comes to Dean's rescue in 7.12 Time After Time, when Dean is pulled back in time, managing with the help of Sheriff Jody Mills to get him back. He protects Dean again in 7.13 The Slice Girls, this time from Dean's Amazon offspring. Sam feared that Dean would not be able to kill the girl, and might have died; the prospect of losing his brother again deeply disturbed Sam.
In 7.14 Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie, Sam must once again confront his fear of clowns when two monstrous specimens are sent after him with magic. He survives, despite being covered in glitter. His situation takes a turn for the worse during 7.15 Repo Man, when the brothers try to protect Jeffrey from the demon that once possessed him. In fact, Jeffrey is trying to bring back his demon, and kidnaps Dean, leaving Sam alone with his Lucifer hallucination. He has been ignoring Lucifer diligently for months, but when the vision starts taunting him about Dean, then offering useful advice, Sam acknowledges him. Dean is rescued, but now that Sam has given in to the taunting, he can no longer escape it. By 7.16 Out with the Old Sam is unable to sleep, and in 7.17 The Born-Again Identity he buys sleeping pills off of a drug dealer in an attempt to help himself, but is institutionalized after being hit by a car. Lucifer continues to torment him in the hospital, and he is eventually reduced to a catatonic state. He is saved when Castiel takes on his suffering, enabling Sam to continue his life.
The brothers re-team with Garth in 7.18 Party On, Garth, and Garth suggests that Bobby may still be with them as a ghost, tied to the flask. The same idea has occurred to the brothers, and they are finally able to see Bobby in 7.19 Of Grave Importance. Sam is willing to attempt working with Bobby to bring down the leviathans, and they do manage to steal a tablet that is the Word of God from Dick Roman, and have a prophet named Kevin Tran translates it for them. Uncovering the tablet wakes Castiel.
The brothers work on a weapon to defeat the Leviathans based on the tablet, and secure blood from the Alpha Vampire, Castiel, and Crowley for it. Bobby meanwhile becomes vengeful, and asks the brothers to burn the flask, and send him away. They agree. Then Sam, Cas, and Dean enter the leviathan headquarters, and Cas and Dean manage to find and stab Dick. There is a strange explosion of black ooze, and Sam is left alone in the laboratory, with no sign of his brother or the angel.
Throughout the first half of season 8, Sam's time with Amelia during the year that Dean was in Purgatory is slowly revealed. After the events of 7.23 Survival of the Fittest, Sam fixes up the Impala and drifts across the country. When he accidentally hits a dog with the Impala, he rushes it to a nearby veterinary hospital where he meets Amelia, the veterinarian who tends to the injured animal. She has Sam adopt the dog because he has no owner and Sam later names him Riot. Sam finds a job at a nearby motel as a repairman and runs into Amelia, who happens to be living there, when she walks into him fixing her garbage disposal. They soon start dating and end up living together in the same house. When it is revealed that Don, Amelia's husband who was thought to have been killed in Afghanistan, is actually alive, Sam decides to leave so that Amelia can get back together with her husband.
8.01 We Need to Talk About Kevin picks up just as Sam is leaving Amelia and heading back to Rufus's cabin in Montana. There he reunites with Dean, who soon becomes angry after Sam reveals that he did not go looking for Dean following his disappearance into the explosion of black ooze. This is compounded when Dean finds out that Sam had also abandoned Kevin, the one person they were responsible for protecting, and didn't even answer the phone whenever he called. Despite this, they team back up and soon find Kevin in an abandoned church in Iowa and find out that there is a way to close the Gates of Hell, thus sealing all demons in Hell forever. When Crowley arrives looking for Kevin and the demon tablet, Sam, Dean, and Kevin manage to escape but are unable to prevent Crowley from killing Kevin's girlfriend, Channing.
In 8.02 What's Up, Tiger Mommy?, Kevin has Sam and Dean take him to his mother, Linda Tran. When they find out that she is being monitored by demons, they rescue her and go to where Kevin hid the demon tablet only to find out that it is missing. They are soon invited to an auction, hosted by the Roman god Plutus, where the demon tablet is being sold off. Linda Tran bids her soul so that they can get the demon tablet and Kevin, who had been added to the deal, back. However, Crowley takes back the tablet after possessing Linda, and Kevin and his mother disappear because Kevin is no longer needed by the brothers and knows that anyone they no longer need ends up dead.
The brothers then get back on the road and do what they do best, hunting, while also searching for Kevin and the demon tablet.
Sam reveals in 8.03 Heartache that he no longer takes joy from hunting and just wants a normal life. He tells Dean that after they find Kevin and the demon tablet and close the Gates of Hell he is done hunting for good.
After Sam meets Benny in 8.05 Blood Brother and realizes he is a vampire, he questions Dean as to why he didn't tell him about Benny and why he is letting him live. Sam admits to Dean that he may have to kill Benny one day, with Dean telling him that they will deal with it when the time comes.
In 8.07 A Little Slice of Kevin, Sam and Dean investigate a series of mysterious disappearances that have been occurring across the globe, when Castiel suddenly returns after Dean sees him several times. Castiel reveals that the people that have gone missing are all future prophets. Sam and Dean realize that Crowley must be holding them while he searches for Kevin. Sam is then contacted by Linda Tran, who tells him that Kevin has been kidnapped by Crowley and she needs his and Dean's help in getting him back. They find out where Kevin and the future prophets are being held after interrogating a demon and head on there to rescue them. They successfully rescue Kevin, however Crowley escapes with half of the demon tablet after Castiel smashes it into two pieces. Sam has Kevin and Linda go stay with Garth while they go searching for the other half of the demon tablet.
In 8.09 Citizen Fang, Sam reveals to Dean that he had Martin Creaser, who had been discharged from the psychiatric hospital not that long ago, track Benny for him to make sure he didn't kill anyone. Dean is upset by this, but decides to go and investigate Benny anyway once he learns Martin told Sam that Benny killed someone. When they find out that Martin didn't actually see Benny kill anyone, Sam allows Dean to go investigate on his own for a few hours while he keeps Martin at bay. When Dean comes back and tries to convince Sam and Martin that Benny is innocent, Sam doesn't believe him and believes he isn't thinking clearly. Martin knocks Dean unconscious which doesn't make Sam happy, but he goes off with Martin anyway to go kill Benny. However, he soon gets a distressing text from Amelia and heads off to Kermit, Texas on his own. When he finds out that Dean tricked him so that he could deal with Benny, Sam is mad at Dean for trusting Benny and making him think that Amelia was in danger when she wasn't.
Sam runs into Amelia again and explains why he came to her house to check on her. He still cares about her and she reveals that she still cares about him as well. She makes an ultimatum with him, that if they wanted to get back together they would show up at the motel Sam is staying at in two days and commit to each other. In the meantime Sam gets back together with Dean to help Castiel rescue Samandriel from Crowley, who is doing experiments on him. After Castiel kills Samandriel to put him out of his misery, Sam and Dean have to decide whether they want to stick together or separate again. Dean decides to give up Benny and Sam decides to not get back together with Amelia and chooses to continue hunting with Dean instead.
With the brothers back together for good, Sam and Dean go off investigating several cases. In 8.12 As Time Goes By, Sam and Dean learn about the Men of Letters when their grandfather, Henry Winchester, suddenly emerges in their motel room after time traveling from 1958. He is soon followed by the demon Abaddon, the last remaining Knight of Hell, who wants to find a box that had been given to Henry. Sam soon discover from a surviving Man of Letters that the box is actually the key to the Men of Letters secret bunker. Unfortunately, Abaddon was possessing his wife and captures Sam, forcing Dean to trade Henry and the key for him. They are able to trick Abaddon and incapacitate her, however, not before she fatally wounds Henry. Sam and Dean bury their grandfather and head off to the Men of Letters' secret bunker.
After settling into the Bunker, Kevin soon contacts Sam and Dean in 8.14 Trial and Error and informs them that there are three trials that need to be performed in order to close the Gates of Hell. The first one requires bathing in the blood of a hellhound. Sam and Dean manage to track one down, and Dean tells Sam that he wants to perform the trials so that Sam can go on to live a normal life. Despite his protestations, Sam agrees to let Dean do this. However, Sam ends up killing the hellhound and being covered in its blood when he protects Dean from it. Dean begrudgingly agrees to let Sam perform the trials. Sam recites the Enochian spell for the first one and his arm glows red while he is saying it.
Sam's condition begins to deteriorate in 8.15 Man's Best Friend with Benefits when he coughs blood into his hand. In 8.16 Remember the Titans he spits out blood into a sink and Dean begins to suspect that the trials are hurting Sam. In 8.17 Goodbye Stranger Sam coughs blood into a napkin and Dean's suspicion that the trials are having a negative effect on Sam grows.
Kevin deciphers the second trial in 8.19 Taxi Driver and summons Sam and Dean to Garth's safe-boat. He tells them that the second trial involves rescuing an innocent soul from Hell and delivering it to Heaven. Sam and Dean learn from the rogue reaper Ajay that he had taken Bobby to Hell under Crowley's orders. Sam goes alone with Ajay to Purgatory in order to use a back door to access Hell. Sam is able to get Bobby out of Hell and through Purgatory with the help of Benny, who sacrifices himself so that Sam can get out with Bobby's soul. When Sam releases Bobby's soul, it is stopped by Crowley who tries to bring it back to Hell. With the help of the angel Naomi, Bobby's soul is delivered to Heaven where it should be and Sam completes the second trial. Sam and Dean return to Garth's safe-boat only to find Kevin missing.
Sam's condition gets worse after completing the second trial. He sleeps for a day in 8.20 Pac-Man Fever and is visibly unwell, he is even unable to shoot target. Despite this and against Dean's wishes he goes on the case anyway and helps Dean rescue Charlie from the nightmare the djinn puts her into.
In 8.21 The Great Escapist Dean is worried about Sam's worsening health while Sam insists that the trials are not only making him sick but are also transforming him in some way. When reading the translations that Kevin sent to Sam and Dean in his email, Sam sees a recurring symbol which appears to be Metatron's signature. He then remembers a similar symbol used by a tribe in Colorado. Sam and Dean then head to Colorado and check in at a hotel. There Sam begins to hear noises, develops a high fever, and has vivid flashbacks to his childhood. Dean is forced to submerge Sam in a tub full of ice after he finds him passed out on the floor of the hotel with a high temperature. They then discover Metatron, the angel who wrote the Word of God, who reveals that Sam is now beginning to resonate with the tablets and with Metatron himself, so Sam can sense both when he is in close proximity. Metatron rescues Kevin from Crowley, who had taken Kevin and fooled him into thinking that he was still on the safe-boat. Before Kevin can reveal it, Metatron tells Sam and Dean that the third trial involves curing a demon.
In 8.22 Clip Show, Sam and Dean discover an old film reel showing two priests, Father Simon and Father Max Thompson, unsuccessfully attempting to cure a demon by having it drink Father Thompson's blood. After speaking with Father Simon, they go back to the Bunker and watch the reel of the last test, in which Father Thompson successfully cures a demon after injecting it with his blood several, which had been purified through confession. Sam and Dean plan to recreate this using Abaddon; however, she escapes while Crowley informs them to go to an address in Indiana, which turns out to be Jenny Klein, the woman they saved in 7.05 Shut Up, Dr. Phil, who was burned in her oven. After unsuccessfully trying to save Sarah Blake, the girl from 1.19 Provenance, Crowley tells them he will keep killing everyone they have saved one by one if they don't stop the trials. Sam and Dean contemplate whether to accept the ultimatum.
In 8.23 Sacrifice, Sam and Dean decide to take the ultimatum before Crowley can kill Sheriff Jody Mills. After reviewing the deal, Dean handcuffs Crowley with special handcuffs etched with binding magic. They then take Crowley to a small abandoned church, where they plan to cure Crowley and complete the third and last trial. Sam confesses his sins and then begins to inject Crowley with his blood while Dean goes off with Castiel to help him complete the trials necessary to close the Gates of Heaven. Crowley manages to send out a message to any nearby demons to get them to rescue him. Unfortunately, it is Abaddon who comes, but Sam douses her meatsuit with holy oil and set Abaddon aflame, forcing her to leave her vessel. Sam continues injecting Crowley and prepares to recite the spell for the last trial when Dean comes back. He begs for Sam to stop the last trial because it will kill him. Sam is not phased and tells Dean that he is worried that Dean will turn to someone else if he lets him down again. Dean tells him he wouldn't put anyone else in front of Sam and tells him to let it go. Sam is then struck by pain and collapses. Dean helps Sam out of the church and they collapse right beside the Impala just as the angels begin to fall from Heaven.
In 9.01 I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here, Sam has fallen into a coma and is lying in a hospital bed. When the doctor tells Dean that there is nothing that they can do, Dean prays to the angels for help and manages to make contact with a fallen angel who introduces himself as Ezekiel. When Ezekiel examines Sam, he is able to enter into Sam's mind, and finds out that he is talking to Death, and is ready to die and go with him. When Dean is made aware of this, he makes a desperate decision to trick Sam into allowing Ezekiel to possess him, in order to heal him over time. Dean and Ezekiel agree to keep it a secret from Sam, who would likely eject Ezekiel even though he would not survive on his own.
Sam and Dean fight with Abaddon's demons in 9.02 Devil May Care, and after Sam is cornered and beaten unconscious by them, Ezekiel takes over and kills the demons. When Sam regains consciousness with no memory of killing the demons, Dean tells Sam that it was him who killed them. Mildly impressed by Dean's apparent ability to kill 3 demons single-handedly, he doesn't question it.
With Castiel reduced to a human state and on the run from the other angels in 9.03 I'm No Angel, Sam and Dean focus their efforts on finding him. With the help of Ezekiel, they are able to track rogue reapers who are after Castiel. They finally find him just as the reaper April stabs him through the chest with an angel blade, killing him. They rush forward but April flings Sam against the wall, knocking him out. Dean manages to kill April, then goes over to Castiel's body, only to realize that he is dead. Ezekiel once again takes over, and, placing his hand over Castiel's wound, brings him back to life. Sam and Castiel have no idea what happened, so Dean lies, saying that he had made a deal with April to bring Castiel back, before he killed her. They go back to the Bunker, and Sam asks Dean how he knew where to find Cas. Dean makes up an explanation, but Sam is unconvinced. A bit later, Ezekiel confronts Dean, saying that having Castiel with them is too dangerous - the reapers and angels might be able to track him again. He gives Dean an ultimatum - either Castiel goes, or he leaves, which would mean putting Sam's life in jeopardy once again. Dean makes the choice to send Castiel away.
In 9.04 Slumber Party, Charlie is killed by the Wicked Witch of the West, and as Sam runs in, Dean yells "Zeke!" Ezekiel brings Charlie back to life, and later, Sam asks Dean who Zeke is, having heard Dean say his name. However, Dean brushes him off. Sam is attacked by Chef Leo in 9.05 Dog Dean Afternoon, and is surprised to find his neck wound mysteriously healed, after Ezekiel heals him without his knowledge. Sam is unnerved when Vesta tells him in 9.08 Rock and a Hard Place that he's all duct tape and safety pins inside, and wonders how he is even alive.
Ezekiel assures Dean in 9.09 Holy Terror that he is indeed healing Sam. Sam, however, has become very aware of the gaps in time when Ezekiel is in control. He mentions it to Dean, who says that it must be a lasting effect of the Trials. They meet up with Castiel and get drinks at a bar. Ezekiel, not happy about this, excuses himself and goes outside where he meets up with Metatron, who reveals the true identity of Ezekiel - Gadreel. Later, Castiel is taken prisoner by angels, and from them, learns that Ezekiel died in the fall. After he becomes an angel again by stealing another's grace, he calls Dean to let him know about Ezekiel. Dean and Kevin come up with a spell which will allow Dean to talk to Sam without the angel being able to listen in. Dean tries to finally tell Sam the truth, but the Gadreel had known about the spell and sabotaged it. Knocking Dean out, he kills Kevin on Metatron's orders, and leaves.
With Castiel's help in 9.10 Road Trip, Dean manages to track Gadreel down, and they work with Crowley to figure out who the angel is, and how to get him to leave Sam's body. After an effort, they learn Gadreel's identity, but he refuses to leave Sam. Crowley offers to possess Sam in order to find him and let him know of the possession, so that Gadreel can be kicked out. Dean reluctantly agrees, so Castiel burns off Sam's anti-possession tattoo. Crowley quickly finds where Gadreel has locked Sam away in his mind, and tells him that he has been possessed, and encourages him to kick the angel out. Gadreel puts up a fight, but Sam ultimately wins, and Gadreel is expelled. Sam, finally knowing the truth, is angry at Dean for lying to him. Dean defends his decision - he didn't have a choice, he couldn't let Sam die. Dean believes that he is poison - and he can't let anyone get hurt anymore. Sam tells him to leave, and Dean drives off alone in the Impala.
Castiel continues to heal Sam in 9.11 First Born. In 9.12 Sharp Teeth, Sam and Dean meet up again when working the same werewolf case, which turns out to involve Garth. He notices something on Dean's arm, which he finds out is the Mark of Cain. They prepare to go their separate ways again when Dean suggests that they hunt together again. Sam agrees, but tells Dean that he can't trust him anymore, and that their relationship is damaged. Sam practically disowned Dean as his brother and no longer considering him as family since he believed that everything that happened between them was because of their familial ties. In 9.13 The Purge, Dean again defends his actions over the past several months. Sam, frustrated, argues that the only reason Dean saved him is that he didn't want to be alone. Dean counters that by saying that if the situation were reversed, Sam would have done the same thing. Sam, however, tells a devastated Dean that he would just let him die if the time ever occurs.
In 9.16 Blade Runners, Sam and Dean look for the First Blade. They track it down and find that a man named Cuthbert Sinclair has it. Sinclair captures Dean, and Sam teams up with Crowley in order to get him back. Dean kills Sinclair with the First Blade, but as the powerful feelings from the Blade wash over him, needs to be talked down by Sam. Sam tells Dean that he should kill Crowley now that they have the Blade, but before he can, Crowley disappears with the First Blade. Sam works a case alone in 9.17 Mother's Little Helper and finds out that Abaddon has been harvesting souls in order to create an army. Over the next few episodes, he starts getting concerned about Dean, who has become increasingly aggressive and hyper-focused on finding Abaddon.
In 9.21 King of the Damned Crowley calls and tells them the location of the First Blade, and to meet him at a hotel in Ohio. When they get there with the Blade, Dean tells Sam to check the basement while he goes upstairs. When Sam doesn't find anything there, he also goes upstairs, and enters the hotel room just as Dean charges forward and fatally stabs Abaddon with the Blade. He continues to stab her corpse until Sam yells at him to stop. Later that night, Sam tells Dean that he is worried that the Blade is doing something to him, and suggests that they lock it up somewhere safe until they need it. Dean refuses.
Castiel calls them in 9.22 Stairway to Heaven and asks them to meet up with him. Sam requests that Dean leave the First Blade behind, and Dean supposedly agrees very reluctantly. They find Castiel, who has been deeply involved in the angel war, leading an army of angels. Sam and Castiel go off to investigate and track an angel who they believe to be a mole. While in the car, they discuss their concerns about Dean. When they return to base, they find Dean tied up with duct tape over his mouth. During his interrogation of Tessa, he had brought out the First Blade, and she impaled herself on it, committing suicide. After calling Dean out on lying about bringing the First Blade along, Metatron video calls the angels and turn them against Castiel. Sam, Dean, and Castiel go to the bunker. They aren't there long before Gadreel walks in, and announces that he wants to join them, and will provide vital information to them. Dean steps forward and holds out his hand, but as Gadreel reaches out to shake it, he pulls out the First Blade and slashes Gadreel across the chest. Sam and Castiel rush forward to restrain Dean, and they lock him in the dungeon (9.23 Do You Believe in Miracles?). Sam tells Dean that something is wrong with him, and that he has to stay locked up until they can figure out what. Sam and Castiel then find Gadreel outside a short distance away from the Bunker, and after Castiel heals him, they return to the Bunker to find Dean and the Blade gone. They then discuss tactics. Castiel and Gadreel plan to go to Heaven and find the angel tablet so that they can defuse Metatron's powers, and then the way will be clear for Dean to kill Metatron. Sam follows up on a lead for Metatron's whereabouts, and it's not long before Dean and Crowley show up, acting on the same information. Sam acknowledges that Metatron must go and that Dean is their best chance. Dean tells Crowley he can go, and then he and Sam head off to find Metatron. They park the car and Sam hands Dean the First Blade. Dean punches Sam, knocking him unconscious, and goes to find Metatron himself. When Sam comes to, he races to find Dean, and finds him just in time to see Metatron jam an angel blade deep into Dean's chest. Stunned, he rushes to Dean's side. Metatron disappears before Sam can kill him, and Sam is left to try and stop Dean's bleeding. Dean tells Sam that it's better this way, because the Mark is turning him into something he doesn't want to become. Sam tries to help Dean out of the building, but Dean stops him halfway. Looking up at Sam, he tells him that he is proud of them, and then closes his eyes as he dies in Sam's arms. Sam tries to shake him awake, but he is already gone. Sobbing, Sam holds Dean's head to his chest. At the bunker, he lays Dean's body on his bed, eyes red and puffy. He has a drink before trying to summon Crowley.
Season 10 picks up over a month after season 9 leaves off. During that time, Dean's corpse had mysteriously vanished, nothing left behind except for a note for Sam, which read, "Sammy let me go." Desperate to find out where Dean went, and what happened, Sam tortures a demon for information, but is unsuccessful. In 10.01 Black he finally gets a lead - a man named Drew Neely turns up dead three years after killing his family and disappearing. Sam suspects that Neely may have been possessed by a demon, who then decided to possess Dean instead, leaving Neely's body behind. He calls Castiel to ask for his help in following up on investigating the lead, but when he hears how sick Castiel is, changes his mind, telling him that he could handle it alone. Sam goes to Wisconsin to investigate Neely's death, and the police show him security tapes from a Gas-n-Sip. He immediately recognizes Dean, reading a porn magazine, is approached by Neely from behind with a knife. Dean turns around and attacks him with the First Blade, stabbing him over and over. Sam rewinds the tape and watches it again frame by frame, and is horrified to see Dean's eyes flash black, though he believes that it confirms his theory. When Sam goes to the gas station, the attendant gives him Drew Neely's phone. He looks through it and finds a text that had given Dean's location. Sam calls the number, and when Crowley answers, he accuses Crowley of having Dean's body possessed by one of his demons. However, Crowley finally reveals the truth - Dean has not been possessed - he IS a demon. The Mark twisted his soul until it became demonic, just as it turned Cain. Sam vows to save Dean, or die trying. When they hang up, it's revealed that Sam has traced the call, to a bar called the Black Spur in Beulah, North Dakota. He starts heading in that direction, but is kidnapped by a man, Cole Trenton, who is desperate to find Dean and kill him. Using Sam's phone, he calls Dean and tells him to either come meet him, or he will kill Sam. Dean however, refuses. He says that whatever mess Sam is in, it's his problem, and then hangs up on Cole.
Cole tells Sam in 10.02 Reichenbach that Dean killed his father in 2003, and that his plan was to kidnap Sam in order to get to Dean. Sam tries to convince Cole to give it up - Dean is not Dean at the moment - he's a monster. Cole however, continues to torture Sam, until he takes a phone call and goes outside, giving Sam a chance to escape. After he escapes, he calls Castiel, tells him that Dean is a demon, and to meet him in Beulah, North Dakota. While Sam works on tracking Dean down, Crowley finds him and gives him Dean's location. Dean has become too much of a liability for Crowley, and he tells Sam that Dean is now his problem. Sam finds Dean at a bar, and reminds him that they know how to cure demons. Dean scoffs, telling him that if he had wanted to be cured, he would have stayed. He makes it clear he has no intention of leaving with Sam, and gives Sam a chance to leave. When Sam refuses and tells him that he is his brother and he came to take him home, Dean taunts him for being so emotional. Just as Sam approaches him with binding handcuffs, Cole, having followed him, throws tear gas into the building. Coughing and choking, Sam stumbles out. Cole and Dean start to fight, Dean easily deflecting every attack. As they fight, Sam goes back inside, unnoticed by the others. Dean wins the fight and Cole slumps to the ground unconscious. While Dean is still distracted, Sam comes up from behind and throws holy water on him, causing his skin to smoke as he falls to the ground, growling in pain. Sam takes the opportunity to slap the handcuffs on him, and though Dean glares daggers at Sam, he is trapped and powerless. Sam puts him in the Impala, gives the First Blade to Crowley, and heads back to the Bunker. On the drive back, he mentions to Dean that he noticed how he had shown Cole mercy by not killing him. Dean smirks and says that it wasn't mercy - instead, it was the worst thing he could have done to him, to make him have to live with the fact that he couldn't beat Dean. He continues by saying that what he plans to do to Sam will be even worse.
Sam pretends to be a doctor in 10.03 Soul Survivor in order to have a priest bless a room full of blood in a hospital. He then takes a cooler of blood back with him to the Bunker, where Dean is being held in the dungeon, handcuffed to a chair inside of a devil's trap. Sam prepares the syringes of sanctified blood, as Dean tries his best to dissuade him from performing the cure. As Sam approaches him, Dean's eyes flash black and he lunges forward in the chair, baring his teeth. Sam is ready with the holy water, and splashes it in his face as he quickly injects the blood into Dean's arm. Dean has a painful reaction as Sam worriedly watches him. As Sam continues the injections, Dean keeps insulting him, and brings up some of the morally questionable things that Sam did in order to find him. Sam uncomfortably remembers how he convinced Lester Morris to summon a crossroads demon, with the plan to trap the demon (in order to torture it for information on Crowley and Dean) before Lester could make a deal. Unfortunately, Lester completed the deal, selling his soul before Sam could intervene. Dean coldly mentions that he killed Lester himself. He continues to torment Sam in every way he can think of, insulting their father, the lore, the hunting life, even how Sam's very existence ruined his life. Sam continues injecting Dean, and as Dean gasps in pain, he asks Sam if he's prepared to do what needs to be done if the cure doesn't work. Feeling drained and worried, Sam calls Castiel to tell him he isn't sure if the cure is working. Dean's reaction to the cure is much different than Crowley's was. He's afraid that the cure may be killing Dean, but because Castiel tells him there is no other cure, he may have to prepare himself for it. He goes to Dean's room and finds a few old photographs of himself, Dean, Bobby, and their mother. Smiling to himself, the pictures give him strength to keep going. When he returns to the dungeon, he is startled to see that it is empty - Dean has escaped. Dean stalks Sam through the bunker wielding a hammer, and while Sam manages to lock him in the electrical room, Dean smashes through the door with a hammer and continues the chase. Finally, he attacks Sam from behind, swinging the hammer at Sam's head. Sam ducks, and holds Ruby's knife to Dean's throat. Dean eggs Sam on, telling him to kill him. Sam however, lowers the knife. As Dean's eyes go black, he advances, just as Castiel grabs him from behind and subdues him. They return Dean to the devil's trap in the bunker, and finish the injections. Dean wakes up, and after a quick splash in the face with holy water, it's confirmed that the cure worked. Castiel warns Sam that the Mark of Cain will still be a problem, but Sam just wants to relax after the ordeal, saying that they'll deal with it later, and he goes to get food for Dean and to get drunk.
Sam and Dean take some time off in 10.04 Paper Moon, relaxing on the shores of a lake. Their break doesn't last long, though - Dean is itching to get back to work. Although Sam is worried Dean isn't ready, he agrees to start hunting again. They work a few cases, and it seems to be okay, until Sam starts getting a little worried again in 10.06 Ask Jeeves after Dean shoots a shapeshifter multiple times after she is already dead. In 10.09 The Things We Left Behind they meet up with Castiel again, who has reunited with his vessel's daughter, Claire. Claire has not taken kindly to the re-emergence of Castiel in her life, and has run away. They help him try to locate her, and ultimately find her at the house of a man named Randy, who had helped her in the past. He is there with a number of sleazy loan sharks. They rescue Claire, and head back to the car. As they get in, Sam hears a roar and crashing noises coming from the house, and realizes that Dean had not followed them out to the car. They rush back in, to find Dean kneeling on the floor, covered in blood and surrounded by the dead, mutilated bodies of Randy and the loan sharks. Sam, shocked and dismayed, grabs Dean and desperately begs him to tell him that he had to do it, that it was life or death. Dean can only mutter, "I didn't mean to."
Back at the bunker in 10.10 The Hunter Games, Castiel, Sam, and Dean decide to double their efforts to find a way to remove the Mark of Cain. Castiel arranges for Metatron to be transferred out of Heaven so that they can take him to the bunker for questioning. Metatron tells them that they will need the First Blade, so Sam and Dean arrange for Crowley to be ready to hand it over to them. However, Metatron refuses to give them any more information, so Dean locks himself in the dungeon with Metatron and starts to torture him. Sam and Castiel break their way in and Sam grabs Dean and pulls him away from Metatron. Charlie returns in 10.11 There's No Place Like Home, and tells Sam and Dean that she has been split into two - good Charlie and bad Charlie. Sam and Good Charlie go look for a man named Clive Dillon, who holds the key to put the two Charlies together again. Just before they are able to be put together, Sam finds Dean in a fight with Bad Charlie, breaking her arm and beating her to the point of unconsciousness. He yells at him to stop, which he does. After the two Charlies are made one again, she stays with them for a few days at the bunker to recuperate, then leaves to follow up on a possible lead that might help them with the Mark of Cain.
After working a ghost case in 10.13 Halt and Catch Fire, Dean tells Sam that he is done finding a cure - he can't keep going with the sense of false hope continuing to taunt him. He just wants to help people, that's where he finds his peace. Sam doesn't want Dean to give up, but doesn't argue the point. They investigate a case of a missing prisoner in 10.14 The Executioner's Song, only to realize that Cain is behind it, and he is on the hunt to kill his descendants. They theorize that he will probably target the missing prisoner's son next, and set up a trap for him at the boy's house. The trap works. Dean confesses to Sam that he is scared. Crowley gives Dean the Blade to fight Cain with, and Sam waits with Castiel and Crowley as Dean fights Cain, not knowing whether they'd see Dean again, or if Dean would even be Dean when he emerged. When Dean finally comes out, Cain is dead. Dean hands the Blade to Castiel, then collapses into Sam's arms. At the Bunker, Sam tells Dean that it's a good sign that he was able to kill Cain and not lose himself. Dean agrees half-heartedly, then excuses himself. After he leaves, a worried Sam tells Castiel that Dean is in trouble.
Sam and Castiel secretly perform a séance in 10.17 Inside Man without Dean's knowledge, to contact Bobby in Heaven. Bobby helps them break Metatron out of his cell and out of Heaven. Castiel and Sam take him and cut out his grace, making Metatron human. They again question him about the Mark of Cain, this time learning that Metatron actually has no idea how to remove the Mark, or even if it can be removed. Charlie calls them in 10.18 Book of the Damned to let them know that she found the Book of the Damned, and that there are men after her, looking for the book. They meet up with her at an old hunting cabin, where they try to decipher the book, which needs to be decoded before they can read it. Dean, after learning about the Styne family and their horrible uses for the book over the years, tries to convince them not to continue trying to decipher it after discovering the cost of using it. He doesn't want to use it, saying that the book and the Mark have been calling out to him, wanting him to use it for evil. Sam, determined to save Dean, refuses to give up stating that they will deal with whatever happens afterwards and that he can't lose Dean. Dean mentioned that Sam wasn't that interested in saving him last time they talked about this, but Sam tries to tell him that he didn't mean what he said before, but Dean refused to hear it and tells them to destroy the book before it falls into the wrong hands, including himself. When Dean leaves to get snacks, Sam tells Charlie about what happened between them after Gadreel killed Kevin where he told Dean that he wouldn't save him. After Charlie told Sam about her appeals to hunting, Sam tells her that he loves hunting - he loves the life - but he can't do it without Dean. When Dean comes back, with Jacob Styne and his henchmen on his tail, he orders Sam to destroy the book by throwing it into the fire. As the intruders burst into the cabin, Sam, pretends to have thrown the book into the fire, really having burned a different one. Later at the bunker, they enjoy pizza, beer, and each other's company, and while Dean seems to be in good spirits, Sam can't stop worrying about him. Taking matters into his own hands, he secretly seeks out the only person he thinks has the best chance of decoding the Book of the Damned; Rowena.
In order to decode the Book of the Damned, Rowena tells Sam he must kill Crowley as payment, which he accepts. She tells him that the has to find a codex that once belonged to a deceased Grand Coven witch named Nadya. With that, she can translate the Book. Sam does some research and finds that Nadya's Codex had been retrieved years ago by the Men of Letters, The codex was then taken by rogue member Cuthbert Sinclair who hid it in the Werther Box, sealed with deadly protective enchantments. Sam tracks it down to a Men of Letters chapterhouse in St. Louis, Missouri. Dean joins him, and though Sam doesn't give him the full details of what they are looking for, he allows Dean to help. Sam finds the box in the house's basement, and accidentally unleashes the enchantment, which makes its victims experience hallucinations that drive them to suicide. Dean is affected, and Sam is joined by Rowena who helps him crack the Werther Box's puzzle - it requires the blood of a Man of Letters or a Legacy. Sam starts to drain his blood into a bowl in front of the box. It requires so much blood that Sam is soon on the verge of passing out. Dean, having managed to break himself free of the enchantment, arrives in time to stop Sam from completely bleeding out. Rowena disappears, proving she was just a part of Sam's hallucinations. Dean contributes some of his own blood, and finally the box opens. Dean takes the codex out, and hands it to Sam when they get back to the Impala. Once he recovers, he takes the codex to Rowena, so she can decode the Book of the Damned. He also places her in iron shackles, so that she cannot escape with the Book.
With Dean's condition worsening, and progress on translating the Book at a standstill, Sam recruits Charlie and Castiel to help them. Charlie starts to work with Rowena, but finds herself very annoyed by her. Castiel tells Sam that keeping this a secret from Dean is a bad idea, but Sam knows that Dean wouldn't approve, and that he would try to stop them. He can't let that happen. Sam and Dean investigate a death that they believe to be connected with the Styne family. Later, when Dean goes to pick up a pizza, he is attacked by Eldon Styne and one of his henchmen. Dean overpowers Eldon, and takes him back to the Bunker. Sam and Dean question him, until Sam gets a phone call from Castiel who tells him Charlie wants to leave to avoid Rowena. Just as he hangs up, he turns a corner to find himself facing a very suspicious Dean. Just as Dean is about to ask Sam a question, they hear a noise and realize that Eldon escaped from the chains in the dungeon, leaving his arm behind. Dean confronts Sam about the Book of the Damned, having found out from Eldon that it cannot be destroyed. Sam's phone rings again, and Dean watches him answer it. It's Charlie, who has been working on the codex in a motel room. She tells them where she is, and that there is someone trying to break in. They go to the motel as fast as they can, but it's too late - they find Charlie in the bathtub, dead.
Sam and Dean hold a hunter's funeral pyre for Charlie in 10.22 The Prisoner. As they watch Charlie's body burn, Dean coldly tells Sam that it should have been Sam that died, and not Charlie. Dean warns Sam to stop looking for a cure for the Mark and leaves alone after vowing to destroy the Stynes. Sam goes back to Castiel and Rowena and delivers the news. He is about to call off their work, when Sam gets an email from Charlie, who had sent it just before her death. He realizes that she managed to break the code, and decides to press on, no matter the consequences. Rowena reminds Sam that he has not yet fulfilled his end of the bargain - he still needs to kill Crowley. Sam tricks Crowley into coming to an abandoned factory, where he attempts to kill him with a hex bag given to him by Rowena. However, it doesn't work. Castiel, who had set off to trail Dean, calls Sam to tell him that he had tracked Dean to the Styne estate in Louisiana, where he had brutally killed at least 15 people. Sam tells him he's on his way, but Castiel says not to bother - Dean is on his way back to the bunker.
After Dean and Castiel's fight, Dean disappears in 10.23 Brother's Keeper, not wanting to be found. Castiel and Sam discuss the possible consequences of removing the Mark of Cain. Castiel is worried, but Sam insists that they have no other choice but to continue since the Mark was killing Dean. They threaten Rowena with death to remove the Mark, and she agrees to do so as long as she regains her freedom afterward, as well as Nadya's Codex. She tells them that she needs four ingredients for the spell, the forbidden fruit, a piece of the Golden Calf, a lock of Dean's hair, and the sacrifice of someone that she loves. She insists that there is nothing she loves, but Castiel doesn't believe her, and is able to look into her mind to see a boy named Oskar, who Rowena had made friends with after his family helped her three hundred years ago. Sam gets a call from a hunter named Rudy, who had run into Dean while working the same vampire case. Rudy lets Sam know where Dean is, and that Dean is "not playing well with others." Sam leaves Castiel in charge of the spell, and heads off to find Dean. When he arrives in Superior, Nebraska, he finds Rudy dead. He next finds Dean's trashed motel room, the keys to the Impala on the bed with a note saying, "She's all yours." Just as Sam is leaving, Dean calls Sam to say that it's all over. He's done, and it's time to say goodbye. He tells them where to meet, at an abandoned restaurant outside of town. Sam arrives to find Dean with Death. He tries to tell Dean that he doesn't need to die, to which Dean replies that it's not his death that is the way out, but Sam's. Death tells them that Sam will never stop trying to save Dean, and that is the problem. If they remove the Mark, it will release an ancient evil known as the Darkness. Dean tells Sam that he was right about what happened between them ever since Gadreel possessed Sam and that the world will be better off without them, but Sam argues that Dean was twisting his words and that the Mark is evil, but they are not. Dean will not give in, so Sam punches him, and they start to fight. Dean wins, and Sam finally gives in, acknowledging that Dean must be stopped. He tells Dean to do it. Death hands Dean his scythe, and as Dean prepares himself, he tells Sam to close his eyes. Before he does, Sam pulls out several photographs of Dean and himself when they were young. He tells Dean to use them as a guide when he eventually comes back one day - to remember what it was like to be good, to love, and to be loved. With tears in his eyes, Dean asks Sam to forgive him, and then swings the scythe over Sam's head, stabbing Death, who crumbles into dust before their shocked eyes. Dean helps Sam up, and they agree to bury the hatchet. Several moments later, a bolt of red lightning hits Dean's arm, removing the Mark. Sam and Dean exit the building, when all of a sudden more red lightning bolts strike the ground. Dark, swirling columns of black smoke erupt from holes in the ground and bears down on them. They run to the Impala and try to drive away, but reverse into a pothole. Trapped, they can do nothing but watch as they are engulfed by the swirling dark mass of smoke.
As the smoke overtakes the brothers in 11.01 Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire, Dean mysteriously vanishes into thin air just before Sam gets knocked unconscious. When Sam wakes up, the smoke is gone, and Dean is still nowhere to be found. Sam sets out on foot to look for him, and finds him unconscious in a field a mile away from the Impala. When Sam asks him about it, Dean remembers nothing except for seeing a woman. He tells Sam that she saved him. When Sam asks who it was, Dean tells him it was the Darkness, who thanked him for setting her free. They return to the Impala, and head to the nearest town, only to find it littered with dead bodies. When they get out of the car to look around, they are cornered by a road worker who attacks them. He is shot by Deputy Jenna Nickerson, who informs them about an infection that seems to be going around, turning humans into rabids. The three of them go to the hospital together, where they find more dead bodies, and several more rabids. They also find a man hiding in a closet with his newborn daughter. However, he has been infected by a rabid, and knows he will soon turn into one himself, so he hands the baby over to Jenna, and leaves. When a truckload of more rabids arrive, they devise a plan to escape. Dean wants to just shoot their way through, but Sam wants to focus on saving them, not killing them - so instead, Sam acts as a decoy to draw the rabids away from Dean, Jenna, and the baby. Sam hides in a closet, but is attacked by a rabid who had been in there already. Although he kills her, her blood manages to get in his mouth. A few seconds later, the other rabids break through the closet door, and surround him, but after sensing that he has already been infected, they leave. Dean calls Sam from 40 miles away, and tells him that once he gets Jenna and the baby to safety, he will return to help Sam clean up. Sam doesn't tell Dean that he is infected, and after they hang up, he looks in the mirror and sees black veins creeping up his neck, the telltale sign of the growing infection.
In 11.02 Form and Void, Sam traps another man who has been infected and takes him back to the hospital to question and observe him. Dean calls and tells Sam that he has to go back to help Jenna, because there is something strange going on with the baby. When Dean asks how the zombie situation is, Sam lies and tells him it's good. As he says this, he looks over at his prisoner, who is revealed to be dead on the floor. Sam continues to look for information online, when he hears a haunting voice singing "O Death." He follows it to find the reaper Billie. She tells him that she has a message for him - the times when Sam and Dean were able to be resurrected from the dead are gone. Death had thought them constantly coming back to life was funny, but because he is now gone, when they die, the reapers will throw them into the Empty, where nothing ever comes back from. She then tells him that she knows he is dying, that he is unclean in the Biblical sense. Sam goes to the hospital's chapel and prays to God for help. As he leaves, he falls to the floor, overcome with visions of himself being tortured. Worried and confused, he shouts into the silence, "What does that mean?" Awhile later, the infection starts to seriously affect him, blurring his vision and causing disorientation. As he tries to remain conscious, he remembers the words Billie said - about being biblically unclean. As a desperate last resort, he searches online for biblical purification, and finds a website that mentions fire and holy oil. Stumbling over to his bag, he gets the flagon of holy oil and soaks a piece of gauze in it. He lights it on fire and, ignoring the voices he hears telling him to stop, holds it to his neck, against the black veins. Miraculously, they disappear, and he is cured. With this information, he sets out to cure as many more rabids as he can, trapping them in circles of holy fire. Later, Sam and Dean return to the Bunker, Dean having told Sam about the baby Amara's disappearance, and how Dean suspects that she is the Darkness, even though she is a baby. In the Bunker, they hear a noise and find Castiel on the floor, barely conscious and covered in blood. Weakly, he pleads for help.
Sam and Dean start to look for information on the Darkness and Amara's whereabouts in 11.03 The Bad Seed. When it becomes clear that a more pressing matter is Castiel's deteriorating state due to the attack dog spell placed on him by Rowena, they track her down and force her to lift it. In 11.04 Baby, Sam dreams that he is in the Impala, with a young John Winchester in the driver's seat. He tells Sam that the Darkness is coming, and that only the boys can stop it. When he wakes up, Sam tells him about the dream, his doubts that it was actually their father, and finally confesses to Dean that he had been infected by a rabid when they were separated. He also tells him about the visions he has been having that he believes are from God. In 11.05 Thin Lizzie Sam and Dean find out that Amara has been hanging around Fall River, Massachusetts, feeding on peoples' souls.
They continue to try to follow the trail of soulless people in 11.06 Our Little World, and manage to pinpoint her location to one of Crowley's lairs in an abandoned asylum. Dean wants to make a move to kill Amara immediately, and although Sam is much more reluctant, he agrees to the plan. They go to the asylum, and get separated as they deal with Crowley's demon henchmen, Sam determined to save their meat suits rather than killing them with Ruby's knife or an angel blade. Once Sam has dealt with the demons, he goes off to find Dean, trying to break down Amara's door. As he slams into it, he has another vision, this time of hands coming through cracks in a wall. Still, he keeps trying to force his way in, and when he finally breaks into Amara's room, she flings him back into the hallway, before she leaves. Back at the Bunker, Sam again has a vision of the hands, but this time, it's revealed that the hands are coming through cracks in the wall of a cage - Lucifer's Cage.
Sam tells Dean in 11.07 Plush that the visions he has been having are about Hell, and he doesn't know what to do with them, or even if they are from God. He wonders if it perhaps means that he is supposed to go back to the Cage, but Dean emphatically says no, absolutely not. Sam can't get the thought out of his head, though, and brings it up again in 11.08 Just My Imagination. Dean refuses to go along with it, saying that there is another way - there has to be another way. Sam asks what the other way is, but Dean is unable to answer.
Sam has yet another vision in 11.09 O Brother, Where Art Thou?, this time seeing Lucifer himself. He believes that what he must do has become clear, and he won't let the matter drop. Dean finally agrees, very reluctantly, on the condition that they are able to find a way to ensure Sam's safety and to keep Lucifer from escaping. They find Crowley, who agrees to help them find a way to talk to Lucifer. He has Rowena captured and brought in, and they force her to look in the Book of the Damned for a way. Dean leaves to investigate a massacre at a church that seems to point to Amara, and calls Sam to make him promise to not do anything without him there. When they finally have everything they need, however, Dean doesn't answer is phone, and when Rowena tells Sam that it's now or never, they leave to go to Hell without Dean. After Rowena paints protective sigils onto a holding cage, they summon Lucifer. He appears, his eyes glowing a fiery orange in the shadows. When he sees Sam, he smirks at him, and taunts him, asking why Sam has come. Sam tells him about the Darkness, and that God told him to seek Lucifer. Lucifer seems to consider helping, but says that he will need a vessel, with obvious hints at Sam. Sam refuses. Right after this, the sigils on the cage begin to fade, and the fire surrounding it extinguishes. Suddenly, Sam finds himself inside the cage with Lucifer. Trying to collect himself and not allow the growing sense of panic to take control, he says that this is how God told him it would be, and that he just has to go with it. Lucifer smirks as he tells Sam that it was not God who gave him the visions - it was Lucifer all along. A tear falls down Sam's face as terror runs through him and he fully realizes the true horror of the situation he is in.
The narrative picks up in 11.10 The Devil in the Details with Sam still trapped in Hell with Lucifer, who tries to bargain with him in an attempt to use him as a vessel, and thereby escape the Cage. Lucifer promises not to harm Sam, and instead shows him a series of memories in which Sam was brave and willing to sacrifice himself and Dean. Lucifer had admired Sam then, he says, but Sam isn't like that any more, and the way Sam is now, he isn't strong enough to defeat the Darkness. Sam refuses to fall for Lucifer's ploy and continuously rejects him, insisting that releasing Lucifer would be just as bad for the world as the Darkness is, and that he'll rely on his friends and family to defeat her if it means keeping Lucifer in the cage. Realizing that he won't be able to talk Sam into it, Lucifer begins beating Sam instead. Lured in by the sound of Sam crying out in pain, Dean and Castiel arrive to protect him long enough for Rowena's spell to send Lucifer back to the cage. At one point, Lucifer pins Dean to one of the cage walls and demands Sam say yes or Dean will die. Sam doesn't answer, and in the next moment, Castiel pulls Lucifer off of Dean, redirecting the blows to himself. Before a seemingly killing blow can be landed on Castiel, Lucifer disappears.
Sam, Dean, and Castiel walk out of Hell together and head for the Impala, but Castiel declines a ride back to bunker, saying he'll catch up later. In the car, Sam admits that he's not okay, and wonders aloud whether he made the right decision. Dean backs him up, affirming that having to deal with Lucifer and Amara would've been worse than just Amara alone, and that Sam made the right choice. A few days later, during 11.11 Into the Mystic, Sam is having trouble sleeping thanks to nightmares about Lucifer. He cleans weapons into the early hours to distract himself until he and Dean stumble on a case. After it's over, Sam admits to Dean that memories of Lucifer are bothering him. "He showed me things," Sam says, "It was like a highlight reel of my biggest failures." He then admits that he considers his worst failure not looking for Dean when he was in Purgatory, and that he's still guilty over it. Dean tells him that he's already forgive Sam, "All that matters now, all that's ever mattered, is that we're together." They both say that they'll be able to sleep after this, and Sam retires to his room. He adds a brochure for a retirement home to his wooden box of keepsakes.
With no leads on Amara, Sam and Dean take a few cases, though they always return to the bunker in Kansas during the interim. After a case in Ohio during 11.13 Love Hurts, Dean admits that he has a tie to the Amara through the Mark of Cain, and he doesn't think he'll be able to kill her, when it comes down to that. Sam reassures him simply, "I got it, Dean." From there, they continue researching ways to defeat Amara. When Sam comes across a Hand of God located in the past during 11.14 The Vessel, they petition Castiel's help, unaware that "Castiel" is currently a vessel for Lucifer. Dean insists that he goes instead of Sam, claiming that he's the expendable one between the two, since Sam needs to stop Amara. Lucifer agrees and successfully takes Dean to the past in an attempt to take the Hand for himself, but is unable to board the submarine where it's located due to Warding Sigils on the hull.
When Lucifer returns to the present alone, Sam begins researching for a way to rescue Dean, but the only way he can find requires the power of an archangel. Lucifer, as Castiel, insists they try anyway and begins gathering the ingredients for the spell. Believing that Castiel isn't powerful enough to be successful, Sam insists that Castiel use his soul to help power him, something he'd done to Bobby in 6.18 Frontierland. Laughing, Lucifer reveals himself to Sam. "I will touch your soul, just because you asked so nicely. And I'll use your spell to blast through the warding and retrieve Dean, and the uh, Hand of God. And then when Dean comes back and he finds this place decorated with your guts, I will tell him the truth, Sam. I'll just say, 'Dean- Dean... he knew the risks. He wouldn't take 'no' for an answer.'" Lucifer then shoves his hand into Sam's chest and attempts to kill him, but he's stopped by Castiel. Sam's first question to Castiel is, "Why?" To which Castiel answers that he wanted to help stop Amara, and only Lucifer could do that. Sam insists that Castiel eject Lucifer, that they'll find another way, but Castiel says they still need Lucifer to time-travel and rescue Dean. Moments later, Lucifer arrives back in the present with Dean and the Hand of God, and Sam reveals Lucifer's true identity to Dean. Lucifer attempts to use the Hand of God to kill Sam and Dean, but its power has been used up, and it fails. Sam takes advantage of the delay to cut his hand and paint an angel banishing sigil on the column behind him, and he successfully banishes Lucifer (and Castiel) from the bunker.
A few hours later, Sam and Dean talk about Castiel. Sam says that Castiel may not want to be saved since he chose Lucifer, but Dean insists that they'll save him anyway. Sam offers to talk about what Dean experienced in the past, but Dean refuses, and with a clap on his shoulder, Sam leaves him alone to his thoughts. Sam and Dean then spend the next few weeks working cases while waiting for a breakthrough on either Amara or Lucifer, including the death of a wrestler that their dad used to take them to see when they were kids in 11.15 Beyond the Mat, and what seems to be the return of a monster taken on by Bobby and Rufus almost a decade prior in 11.16 Safe House.
When Sam and Dean track a pair of missing hunters into the remote woods of Idaho during 11.17 Red Meat, they discover a pack of werewolves are behind the disappearances. In an attempt to save the wayward hikers, Sam is shot in the gut and critically injured. Dean struggles to help both the injured hikers and Sam back safely to civilization, but Sam's condition steadily worsens. When one of the hikers, Corbin, recommends that they leave Sam to save themselves, Sam agrees but Dean refuses, insisting that they'll carry Sam if they have to. Dean storms out with the excuse of building a stretcher for Sam. While Dean is gone, Sam asks Corbin to take Michelle and go after Dean, to leave him. But Corbin argues that Dean will never accept that while Sam is alive. He smothers Sam to unconsciousness and declares that he's dead. When Dean returns, he rushes to Sam's side, but he can't find a pulse. Corbin insists that they leave before the rest of the werewolf pack arrives. Dean wants to stay and fight, but Corbin begs him to help them. Reluctant and tearful, Dean tells Sam, "I'm gonna come back for you, okay? I promise." They leaves Sam on the floor of the cabin and head through the woods to a nearby clinic.
Sometime later, Sam wakes suddenly. Still bleeding and in pain, he struggles to standing, but can't keep on his feet for long. He hears a car pulling up and hides in the basement of the cabin moments before the remaining werewolves arrive. One werewolf follows the trail of his blood down the stairs, and using the element of surprise, Sam stabs and kills him. The other werewolf hears the commotion and heads into the basement where Sam kills her also, before taking the keys to their truck. Despite the severe injury and near-crippling pain, Sam manages to drive the truck to where the Impala's parked. Leaning against the car, with cell service at last, he calls Dean. Dean says that he's at the clinic, and Sam asks if Corbin is there also before the phone cuts out and the line is disconnected. In obvious pain but still determined, Sam drops into the driver's seat of the Impala and drives toward the clinic.
By the time Sam arrives at the clinic, Corbin, now a werewolf, has killed the sheriff, injured the doctor, and has Dean pinned to the ground by his neck. Sam shoots Corbin in the back, killing him, then collapses to the ground as the adrenaline finally ebbs. Sometime later, Sam's wound is stitched, and as he walks down the clinic's steps with Dean's support, he jokes, "Couple days of antibiotics and some bed rest, and I'm, uh... back to normal." He asks what Dean did when he though Sam was really dead, but Dean lies rather than admit that he'd killed himself temporarily to talk with Billie the reaper. Sam is rightly skeptical but doesn't press it.
Back at the bunker and fully recovered, Sam and Dean finally catch a lead during 11.18 Hell's Angel when Crowley calls Dean with a Hand of God in his possession, looking to bargain. Crowley demands that they exorcise Castiel and send Lucifer back to Hell for their end of the deal, but Dean argues that only Lucifer is strong enough to defeat Amara, and only Rowena and the Book of the Damned could send Lucifer back to The Cage anyway, to which Crowley answers that Rowena is dead. Dean argues that they should just put Lucifer in a different body since he wants Castiel out before Lucifer takes on Amara, but Sam counters that there are a lack of strong vessels, and that this is what Castiel wanted anyway. The three come to a standstill as elsewhere, Amara flexes her power and causes the ground to rumble. Sam spots a message to Crowley, obviously from Rowena, burned into a nearby crate, and they convene with her in order to trap Lucifer and exorcise Castiel as Crowley had asked.
Using holy oil and warding sigils, the four manage to trap Lucifer and allow Castiel to gain control of his vessel again briefly, but Castiel refuses to eject Lucifer. Crowley possesses Castiel as a last-ditch effort to convince him, but Castiel is apathetic and Lucifer attacks Crowley. Sam and Dean exorcise Crowley to save him from Lucifer, and Lucifer breaks through the holy fire and warding. Before he can attack Sam and Dean again however, Amara arrives. Lucifer attempts to use the hand of God on her, but despite a direct hit, Amara survives. She takes Lucifer (and Castiel) captive and vanishes. Sam and Dean return to the bunker to recoup and discuss over beers Rowena and Crowley's quick escapes, why the hand of God didn't work, and whether Sam siding with Cas (and against Dean) was the right thing to do. Dean offers, "Didn't we say that we were gonna swear off getting in the way when one person makes a choice the other doesn't agree with?" And Sam agrees, "That's our policy." The discussion stays lighthearted while Dean concludes that they'll find Castiel and bring him home.
A week goes by without any leads on Castiel or Amara, and in 11.19 The Chitters, Dean is wearing himself thin still researching into it. Sam offers that they'll find Castiel, but in the meantime, getting out of the bunker on a hunt might be good for them. They head to Colorado, where they help a pair of hunter husbands get revenge and put to rest a case of [biisan]s that's been open for decades. After, they consider asking the two for help with Amara and Castiel, but once Dean hears that they're planning to retire, he decides against it, and Sam agrees.
In 11.20 Don't Call Me Shurley, Sam finds a case in Hope Springs, Idaho, and after chiding Dean for ironing his shirt with beer, they head out to investigate. Crime scene photos reveal veins on one victim's arm similar to rabids infected by the Darkness after her initial release. The next day, another person is mysteriously killed, the victim's wife is missing, and there are reports of a strange fog overnight. Sam and Dean return to the police station to track the missing deputy, and reports begin flooding in that the fog is on its way to overtake the town. Sam tracks the deputy's car to just outside the station, and when they go outside to meet with her, she says that Amara has been talking to her in her head, that the voice is the reason why she killed her husband, and that Amara has a message for Dean. Sam pleads that they can help cure the infection, but the deputy raises her gun to attack them instead and is gunned down by another officer. As she dies, she tells Dean Amara's message, "It's all going away... forever. But not you, Dean."
As the fog blankets the town, Sam and Dean rush to get the townspeople indoors. As the fog closes in, Sam continues trying to get everyone inside, and Dean has to grab Sam and drag him indoors before he's infected himself. They take shelter in the station and begin duct taping the entrances, but the tape peels away and begins seeping through an air vent. As infected townsfolk attack the doors, Sam and Dean guide the trapped people further into the station, behind steel doors. Sam tries desperately to re-tape the vent, but he's unable to. He falls to the ground coughing, and black veins form on his arms. Dean rushes everyone deeper into the building, through another set of doors, but when he's urged to follow, he refuses, and stays with Sam. They're unable to completely block the fog still pouring into the room, and Sam worsens while Dean remains unaffected. "You were gonna choose Amara over me," Sam accuses, "Over everything." Sam immediately apologizes and tells Dean to leave, saying, "Go before I hurt you!" But Dean still refuses, and Sam loses consciousness.
Moments later, something in Sam's pocket begins glowing. Dean retrieves what turns out to be his amulet, and Sam wakes, the black veins and fog both suddenly gone. Sam and Dean leave the police station and discover that everyone who was dead or infected in the town is now alive and cured. The amulet continues to glow. In the middle of the quiet confusion, they discover Chuck Shurley and realize that he is God. The story continues in 11.21 All in the Family as Chuck transports Sam and Dean instantly back to the bunker, Dean pockets the amulet, and they all sit down to talk.
- Sam is seen holding The Klaww of Death in 1.01 Pilot.
- Sam uses a stainless steel Taurus PT-92 9mm pistol (similar to the Beretta M92 on which Taurus based this gun) with mother-of-pearl grips, and uses a pistol grip 4-shelled 12 gauge Ithaca Pump shotgun loaded with rock salt.
- He owns what appears to be a Dell Precision M65 laptop, which he uses to gather information for hunts. The first time he uses the laptop is in the second episode "Wendigo" where he plays a video message. The laptop may not belong to him, as his possessions were destroyed in a fire in the previous episode "Pilot". In that same episode, his brother Dean references using computer software which may indicate he is the actual owner of the laptop. In 7.06 Slash Fiction, Frank Devereaux smashes Sam's laptop and gives him a brand new one which, according to Frank, costs $5000. Later in the series he owns what appears to be a MacBook Pro.
- Sam also appears to own a Verizon-branded Motorola Q which has on at least one occasion been used to visually track unseen ghosts. (As seen in "Hollywood Babylon.")
- Sam and Dean had matching tattoos on their left breast that prevented them from being possessed by ordinary demons, although in 9.10 Road Trip Sam's tattoo was burned off by Castiel in order for Crowley to possess him to help expel Gadreel. At some point between Gadreel's expulsion and 13.02 The Rising Son, he had another sigil tattooed in the same place.
- Sam uses "Ruby's knife" to kill demons. Bobby says he has never heard of a blade that could kill demons. Dean says, according to Henry Winchester, that the it is "an ancient demon-killing knife of the Kurds."
Events in the series and prior to it as far as they are known are collected in the Timeline.
- Sam 8.0 - Photo Essay/Analysis of the Development of Sam's Character in Seasons 1 through 8 by Nightsky.
- Dylan Kingwell Interview - An exclusive interview of Dylan Kingwell (Young Sam) in "Just My Imagination" by Alice Jester and Nightsky from The Winchester Family Business.
- A Closer Look at Sam's Bedroom - An article by Karen on The Winchester Family Business site.
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- 4.08 Wishful Thinking
- 5.01 Sympathy for the Devil
- 5.13 The Song Remains the Same
- 5.16 Dark Side of the Moon
- 5.22 Swan Song
- 6.22 The Man Who Knew Too Much
- 1.05 Bloody Mary
- 1.09 Home
- 1.21 Salvation
- 2.05 Simon Said
- 2.09 Croatoan
- 1.14 Nightmare
- 4.15 Death Takes a Holiday
- 4.22 Lucifer Rising
- 5.14 My Bloody Valentine
- 3.16 No Rest for the Wicked
- 4.07 It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester
- 4.18 The Monster at the End of This Book
- 2.01 In My Time of Dying
- 6.07 Family Matters
- 1.18 Something Wicked
- 3.08 A Very Supernatural Christmas
- 9.07 Bad Boys
- 3.03 Bad Day at Black Rock
- 4.13 After School Special
- 4.04 Metamorphosis
- 7.03 The Girl Next Door
- 7.04 Defending Your Life