It’s not often that a character finds their way into our hearts quite the way Sam Winchester has over the years – but thanks to Jared Padalecki and his portrayal of the younger Winchester brother – he has done just that. In celebration of Sam’s birthday on May 2nd, we’ll take a look back on some of our favorite moments we’ve spent him over the last 12 seasons.
Season 1 – Episode 9: Home
This episode always really stuck out to me. It was one of the first times that Sam really began to open up about his psychic abilities to Dean, and that he’d had any interaction with Mary – even though it was just her ghost. This is also the first time that the boys have returned home since they left when the boys were very young after Mary’s death.
The scene when Sam says “Sairie, take your brother outside as fast as you can, don’t look back!” was especially poignant because these are the same words John said to Dean when he had to carry Sam out of that very same house.
Season 2 – Episode 17: Heart
Jared really pulled at my – pardon the pun – heartstrings in this episode. We see just how much Sam cares for not only his family, but for the people that they are trying to save as well. The scene when Madison tells Sam that the only way he can save her is to kill her absolutely devastates Sam. One of Sam’s most amazing traits that we see time and time again throughout so many hunts is the way that he connects emotionally with people and not matter what tries to be kind to them.
One of my favorite quotes from Sam in this episode was when he says to Madison “Look … I know you’re scared. I also know that there’s no way in hell you’re gonna believe me. But I’m doing this because I’m trying to help you. I’m not gonna lie, all right, the odds aren’t exactly in our favor. But if this goes the way I pray it does… I’ll untie you, and I’ll walk out that door, and I’ll never come back. You’ll live the rest of your life. And I’ll just be a bad memory.”
Season 3 – Episode 11: Mystery Spot
This episode isn’t everyone’s favorite Sam episode because our beloved Moose truly does go through a lot during this episode at the hands of the Trickster, but this has always been one of my favorite episodes of the show. Watching Sam get more and more frustrated as he is stuck in a loop of endless Tuesdays trying to find a way to keep Dean from dying in ways increasingly more and more bizarre gave some humor to an episode that had a much darker underlying message that Dean’s days are numbered. When Sam finally finds a way to break out of the alternate universe he’s been trapped in, Sam seems like he has never been happier to see his brother. And again, while this episode did have it lighthearted moments -such as Sam knowing exactly what Dean was going to say before he said it in the diner, and some very quotable moments – it gave us a very somber glimpse of what Sam’s life was going to become without his brother.
Season 5 – Episode 22: Swan Song
This episode may be one of my favorite episode of the show in its entirety. And mainly for the last few minutes of the episode in the cemetery, though this whole episode was a true testament to the strength and overall goodness that is Sam Winchester. While Dean had been fighting against his destiny to become the vessel for the archangel Michael, Sam accepted his and becomes Lucifer’s vessel in hopes that he can overpower the devil – only to throw himself into hell. And as crazy as that sounds, Sam actually does it. As Lucifer is mercilessly beating his brother, Sam snaps to and overpowers him. This just says so much about Sam’s selflessness and courage. Not to mention, the incredible job that Jared did with this episode. My favorite moment of this episode is when Sam finally regains control, and he looks to Dean and says “It’s okay, Dean. It’s gonna be okay. I’ve got him.”
Season 11 – Episode 8: Just My Imagination
What was so interesting about this episode was we learned something about Sam that we previously hadn’t known before, and that was that when he was growing up he had an imaginary friend: Sully. This revelation adds yet another layer onto the beautiful complexity that is Sam Winchester. Sully – as we later learn – is actually a creature called a Zana, who appeared to lonely children and that he kept Sam company while Dean and Sam were gone on hunts.
One of my favorite moments about this episode, was when Sully tells Sam that he’s a hero, and that he’s kept track of Sam over the years, and he’s done good. And I think that’s something we would all tell Sam if we could.
Whether you’ve been watching the show since the beginning when Sam was still a fresh faced college kid, or you started watching when he didn’t have a soul, or when his brother was a demon, we’ve seen Sam – and Jared – grow up over the years. We’ve known Sam by many names- Sammy, Moose, Giant – and we’ve seen him in many different ways – soulless, possessed by Lucifer, and near death. But one thing is always certain about Sam, and that has been his kindness, his strength, and his sass. Jared has done an amazing job bringing life to this amazing character and we’ve loved every moment we’ve been on the road with Sam.
Obviously, we could only begin to scratch the surface of our favorite moments and quotes from Sam, so be sure to tell us some of your favorites in the comments!