In its fifth season, Supernatural saw what was ultimately the epic climax of a five-year story arc culminating in the apocalypse and a harrowing end for the brothers Winchester. As actor Jensen Ackles told Buzzine, older brother Dean returned from Hell to begin the most normal life he’d ever had, assuming younger brother Sam was now gone. But as the sixth season unfolds this fall, that’s not the case. Jared Padalecki offers insight into the mind of Sam on Supernatural:
Darryl Morden: Before we get to how Sam is, how are you?
Jared Padalecki: Cry me a river. I worked ’til 3;45 in Vancouver and went straight to the airport. Sort of one of those, am I drunk? No, I haven’t been drinking. Am I asleep? No, pinch me. I’m awake. But today, after a night’s sleep, I’m better.
DM: What is your perspective on Sam? We already know from Jensen that his reemergence, a year after the climactic ending of Season five, is a surprise for Dean.
JP: I’m back. I’m here at the table, so that’s good for me. They didn’t kill me, which is good. As of right now, we know that Sam is back but we don’t know how he’s back yet. We’re only right now in day two of episode three. The one [fully] with Jensen, obviously, will air as episode four, so that’s already the end of that storyline, a little bit. There, Sam and Dean are really doing their thing together — we don’t really discuss how Sam got back — but in episodes one and two, they get back into it. Sam and Dean re-converge and we find out that Sam didn’t get out of Hell just like Dean and go straight to Dean’s house [knocks on table] and go, “I’m back. What do I do?” Sam kind of went, “Dean is out of it. Dean is, right now, with a woman and kid. He’s leading a normal life, and I’m going to let him do that.” He tries to stay out of it.
He tries to let Dean have the life that Sam always wanted. Sam always wanted normalcy…or so he thought, and now Dean is having that normalcy. Dean saw Sam fall into the hole. Dean knows Sam was possessed by Lucifer, so I think Sam is like, “It hurts. I love the guy, he’s my brother, but he’ll be happier without me.” So, Sam has been hunting on his own, and now they’re re-converging and we’ll see how that happens.
DM: So it’s something of a role reversal from the first season…
JP: …Which I love. Having played this brooding character who’s struggling with this, struggling with that, trying to do the right thing that always turns out wrong, all the women he’s been involved with, like the burning on the ceiling — he always feels bad about himself, and now it’s kind of fun to play, not somebody who’s heartless, but somebody’s who’s tactical first, like Dean was for so long. Somebody who’s like, “It sucks that the mother of these two kids is possessed by a demon, but we’re going to have to kill her.” And Dean goes, “Woah, weren’t you the one who was, ‘Wait, let’s talk, let’s solve things’?”
They’re in the car and Dean says, “Don’t you want to talk?” And Sam says, “No, why would I want to talk?” I’m back. Why do I want to talk about hell? I’m sitting here driving with my brother, I’m breathing air, I can have a beer…what would I want to talk about? It’s truly confusing to Sam. He’s not being a jerk and going, “No, I don’t need your help. He’s just going, “Why? What’s the point?” He’s not as emotional anymore. He’s just more driven by reason. It’s a fun switch. I get to go back and watch season one and what we did, and do my own little take on it.
DM: We are seeing Sam in a new and different emotional place…
JP It’s funny — at the beginning of the show, people would ask how I wanted the show to end, and I’d say, “I want Sam and Dean to go out like Butch Cassidy and Sundance and die.” Wait, Sam has died. So has Dean. They’ve both been to Heaven. So now I think Jared has accepted that it don’t mean nothin’ to Sam. As of right now, I think Sam has accepted the fact, or at least resigned himself to the idea, that normalcy is not in the cards for them and he’s [thinking] it’s a tough lot in life, but it’s nice he gets to help people very tangibly. “This thing was going to kill you so I killed it. You’re welcome. I did something.”
So I think Sam is finding solace in the comfort that he’s doing something, his legs are moving, he’s accomplishing an objective. Sam is not somebody to sit idly by and have a beer. He’s like, “What’ s next? We gotta do something.” I think it makes Sam happy to keep doing his job.