Dear Sam Winchester,
First of all, hi, I’m Carina. You don’t know me, because you aren’t real, otherwise I probably would’ve faked a poltergeist to meet you by now. So, I just watched the “Supernatural” Season 8 premiere, “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” but I think we need to talk about you.
Let’s back up. I should tell you that I think you’re pretty fantastic, and not just because you used to vaguely resemble that cute always-heartbroken dude from “Gilmore Girls.” Not just because you look like you were carved out of marble, or because your hair is the envy of every romance novel Romeo in the supermarket checkout line.
I’ve been quick to forgive all of your previous errors in judgment, like killing people to drink demon blood and having demon-bloody sex with that one demon lady who wanted to destroy the world and all other demon-blood related things. That wasn’t your fault. You were damaged as a child. I’m totally over it, mostly because you didn’t mean it and because your demon blood issues haven’t been addressed in like two years and as a child of the Game Boy era, my attention span is very small.
But while watching “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” I found myself a little mad at you. Your brother literally vanished right before your eyes, and, after all you’ve been through, what with the dying and living and dying and living, you couldn’t even look for him a little? I mean, the least you could do was keep your cell phone charged. It’s the non-country-song-real-world version of leaving the porch light on.
I am not a hunter — I majored in English, thank you for asking. But even I can think of a few avenues you might have taken, because even though Crowley told you you were “well and truly alone,” demons lie. You weren’t that alone. Sheriff Mills was somewhere. Meg was like, right outside, having just destroyed your car. You know 47 and a half different demon-summoning spells. Garth is occasionally good for something. And I know she probably gives you the uh-oh feeling in your no-no parts, but Becky is pretty knowledgeable, too.
Remember that time a million and two years ago when you told your brother, “People don’t just disappear, Dean. Other people just stop looking for them”? No? Well I do. I remember. They just reran it on TNT, dude.
But listen, I get it. You’d had a hard year. You were lost and scared and your brother — who you’ve kind of counted on for everything short of spoon-feeding you since you were old enough to feed yourself — evaporated in front of your face. It’s really sad and almost sweet that the only thing you could bring yourself to do was drive around aimlessly and cry while clutching a photo of Dean. Okay, so I might have made that last part up. Cut me some slack here; I’m upset too.
It’s not so sweet that you hit a dog, but at least you did the right thing there. And I don’t blame you for really liking the vet, Amelia, when she called you out on all of your crap, because she was right. The thing is, Sam, you might be a Big Hero for saving the world, but there are lots of men out there who are heroes in smaller ways, like saving injured dogs. And they are worth something, too. And you don’t have to always save the entire world in order to be a decent man. I understand that you wanted to give yourself a chance to be a regular hero instead of Sam Winchester Co-Saver Of The World.
I still really wish you had left your phone on.
In trying to understand your mediocre-at-best decision-making skills, I spoke with executive producer Jeremy Carver, recently. (You don’t know him, Sam, but he’s kind of the boss of you.)
“When I came back to the show, I was staring at a landscape which was laid out with Bob [Singer] and Sera [Gamble]. [They] gracefully gave me, ‘You’re truly alone.’ We really went into the idea of what does that mean, what kind of impact does that have on somebody and how might that affect your mindset,” Carver says. “Dean talked about it: ‘We always ignored the advice that we gave to each other.’ What happens if somebody actually took it?”
“I don’t think he knew what he wanted to do, and then he hit a dog,” adds Bob Singer — another executive producer. “That started something new for him and then exposed him to something that he had never been exposed to, because even back in college, there was always family. Now he has nothing. So I think he had a taste of something that he had never had before and it had a really profound effect on him, one that he really doesn’t expect Dean to understand. Nor does Dean expect Sam to understand what he went through.”
There’s the kicker, right? You and Dean are back together, and you’re being pretty honest with him — though, you did sneak out of Amelia’s bed like a guilty one-night-stand, and we’ve got some questions about that — and, at this point, honesty is the best that we can hope for. So, kudos. Because Dean isn’t being particularly honest with you, dude.
“He’s keeping his secret about how he got out, who he got out with,” Singer says about your brother. “While Sam is trying to be really forthcoming and saying, ‘My mindset is different,’ Dean is being really less than forthcoming. The fact that he’s judgmental is probably not all that fair to Sam, given what Dean isn’t saying.”
So listen, Sam. I’m not sure if you regret your decision or feel guilty about it. But I am sure that you love your brother and you’re glad that he’s back, because that look of relief on your face was so
handsome genuine. And also because you ordered him a burger, which was touching, really.
Besides, you have enough people to answer to right now, what with Dean giving you the disappointed-in-you face, and while he’s definitely within his rights, he might want to take a look in the mirror before he gets all judgey. “Right now, Dean is piling on Sam somewhat for this,” Carver says. “What happens is that these brothers start to discover more about what they’ve done in their past year. Might those tables turn, in terms of who has to answer for what? I think everybody will get their licks in. No one is going to be a beaten dog for too long.”
So now I’ll finally get around to the point of this diatribe, which is: I’m harboring some resentment right now, but ultimately, as a viewer, I’m kind of glad you took a little break, relaxed, got a dog, hopefully had plenty of sex.
A dark cloud of ugly hopelessness was starting to settle over the show, and I’m not talking about the fact that the big bads who followed Lucifer and the Mother of All Monsters were nacho-cheese-loving-people-eaters. Now that you’ve rediscovered a life outside of hunting, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and the potential that maybe this show won’t have to end with you and Dean driving yourselves off a cliff.
“Sam found in this year a real solace, a real comfort,” says Singer. “His conscience was really clear, the only thing that sorta got him back was, yeah, they were responsible for Kevin, and so his attitude is ‘If we can do the Kevin thing and get this done, I’m done.'” Sam, I know you said the same thing back when you were trying to kill the Yellow-Eyed Demon and still thought you might go back to law school, but… maybe things can be better this time. Maybe you can have a future that involves hope and happiness and a dog.
As a viewer, I’m relieved that both you and Dean have fresh
perspectives coming into Season 8, even if it means that you acted a little out of character over the hiatus. If you’d spent the whole year drinking and crying and having hell-flashback-seizures and turning into the Terminator version of your father, you would be no fun to watch right now. So I trust that you’ll redeem yourself for that by providing Dean with lots of burgers and lots of woeful glances, and I’ll trust that you didn’t actually bail on Dean for a girl, because that would just be lazy storytelling. You’re a good guy, and you love your brother, and you probably couldn’t have been much help with the whole Purgatory thing anyway.
And if you’d please provide me with a reliable mailing address, I’ll happily hook you up with a portable cell phone charger. They have cases that increase your battery life now. It’s great.
Until next week,