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Disclaimer: I've had limited time the last couple weeks and haven't kept up with all the meta out there, but the Sam mystery has taken my brain for a ride. This post has been brewing since the premiere, and fueled by all my flist's awesome thoughts that have kept me thinking. I really wish I had time to do more than incoherent rambling and random picspam. I probably missed half the things I wanted to talk about in the rush, but I really just need to get these thoughts down. Probably not much new here, and the little bit which is will probably be knocked down tonight, rendering this whole post pointless, but...here goes nothing.

I’ve been holding off on making this post for a couple weeks, simply because while I felt like I understood the direction they were taking Sam, I could not for the life of me decide whether they’d be going with the mental damage or physical damage explanation.

If the last episode did anything, it was to convince me that the first option can no longer be an option. In my eyes, it is clear that Sam is some how physically damaged, as a consequence of (1) Lucifer possessing him, (2) being thrown in the cage with Lucifer, or (3) the action of whoever/whatever pulled him out.

There’s a fine line of where this would be interesting and where I would hate this. Generally, if this is any PART of Sam we’re getting, I’m still there with bells on. The lamest would be him not at all, and because it at no point accelerates the character progression in a show that relies on character progression to function ep to ep throughout a season, I can not see them taking that route. I think making consequences for him choosing to tackle with Luci in order to save the world would be pretty damn realistic and oh so TRAGIC, but I hope they can do it in such a way that isn’t just a retread on OH POOR SAMMY THAT HAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH HIM WHICH DEAN FEELS RESPONSIBLE TO FIX. You know? That would just ruin all the five year character arc Sam had to get to the point they had in the S5 finale. I am about 99% sure Gamble and Co are smarter than that. But THERE’S ALWAYS THAT 1% THAT SCARES ME GUYS.

So I’ve been keeping a list for the last month: EVIDENCE OF S6!SAM. And let me tell you IT'S GOTTEN LONG. I was going to post it, but it would make this post much longer than is necessary, so I'll just jump right into the ideas that have cropped up from looking at that list after five episodes.

Remember the red and blue meta of last year? OH YES, I'VE CONNECTED IT TO THE MYSTERY OF SAM. Just bare with me, and call me crazy later.

'Cause here’s the thing: Heaven and Hell, which has been denoted by the colors blue and red respectively for seasons now, has SWITCHED ROLES. Heaven dissolving into anarchy just as Hell comes under authoritarian rule. And, in keeping up with how remarkably consistent this show is, the colors have switched as well. Check out 5.03:

What is particularly brilliant is that this has happened at the same time as SAM AND DEAN have switched roles. Ultra-blue, depressed as ever Dean is found aligned much more often with red as he’s become more tied to life and living again (sheesh last week he was the one with the blood addiction!). Meanwhile, red is nowhere near Sam. Get a load out of that above scene, with red lighting all over but pointedly not on Sam. Same in 6.05 at the vamp bar filled with red lights, there's none to be found on Sam. The same for wardrobe. Sam was wearing red until it was coming out his ears last year, red shirts, a red tie whenever they could fit it in. Not on stitch of red has been worn by him. In fact, it is all pointedly BLUE.

The first frames of the season are Dean's memories of Sam in past seasons, filtered in blue. The first time we see real-time!Sam, he’s in this new bright blue jacket (THAT LOOKS ATROCIOUS ON HIM SORRY), he’s never worn anything that solid of blue. BUT DEAN HAS. In fact, Dean has a jacket just like that bright blue number. And those ties this season? BLUE.

Now what happened last year? The credits were red. Sam saved the world with blood. Both physically (having to drink it to withstand Luci when saying ‘yes‘) and emotionally (as his empathy /pathos/love for his brother proved to be strong enough for him to gain control of Lucifer).

Cut to this year, the credits are icy blue. Just as Sam comes back in blue with a complete absent of red/emotion/life and an icy blue personality change? Guess what, I don’t think this is coincidence.

Let’s back up for a second. Recall how he had to drink gallons of blood for his body to withstand Lucifer? Ever wonder what that was about? We all thought the bloodline was enough right?

But it’s this moment that’s played in my head every since I first saw it:

LUCIFER: *blows cold breath over the window pane* Most people think I burn hot. *melts ice wiping glass with his vessel's finger* It’s actually quite the opposite.

It was brilliant in that it gave a counter to the blood. The reason Sam had to consume blood, aka life source, in order for his body to withstand him. Some heat to counter Lucifer's icy coldness inside of him. Some red, to balance the blue. But why on earth wait until the last episode to tell us something like this? Could it have been last minute planting of plot points for S6? Foreshadowing the consequence of super icy Lucifer inhabiting Sam on earth/in the pit?

I know it's become a popular idea that Lucifer is still in there sharing Sam's noggin. Practically, I can't see that happening, simply because Lucifer, as a plot point, needs to be done. S5 finale had to be the end of him, otherwise this season becomes a weird continuation of a five year arc that’s supposed to have already epically wrapped things up.

Of all the little details in my EVIDENCE OF S6!SAM list, the two most telling are in the premiere. This is no news at this point, but I think it's helpful to highlight.

First, Sam saying he wouldn't have even thought to care to save the neighbors. When two episodes ago, the show had very pointedly showed us, YES, SAM WILL ALWAYS GO BACK AND SAVE AS MANY PEOPLE AS HE CAN.

Number one with a bullet is Sam missing the emotional cue of Dean offering him the Impala. You know, THE OBJECT THAT SAM'S RECOGNITION OF CAUSED A WAVE OF LOVE FOR HIS BROTHER THAT ENABLED HIM TO TAKE CONTROL OF LUCIFER AND JUMP IN THAT HOLE TO SAVE THE WORLD. You know, just that thing.

That's the big neon sign with blinking lights saying ' HI, LOOK. What defined Sam for years and culminating in him helping save the world has LEFT THE BUILDING.'

So here is my guess: That Lucifer, being the Devil that he is, exacted justice on the man that defeated him by taking away the very thing that defined him. Indeed the very thing that saved the damn world. Lucifer ripped out Sam Winchester's empathy.

This makes sense to me, in a very ‘when big shit happens, there are very big consequences’. Sam letting Lucifer in, and control him, and jumping in the cage with him was just about as big as shit can get on this show. It makes sense that Sam would have to bare a consequence of that choice.

Now, I see that they could explain this in a couple of different ways. The result of (1) a literal froze heart caused by Lucifer's residence, (2) part of his soul missing do to Lucifer cutting/ripping it out, or (3) his whole soul totally missing. It all depends on how literal the show wants to take its mythology (we know it's gone pretty literal before). And whether they want to go and say soul=humanity=empathy or not.

While I’m kinda a fan of the first two options, it strikes me as pretty probable they’ll go with a clean cut #3 option. But remember this show has yet to clearly define what a "soul" in this verse is. Just because Sam is soulless does not mean he’s Angelus. In SPN, a lack of a soul might just be a lack of connection to others. In which case, we’re looking at rebuilding that connection over time.

The S5 finale gave a nod to the #3 option, so small you might have missed it. I certainly didn't catch it until I rewatched it the other day with the concept of souls on my mind.

LUCIFER: Come on, Sam, I’ve never lied to you, why don’t you pay me the same respect. That’s okay, I’m not mad. Let’s see, a wrestling match inside your noggin. I like the idea. Just you and me? One round? No tricks. You win? You jump in the hole. I win? Well, then I win. What’d you say, Sam? A fiddle of gold for your soul says I’m better than you.
SAM: *mutters* So he knows, doesn’t change anything. *Turns to Lucifer* ...Yes.

Those are the terms he agreed to. Turn of phrase maybe? But perhaps more. We did just learn angels can buy souls just like demons.

Nevertheless, I will put money down that this is the real Sam. Just not all of him. In my head, I call him an emo!Knockout Sam right now (like knockout mice? I spend too much time in a lab.) It’s as if someone just knocked the whole perception and ability of emotion right out of him. Stripped of empathy or pathos that thing that literally defined his character for five years and helped to save the world, all that’s left is excessive practicality. Efficiency. Without emotions, he has no fear. No stress, or concerns, but getting his job done. We can get info by doing this procedure on a kid, go ahead. It doesn’t register as torture, doesn’t register as a hard or tough call. It’s literally, this gets us what we need. Same with sex. Most efficient and direct simply to hire. A business transaction. The physical money and sex only. Throw away the phone number for a freebie.

He meets Dean a year later, and happily hugs him like one hugs a random family member at Christmas, with absolutely no sense of history. Dean hands him the Impala keys, it doesn't register to him that its anymore than a car. And he’s already got one. He keeps referring to the Campbells as "family" like its equivalent to who Dean is to him, when one is devoid of history and emotion, and the other one is full of it. He has trouble caring about the neighbors if evidence says they're dead. He gets bored with a case if evidence says dead babies aren't because of a monster. He tells Christian about Dean's time in Hell. It's all this fact-based stuff, without emotion mixing in. As if all he can register is info. He has the info of the past, facts of who he and others are, but lacks an understanding of the meaning of that facts. "I'm a hunter. I hunt monsters. The Campbells are family. Just like Dean. Dean's my brother. He went to Hell. He wants a family of his own. He deserves it."

And this fact-based thing has become remarkably consistent. Check out even the small bits of 6.04, where he completely misses why Bobby is upset, stating matter-of-factly "all you had to do was ask". Even more so, there’s nothing he’s more interested in than those facts. Watch how he does this squinty eye thing when Dean reacts in a way that's outside of Sam's expectations of him. Or when he's hunting and hears a noise. Look at his face when he watches Cas do that torturous procedure on that kid, like a surgeon observing a surgical procedure. You can almost see him mentally tabulating a list of observations, information, facts, to file away in his head. And then there's the last episode. In which, in getting a chance to observe the turning of a vamp, a tiny upturn of his lip gives away his perverse fascination. As much as it's already been seared into history as the evil!Sam smirk that stopped the hearts of fandom, look at it again. Fascination is how it reads to me. Him taking in the facts for what they are. And getting a tad too excited about being able to witness it.

He has no concern over Dean, because the facts are in his favor. "Dean's strong. He'll be able to fight drinking, Samuel's got the antidote, Dean will find the vamp, get his blood, and some intel, and everything will be fine." Did you notice that proud pat Sam gives him when Dean comes back from the hellish antidote experience? Go and rewatch it. It'd be endearing if it wasn't TOTALLY DISTURBING. Also notice how every question he asks Dean after he turns is about facts. Understanding the physicality of turning. What does Dean feel from the change? How was the nest? What did he see in the Alpha message?

But the one fact he doesn’t know, is why he’s back. Or Samuel. And what’s going on with these Alpha’s. But I bet you money this all facts boy knows those are related. Hence the one train deal he seems to be on. Torture a kid for answers. Put up a baby for bait. Wait five seconds and let his brother get turned for some inside intel.There's been more than one mention from Sam that he knows everything isn't okay with him, and I'd put money on it that he thinks figuring out this mission will help him, if he doesn't already have solid info on it already.

Interestingly, the one episode that is a big anomaly is 6.02. The baby right from the start annoys this Sam. And this Sam is downright unflappable. But he can't control it. It makes everyone in the supermarket look at them like child abusers and they can’t do a thing about it. Watching Dean with the baby spurs a convo in which he listens to Dean and gives him helpful advice, and later he comes back fuming as he kills the shifter that’s come after it. Later he even stands up for Dean in the face of Christian’s taunts. Interestingly the hotel scene in this ep is the only place I can find where Sam’s filmed with any significant red in the background.

For me, this really points to this ongoing theme of "we keep each other human". Or as Sam said, "It's better when you're around". It's undoubtable there's something wrong with Sam right now, but it's not irreparable. Sam's gonna need Dean's help to find his way back to normal, just like Dean needed his last year. And eventually things will stop being so damn depressing and start rebuilding. Just, SHOW? Make the rebuilding start sooner, rather than later already. I don't know how much more my heart can take.

As for where we are now, I think we're being lead into this episode tonight lock-in-step with Dean, thinking Sam is either absolutely Not!Sam or at least a Sam that wishes ill-will on him. And Dean is in for a rude awakening. It's not like the other times. It's not like what he fears. The template's been shattered. The script's been thrown out. It's nothing that you think it is. *crosses fingers*


ETA (10/30/10): Be sure to watch [livejournal.com profile] counteragent's new post-hell!Sam vid, 'Numb', if you haven't already. In a hysterical bit of mindshare, it's lock-in-step with what I was trying to say here. Only she argues it in BRILLIANT MULTI-LAYERED VID FORM. I'll be sure to have this one on repeat for the next couple weeks. XD

[6.06 SPOILERS now in the comments]
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