The youngest (and tallest) Winchester has been through many incarnations since the first season. Here's a look at all them ranked in order from worst to best.
I had a rough time with this version of Sam (Jared Padalecki) because I like Tahmoh Penikett so much that I really wanted to see him play Ezekiel the whole season. So when Ezekiel possessed Sam, I was disappointed. I also kind of hated that it was yet another secret between the brothers that led to yet another falling-out between them. So while it was still interesting to see another version of Sam, he wasn't my favorite.
My feelings for this incarnation of Sam are similar to those I had about Ezekiel Sam. This version represented a lot of things that were going wrong during that time. Sam was talked into drinking blood by Ruby and it turned him into a different person who was scary... and not in a good way. Sure, he was kind of ripped and looked pretty good when he was on the demon blood, but that was about the only positive side of this version, at least for me.
One day Sam found himself swapped into the body of a teenager and that teenager inhabiting his meat suit. The swap made for some absolutely hysterical moments and though I realized it wasn't actually a "version" of Sam because Sam wasn't in his body, I still had to add it to my list. Part of the fun of seeing different versions of Sam is seeing how Padalecki plays those versions, and Teenage Sam was a triumph. Padalecki captured that spirit of a kid and made us believe that a teenager had truly taken up residence in his long and lanky body.
This version of Sam was the first time we got to see the younger Winchester with someone else inside his body. It took a while to realize that something was off, but once I did, I couldn't help but be enthralled by him. Meg Sam was frightening, and yet I couldn't keep my eyes off of him because I had to know what he was going to do next. I still remember gasping in terror when he slammed Jo's head into the bar. In that moment, I had no idea what was going to happen next and how far he would go, and I have to admit it was thrilling. Plus, like Dean said, the coolest part of this version is the fact that he had a woman inside him for a week.
Though we didn't get to see him for very long, the Lucifer version was an odd mix of sad, strong and perhaps even a touch of sexy. The chat that he had with Michael-Adam was one of those scenes that I watched again and again, crying harder every time. Through Lucifer Sam, we got to learn more about Sam and Dean's relationship and how their family dynamic was achingly similar to one so ancient. At the core, their stories were just that of two brothers trying to get their father's attention and do what was right for the world.
When Sam was rescued from Lucifer's cage, he came home missing a vital part of himself: his soul. I enjoyed this version of Sam because, well, he was kind of a badass. He didn't waste time worrying about anyone else's feelings and just did what he needed to do to get the job done. While I don't think he necessarily always made the best decisions, he was still a blast to watch. Plus, he was hilarious. Hands down, I think RoboSam had the best sense of humor of all of them.
After all these other manifestations, coming back down to regular, plain old Sam might seem going backwards. But the truth is that no matter how mesmerizing these other versions are, nothing beats the original. Sam Winchester is a man who has grown up before our eyes, from the law student who wanted nothing do with the hunter's life to the hunter who has been through so much it would make another man weep. Yet he always does his best to keep that integrity we saw in him in Season 1 and, like his brother Dean (Jensen Ackles), tries to do everything for the greater good. In a word, Sam Winchester is a hero.
What about you? Have you got a favorite version of Sam that you've loved?
Be sure to catch the Supernatural Season 10 premiere on Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 9/8c on The CW.
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