This fall, Sam Winchester will find himself in a place he's rarely been over the first nine seasons of Supernatural: he'll be the one to save his demon of a brother.
Any fan knows that Dean Winchester has saved his brother many a times over the years... but with Dean now a demon (thanks for nothing, Crowley!), it will be Sam's turn to come to the rescue.
How exactly will he do that?
That's the big question going into Supernatural Season 10 - but, thankfully, Jared Padalecki sat down with me the other day during the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour to let us know what we'll see when the show returns in October...
TV Fanatic: At the start of the news season, are we seeing a different Sam? In some ways we’re finding him in a different place we haven’t seen him before, which is pretty good for season 10.
Jared Padalecki: Dean is certainly the more different of the two but Sam’s almost different in that he’s not finally soulless or angel, so we get to see the Sam that the fans love and that I love. The Sam that wants to find his brother.
So, we start out a couple months after the finale. Sam went back to the room and Dean, his dead brother who was in the room in a locked bunker, was gone. Since Sam didn’t see the episode he didn’t realize that Crowley took him. So Sam is now like ‘what the f**k? I’ve got to find my brother! What just happened?’ He is the Sam I love, which is the Sam on the hunt to find his brother. He knows something’s wrong. He has his suspicions. That’s the Sam we start out.
TVF: Do you think it’s taking us back to the demon hunter element of the show?
JP: Absolutely. That is a big part of it. It’s almost a reset or a restart. It’s not a complete restart because dealing with a demon brother but we do see them kind of go back to what they set out to do, which is nice. I love that our writers and our fandom have such a great symbiotic relationship where the writers are able to recreate and restart and the fans allow the writers and the actors and forgive and remain loyal and committed. They say, “Cool, guys. If you all are going to go back to where we were, great. Let’s see where this road takes us.”
TVF: I’m guessing Sam and Dean are going to be apart for a while…?
JP: They’re going to be apart for more than a few episodes. Then I think we’ll also see…because episode one starts a couple months after the finale, I imagine we’ll have some flashbacks, which I really like. I loved it with Soulless Sam, we flashed back to him in the bars or whenever. I love telling stories that way. That’s something that I always privately felt we didn’t do enough of in the first four or five seasons. I felt we were great in the moment and creating the show.
What I love about books is books can refer to somebody’s past or they can refer to somebody’s emotions or memories. It’s difficult for a TV show or movie to do that outside of literally going back and showing something happened that forces this guy to have this memory or this feeling or this hurt in the past. I think we’re going to see some flashbacks explaining more, even if the boys get together in episode three or four or five or whenever they do it. I think we’ll still see bits and pieces of what happened to Dean and what happened to Sam. I know we see some flashbacks in episode three of Sam.
TVF: Because you shot three first. [Ackles directed the third episode]
TVF: Who is Sam leaning on? If Dean is not there, is he leaning on anybody or is he a solo man?
JP: He doesn’t have anybody to lean on. He’s sort of a lone wolf. Let’s put it this way, he doesn’t have anybody to be his crutch so he’s sort of leaning on everybody. He’s asking help from Cas, though Cas is a wounded angel. He asks for help from other hunters who we don’t know really well yet but I imagine we’ll come to know. He’s reaching out to the men of letters bunker library. He’s reaching out all over the place but he’s unfortunately running into a lot of dead ends.
TVF: In some ways, Sam’s going to have an opportunity to save Dean much in the way Dean has saved Sam several times throughout the course of the series. Did Sam learn from any of those past experiences that will help him save Dean?
JP: Yes. Also, the end of season eight, that’s going to come into play because that’s also very crucial because Dean’s a demon and demonless Dean is dead Dean. So Sam has to find out if I expel the demon am I just re-killing my brother? Am I back to where I was? But he doesn’t want his brother to remain a demon so he has to rely on some things where he’s already been with Crowley and he also has to try to find some new stuff as well so it’s neat because Sam is going to rely on his experience but also search for a different method because obviously that’s not going to cut it.
TVF: You said Sam and Dean will be apart for a while, will Sam see Crowley at all? Is Crowley lurking around?
JP: Sam will be in touch with Crowley, much to Sam’s chagrin. Sam is after Crowley. Sam is made aware of how Dean got away and what he assumes Crowley did and why. Crowley is shit list number one, so to speak.
TVF: Does it take Sam a while to figure out that Crowley is responsible for what happened with Dean?
JP: It takes a few episodes to figure it out but then once he knows he’s furious.
TVF: You and Jensen are clearly so enthusiastic about the new season. Two or three seasons ago if somebody said you guys are going to be more excited about season 10 than you are now, would you have believed them?
JP: I probably would have called bullshit. Admittedly, season seven was the leviathan season, I guess it’s on the record but that one was a tough one for me. That one I was afraid we were going down a path that we were going to stick ourselves in and not be able to get back, which would have been fine. I mean if the show had gone seven wonderful seasons, awesome. I was hoping for more and we got more.
Carver was able to back us out of that corner and put us on a new set of open roads in a wonderful way. I think as soon as I read the opening of season eight, especially getting into season eight I was like “we’ve got new legs.” This is a whole set of new legs. We can go for eight more seasons if they so wish. I’m thrilled professionally, I’m thrilled personally.
I’m thrilled with what social media and what Netflix and iTunes and AppleTV have done for our show and for new fans. I love, also, meeting new fans and I love seeing original fans. Some are like “I’ve been there since season one.” It’s cool, you know what I mean? I don’t want to be hipster like I knew about this before you did but there’s a special place in my heart and there always will be for those that helped us get to where we can have new fans in season 10. I mean this is a symbiosis. This is a family. The original fans made it so that we could have new fans.
TVF: Relationships are always hard for Sam and Dean, whether it’s how the fans react to them or just the fact that what these guys do. Would you like to see a relationship at least sustain itself for a whole season? Or does that just not really have a place in the show?
JP: If you’d have asked me this a while ago I would have said yes, but knowing the show how I know the show now and knowing the character as another character now, I don’t think there should be a relationship. I don’t think there should. Just in the same reason I don’t think Sam and Dean should be alive at the end of the series unless we do a movie or something.
But I feel like Sam and Dean are Sam and Dean because Sam and Dean keep on keeping on and do whatever they can to make the world a better place and don’t really allow for distractions. Is it interesting to see Sam in a relationship or Dean in a relationship? Sure. I mean I’d love to read a fan fiction book about it or something but when the show is done.
In the meantime, I think Sam and Dean have a different purpose and I feel like they know their purpose. Sam in season one and even two and three with Ruby, which worked out, I guess, for me, he either was in denial about his purpose or he truly didn’t yet know but I feel like now these guys know. They’re like no bullshit, I know why I’m here and I can’t avoid anymore. I can’t just keep denying what’s right in front of me.
TVF: It’s like accepting your destiny or something.
JP: Exactly. I think their destiny has been made abundantly clear to them, so if they don’t accept it then it’s their own damn fault.
Supernatural returns for Season 10 with a retrospective special on October 6 and the season premiere airs on October 7on The CW.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.