Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Many Deaths of Sam and Dean (Seasons 1-7)

I'm going to start off  by asking a random question: do you say Sam and Dean or Dean and Sam? It's one of those things I always wonder, for some odd reason. You can do it with any two people, really. I always say Sam and Dean, though it more often turns into SamnDean, one word style. Because this is clearly in need of some scientific data:

  • Sam and Dean
  • Dean and Sam
More polls: Läa 10000

Now on to the list of the moment! Today we're going to take a look at the many deaths of the brothers Winchester. I'm not sure you see the main characters die so much on any other show out there. I'm not sure one can really "rank" deaths. That just sounds morbid. Like aw man, that death was so awesome! But... he died? Yeah, but the way he... Right? Weird and morbid. That being said, we're going to talk about them anyway, because why the hell not? They always come back to life, after all.

I'm going to start with Sam, since, as we just talked about, I usually say his name first for whatever reason. And the order, I think I'm gonna go with the least affecting to the most affecting. Subjectively, of course. This is all subjective.

Sam! He dies. A lot.

Wishful Thinking (4x08)

It was debatable whether I should even include this one, because it's not 100% clear to me that he was killed by said lightning strike. But, others have said he was, so heck, here it is. This one is for more comedic effect than anything, so it's not that big a deal. We knew it was going to be reversed in mere seconds of screentime, so it gets a solid shoulder shrug rating. Because that's a thing, the shoulder shrug rating. I made it up, sure, but now it's a THING.

Loses his Lungs

Sympathy for the Devil (5x01)

Another debatable for me. Did he really die or did he just kinda go unconscious for a bit? Long enough to call it death, I suppose. Those angels, they just have it in for the younger Winchester, don't they? They just love to give him grief. And beat him up. And take out his lungs. You know, the norm. Still, this was another quick one, so not much more than a shoulder shrug too.

The Song Remains the Same (5x13)

You see? Another angel going after our dearest Sammy. This time it was Anna, who decided that the best way to get rid of Sam was to make sure he was never born. You know, so that whole nasty pending apocalypse thing could be avoided? Right. That. But heck, this is old hat to Sam by now, no way are the other angels letting him stay dead. Still, Dean gets pretty upset any and every time his brother is killed, even though he always comes back, in one way or another.

The Dark Side of the Moon (5x16)

Boy, Sam gets killed a lot in season five, huh? This is already the third one, and it's not even the last! Honestly, this was one of my favorite opening scenes of the show, ever. Them's big words, I know, but the way it was edited was great. How the final shot went straight into the blood splat title card? Awesome! Also? I believe this is the only time the two brothers die together. Aw.

Swan Song (5x22)

You may disagree with me here. You may think this should be the most affecting Sam death of them all, but to me, the one below takes the cake. Nonetheless, this was a pretty big one, and it caps off the final Sam death of season five, for a total of four deaths! That's pretty crazy. Anyway, this is a pure sacrificial death, and really was meant to be a final one, but of course he still came back. They just don't stay dead. But there was something kind of weirdly cheesy about how he fell back into that hole, so maybe that's why it doesn't garner top spots for me? Sure. SURE.

All Hell Breaks Loose, Part I (2x21)

The first Sam death was the moist poignant one for me. Though we knew that somehow, some way, he would have to be brought back to life, the way in which it went down was really sad. How Dean holds him and tells him to hang on, even though he's already limp dead boy. What would've happened if he'd actually killed Jake instead of letting him go? Dean wouldn't have made the deal, wouldn't have gone to hell, wouldn't have broken the first seal... you see, this death was a pivotal point, and that's why I call it the most affecting and effective!

Dean! He also dies a lot.

Appointment in Samara (6x11)

Strictly speaking, Dean was dead. But it was only a temporary death... okay, yes, they are all temporary deaths, but this one was a planned temporary death. For that reason, I hardly remembered to count it as a death at all. But here it is. Shoulder shrug.

The End (5x04)

Technically this is the death of FutureDean and not our actual Dean, but it still counts, I think? Sure. Sure it does! What's interesting about this death is that FutureDean, despite his apparent coldness and bravado, could not, in the end, kill Sam, even though he was possessed by Lucifer. The sadness in his eyes there at the end is the Dean we all know and remember. Also? How weird would it be to see yourself be killed by your brother? Ultra weird.

The Dark Side of the Moon (5x16)

Well, I already talked about this one up above, but I made separate graphics for each brother. I do like how the hunters argue about whether killing Dean along with Sam was right, but ended up doing it when they saw the look on his face. Yeah, you wouldn't want a pissed Dean Winchester on your ass either.

Mystery Spot (3x11)

Though there are a bunch of different deaths in this episode, I had to count them as one. Really I would count them as two, one for all of the first round of deaths, one for that second one on the Wednesday when it was actually permanent for a while. What's interesting about these deaths are that the first and the last are both pretty sad, while all the others in the middle are hilarious. The circle of death!

No Rest for the Wicked (3x16)

I mean, duh. Obviously this one would be tops for emotional impact in Dean deaths. The culmination of the ramifications from Sam's most poignant death above results in Dean's most poignant death here. Symmetry!

Did I miss any? I think I got all of them, but I'm not infallible. Which death hits you in the gut the most? No poll on this one, just because. But please leave comments! We all love comments.

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The Many Deaths of Sam and Dean Winchester by


  1. No Rest For the Wicked, definitely. I remember the first time I saw it; I was literally breathless from holding my breath, and the whole time he was being killed I wanted to scream, too. I haven't ever had that kind of gut-visceral reaction to any show/movie, ever.

    1. I think a lot of people expected him to get out of it somehow, so it was doubly upsetting!

  2. I agree with you on which deaths were the most devastating, both for the brothers as well as us.

    And as for your poll question? Sam and Dean. Always. (Yeah, I say it 'SamnDean' too.)

    1. It's interesting, it turns out most people say Sam and Dean! It must just flow off the tongue easier.

  3. First,let me say that I have been reading your reviews for SPN for the last two years or so. I love your take on the episodes and your insight. But, now my lurking days are over, I have decided to comment.

    Always 'Sam and Dean', 'Dean and Sam' just sounds funny.

    I agree the Sam death with the most impact is 'All Hell breaks Loose'. If Sam had killed Jake when he had the chance, wow, that changes season three completely. The Anna death was the most brutal though, because angels are supposed to be good and not cold blooded killers. Zach's attack was just another case of the bad guy choking poor Sam, just with a little more style.

    Dean's worst death is of course, the hell hounds. The writer's strike is what really killed Dean. My fav episode 'Mystery Spot', had a lot of creative deaths, but I agree that the first and the last deaths were played for realism and not laughs. Plus the fact that they were both gun wounds, so death was almost instant and painful. Poor Dean.

    Their deaths in 'Dark Side of the Moon' were brutal, but everybody knew that it was only a temporary thing. I agree that the idiots thought they were justified in killing Sam, but they actually debated about killing Dean. Too bad we will never find out what happened to dumb and dumber.

    Sorry that this is so long, but I have been a fan for so long, that I just can't shut up. But, now that I have made my first comment, I won't stop. I look forward to more hellatus columns and your season eight reviews.

    1. Thanks for commenting! I'm glad you've been enjoying my reviews! :)

      Is it weird that I'm glad that the writer's strike made them actually kill Dean? I think it set up some cool stuff, and honestly I would've been kind of upset at some kind of deus ex machina coming into save him at the last minute. I do wonder what the later seasons would've been like, though. No angels?! So different.

      Don't worry about the long comment, everyone is passionate about SPN, haha!

    2. According to SPNwiki, Mr. Kripke had plans of Sam getting Dean out of the deal with his powers, but because of the strike, Sam's awakening powers storyline had to held up until season four. Then the original season four would have been about how Dean handled Sam and his powers. No angels, no demon blood, no rebirth of Ruby. What could have been.

  4. Haven't been able to comment in AGES! I got a new computer and haven't been able to with Chrome ever since. On IE right now, here's hoping this comment actually shows up.

    I also loved The Darkside of the Moon-- what an opening! And it was a fun ep overall. For some reason, Mystery Spot really stayed with me. It had its funny moments, but it progressed into this really solemn, painful ep for Sam.

    1. How weird! I wonder why it doesn't work in Chrome. I use Firefox and it seems to work fine.

      Mystery Spot is pretty much my favorite episode ever!