This article contains spoilers. Read below at your own risk.
Last Sunday morning at the Comic-Con International in San Diego, journalists from many outlets all converged on a Supernatural press room to talk with cast and writers of the long-running show about what to expect in Season 8. In that list of people we spoke with was new dad Jared Padalecki, who plays the taller half of the “Sam and Dean” duo. What’s up with Sam? Read on…
“At the end of Season 7, when everybody vanishes,” Jared explains. “Sam has nobody. It’s not like when Sam went to Hell, and Dean had Bobby and Cas and other hunters out there [like] Rufus. Sam’s got nobody, so he’s able, in his opinion, to make a clean break, and to go ‘you know what? I’ve given everything I’ve got.’ He’s given it all, and finally, he uses this as an opportunity to make good on his goal from years ago to just try and live a normal life.”
Sam’s attempt at a normal life might not last for too long, as the brothers are brought back together by the first episode. (When we last saw Dean, he was headed to Purgatory.) “Episode 1 brings the brothers back together, and there’s some unfinished business that they have, but Sam was able to leave the life and be happy enough,” he tells us. “I think happy has an asterisk for the Winchester brothers. But I think he was able to be happy enough outside of the life, and I think that’s something that he hasn’t really been able to experience. Even when he was with Jess, he still had his dad and his brother out there somewhere, hunting demons and wanting his help, showing up at any time. So this time, he is able to go ‘you know what? I’m possibly on my own’.” Sam’s attempt at normalcy does not include his original plan of law school. “No law school yet. Kind of just doing handyman odd work in Sam’s current life,” Jared says.
Sam’s time without Dean is different from years ago, the last time Sam and Dean were separated. “Dean knew where Sam was going, so Dean kind of knew where to look. For all I know, Castiel and Dean could have vanished to Uzbekistan. I don’t really have even a lead on what to do. I can assume they’re dead,” Jared explains. “And also when Sam died, Dean still had anchors holding him back to life. There were still people alive who were family members of his, essentially, who were hunting. So he kind of had loyalty issues to them. Sam kind of has a clean break.”
Also in the cards for Sam in Season 8 is a love interest to be played by Liane Balaban. “She’s sweet. I met her. We’ve only shot a 20 second scene, a flashback that’s going to be in Episode 803. Amelia is her character name, and Sam runs into her because, basically, he runs into a dog,” Jared tells us, to gasps from the table. “I know, I know. It’s okay! The dog makes it! I’m talking about killing people and starting the apocalypse, and I hit a dog, and I get tears over here. Demon blood is one thing. You don’t hit a dog. The old Sam might have just carried on and continued the job. The new Sam is trying to be a normal guy, so he took the dog to the vet. The vet, Amelia, saves the dog, and then Sam and she run across each other again. She’s also just gone through a loss, so I think Sam and Amelia have that to kind of pull each other together. They’re kindred spirits, so to speak,” he says.
Unlike some previous Sam Winchester love interests, Amelia at least seems to be normal. “I know she’s still alive. She’s not a demon, I don’t think, unless something happens that I don’t know about yet, but she’s a human being who has experienced a loss of her own, that Sam and she start a relationship,” Jared says.