It’s no secret that death on Supernatural often didn’t end up being final, and here’s every time Sam Winchester died over the course of the series. The ability of the Winchester brothers to always find a way back from death became a sort of macabre running gag as the show went on, with many of the later villains vowing to finally make their encounter with Sam and Dean the time the pair finally died for real. Sure enough though, it never stuck.
That’s until it did, as neither brother survived Supernatural‘s series finale. While the events of that episode tend to divide fans, it’s hard to argue that the final scene with Sam and Dean reuniting is anything less than heartwarming. Perhaps the reason those final deaths weren’t reversed is that both Winchesters made the choice to accept their fates and move on to the afterlife. In the end, it seems only their own willpower could truly keep Sam and Dean Winchester in the ground.
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From the beginning of Supernatural to the end, both Sam and Dean met multiple demises. Sam specifically died a whopping eight times. Without any further ado, here’s the full rundown of how each death went down, and where applicable, how Sam was resurrected.
All Hell Breaks Loose (Season 2, Episode 21)
In “All Hell Breaks Loose,” the first part of Supernatural‘s two-part season 2 finale, the powerful prince of Hell Azazel pits Sam against the rest of his unwilling disciples, children he fed his blood to as babies. Once grown, this caused Azazel’s victims to develop demonic powers, and grow increasingly more evil the more they used them. Jake Talley was one of these “special children,” and ended up killing Sam via literally stabbing him in the back. Dean brings his brother back in the worst possible way, making a deal with a crossroads demon that ends up condemning him to Hell in season 3.
Wishful Thinking (Season 4, Episode 8)
One of Supernatural‘s more comedic episodes, “Wishful Thinking,” sees Sam and Dean investigate a small town in which the wishing well actually works. Naturally, the wishes seem to turn out okay at first, but before one can say monkey’s paw, things go bad. The wishes end up being tied to a particular magic coin, which when removed from the wishing well, fixes things. However, that’s not before a wish made by Hope Lynn Casey, herself under the influence of a different wish, causes Sam to be struck by lightning and die. He isn’t dead long, but he was definitely deceased.
The Song Remains The Same (Season 5, Episode 13)
For a time, Dean had been in a relationship with an angel named Anna Milton, who had given up her grace to become human. She eventually got her powers back, but became convinced that the only way to prevent the coming apocalypse was to make sure Sam never existed to become Lucifer’s true vessel. In “The Song Remains the Same,” she goes back in time to do that Terminator-style, by killing John and Mary Winchester. She doesn’t succeed of course, but does critically wound Sam via another stabbing. Poor guy gets stabbed a lot. However, the archangel Michael intervenes, resurrecting Sam, but only because both brothers are required for Michael and Lucifer’s apocalyptic battle to occur.
Dark Side of the Moon (Season 5, Episode 16)
Just a few episodes later, Sam gets killed again, in an even worse way. “Dark Side of the Moon” kicks off in crazy fashion, with hunters Walt and Roy busting into Sam and Dean’s hotel room and shooting them to death with shotguns in retaliation for the Winchesters putting the apocalypse in motion. They awaken in Heaven, but aren’t in good with powerful angel Zachariah, and Castiel tries to hide them. While there they reconnect with several fallen friends, and are eventually resurrected by high-ranking angel Joshua.
Swan Song (Season 5, Episode 22)
This death is a bit arguable, as Sam doesn’t technically die in the traditional sense, falling directly into Hell alongside his half-brother Adam, while housing Lucifer and Michael, respectively. In doing so, Sam averts the apocalypse, but is left in a situation worse than any he’s experienced before or since, trapped inside Lucifer’s cage with two angry archangels. Castiel manages to resurrect Sam’s body, but unfortunately, his soul is left behind. It takes a while, but Sam does eventually get it back, but not without some horrific memories.
First Blood (Season 12, Episode 9)
Over the last few seasons of Supernatural, Sam and Dean ended up having quite the complex relationship with Billie, a reaper who eventually became Death herself. In “First Blood,” the Winchester brothers are locked away in a top-secret government prison after being caught attempting to assassinate the U.S. president, who was possessed by Lucifer at the time. As resourceful as Sam and Dean are, they come to realize they have no means of escape, and since Castiel doesn’t know their location, he can’t rescue them. Desperate, they summon Billie and make a deal, kill them long enough to facilitate their escape, and she can take one permanently later. Castiel prevents that of course.
Beat the Devil (Season 13, Episode 21)
In “Beat the Devil,” Sam and Dean need to travel into Apocalypse World to rescue their mother Mary and Jack. The problem is, they need archangel grace to do this, and with Gabriel and Rowena’s help, they kidnap Lucifer and steal his grace to open the portal. As one might expect, he breaks free and ends up in the alternate dimension too. While there though, Sam has his throat violently ripped out by a swarm of ravenous vampires. He’s then brought back to life by Lucifer of all beings, who wants Sam to help him have a relationship with his son.
Carry On (Season 15, Episode 20)
Supernatural‘s own swan song came in “Carry On,” its aforementioned series finale. Over the course of the episode, Dean is killed by a vampire, and insists that Sam not try to resurrect him as he’s dying. Sam honors his wishes, and goes on to lead the life he initially wanted, and that Dean wanted his brother to have. He marries, has a son named Dean, and lives a long, happy life, now that Jack is the new God, and the world is no longer bursting with monsters and demons. Sam dies an elderly man, with his son at his side, only to reappear in Heaven as his younger self, where the two brothers embrace. To Dean, it had only been a brief time, but he was still overjoyed.
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