Zeroth has a very nifty analysis up for Season 1, Episode 6. Despite the shit Dean goes through in this one (hence the title – this was pretty much our refrain through the entire thing!), this episode has a lot to say about Sam.
Identity is performative. It is the things we do. So what is Sam’s identity here? He’s clearly been playing the role of the kind, sympathetic listener that gets people to open up, and he’s good at it. And that is something he had in common with his law-school whiz kid personality. The kind, helpful, gentle personality helped him build a circle of friends who loved him and cheered him on. And its so different from what he had with John and Dean. Dean pokes fun at Sam, at Sam going to college, while Sam’s best friends were so happy for his success on the LSAT.
Dean could care less about Sam’s law school ambitions. He cares about hunting, about family.
And poor Sam is stuck in the middle.
It gets really fascinating from there. Zeroth can spot themes I didn’t consciously recognize, and suddenly, the familiar is quite different than it was just a moment ago. Check it out!