On the Rebound - Sam in Hook Man
In the previous episode Sam interacted with Becky, one of his old College friends.
Hook Man picks up a bit on that theme and has the boys actually going back to College, even briefly posing as frat boys.
The episode itself doesn`t offer much hints as to how Sam copes with the situation.
Is it a painful reminder for him of the things he lost and might never get back? We know and Sam confirms this in later episodes, he still very much plans to go back to school. And his admission of never really fitting in at Standford notwithstanding he seemed adamant about pursuing this life in the pilot.
However the boys are not interacting heavily with College life and when they do, it`s an aspect Sam clearly didn`t participate in.
Given his actual experience with going to College he could have taken the lead in their little infiltration of the frat house. But I don`t think he was any more familiar with it than Dean, who just brazened through in his usual way. And for all the world they looked like a fraternity brother and his pledge to me. When Sam is being made to paint on the other guy, he even gets treated like a (dumbass) pledge. Or maybe that just bears a lot of similarities with the "torture" being dished out by an older brother. *g*
At the party Sam is entirely focused on the job at hand and when he finally looks around, he seems genuinely unfamiliar with the environment and even a bit weirded out. While Dean would have been so the party animal in College, Sam was the geek and pretty okay with it. That`s what he always reveled in and he doesn`t feel defensive about it.
Dean: "Man, you`ve been holding out on me. This college thing is awesome"
Sam: "Wasn`t really my experience."
Dean: "Let me guess, library, studying, straight A`s..."
Sam shrugs: "Pretty much"
It also strenghtens my theory that it was mostly Jess who dragged him out to parties and such, as evidenced in the Pilot. A role that has been/will be taken over by Dean now.
On the other hand while the brothers are doing research in the library Sam is in his element.
"Welcome to higher education" That would give him more cause to be reminiscent of a life, he was rather brutally ripped out of quite recently, well, except from the looking into ghosts and grizzly murders and stuff. In fact research might have been the one part of the hunting life that Sam could enjoy.
Which is not to say the brothers fit the tired old stereotype of brains and muscle (God no!) but Sam has always been presented as a scholar at heart.
Hook Man also marks the first time Sam shows actual interest in a woman since Jess` death. He bonds with Lori, a preacher`s daughter, who seems connected to the otherworldly goings on.
It begs the question however how much of it is genuine attraction and how much of it is just due to Sam relating to Lori`s situation. She feels like she is cursed, bringing suffering and death to those around her. This is a fear Sam can understand only too well. With his Mom and Jessica dying over him - quite literally, it`s no wonder he feels cursed himself.
Right from the first time Sam spots her in the church he seems to gravitate towards her aura of pain and vulnerability.
Now, we didn`t get to know much about Jessica`s personality but she didn`t strike me as a "I need a big, strong man to protect me"-girl. Neither does Sarah later on in Provenance.
So I don`t think that`s actually the type of woman Sam normally would be attracted to. Even though right now he might be understandably feeling overly protective of women in general.
Sam getting close to Lori here, even sharing a tender kiss, could also harken back to the Pilot with the Woman in White telling him he would be unfaithful.
Of course his attraction to Lori only marks the first steps in reaching the "acceptance" stage of his grief over Jessica. It`s a natural healing process but it would be quite common, and given Sam`s personality, to be expected if he experienced guilt over "betraying" Jess` memory nonetheless.
Funny side note, this is the first time we see Sam the stalker emerge. Granted he was only watching Lori`s house to ensure her safety. But to an outsider he would have looked mighty shady. Even to Lori herself this near stranger looming in front of her house might have seemed a tad creepy, especially with what she was going through right then. She seemed pretty okay with it though, which just shows that cuteness goes a long way in putting people at ease when you stalk them. :)
When the Reverend is attacked by the Hookman, Sam storms into the house shotgun at the ready without hesitation, once again showing he has as much of a savior/rescue streak as the other Winchesters if literally faced with people in danger. Even though he might not see it as an overriding calling like Dean.
We also witness the brothers ongoing closeness. Steadily they grow more accustomed and comfortable to and with each other. They talk in unison and during the last Hookman attack they work in perfect synchrony with the throwing of the pendant/shotgun.
Ironically at the same time a feeling of resentment also seems to be building with Sam growing impatient and restless in the search for Dad and subsequently the Demon, while Dean seems very laid back and content to carry on with various jobs for the the time being. Their Dad has always been the biggest point of contention for the brothers and while things have not come to a boiling point yet, they`re steadily going there.
In Skin Dean expressed his wish for Sam to be "Joe College."
Here it goes one step further and he actually offers Sam to stay, presumably to get closer to Lori. But Sam, probably as expected, quite instantly declines. It`s way too soon for him to even contemplate another romantic relationship.
I believe like Sam feels his life is literally put on hold until he completes his quest to find and destroy the Demon. I don`t think he has yet come to realize that he can`t put himself on hold too. He is living a new (old) life and it`s influencing and shaping him every day and whatever the future holds he won`t be the same bright-eyed grad student he was anymore. But then again with everything that`s on his plate, that`s pretty understandable.