Every character on Supernatural brings something to the table whether they’ve been around since season one or are new additions. While Sam has been a major part of the show since the start, he is often overlooked by fans and seen as the “lesser” brother or least important member of Team Free Will, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
While Dean and Castiel certainly are impressive, Sam isn’t any less important than the pair. Together, Sam, Dean, and Cas are nearly unstoppable and a lot of that is thanks to the younger Winchester. He’s smart, strong, and at times, saucy. He’s tougher than a lot of viewers give him credit for and the team would be lost without his technological skills. At times, different possessions and spells have given him abilities his older brother never got close to having. While he and Dean have both had some strange experiences, from being the vessels for angels to taking trips to the underworld, they each offer unique skills the other doesn’t have. This is part of what has made them such a great team since they were kids, but it doesn’t make one brother better than the other. The two are a perfect hunting team, but for now, here are 20 Things Sam Can Do (That Dean Can’t).
20 Immune To Some Infernal Powers
While Sam no longer possesses the powers granted to him from the plasma he drank in the earlier seasons, doing so granted him quite a few special skills. These skills and abilities included an immunity to certain infernal powers.
As a “special child” of the yellow-eyed Demon, he was completely unaffected by the powers of other said “special children.” Before he even drank the plasma, this immunity was in effect, which is why he wasn’t susceptible to mind control and the Croatoan Virus. As he drank more, his immunity widened and he was unaffected by infernal powers as well, including Alastair’s telekinesis, but once he stopped drinking, however, this power disappeared.
19 Be Lucifer's Vessel
While Lucifer has been shown possessing multiple different people, it’s clear that Sam was meant to be possessed by the fallen angel. He is Lucifer’s vessel while Dean is Michael’s and wouldn’t work the other way around.
Sam is the only person that Lucifer truly wants to inhabit and he would be the perfect “meat suit.” The younger brother was predestined for this task before he was even born, with the angels arranging his parents to meet so he and Dean would exist solely as vessels. While Dean had an important destiny, as well as Michael’s “sword,” which finally happened in season 13, he could never be Lucifer’s vessel. It’s a burden only Sam has to put up with.
18 Use Telekinetic Powers
One of Sam’s biggest gains from drinking the plasma was the ability to move objects and people with only his mind. Dean has never possessed telekinesis like his younger brother has.
His telekinetic powers vary depending on his training and the amount of plasma consumed. He can maintain a strong grip on demons, which keeps them from using their powers, has thrown demons across the room, and was also able to move a cabinet that was blocking his way to Dean. The more he trained with Ruby, the stronger his telekinesis became, but without the plasma in his system, this ability fades, so he hasn’t used it in years.
17 Complete The Three Trials
In season eight, the main story-line was the completion of the Trials of God so that the boys could seal the gates of the underworld forever. While Dean was originally going to complete the tasks, Sam completed the first one, meaning he had to be the one to finish them all. The three trials involved bathing in Hellhound plasma, saving an innocent soul from the underworld, and curing a demon. After Sam did the bathing, Dean couldn’t save a soul or cure a demon, it had to be the younger Winchester.
Sam’s body slowly began to decline with the trials negatively affecting his health, and in order to complete the trials, he would have needed to pass away, but Dean helped save his life instead. In the end, while Sam could have completed the trials, he chose not to.
16 Researches Cases Quicker
While both Dean and Sam have done extensive research during their time as hunters, it’s clear one brother is better than the other when it comes to books and computers. While Dean does help, Sam is typically the one carrying the research load.
There have been multiple instances where Dean leaves Sam to research alone while he goes out to a bar or gets some food to eat. Sam never seems to mind this because they both know he’s the better researcher and the case will be solved much quicker with Sam working on it. He’s just typically much quicker at figuring out lore, spells, and other answers to hunting questions before his brother.
15 Has Visions Of The Future
During the early seasons, Sam had an intense psychological connection with all of Azazel’s “special children.” Part of this connection was receiving visions of events involving each other in the future. However, he wasn’t able to control this power, the visions would just occur while he was going about his day and were often accompanied with headaches. These premonitions were forced upon him whether he wanted them or not.
After the yellow-eyed Demon perished, Sam’s premonitions stopped completely, making it clear the power was tied to Azazel’s existence. While it was helpful with saving people, it was really difficult for Sam to deal with and made him feel extremely guilty.
14 Detect Demons Around Him
When Sam drank the plasma, it wasn’t just because he wanted to, he craved the power it gave him and found it hard to resist. In times of extreme craving, he could detect demons around him. When the Famine horseman appeared, it made Sam want the plasma to the point where he had to be tied up. His craving was so powerful that he was able to detect demons in close proximity in order to get his fix.
While this detection could have been useful to know when there were threats around, his hunger for the plasma was so intense that he never would have been able to focus the power enough. Luckily, once he stopped consuming it regularly, this problem disappeared.
13 Exorcise Demons With His Mind
On top of the telekinesis, Sam was also able to exorcise demons with only his mind, a power that had never been seen before on Supernatural. It was so intense that it actually made Dean worry about his brother.
While he initially had trouble controlling this power, Ruby helped him hone the ability by drinking more plasma. The more he drank, the more powerful the demon he could exorcise. At one point, he was able to exorcise all of the demons that Famine had absorbed. This was only possible with Sam’s status as a “special child;” however, that storyline ended long ago, so he no longer possesses this ability.
12 More Tech-Savvy
If Sam fans know anything, it’s that he absolutely loves his laptop. He geeks out over new technology and is way more tech-savvy than his brother. When Frank breaks his laptop in season seven, Sam looks incredibly offended and he is also visibly jealous of Charlie’s Surface tablet when she uses it to help him do research. Also, when he drives Dean’s car, he uses an Ipod instead of cassette tapes, much to Dean’s annoyance.
The younger brother is incredibly efficient with tech and it helps the brothers research a hunt quicker, as opposed to books and word-of-mouth. While Dean has an aversion to a lot of new technology, Sam loves it.
11 Gets Good Grades In School
While Dean did go to high school, it was never his thing. He always knew he wanted to be a hunter and never received good grades while misbehaving in his classes. Sam, on the other hand, was a great student and loved school. Unlike his brother, he went on to attend College, which is where the series picks up. He was a senior at Stanford applying for law school where he would have excelled and never really wanted to follow his father’s path, though, at this point in the series, he has accepted that he’s a hunter.
While it didn’t exactly affect the outcome of the show, Sam always did well in school while Dean couldn't have cared less.
10 Out-Wit A 900-Year-Old Witch
Dean is obviously smart. He wouldn’t be such a successful hunter if he wasn't. However, Sam is typically referred to as the brains while Dean is more of the brawn.
Sam is so intelligent, in fact, that he was able to out-smart a 900-year-old witch during season five. The witch has been playing poker with people by wagering the years of their life, so people are rapidly getting older when they lose. In Dean's attempt to defeat the witch, he loses and is suddenly an old man. While Dean couldn’t outsmart him, Sam is able to, saving both Dean and Bobby in the process. No one else could have come close to defeating the witch.
9 Proficient With Computers
Sam doesn’t just love technology, he’s also highly skilled in it. He has a vast knowledge of computers and has been shown getting around certain systems. What’s one more prohibited activity on top of all of the others he has committed?
While Charlie is regarded as the most proficient on Supernatural, Sam does pretty well on his own. He has been able to unlock computers requiring a password and uncover information that was supposedly confidential much quicker than the average person. Dean would never come close to unlocking a computer, and while he’s skilled in other areas, laptops aren’t really in his area of expertise. Whenever the boys need to unlock something and Charlie isn’t around, it’s Sam’s job.
8 Create Hex Bags
Hex bags have caused problems for the Winchesters many times over the years. Dean and Sam get tired of dealing with witches. While Dean knows how to fight witches really well, Sam knows how to create hex bags when they need them.
Due to his knowledge of hex bags, Sam has actually been able to conceal Dean and himself from detection through the bags he creates. In the episode “Sympathy for the Devil,” he arrives to the motel with hex bags in hand and reveals to Dean that Ruby taught him how to make them. Ruby caused a lot of problems, but apparently, was useful to the younger brother when it came to his different abilities.
7 Go For A Long Run
While Dean is in shape enough to hunt efficiently and overpower monsters, his strength and health is nothing compared to his brother’s. Sam regularly goes for runs and chooses to eat healthier food, something Dean would never purposefully do.
Dean is all about burgers and pie, while Sam has been shown going to get vegetables from farmer's markets and eating salads (he also goes out for jogs and has done yoga). All of this is probably why he could overpower Dean if they were in a fight. It’s surprising, though, that Dean’s poor eating habits and lack of exercise hasn’t caught up with him. Most men his age would be experiencing some kind of health problem after a life like his.
6 Empathize With Supernatural Creatures
While there have been moments where Dean has been able to empathize with supernatural beings, such as The Darkness and Benny, Sam is typically the more empathetic brother. He tends to be more in touch with his emotions and is able to see the potential in other people, even when Dean cannot. That’s why he tried to convince Dean to spare Amy Pond, a kitsune, because she was his friend and promised not to injure anyone. Dean, of course, ended up taking her life, angering Sam.
It’s not that Dean lacks emotion, he just isn’t as trusting or understanding as Sam is. The younger brother is typically the better listener while Dean goes in impulsively.
5 Go To Law School
Before Dean came back into Sam’s life saying the classic line, “Dad’s on a hunting trip,” Sam was on track to go to law school. That plan was derailed, of course, but he would have been a really successful law student.
Dean never went to college, so Sam applying to law school was a task the older brother couldn’t do. There were a few times throughout the series when Sam considered going back to school, but he ultimately decided to stay in the hunting life. While part of Sam has always missed his life before he went back to hunting, Dean never really understood all the hype about law school. In the early seasons, he was even angry with Sam for leaving.
4 Smite Demons
On top of being able to exorcise demons with only his mind, Sam can also smite them when he’s been consuming their plasma, though he hasn’t used this ability in years.
After drinking more plasma than ever and training beside Ruby for months, he was able to smite a demon as powerful as Alastair with lots of concentration. He was even able to eliminate Lilith, though, it diminished his stamina and power greatly to do so. This ability came in handy on multiple occasions, but it wasn’t worth the toll it took on Sam both psychologically and physically.
3 Live A Normal Life
Both brothers have tried to go back to living normal lives from time to time. While they always go back to hunting, a domestic life seems like it would be much easier for Sam to handle.
At one point, Sam left the hunting life behind completely. He was living with his girlfriend, Jess, and trying to go to law school. That only changed because Dean showed up saying their dad was missing. In turn, when Dean tried the domestic life with Lisa, he was constantly paranoid that someone was going to come for them. Alternatively, when Sam lived with Amelia, he was comfortable and at peace with the idea of leaving the life behind, until her old husband showed up, of course. It would be much easier for Sam to live a normal life than Dean.
2 Rock Long, Flowing Hair
Sam’s hair has become an iconic aspect of Supernatural. Fans can even tell what season they are viewing based on its length. While his hair has changed a lot over the years, Dean’s has basically remained the same style since the pilot.
The long, flowing locks on Sam’s head just wouldn’t look right on Dean. Sam has had flawless, shiny hair for years and some wonder how he keeps it looking so magnificent with all of the enduring events they’ve been through. His hair has been an object of admiration and debate for viewers since season one, to the point the actors are asked about it at Supernatural conventions... Dean’s hair has never received that much attention.
1 Coping With His Treatment From Lucifer
One of Sam’s most difficult obstacles to overcome has been the treatment he was put through by Lucifer. Whether it was when he was in the cage or dealing with hallucinations after his time there, the fallen angel has always been with him.
While Dean has overcome a lot of his own demons, Sam is the only one who has really had to live with Lucifer constantly affecting him. Lucifer was able to mess with Sam’s head even when he wasn’t physically there. Sam was able to cope with these hallucinations while staying functional and awake, though he did eventually fall prey to them. Regardless, he showed incredible strength and willpower while facing his strongest enemy.
What are some other interesting things Sam can do that Dean can't? Sound off in the comments below!