WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 15, Episode 4 of Supernatural, "Atomic Monsters."
Sam and Dean Winchester have gone through many dark transformations over the course of Supernatural, from vampirism to soullessness to full-on demonic possession. Now, in the show's final season, it appears that Sam could be heading towards another pitch-black change -- though not a wholly unfamiliar one to long-time fans.
We first got a taste of this in the Season 15 premiere, where Castiel's unsuccessful attempt to heal Sam's strange wound from the Equalizer -- a gun crafted by God Himself to "kill anything" -- triggered the younger Winchester brother to have a grim, blood-red vision of himself hurting Dean. Seeing Dean flying through the air without Sam laying a hand on him, we speculated the return of Sam's psychic powers might be in the cards. Episode 4 confirms that this is the case.
In the episode's John Wick-themed opening sequence, we find Dean, unshaven and dressed like a soldier, fighting his way through the Bunker -- which has changed from a peaceful, subterranean home to a body-strewn warzone. The action is tinted the same deep red as Sam's vision from Episode 1, so we know right away we're in similar territory. Dean blasts his way through oncoming enemies and ends up in a room where he's greeted by none other than Benny, the vampire he befriended from his time in Purgatory in Season 8. Benny dies, and Dean shakes down a near-dead demon lying on the floor nearby for information.
He doesn't need it, however, as it turns out his main target is closer than he realized: his own brother. "I knew you'd come looking for me," Sam tells him. "After Sioux Falls, I suppose you had to." What did Sam do in Sioux Falls? An emotional Dean soon lists his crimes: "What you did to them... What you did to Bobby, to Jody..." Sam scoffs at this, claiming that he "will not be stopped." Dean then makes one last plea and, in doing so, reveals the cause of Sam's heel-face-turn. "Sam, you listen to me, this is the demon blood. You have to fight it!"
This line refers back to the show's earlier seasons, where Sam became addicted to demon blood in an effort to boost the psychic powers that Azazel, the Yellow-Eyed Demon, imbued him with when he hoped to turn Sam into the perfect vessel for Lucifer. Sam wanted to use his freakish abilities for good, like exorcising demons without harming the host body. He became incredibly good at it -- frighteningly so, in fact -- but his dependence on the substance proved too self-destructive to justify the benefits.
To both his and Dean's relief, Sam was able to overcome the habit, and his mental powers dwindled as a result. It looks like they're about to come back with a vengeance in Season 15, though -- or perhaps they never really went away. Sam chalks them up to "weird dreams" in front of Dean, but he later confesses to his brother that he has trouble letting things go -- he even still sees Jessica, his deceased college girlfriend, a lot. While he could have meant this in the normal, non-supernatural way that people we've loved and lost often haunt our memories, it's significant that he brings up the name of a woman whose death he saw in a dream months before it happened.
It's also significant that the resurgence of these powers seems to be tied to his Equalizer wound. Either Castiel's energy reawakened something within him when he touched it or the gun's mark itself did that. So far, we know very little about the weapon, other than the fact that it shoots "multidimensional energy" rather than bullets and inflicts an equal amount of damage on both its user and target. We also know, as demonstrated by Chuck in Episode 2, that the bearers of its mark are linked. Is it possible that Sam, feeding off of God's quantum energy, isn't seeing his own future but the future of an alternate Sam? One who never managed to kick his demon-drinking habit? This would also explain why Chuck is growing weaker, while Sam is destined to grow stronger.
We may be overthinking things here, but given that we're in Supernatural's endgame now, anything seems possible.
Airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, the final season of Supernatural stars Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins and Alexander Calvert.