This covers season 3 to season 4 (what has been shown so far, anyway) and some general thoughts and speculations. See, I told you I was this obsessed. *g*
*12/8/09: Now updated through the first half of season 5!
I have a feeling this discussion is going to be shorter than the last, as Sam's hair has not really undergone many changes overall. But I will do what I can.
So, here we have Sam in the season 3 opener, TM7. Not surprising that his hair doesn't differ all that much from AHBL last season. It might be a wee bit longer maybe, and maybe even a bit ..... curlier?
It basically stays this way in TKAA. Longish, parted in the middle, although it's quite well-kept for the most part.
By BDABR, though, it gets really flicky. I think it sort of goes with the premise of the episode - the way poor Sam is pretty much a mess from all the bad luck that befalls him. It kinda fits, in a way. In Sin City it's somewhat shorter and looks at times like he's trying to keep it neater. But the flickiness rears its head still, as you can see from the photographic evidence. *g* The front's also been cut shorter, so The Bangs make a cameo appearance when Sammy confronts Trotter in his office.
Next episode it's a bit longer again and still somewhat flicky-outy at the sides, but a bit neater. This trend pretty much continues through the next few episodes until at least Fresh Blood. Sam's hair is a nice length here IMHO.
Starting with A Very Supernatural Christmas, Sam's hair really begins to take off (no pun intended... *g*). It gets longer still, especially at the sides which are still quite flicky and just continues to do so up through Mystery Spot and Jus in Bello. Which fits in well with Sam getting so preoccupied with someone close to him that he doesn't have time to think much about his hair. In this case, he's so preoccupied with trying to find a way to save Dean from the pit.
Now, I'm going to pay special attention to Mystery Spot for a moment. Look at the last two pics above. They're from the time loops Sam is experiencing, of course. Notice how flat and almost "slept on" Sam's hair looks - more so in the very last picture than the one before it. We can see how Sam is getting emotionally worn down through his hair. It's literally wreaking havoc on the poor guy's hair. *g*
BUT. Look at the hair now when Sam wakes up on Wednesday, the first time and the very last (after the Trickster has set things back to the way they were):
His hair is bouncier and fluffier, about the way it normally is. It's almost as if it's reflecting the immense relief Sam feels to see that Dean is alive and the nightmare is over (although it really wasn't the first time). Or maybe this doesn't mean anything at all and I have my Sammy tinfoil hat on a little too tight. LOL. But it was just something I found interesting.
Jus in Bello sees Sam with the still quite long and flicky-outy hair, and some experimenting with parting his hair more on the side than in the middle like usual.
After a strike-induced hiatus, we find Sam with hair that's still quite long, occasionally plastered down, occasionally flicky, parted more on the side than in the center, often pushed back behind his ear ... and it's likely he started experimenting with a straight-iron, especially in Time Is On My Side (check out the second to last picture). Heh.
Now we come to the heart-wrenching season finale...
Wow, Sammy, looks like you've really been going crazy with the straight-iron, hon. I know worry and despair make people do crazy things, but this is too much. Now, I know lots of people liked the straight hair in this episode. I was never really crazy about it, mostly because I wasn't used to it. I'll admit it doesn't look half bad in certain scenes. And I will cut the guy some slack because of what he's seen and gone through here. But I just wasn't a big fan of the overly straightened look. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Flash forward 4 months, and ...
Dean comes back and Sam's hair is looking somewhat better. I wonder if these two events are related somehow? Heh. ;) But seriously, it appears that Sam laid off on the straight iron and got a few more layers in his hair. He still keeps it parted and off his face, still likes to tuck it behind his ears sometimes, but it also has the tendency to come alive and get that awesome flickiness back, especially when he's using his freaky powers. Definitely a slight improvement over the season 3 finale (at least IMHO).
Yes, I'm paying special attention to Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester. For the very reason that I think Sam's hair looks especially pretty in this episode! It's wavy, it's bouncy, it's flicky... it's the kind of hair that you're just itching to run your fingers through. I do think that Dean's return is related to the how healthy Sam's hair appears. Yep. *nods* ....... unless, developing the freaky powers directly affects the health of the hair? .... nah, I'd rather go with the first theory.
His hair doesn't really change much over the next few episodes. Except that he keeps it further away from his face and seems more apt to sticking it behind his ears.
From Wishful Thinking to Heaven and Hell, Sam's hair gets maybe a bit shorter especially as far as the layers but that's really the only difference from the earlier episodes.
So, where does this leave us? Sam's hair pretty much stays about the same throughout all we've seen of season 4 so far, with some very minor changes. Will it stay like this pretty much for the rest of the season? I can't really see any reason for it in the story to change very much. Although more recent pics of Jared have turned up that appear to show him with even shorter hair than this (though I personally think it's 'cause he had it all pushed back and out of his face at the time, but maybe I need new glasses :P). If this is so I wonder if they would try to explain it away somehow on the show. Would we get a scene where Dean is waiting outside some random barber shop, checking his watch for the 50th time, when Sam finally walks out with his new hair (prompting a "Dude, you took forever in there!" from Dean probably)? I'm betting not, but I wonder if rationale could be found for it. Personally I wouldn't want to see him go too short; I think the long-ish hair suits him and he might look odd with Dean length hair (Dean as in "Winchester", not "Forrester"). Yeah, I know I'd love him no matter what he looks like, but I loves the long hair. *draws pretty little hearts around it*
12/8/09: Okay, so I guess the above paragraph no longer applies. I've updated this meta to include what's been shown of season 5 so far here in the US (5x10). So without further ado, awaaaaaaaay we gooooooooo....
His hair doesn't change a whole lot in Family Remains, although at times it looks very flicky (esp. in the first cap above... but I think it was raining in that final scene so it made his hair a bit damp and flicking up a lot *g*). In Criss Angel Is A Douchebag (pic 2) it starts to get a bit longer and we can really tell by After School Special that it's grown in quite a bit. But the length hasn't really gotten out of control.
Sex & Violence is kind of an interesting case. In the beginning and for most of the episode, Sam's hair doesn't really look much different from the way it did in After School Special, but by the final scene it looks quite a bit shorter ... I guess Jared had his hair cut in the middle of filming or near the end, depending on when they shot the final scene. If you want to explain it away in the episode, I guess we could say that after that whole sorry fiasco (as far as the Sam/Dean fight goes) Sam wanted to clean up a bit so he got himself to the nearest barber shop. *g* (and yes, I had to include that middle pic... just 'cause. Hee)
The shorter hair (and the way it's parted a bit more in the middle) and the hoodie Sam wears in Death Takes A Holiday made him seem more like mid-late season 2 Sam to me. *smiles* The hair doesn't change really for On The Head Of A Pin, except that it's very much kept under control even during the scene where he's using his powers. It barely moves at all. Hmmm, do the effects of drinking the demon blood include some sort of built-in hair spray/pommade?
I'm going to pay special attention to It's A Terrible Life for a moment. Mainly because I thought the hair was working for him quite well in this episode. He's still got it parted and restrained, but I love how the little wavy bits on the bottom curl up and the way the longer top layers on the sides still flick up and away. Plus, notice the last pic... what do we have? Baaaaaangs! The front of the top layers was cut short enough for it to give him the bangs look whenever he's being tossed around as he was by Sandover's spirit in that scene.
*cough* Okay, moving on....
From TMATEOTB to The Rapture, Sam's hair gets longer, flickier and a bit wilder. All reflecting perhaps his addiction to demon blood and especially the start of his withdrawal in The Rapture.
For When The Levee Breaks I have to say they did a great job not only with the makeup but with the hair to show how all the physical and emotional distress Sam was under (see the first pic). His hair is matted with sweat at times and at other times a bit unruly and sticking up. In Lucifer Rising, it's not quite as crazy but still on the flicky side. It's got some nice body to it and is longer still, a trend that continues into season 5.
The season 5 premiere starts where Lucifer Rising left off, so to preserve continuity Sam's hair has to look the same. And it pretty much does. He's kept the length and the longer layers on top. It pretty much stays this way, although in Good God, Y'all and Free To Be You And Me, at times he'll have it all pushed back from his face and behind his ears (no surprise as the hair in the bangs area has gotten *really* long). But whenever he's tangling with someone -or something- it'll get wild and unruly and in his face.
Okay, I know this first pic is more Samifer than Sam... *g*... but still the hair is looking pretty nice. He's got it all pushed back but it still flicks up on the bottom nicely, almost like it did in It's A Terrible Life. Of course Lucifer would take extra care to ensure that his vessel's hair looks nice and neat. :) The next two pics are from Fallen Idols. Sam's hair looks somewhat longer here, or maybe it's just the way it was styled that makes it appear that way. But most of the time it's looking great and flying free instead of pushed behind his ears or plastered down. Seems he's easing up a bit on the gel this season. I approve. :)
His hair doesn't really change in the next two eps, although in The Curious Case of Dean Winchester (last 2 pics above) I thought it looked especially nice. The way the waves curl out around his nape and it looks all full and bouncy like it was just washed (I think you can tell this especially in the last pic, even if it's a bit dark). I've seen people say that his hair is starting to look quite girly by the way it curls around his face but I personally love it.
Once again, his hair doesn't really change much up to Abandon All Hope. The middle pic is from the Real Ghostbusters. I know it's not really a close up shot, but I include it because his hair here looks a lot like it did at the end of Dream A Little Dream Of Me 2 seasons ago. See the left pic second from the bottom under which I start my discussion beginning with A Very Supernatural Christmas. Doesn't his hair look a bit similar there? And the final pic from Abandon All Hope.... uh, well I chose it mostly for his face. Look at the faaaaace. He is so adorable. Oh, and the hair looks great too. *g*
And finally.... (also from AAH) Chosen because I love how his hair is flying free. :)
So from what we can see of season 5 so far, it's pretty much continued the trend from the end of season 4. A bit longer with the side parts of the top layers flicking up a bit. It looks like he's tried to keep them under control for the most part, although the waves at the bottom curl up a little. He still sweeps it back from his face and tucks it behind his ears sometimes, but not nearly as often as he did in season 4. IMHO it's looking a bit more natural this season, not so gelled up or plastered down. The longer hair kind of fits him now because it's the apocalypse and he doesn't have any time to worry about haircuts. The way it's kept up better might be indicative of the demon blood addiction gone. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it, lol. Of special note are also his sideburns. SInce the season began they're noticeably bigger and sharper/pointier. I've seen some amusing comments on various blogs/sites regarding them, from "it's not 1977" to wondering if Lucifer has anything to do with it. *g* According to pics from the recent Chicago con, it appears as though he's scaled them back a little. I guess we'll see in upcoming episodes.
So to sum up: Sam's hair gradually got longer in season 3 and he experimented with a straightening iron at the end. Season 4 saw his hair increasingly pushed away from his face and plastered down/slicked back until around mid-season when it was trimmed up a bit. He got a haircut that was vaguely reminiscent of season 2 (middle/end of S2 at least) which grew out gradually and maintained its flicky-ness on top as his addiction to demon blood affected him more. Season 5 has seen his hair longer and more natural looking ... so far. What will the rest of the season bring? I guess we'll find out.
Hmm... I guess that's pretty much the end of this last part of the meta discussion. Thanks to screencap-paradise.com for the caps from episodes 4x08-4x10.
Hope you enjoyed this and again, if there's anything you'd like to add, please let me know. :) Also, I'd like some feedback on the way I have the pics here. I have thumbnails linked to the original sizes because I thought it would take up less room. Should I just post the full sizes anyway? There are 92 pics in all so I guess that's not too bad, but it might mess up my layout.