[Spoiler warning: Though the focus of this article is on Adam, I’ll be talking about things from all ten seasons of Supernatural. Read with care if you aren’t caught up.]
The TV show Supernatural has been on the air for a decade. While the show is great, and watching Sam and Dean hunt down monsters and other terrible things that go bump in the night is tons of fun, what has really made the show latch on to the hearts of fans is the underlying theme of the show: family.
Sam and Dean’s childhood — thanks to a fire that claimed their mother when they were both very young, — was anything but normal. Traveling around the country with their father, the boys spent their youth in different grimy hotel rooms while their dad roamed around the country, saving people and hunting things. Because of this upbringing, Sam and Dean are incredibly close for two brothers — even more so since all of Sam and Dean’s blood relatives and their adopted father are dead. These boys have literally gone to hell and back for one another and would do so again in a heartbeat. But what about their other brother? No, I’m not referring to Castiel in a “family don’t end with blood” sort of way. I’m talking about Sam and Dean’s actual, biological half-brother, Adam Milligan.
Adam is the son of John Winchester and Kate Milligan. John and Kate met when he was injured on a hunt (and Kate was the nurse that did the patch job). While Adam was certainly a surprise baby for duo, John did whatever he could to make sure Adam didn’t have a childhood like Sam and Dean’s, which — unfortunately for Adam — made John quite the absentee father. Still, John’s deliberate “parenting” of Adam, taking him to baseball games, not teaching him how to kill a vampire, and other stuff like that sent a clear message to Sam and Dean: don’t turn him into a hunter.
Of course, the supernatural ultimately caught up with Adam when he was killed by a ghoul seeking revenge on John and then enlisted to become the vessel of the archangel Michael for the final, apocalyptic battle with Lucifer (who would be using Sam as a vessel). Skipping over lots of drama and bro-ments, Adam/Michael and Sam/Lucifer faced off. Sam was able to take over Lucifer for a quick moment, grab Adam/Michael, and carry the two of them into the deepest reaches of hell — the Cage. The world was saved, but Sam and Adam were lost.
Castiel rescued Sam shortly after, but Sam was pretty messed up as a result. While Cas was able to rescue Sam’s body, he ended up leaving Sam’s soul behind. Dean ultimately got everyone’s favorite, fried food-loving Horseman of the Apocalypse (Death) to retrieve Sam’s soul. However, Death warned that after spending such a long time in hell being mercilessly tortured by Lucifer and Michael, Sam’s soul was damaged beyond repair and the memories themselves mightbe more than Sam could bear. Death then put up a “wall” between Sam and his hell-memories, and when it ultimately cam down he went through a huge internal battle to overcome and cope with his memories. Ultimately, Sam turned out okay, but the entire experience took a huge toll on him, nearly claiming his sanity and his life.
While that’s all super and great for Sam, Supernatural fans have always been curious about Adam. As far as we know, Cas did not rescue Adam as well (I mean, he forgot to grab Sam’s soul on the way out, so I doubt he remembered to grab Adam), and according to the “Is Adam Still in Hell” Tumblr, he’s been trapped in the cage for nearly 2,000 days. In “regular hell,” a month on earth is equivalent to a decade in hell. But to make matters worse, Adam is in the Cage — which is like Hell on steroids. When Sam spoke about his time there, he mentioned that a minute on earth equaled a week for him in the Cage. So in Cage-Time, Adam has been in hell for, well, a really long time.
So can he be saved? I’ll be honest. I really don’t know.
Dean was in regular hell for 40 hell-years, and it messed him up profoundly.
It took him the better part of a season to reconcile what had happened to him and what he did to others in hell. I’ll be honest, even though the writers have wrapped up Dean’s “dealing with hell” story line, I still think it is a huge part of his identity and why he frequently thinks he is such a terrible person. I don’t think Dean will ever fully heal from his time in hell.
Sam’s time in the Cage—while we never get a distinct measurement, its safe to say it was longer than Dean’s stay—left him soulless.
Unlike Dean, Sam saw his time in the Cage as penance for things like his alliance with Ruby, his demon blood addiction, and starting the apocalypse. He also didn’t start torturing souls like Dean did, so Sam is able to reconcile his time below a bit better than Dean. However, the process Dean and Cas went through to get Sam his soul back was a tough one and the hallucinations Sam had of Lucifer once Death’s wall fell nearly killed Sam.
Given that being rescued from the Cage nearly killed Sam and hell irrevocably damaged Dean, is there any hope at all for Adam? Supernatural fans love to hope and dream that this, this will be the season Sam and Dean finally save Adam from the Pit. However, I can’t help thinking that Adam is lost forever. Because it’s eternal damnation, it stands to reason that there is still some semblance of Adam — there will always be — in the Cage being tortured by Michael and Lucifer. However, I don’t think it’s a “save-able” amount. Even if there was, while Cas has gotten his grace restored, he’s not running on a full tank. I’m not sure if he would even have the juice to travel all the way down to the Pit to grip Adam tight and raise him from perdition. If Cas could save Adam, we’d be in the same boat as we were with Sam: a body with no soul.
In Sam’s case, Dean was able to enlist the help of Death to restore Sam’s soul and somewhat protect his sanity. Of course, since Dean killed Death in season 10 — or at least dispersed him and really pissed Death off, we’ll have to wait for next season to see for sure what happened — that plan won’t work. After Death’s wall was destroyed in Sam’s brain, the only way Cas was able to save the poor Winchester from the certain madness and ultimate death the Lucifer hallucinations were driving him towards, was to take on Sam’s madness himself. I don’t think Cas would be able to come back from that: he almost didn’t the first time.
The only ray of hope (if you can call it that) is in Rowena and the Book of the Damned. Granted, Rowena isn’t particularly happy with the Winchesters, Crowley, or Cas right now — especially after performing a spell from the Book to strike the Mark of Cain from Dean’s arm forced her to kill the only person she ever loved. I’d be shocked if she ever helped the Winchesters again. Additionally, that spell, while effective on removing the Mark, also released a powerful darkness onto the earth. We won’t really know what troubles that darkness will truly bring until next season. But it’s a clear example to Sam and Dean that the Book is bad news, and the spells within it bear a steep and severe price to cast.
Not only am I dubious that Rowena would ever consider helping the Winchesters, but I’m not sure if Sam and Dean would be willing to pay such a steep price again. In fact, at the end of season 10, they were about to count the cost of releasing the darkness in exchange for removing the Mark as too steep a price to pay. Of course, that didn’t happen — the spell went through as planned and Dean killed Death — but there was still a moment where they really thought about it. Plus, Dean once shrugged off the possibility of closing the gates of hell forever to save Sam’s life, so it’s totally possible that they’d pick their brother over the well-being of the earth should an Adam-saving spell present itself.
Still, I’m dubious such a thing exists.
I’d love to see Adam rescued and restored, but I just don’t know if that’s a reality anymore. I think our only real hope of seeing Adam truly saved would be if Castiel saved Adam back when he saved Sam, and didn’t tell us. However, I think it is more realistic to add Adam to the ranks of Jo, Bobby, Charlie, and Meg, as the characters who deserved so much better than the hand they were dealt.
Do you think Adam can be saved? Do you think there is any hope for him at all, or that we’ll even get another mention of him outside of the 200th episode? Let’s pay our respects to the Winchester’s poor, forgotten brother in the comments.