It has been a wonderful week of celebrating Jared Padalecki’s birthday for his fans – every day was a different hashtag so we could highlight something else, from photos and videos of Jared with other celebrities, or exercising, or smiling, or with pets, to his best performances and fans’ favorite photos. The hashtag #JaredPadaleckiWeek trended all week long, and my timeline was full of good feelings and positive posts and it felt like all the best things about fandom.
Then the week got even better – Jared popped onto twitter, shocking the fandom as he enjoys doing, to shine some light on a teacher trying to get ready for the next school year and without funding for things her students needed. So many teachers have a list of needed supplies that they often have to spend their own money to get, so #ClearTheList was a call to action for anyone who wanted to help. And help the fans did! People retweeted, donated, sent messages of support. Jared hopped on and thanked fans for the help, and then later in the week highlighted another person in need of help for a very sick cat, once again shining a light that allowed others to help if they could. The collective endorphins that we get from being able to help others just added to the good feelings already there, and made this a really special week.
When I started putting this post together, it was because I’d been reminded of some of my favorite Jared performances over the years. He has brought so much joy to so many of us, first as Sam Winchester and now as Cordell Walker, so I do want to post a few of those moments. But this week also reminded me that I value so many things about Jared that aren’t about what he does for a living. He’s a good soul who genuinely wants to help others – we saw that again this past week. More about that in a minute – but first let’s look back at a few of those performances that really demonstrate Jared’s powerful acting.
The first one that came to mind was one of the two episodes that made me fall in love with Supernatural, ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’.
I’d been watching, but I wasn’t head over heels, and then there were a few episodes in a row in Season 2 that just blew me out of the water. Jared’s performance as Sam possessed by Meg was one of those things that made me realize just how special Supernatural is. He was somehow so NOT Jared, not sweet smart caring Sam Winchester – he had an edge to him, evil, sadistic, insecure. Those scenes with Alona Tal as Jo and then with Jensen Ackles as Dean tries to exorcise his brother were breathtaking. Literally.
The second Supernatural episode I thought about was another opportunity for Jared to play a different version of Sam, this time as Lucifer’s vessel in ‘The End’. It’s a short scene, but it’s one of the most memorable in the entire series, Jared making Lucifer absolutely terrifying without ever raising his voice or appearing angry at all. His soft spoken manner nevertheless radiates horrible power, his almost affectionate oh-you-poor-thing reaction to Dean’s tearful resistance enough to turn my stomach. Jensen has talked about how blown away HE was by Jared’s performance, and it came through powerfully on screen too.
There are lots of other great acting moments in the fifteen years of Supernatural, but a few from the later seasons stand out too. One is from ‘Red Meat’, one of my favorite episodes of the entire series – largely because of Jared’s incredible acting. From the moment that Sam gets shot, he makes you believe how much agony Sam is in, and at the same time, makes his almost superhuman persistence believable too. His every facial expression, his every bodily movement, radiates the pain he’s feeling and the struggle it is just to keep going, and that makes the episode one of the most compelling of the series. It literally hurts to watch – and yet I love it.