I have mixed feelings about the episode: much of it was good, a few scenes were pure uncut awesome, and the rest of it either squicked me out or has me very, very nervous about where the show is going next.
We'll get one not-really-spoilery thing out of the way before the cut. The pacing was weird .(ACTIONACTIONACTIONOMG...storytelllling.
...some of it, anyway.
Things I Liked, or Thought Were Done Well:
--I'm not overwhelmingly fond of flashbacks on this show, and they slowed the pace kind of ridiculously, but Jared was acting his heart out in this one, and the glimpses of devastated, desperate, grieving Sam were exactly right. That first scene, the one he didn't tell Dean about, with the crossroads demon? All drunk and miserable, pushing dirt over the box with his feet? And the shot from above, with Sam and his ginormous shadow and the crossroads sign (mirroring the shot from "Lazarus Rising" but with an opposite emotional impact)? Oh, Sam.
--Speaking of that shot, there's some beautiful camera work and set dressing/color work in this episode. The teaser, with the opening shot of the trees and the building, and the red-on-white of Anna in her room? The stained glass at the church? So much loveliness.
--And because of how well Sam's past grief and desperation was played, I am fully on board with the sequence of events, even his seduction by Ruby. That last disgusted me thoroughly, but it makes so much emotional sense for Sam. So, so much. And Show actually went there.
--Hey! New Ruby can actually act. :-)
--OMG THE BOYS ARE HUSTLING POOL! \o/ Fake!drunk!Sam is hilarious, and I love that you can tell the difference between Sam's (pretty good) drunk routine, and how he actually looks and sounds when he's plastered.
--And as if that weren't enough, we also get a scene where the boys patch themselves up after that fight! OMG SO AWESOME. Realistic pain and mending and I love this show so much, I really do.
--I am seeing split opinions on Anna. Me? I like her. I have a soft spot for characters who are in the right but are thought to be crazy, and the actress really brought that to life--Anna says some weird stuff and clearly has access to a different plane, but also seems pretty sane for someone who's been dealing with this for 2 months. The relief when Dean tells her what's been happening, showing that he believes her? Aw. (Not to mention that Anna reminds me, and some others, of Joan of Arc.)
Things I Didn't Like:
--The Sam/Ruby hookup may have been necessary for the emotional core of Sam's story, but it sort of made me gag. Sam has pretty, pretty shoulders, but it's hard to enjoy the view when he's embracing (sort of) an empty body full of a demon. Oh, Sam.
Things I'm Curious About:
--Anna not only displays her "Angel Radio" ability, and the related ability to see the faces of demons, but she also has telekinetic powers. O_o Is she a neglected psykid? Or something else?
--Dean knows Alistair? (And I want to know how they're spelling that name.) Enough that when prompted he can name him, even while said demon is "wearing a pediatrician"? Hmmm. Also, Alistair has white eyes and the knife can't kill him? What?
--Castiel, why do you want to kill Anna!? (I am reserving all judgment on the angels until next week, though, since Anna could be very dangerous in the wrong hands.)
YOU GUYS. I have 3 icon spaces left and would like to fill at least 2 of those with SamnDean, preferably angsty SamnDean. Recommendations?