First off. I liked the episode. Overall I'm liking what's happening with all the major characters in the last 5ish episodes. I've been a bit eeyore-ish about the whole "character growth" stuff. But I'm beginning to buy it. And like it.
I like the way Sam & Dean are working together as a team. I like Dean looking after Sam. I do not begrudge Sam the "opportunity" (lol, opportunity) to do the trials instead of Dean. I read somewhere else that Dean has been and always will be the heart of the show and is always about relationships and looking after those he cares about. I like that about Dean. I do not think it takes anything away from him being a hero. I like Dean's sense of loyalty. And how it's really the one thing he has trouble forgiving. When someone betrays loyalty, he shuns them. He did it to Sam. Now he's doing it to Cas. When I saw the stills from this episode, I commented that it seemed like Cas might not be visible to Dean and Sam because of the body language I saw in the stills. I was wrong. But I was also kinda right. Dean was ignoring Cas because he was very, very angry at him.
I like what's happening with Sam. No, I don't mean I like that he's suffering (well, mostly. *g*) I like his determination. I like that he believes he is being purified. I just really, really like Sam right now.
And I like the brother relationship right now. A lot.
I like what's happening with Kevin. I've always been very neutral towards Kevin. The last few eps I'm really starting to like him.
I like Cas right now. I've always liked season 4-ish Cas. Bamfy Cas. However. I think Dean's reaction to Cas' statement that Cas thought he was trying to do the right thing, was apt. And Cas. Seriously? Maybe closing the gates of Heaven is the right thing. I don't know. But, to me, it feels like Cas is too easily swayed into thinking the ends justifies the means. I think he's making the same mistake all over again.
I even like that Crowley has gotten more evil. I like that Abaddon is back and that she is now loose again. I loved the way she broke free. I don't have a major opinion on whether I want to see the end of Crowley or not. I could go either way.
As much as I hated to see Sarah die. I appreciate that why she had to die. Crowley's threat had to really mean something to the brothers. And just killing off somewhat meaningless people they had previously saved, does not have the same impact of Sam and Dean being in the room when one of their former saved victims that really *means* something to them, dies in front of their eyes. And they fail to save her. Makes the shit REAL.
I really don't have much idea about the finale other than what was shown in the preview. I'm not going to stay spoiler or speculation free. I'm still not totally re-assured about where the show is going, so I'm devouring anything I can about what will be happening. But things are still pretty cryptic out there. Although there is a lot of speculation.
There is still *something* missing for me in the show. I can't totally put my fingers on it. Innocence maybe? Just the number of years I've been following the show. I still remember how episodes in S4 literally ripped my heart out. I still love the show and am very invested and really enjoying the last half of this season. I love the MoL concept and am looking forward to seeing it play out in future seasons. I just, sometimes, kinda miss the old days. But now it's kinda a fond, nostalgic thing. Not a ranty thing. Everything grows and evolves.