2. The continuation of the season’s unofficial theme: there’s no such thing as a milk-run when hunting—no matter how many times you’ve killed a particular type of monster, maybe this time it will kill you; also, the show’s unofficial theme: there ain’t no [Dean] if there ain’t no [Sam], and the show’s other unofficial theme: as long as you’re alive, there’s hope.
3. All the male werewolves had beards. And looked kind of like the bartender from “About a Boy” (oh, and the goon from “Book of the Damned”. This pleases me, though I couldn’t give you an explanation why.
4. Jared never forgot Sam’s injury—right down to how he closed the Impala’s door.
5. Dean spilled pedialite on his shirt—and it didn’t get cleaned up. (Also, that he washed down his suicide pills with pedialite.)
6. Bitten!guy was totally a twisted mirror for Dean this episode: his wife was more important than anything, even a guy that helped save them. But where Dean (and Sam) are usually able to channel and contain that drive, bitten!guy let that fuel his change into a monster.
7. That Billie is sticking to her guns and principles—she won’t nudge, but she also won’t bend.
8. They haven’t given us a proper hug this season, but we’ve gotten lots of holding and cradling and half-carrying—a veritable bounty of PDA, Winchester-style.
9. Dean’s momentary lash-out and then very deliberate pulling himself together while he’s collecting materials for Sam’s (unused) litter.
10. That the sheriff/deputy/(not sure what his rank was) came to the totally rational conclusion that Dean was a dangerous criminal—if his backup hadn’t been killed, this totally would have taken a turn back towards the old days of “Winchesters vs. the Law”. And while I wouldn’t want a full diet of that storyline, a sprinkling here and there is nice for spice.
11. Payoff of the greatest bit of foreshadowing ever: 11.08, Weems is stabbed, but survives because attacker hit his love-handle. 11.17, Sam is shot, but survives because attacker hit his pelvic cut. :P
In conclusion: the writers totally continue to rock the old-schoolish vibe story-wise, Serge continues to rock the let’s-turn-most-of-the-lights-out old-school vibe visually, Dean continues to rock the whole “what’s the point in being alive if Sam isn’t?” mindset, Sam continues to rock an insanely-high pain threshold, and I continue being thrilled to pieces by this season. This team *absolutely* earned that twelfth season renewal. *\o/*
Postscript: I’m predicting that Dean was unknowingly telling Billie the truth when he said Sam will be the key to taking out the Darkness/Amara. I’m also predicting that it will have some kind of parallel to the situation in 11.16. (And that it will be awesome. Because just about everything else this season has been.)
Post-postscript: if Billie and the other reapers want Sam and Dean to stay dead, they need to make sure the brothers a) go together and b) stay together.
And let me leave you with my most recent vid obsession, which has all kinds of thematic ties to this episode: