1. The musical transition into the episode. I love it whenever the soundtrack has an in-story source. (Favorite example: “Monster Movie”, when there’s this creepy, ominous classical music—and then Dean comments on the crappiness of the local radio stations and turns it off. Makes me laugh every time.)
2. Dean’s half-off sock when he shuffles into the kitchen. Actually, everything about that scene. The whole shebang. Especially how fond Sam is towards Dean throughout—and how unselfconscious Dean is. We've had a lot of this sort of interaction between them this season, and it makes me so happy every time.
3. The framing/blocking of the scene when Sam and Dean interview Melissa & Dan together. So effective: Melissa with Sam and Dean, but turned toward Dan; Dan in the doorway, turned away from them and watching the clean-up of the death site.
4. The cinematography throughout—I know some viewers were annoyed by it, but I liked all the silent storytelling, the cues about what would come into play later. I’m rather have something documented than pulled out of nowhere for plot convenience. (There are movies and shows where I can’t help but shout at the screen, “but how did he know that? Where did that come from?”) Also, it delights me to no end whenever the camera acknowledges that characters have feet.
5. The little verbal cues of the boys asking Melissa where her baby is, and her phone call to Sonja to tell her that the FBI are poking around. There's probably some others I'm just not thinking of, but it's a very tightly written episode.
6. Melissa manages to keep functioning through her panic--she grabs her purse while running from fake!Dan, she remembers where the (fake) FBI are staying, she tells them everything--even the parts that sound crazy--she pulls herself together enough to confront Sonja and give Sam the opening he needs. But all of this is handled in a way totally believable for an upper-middle class, grieving housewife.
7. When Sam tells Dean "you go be you", he really means it--even seems almost glad to have occasion to say it. I love that they're at this point now where they can acknowledge their differences in taste without judging each other (mostly).
8. B&E, RPS, lockpicks. a monster I'd never heard of--it all felt very old school in the best way possible. (With the difference that they now inhabit their FBI personae so well that it doesn't occur to anyone to question their authority to ask questions.)
9. The visual effects of light escaping form the heart when Sam slices it open, and of the qareen's disintegration (or whatever).
10. This continues the theme from throughout the series that using magic or attempting to harness supernatural forces always either makes the situation worse or winds up corrupting you. (This is one of the great weaknesses of “Man’s Best Friend”; perhaps if the episode had focused more on how the use of magic was affecting James as a police officer instead of spending so much time in the “witch club”—but I digress.)
11. The closing scene: Dean’s admission of weakness, Sam’s unhesitating support, and the broken glass door they leave behind them. I can’t decide whether it’s a symbol of vulnerability to outside forces, or a new and complete openness between the brothers. Perhaps it’s both, but it’s a wonderfully ambiguous way to end the episode.
1. How consistent the WWII pieces are with the feel and visuals of the opening flashback in “Everybody Hates Hitler”—such a great sense of continuity within the show.
2. Also, Delphine is amazing in the opening scene—and throughout. But she manages to both hint to the audience that there’s steel underneath her silk, while completely hiding it from the Nazi dude. Beautifully done, and beautifully filmed.
3. Speaking of filming: this whole episode looks like a movie. The level of acting, the sets, the camera angles (and forever and always the lighting), the script—seriously. (Check out the subtle movements of the camera throughout the submarine scenes--took a rewatch for me to catch, but the camera constantly rolls very slightly--except when it's tilting to indicate the dive (etc.). Beautifully done.) How does this show pull off such high quality stuff, episode after episode? High kudos to Jim Michaels to keeping everything running, because I know of plenty of shows that visibly have to short-change individual episodes because they spent all their money elsewhere.
4. Dean scouring every inch of the kitchen in hope of magically-appearing coffee while Sam talks. He’s listening to Sam, but what he actually cares about in that moment is getting some caffeine. (Also, that he winds up drinking beer because water just isn't an option.)
5. Although I'm still a little on the fence about Misha's portrayal of Lucifer, there's no doubt when he's playing Lucifer as opposed to Castiel, or as opposed to Lucifer pretending to be Castiel. And the bit where Lucifer describes to Sam how he'll explain Sam's death to Dean, dropping his voice into Castiel's range--that was both super-creepy and heartbreaking on behalf of Sam. (Let me say Sam a few more times: Sam. Sam. Sam! ...Sam.)
6. The characters' differing reactions to Dean's claim to being from the future all felt very believable, and went a long way to round out characters that otherwise might have just been stock figures. The guest actors all did excellent jobs of making me care about these people I knew were all going to die in half an hour.
7. The scenes on the bridge--all the battle scenes--felt like watching a war movie (to reiterate a previous point). I liked the captain and his XO and all his bridge crew--and that everyone did their jobs well, that it was no fault on their part that the Nazis caught them. If this had been a two-parter that focused more on them, I would have eaten it up with a spoon.
8. The reminder of the existence of the Thule. If this leads to Adam & his golem returning for an episode, I'll be thrilled. (There's a spin-off I'd be interested in--Hasidic Jewish folklore has some crazy awesome stuff that could make an excellent expansion on the show's existing lore.)
9. That we get, yet again and on the heels of the previous episode, and example of magical/supernatural forces not solving a problem as hoped. In this case, Delphine winds up obliterating the people she's trying to save, and draining the weapon she hoped to give to Dean. (She also wound up rendering the weapon useless to Lucifer, but that was entirely unintentional.) I'm really interested to see if this winds up foreshadowing the finale.
10. How ambiguous the title is--after all, we have 3 vessels in play here: the Bluefin, which is the obvious one. But we also have Castiel, acting as Lucifer's vessel and interfering with his assault on Sam, and Delphine, who served as a vessel/conduit for the Hand of God. Given that the first and third vessels wound up destroyed, I'm wondering a bit about the fate of the second. (Oh, and I guess it's also a play on "Das Boot"; clever, Mr. Berens--very clever.)
11. That closing dock scene. I have no idea where they are, or why they went there, but it is so gorgeous and bleak and symbolic that it really, really doesn't matter. How could that scene occur anywhere else? (I think there's nothing more gutting for Dean than to have to stand by and helplessly witness another's heroic sacrifice.)