That we're actually on season 12. Still kind of floored by that.
This was an episode by a brand new writer, but I couldn't have guessed that off the episode itself. It felt entirely like the show. Like old-school show, even, which makes me very happy. (Season 2 remains my favorite, although season 11 is just barely a nose behind--but season 12 is putting in a very good effort so far to unseat season 2. Which--see point 1--is kind of crazy.)
The opening scene, despite the horror of it, is beautifully shot and choreographed and acted. I could feel the priest's desperation as he wanted to help the dying woman but simply didn't know what to do--and that in turn intensified my pity for her.
That the priest genuinely was a good guy. One of the things I deeply appreciate about this show is that most of the time the priests and pastors are simply trying to do their best in difficult circumstances--which is very refreshing, speaking as the daughter of an ordained minister and someone who grew up surrounded by those either in the ministry or on the path to entering it. I'd started to believe such portrayals weren't possible on TV.
Although Sam and Dean look very convincing (and quite nice) in their priestly garb, what really charmed me was Sam clutching that Bible like a dork
Everything about the morgue scene--the way it was shot, the set design, Dean shooing the morgue attendant out, and the bickering about Dean's grumpiness and the size of Sam's bladder....
The transition from the second death to them arriving at the crime scene
The length of the driveway up to the family's house--really makes it feel isolated
Sam's bright red file folder. It's a ridiculous little detail, I know, but there's something very satisfying about it
The end of Sam's conversation with the mother, and Dean's reaction when he comes in and realizes something's not right with Sam
Dean going for the default option on who done it, because he doesn't have the emotional energy to be thinky about it
But talking with the CPS lady anyway and so avoiding killing the wrong person
The way he peeled out of the parking lot after getting the interrupted call from Sam
Marta singing to herself down in the basement--especially effective because I know those songs. And they're meant to be sung by large groups of small children, with enthusiasm and clapping and glee. To hear her by herself, in such depths of despair... ow. It hurt.
Sam reaching out to Magda, and continuing to try to reach the parents for sanity--and managing with Magda what he couldn't with Max, way back in "Nightmare"
The way Magda leaned into Sam when they were sitting in the back of the ambulance
The brutal effectiveness of that closing scene. So painful, but so well done.