...As most of you probably already know. But whatever, here are some things I loved about it:
1. I always like a title that functions on multiple levels
2. Sam mooping in bed until 10 AM is kind of sad, but also kind of ... sweet? He has a place of his own where he can just mope if he wants, and Dean's there to provide pancakes if wanted.
3. Dean making Sam pancakes--and making sure to leave him some even after it was pretty obvious he wasn't going to join Dean for breakfast.
4. The pretty strong suggestion that eating breakfast together is a regular thing for them
5. The opening setting is beautifully bleak, and Manny's is a picturesque location. I love all these little gas stations that the show has found/built over the years.
6. Donna's niece is a sketched out very neatly, despite the minimal dialog, just by her car, clothes, and posture. It's very efficiently done.
7. I was glad with the windshield-washer dude wound up being a useful witness; SPN tends to treat those sorts of characters pretty well, on the whole. Same thing with the trucker preacher--he's not really a good guy, but neither is he a hypocrite. He's honest about his faults, hasn't hidden them from his wife. In most of the procedurals I used to watch, he would've been the perp, or else he would've been turned into a symbol rather than just another side character. It's just nice to have a show where I don't need to brace myself every time a member of the clergy appears onscreen.
8. It was a fairly strong case, and a nice taste of what the show can do when it doens't have to split its attention between the monster-of-the-week case and some piece of the season arc.
9. Doug was a sweetheart in this, just wanting to be a support to Donna--I was sad when he broke up with her at the end, but not surprised. It fit with what we've seen of him in this episode and "Plush". He's the kind of person who wants to help, but also isn't naturally inquisitive, doesn't feel the need to take care of things on his own rather than trust someone else to deal with it. He doesn't have the temperament to hunt, and thise case was just about the worst way for Donna to (accidentally) introduce him to the idea. Maybe if she'd brought him in when it was just a ghost...?
10. The internal logic of the episode is fairly strong throughout, which is always nice. The FBI agent doesn't make a fuss about Sam and Dean horning in on the case because he knows exactly who he's dealing with; the niece doesn't get carved up on schedule because Sam's a higher priority than she is; etc.
11. The whole thing felt kind of old-school--a creepy cold-open, crappy motel room, Dean being creative and using the CB radio to contact potential witnesses, them hunting through empty abandoned buildings, one of the brothers going through an emotional crisis; saving the day, but it's not really a happy ending.
12. The idea of a black market for human body parts actually makes sense, and picks up on the idea first floated in "Bloodlines" of such things being for sale if you know where to look. I have a soft spot for poor "Bloodlines", so that made me happy.
13. Overall, this was just a pleasingly solid episode with a bleak atmosphere, which the show has done so well over the years. "The Memory Remains" and "Then There Were None" are two that spring to mind with similar effects, but I'm sure I'm overlooking a bunch of them. Feel free to remind me. ;)
14. This shot: