(1) Let's back up a second and go back to the end of 2x21, which was totally wrenching and effective. Sam's completely unaware of Dean pleading in front of him and Dean is getting more and more frantic. What does Dean say? "No no no no no no," all in a rush, one panicked breath - the same exact thing Sam said back in 2x01 when he found out there was a reaper after Dean. I love that moment so much.
(2) Bobby saying that he could use Dean's help. I love that I believe Bobby in that moment. And I have to admit that I'd love to see the Bobby and Dean show.
(3) Dean pushing Bobby away and then apologizing twice. I just . . . this is who Dean is, right? Someone who can't help making emotional connections. I thought the first half of this episode was good.
(4) Except for the too-muchness of Dean's speech about wanting to protect Sam. Some people may feel that it was nice to hear Dean finally say some of these things out loud - that he protected Sam because he wanted to, that he loved Sam always. For me, though, it was unnecessary.
(5) Though it did work with Dean's state of mind. Of course Dean sees Sam's death as his own failure, instead of considering that he kept Sam alive for twenty-four (?) years. I'm not quite sure how he feels he let John down - the fact that his body couldn't withstand the abuse of the crash on top of YED!John's ripping him open, maybe?
(6) I liked this incarnation of the Crossroad Demon. Her "gutter soul" line was chilling and very well-delivered. I feel like this finale, very much unlike last year's, left things wide open for all sorts of AUs. I think last year we were all scrambling to make sense of what we'd seen, figure out where the Winchesters could go from where they were. This year, I feel like we were given something closed and it's our to take or leave. Here's where the first AU could occur: what if the Crossroad Demon never showed up or refused to do anything because offering your soul is a one-time only kind of thing? (This idea got mumbled yesterday, but I can't remember if it was janissa11's or mine.) What would Dean have done then?
(7) Neither Dean nor the CD is at all precise about Sam's condition. Given Jake's assertion, the boys are lucky that Sam wasn't brought back paralyzed.
(8) Sam swears revenge on Jake the minute he hears Jake's still free. Yeah.
(9) Dean, with a year left, insists that Sam needs to take time to recuperate. He's determined to use his time to end the YED but this is still more important to him. This is the kind of thing that makes Dean's long speech about protecting Sammy redundant.
(10) Bobby's psychoanalysis of Dean. Look, I loved the way Bobby was so furious, the way he held Dean's face, and the way Dean confessed when pressed. But I didn't need to hear Bobby ask what Dean's self-esteem level was. Bobby's not John, and that's great, but that was too much for me.
(11) Ellen showing up. AU #2: I was totally waiting for Ellen to do something evil. I really wish she had.
(12) Wasn't that a pentagram, not a Devil's Trap? Don't DTs have seven sides?
(13) I can buy that Dean isn't shooting Jake because Sam's already sworn to do it and he believes that Sam deserves his revenge. And I can buy that Bobby and Ellen wouldn't do anything except back the boys up. But. What the hell was Sam waiting for? All that tough-guy posturing was just annoying. And once he finally did shoot Jake, the smugness on his face was frankly ludicrous. Whatever.
(14) Once John showed up and wrestled the YED, how did Dean wind up with the Colt? Sam is only "let go" after Dean shoots the YED, which would imply that Dean can't move either. Yet the YED is tackled and lands with the Colt still in his hand but the next thing we see is the Colt in Dean's hand. What am I missing?
(15) I'm impressed that the YED storyline was wrapped up, and that we got a lot of answers. But I'm also deeply worried that without that fundamental drive, the battles the boys engage in next season will not have the same resonance - the problem I saw with Veronica Mars after the deeply personal mysteries of season 1 were solved.
(16) I'm surprised at how final John's sendoff was. I like the way the John and Dean reunion was played - not a full hug, no words - but wasn't as pleased by the John and Sam stuff.
(17) And again, Dean proves how much he is about family. "I didn't do it alone" and "That was for our mom" are all about how much he's been fighting for.
(18) I was amazed at how easily Sam let Dean off the hook for making the deal. And completely shocked that Dean would flat-out lie to his brother. It just wrapped everything up too neatly, I guess, and as Em pointed out, they filmed this before they knew if the show would be renewed. But I guess my dissatisfaction has to do with the feeling that last year, they trusted us enough to give us something open-ended, that terrible crash and we didn't know who would live or at what price. This finale leaves much less for us to do. What if Henricksen had been tailing them somehow? Or Ellen really was evil? There were ways and ways to make this season's finale less of a sealed world, I guess is what I'm saying.
Which is not to say that I hated it or that I'm not looking forward to season 3. I'm just thinking of other ways this could have gone.
Off to read everyone else's reactions!
As always, feel free to argue, disagree, debate.