Holy Shit. I really liked this episode. I really liked this episode.
Its not perfect by any means, as the family in peril, interested me about as much as the family Lilith was playing with when Lilith collected on Dean's contract, and I LOVED that episode.
THis isn't that good. But by god it had so much heart and promise for things to come. That for the first time this season, I am an unabashedly exciting for the next two seasons.
While the family in peril scenes didn't work, and the finale girl who made the deal wasn't a shock (seriously sometimes the guys are really stupid).
But pretty much every thing else did to degrees of good, to some even that were great.
The scenes in Dean's room, and not only us seeing Dean's little joys in life, but Sam noticeing them too. Hello, I love that.
Dean's choice to by the champion that will meet the trials and pay with his life, because he always saw himself going down bloody with a gun, but still as much as he hates Sam away from him, does want Sam to have a real life, to have his family to grow old. And for Dean to see that Sam can still work the family business as a man of letters who does all of that. Was really, really great to see after the first half of this season.
And for him to openly tell Sam all of those things. Awesome. No I am not a girl, but parts of this episode really are making me into one (sorry I know thats kind of offensive, but I really can't think of another way of putting it).
What was long over due, was Sam's differently view on Kevin, and talking about Kevin, not to basically make his mistakes. To keep himself, safe and healthy, so he can have a future, instead of going all in end for his personal freedom from Hell. Wan't a great scene, but it was a good, and needed scene.
I also didn't mind a new method for them to see Hell Hounds. It seemed reasonable, especially with who/what sent the trials. And the fx was, for this show, effective in portraying that. So nice solid work there. Its been a while since SPN handled an 'monster fx, well'.
Then we have what happens to Sam, and TWOP must be exploding in unholy fury right now (I am laughing my ass off on that). What Sam said is right. Dean is (with a few exceptions) the better hunter. He has, and always has had the instinctive knack. I liked, no loved hearing Sam tell Dean that his better then him or John. BUt I loved that the role fell (at least so far) on Sam. While both brothers life have been heavily marked by Hell (and thats not even just the spending time in Hell), that aspect of the mythology of the show, has always been more about Sam, and always in a negative way. Even when using those abilities for good, it was always the idea that it, in the end a terrible thing. So thats nice. Whats also nice, was for Sam to voice why he is fine with it, he does see the light at the end of the tunnel, and he wants both of them there for it.
In many ways it reminded me of a small scene in (Cris Angel is a Douche Bag), when finally Sam decides to go back to Ruby so that he not Dean can destroy Lilith and thus save the world (well that was what the Angels and Demons were telling them was needed to be done). It was Dean (and by characters of that episode) living and planning a life that ended in their death. Dean only saw one way out, and it being in death. That pushed Sam. Here we see him take up the mantle to have the possibility of both of them having a happy ending.
Of course, though I loved that element, please don't misunderstand, I don't what the show to end with a happy ending, but I do want the characters to at least have hope.