Looks like I'm one of the few fans with mixed reactions to this episode. I liked many of the smaller (expecially funnier) parts, but I'm kind of hot and cold on it otherwise:
* "They're just doughnuts, they're not love" Yeah, I howled with laughter at that line. Not only was it unexpected and Dr. Phil-iffic, it's also true.
* The irony of "What, are you from Texas now?" on the issue of how 'guilty' the imprisoned are.
* Creepy-ass evil-nurse ghost, and creey heart-attack FX. \o/
* Dean in a form-fitting jumpsuit, even if it WAS orange-- *whoo. Smokin'*
* Poor Sam, looking so humiliated in those mug shots, and so caved-in with fear at the beginning.
* Hugs from Deacon, and cupping Dean's face-- somebody genuinely likes John and his boys for a change (both of the boys).
* Kripke, you made both me and Dean feel bad for poor Tiny. I love that you humanized him.
* Henricksen is not only extra-competent, he's darned handsome. Looks like a Blair Underwood relative.
* Anti-ghost salt-shaker foo! Work with what you have, boys. ♥
* "Rooster" by Alice In Chains-- so perfect and doomed and mournful, even though the ending was a cheat.
* Seriously, now-- both boys are too pretty for prison, especially Dean, so how did we avoid that in the writing? If you put them in that setting, certain aspects shouldn't be dodged.
* I'm waffly over whether the lawyer helping Dean is believable. I don't think the prettiness would be enough to sway her-- I mean honestly, Dean is just compelled to be an ass with authority figures when he's in trouble, and I think she'd just be frustrated and ignore every random thing coming out of his blah-blah-yeah, say sweetheart, here's what you can do for me-blah-blah mouth.
* Dean, I don't care how stupid you want to be, but you do not take your little brother into the
* Did we talk about the way Sam was clearly (and justifiably) terrified, and you still went the "prisoner" route and not, say, the janitor route? Good big brothers don't do that.
* I realize that there's a hunting or plot purpose behind it sometimes, but Dean-- you've got to learn to when to shut up and not mouth off. In general, you know? Especially because we know that Military John would not have tolerated that growing up, so is it a private rebellion or something the writers can't leave alone even when it doesn't match the family backstory?
* When your continuity and plot mechanics suck, it bugs me. It bugs me even MORE if you rely on them for later stories and bring them up again! To wit, if Dean was a murderer in St. Louis, then the Shapeshifter's body does not retain its last form (because it would be dead!Dean then, and no manhunt for him). If the Shapefshifter's body MELTS, then no murder in Milwaukee of that woman who would have to have been a non-existent twin of the surviving woman.
In other words, you can't work that Shapeshifter angle both ways. Pick one.
Is that all? I laughed through tons of this episode, but Dean's major choice to even go into the prison (and be all assy to Sam about it afterward) really hacked me off and didn't seem much like Dean. You either want your brother to be safe and stick around, or you don't. So what the hell is this now?
Okay, done ranting and musing. I still love this show, but I feel that the larger arc of the brothers' mission to each other was off in this presentation.