I loved seeing Rufus and Ellen again (I 'ship the Rufus/shotgun OTP, even if he's NOT sitting on his porch keeping demons and zombies off the property line), and there was some cleverness to the story line.
But the ending?
God, I was afraid of the show going off in this direction, but in more of an abstract way. I didn't expect Kripke to literally kick Sam out of the Impala and replace him with Castiel. Especially not in the second episode of the season.
It's as if he took everything that was wrong with Season Four, and decided to base the bulk of S5 around it.
Sam's going to sit out the Apocalypse instead of guarding Dean's back? Seriously? Man up and bring your A-game, dude. That self-reflection might be okay some other time, but not while the skies are burning and your brother's off to try to save the world singlehandedly.
That is not the Sam I know and love.
And Dean, letting Sam go that easily-- because Sam's just a distraction now? When that might be the last he sees of Sam, ever again, Dean's just going to let him walk away?
Who the F**K are you, and what have you done with Dean Winchester?
I know that a person could make the case that Dean's beaten-down and heartbroken and blah-blah-blah, but that's not what it feels like.
Sam and Dean being disinterested in each other is not why I fell in love with this show.
Dean's love and worry for Sam is a big part of what redeems him from his tendency to be a jackass (mad hunting and people-saving skillz aside).
This Dean is just another cardboard hero, fighting a war I never wanted to see get off the ground in the first place.
After the disconnection all through Season Three AND Season Four... this is where the show's taking things? I suffered through two seasons of this asshat dynamic ruining the Sam-n-Dean love, and Kripke's making it worse?
Dude... you suck. :(