I know my f-list is hit or miss on this episode. Some found it perfect, some found it 'meh.'
My single biggest complaint was the atrocious actress who was Demon v.2. The other stuff is noise after that.
* Loved the entire opening this week. The era was captured so well (place and mood just pitch perfect), and the really good blues before the guitarists bill came due.
* The Crossroads legend and its tie-in-- even the contents of the tin box had me going (I love the flash of low-tech witchcraft, because it doesn't have to be fancy).
* The "artist" who'd sold his soul-- and his stunning, creepy paintings-- just wonderfully real, and I love the bitterness of having asked for the wrong thing and also the resignation that he must own up to the choices he made (I admire that).
* The battle over "save these people or don't" was interesting to me. I like both sides of it-- staving off evil because that's the Winchester Way (even if evil was summoned) vs. focusing on Supernatural dangers rather than saving people from the bad choices they made themselves (especially because the consequences are isolated from harming the world at large).
* Sam restraining Dean physically and verbally from heading any further down the path of 'abuse the interviewee.'
* Creepy morphing effect on the hotel guy and on the wife. Aaaaaah!
* Unspoken exchange of "You'd better not give yourself up to the Demon, dude!"
* Dean's double-trap for the Demon.
* Dean knows and can speak Latin, just as any one of John Winchester's boys should (i.e., the writers didn't make him stupid).
* Demon taunting Dean with what Hell is probably like for John.
* Dean seriously weighing her offer, because how could he not?
* Jared's series of facial expressions after Sam realized that Dean was close to making that trade after all. Sam looks shocked and terrified in turns in that scene.
* I both love and hate the way Dean keeps going on the attack with the 'victims' this season. Love because it's in character with where he is at this point in S2. Hate because it makes me squirm like it does Sam.
* Sam and Evan hiding out in the circle from the Hell Hound felt like filler, once again.
* Demon Actress #2. Says her lines like she doesn't know what they mean. Perhaps cast only for her cleavage.
* Sam's hair! Hate the parted bangs, and his hair looks greasy all the time now. Yuck.
* That Jared's cast is pushing him out of too much of the storyline.
* Dean getting all 12-year-old about girls. Remember when he used to be cool about the sex thing in S1, instead of such a dork?
I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but overall I liked this one a lot. I would have liked Sam to verbalize his fears and pain more, and as I said on someone else's journal, Dean is easily controlled by guilt and I'd like to see Sam make it clear to Dean how devastated he'd be if Dean were gone. Sam should know Dean well enough to use that weapon, and be smart enough to manipulate Dean back with it. Plus... Dean needs to hear that.
In Dean's place, being who he is, I probably would have taken the Demon's offer. Because that's Dean to a T. John's life is far more worthy than his own (in Dean's mind), and Dean is not supposed to be here anymore. Wanting to make things 'right' and to let his father live again as he should have is so very Dean. When you add in the fact that missing John and feeling guilty and angry about surviving is nearly killing Dean, you also see why he's not so troubled by the idea of giving it all up.
For the next episodes: No Roadhouse, please! They've worn out their welcome with me already, and damn-- I don't like the boys' sudden incompetence that the running to Ellen and Ash again and again implies now. :(