1. Oh, Sam. (repeated many times in varying tones of voice)
2. Oh, Dean.
3. Dean's idea of Heaven is other people, seen not only through the memories that he stepped into, but his conversation with Pamela. He didn't like the idea of everyone being in their own little world because of his need for other people (his greatest fear is everyone leaving him, after all) and for another reason I'll discuss below. So now that everyone has been stripped away from him, all the way up to God, maybe he needs to find a reason for going on that's not about anyone but himself.
4. Sam's idea of Heaven is independence and showing he can make it on his own, even if his memories showed he was oblivious to the effect that's had on other people (Dean) over his life. Now that he has gone it on his own and royally screwed things up, maybe he needs to be in it fully with Dean for once. Which kind of contradicts #3, so I'm not sure what to think about that. I was a wee bit annoyed that this episode was so Dean-focused, because I feel like I'm missing what this all means for Sam.
5. It is now canon that Sam and Dean are soulmates. *snicker*
6. Damn, I miss Ash. That was totally what Ash's Heaven would be like, too, down to the homemade angel detector and the beer shotgunning. *giggle*
7. It was creepy but well-done for Dean to get up and be walking around with the bullet hole in his back. *shudder*
8. I am so happy that it's canon that Sam went to Heaven after AHBL. Love how they were both so confused as to how they ended up there this time (but how Sam wasn't surprised at all to see Dean, d'awww...)
9. Dean's talk with Pamela reminded me so much of WIAWSNB. He doesn't want to be happy. He wants what's real and true and human, and if that means pain in the real world rather than a made-up family, or the misery and guilt of trying to stop the Apocalypse vs. having whatever he wants in Heaven, then so be it. Which matters a lot because
10. At first, I thought Joshua's message was a clumsy attempt to explain the literal deus ex machina from "Sympathy for the Devil" while also cutting off the possibility of a similar rescue later in this season, and it ticked me off. Okay, so it was both those things, but it was also something else. Dean asked why God wasn't going to step in, and Joshua said it was like asking why does God allow evil in the world? Which to me (and excuse me, my theology is showing here), is not just one of the Big Questions, but is answered by Free Will.
IOW, the God in SPN wants the Winchesters to win, or he wouldn't have pulled their asses out of the convent. But he wants them to make use of the free will he gave them: the most important thing that separates them from the angels. And to my mind, that's also the only thing that redeems Dean for being so goshdarn stubborn in refusing Michael: the fact that he's exercising his free will, refusing to take the easy way out and remaining his fully human self. So yeah, God's not being a deadbeat Dad. He's stepping back and letting his kids grow up and do it on their own, which is what Sam's been trying to do his whole life and what Dean (ironically) has never quite learned to do. *takes deep breath and stops*
11. We all know Sam picked up the amulet on his way out. Right? :(