This list is really making it sound like I never got past 8x02. I swear I've watched the entire season--twice! I think it's just because 8x01/8x02 are the only episodes I watched in isolation; the rest is sort of a murky marathon. Or I watched them at the gym; I mean, if you're going to watch 8x15, you might as WELL be be multi-tasking a treadmill, right?
But back to the matter at hand. I remember reading the reaction posts to this episode before watching it, and honeylocusttree made a comment about this scene like, Hey, in that interrogation scene, when Sam saw what Dean was doing with his tie, Sam just banged on the table, "kind of like he's reprimanding a dog, now that I think about it. Or someone whose behaviour he has no idea how to reign in."
I went into the episode with that in mind, because that is my kind of party, and it was exactly like she said, and it was amazing. I digress for a moment to mention that I've had a serious eye to "behavior" beginning from S6 and Dean-when-Sam-is-soulless/soulless!Sam, and particularly in S7, where I felt like both Sam and Dean were just so wrapped up in their own problems, and so very tired, they had no real means of connecting with each other in any real sense. They could stand next to each other and speak platitudes all the year 'round, but they really didn't seem to have the capacity to go beyond that. (And it's this just overwhelming exhaustion/dissociation that makes Sam's Hellatus activities seem 100% justified and 100% good for you Sam, bb, to me.)
This goes with their relations with each other in general, but particularly as relates to 8x02, some of their more questionable behaviors, too. (Sam lets Dean slide into alcoholism and vengeance and suicidal ideation and god knows what else in S7; Dean does/can do very little wrt Sam/Lucifer; the kerfuffle over Amy gets dropped fairly apathetically; the deal with Crowley!Linda, etc.) There might be some kind of verbal discomfort with this or that between them, or whining with various degrees of forcefulness, but overall, there's no real pushback. They occasionally air their grievances without actually ever drying them, as it were. And that's what I see in Sam in this clip, exacerbated by, you know, the whole year-apart/Purgatory thing. They don't know how to handle each other.
I think this is something Sam really did try to bridge in the first half of S8, as he explained his time with Amelia, what he wanted; and ultimately, Dean did try a little to meet him on that. Sort of. Well, understanding Sam/Amelia is probably a stretch, but he did manage to step to the idea of Sam/Men of Letters (8x??), and also to Sam/Trials (8x20), which is a start. Of course, in their attempt to find each other, they overcompensated and jumped headfirst into toxically co-dependent us-before-the-world gyre of brotherly love, and also wrt to 8x23 they clearly still have some Sam/Dean work to do, too. So I'd label this venture "not a dismal failure" vs. "a victory" but I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It's a process of triangulation, and they've had a lot--A LOT--of outlying data over the course of their measurements.
Right, so, that's why I loved this scene. Also it was pretty, and Dean, and Dean/PTSD, and also Dean. What can I say; my reading of early S8 is primarily Sam-focused. But I'm endlessly intrigued by the disparity between the end of the Purgatory flashback (Dean kills the monster informant) and the Earth present (Dean does not kill the monster informant). The scene takes great pains to set up the parallel between these two moments, so why do the endings diverge? There are SUPER SIMPLE, BORING answers to this question, but they're boring. Like, really boring. I prefer to simply bask in the ambiguities.
Coming up tomorrow… a top 10 moment that is NOT from 8x02! In fact, all subsequent Top 10s are, indeed, not from 8x02. I promise. XD