If 10x23 were these 45 seconds, and only these 45 seconds, replayed 45 times, I think I would have been pretty satisfied with that. Because hot damn.
My favorite scenes in film are the kinds that linger just a little too long past the point where you should have cut away; and my favorite stories are the sort that weren't meant to have an audience--the things that happen past the actual point of the scene, or that get cut out of tight drafts, or simply don't register as valid space in conventional narrative. This is actually a lot of why I love Six Feet Under, which is so rich with these little pointless moments, and perhaps contains more of them than it contains anything else. And of course beyond that, it thematizes the idea of holding focus on the points at which narrative bleeds beyond the page, or the frame. It's a show about aftermaths, after all. It's not really a show about death, though almost every episode opens with one (and sometimes that death isn't the only one to occur); it's about what comes after.
In the final season, a main character dies unexpectedly well in advance of the series finale (but close enough that the death still feels like part of the end--just the beginning of the end, rather than the end of the end). When dramatic deaths typically occur. Death, especially violent death (and illness is violence, too), is climactic, after all, and that's how stories work. But of course that's not actually now bereavement works. It keeps on, and there's aftermath--indeed, afterlives. And to shift the audience's focus past the point where we've been trained to stop reclaims this; for death and other big things, in this case, but also for small ones. Maybe there's a plot-relevant exchange, but then the scene continues past it, and dishes get done for completely non-plot relevant, non-ambiance, non-thematic non-reasons.
I just love that.
This notion is what this 10x23 reminds me of. It doesn't quite commit to that level of "this is HBO and we can fill our copious ad-less airtime with whatever we goddamn want" existential artistry, because the project this scene has with the family photos is more pointed/obvious than that, but I think that works better with the photograph motif they'd set up at earlier points in S10, anyway. But the first part of it? Fucking amazing. That's 100% aftermath scene, a film reel running past the point of focus, which is so much what S10 (and other seasons, but this one in particular) has been playing with.
When Sam cured demon!Dean in 10x03, it wasn't to end that storyline--it was to begin it, and push focus past its conventional borders. To begin to tell the story of an aftermath. We meet Cole, who is himself a living aftermath. We reunite with Claire--an aftermath abandoned. We don't see Charlie die--just her body, and then her body in flames. And in the end, we see (or don't--it's a moment excised, and offered only in the aftermath of the 10x23 that did air) Sam elbow-deep in bloody suds. End scene.
(but not quite, it's never quite over, keep watching past that vanishing point)