But no, seriously, I actually really loved this. Because with our Jefferson Starship 2.0s, the whole situation is very clearly reminiscent of 2x09 (Croatoan). (Which Dean happily picks up on.)
Then we move into the hospital, or a building under siege, and there's something about it that's just got these intense 3x12 (Jus in Bello) vibes--something about the scene with the window, I dunno.
Life and/or canon flashing before your very eyes! But it's not just more of the same, and it's not throwback for the sake of throwback--the insinuations build on each other and you get this sense of fairly legitimate de ja vu. And the camera pans to Sam and he's having the same odd, detached moment.
For the most part, you can't film introspection--not unless it's purely affective introspection. But you can totally dance with your visuals, embody that introspection by telling it with some other language in some other form. And that's what the circumstantial/visual throwbacks did.
They fucking danced. And I loved it. <3