This episode is weaker compared to "Phantom Traveler." There isn't as much funny, the lines aren't as good, and the guest acting is weak. Anytime I wish for characters like Jill, Donna, or even Charlie to die, then the acting hasn't won me over. However, creepy disheveled woman in raggedy dress haunting people in the mirror, awesome! Charlie freaking out over Mary's reflections in chemistry class, awesome! There also isn't a more chilling scene than Sam and Dean in the "hall of mirrors" confronting Mary and their inner demons in the process. It couldn't be good when Dean is distracted and Sam is left to face Mary alone. Mirror Sam, eyes bleeding and all, berating Real Sam about letting Jessica die because he dreamt about her death days before it happened is really freaky. Freaky cool. Then Dean does come back and his eyes bleed. Why? That's something that fans have wondered about forever and at this point may never get the answer.
This Sam focused episode on the surface is meant to show his extreme guilt over Jess' death. His nightmares are worse, he's more frazzled, and Dean is way more concerned. When Sam thinks he can summon Mary because of his "secret", Dean pulls over, unable to take Sam's behavior anymore. I love Dean's talk, yelling at Sam to get over this and stop blaming himself. He doesn't like the plan and doesn't understand Sam's guilt. This is one of the first glimpses we get of Dean being the overprotective big brother. When Sam won't tell Dean the truth, even when it's all over, this is the first glimpse we get of Sam hiding things from Dean. Something that STILL HAPPENS TODAY.
Once the MOTW story is wrapped up in a neat bow, Sam learns his lesson and stops blaming himself, right? Ah ha! There's the gotcha ending that I love watching over and over again. First, "Laugh I Nearly Died" by the Rolling Stones is an inspired choice of background music. It fits Sam's somber mood perfectly. Second, when Sam sees Jessica's spirit on the sidewalk, that's a hint that Sam can't let his guilt go, especially based on his haunted reaction. Sure, none of us at first viewing see what it really means, which is Sam's psychic abilities are starting to manifest. No, we didn't see it coming because that twist surfaced without warning FOUR EPISODES LATER. I'm not sure if subtlety was the intention, but that was WAY too subtle to keep people interested in Sam's storyline. That's not a complaint about the episode, just the development of the arc. My overall grade, B+.