The loose emotional ties that are left over in the rescue Sasuke arc are being knotted up in this episode. Even though he was the one that was the least injured, Shikamaru takes it the hardest as he was the squad's leader and failed to capture Sasuke. Seeing Shikamaru taking a lectural pounding from everyone, and then to find out that his squad members, also his closest friends, have escaped death, was really sad to see. The fact that a 13 year old was able to lead like he did is praise worthy enough.
Didn't like the second half as much but it was still solid. It brings the stress over to Naruto's failure to bring back Sasuke despite making a surfire promise to Sakura that he'd bring him back. It was all right. The episode ended with a real bang though with Akatsuki making their move.