I'm so glad the change finally came and that now the emphasis will be more on the characters, their relationships and interactions and on story development and RP. I've been waiting for this, for the group to get tired of the, in my eyes, pointless deadliness and incessant fighting that barely allowed any development and investment, since basically the first TPK of the show. And I know this episode is just the first one of this new version of CoS and might not be much of an indication of how things are going to be from now on because it was an introductory session for two new characters and for a new player, but any tiny bit of added emphasis on roleplaying is a win in my book.
The episode was great, definitely my favorite so far. Zeke kills it every time with his passion and care in portraying his characters. They all bounced off each other so well. Max and JP were just perfect also. It was wonderful. And the pacing of the interactions built a lot of tension too, there was no dragging at all as someone suggested, it was the pacing needed for the scenes to have the impact they had.
As for the xp/goals system it might be a good idea to gently remind the players of the lessons learned from Swan Song, always have at least one quickly attainable goal, if not two, and then one more lofty, hard or ambitious goal to keep striving for, so that progression doesn't stall. As far as I remember they all did have a more or less easy to achieve goal but it's a good idea to keep it in mind.