Supernatural season 8 episode 22: Clip Show

Review Caroline Preece 10 May 2013 - 15:30

The Winchesters are going into next week's season finale with more determination than they've had in years...

This review contains spoilers.

8.22 Clip Show

Crowley’s finally upped his game in the battle for hell’s gates, and delivered a gut punch for both the Winchesters and the audience with his final, ruthless act. For the most part, Clip Show doesn’t live up to its name with flashbacks - the episode promos made it seem as if the brothers would spend the entire hour in front of the bat cave’s projector - but takes us back to past adventures just enough to make its point.

The old faces we see include Tommy Collins from season one’s Wendigo, Jenny Klein from season seven’s Shut Up, Dr. Phil and Sarah Blake from season one’s Provenance. Using the Carver Edlund books as a pretty reliable research method, Crowley has cooked up an ingenious new way to torture his nemeses – kill the people they’ve already saved and render their lives entirely pointless. It’s ingenious in its cruelty, especially for two ‘hero’ types like Sam and Dean.

But first, Castiel and the Winchesters discover what ‘cure a demon’ actually means, coming across some useful film reels down in the basement. They show a preacher using his own purified blood to rid the demon of its inherent demonic-ness, allowing it to share the body with its previous, also human, host. This has implications that I don’t see Supernatural delving into too much, with the hijacker still able to run free in a body that doesn’t belong to them. Then again, Sam isn’t too bothered about this moral dubiousness if it means he can complete the third trial.

But Crowley, as already mentioned, isn’t going to make it easy for him. Of all the countless victims that the brothers have saved over the years, Sarah Blake has always been bizarrely popular with the fandom. She was Sam’s first love interest (aside from Jess), however, and we all know that anyone who dares to get romantically involved with Sam Winchester is destined to die a horrible and bloody death at some point. Sarah’s time finally game eight years after her introduction, and it was done in particularly tragic fashion. The whole scene was fantastically staged, with Crowley delivering some awkward home truths as Sarah lay dying.

It’s true that the only way the brothers can justify the pain and death in their wake is by remembering the people they’ve saved over the years. If there weren’t people walking around free and alive because of their actions, then I’d wager it’d be pretty hard for them to get up in the morning. Because Sarah was popular with the fans, then her death meant more than say Tommy Collins’ or Jenny Klein’s would have done. It’s clear that it meant more to Sam than some other random, too, as he’s about ready to give up in the closing scene. Dean talks him around, but it’s unclear how willing he’s going to be when it’s close to the wire.

And if closing the gates of hell wasn’t enough to be getting on with, Castiel and Metatron have cooked up their own scheme to close up heaven as well. It’s Dean’s fault really, as he didn’t exactly welcome Cas back with open arms this week, and the rejection probably opened him up to accepting other alliances. As Dean says, he always believes he’s doing the right thing at the time, but it tends to end up apocalyptically bad whenever Castiel gets involved. There’s no reason to think this time will be any different, but we can cross our fingers that he’ll come through for Dean in the end.

Season eight might have been a little meandering at times, but there’s no doubt that the boys are going into the season finale with more determination than we’ve seen in years. The writers have even found a way of linking Crowley’s threat to the show’s past, something that’s been lacking since the five-year game plan ended three seasons ago, and I’m very intrigued by all the possible outcomes of next week’s season closer.

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, The Great Escapist, here.

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