Supernatural Episode 8-21 Review – “Clip Show”

Before you ask this week’s episode is not your typical clip show where there is a rather small story that is underscored with a dozen or so flashbacks. This “Clip Show” is quite the opposite. It is so jam packed with awesomeness that I don’t know if my summary will really do it justice. However I do like to try which is why I do this piece in the first place. As usual there will be spoilers, “witty” comments and some observations that you can take or leave. If you just want to run off to your DVRs and take in this episode cold and check in with me later I certainly wouldn’t blame you.

“Clip Show” begins with a young couple that is taking a trip in the woods and staying in a remote cabin. Since most of us have seen the bulk of the episodes we know this can’t end well. The young man is a bit disturbed at a sound coming from the window. After a quick flashback we realize that this is not just any guy this is Tommy Collins who you might remember (hey its been a long time) as one of kidnapped teenagers in “Wendigo” aka the second episode ever aired. Tommy hears a noise in the distance and thinks its a Wendigo, hey who could blame him. After grabbing a blow torch to go fight the monster he feels a tremendous amount of pressure and has his eyeballs explode followed by his whole head. Yeah…and that is just how this episode starts.

Back at the Men of Letters Headquarters, Sam and Castiel are still on the mend from their respective wounds. Dean in his own delightful way tries to sympathize with his brother by comparing the pain of the trials to a Jager hangover. He also brings him food to keep his strength up which consists of a skunked beer and three Reese’s peanut butter cups. On a serious note, Dean expresses his doubt and displeasure at Castiel and airs his completely justifiable grieviences.

Sam and Dean poke around in the Men of Letter’s record room and on instruction from a file they visit an area with a secret entrance that leads to effectively a torture room. Devil’s traps are everywhere along with handcuffs inscribed with holy writing. However the most important thing they find is a strip of film. On it is a rather unique exorcism being performed by Father Max Thompson and his young assistant. It is unique in that the woman showing the camera is later possessed by Abaddon which was first introduced  earlier in the season in “Time Goes By”. Good call back. Anyway, what makes this exorcism so interesting is that the Priest performing it uses a different incantation and then cuts his hand before touching the demon. This ritual causes the demon’s chest to explode. Weird huh?

Looking to get to the bottom of it Dean and Sam take a visit to the young priest who is still alive to find out more about what the hell they just saw. It seems that Father Thompson was of the belief that demons were corrupted human souls and with the right rituals could be cleansed. This is obviously of interest to the boys since the final trial is to “Cure a demon”. However as we saw the experiments didn’t go quite so well and the good father ended up torn apart. They are given Father Thompson’s research which includes other films including one where the ritual works. The secret is injections of purified blood coupled with the incantation. Wanting to give it a shot the boys just need a demon to try it out on. Instead of finding any demon which there have always been lots they decide to dig up Abaddon, the super powerful enemy, they fought with their grandfather. Not their best idea.

Meanwhile Castiel is in a mini-mart and makes some interesting selections – toilet paper, an Asian Beauty Magazine (might be trying to make up with Dean) and eggs. Odd grocery list. Before he can finish he is joined by the Metatron. They discuss the current state of Heaven which is not going well. There is open warfare and countless slain. After talking it through Metatron recommends that they do something to set this right. He compares them to a warring family who just needs to be put in a room and talk it out which is why he recommends they shutdown Heaven for a while. Meeting over crepes they agree this needs to be done but Metatron mentions it won’t be easy and they have their own trials to perform. The first is to rip the heart out of a Nephalim (an Angel and Demon half-breed) that oddly enough is their waitress and flirts with Cass a little bit.

After making a tough choice Castiel tracks down the waitress and intends to kill her. She spends a second begging to be left alone and that all she wanted was a normal life. When Cass decides to sort of do it anyway she turns on her own powers and has a brief fight with them which she loses. Personally, I think there was a lot more emotional depth to be had here by Castiel and the Metatron having to effectively kill an innocent who is powerless to do much but to stop them. What we get in the episode is fine but I think you could have done and said more with it. Oh well.

In the torture room Sam and Dean resemble Abaddon but decide to not attach her hands so that she will be less of a threat. Before the “fun” can start Crowley gives the boys a call and admits to being behind Tommy’s killing at the start of the episode. He also sends them another address to checkout. While this is going on Abaddon reattaches her hands, pulls out the sanctified bullet from her mouth and escapes. The boys hoof it to the address only to find Jenny Klein from the under-rated episode “Shut Up, Dr. Phil” burned to a crisp. Crowley calls again and says he will kill everyone the boys have ever saved unless he gets the Angel Tablet and Kevin Tran back. For those curious he is using the Prophet Carver Edlund to get the skinny.

Next up on Crowley’s list is Sarah Blake from all the way back in season one’s “Provenance”. To be honest, Sarah was my favorite of Sam’s “girlfriends”. They just had such good chemistry and meshed so well.  Sarah has a husband and has a small daughter now who are back at home while she is on a art buying trip for her father. Dean tries to do the best he can to demon proof the room before Crowley strikes. Sam meanwhile has a talk with Sarah. Each of them praising the other for the growing we have done but we know that Sam doesn’t believe any of the positive things about himself. Since he wanted a normal life, children and a girl like Sarah. Before they can finish talking – Sarah’s face turns red and she starts to choke. Crowley calls to mock them while telling them about a hex bag that is n the room causing the attack. Unfortunately they cannot find it in time and Sarah dies. In a twist of fate and showing Crowley a his most evil….he hid the hex bag inside a phone which is not discovered till they shatter it in anger.

For the second week in a row Supernatural has really brought it on all cylinders – comedy, tragedy, and horror each of them kicked up a notch. “Clip Show” is one of the great ones. One that is a reward for us fans that have been paying attention since the pilot all those years ago. It is especially valuable for fans that have been following this rollercoaster of a season. All that is left is the season finale and if this episode is any indication then it should be a doozy and one you simply have to watch.

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