Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Mark Sheppard, Curtis Armstrong, Alaina Huffman, Taylor Cole, Graham Wardle, Donnelly Rhodes
Writer: Andrew Dabb, series created by Eric Kripke
Director: Thomas J. Wright
Network: The CW, Wednesdays @ 9 PM
Original Airdate: May 8, 2013
The term “clip show” generally refers to an episode of a (usually long-running) television series that uses clips from older shows to back up a story told in less-than-usual new footage. Well, credit SUPERNATURAL for doing things differently in an episode entitled “Clip Show.” There are brief clips of older episodes (check out Sam’s hair!), but they don’t seem to take up any more time than regular flashbacks. This is because King of Hell Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard) has hit upon the single most demoralizing thing he can possibly do to Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) – kill everyone they’ve ever saved.
Why is Crowley doing this? Actually, he probably didn’t need a reason, but he has one – he wants Sam and Dean to stop the trials and abandon their plans to shut the gates of Hell, or every twelve hours, he’ll kill someone they’ve previously saved.
Before they’re aware of what Crowley is up to, Sam and Dean attempt to complete the third trial – curing a demon – by watching an old film from 1958 of a priest apparently performing this task. The brothers don’t dare summon a demon, but rather reassemble Abaddon (Alaina Huffman), the one who laid waste to the Men of Letters back in, yes, 1958. Turns out the exorcism didn’t work on her when the priest tried it, which led to the priest’s death. Worse, Abaddon escapes while the boys aren’t looking. However, since Abaddon got yanked forward in time from 1958 to the present along with the Winchesters’ paternal grandfather, it’s news to her that Crowley– who she refers to as “the salesman” – is now King of Hell. Abaddon seems astonished and appalled by this revelation, so it’s possible that she won’t be batting for Crowley’s team.
Meanwhile, Castiel (Misha Collins) has gotten together with fellow angel Metatron (Curtis Armstrong). Metatron thinks that Heaven has become so crazy and factional that the gates should be closed, at least until everyone up there works out their differences. He enlists Castiel in this quest. As with the gates of Hell, Heaven’s gates require the fulfillment of three trials. The first is the killing of a Nephalim, the offspring of an angel and a human. Metatron deems this “an abomination.” Even though the Nephalim is a sweet young woman, Metatron insists Castiel kill her with a dagger. Fortunately for Castiel, the young woman decides to defend herself preemptively, so that Castiel has to kill her to save Metatron.
So why isn’t Castiel with Dean and Sam? Well, it’s because Dean has decided he’s so mad at Castiel for not answering his calls that he tells Cass to go away. Now, if only Dean had known that Castiel’s mind had been turned inside-out by Naomi – oh, wait, Dean does know that, he begged with every ounce of his being for Castiel to remember himself, and Dean, and the bond between them. So just a few episodes after all that, Dean decides it’s time to get hurt and righteous, because a) getting hurt and righteous always works out well and b) they’re in the middle of a crisis and need Castiel’s help, so it’s the perfect moment to tell him to go away. Ackles plays Dean’s anger and unhappiness with conviction, so we believe his emotions, but we also believe he has the common sense and maturity of a tricycle.
The episode ends with Castiel pondering whether he really wants to close the gates of Heaven, and Sam and Dean wondering whether it’s worth it to fight Crowley. Sam is leaning toward a “no” on this, and it’s easy to understand why – the idea of Crowley undoing the outcome of every episode that’s had an upbeat ending in the last eight years is pretty bleak even by the apocalyptic standards set on SUPERNATURAL. As for Metatron, he at first seemed like an eccentric hermit who understandably wanted to remain apart from the celestial fray, but he’s starting to appear a bit shifty.
It’s intriguing to watch how all of these elements carom off each other, even if we do want to smack some sense into Dean, and it certainly creates plenty of suspense for next week’s season finale. Carry on, wayward sons …
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Article: TV Review: SUPERNATURAL – Season 8 – “Clip Show”