Over the years Sam and Dean have done a lot of good and saved the world more than a few times but if they don`t give the demon tablet back to Crowley, he'll kill everyone they ever saved.
While searching for a way to "cure a demon" and complete the third trial, Sam stumbles upon an old film reel in the Men of Letters' archives. The film shows two priests, Father Simon and Father Thompson, attempt a new form of exorcism but something goes wrong and the host dies horribly. Father Thompson is long dead but Father Simon still alive in St. Louis. Castiel offers to go with them but Dean is still upset that his friend betrayed him...again. The boys get Father Thompson's materials but while Castiel is grocery shopping he gets a visit from Metatron. Metatron wants to restore order to heaven but in order to do that he needs Castiel's help to close the pearly gates indefinitely. Back at the lair, Sam and Dean listen to Father Thompson's last exorcism recording and learn that Father Thompson was able to cure a demon and save its twisted soul. Rather than search for a demon, Dean suggests that they revive Abaddon and perform the exorcism on her. Just as they start making progress, the boys get a call from Crowley to check the news. Using the novels as his guide, Crowley is going to kill everyone they ever saved if he doesn't get the demon tablet back. They have fifty seven minutes to save his next victim: Sarah Blake. With time running out, Castiel at a crossroads and Abaddon loose, they Winchesters may not have what it takes to get through this one.
In what can only be described as the greatest throw back to season one, long-time fans of Supernatural were rewarded with returning characters, action and drama on this week's episode, Clip Show. Though so much has happened on the show recently, Clip Show moved at breakneck speeds to get through all of the story but the history of the Men of Letters continues to work very well for the show. The discovery of the film reels and the demon dungeon showed that their history wasn't all records and books but could be very dark at times. Also, the idea that Crowley would retrace Sam and Dean's steps through the novels to kill the people they saved in their past was nothing short of brilliant. Having the original characters return from Wendigo and Provenance from season one hearkened back to the roots of the show while simultaneously showing how far the Winchesters have come since that time.
Without question the best part of the show was the return of Sarah Blake. Played by Taylor Cole, Sarah Blake always felt like the girl that Sam should have ended up with; the one he would give up hunting for. Ackles, Padalecki and Cole's chemistry was apparent from the start and it came across in the scene. Having Blake point out how different Sam is since the last time she saw him was well done and reminded us that we have seen him grow into the role over the years. I will also agree that Sam's old haircut was a lot better. It was sad to see Sarah die but at least her death was heartfelt and how close the boys came to saving her was even more painful to watch. To me, that scene just fell short of being perfect (which I will discuss further down).
While Clip Show was excellent at times, other points in the story felt contrived for the sake of pushing the story forward. After causing such a mess for his friends, Castiel's willingness to mess everything up knows no bounds. He hasn't even recovered from being shot or regained Dean's trust but he's willing to shut heaven out indefinitely? Redemption is one thing but idiocy for the sake of bring Naomi and her angel faction back is another. That storyline has always felt out of place this season but we'll see where the chips lie after next week. Secondly, after discovering a custom made demon dungeon, why would Sam and Dean try to exorcise Abaddon, a demon knight of hell, anywhere else? You can say whatever you want but that scene was written in such a transparent manner, it fell flat. Lastly, Alainna Huffman's return as Abaddon did not fare any better than her first appearance. Huffman chews every scene with a ridiculous performance that is very similar to Katie Cassidy's when she played Ruby in season three. Huffman was quite good in Stargate: Universe but she isn't bringing anything memorable to the role of Abaddon. She only needs to looks as far as Mark Sheppard to realize that he did it first and better.
Though it was well done, the scene with Father Thompson curing the demon was unnecessary. Thompson made an audio recording of the exorcism and Supernatural should have stuck with that. If the recording sounded grainy, old and dark, the show could have played up the audio and made the exorcism sound like a completely terrifying experience, unlike anything the brothers have heard before. This would all be without music in the background or dialogue between the brothers while this occurred. Father Thompson curing the demon would have been the relief at the end of a horrifying recording that gave you the cue that it's ok to breathe again. If that was paralleled to Sarah Blake dying and all we heard was Crowley's voice, no music and no sound from the boys as Sarah's choking got quieter and quieter until there was nothing left, my mind would have been blown. Just to see the faces on Sam and Dean while Crowley tells them that he will tear their lives apart because he can, as they watch one of their friends die would have been perfect. The audio in a show can be incredibly impactful and this was a missed opportunity.
Clip Show was an absolute pleasure to watch and though there were some definite missteps, I'm very excited to see what happens on next week's Sacrafice.