Supernatural "Clip Show" Review: Keepin' the Faith

Supernatural S08E22: "Clip Show"

Welp, Sam Winchester's mighty penis of death struck again, leaving cardboard Amelia as his sole surviving lay (that we know of) after eight seasons of Sam crying his way through sex. Think about that. Amelia. Stings, doesn't it?  

Truthfully, I never really completely got the overwhelming love for Sarah Blake. Don't get me wrong—she was refreshingly competent and not utterly useless as far as weekly damsels go, and she was Sam's first romantic interest after his almost-fiance got roasted on the ceiling of their apartment, but eh, you know, we met her back in the first season and then never again, so when it was announced that Taylor Cole was returning to Supernatural as Sarah Blake, my response was more like "Cool." and less like "ZOMGZOMGZOMG!" followed by a victorious keyboard smash.


While Castiel had lunch with Metatron—who likes to go by the civvie name "Marv"—and made some questionable decisions (THIS IS WHY DEAN IS PISSED AT YOU, BRO), Sammich and Dean tried to figure out what "cure a demon" actually meant. Well, it means exactly what it sounds like. In the 1950s, a priest working with the Men of Letters theorized that because demons were really just warped human souls, they could be returned to their human status and admitted to Heaven when they died—which doesn't really make a whole lot of sense when you consider that demons are already dead and also raises some fun ethical questions like, "What happens to the human soul in the possessed body once the demon is returned to human and now has to share?" It's convenient enough if the host is already dead, but that often isn't the case—so then what? Does the potentially centuries-old, formerly twisted soul that is guilty of doing a lot of horrific things just get to hang out in its most recent meatsuit until it keels over? What about demon souls that didn't end up in Hell due to unfortunate deals? Not every soul in Hell is "innocent." What about the legitimately evil people who ended up stuck on the down elevator due to their own horrible life choices? Can they be cured? Should they be cured? What's the difference between a demon and a sincerely evil human being other than superpowers? 

I'm not grumping about details. I'm sincerely curious (and anxious to hear your theories!), and I hope that Supernatural explores the specifics of its newest exorcism in more detail than what Sam and Dean got to in "Clip Show." The fact that Dean himself raised some of those same questions gives me a lot of hope and anticipation that even if the show doesn't address them in next week's season finale, there's always Season 9 in the fall. 

Here's what we know: guilt trips and purified blood work wonders. Does this mean that Sam is back to demon-killin'-secret-weapon status? Cuz I think I can figure out where that purified blood is going to come from. 

But lo, Abaddon—freshly dug up to be a guinea pig while Sam and Dean tried out the shiny new method—escaped because Sam and Dean had a bit of a collective senior moment. To be fair, counting Hell time, they are both well into their geriatric years, so we should all try to be a little more understanding. I guess. 


On top of her royal awesomeness making a break for it, Crowley took a new approach to making the Winchesters' lives suck. He decided to revisit their old cases and kill everyone they ever saved. One corpse every twelve hours until Sam and/or Dean delivered the demon tablet. Clearly, they weren't about to do that even though with two trials down and the third one in progress and Metatron apparently having the angel tablet memorized, the physical tablets themselves are becoming increasingly irrelevant. In Sarah Blake's Indianapolis hotel room, they decided to take a stand, which is exactly what Crowley figured they would do and rather than send one or twelve of his minions to certain death, he did Sarah in with a good old-fashioned hex bag. P.S.: I loved that he was using the Carver Edlund books to track their saves. 

Crowley has come a long way from the campy used-car-salesman type we were initially introduced to, and as disappointing as Sarah Blake's death is, you have to admit, it certainly elevates the stakes for everyone and resonates in a way that sometimes the deaths on this show just... don't. People die all the time and then their demise is undone by magic, deals, convenience, or time-travel shortly afterward. Despite the ominous title of next week's season finale, I'm sincerely hoping we can skip the traditional world-saving Winchester death and just not go there this time. That includes Castiel. Just... no valiant deaths. I'm over it. We're all over it. 

The tragedy of Sarah Blake's death isn't that she died. On a show where death is considered a perfectly valid lifestyle choice, death itself doesn't pack quite the punch that you think it would. The horrible part about Sarah's death is that the meaning ultimately lies with its meaninglessness. That can very easily become a point in the argument that none of Supernatural's female deaths seem to receive the same treatment as the men's do. Meg technically went out as a hero, but it wasn't the sort of glorified warrior death that we've seen Dean and Sam get so many times. Jess was a tool to mold Sam into the perfect Satan vessel. Mary got in the way. Eve's end, for as much as her evil and influence was hyped, was pretty anticlimactic, all things considered. I'm not sure where Ellen and Jo land.

Sarah wasn't your average damsel in distress. When Sam Winchester knocked on her door eight years after they last saw one another and said a demon was going to kill her, she was unfazed—and even as Crowley's countdown hit zero, she was armed and ready to defend herself alongside Sam and Dean. Of course, she never got the chance, but why? So Crowley could remind Dean and Sam that he's more powerful than them? What else is new? That's Supernatural in a nutshell. There's always someone or something more powerful than the Winchesters and historically they've always managed to rise above such things, but for the first time in a long time, it appears there might be something they can't beat. Crowley even took the closest thing they have to a family motto, "Saving people. Hunting things. The family business," and warped it into something twisted and ugly. What's the point of rescuing anyone if something else is just going to kill them later? How can Dean and Sam keep going? How can they justify the suffering that they've both undergone, the losses that they've both experienced, and the sacrifices that they've both made if there's no good left in their wake? In "Provenance," Sarah Blake survived because of her encounter with the Winchesters. In "Clip Show," she died because of it. 

The latter half of Season 8 has been pushing the idea of the Winchesters as a unified front for the first time in years, and it's been truly refreshing after seasons of Wangst and pointlessly melodramatic bro-vs.-bro conflict, but I was still surprised when it was Dean rather than Sam who stood firm and resolved to put an end to Crowley's reign once and for all. The strain of the trials and his previous relationship with Sarah certainly hit Sam hard with her loss, but still, when he's not drinking himself steadily toward liver failure, Dean Winchester is the perfect embodiment of the charming devil-may-care hero type and he knows it. For the first handful of seasons, he embraced the title—and even at his worst, he clung to the good contributions he made to the world for vindication in the face of his darker side. I'm not saying that Dean wasn't shaken by Crowley's ruthless turn, but he's not letting himself break the way Sam did after the loss of Sarah. He told Sam that he would carry him through the trials if he had to, and it's clear now that he's not going to limit that promise to feats of physical strength.

What did you think of "Clip Show"?


– Possibly the biggest DUMB WINCHESTER SIGHTING all season long: leaving Abaddon tied up alone to chat with Crowley in the parking lot without even a back-up devil's trap to keep her contained. I mean seriously, how long would it have taken to draw one? They can probably do them with their eyes closed by now. Bleeping morons. 

– But whatever, Abaddon is awesome. 

– Crowley's Casualty List (so far): 

Tommy Collins (Lol, really?) from "Wendigo" (S01E02)

Jenny Klein from "Shut Up, Dr. Phil" (S07E05)

Sarah Blake from "Provenance" (S01E19)

– Not really a huge fan of Castiel closing the gates of Heaven, regardless of his motivation. I've always liked the symmetry of Sam being connected to/associated with Hell stuff and Dean with Heaven. I'm honestly kind of hoping Boogertron set Cas up or something, because that's Dean's mission, dammit! 

– WTF Heaven trials. U crazy. I appreciated the token attempt to make the Nephilim waitress a "bad" girl so we didn't feel bad about Castiel ganking her, but up until he and Metatron attacked her first, we had no reason to think she was anything that deserved to die. I mean, c'mon, Season 4 Sam was a more villainous "abomination" than she was and we let him live. Sometimes. 

– "You don't understand; I need pie." Aw, Castiel and his apology groceries broke my Grinch heart. 

– Sarah said she liked Sam's Season 1 hair the best. Idk. I want to know if Jared Padalecki uses sulfate-free shampoo, because his locks have looked increasingly glossy and lush this season and I've recently made the change myself and it's kind of the best hair decision I've made even with the awkward adjustment period or whatever. So: Season 1 Sam hair or Season 8 Sam hair?

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