Supernatural’ season 8 scares up its twenty-second and penultimate episode of the season in “Clip Show,” as Sam and Dean investigate exorcisms in preparation for the third trial, while Crowley digs through Winchester history and Castiel considers a deadly proposal from Metatron (Curtis Armstrong).

Previous ‘Supernatural’ episode “The Great Escapist” saw Sam and Dean first encounter the angel Metatron in their effort to pick up where Kevin Tran left off, while Castiel found himself on the run from both angels and demons alike, so what does the latest season 8 episode bring?  Will the Winchesters finally be able to rid the world of Crowley and his fellow demons?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Supernatural’ season 8 episode 22, “Clip Show!”

In Lost Creek, Colorado, Tommy Collins nervously gazes out a cabin window with his girlfriend, remembering the Wendigo attack from years before. Tommy hears a noise that his girlfriend misses, and when Tommy assumes the worst and prepares to fight another Wendigo, his head begins gushing blood until it finally explodes.

Back at the Men of Letters base, Sam and Dean pour over old possession files, while Dean remains bitter toward Castiel for not trusting he and Sam with the angel tablet. Following a note from the files, Sam and Dean look through an old storage room, finding a mysterious demon dungeon behind a trap door, before Sam finds the old film they’re looking for.

After setting up the projector, the three watch film of two priests performing a unique exorcism, filmed by Abaddon’s host pre-posession. The older priest performs an usual exorcism variant that ultimately kills the chained-up demon, albeit unintentionally. Sam finds that the older priest died some years later, but that the younger continues to practice. Castiel offers his help, but Dean angrily shoots him down.

Sam and Dean meet with the priest, who explains that the late Father Thompson had unorthodox ideas about exorcism, and kept a number of materials on “saving” demons in storage. Sam’s condition takes a turn for the worse mid-sentence, but Dean assures the concerned priest their plan will succeed. Meanwhile, Castiel awkwardly purchases food, beer and porn to get in Dean’s good graces, before Metatron appears and asks for a word. Metatron brings Castiel up to speed that Naomi represents one of many warring factions in Heaven, that they might put back together by confining the angels upstairs to hash things out.

Sam and Dean return to the base to find Castiel gone, before listening to a recording of Father Thompson’s final exorcism. Thompson repeatedly injected a trapped demon with his own “purified” blood, each time asking the demon to feel guilt for its actions. When it finally did, begging Thompson to stop the injections, Thompson performed the ritual successfully, apparently cleansing the demon soul of its evil ways. Sam and Dean marvel at the revelation, and opt to test the procedure themselves by reassembling Abaddon in captivity.

Castiel follows Metatron to a brunch restaurant in California, wherein Metatron suggests they complete the angel tablet trials to close the gates of heaven, lest the fighting spill on to Earth. Pointing out their waitress as an angel/human offspring “abomination,” Metatron tasks Castiel with killing the young girl as the first trial.

After sewing Abaddon back together, minus hands for safety, the demon explains it was she herself who killed Father Thompson years ago. Before the boys can begin the trial, Crowley calls to clue them in to former save Tommy Collins’ death, and provides an address for his next target. By the time Sam and Dean return to Abaddon, the demon has managed to will her disembodied hands to set her free and escape.

With no other options, Sam and Dean visit the next address to find another former save Jenny Klein, having burnt to death in her own oven. Crowley calls to explain that his sources have given enough intel to kill one of Sam and Dean’s past saves every 12 hours until the Winchesters give up the tablet and Kevin Tran. Sam and Dean race to the next location in Indianapolis, finding Sam’s old love interest Sarah Blake. Meanwhile, Castiel and Metatron follow the young waitress, who quickly reveals she knows their true nature, and attacks to save her own life. After a brief struggle, Castiel manages to stab the angel/human hybrid, narrowly saving Metatron.

Sam and Dean do their best to demon-proof Sarah’s hotel room before Crowley’s deadline, as Sam catches up on Sarah’s recent marriage and daughter. Crowley calls a few seconds before midnight, as the brothers prepare for the attack, when Sarah begins choking to death. Sam and Dean frantically search for the hex bag responsible, as Crowley explains that he plans to rip apart their life’s work until they give up, keeping all demons away as a precaution. Sarah finally chokes to death, as Dean hurls the phone across the room, revealing the hex bag inside moments too late.

Back at the base, Sam considers giving in to Crowley’s demands, but Dean insists they’ll soldier on and defeat this challenge as all the rest.

As excited as we were to see a number of 'Supernatural' guest stars brought back for return appearances, we can't but feel 'Clip Show' ended up a bit disjointed, given the competing plots of Sam and Dean's exorcism revelations, and racing from state to state to save past characters. Castiel and Metatron's story felt similarly stunted, introducing a drastic turn for both characters with some far-reaching consequences, without taking the time to examine all sides of the struggle via Naomi, Sam and Dean.

Felicia Day's return episode "Pac-Man Fever" turned out much better than we expected for a side-story, but here illuminates that the season could have used that extra hour in dealing with the different storylines "Clip Show" presents. Abaddon's return, Sam and Dean's exploration of the third trial, and the multiple returns all make for intriguing threads in their own right, Crowley's attack on Sarah Blake offering a terrifying standout moment, though the stories would have benefit greatly from a bit more room to breathe.

Next week's finale still has some excellent setup going for it, but "Clip Show"s lead-up sadly lacks the resonance it could have with a bit more careful plotting.

Did you get your fill of spooky ‘Supernatural’ action?  What did you think about “Clip Show?” Join us again next week for an all-new recap of ‘Supernatural’ season 8 finale “Sacrifice” on The CW!

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