Supernatural Review: Return of the Past

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For whatever reason, after seeing the well-crafted episode surrounding Metatron and discovering the final trial to close the Gates of Hell, I'd assumed that the follow up would perhaps be a more light and airy hour focused on reminiscing about the past and inadvertently connecting it to some present case.

Except, while on some level we did get to revisit prior experiences that were directly linked to Sam and Dean's possible future, "Clip Show" was way more involved with the end goal of Supernatural Season 8 than I could have imagined.

This wasn't a breezy look back by any means, but rather an intense rising of action and stakes on all fronts towards what is looking to be a game changing finale.

The Clue In the Film

It was great to see Sam and Dean working together, backing each other up and going through the copious amounts of information at the bunker in order to figure out what curing a demon could possibly mean.

What's interesting is throughout the discovery how chilling and scary their findings would actually be. It's not that Supernatural isn't frightening now, but there was something overly dark and haunting during the early seasons of the series when it was primarily focused on the things that go bump in the night instead of the war of Heaven and Hell.

And here, there was a heavy creepiness that seemed to surround it all, enhanced by the dark demon dungeon, the old footage of the new style of exorcism and even the audio of the priest trying again and again to cure the demon. In a lot of ways, it re-established the demons as the vile, nasty, killing creatures that they are complete with black eyes and bloody mouths.

Now, was it convenient that Sam and Dean seemed to find all the information so quickly? Maybe, but I guess having the vast works of the Men of Letters might be a major help in cracking cases faster.

Of course, through it all, the callbacks to the past began to pop up. Notably, Abbadon, the demon that Henry Winchester had managed to put a bullet in before he died. Turns out, Abbadon happened to be connected to the "curing" exorcisms, and who better to practice the final trial on.

I'm glad Abbadon wasn't a one off character, and she brought a menacing feel beyond the smile and red lipstick. And how messed up was the hand coming out and then sticking its fingers in her mouth to pull out the bullet?

Sure, she managed to escape, but learning that Crowley was now King of Hell was an interesting turn. I've got a feeling this super powered demon isn't going to like the ranking order that the present currently is in.

But, my, how evil has Crowley become! It's a welcome shift from his prior self, often just messing with the brothers, into a villain that will stoop as low as possible to get what he wants.

The episode dug deep for those past characters to reappear, including the Wendigo save of season one, the witches save and, of course, Sarah, also a girl from season one Sam had rescued and even kissed.

It was noteworthy to see how in the eight years since Sam and Sarah met, how much she had done in her life from getting married to having a kid. In a lot of ways, its seemed to be what Sam has longed for. And I appreciated that where he saw that missing out and thinking he hadn't changed, Sarah recognized he had grown up from the kid really getting into the hunting, to the man that had found a determination and drive to accomplish and overcome the tumultuous road that he's been on.

Yet, I actually thought Sam and Dean would save Sarah at the last second, even though they had failed to save the first two victims of Crowley's new plan.

It was tragic that the duo who have become resilient and strong against all odds seemed ultimately powerless, watching her gasp for breath and eventually die.

Crowley got to have a brilliant speech about killing every single one of Sam and Dean's saves, all while quoting their famous line, "Saving people. Hunting things. The family business." It felt so cold and wrong to hear him utter those words, but perfect for a villain who the boys can't seem to stop.

I've never wanted the Winchesters to defeat Crowley more, but it makes me wonder who else from and Sam and Dean's past might suffer the same fate before all this is through.

And I know it's been a long journey for the brothers, but I wish Sam didn't feel so ready to give up at the end. The chips are down, but they are not out, so I was glad that Dean was there to stand with him, even if the episode cut off before Sam had a chance to respond.

Fantastically, Castiel also was a part of a major plot that stemmed from his desire to help (loved him getting the dirty magazines, beer, etc. at the store), but Metatron's desire to close the Gates of Heaven.

Wait. I did not see that coming. What would happen if both Heaven and Hell were closed? Is that a good thing? Can it be done?

Definitely the trials for Heaven sound incredibly harsh if they are anything like Castiel had to do in killing the offspring of a human and angel (I wonder which angel?) and pulling out her heart.

This was an intense episode filled with some great twists, scary and dark atmosphere, along with a combination of paths for each of the characters that are looking to converge in an explosive way. It's a great way to lead in to that finale, as I was on the edge of my seat the whole hour and now simply excited to see how it will all close out.


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (122 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


Crowley at his Best!!! Loving this .... 5 stars.


@Richard...interesting thoughts... thanks for a different prospective


I loved the structure of this ep. I thought it was brilliantly set up with Casstiel having his own, separate storyline from Sam and Dean. This let me fast forward his parts without missing anything I actually wanted to see! Tho I will say, I thoroughly enjoyed the dressing down that Dean gave Casstiel. It's been a long time coming and was well deserved. I just hope that it sticks, and the angel remains in his own story. Sam and Dean moments were some of the best of the season. The way Dean took care of and supported Sam, the pep talk Dean gave him at the end, his absolute confidence in Sam to do what was needed and was perfect. These kinds of scenes are why I watch Supernatural. The relationship Sam and Dean have may be convoluted and difficult for anyone who isn't them to understand, but it's solid and beautiful and exactly what they need. I'm so, so happy the writers finally put them back on track.


One more thing....They keep saying this show is to be the retired this season, but drag it out (stretching its story arcs past various breaking points). Season 8 was supposed to be the last; is this true? Without any spinoffs? Please?


Remember, much was made of purgatory before the hell/heaven gate story arc. Supposedly one goes to purgatory if you're not clean enough for heaven or evil enough for hell. The body/soul must be cleansed to be released. So if the gates of heaven/hell are closed, purgatory would just become filled. It looked rather empty at the beginning of season 8. *shrug*


Next week should be interesting. In the preview clip Abaddon mentions regime change. And we see Crowley helpless in a chair getting a beating from Dean? Maybe Abaddon replaced Crowley as King of Hell and turned him over to Sam and Dean? Not sure, though, because if they cure Crowley, she would be trapped in Hell when the gates are closed.


@PDWallace Contrary to what Dean says, he has never liked Castiel. Not from Day One. He loves rubbing Castiel's face in it every chance he can get. To Dean, Castiel is nothing more than a trained dog that is supposed to run to him as soon as he snaps his fingers. Come to think of it, I don't even recall Dean saying thank you to Castiel for pulling him out of Hell.


Castiel trying to buy the pie for Dean... And also buying the Busty Asian Beauty magazine...... Awwwwwwwwwe... My heart just melted! Please Deano, forgive him!!!!


This episode once again points out what's wrong with this, the worst season ever of SPN. Too many elements, things just thrown in for nothing. People thrown in just to die quick, meaningless deaths. The conversation between Sam and Sarah was a waste of film, what she said to him was stupid. Why are they trying to change these characters that we love so much this season? We know who they are and they haven't been themselves for most of the time, why? Sarah should have been more critical of Sam still doing the same thing as he was doing when they first met. This is a guy who doesn't want to hunt, he wants more, he's always wanted more. I like Crowley and was glad to see him again, doing something..evil for a change. Glad they couldn't cure a demon I think that's silly unless its Meg. I don't have much hope for the finale, too many disconnected elements for the story to come together in any satisfying manner. Too bad.


HELL NO !! I hope we wont see Zombies at all.....Zombies are on overkill at the moment.

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