Supernatural’s penultimate episode before next week’s finale starts off like so many others. A couple cabining it up in Lost Creek, Colorado is staring out the window when things start to get a bit out there. Judging from the flashbacks, the man survived the Wendigo attack way back in season one. Well, whatever it is now attacks him from the inside until his head explodes all over the cabin and his female companion.

Doing a bit of research in the Lair

Back at the Winchester lair, the boys are searching for anything that can help them in the third trial; the curing of a demon. While Sam is getting worse, the previously injured Castiel, though healing slowly, is getting better. Dean’s attitude towards the archangel, however, is anything but good. Cas going off with the angel tablet and not trusting Dean to help has hurt the elder Winchester more than anything. Despite the angel’s apologies, Dean’s not hearing it: That’s not gonna cut it,” he tells his former best friend, “not this time.” Distracting Dean a bit from his frothy emotions, he and Sam discover this room 7B. It’s footage of a Class 5 Event from St Louis in 1957. They also find a ‘dungeon’ of sorts, housing devil’s traps and chains engraved with demon-repelling script. After watching the video (and noticing the poor woman the demon knight Abaddon possessed in the background) they realize that Father Thompson, the elder statesman in the videos, was attempting to do the same thing Sam must do—cure a demon. Wanting to learn more about his procedure, they meet with the junior priest in the video who’s still alive and kicking in St Louis. He tells the brothers of Father Thompson’s belief that a demon, who is just a human soul twisted and mutilated from its torturous time in Hell, could be saved. The get their hands on video 19, which depicts the good Father successfully cleansing a demon after an 8 hour ordeal and injecting it with his purified blood.

While the boys are doing a bit of research and watching Father Thompson’s greatest hits, Cas goes shopping and gets a visit from Metatron. The admitted pencil-pusher of Heaven tells Cas about the carnage taking place on High. Factions of angels fighting for control as there are no archangels to quell the insurrections. Metatron insists the angelic brethren need a full on time-out to get it together and there’s only one way to do that: close the gates using the angel tablet. Of course, things won’t be easy and, like Sam, Cas would need to complete 3 trials, the first of which would be to cut the heart out of the world’s one remaining nephilim (produced from the union of an angel and a human woman) who just happens to be the nice lil red head waitress that was flirting with Cas.

Knowing that curing a demon can now be done, the brothers just need to have their own demon to experiment on. They

Abaddon’s a bit surprised at the news (and she’s looked better)

have one in the hopper—Abbadon. They sew her head back on though she cuts their smugness when she predicts what they’re trying to do. A call from ‘666’ interrupts the soiree and they call to talk to Crowley (who Abaddon is more than a little surprised at is running things on the side of Hell). While Crowley toots his horn and gives the boys a destination to hit in Prosperity, IN, Abaddon is busy getting telepathic with her hands the Winchesters so nicely cut off; they do the Munsters thing and help her escape. Not sure why they didn’t lock her in a demon’s trap BEFORE resurrecting her but the past’s just that. They get to Prosperity but too late to do anything for the nice cupcake girl, Jenny Klein (Season 6’s “Shut Up, Dr. Phil”) is burnt to a crisp. He’s picking off those potential victims the Winchesters had saved and the real kick in the nuts is in Indy at the Ivy motel. When they get there, Sam is stunned to find Sarah Blake (Season 1’s “Provenance”), a woman Sam had the hots for way back when.

On the other side of things, Metatron and Cas confront the nephilim, who’s a bit more vicious and formidable than her outside demeanor implies. She tosses the injured Cas around a bit before throttling Metatron. Cas gets the save though, skewering her through the throat with the angel sword.

While the boys set up a veritable cornucopia of a perimeter with devil’s traps and all sorts of anti-demonic graffiti, Sam and Sarah talk a bit about their lives. When the time comes, the brothers watch helplessly as Sarah chokes before their eyes. It’s in this moment that, despite his charm and witty retorts, Crowley truly presents himself as one evil son of a bitch. He promises the death of one person the Winchesters have saved every 12 hours until they give up the demon tablet. He’s counting on sentiment to lead them. When they get back to the Lair, tired and dejected, Dean knows they have to move ahead with their plan though Sam is not quite as sure.

What a bastard! While Crowley has been on Supernatural off and on for the past 4 seasons, it’s not until “Clip Show” where we see his true visage and cunning. Using the books written by Carter Edlund (err…God?) he’s able to track down every last victim Sam and Dean have saved over the years. Throwing in a bit of his witch heritage—gleaned from his mother—he’s able to keep one step ahead of the good guys. But judging from their track record (and the snippets of next week’s season finale), Crowley may have dug his own grave. Sam and Dean will come calling, ready to collect their bounty in the reigning King of Hell’s blood. And for the first time, I’m looking forward to see the demon get his comeuppance.