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Supernatural: Frontierland

Bobby: "Are you going to a hoe-down?"
Castiel: "Is it customary to wear a blanket?"

Watching Dean live out a western movie fantasy was downright adorable. Even the part where his clothes were too clean and no one understood what he said. Or maybe especially the part where his clothes were too clean and no one understood what he said.

One of Supernatural's best episodes was "In the Beginning," a deliberate homage to Back to the Future. "Frontierland" had numerous references to Back to the Future III (which I wouldn't have known if Dan hadn't been watching it with me), like the clothes being too clean, Dean calling himself Clint Eastwood, and the special delivery package from the past. I'm sure I missed about three hundred other western movie and television references, but I also liked the way they revisited parts of "All Hell Breaks Loose," where Andy actually said he'd woken up in Frontierland. And Samuel Colt has become almost a continuing character, which is a nice trick for someone who is mostly talked about and has been dead for so long.

Surprisingly, considering how Dean owned this episode, the confrontation between Sam and Samuel Colt was special, too. Colt has seen so much that a giant from the future with a magic brick didn't throw him at all. And Sam saying that he, Sam, had plenty of mileage on him was such an understatement that I found it rather touching. One of the best things about this back end of season six has been that Sam is the old Sam again. I was so ready for it, and I'm enjoying it so much.

Unfortunately, Castiel is freaking me out. His situation in Heaven is so dire that his friends are turning on him. Was Rachel right? What is Castiel's dirty little secret? Has Castiel compromised his principles? Last week's mention of fifty thousand souls certainly made it sound that way. When the good guys are as bad as the bad guys, what's the point? Has Castiel metaphorically lost his soul?

Even though I felt bad about Castiel losing Rachel that way (why do female characters keep dying on this show?) the angel wing silhouette is so gorgeous and I always love when they do it. Please don't let them be planning a death wing silhouette for Castiel. Pretty please with sugar on it? Or maybe salt?

One thing that didn't ring true for me was Sam taking off to look for Samuel Colt in the dark. The old west at night was *dark* dark. No streetlights, no paved roads, can't see your hand in front of your face, and I didn't see Sam carrying a torch or a lamp. No full moon, either. Your horse would step in a hole and break an ankle in five minutes, or run you right into a tree. And how would you find Colt's cabin with no roads, street signs, or Mapquest?

And okay, getting the date and Bobby's address off Sam's cell phone was a bit much. But they did have a Pony Express Couriers whatever office right there in Sunrise in 1861. And Samuel Colt wasn't thrown a bit by giants from the future with magic bricks; he'd have pushed all the buttons.

So it was a stretch. I liked it, anyway.

Bits and pieces:

— Sunrise, Wyoming. March 5, 1861. Just the title of this episode made me laugh out loud. And I love it when they do special credits. I think the burning map was from Bonanza.

— How much did I love the Campbell family library? So very, very much. Very Buffy.

— The Phoenix, a.k.a. Elias Finch (note the bird name) had a good reason for taking revenge, and his three victims deserved what they got. Dean really shouldn't have killed him. I sort of felt bad for the guy. Thing. Whatever.

— Loved the pile of ashes with the badge resting on top of it.

— Dean got Sam the sort of western shirt you wear to a square dance. Sam inadvertently got him back, though; the whiskey/sarsaparilla joke backfired on Dean. So did the hooker.

— Touching a soul, or as Bobby referred to it, a soul-o-noscopy, is pretty dangerous. Bobby could have exploded. Good to know.


Bobby: "Either of you jokers ever heard anything about a phoenix?"
Dean: "River, Joaquin, or the giant flaming bird?"

Dean: "We'll Star Trek Four this bitch."
Bobby: "I only watched Deep Space Nine." (Sam looks blank)
Dean: "It's like I don't even know you guys any more."

Sam: "You can recite every Clint Eastwood movie ever made. Line for line."
Bobby: "Even the monkey movies?"
Sam: "Yeah. Especially the monkey movies."

Dean: "What's wrong with my shirt?"
Judge: "You're very clean."

Dean: "I'll stay here and hook up with the posse. Because you know me. I'm a posse magnet. I mean, I love posse. Make that into a tee shirt."
Sam: "You done?"

Dean: (high voice) "Candygram for Mongo."
Another callback to Blazing Saddles. (See "The French Mistake.")

Sam: "That's it?"
Colt: "Well, when you've done this job as long as I have, a giant from the future with some magic brick doesn't exactly give you the vapors."

Castiel: "You sure?"
Bobby: "Well, we can't just strand those idjits in Deadwood, can we?"
Have they been waiting all this time for the perfect place to insert a Deadwood reference? It was indeed the perfect place.

Dean: "Yippie ki-yay, mother..."
I swear, next Christmas I'm going to finally get around to reviewing Die Hard.

Much fun, and I love time travel. But not an arc episode, and not up to "In the Beginning." (But what is?) Three out of four magic bricks,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Phoenix/Finch, while burning someone from the inside out: "Who's the judge now?"

    Did anyone else think Buffy Season 2?

  2. Dean: "River, Joachim, or the giant flaming bird?"

    Sorry, but it should be *Joaquin*.
    Other than that, great review as always. I must say that I really enjoyed this episode. I particularly loved when Sam and Dean were geeking out over Colt's diary.

    Can't wait for the rest of the episodes.

  3. To me, this episode felt a little flat plot-wise. Just too familiar and far too easy. That said, I did like a lot of the jokes, especially "let's Star Trek IV this bitch" and the Deadwood reference. I thought the posse joke was pretty silly, but my favorite moment was Dean's little boy grin just after he said it. The way he nodded his hat down so we couldn't see his face and then looked back up still grinning made me giggle. Tee hee!

    Overall, not as strong as it could have been. I'm hoping for much better as they wrap up the season.

  4. This was perhaps my favorite episode so far. I love westerns, star trek references and time travel.
    although I'm also really worried about Cas, I wish they would just tell us what was going on.
    Did I miss something or does Samuel colt sending them the gun in the future a major timeline issue cause wasn't there only one gun several seasons ago?
    And actually horses can see at night much better than humans can so it probably wouldn’t run into a tree but I doubt Sam could navigate in the dark to a place he had never been.

  5. I really liked this episode. I might even go so far as to say that it's one of my favorite episodes of the season so far.

    I'm probably the only one who wonders this regarding the monsters, but: Are all the creatures that Sam and Dean have fought supposed to be disguised in human form, or are they supposed to actually BE human-like in appearance? I've been wondering this for a while, but the romantic phoenix/human relationship mentioned in the episode made me really think about it.

  6. Valerie,

    I was thinking that during the episode, too; but then, when Dean is running to retrieve the ashes, they show him dropping the colt. It stayed in the past, no paradox ocurred.

  7. Isn't the paradox that, if the Colt has been in a box at the Pony Express office since the 1800s, then how did Sam and Dean use it in previous seasons? At some point, they'll have to return it to the year 2000 or so, so that they can find it in their past.

  8. I guess I missed that. I only saw the bottle of ashes and Sam's magic brick. That may be a new colt. Samuel may have thought: "Hey, he really wanted this gun, I'll make him a new one!". But they should have made it clear.

  9. The logic in parts of this weren't perfect, but this episode made up for it in pure joy. Everything about this episode was fun. I felt like the characters were having fun, the actors were having fun and the writers were having fun. The whole thing just felt like joy from every corner and I'm loving the new Sam and Dean. I feel like they are getting stronger with every episode.

    I skip In The Beginning whenever I rewatch S4, but I love that Supernatural gives something different to everyone.

    @ Josie.

    Samuel Colt didn't put the gun in the box. It was just Sam's phone and the ashes

  10. Thanks for the spelling correction, Amy. I fixed it in my review.

    I don't think there was a paradox. There was a deliberate shot of Dean dropping the Colt, and I don't remember seeing it in the box.

  11. Ah, yes. You are all correct. No paradox here...nothing to see.

  12. I liked this episode alright. It was a solid 3, 3.2 stars tops. My one quibble: I was put out that they had to kill the phoenix. First off, I liked Finch and it seems like only a few seasons ago killing someone/something that wasn't all bad would have given the boys pause. Now it is just, "I have to kill you." :( I felt bad for Finch and I wish Dean had shown just a smidgen of indecision. Of course, the last 7 minutes or so were packed and felt rushed... I honestly wish they had taken out some of the cowboy hoohah stuff and made the episode feel smoother.

  13. I swear I love Dean more and more, but damn, I am worried about Cas. D:

  14. I liked this episode a lot, really a lot! The jokes and the way Dean was all giddy just put a smile on my face throughout the entire episode.

  15. Nice homage to back to the future III. Fun and plot moving at the same time. But of course after The French Mistake everything looks like a 3 out of 4 at most in comparison.

  16. This episode had me smiling -- a lot. I agree with Jess that the posse joke was lame, but Dean's delivery of it, his glee at it and Sam's deadpan response to it had me in stitches.

    I am worried about Cass as well. Something flashed through my mind while I was watching the fight with Rachael. Wasn't Crowley pillaging Purgatory for souls? Is this what Cass has been up to? It would tie into the 50,000 extra souls from the Titanic. Well, four more episodes to go, so I'm sure the writers will continue to surprise.

    One final note. I usually find JP to be the better looking of the two boys. But JA in that sheriff get-up -- HOT!

  17. Westerns are not my favorite, my Mom's favorite actor was John Wayne, so we watched too many of them at my house. This episode shines because of the acting and the writing. My favorite quote was when Bobby said to Cas...isn't it time to pick up the kids at Fronteirland??. The funniest part was Dean being teased about his blanket, and when he was told he was too clean, I just lost it and it takes a lot to make me laugh that hard. Great job with the script.


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