Thanks to Cas, Sam and Dean hit the way back machine and travel back to Sunrise, Wyoming in 1861. They have 24 hours to find a phoenix that'll help rid the world of the Mother of All. Cue the Bonanza-esque open; Western-style music serenading the jump back in time; and fanboy Dean. Plus, Sam gets to track down the Samuel Colt, maker of the gun that has meant so much to this show's mythology over the years. Cas and Bobby are integral to the boys' excellent adventure as well.
After "Weekend at Bobby's" and "The French Mistake," this is the episode I've been waiting and waiting for and it doesn't disappoint on any level. It has mythology, humor (a million hilarious lines), a monster-of-the week that I liked even though it once again took human form; and it has both Cas and Bobby. In fact, it has both Cas and Bobby interacting with each other without the boys being in the room. Pretty cool. I'll also say I loved the directing and the look of "Frontierland." And I'd say that even if I didn't follow the episode's director (the very awesome Guy Bee) on Twitter.
"Frontierland" is just a whole lot of fun. There's some angst but it's not displayed by Sam or Dean and that's refreshing to me. There's a whole lot of smart, competent Dean. I know that's going to make a lot of his fans happy. And it also involves Sam getting to ride a horse on his way to meet Samuel Colt. He has this long scene with the gun maker/hunter, where Sam faces a bitter hunter that he no longer wants to fight the good fight. So Sam has to make his case for the gun.
And poor Cas. I don't think he's ever looked more tired or defeated. The weariness is permanently etched on his face. I wish we could see more of what's causing all of this. As for Bobby, he's integral in getting the boys back to the future. Plus, Jim Beaver gets to utter what has instantly become my favorite Bobby line of all time: "Well, we can't strand those idjits in Deadwood, can we?" I mean, Jim utters "idjits" and gives a nod to the HBO series he starred on before his character was offed in 2006. Classic.
I must admit, I had sort of turned my back on the Colt after it was used to off the Yellow-Eyed Demon in Season 2. I thought after that, it had lost its specialness. In Season 3, more bullets were made and I felt like it became just another gun. I moved on to the demon-killing knife. But, with "Frontierland," meeting the bitter badass Samuel Colt helped make me fall in love with the gun all over again. And I'm even more cool with the fact that the ashes of the phoenix is the thing that will bring down the Mother of All. I'm content with the Colt simply looking cool and taking down mere demons.
Dean Winchester is a big ol' geek, isn't he? Did you see his face when they were in Samuel Campbell's secret research library/panic room? He totally geeked out. But once the plan to go back to the past takes hold, the fanboy side of him cranks up to a thousand. I think he's turned into an even bigger geek than Sam. I love how he gets so excited for certain things like pie, Westerns and...Dr. Sexy M.D. He knows he's going to the Old West and he runs out for supplies. Unfortunately, his Western wear is not nearly as authentic as he thinks. Of course, Sam doesn't want anything to do with being "authentic." To fit in, he simply puts on a shirt, a jacket and a hat. But he comes out looking better to the locals of Sunrise, Wyoming.
In Sunrise, Sam and Dean end up having to use their hunting skills to take care of a guy who's going around murdering the men who sentenced him to death by hanging — the town judge, sheriff and deputy. I like how it turns out he actually had a valid reason for killing these authority figures. Unfortunately, Dean can't let this Elias Finch live. He's the phoenix. The brothers need him dead so they can make with his ashes and get back to 2010.
As for Cas, he's busy getting confronted by his lieutenant. Later, he tells Bobby she turned on him and let Raphael corrupt her. There may be some truth to that. But the things that she said lead me to believe there's more to the story. What is Cas' "dirty little secret?" What did he have to do that was so bad they wouldn't tell us in this episode? Cas says he didn't have a choice. It must be something huge. I have a feeling we'll find out in a couple of weeks.
One of my favorite moments (other than Bobby's Deadwood line) is the high noon showdown Dean had with Finch. Sam appeared just in time with the Colt in hand (yay, Sam!) and then the newly appointed sheriff (Dean) faced down Finch in the middle of town with the clock striking high noon. The tension of this Old West gunfight is intercut with an injured Cas (from his battle with Rachel) having to go to extremes to bring the Winchesters back to present day — he has to touch Bobby's soul to get the mojo he needs to do the deed.
The clock strikes noon; shots are fired; and Finch is killed. Then there's this slow-mo shot of Dean and the Colt. Then we get an awesome shot of Finch going up demon-style. It was pretty amazing. Worth the price of admission. But before Sam and Dean can snag the ashes, Cas is successful and they find themselves at Bobby's once again, feeling like they failed. No matter. Sam got through to Samuel Colt. All of a sudden a guy knocks on the door. He has a package and it happens to be the ashes. Total suspension of disbelief, but I don't care. I'm going with it. In the Supernatural universe, crazier things have happened. The fact it's a Back to the Future Part III reference makes it even easier to suspend my disbelief.
Other Favorite Moments
-The Supernatural theme song done Bonanza-style. Actually, it wasn't just the song. It also had the burning map.
-Sam on a horse
-Every time an excellent line of dialogue was uttered
-Cas actually "ganking" someone; he got to be a bit of a badass in this episode even though he did get hurt
-Dean in the zerape (and everybody calling it a blanket)
-Dean getting hit on by one of Elkins' best girls. Man, did she look nasty
-Call me twisted, but I love the way the phoenix killed his victims and turned them into piles of ash.
-Dean getting anointed sheriff after the barkeep picked up the badge from the old sheriff's ashes and pinned it on Dean.
-Sam stepping in you-know-what and his brother calling it "authenticity."
-Sam guessing that Samuel Colt had just killed two demons even though their bodies were nowhere to be found. That Sam is sure resourceful.
-Samuel's research/panic room is much nicer than Bobby's. But I give Bobby the edge because of that poster of Bo Derek.
-I should have known something was up with Rachel the angel. She resented the boys, saying they only call when they need something. Which may be true, but I do like to think there's a give-and-take. In fact, most recently, Cas made them the bait.
-Love when Cas interrupts Rachel's entitlement rant.
-I wish there could have been more of this Mother of All story this season. Then it would make what Sam, Dean and Cas are going through that much more meaningful. We really weren't introduced to her all that long ago, so I know in my head she's the Big Bad of this final part of the season, but in my heart she's not as significant as Big Bads before her.
-Elkins is the last name of the barkeep. He's probably an ancestor of Daniel Elkins, the former hunter friend of John Winchester, who was killed in Season 1's "Dead Man's Blood." Nice touch, Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin (the writers of this episode).
-Another nod to early Supernatural is the fact that Samuel's building is the devil's gate when Sam and Dean are visiting in 1861. This devil's gate would play a major part of the Season 2 finale.
-Besides that slow-mo shot of Dean, my other favorite shot was after Rachel the lieutenant angel was killed. The shadow of her wings while she's laying there is killer.
-I really enjoyed seeing Samuel Colt. He may have been jaded and whiny, but he still managed to be cool. And he came through for the Winchesters.
-The Cas-touching-Bobby's-soul scene is great too. Poor Bobby. He's had a rough season.
-I'm sorry, but Dean looked really hot with that hat head in the last scene before it ended. How great was it when he put the cowboy hat on and the episode cut to black. Roll credits. So cool. After they both made a rough start, Sam and Dean made excellent cowboys.
-So there's Grandpa Samuel Campbell; his grandson Samuel Winchester; and Samuel Colt, gunmaker/hunter. So many Sams on one show. Of course, two of them are dead.
Favorite Lines (courtesy writers Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin)
"We'll Star Trek IV this bitch." "I only watched Deep Space Nine." "It's like I don't even know you guys anymore."
"Come on, Cas. I Dream of Jeannie your ass down here, pronto! Please."
"You have a fetish, Dean." "Shut up, I like old movies!" "You can recite every Clint Eastwood movie ever made. Line for line." "Even the monkey movies?" "Yeah. Especially the monkey movies." "His name is Clyde."
"You know what that is?" "Yeah, it's horse..." "Authenticity!"
"Marshall Eastwood. Clint Eastwood. This here's Walker. He's a Texas Ranger."
"What can I do for you boys?" We're looking for a man." "I'll bet."
"I'll stay here, hook up with the posse. Cause you know me, I'm a posse magnet. I mean, I love posse. Make that into a T-shirt." "You done?"
"So you're a hunter." "Slash sheriff."
"Candygram for Mongo." (Blazing Saddles reference)
"Don't worry. Most creatures I meet can't get it up for iron. It's a common monster problem."
"Well we can't strand those idjits in Deadwood, can we?"
"You know what this means?" "I didn't get a soul-onoscopy for nothing." "Yes, and it means we take the fight to her."
"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.