Supernatural: Westward, ho!
"No, these aren't Halloween costumes! Why do people keep asking that?" "We will take some candy if you've got it, however."
The boys go back in time to visit the Old West this week on Supernatural, and it turns out that a lifetime of memorizing every Clint Eastwood movie does not, in fact, prepare you for the realities of 1861. Sorry, Dean! At least you got to live out your Western fantasies with minimal scarring!
Meet the MacGuffin
A perusal of the Campbell Family Library reveals that you can kill the Mother of All with the handy application of Phoenix Ash. Problem: The last recorded sighting of a Phoenix was in 1861, when Samuel Colt's Gun That Can Kill Anything (except when it can't) brought one down in Sunrise Wyoming.
Fortunately, Dean says, they know a guy who can make that handy-dandy time-travel thing work for them -- no DeLorean needed! After a brief interval with a less-than-amenable angel named Rachel, the guys get Cas to agree to send them back. The catch: They've only got 24 hours, or they'll be stuck in the past forever.
Read on for more Wild West Winchesterism!
I love the smell of authenticity in the morning…
After a quick shopping trip, the guys are ready for their Western sojourn. Dean has studied the era extensively through the oeuvre of one Mr. Clint Eastwood, so he thinks he's got this assignment licked.
Unfortunately, the real Old West turns out to be dirtier, germier and less fashion-forward that he expected. The saloon girls sport running sores and questionable dental hygiene; the whiskey tastes like gasoline; and men who wear clean clothing are looked at askance. Plus, Dean's Eastwood-appropriate serape is roundly mocked. Poor guy!
The guys arrive in time to witness the hanging of Curtis Finch. Soon after that, things start getting weird: The judge who hanged Curtis Finch (and who snaked Dean's saloon girl) gets burned up by the touch of Finch's hand. The sheriff is the next to get barbecued -- and he asks Finch to forgive him. Finch declines.
Sam rode a blazing saddle, Dean wore a shining star…
In the face of this weirdness, the boys split-up -- Sam rides off to find Samuel Colt (who's busy building that giant Devil's Trap out of railroads) wilderness shack, while Dean gets drafted as the new sheriff. He's obviously thrilled. He tracks down the last surviving member of the hanging trio. Turns out Deputy Dumbass forced himself on Finch's wife, and then killed them both when he was caught. Only problem is that Finch, as a phoenix, doesn't stay dead. Now he wants his revenge.
Dean is smart enough to realize that Finch the Phoenix can't touch iron (those iron cuffs he was wearing during the hanging prevented him from fleeing), so he locks Deputy Dumbass in jail. He is not, however, smart enough to realize that a bullet can kill just as easily. Finch proves Bob Marley wrong by shooting the deputy but missing the sheriff as Dean flees.
Sam tracks down Samuel Colt, who takes the arrival of a "giant from the future with some magic brick (a.k.a. a cellphone)" without getting the vapors. Unfortunately, he doesn't want to follow this future-giant into harm's way. Instead, he reluctantly gives Sam the Everything-Killing (Except When Not) gun and sends him on his way.
Meanwhile, back in the future…
Bobby and Cas aren't kicking back with a cup of Earl Grey while the boys are in Frontierland. Nope, Cas is fighting his deputy Rachel, who accuses him of some annoying vague wrongdoing. Rachel, skip phrases like "dirty little secret" and give us some specifics, OK? Alas, she doesn't survive long enough to heed our suggestion -- instead, she and Cas go at each other with smitesitcks. Cas kills Rachel, but she manages to wound him severely. Cas retreats to Bobby's to convalesce.
Unfortunately, Cas' wound means he's too weak to bring the boys back. He needs a boost -- the sort of boost you get by tapping into the unfettered energy of the human soul. Bobby agrees to let Cas grope his soul in order to get the boys back, even though the slightest slip-up on Cas' part means Bobby will explode. The guys better make it worth it!
Sam gets Dean the gun in time for the climactic shootout. Of course Dean kills Finch, and the phoenix is reduced to a pile of ash. Unfortunately, the guys were cutting it close to the time limit, so Dean's moment of basking in his own glory was ill-advised. He drops the Colt and lunges toward Finch's ash-heap corpse to get the vital ingredient, but before he can fill a bottle with Mother-Killer, the guys are dragged back to the present.
It's looking grim for the Winchester boys (and, you know, humanity), when there's a knock at the door of Bobby's house. A delivery guy has a package that's been sitting around the office for 150 years -- a package from Samuel Colt. Seems he went to town to check out what Sam was talking about and found the gun, the bottle and the ashes. He found Sam's address through is magic brick, and sent a care package full of monster-killing ash. Go, Colt!
Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends
Once again, the show rocks the theme episode. Even the credits -- a burning map, the old-timey font for "Supernatural" -- were great. Plus, we got a kick out of this descriptor: "48 hours earlier (and 150 years later)."
"Candygram for Mongo!" For that line alone, this episode was everything we hoped it would be. (You HAVE seen "Blazing Saddles," right? RIGHT?)
Actually, between this and "The French Mistake," someone is showing off their love of Mel Brooks. We approve. Now, can we get a "Spaceballs" reference in there somewhere? Maybe some "History of the World: Part I" love? Heck, we'll accept a shout-out to "Robin Hood: Men in Tights"!
We loved the guys geeking out over Samuel Colt's real-life journal. They're such fanboys!
Speaking of fanboys…
Sam: Look just because you're obsessed with all that Wild West stuff…
Dean: No I'm not.
Sam: You have a fetish, Dean
Dean: Shut up, I like old movies!
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: His name is Clyde.
Bobby: Either of you jokers ever hear anything about a phoenix?
Dean: River, Joaquin or the giant flaming bird?
Dean: We'll Star Trek 4 this bitch.
Bobby: I only watch Deep Space Nine.
Dean: It's like I don't even know you guys anymore. Star Trek 4, save the whales!
About your plan? You only have 24 hours
Sam: What? Why?
Castiel: Well, the answer to your question can best be expressed as a series of partial differential equations.
Bobby: Yeah. Aim lower.
Dean even fanboys the fake names this time out. He called himself "Marshal Clint Eastwood," and introduces Sam as "Walker… he's a Texas Ranger."
Dean: You know me, I'm a posse magnet. I mean, I love posse. Make that into a t-shirt.
Sam: You done?
We get it, Dean. You're 12. Sigh.
Dean: Iron shackles. Iron bars. Iron nail. See a pattern? Don't worry, most creatures I meet can't get it up for iron. It's a common monster problem.
Finch: You're a Hunter?
Dean: Slash, sheriff.
Dean: You know what this means?
Bobby: Yeah, I didn't get a soulenoscopy for nothing.
So what do you think Cas' dirty secret is? We're guessing it has something to do with a Soul Arsenal. Whatever it is, we're wondering how the boys will take it when it comes out…
We're impressed that Sam managed to ride 20 miles out to Colt's place without getting bucked off of breaking the horse.
We’re not always a fan of his everything-killing-except-when-not gun, but we loved Samuel Colt.
What did you think? Were you impressed or distressed? Did you catch any great movie references that we missed? Does this episode make you wish that Kripke got his Western pilot off the ground? Talk about it in the comments!