Season 6, Episode 18
With Castiel's help, Sam and Dean travel back to Samuel Colt's time so that they can retrieve the ashes of a phoenix — the only thing Eve is vulnerable to. Thanks to Colt's journal, they know where and when the phoenix will be. It's just a matter of finding the thing and shooting it within twenty-four hours, which is the maximum amount of time they can stay before Castiel must bring them back or risk losing them forever.
Upon arrival in The Wild West
, they witness the execution of Elias Finch, a man sentenced to death for murdering his wife. Shortly afterwards, the judge who sentenced Finch is burned to death by what the prostitute he was with claims was Finch's ghost. The Winchesters visit Finch's grave and find it empty. They figure they've found their phoenix. Sam rides off to fetch Samuel Colt and his gun, while Dean stays in town to join the posse that the sheriff is organizing at dawn.
Meanwhile, Castiel meets with his lieutenant Rachel, who confronts him about certain dealings of his that she has learned about. When he tells her that he will not abandon his plans, she attempts to kill him. Cas manages to kill her first, but he is seriously injured during the fight. He shows up facedown on Bobby's floor and, much to Bobby's alarm, paints a symbol on his fridge with his own blood to hide them.
Back on the frontier, Sam finds Colt and tells him that he is a hunter from 2011, handing over his cell phone as proof. Colt, not terribly impressed, asks what Sam wants. Sam explains and asks Colt to come to town with him, but Colt refuses, insisting that he's retired and doesn't care anymore. So Sam asks if Colt will at least give him the gun. Meanwhile, in town, the sheriff has been burned to death just like the judge. The badge is pinned to Dean, who promptly arrests the third and final man involved in Finch's execution. He locks the man in the prison and waits for Finch to take the bait. Sure enough, Finch appears. Unable to touch the iron prison bars, he appeals to Dean, explaining that he was framed for his wife's murder.
With almost no time left before Sam and Dean are Trapped in the Past
, Cas is still too weak to time travel. He can't even call another angel for help. The only thing that can charge Cas up is the power of a human soul. He can siphon power off Bobby's, but it's a very dangerous procedure that, if done wrong, would cause Bobby to explode. They decide to take the chance. Cas touches Bobby's soul and begins to glow with power.
When Dean explains that he still has to kill him, Finch grabs a gun and runs out of the prison. Dean follows, grabbing Colt's gun from Sam as he goes, and confronts Finch in the middle of town. They have a shootout. Finch is killed and collapses into a pile of ashes. Just as the Winchesters are about to scoop those ashes up, they are zapped back to their own time.
It looks like all is lost. They have no ashes, and Cas is too fried to send anyone back again. Then a package arrives for Sam. Apparently, it's been sitting around at the post office for as long as anybody can remember, and it's from someone named Samuel Colt. Sam opens the package. Inside is his incredibly worn cell phone, a note from Colt, and a bottle of phoenix ashes.
- Badass Longcoat
- Breaking the Bonds: Averted with the shackles, which gives Dean the clue that the phoenix shares the vulnerability to iron.
- Brick Joke: Dean has to explain to Castiel that his Clint Eastwood serape is not a blanket. When he's actually back in the West...
- Butterface: Dean is looking forward to getting on with the saloon girls, only to find they're a bit too homely for his taste. Another girl flounces down the staircase, only when we see her face she's not only homely but has skin blemishes hinting at certain social diseases. Dean is bending backwards over the bar as she tries to smooch him, when fortunately a man who'd already booked her interrupts.
- Changed My Jumper: Subverted; the clothes are Hollywood History version and (more importantly) are too clean.
- Clueless Deputy: Subverted; the deputy actually set events in motion by raping and murdering Finch's wife.
- Couldn't Find a Pen: A wounded Castiel paints an Angel warding sign on the wall with his own blood, to protect himself while he recovers.
- Curse Cut Short: "Yippe-ki-yay, mother-"
Dean: "You know what that is?"
Sam: "Yeah. Horse-"
- Destination Defenestration: Dean jumps out the window to escape Finch.
- Dramatic Thunder: However the Battle in the Rain is a barely noticeable drizzle.
- Dress Up Episode: Dean does it wrong and is made fun of for half the episode, since the clothes he picked out were bad costumes and not the real thing.
- Drink Order: Dean orders whiskey from the top shelf (only to be told there's only one shelf) and sarsaparilla for his little brother, much to Sam's annoyance — until Dean gags on his shot. Sam smirks and says his sarsaparilla is just fine.
- Exact Words: "You're gonna burn for this."
- Fan Disservice: Dean is looking forward to spending time with the saloon girls...until he sees them.
- Fantastically Indifferent: Samuel Colt, who barely grunts when handed a mobile phone as proof of Sam's story. Sam is bemused at this underreaction.
Colt: 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 vapours.
- How We Got Here
- Inconvenient Summons: Rachael appears and gives everyone a What the Hell, Hero? speech for expecting Castiel to drop everything and handle their problems while he's leading an army. Castiel pulls out the Winchesters just as they're going to gather up the phoenix ash.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Dean says he'll go with the sheriff's posse because he's a posse magnet. He just loves posse.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Finch kills the Judge while he's banging a Soiled Dove.
- Knife Fight: Essentially what happens between Cas and Rachael.
- Mistaken for Gay
Sam: We're looking for a man.
Judge: (eyeing their fancy clothes) I'll bet.
- Monster Sob Story
- Mundane Solution: Finch can't get at his third target because he's locked inside an iron cage, so he grabs a gun and shoots him. Dean laments that he should have seen that coming.
- Nothing Up My Sleeve: Castiel's angelblade.
- Playing with Fire
- Posse: Averted; after the sheriff is killed, no-one interested.
- Quick Draw
- Rape and Revenge
- Reality Ensues: Dean's 'authenticity', which turns out to be a bit more than he likes when the saloon is boring and girls are too homely with overt signs of The Disease That Shall Not Be Named.
- Retired Gunslinger: Samuel Colt. And he's determined to stay that way.
- Right on the Tick: Naturally, there's a showdown at high noon.
- San Dimas Time: A variation: Sam and Dean can only stay in the past for so long until it becomes impossible for Cas to bring them back.
- Screw This Im Out Of Here: The deputy after the judge and sheriff are killed. Unfortunately Dean is more interested in using him as The Bait.
- Shout-Out: Dean cranks out every Western quote he can think of.
- Single Malt Vision: Lampshaded when Sam hands over Colt's own diary as proof as his claim. Looking at the two diaries, Colt says he's either drank too much or not enough.
- Special Edition Title: Copying the burning map credits from Bonanza.
- Skewed Priorities: What Rachael accuses the brothers of having, by demanding Cas drop everything to handle their problems while he's the general in a heavenly Civil War.
- Time Travel
- The Wild West
- Unreliable Narrator: Samuel Colt warns Sam not to believe everything he reads in his diary. Sure enough it's Dean who kills the phoenix. The diary said Colt's gun was used, but not who wielded it.
- U.S. Marshal: Carrying on their habit of impersonating feds, Sam and Dean claim to be these.
- Western Characters: Let's see; the Retired Gunfighter, The Sheriff, the Hanging Judge, the Outlaw, The Bartender, and the Soiled Dove.
- Write Back to the Future
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Loads of this from Dean.
- You Have 48 Hours