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Recap / Supernatural S 06 E 18 Frontierland

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Recap of Supernatural
Season 6, Episode 18

Frontierland

Dean: I'll stay here, hook up with the posse. Because you know me, I'm a posse magnet. I mean, I love posse. Make that into a T-shirt.
Sam: You done?

Written by Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin.

Directed by Guy Norman Bee.

Air Date: April 22, 2011.

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.

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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.

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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 the man sexually assaulted his wife. When Finch tried to stop him, both and his wife were both shot by the man. But while Finch survived, his wife did not and he was framed for his wife's murder.

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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, shoots the man 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.

Body Count:

For this episode = 5 humans, 1 angel, 2 demons, and 1 phoenix.

For the series so far = At least 466 humans (of which 6 were witches), 79 demons, 34 ghosts, 26 vampires, 19 zombies, 14 gods, 12 angels, 9 hellhounds, 7 skinwalkers, 6 changelings, 5 shapeshifters, 4 ghouls, 3 djinn, 2 Arachnes, 2 dogs, 2 werewolves, 1 crocotta, 1 dragon, 1 fairy, 1 Khan worm, 1 lamia, 1 okami, 1 phoenix, 1 rakshasa, 1 rawhead, 1 reaper, 1 rugaru, 1 shtriga, 1 siren, 1 wendigo, 1 whore of Babylon, and 1 wraith.

Tropes

  • Artistic Licence – History: In the episode, Samuel Colt's journal says that there is a phoenix in Sunrise, Wyoming in 1861. If Samuel Colt's journal from 1861 really said that, it would be considered a forgery since: a) The mining town of Sunrise wasn't built until 1898, when the Colorado Fuel and Iron company started to sell the mining rights for the area; b) The Wyoming Terrritory didn't exist until 1868. (Before that is was known as Idaho, and in 1861 it was known as Nebraska); and c) Samuel Colt could not have known of those things since he died of gout in 1862.
    • In addition, Sam is able to find Samuel Colt in a small shack that is a three hour horse ride away from Sunrise. This would be very unlikely since a) the production and sale of Colt revolvers made Samuel Colt a very rich man in his day, b) Samuel Colt based his operation out of New York area, and c) in 1861 Samuel Colt was made the Colonel of a Regiment in Connecticut, a state that was 1800 miles away from Sunrise, Wyoming.
  • 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...
    "Nice blanket."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fantastically Indifferent: Samuel Colt, who barely grunts when handed a cell phone as proof of Sam's story. Sam is bemused at this under-reaction.
    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 vapors.
  • Humiliation Conga: Dean suffers a minor one for about half the episode once they go back in time and he learns that everything he knows about the Old West (that he learned through movies) is horribly, hilariously wrong.
    Dean: [Gags on his shot of whiskey] Oh, God, it's like gasoline!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted again with Samuel Colt and Sam Winchester, just like before with the latter and Samuel Campbell.
  • Overly Stereotypical Disguise: Dean's idea of western clothing derives solely from Western movies. He dresses just like his heroes, but modern Hollywood's idea of cowboy clothing stands out glaringly in the actual Old West, making Dean the butt of many jokes. Sam, who simply adds a cowboy hat and boots to what he would typically wear, blends in much better.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: When Dean suggests going back in time to take the ashes of the phoenix, he describes it as "Star Trek IV'ing this bitch." Neither Bobby nor Sam have any idea what he's talking about.
    Bobby: I've only watched Deep Space Nine.
    Dean (exasperated): It's like I don't know you guys anymore.
  • Public Execution: Elias Finch is publicly hanged.
  • 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, I'm Out of Here!: The deputy after the judge and sheriff are killed. Unfortunately Dean is more interested in using him as The Bait.
  • Somewhere, an Equestrian Is Crying: After arriving in the old west, Sam and Dean find out that Samuel Colt is actually 20 miles away. Sam and Dean get a horse so that Sam can get to him, retrieve the Colt revolver, and get it back so Dean can kill the Phoenix with it. The problem is, they've only got 24 hours before Cas pulls them back, and they already burned some of that time talking to people, finding out where Samuel is, arranging for a horse for Sam, etc. That's a 40 mile round trip in less than 24 hours. Doesn't seem like a great distance to two men used to barreling down the highway in the Impala at 80mph...but a stable horse simply isn't going to be able to do more than 20 or maybe 25 miles in a day, total. And that's at a walking pace, not a trot or a gallop. (There's a brief scene of Sam riding the horse at a full gallop) After that, it'll need a considerable amount of time to be watered, rested, and fed before it can be ridden again. Sam doesn't know any of this. While he might be able to cover the 20 miles to get to Colt, on the way back he's either going to push the horse so hard it will drop dead or buck him into the dirt and run off. Bottom line: By the time Cas pulls them back, Sam's on foot trying to get back to the town and Dean's dead because he had to do a showdown with the Phoenix but didn't have the Colt.
  • 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.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Phoenix goes on a killing spree against three local police officers once they arrive, only for Dean to find out it was a painful love and loss revelation against a duplicitous sheriff's deputy with his cowardly superior and the decadent judge taking his word over the persecuted and ended up burning for it.

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