Powered by i.TV
October 31, 2014

'Supernatural' Season 6, Episode 18 Recap

by Maureen Ryan, posted Apr 22nd 2011 10:00PM
['Supernatural' - 'Frontierland']

Well, even if you're not a devotee of Westerns or an obsessive Clint Eastwood fan, I'm betting you found something to like in Friday's episode of 'Supernatural.'

First and foremost, the show's crew and production team should be praised for doing a bang-up job of putting the Winchesters in a Western. From the opening credits to the costumes to the sets and the sepia-toned colors that suffused the brothers trip to the Old West, 'Frontierland' was a lot of fun to watch.

Also fun: Dean's palpable enjoyment at being transported to Eastwood territory. For once, he wasn't using a rock star's moniker as a fake name -- he used the name of his cinematic hero (while Sam was "Walker, a Texas Ranger." Heh!) Maybe Dean went a little too far with the serape, though.

But his realization his duds were a bit much provided one of the funnier moments in the episode, when he finally threw the "blanket" on the ground in disgust after the brothers' arrival in Sunrise. I guess I wouldn't put 'Frontierland' in the comedy or meta category when it comes to classifying 'Supernatural' episodes. Still, the episode was a diverting change of pace that allowed the Winchesters a much-needed break in a world that wasn't totally removed from their own but somehow wasn't quite as grim.

I loved meeting the famous Samuel Colt, and I hope he's able to return to the show someday. Getting his perspective on hunting was interesting, though perhaps it wasn't surprising that it's always been a rough, dangerous, lonely job. We know, thanks to Campbell family lore, that hunters have roamed across America throughout its history, but given how isolated each hunter or group of hunters must have been, thanks to limited communications and transportation, the job had to had to have been even more difficult and isolating. We see every week how hard it is on Bobby, Sam and Dean, and they've at least got each other and, to a very limited degree, a network of other hunters to rely on.

I'd love to know how Colt came up with the idea for a gun that could kill supernatural creatures, and how he actually made the thing. Beyond that, however, I simply enjoyed Sam Hennings' performance as Colt, though, given the problems that time-travel present, I bet we're unlikely to see the gunmaker again. But it was nice of him to eventually do the right thing and send the boys the phoenix ash and Sam's "magic brick."

Speaking of the ash the brothers need to hurt the Mother of All, that's I guess where the episode fell down a little for me. Then again, it wasn't this episode's fault that the season lacks momentum right about now. Normally 'Supernatural' seasons start to kick into high gear at about this stage. With the endgame in sight, the stakes usually get higher and higher for the Winchesters. So far, though, the Mother is a dramatic misfire. I respect the idea that this season of 'Supernatural' took a different approach, and I should re-state that I agree with the idea that the show doesn't always necessarily have to have a Big Bad looming over most or all of a season.

But right now, the Mother appears to be just another garden-variety psycho-villain borrowed from the Whedonverse. "All humans must die," yada yada -- that's her familiar schtick -- but we've spent so little time on the Mother that it's hard to take her seriously as a threat. I'm not exactly sure how she'll get any more interesting in the next few weeks; it just doesn't appear that there's enough time to make her into a realistically compelling foe. Right now, any and all talk of the Mother just kind of lands with a thud for me.

Perhaps the Mother isn't really meant to be the threat, however. We still don't know exactly what Castiel is up to, but it appears to be very bad. Here's my theory: Castiel is somehow using human souls to power his war machine, just as he used Bobby's soul to get the brothers back. He used Bobby's soul with his permission, of course, but I'm betting what Cas is doing with the other souls is being done in secret because it's most likely a sin.

That's just a theory, but Misha Collins did a good job of selling the idea that Castiel is, on some level, ashamed of his actions, whatever they are. We saw last week that he lied to the Winchesters about the Titanic, and he lied to Bobby this week about Rachel's death. Whatever's going on, I'd bet it'll come out in the upcoming episode written and directed by Ben Edlund, which is Castiel-centric.

One note about Rachel -- well, there goes another missed opportunity. I would have liked to know more about Cas' lieutenant, but she set a land-speed record in the category of "potentially interesting female characters killed off by the show." I suppose there may not have been sufficient time to develop her as a character, what with all the other story lines that have to be addressed before season 6 is over, but it would have been nice to spend a little more time with her.

In any event, as regards this hour of television, the Rachel and Mother things are just minor gripes. I enjoyed 'Frontierland' quite a bit, and unless I'm very much mistaken, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles had fun making it. It was a well-structured episode, with Castiel's doing his damnedest not to kill Bobby just as the final showdown took place on Sunrise's Main Street. Never mind that I didn't really think Dean or Bobby were going to die; the hour that preceded that moment was so solid that the ending worked just fine.

And maybe the episode, which was directed with flair by Guy Norman Bee, gave the brothers a chance to reflect on the idea that life in their own era isn't quite so bad. Girls in bars in the 21st Century tend not to be quite so "germy," and the liquor won't rot your insides quite as quickly. Maybe the romance of the old West is really just a gloss we put on an era that was just as tough to live through as our own -- if not significantly tougher.

Still, the side trip to 'Frontierland' was a fun interlude, the calm before the storm, perhaps. Many things need to be resolved before the season ends: The souls, the Alphas, the Mother, Sam's wall, Castiel's war. Speaking of that war, by the way, we still know too little about it. I'm coming around to the view that we just haven't seen enough of the war this season. The season is almost over, and the occasional bulletins from Castiel haven't been enough to make it all that interesting as of yet. Ah well. Perhaps that will come to the fore in an interesting way in the next few weeks.

Until then, all I have to say about 'Frontierland' is 'Yee haw!"

A hail of Colt-made bullets before I sign off:

• My favorite line of the episode was Bobby's response to Dean's 'Star Trek 4' reference. "I only watched 'Deep Space Nine." Ha! Love it. I'm a huge 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' fan.

• "Even the monkey movie?"

• "I'm looking for a man." "I bet you are."

• The only thing the Sunrise saloon was missing was a piano player, but I can see why they didn't have that. We really needed to hear all the dialogue in the saloon, so a guy tinkling the ivories in the background would have been not only distracting but another expense for the production. I did enjoy the sight of the bearded fellow who remained passed out on his table for the duration of the episode.

• Nice shot of Sam, on horseback, silhouetted against the sky.

• I could have done with the "posse" joke being cut entirely or simply reduced to the first "posse" line that Dean said, but even so, I couldn't resist the silly smile that Dean had as he tried to stop himself from giggling at his pun. It seemed to me that might have been a case of Jensen Ackles almost breaking character, and something about that grin was just entertaining on a purely goofy level.

• "It's so much more germier than I pictured."

• This season, I've been hard on many of the show's monsters of the week, but I thought we got enough information about the phoenix to be interested in his plight. I did feel a bit bad for the guy -- all he wanted was vengeance for his wife's rape, and for his trouble, he had to die? Not such a nice end, but then the old West wasn't exactly a forgiving place.

• All that being said, all the phoenix talk made me think of 'Harry Potter.'

• "So you're a hunter?" "Hunter slash sheriff!"

• "'Gank'? What's 'gank'?

• I had to laugh at the idea of Sam as a "giant from the future" with a "magic brick."

• "We can't just strand those idjits in Deadwood, can we?" Ha! Jim Beaver, as I'm betting most of you know, appeared in the HBO show 'Deadwood.'

• In case you missed it, here's my recent interview with Padalecki and Ackles.

Here are the commenting rules for this site. New commenters, please read them. Veterans can skip this part.

People who don't observe the rules below will have their comments removed. You won't get a warning first.

• On this site, we observe the Lurkers Rule: The environment here should be so accepting, so calm and so non-screechy that most timid lurker should feel it's safe to express his or her opinion. If you have a problem with any comment on this site, hit the "flag this comment" button or email me at maureen.ryan @ teamaol.com.

• You don't have to love every episode that airs -- I don't. Feel free to share your critiques in a civil, polite and respectful manner. If you express yourself in a screechy, repetitive or unpleasant fashion, or if your starting point is that 'Supernatural' and/or a particular character has been ruined for all time, then please take your thoughts elsewhere.

• No SamGirl or DeanGirl nonsense will be tolerated on this site.

• Please, please don't mention any spoilers of any kind. Speculation is fine, actual spoilers are not.

• If you see typos, please point them out (nicely, please!) in comments or via email. I'll fix them as soon as I can. Thanks.

'Supernatural' airs 9PM ET Fridays on the CW.


Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

41 Comments

Filter by:
Nitewoman

sorry last part won't post

May 09 2011 at 10:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mar Nite 7

Final comment will come later I can't post right now

May 04 2011 at 1:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nitewoman

Cont…The Phoenix was a great monster very scary. Great to see Scott Hyland as the old judge. Until I saw screen caps I had no idea it was Gordon Michael Woolvett as the deputy (loved him on Andromada).
Fun watching the scene in the jail knowing Jensen got so caught up on the riveting performance by Matthew John Armstrong he missed his cue (he said that at a recent con.)
Sam Henning was perfect casting for Samuel Colt. Loved all of his scenes. Wish there had been more and Mo I agree want to know more about the colt. Jared hit it out of the galaxy with Sam Henning. Really funny to see Samuel throw water on Sam and loved Samuel wasn’t surprised by anything Sam said. But Samuel was surprised when Sam pulled out the journal and showing Samuel his blackberry was hilarious, “a thing-a-ma-jig priceless.
The teaser starting with “the gunfight at the OK Corral” oops wrong Western lol “the gunfight at high noon” ending just as shots were fired, great way to start. Loved the “48 hours earlier and 150 years later”. All scenes at Bobby’s were precious. The dynamics between Bobby and Cas is are great. The writers outdid themselves with dialog. Cracked up when Cas literally fell through the roof.
Loved everything about the “real gunfight”. From the moment Dean looks around the building, walking into the street seeing only Dean’s boots and hearing the jingle of his spurs Jensen was in pure heaven, for that matterme too. Dean facing the bad guy ECU of his eyes, staring down his opponent, glancing at the clock, flicking his duster back to expose his gun and all the other gestures that are typical of any gunfights. I’ve seen since I was seven was pure delight.

May 04 2011 at 1:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nitewoman

I have a second part to my comments but I'm having trouble posting it I'll try again tomorrow

May 03 2011 at 12:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nitewoman

This episode was pure heaven, wishful thinking realized and fulfillment of all my fantasies. Well almost all. (Relax won’t go there any further hehe). Since I was 7, westerns has been my favorites shows, I grew up on them. I so wish they would come back in favor and someone cast Jensen in a good old fashion oater! Jared would be delicious too.
I loved everything about the episode. The story line of the Phoenix was intriguing very well developed.

Dean couldn’t stop showing his excitement about traveling back to 1891 to actually meet Samuel Colt even tho it was Sam who had that pleasure.
Yipee to Dean’s reference to Star Trek 4 traveling back (my favorite ST movie, Trekker fan here) and completely surprised Bobby was a Deep Space Nine fan. Poor Cas talk about being out of the loop with no understanding of that conversation. Dean excitement about a shopping trip for clothes excited about wearing authentic western outfit (duds!) or so he thought. Sam was funny saying “I look stupid – really is this necessary!!!. Jensen started an image for me which permeated the episode (I’ll explain in a minute ).

From the moment the boys arrived in Sunrise Wyoming as serious as it got I had the biggest stupidest smile on my face and had lots of time I just chuckled or down right laughed out loud causing my mother to look at me as if I’d lost my mind! Since she isn’t a fan of SPN and only watches because I have control of the remote for that hour she thinks there is something seriously wrong with her daughter who loves all this blood, gore, monsters and demons!!
Both Jensen and Jared were fantastic as usual. Sam wasn’t impressed with “the old west” from the moment they arrived, but it was interesting and funny to witness Dean’s balloon being burst of his ideas of the “old west”. The grittiness, the germier conditions and the ugly dirt and dust of everyday living was just plain fun.
If I were to review everything in the episode it would turn into a novel the size of “War and Peace” !

May 02 2011 at 11:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Patt Demetri

Hi any idea when Frontier will rerun? Had an electrical glitch missed it. am still complaining. friends who could have taped were out ........

April 27 2011 at 6:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Patt Demetri's comment
lilyabd

you can see it on hula, cw or itunes.

April 28 2011 at 11:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lilyabd

Supernatural has been renewed for season 7!! Awesome!!!

April 26 2011 at 10:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Kati

I think the build-up for the season finale will start this week - don't forget, Supernatural still has 4 eps to go compared to, for example, Fringe. And this week's ep looks really... bloody, dark and heavy on show mythology.

April 25 2011 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rhindon1967

The Deep Space Nine reference I took as a nice nod to Jim Beaver's wife, as that is the Star Trek series that she appeared in. Made me happy and a little sad all at the same time.

April 25 2011 at 8:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sheri

I will add that IMO the noir approach, multiple storylines, and 'biggest bads of all' have taken the road trip feel of SPN away, resulting in the loss of intimacy between the brothers and the audience. One example is the soulless story. I don't know anyone w/o a soul or how it feels to be w/o a soul, therefore, it makes it hard for me as a viewer to have any personal attachment to that story. The way Lisa was plopped into the show suddenly, and the way Dean was depicted to be unhappy in EoMS, resulted in no attachment or investment in that story. The main arcs, Heaven's civil war has shown the brothers not involved in that at all to this point. The Teen Mom, worse evil than Lucifer, so far has amounted to "You are all going to die." No attachment there. The show works best and has a more intimate brothers-audience connection when the audience is in the backseat of the Impala sharing the intimate conversations between the brothers. I'm feeling a little 'stage set', not road trip this season and the very little rock music heard has added to the loss of 'flavor' or tone of the show. If the CW can't give the show the budget it needs to produce the type of the show it was meant to be, then perhaps it would be best if it ended in S6.

Anyway, the intimacy lost between the audience and the brothers, I think, is because the road trip feel is gone and the show has gone from horror realism that humans can identify with into the celestial fantasy of time travel, AU, death and serious injury off the table, and call the angel for help, answers, or anything needed and that's why I think the angel storyline and all the angels need to be put to rest.

I can watch a lot of mediocre with these two pretties on the screen, but at some point I get bored and want more, like a compelling story that interests me. S6 has not given me that. And, I want more than one of the leads to be in the story and to not feel 'baited' multiple times that the other one will be.

I am all for a S7, if the show can get back on track and hit that one awesome high note. I would miss my weekly dose of Winchesters, but the summer spoilers will be a big clue as to whether that is going to be the case and whether or not I'll be there to watch.

April 25 2011 at 7:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners