This Supernatural review contains spoilers.
Supernatural Season 13 Episode 6
It’s the episode that both Dean and Jensen were waiting for, since they’re both avid western fans. We see Dean relishing in his knowledge of cowboys and outlaws as soon as the guys check into their Wild West themed hotel. That cowboy love is put to good use when Dean recognizes their monster as Dave Mather, a wild west outlaw and gunslinger for the Dodge City gang.
This isn’t the first episode where Dean got to embrace some western culture. In the S6E13 episode “Frontierland” Dean traveled back in time and relished in the whole experience. Plus, it’s no secret that Jensen Ackles himself is a bit of a cowboy afficionado.
This episode was lighter in tone, considering we had a ghoul masquerading as an outlaw from hundreds of years ago. There were a lot of elements here that were very fun character moments, such as the snakeskin boots slo-mo Jensen described. In fact, Dean really got to shine here. This was definitely his episode.
Other notable Dean moments were when Jack wakes him up in the early hours of the day to see Dean sleepily weilding a gun and then even more cranky sipping his coffee. These are moments I’ve not seen before and it’s nice to get some fresh character development thirteen seasons later.
One major shift for Dean was when he tried to help Jack after the accident outside the bank. He’s understanding and realistic – he, Sam and Castiel have made fatal mistakes before too, so it would be rude for them to pretend otherwise. Dean even corrects Jack, who says he’s a monster. Dean as of three or four episodes ago would never have been that understanding.
A little note on characters before we dive into the heavy stuff: I really liked Athena the undertaker in Dodge City. Her pinup girl style, listening to music while working on dead bodies and her attitude when people bother her at work said “girl power” to me. Of course, she ends up being a damsel in distress, but at least I got to enjoy her independent spirit before then. The ghoul who dressed up as Dave Mather was alright, but I would have liked a little more fleshing out on his character to make him more interesting. Why was Mr. Mather his favorite shape to take? Is he as big a cowboy fan as Dean Winchester?
Like any young man, Jack suddenly has to face consequences for a major mistake. It’s a shame – we finally saw Jack confident and cool tempered, relishing in his ability to psychically float a pencil and research a case just like he observed Sam and Dean do.
But because of Jack’s confidence, he oversteps during the shootout scene outside the bank between the Winchesters and Mather. He steps out of hiding and telepathically shoves Mather away, but also catches the guard to the bank. The blast kills the guard, and sends Jack back into his age-old moral dilemma on whether or not he can be good.
During the ride back to the bunker, Castiel explains that he’s killed innocents before too, including friends. He doesn’t sugarcoat it. He’s always been blunt when he speaks to people. Sam too, owns up to his own past indiscretions. This moment is important, because it shows that they don’t look down on Jack – in fact, they sympathize with the toll this mistake will put on Jack. This scene was also crucial as a sort of father-son talk. I look forward to the bonding that happens between them as well as Jack’s further growth as a character as he figures out his powers and his place in the world.
The most claustrophobia-inducing part of the episode occurs when Dean looks down the hole in the graveyard where Sarge has just been taken by the ghoul. Dean has a moment where he says “I don’t wanna – oh okay” and he backs out of the hole only to go back in. Seeing a vulnerable Dean is something we don’t see often, plus it was a nice bit of comic relief. This vulnerable Dean, plus the absolute goofy cowboy afficionado added new layers to a character who had mostly been the gruff, ladie’s man he had been in many seasons. I’m delighted to see new sides to these characters, and I hope to see much more as season 13 progresses. It is, afterall, a season of second chances and new viewpoints. Why not?