Supernatural season 6 episode 18 review: Frontierland

Supernatural puts on a cowboy hat for episode 18. Here’s Matthew’s review of one of this season’s best instalments…

This review contains spoilers.

6.18 Frontierland

Sam, Dean and Bobby break into Samuel Campbell’s library to try and find a way to kill Eve, Mother of All. They discover she can be killed by the ashes of a phoenix, and that one was killed by Samuel Colt in Sunrise, Wyoming, 1861.

Having never heard of a phoenix in modern times, Dean convinces Castiel to send them back to 1861. Time to mount up and hit the trail. Cowboy hats and time travel. Seems to be the weekend for it.

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I knew a Wild West episode was coming, and was looking forward to it, but this was better than I expected. The opening teaser and the credits set up what is obviously going to be a very fun episode, but while it isn’t the most serious of episodes, there are some very important developments, especially where Castiel is concerned.

Despite seeing time travel in Supernatural before, I hadn’t actually considered that would be the route the show would go down, and I am glad that the show hasn’t made it an easy route to use whenever it likes.

The phoenix is a very interesting idea. Admittedly, we don’t really know anything about them apart from this one we have just met, and he could be an evil creature at heart, but he tells a tale of living in peace, loving a human wife and just wanting to be left alone. Now if that is the case, would it be fair for them to be hunted and killed?

In my review of last week’s episode, I spoke about homage. This episode has plenty, and gets it right. There are nods to Bonanza, Star Trek, Blazing Saddles and a great one to Back To The Future. I especially like that the Deadwood line came from Jim Beaver.

The humour in this episode, obviously, mainly comes from Sam and Dean’s cowboy antics, but it doesn’t overshadow the serious nature of the story. The way the phoenix kills is particularly well realised, and seeing Samuel Colt was a great moment in Supernatural, and really ties this season into the whole history of the series.

I was also impressed with the production of the episode as a whole. While not perfect, for the most part it looks and sounds like a western, and is now certainly up there with my favourite episodes.

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Coming back to the present, so to speak, we have Castiel and Rachel. I really liked Rachel telling Sam and Dean what she thought of them. Her turning on Castiel was a surprise, especially as up to now, Castiel has very much been the weary general supported by his valiant troops, and now you have to question, what is he doing, and what is he putting at risk to win?

Castiel’s growing desperation, and his willingness to lie to Sam and Dean now puts him on a very slippery slope. If an angel doesn’t like his plan, would Sam and Dean? Would they have to stop him?

I do hope that Castiel doesn’t end up as a villain, or as someone who needs to be stopped, as I really like the character, and Misha Collins portrays him brilliantly, but at the same time the signs we are seeing seem to be pointing that way.

The resolution at the end was very nicely done. From Sam and Dean’s running to the ashes to arrive in the present, to the special delivery from Samuel Colt. The idea now that they are going after the Mother of All means that the end of the season is galloping towards us at quite a pace.

For now though, I’m in the mood to saddle up and play Red Dead Redemption. Can’t think why.

Read our review of episode 17, My Heart Will Go On, here.

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