The episode starts out on Sunrise, Wyoming, March 5, 1861, with a high-noon shootout duel on the street … and one of the participants is Dean Winchester. Right as they draw, the episode cuts to a revamped old-west-themed title sequence.
The next scene takes place 48 hours earlier (or 150 years later, depending on how you look at it), and the boys and Billy are cracking into the Campbell family’s hidden stash of demon-hunting lore, which is now free for the taking since Samuel died a couple of episodes back. It’s an extensive collection and they’re looking for “anything that’ll put a run in the octomom’s stocking,” meaning Eve, the mother of all monsters.
Billy finds something indicating that “the ashes of a phoenix can burn the mother,” but they don’t know anything about a phoenix … except that, according to Samuel Colt’s journal (also part of the collection), the gun maker and demon hunter had killed one on March 5, 1861, and it left behind a pile of smoldering ashes.
The search for a Delorian is on.
Dean: We’ll Star Trek 4 this bitch.
Billy: I only watched Deep Space Nine.
Sam: [Blank look]
Dean: It’s like I don’t even know you guys anymore. Star Trek 4: Save the Whales. We hop back in time. We join up with Samuel Colt. We hunt the phoenix, then we haul the ashes back home with us.
Billy: Time travel? That’s a reasonable plan?
Dean: We’ve got a guy who can swing it.
By which, he is referring to Castiel. As we were reminded last episode, angels can travel in time. Castiel’s sent the brothers back into the 1970’s a couple of times, and Dean’s made one trip into the future as well.
When Dean “prays” for Castiel (“Castiel, the fate of the world is in the balance, so come on down here. C’mon Cas, ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ your ass down here, pronto. Please.”), he instead gets another angel, Rachel, who is one of Castiel’s lieutenants … and is not pleased about dealing with such “petty, entitled” little beings.
Castiel, however, shows up in time to keep her from ripping them a new one and agrees, but he can only give them 24 hours in the past.
Sam: What? Why?
Castiel: Well, the answer to your question can best be expressed as a series of partial differential equations.
Billy: Yeah, aim lower.
Castiel: The further back I send you, the harder it is to retrieve you. Twenty-four hours is all I can risk. If I don’t pull you back in that time, you’ll be lost to me.
Dean shows up with wild west attire, prompting Castiel to ask “Is it customary to wear a blanket?”
“It’s a sarape,” Dean replies.
Arriving in the past, it takes no time for Sam to step in a pile of horse manure and the boys to witness the hanging of Elias Finch, a man who killed his own wife. Before he dies, Elias (who I’m pretty sure is the same fella that Dean was drawing against in the episode opener) tells his executioner and the judge that they’d all burn.
A man at the hanging turns to Dean, looks him over, and says, “Nice blanket.” Exasperated, Dean removes the sarape.
The boys ask the judge and sheriff if they’ve seen Samuel Colt around town, but are directed to the saloon keeper who knows pretty much everybody. Dean is unimpressed by the scenery at the saloon, as well as by the saloon girls, but they get the information they’re looking for. Sounds like Samuel Colt is building a railroad stop 20 miles out of town. (In season 2, it was revealed that Samuel Colt had built a giant devil’s gate out of railroad tracks, which was intended to help seal up a portal into Hell. The season 2 finale involved the opening of that particular gate.)
The judge goes upstairs with one of the saloon girls, only to be found burned to a crisp a few minutes later. The saloon girl swears that it was the ghost of Elias Finch. The sheriff says he must not have been killed by the rope, so is forming up a posse.
Their assumption (which seems reasonable) is that Finch himself is the phoenix. Sam awkwardly heads out on a horse to get Samuel Colt, so he can get the supernatural Colt pistol that can kill about anything. Meanwhile, Dean stays behind to join the posse. “Because you know me,” he says, “I’m a posse magnet. I mean, I love posse. We could make that into a T-shirt.”
Back in the future (or, rather, the present), Rachel confronts Castiel. She’s heard disturbing rumors and is concerned about what he’s becoming, so concerned that she has no choice but to try to kill him. He’s able to turn the tables, however, and she dies, but not before he gets stabbed with an angel blade. He teleports to Billy’s house, drawing some sort of angel protective sigil on the wall with his own blood, before collapsing in Billy’s arms. It seems serious. Will he have the mojo to get the boys back?
In 1861, Dean and the saloon keeper find the sheriff burned to death. “Who’s the new sheriff?” Dean asks. The saloon keeper hands him the badge, which means he’s responsible for keeping the deputy alive. He wants to use the deputy as bait to draw Finch out so he can gank him first. “Gank? What’s gank?” the deputy asks.
Sam finds Samuel Colt, who was just visited by a couple of demons that he dispatched with the Colt pistol. He explains that he’s from the future and proves it by showing Colt his Blackberry and explaining that he needs his help to kill the phoenix. Unfortunately, Colt is retired and has no intention of fighting the phoenix. Sam needs either Colt himself or, at least, the pistol.
Billy and Castiel are stuck with the problem of how to bring the boys back. There is one possibility. If Castiel can touch Billy’s soul, he could siphon enough energy to bring them through time. “The human soul, it’s pure energy…. Doing this is like putting your hand in a nuclear reactor. I have to do this very gingerly. Or you’ll explode.”
“Well,” Billy says, “keep both hands on the wheel. Let’s do this.”
Dean’s trap is set and Finch walks into it. He can’t get to the deputy, though, because he’s behind iron bars. (This is, incidentally, why he couldn’t escape the gallows. He was shackled in iron manacles.) Finch explains that he was married to a good, human woman, minding his own business, when the deputy attacked her in an alley. Finch tried to stop him, but the deputy shot them both. The wife died, but Finch was shackled in irons before he was able to get away.
Finch gets around this problem by grabbing a nearby gun and shooting the deputy. “Wow, I should have seen that coming,” Dean mutters as he dives out the window. Sam shows up, giving him the Colt, just in time for Dean and Finch to meet in the middle of the street and have their shoot-out.
At the “same time,” Castiel is powering up with Billy’s soul. Dean and Finch draw, and Dean gets the jump on him. The bullet lands true and Finch collapses into ashes. Dean runs forward, crouching to scoop up ashes in a bottle.
And then the boys show up in Billy’s house in the present, holding up an empty bottle. He wasn’t fast enough.
Unfortunately, Castiel can’t send them back again, it just took too much out of him. He won’t do it.
Then there’s a knock at the door and a delivery guy is there. Guys in the office made a bet, because they have this box that’s been sitting around, like, forever, from a Samuel Colt, to deliver it to Sam Winchester at the present address, from a Samuel Colt. Turns out that he was able to get the address off of the “thing-a-ma-gig” (old west slang for Blackberry) and sent the Blackberry, along with a bottle full of phoenix ashes.
So, with this very Back to the Future turn of events, the boys are now able to take the fight to Eve herself, drawing us into the final story arc of the season, which will apparently end with a cliffhanger in anticipation of an as-yet-unannounced renewal for a seventh season. (The ratings appear promising, according to some folks who watch such things.)
- Episode 6.17 – “My Heart Will Go On”
- Episode 6.16 – “And Then There Were None”
- Episode 6.15 – “The French Mistake”
- Episode 6.14 – “Mannequin 3: The Reckoning”
- Episode 6.13 – “Unforgiven”
- Episode 6.12 – “Like a Virgin”
- Episode 6.11 – “Appointment in Samarra”
- Episode 6.10 – “Caged Heat”
- Episode 6.9 – “Clap Your Hands If You Believe”
- Episode 6.8 – “All Dogs Go to Heaven”
- Episode 6.7 – “Family Matters”
- Episode 6.6 – “You Can’t Handle the Truth”
- Episode 6.5 – “Live Free or Twi-hard”
- Episode 6.4 – “Weekend at Bobby’s”
- Episode 6.3 – “The Third Man”
- Episode 6.2 – “Two and a Half Men”
- Episode 6.1 – “Exile on Main Street”
- Supernatural Seasons 4 & 5
- Supernatural Seasons 2 & 3
- Supernatural Season 1
- Smart Pop Books – Supernatural: Reload