Supernatural loves doing very special episodes (TV parodies, black-and-white monster movie, etc), but this week the show goes to a classic: the Western. Sam and Dean go back in time, just like the third Back to the Future movie, to enjoy life in 1861 while trying to find a way to stop the Mother of All.

The episode starts with Dean in a high noon gun battle, but before we see the outcome we cut to the opening credits, an homage to Bonanza with the flaming map. Then we go to 48 hours earlier (and 150 years later). It’s those kinds of little jokes that five Supernatural the edge over other shows.

Sam, Dean and Bobby head to the Campbell family library to find a way to stop Eve. Dean stumbles on Samuel Colt’s old journal and learns that the ashes of a phoenix can kill the Mother, but the only known phoenix was killed by the Colt in 1861. So naturally, time travel is the easiest solution.

They call Cas, but instead get Rachel, one of Castiel’s angel lieutenants who is annoyed that the boys call Cas whenever they need help but fail to recognize that Cas is a little busy fighting a war in Heaven. Her indignation is stopped when Cas arrives and agrees to do it.

Wild, Wild West

The boys are zapped back in time, and Dean (wearing a serape) couldn’t be happier because he’s obsessed with Clint Eastwood movies. At first he loves the authenticity (like Sam stepping in horse poop), but Dean quickly realizes that everything isn’t like he thought. Nobody likes his outfit, the whiskey tastes like gasoline and the saloon girls are covered in cold sores.

They also watch as a man is hanged in the town square, but when that same victim goes around killing people by reducing them to ash, the boys learn that he’s the phoenix. I’m kind of upset that the phoenix is just a person, like the dragons. Why can’t phoenixes and dragons be awesome, mythical creatures?

Still, Dean fights the phoenix while Sam goes to meet Samuel Colt and get his gun. Colt is a surly old retired hunter who wants nothing to do with the life anymore. However, he’s clearly been at this a while, because he has absolutely no problem believing that Sam is from the future. Sam gets the Colt, hurries back and gives it to Dean, who then has the shootout from the start of the episode with the phoenix. And Dean proves that he’s the fastest draw in the old west, killing the phoenix and reducing it to ashes.

Castiel’s Dirty Little Secret

In the present, Rachel summons Cas to an empty warehouse to talk about how she doesn’t approve of his methods to fight the war against Raphael and that she knows his “dirty little secret.” She then tries to stab him with an angel dagger, but he fights back and gets the upper hand, killing her. That’s right, after two short scenes, the big new angel character Rachel is killed.

But it begs a bigger question: what is the dirty little secret? Was she talking about how he had Balthazar unsink the Titanic to get 50,000 new souls, or is Cas doing worse things to win his war? I’m starting to think that he’s been doing some very bad things and, as much as I love Cas, I suspect he might even be the big bad of the season and helped get the Mother of All free to help him fight Raphael. I hope I’m wrong, but Castiel is definitely not behaving like a good angel this season.

Deus Fed-Ex Machina

Injured, Cas can’t bring the boys back without powering up, and that involves touching Bobby’s soul. I’m starting to think Bobby’s soul is the most valuable thing in the world given how much it’s come into play in the past year. He does and brings the boys back, right before they got the phoenix ashes. So it was all for nothing.

Or was it? Just like at the end of Back to the Future 2, a delivery man shows up at that exact moment with a package for Sam Winchester they’ve been holding onto forever without explicit instructions to deliver at that specific moment. Inside Sam finds his old phone he left with Samuel Colt, a note from Colt, and, most importantly, the ashes of a phoenix. It might be a little too convenient, like when Supernatural super fan Becky told them where the Colt was after reading it in the books at the end of “The Real Ghostbusters,” but since it’s just a rip-off of Back to the Future, I’ll allow it.

Next stop for Supernatural: Bring the fight to Eve. But that won’t be easy, because the Mother of All doesn’t play fair, bringing back another mother: Mary Winchester.

(Image courtesy of the CW)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.