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After watching Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester for so many years, I was interested to watch him on Big Sky, playing temporary Sheriff Beau Arlen. I’d never watched Big Sky so I was a total newbie when I tuned in to see Jensen's debut as Beau in the season 2 Big Sky finale. Despite missing the first two seasons of the story, I quickly clued in to the primary dramas: a fugitive woman with child in tow; an angry man with a vendetta and the detective wanting to find him before he committed murder; and a drug cartel run by a presumptive father, a betrayed son, and a conniving daughter.

I don’t know why the old sheriff is gone, but the new one first appeared as a pair of legs jutting out from under a Jeep. Don’t be fooled, though! Soon after the man appeared from under the vehicle to reveal Jensen’s smiling face, we learn that Beau Arlen doesn’t know anything about cars! Despite this, there are actually several similarities between Jensen's current and former characters.

Similarities between Dean Winchester and Beau Arlen:
1. Both can be charming and friendly.
2. Both look good in jeans and cowboy hats.
3. Both are proficient with weapons.
4. Both are in the business of protecting people, Dean as a hunter and Beau in law enforcement.
5. Both use humor as deflection or connection with others.
6. Both value family. (Beau moved to Montana following his ex-wife and child.)

Differences between Dean Winchester and Beau Arlen:
1. Dean has mechanical skills; Beau doesn’t.
2. Dean has shorter hair and is more clean-shaven than Beau.
3. Dean often runs afoul of the law; Beau is actually a lawman.
4. Dean is less talkative; Beau is very chatty, sharing a lot of information especially with Jenny Hoyt.

Big Sky Jensen

I also sensed a steady stream of Supernatural call backs in Jensen's debut as Beau! Staging his opening scene to be under a car struck me as a wink to his Supernatural Family - 'Yeah, it's me under here, but I'm so not Dean anymore!'  The backward football toss that Beau effortlessly caught also seemed like a callback to how Sam and Dean always threw things to each other and caught them without looking! Many of the other similarities listed by Emberlast also reminded me of Dean in a "related distant cousin" way. Was this all wishful thinking, or did you see these as Supernatural Easter Eggs, too?

I need to use this summer to catch up on the first two seasons that led up to the drama I watched in the season 2 finale. Then I’ll be ready to see what happens in Big Sky, Montana! How about you? Did I miss any similarities or differences? Can you catch the rest of us newbies up on what to look forward to based on the seasons we haven't yet binged? Chime in with your comments!