Okay, new game everyone.  Write song lyrics to the new and completely awesome Supernatural opening for “Frontierland.”  After all, there were actual lyrics to the Bonanza theme song.  I say the key word is “posse.”

I kid, I kid.  Let’s face it, Supernatural is a pretty heavy show.  The story of the Winchesters is a very tragic one and we get sucked in by the intense, emotional, heart wrenching aspects anyway, for this tragedy is just that irresistible.  Once in a while though, something needs to be fun.  Something needs to go the Winchesters’ way.  We do need that bone thrown at us before we end up slitting our wrists.  
“Frontierland” couldn’t be more perfectly timed.  If you want to amuse fans, an old time Western should do the trick!  Sera Gamble called this a love letter to fans and she couldn’t be more correct.  After all, Dean Winchester gets to live out a boyhood fantasy with unabashed glee.  Sam Winchester has to negotiate things like horseback riding and we end up feeling more sorry for the horse than Sam.  

If you’re making an episode that will get fans excited, throw in plenty of pop culture references even if many are over the younger audience’s heads.  Even I’m too young to remember Bonanza, but any TV buff will know Bonanza’s iconic opening of the title followed by the burning map.  I adore the unique Supernatural twist, taking that idea and slowing it down, making the feel more spaghetti westernish than the corny upbeat greeting of the guys at the Ponderosa. 

Speaking of spaghetti westerns, I loved finding out that in old west Wyoming, the Clint Eastwood cliches don’t apply there either (that and Dean knows the name of the ape in the Every Which Way But Loose movies).  Poor Dean though, reality checks are never fun.  Dean finds out that the old west is just as crappy as his current time, maybe worse.  At least in his time there are less germs and true hot chicks.  Sam too had to be a little put back that the legendary Samuel Colt is nothing more than a cranky old drunk that stopped caring.  Yet neither took the disappointment pretty hard.  I guess it goes with the territory by now.  They took it in stride like everything else, probably accepting long ago that nothing is what it seems.  They were there on a mission and they weren’t letting such things stop them.  

“Frontierland” is a continuity fiesta.  The writers, Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin, did their homework and I didn’t catch any obvious errors.  The bartender being Elkins is especially continuity at its finest.  It certainly explains how Daniel Elkins ended up with the colt.  They brought up the railway lines built by Colt in southern Wyoming from “All Hell Breaks Loose Part II” and it was nice to see Castiel’s assistant Rachel have such disregard for humanity as the other angels we’ve met like Uriel and Zachariah.  Even the gold from “Like A Virgin” that they snagged from the dragons came in handy for currency for the time.  

Also, after six seasons of hype we finally get to meet the legendary Samuel Colt who is a burned out, disillusioned hunter much like the rest of the hunters we’ve met.  It makes you wonder how Sam and Dean will go down in hunting history, especially when all they did was do whatever it took to survive.  Maybe survival is all that makes the hunting hero. 

If anything bothered me with continuity (and this nitpick is very minor), it’s Sam remembering the location of the Campbell family library.  How many of us in the back of our minds wondered what sort of risk was taken to access that memory?  Of course that concern turns out to be nothing since Sam is even keeled this entire episode, but still, I’m sure it was a common thought.  Putting that aside, I’m deeply impressed with this well paced and very fluid script.  The western drama intertwined with Castiel and Bobby’s scenes worked together well, which is saying something considering they were so different.  Sure, it would have been nice if the entire hour had just been the Western, but I’m certain this was Back to The Future Part III on a budget.  Director Guy Bee did a fantastic job with what he was given and gave us something that felt authentic.  

What I most enjoyed about “Frontierland” is something we haven’t seen in a long while.  Dean having an immensely great time at his job and Sam tagging along as the beleaguered sidekick.  Dean’s childlike enthusiasm is infectious and the rapid fire exasperated responses from Sam reminded us of Supernatural days long past.  Think Hollywood Babylon, Folsom Prison Blues, and A Very Supernatural Christmas.  I did love how this time though one of Dean’s gags against Sam backfired.  I guess he didn’t realize not half bad sarsaparilla trumps whiskey that tastes like gasoline.  That didn’t stop the jokes from coming though, including Dean’s hilarious one liners about being a posse magnet.    
I know the secret wish out there, why oh why couldn’t we get more of Sheriff Dean Winchester cleaning up this sorry town?  Hotness with a badge doesn’t begin to describe it.  I’m thrilled Dean figured out the long coat looked way better than the serape (boy did it!).  I get it though, the blanket jokes were just too good to pass up.  It isn’t just the look (although that’s definitely hard to ignore).  Dean’s interactions with the Phoenix, aka Elias Finch, are great too.  Sure, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for Elias, a monster choosing to live in a human world, but how could Dean buy into the sob story?  The man was still a killer.  He couldn’t show mercy, which is not only a reflection of the times, but also following rules of hunting monsters.  Ultimately, the phoenix had to die, and not just to serve Sam and Dean’s purposes.  The fact that Dean didn't get into that moral conflict is quite refreshing.  

Two things really struck me too with Sam and his talk with Samuel Colt.  That whole conversation proves how the younger Winchester brother has grown very wise beyond his years.  First, Sam of all people lecturing this icon in the hunting world that there’s no getting out, no retiring from this business?  If anyone should know, it’s Sam.  Also, Samuel Colt assumes just by looking at the youthful Winchester that Sam needs to “put on a few more miles.”  Sam’s “Trust me, I’ve got plenty of mileage,” answer is delivered with sheer, biting perfection.  That one line reminds us of all the really horrible things this guy has been through.  I think that’s what got ultimately through to Samuel Colt and inspired him send the package with the ashes of the phoenix that they failed to collect (Which is not a contrived ending.  Come on, Back To The Future Part II has been out for a long time now). It just goes to show how much Sam has indeed grown for there were no puppy dog eyes used anywhere.  Probably because he knew they wouldn't work.    
Then there’s Castiel and Bobby.  I’ll tell ya, I never tire of scenes with these two together.  They’re really the ones propping up Sam and Dean and their crazy missions, and even when things go wrong in their worlds they can rely on each other for backup.  I love how Castiel needs a place to hide after being brutally attacked by his assistant Rachel and instantly chooses Bobby’s house.  Judging by the previews of the four heroes taking on Mother of All, I’d say that Castiel will be underground for a while longer.  It’s good to have him part of the gang again, even if he's hiding something that will likely disillusion his friends when they find out.     

The Fun Stuff

Oh yes Dean, you do look good!  

Oh bitchface, how we missed ye!  

More great lines for us to repeat exhaustively:  

Sam:  Dean can recite lines from every Clint Eastwood movie.
Bobby:  Even the monkey one?
Sam:  Especially the money one.
Dean:  His name was Clyde.
(See bitchface #1 for Sam's response!)
“Is it customary to wear a blanket?” 

Castiel:  Well, the answer to your question can be best expressed as a series of partial differential equations. 
Bobby:  Yeah, aim lower.
Bobby:  I only watched Deep Space Nine.  (That’s a shoutout to Jim Beaver’s late wife Cecily, who played Ishka in that series.)  
“That poor horse.”

“I'll stay here, hook up with the posse--'cause you know me, I'm a posse magnet--I mean, I love posse--make that into a t-shirt."
Dean (after Sam steps in manure):  You know what that is?  
Sam:  Yeah, it’s horse- 
Dean:  Authenticity.  
“So much more germ ridden than I pictured.”
“Gank?  What’s gank?”  
“When you’ve done this job as long as I have, a giant from the future with some magic brick doesn’t exactly give you the vapors.”

“Well good, because we got less than an hour before you got to pickup the kids in Frontierland.”  

“We just can’t strand those idgits in Deadwood, can we?”  
Overall, Frontierland gets an A from me.  No, it wasn’t the most brilliant, most awe inspiring episode ever but as far as fun ones go, it’s far better than most.  It comes at a time when we sorely needed it, and shows the previous week’s “My Heart Will Go On” how light hearted is done.  Next week it’s all nail biting until the finale, so it’s nice to have some fresh air before going back into the trenches.



# Shannon 2011-04-25 23:08
save a horse... ride a Winchester!
# Alice 2011-04-26 11:08
Bwah, that's a slogan! I'm going to have to commission Ardeospina or Julie to do up that poster. The one with Sam on the horse. It'll be perfect!
# Junkerin 2011-04-27 08:11
I´m allergic to horses can I have a Winchester - please?
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2011-04-27 08:50
save a horse... ride a Winchester!
Reminds me of the Craggy Island funfair when Fr. Dougal couldn't find any ponies for the pony ride so he improvised....

Father Ted: So... let me get this straight. You were up on an old man, riding him around and whipping him, for an hour.
Father Dougal: Yes.
Father Ted: You do realise that image will stay with me for the rest of my life.

This is what you meant, Shannon, right??
# Julie 2011-04-27 09:22
Errr Tim, I don`t think Shannon had Father Dougal in mind. More something along these lines I think ? .. :-)
# Alice 2011-04-28 23:14
Julie is right, the name of this very popular country song in this country is "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" by Big and Rich.

Also, I'm little slow, but when I get around to things, it happens!

There's a better version of this picture in our Frontierland Photo Gallery.
pam f.
# pam f. 2011-04-30 07:07
Errr Tim, I don`t think Shannon had Father Dougal in mind. More something along these lines I think ? ..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eNBdy919Ek :-)
# rmoats8621 2011-04-26 01:54
This episode is definitely one of my favorites. I agree with your "A" rating. Both guys looked great in their western gear especially Dean. I don't blame Jensen for keeping that coat. It looked great on him. :-)
# Yirabah 2011-04-26 04:36
Here come our Winchesters
here come our Winchester boys
the awsome looking Winchester boys
Beautiful, dangerously Winchesters
Ready to join every possery

Sorry couldn't resist.

I was looking forward to that ep and I wasn't dissapointed. The guys sure do look good in their cowboy outfits. I think it would be a waste to just put those cloth away. Therefore I am voting for another western ep in the future.

All the pop culture reference made me extremly happy. Clint Eastwood did so many westerns and leave it up to Supernatural to pick in there western ep something from Eastwood's "monkey" movies.

There is so much in here that I love that I couldn't single out one thing. But something that stands out to me is Bobby's "you got to pick up the kids in Frontierland". That sounds so much like part of a parental conversation (I know I am Taxi mom for ever now) and it shows how much he cares for them.

Something I was wondering about: The package from the past was wrapped in modern packaging material and it had stamps on it. I am sure Samuel Colt didn't travel to the future to pay for those stamps. So how did the box get wrapped and who payed for those stamps?
# Alice 2011-04-26 11:06
Yay lyrics! Thanks for playing along, especially when I couldn't come up with anything. :oops:

The box could have been stored in an air tight container for a while. I don't know if they had stamps back then, but maybe they did? Also, someone could have put them on at the post office if the package was prepaid. As the Mythbusters would say, its "plausible."
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2011-04-26 08:53
Hi Alice,

I loved this episode. It was goofy and fun, so full of pop culture references I'll have to watch twice to catch them all, and so easy on the eyes! Really, these boys should do a feature western -- dressed in dusters all the time! It wasn't just The Colt that was smokin'!

I agree with your analysis that this show is so full of tragedy that we all need to take a break sometimes. I think Frontierland was a treat for cast & crew as much as for fans, a little reward for all their hardwork over the years.

And you're right. It did have an early season vibe to it with the bitchfaces, the raunchy humour, and the fact Dean and Sam were both wearing their job, and their relationship like a well-tailored duster. (I keep going back to that!)

I know if I look closely, I can see some plotholes. But I'm telling myself that's just horse****... I mean authenticity!

For me, this was like wrapping myself up in a cozy, warm serape.. I mean blanket and just enjoying the ride!
# fanotheboyz 2011-04-26 09:16
This was a totally enjoyable episode and I loved the pop references. I particularly liked Bobby's line about Deep Space Nince and picking up the 'kids' in Frontierland! Those were the best. I was a little confused when he told Cas to "aim lower" in his explaination, with a nod toward Sam. If anyone would have understood the Quantum physics stuff, it would be Sam! The line was a good one, though, and Jim's timing is impecable, making him such a believable, funny, and lovable character.

It was a fun "ride" and it's taken me 2 times through to pick up some little things and have a good laugh at those lines again!
# fanotheboyz 2011-04-26 09:17
Of course, I meant "Deep Space Nine" non Nince
# Karen 2011-04-26 10:07
Hi Alice
I really enjoyed this episode!
I just love the brothers relationship, its like they were in the earlier seasons.
I loved Dean’s excitement and enthusiasm over the old west.
I had to give him a big Awww when he relinquished his Serape.
And Sam’s bitchface moments…I really have missed those.
Bobby and Cas were great together.
Just one thing when Sam said he was from 2011, I thought they were supposed to be a year ahead.

Also like Yirabah I couldn’t resist

To be sang to the Bonanza theme song.

Sam and Dean travel back to Frontierland.
To gather a Phoenix ashes, to end the Mother of All’s revolt.
With a bag of golden items, Frontierland.
And with guns and hats and a blanket for a coat and to find Samuel Colt.

With a manure plight, a whiskey delight and a germy saloon girls invite.

Dean stays to join the Posse in Frontierland.
While Sam takes heed, rides a steed, where Samuel Colt reside
Dean becomes sheriff in Frontierland
As the previous died, for he had lied and the Phoenix had him fried.

With a failed invite, the Colt given despite and used in the high noon fight.

Sam and Dean return from Frontierland
With empty hands, as time ran out, the Ashes were not retrieved.
A package arrives from Frontierland
Sent from Samuel Colt, with a note and the ashes are now received.
# Alice 2011-04-26 10:56
Great lyrics! To Bonanza though? I'd do "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly." :-)

It was established in "All Dogs Go To Heaven" that we're on real time. Dean was looking at a calendar that said "October 2010" in that one. So, somehow, Swan Song really took place in late 2009. I guess they can get away with that since dates weren't given, but it seems the "year forward" just ended up putting us back even.
# Karen 2011-04-26 12:06
:lol: Yeah I know...it's only because they used the Bonanza opening...other wise I would of used something else...for sure.
Thanks for clearing up the date thing..I have found that very confusing this season.
# Jasminka 2011-04-27 04:46
Oh, Karen, great, great idea!!!
smiling like an idiot, Jas :lol:
# Bevie 2011-04-26 14:08
Karen, I love your theme song!

Great review Alice, and I loved the episode. So much to love. Delighted Dean, Bitchface Sammy, duster, gunfight, put upon horse (poor thing), germy saloon girls and posse posse posse! :D

I may be wrong but wasn't the sheriff the same guy who was Scotty in "Scarecrow"? :-|
# Ginger 2011-04-26 18:51
“I'll stay here, hook up with the posse--'cause you know me, I'm a posse magnet--I mean, I love posse--make that into a t-shirt."

My favorite line in the episode. I wondered if if this was an ad lib by Jensen because of the way it was delivered.
# nancyL 2011-04-26 20:13
"If anything bothered me with continuity (and this nitpick is very minor), it’s Sam remembering the location of the Campbell family library"
I have to agree Alice, when Sam said that he 'remembered' where this was, I was like WTF the Wall !!!!!!!

I am going to repeat myself and say that I love this episode. I feel that season six started with 'Appointment in Samarra' with the end of the Soulless One.
That is my story and I am sticking to it. :lol:

Long live Bitchface and the Sheriff.
# BagginsDVM 2011-04-26 20:44
This episode really was so much fun! Lots of brotherly banter & great lines by all the characters. Dean was just made of hotness in that hat & duster! Wish we could have seen Sam in more time-appropriat e clothing, but his irritation & bitchface with the shirt his brother picked out for him was too good to miss.
# Melanie 2011-04-26 21:08
Loved it!!!

Did Sam say he remembered it? Or just that it had to be there somewhere?

I was distracted by something at that point.

# JohnnybGOODE 2011-04-26 22:30
# Jasminka 2011-04-27 04:47
Oh, Alice, I just loved the episode! and I loved going through it again with your eyes...
This was the happy episode we needed before it gets dark... and I guess really dark...

love, Jas
# Julie 2011-04-27 06:29
Great review, as always Alice,
I have no words to decribe just how much I loved this episode, I would be even happier it if it could be written into Jensens contract that he puts the stetson on in every episode :-)
Thanks Ju
Dee Madison
# Dee Madison 2011-04-28 23:15
Hi Alice,

I'm an Aussie Supernatural fan, and firstly I'd like to commend you on your thought provoking and well written reviews on each Supernatural episode! I look forward to reading them each week :)

However, i have to disagree with you on your review of 'Frontierland'. I actually thought this episode was a little bit strange for a number of reasons: 1) One of the first scenes began with... an almost glimpse of Jared Padalecki's butt crack (not nice! - someone should have told him to pull up his jeans before bending down).

2) I don't know why, but something just felt a little bit "off kilter" with the Western scenes. To me they came off as stiff and lifeless, as though everyone involved knew they were "acting". I know this sounds strange, but that's how i felt...

Aside from that, i did enjoy the many funny moments, pop culture references and a return to form for the brotherly put downs ;). I replayed Dean's "posse" gag over and over again, it was hilarious! Add to that, Jensen Ackles looked so adorable in his delivery of it. Definitely my favourite scene of the episode!

I also agree with everyone else that the long jacket on Ackles looked awesome, as did the new Wild West opening theme... (though it doesn't beat my all time favourite - the "Changing Channels" theme song, LoL!) And let's not forget the "posse"! Sorry, i just can't stop saying that! Maybe i should "make that into a T-shirt"... :)
# Suze 2011-04-29 15:54
Fab. Posse magnet! :lol: :lol: :lol:

All good clean fun. Didn't he look drop-dead-gorge ous in that Duster? Happy sigh.

Cas just gets shifty-er by the second, dying to find out what he's up to that's got everyone's knickers in a twist up top ... If Balthazar's on board with it it can't be anything good ... :eek: