Original Airdate: November 9, 2013
Director: James Head
Writer(s): Jack Monaco
A long time ago, I remember watching this episode for the first time. Back then, my thoughts on the episode could be summed up as, "Not bad but not very engaging." Well, now that I've made it to this episode in my Every Haunting Hour Ever marathon, I might as well give it a second chance.
Ethan and his older brother, Brett, are sent back to the days of the Old West, where an outlaw named John "Mad Dog" McCoy (who was hanged for his crimes on the tree in Ethan's yard) challenges him to a final showdown at high noon after learning that his resting place has been cut down and turned into a coat rack.
One of the things I liked about this episode was the setting. So this episode mostly takes place in the wild west. With TV shows that were made in this decade, including The Haunting Hour, you don't really see this type of setting too often. Because of this, it's neat to see. Not only that, but the music and visuals do a good job of engulfing the viewer into this type of environment.
The other thing I enjoyed about the episode was the villain. Although there are times where his acting can get a bit hammy, he still manages to come off as intimidating. I think this comes from how he talks to Ethan and Brett in a very threatening manner and the fact that he shoots his gun to silence them when they're bickering without a second thought.
There's one part of the episode that I'm on the fence about however. Towards the end, Ethan starts telling Mad Dog about how his decision to shoot the sheriff has had numerous consequences on various people (particularly the sheriff's children) and even the town itself. At first, Mad Dog shrugs it off. But then as Ethan gives out more details, the outlaw's guilt grows and grows and eventually gets to a point where it ends up killing him. After Mad Dog is slain, Ethan tells Brett that the details he shared with Mad Dog were false. On the one hand, it kind of feels like a cop out because it seems like the writers were afraid to have either character shoot a person. But on the other hand, the whole made up backstory thing does tie into Ethan's love of storytelling.
Overall, Coat Rack Cowboy was a lot better than I remember, although it isn't without its flaws. Even if you aren't into wild west stories, I still think this a good episode to check out.
Overall Grade: B-