March 28, 2009 at 08:00 AM EDT

It was a great week for mixing humor and fantasy on both Dollhouse and Supernatural. Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse continued its now-rapidly-accelerating revealing of the origins of Eliza Dushku’s Echo/Caroline, while Eric Kripke’s Supernatural offered a sort of alternate-universe tale of Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) as office workers fated to meet.

Dollhouse is leading up to next week’s do-not-miss episode which Fox is promoting as an “event”: “Dollhouse: The Awakening.” In the meantime, we got glimpses of doll Echo’s real identity, Caroline, with flashbacks to the deal she struck with Dollhouse dominatrix (as I like to think of her) Adelle DeWitt. But the main plot was a corker about a drug that infected all the major players, turning them into, in DeWitt’s phrase, “idiot children.” It gave this diverse cast a chance to show new sides of themselves. The result was both funny (Topher: “You haven’t seen my drawer of inappropriate starches?”) and revealing. Like I said, don’t miss next week.

Meanwhile, on Thursday’s Supernatural, in an episode called “It’s a Terrible Life,” the Winchester brothers weren’t… brothers. Dean was a prim businessman and Sam was a dorky IT drone laboring in the same office building, which of course just happened to be haunted. The episode was a beautifully sustained fantasy in which the two are strangers to each other, brought together by a series of bizarre deaths occurring in the office. (I keep trying to forget that image of the guy microwaving his head.)

There was a very amusing show-within-the-show, Ghostfacers, which instructed the duo in how to kill ghosts. Once the prim-Dean and dork-Sam got into it, it was, as Sam said, “like we’ve done this before.”

Both Dollhouse and Supernatural used our knowledge of what’s come before to enrich our knowledge of their heroes, and deepen our understanding of their basic natures. With some solid laughs. Like I said, a great week for the mingling of humor and fantasy.

Did you watch Dollhouse? Supernatural? Both? Did you like these unusual episodes?

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