Supernatural may be surrounded by heavy-duty time-period competition — Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, The Office, Fringe — but it just keeps doing its demon-ganking thing, and this week’s episode, called “Changing Channels,” managed to beat a few of those competitors at their own game.

We were told Sam and Dean are dealing with a familiar foe: (WARNING: SPOILERS FROM HEREON) the Trickster, who plunks them down in a variety of TV genres.

The Grey’s Anatomy spoof struck just the right tone of nighttime-soap mingled with Sam’s utter disbelief… that Dean knows so much about this Dr. Sexy, M.D. show.

The CSI spoof was certainly lit like Supernatural‘s time-period partner (i.e., dark-dark-dark), but its true target was CSI: Miami, with both of our heroes impersonating David Caruso’s sunglasses-tugging and murmured speech mannerisms.

Best of all, however, were the opening credits to this episode, an impeccable parody of the cheerfully cornball openings to old sitcoms such as Three’s Company or Perfect Strangers.

There was a serious side to this episode, however. In fact, the conclusion got pretty heavy, as the Trickster was revealed as the archangel Gabriel, who insisted that this season has not been about the Apocalypse, but about how “one brother has to kill the other.” Less Cain-and-Abel than a worldly version of the Biblical battle against the forces of evil led by the Antichrist.

Where this goes from here, in Supernatural‘s wild current season, is anyone’s guess. Care to take a stab at it yourself?

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