Here’s the thing I want to say about Supernatural‘s out-of-the-box episodes: The show gets a lot of credit for doing them. I often hear “no other show could do this,” which is 100 percent true. But I’d like to add to that sentence: “No other should could do this and do it so well.” Because it’s not as if Supernatural just swings for the fences — it knocks the ball out of the park. And “Scoobynatural” is the latest example of that. What could’ve just been a fun crossover turned out to be a really great hour of the show we’ve all come to love.
Let’s get into it!
The hour opens with Sam and Dean wrestling a stuffed dinosaur that has come to life, which we could take some time to analyze, but this is Supernatural, so what’s the point? (Need I remind you of the talking teddy bear?) Long story short, the boys use holy oil and some fire to kill the evil plushy, at which point a very grateful pawn shop owner offers them a thank you gift — despite the fact that some creepy guy named Jay wandered into the story and is watching Sam and Dean very closely.
In the end, the brothers walk out of the pawn shop with a thank you TV, and Dean, for one, is real excited.
The oldest Winchester brother heads home and makes the most of his new purchase. While Sam does some research — he’s not entirely sure how a cursed object physically attacked them — Dean creates the Dean Cave (alternate title: Fortress of Deanitude). There, he’s got a foosball table, a juke box — all vinyl, obviously — two lazy boy recliners that would make Chandler and Joey proud, a bar, and of course, the TV. But when Dean turns the TV on for a test run, he and Sam end up sucking into a cartoon! And let the fun begin!!
Trying to figure out what’s happening, they think of possibilities: Could this be an angel thing? Or … could it be the Trickster?
Sam: “No, he’s dead.”
Dean: “Or is he?”
I love this nod to the fact that Gabriel is alive and well. Well, maybe not “well.”
Moving on, the boys discover that Baby made the trip to Scooby land because OF COURSE SHE DID. And considering that “beyond weird” is their thing, Dean suggests they work this case the way they do any other: “We drive.”
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But they don’t drive for long. Dean, being Dean, decides they should stop at a nearby Malt Shop and talk to some people to try and get to the bottom of this. (In reality, he was probably just hoping they had some pie.) But once they park, they spot it: The Mystery Machine! And that’s when it clicks: They’re not just in any cartoon. They’re in Scooby-Doo!
Inside the Malt Shop is the Mystery Gang, and Dean is very excited to be stuck in a cartoon with “the greatest talking dog in history.” Having grown up watching Scooby-Doo, Dean thinks this scenario is a dream come true. “These guys they’re our freakin’ role models,” Dean tells Sam. Well, except for Fred. Dean is not a fan. (He feels the opposite way about Daphne.)
And that leads us to this interaction. After Dean explains how their work freakishly mirrors the work of the Scooby gang, Sam says…
Sam: “Our ghosts don’t wear masks, and we don’t have a talking dog.”
Dean: “I don’t know. Cas is kind of like a talking dog.”
Dean then heads over to the gang to make an introduction, at which point he kisses Daphne on the hand and tries to gauge just how much game he has now that he’s animated. (Spoiler: Not much.) The boys find out that the gang is celebrating because Scooby just had some money left to him by an old Southern Colonel that he saved from drowning. And this is where we get our first taste of Supernatural‘s version of Scooby. When the boys ask how the Colonel died, the answer is simply “cancer,” at which point things get a little dark. It sounds like a small thing to point out, but the way that Supernatural matured Scooby and made it a bit darker is one of my favorite parts of this crossover.
While Dean is asking questions, Sam is trying to figure out why they aren’t working to get out of here, but when he calls Scooby “Marmaduke,” Dean has had enough. Plus, he thinks Daphne is settling with Fred and he’s not ready to leave yet. As he tells Sam, the last time they were zapped into a TV show, they got out by playing their part. And considering the Scooby gang just got wind of a new mystery, Dean and Sam offer to tag along, but only after Dean joins Shaggy and Scooby — his food spirit animals — for a road trip snack.
On the road, Dean challenges Fred and the Mystery Machine to a friendly race only to lose, a twist he did not see coming. But that’s not the only twist of the episode: Once they arrive at the Colonel’s mansion, Dean realizes which episode of Scooby-Doo they’re in: “A Night of Fright Is No Delight.” It’s an episode that Dean has seen a million times, and it starts with the lawyer of Colonel Sanders — yep, that’s his name — announcing to a group of people that everyone will receive an equal share of a million dollars providing that they survive a night at the haunted family mansion. (According to Dean, the lawyer, Cosgood Creeps, ends up being the man in the mask behind it all.)
Once Sam and Dean agree not to tell the Mystery Gang about the “C” word — cartoon — they get ready to spend the night, which includes Dean experiencing the joys of wearing a nightgown. “It’s like I’m wrapped in hugs,” he tells his brother. (Next: Cas join the fun)
Meanwhile, across the hall, Velma can’t stop talking about Sam, the big lug that she clearly has a crush on. But all that is interrupted when a ghost stabs a man in the back. And when they discover the body, Dean realizes that this isn’t quite the episode he thought it was. (I love love love this compilation of everyone’s catchphrases and the moment when “jinkies” and “zoinks” meet Dean’s “son of a b—h.”)
With a dead body on their hands, Sam and Dean realize something: If that guy can die for real in the cartoon, so can they. But more importantly, Dean realizes that Scooby could die! As he says, he’d “take a bullet for that dog.” And speaking of people (or things?) he’d take a bullet for, Castiel’s here!
It seems that after Castiel returned from Syria with fruit from the tree of life — and possibly a wife? — he found the Dean Cave and saw Sam and Dean in the Scooby episode, at which point he was also sucked into the cartoon. And now, he’s being introduced to a talking dog and a very disturbing dead body. The guys come across a second victim, and this one is in pieces. That’s when Dean realizes the cartoon must be haunted.
Fred suggests they split up, a plan that Sam hates but one they ultimately go with. Dean heads off with Daphne (and Fred) while Velma and Sam’s enormous shoulders check out the attic, which leaves Castiel to hang with Scooby and Shaggy. Or as he puts it, “I once led armies and now I’m paired with a scruffy philistine and a talking dog.”
In the attic, Sam breaks the promise he made to Dean and attempts to tell Velma the truth about werewolves, vampires, demons, and the like. As he puts it, “We’ve saved the world. A lot.” But as true as that is, Velma’s not budging: Monsters are nothing more than crooks in masks, she says. (And they’re usually in real estate.) However, she might change her mind after the phantom finds them in the attic and they have to run.
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Elsewhere, Daphne is explaining the pros of an ascot to Dean when he discovers a freakishly clean book in a very old bookcase. As expected, it leads to a trap door. When Dean, Daphne, and Fred fall down the trap door, Dean comes face-to-face — or more like hand-to-thigh — with the phantom.
We then cut to Cas, Scooby, and Shaggy, who are being followed by the phantom, and within moments, we’re in the middle of a classic Scooby-Doo running compilation set to the cartoon’s theme song. And I’m not going to lie, Daphne’s line about Dean having the phantom by the thigh made me laugh out loud.
Just as things start to settle down, the phantom enters and pins Velma and Daphne to the wall. It then throws Fred across the room and tosses Shaggy out the window. Sam, thinking fast, hands Dean an iron candlestick, and when they stab the phantom, it explodes. Scooby and Castiel then dive out the window to catch Shaggy, who lands with a broken arm. And as anyone who watches cartoons knows, Shaggy never breaks a bone
That’s when Sam and Dean tell everyone the truth: Ghosts are real, and they’re dealing with a vengeful spirit. This leads to one of my favorite parts of the episode: Watching the gang react to the news. Basically they all begin to have nervous breakdowns, so much so that Dean has to give an A+ pep talk about how they’re all heroes no matter what they hunt. They might not have the weapons to fight real monsters, but the Winchesters do. Aaaand cue the trunk opening! (And Dean getting bleeped on a cartoon!)
With a lot of salt, the gang comes up with a plan to catch the phantom, but knowing that Fred’s plans never work, Dean makes sure there’s a Plan B. As expected, Plan A fails which leads to Plan B: Using the trap door from earlier to trap the phantom in a salt circle. And it turns out, the phantom is a little boy — or as Dean puts it, a “creepy ghost kid.” The boy never wanted to hurt anyone, but Jay makes him. (Jay being the creepy guy from the pawn shop at the beginning of the hour.)
Turns out the little boy’s soul was tied to a pocketknife, which Jay places in objects so that he’ll haunt them. The boys promise to set the kid’s soul free if he returns them to the real world. But first, they have to make things right with the Scooby gang. So, they lie.
They tell them that Velma was right and ghosts aren’t real. They even stage the phantom so that they can unmask him and realize it’s Creeps. As Velma says, “There’s no such thing as the supernatural.” Sure. Castiel then heals Shaggy’s arm, and Dean declares that Fred is not so bad before trying one last move on Daphne. He fails. Sam, however, gets a kiss from Velma. Once again “maturing” Scooby-Doo, Dean declares that he “should’ve known Velma was good to go. It’s always the quiet ones!” Yeah, I love this.
The boys then return to the real world, where they burn the pocketknife and set the kid’s soul free. Dean then finds an ascot to wear to the pawn shop, where they get Jay arrested for not paying his taxes. And last but not least, Dean gets to live out his fantasy of rounding out the Scooby episode with a “Scooby-Doo!” straight to camera. Only, this is Supernatural, so no one’s amused. (But really everyone is amused.)
And that’s that. The Scooby episode that we’ve been waiting for did not disappoint. I love the way they took such a beloved property and made it fit within the Supernatural world. The real mystery remains how these writers do it year after year.
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