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S13 E16
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March 29, 2018 at 08:59 PM EDT

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)

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Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star as the Winchester brothers, hellbent on battling the paranormal forces of evil.
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