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Supernatural - ScoobyNatural - Review

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Supernatural “ScoobyNatural” was written by the team of James Krieg and Jeremy Adams and was directed by Robert Singer (live action) and Spike Brandt (Animation Director). This episode sees Supernatural get its meta on as no other show can. I’ll admit that I was skeptical that this would work, but the two shows mesh perfectly. I was also a little nervous about the animation itself as their first attempt at animating the series – Supernatural – The Animation – that was done by for a Japanese audience was a dismal failure in my opinion. The animation itself was terrible to say nothing of the stories. I think they pretty much nailed Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Castiel (Misha Collins) for “ScoobyNatural.”

A quick congratulations to the show on a remarkable 14th season pick up! This means that the show will pass the 300 episode milestone. I’m totally on board for starting a campaign to get Eric Kripke back to write – and direct!! – that 300th episode! What do you say?

The episode is a nice, relatively light-hearted break from the tension of the season. The episode begins in medias res as we see Dean thrown to the floor… by a giant plushie dinosaur! But not to worry, Sam is there too and the brothers work together to douse it with holy oil and set it on fire – and then it explodes! They are flummoxed. Alan (Michael Girardin) the owner of the store is grateful – and not worried about the mess. They are interrupted by Jay (Peter New), who Alan introduces as the “big guy around here” – as he owns most of the neighborhood.

After covering for what was going on – sometimes the batteries just explode! – the brothers step back to try to figure out what was going on. They’d come to town because people were seeing a lizard monster. Sam hadn’t imagined they’d end up killing…. And of course, Dean fills in “Barney!” Dean found it really satisfying – and I loved Padalecki’s reaction here – Sam found it satisfying too! And this has to be more meta too. It’s hard to believe that two single guys would be tired of seeing Barney – why would they turn him on? But two Dads with 3 young kids? I’m betting Ackles and Padalecki might be the ones who are really satisfied here…

The two think it might be a cursed object, when Jay is suddenly there. The two excuse themselves and are about to leave when Alan offers them a reward. Sam isn’t going to take it – but Dean already has his eye on a giant tv – and that gives Jay the opportunity to plant the cursed pocket knife in it.

Back at the bunker, Sam is diligently researching and can’t find anything on a cursed object that physically attacks people. Once again, I think that we are seeing a little real people bleed, when Dean tells Sam to be like Elsa and just “let it go” – Frozen anyone? Of course, I can also see Dean secretly watching Disney princess movies… It’s also hilarious that Sam doesn’t seem to get it.

Dean leads Sam away to show him his Dean-cave. It’s clearly the game room from the childhood that never was – and another indication of Dean’s nesting instincts. Naturally, there are two lazy-boys because Sam needs to relax too! Sam wonders when Dean had the time to gather all this, but Dean tells him “when it’s important, you make time.” And really, while this is funny, it’s also not a bad idea for Sam to take a break now and then…

We get a little 2001 theme music as Dean turns on the television – and then with a purple flash the two are sucked into the tv and an episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are you? The two are shocked to be cartoons – and it’s hilarious when Dean leaves a handprint in Sam’s face. The two immediately start working it as a case. Is it an angel thing? The Trickster? And a shout out to the writers on this episode who really did their homework. Let’s not forget Zachariah sending Dean – and Sam – to different universes. And of course, Dean thinks that the way out is to play their part – as the Trickster made them do in “Changing Channels” when they also found themselves in television shows. This also works into this season in a surprisingly great way as we’ve already seen that Richard Speight Jr is back as Gabriel – and possibly the Trickster too? Bear in mind, as well, that this episode was written well before the rest of season 13 too!

They discover that the Impala is also there. It’s beyond weird, but it’s a case – so they work it. By driving! To a malt shop… and then Dean spots the Mystery Machine. They both realize that they are in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Dean might be the bigger fan, but Sam is covering. Dean thinks that it’s a dream come true. And we get a nice little glimpse into the brothers’ childhood. Scooby-Doo was comfort food for Dean – no matter where their father dragged them growing up, there was always a tv with Scooby and the Gang on it.

In case you were still struggling to see how this cartoon fits with Supernatural, Dean spells it out for Sam. Scooby and the Gang are their role models! They go to spooky places, they solve mysteries, they fight ghosts – they’re just like the Scooby Gang. Sam points out that they don’t have a talking dog – but Dean wants to nominate Cas for the role! Forgetting of course, that Dean was a talking dog in a previous episode – but the less said about that the better…

Dean fixes his hair before heading over to hit on Daphne (Grey Griffin). Fred (Frank Welker – who also voices Scooby-Doo!) is naturally the one to welcome them to join them – despite Dean’s jealous and unreasonable dislike of him. Velma (Kate Micucci) tells them that Scooby has just been named as the heir to Colonel Sanders (Fred Tatasciore).

Dean is into it, but Sam tries to get him to focus on getting out. He points out that there’s no writing in the newspaper! He appalls Dean by calling Scooby Marmaduke, and then calls Dean on hitting on Daphne who is clearly with Fred! Fred has determined it all sounds like a mystery and agrees when Dean suggests that he and Sam tag along. I loved Dean joining Scooby and Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) for some road food! And I loved Sam’s long-suffering look when Dean wants him to look at how big his mouth is!

It’s also hilarious when Dean loses the drag race to Fred – he blusters that the light was red – but maybe he was blinded by the purple flash of Cas being zapped into the cartoon? We get a nice mysterious shot of Cas from the back…

Dean recognizes the episode that they are in – “A Night of Fright is No Delight” – as soon as he sees the Colonel’s mansion. I loved Sam trying to pick the story apart by logic. It can’t be legal to require people to spend the night in a haunted house for a million dollars! Velma is even more practical than Sam – there’s no such thing as ghosts! I loved Dean wanting to keep the Scooby gang pure and innocent – no telling them that they are the “c-word” or about monsters and what the brothers really do. Sam wants to skip to the end of the episode as Dean knows how it turns out. Dean makes the somewhat lame excuse that sometimes it’s about the journey and not the destination, but Sam sees through him – Dean just wants more time to get with Daphne!

Daphne is brilliantly innocent and oblivious – telling Dean that boys and girls don’t sleep in the same room! Dean ends up with the rest of the boys – and hilariously in a nightgown/”sleeping robe.” Meanwhile, in the girl’s room, Velma clearly has a crush on Sam – who didn’t love her blushing?!?!

The cartoon goes badly when the Phantasm (Dee Bradley Baker) starts really killing people and it isn’t simply Cosgood (Stephen Stanton) leaving fake bodies after kidnapping the cousins. It’s hilarious as we go around the room with everyone’s tagline: Jinkies, Jeepers, Zoinks, Ruh-roh, Son-of-a-bitch! And it’s another echo of Dean using it in the sitcom in “Changing Channels.”

The Scooby Gang remain happily oblivious, with Velma asserting that there has to be a logical explanation. But Sam worries that they could die in the cartoon – Dean is more concerned about Scooby! When a mysterious figure shows up at the window, Fred beats Dean to tackling him – but it’s just Cas. I’m so glad that they brought him in too because his reactions to meeting a talking dog are hilarious!

We find out that Cas returned from Syria and getting fruit from the tree of life to find Sam and Dean missing. This is a nice little bit as well, as he tells them (or the empty bunker) that the tree had been guarded by a pack of Djinn. He killed most of them, bargained with the rest but thinks he might be technically married to their Queen! He tells them that he saw purple sparks as he was sucked into the tv, and Sam makes the connection to the purple sparks from the dinosaur – and his eyes did glow purple.

I loved Scooby jumping into Shaggy’s arms and then both into Cas’s. It’s also a nice shout out to season one’s “Shadow” when the Phantasm leaves gigantic claw marks on the walls. The gang discovers yet another dead body – this one gruesomely torn up. It’s hilarious that Dean feels like he’s going to be sick – and he never does! – but the Scooby gang just happily walk away unfazed! Sam asks if they always just walk away from dead bodies.

Dean is sure that the cartoon is haunted. Fred wants to split up to search the house. Dean and Sam want to stick together, but Velma calls Sam chicken. They decide to follow Fred’s lead, but one of them will help to protect the Scooby gang. Dean naturally goes with Fred and Daphne, and Velma snags Sam to go with her to the attic. Cas is not happy that he once lead armies and now he’s paired with a scruffy philistine and a talking dog.

Sam spills the truth to Velma about monsters and ghosts. He goes a little too far in telling her that they’ve even saved the world. Velma laughs at him – and solves the real world case for him. She tells him that ghosts aren’t real and are just crooks in masks – usually unscrupulous real estate developers… now who does that sound like? The two find a clue – but have very different conclusions. Velma notices there’s no dust on the toys and Sam notices the ectoplasm! The toys start flying with purple sparks – but Velma still wants it to be Christmas lights or something.

Dean notices the book not painted into the background of the c… library and opens the secret tunnel. After they slide down to the basement, Dean mistakes the Phantasm for Daphne. We get a nice musical interlude of the Scooby theme as the Phantasm chases the group through the mansion. There’s lots of Dean leering at Daphne and almost getting a kiss or hug… but he never does get the girl.

When the Phantasm corners the group, the Scooby gang finally lose their innocence. Fred is thrown across the room, Velma and Daphne are levitated and pinned to the walls, and Shaggy is thrown out the window. Dean and Sam grab some iron candlesticks and dissipate the ghost. Shaggy falls – and I loved the super-hero moment for Cas as he tries to save him. Shaggy still ends up actually breaking his arm! I loved how Shaggy refuses to believe it’s possible – he jumped out of a biplane at a museum!

Sam and Dean decide that they have to tell the gang the truth. Ghosts are real. And Velma realizes that everything Sam told him was true. Velma beats herself up for being stupid, Fred – hilariously – beats his head against a tree in frustration at realizing they could have been hunting Dracula instead of real-estate developers, and Daphne suddenly realizes there’s an afterlife if there are ghosts and maybe she’s going to Hell! Shaggy points out that he and Scooby have been right all along and nobody ever listened to them!

Dean gives them a pep talk – the Scooby gang doesn’t have a nervous breakdown! They may not have fought the supernatural, but they’ve fought monsters! Real psychos! Sam suddenly reveals that he remembers the episodes too! The gang rallies and when Velma says they don’t have the proper weapons, the Impala’s trunk awaits – and we get the Supernatural theme music. And suddenly, Dean can swear again – but he won’t give Velma a gun.

Instead, Dean has Fred build an elaborate trap. I loved Cas tiptoeing with Shaggy and Scooby as they act as bait. Naturally, the three of them end up in the trap – Fred’s traps never work! But they have a plan B and get the Phantasm trapped in a salt circle. The salt circle was fantastic in animation – I loved the invisible walls! The Phantasm turns out to be the ghost of a young boy (Kegan Frith) who Jay has been using for his own ends.

Dean promises to set him free if he gets them all back to the real world. Before they leave, however, Dean has to fix the Scooby gang. He enlists the help of creepy ghost kid, and Sam and Dean tell them they were wrong. They’ve set it up so that Cosgood is in the Phantasm suit – they have an answer for everything. Dean reveals that the money was fake – all confederate dollars! And I remember the episode too – that’s exactly how it turned out! Cas sneakily heals Shaggy’s broken arm.

Dean says goodbye to an oblivious Daphne, and Cas tells Shaggy and Scooby that he’ll miss their wise words and gentle spirits! He tells them that they’ve showed him the value of laughter in the face of danger – is anyone surprised that Cas never really got it – though as we know, he’s supposed to get subtext now… Sam gets the best send off of all as Velma turns his handshake into her dipping him and kissing him on the lips!

Once the Scooby gang is safely on their way, ghost kid zaps the three back to the real world. I loved that Sam is clearly as tickled by what happened as Dean – who declares it the coolest thing that’s ever happened to him – including the Cartwright twins. Cas wants to know what Dean did with the twins – and I loved Ackles here as Dean avoids the question and leaves the room. Sam doesn’t want to know!

Dean returns with a sledgehammer to smash the tv to get the knife, and a blowtorch for Sam to release the kid. There is a nice serious moment as Sam, Dean, and Cas do feel the weight of releasing the spirit – it’s another nice contrast to how the Scooby gang felt about dead bodies.

Dean, Sam and Cas return to Alan’s just in time to prevent him from selling his shop to Jay. Dean is suddenly sporting an ascot! Sam “unmasks” Jay to Alan. The brothers also return to a kinder gentler time when they didn’t randomly kill people. They’re going to let Jay’s unpaid taxes take care of him. As the police lead him away, Dean is thrilled to hear Jay say, “It isn’t fair. I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids!”

And then we get a tight circle in to Dean saying the corresponding line, “Scooby-dooby-doo-oo-oo!” Sam wants to know what he’s going, and Cas points out that he’s not a talking dog!

This was a fun episode and a nice light-hearted break before season 13 moves towards its final episodes. I was a fan of Scooby-Doo as a kid, so I should have realized what a great fit this crossover would be. I thought they did a great job in weaving in the tropes from both shows. Given Dean’s resistance to truly being a grown up, it makes sense that he’d love this universe and fit right in! It was nice to see that Sam might resist it, but he also has a bit of that in him too. What did you think of the episode? Did it work for you or did it take you too far outside of the Supernatural universe? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! And let's get that campaign going for episode 300!

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