Team Free Will Meets the Scooby Crew in ScoobyNatural

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Photo: The CW -- © 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Like millions of Supernatural fans who grew up watching Scooby Doo, I was ecstatic to learn of an upcoming crossover episode of Supernatural and Scooby Doo. Some of Supernatural‘s most legendary episodes have been when the show has dared to go meta, and I’m expecting no less from this. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

On the surface, the connection between the two shows is obvious. On Supernatural, for 13 seasons and two networks, the Winchester Brothers have been cruising down the winding roads of the USA in their trusty Impala hunting down and fighting supernatural creatures and saving humanity from one Big Bad after the other, including God and Lucifer themselves.

In its many incarnations on Scooby Doo, Shaggy and Scooby, along with Fred, Velma and Daphne, have been riding around in the Mystery Machine encountering one whodoneit after another and exposing fake supernatural beings for nearly 50 years.

To fans of Supernatural, the list of common factors is far greater. Dean Winchester loves puns, pie and bacon cheeseburgers the way Scooby and Shaggy love Scooby Snacks. Sam Winchester is as dry witted, logical,  skeptical and academic as Velma.

So the myriad questions about tonight’s episode are many. Would Dean hit on, and get shot down, by Daphne? Would he get into a pissing contest with Fred over it? How much taller than Fred and Shaggy Would Sam be? Would Scooby and Dean buddy up, leaving Shaggy feeling left out? Or would they form a ridiculous trifecta, dramatically gulping in unison and devouring every bit of food available as every strange detail of their case is revealed?  Would Baby and The Mystery Machine drag race? Would Sam’s insanely long legs mean he’d always be five steps ahead of The Gang when they’re fleeing whatever it is they’ll flee? Would whatever the Mystery of The Week is prove to be a Scooby Doo style hoax? Or would we get a more grown up blood and guts Winchester style outcome? Would we be graced with guest appearances from the ghosts of Charlie, Bobby, Rufus or Jo? Would Castiel manage to zap himself into the story? Jinkies! Jeepers! Zoinks! So many questions!

8 p.m, rolls around and I guess it’s time to tune in and find out. I have to admit, getting into the first couple of minutes of this episode definitely felt like something was off. This was probably because I’ve grown so accustomed to the ever-present continuity Supernatural has shown over the years. Not to mention that there hasn’t exactly been a lot of levity on the show of late. Things felt very two-dimensional, unusual for the shows main characters, but makes sense when considering that I’m watching the live-action portion of a cartoon crossover.  

The episode opens with the Winchester brothers inside a pawn shop wrestling a giant stuffed dinosaur and causing it to explode. The Boys exit with a flat screen as a thank you gift from the incredibly grateful shop owner, his friend ‘the guy who owns practically the whole neighborhood’ watching them suspiciously.

Back at The Bunker, Sam dives into the books in search of an explanation for the animated plushie attack while Dean drops some choice one liners including ‘Be like Elsa. Let it go.’ He then leads Sam to ‘The Dean Cave’, complete with a foosball table, jukebox and a set of double Lazy-Boy recliners. There’s a giant kid side to Dean we’ve barely glimpsed for several seasons, but it’s front and center here.  He fires up the television and Presto! The boys are toons.

What is amazing is that the moment the episode transitions into animation, the continuity and fully developed characters I’ve come to expect from this show are back in force. Dean is thrilled to be a cartoon and gleefully up for the challenge, Sam is all questions.

The return of Archangel Gabriel aka The Trickster is hinted at  while simultaneously giving a nod to Changing Channels, the last meta episode where The Boys were on TV. Baby arrives and The Boys hit the road to work the case. When they stumble upon The Scooby Gang at a Malt Shop, Dean’s childlike fanboy joy at being in an episode of Scooby Doo is contagious and Sam remains grumpy. Unsurprisingly, Dean calls ‘dibs on Daphne’.

Dean’s explanation of the role Scooby Doo played in their childhood and how dear they are to him is heartwarming and the banter between The Boys is spot on. A MYSTERY presents itself and Sam and Dean jump in to tag along. But not before Dean chows down on Road Food with Shaggy and Scooby, of course.

Heading off to the Colonel’s mansion, there’s a drag race with the Mystery Machine leaving Baby in the dust, and we realize how much Dean hates Fred.

Dean realizes he knows the episode they’re in, one where Scooby is up for an inheritance on the provision of spending the night in a haunted house. Velma informs Sam that there’s no such thing as a haunted house and Dean sets out to insure that Sam doesn’t destroy the Gang’s naiveté.

Daphne shoots Dean down, Dean starts to get comfortable in the knowledge of knowing what comes next, and Daphne calls Velma out on having a thing for Sam. When Dean expects a houseguest to go missing an actual dead body turns up instead, the thing has gone off script and with Dean’s trademark ‘Son of a Bitch!’ we’ve heard the first swear word in history on Scooby Doo.

The Gang remains as obtuse and two dimensional as ever, while the Winchesters hunker down to solve the case while keeping them in the dark. Deans declaration of ‘It doesn’t matter if we die, Scooby-Doo could die, and that’s not happening. Not on my watch. I’d take a bullet for that dog.’ is priceless.

Velma clings to logic,  asserting that ‘There’s no such thing as ghosts.’ just as Castiel arrives and the shenanigans get ridiculous in the best kind of way.

The first ghost sighting occurs and another dead body appears. Everyone splits into teams, Velma obsessing over Sam’s broad shoulders and Dean unable to shake Fred and get  Daphne alone. Unexpectedly, Castiel bonds with Scooby and Shaggy. ‘Wonderful. I once lead armies and now I’m paired with a scruffy Philistine and a talking dog.’ may be one of Castiel’s top ten best lines ever.

Sam and Velma take the attic, where he gives her the low-down on the family business. She laughs it off, letting him know that ‘monsters are nothing more than crooks in masks. Usually unscrupulous real estate developers.’ right before being attacked by a trunk full of ectoplasm dripping, glowing toys.

Dean gets shot down by Daphne in the library where with Fred they discover a secret tunnel to the basement and have another run in with the ghost.   

Castiel, Shaggy and Scooby have their own run in with the ghost and a classic Scooby Doo chase montage to the shows iconic theme song ensues back and forth through hallway doors, with pauses for Dean to leer at Daphne. Sam, incidentally, is at the rear of the pack, rolling his eyes at his brothers ridiculousness.

The ghost attacks, Shaggy gets an arm broken and with that, it’s decided. For their safety, Team Free Will must break the truth about monsters and demons to The Gang and they proceed to have a collective nervous breakdown until Dean gives one of the best motivational pep talks of his life.  Dean finally gets to drop an f- bomb, albeit bleeped out, but it’s been a long time coming.

A trap is set, the ghost is captured in classic Scooby Doo fashion in a salt circle trap that’s classic Supernatural. Castiel doing the ‘Scooby creep’ is a highlight.  

Turns out the ghost is a little boy  being used as a tool by the unscrupulous real estate developer from the pawn shop. They cut a deal to con The Gang back into innocence,  and get back to reality in exchange for, freeing the ghost. But first Velma dips Sam for a smooch and Castiel heals Shaggy’s arm.

Back at The Bunker, The Boys and Castiel free the ghost, then head to the pawn shop where they save the owner from being swindled in a bad real estate deal and have the real estate developer arrested for tax evasion, declaring ‘I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids!’  Annnnnd Dean goes right back into kid mode looking right into the camera and doing his best impression of Scooby himself with a gruff Scroooby Dooooby Dooooooo

This is unquestionably one of the best episodes of Supernatural to date. I feel like going in, I had a pretty good feel for what to expect. Without question, the episode delivered. It manages to walk the line between being pure Scooby Doo and pure Supernatural. I give it an A++

Written by: Lynn C. Albers

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