Supernatural reminds viewers why it remains one of the most innovative shows on television with the highly anticipated crossover episode “Scoobynatural.” Season 13 has already given fans an interesting new character, the return of several beloved cast members, and a celebrated Wayward Daughters backdoor pilot. But wait, there’s more! “Scoobynatural” is all we could hope for with a fun meta theme, excellent character integration, and a clever storyline.
“Scoobynatural” was penned by two writers with backgrounds in Scooby cartoon series: Jim Krieg (What’s New, Scooby-Doo?) and Jeremy Adams (Lego Scooby-Doo). Writing Scooby-Doo may not have been a new experience for them, but it was their first foray into Supernatural. Yet somehow, the writers managed to capture the spirit and tone of both series perfectly in this genre-bending crossover. Zoinks! Having showrunner Robert Singer at the helm as director certainly helped make “Scoobynatural” feel both fresh and true to the Supernatural series.
A big part of what makes “Scoobynatural” work so well is how it all fits together. It doesn’t feel like two shows crashing together, instead appearing genuine and weirdly real. The connections were fun, but also held emotional appeal.
Dean: “Sam, growing up on the road, no matter where Dad dragged us, no matter what we did, there was always a TV. And do you know what was always on that TV? Scooby and the gang. These guys, they’re our friggin’ role models, man. Except Fred—he’s a wad.”
Sam: “He’s … What?”
Dean: “Just think about it—we do the same thing. We go to spooky places, we solve mysteries, we fight ghosts.”
Sam: “Yeah, except 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.”
These two series have more in common than just ghosts, which was delightfully played up in the episode. The Impala and the Mystery Machine are both cool vehicles that serve as a hub (does the Scooby gang have a bunker?). Both the Winchesters and the Scooby gang have a lot of experience with diners, not to mention a shared love of sandwiches. And then there’s a tradition of silly names, whether aliases or possible suspects.
Early in the episode Dean recognizes it’s a Scooby-Doo he’s seen a million times—“A Night of Fright is No Delight.” But things take a turn for the bloody when Cousin Simple turns up dead. This gives everyone a chance to use their classic catchphrases.
Scooby: “Rut Roh!”
Dean: “Son of a bitch!”
In this standalone episode, there’s no mention of parallel universes and an absence of angst-ridden boy melodrama. While Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) keep things simple, the Scooby gang becomes slightly more three-dimensional. Velma takes an interest in Sam’s big shoulders as they hunt for clues. Dean fangeeks out over Scooby, telling Sam, “I would take a bullet for that dog.” Dean competes with Fred and tries to win over Daphne in a surprisingly believable storyline.
Sam: “Hey why do you hate Fred so much?”
Dean: “Because he’s so cool, with his perfect hair, his can-do attitude, and that stupid ascot.”
“Scoobynatural” recreates the classic Scooby-Doo moments we love. These include a pitch-black room in which only eyes are visible, Scooby jumping into Shaggy’s arms (who then jumps into Castiel’s arms), a ghost walking behind the gang as they try to sneak away, and a “Scooby-Doobie-Doo, Where Are You?” montage scene as they all get chased by a ghost.
Dean takes a protective stance with his childhood heroes, not wanting to reveal that they are in a cartoon or that monsters are real. He tells Sam, “They are pure and innocent and good. And we’re going to keep it that way.” Sam, on the other hand, is ready to share all with the skeptical Velma:
“Look, I’m not supposed to tell you this, but ghosts are real. My brother and I hunt them along with werewolves and vampires and demons and …We’ve saved the world. A lot.”
Velma brushes Sam off, telling him that monsters are usually just unscrupulous real estate developers in masks.
When the Scooby gang finally learns that monsters are real, they experience existential crises. Velma wonders how she could have been so blind, Fred realizes his life is meaningless, Daphne worries she could go to Hell, and Shaggy complains that none of them listened to his and Scooby’s warnings about ghosts. With a pep talk from Dean, they manage to pull it together. The gang creates an elaborate trap in typical Scooby-Doo fashion (“Where’d he get coconuts?”).
The animation integrated some of the stylized images and horror that Supernatural is known for. There are some shot-for-shot scenes that play off the original cartoon. Yet, the “Scoobynatural” animators give the episode some of that Supernatural punch, playing up shadows and creating contrasts. Then there’s the gore. Blood seeping from knife wounds and decapitated bodies aren’t your usual Scooby-Doo fare. Later, as Sam and Dean open the trunk of the Impala to reveal their cache of weapons, classic Supernatural theme music plays in the background. Despite the introduction to the world of ghost hunting, the Winchesters let the Scooby gang keep their cartoon innocence in the end.
Even before being thrust into the world of Scooby-Doo, the episode begins with a comical cold open in which Sam and Dean fight an “evil plushie.” When Castiel (Misha Collins) shows up in Scooby-Doo they begin to realize there’s a connection between the killer stuffed dinosaur and their animated situation. After they make their way out, they realize that Velma was right after all, because the shady real estate developer turns out to be the real culprit. And he would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling Winchesters.
“Scoobynatural” lived up to its hype, which is no small feat. Supernatural managed to give viewers something distinctively original with the feel of a nostalgic romp. If Supernatural keeps introducing imaginative concepts written into good storylines, delivered by an excellent cast and crew, the series might just go on forever. Well, gang, it looks like we’ve got another season of mysteries on our hands.