This review contains spoilers.
This episode was a milestone. Supernatural did what only fanfics dared — cross over with Scooby Doo. And they did it well. Did it advance the season arc? Heck no. But what we got was an enjoyable popcorn romp through nostalgia, done in a distinctively Supernatural style.
All season long I’ve been predicting that Jack would be the one to transport the boys into the cartoon. It was teased early in the season when he’s watching the cartoon on TV. Instead, this episode was completely stand-alone, not touching on any overall season arc.
Scoobynatural has been in production for well over year, as Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki and Misha Collins recorded their parts in January of 2017. Animation is a long process, but from the looks of the final product, it was well worth it.
As soon as Sam and Dean are transported into the world of Scooby Doo, we see smooth animation, far more detailed than even I was expecting. Add to that the slickly animated Impala, excellent voice acting from the entire cast and a classic Scooby Doo story told through the Supernatural lens.
Elements of the Supernatural-style was rife throughout the story, but told in a more innocent way, harking back to the golden age of cartoons about talking dogs and mystery solving teens. The opening credits were even done in a different, more cartoon-friendly font.
The episode Dean says they’re in is actually a real episode of Scooby Doo. A Night Of Fright Is No Delight is from Season 1 Episode 16 and aired in 1970. Scoobynatural followed pretty close to the original story and animation — until of course, characters actually start dying.
It was funny seeing the Scooby Gang reacting to actual injuries and later gearing up with weapons from the Impala’s trunk, but I was glad to see that this waited until the end. We got to see these characters in their innocent naivete, and most of the humour came from Sam and Dean’s reactions. Later, when Cas appeared, we got even more comic relief from our trenchcoat wearing friend.
All the callbacks to traditional Scooby Doo were lovingly rendered. We have the famous chase scene down hallways and in and out of doors to the cartoon’s theme song. Fred saying “We should all split up and search for clues” and the fact that his elaborate traps never work.
Dean interest in Daphne should be expected since he expressed interest way back in Season Two’s Playthings. “We might even get to run into Fred and Daphne while we’re inside,” Dean said. “Mmm, Daphne. Love her.”
The humour was well done. The fourth wall breaking was en pointe. Sam pointed out that the newspaper had no words (limitations of animation) and Dean later picked out the one book that isn’t painted into the background.
We retained the relative innocence of the Scooby characters but with added impact, such as Shaggy and Scooby having a bit of an emotional meltdown. One of the best moments was Velma planting a kiss on Sam. Velma exclaiming, “Those shoulders! Jinkies!” might need to be someone’s ringtone.
All of this was bookended by a plotline that was reminiscent of a classic Scooby story. The classic real estate scam – with a Supernatural twist.
I know some people had some serious doubts about this episode. I, for one, enjoyed it for what it was: a shameless dose of humour and nostalgia that found a way to blend two tonally different series.
Read Bridget’s review of the previous episode, A Most Holy Man, here.