Last week’s Supernatural episode was one of the special ones – unlikely, risky, innovative, the sort of episode that when you hear the idea half of you is going “What now?” and the other half is immediately jumping up and down and yelling “Hell yeah!” One of the things I cherish most about this Show that I’ve loved for thirteen years is its fearlessness. It started life on a network that disappeared by the time its first season was over, with a person in charge who didn’t understand what it was or why anyone would like it, managed to get picked up on the successor network that no one expected to make a long term go of it, sat precariously on the bubble for its first four or five seasons, and half the time since, and yet all that time the show never “played it safe”. As Jensen Ackles said when he and Jared Padalecki appeared on ‘The Talk’, at their audition the show broke protocol – and they’ve been breaking it ever since!
In the past it’s been an episode that takes place on a television set, with all the meta commentary that brings; incorporating Supernatural the book series directly into Supernatural the television show; the boys zapped into sitcom hell by the Trickster; an episode that revolved around ghost sickness and saw Dean screaming in terror over house cats and running from tiny dogs; an episode shot entirely from the point of view of the Winchesters’ beloved Impala; and the meta episode of all meta episodes in which Jared and Jensen play Sam and Dean playing Jared and Jensen. When it came time to celebrate Supernatural’s 200th episode, they marked that milestone with an episode titled “Fanfiction” which was an homage to every aspect of fandom, even the ones not usually talked about. I don’t think there’s another show that has dared to go so meta so often, and the brilliant writers and actors have pulled it off every single time.
The latest experimental episode, Scoobynatural, was no exception. An epic crossover worthy of the best fanfic, the episode saw Sam and Dean sucked into their brand new big screen TV and right into Dean’s favorite cartoon, Scooby Doo. The episode took over a year to finish, so the anticipation has been building for some time. Warner Bros. did their part lining up some talk show appearances, and the airing of the episode also coincided with Supernatural’s third appearance at PaleyFest, so that meant the fandom has had a veritable feast of Supernatural content for the past month. And it has been glorious!
One of the things you can count on about an episode of Supernatural is that some people will love it and some people will hate it, sometimes for exactly the same things. But Scoobynatural is one of those very rare episodes that most people agreed on – not everyone was over the moon for it, but few had any issues with it and a lot of fans absolutely loved it. It doesn’t hurt that the cast clearly had a blast making it and as fans of Scooby Doo themselves, their enthusiasm shone through every time they talked about it. Jared, Jensen and Misha were glowing at PaleyFest, happy to greet the gathered throng of fans and answer questions about the show. Even the Impala showed up, posing alongside the Mystery Machine in anticipation of the crossover.
When Thursday night was finally here, I grabbed a slice of pie and sat down to watch, not really knowing exactly what to expect. The episode started off with a bang – literally. BOOM! Dean Winchester hits the floor, wrestling with….a giant stuffed dinosaur?? BOOM! In comes Sam Winchester, leaping into frame. We have a lovely moment of Winchester teamwork as Dean yells for Sam to roll out of the way and tosses his lighter to send the giant plushie bursting into flames.