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Recap / Supernatural S 13 E 16 Scooby Natural

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"Gah! You're a cartoon! I'm a cartoon!"

Sam: If that guy can die for real in this cartoon...that means we can, too.
Dean: Scooby-Doo could die — and that's not happening, not on my watch! I'd take a bullet for that dog...

Scooby Natural

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Written By: Jim Krieg & Jeremy Adams

Directed By: Robert Singer (live action), Spike Brandt (animation)

Air date: March 29, 2018

A cursed TV sucks Dean and Sam into a cartoon world. They soon find themselves monster-hunting with...SCOOBY-DOO.


Tropes:

  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Here, it's outright said that Colonel Beauregard died of cancer.
    • Scrappy Doo makes a (very) brief cameo appearance in an episode that aired years before the character was introduced.
    • A side plot involving Velma being attracted to Sam is added. Qualifies for the trope because we learn about this in a scene in which Daphne and Velma discuss Sam without any Supernatural characters present in the room. Also, Velma having a thing for big, strong types is something that was established in later iterations of Scooby-Doo!.
  • Adapted Out: Cuthbert Crawls never made an appearance. The Sheriff from the end of the original episode also never shows up.
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  • Amusing Injuries: Subverted. It turns out that the characters can actually die in the cartoon as a result of the ghost. At one point Shaggy breaks his arm and needs real medical help.
  • Anti-Villain: The ghost, as it turns out, is just the spirit of a small child who's forced into working for Jay. After the Winchesters and Castiel defeat him and he explains himself, he helps them calm down Mystery Inc. and leave the episode, and passes on without issue after they destroy the pocket knife his soul is bound to.
  • Anyone Can Die: Early on Cosgood ends up killed in the episode (with blood), reminding the audience that while it may look like a typical Scooby-Doo cartoon, it is not a typical Scooby-Doo cartoon. It also serves to state that Cartoon Physics is not going to be there to save Sam and Dean from death, either.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The crossover is in the same art style as some of the more recent movies, but unlike those movies, which are family friendly, this is from a show explicitly not aimed at kids.
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    • Also, the episode from the 60s being reanimated in the more recent style and widescreen is a bit weird, since Warner Bros. has created new Scooby-Doo works in a recreation of the old Hanna-Barbara animation style, such as an episode of Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated and a segment of an episode of Batman: Brave and the Bold, so it's weird they didn't go all-out for recreating the episode in that style for this crossover.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Working with the actual Scooby Gang brings Dean's inner geek out full force.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • The gang is seen dancing the same way they have in a scene from the original series, which met Memetic Mutation status for how silly it is.
    • When the gang discovers the corpse of the first victim, they all say their catchphrases, except for Fred (because he doesn't have one; also, see the below entry) and Dean adds in "Son of a bitch!", referencing a social media meme ("Why I'd be kicked out of the Scooby gang") in which the post lists the exclamations of the gang and ends it with their personal exclamation, which is usually a curse like Dean.
    • Dean says "F***" to Fred during the climax, referencing the "Fred says 'Fuck!'" meme from Tumblr.
    • Daphne shoots down Dean's advance to share rooms, stating that the boys and girls don't sleep in the same room together, likely referencing a memetic Tumblr observation regarding the Valentine's Day episode of What's New, Scooby-Doo?, in which Daphne and Velma lived in a separate apartment from Shaggy, Scooby, and Fred as the writers wanted to avoid any romantic implications that could arise if they all lived together — albeit one could interpret it as Les Yay and Ho Yay...
  • Audience Surrogate:
    • Dean is every Scooby-Doo fan that grew up with the franchise and hold it dear to their heart ("Scooby-Doo could die, and that's not happening! I'd take a bullet for that dog..."), while Sam and Cas are every viewer that doesn't follow it as religiously as Dean has and needs to have things like the events of the episodes explained to them.
    • There are also fans of the show who identified with Dean attempting to romance Daphne.
  • Big Budget Beefup: The classic Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "A Night of Fright is No Delight" gets this for this crossover.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Velma plants one on Sam.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: If you see this as a Scooby-Doo cartoon. It goes without saying, that there has never been a dismembered and decapitated body in any official animated incarnation of Scooby-Doo before this episode, outside of parodies.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Dean makes it clear that he does not want Mystery Inc. to realize they are cartoon characters, yet despite this, he and Sam keep almost blowing it.
    • Lampshaded when Dean directs a "Scooby-dooby-doooo!" at the camera in the epilogue, only to be called up on it. He even says that he was looking into the camera as he said it.
  • Call-Back: The Winchesters, upon realizing they're in Scooby-Doo, recall how the Trickster once trapped them in a series of TV shows.
  • The Cameo: Scrappy-Doo briefly appears in the Scooby-Dooby Doors sequence.
  • Captain Obvious: "Sam, Dean, this dog is talking."
  • Cassandra Truth: While partnered up with Velma, Sam tries telling her that the supernatural is real, and only winds up falling on deaf ears.
  • Censored for Comedy: Dean uses the F-word when talking to Fred, but it's bleeped (and his mouth is blurred).
  • Chekhov's Gun: The library trapdoor plays an integral part in capturing the ghost.
  • The Comically Serious: Sam for most of the episode. While Dean's letting his childhood fanboy out, Sam spends most of it hanging lampshades over the sheer absurdity of their situation, as well as the absurdity of the Scooby-Doo universe itself.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: Dean hangs a lampshade on this trope's use in the old show, pointing towards a book in the library that's more brightly colored than the others and pulls on it to try and open a secret passage. At first, nothing happens; when he thinks it was just a false alarm, that's when the passage opens up underneath them.
  • Crossover: With Scooby-Doo. Yes, Scooby-Doo.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Dean refuses to accept that the Mystery Machine beat Baby in a race.
  • Dagwood Sandwich: Dean gets to mimic Scooby and Shaggy's famous giant sandwiches.
    Dean: Oh, heck yes!
  • Darker and Edgier: While Scooby-Doo has gone into darker territory before, this is so far the only animated project in the franchise not directly marketed at kids.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • In "A Night of Fright Is No Delight", Cuthbert Crawls and Cosgood Creeps were both exposed as the Green Ghosts and arrested by the end of the episode. Only Cosgood died very early on in this crossover with no mention as to what happened with Cuthbert Crawls.
    • Cousin Simple died and presumably so did the other members of Beauregard's family.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: A rather complicated example of an already complicated trope. Within the scope of Supernatural, the Winchesters manage to deconstruct an episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and then reconstruct it before they leave to keep them innocent. Where this gets complicated is the animated portion of this episode is made in the same vein as the Scooby-Doo Direct-to-Video Film Series which in recent entries has been seen as a reconstruction itself after Mystery Incorporated deconstructed it. So Supernatural deconstructs and then reconstructs in a world that is a recreation of an older episode done in reconstructed form in response to a deconstruction of the original series. Someone have some aspirin to go with that Scooby Snack?
  • Everything's Better with Plushies: The episode opens with the weirdness (instead of starting normal and getting weird) by having the boys in a deadly battle against a cursed giant plushie dinosaur.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Try as he might, and despite a couple of moments where something might have happened (i.e. the near-kiss when they hide in a vase together), ultimately, Dean has no success in trying to woo Daphne away from Fred. Sam doesn't get the girl either, in his case Velma — in fact, he wasn't even interested in her — but at least he still gets a kiss for his non-efforts.
  • Doomed by Canon: Dean experiences this in his failed efforts to woo Daphne away from Fred, who has been her canonical boyfriend for nearly 50 years. The fact Sam has more success with Velma reflects the fact that, at least at the time of the original series, she was not canonically locked into an ongoing romance with anyone and therefore would naturally be more receptive.
  • Dramatic Irony: Sam and Dean consider for a moment if Gabriel was behind them being stuck in the TV, only to dismiss him as being dead. Except not, as it was revealed several episodes prior that he was indeed alive, but held captive by Asmodeus.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • As Dean and Sam leave the pawn shop with the plasma screen, they get caught up on the door as Dean berates Sam for not being delicate. The entire time this is going on, Jay is behind the TV, and we do not see his hands.
    • At one point, Velma tells Sam that most of the ghosts they find are just guys in masks, specifically noting that they're "usually real estate developers". Jay, a character seen in the beginning of the episode, turns out to be pulling a real estate scam using the ghost of a child.
  • For Want of a Nail: "A Night of Fright Is No Delight" winds up taking a drastic turn due to the Supernatural elements being added in. Case in point, Cosgood Creeps and Cousin Simple die.
  • Freak Out!: The gang doesn't take it well when they realize the Supernatural trio is being serious about supernatural monsters really existing. Velma reacts the calmest (if only because she's more dumbfounded and confused), Shaggy and Scooby are reading the others the riot act, Daphne is worried that she may go to Hell, and Fred bemoans that he could have been going after real monsters, like Dracula. Although the Winchesters and Castiel successfully calm them down, after the ghost is captured, the gang starts to panic again, resulting in Velma and Daphne demanding shotguns (with Daphne also advising "Kill It with Fire"). A Status Quo-restoring deal with the child's spirit calms them down again.
  • Game Face: At least three times throughout the episode, the ghost gives itself a fairly simplistic look more like the original monster, albeit color-shifted to emphasize darker greens and yellows (as opposed to the teal and orange), but when it meets up with other characters, it changes to a much more frightening design with an unhinged jaw with teeth jutting out, noticeable irises, and being much bigger.
  • Genre Savvy: Dean cites "A Night of Fright Is No Delight" as his favorite episode. As such, when the gang approach Cousin Simple's corpse, he immediately becomes concerned.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!:
    • Averted. After discovering the truth about the supernatural, Daphne explicitly asks if Hell is real and if she's going there.
    • Dean does tone down his profanity when they first appear in the cartoon, so that his standard "Son of a bitch!" comes off as a Precision F-Strike.
    • Shaggy utters the word "freaking" as a substitute for the F-word.
  • Hand Wave: Downplayed. Baby somehow ends up in the cartoon with Sam and Dean, and the latter hypothesizes that maybe having the keys on him caused the car to follow them in, but brushes it off because there's more important things going on.
  • Hidden Depths: Although recent versions of the Scooby-Doo franchise have increased the character development or at least played around with it, the episode adapted here is from the very first season; therefore, seeing the gang's Freak Out! scene in which Daphne suddenly expresses religious views, Fred express dismay at not having gone after real ghosts, Velma being quietly confused, and Shaggy being legitimately angry about not being believed, add elements of realism to the characters that were not on place back in 1969.
  • Hotter and Sexier:
    • Daphne is deliberately drawn this way at several moments, particularly during the theme song montage, to play up Dean having the hots for her, climaxing in an unambiguous Male Gaze focus on her butt during the montage.
    • Although seeing Daphne in a skimpy nightgown is consistent with how night scenes have been handled in Scooby-Doo continuations, it is this compared to the original 1970 episode, where we never even saw the girls in their nightclothes. Mind you, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! was the first of what would be many spinoffs and Follow the Leader series that over the next near 50 years would zigzag exactly how much skin a You Meddling Kids character could show at bedtime.
  • I Am Not Shazam: In-Universe, Dean continuously refers to the gang as the Scooby Gang, even though they're not actually called that — it's Mystery Incorporated.
  • Idiot Ball: Castiel, who is aware that ghosts are very real and that he is in an unquestionably paranormal situation, assumes that the ghost is merely a person in a costume. Even if he's expecting traditional Scooby-Doo tropes to be in play, he should really know better.
  • In Medias Res: There is no lead-in for the episode; it abruptly starts in middle of Dean and Sam fighting the animated stuffed dinosaur.
  • Irony:
    • Actually, yes, the gang has reacted appropriately to people dying in several of their shows over the years (or at least the thought that someone died) especially in some cases where someone's death is a part of the backstory. The more serious on its own Mystery Incorporated ran a whole series with the gang in a Darker and Edgier plot. Justified in that the general audience of Supernatural likely wouldn't know that, and Dean has other things to do as an adult than catch up on every single piece of Scooby-Doo. But let's keep in mind that the episode used was "A Night of Fright Is No Delight", an episode that aired in 1970 and in one of the most earlier episodes the gang did kind of just carry on with the investigation when they thought someone had been aged into a corpse in "What the Hex is Going on?"
    • Much is made of maintaining the gang's Status Quo with regards to their knowledge of the supernatural (or lack thereof, in this case). The irony here is in later incarnations of the series, the characters did begin encountering genuine monsters.
    • Despite the Scooby Gang having a Freak Out! upon learning that the supernatural is real, the franchise's ongoing Running Gag of them being totally fine with the fact Scooby is a talking dog remains; this is lampshaded when Castiel becomes the only character in the episode — and one of the only characters in the entire animated franchise — to find the existence of a talking dog somewhat odd and make reference to this.
  • It's for a Book: After Mystery Inc. overhear Dean and Sam discussing the stuffed dinosaur from the start of the episode, they cover themselves by mentioning it's a book they are writing, with Cas providing the title "The Killer Stuffed Dinosaur in Love".
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: After they manage to figure out that the haunting that placed them in Scooby Doo was done by Jay for the sake of an (incredibly bloody) Real Estate Scam-slash-"Scooby-Doo" Hoax, Sam and Dean confront him once they return to the real world. Jay of course dismisses them because there is no way that "manipulated ghost of scared little boy to hurt people" will be believed by the police. Sam and Dean explain to him, just as the cops are arriving to arrest him, that they did some computer research and got evidence that Jay had been doing some tax evasion, which they happily e-mailed to the authorities.
  • Kill It with Fire: Daphne, of all people, utters the trope by name at one point.
  • Left Hanging: It is never explained how Baby wound up in the cartoon. Dean starts to come up with an explanation involving him having the keys on him, but drops it due to Sam choosing that to question.
  • Lighter and Softer: By Supernatural standards anyway, there's a bit more camp and comedy than normal.
  • Male Gaze: A brief one from Dean, when he sees Daphne hammering planks on a door.
  • Mood Whiplash: The episode starts off fairly comedic even before the trio gets sucked into the Scooby world and once there, there are a fair bit of jokes at the sheer absurdity of the situation. Then we start seeing the dismembered bodies of the original episodes crooks, quickly reminding everyone that this is not just a silly Scooby-Doo crossover.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Daphne has always had an element of this, more so in recent incarnations of the series, but this is exaggerated somewhat here to tie in with the subplot of Dean lusting after her, most notably the Male Gaze scene in which Dean observes her from behind as she hammers planks into a door — Daphne is drawn noticeably curvier than in the rest of the episode for that scene only.
    • Averted with Velma. Despite her openly having the hots for Sam (even kissing him), and Dean himself later bemoaning not having pursued her instead of Daphne (who remains locked in to her relationship with Fred), her physical appearance remains the classic Velma, without the exaggeration Daphne receives.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • At the beginning of the episode, we see the gang dancing with familiar moves, courtesy of Memetic Mutation.
    • Dean isn't the first person Fred got into a drag race with. And once again, the Mystery Machine is first off the line (except it winds up actually winning against Baby).
    • It was implied in the real episode that the house itself really was haunted at the end. The ghost is even ultimately benign and not truly evil.
    • While the events are significantly altered from the original episode, there are still a few references strewn about, such as Shaggy at one point getting stuck on a damaged pipe, and Fred's trap culminating in a washing machine the ghost was supposed to get trapped in.
    • Shaggy notes that he fell out of a bi-plane and didn't break his arm, a reference to "What A Night for a Knight".
    • The Scooby-Dooby Doors returns for the first time in a Scooby-Doo work after a long time. Included in the sequence is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo by Scrappy Doo.
    • The gang walks in their original walk cycles as they leave the house at the end of the episode. Their original run cycle is also recreated, in the chase scene.
    • Dean finally gets a bigger mouth.
    • Dean's Rousing Speech is filled with this.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: After being shot down by Daphne, Dean says he should have tried hitting on Velma for this reason.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Apparently, Castiel is (technically) married to the queen of djinn now while retrieving the fruit of life.
    • Clearly something happened to Daphne that caused her to ask in panic, when confronted with the reality of the supernatural, if she is going to Hell.
  • Not His Sled: The characters are in a real Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode, "A Night of Fright Is No Delight", but unlike said episode, one of the culprits from said episode (Cosgood Creeps) dies over the course of this crossover, with the Gang, the Winchester brothers, and Castiel going up against a real ghost. The brothers and Castiel eventually do set things right by tricking the Gang into thinking the ghost was fake, if only so they won't go completely insane from the events of the completely derailed episode. It is probable, though, that the possession of the television altered the episode in some ways.
  • Obviously Evil: Played for laughs when the creepy attorney is about to leave and does an over-the-top Evil Laugh in front of the guests.
    Dean: Turns out he's the bad guy.
    Sam: You don't say.
  • Odd Friendship: Castiel's initially rather annoyed with having to spend time with Shaggy and Scooby, but seems to come around to considering them friends by the time the episode ends, even saying he'll miss their "wise words and gentle spirits".
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Castiel has already obtained a fruit from the tree of life, one of the ingredients needed to open a portal to Apocalypse World, but the events that led to it are never shown and only partially described. It involved Castiel fighting an army of Djinni, apparently.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The realization that ghosts are real — and deadly — cause the Scooby Gang to essentially break character and begin acting differently than they usually do. This concerns Dean and Sam enough that they orchestrate a ruse with the spirit's cooperation in order to restore status quo.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Most of the Gang's established tricks and gags don't work against the ghost, which often completely bypasses what would usually at least inconvenience the costumed crooks they usually deal with.
  • Perverse Sexual Lust: In-Universe, Dean attempts to hook up with Daphne. Inverted when Velma display interest in Sam.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Despite Dean and Sam winding up in "A Night of Fright Is No Delight", it isn't a 100% recreation of the episode:
    • Mystery Inc. read the newspaper article concerning Colonel Beauregard's death at the Malt Shop instead of on a speedboat.
    • Colonel Beauregard's mansion is in the woods, reachable by road, not on an island.
    • The layout of the mansion has been somewhat altered, removing the catacombs and caves, giving it more of a regal look, to give the house a flair more similar to other haunted houses the gang have been to (ex. a hallway with multiple doors the Gang go in and out of). Certain plot points from the episode, such as the pipe organ and said tunnels, aren't present, which streamlines things a bit and keeps the threat of the ghost relevant.
    • Velma doesn't comment on the stipulation that everyone must spend the night in the mansion. In fact, Sam points out the absurdity, and it's Velma who reassures him that "this kind of stuff happens all the time."
    • Shaggy doesn't make his pre-bed sandwich, and Scooby never takes his bath (where he first encounters Creeps and Crawls pretending to be the ghost).
    • Cousin Simple was brushing his teeth when attacked by the ghost, not in bed asleep. Speaking of Cousin Simple, he's the one who says "10:00, and I suggest we all turn in" rather than Cousin Slicker.
    • The episode, as Castiel sees it on the haunted TV, is in HD and matted in 16:9 widescreen instead of the 4:3 and 480i of '60s television.
    • In a couple of scenes, Daphne's physical attractiveness is exaggerated beyond what was shown in the original episode in order to tie in with Dean's crush on her.
    • Daphne and Fred are depicted more directly as being a couple, even though the original episode — not to mention the original series — never really explored this.
    • Daphne and Velma discuss Dean and Sam while getting ready for bed. (Wearing sleepwear of a type that would not appear in the franchise until the more recent movies.)
    • During the Scooby-Dooby Doors scene, Scrappy makes a non-speaking cameo despite not being introduced until almost a decade later.
    • During the pep talk to the gang, Dean mentions Mamba Wamba and Old Iron Face. If we assume the Scooby gang's adventures happen in order they aired, Dean mentions several cases that hadn't happened yet.
    • The ghost is real and is killing people.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • During the gang's mass Freak Out!, Shaggy utters the phrase "freaking" as a substitute for the F-word, arguably the strongest word ever uttered on screen by a Scooby-Doo character.
    • Also, both Daphne and Shaggy say "Hell", in reference to the afterlife. Although Daphne previously said "Hell" in the live-action film.
    • Dean actually uses the F-word on Fred, but it's bleeped.
  • Precocious Crush: Dean's crush on Daphne is obviously a result of this, given that he grew up watching Scooby-Doo and he views Fred as a rival for her affections. Not that Dean had a chance. Meanwhile Velma has a not so subtle crush on Sam. Even planting a kiss on him as they leave.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Due to the ghost and possibly the Winchester team themselves, Mystery Inc. end up injured frequently throughout the episode, not being able to brush off what'd usually be cartoonish injuries, with Fred being knocked against a wall and bleeding from the impact, and Shaggy having his arm broken from a fall (which causes him to complain that he's survived a fall from a biplane with no ill effects).
    • Similarly, while other versions of the gang have dealt with real monsters, this episode shows how the carefree and Camp gang of the original show would react when faced with an actual monster with no qualms with killing people; a complete and total mental breakdown. Although Dean briefly manages to snap them out of it with a Rousing Speech about their previous exploits, by the end once the trio manages to deal with the ghost, the gang goes right back to having their breakdown. It was only after the trio manages to trick them into thinking it was actually one of their usual hoaxes do they finally start calming down.
    • Back in the "real world", when the trio go to confront Jay for what he did and using the ghost of a boy in his scams, he flat-out tells them to go ahead and call the police, since he knows they would never believe such an insane story in the first place, even if it was the truth. Sam and Dean had also realized that and instead did some digging to get the police after him for a different crime he committed that didn't involve the supernatural.
  • Role Reprisal: The current voice actors for Scooby-Doo and Mystery Inc. (Frank Welker as Scooby and Fred, Grey DeLisle Griffin as Daphne, Matthew Lillard as Shaggy, and Kate Micucci as Velma) return to their respective roles here. However, Frank is the only one to have taken part in the original episode.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Discussed and debated by Velma and Sam. Velma says this has been the case for most of the Scooby Gang's career (keep in mind this is the original gang in the 1960s, before they actually started encountering the supernatural). Sam, from the contemporary era, says there are way better scams to implement. Turns out both are right at the end: it's a landlord implementing an actual ghost.
  • She's Got Legs:
    • Daphne and Velma both in their sleepwear.
    • During the theme song montage, Dean's Male Gaze moment with Daphne focuses on her legs and butt.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Special Edition Title: Supernatural is never shown on screen in the opening titles, rather replaced by Scoobynatural; the sequence begins with a shot of a haunted mansion with bats flying past, a nod to the opening credits of the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! series.
  • Status Quo Is God: The trio ask the ghost kid to shapeshift into the episode's original culprit so that Mystery Incorporated doesn't have to think about supernatural monsters existing anymore.
  • Subverted Kids Show: Despite having the animation style from the franchise's latest media (with elements of the original 1969 series mixed in) and the current voices of Mystery Inc., this incarnation of Scooby-Doo is definitely not for kids.
  • Toon Transformation: Sam, Dean, and Castiel all become animated characters when they get trapped in the Scooby Doo universe.
  • Undead Child: The ghost is a child being manipulated by an evil (live-action) landlord.
  • Understatement:
    • The gang barely reacts to discovering the gruesome murders of the other inheritors.
      Fred: Welp. That's not good.
    • Also, during the gang's Freak Out! over the revelation that ghosts and monsters are Real After All, Scooby simply states "We're doomed."
  • Wham Shot: Cousin Simple being actually dead, blood and all, instantly derails the original episode.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The other suspects disappear after their initial introduction, save for Simple, who dies. Whether they were killed by the ghost or not is unclear.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Sam clearly is put off by the Scooby Gang brushing off the real deaths.
  • You Meddling Kids: As the clerk gets arrested at the end, he calls the trio "meddling kids". Dean gets all excited that he actually said it.

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