Ever since television productions ground to a halt earlier this year, shows like Supernatural who were lucky enough to return to production rather than being cancelled had new challenges to face. COVID-19 compliance for television productions require certain changes in how a production runs, notably how many people can be in the same vicinity. How then does a season planned pre-pandemic carry on while following such guidelines?
Showrunner Andrew Dabb in an interview with TV Line said that some small tweaks and changes had to occur for the remaining episodes this season, including streamlining scenes to feature less characters. It is likely the rest of the episodes will not be as bottled as “Last Holiday,” but that does lead to speculation on how scaled down the finale might be. Dabb indicated though that in terms of plot and character, nothing was fundamentally changed. That raw, emotional ending is still coming for all Supernatural fans.
The episode tonight was a delightful return, with numerous fun gags as Dean, Sam, and Jack interact with their new bunker guest Ms. Butters. This led to a couple of wardrobe and prop related gags that are fun at first, and gain new meaning as they callback to season’s past.
Dean’s robe in this episode is a direct callback to his nightgown on “Scoobynatural,” a purplish affair with a slit on the side, V-neck, and long trailing hat with a puffball end. You might also have noticed that in Dean’s “underthings” are a pair of boxers featuring Scooby and Shaggy. The writers of this show have always been keen to give fans something to latch onto, and this item of wardrobe will not be the last.
We might also note that Sam wields Mjolnir in the last in a series of monster hunts while Dean brandishes an automatic weapon reminiscent of the time of fast-talking gangster movies. Thor’s hammer last appeared in Season 8, semingingly falling out of the Winchester’s possession. It was discovered amongst Cuthbert Sinclair’s treasures in the Season 9 episode “Blade Runners.” It’s a blink-and-you-miss-it production design detail hidden amongst the other objects. The moment that corroborates this detail? The Road So Far intro that mentions Cuthbert Sinclair. They set this joke up on purpose. It’s no coincidence that this psycho Man of Letters who kept a personal zoo of monsters in his collection was mentioned here, and it’s not just due to Ms. Butters being kept in the bunker for over 50 years like the monsters in his zoo. This is definitely the season for eagle-eyed viewers. Fans should expect more little inside jokes like the Scooby Doo references and the random props from other seasons as the final episodes tick away.