The ‘Supernatural’ Easter Eggs You Might’ve Missed on ‘Tracker’

Editor’s be aware: The beneath accommodates spoilers for Tracker.

The Massive Image

  • Ackles’s look on Tracker shares parallels along with his Dean Winchester position from
  • Ackles and Justin Hartley’s chemistry shines, with Hartley promising a return from Ackles in Season 2.
  • Followers of
    will benefit from the quite a few Easter eggs and acquainted references in “Off the Books.”

It is all the time thrilling when your favourite tv star reveals up on one other present you watch. On the newest (and penultimate) episode of Tracker‘s first season, none aside from Jensen Ackles himself confirmed up enjoying Colter Shaw’s (Justin Hartley) estranged older brother Russell, who manages to comb us off our ft very quickly. The previous Supernatural star reveals up right here all cavalier and prepared for a brand new hunt, solely this time there are not any ghosts or demons lurking about. Nonetheless, Ackles’ time on the 15-season CW sequence has actually influenced his temporary tenure on Tracker, and hopefully, is just the start of a longer partnership between the Shaw boys going ahead. However till then, it is value noting that there have been loads of Supernatural Easter eggs peppered all through “Off the Books,” a lot of which you in all probability missed the primary time round…


Colter Shaw travels the nation in his old-school RV to assist police and personal residents clear up crimes and find lacking individuals till his newest case adjustments every thing.

Launch Date
February 11, 2024

Ben H. Winters

Justin Hartley , Lee Tergesen , Oscar Chark , Eric Graise , Fiona Rene , Wendy Crewson


‘Tracker’ Introduces Jensen Ackles as Russell Shaw

For the reason that pilot, Tracker has launched some looming questions on Colter Shaw’s private life and upbringing that followers have but to seek out clear-cut solutions to. Sadly, “Off the Books” would not give us a ton of solutions. As an alternative, in trademark Tracker style, it solely asks extra questions that we’ll hopefully revisit in subsequent week’s season finale. However till then, we are able to relaxation on the robust parallels between the 2 Shaw brothers and the brothers Winchester from Ackles’ most well-known sequence, Supernatural. From the get-go, the dynamic between Colter and Russell feels similar to that between Jared Padalecki‘s Sam Winchester and Ackles’ Dean Winchester from the horror/fantasy drama’s earliest years. Simply as Dean roped a usually unwilling Sam again into the world of looking, so too does Russell rope Colter into his unusual life.

The best way these two play off one another feels very Supernatural, particularly as they talk about their household drama over two beers brewed by Russell himself (a intelligent nod to Ackles’ personal Family Business Beer Company side-hustle). The best way these two function alongside one another, weapons on the prepared as they take out assailants and rescue Russell’s army buddy, throws again to Ackles’ time alongside present Walker star Jared Padalecki after they did the identical as Sam and Dean. It is also value noting that each Jensen Ackles and Tracker main man Justin Hartley have been essential solid members on Smallville again within the day, although they by no means appeared on the display screen collectively. Ackles solely performed Jason Teague through the present’s fourth season, and Hartley’s Oliver Queen (aka DC Comics’ legend Green Arrow) did not present up till Season 6, changing into a essential solid member within the present’s closing three seasons. Nevertheless, youthful variations of each characters shared the display screen (albeit briefly) through flashback in Season 7.

“Off the Books” Options Some Acquainted ‘Supernatural’ Favorites

Russell Shaw (Jensen Ackles) spots a '67 Chevy Impala in the 'Tracker' episode "Off the Books."
Picture through CBS

However again to Supernatural, maybe the most important (and most evident) Easter egg to the paranormal drama is the looks of what appears to be a 1967 Chevrolet Impala when Colter goes to choose Russell up at his motel. Sadly, TVLine confirmed that it was truly a 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS Convertible, nevertheless it nonetheless evokes the identical heat emotions we get after we see Jensen Ackles beside a traditional “Metallicar.” Whereas Russell Shaw would not drive Dean Winchester’s trademark wheels, he would not miss out on the glossy hunk of steel both, giving it a pat and a pleasant once-over as he strikes on. On Supernatural, the Impala was affectionately referred to by Ackles’ character as “Baby;” when the sequence formally wrapped, Ackles and Padalecki drove off the set with their very own cars. In “Off the Books,” the Chevy is lengthy gone by the point Colter returns to the motel on the finish of the episode, leaving us to surprise if Russell did personal the automotive in any case.

In fact, this is not the one huge reference to Supernatural. One other smaller one which die-hard Winchester followers will immediately acknowledge is the situation of “Off the Books.” The episode largely takes place within the city of Roanoke, Virginia, which itself is in reference to the historic Roanoke Colony which mysteriously disappeared, leaving the phrases “Croatoan” behind. On Supernatural, this was defined away as a demonic virus (later dubbed the Croatoan Virus) that first appeared in Season 2’s “Croatoan” earlier than returning with a vengeance in Season 5. Alongside comparable strains, when Colter and Russell arrive on the magic store to seek out out what occurred to the latter’s good friend, the entire thing feels ripped proper from a Supernatural episode, with dialogue exchanges about blessings, curses, and different supernatural lore that just about makes you surprise in the event you’re watching the precise present in any respect. “There have been some guys in my unit that have been fairly superstitious,” Russell notes at one level within the episode. “They have been into that woo-woo stuff, the prayers and the rituals. Blood magick. Safety. In truth, I heard there was anyone you would go to to get blessings.” For those who did not know any higher, you’d suppose a Winchester uttered these phrases.

However Sam and Dean aren’t the one characters from Supernatural referenced on this Tracker episode. At one level, Reenie Inexperienced (Fiona Rene) exclaims “Balls!” when her cellphone rings, a enjoyable callback to the Winchester’s surrogate father, Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver), who virtually wore that as his catchphrase. And the way can we ignore the truth that Russell (and Colter, for that matter) lives totally on the street? Shacking up in crappy small-town motels and utilizing his lifetime’s value of army and survival coaching professionally, Russell Shaw feels extra like a Winchester than their third brother Adam (Jake Abel) ever may have. Whether or not that is all intentional or not, it is arduous to see “Off the Books” as something greater than Tracker‘s secular tackle a Supernatural episode—and one way or the other, it really works masterfully.

Russell Shaw Is Like an Alternate Model of Dean Winchester

Colter Shaw (Justin Hartley) and Russell Shaw (Jensen Ackles) work a case together in the 'Tracker' episode "Off the Books."
Picture through CBS

This hour of Tracker stands above the remainder undoubtedly due to the electrical chemistry between Justin Hartley and Jensen Ackles. These two are professionals, and though they’ve by no means as soon as labored collectively earlier than (regardless of their shared Smallville expertise; get Tom Welling on board you cowards!), it seems like we have been watching them side-by-side for years. The best way Ackles carries Russell Shaw, he seems like what may occur to Dean Winchester with out his brother (or anybody for that matter) there to maintain him grounded. Russell has all the same old Dean quirks. He tries to flirt his method into secured areas by complimenting girls, he retains secrets and techniques from his brother in regards to the nature of his occupation, and he refuses to ask for assist from anybody however this identical brother. And the way in which he makes passes at Reenie regardless of Colter’s protests is traditional Dean Winchester. Oh, and did we point out his telling use of the phrase, “Son of a bitch?”

Russell has points with each his mom and his father, one thing Dean is forced to work through throughout Supernatural. He is additionally the older of the 2 brothers, and addresses Colter as his “little brother,” which likewise feels very Dean-ish. Russell thought leaving his household would assist shield them. He actively obeyed his mom’s needs for him to depart after their father’s demise and did so with out considering twice about it. If that is not classic Season 1 Dean Winchester taking orders, then we’re unsure what’s. After 20 years, it looks like Dean, err, Russell is lastly taking company over his personal life, and asking the precise questions on who is definitely answerable for the demise of their father. Although Supernatural did not begin out with the demise of Sam and Dean’s dad (performed primarily by Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the truth that each Ackles’ best-known sequence and his time on Tracker middle on the demise or disappearance of his character’s father feels mighty intentional.

In fact, writers Elwood Reid and Sharon Lee Watson have labored with Ackles earlier than. Previous to Tracker, this pair have been writers and producers on Big Sky. The ABC drama featured Ackles as part of its essential solid in its third and final season, and infrequently included Supernatural references of its personal—not in contrast to how Jared Padalecki’s Walker is understood to throw in a few nods to the Winchester brothers. Reid and Watson’s familiarity with Ackles’ work undoubtedly contributed to the variety of Supernatural references that made it into “Off the Books,” but in addition, figuring out Ackles, he in all probability threw just a few of these in there himself. And let’s not overlook that Tracker, like Supernatural, movies in Vancouver, British Columbia. Greater than doubtless, there are some filming location crossovers in there as effectively.

‘Tracker’ Ought to Deliver Again Jensen Ackles Once more (And Will)

“Off the Books” is without doubt one of the funnest Tracker episodes so far. Whereas some have criticized this installment for its use of Jensen Ackles, noting that making Russell Shaw a lot like Dean Winchester would not give the actor sufficient credit score for his abilities, the reality is that Russell’s character is totally plausible given the circumstances—and who higher to play this character? Ackles offers an excellent efficiency right here that evokes his time on Supernatural with out being fully drowned by it. The dynamic between Colter and Russell is on level, and can doubtless solely get higher when their sister Dory (Melissa Roxburgh) reunites together with her brothers. It is value noting that Roxburgh (who appeared within the earlier episode, “Past the Campus Partitions”) is a Supernatural alumnus herself, and appeared as two separate characters within the present. The primary time was as Lily Taylor in Season 7’s “Time After Time” and the second was because the werewolf Violet Duvaull in Season 9’s “Bloodlines,” which was meant to be a backdoor pilot to a deliberate spin-off Supernatural: Bloodlines, although that by no means obtained off the bottom.

In line with sequence star Justin Hartley, Ackles’ Russell, Roxburgh’s Dory, and Sofia Pernas‘ Billie Matalon (Pernas is Hartley’s real-life partner) are all set to return for the upcoming Season 2. “[Sofia] is coming again. Jensen is gonna come again. Melissa is gonna come again. There’s one other leak for you. They’re all coming again,” he told Collider. When it got here to casting Russell Shaw, it was truly Hartley’s thought to convey Jensen Ackles on board. “I used to be like, ‘We constructed this complete factor up. It’s essential that we get anyone in there that’s only a juggernaut. Someone that you’d consider as a result of he’s gonna go toe-to-toe with Colter, in or dangerous method, and that you just additionally consider is his brother.’”

Whereas it’d’ve been a little bit of a threat to nab one of the crucial recognizable tv actors of our day, Tracker proves that this kind of factor can repay. Since Supernatural ended, Ackles has by no means absolutely distanced himself from it, both by directing an episode of Jared Padalecki’s Walker, returning to work with Eric Kripke on The Boys, or govt producing (and returning as Dean for) The Winchesters. Little question, Ackles nonetheless loves Supernatural, and that makes his look right here on Tracker all of the extra particular.

Tracker airs Sundays on CBS and is out there for streaming on Paramount+.

Watch on Paramount+

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