Previously on Supernatural, “Patience”
Dean was more ornery than usual because Sam continued to press the issue about providing Jack decent examples of humanity in action. This week’s case forced the three to challenge their interpersonal dynamics along appraise their viewpoints on grief and loss, and channel their misplaced rage in a constructive manner. In other words, they had group therapy.
Sam, a very surly Dean and Jack ventured to Madison, Wisconsin to take out whatever creature is brutally murdering folks. Signs point to either a vengeful ghost or revenant yet there’s no evidence to confirm either. Ultimately they learn a pair of shapeshifters are the culprits; Sam and Dean suspect a therapist named Mia Vallens (Van Helsing’s Rukiya Bernard), the sole connection between the victims. Vallens eventually revealed her bloody past and desire to turn a new leaf, however her spiteful ex Buddy (Niall Matter) wants to tear her life apart.
While The Winchesters’ and Buddy’s motivations were undoubtedly disparate, virtually every character shared a hollowness that couldn’t be ignored. Hell, if a shapeshifter that daylights as a therapist can see the pain you keep tucked deep down under heaps of burgers and beer, you know something is wrong. Though the moments of vulnerability between Sam, Dean and Jack were brief they were poignant and vital to their progression as a makeshift family unit. For better or worse, Jack is a part of their clan now and Dean had to face the hard truths his brother and Mia were throwing at him. He’s worked on building his defenses against everyone for so long, Dean has nothing about his anger and frustration to keep him motivated.
It showed in “Big Empty” with his overt disdain for Jack and his more-harsh-than-usual dismissiveness towards Sam. Vallens managed to chip a piece of Dean’s armor during their impromptu session, but Winchester didn’t have a breakthrough until Jack saved the day and used his power not out of rage or spite, but in love for his only friends.
Meanwhile, in the darkest corner of the cosmos, Castiel is wide awake and roaming The Empty thanks to Jack. The seraphim isn’t alone, as a being that either lives within or is a manifestation of the void itself made itself known to Cass, assuming his appearance and taking on a very posh accent. Seeing as everyone was clamoring to see Misha Collins back on the show way sooner than later, viewers were granted their wish and then some as they watched Castiel confront his sneering, identical counterpart.
It didn’t take long for Castiel to convince The Empty to return him to our dimension, yet his brief stay in the void was an illuminating experience. After 13 seasons we’ve confirmation of where angels and demons reside after they’ve been killed on earth. A realm older than time itself, The Empty existed well before God created the universe – and based on the demeanor of the entity that took Castiel’s form, it may be more powerful than Chuck and Amara – if anything, it isn’t impressed by their creation and its beings therein.
Nevertheless, it makes one wonder if Castiel’s awakening during celestial sleepytime will have future ramifications later on in the season (or beyond)! Clearly, Jack’s power rivals God’s if not surpasses His if so inspired. The Empty itself claimed God has no power over the dimension… yet Jack reached to Castiel’s soul with ease. If the nephilim was so inspired, he could awaken all manner of allies and rivals from seasons past. Worse yet, Jack could stir every demon and/or angel that lies dormant in The Empty. If there’s no other reason for Dean to be nice to the kid, this potential disaster takes the cake.
Supernatural S13E4 Review Score
"The Big Empty"
Supernatural – S13E4 – The Big Empty | Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Mark Pellegrino, Alexander Calvert, Misha Collins, Samantha Smith | Writer: Meredith Glynn | Director: John Badham