Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Supernatural - The Big Empty - Review

SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers

Subscribe for show updates
Receive news and updates about Supernatural - The Big Empty - Review whenever something new comes out.

Supernatural - The Big Empty - Review

Supernatural “The Big Empty” was written by Meredith Glynn and was directed by John Badham. The episode features two essentially separate storylines as Castiel (Misha Collins) fights to get out of the big Empty and Dean (Jensen Ackles), Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Jack (Alexander Calvert) all deal with their own emptiness caused by grief.

Dean has found a case in Madison, Wisconsin, and Sam suggests bringing Jack with them to work the case. Dean is happy to keep Jack in the Bunker because that way he isn’t wreaking havoc in the world. Once again, Dean tries to drill home that Mary is dead, and there’s no point in Sam trying to use Jack to get her back.

Sam doesn’t rise to the bait. He insists that Jack is a good kid, and that he just needs to get out and get some air. He asks Dean to give him a chance for him. Dean grudgingly agrees… because it’s Sammy. However, when Sam goes to get Jack, he finds him watching Clone Wars – and Jack doesn’t like Anakin! LOL! Sam remarks that’s likely for the best. Jack isn’t interested in coming with them.

Jack tells Sam he knows that he’s using him – as an inter-dimensional can-opener. Sam tells Jack the truth, and Jack realizes that Sam just wants to save his mother. Sam admits it, but also tells Jack that it’s ok if he can’t help – he still cares about him. Jack is still concerned about Dean – he can’t even look at him and there’s the whole he’s going to kill him thing. Sam tells Jack he won’t let it happen. He tells Jack that the one thing Dean appreciates is effort. He tells him, “Come along. Help us out. Let’s go be the good guys.” And that gets a smile from Jack. Padalecki does a great job in this scene – as does Calvert – but it’s fun watching Sam get to be the big brother – and do a better job than he did with Adam.

Once they’re in Wisconsin, Jack sees their FBI aliases and says he thought lying was wrong. Dean simply ignores him and wants to work the case. Sam and Dean explain ghosts to Jack. The evidence suggests to Dean that it might be a revenant rather than a ghost. Dean tells Jack to wait in the car while they go and interview the witness (Janet Glassford).

Dean is angry when he notices that Jack has left the car. He’s gone into the house to check it out. Sam explains an EMF meter – and it comes up negative, seemingly confirming Dean’s revenant theory. They go to the graveyard to dig up the wife, and Dean hands Jack the shovel and tells him to dig if he’s so eager to help. Sam calls Dean on sounding exactly like Dad. Dean doesn’t think that’s a bad thing. Sam points out that John’s drill Sargent parenting worked for Dean, but not for Sam. Dean, however, refuses to be the kid’s mother – or to let Sam be one either.

There is a body in the coffin, so it’s not a revenant. Nothing seems to be normal, so they are just going to do what they do – burn the body. Jack wonders if his mother could be a ghost. They explain that once you burn the body, what’s dead stays dead.

And of course, that’s when we cut to Cas in the darkness. There’s a decent effect of a truly inspired concept. A dark figure appears out of what looks like tar in the darkness. It manifests itself and goes after Cas.

Sam isn’t happy when he asks Dean to watch Jack while he goes into Police Headquarters, and Dean sends Jack for food – he can still see him! Dean confesses that Jack staring at him was making him uncomfortable. Sam tells him that Jack wants him to like him. Sam has found a connection between the victims – a grief counsellor – Mia Vallens (Rukiya Bernard). Dean calls therapy snake oil for the mind, but Sam insists it’s how healthy people deal.

Dean suggests that Mia could be a medium. Maybe she’s been talking to the ghosts and pissing them off? Sam still questions the lack of EMF. Jack is intrigued that a medium could talk to a ghost. Sam points out that they can’t go in as FBI because of patient confidentiality – though I’m not sure that applies to a grief counsellor – so Sam has a better idea. They go in as brothers who are having a hard time dealing with the loss of their mother – brilliant and not a lie…

I loved Dean’s Hannibal reference as they arrive that he’s worried she’ll eat their liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti! And he quickly follows it up with a Star Trek reference when he tells Jack – Mr Spock! – to only speak when Dean says he can. It’s really interesting, however, that when Mia asks if they’ve lost some one, Dean says no, Jack says his mother, and Sam says, our mother – but really only to back up Jack. However, this scene is also shot interestingly as Dean is shot alone in the frame while Jack and Sam appear together, further and physically reinforcing the commonality of Jack and Sam.

Sam asks how the process works, and Dean sticks his foot in it by jumping right to asking what catharsis is, tipping their hand that they’d talked to one of her other patients. Mia is immediately defensive – she doesn’t talk about patients and they aren’t supposed to talk about her. Her treatment is a variety of things. She asks them if they’ve ever journaled and it’s hilarious when Sam says that their father did! Maybe not quite the same thing! LOL! And Dean snidely says since he was a little girl, making fun of the tendency for girls to keep a diary.

Mia immediately recognizes that Dean thinks therapy is a load of crap – it’s always easy to tell when someone does, and he doesn’t deny it. Sam says that they all agreed to try. He goes on to say that Dean isn’t processing his grief. But Dean denies that too. He says that he knows Mom is dead and isn’t coming back.

Dean then goes on to say that Sam is in complete denial. He won’t admit it’s real because if he admits it’s real then he has to deal with it. As usual Dean copes by lashing out. And then the floodgates are open and Padalecki really knocks it out of the park. Sam admits that he’s distraught that he’ll never get the chance to have the kind of relationship with their mother that Dean had. It’s lovely to watch these two actors work together. Ackles also delivers a really terrific performance, but he also takes the back seat and let’s Padalecki have the emotional front stage.

Jack and Mia watch as this plays out and then Sam leaves the room. Sam follows a blood trail up the stairs until he finds the remnants of a shifter in the bathtub.

Back in the therapy room, Dean takes a swig from his hip flask – his other way of “coping.” He dares Mia to have a problem with it. She points out that he just upset his brother so much he had to leave the room. This at least makes Dean a little uncomfortable. Mia then points to Jack – he’s terrified of Dean. She’s good! Dean denies it and get Jack to agree they’re sympatico – not convincing at all. She calls him on being angry – and that’s fine if he doesn’t want to do anything about it, but he’s aiming it at everyone around him.

Sam bursts back in, declaring she’s a shape shifter, and Sam and Dean both hold their guns on her. She denies ever having hurt her patients. She knows they’re hunters, but she’s telling the truth. She even has an alibi for the first murder – she volunteers at a women’s shelter and was there that night.

Castiel meets his friendly neighborhood cosmic entity – who has taken his form! Only with a weird sort of British accent. He tells Cas that he’s in the big Empty – where dead angels go and everyone sleeps peacefully for eternity. He wants to know why Cas is awake. No one ever wakes up – and he doesn’t like being awake. Cas thinks that Sam and Dean must have made a deal, but no one can make a deal there but him and he didn’t make one. He “wracks” Cas’s brain for him, causing Cas great pain. I’m still not entirely sure what to think of Collins as the cosmic entity… the accent was amusing, but inconsistent. I think my issue with his performance has more to do with the sketchiness of the concept, however.

Mia realizes that the person hurting people is Buddy (Niall Matter), a guy from her past. She’s trying to make up for what they did, but Buddy was clearly a lot worse than she ever was. He enjoyed hurting people and ruining their lives.

Dean and Jack go to check out Mia’s assistant as a possibility for Buddy. Jack tells Dean he wants to help and that Sam told him about the plan to help Mary. Dean looks thoughtful – and it’s telling that he doesn’t immediately fall back on “she’s already dead.” He does tell Jack that Sam’s plans don’t always work out. Is Dean simply trying not to get his hopes up? In the end, Dean hands the assistant a silver dollar, which doesn’t burn him, so he’s not the shifter.

Sam goes through Mia’s security footage, looking for an eye flare. Sam asks about how Mia’s therapy works. She uses a shift to give people closure with their loved ones and they accept that it’s their loved one because they want it to be. They get a positive eye flare from a new patient: John Driscoll (John Emmet Tracy).

The cosmic entity is distraught to be awake – he really, really doesn’t like it. He threatens to throw Castiel as far into the darkness as possible. Cas demands that the entity send him back. The entity tells him that there is nothing back on earth for Cas – and he takes him – painfully – back through his greatest hits.

When Dean and Jack get back, Sam has borrowed Mia’s car and gone after Driscoll. Dean is upset that Sam didn’t call, and while he’s calling Sam, Jack asks to speak to Mia. He explains that he isn’t really their brother, but he did lose his mother – she died when he was born, and he never met her. He tells Mia that he needs to see her just once.

Mia takes Kelly’s (Courtney Ford) form, and Calvert is fantastic in this scene. Jack tells her that he’s afraid. He tells her that Sam thinks he’s good too, but he’s hurt people. He says he feels bad, but most of the time he doesn’t feel anything. He thinks he might be a monster. And Kelly tells him, “It doesn’t matter what you are; it matters what you do.” And this is a theme we’ve seen the show return to again and again. She also points out that even monsters can do good in this world. Jack asks if she really believes that – and Mia, of course, has to believe that.

Sam finally calls back – but it’s not Dean he’s talking to but the shifter posing as Dean. The only reason for not killing Dean is because you can’t kill the star. He walks in, picks up a fire iron and knocks Jack out. Buddy peeling off Dean’s face was pretty gruesome.

Buddy handcuffs Dean to the fireplace. Jack is still out, but Dean wakes him up and tells him he’s got to break the handcuffs. Jack insists that he can’t. Dean says Sam believes in him. Meanwhile, Buddy is insisting that Mia kill the boys. Mia tells him to shoot her – and of course, that’s the moment that Sam returns. Dean manages to shout a warning before Buddy knocks him out – and then uses Dean’s voice to call Buddy into the room.

As Sam opens the door, Jack manages to use his powers to shout Buddy off his feet and deflect the bullet. Sam is able to draw and shoot, killing Buddy. Mia takes responsibility for Buddy – and tells the boys to leave, she’ll clean up. She just wanted to help people – and Jack assures her that she did.

Back at the Bunker, Jack is getting a drink of water. Dean comes into the kitchen for a beer and tells Jack that he did good. There's nothing like saving Sam to win Dean over after all! And Jack smiles proudly after he leaves.

Dean then mends fences with Sam. He apologizes for being a dick and admits that he might be wrong about Jack. But Sam is worried that Dean is right about Mary. What if she is dead and he’s just in denial. Dean tells him not to say that. He tells Sam that he needs Sam to keep the faith for both of them because right now, he doesn’t believe in anything. And this time Padalecki lets Ackles take the emotional lead. We’ve seen Dean in this place before, but it’s nice to see him dealing with it somewhat better, by actually telling Sam.

Cas refuses to lay down and go to sleep. He tells the entity that he’ll fight him for eternity. He’ll keep him awake until they both go insane. He insists that the entity release him. In the final scene, we see Castiel wake up in a field.

What did you think of the episode? I thought this was a pretty solid episode. It’s nice to see Dean working through his problems and not simply having the same reaction over and over. I think that killing Cas and then having to invent new aspects of the universe to deus ex machina him back is a tired trope – and the show really, really needs to stop going to that well. It’s the polar opposite of bringing back fan favorite characters for the sole purpose of killing them off! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


SpoilerTV Community
Latest News