Being thirteen seasons in, Supernatural is in an odd place at the moment. It’s clear how much the writers and Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles understand the characters, while the monster-of-the-week stories feel like they’re being phoned in. At least partially, because even though the investigation feels rushed, the MOW does tie in nicely with the weekly Winchester angst, so thematically, “The Big Empty” isn’t a total loss.
After opening with one of the least interesting cold opens to ever grace this show (no tension whatsoever — this is partially a horror show, tension is a part of that recipe!), Dean, Sam, and Jack head to Wisconsin to investigate the death of a guy whose neighbor claims he was killed by his dead life. Naturally, the Winchesters assume it’s a ghost. There’s some fun back-and-forth about whether it’s a ghost or a revenant, with Sam and Dean changing their minds based on lack of evidence. Eventually, the three are led to Mia, the therapist to the two people who are killed by supposedly dead loved ones. Under the guise of needing therapy to deal with the sudden loss of their own mother, Sam, Dean, and Jack, who is posing as their younger brother, sit down for a group therapy talk with Mia. Sam and Dean are still arguing about the fate of Mary, and their ruse to investigate Mia quickly turns real when Dean calls Sam delusional because he can’t accept that their mother is really gone. Sam storms out, but soon finds the evidence he needs — Mia’s a shapeshifter.
But she’s not the killer, which is a nice twist that leads to a meaningful story of how being a monster doesn’t necessarily make one evil. Mia’s just out to help people, it’s not her fault her crazy ex-boyfriend (also a shifter) tries to get her to embrace her dark side. I also loved how Dean never once mentioned they should kill Mia anyway because of what she is. You know in the past, that’s what he would have wanted to do. Still, Dean remains a dick pretty much throughout the whole episode. It’s getting pretty tiring, although he does admit to being one at the end when he apologizes to Sam. He also accepts that maybe Jack isn’t all bad, since he saved the day again (Of course it took Jack saving Sam for Dean to come around).
The other part of the episode deals with Cas, who’s awake in the void. The void creature (that’s how I’ve decided to refer to him) is also awake, and informs Cas that he’s in the place where angels go after they die. But here’s the problem — Cas is awake, and that’s never once happened in the void. And because Cas is awake, so too does the void creature (who presents himself as Cas) have to remain awake until Cas goes back to sleep. This is an interesting idea, and part of me wishes it lasted longer. But at least Cas’ resurrection is something new. No deals, no hand of god, no plot necessity. Just Cas, fighting for his right to live.
This Week’s Wayward Thoughts
- “Right now, I want to kill some dead guy’s dead wife.”
- “The kid can dig, I’ll give him that.”
- “Ever journal?” “Our dad did.”
- Another God and Amara name drop.
- Jack’s still trying to prove that he can be good. But early in the episode, he’s watching Clone Wars, and there’s a reference to Anakin.
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Supernatural airs Thursdays at 8/7 c on The CW. Carry on.