The Official “The Big Empty” (13.04) Live Recap Thread

Standard recap of the season so far, including Jack and a quick cut of the MOTW from “Nightshifter.” Gee, I wonder what the MOTW will be this week?

Cut to Now in Madison, Wisconsin, where a man is entering his house and turning on lights. A woman is waiting for him. She says hi and he says she’s dead. She approaches him, says she missed him, and then stabs him to death before walking out.

Cue title cards.

In the Bunker, Sam is back from a food run and Dean is doing research. Dean grunts when Sam ask him how he’s doing. Dean has found the case of DTG (who was murdered by his dead wife), but is hesitant to take Sam along and leave Jack. Sam suggest they take Jack along. My response is identical to Dean’s: “Oh hell, no.”

Dean figures that as long as Jack is at the Bunker with them, he’s not out on the loose doing something awful. Which is actually a good point. Sam doesn’t like it, though, and Dean points out that maybe Sam’s just mad because his plan to use Jack to rescue Mom isn’t going so well. Sam then not only crosses that line, but swandives over it by asking if Dean is okay with the idea of their mother dead.

The look Dean gives Sam could blister paint. In the Antarctic.

Anyhoo, Sam ends up going to ask Jack if he wants to come along. Jack at first says no, correctly citing Dean’s reference to him the previous episode as “an interdimensional can opener” as a sign that Sam is “using” him. Sam then turns this around by appealing to Jack’s grief over his mother by talking about how Mary is trapped on the other side of the rift Jack created and saying that no, really, he still cares about Jack, and he won’t let Dean hurt Jack, especially if Jack shows himself making an effort to be good and win Dean over. Jack naively buys the Puppy Dog Eyes o’ Doom hook, line and sinker. But it’s still pretty cold.

In the car, in their FBI suits, the Brothers are getting ready to interview a witness to the killing and explaining about ghosts and revenants to Jack. Of course, the recap has already pretty much spoiled which MOTW it is, but hey, let’s just roll with it.

Sam tells Jack to check out the crime scene while Dean tells Jack to stay in the car. Jack checks out the crime scene, but he’s got nothing. The Brothers also get nothing when the EMF shows no reading on it. Dean says that means a revenant, but when they dig up the wife’s grave (Dean has Jack dig the hole while he has a beer; Sam has issues with this for some reason and compares Dean to John), they find an intact body, very dead. So, they burn the remains, explaining to Jack that his mother can’t come back because they burned her bones, and go to Plan B.

Meanwhile, somewhere on a dark and empty soundstage, Castiel is wandering around, confused.

He’s also being stalked by something dark and oily.

That night, a middle-aged woman gets a flat tire and calls in for help. Then she sees her son in the backseat. He eats her. At the crime scene the next morning, the Brothers are confused. Dean sends Jack on a food run. Sam complains that Jack isn’t their “intern.” Make up your mind, Sam. Either you want Jack to prove himself to Dean in some way, or you don’t.

As Jack returns with food, and confusion over how human interactions work, the Brothers discuss a connection between the victims – both of them were seeing a therapist who may or may not be a genuine medium. Dean snarks about psychiatrists. Considering his previous very-negative experiences with them, this is fairly understandable. But it still doesn’t mean he’s not the one on TFW most desperately in need of therapy right now.

Dean points out that patient confidentiality means they can’t go in as FBI, but he really hates Sam’s idea for all three of them to go in as patients. They meet an odd dude on the steps going in (whom Dean and Sam ignore, but Jack cheerily greets) and an officious assistant inside. Dean is pushy about wanting to see the therapist today. She then comes downstairs and introduces herself as Mia Vallens and asks if they have a recent bereavement. Jack says his mother just died. Sam says it’s their mother and they’re all brothers (you know, as if the idea of Jack as the kid brother character weren’t already obvious).

She invites them in and immediately clues in that Dean is hostile to therapy. Sam snarks at Dean about it, saying he’s not dealing well with his grief, and Dean gets hostile. He says that he’s dealing just fine, seeing as how he’s actually acknowledging their mother is dead, while Sam is in denial.

Sam gets angry and yells at Dean that at least Dean “had a relationship” with Mary, that she was always calling him. And then he storms out of the room.

This was a head-scratcher for me, since Sam was the one last season insistent on giving Mary space and telling Dean to leave her alone, then asking Dean how she was doing instead of texting her himself. Mary was very distant at first and Dean had to put in a lot of work to make that relationship continue, work Sam chose (for various reasons, some good, some not so good) not to do and tried to discourage Dean from doing. So, it seems a bit odd to get mad at Dean now about it.

Anyhoo, Sam storms out, gets some water, and spots a stairway to an upper story that has a privacy sign on it. Which, being a Winchester, Sam naturally doesn’t respect. He totally goes up there.

Sam immediately hits paydirt with blood on the pristine banisters and the shower curtain in a bathroom. He also finds shapeshifter goo in the tub. Oops.

Back in the exam room, as Dean openly drinks booze in front of her from his flask, Dr. Vallens has Dean’s number, pointing out that he just drove one brother out of the room and the other (Jack) is terrified of him. She says that if Dean wants to hold onto his anger, that’s okay, but he’s using it against everyone else.

At that moment, Sam bursts in and belts out that she’s a shapeshifter. Dean also draws down on her and they accuse her of killing her patients, while a confused Jack looks on (Jack’s confused a lot in this episode). Dr. Vallens insists she’s never killed anybody (though she is a ‘shifter). Her therapy involves shifting into the form of a dead loved one who died suddenly so grieving people can find closure, and that’s it. She’s very surprised to hear that two of hers are dead. She knows the Brothers are Hunters (duh) and insists she has an alibi. And it checks out.

Meanwhile, Castiel calls out his stalker, who turns out to be some entity that rules the Empty (where Castiel is). Except the Empty is “nothing” as Castiel says, the nothing that existed before God and Amara even existed. Yeah, whatever. It doesn’t hold together if you think about it very hard. Anyhoo, said entity (which looks just like Castiel) isn’t thrilled that Castiel woke him up, since none of the other angels and demons who died and came there for an eternal sleep ever did, and he hates being awake. So, he tortures Castiel to find out what’s going on.

He also brags that even God has no pull in the Empty. We know for a fact that’s not true, since God has brought Castiel back from the d-e-a-d more than once, as well as saying he could conceivably reconstruct even the archangels given enough time. Yay for LOL!canon.

The Brothers question Dr. Vallens about who could be killing her patients. She says she used to be with another shifter, named Buddy, who liked to hurt people, “ruin their lives,” and then kill them. She bailed, but he may have found her and stalked her. Patients and staff are in and out of her house all the time, so anyone could have seen her files (HIPAA violations! HIPAA violations everywhere!). She suggests maybe her assistant for a suspect. Poor guy. Dean goes to check him out. Jack volunteers to come along, to Dean’s displeasure.

At the place, Dean tells him to “stay in the car.” Jack says he wants to help, that Sam told him about his “plan to save your mother.” Dean straight-shoots that “Sam’s plans don’t always work out.”

It turns out the assistant isn’t the shifter, just a dude with several cats.

Sam has a conversation about closure and her method with Dr. Vallens (I am pretty sure this is the same actress as the one who played the doomed fake psychic in “The Mentalists.” I liked her) while he scrolls through her CCTV footage. Eventually, he finds one with the flashing eyes of a shifter. It is, of course, the weird guy who greeted the Brothers and Jack when they first came in, a guy named Driscoll. Dr. Vallens says he’s only been seeing her for a few weeks.

Meanwhile, Castiel’s Empty half is complaining that Castiel won’t let him sleep. Castiel suggests the entity send him back so that he can help Sam and Dean. Instead, the entity shows him the worst hits and sins of his life.

Sam decides to check out the shifter himself (at no time does anybody make any attempt to check whom they are really speaking with). Dr. Vallens tells Dean and Jack when they get back. Jack asks to talk to her and tells her about his mother. She takes the form of Kelly (God, are we ever going to be free of that insipid character?) and hugs Jack. He says he’s afraid because he wants to believe Sam and his mother that he’s good, but most of the time, he doesn’t feel any emotions at all. “Kelly” tells him that what matters is what he does, not what he is. Bang that on-the-nose dialogue home, Show.

Meanwhile, Dean is calling Sam and eventually Sam calls back, saying he found the real Driscoll and he’s dead. But it wasn’t actually Dean who took the call. Dean is unconscious on the floor. It’s the shifter. It knocks Jack out (Jensen Ackles had fun with that) and then rips its own face off to reveal Driscoll!shifter.

Back in the Empty, the entity is beating on Castiel, trying to get him to go back to “sleep” rather than return to the world and back to being a “disappointment.”

Castiel takes the beating, but tells the entity it can’t make him sleep. He’ll fight and they’ll both go insane, or the entity can send him back.

Back in the world, Dean wakes up only after he’s chained to the mantle. The shifter wants Vallens to kill them, but she refuses. Dean gets knocked out trying to warn Sam (after encouraging Jack to use his powers to snap the cuffs), but the shifter uses Sam’s voice to lure him in and like an idiot, Sam walks right into the trap.

Jack panics and throws the shifter into a wall. Sam then shoots the off-kilter shifter. What is it with these easy kills for Sam? I totally get that Jared Padalecki is tired of getting injured doing stunts (he’s had some doozies over the years). Who can blame him? But that doesn’t mean the way they’re just handing kills to Sam these days is fun to watch.

Later, Dr. Vallens tells the Brothers and Jack that she will take care of things with Driscoll. Apparently, that will ruin her career. It’s not too clear what consequences she’s taking on besides saying she killed him.

Back at the Bunker, Dean visits Jack in the kitchen and tells him, “You did good today, Jack,” then leaves. Jack smiles to himself, this time not so creepily.

Dean also hands Sam a beer and apologizes for provoking Sam at the doctor’s office. He admits that Jack may be more useful than he previously wanted to believe. Sam, as usual, flips and plays Devil’s Advocate – what if Mary is actually dead? What if he’s in denial. Dean says that Sam needs to “keep the faith” for them both, since he can’t right now.

Meanwhile, Castiel wakes up in a field. Or is it Castiel and not the entity? Who even freakin’ knows, anymore?


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30 thoughts on “The Official “The Big Empty” (13.04) Live Recap Thread”

  1. Dean’s and Mary’s wonderful times are just another thing for Sam to be jealous about. (That must have been some really great online scrabble.)

    The line that got me was Sam’s complaint about Dean ordering Jack around. Personally, if I was a fortyish man, and I had a willing kid with self healing abilities to do the hard labor, I’d totally have him do the shoveling.

    1. I head scratched over Sam being so upset about Dean ordering Jack around too. Yeah he’s being a bit of a Dick but Dean often loses his veneer of social niceties when he’s in major angst mode.
      I put it down to Sam being committed to using Jack to get Mary back.

  2. This is what is bugoing me about the writing…
    Season 12 ended with lots of losses… big losses. Jensen is giving Dean loads of nuanced grief but other than an outburst here and there the writing is not supporting the facts. I understand that they had to race off to neutralize jack however the writing in thestablishing first two episodes was just silly. The tone should have been seriots.
    Gamble had problems but at least she had the dense to make the episodes after they lost Cas serious and Dean rebuilt Baby as his way out grieve.
    Jared just played Sam so straight. It felt weird. And the writing really didn’t give him any reaction until the 4th episode. Jack who has no feelings was given a bigger reaction to the loss of 2 people he never met.
    And thy better explain why Fetus Jack was brain washing people, transferring power to people and resurrecting his mother without any trouble however once he’s born he is clueless. And he talks about icing Dagon like he wasn’t part of it.
    I think they must be going for a dark half, schizophrenic Jekyll and Hyde thing…
    Then the question why Now has go be answered.
    There’s no evidence normal nephilim are schizo.

    1. Jacks repressing! Consider us lucky that he too doesn’t speak with a strange obnoxious British accent!

      I’m still trying to place all these great times Sam thinks Dean shared with his mom… silly Show. 😉

  3. He kinda reminded me of the British character with the thin mustache and attractive wife that Johnny Depp played but I can’t remember the title.of the movie. That and Sherlock and Dr. Who. It was a very strange choice for sure.

      1. Howdy right back atcha! Yes it was definitely a strange choice. And the cadence. He stopped and started in weird places, almost as if the entity didn’t know how to speak properly. I’ve only watch the ep twice and I’ve scratched my head over it each time. Obnoxiously, snidishly British. That’s how I heard it.

    1. Mortdecai. Oh I hope Misha was not channeling that awful Depp impersonation. I mean, he does sound like it, but yuck what an awful part.

      Oh a side note, Misha was on Charmed this morning I said, hey, that’s Misha, you know, CASTIEL. And my husband had me rewind it and he said, REALLY, does not look that….oh yes it is.

  4. I liked the actress who played Camille in The Mentalists and now Dr Valens. I am really happy the show has lasted so long and we get to see numerous actors in different parts. Like I recognized the murderous mom in Southern Comfort as being the murderous mom in Croatoan!

    I am truly enjoying this season, and somehow I will figure out who Misha was ‘channeling’ as the Guardian. I am going mental trying to figure out who it was.

  5. The Goo entity made no sense visit a viz the show’s canonical eschatology. If the nothing is something than God should not have been able to use it for creation. I wish Cas had just found a door after being woken up by Jack and zipped down. It felt like useless filler.

    Very nose on the head subtext about monsters only being monsters if they act monstrous. Yeah I do like Jack more than I did but I am with Dean. What’s the point of liking a character that you know is pretty much gone this season. The one time he focused to use his power he gave evil face. It will end with Dean killing him.

    I am sure the Sam girls are eating up Sam and hating Dean. It reminds me of the magician and MoC Dean
    Or Crowley and MoC Dean and especially Sam in
    season 10 using Charlie and Cas to get what he wanted.

    1. If they are, they’re being dumb. Last week, Dean called out Sam’s “altruistic” motives for helping Jack. Jack called him out on it this week and then Dean told Sam he was in denial about Mary. *We* know Mary’s not dead, but we also know Lucifer isn’t, either, and that letting her back through will probably involving letting Lucifer back through. With Jack right there, that would be disastrous.

      I think Jack senses that Sam is a hypocrite and gravitates toward Dean because Dean is not lying to him. He appears to sense that if Dean does warm up to him and like him, it will be genuine.

      1. Very dumb and very used to applying lol situational ethics.

        Sam and his ego caused Lucifer you get loose, yet only Dean seems to feel responsibility for the world and only Dean seems to get that their actions and decisions have consequences and tempers his actions accordingly.

        1. Season 11 is playing on TNT this week. I just remarked to my husband that Dean is right (Sam keeps saying it is GOD reaching out to him, Dean says we are not going to interact with Lucifer, stay away like Lucifer) that every time they have to deal with Lucifer….well he is too dangerous to interact with, he escapes ‘tomorrow’ because he convinces Castiel only ‘he’ can defeat Amara and it turns out he was the least-useful of the attackers at the end of Alpha and Omega. Golly, Lucifer and Sam are like mirror images in some respects. Sam believes they can do anything because even if bad things happen, they can ‘figure it out.’ Dean ‘knows’ that whenever they do something lots of bad happens even if the original thing was good.

          I am freaked that they have the ‘little girl’ actresses playing Amara acting so seductive with Dean, who has made the consistent decision not to use ‘any’ body language to show a ‘romantic’ anything going on.

          1. Dean feels guilty for anyone that isn’t saved so he is always unwilling to risk anyone besides himself. He definitely recognized himself in Mary’s selfless sacrifice and is beating himself up for not beating g her to it.

            Sam is Teflon. Shrugs..
            Guilt … what guilt.

    2. Oh how the Sam girls are going to carry on when Dean finally finds out that, lo and behold, Sam is right and Mary is found alive. Tho in Sams favor this time around he actually knows where to find Mary. If she’d just disappeared in front of him as Dean had before then I would say the elder Winchester would need to make some room in the back seat of the Impala for the next dog to fall victim to Sams crappy driving…

      1. The point isn’t whether Mary is alive or notreatment. The point is that they have spent portions of 4 seasons trying to get rid of Lucifer who is dangerous to the safety of the world. Lives were lost y’all. Ergo they cannot safely open the rift.

        Add to this the fact that Apocalypse 2.0 is a very dangerous place with ugly demonstration and evil angels that kill blues and wear their ears as jewellery. Just say no Sam!

        And finally what if Jack who cannot control these powere that will only grow stronger tears such a hue hole that he cannot close it or it causes tremendous fatality before he does. JUST SAY NO.

        It’s selfish. And Dean understands exactly what Mary has done. He would do it himself without a second thought in a heartbeat.

  6. I wasn’t bothered by Sam’s getting angry because Dean had a relationship with Mary and he did not. In my observation, people don’t necessarily act or think rationally in the face of unexpected grief. He is probably regretting that he didn’t pursue a relationship with her harder, even though he had his reasons at the time.

    What the heck was that entity that Castiel met supposed to be? Supernatural creatures bragging that God has no power over them seems to be a motif on the show. I seem to remember Death bragging that he would someday reap God, and the Dean later reaped him. Though TBH I never really understood that episode.

    1. They don’t think rationally, no, but Sam thought he *was* being rational and was acting as though Dean was crazy to think otherwise about Mary. Now, Dean *is* crazy. Even he admits that. But what Sam is doing, trying to prod Jack into using his world-busting powers to let Mary (and also Lucifer) back through, if she’s still alive, is going to have terrible consequences. I mean, if Castiel waking that entity means the entity decides to come back with Cas and wreak havoc, that will be on Sam.

      1. To me these are two separate issues. The issue over not getting to know Mary seems very consistent with anger at himself, and is irrational but understandable. It is unfortunate that he is taking it out on his brother, but that is consistent with his usual characterization.

        What he is willing to do to get Mary back is a separate and terrifying matter.

        What I find most unfortunate is that Sam, in usual Sam fashion, is disregarding the fact that Dean at this point has even more cause for grief than him, having just lost Castiel and even Crowley.

        1. Well, Sam is mostly upset about his mother, and mostly because he wasted her time back by not interacting with her most of the time (though he did go with her to the LoL Quonset Hut). He hated Crowley and while the show has pushed his friendship with Castiel, the truth is that they’ve never been especially close. I doubt they’d interact at all if Dean were out of the picture.

          Dean, on the other hand, was locked in a very strange triangle with both Castiel and Crowley, and had just had a very intense experience with his mother in her dreamworld. So, what happened in the season finale hit him like a freight train. It’s not a surprise he’s an emotional wreck.

          1. Sam and Castiel interact like brothers in law. They care about each other, but really only for Dean’s sake.

            The problem Dean has is that his normal is to be an emotional wreck, and to add these simultaneous losses is dangerously destabilizing. Sam should be afraid, but Sam, while not exactly unaware of Dean’s instability (he sort of referred to it in 13.02), has a remarkable ability to ignore it until it gets in the way of what he wants.

            I used to wonder why Castiel didn’t just heal Dean’s madness like he did with Sam’s hell pain in season 7. But Sam’s weird hallucinations were far more in line with delirium than mental illness – eliminate the cause and the person returns to baseline. Dean’s insanity is so integrated into who he is as a person that to heal him would be to fundamentally change him, and Castiel might be constrained against this.

  7. At the time I watched this I felt bored. But thinking back on it this episode actually filled in a lot of personal stuff. Mia ‘did’ get Dean to work out his guilt differently, without being an a-hole to everybody around him.

    I loved Jack’s smile when Dean told him ‘you done good.’

    WHO was Misha imitating as the Guardian of the Empty (I will hereby refer to him as GoE) the voice was so familiar I could not stand that I could not put a name to it?

    1. Somebody British. Peter Cushing, maybe?

      It’s okay. This and last week’s weren’t too bad in the tedium department, but the week before was hideously dull (the main reason, aside from being superbusy, I haven’t finished that review, yet).

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