Title Lyric from “Big Empty” by The Stone Temple Pilots
Here we are with 13×4, “The Big Empty”, which left us feeling all sorts of feelings (ALL THE FEELINGS. Bitches. Some warning next time would be nice. – Erica). This one opens with what appears to be a lovely wife murdering her very-surprised-to-see-her husband in cold blood. The wifey happens to be dead already—hence the surprise—and now she’s somehow alive and well, or so it seems, and she’s acting all stabby.
Cut to Sam and Dean in the bunker discussing the case of the dead wife killing the living husband and Sammy suggesting they bring Jack along for the ride while working the case. Sam suggests Jack could help and Dean looks at him like he’s grown a few extra heads, commenting about babysitting the antichrist not being his choice of gigs. Sammy pulls the ace out of his sleeve, saying do it “for me” when Dean balks at the idea, so of course, they all three head off to work the case together. Dean treats Jack more like a lapdog or errand boy than a person, but that’s to be expected from him at this point. After a second murder—this time a lady killed by her young son (who, apparently, died like 20 years ago)—they find a connection to a psychologist name Mia that specializes in helping people process grief (what a massive coincidence… grief counseling… Who needs it, right?).
MARGE: Dean and Sam deal with shit about like I do…
The boys may think they’re ‘fine’ but hoo boy, shrink lady definitely serves her purpose in so many ways. She manages to get Sam and Dean to say what they are really feeling about the situation with their mother’s death/being trapped without even trying and were those revelations ever painful. We all almost died of heartbreak for both of them, especially Sammy. It is amazing how easy it is for the boys to pull a ‘need counseling’ ruse, when they actually do need counseling. No matter the feels, the boys gotta solve this case so Sam heads out of the room to continue investigating (really to get away from his asshole brother).
So yeah, turns out, Mia is actually a shifter who shifts into her patients’ recently deceased loved ones so they can say their final goodbyes—this makes her Suspect Numero Uno, of course. However, she has an alibi, and a really abusive ex that happens to be a shifter and a stalker that really enjoys being murdery. Because…reasons? We guess?
ERICA: So this whole early awareness that the shrink is a shifter is great, but it came SUUUUUPER early—first indication that things are not all as they seem.
MARGE: Also made me wonder when exactly we stopped killing monsters when we find them. I mean I’m glad they didn’t shoot her, for all the stuff that happens later and I know that we don’t always kill things with haste, but when did ganking monsters on sight stop being a priority?
DAWN: We haven’t ganked on sight for a while now. At least since S3-ish.
MARGE: I mean I know we’ve stopped being ‘shoot first ask questions later’ but when did we start checking monster alibis…
ERICA: Right around the time that monsters started having feelings, Margie. Also? Since we’re talking about “feelings,” y’all are bitches for not warning me ’bout this whole section of “feelings.” *says the woman who had to DVR it and watch it later, in the tone of Our Liege*
MARGE: I’m so sorrrrrrrrrry. I would have warned you if I wasn’t an asshole.
It’s all very snarky and yet moving and lessons are learned and all of that, which we are sure will be super important life lessons at some point this season, BUT WHO CARES Y’ALL BECAUSE CASTIEL. YES, WE FINALLY HAVE OUR ANGEL BACK, CHUCKDAMNIT.
Yes, friends, our beloved angel has returned...we think. But let’s back up for a second. At the end of 13×3, Jack calls to Castiel, and we see Castiel waking up in this large, black void (for lack of a better phrase). In 13×4, we get more of our beloved winged one in a performance by Misha Collins that Chuckdamnit deserves an Emmy. This random thing forms out of the void and has a full–on conversation with Castiel while wearing his face.
He is, in essence, arguing with himself. The CastiEntity talks about how this void—called the Empty—is where angels and demons go when they die, and they should never wake up. CastiEntity is PISSED that Cas is awake, since he shouldn’t be—because if Cas is awake, CastiEntity is awake. CastiEntity does not LIKE being awake, making him super relatable to everyone who hates leaving the bed in the mornings. And sweet Chuck all-mighty, the acting was impeccable, making the entire argument a thing of beauty. This entity in this void is a snarky asshole too… We love to hate to love him.
DAWN: I would watch the snarky CastiEntity show all day long. He was delightful.
ERICA: You just like all the bad ones, Dawn. Lesbereal, here.
MARGE: I don’t know what this says about me, but I thought CastiEntity was sexyAF…
DAWN: BAD BOYS, BAD BOYS, WHATCHA GONNA DO, YOU CAN ALL COME TO MY HOUSE AND I DON’T CARE THAT THIS DOESN’T RHYME.
ERICA: You’re a mess. And I say that with love.
We could, quite literally, go on and on and on about how brilliant Misha Collins was in this episode, and not entirely because Dawn is falling all over herself trying to get to CastiEntity. Playing multiple versions of yourself is hard (just ask Tatiana Maslany), and he did it extremely well. Castiel eventually looks at CastiEntity and tells him point blank that he wants to go back, and if CastiEntity DOESN’T send our boy back…well, Cas will just stay awake FOREVER.
We switch back to Sam and Mia engaging in the time-honored tradition of figuring out who’s a shifter—video footage, while Dean and Jack are out checking to see if Mia’s assistant is the killer. Flashy eyes on the screen and Sam is off after the real shifter. Dean and Jack return to Mia while Sam is doing his thing and Jack and Mia give us the gold when he asks if he can talk to her. He explains who he is, sort of, and how he needs to see his mama, at least once and Mia does what she does—shifting into Kelly so that Jack can say his piece and get some closure. Our little baby nougat spills it all to his pseudo-mama about how he is afraid he is a monster and she delivers the goods by telling him that it doesn’t matter what he is, it matters what he does and that even monsters can do good. Cue the waterworks. “Feelings… Nothing more than feelings“… leaking from our damn faces.
Of course, all this heartfelt good juju has given shifter/murdery ex-boyfriend time to show up, knock Dean out, and shift to look just like our angsty-broken-soldier. He marches upstairs, whacks Jack in the head with a fire poker and handcuffs real-Dean to the radiator. Then he gets all possessive creep of the year on Mia and eventually comes to the conclusion that she has to kill the boys or he will kill her. In the noblest fashion, she tells him to shoot her, all while Sammy enters the scene. Dean tries to warn Sam away from the action, and gets whacked again, Bobby – shifter/creep supreme [How dare they give him that name – Dawn] mimics Dean’s voice and convinces Sammy to come upstairs and here’s where we get the real deal: Jack channels some inner voodoo and manages to use his as–yet–undefined powers to keep Sam from being shot. Sam kills the shifter and the day is saved. Well, sort of… We still gotta deal with all the feels, folks.
Sam, Dean, and Jack head back to the bunker, where Dean acknowledges Jack as more than a satanic lapdog by telling him he “did good today”. He continues with the good deeds by apologizing to Sam about being out of line and admits that Sam could be right about “the kid”. And then Sammy, in true sad-puppy-dog-eyed fashion, breaks our collective hearts again by questioning his resolve about their mother being alive. He wonders if he’s just in denial and she really is dead. Finally, Dean puts the last nail in our coffins by explaining to Sam that he can’t say that because Dean needs him to keep the faith for both of them because Dean doesn’t “believe in a damn thing”. It is beautiful, poetic, and the feelings fell out of our faces again.
But wait, there’s more! As if we haven’t leaked enough, cussed enough, or had enough moments to freak the fuck out, there’s one final scene after our beloved boys have their brotherly heart to heart, featuring none other than CASTIEL AGAIN! YAYAY! But y’all… HE IS BACK ON EARTH, or so, it seems. We get no explanation, no dialogue, nothing, just Cas, in slightly different clothing than the scenes in the Empty, on Earth, in a field of flowers. Roll credits and our collective hearts across the floor because they just fell out…