Read the previous review here.
This post contains spoilers for Supernatural.
Sometimes it’s nice when these big twenty plus episode seasons don’t start off with a big bad. It gives the show time to build some exposition before hopping into intricate arcs. In the case of Supernatural, it gives them time to play with some other monster favorites, while playing around with whoever the new character of the season is.
We’re four episodes in and after some resistance, I begrudgingly admit that Jack is adorable and must be protected at all costs. The writers pulling in as many parallels to Cas as possible has undoubtedly contributed to that, but the boy’s got his own sort of charm to him. “The Big Empty” took the narrative surrounding him from “perhaps you won’t be a monster” to “you are a monster, and that’s okay”, which is infinitely more interesting than trying to keep things black and white in a grey universe. They may have gotten awfully close to quoting Batman Begins, but it worked, so no judgment.
Jack is taking strides toward figuring out who he is, but the same can’t be said for Sam and Dean coming to terms with their grief. The two of them may have literally been to hell and back, and lost damn near everyone they love at least once, but losing a loved one is still losing a loved one. Losing Cas and their mother in the same night might have been a bit too much for the brothers. Thankfully, neither of them are really dead.
Turns out “The Big Empty” title has nothing to do with little Jack and everything to do with Cas. After thirteen seasons, we finally go to the place where angels and demons go when they die. The Big Empty is exactly what it sounds like, and what one would imagine purgatory to be if we hadn’t already been there. After being awake for a bit of time, Cas runs into the keeper of the Empty, and he’s a special kind of cranky.
Everyone sleeps while they’re in the Empty, including the keeper. But once Cas wakes up, the keeper has to wake up too, and he’s not very happy about it. He tries to torture Cas, then tries to convince him to go back to sleep, but the little angel that could knows that his idiot humans and would-be surrogate son need his help. Cas’ return also opens the door for future angel and demon returns from the Empty, so fingers crossed we’ll get more of our favorites in the future.
Since we’re thirteen seasons in and the boys have been working on their honesty, they display a little bit more of it in “The Big Empty”. The shapeshifter therapist helped all of the boys in her own way, but anyone who can help Sam and Dean see each other’s point deserves a medal. Sam finally asks what they’ll do if Mary really is dead, and Dean peaks out from behind his wall long enough to ask his brother to keep the faith while he can’t. Oh, and to tell Jack that he did a good job.
Lookout, y’all! Dean Winchester’s catching feelings, Cas is back in the world, and Jack is learning to find balance between the monster and the hero!