Supernatural Season 13 Episode 4 Review: The Big Empty

A classic monster returns in a fun, well-structured episode of Supernatural.

This Supernatural review contains spoilers.

Supernatural Season 13 Episode 4

Things are getting to a boiling point between the brothers and Jack, so it was about time for a little self-help. Meanwhile, Cass find himself in a weird plane of nothing — but he’s not exactly alone.

I do enjoy when the writers bring back a classic monster and find a way to make it fresh. This week’s was a return to the Shapeshifter, those creepy monsters who can shed their skin to become any person they wish. The main shifter the Winchesters meet in this episode is not some vicious killer, but a grief counselor genuinely interested in helping her patients. I like when we see that not all monsters are evil.

This also plays into the good vs. evil debate about Jack. If we can find shifters and werewolves and vamps that are good, why not — well I guess Jack isn’t a normal monster now is he? His fate is still very much up in the air. I bet we will be seeing more themes about choosing good vs evil in the rest of the season.

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Going undercover as patients to investigate a grief counselor gets a little too real for Sam and Dean. The argument over whether Mary is still alive comes to a head in the counselor’s office, causing Sam to storm out of the room. They have been stewing over this for weeks, butting heads over both what might have happened to Mary and what to do about Jack. Finally, in this episode, it takes a third party to point out their differences. We see a shift in Dean — he lessens up on Jack and even apologizes to Sam. That in itself is some serious positive character development for Dean.

Meanwhile, somewhere in The Empty, Castiel has woken up from death and meets the nefarious creature that resides there. It was about time to get a new angle on the afterlife.

I am glad to finally have an answer to what happens to angels and demons when they die. The answer is not exactly pleasant. No one is supposed to be conscious in this realm, and Cass waking up bothers the ancient creature there. I can only imagine this big bad will continue to harass Cass for a while, and perhaps become an antagonist for our boys and the world in the future. The world is all out of whack since Jack was born, so anything could happen. Perhaps this empty world is also key to getting Mary Winchester back home.

There is a very touching scene, in which Jack asks Mia the Shifter to act like his mother that he never got to mee. Jack poses his worries about being a monster to the fake Kelly Kline, and she gives sage advice, “It doesn’t matter what you are. It matters what you do.” It makes a lot of sense that these words should come from her. For the most part, Shapeshifters have been pretty evil on this show, but here’s one who’s just trying to help people. If she can choose the right path, you can too, Jack.

All in all, not a huge breathtaking episode but a well structured one. The parallels between Mia and Jack are easy to spot and sympathize with, and we finally got some forward momentum on Sam and Dean’s disagreements. Plus, Cass has flown the coop and returned to Earth! It would be interesting to see if the familial relationship between Jack and the Winchesters can continue to grow, or whether the good vs evil debate will continue along on the same note.

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4.5 out of 5