13.04 The Big Empty

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Title The Big Empty
Episode # Season 13, Episode 4
First aired November 2, 2017
Directed by John Badham
Written by Meredith Glynn
On IMDB The Big Empty
Outline When patients of a grief counselor begin dying at the hands of deceased loved ones, Sam, Dean, and Jack investigate and are forced to deal with their own unresolved grief. Meanwhile, in the Empty, Castiel learns that he is not alone.
Monster Shapeshifter
Location(s) Madison, Wisconsin
Lebanon, Kansas
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In Madison, Wisconsin, Wes Bailey comes home to find his dead wife, Erica, alive in their living room. Erica moves to embrace Wes, only to stab him in the gut. With Wes' dying breath he watches as she leaves the house with the bloody knife out the front door.

In the Bunker, Dean has found the Madison case and wants to leave Jack behind while he and Sam investigate, arguing to Sam that the world is safer if Jack is hidden away while continuing to assert that Mary is dead and that Sam needs to move on. Sam disagrees and asks Dean to give Jack a chance. When Sam goes to tell Jack they are all going on a hunt, Jack does not want to go and accuses Sam of using him. Sam explains that at Jack’s birth, a door between universes was opened and Mary is trapped on the other side. He tells Jack that he hopes that Jack can use his powers to open a rift and save Mary, but even if he can’t, Sam assures that he still cares for Jack. When Jack voices his fear of Dean and how he wants to kill him, Sam tells Jack he won't let that happen and that Dean respects effort, so Jack should come along.

They pull up at the house in Madison, and Dean and Sam explain ghosts and revenants to a curious Jack. Dean tells Jack to stay in the car while they interview the neighbor. Jack, however, goes into the house. When the Winchesters notice Jack missing, Dean hassles him about leaving the car, but Sam intercedes and begins explaining EMF to Jack. Seeing there’s no EMF in the house, Dean concludes that they are dealing with a revanant.

At Erica’s grave site, Dean orders Jack to start digging. Sam questions Dean about all the orders and sounding like their Dad, telling him while that worked for Dean, it didn't for him and they need to approach Jack differently. Dean counters that they shouldn't be babying him, but compliments Jack's digging ability. Once Jack hits Erica's coffin, they find her body is still inside. Jack wonders about his mother, Kelly, and if she would be a ghost. Sam explains that they burned her body. Dean asserts that anything that burns stays dead and proceeds to salt and burn the body.

Castiel, having awaken in the Empty, begins wandering the infinite void. As Castiel passes by, a pool of iridescent black goo pulls itself out of the nothingness and takes on human form.

Sam and Dean are at another murder scene, that of Gloria Simon who was killed by her young son, Scotty. As with the Bailey house, there is no EMF at the scene. The three stop at a Madison police station to look for a connection between the two deaths. While Sam is getting files, Dean sends Jack to get their lunch. Sam objects that Jack is not their intern and Jack just wants Dean to like him. In looking for connections between the victims, Sam and Dean discover that both victims saw the same therapist, Mia Vallens.

Sam, Dean, and Jack visit Mia’s office, posing as brothers who have recently lost their mother. Mia and Dean butt heads about the value of therapy, leading to Sam and Dean arguing about accepting their Mother's death. Sam tells Dean that he feels he never had the relationship Dean did with Mary and he doesn't want to accept that he never will, and in his anger Sam storms out of the room. While getting some water, Sam notices blood on the stairs and sneaks upstairs to discover skin, hair, and teeth remains in the bathroom.

Back in the office, Mia confronts Dean about upsetting Sam and Jack being so obviously scared of Dean. Sam bursts into the room accusing Mia of being a shapeshifter. Mia admits it but says she is helping people get closure with their lost loved ones by seeing them one last time and saying goodbye. When Sam and Dean mention the death of Wes and Gloria, Mia is surprised and gives them an alibi for Wes' death, which checks out.

Castiel, realizing he is being followed, confronts the creature who takes his form. When he asks what the creature is and where they are, the Cosmic Entity tells Castiel that they are in the place that was before God and Amara -- the Empty. It explains that the Empty is where angels and demons end up when they die, where they sleep an eternal peaceful slumber. The Cosmic Entity, angry that Castiel is awake and therefore keeping it awake, begins torturing Castiel to try and learn why he has woken up.

Mia suggests the killings are being perpetrated by her ex, Buddy. She explains that Buddy is another shifter who enjoys hurting people and that she left him when she couldn't take his sadism anymore. Dean and Jack go to check out Mia’s assistant, Tom, to see if he is actually Buddy. Sam stays behind with Mia to review security footage and quickly discovers Mia’s patient, John Driscoll, is Buddy by his retinal flare on the video.

Castiel asks the Cosmic Entity to send him back to Earth, if he is causing such a disturbance. The Entity denies the request and shows Castiel memories of great pain from his past and tells Castiel that he should want to be asleep rather than continue as the failure he was on Earth. Castiel stands up to the Entity and threatens to keep them awake until they both go insane for eternity.

When Dean and Jack return to Mia’s office, Sam has already left to track down John Driscoll. As Dean calls Sam, Jack asks to speak to Mia alone. Jack confesses that Sam and Dean are not his brothers and tells Mia about Kelly, showing her the video she left him. Jack asks Mia for a chance to see her. Mia gladly agrees and asks Jack to close his eyes while she shifts into Kelly's form. Upon seeing Mia as Kelly, Jack tearfully tells her that he is afraid that he’s not good and that he feels nothing. Mia, as Kelly, tells Jack that it matters what he does, not what he is, and that even monsters can do good in the world.

Buddy, unbeknownst to Mia, has arrived at her home and taken Dean’s form after knocking him unconscious. As Dean, Buddy barges into Mia’s office and strikes Jack with a fire poker, knocking him out. With Dean and Jack restrained, Buddy removes his Dean skin. While Buddy explains how he has been looking for Mia since she left him, and how after seeing the life she created for herself he wanted to destroy it, Dean tries to get Jack to use his powers. Buddy gives Mia an ultimatum: either she kills Dean and Jack or he will shoot her. Mia, choosing not to be a killer, tells Buddy to shoot her but Buddy is distracted by Sam's arrival. Calling Sam into the office using Dean's voice, Buddy takes a shot at him. Seeing his friend in danger, Jack is able to tap into his powers and send a blast of celestial energy to slam Buddy into the wall and deflect the bullet, allowing Sam time to kill Buddy with a silver bullet.

Back at the Bunker, Dean tells Jack he did good, bringing a smile to Jack's face. In the library, Dean brings Sam a beer and they talk about what they said in Mia’s office. Dean apologizes for being difficult and praises Jack for saving them. Sam worries that Dean may be right and that Mary is dead, but Dean tells Sam to keep the faith for both of them, because right now, he doesn’t believe in anything.

In a field on Earth, Castiel wakes and basks in the sunlight.






Dean: So what, does this mean that your plan for bringing Mom back isn't working? 'Cause I'll say it again -- Mom's dead, Sam. Lucifer ripped out her freakin' heart. Now the sooner you can wrap your head around that, the sooner we can all move on.

Sam: So you're saying you want to move on, from Mom.

Dean: Right now, I wanna kill some dead guy's dead wife.
Sam: Jack... when you were born, it ripped a hole in reality. Like a -- like a door from this world to another, to... a really bad, bad place. So -- so Dean and Cas and I, we-we closed that door. But... our mom, Mary, she's trapped on the other side. If we can get your powers back, maybe we can open the door up. Maybe...

Jack: You wanna save her.
Sam: Yeah. Yeah, I do. But... if this doesn't work, if that can't happen, that's okay, because I do care about you. But I should've told you. I'm sorry. It's a lot and, uh...
Jack: Dean can't even look at me. He wants to kill me.

Sam: I won't let that happen. Listen, if there's one thing Dean respects, it's effort. So come along, help us out. Let's go be the good guys.
Sam: Dean, what's up with all the orders? You're starting to sound like Dad.

Dean: That a bad thing?
Sam: I'm just saying his-- his drill sergeant act worked with you... but it didn't work with me. And that's not the way we're gonna get through to Jack.

Dean: Look, you wanted the kid here, he's here. All right? But I'm not gonna hold his hand and tuck him in at night. Pass. I'm not gonna be his mother, and neither are you. And the kid can dig, so I'll give him that.
Sam: Dean, he's not our intern. I asked you to keep an eye on him.

Dean: I can see him. He keeps staring at me.

Sam: Yes, he wants you to like him.
Dean: All right, well, Mom was great, now she's dead. What's the deal with catharsis?
Dean: All right, this is a safe place, right, Doc? Okay. My brother's delusional.

Sam: Dean.
Dean: You said you wanted to give this a shot, right? Here we go. He won't even admit that Mom's dead. Won't even admit it.
Sam: Stop.
Dean: Because if he admits it then, it's real. And if it's real, then he has to deal with it, and he can't handle that.
Sam: Right, because this is so easy for you, huh?
Dean: No, it's not easy.
Sam: Yeah, but at least you had a relationship with Mom. I mean, who would she always call? Who did she look to for everything?
Dean: Okay.

Sam: You had something with her I never had. And now I'm just supposed to accept that I never will have it?
Castiel: What is this place?

Cosmic Entity: Oh, yes. Excellent question. You see, before God and Amara, creation, destruction, Heaven, Hell, your precious little Earth, what was there?
Castiel: Nothing.
Cosmic Entity: Yes. That's right. Nothing. Nothing but Empty. And you are soaking in it. Angels and demons, you all come here when you die.
Castiel: Every angel that ever died is here?

Cosmic Entity: Yes, sleeping an endless peaceful sleep. You know I... I was sleeping, too. Hey, uh, since we're pals, there's something I've gotta know. I've just gotta ask. Hmm. Why are you awake? 'Cause fun fact -- in all of forever, nothing ever wakes up here. I mean, ever. Ever. And second fun fact -- when you woke up, I woke up, and I don't like being awake. So.. what's up, smart guy?
Jack: Sam thinks you were right, that-- that I'm good. He wants me to believe it, and I wanna believe it, too. It's just, I... I've hurt people. I didn't mean to. It was an accident. And I know I should feel bad, and I say I feel bad, but most of the time, I mostly... I don't feel anything. And that's why I think maybe... Maybe I'm a monster.

Mia / Kelly: Jack. It doesn't matter what you are. It matters what you do. And even monsters can do good in this world.
Jack: You really believe that?

Mia / Kelly: I have to. I have to.
Cosmic Entity: Come on, Castiel! Wouldn't you rather be a fond memory than a constant, festering disappointment? Just let's lay down. Let's just try and sleep. Hmm? Think about it. Infinite peace, yes? No regrets. No pain. Kiddo, save yourself.
Castiel: I'm already saved. You can prance and you can preen and you can scream and yell and remind me of my failings but somehow, I'm awake. And I will stay awake and I will keep you awake until we both go insane. I will fight you. Fight you and fight you for... ever. For eternity.
Dean: You did good today, Jack.
Sam: What if you're right? About Mom. What if she is dead, and I'm just in denial?

Dean: Don't say that.
Sam: What? You've been wanting me to admit that since it happened.

Dean: I know I have, but don't say that. I need you to keep the faith, for both of us. 'Cause right now, I... Right now, I don't believe in a damn thing.

Trivia & References

Dean: So what, you ready to ditch Damien? What do you wanna do? Leave him in a ring of holy oil with some Netflix and a frozen pizza?
Damien refers to Damien Thorn, the son of Satan, who is the main character in The Omen series of films.
Dean: Uh, hell, no. What, "Adventures in Babysitting" the Antichrist? No, thank you.
Adventures in Babysitting is a 1987 comedy movie.
Sam: Jack? Hey. "Clone Wars"?

Jack: The computer said I'd like it. I do like Ahsoka. Kinda hate Anakin.
Sam: Uh... that's probably for the best. Never mind.

Clone Wars is an animated series set in the Star Wars universe that ran from 2008-2014. Ahsoka Tona is a Jedi who trains under Anakin Skywalker. Anakin, of course, goes Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader.
Jack: Agent Bonham, Agent Seger, Special Agent Anderson -- These are you?

Sam: Yeah, sometimes.

John Bonham was the drummer for the British rock band Led Zeppelin. Bob Seger is an American singer-songwriter; his hits include "Night Moves', which featured in a Sam-Dean singalong scene in 11.04 Baby. "Anderson" may refer to Ian Anderson, flautist and lead singer of Jethro Tull, or possibly Jon Anderson, former lead singer of the progressive rock band Yes.
Sam: When a person dies and their soul can't move on-

Dean: They're called ghosts. And hanging around makes them go loony tunes. Uh, they go crazy.

Looney Tunes were cartoons by Warner Brothers that ran from the 1930s to the 1960s. As "looney" is slang for "lunatic" the phrase became slang for someone having a mental illness.
Sam: All right, I don't get it. I mean, a ghost that won't show up on EMF? Doesn't make any sense.

Dean: Yeah, well, what does these days? You know, I mean, we -- we've got portals to apocalyptic worlds. We've got, uh, shape-shifting demons. Dealing with a whole new set of tiddlywinks. I say we just... do what we do.

Tiddlywinks is a game where players try and flip flat discs into a container.
Dean: 'And now that I've achieved catharsis, I can truly see the program works.' 'The program'? Come on, man. I mean, she's one Kool-Aid away from Jonestown.
Dean is referring to the Kool-Aid poisoned with cyanide that members of the People's Temple were made to drink during the Jonestown massacre.
Dean: So, let's say that Hannibal chick is, um, a medium, right? She's talkin' to spirits, she's pissing them off somehow. A ghost shows up, notches a kill, and takes off.
A reference to cannibalistic psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter.
Sam: Just follow my lead.

Dean: Yeah, doctor's gonna eat our liver with some fava beans and a bottle of Chianti.

"Fava beans and a bottle of Chianti" is a reference to this famous scene from The Silence of the Lambs.
Dean: Listen, Mr. Spock, you speak when I tell you to speak, okay?
Spock is one of the most iconic characters from the Star Trek series.
Castiel: What are you?

Cosmic Entity: Oh, I'm just your friendly neighborhood cosmic entity.

A play on Spider-Man's nickname of being known as, "Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man."
The concept of the Empty is reminiscent of Sheol, which the Hebrew Bible describes as a place of stillness and darkness, cut off from life and God, where both the righteous and the wicked go upon death.
The Cosmic Entity's supposed horrific true visage as well as his state of being in a deathlike sleep, bear some similarities with the Great Old Ones of H.P. Lovecraft's writings. Specifically the ruler of the Outer Gods, Azathoth, also known as the "Blind Idiot God", who slumbers outside of creation and dreams of the Universe. The Entity's black viscous form also bears similarity to Magnum Innominandum, the Nameless Mist.
Castiel: Why do you look like me?

Cosmic Entity: Oh, yes. Yes, yes. Well, I show up in my real form, and you freak out, rip out your own eyes, et cetera. That would be embarrassing, wouldn't it, for both of us?

An element of author H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos is that if a person were to lay eyes upon a member of the Great Old Ones, the sight would drive them mad.
Cosmic Entity: I have tiptoed through all your little tulips. Your memories, your little feelings, yes. I know what you hate. I know who you love, what you fear. There is nothing for you back there. No. Here. Let me show you.
A reference to the 1929 song, "Tiptoe Through the Tulips".
Mia: You're -- you're a...

Buddy: What? A monster? Well, so are you. And it's about time you embraced that. So I'm not gonna kill those boys. You are. You end them, or you die, courtesy of Tweedledee's silver bullets.

Tweedledee and Tweedledum are fictional identical twin brothers from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.


Filming Locations: Map of known filming locations. The location where Castiel wakes up after returning from the Empty is just a few yards away from the location where Dean rose from the grave in 4.01 Lazarus Rising in Burnaby Fraser Foreshore Park.
Matt Hamilton, who played Wes Bailey, previously played Sheriff Pat in 9.12 Sharp Teeth.
Kayla Deorksen, who played Erica Bailey, previously played LARP Maid in 5.09 The Real Ghostbusters.
Janet Glassford, who played Bailey's Neighbor, previously played Librarian in 7.03 The Girl Next Door.
John Emmet Tracy, who played Tom, previously played Mercury in 5.19 Hammer of the Gods.
Mia / Kelly: Jack. It doesn't matter what you are. It matters what you do.
Sam used the same line in 4.04 Metamorphosis when he tried to reason with a rugaru who ironically is also named Jack.
When Castiel wakes up in the field at the end of the episode, he is wearing a new outfit (long trench coat, blue tie) reminiscent of his seasons 4 - 8 costume, instead of his more recent outfit (short trench coat, striped tie) which he was wearing in the Empty.

Cas&CosmicEntity.png 13x04CassRevived.png

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts