Monday, 6 November 2017
Supernatural Think Tank - Anna's thoughts on Supernatural 13x04 "The Big Empty"
The Big Empty.....Not
I find the title ironic because this episode was anything but. On the contrary, this episode was filled with honesty, insight, grief, anger, love and compassion. It filled me up with an array of emotion and left me totally satisfied in a way that has me reeking of contentment.
Perhaps the title refers not only to where Cas is, but to the emptying of some of that anger and grief and replacing it with hope.
Don't Knock Therapy
The Winchesters talking to a professional counsellor about how they're feeling is quite a novel notion. These boys have been in need of therapy for a long, long time and I was tickled pink that they've finally gotten to talk to someone, with an objective opinion, monster or not, about what's going on inside of them. This was long overdue and I think it helped them all more than they possibly know. We've seen Sam talk to a therapist, well not exactly seen, but he did get to talk to one off screen back in S1, Asylum. Dean was theraped in Sam, Interrupted, but as we discovered, the Dr. wasn't real and he'd been talking to himself. The boys faked the whole abstinence thing when they pretended they wanted to be virgins again. For the most part, the boys never really were much about talking to anyone about their feelings, especially strangers. Once in a while Dean opened up to Sam, Bobby and Cas, but those moments were often far and few between and it was often the really big stuff that Dean didn't want to talk about. Sam opened up to Dean once in awhile, but that was usually under circumstances when Sam was sick or drunk or angered to the point where he just burst. We haven't really seen much of that from Sam in quite some time. The boys clearing the air in front of the counsellor the way they did was both refreshing and cathartic, not only for the boys, but I think for many of us fans out here. Dean finally opening up to someone even though it was mostly about his brother and the denial Sam was in, said a lot about his own state of mind. Dean's open hostility with Jack inside the Dr.'s house was also transparent., so much so that the Dr. called Dean out on it. She also made it clear to point out to Dean that Sam was so upset that he had to leave the room. The Dr. finally said out loud what so many of us have been saying all along.
"You're angry Dean and if you don't want to do anything about it, it's your business, but you're aiming it at everyone in your life".
Can I just say how happy I was that Dean got to hear these words from a neutral party. Dean needed to hear that and Sam and Jack needed him to hear that, oh hell, we all needed for him to hear that. I really do think it finally sunk in, especially when Dean found out that Sam went out on his own to find the shifter and he didn't call Dean. The Dr.'s "Do you blame him?" seemed to finally hit home for Dean and I believe that the counsellor helped him......a lot.
I really liked the shape shifter Dr. She truly wants to help people. It was very important to her to do good and make up for the bad that she had done with her ex. From a genetic standpoint she was a monster, but she lived by the code of humanity and did a lot of good for a lot of people. She lived by the same motto as Sam and reiterated to Jack the very words that Sam used all the way back in S4,
"It's doesn't matter who you are, it only matters what you do".
When Jack asked her if she believed that, she told him yes, that she had to. The Dr. believed in Jack's goodness much the way Sam does. She believes that it's possible to control the monster inside and not let the monster control you. This was something Jack needed to hear again. She confirmed what Sam has been telling Jack. I also loved that she was able to give Jack the one thing he needed so badly, a chance to be with his mother. All Jack had was his mom on a computer screen. The poor kid never had the chance to have any kind of contact with her. The Dr. gave Jack a moment that he'll never get from his actual mother, but it was a moment that was true to it's core, one of love and faith for who Jack is. I think this moment will have great significance for when the time comes when Jack decides to choose which path he'll take.
My initial feeling to why Sam has such unwavering faith that his mother is still alive had more to do with him never wanting to make the same mistake he did with Dean when he believed he died back in S7. Sam was so despondent and drowning in his own grief, that he broke. He stopped everything. Sam was unable to deal with all his loss and as such ran away from his life. He couldn't do it without his brother, or maybe he didn't want to do it without his brother. Sam could no longer bear living the life that took away his family. He was done, and there was no one else around to support him or to have the faith he no longer had, to keep going. He drove aimlessly for months swimming in his own grief, alone in his darkest despair, until divine intervention put a dog in front of his car and gave him a purpose. Sam had a reason to go on, even if it was just to take care of a dog and eventually the woman who helped save this dog's life. Sam then found a new someone to save. He couldn't save his brother, but he could save this girl, by saving this girl, she in turn saved him. When Sam found out that he'd made a mistake and Dean wasn't dead, Sam bore the burden of guilt for giving up. He'd believed his brother died and gave up on everything. Bound by a promise to not bring his brother back if he'd died, Sam accepted Dean's death without ever looking for a way to bring him back. Because Sam didn't go back on their promise, he never discovered the truth that his brother wasn't dead. I don't know if Sam would've ever found out where Dean was or if he'd ever been able to rescue him from there, but in Sam's mind, his guilt lies with never trying in the first place. His guilt lies with accepting his brother's death without a fight. Now, with Mary trapped in another realm, my assumption was that Sam wasn't going to make the same mistake with Mary that he had with Dean. Sam wasn't going to give up on trying to get her back. He was going to do it for her and for his brother.
I still think there is validity to my assumption and this that it is in part true. It seems though that Sam has another reason why he both wants and needs to save his mother so much. I must admit I wasn't expecting this at all, but I must admit to it be most gratifying. I don't know about you, but I've seen many a complaint last season by a lot of people noting that Sam didn't get to have the same kind of personal connection with his mom that Dean did. I felt that neither of them got much in the way of a connection as she did bolt on them, and I thought each brother had equal amount of screen time. The fans kept saying that even with her gone, she contacted Dean more, which I had to agree with. She did call Dean more. Mary did speak to both of them through her contact with Dean. While the fans were not quiet about this, Sam certainly was. I was totally blown out of the water, when Sam shared the very same feelings that the fans have had all last season. I guess maybe the writers do, on occasion, acknowledge what's bothering the fans.
Sam's revelation was both surprising to hear and heartbreaking. The fact that Sam felt left out all last season, after getting his mother back for the first time ever. His hopes of a relationship were dashed when she left them, and how his heart must've ached inside every time Dean got a call from her and he got nothing. I can only imagine what might've been going through his head each time he didn't hear from his mom and Dean did. Of course Sam learns the truth as to why Mary was so distant from him. Mary's guilt was more than she could bear. It was one thing to know that she started it all. She made the deal and gave up her child to a demon. Mary seeing the life they were leading, living the very life she tried to escape and never wanted for them was hard enough, but then to get the actual play by play from Dean as to what that deal truly did to her sons, to Sam. It's a burden of guilt I'll wonder if she can ever be free of, even with Sam's forgiveness. I do understand how hard it was for her to face Sam. I do understand why she was so afraid. Yet Sam never blamed her for anything and promised her that she never had to be afraid of him. Sam not only set his mother free of all that guilt, or at least offered her the freedom, as I'm not sure it's so easy to get rid of, but welcomed her into his heart with open arms. Just when Sam and Mary were able to have the relationship he's always wanted, she ends up in another universe. Sam is not ready to have the opportunity of having a mom taken from him again. It's apparent that he won't stop fighting to get that chance again.
Hearing this truth from Sam was so cathartic. It just feels so good to hear Sam expressing his feelings, because as we all know, he tends to keep everything to himself. He needed to let all of this out and we and Dean so needed to hear it. Sam has known all along where Dean was coming from and where his head is at. It means so much that Dean now knows where Sam is coming from and what is motivating him. The more the boys know and understand about each other, the stronger their bond becomes.
Dean, I Needed This
I will admit that I was getting a bit tired of Dean being so hostile to Jack in this episode. It went a little too far. He berated the kid for every little thing and was openly hostile to the point where I wanted Sam to kick him or something. Sam tried so hard to get Dean to give Jack a chance. Hell he even went for the ace up his sleeve to get Dean to let Jack come on the hunt with them. Yes, Sammy brought out his most lethal weapon when it comes to his brother, the puppy dog eyes. 🐶 Then you add the "please, for me" and Dean Winchester never had a chance. 😍 Still, Dean didn't make it easy for Jack at all and yet still Jack tried. Sam did tell him after all that Dean respects effort. So Jack took all that Dean dished out, until Dean was finally called out by the Dr. Then the moment came that so many of us have been waiting for, that recognition in Dean's eyes where he finally acknowledges what he's been doing. I knew from that moment on that all would be right in world again.
Dean made me cry last week. It just gutted me emotionally when Dean told Sam that he was pretending to care for Jack. I couldn't fathom Dean truly believing that...of all people....that he would actually believe that to be the case. I had to vent. In a way, that was my therapy and I had to let it out. I was assured that it was simply deflection on the part of Dean, and deep down I knew that to be true. Still though I needed to hear that from Dean. I needed him to say it out loud, and he did. He said exactly what Sam, Jack and I needed to hear and it made me do this.....
Dean told Jack that Sam believed in him. Dean apologised to Sam for being a dick lately, and he told Sam that maybe he was right about the kid, that he did try and he saved their lives. The icing on top of the delicious cake, Dean told Sam not to give up on their Mom being alive. When Sam was ready to concede, Dean told him no. Dean is dependent on Sam's faith because he doesn't have any of his own right now. I think angry Dean has finally left the building. Though Dean has admitted to being without hope, the silver lining here is that it's only temporary. He's said that he doesn't have any of his own right now. He also pleads with Sam not to lose any of his faith indicating that he needs it because he too wants to believe Mary is alive, even if he can't just yet. I also love that Dean admittedly looks to Sam for strength as much as Sam looks to Dean for it. 💕
To Be Cas or Not To Be Cas....That is the Question
I liked the entire concept of the Empty. I think it's fascinating that this is where angels and demons go when they die. I love that the Empty predates everything, including God, Amara and Leviathans. It was really cool how the Entity took it's form Great visual effects. I really enjoyed how much the Entity was annoyed at having been awoken after all this time. Cas heard Jack. I wonder if that will be significant in the future. See I kind of think that the real Cas is still in the Empty and that the Entity is the one who decided to take a sabbatical into the waking world. Did anyone else notice that Cas had a striped tie in the Empty but the Cas who ended up back on Earth had a blue tie? I think maybe this might not be the real Cas and perhaps Jack will rescue Cas at some point in the future....HMMM.
Jared was freaking awesome. Jensen was masterful. Alex was touching. The girl who played the counsellor was wonderful. I'm so glad that she got to return and play a deeper role. I liked her in The Mentalists, but enjoyed her even more this time around. The visual effects were cool. I liked Misha's take on the Entity. The writing was perfection. It was touching, honest and cathartic. This has been the best episode of the season so far, and that's in a season where every episode has been awesomely good.
Can't wait for next week. Til then.