“I have never been on board with The Empty but it would have been scarier if you truly couldn’t escape. And Jack was there and back in one episode last night! So what’s the threat?!”
I agree with most of this! The Empty has become more of a revolving door than a place to be feared. And the Shadow (who was given a name by Naomi, or Dumah – I can’t recall, but everybody seems to have forgotten that name anyway, so whatever…) has become a power tool to be manipulated when it’s convenient. Billie “uses” the Empty to save/heal Jack, and later in the same episode, Castiel “uses” the Empty to save Dean from Billie.
The first time Cas landed in the Empty, he talked and annoyed his way out. And later he popped in for a visit to talk to Ruby. Who, by the way, is expecting Cas to help her escape. Sigh…
The more we learn about the Empty, the more irrelevant it becomes.