The Big Empty Recap

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Madison, Wisconsin.
A man comes home to find his dead wife in the kitchen...walking and talking like she's alive. She goes to kiss him, and, instead, stabs in him the stomach. He falls to the floor. She leaves, carrying a bloody knife.

In the bunker:
Sam walks through the front door carrying takeout. He greets Dean at the table down below but Dean doesn't respond until Sam asks him what he's working on on the computer. Dean responds "Dead guy. Madison." Looks like a home invasion, but the neighbor saw the dead wife leaving the crime scene.

Sam thinks the case sounds good. Dean points out that they can't exactly leave Jack alone in the bunker. Sam wants to bring him with them. Dean thinks he's nuts.

Sam says they can't hide him forever. Dean thinks he should stay in the bunker where he can't cause trouble. Dean interprets Sam wanting to take Jack along as an admission that Sam's ideas about getting Jack to re-open the portal between worlds isn't making any progress there at the bunker. Dean forcefully reiterates that he is sure their mom is dead; that Lucifer ripped her heart out and the sooner Sam can accept that, the sooner everyone can move on.

Dean looks supremely irritated.

Sam asks Dean if he really wants to "move on" from their mom.

Dean looks thrown for a moment, then responds that right now he just wants to kill some dead guy's dead wife.

Sam says that Jack needs to get out; this isn't about their mom. Sam is sure Jack is good kid who just needs a chance. He wants Dean to give him a chance...for Sam.

Sam knocks on Jack's door. Jack is on the computer watching "Clone Wars". Sam tells Jack they have a case and he thought he might want to come along. Jack says no. Sam says Jack needs a change of scenery. Jack connects the dots; that Sam taking him out might be a way to get his powers working again "So I can be your inter dimensional can opener?" he pointedly asks Sam (which Jack overheard Dean say in the last episode). Jack looks hurt. He accuses Sam of using him.

Sam explains what happened when Jack was born; the door between worlds opened. He tells him that their mom is trapped on the other side. Sam wants to use Jack's powers to open the door and "you want to save her," Jack fills in.

Sam says he does, but it's okay if that doesn't happen because he DOES care about Jack. He apologizes for not telling Jack the whole truth earlier.

Jack points out that Dean can't even look at him. That Dean wants to kill him. Sam says he won't let that happen. Sam says Dean respects effort, so Jack should come help them..."let's go be the good guys".

Jack smiles.

The Impala pulls up in front of the house in Wisconsin. Jack is trying to understand the fake ID's. Sam explains that sometimes they have to lie about who they are. Jack responds that he thought lying was wrong. Dean is obviously irritated by the comment and moves on to describe the case. As Dean reads about the case, Jack is surprised that people can come back from the dead. Sam explains what a ghost is. Dean even starts to explain a little about ghosts to Jack. It's odd that a ghost would walk out the front door though. They wonder if it's a revenant. Jack wants to know what that is. Sam says it's kind of like a zombie.

They see the neighbor and head out to talk to her about what she saw. Dean condescendingly tells Jack to "Stay. Sit."

The neighbor is sure she saw the wife. No overt signs of ghosts though. Dean sees that the back door of the Impala is open and Jack is missing. They cut the interview short to go find him.

Jack is inside the house where the murder took place. Dean jumps all over him; angry that he took off. Jack says he's trying to help. Sam tries to shut Dean up and asks if Jack found anything. Jack says he found a blood stain. (Marked with a number by the police.) Dean acts like that's just great that he found the most obvious clue (sarcastically). Jack watches all of Dean's subtle signs of displeasure.

Sam shows Jack what an EMF meter is and how it works. It picks up nothing. It must not be a ghost. Dean's sure it's a revenant, so they have to go check the grave to see if the wife's body is still there.

In the graveyard:
Dean throws Jack the shovel and instructs him to dig, then turns and walks away with Sam following.

Sam wonders why Dean's so full of orders; he's starting to sound like their dad.

Dean acts like that's a good thing. Sam points out that their dad's "drill sergeant act" worked on Dean, but didn't work for Sam. Sam's sure it won't work for Jack. Dean is really being a jerk about Jack. He tells Sam that Sam wanted Jack along, so they brought him, but he's not going to be his mom and neither is Sam. Dean admits that Jack is doing a decent job digging and takes a drink of whiskey.

They open the casket and find a body inside. Not a revenant. Sam explains to Jack that a body in the casket rules out a revenant. Sam admits that a ghost that won't show up on EMF doesn't make sense. He offers Jack a hand and pulls him up out of the hole. Dean sounds grumpy pointing out that there are a lot of new things going on; portals to other worlds...shape-shifting demons...he says they should just do what they do as he salts the corpse.

Jack suddenly asks if his mother could be a ghost.

Sam says no, they burned her body. Dean fills in that what gets burned stays dead. They burn the body.

Somewhere entirely different...
Cas is walking around a large black void with only a tiny bit of light on him. Repeatedly saying, "Hello?".

A woman is driving and pulls over with a blown tire. She calls for assistance, then is stunned to see a small child in her backseat when she checks the rear view mirror.

She turns around to find "Scotty". She's so glad to see him, but he launches himself at her and blood spatters the windshield from the inside.

A short time later, police are at the scene and Sam and Dean arrive with Jack.

Sam tells Dean that the victim in the car was ripped apart and the roadside assistance people on the phone heard her talking to someone named "Scotty". Her son who died in 1996. Still no EMF at the side. Dean wants to know what the two victims have in common.

In the void:
Cas is still walking in the dark. What looks like an oily, black substance starts to take the form of a human being. It seems to well up from the ground and almost solidifies from liquid. It stands, dripping black, looking like it's made entirely of blackness. It appears to be looking around.

In Wisconsin:
Sam leaves the police station and walks over to Dean. Dean tells him Jack's on a food run. Sam tells Dean that Jack's not their intern. Dean's bothered that Jack keeps staring at him. Sam explains that Jack wants Dean to like him. Sam shows Dean copies of pages from what he calls a "grief journal". Sam says both victims were seeing the same therapist trying to get help to deal with the death of loved ones.

Dean puts down therapists. He reads part of the journal that refers to "the program" working. He's sure it's all crap.

Jack returns with the food. Sam greets him but Dean asks what took him so long. Always cutting him down.

Dean wonders if the therapist is a medium that somehow called up the ghosts. Sam still questions why there is no EMF. Jack wants to know more about how someone can talk to ghosts. Dean says that if she's the real deal (a medium), she can do all kinds of "freaky crap".

Sam points out that they can't go see the therapist posing as FBI agents because of doctor/patient confidentiality. So they'll have to pose as something else.

They pull up in front of the therapist's office. Dean thinks Sam has a dumb idea. Sam tells him to follow his lead.

They go inside and tell the receptionist that they are hoping to see the doctor. The receptionist tells them to come back another day. Dean insists. Sam asks for just a moment of her time.

The doctor comes down the stairs and asks if they've lost someone recently. Dean says, "No," but Jack quickly says, "My mother" and Sam corrects him, saying "our mother".

The therapist compassionately shakes their hands. Sam introduces Jack as their little brother. Dean pulls Jack aside as they go into the office and tells him to speak only when Dean tells him to speak.

They sit down in the office and the therapist says that most people she sees had someone die suddenly with no warning and no closure. Sam says that's what happened with them. Sam asks how it usually works with her patients. The therapist says people usually start talking about the person who has died. Dean obviously wants to rush through things...saying mom was great, now she's dead, what's the deal with "catharsis" (that they read about in the victims'

Sam says that one of her patients (one of the victims) referred them to her and mentioned "catharsis".

The therapist says she doesn't talk about her patients and her patients aren't supposed to talk about her. She says her program covers a range of things including talk therapy and meditation. She asks if they have a journal. Sam responds that their dad did. She asks Dean if he journals. He answers her very sarcastically, "Ever since I was a little girl."

Dean thinks he's clever.

The therapist accurately observes that Dean thinks therapists are a load of crap. She asks why he's there.

Sam jumps in, saying that they all agreed we'd give this a shot. Sam says Dean's not processing his grief. Dean responds, "Really?" Dean says he's good with death and closure and everything because he knows that mom's dead and isn't coming back. Sam says he knows, he just wishes - the therapist jumps in and finishes "that he'd (Dean) be more open to therapy". Sam reluctantly agrees.

Dean asks if this is a safe place. The therapist nods. Dean starts to let all of his opinions out. That Sam is delusional. Sam won't admit that mom is dead. If he admits it, then it's real, and Sam can't handle that. Sam is starting to look visibly upset. Sam starts to argue with Dean. Sam accuses him that this is "easy" for Dean. Dean says it's not easy. Sam angrily says that
at least Dean had a relationship with their mom. She always called Dean...she looked to him for everything and Sam never had that and now he's supposed to be okay with the idea that he never will?

Now Dean looks uncomfortable, but he says nothing as Sam gets up and leaves.

This whole exchange seems very real, but it's hard to know if it's real or if Sam is using it as an excuse to storm out and check around the rest of the house for clues as to who this therapist really is.

Sam gets a drink of water. He sees an off-limits area and, of course, walks over the "no admittance" sign and heads upstairs where he sees blood on the railing. He goes into a bathroom and pulls back the curtain on the tub to see something truly disgusting...a pile of goo from the shed skin of a shapeshifter.

Back in the therapy room, Dean is taking a drink from a flask. The therapist points out that Dean just upset his brother so much he had to leave the room. Then she turns her attention to Jack. She observes that Jack is terrified of Dean. Jack unconvincingly says they're okay. The therapist says Dean is angry and he's aiming it at everyone in his life.

Sam bursts through the door, gun drawn on the therapist. He says she's a shapeshifter. Dean pulls his gun on her ask well. Sam asks if she shifted about an hour ago after what he found in the tub upstairs.

Jack asks what's going on. Dean explains she's a monster who killed her patients.

The therapist protests.

She says she IS a shifter, but she's never killed anyone. She says she's helping people. She shifts into the person they've lost so that they can see them one last time and say goodbye. Dean asks what about those patients who recently died? The therapist didn't know her patients had died.

She says she has an alibi for those nights. She knows that Sam and Dean are hunters. She says she's telling the truth.

Somewhere else:
Cas is wandering around. He says he knows someone is there. He can feel them. He turns to see...himself looking at him. He asks what this thing is. The thing that looks like him says he's just your friendly neighborhood cosmic entity.

Cas asks why he looks like him. "It" responds that if showed up in its real form, Cas would go crazy and rip out his own eyes. Can asks where they are. The thing replies that before God and Amara, there was nothing. There was nothing but empty and that's where they are. All angels and demons come to this place when they die. They sleep an endless peaceful sleep. This thing was sleeping too. He wants to know why Cas is awake because nothing EVER wakes up here. It doesn't like being awake and Cas woke it up. Cas says he doesn't know why he woke up. He thinks maybe Sam and Dean made a deal. The thing says no, he's the only thing that has any power in this realm and that wasn't why Cas woke up. The thing tries to read Cas' mind which looks like a painful process.

In Wisconsin:
Dean says the therapist's alibi checks out. Sam wants to know who is killing her patients. She thinks she knows. An ex-boyfriend named Buddy. Also a shifter. He liked hurting people. Including her. She changed her face and name; tried to get away from him. She says she's trying to make up for some of the evil he did (perhaps with her help early on).

Sam wants to know how he's finding her patients. She says it might be Tom, her assistant, who is feeding Buddy names. Dean says he'll go check it out. Jack says he'll go along. Finally, Dean relents and says, "whatever", letting Jack follow him out of the room.

Dean and Jack drive to Tom's house. Dean tells Jack to stay in the car. Jack says he wants to help. That Sam told him about the plan to get Mary back. Dean tells Jack that Sam's plans don't always work out and repeats that Jack should wait in the car.

Back at the therapist's office:
Sam takes a call from Dean. Tom isn't a shifter. (Don't you think the therapist would have known if he was???) Sam watches the security footage from the office...looking for eye flare from a shifter in the people who come and go from the office.

Sam asks how her therapy works. What do people think when the therapist shows up in the form of one of their dead relative? She says they really don't care. They think it's hypnotism or something like that. They just want the chance to say goodbye. She points out that Sam never got the chance to say goodbye.

Just then, Sam sees some eye flare on the video. It's someone she only started seeing a few weeks ago.

Back in the void:
Cas is on the ground, asking what the thing did to him. It explains it read his mind. Cas asks what he wants. The thing says he wants Cas to shut up; he's like an annoying bug to him. Cas asks the thing to get rid of him then; send him back to earth. The thing says he might, instead, throw him so deep into the empty that Cas can't bother him anymore. Cas points out that if that worked, the thing would have done it already. Cas asks again to be sent back. He says Sam and Dean need him.

The thing says it looked through everything in his brain. He knows what he hates and fears. There is nothing for Cas back on earth. He wants to show him. Cas sees flashes of him losing his Grace, then of his own death several times over.

At the therapist's office, Dean and Jack are back. Dean wants to know where Sam is. The therapist explains that they figured out the shifter was Buddy and Sam took her car to go after him. Dean wants to know why Sam didn't call him. The therapist points out that Dean's been pretty mean to Sam. Dean calls him.

Jack wants to talk to the therapist alone. He says Sam and Dean aren't his real brothers. He shows the therapist Kelly's video to him; explaining she died when he was born and that he never met her. He says he needs to see her just once.

The therapist nods and tells him to close his eyes. When he opens them, Kelly is standing there. He talks to her as if she's really his mom. She hugs him. He cries and tells her he's afraid. That Sam thinks he's good but he's hurt people even though he didn't mean to. He says he knows he should feel bad and he says he does, but really, he doesn't feel anything, so he thinks maybe he IS a monster.

The therapist (as Kelly) tells him it matters what he DOES, not who he is. Even monsters can do good in this world. She has to believe that. She hugs him again.

Dean can't get Sam on the phone. Eventually, Dean's phone rings and it's Sam saying he was too late to get the shifter and the guy he saw on the video is dead. Sam says he's on his way back. Dean comments that that was too easy. Then we see that Dean is lying on the floor. It was a shifter that answered the phone to talk to Sam, having taken the shape and voice of Dean.

Upstairs, the therapist is back in her original form. She hugs Jack and Jack thanks her.

Dean bursts in and grabs a fireplace poker. He knocks Jack out, then peels off his own face to reveal the face of the therapist's ex-boyfriend.

In the void:
The thing asks Cas if he'd rather be a fond memory than a constant disappointment. He wants Cas to sleep. Have infinite peace. He tells Cas to save himself. Cas responds that he's already been saved. The thing kicks Cas in the stomach again; making him stay on the ground. He slowly gets up. He says that no matter what the thing does, Cas is awake and he'll keep the thing awake until they both go insane. He'll fight him forever. The thing doesn't like that idea. Cas tells him to release him.

In Wisconsin:
Dean is chained up when he comes to. Jack is still knocked out. Buddy and the therapist argue. Buddy is mad that she left him and tried to create a new life for herself.

As they argue, Dean asks Jack, who has woken up, to snap the cuffs with his mind.

Buddy wants the therapist to embrace the fact that she's a monster and prove it by killing Dean and Jack.

He says she kills them or she dies with Dean's silver bullets. She chooses to die, asking Buddy to shoot her. Buddy sees on the security camera that Sam's just getting back.

He aims Dean's gun at the door to shoot Sam when he walks in. Dean yells to try to warn him.

Sam hears the yelling and pulls his gun. But it's the shifter, using Dean's voice to bait Sam after knocking Dean out again.

When Sam comes in the door, Buddy is holding the therapist as a hostage with Dean's gun pointed at Sam.

Jack yells "NO!" and his eyes glow yellow.

He blows Buddy back with a force field just as Buddy fires at Sam. Jack deflects the bullet with the same force right before it hits Sam and, instead, the bullet goes into the wall.

Buddy hits the floor, but gets back up. Jack seems exhausted by the effort and seems to go unconscious again. This does give Sam a tiny bit of time though and he fatally shoots Buddy before Buddy can shoot him.

In the aftermath:
The therapist is blaming herself for this whole mess. She tells Sam and Dean and Jack that they can leave. She'll clean up Buddy's body. She says she just wanted to help people. Jack reassures her that she did.

Back in the bunker:
Dean and Jack meet in the kitchen. Jack nervously greets Dean. Dean tells him he "did good today". Dean leaves. Jack smiles. It's not much in the way of approval, but it's the nicest Dean has been to Jack so far.

Dean goes out into the main room and hands Sam a beer. Dean apologizes for being a dick lately. What he said at the therapist's office was out of line. Sam thanks him. Dean says maybe Sam is right about Jack. Jack tries. He used his powers to save them. Sam doesn't seem convinced. Sam wonders if Dean is right about Mary. Sam wonders if she's dead and he just doesn't want to believe it.

Dean tells him not to say that.

Sam's confused. Dean has wanted him to admit Mary's gone since it happened.

Dean says he knows that's what he wanted, but he needs Sam to have enough faith for both of them. Because right now Dean doesn't believe in anything.

Cas is lying in a meadow. He slowly stands and looks around, then up at the clouds in the sky and feels the sun on his face.

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