The Miller Twins Talk #Supernatural Ep13x4 #TheBigEmpty via @stacyamiller85 @tdmiller820917

The Nerdy Girl Express writers and twins Stacy and Tracy Miller are back for Season 13 for The Miller Twins Talk Supernatural. They will share their thoughts on heroic Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) as well as other characters on The CW’s longest running show.

This article contains spoilers so if you haven’t seen the episode “The Big Empty” please do not continue reading.

capture-pngtracyTracy:

 Madison, Wisconsin. Unknown teaser guy is killed by his dead wife. Ghost stabs victim…it’s a classic Winchester ghost case. Or is it?

At the Men of Letters bunker, Dean finds the story about the teaser victim, so it appears that the Winchesters have a case. Work has always been Dean’s solution. I suppose the supernatural is preferable to confronting his emotions and dealing with his lingering resentment towards Jack. At least on the road Dean can escape Jack, right? Wrong. Sam wants Jack to join them on the hunt, reasoning that they can teach Jack how to be good. Of course, Dean is against the idea. But Sam isn’t giving into Dean on this. When Sam goes to Jack’s room to invite him to participate in the hunt, Jack doesn’t want to hunt then tells Sam that he doesn’t want to be an “interdimensional can opener.” Sam realizes that Jack overheard the argument that the brothers had about Sam’s true motives where Jack is concerned. Exuding calm and sincerity, Sam is candid to Jack about Mary’s predicament, but also assures Jack that he cares about him. I’ve also felt that Jared Padalecki’s acting talent is best served when the writers permit him to tap into Sam’s emotions. This scene was a winner.
On the hunt, Sam and Dean give Jack a crash course in Fake FBI aliases 101, EMF, ghost behavior, etc. Dean’s mistrust of Jack remains painfully obvious so the elder Winchester has Jack doing the mundane tasks of food runs and grave digging, all the while barking out orders John Winchester style.
When another victim is apparently killed by her dead son and after adding up the clues negates that a ghost was the culprit, the brothers look for a connection between the victims. This leads them to a grief counselor who had been treating the two victims following the deaths of their loved ones.
The grief counselor, Mia Vallens, is played by Rukiya Bernard. Supernatural fans will remember Bernard as the fake psychic Camille Thibideaux who met a grisly end courtesy of Margaret Fox in the Season Seven episode The Mentalists. This time around Bernard was given a better opportunity to flex her acting muscles. Because the Winchesters couldn’t approach Vallens under their usual fake FBI personas, a new tactic is order: Sam, Dean and Jack represent themselves as three grieving brothers who recently lost their mother. Sam appoints himself the mouthpiece for the trio. Dean is the “annoyed and skeptical about the benefits of therapy” guy. And Jack is relegated to the role of silent observer. The interesting wrinkle here is that although the intent of the charade was to obtain useful intel for the case, what emerges is a much-needed release of pent up emotions for both Sam and Dean. Dean angrily says that Sam has a misguided notion that their mother is alive while Sam returns his brother’s anger by revealing his own profound loss over Mary. Sam never had any memories of Mary in which to hold onto and even when their mother was briefly in their lives, she relied on Dean. The anger and hurt in Sam’s voice was palpable allowing Jared Padalecki to deliver a memorable and gut wrenching performance.
Sam exits the room and snoops around where in the bathroom he discovers some disturbing evidence. It seems that Mia Vallens is a shapeshifter.
The shapeshifter mythology has had some interesting permutations since its introduction in the Season One episode Skin. But I have to say that tonight’s approach was an ingenious take on a familiar monster. I was especially glad that the writers made Mia a friendly monster of sorts. The ghosts that we saw in this episode were actually Mia shifting into the form of her patients’ deceased loved ones. She wanted to give them a few moments of closure.
So who was the killer? That title belonged to Mia’s abusive ex-boyfriend who I’ve dubbed “Sadistic Shapeshifter.” It isn’t long before Sadistic Shapeshifter gets the upper hand on Dean and Jack and is about to kill Sam when Dean is able to encourage Jack to use his powers to save them.
Another touching scene in this episode was when Mia changed into Kelly Kline enabling Jack to have a moment of closure with his mother. Courtney Ford and Alexander Calvert have marvelous chemistry in this brief, but touching moment.
The subplot with Castiel in the Empty didn’t hold my interest. I’m usually a fan of actors playing dual roles, but seeing Castiel with a cosmic being that resembled him failed to muster any enthusiasm for me. In addition, it didn’t make sense to me when Cosmic Lookalike Castiel told Castiel that dead angels go to the Empty. If the writers have some grand scheme for this plot, I’m just not seeing it. The end of the episode where Castiel freed from the Empty was particularly anticlimactic for me.
I was glad to see that Sam and Dean made peace in their conversation in the Men of Letters bunker. I hope that this means the brotherly rift is healed and that we see Sam and Dean functioning as a team once again.

capture-pngstacyStacy:

When is a ghost not a ghost? Practically every time on Supernatural when Sam and Dean (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) think it is and burn some bones!  Remember when the Winchesters took their angel (Castiel) with them on cases? The more things change, the more they remain the same because they do bring an angel (On his father’s side) of sorts, Jack (Alexander Calvert). “Dean appreciates effort,” Sam told Jack as the younger Winchester extended the offer to join them on a hunt to see the family business up close and personal, “Let’s go be a hero.”  I think it was a good idea for Jack to experience first hand what Sam and Dean do since the Nephilim has been questioning whether he is evil; giving Jack the opportunity to help is a positive way to show him that only he can decide who he wants to be.  And let’s face it, Sam and Dean can always use the assistance i.e. saving from a supernatural entity when things get dicey and one of them is almost knock, knock, knocking on Heaven’s door (right Sam?)

Anyway back to the case, Sam and Dean do their usual suit and tie dance as FBI Agents with Dean ordering Jack to stay in the car (Barking orders? Dean sounds like John, which Sam later calls his brother on when Dean has Jack digging a grave). The crime scene doesn’t turn up EMF, which lead the brothers to assume they’ll not dealing with a ghost but a  revenant. Then, what appears to be the ghost of a young boy murders his mother and again no EMF.  What in the supernatural is going on here?  Sam and Dean make a connection between the two victims:  They were both seeing the same grief counselor Mia Vallens, played by Rukiya Bernard, who did an earlier turn on Supernatural as Camille Thibideaux in the Season 7 episode “The Mentalists.” The best thing about a case where a counselor is involved is that we got to see Sam and Dean talk out their feelings for their cover as two brothers who recently loss their mother (not far of a stretch).  But the session becomes real when Dean calls Sam delusional for his belief that their mother could still be alive. An angry Sam justifies his feelings for wanting to hold onto Mary: ““You had something with her I never had,” Sam said, “And now I’m just supposed to accept that I never will have it!”  So for all the times it seemed as though Sam wasn’t acting as emotionally as he should have as far as Mary was concerned, this scene explained a lot in showing his true feelings.  As always, Jared Padalecki displayed an emotional connection with his character; Sam’s pain was obvious.

But Sam isn’t the only character that feels he missed something because he didn’t have a mother.  We have Jack, who longed to have a connection with Kelly (Courtney Ford) but knew he couldn’t because she’s dead.  It was a good thing that Mia turned out to be a shapeshifter, who changes into her patients’ deceased loved ones to give them a chance to say goodbye in order to deal with their grief. So, Mia changes into Kelly and Jack finally gets the chance to experience the comfort of his mother. Jack is so much like Sam from losing his mother to questioning his powers and whether he’s destined to turn evil. In a short amount of time, Alexander Calvert has done so much to capture his character’s innocence and uncertainty.

It was refreshing to see a good shapeshifter in Mia after the murderous ones gracing Supernatural’s history.  Mia’s ex-boyfriend Buddy (Niall Matter) joined the killer shapeshifter ranks as it was revealed that he was the murderer.  But it was cool that another shapeshifter turned into Dean as you can’t have too many Dean Winchesters in an episode!  Jack saves Sam’s life again…how many times will Jack have to save the Winchesters before Dean believes he’s (Jack) good? Stay tuned…we have eighteen more episodes to go.

Meanwhile, we see Castiel in a dark place of nothingness. It looks like Cas is in The Empty where he meets a cosmic being that quickly changes its form and turns into Castiel.  This creature explained that Cas was in the big place (not in the sky) where angels and demons go to take a nothingness nap. So why was Castiel awake? This annoyed the Castiel creature and gave our Cas his strategy for escaping: Stay awake FOREVER so this creature will want and help him escape The Empty. It seemed to work as Castiel awakens later in the episode in a field.

I enjoyed “The Big Empty” with it’s elements of an classic monster episode feeling, brotherly angst between Sam and Dean, a helpful shapeshifter and Jack’s continued struggles. My least favorite plot was the Castiel story as there were moments that left me confused.

Comments? Sound off below.  Or tweet @thenerdygirlexp and @stacyamiller85 .

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