If you’ve been wondering when the Big Empty might return, now you have your answer, and I have to say, I really like the Big Empty as a villain! It’s kind of strange to call it a “villain” because it’s a place, but I liked the thing from the moment we met it in season 13. And having it show up again in this episode only solidified my like for this black, oozy, evil … thing. Let’s dig into this week’s very emotional hour!
The episode starts with all three guys surrounding Jack as he, well, dies. Dean, overcome with emotion, steps outside, leaving Jack to ask Sam what comes next for him. But Sam, for once, doesn’t know the answer. And by the time Castiel can convince Dean to come back into the room, Jack has already passed. (Yeah, I’ve got to admit I didn’t think that was going to happen so fast!)
Dean calls and updates Mary via voicemail while Sam handles things the best he can: He packs a bag and takes the Impala. By the time Castiel and Dean find Sam, he’s sitting on the ground next to the car, clearly defeated. Dean’s worried Sam’s pulled a classic Winchester move and made some kind of deal, but instead, he was simply trying to build Jack’s pyre so they could give him a proper hunter’s funeral. But when the axe broke, Sam felt like he couldn’t even do that for the kid. With all three of them grieving a son, Dean makes the game plan: They will say goodbye tomorrow, but tonight, they’re getting loaded.
And so we get a montage of the three of them drinking, eating nougat in honor of Jack, and then drinking some more. They even laugh a bit, a rare sight as of late! But by the end of the night, Dean is the last man standing … or sitting.
Cut to heaven where Jack is enjoying one of his memories: Heading to Dodge City with the guys. But when the sun starts flickering, Jack works out that he’s in heaven, which would be a good thing if heaven weren’t under attack. When Jack heads into the hallway, a black ooze starts chasing him. He manages to outrun it by heading to find his mom. In Kelly’s heaven, the two of them will finally have a chance to get to know each other.
By the time Dean wakes up — he fell asleep on the kitchen table, of course — Sam and Castiel have brought Lily Sunder into the bunker. If you’ll remember, the last time we saw Lily, she killed the angels responsible for her daughter’s death. But more importantly, she used a type of magic that the boys hadn’t seen before — it drew on her own soul. Now, she’s quit using magic, which explains why she’s aged quite a bit. Sam is hoping she can translate Kevin’s angel tablet translations considering her angel expertise, but she can’t. However, she suggests that they use her magic to bring Jack back. Her magic draws power from the human soul, so if Jack were to give up a tiny piece of his soul, he could live again. All she wants in exchange is for the boys to make sure she gets into heaven so that she can see her daughter again.
Dean is not into the plan, but they move forward anyhow. First step, they summon the god Anubis, who took over being the judge of souls when God left heaven. It’s up to Anubis whether someone goes to heaven or hell. The bad news? Lily is definitely going to hell. And since threatening to bind Anubis could hurt Sam and Dean’s chances at making it to heaven, Sam smartly lets him go. (Next: Castiel heads to heaven)
While all of this is happening, Castiel returns to heaven to try to find Jack, but instead, he finds one dead angel and Duma, who recalls being attacked by the black ooze. She heads with Castiel to find Jack, but when he’s not in his own personal heaven, Naomi shows up to tell Cas what’s going on: The Empty has attacked heaven because it thinks Jack is its property seeing as how he’s half angel. And when the Empty starts to take over Naomi, Castiel and Duma run to Kelly’s heaven. Castiel knows Jack will be there. And of course, he is.
Castiel presents Jack with the plan. Jack doesn’t love the sound of losing a piece of his soul, but he can’t forget the bigger picture: If Jack remains in heaven, the Empty is a threat. But if Jack’s alive, heaven will be safe. And that’s when Castiel figures out that the Empty has taken over Duma, and it wants Jack NOW.
As Castiel fights the Empty, Sam and Dean try to convince Lily to help them even though they couldn’t get her into heaven. It’s Dean who ultimately gets her to stay by asking, “How could you ever let anyone go through what you went through, the pain of losing a kid?”
Once Lily does the spell, Dean prays to Cas to let him know they’re ready, and just as the Empty gets its hands on Jack, Castiel has an idea: He tells the Empty to take him instead. After all, Castiel is the one it wants; he’s the one who woke it up. The Empty agrees, but it’s not taking Castiel now. Instead, it wants Cas to live a normal life and just when he forgets he’s doomed and lets himself be happy, that’s when the Empty will find him and drag him to nothing. (Talk about harsh.)
Castiel accepts and explains to Jack that he did it because he loves him and that he’s at peace with his choice. He then asks Jack not to tell Sam and Dean so they won’t worry, and Jack agrees. Jack then says goodbye to his mom before waking up in the bunker and saying Lily’s spell. And it works! But it kills Lily, something she knew would happen, and with that one decision, her fate is changed and she’s allowed into heaven to see her daughter.
As for Castiel, Naomi thanks him for getting the Empty to leave. And as a reward, she gives him Michael’s location.
The episode ends with all four guys back in the bunker enjoying some burgers. They have Michael’s location, and they’re one step closer to making Michael pay. And they’ll all raise a beer to that.
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