Rapture: spiritual or emotional ecstasy [Webster’s].
 
The Rapture: the removal of the church – God’s people – from the earth prior to the tribulation.
 
I’d say the only rapture we saw in this episode was Jimmy’s rapturous eating after having gone months without food. I’m sure Jensen appreciated not having to do this scene and I give high marks to Misha for pulling it off with such – uh, rapturous delight. I shared equally with Dean’s and Sam’s discomfit.
 
I struggled with this article immensely. Part of my struggle is that I lack the depth and talent of Alice and my other favorite blogger, Bardicvoice. I had two themes I wanted to explore here, family and consequence but in the end jettisoned family and kept consequence. I just was unable to form the proper transitions and keep a readable flow. Frankly I about threw the whole thing away and called it quits for this week…by the end you may wish I had. ANYWAY…here be my thoughts.
 
I love that Eric Kripke gives us cause and effect, actions and consequences, choices and ramifications. They are not always pretty, they do not always make the hero look heroic, they can be tragic, scary and long overdue [hint, hint, Ruby’s death…she’s earned it] but they always come. Another thing Eric is does is he allows his characters to be shaped by their actions; they actually learn and grow from the experience and have a chance at redemption. Also, that growth is not always immediate and I firmly believe that much of what we’ll actually understand about this thing known to us as Supernatural will not be revealed until it is all over.
 
Case in point – courtesy of Tigershire from last week’s review/comments – Sam is very much like Mary when we first meet him but we do not learn this until 63 episodes later when we encounter the Mary of In the Beginning. Wow. All along we thought he was rebellious and then like John. In Sam’s beginning (and that’s pre-Pilot) he was like Mary; no hunting, normal, safe.
 
Mary set the stage for all that’s come and she did it with a hunter’s knowledge. Yet at the moment of intense vulnerability she gave evil an opening. Ten years later she paid with her life and sentenced her children to the very existence she desperately wanted to avoid.
 
John prophesied his own death in Dead Man’s Blood: â€œI can’t watch my children die, I won’t”; and he didn’t. He was likely briefed by the doctor in IMTOD about Dean’s condition before Sam even returned to the room. Thus, despite knowing all about Mary’s deal, all about what had happened to Sam, despite 23 years of grief, obsession, searching, revenge, anger and experience he did exactly what Mary did when she was vulnerable…he made a deal.  John had that list of items to summon a demon all written out prior to Sam even coming to his room.  In that deal he condemned both Dean and Sam and John went to hell.
 
Dean knew full well of his father’s deal and lived with the emotional toll of that deal for nearly a year. Similar to John Dean sought out a demon and made a deal in a moment of intense grief. One year later he went to hell.
Sam having promised Dean to not give in to his demonic abilities made a deal. Grief stricken, depressed, soaked in alcohol and suicidal Sam sealed the deal.
 
Interesting that deals lead to the exact opposite of what was the original intent. Mary wanted a normal life for her children; they became hunters. John wanted to save Dean’s life; Dean died. Dean wanted Sam to keep hunting like dad had taught them and not use his demon-gifted powers; Sam is losing himself in his demon-gifted abilities. And back to full circle, Sam wanted normal, safe and not to be a freak; he’s given in fully to who and what he ‘thinks’ he is.
 
So what does this have to do with The Rapture?
 
Jimmy and Castiel similarly made choices and ultimately paid the price for those choices. It can be argued that Dean’s choice to save Sam, condemn himself to hell and put himself squarely at Lilith’s mercy brought on Jimmy’s death. It’s an easy argument. Castiel needed a vessel to communicate to Dean and Jimmy fit the bill. [I have an issue here but I’ll leave it for the end.]
 
Jimmy made a choice to be Castiel’s vessel and left his wife and daughter behind, bereft. 
 
Castiel made a choice to begin to understand Dean and thus lose his objectivity.  He was recalled to heaven, forcibly. Castiel’s disobedience is also accountable for Jimmy’s demise so the ‘blame’, as it were, can be divvied up between Dean and Castiel. Does Jimmy have any blame in his death? Perhaps. It’s apparent that while Jimmy was a willing vessel – unlike those that demons take – he had no real idea what he was getting involved with. Still I don’t think he truly regretted it, even while being glad he was by some miracle ‘out’.
 
Still Kripke deals fair and square with consequences and Jimmy pays a price and so does Castiel. As Castiel’s story is not complete we haven’t seen all of what he’s learned but no doubt we will see more. Jimmy for his part has completed his journey and he did it with great class. Similar to John and Mary, Kripke gave Jimmy a chance to choose once again and in that choice he redeemed all the suffering he had put his family through.
 
It’s tragic that Jimmy had to die as a result of Castiel’s disobedience but at least Amelia and Claire have insight into what happened to their husband/father and that is no small thing. The result is the same, they’ve lost Jimmy but the loss is softened by the knowledge of why they lost him, even if it’s only partial knowledge.
 
Mary was able to redeem herself in Home. She managed to remain spiritually connected to the house and protect the family and save Sam. Wherever she is now I’m going to believe she’s happy and safe, finally. John, having escaped hell was able to save Dean and allow him the chance to kill Azazel. Similar to Mary he’s disappeared to places unknown but also I believe he is somewhere happy, perhaps rejoined with Mary.
I wonder if Mr. Kripke will ever tell us.
 
Dean has an opportunity to redeem himself as well. He hasn’t been too willing to embrace this opportunity but forty years in hell and a poor self-image to begin with would likely make someone a bit hesitant.   And, to be fair, Mary had 23 years to ‘hang around’ before she got her shot at redemption and John was in hell for somewhere close to 100 some years; Dean’s only been at this whole redemption thing for nine months or so [or is that forty years plus nine months?] still I can cut him some slack, there’s still two episodes this season and all next season.
 
So, can Sam be redeemed? I firmly believe he can be redeemed but first he has to see that he did anything wrong…or at least suffer some consequence of his actions. I think we’re going to start seeing some actual suffering in this next episode so I’ll wait and see. I do believe that like Mary and John and like I believe Dean will do, Sam can and will be redeemed. 
 
One of the things I’ve learned is not to judge any season, story arc and certainly not this series until everything is revealed. Eric Kripke is telling an excellent story and he is doing it in a masterful way, one layer at a time. 
 
Production thoughts and some quibbles
 
I dislike pointing out negatives but sometimes I just experiment with it and see if anyone else feels the same way, so here goes:
 
I really wish the writers did not try so hard to pinpoint time. Yellow Fever, I Know What you did Last Summer and now The Rapture have all had specific timetables detailed to them and each time it’s done it messes with what’s been said or known or just makes things a bit farfetched – and in the genre of Supernatural farfetched is a given, don’t make it blatant.
 
Why is Castiel contacting Jimmy a year ago? A year ago Dean was still alive. A year ago the angels did not know about Lilith’s plan for Dean. Granted it makes it compelling for the back story that we see Amelia’s distress at Jimmy’s apparent breakdown but it messes with the information Castiel gives in On The Head of a Pin as well as Castiel’s aborted attempts to contact Dean in Lazarus Rising.
 
Another nit pick I have is the silly insertion of a shot of Sam hotwiring a car. We know the boys can do this, we’ve seen it several times. Hotwiring a car to give to Amelia had me immediately ask how she was going to restart the car should she stop for gas, the bathroom or whatever. I’d have rather Sam simply arrived at the parking garage and presented her with the car; less is more.
 
I thought I had another issue but I think I found an explanation once I thought it through a bit more. At first I took issue with the demon-possessed Amelia shooting Jimmy, I mean, if the job was to pick up the empty vessel and deliver it likely for interrogation, why kill him? Then it occurred to me, she didn’t need Jimmy anymore because she had what the demons want anyway, Sam and Dean. Good.  Plot hole no more.
 
Performances
 
I have no nit picks here, the performances were stellar all around. Misha Collins gets criticized by some in the fandom for being stiff, monotonal, unemotional, unsubtle – notably for his nod/glance upwards to heaven in MATEOTB after letting Dean in on the secret of prophets and divine protection. I say they get it all wrong. Misha showed in this episode just how talented he is. Jimmy was a real person with all the emotions that angels do not have because they have no emotions, no soul and no heart, none of what we humans have. Mankind is above the angels because of those very things. Misha delivered a very believable Jimmy who was funny and loving, confused and convicted. 
 
His transformation first on the porch steps of Jimmy’s house and then again in the warehouse from Jimmy to Castiel were believable and I knew instantly when it was Castiel and no longer Jimmy. The Castiel who first inhabited Jimmy’s body on his porch steps would have rightly and coldly told Claire, “I am not your father.” He would have no understanding of what affect that would have on her; no explanation needed as far as Castiel understood it. 
 
Castiel at the end of this episode is also clearly not the Castiel we’ve gradually come to know and appreciate throughout this season and he assuredly is not the Cas at the beginning of the episode who risked punishment, and received it, by reaching out to Dean in a dream. Misha gave three separate performances in this episode and each one rang true and each one was believable.  
 
As for the complaints on Misha’s so-called unsubtle nod/wink to heaven at the end of MATEOTB, for an angel just learning the art of subterfuge it is absolutely in character that he is a bit awkward in his mannerisms; he has no idea how to do it.
 
As for the actresses who played Amelia and Claire, another great casting decision. Both actresses got to play dual roles and both delivered wonderfully. I believed them when they were Amelia and Claire and I believed them when they were a demon and Castiel respectively.  They also delivered superbly in transforming, on camera, from demon/angel to mother/daughter, awesome.
 
As for Jensen and Jared, kudos for strong performances; I’ll let others go into their efforts, needless to say I thought both were excellent again.
 
So, only two more episodes this season…wow, time flies. Here’s hoping that, after this season ends, the time flies just as quickly until Season 5 begins.
 

Comments  

Elle
# Elle 2009-05-03 22:28
Hi Elle2,
Great review! I agree with just about everything you said here. I'm glad that you mentioned how Castiel at the end of the episode was miles away from who we've come to see over this season. It pretty much broke my heart to hear him speak so coldly to Dean, I felt really, really bad for both Dean and Castiel. I really hope we get to know what took place to change Cas so drastically.

Also - the eating scene disturbed me a little too, lol.

Was I the only one shouting at the TV "she's possessed!!!" when they wondered where Amelia was and then she appeared with the [much recognized] trench? Same with the neigherbour/fri end. The scene where Jimmy is smashing his neighbour in the head and shouting at his wife, and then it cuts to commercial - wow, that was intense. I *loved* it.

This was a really good episode - the antepenultimate of season 4 really sent me into a tailspin. I absolutely loved the scene in the car towards the end when Dean tells Sam he's done. Mostly I loved the beautiful way it unfolded. Not an angry Dean, rather quiet, and resolved. It made my heart wrench.

I didn't even feel a little bad for Sam when Bobby and Dean tricked him- frankly, after all the demon-blood chugging, the lies/sneaking and hurtful words/actions, I kind of wanted to shove him into an iron-lined room with a cot and a bucket and force some sense into him myself. Especially after he slurped demon blood off a corpse. You know you're a junkie with a problem when....

Finally, the 'Soon' pretty much killed me on the spot. Damn you, Kripke, master of the emotional turmoil and family angst! I just know I'm going to need kleenex in the coming episodes.
Tigerhsire
# Tigerhsire 2009-05-04 00:34
Wow, Elle2, thanks for the quote. :D

The whole bit about pinpointing time never really bothers me. Well, I am a b it of a nut when it comes to accuracy but with this show, I'm willing to forgive because everything else is so brilliant. However, you would think that the writers would have a giant time-line up on the wall so that they could double check. They have been so good with continuity so far.

I agree, Misha is awesome. And in regards to Cas - I thought it was very interesting at the end with his whole "and I don't answer to you" bit.

Didn't Cas say that his orders were to follow Dean's orders??

What has changed? My Spidey senses are tingling and I wonder which angels nabbed him, the Pro-God or the Pro-Luicifer? The whole thing is very suspicious.

Or perhaps Cas has learned some level of deception and this is all an act because he can't safely talk to Dean.

All in all, looks like we are going to end this season with the brothers divided. As has been said before, bad for the boys and our heart strings but great for the story.

I am awaiting the last two episodes with excitement and trepidation.
elle2
# elle2 2009-05-04 07:31
Wow! Thanks, Elle, Tigershire and Haven!

Elle, I loved how Dean played Sam at the end of the episode. He reverted to the depressed, apathetic Dean we saw in the beginning of OTHOAP. He chose that response because he knew it would keep Sam from detecting deception, keeping his guard down. I also enjoyed the shot of Bobby with said bucket prominently placed by the bed...oh, Sam, it's gonna get icky.

I figured out the neighbor was possessed the moment he arrived...somet hing too sinister in his stare. I'll admit, Amelia's possession was a gotcha for me as was Castiel appearing in Claire...it's also a great example of Kripke and Co. pulling a fast one. So much of the fandom in the weeks leading up to this eppie (at least the few threads I explored) figured Claire was possessed by Lilith...hah, Lilith was nowhere to be found. Hee, Hee.

Tigershire, you're welcome for the shout out. Your comment was, to me, so brilliant that I instantly absorbed it and was like 'hey, yeah, that's exactly who Sam is like...and then it just fits naturally into my thinking now. I needed to give credit to where I got it 'cause now it's a part of my 'Sam file' and I'll likely use it again.

I forgive a lot of things with this show...well, actually not that many 'cause it is just so brilliant. It's so funny now 'cause when I watch any other shows -- and that's very few -- I can nit pick almost the entire show, dialogue, time lines, action sequences etc. apart. Hence why I watch basically nothing aside from this (and H&G shows...love watching other people paint and landscape...now if they'd just come by and finish up my projects...pro bono of course)

The timeline stuff bothers me but fades fairly quickly because I've learned to discard those things that I do not like (GC's performances don't grate as much as they used to...it's helpful she's not there much) and like you said, sooooo much else is just frankly brilliant. Also, there is so much that does not/will not make sense until more is revealed -- like Bela. I enjoy her now in S3 'cause I know her ending and what came before completely fits.

Like you I found Cas' "and I certainly don't serve you" disturbing. I'm not sure if Cas was acting here or not...time will tell, it's interesting that the phrasing here placed Dean 'below' mankind *shudders*. Also, I got the impression from It's a Great Pumpkin that Cas' and Uriel's orders were to follow Dean's orders for that specific circumstance... a test as it were. I didn't translate that to carry to the future.

Things are not always as they seem so I'm greatly intrigued where we go from here.

I agree, the brothers will be greatly divided but Kripke and Jim Beaver have said a couple things in recent interviews that give me hope...that and Ben Edlund's reminder to us all that this is a show about family/brothers . So I have faith like you that bad now is good storytelling but redemption of the brothers relationship, albeit more mature, perhaps more balanced and certainly changed, but still loving is to come.

I won't put any of Kripke's comments or Jim's here in case others haven't read the interviews but they're readily available on other sites...or you can ask me to let you know. I'll respect spoilerphobes as I'm planning to become one for next season. *gnaws fingernails*

Haven, thanks for the comment and explanation. You do bring up a great point. Sam was awkward this entire episode -- and Jared did an excellent job at selling his breakdown. It is a good point that Sam's indifferent -- meh, here's your car, is so vastly different from what we normally see and just another exmaple of the lostness of Sam due to demon blood addiction. I hadn't thought of that angle so thanks for commenting.

The reversals of both brothers from hunting to not hunting to wanting out of this life to that's all there is to needing normal to not knowing what normal is anymore and on and on has been fascinating. I'm thrilled we have writers who make such an effort to deepen their characters so much that they can give characters reversals in multi-facets of their personality.

As for the actors, how awesome is it that Jensen can show despondent Dean to fool Sam and teasing in brotherly jibing after Sam loses Jimmy due to getting a Coke -- was it a refreshing Coke? To relaxing by a pond while fishing and show us that even while Dean seemed surprised to see himself fishing then relaxed into it and actually enjoyed himself and then shifting upright into hunter mode...altogeth er so many shades of Dean were seen in this last episode.

As for Jared, he kept Sam off balance and tipping dangerously out of control the entire episode. We get a shaky Sam, somewhat wobbly on his feet as they (Jimmy, Dean and Sam) arrive at the warehouse to rescue Amelia and Claire, we see him desperate on the phone to Ruby, near ravenous as he sucks up the last of the blood in his flask -- eww, what if Dean had grabbed the wrong flash -- to scared/frighten ed [what's a better word] as Anna prods him about what's different to almost cocky at the end as he inquires of Bobby...so what's the big demon problem. Oh, pride goeth before the fall....

I'm glad you like what I wrote and definitely glad you like Alice's writing.

Only two more eps this season and then.....
Julie
# Julie 2009-05-06 01:01
Hi Elle2

You are selling yourself short - it was a perfect analysis, and Alice and yourself are to be commended for the way you approach your articles. You have talent and ability in spades, and we all appreciate the time and effort put into the Winchester Family Business.

We have been fans for a long time, and as we are a bit behind here with eps in Australia we host a Supernatural get together at our house on Friday nights with friends to watch downloads. The point is that fans of this show hold it in such high regard that apart from mild quibbles, we are all highly motivated to protect its integrity. Thats what reviewers such as yourself and Alice do, a view that cannot be said about everyone else that blogs this show (Bardivoice accepted of course).

Thank you both for that.
Julie
Suze
# Suze 2009-05-06 07:14
I'm a bit late too cos of Mayday ( these quaint rural ritual wossnames don't do themselves, you know ... )

I want the old, disobedient, developing-a-se nse-of-humour Cas back. I don't like the new po-faced version at all. Mind you, he might just be pretending to have been reprogrammed and still be the original and best underneath. Fingers crossed. ;-)

I think Sam was supposed to be off all through this one, he can't fight, can't relate to people and can't think straight or he'd have seen through Dean's Yeah-you're-a-v ampire-never-mi nd-who-cares ... speech in no time.

Looks like things really kick off next week. Bucket loads of angst, demon blood cold turkey, apocalypse nowish ... OH JOY! :D :D :D
elle2
# elle2 2009-05-06 11:38
Hi, Julie and Suze,

Thanks for the comments. I do enjoying reviewing the episodes because there is so much that the writers put in there (as well as the directors and set designers...aw, heck, everyone!) for us to drill into and enjoy. I really, really enjoy picking apart the details and trying to piece the end puzzle together and yes, I really try to keep it all positive -- which is why I pretty much stay out of any forums anymore except for an occasional glance here and there to see what's up, that can be fodder for an article, one never knows --

I only started watching the show in the middle of season 3 so I missed a lot of the angst and competitiveness and I'm happy about that. I may prefer a storyline here or there over another but from what I've seen so far it all balances out to the good.


So, Julie, you have my permission if you ever see me going off track from the positive, I may interject something here and there just to get people's thoughts on it, like some of my comments in this article or nitpicks, but I don't ever want to be in the habit of tearing the show down...been there on another show and frankly it was exhausting and I don't watch that show anymore either 'cause I just fell out of love with it and the direction it was going so why stay.

Suze, I agree with you on your points regarding Cas and Sam. I do miss the Cas we've come to know but I think just like with Sam and Dean especially this season, he's got a story arc of his own that weaves in and out with Sam and Dean's so I'm glad he's getting some ups and downs with his characterizatio n. I'm intrigued where it's going.

And Sam, yeah, he was supposed to be 'off' this episode and Jared did a great job. Chuck the prophet was point on when he asked Sam perhaps the demon blood gave him a sense of control, a point that Sam immediately shut down and denied -- uh, yeah Sam that's exactly the point. Sam has always been about control, remember that was why he blew up so badly at John and left for Stanford..."YOu were just p***ed off that you couldn't control me anymore." yep, Sam that did "P" off dad and it "P'd" you off as well...and you left.

The ghouls drained all his demonic goodness and he crashed...one little hit was enough to kick a bit of demon butt and reveal to Dean just how far off the reservation you are...it's not gonna be pretty.

I could ramble but Must. Get. Back. To. Work. Thanks for the comments...only a day and a half until When The Levee Breaks wheeeeee!
Suze
# Suze 2009-05-06 15:34
Hey elle2, point taken about Cas. I'm not grumping ( much ... :lol: )

One of the things I like about the angels storyline is how little we actually know about what's going on with them.
One tends to attribute motivations according to what pop culture associates with angels now, helpful and protective and so on, while the originals were anything but, being seriously into smiting anything that moved instead. So it's right that they should be puzzling and scary. I expect we'll find out what's happening with Castiel in another 30 episodes or so ... I'm in no hurry!
:lol:
elle2
# elle2 2009-05-06 17:14
Hi, Suze,

I agree with you that the mystery behind the angels is one thing that makes them quite interesting but for me having spent almost two seasons with Ruby who continues to be a great mystery as to what her final plan is or ultimate goal or whatever...I'm about tired and hope not to see that with Castiel.

As for those 'original' angels...they came in all types, some were messengers, some explained dreams or answered prayers of help (Daniel especially) some were actually God himself...and oh, yes, some were big into the smiting. I think we've sorta seen all those kinds, Uriel the smiter..Anna is kinda a messenger (at least in the Rapture), Zachariah was kinda a helper (certainly not a smiter) and Castiel was very much the 'bearer' of tidings (especially in AYTGIMDW) and he certainly gave info as in LR, ITB and others...I think we're seeing a full spectrum of angels and I have a feeling we're not gonna see somewhere between 12 - 17 episodes (as has been estimated) next season of cold Castiel...I'm hoping some of the conflict returns tomorrow even if he doesn't act on it.

:-)
vana naine
# vana naine 2009-05-07 01:57
[I like badass cold angel Castiel. Very much. I did not like sweet compassionate angel Castiel or cryptic Castiel who said "You should show me some respect", but gave out no useful information).
And I loved Uriel. Truly, deeply.]

just a remark. to show different point of view.
Suze
# Suze 2009-05-07 06:17
I didn't realise that angels came in so many different flavours, should have spent more time listening and less time drawing donkeys in RE :lol:

I rather like the slow-burning Ruby thing, although I know it drives people nuts ... What's her real game? ( nothing good ... Evil Hussy ) The boys don't know and neither do we. It's very satisfying in an itch-you-can't- scratch sort of way.

Vana, you're a person of taste and discernment. Uriel was bloody awesome and I want him back!
elle2
# elle2 2009-05-07 13:16
Hi, Vana and Suze,

I did like Uriel as well. He was well into the whole smiting thing and was deliciously thrilled with any and all opportunities to do it...plus, he was the funniest angel in the garrison...ask anyonoe. Hah!!!!

I miss him, he went out with class though, not with a whimper.

I also agree about Ruby, she's been an interesting character over the two (almost) seasons but I'm rather liking to get to the bottom of her. Sorta like how YED got his story (mostly) out of the way in two seasons and now with the landscape being populated by Lilith as the big bad and Lucifer to be an ominous presence in the future and of course Cas...it's getting crowded.

I see Ruby in three parts (I know I've written of this before so if I'm boring you, I'm sorry).

First part of Ruby was S3, mysterious, teasing Sam along with tidbits, stringing Dean along a bit and then at the end showing her true colors (when Dean trapped her in the Devil's trap...I hope you burn in hell, I wish I could be there to hear the flesh sizzle off your bones...oh, tsk, tsk, Ruby, youre true colors were showing)

Part two is so far in Season 4, befriending Sam whilst he was griefstricken and vulnerable and hooking him on demon blood and controlling him...time for Part three..why does she want Lilith dead, is that the final seal? Is she Meg in disguise? Does she really remember what it was to be human and like kittens?

But, as I've stated before, I'm but a passenger on this awesome journey called Supernatural, helmed by Eric Kripke, so whatever is to come I'll enjoy it. Also, I believe Kripke will remain true to form and answer lingering questions while posing new ones...so I'm game -- now if Bobby gets killed as big in the speculation...I might have to attempt a takeover of who's driving this here Supernatural bus!!!!

How do I get to Las Angeles?????