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.
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.