On last night's Supernatural, we discovered how hellish it can be for people who become the "vessels" of angels. Is there really a difference between demonic and angelic possession? Spoilers ahead!
"The Rapture" was a terrific episode, partly because there was a lot of Misha Collins (Castiel), and a lot of backstory on what actually happens to people who are possessed by angels. It turns out that angel possession is actually a lot more horrifying than demonic possession, and we wind up with an even stronger sense that the angels are not really on our side at all. We humans are just convenient meatsacks for entities on both sides of the divide between heaven and hell.
The episode begins with Castiel coming to Dean in a dream, and explaining that they need to meet in a place that's private, where nobody can overhear them "More private than inside my head?" asks Dean. Apparently meeting in an abandoned factory is actually safer than hanging out in Dean's head, which is interesting in itself - but that little tidbit pales in comparison to what the Winchesters actually find at the rendezvous point. There's been a huge battle between angels, and there's a symbol etched on one wall that's used to "wish angels back to the cornfield," as Dean puts it.
Amid the rubble, they find Castiel's body, but the angel is gone. In his place is Jimmy, from Pontiac Illinois, a religious man who begged to be a vessel to angels but now admits over hamburgers that being ridden by Castiel pretty much sucked. Unfortunately, he remembers almost nothing about his experiences being possessed by Castiel, and has no information about what the angel wanted so badly to tell Dean. Though Jimmy wants to return home to his family - whom he hasn't seen for a year since Castiel took him - the brothers won't let him. Partly because they're hoping he'll remember something, and partly because they figure that demons will come after him for the same intel Dean wants.
Luckily (or unluckily) for Jimmy, Sam is so addicted to demon blood that he slips out for a sip from his flask when he's supposed to be on watch. And Jimmy slips back home to his wife and daughter, who thought he was both crazy and dead. In a series of flashbacks, we see how tragic his possession really was. He begins to hear the shriek of angels in his head, but when he tries to explain it to his wife she (understandably) thinks he's gone insane. When he keeps talking about his conversations with angels, and his mission for God, she threatens to leave him unless he'll get psychiatric help.
At last, Castiel pops the question: Will Jimmy let him take possession? And Jimmy says yes, as long as his family is safe. Standing in front of his suburban home in Pontiac, his body is filled with light and his face goes into stern Castiel mode. His daughter runs outside, calling, "Daddy?" And he answers coldly, "I am not your father," and strides away without looking back. Whoa, serious childhood trauma-making right there! These angels really are dicks.
When he returns home, Jimmy wants nothing more than to forget that the Castiel thing ever happened. He tells his wife he's been in a mental institution getting better, and that he's finished with praying and angels. Unfortunately, the brothers were right and he's immediately attacked by demons who are possessing their neighbors. There's a great scene where he's attacked by the neighbor demon, but his wife is out of the room, and she returns to see him beating the man and screaming "He's a demon!" And you can just see her face fall as she realizes he's still insane. Until a few moments later, when the demon holds a knife to their daughter's throat.
Luckily Sam and Dean break in at that moment, quickly dispatching the demons - except for Sam, who does his "out out evil" hand at one of the demons, and can't get her to barf smoke. "Can't get it up?" the demon leers. "I still can!" Dean replies, stabbing her with his anti-demon knife. Good to know that Dean is still, um, potent. But it's looking increasingly like Sam's special powers come entirely from his blood-sucking, which - is that right? I thought he had those powers before he started with the Ruby drinking?
Anyway, now Sam and Dean have to get Jimmy and his family to safety. Sam gives another one of his increasingly pissy speeches about how Jimmy can't have a family anymore, and that the demons will chase him forever. (Pretty much the same speech he gave to little half brother last week, or at least to the ghoul who was posing as li'l half-bro.) Even Dean, who is as macho as they come, winces as Sam tells Jimmy how shitty is life is about to be.
Unfortunately Jimmy's life is about to be WAY shittier than he ever imagined, because his wife has been possessed by a demon. A few minutes after he and the Winchesters drive away, he gets a call from demon-wife, who has hooked up with some of her black-eyed buddies and is torturing Jimmy's daughter. So there's another demon battle with limp Sam and knifey Dean, and still no sign of the angels. Before Jimmy goes to find his possessed wife, he turns his face to the dark sky, and screams for Castiel, reminding the angel that he promised that his family would be safe. "I gave you everything!" he screams. Did I already mention about the angels being dicks?
When Jimmy and the Winchesters burst into the factory where the demons have Jimmy's family, they're ambushed. While the brothers are held back by demon-wife's minions, she shoots Jimmy in the stomach and orders his daughter to be killed too. When the demons come in to kill daughter, though, she suddenly puts the smite on them. Light gushes from their faces, and she breaks her bonds. Castiel has occupied Jimmy's daughter, whom he explains has it "in her blood," the way Jimmy did. So angelic possession can run in families, just the way demonic possession seems to run in the Winchester family. And it really seems like the angel families get the raw end of the deal.
With Castiel's help, they get the demons under control - but not before a major moment of awkward where everybody finds out about Sam's little problem. Just as Sam is about to kill one of the demons, he can't help himself. He HAS to suck the blood out of her neck, even though Dean and Castiel and everybody are watching. So he sucks neck, stabs the demon, and then makes demon-wife blow sulfur. Everybody makes a "yuck" face because Sam is sitting there with blood all over his chin looking like a creep.
Meanwhile, Jimmy is dying of the gunshot wound, and Castiel is telling him about how they appreciate his service and it's time to come home to dance in the fields of the Lord. You can tell he's totally skeeved by the idea of his daughter having to endure what he did for the past year, and he begs Castiel to take him instead (see the clip above). Castiel agrees, and Jimmy sacrifices himself so his daughter can lead a normal life. Now he's condemned to be ridden by an angel, possibly for hundreds of years.
Worse than that, it seems Castiel has come back from Heaven a very different guy. He was already pretty cold and mean, but now he's worse. When Dean asks him what he wanted to tell him in his dream, Castiel dismisses him, saying he works for Heaven, not for humans. And by the way, screw you Dean. Has Castiel been brainwashed? Or is he just putting on a show for his superiors, so they don't suspect he's been listening to rebel angel Anna and doubting the justice of Heaven?
Whatever might be up with Castiel, the brothers have more pressing problems. Like Sam's little, um, issue. That's why Bobby and Dean stage an intervention, locking Sam up in a demon holding pen at the end of the episode. He needs to get clean, and next week we're going to watch the long, agonizing process of detoxing from demon blood. I hope it's not as bad as when Willow detoxed from black magic on Buffy, because that involved like corsets and stuff. And Sam is hot, but he's really not the corset type if you know what I mean.