Sam, disguised as a nurse, interviews a woman in a psychiatric facility who murdered a man, Carl Gully, and claims an angel told her to do it. Sam returns to a motel room where Dean is keeping a low profile after his media exposure during the bank siege in Milwaukee. He relates her story and Dean scoffs at the idea of angels. They proceed to investigate Carl Gully’s house, where they find a number of bodies buried.
Overnight another killing takes place — a man kills a stranger and says an angel told him who to kill. Investigating the victim’s house, they find evidence on his computer that he was stalking a young girl over the Internet. Dean discovers that both victims attended the same church -- Our Lady of the Angels. The boys visit the church and speak to Father Reynolds, who has nothing helpful for them, until he mentions his fellow clergyman Father Thomas Gregory who was shot on the steps of the church. Dean thinks it may be Father Gregory, a vengeful spirit, making people kill parishioners whose guilty secrets he knew. Sam is skeptical; he thinks it may be God at work, and reveals to a startled Dean that he prays regularly.
The boys return to investigate the church’s crypt where Father Gregory is buried. While in different rooms, an angel appears to Sam and tells him he will be given a sign of someone to kill, someone about to do evil. Dean still thinks it is the spirit of Father Gregory and suggests that they summon his spirit. As they buy the supplies necessary for the summoning, Sam sees the man he says the angel wants him to kill. Dean takes off after the man and tells Sam to go and perform a séance. Sam is interrupted by Father Reynolds just as the spirit of Father Gregory appears. Father Gregory thinks he is an angel, but Father Reynolds argues with him and finally puts his soul to rest by saying the Last Rites.
Meanwhile, Dean is following the man Sam had identified, and stops him as he is attacking a young woman. Dean chases him in his car until the man’s car nearly collides with a truck. A metal pipe from the truck impales the man, killing him. Back at the motel, Sam explains to Dean why his faith is important to him. Dean describes how the man died, and says he thinks it may have been the hand of God at work.
Did God talk to you?
Gloria: No. I get the sense God's a little busy for house calls. No, He ... He sent someone.
An angel. It came to me in this beautiful white light, and it filled me with this feeling. It's ... it's hard to describe.
Dean: Hey. Man, you gotta try this. I mean there really is magic in the 'Magic Fingers.'
Sam: Dean, you're enjoying that way too much. It's kind of making me uncomfortable.
No, but she's the second in town to murder because an angel told them to. Little bit odd, don't ya think?
Dean: Well, little odd yes, supernatural maybe. But angels? I don't think so.
Sam: Why not?
Dean: 'Cuz there's no such thing, Sam.
Sam: Dean, there's ten times as much lore about angels as there is about anything else we've ever hunted.
Dean: Yeah, you know what? There's a ton of lore on unicorns too. In fact, I hear that they ... they ride on silver moonbeams, and they shoot rainbows out of their ass.
Sam: Wait, there's no such thing as unicorns?
That's cute. I'm just saying, man, there's just some legends that you just, you file under 'bullcrap'.
Sam: Dean! You and I have seen things that most people couldn't even dream about.
Dean: Exactly. With our own eyes. That's hard proof, okay? But in all this time I have never seen anything that looks like an angel. And don't you think that if they existed that we would have crossed paths with them? Or at least know someone that crossed paths with them? No. This is a ... a demon or a spirit. You know, they find people a few fries short of a Happy Meal, and they trick them into killing these randoms.
Dean: Well, it's all starting to make sense. Devoted priest dies a violent death? That's vengeful spirit material right there. And he knew all the other stiffs because they went to church here. In fact I'm willing to bet that because he was their priest, he knew things about them that nobody else knew.
Sam: Then again, Father Reynolds started praying for God's help about two months ago, right? Right about the time all this started happening?
Dean: So. What makes you think you saw a, uh, angel?
Sam: It just, it appeared before me and I just ... this feeling washed over me, you know? Like, like peace. Like grace.
Okay, all right. You know what? I get it. You've got faith. That's — hey, good for you. I'm sure it makes things easier. I'll tell you who else had faith like that — Mom. She used to tell me when she tucked me in that angels were watching over us. In fact, that was the last thing she ever said to me.
Sam: You never told me that.
Well, what's to tell? She was wrong. There was nothing protecting her. There's no higher power, there's no God. I mean, there's just chaos, and violence, and random unpredictable evil that ... that comes out of nowhere, and rips you to shreds. You want me to believe in this stuff? I'm going to need to see some hard proof. You got any? Well, I do. Proof that we're dealing with a spirit.
Dean: It's wormwood. Plant associated with the dead: specifically the ones that are not at rest. I don't see it growing anywhere else, except over the murdered priest's marker. It's him, Sam.
Father Gregory: I was a man. But now I'm an angel. I was on the steps of the church. And I felt that bullet pierce right through me. But there was no pain. And suddenly I could see ... everything. Father Reynolds, I saw you, praying and crying here. I came to help you.
Gregory's spirit gave you some pretty good information. That guy in the car was bad news. I barely got there in time.
Sam: What happened?
Dean: He's dead.
Sam: Did ... you?
Dean: No. But I'll tell you one thing. If ... the way he died, if I hadn't seen it with my own two eyes I never would have believed it. I mean ... I don't know what to call it.
Sam: What? Dean, what did you see?
Maybe ... God's will.
Houses of the Holy
is the name of a Led Zeppelin
album from 1973. It is also the name of a song that appears on Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti album
(1975) which also includes "Kashmir" - the song listed on Dean's phone. Incidentally, the seventh song on the Houses of the Holy
album is "No Quarter" - Dean runs out of quarters when using the Magic Fingers
According to the Season 2 DVD and Blu-ray
special feature "The Devil's Road Map," the idea of an angel
that ordered people to kill was inspired by the poem "The Second Elegy
" which is one of the Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke. The idea of a deceased priest thinking he is an angel came from Consulting Producer Ben Edlund
Dean's phone displays the song he's listening to as: led zeplin [sic] - kashmir. Arguably, however, this isn't the song we can hear playing through his headphones. The actual song playing is "Down on Love" by Jamie Dunlap. Dean's phone is the 2006 Verizon Chocolate.
You mean, am I stark-raving cuckoo for cocoa puffs?
- "I'm cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!" is one of the taglines used in commercials for the breakfast cereal Cocoa Puffs.
But she seriously believes that she was ... touched by an angel?
Dean: Yep. Roma Downey made him do it. Now, I, uh ... got the victim's address.
- References to the TV series Touched by an Angel.
Did you bring quarters?
Sam: Dude, I'm not enabling your sick habit. You're like one of those lab rats that pushes the pleasure button instead of the food button until it dies.
Dean: What're you talking about, I eat. And I got news.
- Sam is referring to the Skinner Box experiment.
Look, I'll admit I'm a bit of a skeptic, but since when are you all Mr., uh, 700 Club
? No, seriously. From the git-go you've been willing to buy this angel crap, man. I mean, what's next, are you going to start praying every day?
- The 700 Club is a news talk show with a religious focus.
Okay, Ecstasy Boy, maybe we'll get you some glow sticks and a nice Dr. Seuss hat, huh?
Sam: Dean, I'm serious. It spoke to me, it knew who I was.
- The drug ecstasy, glow sticks, and hats modeled after the Dr. Seuss character The Cat in the Hat are stereotypical features of dance parties known as raves.
It's just a spirit, Sam. Okay? And it's not the first one to be able to read people's minds. Okay, let me guess. You were personally chosen to smite some sinner. You've just got to wait for some divine Bat-signal, is that it?
- The Bat-Signal is used by the Gotham City Police Department as a method of contacting and summoning Batman to their assistance.
Sam: Father, that's Michael, right?
Father Reynolds: That's right. The archangel Michael, with the flaming sword. The fighter of demons, holy force against evil.
Sam: So they're not really the Hallmark card version that everybody thinks? They're fierce, right? Vigilant?
Father Reynolds: Well, I like to think of them as more loving than wrathful, but yes — a lot of Scripture paints angels as God's warriors. 'An angel of the Lord appeared to them, the glory of the Lord shone down upon them, and they were terrified.' Luke 2:9.
- Michael is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic tradition. He is most known as a leader of the armies of God against Lucifer. The painting here is 'St. Michael Vanquishing Satan' painted by the Renaissance painter Raphael in 1518.
- (Future information contains spoilers about seasons 4 and 5) This is the first reference to the archangel Michael in the series. In 4.22 Lucifer Rising, Zachariah shows Dean a painting of St. Michael killing Lucifer when he talks about Dean's role in the Apocalypse. Michael is a central, albeit predominantly unseen, character in season five. He doesn't appear in a speaking role until 5.13 The Song Remains the Same, whose title is a song on Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy album.
Séance? Great! I hope Whoopi's available.
- A reference to the movie Ghost, specifically Whoopi Goldberg's character in the movie, who was a psychic that communicated with dead spirits.
Dude. I'll admit we've gone pretty ghetto with spellwork before, but this takes the cake. I mean, a SpongeBob placemat instead of an altar cloth?
- SpongeBob SquarePants is a talking sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea in the successful cartoon series of the same name.
I call upon the archangel Raphael, master of the air, to make open the way. Let the fire of the Holy Spirit now descend, that this being might be awakened to the world beyond.
- Father Reynolds administering the last rites is the first reference to the archangel Raphael in the series, although he doesn't appear until 4.18 The Monster at the End of This Book or 4.22 Lucifer Rising and doesn't have a speaking role until 5.03 Free to Be You and Me.