Season 2, Episode 13:
Houses of the Holy
Sam and Dean investigate murders in Providence, Rhode Island, where the killers claim an angel told them to kill the victims. Despite the fact that the murderers and the victims did not know each other, the murderers are at peace, convinced they performed God's will by eliminating a person responsible for evil. As Sam and Dean search the victims' homes, they find each victim was guilty of a horrific crime, such as murder or pedophilia. They also realize that the victims all attended the same church, Our Lady of the Angels.Sam and Dean visit Our Lady of the Angels and talk to Father Reynolds. They find out that a young priest, Father Gregory, was recently murdered on the steps of the church. When Sam and Dean go to investigate Father Gregory's grave in the church crypt, Sam starts to see the statues of the angels in the crypt shake. Then there is a blinding light before he faints. He tells Dean that he saw the angel and the angel told him that he needs to kill a man who is going to do something evil. Sam will know who to kill when he sees the sign from the angel.Dean convinces Sam to perform a séance to call Father Gregory's spirit and prove that this is the work of his spirit and not an angel. While getting supplies for the séance, Sam sees a man surrounded in blinding light and knows this is the man the angel told him to kill. Dean stops Sam from going after the man, telling Sam to perform the séance and promising to follow the man and make sure the man does not do anything evil. Father Reynolds interrupts Sam as he is performing the séance, and is present when Father Gregory's spirit appears. Father Gregory believes he is an angel who came in answer to Father Reynolds' prayers to be delivered from the violence of their neighborhood. Sam and Father Reynolds manage to convince Father Gregory that he is not an angel, but that he is a spirit who is not at rest. Father Reynolds administers the Last Rites, and Father Gregory moves on. Dean follows the man Sam was told to kill, and sees him attack and almost rape a woman. Dean manages to get the woman out of the man's car, but the man escapes. Dean tells the woman to call 911 and takes off after the man in the Impala. The man pulls through an intersection, causing a truck to come to a screeching halt. A pipe flies off of the truck and impales the man through the heart in his car.Sam, who believes in God and prayer, is disappointed that his encounter was with a vengeful spirit instead of an angel. Dean, who is very skeptical about the existence of God or angels, is moved enough by the sight of what he saw, including the death of the man he was chasing, to consider the possibility of divine intervention.
Body count:For this episode = 2 humans and 1 ghost. A third human is murdered in the beginning of the episode, but it happens off screen.For the series so far = At least 175 humans; 12 ghosts; 5 vampires; 2 shapeshifters; 1 demon; 1 god; 1 rakshasa; 1 rawhead; 1 shtriga; 1 wendigo; 1 zombie.
Tropes appearing in this episode:
- Agent Mulder: Sam, who wants to believe in angels.Sam: I wanted to believe, so badly.
- Agent Scully: Dean, who prefers the more mundane explanation of vengeful spirit to an angel.Dean: I believe in what I can see.
- The Alcoholic: Zach has multiple bottles or liquor beside him and is drinking from a bottle. One is Gilbert Hardigan Black Scotch Whiskey.
- All Myths Are True: Sam is ready to believe in angels.Dean: I'm just saying, man, there's just some legends that you just, you file under "bullcrap".Sam: And you've got angels on the "bullcrap" list.
- Anti Anti Christ: Part of the reason Sam believes in prayer and angels is because he wants to fight the evil inside him.Sam: It's so damn hard to do this, what we do. All alone, you know? There's so much evil out there in the world, Dean, I feel like I could drown in it. And when I think about my destiny, when I think about how I could end up.
- Apologetic Attacker: The date rapist keeps apologizing to the woman and saying he's never done this before, which just makes him creepier.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Dean does not believe in angels because he has never seen one and doesn't know anyone who has ever crossed paths with one.
- Archangel Michael: Dean seems uncomfortable when they are talking about Archangel Michael killing a demon in a painting at Our Lady of the Angels.Sam: [nodding to a painting on the wall] 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.
- Archangel Raphael: Invoked by Father Reynolds when administering the Last Rites.
- Artistic License – Traditional Christianity: The Last Rites in the Catholic Church consists of Penance, Anointing of the Sick or Last Unction, and Viaticum. Olive Oil is placed on the forehead and hands and the following sacramental form is used: "Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up." None of the traditional aspects of the Last Rites was included in Father Reynold's ministration to Father Gregory.
- Asshole Victim: Carl Gully and Frank.
- As the Good Book Says:Father Reynolds: "An angel of the Lord appeared to them, the glory of the Lord shone down upon them, and they were terrified." Luke 2:9.
Father Reynolds: "Thou shalt not kill". That's the word of God.
- He later quotes Exodus 20:13.
- Blood from the Mouth: Frank after Zach stabs him.
- Chase Scene: Dean in his Impala after the man who tried to date-rape the woman.
- Christianity Is Catholic: With priests and last rites.
- Cover Identity Anomaly: Sam and Dean pose as regular churchgoers who've just moved into the neighborhood, but they don't know the name of their previous priest.
- Creepy Basement: The storm cellar at Carl Gully's house, with scratch marks, a fingernail embedded in the wall, and a body under the floor.
- Dark Secret: The victims all have one.
- Date Rape Averted: For Jennifer, who was going to meet Frank, whom she met in a chat room, and for the young woman who was hit and had a boxcutter pulled on her in the car when she said they should get going to the movie theater to her date.
- Divine Intervention: The Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane death of the would-be rapist has Dean wondering if this occurred.
- Due to the Dead: A memorial for Father Gregory, composed of candles, flowers, and a photo, is on the church steps.
- Electromagnetic Ghosts: The flickering lights and the television turning back on on its own.
- Fainting: Occurs to Sam after he sees the "angel".
- Fetish: Sam is disturbed by Dean's obsession with the Magic Fingers, a bed relaxation system that makes the mattress vibrate and promises "Tingling Relaxation and Ease", in the motel. This is the start of a Running Gag.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.
- Fictional Document: Zach has a comic book spread out over his chest titled "Theseus vs. Cannabal".
- A God Am I: Father Gregory believes he is an angel who knows God's word.
- Good Feels Good/Evil Feels Good: Those visited by the angel, including Sam, are filled with a sense of ecstasy, which helps to convince them that this is the will of God but in actuality they are being directed by a vengeful spirit.Sam: It just, it appeared before me and I just, this feeling washed over me, you know? Like, like peace. Like grace.
- The Hedonist: Dean, in Sam's eyes.Sam: You're like one of those lab rats that pushes the pleasure button instead of the food button until it dies.Dean: What are you talking about? I eat.
- Hollywood Dress Code: Gloria, a Streetwalker, is wearing too much makeup, a mini skirt, an unbuttoned shirt (showing her bra), and bangle bracelets in the teaser.
- Hollywood Hacking: Sam getting into the locked file on Frank's computer.
- Hourglass Plot: In the beginning Dean is bitterly stubborn on the point that angels (or anything pure and good) could never exist in such a Crapsack World, while Sam is open and hopeful about possibly finding an angel. By the end, Sam is disillusioned upon finding that the so-called angel was just the ghost of a fanatical priest, while Dean witnessed a minor miracle and therefore became a bit more open-minded about the possibility of good in the world.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The man who attacked the woman with the box-cutter is impaled by a pipe that fell of a truck and crashed through his windshield, passing through the man and the driver's seat.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Dean offers Sam a drink from his flask when Sam says he saw the angel. When Sam refuses a drink, Dean takes a drink himself. Later, when Dean offers him the flask at the end of the episode, Sam takes a drink.
- Institutional Apparel: Gloria is wearing a bathrobe.
- Irish Priest: Lampshaded when Dean and Sam are pretending to be looking for a new church after moving from Fremont, Texas.Father Reynolds: That's a nice town. St. Teresa's parish, you must know the priest there.Dean: Sure, yeah, no, it's, uh, Father O'Malley.Father Reynolds: Hmm, I know a Father Shaughnessy.
- It Won't Turn Off with shades of The Television Talks Back
- Jumped at the Call: Everyone contacted by the "angel" is moved to do what he asks.
- Kitsch Collection: Gloria is surrounded by a collection of angel figurines in the teaser.
- The Law of Conservation of Detail: Father Reynolds happens to mention that Father Gregory is buried in the church crypt when he first meets the Winchesters.
- Light is Not Good: The "angel" appears in blinding light.
- Like Mother Like Son: Dean compares Sam's faith to their mother's.Dean: 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.
- Magical Incantation: Sam recites this during the séance:Amate spiritus obscure/Beloved hidden spiritte quaerimus, te oramus/we seek you, we beg younobiscum colloquere/come speak with usaput nos circita/join our circle
- Mission from God: Each murderer believes an angel told them to kill their victim.Televangelist: The lord is talking to you right now; he's saying, you are my child and you have a purpose!
- Mistaken for Afterlife: Father Gregory believes he is an angel instead of a spirit who has not moved on.
- Must Have Nicotine: Gloria appears to be a chain smoker, sitting next to an ashtray full of butts.
- Naytheist: Dean claims not to believe in God or angels because the world wouldn't be as messed up if they existed.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?
- No-Tell Motel: The motel room is decorated with silhouettes of busty women and there is a painting of a nude woman on black velvet.
- Obviously Evil: Wormwood grows on Father Gregory's grave, which Dean says is associated with the restless dead.
- Our Angels Are Different: They are warriors of God.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.
- Outlaw: Dean was not able to go to the mental asylum because he is wanted by the FBI.
- Product Placement: Dean's phone is the Verizon Chocolate.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Frank was likely going to molest the 13-year-old Jennifer. The man Sam was told to kill attacked his date when she said no, and was only stopped by Dean smashing in the car window and punching him.
- Redemption Quest: The "angel" promises redemption for following his direction and chooses people who have made mistakes or fallen on hard times.
- Scary Librarian: Carl Gully was likely responsible for the deaths of three college students, who were last seen at the library.
- Screen Shake: Before the arrival of the "angel".
- Serial Killer: Carl Gully.
- Shout-Out:Drew: How about "a little eyeshadow"? You know, all this stuff, it's just very unprofessional.Mimi: Hey, don't touch the troll!Drew: Is that what your mom used to say to your dates?Mimi: Put the trolls down or I'll put a staple right between your- [Gloria sighs and changes the channel.]
Dean: Did you bring quarters?Sam: Dude, I'm not enabling your sick habit.
- Gloria asks Sam if he means is she "stark-raving cuckoo for Coco Puffs?"
- Gloria is reading The Bible.
- The display on Dean's cell phone shows he is listening to "Kashmir" on Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti album. The song we actually here is "Down on Love" by Jamie Dunlap.
- Sam is distressed he has "no quarters" for the Magic Fingers. "No Quarters" is one of the songs on Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy album.
Dean: Roma Downey made him do it.
- Dean says, "But she seriously believes that she was...touched by an angel?"
- Dean later make a reference to Roma Downey's character, Monica, a kindhearted angel, in Touched by an Angel.
Sam: Oh, a séance, great. Hope Whoopi's available.
- The painting Sam points to of Archangel Michael is "St. Michael Overwhelming the Demon", painted by Raphael in 1518.
- Dean asks Sam when he became "all Mr. 700 Club".
- Dean asks Sam if he is supposed "to wait for some divine bat signal".
- When Sam explains the divine ecstasy he felt when he saw the "angel", Dean suggests they get him glow sticks and a Dr. Seuss hat, which were common accessories at raves in the nineties.
- Sam makes a Ghost reference.
- Sam uses a SpongeBob SquarePants placemat in place of an altar cloth for the séance.
- Sinister Minister: The televangelist who won't turn off.
- Songs of Solace: "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan plays in the last scene.
- Spooky Seance: In the church crypt, with candles and a Latin incantation.
- Titled After the Song: The name of a song that appears on Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, a 1975 album. The title of the episode is also the same as that of a 1973 album by Led Zeppelin.
- Unfinished Business: Father Gregory never received Last Rites.
- White Sheep: Dean is surprised to find Sam prays everyday.Dean: I mean, what's next, are you going to start praying every day?Sam: I do.Dean: What?Sam: I do pray every day. I have for a long time.Dean: The things you learn about a guy.
- Wrong Side of the Tracks: The neighborhood where Our Lady of the Angels is has "gone to seed". It is so bad that a young priest is shot on the church steps for his car keys.