The Winchesters are injured and unconscious following a collision between the Impala and a semi-trailer. The truck driver is possessed by a demon, and advances on the car but Sam brandishes the Colt and the demon flees, exiting the truck driver's body.
The family is taken to hospital, where Dean, as he tries to find Sam and his father, realizes he is in fact a disembodied spirit. He discovers Sam in a hospital room where Dean’s body lies comatose. The prognosis is not good; the doctor tells Sam they do not know if Dean will survive.
John sends Sam to retrieve the Colt from the trunk of the Impala, and obtain some items that John claims are to provide protection from the Demon. Sam meets Bobby at a wrecker’s yard, where Bobby doubts that the the Impala can be salvaged. When Sam fiercely counters that it can be repaired, in a way that sounds analogous to Dean’s state. Bobby agrees to tow the car to his place. Sam hands over John’s shopping list, and Bobby reveals that the ingredients are used for summoning demons.
Back at the hospital, Sam confronts his father over his lie while Dean’s spirit watches in dismay. With the energy generated by his frustration, Dean manages to smash a glass but suddenly he dissipates, as his body has gone into cardiac arrest. Sam rushes to his side and watches tearfully as the doctors work to revive him. Dean's spirit sees an apparition over his body that he attacks. As it disappears, Dean’s heart starts again.
Dean encounters another spirit wandering the hospital, Tessa, who appears to be in a similar state to Dean. As a code blue is called, Dean rushes to see the apparition present again as a young girl dies and he realizes that it is a reaper who is taking the spirits of people as they die – a natural process.
Sam tells John that he has sensed Dean’s presence, and he is determined to contact him. After he leaves, John makes his way to the hospital basement, where he performs a summoning ritual, despite having promised Sam that he would do nothing until Dean recovered. Sam returns with a Ouija board. Dean is skeptical, but he manages to communicate with Sam and informs him that a reaper is after him using the words 'hunt', 'reaper', and answering several of Sam's yes or no questions. Sam rushes to John’s room, but finding him gone, he takes the journal to research lore on reapers. Dean reads over his shoulder, and when he reads that reapers can take human form, he realizes that Tessa is in fact the reaper.
When Dean confronts Tessa, she admits her true nature, and explains that Dean’s choice is either to stay as a disembodied spirit, and become the type of vengeful spirit that he hunts, or pass from this world with her. Meanwhile, John has successfully summoned the Yellow-Eyed Demon who is surprised that John doesn’t want to kill it, but rather to deal with it for Dean’s life. As they barter, John reveals that he knows about the Demon’s plans for Sam. Finally the Demon agrees to return Dean to his body, in exchange for the Colt and John’s life – and soul.
Just as Dean is about to reveal his decision to Tessa, she is overtaken by the Yellow-Eyed Demon, who uses her to return Dean to his body. Dean has no memory of his out of body experience. John and Sam are at his bedside as he recovers, arguing as usual. John tells Sam he is sick of arguing, and sends Sam to get him some caffeine. While Sam is gone, John tells Dean how proud he is of him, and how he regrets that the burden for caring for the family has always fallen to Dean. After asking him to look after Sam, John whispers a secret to Dean which shocks him. John then leaves to face the Yellow-Eyed Demon.
As he is returning with the coffee, Sam finds John collapsed on the floor of his hospital room. He and Dean watch in anguish as, despite the doctor’s efforts, their father dies.
Oh man, Dean is gonna be pissed.
Bobby: Look, Sam. This... this just ain't worth a tow. I say we empty the trunk, sell the rest for scrap.
Sam: No. Dean would kill me if we did that. When he gets better he's gonna want to fix this.
Bobby: There's nothing to fix. The frame's a pretzel, and the engine's ruined. There's barely any parts worth salvaging.
Listen to me, Bobby. If there's only one working part, that's enough. We're not just going to give up on...
Dean: Sammy! Tell me you can friggin' hear me, man, there's something in the hospital. Now, you've got to bring me back and we've got to hunt this thing. Sam!
You know, it's funny, I thought it was your obsession too! This demon killed your mother, killed your girlfriend. You begged me to be part of this hunt. Now if you'd killed that damn thing when you had the chance, none of this would have happened.
Sam: It was possessing you, Dad, I would have killed you too.
Yeah, and your brother would be awake right now.
Dean: Don't worry, Sammy. I'm not going anywhere. I'm getting that thing before it gets me. It's some kind of spirit, but I could grab it. And if I can grab it, I can kill it.
So you're okay with dying?
Tessa: No, of course not. I just think, whatever's gonna happen's gonna happen. It's out of my control, it's fate.
Huh. Well, that's crap. You always have a choice. You can either roll over and die or you can keep fighting, no matter what —
You know, you read the most interesting things. For example, did you know that reapers can alter human perception? I sure didn't. Basically they can make themselves appear however they want. Like, say, uh, a pretty girl. You are much prettier than the last reaper I met.
Tessa: I was wondering when you would figure it out.
Dean: I should have known. That whole "accepting fate" rap of yours is far too laid-back for a dead chick. But the mother, and the body, I'm still trying to figure that one out.
It's my sandbox, I can make you see whatever I want.
The Yellow-Eyed Demon:
You conjuring me, John. I'm surprised. I took you for a lot of things. But suicidally reckless wasn't one of them.
John: I could always shoot you.
The Yellow-Eyed Demon: You could always miss. And you've only got one try, don't'cha? Did you really think you could trap me?
Oh, I don't want to trap you. I want to make a deal.
The fight's over.
Dean: No, it isn't.
Tessa: It is for you. Dean. You're not the first soldier I've plucked from the field. They all feel the same. They can't leave. Victory hangs in the balance. But they're wrong. The battle goes on without them.
Dean: My brother. He could die without me.
Maybe he will, maybe he won't. Nothing you can do about it. It's an honorable death. A warrior's death.
There's no such thing as an honorable death. My corpse is going to rot in the ground and my family is going to die! No. I'm not going with you, I don't care what you do.
Tessa: Well, like you said. There's always a choice. I can't make you come with me. But you're not getting back in your body. And that's just facts. So yes, you can stay. You'll stay here for years. Disembodied, scared, and over the decades it'll probably drive you mad. Maybe you'll even get violent.
Dean: What are you saying?
Dean. How do you think angry spirits are born? They can't let go and they can't move on. And you're about to become one. The same thing you hunt.
You know, when you were a kid, I'd come home from a hunt, and after what I'd seen, I'd be, I'd be wrecked. And you, you'd come up to me and you, you'd put your hand on my shoulder and you'd look me in the eye and you'd... You'd say 'It's okay, Dad.' Dean, I'm sorry.
John: You shouldn't have had to say that to me, I should have been saying that to you. You know, I put, I put too much on your shoulders, I made you grow up too fast. You took care of Sammy, you took care of me. You did that, and you didn't complain, not once. I just want you to know that I am so proud of you.
Dean: This really you talking?
John: Yeah. Yeah, it's really me.
Dean: Why are you saying this stuff?
John: I want you to watch out for Sammy, okay?
Dean: Yeah, Dad, you know I will. You're scaring me.
Don't be scared, Dean.
The name on John's medical insurance is "Elroy McGillicuddy." This is a reference to I Love Lucy
- "McGillicuddy" is Lucy Ricardo's maiden name. Could also be a reference to Elspeth McGillicuddy, a character in the Agatha Christie novel 4.50 from Paddington
(also known as What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw
Dude, I full on Swayze'd that mother.
- Dean is referring to actor Patrick Swayze's role in the movie Ghost. Sam and Dean later learn how to move physical objects and fight as astral projections in 4.15 Death Takes a Holiday. Tessa also appears in that episode.
Over the PA in the hospital we can hear "Paging Dr. Kripke to room 237," a reference to the series creator, Eric Kripke
, as well as Room 237 from The Shining
How's Dad? Is he okay? Come on, you're the psychic. Give me some ghost whispering or something!
- Reference to the TV series Ghost Whisperer.
The character Tessa
is a reference to Neil Gaiman's character "Death," from his Sandman
comic book series, as well as spin-off mini-series.
What are you, some new agey guy?
Dean: You see me messing with crystals or listening to Yanni? It's actually a very old idea. Got a lot of different names: Bilocation, crisis apparition, fetches... I think it's happening to us. And if it is, it means that we're spirits of people close to death.
- Yanni is a Greek composer and keyboardist known for his "new age" music style.
Stage three: Bargaining.
- Tessa is referring to the Kübler-Ross model which describes the five stages of grief : Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
I think I'll pass on the seventy-two virgins, thanks.
- In Muslim belief, a martyr is promised 72 virgins after his death if he dies as a warrior. Zachariah tells Dean Paradise will give him two virgins and 70 sluts (total of 72 women) in 4.22 Lucifer Rising.
The title card
has changed from the green of season one. "Supernatural" dissolves out of flames, with the first "A" having the form of a pentagram.
The flight of stairs in the hospital Dean
comes down while searching for somebody to tell him what happened to his brother and father in the car crash were used a couple more times in Supernatural
, namely in 1.05 Bloody Mary
and 1.11 Scarecrow
is not wearing his amulet during this episode.
Dean is in room 3751.
The heart monitor for the little girl who died had the date of 17 July 2006.
There is a discrepancy in the dates on the heart monitors -- Dean's heart monitor indicates he went into cardiac arrest at 19:27 on 12 Aug 06; however, John's heart monitor shows he died at 09:06 on 19 Jul 06. Note: The doctor pronounced John dead at 10:41 a.m. so he was using a different watch entirely. Also, because Angela's cell phone shows the date as Aug. 22, 2006 when she dies in 2.04 Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things
, the July 19th date is more likely correct.