As Dean dreams of Lisa while asleep in the Impala, Sam works out, after a night of hot sex. He calls Dean - he has found a new case in Pennsylvania. Dean drives to meet him there. Two police officers have died in strange ways: the first was liquefied, his meat, bones, and other tissues changed to blood, and the second was so covered in boils, inside and out, that his airway was blocked and he asphyxiated. Sam and Dean go to question the first police officer's partner, Ed Colfax, and find him behaving strangely. He is in full uniform and calmly scratching the faces off of all the photographs in his home. They question him and learn that the two dead police officers and Ed have something in common: a "kid with no face and a planted gun," named Christopher Birch. Ed believes that they are suffering divine retribution for what they did to Christopher. Before Sam and Dean can learn anything else, Ed collapses, dead. Sam removes Ed's police hat and finds a hole in the top of his head from which locusts emerge.
Sam and Dean believe that the deaths are related to the plagues of Egypt, so Dean prays to Castiel in the hopes that he will be able to answer some questions about the case. Sam is certain that Castiel won't appear, but he does. He reveals that the three police officers' deaths were perpetrated by someone using the Staff of Moses, one of many holy weapons that were stolen from heaven in the confusion following the apocalypse. Castiel asks for Sam and Dean's help in retrieving the staff.
Sam and Dean tell Castiel that Christopher Birch's father, Darrell Birch, is probably using the Staff of Moses to avenge his murdered son. They confront him only to learn that it is Christopher's brother, Aaron Birch, who is responsible for the police officers' deaths. Aaron traded his soul to an angel for the staff. Unfortunately, the staff has been cut into pieces. In order to learn who has the other pieces of the staff, Castiel performs a reading that involves reaching into Aaron's chest. It will tell them who Aaron traded his soul to, but it is extremely painful, and while Dean protests the reading, Sam recognizes the necessity.
Castiel learns from the reading that Balthazar, an angel and a good friend of his who he previously thought died in the war, made the deal with Aaron for his soul. Another angel appears and thanks Castiel for the information before attacking him. He tells Castiel that "Raphael says hello" as they grapple. Eventually, they fall through the window and land on Sam's car, totaling it. The other angel flees and Sam and Dean question Castiel about the fight. He tells them that the other angel was probably a soldier of Raphael, who wants to rule heaven and has started an angelic civil war to achieve that end. Raphael's ultimate goal is to put the Apocalypse "back on the rails."
Castiel performs a ritual to locate Balthazar, and they find him in a large house. Castiel goes inside to confront Balthazar, who admits to stealing the Staff of Moses and other weapons but refuses to return them to Castiel. Balthazar tells Castiel that he is only following his example as a rebel, and that there's no reason to be involved in the angels' civil war because the fighting will never stop. He flees when Raphael appears with other angels outside the house. Sam and Dean banish two angels outside with an angel banishing sigil and Castiel kills one inside with his angel blade, but Castiel is then confronted by Raphael and overpowered. Balthazar reappears and destroys Raphael's vessel with Lot's Salt, which turns him into a pillar of salt. Sam and Dean then trap Balthazar in a ring of Holy Fire and force him to give up Aaron Birch's soul. They want to get more from him, but Castiel releases him because he owes him his life.
Dean and Sam try to find room for Sam's things in the Impala's trunk. Dean asks Sam if he's okay and why he was okay with Castiel torturing Aaron. Sam denies that anything is wrong, but admits that he is different. He claims it's because he's been hunting nonstop for the last year, but Dean thinks there's more to it.
Dean: Ben... I know you're lying. Because I lie professionally, that's how. Now tell your mom that you broke the damn thing and take it like a man. Okay? Okay -- okay.
Still drivin' the plastic piece of crap, huh?
Sam: What's your mileage again?
Were you, uh... were you racing me?
Dean: No. I was kicking your ass.
We should call Cas.
Sam: You're kidding, right? Dean, I tried. It was the first and second and third thing I did, soon as I got topside. Son of a bitch won't answer the phone.
Dean: Well, let's give it a shot. Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray to Castiel to get his feathery ass down here.
Sam: You're an idiot.
Dean: Stay positive
Oh, I am positive.
I spent all that time trying to get through to you. Dean calls once, and now it's, 'Hello'?!
Sam: So, what, you -- you like him better or something?
Castiel: Dean and I do share a more profound bond. I wasn't gonna mention it.
Cas, I think what he's trying to say is that... he went to Hell for us. I mean, he really took one for the team. You remember that? And then he comes back without a clue, and you can't take five friggin' minutes to give him some answers?
Sam: Well, I thought the staff turned, like, a river into blood, not one dude.
Castiel: The weapon isn't being used at full capacity. I think we can rule Moses out as a suspect.
Castiel: Sam, Dean, my 'people skills' are 'rusty.' Pardon me, but I have spent the last 'year' as a multidimensional wavelength of celestial intent. But believe me, you do not want that weapon down here. Help me find it. Or more people will die.
Yeah, yeah. I'm sorry about that, you know. I wanted them to think, you know, so... they wouldn't come looking for me?
Castiel: What... is all this? What are you doing?
Whatever I want. This morning I had a ménage à -- what's French for 12?
Castiel: Why take them? Why run away?
Balthazar: Because I could! What? What? I me-- you're the one who made it possible. The footsteps I'm following -- they're yours. What you did, stopping the big plan, the prize fight? You did more than rebel. You tore up the whole script and burned the pages for all of us. It's a new era. No rules, no destiny. Just utter and complete freedom.
Balthazar: Hey, screw it, right? I mean, dad's not coming back. You might as well blow coke and jump on the bed. You proved to me we could do anything, so I'm trying everything. What difference does it make?
Angel: You think you can knife-fight an angel?
Dean: Who's fighting? Peace out, douchewad.
Holy Fire. You hairless ape. Release me.
Dean: First you're taking your marker off Aaron Birch's soul.
Balthazar: Am I?
Sam: Unless you like your wings extra-crispy, I'd think about it.
Balthazar: Castiel, I stood for you in Heaven. Are you gonna let them--
I believe the hairless ape has the floor.
Sam: Yeah. I mean... I've been hunting non-stop for the past year, kind of... kind of on the wild, you know? So, yeah, I suppose I'm a little rough around the edges.
Dean: Yeah, I get that. I just don't think I'm getting the whole scoop. You went to hell, Sam. And believe me, I know what that does to a guy.
You know what it does to you. It -- it tortured you. You know? I think it still does. But, Dean... I'm okay.
Dean: So you're saying, what, that -- that you're stronger than me?
No. Just saying we're different.
Trivia & References
Director Bob Singer
can be seen sitting at a desk and talking to medical personnel at the Easter, PA police station, as Sam and Dean first walk in.
Whoa. Lookin' sharp, Kojak.
- Kojak was a 1970s series (unsuccessfully revived in 2005) about a bald and dapper New York City Police Department Detective, Lieutenant Theo Kojak played by Telly Savalas. Kojak's Greek heritage, shared by actor Savalas, was prominently featured in the series.
Sweet. Blood, boils, locusts.
Sam: Three of your more popular Egyptian plagues.
Dean: Yeah, but these guys ate their way out of a cop's melon. I don't quite remember that in the King James.
- The King James is an English translation of the Christian Holy Bible begun in 1604 and completed in 1611 by the Church of England.
Okay, but... what is -- what is Chuck Heston's disco stick doing down here, anyway? I mean, don't you guys put away your toys?
- Charlton Heston, or Chuck Heston, played Moses in the 1956 film The Ten Commandments.
- The phrase 'disco stick' originally referred to the glow sticks used in nightclubs. More recently it has been used as slang for a penis, as in Lady Gaga's song "LoveGame."
You're saying your nukes are loose?
- The phrase "loose nukes" originally referred to poorly secured nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union which might be tempting targets for thieves or terrorists. Today, the phrase more broadly is used to refer to nuclear weapons, materials, and know-how that could fall into the wrong hands.
Aaron, the name of the boy who had the piece of Moses' staff, is also the name of Moses' brother.
No, not later. Now. Stop, all right? Too many angels, Cas! I don't know who's on first, what's on second.
Castiel: What is 'second'?!
Dean: Don't start that.
- In the 1930s and 1940s, Abbott and Costello had a comedy routine in which the members of a baseball team have peculiar names: Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third, and so forth.
- This may also be a reference to the 1994 film Angels in the Outfield, in which the failing California Angels baseball team receives angelic help to reach the division championship.
I was expecting more Dr. No, less Liberace.
- Dr. Julius No is the villain in the James Bond novel and film Dr. No. Liberace was a famous American entertainer and pianist with flamboyant tastes.
Same thing happened to Lot's wife. Iodize the poor sucker, and your kitchen is stocked for life.
- Lot was forewarned by angels of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. As he and his family left Sodom, his wife looked back despite the angels telling them not to, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.
Like I said, son of a bitch doesn't answer... he's right behind me, isn't he?
- Dean says a variation of the same "there's somebody behind me" line in 5.19 Hammer of the Gods.
Castiel finds Sam and Dean despite the Enochian
sigils that Castiel burned into their ribs to stop angels from locating them in 5.01 Sympathy for the Devil
. This may or may not be because they contacted him.
Castiel uses an Enochian ritual with myrrh, holy water
, and human (Dean's) blood to locate Balthazar
Sides, Scripts & Transcripts