In The Beginning is the 3rd episode of Season 4. It aired on October 2nd, 2008.
|There was something about being there... It felt pure.|
This episode summary is an official CW press release. It may contain errors.
DO NOT CHANGE!
Dean is transported back in time and is shocked when he lands in Lawrence, Kansas. However, that shock turns to amazement after he runs into a young John Winchester (guest star Matt Cohen) and Mary (guest star Amy Gumenick) who have just fallen in love. Dean isn't sure why he was sent back so he begins to enjoy the time with his parents and newfound grandfather (guest star Mitch Pileggi, "The X-Files"), who may be hiding a secret that is key to Sam and Dean's entire predicament.
The episode begins with Sam meeting up with Ruby, which is the perfect opportunity for Castiel to drop in on Dean who was having a nightmare of Hell. The angel remarks on Dean's dream and tells him that he has to "stop it," at which point he touches Dean's forehead and sends him back to Lawrence, Kansas circa 1973. Dean heads into a diner and chats up a young guy who turns out to be his father John Winchester. Dean's mind is blown when he figures out what's going on.
Dean runs into Castiel as he follows his father around, and the angel once again cryptically tells him that he has to stop something. Dean follows John to a car lot, where he suggests his father buy the '67 Chevy Impala instead of an old VW van. Dean introduces himself as Dean Van Halen and assures John that the car will still be bad-ass when it's 40. Dean tries to get info about the mysterious event he has to stop, but John hasn't smelled any sulfur or noticed any strange happenings lately.
Dean continues to follow John around and is stunned when he realizes that the pretty young woman that John stops to pick up is his mom, Mary. He follows them to a diner and watches them through the window. When Mary excuses herself, John makes sure that the engagement ring in his pocket is still there. Meanwhile, Mary sneaks up behind Dean and demands to know why he's following them. He doesn't have a chance to respond before she starts wailing on him. He finally manages to block her, grabs her arm and notices that she's wearing a charm bracelet made of symbols that he recognizes. He steps back in astonishment, realizing that she is a hunter.
Dean follows Mary home and goes inside to meet her father, Samuel. He's also a hunter, and though Dean convinces him that he's a hunter with his knowledge of vampire slaying, Samuel doesn't trust others in his profession. Mary's mother, Deanna, is a bit more friendly and invites Dean to stay for dinner. Grandpa Samuel is currently looking into a farmer's mysterious death, but he'd rather have Mary act as his partner on the case than Dean.
Samuel and Mary go to the farm, where Samuel poses as a priest to get close to the widow. He's shocked to find Dean already there, also impersonating a priest, but he rolls with the surprise fairly well. The widow claims everything was perfectly normal when the farmer bit the dust, but Mary learns that her son made a deal with a yellow-eyed stranger praying for his father to stop beatings that took place in the household. The guy told him he'd come back to collect something in about ten years. Dean concludes that the boy sold his soul to the yellow-eyed demon.
Samuel and Deanna have never heard of the Yellow-Eyed Demon, so Dean makes a plan to get the Colt and kill the Yellow-Eyed Demon as soon as possible. The journal arrived back in time with him, which is handy since it has info about where the Yellow-Eyed Demon will be the next day.
Dean visits Mary before he leaves and tells her that he approves of her relationship with John, which is when Dean's future mother reveals that her boyfriend is planning to propose soon. Mary says that John is sweet, optimistic and "everything a hunter isn't," and she can't wait to run off with him to escape the demon-slaying lifestyle. Before Dean goes, he tells Mary not to get out of bed on that fateful night in 1983. "No matter what you hear or what you see, promise me you won't get out of bed," he tells her. She agrees.
The next time Castiel appears, Dean asks why Sam wasn't allowed to get in on this 'Back to the Future' action. Castiel explains that Dean has to do this alone, and asks him if he cares that altering the future means he and Sam never become a hunters, and that all the people he's saved will die. Dean cares a lot about the lives of strangers, but he's not going to let his parents die again.
While Dean steals the Colt from Daniel Elkins' safe in Colorado, Mary discovers that the demon is currently hanging out at her friend's house. She rushes over to jump in the fray along with Samuel, but his shotgun is no match for the Yellow-Eyed Demon, who's been posing as a friendly doctor and making deals. Mary bursts in, stabs Yellow Eyes and kicks his ass a bit, but is soon overpowered by him. The demon immediately takes a shine to her. Dean arrives to save the day before things can get ugly, but the demon leaves the doctor's meatsuit and takes off.
Dean tells Samuel that they have to kill the demon to save Mary's life. He then explains that Mary is his mother and that she's destined to be killed in 1983 if they don't do something. Samuel thinks he's pretty crazy, but Dean is persuasive and convinces him that it's time to send Yellow Eyes back to Hell. When Samuel tries to get his hands on the Colt, Dean realizes that the Yellow-Eyed Demon has possessed his grandfather and now knows what the future holds.
Yellow Eyes asks Dean if he's one of his psychic kids, but a quick sniff of Dean's neck reveals that he's not. Dean figures out that the demon has been playing matchmaker and hooking up parents to create his own master race of special children. Yellow Eyes explains that in 10 years he'll show up to pour some demon blood into the mouths of the children, not to find a leader for his demon army like Dean and Sam long assumed, but for something much bigger. Dean then reveals to him that he's the one who kills him. Whatever the demon's endgame is, he chooses not to reveal it. Yellow Eyes then jabs a knife into the gut of his current meat suit, Grandpa Samuel, so he'll die once his body is empty. He also snaps Deanna's neck for good measure.As John and Mary share a romantic moment in the Impala, Samuel/Yellow Eyes interrupts, yanks his daughter out of the car, and snaps John's neck. Yellow Eyes tells Mary that her parents are dead. He also explains that he'll bring John back to life if she simply agrees to make a little deal with him. He doesn't want her soul, but permission to visit baby Sammy in 10 years. He promises no one will get hurt as long as his ritual isn't interrupted, so she goes ahead and seals the deal with a kiss. Dean shows up a moment later to kill the demon, but the smoke escapes once again, leaving Samuel dead.
Mary's parents may be dead, but John quickly springs back to life, at which point Castiel appears to bring Dean back to the present. The angel explains that Dean couldn't have changed history even if he wanted to. He didn't send Dean back to stop anything, but to show him the whole truth. Now he's aware of exactly what happened to Sam, but even the angels are clueless when it comes to figuring out what Azazel's true endgame is. Maybe Dean can crack the case, as Dean demands his brother's location and Castiel tells him. "Your brother is headed down a dangerous road, Dean," Castiel explains. "We're not sure where it leads. So stop it, or we will." Dean heads out, though is wary of the ominous message.
The episode finishes with a "To Be Continued."
- Misha Collins as Castiel
- Genevieve Cortese as Ruby
- Mitch Pileggi as Samuel Campbell and Azazel
- Amy Gumenick as Mary Winchester
- Matt Cohen as John Winchester
- Allison Hossack as Deanna Campbell
- Nadine Wright as Beth Whitshire
- Max Lloyd-Jones as Charlie Whitshire
- Troy Anthony as Daniel Elkins
- Christopher MacCabe as Dr. Brown and Azazel
Featured Supernatural Beings
- Angel (Castiel)
- Crossroads Demons (referenced only)
- Demon (Ruby)
- Primordial Entity (God, mentioned only)
- Prince of Hell (Azazel)
- The revelation that Mary's bargain with Azazel is what brought Sam's destiny down on him explains her apology in Home and why she recognized him in the flashback in All Hell Breaks Loose - Part 1.
- This episode features a younger Daniel Elkins, the hunter that possessed the Colt. He was previously seen in the season one episode Dead Man's Blood, where he was killed by vampires who subsequently stole the Colt.
- Antagonist: Azazel.
- This is the first episode in which Sam is a minor character, the second being Season 5's "The End".
- Mary Winchester is revealed to have been a hunter. Previously there had been no indication that she knew of the supernatural.
- There are four Back to the Future references: the first, Dean sits down next to his future father, someone says "Hey, Winchester", and they both turn and look. This is a reference to the cafe scene in Back to the Future, where a young Biff Tannen calls for McFly, and both Marty and George turn. The second reference is when Azazel calls Dean "future boy". The third is when Dean asks Castiel if "angels got their hands on some DeLoreans." The final reference is the ending with "To Be Continued...".
- It is revealed Sam and Dean are named after their maternal grandparents: Deanna (Dean) and Samuel (Sam).
- Dean introduces himself as "Dean Van Halen." Van Halen's self-titled debut album would be released in 1978, five years after the episode took place.
- Dean convinces John to buy the Impala, creating a causal loop paradox.
- Although several elements of the time-travel in the episode are paradoxical (such as Dean telling John to purchase the Impala and Dean being the cause of the future that brought him to the past), Castiel explains that destiny can't be changed and that the events that Dean caused would have happened anyway, even if for another reason. This establishes a level of predestination within the Supernatural Universe and allows for such paradoxes.
- This episode's paradox in particular is a predestination paradox: a person goes back in time to stop an event from happening/travels with no particular motive, only to have been the cause of it.
- In In My Time of Dying, Azazel told John that it wasn't within his power to bring Dean back—and indeed he had to possess a reaper to make happen—so how he brought John back from the dead is unclear.
- Azazel may have been lying, or he possessed a reaper in this episode too, but off-screen.
- It's also possible it had something to do with the fact the Dean hadn't passed over yet, while John possibly had.
- When the older gentleman in the Diner greets John, he says "say hello to your old man for me". It is revealed in season 8 that John's father, Henry Winchester, "left" and hasn't been seen since John was a child, leaving John quite bitter.
- It is possible John's mother remarried after Henry disappeared.
- Samuel Campbell is portrayed by Mitch Pileggi, who also portrayed FBI Director Skinner in The X-Files, one of Supernatural's primary inspirations/predecessors.
- When Dean shows Samuel the entry for Liddy Walsh in John's journal, the other names on the page are names of people who have been crew members for Supernatural at various times. Robert Leader (whose entry reads: PHOENIX, ARIZ, 1965. DROWNED IN A BUCKET OF WATER) - assistant art director, Nadine Moser - production assistant, Warren Dunlop - construction coorindator. An entry with the surname 'Goldwynn' is also printed; Liz Goldwyn served as assistant art director.
- At 10:39 on Mary Campbell's charm bracelet a unicursal hexagram can be seen. The unicursal hexagram is also the Men of Letter's Symbol. This episode takes place 15 years after Abaddon wiped out the Men of Letters. It's unknown if the bracelet had any real conection with the Men of Letters.
- The Allman Bros Band - Ramblin' Man
- Kenny Smith and The Loveliters - Go For Yourself
- Dean: "Sam, wherever you are, mom is a babe." (slight pause) "I'm going to Hell." (beat) "Again."
- Samuel: (to victim's wife) "So you didn't notice anything unusual, ma'am?"
- Wife: "You mean like my husband's guts fertilizing the back forty?"
- Samuel: "She wants to hunt, she doesn't want to hunt. Is this some female 'time of the month' thing?"
- Dean: Know where I can get any reception?
- Young John: The U.S.S. Enterprise?
- Young John: John Winchester. Thanks.
- Dean: Dean Van Halen.
- Dean:(to Castiel) So what? God's my co-pilot, is that it?
- German: Am Anfang war... (In the Beginning...)
- Brazil: No Início (In the Beginning)
- "Supernatural: "In The Beginning" Review", IGN review.