Season 4 Episode 3

In the Beginning

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Oct 02, 2008 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
1,125 votes

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Episode Summary


Dean gets transported back in time and ends up in Lawrence, Kansas, where he crosses paths with a young version of his parents, who have just fallen in love.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Another masterpiece. The first trilogy of Season Four is, without a single doubt, outstanding!

    As a brief introduction, I can't help but say that from a speculative point of view I've dissected this episode in every single possible way, assuming that Dean's actions influenced the past and then assuming that - even without his interference - things would have turned out the way they did; I concentrated on the details of every possible scenario (why didn't John recognized Dean? And why didn't Azazel either?), and I've come to my personal conclusions, which I'll explain at the end of this review.

    The most important thing to say about perhaps the most mythology-intensive episode ever is that it is simply gorgeous. Although I missed Sammy, I can understand why - from a storytelling perspective - it was better if Dean went on this trip down memory lane alone, since the whole episode, although focused on Dean and his emotions, in the end is about the road down which Sam is headed. The script by Jeremy Carver - so full of little details, pop-culture nods at fashion and music and cinema back in the '70s, puns and wisecracks on time-traveling cliches - is simply astounding and the direction by the great Steve Boyum - a master in making bright, colorful environments look like ominous places where very bad things happened -, already oozing atmosphere from every frame, is enriched by the most beautiful orchestration ever heard on Supernatural, which rewrites Azazel theme with a stunning complexity and with new, foreboding textures. And let me say that Jensen Ackles performance in this episode is absolutely amazing! The scenes between him and Samuel Campbell - Mitch Pileggi! A legend! - are simply awesome, and the two of them have such a chemistry that I would have thought that they were best pals. They are incredible actors and I was glad that Mitch Pileggi went to portray the patriarch of Dean and Sam's family. A spectacular choice.

    As for my interpretation of the mythology: it made awesomely sense that Dean was actually sent back in time by Castiel, because thus the writers achieved to explain: 1. Why Azazel killed all Mary's old acquaintances (he was sure that Mary didn't know about Dean and Sam, but he couldn't know if Dean told anyone about Azazel's plan), 2. Why Azazel was betting on Sam (having met his brother sent back in time by Angels, he had to know that Sam was the one) and 3. Why Azazel pursued Mary with such a stubborness, while he didn't seem to bother much about the other Special Children's family. This interpretation though leads to some unanswered questions: A. When Castiel brought Dean back in the present, what happened to the Colt? In Season One, we see that Daniel Elkins has it, but how did he regained it? B. Why John didn't recognized Dean from his past? I can assume that Azazel erased his memory somehow when he brought him back, or that his memory had simply blurred out the last couple of days.

    Anyway, these are details and the final sentence is that this episode is a masterpiece.moreless
  • Pretty damn good

    Supernatural Season 4 Episode 3 In The Beginning

    Castiel sends Dean back in time to 1973, where he meets his parents when they were young. Dean convinces Young John to buy the Impala. He also discovers Young Mary was a hunter, and Yellow Eyes is around doing deals.

    As I say in the title, the episode is pretty damn good. Is great. Having Dean back in time to stop Azazel (a.k.a Yellow Eyed Demon) from doing a deal with Mary, to give him "permission" to walk in thier homes and bleed in Sam's mouth. He almost succeeds, and the watchers would like to have seen it, but if he had succeeded then they would never had become hunters, and we wouldnt have seen the series we love. Pretty damn good episode.moreless
  • We're three weeks into the new season and still Eric Kripke's love-spawn refuses to step even a quarter of an inch out of line.

    What was I saying about 'best damn thing on TV?' We're three weeks into the new season and still Eric Kripke's love-spawn refuses to step even a quarter of an inch out of line. Instead, it sets about writing some of the most cohesive, enjoyable and rewarding scripts in its entire run and then transforms them from page to screen in devastatingly terrifying, and yet beautiful, fashion. 'In the Beginning' is no exception; in fact, it's perhaps the perfect example, given that it locates itself so firmly in the show's over-arching mythology. This is a story that fandom has wanted to see played out for eons and the episode doesn't disappoint: Ackles excels yet again, and arguably even more so than in previous weeks, bringing a crushing believability to the part of a man who is given the chance to uncover the secrets of his parents' past. You feel every morsel of his joy, pain and sorrow as he realises how wrong he was about his mother and father's roles, and how he simply cannot prevent the inevitable. The scene he has with his future mother, in which he begs her not to go in Sam's room on that fateful day ten years on, is absolutely harrowing and it's virtually all down to Jensen's thoroughly convincing portrayal. Let's spare a moment to acknowledge the genius of the script too: the dialogue is superb, the pace is absolutely spot on and the characterisation of the figures in the Winchester past is strong enough to make you care about all the players instantly. And hell, let's not forget that we get Castiel (best recurring Supernatural character since Bobby), the Yellow Eyed Demon AND the legendary Mitch Pileggi all in one episode. They don't come much better than this.moreless
  • castiel transports dean back in time to when his parents fall in love.

    great episode, very revealing! dean is tranported back in time and meets young john winchester and mary campbell, his parents! they have just fallen in love and dean realizes that he may be able to alter the future. dean also meets mary's parents, his grandparents, and realizes that demon hunting was the family business on his mother's side. all three campbells are hunters. mary, however, wants to quit and live a normal life. she believes she can w/john winchester. the yellow-eyed demon makes a return appearance. he's been collecting on deals he has made w/several of the campbell's neighbors and friends. dean's grandfather samuel becomes possessed by old yellow eyes and kills john. mary makes a deal w/the demon to bring john back! the demon's promises to come back in 10 years to collect payment. of course the price is sam! castiel knew that dean would not be able to change his destiny but wanted him to know what happened. castiel warns that sam is on the path that the yellow eyed demon laid out for him and that if dean won't stop him, he will. i really enjoyed this episode a lot. it explained so much amd it makes complete sense how john got into the demon hunting business in the first place, mary's influence. one of the best eps this season.moreless
  • Review

    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 and Mary who have just fallen in love. Castiel informs Dean that he must "stop it", but Dean has other concerns when Azazel is apparently making deals in the area. Mitch Pileggi guest stars as Mary's father, Samuel. Dean also finds out why Azazel came after his family years ago. It's because Mary made a deal with the yellow eyed demon in exchange for John's life. Mary's mom's name was Deana and the dad's name was Samuel. Sam and Dean were named after them. Samuel was killed by the yellow eyed demon and then possesed by him. Deana died trying to kill Azazel and save Dean's life. Dean couldn't stop it because Mary already made the deal by the time he got away from Azazel. Supernatural goes all back to the future for a episode and its great. It was so good to see Dean go back to the 50s and sort stuff out. ends with a great cliffhanger. This episode focused 100 percent on Dean which was a nice refreshment.moreless
Amy Gumenick

Amy Gumenick

Young Mary Campbell

Guest Star

Allison Hossack

Allison Hossack

Deanna Campbell

Guest Star

Christopher B. MacCabe

Christopher B. MacCabe

Dr. Brown/Yellow-Eyed Demon

Guest Star

Genevieve Cortese Padalecki

Genevieve Cortese Padalecki


Recurring Role

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Samuel Campbell

Recurring Role

Misha Collins

Misha Collins


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Young Mary: (about demon hunting) You know the worst thing I can think of? The very worst thing? Is for my children to be raised into this like I was. Well, I won't let it happen!
      Dean: (trying not to cry) Yeah.

    • Dean: On November 2, 1983, don't get out of bed. No matter what you hear, or what you see. Promise me you won't get out of bed.
      Mary: Okay.

    • Castiel: Your brother is headed down a dangerous road, Dean. And we're not sure where it leads. So stop it. Or we will.

    • Azazel: All those angels on your shoulder. No, I'm gonna cover my tracks good.
      Dean: You can cover whatever the hell you want, I'm still going to kill you.
      Azazel: Right. Now that I'd like to see.
      Dean: Maybe not today. But you look into my eyes, you son of a bitch, 'cause I'm the one that kills you.

    • Dean: What about the rest of the town? Did you find anything on the web? (Samuel stares) Of… information that you have assembled.
      Deanna: Electrical storms, maybe. The weather service graphs should be here on Friday.
      Dean: By mail?
      Samuel: No, we hired a jetliner to fly them to us overnight.

    • Samuel: So you didn't notice anything unusual, ma'am?
      Beth Wiltshire: You mean like my husband's guts fertilizing the back forty?

    • Dean: For what it's worth, ummm, it doesn't matter what your dad thinks. I like that John kid.
      Young Mary: You do?
      Dean: Yeah. Yeah, I think you two are meant to be. Hell, I'm depending on it.
      Young Mary: What?
      Dean: Nothing.

    • Samuel: She wants to hunt, she doesn't want to hunt. Is this some female "time of the month" thing? (Deanna looks disgusted) What?

    • Azazel: Demon blood is better than Ovaltine, vitamins, minerals, it makes you big and strong!

    • Dean: A little TLC, this thing is cherry.
      Young John: You know, man, you're right.
      Dean: What are you buying that thing for?
      Young John: Kind of promised someone I would.
      Dean: Over a '67 Chevy? I mean, come on, this is the car of a lifetime. Trust me, this thing's still gonna be badass when it's 40.

    • Dean: What is this?
      Castiel: What does it look like?
      Dean: Is it real?
      Castiel: Very.
      Dean: Okay, so what, angels got their hands on some DeLoreans?

    • Dean: Nice threads. You know Sonny and Cher broke up, right?
      Young John: Sonny and Cher broke up?

    • Dean: (watching young John and young Mary) Sammy, wherever you are, Mom is a babe. (pauses) I'm going to Hell. Again.

  • NOTES (3)

    • International Airdates:
      Australia: October 13, 2008 on Channel 10
      Latin America: December 7, 2008 on Warner Channel
      Denmark: December 7, 2008 on TV3
      UK: February 1, 2009 on ITV2
      Sweden: March 29, 2009 on Kanal 5
      Norway: April 9, 2009 on FEM
      Portugal: May 4, 2009 on AXN
      Spain: September 14, 2009 on AXN
      Germany: November 30, 2009 on Sky Cinema Hits
      Poland: February 26, 2010 on TVN7
      Czech Republic: May 28, 2010 on Prima COOL
      Finland: April 26, 2011 on Sub
      Slovakia: March 14, 2013 on Markiza

    • Jared Padalecki gets only 40 seconds of screen time, and one word of dialogue.

    • Music: Ramblin' Man (The Allman Brothers), Go For Your Self (Kenny Smith & The Loveliters)


    • Title
      This episode title is from the Bible. Specifically it is from Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The Book of Genesis is the first book of the Bible. It begins with God's creation of all things and as such it is the absolute beginning.

    • Dean: So, what, God's my co-pilot, is that it?
      Referencing the autobiography by USAF pilot Robert Lee Scott Jr., detailing his exploits in World War II with the Flying Tigers in China and Burma. It was made into a movie in 1945, and a queercore band took the name in 1991.

    • Young John: The U.S.S. Enterprise?
      Referencing the similarity of many modern-day fliptop cell phones to the communicators found in the TV series Star Trek. The NBC series premiered in 1966 and starred William Shatner as James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as his science officer, Mr. Spock from the planet Vulcan. The series has spawned numerous spinoffs, movies, novels, and comic books.

    • Dean: Okay, so what, angels got their hands on some DeLoreans?
      Referencing the Back to the Future movies (1985) starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, a teenager who travels through time using his mentor Doc Brown's (Christopher Lloyd) time-traveling device, mounted in a DeLorean. Marty goes back to when his parents first met, similar to what happens here with Dean. Also, the scene where Dean first encounters his dad at a diner is a near reenactment from the movie. In it, Marty was unaware that the man next to him was his dad, until someone called their last name and they both turned around. And the man that visits Lydia is Dr. Brown.

    • Azazel: You're Little Orphan Mary now.
      Referencing the comic strip girl created by Harold Gray in 1924 called Little Orphan Annie. Annie is an orphan girl adopted by millionaire Daddy Warbucks. Accompanied by her dog Sandy, Annie has had thousands of adventures over the decades, and been the subject of a musical, Annie, premiering in 1977.