In the Beginning
Production information
Season : 4
Episode : 3
Original airdate : 2 October, 2008
Directed by : Steve Boyum
Written by : Jeremy Carver
Preceded by : Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester
Followed by : Metamorphosis

In the Beginning is the third episode of Season 4 of Supernatural.


"Back to the future, Castiel sends Dean to 1973 Lawrence, Kansas, where he meets a nice young couple named John and Mary Winchester. Dean's parents. And Mary has a secret."[1]

Full synopsisEdit

While Dean is asleep in a motel room, having nightmares of his time in Hell, Sam takes the opportunity to sneak out and meet up with Ruby. Once Sam has left, Castiel drops in on Dean. He simply tells Dean, "You must stop it," before transporting Dean away into a retro-looking, 70s-style town. Upon going into a diner, Dean is shocked when he discovers from a newspaper that he's in Lawrence, Kansas in 1973, and even more shocked when the patron sitting next to him turns out to be a younger John Winchester.

Castiel briefly reappears to confirm to Dean that this is indeed all real and Dean really has been sent back in time, but he refuses to say anything more what it is Dean must stop, before vanishing again. Suspecting that there might be something coming for John in the past which the angels need Dean to stop, Dean follows John around town, to a used-car sale, where Dean approaches the young John and encourages him to buy a certain '67 Chevy Impala over an old VW van. Dean continues following John into the evening, eventually leading to him spying the younger Mary Winchester as well. While John and Mary are in a diner, Mary, having apparently noticed Dean following them around, slips out of the diner on John to attack Dean in an alley. As Dean defends himself, upon seeing a charm-endowed bracelet on Mary's arm, he discovers to his shock that Mary is a hunter.

After Dean convinces Mary that he too is a hunter and was only following them because he thought something was after them, Dean goes back to Mary's home to meet her parents: her cantankerous father Samuel, and her more-friendly but tough mother Deanna; it turns out that Mary's side of the family were born-and-raised hunters. Samuel is currently investigating a case; Tom Witshire, a father and farm owner, was killed in a combine accident around the same time his farm was being plagued by demon omens. Though Samuel doesn't trust other hunters and wants Dean out of their business, Dean and the Campbells still end up working the case together when Dean and Samuel both show up at the farm posing as priests. Dean and Mary go to ask Tom's son Charlie about the last few days before his father died. Charlie admits that his father was alcoholic and abusive with Charlie's mother, and that just before his father's death occurred, a mysterious man came; the stranger offered to make Charlie's father's abuse all stop, in exchange for permission to return in ten years. Dean and Mary suspect that Charlie has unknowingly sold his soul in exchange for his father's death, and ask Charlie if the stranger's eyes seemed to change colour. Charlie confirms that they did, but they weren't black or red; they were yellow.

Realizing that the demon who made the Witshire deal is Azazel himself, Dean immediately sets about hunting Azazel down, intensely piped-up, determined and distressed by the discovery that they're tracking the very demon who kills his parents in the future. Dean and the Campbells learn from John's journal (which was sent back with Dean, and which Dean covers its knowledge of future events up to the Campbells as being because his father knew a psychic) that the next place Azazel hits after Witshire Farm is Liddy Walsh's in Haleyville. Dean, knowing the Colt's location in Manning, Colorado in this time zone, intends to go get the gun so that he can use it to kill Azazel; but Samuel doesn't believe the Colt exists, and, convinced Dean is crazy, refuses to accompany or help him further. Before Dean goes, he pops in on Mary to say goodbye, and encourages her that despite Samuel's overprotectiveness and disapproval of her relationship with John, the two of them are meant to be. Mary in turn reveals that she hopes to be able to escape the hunter's life and have a family with John, because she despises her life as a hunter, and dreads the thought of her children being raised into hunting more than she does anything else in the world. Though he mostly maintains his outward composure, hearing this breaks Dean's heart as he discovers that Mary thought she was escaping hunting by starting a life with John, only for her death at a demon's hands to force her children into the very lives she wanted for them less than anything else. Before going, Dean tearfully warns Mary to, on 2 November, 1983, not get out of bed or do anything no matter what she hears.

Dean drives of for Manning, set on killing Azazel more than anything else. Castiel returns to talk to Dean about his intentions. Dean hopes that by changing history so that Azazel dies tonight, he can retroactively save John and Mary's lives and prevent himself and Sam from ever becoming hunters. Cass points out that if Dean does succeed, then it will undo all the good that the Winchesters have ever done as hunters and doom everyone sam and Dean ever saved to die; Dean is aware of that, but says he just can't let his family die when there's something he can do about it. Upon arriving at the young Daniel Elkins' home for the Colt, Dean convinces Elkins to let him borrow the gun so he can save his family, then drives off to kill Azazel. At Liddy Walsh's, Azazel has arrived, possessing Liddy's husband's doctor, and offering to cure Liddy's husband fatal sickness in exchange for something in 10 years. Before Liddy can agree, Mary and Samuel burst in and attack Azazel, with Azazel taking an instant dark shine to Mary upon meeting her. Dean then arrives and threatens Azazel with the Colt; recognizing the gun, Azazel smokes out and gets away before Dean can kill him.

After the close encounter with Azazel, Mary storms off upset, having after this had enough of the demons and hunting and, unbeknownst to her parents, intending to fulfill her and John's plans to run away together. Dean is upset that he missed the shot at Azazel, while his actions have earned him Samuel's respect. Dean takes Samuel aside and persuasively tells him the whole truth about how he is Mary's son in the future and Mary is fated to be killed by the demon they're hunting if Dean doesn't succeed in killing it now. Samuel is overwhelmed, and seconds Dean's admittance that he's crazy, but at the same time feels he can believe Dean. However, when Samuel asks to see the Colt, it is revealed that Azazel has possessed him. Azazel telekinetically pins Dean back, and after learning about Dean's real identity as a time-traveler sent from the future by angels, Azazel is pleased to work out that Dean has a little brother who is one of Azazel's special children. Azazel reveals that that's what these deals he's been making are all about: the price isn't the people's souls, it's just permission for Azazel to enter their homes so that he can infect their future children with his demon blood for his special child army. Dean is unimpressed since from his P.O.V., Azazel's plan with the special children has already been defeated in the present, but he then discovers that the demon army released from the devil's gate are just one small factor into Azazel's plans for the special children, and his master plan has a secret endgame that is much bigger. However, Dean does still get a small victory with his revelation to Azazel that he's the one who kills him in the future. Azazel retaliates by fatally stabbing Samuel's gut so that he'll die once Azazel leaves his body, and killing Deanna when she comes across the commotion. Azazel then leaves, with Dean following after him with the Colt.

Azazel tracks John and Mary down and, just when John is about to finally propose to Mary, Azazel/Samuel interrupts them, and kills John by snapping his neck. As Mary grieves in pain, fury and anguish over John's death (and that of her parents when Azazel reveals he's also killed Samuel's body and Deanna), Azazel offers her the same deal he offered the other women: he'll resurrect John and John alone, and he'll also make sure no demons or monsters come Mary's way in her attempt at a new, hunting-free life with John; and instead of it costing Mary her soul, it'll only cost permission for Azazel to come to her house in ten years for a ritual, and he won't hurt anyone unless he's interrupted. Mary is brokenly torn between her options: the life she wants more than anything, or not having anyone she loved brought back and remaining completely alone. Dean catches up with Azazel, just as he and Mary kiss and seal the deal. Dean is too late, and Azazel smokes out of Samuel's corpse and escapes, just as John springs back to life. Mary can only look ashamedly at a defeated Dean, before Dean disappears when Castiel takes him back to the present.

Once Dean and Cass return to the motel in the present where they left, Dean is distraught that he failed to stop Azazel and Mary from making the deal that would fate Mary to die and doom Sam, John and Dean to their lives as hunters. Cass declares that destiny can't be changed, and "all roads lead to the same destination." Castiel confirms that Dean was never meant to change the past and stop Azazel, and that it was just meant to show Dean what the angels know; they're aware of what Azazel did to Sam, but they still don't know what his secret endgame is, and hope that Dean can crack it. When Dean notices Sam is missing, Cass gives Dean Sam's current location. But before Dean leaves, Cass also gives Dean another warning about what Sam is doing: "Your brother is headed down a dangerous road, Dean. And we're not sure where it leads. So stop it... or we will."









  • In the shot which shows Mary's hunter bracelet during her and Dean's fight outside the bar, one of the charms on the bracelet is the Aquarian Star; the Star is the symbol of the Men of Letters, who were introduced in As Time Goes By.
  • In the diner scene where Dean meets the young John, Mr. D says to John, "Say hi to you old man for me;" this seemingly contradicts the revelation in As Time Goes By that John's father vanished when he was a child. However, a few fans have suggested that it could have referred to a stepfather or other fatherly figure.


  1. Supernatural: The Complete Fourth Season DVD episode guide
Supernatural Season 4
Lazarus RisingAre You There, God? It's Me, Dean WinchesterIn the BeginningMetamorphosisMonster MovieYellow FeverIt's the Great Pumpkin, Sam WinchesterWishful ThinkingI Know What You Did Last SummerHeaven and HellFamily RemainsCriss Angel Is a DouchebagAfter School SpecialSex and ViolenceDeath Takes a HolidayOn the Head of a PinIt's a Terrible LifeThe Monster at the End of This BookJump the SharkThe RaptureWhen the Levee BreaksLucifer Rising

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