4.03 In the Beginning

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4.04 In The Beginning Promo.jpg
Title In the Beginning
Episode # Season 4, Episode 3
First aired October 2, 2008
Directed by Steve Boyum
Written by Jeremy Carver
On IMDB In the Beginning
Outline Castiel sends Dean back to Lawrence in 1973, where Dean attempts to avert the course of events that led to his mother's death.
Monster Azazel
Timeline April 30th - May 2nd, 1973
Location(s) Lawrence, Kansas
Haleyville, Kansas
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The episode begins with Sam meeting up with Ruby, which is the perfect opportunity for Castiel to drop in on Dean. The angel 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 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 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 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 Azazel.

Samuel and Deanna have never heard of the Yellow-Eyed Demon, so Dean makes a plan to get the Colt and kill Azazel as soon as possible. The journal arrived back in time with him, which is handy since it has info about where Azazel 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 reminds him that if he alters the future and never becomes a hunter, all the people he's saved will die. Dean cares 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 Azazel, 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 smokes out of the doctor 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 Azazel 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.

Azazel 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. Azazel 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. Whatever his endgame is, he chooses not to reveal it. Azazel 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/Azazel interrupts, yanks his daughter out of the car, and snaps John's neck. Azazel 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. "Your brother is headed down a dangerous road, Dean," Castiel explains. "We're not sure where it leads. So stop it, or we will."

"To Be Continued..."




  • "Ramblin' Man" by The Allman Brothers Band
(plays in the diner when Dean talks with John; also played in 1.01 Pilot)
  • "Go for Your Self" by Kenny Smith and the Loveliters
(plays when John and Mary are in the diner)
  • "One More Day" by Kenny Smith and the Loveliters
(plays when John drops Mary off at home)
  • "Music" by Henry Turner's Crystal Band
(plays when Dean says goodbye to Mary)


Castiel: I told you, you have to stop it.
Dean: Stop what? Huh? What, is there something nasty after my Dad? Oh, come on! What, are you allergic to straight answers, you son of a bitch?!
Dean: Sammy, wherever you are, Mom is a babe. I'm going to Hell... again.
Samuel: So, you're a hunter? Well, tell me something, mister hunter, you kill vampires with wooden stakes or silver?

Dean: Neither, you cut their heads off... So, did I pass your test?

Samuel: Yep. Now get out of my house.
Dean: There's a hunter named Daniel Elkins. He lives in Colorado, he has Colt's gun. The Colt.

Samuel: Yeah, I heard about the Colt, used to tell it to Mary as a bedtime story.

Dean: Well, it's real.
Dean: Yeah – job to do. Hey, I wanted to – to tell you, you know for what it's worth. Um... it doesn't matter what your Dad thinks, I like that John kid.

Mary: You do?
Dean: Yeah. Yeah, I think you two are meant to be. Hell, I'm depending on it.

Mary: What?
Mary: I wanna get out. This job, this life, I hate it. I want a family, I wanna be safe. 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. No, I won't let it happen.
Dean: Alright, if I do this, then the family curse breaks, right? Mom and Dad live happily ever after, and – and, Sam and I grow up playing little league and chasing tail?

Castiel: You realize, if you do alter the future, your father, you, Sam – you'll never become hunters. And all those people you saved, they'll die.
Dean: I realize.
Castiel: And you don't care?

Dean: Oh, I care. I care a lot, but these are my parents. I'm not gonna let them die again. I can't. No, not if I can stop it.
Samuel: I mean, she wants to hunt, she doesn't want to hunt, is this some female time of month thing?
Dean: So why make the deals?

Azazel: I need permission... I need to be invited, into their houses, I know, I know, the – the red tape'll drive you nuts, but in ten short years, it'll all be worth it. ‘Cause you know what I'm gonna do to your sibling? I'm gonna stand over their crib and I'm gonna bleed into their mouth. Demon blood is better than Ovaltine, vitamins, minerals – it makes you big and strong.
Dean: For what? So they can lead your discount demon army? Is that your big plan?

Azazel: Please, my end game's a hell of a lot bigger than that, kid.
Castiel: Destiny can't be changed, Dean. All roads lead to the same destination.

Dean: Then why'd you send me back?
Castiel: For the truth. Now you know everything we do.
Dean: What the hell are you talking about? Where's Sam?
Castiel: We know what Azazel did to your brother. What we don't know is why – what his endgame is. He went to great lengths to cover that up.
Dean: Where's Sam?

Castiel: 425 Waterman. You brother is headed down a dangerous road, Dean, and we're not sure where it leads. So stop it. Or we will.

Trivia & References

The title of the episode is taken from the opening words of the Book of Genesis. It is also the opening lyric for AC/DC's 1977 song "Let There Be Rock".
The advertisement on the bench Dean woken up on when he first gets to 1973 is for the diet cola soft drink TaB which was introduced in 1963 and discontinued in 2020.
Dean: Can you tell me where I can get reception on this thing?

Young John: The U.S.S. Enterprise?

To young John Winchester, Dean's cell phone looks like a communicator from Star Trek.
Dean: Thanks... nice threads. You know Sonny and Cher broke up, right?

Young John: Sonny and Cher broke up?

Sonny and Cher were a popular singing husband and wife duo. In 1973 they had an Emmy award winning show called The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. They divorced in 1975.
The scene where Dean first meets young John Winchester in the diner is almost identical to how and where Marty McFly first meets his teenage father in the 1985 movie Back to the Future.
Dean: Okay, so what? Angels got their hands on some DeLoreans? How did I get here?
A reference to the time-traveling DeLorean in the movie Back to the Future. There are other references to the movie in this episode, such as Dean meeting his father's younger self in a diner.
The 1964 Volkswagen camper van John Winchester nearly buys instead of the Impala is possibly a shoutout to the mode of transport known as the "Mystery Machine" used by the Scooby gang in Scooby-Doo, Where are You!.
Young John: John Winchester. Thanks.

Dean: Dean Van Halen – and thank you.

Dean introduces himself as Dean Van Halen. Van Halen is a rock band who enjoyed their first album success in 1978.
Samuel: Father, I see you beat me here.

Dean: The Lord is funny that way. Beth Whitshire, this is my associate, our senior, senior priest, Father Cheney.

This is a reference to then U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. There was a previous reference to Cheney in 3.04 Sin City.
Dean: So what? God's my co-pilot, is that it?
"God is my co-pilot" is a popular saying among people of faith in the United States, and was the title of a WWII pilot's memoir which was subsequently turned into a film in 1945. God Is My Co-Pilot is also a New York City based Queercore-Band from the 1990s.
Dean: Well, you're a regular Chatty Cathy.
Chatty Cathy is a doll manufactured by the Mattel toy company from 1959 to 1965 that spoke one of eleven phrases at random when a ring protruding from its upper back was pulled. The term is sometimes used to refer to a particularly talkative person.
Azazel: Demon blood is better than Ovaltine, vitamins, minerals. It makes you big and strong!
Ovaltine is a nutrition supplement drink mix that includes many essential vitamins and minerals.
Azazel: You're Little Orphan Mary now.
Little Orphan Annie was a character in a comic strip that started in the 1920s and later made into movies and a hit musical.


Sam and Dean are staying at the Willow Tree motel.
The date on the newspaper John Winchester was reading in the diner was Monday, April 30, 1973. The headline reads "Nixon accepts resignation of top…” This was a significant date in the Watergate scandal: Attorney General Richard Kleindeinst, White House Counsel John Dean, and top White House aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman resigned from their positions because of the scandal. The newspaper headline likely refers to Dean, Haldeman, and Ehrlichman.
Anachronism: In the diner, the song "Ramblin' Man" by the Allman Brothers Band is playing. The song came out on the album, Brothers and Sisters, which wasn't released until August 1973, about three months later than when the events took place.
Possible canon discrepancy: In the diner where Dean first meets young John, an elderly man tells John to "Say hi to your old man for me", but we learn in 8.12 As Time Goes By that John's father, Henry, vanished when John was a child. Though the "old man" could also be alluding to a step-father, adopted father, or grandfather of John's.
John Winchester bought the Impala from Rainbow Motors in Lawrence, Kansas. The price on the windshield was $2204.
Anachronism: Dean gets around in 1973 by driving a 1980 Ford Pinto.
The plates on Dean's 1980 Ford Pinto are "WT T-53C4".
Mary is 18 and John is 18 or 19 in 1973.
When Mary and Dean get into the fight outside the diner and Dean pins Mary to the wall, we get a glimpse of Mary's bracelet. The charm on the left of the bracelet is the Aquarian Star; this is the same symbol that the Men of Letters use.
Mitch Pileggi, who plays Samuel Campbell, is one of the many X-Files alumni to also have roles in Supernatural.
Dean and Samuel appearing together in priests' outfits harks back to Dean and Sam doing the same in 1.14 Nightmare.
Mary deals for John's life on May 2. This is Sam's birthday. It is also the same day Dean traded his soul for Sam's life in 2007, and the day Dean went to Hell in 2008.
The Campbell family are shown as active hunters in a flashback to 1969 in the spin-off novel Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon, which reveals that the Campbells finance their hunts through Samuel's dry-cleaning business and Deanna's work as a substitute teacher.
In the commentary track for this episode in the Season 4 DVD and Blu-ray, Eric Kripke stated, "The greatest inspirations for Supernatural were three things... the Sandman comics, the Hellblazer comics, and... Neil Gaiman's American Gods."

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts


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