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Supernatural 4.03 - In the Beginning - I worship at the television altar
tariel22
tariel22
Supernatural 4.03 - In the Beginning
I have so much love for this episode, I can neither contain it, nor find words adequate to express it. Not only did our show give us a wonderful story that was compelling, suspenseful, and heartbreaking, they answered questions we've had since the first season, and tied together events that have happened over the course of the entire series. I am amazed, people. Can you even believe how awesome our little show is?

For the hardcore fans of a television show, continuity is critical. We suspend disbelief and wrap ourselves in this imaginary world that plays out on the glowing box in our living room each week, but in return we need structure, and rules. If we're going to invest in this alternate universe, it has to make sense. Otherwise we're just going to feel like fools when something crazy happens, and then we're going to feel betrayed.

I've been there and back, believe me. From The X-Files to Buffy to the worst offender of them all, Smallville, my shows have let me down and left my head spinning. I've come to expect it, and rationalize it, and make excuses for it. But ultimately I think it shows that the writers and producers either don't think we're smart enough to notice, or they just don't care. Some (I'm looking at you, John Shiban) have even admitted as much.

Supernatural is different. Not that they've never had a continuity hiccup, because they have, but overall I think Kripke respects the fans of his show, and even more importantly, he respects the storytelling. He, and seemingly everyone else who comes together to make this show possible, are not just in it for the paycheck. They honestly care about creating something beautiful, and memorable, and meaningful, and it shows.

So let's talk about this episode. Sam sneaks off, again, while Dean sleeps. Dean dreams of hell, and awakens to find Castiel perched, not on his shoulder, but on his motel room bed. And with the cryptic words, "You have to stop it," and the touch of two fingers to his forehead, Castiel sends Dean down the rabbit hole.

Dean finds himself transported to the past, to Lawrence, Kansas, in the days before his parents were married, when his car and his music were almost new, and his father was sweet, happy, and pretty much carefree. Wow. Dean is buffeted by discoveries about his family history, and we are as stunned as he is by each new revelation. And even as Dean tries to piece together what it is he's supposed to stop, we realize he isn't going to be able to stop anything, and that this story will have the same sad ending we already know.

Jensen Ackles is Hollywood's best kept secret. Maybe because he isn't in Hollywood at all, but rather is tucked away in Vancouver. I am blown away by his acting on a weekly basis, but I think his performance this week tops anything he's ever done before. Dean probably experiences every emotion imaginable by the time his trip to the past is finished, and Jensen plays each one perfectly. We see Dean confused, disbelieving, wistful, thunderstruck, hopeful, happy, determined, sad, angry, desperate, vengeful, and finally, utterly and completely broken. Oh, Dean. And for me, one scene in particular stands out above all the others.

I've watched the last conversation Dean has with his mother many times now, and every time I cry. As Mary confesses that her worst fear is that her children will grow up to be hunters, we can see how her words just destroy Dean. His chin quivers, his eyes fill with tears, and he begs Mary to remember, on a distant day ten years in the future, to not get out of bed, no matter what. And we know it is all for naught. *sniffles*

And yet in the midst of all the heavy emotion, we also got the funny. The whole homage to Back to the Future was delightful, as were Dean's hilarious expressions and reactions before things took a turn toward dead serious. And Dean freaking John out with his talk of cattle mutilations made me laugh, as did Dean calling his mom a babe. "I'm going to hell... again." hee!

There were so many treasures to be found in this episode. Mary was a hunter!! In a family of hunters!! John and Mary were totally in love, and so happy. And absolutely attractive enough to have produced two of the prettiest boys I've ever seen. :) Mary's parents were named Samuel and Deanna. *snerk* Dean picked out the Impala for his dad! Dean used John's journal, which he still carries close to his heart. He went and found the Colt! And we finally know why Mary apologized to Sam in Home!! \o/

I loved the guest cast. I could totally see John and Mary as the younger versions of the Winchesters we know so well. I loved Mary's passion, and John's goodness. And how completely awesome was Mitch Pileggi? OMG, what a performance! First as the crusty, stubborn hunter, and then as the masterful, delicious embodiment of evil. He made my skin crawl, he was so creepy. All I could cling to was the knowledge that one day he would finally get his due, at Dean's hand.

Castiel was as enigmatic as ever in the beginning, but opened up a little at the end, only to tell us our greatest fears have come true. It really is going to come down to Dean against Sam. *wibbles* I can only hope God chose Dean for this job because he's the one person who can stop Sam and save him at the same time. Oh, and did I mention that Castiel is hot? Totally, impossibly hot. Dean's not the only one going to hell. :)

So what about Sam? You remember Sam, right? Where was he? Well, I have no idea, but I know he's up to no good and in over his head, and I just hope Dean gets there in time. Did you see Sam's face as he left the motel room to join Ruby? It was the picture of deadly determination, and complete and total defiance. I think Dean said it best: "Oh, college boy, thinks he's so smart!" *sighs* This just can't end well.

Random thoughts: The boys' motel room had a rotary phone. When was the last time you saw one of those? Dean driving a Pinto? Really? :D Did he steal it? I liked that warm family scene of the Campbells sitting around the dining room table, cleaning weapons. :) And the show did an amazing job of recreating 1973, from the clothes, to the cars, to the smallest details of the interior sets. Very nicely done.

The final scene of this episode was incredibly intense. If Dean can't stop Sammy, Castiel and his fellow warrior angels will. *shivers* I'm nervous, I'm scared, and I can't wait to see the next episode! Is it Thursday yet?

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stoodupforlove From: stoodupforlove Date: October 7th, 2008 03:18 am (UTC) (Link)
HA! I was just thinking, "It's too bad she didn't post her SPN review yet, I'd like to read that before bed."

Going to read it now! How cool.
stoodupforlove From: stoodupforlove Date: October 7th, 2008 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I can only hope God chose Dean for this job because he's the one person who can stop Sam and save him at the same time.

I believe that's exactly the reason Dean was chosen. Who knows Sam better? Who loves Sam more? Nobody. Not even his parents did, in my opinion. The two of them have a closer bond than most brothers, mostly because Dean was so instrumental in raising Sam practically on his own. Their relationship is the best, BEST, I've ever seen on television.

I missed Sam greatly, but it was certainly gratifying to finally have the answers to the questions we've been asking since the first episode. Mary was a hunter? OMG that's genius! And she tried so hard to escape that life; she did escape it, but by doing so she doomed her husband and sons to live that lifestyle all over again. It was all for John, to have him alive, and we can see how it runs in the family now, can't we? She made a deal to bring John back; John made a deal to bring Dean back; Dean made a deal to bring Sam back. Sam didn't make his own deal, but not for lack of trying! It's a chain reaction in that family, each willing to die for the next if it comes to that, and there is nothing more beautiful than selfless love.

While I honestly can't say this was my favorite episode (I liked this season's premiere better), it was a close second. I just wish Sam had been a bigger part of it. Poor Sam, he never knew his mother and missed out on this golden opportunity. It was necessary, but it makes me sad.

Now we know all that God knows. What I'd like to know is...how much of this does Sam know?
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 8th, 2008 10:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Who knows Sam better? Who loves Sam more?

Exactly. What else is this series even about, if not the love these two boys have for one another?

It's funny, I didn't miss Sam at all. I was so enthralled by what was happening, the episode just flew by. And in some way, I've always seen Mary as somehow belonging more to Dean than to Sam. I just feel like that connection has always been at the core of Dean's existence.

Good point about self-sacrifice running in the family! The things we do for love, right? *sighs*

I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow night!
simplytoopretty From: simplytoopretty Date: October 7th, 2008 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I really liked this episode. The first two episodes of SPN, I admit, I got distracted during. This episode really held my attention. Maybe part of the reason was the lack of Sam. Not that I dislike Sam, but I love Dean and the focus on him I enjoyed a lot. I got to forget a bit about Sam and what he is up to and got to focus on Dean's experience with the past and his realization that history can't be altered.

The backstory was great and I wasn't expecting Mary to have hailed from a family of hunters. It's sad to know that the Winchester family was doomed so early on.

Also, as a devoted X-Files fan, I adored Mitch Pileggi. I knew he was guest-starring and he didn't disappoint.

Lastly I'm very curious about how Dean will (try?) to pull Sam back from the edge Sam is clearly on. I'm crossing my fingers that the heroes will come out of this mess relatively intact physically and emotionally, but I do wonder if that's even possible.

Edited at 2008-10-07 03:41 am (UTC)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 8th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think this was my favorite episode ever so far, even without Sam. Before this my fave was What Is and What Should Never Be, so obviously I love stories about Dean and his connection to his family. Jensen just kills me with his emotional performances. And this from the girl who still says she doesn't like angst! :)

I never dreamed that Mary was a hunter. What an awesome twist! And are we to assume that John never knew? Wow.

Mitch Pileggi is the bomb. I was devoted to Skinner on The X-Files. He's been on Stargate: Atlantis the past few years, but I think mostly his talent has been wasted on that show. He really went to town with this role! When he was leaning over Dean in that chair, just completely all over him, I was so creeped out I almost felt nauseous.

I don't think Kripke would ever necessarily guarantee us a happy ending. That's one of the things I love about him, but it also makes me very afraid.
bananabehr From: bananabehr Date: October 7th, 2008 03:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Cheers! I agree with you here. I missed my Sammeh, but it was necessary for the story.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 8th, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Most other shows would have tried to include Sam, flashing back between the two, but it was infinitely more effective to focus on Dean for the entirety of this episode. Kripke is a genius.

I can't wait for tomorrow night!
jude_judith82 From: jude_judith82 Date: October 7th, 2008 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll have a real comment tomorrow since I'm getting ready to go to sleep but for now Squeeeeeee. So much love for the eppy.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 8th, 2008 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
*squeeeeeees with you* It was beyond awesome!
angi_is_altered From: angi_is_altered Date: October 7th, 2008 10:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi there! I stumbled onto your LJ by way of Goggle alerts! It is an awesome review. You should join us at ontd_spn and post it there. We would love to have you ;)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 8th, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi! *waves* Thanks, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And thank you for the link to your comm! It looks very cool. I love the idea of a comm that's focused on news about the show, and the posts so far are awesome.

So reviews are welcome over there?
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2008 01:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think stopping Sam is only part of the reason Dean was brought back. If Sam is that much of a danger, and if stopping him would stop Azazel's plan, then then angels would just have killed Sam. But Sam, while a piece of the puzzle, is not the only piece and I think killing Sam isn't going to stop Azazel's plan from continuing. Which is why Dean was brought back. To find out what the end game is, and try to stop it, and his brother at the same time. Also? Dean was in hell. Nothings to say that Dean didn't learn some crucial information while in hell. So, for one in three years, Dean is important for something that has more to do than Sam.

tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 8th, 2008 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi! *waves* I'm fascinated by your thoughts. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, aren't there? Like, was it ever really Azazel's plan, or was he working for someone else? Because the plan certainly didn't stop with his death. Was it Lilith who stepped in to take his place, and was it Satan himself behind all this?

That's a good point about Dean's time in hell. It's another piece of a puzzle I'm nowhere near solving! :)
(Deleted comment)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 8th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!

I hate to say this since Sam basically wasn't in this one at all, but I think this is my favorite episode ever. Everything about it was just perfect.

I'm sure part of the reason I loved it so much is that I'm so starved for continuity from watching Smallville. :D
trystan830 From: trystan830 Date: October 7th, 2008 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
i read the awesome review and i am STILL all flaily from the episode! *eeeeeeeeeeeee*

*glares at tuesday on my calendar* why are you not thursday yet?
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 8th, 2008 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
*flails with you* :)

*glares at Wednesday* Why are you not Thursday yet?
oceantriana From: oceantriana Date: October 7th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think you are so right about this show and everyone associated with it. What I love is that each and every week, I expect the best and am rarely disappointed.

Jensen Ackles is Hollywood's best kept secret.

Amen!!! You are so right about that. Hopefully, at some point in his career he will get the recognition he deserves.

Mary's parents were named Samuel and Deanna. *snerk*

I didn't make the connection that Dean was named after Deanna until the second time I rewatched the episode. *facepalm*

Oh, and did I mention that Castiel is hot? Totally, impossibly hot.

LOL!!! I think the whole fandom has noticed that as well. :D

And the show did an amazing job of recreating 1973, from the clothes, to the cars, to the smallest details of the interior sets.

It always amazes me what they can do on what you know is a very small budget. The set decoration this week was incredible!!!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 9th, 2008 12:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Why can't more shows be like Supernatural? And why isn't this show a massive hit?! *kicks the CW*

I love how I see Castiel referred to as Supernatural's hot new angel everywhere. Religion is the new sexy! LOL! I wonder how much of a factor that was in the casting. :) I think I love his voice most of all.

The design team is amazing. I see some people complaining that they use the same set pieces and props over and over, and I want to slap them upside the head. What do they expect? And I think it's charming, anyway.

all_you_wanted From: all_you_wanted Date: October 7th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Glad to see you didn't disappoint me

Unlike some non-continuity following shows (SV I'm looking at you!)

I'm going to hell with you on the Castiel issue. *growl*

I would go into depth all the things I loved about this episode and your review of it but I finally stopped tearing up just thinking of it (5 days later) and I really don't wanna go down that road again.

I will say this though, if thursday's episode doesn't rock I will shove that TBC card up Kripke's ass.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 9th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Glad to see you didn't disappoint me

Isn't it just an amazing contrast to how things are done on SV? The disparity makes me appreciate it all the more.

The fact that every time Castiel is onscreen he's talking to Dean raises the hotness factor exponentially! The two of them together just kill me every time.

I will say this though, if thursday's episode doesn't rock I will shove that TBC card up Kripke's ass.

LOL! I think I love you. :)
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: October 7th, 2008 06:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
My angel's getting a little scary here.

Look, there's no such thing as Dean against Sam. Not in an epic sense, anyway. Winchesters will stick together. There will be fights, the wrong thing said, but they will still stand together at the end.

I'm more concerned that this episode seems to indicate that Sam's powers are demonic in origin and, like Boromir in LotR, it's going to be hard to convince Sam that's not a path that's worth going down.

And who's picking up the endgame? Ruby? Lilith? Someone new? This season is going to give me an ulcer and I can't wait!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 9th, 2008 01:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Look, there's no such thing as Dean against Sam. Not in an epic sense, anyway.

I know you're right about that, of course, but it seems that all the combined forces of heaven and hell are pushing them in that direction. I'm worried about how much heartache is ahead. You know how much Kripke likes to torment us.

Yeah, before I thought Azazel picked the kids because they had powers, now it looks more like he gave them to them. And it's obvious Sam is enjoying his.

I'm thinking it was never Azazel's endgame in the first place. I think maybe this plan comes from higher up (or is it lower down?), and Lilith was sent to the front lines as Azazel's replacement after he fell. I'm also not convinced Ruby is actually Ruby. She doesn't seem like the same demon at all, but maybe that's the actress rather than the writing. IDK.
hot_craving From: hot_craving Date: October 7th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

oh wow

I agree with what you said and I can't wait to see more either. I am glad we have some answers but the truly large questions still need answers, this will be a thrilling season.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 9th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: oh wow

I like the way Kripke gives us answers along the way, and then gives us all new questions as well. I've watched LOST since the beginning, and it drives me crazy the way they never tell you anything!

Thrilling is the perfect word for how the season has been so far. I am a completely happy fangirl! :)
tasabian From: tasabian Date: October 8th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I've watched the last conversation Dean has with his mother many times now, and every time I cry. As Mary confesses that her worst fear is that her children will grow up to be hunters, we can see how her words just destroy Dean. His chin quivers, his eyes fill with tears, and he begs Mary to remember, on a distant day ten years in the future, to not get out of bed, no matter what.
That scene was so heart-breaking....Jensen knocked it out of the park, and the actor playing Mary was great too.

Oh, and did I mention that Castiel is hot? Totally, impossibly hot. Dean's not the only one going to hell. :
I would like to wake up and find Castiel sitting on MY bed!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 9th, 2008 01:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't even have the words to express how much Jensen impresses me. I think it takes tremendous courage to make yourself that vulnerable while acting, and he does it episode after episode.

I loved how the actress playing Mary portrayed her complete and total love for John. Her giddy excitement over his imminent proposal, and her huge smile to go with it, were so real. And I liked how she took Dean seriously when he warned her (for all the good it did), even though she obviously had no idea what the hell he was talking about.

I would like to wake up and find Castiel sitting on MY bed!

Oh. My. Hot. Angel. *thud*
jude_judith82 From: jude_judith82 Date: October 8th, 2008 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Real Comment Time!!!!

but overall I think Kripke respects the fans of his show, and even more importantly, he respects the storytelling. He, and seemingly everyone else who comes together to make this show possible, are not just in it for the paycheck. They honestly care about creating something beautiful, and memorable, and meaningful, and it shows.

My mind was blown away by this episode for this reason. I remember during the ending of season two when they showed Sam watching him mom and Mary recognizing the yellow-eyed monster. I was like oh my god. Then it got dropped during all of season three but they brought it all the way back in the episode what a pay off for a long time viewer. Let's just say I was jumping up and down.


Jensen Ackles is Hollywood's best kept secret. Maybe because he isn't in Hollywood at all, but rather is tucked away in Vancouver. I am blown away by his acting on a weekly basis, but I think his performance this week tops anything he's ever done before.


I cannot agree with you more. I can't believe any one doubted that he wouldn't be able to pull off an episode. Jensen Ackles breaks my heart on a pretty constant basis especially last season but I was devastated by his performance in this last episode. He is just that good.

The final scene of this episode was incredibly intense. If Dean can't stop Sammy, Castiel and his fellow warrior angels will. *shivers* I'm nervous, I'm scared

I think pretty I and pretty much everyone saw this coming but it didn't stop me from going "Oh snap!"

I can't wait to see the next episode! Is it Thursday yet?</i? :-D
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: October 9th, 2008 01:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I was afraid they would never go back to this storyline (after all, I watch Smallville!), and it was so gratifying to have our questions answered, and to begin to see how it all ties together. I am in awe.

I honestly think Jensen just keeps getting better and better. As does Jared, for that matter. I can't believe how lucky we are to have both of them on this show. But I'm a Dean girl, through and through.

I think I knew what all this was coming to, but I was in denial until Castiel put it in so many words. But I believe in Dean. Everything's going to be okay. *nods*
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