7.12 Time After Time

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Title Time After Time
Episode # Season 7, Episode 12
First aired January 13, 2012
Directed by Phil Sgriccia
Written by Robbie Thompson
On IMDB Time After Time
Outline A hunt goes wrong and Dean is transported back in time to 1944, where he teams up with the famous Eliot Ness. Sam and Sheriff Mills hurry to find a way to return Dean back to the present.
Monster Chronos
Timeline Present day (2012)
November 4–5, 1944
Location(s) Canton, Ohio
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Dean and Sam watch as a man in a fedora leaves a house and starts walking towards town. Sam and Dean split up to try and find him, and Dean is just in time to see the man suck the life out of someone in an alley. Dean runs up to attack him just as Sam arrives on the scene. He watches as Dean and the man vanish in a flash of red light.

Two days earlier
Sam is asleep and Dean is reading articles about Dick Roman when Sheriff Jody Mills calls Sam's phone with a case in Canton, Ohio. She's heard about two deaths in the last few weeks in which the bodies have been found mummified, and she thinks it's something that they should look into. They drive into town and set up in an abandoned house before going to question a witness.

The witness lived next door to the latest victim, and he implies that he was smoking marijuana when he saw a man dressed in old-fashioned clothes and a fedora choking his neighbor. Then there was a red light, and his watch stopped as his neighbor aged before his eyes. Sam and Dean research the town and find that Canton has a history of strange bodies. In 1928, three deaths were attributed to "spontaneous combustion"; in 1954, three people died from "severe dehydration"; and in 1974, three bodies were found with "leathery decay." Since all the deaths happen in threes, they presume that there will likely be another victim soon. Dean, displaying some skills he learned from Frank Devereaux, hacks into the town's security camera feeds. They're watching the camera feed near where the latest body was found when Dean notices a man wearing a fedora, and Sam points out that he looks like a man who was in the newspaper photo from 1954.

They go to question the girl, now a woman, who found the body featured in that 1954 newspaper article. She tells them that the man in the photograph was Mr. Snider, her neighbor when she was younger, so they go to stake out the house that he used to live in. While they watch, a man in a fedora leaves and starts walking towards town. They split up to follow him, and Dean sees him feeding on his third victim in an alley. Sam arrives on the scene just as Dean runs up to attack him, and they both vanish in a flash of red light.

November 1944
When Dean lands, he's still struggling with Snider. He sees a strange ring on his hand before Snider gets away. Dean chases after him with his gun at the ready, but when he leaves the alley, he's on a crowded street in another time, and two policemen stop and arrest him.

At the police station, the police don't know what to make of Dean. His FBI badge says that it was issued in 2012, "68 years from now," and his cell phone is a strange device that says "no signal." Then a man comes in to question him alone. He wants to know what really happened in the alley, and Dean tells him the truth. The man believes him, and Dean surmises that he's a hunter. They introduce each other, and the other man says that his name is Eliot Ness.

Dean is extremely excited to be working with Eliot Ness, the man whose efforts to bring down Al Capone were featured in the movie The Untouchables. He tells Eliot that it was one of his favorite movies, but Eliot doesn't know what he's talking about. He asks if time travel is normal, and Dean assures him that it's not before they get down to business hunting whatever it is that they've both been hunting in different times. Their first stop is to see a tailor named Ezra Moore, a friend of Eliot's. He tells her that Dean is from the future and that he needs new clothes.

Present day
Sam tells Jody what happened to Dean, and she offers to help. He asks her to empty one of Bobby's storage lockers and bring the contents to Canton, Ohio. Once she arrives with twenty boxes full of junk, Sam starts looking through Bobby's notes. Jody also searches for the suspect in the federal criminal database. She brings up an image of Snider and they see a ring with a strange symbol on his finger: the infinite hourglass. Sam recognizes the symbol from Bobby's notes as the symbol of Chronos, the god of time. Jody asks him how they can get Dean back or find Chronos, and Sam says that their next step should be finding out how to summon a god.

November 1944
After Dean is outfitted in a new suit, Eliot tells Ezra that they need her help. Like Bobby, she has a library of information and is able to find the same symbol that Sam identified in the present day. She hypotheses that Chronos is using his victims so that he can get enough power to travel through time. Dean asks her how he's supposed to get back to his own time, but she doesn't have any answers. Eliot and Dean decide to investigate the home of Snider, aka Chronos, in this time to see what they can find, while Ezra researches what can kill Chronos.

At Chronos' house, they find a book recording horse races. Chronos has been betting on races that he already knows the outcome of in order to make money. The notation "L.Y." appears next to the bets in 1944, and Eliot recognizes them as the initials of a bookie named Lester Young. They question Lester using the "good cop, bad cop" method and learn that Chronos hangs out at a dive called The Early Bird.

Present day
Sam and Jody find a spell to summon Chronos, but if they don't summon him from a time when he literally has his hands on Dean, they'll only summon Chronos and Dean will be trapped in another time forever. They're not sure what to do, and then Jody finds a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue in Bobby's things with a note that says "Fine, you ass, you win for once. Enjoy. R." Sam tells her that "R" stands for "Rufus," a family friend. Jody comments that Bobby's life is like a big puzzle that you find pieces of everywhere, and then says that they should drink the alcohol because Bobby would want them to. Sam agrees.

November 1944
Eliot and Dean wait outside The Early Bird for Chronos to make a move. Dean asks Eliot who died and got him involved in hunting, and Eliot says no one: vampires were turning people outside Cleveland and he got the bug. He's frustrated by the red tape in his regular job—hunting sets him free. Dean tells him that he used to hunt because his family hunted, but they just keep dying and he doesn't know why he does anything anymore. Eliot calls him a nancy and says that everybody dies: at least Dean's making a difference and has clarity in his life. As they talk, they see a stunning blonde woman walk across the street, and Chronos leaves the diner to follow her into an alley. Eliot and Dean pull guns from Eliot's trunk and follow, and are just in time to see Chronos and the woman kissing.

They follow Chronos and the woman to a house. It's owned by the twenty-year-old Lila Taylor, and she lives alone. Eliot stays to watch the house and Dean goes to see what Ezra has found. Ezra presents Dean with a thousand-year-old olive stake carved by vestal virgins and dipped in blood, and then tells him that he and Eliot owe her big. Dean just has to stab Chronos in the heart with the stake to kill him; however, if Dean kills Chronos then he'll be stuck in 1944. Ezra tells him that 1944 isn't so bad and kisses him "for luck." As he turns to go, he sees some letters on the counter, and tells Ezra that he needs paper. He then drives to the house that he and Sam are squatting in in the year 2012. He lies where Sam set up his sleeping bag and focuses on the baseboard across the room.

Meanwhile, Eliot is outside watching Lila's house when he's attacked by Chronos. Chronos throws him through a shed window but is distracted when Lila walks out of the house and tells him that he's forgotten the trash. Eliot takes the chance to escape, and Chronos goes inside and tells Lila to pack her bags—he's going to take her on his next trip.

Present day
Just as Dean was hoping, Sam lies on his sleeping bag and notices the baseboard across the room: "SAM" has been carved into the wood. Sam gets up, pries off the baseboard, and finds a letter from Dean dated Nov 5, 1944. It says that Dean is working with Eliot Ness and that they're going to kill Chronos, who's involved with a woman named Lila Taylor. He and Jody know the day that Dean had his hands on Chronos: now they just need the time. They go to question Lila Taylor, who's in a nursing home, about the last time she saw Chronos, aka Ethan Snider. She tells them that it was in November 1944, on the night the clocks stopped at 11:34pm. She goes on to say that Ethan strangled a policeman to death, and, when Sam shows her a picture of Dean, she confirms that it was Dean. They set up the ritual to summon Chronos from November 5, 1944 at 11:34pm.

November 1944
Dean arrives at Lila's house and can't find Eliot. He goes inside, where he's attacked by Chronos. They're fighting when Eliot appears holding Lila hostage, and he gets Chronos to admit to killing people to travel through time. Apparently, Chronos doesn't have control over when he jumps through time, but if he kills three people he can get enough power to travel back to where Lila is. As they talk, Dean comes up behind Chronos with the wooden stake, but Chronos turns and knocks it away in time. He starts to choke Dean, but is suddenly surrounded by a red light. Eliot throws the wooden stake to Dean just before they both disappear in the light.

Present day
Dean and Chronos appear in front of Sam and Jody still struggling. The wooden stake slides across the floor, and Dean collapses. Jody rushes to Dean's side and Sam tries to hit Chronos, but is blocked. When Chronos realizes that he's in 2012, he turns to Dean and shouts that he's ruined everything. Before he can do anything else, though, Sam stabs him with the wooden stake. As he dies, he tells Sam that his future "is covered in thick, black ooze. It's everywhere. They're everywhere. Enjoy oblivion."






Sam: I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I hope you're watching cartoon smut, because reading Dick Roman crap over and over again is just self-punishment.
Dean: It's called anime. And it's an art form.
Sam: What, you going to look at more anime or are you strictly into Dick now?
Dean: Does this mean that I'm an Untouchable now?
Sam: What's the plan here?
Dean: Don't die.
Eliot: Why do you think I went after Capone in the first place? Guy made the best hooch in Chicago.
Eliot: Let's go kill that bastard. Because that...

Dean: (Imitating Sean Connery) Is the Chicago way.
Ezra: Chicago way?
Eliot: Who the hell talks like that?

Dean: Sean Connery.
Eliot: Boo hoo, cry me a river, ya nancy! Tell me, are all hunters as soft as you in the future?
Eliot: So enjoy it while it lasts, kid, 'cause hunting's the only clarity you're gonna find in this life. And that makes you luckier than most.
Chronos: You want to know your future? I know your future. It's covered in thick black ooze. It's everywhere. They're everywhere. Enjoy oblivion.

Trivia & References

The episode title plays on the phrase "time after time," which has been used for a number of books, TV shows and films about time travel. It was also the title of Cyndi Lauper's 1984 smash hit song.
In an interview with the LA Times, Sera Gamble said that Chronos was inspired by the 2003 novel "The Time Traveler’s Wife," by Audrey Niffenegger, about a man with a genetic condition that causes him to time travel. Gamble said the show’s writers found "a compelling starting point in the notion of time jumping that can’t be controlled."
Dean: Wow. Very King Tut.
Tutankhamun was a pharaoh of ancient Egypt. The discovery of his tomb and mummified remains is considered one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time.
Sam and Dean use the aliases made for them by Frank Devereaux - Agents Smith and Smith.
The Line "Agent Smith and Smith. No relation" is likely a riff on the line "Agent Johnson and Johnson. No relation" from Die Hard.
Dean: Nothing that turns a dude into a Cryptkeeper.
The Cryptkeeper was the wizened zombie host of the horror TV show Tales from the Crypt. "Kripkeeper" is also a fandom nickname for Eric Kripke.
The episode played with the evolution of slang to illustrate the differences between the time periods. Dean kept using the word awesome to indicate approval, or that something was good, whereas in the 1940s, the term was used more literally to describe something that inspired awe (i.e. reverence or fear). Dean also confused Ness when he said "talk to me" to mean "tell me what you've learned."

The characters from 1944 also used vernacular that is not in use anymore:

  • Jerry and Kraut were terms for Germans during Word War II. The police officer uses "kraut-muncher" also to imply Dean is a German spy.
  • Bunny means idiot or fool.
  • Stoolie is a stool pigeon or informant.
  • Snap your cap means to get angry.
  • Ness says Dean "looks like some kind of bindlestiff." Bindlestiff is another word for a hobo.
  • Take a powder means to go away, to get lost.
  • Ezra asks "What's the rumpus, Eliot?" meaning "what's going on?"
  • Ness uses lettuce to refer to money.
  • Ness calls Dean a nancy which was a slang term for a gay or effeminate man.source
Dean: Look, I don't even like friggin' sauerkraut, okay? So, you can just skip --
Sauerkraut is finely-cut raw cabbage that has been fermented. It's a popular dish in Germany. Dean's referring to the officer previously calling him a 'kraut-muncher'.
Dean: Alright, well I am Twelve Monkey'd no matter what I say, so here goes.
12 Monkeys is a 1995 movie by Terry Gilliam about a man sent to the past to collect a virus.
Eliot Ness was a real law enforcement officer who joined the U.S. Treasury Department in 1927, working with the Bureau of Prohibition, in Chicago. He was involved in targeting gangster Al Capone. His refusal to accept a bribe led to Ness' team becoming known as "The Untouchables."
Dean: I gotta tell you, Untouchables is like one of my favorite movies ever. I must've seen it like 50 times.
Dean is referring to Brian De Palma's 1987 film The Untouchables starring Kevin Costner, Robert DeNiro and Sean Connery, which was based on Eliot Ness' memoir of the same name. Dean's line "because that's the Chicago way!" is a quote from Sean Connery in the movie. Dean also uses the alias "Agent Costner" (of the Department of Homeland Termite Invasion).
Dean: He's using the Biff strategy... Chronos is betting on races he already knows the outcome of.
In Back to the Future II, a Biff Tannen from 2015 gives a sports almanac to his younger 1955 self, who then uses it to make bets and become rich. Jim Michaels worked on Back to the Future II.
Ness: I'm gonna stay here and keep my peepers on the Sheik and the Sheba.
Peepers are eyes. The 1921 film The Sheik starring Rudolph Valentino was a huge hit (particularly with women), and had a big impact on popular culture. The term "Sheik" came to mean a guy out looking for women, and "Sheba" was the term used for the object of his desire.
Dean: Back to the Future III! I need to borrow some paper.
In the movie Back to the Future III, Doc Brown gets trapped in 1885, and tells Marty what's happened by writing a letter and arranging for it to be delivered seventy years later. Technically, the delivery of the letter happens at the end of Back to the Future II, but the letter's contents aren't revealed until the third movie. Samuel Colt used a similar strategy to get the Phoenix's ashes to Sam and Dean in 6.18 Frontierland. Also, in the movie Frequency, characters in different times are able to exchange evidence of a crime by hiding it under a floorboard in a house they share.
Another connection is that in Back to The Future, Marty travels back to November 5, 1955. Dean's letter to Sam is dated November 5, 1944.
When Dean pretends to be a termite inspector, a radio show is playing in the background, doing a PSA on Victory Gardens. In both World Wars, since the US government had to ration civilian food, they began encouraging civilians to plant their own food in Victory Gardens. The Victory Gardens, most of them in urban and suburban yards, ended up providing about a third of all the produce available to civilians. Similar programs were also run in other countries.


The title of the episode appears as Time After Time After Time per the season 7 DVD set. The onscreen title is however "Time After Time".
This is the first time both Supernatural composers - Jay Gruska and Christopher Lennertz have worked together on an episode, bringing in musicians specially for the score.source The music was composed by Gruska and Lennertz and played by a local LA band called the California Feetwarmers. The band was recommended by director Phil Sgriccia.S7DVD
The car Sam and Dean are temporarily using at the start of the episode is a 2004 Honda Civic Coupe.
Dean: It's called anime. And it's an art form.
Dean was also seen watching anime — or, more likely, hentai — in 7.01 Meet the New Boss.
Dean: How does paper beat a rock? It's stupid.
Sam and Dean play "Rock, Paper, Scissors" to decide who gets the bedroom in the house they're squatting in. Traditionally, Sam always wins because Dean only throws 'scissors' (as seen in 2.17 Heart and 4.19 Jump the Shark; in the alternate reality of 6.17 My Heart Will Go On Sam's losing is an indicator of history having changed. This time, Sam appears to study Dean's face carefully before choosing; we don't see the actual throw, but the next scene clearly indicates that Sam predicted Dean would use "rock" for the first time ever.
The medical examiner's report on the death of Charles Durbin lists multiple Supernatural crewmembers:
  • The medical examiner is listed as Leeanne Elaschuk M.D., a graphic designer in the art department.
  • The physician is listed as Dr. M. A. Liu M.D. (Mary-Ann Liu), head graphic designer.
  • Another doctor is listed as Dr. Jason Fischer M.D., production co-ordinator.
  • Another doctor is listed as Dr. Lesley DeHaan M.D., assistant production co-ordinator.
  • The prosector is listed as Adrian Hrytzak L.L.B., art department co-ordinator.
  • Durbin's roommate is listed as Kevin Parks, first assistant director.
Sam and Dean drink Margiekugel beer from Wisconsin, which is named after Production Designer Jerry Wanek's mom.
When talking about old strange deaths in Canton, Ohio, Sam brings up articles written by authors named after Supernatural crewmembers:
For other Supernatural episodes involving time travel, click here.
Nicholas Lea, who plays Eliot Ness, worked with Kim Manners when he played Alex Krycek on The X-Files.
Ezra: So what bucket of syrup did you two idjits step into?
Idjit was, of course, Bobby's nickname for Sam and Dean.
Bobby's storage unit, which Sheriff Mills collects all the boxes from, was last seen in 7.04 Defending Your Life.
5.05 Fallen Idols, which featured the god Leshii, was also set in Canton, Ohio.
Sam and Dean previously encountered gods from other religions in 5.19 Hammer of the Gods. On page 24 of the Supernatural novel Bone Key, Bobby tells Sam and Dean in response to their comment about killing two gods:
"Only reason the stake worked was 'cause nobody'd worshiped those two for centuries. Gods're only powerful when people believe in 'em. You meet Zeus in a dark alley, he can probably muster up a lightning bolt, but a couple of thousand years ago? He'd fry you as soon as look atcha."
The car that Eliot Ness drives is a classic Plymouth, likely a 1940 Plymouth Roadking, with Ohio plates 8M71-XR.
The spell Sam recites to summon Chronos is
O Krone, parakaloumen se, thespizein hemin hronon ton mellonta.
O Kronos, we beg you, foretell the future for us
Tweets from @TheJimMichaels during the episode.
Deleted scenes:
  • The first deleted scene is of Sam and Jody in Jody's car on their way to get the ingredients for their Chronos summoning spell. Read the transcript here.
  • The second deleted scene is set at the end of the episode back at the house they're squatting in. The boys say goodbye to Jody, Dean boasts to Sam about working with Eliot Ness, then Sam goes to find another case, leaving Dean researching Dick Roman again. Read the transcript here.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts