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In Episode 3 ("The Beginning") of the 4th Season of the Supernatural Series, why does the Angel send Dean back in time?

At the starting of the series, the Angel asks Dean to "Stop It", but at the end of the Episode, he says that there is nothing Dean could have ever done to stop it because, "All Roads Lead to the same Destination".

So, my question is, Why did he send him back in time? What was the gain?

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It was a rather elaborate way for Castiel to share the Angels knowledge of Azazel's activities and bring Dean up to speed.

From the transcript:

DEAN I couldn't stop any of it, she still made the deal, she still died in the nursery didn't she?

CASTIEL Don't be too hard on yourself, you couldn't have stopped it.

DEAN What?

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?

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.

From a storytelling stand point, it establishes a level of pre-destination into the Supernatural universe, the notion that whilst changes can be made the end destination is always the same, this would come into effect more later in season five, and Dean's fight against his destiny.

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When Castiel told Dean to "stop it", he didn't mean for Dean to stop what had happened in the past.

He was talking about what Sam was doing at that same moment - meeting Ruby and learning to use his demonic powers. Castiel sent Dean back in time so he could see what the source of Sam's powers was, and why Azazel is so interested in him. The angels don't actually know what Azazel's end goal is, but they know Sam is involved and are scared of what he's doing. Castiel hopes that, by cluing Dean in to what's going on, he can convince Dean to stop his brother from whatever he's doing before it's too late.

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    First para of your answer is wrong, as in a later episode it is shown that Dean travels to past again, and his Mom remembers him. – user5421 Nov 19 '12 at 10:31
  • You're right, I was confusing the two back-in-time episodes; he erases John and Mary's memories of the second meeting w/ Dean. – KutuluMike Nov 19 '12 at 15:12
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Castiel put dean in the past so he could understand the future. So he knows that no matter what he did/does, he will have to stop/save Sam weather that is to kill him or what not...

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