We already have this one under Origins Issue. I will be merging examples and discarding this YKTTW shortly.
An entire episode, chapter, issue, arc, or any kind of a self-contained story set in the past and detailing how one or more previously introduced characters became what they are in the story.
For main characters in Myth Arc
-driven shows, this is often but not necessarily identical with the Pilot Episode
. Contrast From Nobody to Nightmare
and similar tropes. Too much of this can lead to an Expansion Pack Past
Anime and Manga
Live Action TV
- The X-Files had several origin episodes, including one for the Big Bad ("Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man") and The Lone Gunmen trio ("Unusual Suspects").
- Xena had several over the course of the show, showing how she developed from a village girl into an evil Warrior Princess. (She had a Heel-Face Turn during her guest appearances on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys before she got her own show.)
- Chuck eventually showed us the backstory as to how Sara became a CIA operative, starting as a young teen when she was a grifter with her father.
- Highlander had "Family Tree" for Duncan, and for recurring characters, there was "Legacy" for Amanda, "Comes A Horseman" showed Cassandra's origin and there was one for Fitz ("Star Crossed"?).
- Forever Knight: Nick's vampire origin was shown in the pilot, 'Dark Knight'
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer first showed Angel's origin in 'Becoming part 1 and 2' but Angel elaborated on it in 'The Somnamublist' I think. Spike's was 'Lies My Parents Told Me' to a point and 'Lover's Walk'.
- The Tribe had two of these in the second season; one focused on Zoot and Ebony; the other focused on Lex and Ryan (though the latter example was submerged as a very long flashback).
- Jack's loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2 reveals a lot of details on her origin, including ones she wasn't aware of herself.
- The six origin stories for the Player Character in Dragon Age: Origins are a borderline example: while they are one of the main attractions of the game (cf. the title) and each is a self-contained plot, they come at the very beginning of the game (instead of midway). Still, they stand out enough to be considered distinct "episodes".
- Also, the DLC campaign "Leliana's Song" provides an origin story for the eponymous character, which is mainly alluded to in the game proper.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Storm" gives the backstories of Aang and Zuko via Flash Back.
- This was the plot point of the Aladdin episode "Seems Like Old Crimes", which focused on Aladdin telling everyone the story of how he and Abu first met, long before the events of the first movie.
Will go under the Episodes