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It took 10 years and 38 levels to get that door open.

"Why are you so surprised? You have wandered in great circles across the planes in these countless lives you have lived. Such symmetry. Such futility. Go now, back to where it began. Go back, and die."
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Your rookie hero has left his hometown to answer the call. He learns from his mentor, fights minions, develops some really flashy attacks, perhaps takes down The Dragon, and angsts a lot. But now it's time to face the Big Bad, and what better place to do it than back at his hometown, Where It All Began?

Alternatively, Where It All Began can be where the Big Bad first struck. Sometimes this and the hero's home are one and the same; that's why the hero was chosen.

There's a certain poetic symmetry to the idea that the hero's journey is a circular one, and indeed, returning home for the final showdown is often referred to as "coming full circle." It also reminds the audience (and the hero, who may take a moment to reminisce) how much the hero has grown since the last time we were here.

But most importantly, it means the producers get to use the old sets again.

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Compare Here We Go Again!, Bookends, Go Back to the Source, Final Dungeon Preview, and Brick Joke. So Near, Yet So Far is a variant where even the final climactic goal is known and likely even visible from the start, but you can't accomplish that goal until the finale. Not related to When It All Began; that is a chronology trope (although Time Travel can cause them to overlap, specifically in cases of Set Right What Once Went Wrong).

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This is an Ending Trope, so beware of unmarked spoilers in the examples below.


Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Angelic Layer (manga only), Hikaru and Athena fight on a flat Layer, just like the one that Hikaru first fought on and the one that Athena used when she inspired Misaki to create Hikaru. This despite the fact that this entire Tournament Arc used elaborate terrain layers.
  • In Attack on Titan, the city of Shighanshina is where the Colossal and Armored Titans first appeared and breached the Walls. Five years later, both are defeated in battle against the Survey Corps. Notably, Eren and Armin are the ones to bring down the Colossal Titan, while Mikasa strikes the final blow to defeat the Armored Titan. Reiner narrowly escapes thanks to his superiors, while Bertolt is abandoned to his fate. He's later Eaten Alive, allowing Armin to inherit the power of the Colossal Titan.
  • In the manga version of Chrono Crusade, the final battle between Chrono and Aion takes place in the demon world of Pandaemonium — the place Chrono first decided to join Aion over 50 years ago.
  • In Claymore Raki returns to his hometown after the seven year Time Skip as a badass Yoma-asskicking warrior. And yet they still talk shit about him. Raki sets them straight, though.
  • In Digimon Frontier, the episode "Bad To The Bones" had the Digi Destined return to the Village of Flames, which was the first location in the Digital World that they set foot in, and where Takuya first became Agunimon. This time, the village is under attack by Lucemon's forces.
  • The final scene of the first El-Hazard: The Magnificent World OVA takes place at Shinonome High School, where Ifurita first encountered Makoto in the present.
  • The Final Battle of Fairy Tail between Ishgal's wizards and Acnologia takes place in Hargeon, the same Port Town where Lucy first met Natsu and Happy at the beginning of the series. She makes note of this to Happy, since part of the reason for the battle is to save Natsu and the other Dragon Slayers from the Space Between Time, essentially "meeting" Natsu again.
  • In Fist of the North Star, the final battle between Kenshiro and Raoh over Yuria takes place at the Hokuto Renkitouza, which is the place where the three of them met as children.
    • The final story arc of the manga (which went beyond the Shura story arc the anime adaptation concluded the series with) is set at the same village where Kenshiro met Bat and Lin.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) had Liore, also lampshaded in Episode 41 with a bar in Liore called Motherland.
  • Subverted in Full Metal Panic! when, just as Mithril is making its final preparations to recapture Merida Island, Amalgam seizes a Soviet nuclear missile base in Badakhsha, Afghanistan, and threatens to launch its arsenal. Having basically grown up in the middle of the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, Sousuke considers the location to be utterly life-defining...which leads him to realize that Amalgam chose the location specifically to lead Sousuke away from the actual battle he's needed for so that Leonard can enact his plan without Mithril's trump card, the Laevatein, around to counter him. Thus, Sousuke decides to let the rest of Mithril's SRT handle Afghanistan while he and Tessa themselves confront Leonard at Merida.
  • Kagome, from Inuyasha, was first sucked into Feudal Japan via the Bone Eater's well. This is where Naraku's (and the Shikon Jewel's) final destruction takes place.
  • The final showdown in Martian Successor Nadesico takes place on Mars, the place where the Jovians first attacked and Akito's Doomed Hometown from the prologue. And in The Movie, they go back there again for the final battle against a (slightly) different opponent.
  • The final battle of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 does this not with a location, but with its Humongous Mecha. It is not between overpowered machines and a culmination of the Lensman Arms Race. No, it is Setsuna reclaiming his old Gundam Exia, his first machine he used, going up against Ribbons using a suspiciously-recolored 0 Gundam, the first ever made using the first GN Drive. Made doubly more interesting since Ribbons is Evil Amuro due to his voice actor and the latter Gundam is a deliberate homage to the original RX-78-2.
  • The Wild Goose Chase for Laplace's Box in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn begins and ends in the very same space colony: Industrial 7.
  • In Naruto, the final duel between Naruto and Sasuke takes place at the Valley of the End, where they both fought once before as children and where their past incarnations Hashirama Senju and Madara Uchiha also battled long ago.
  • In One Piece, Pirate King Gold Roger was finally brought to execution at his home town, Logue Town. For this reason Logue Town is known as "The Town of the Beginning and the End." It's even a themed name, as it refers to prologue and epilogue.
    • Twenty-two years later, the protagonist Luffy arrives at Logue Town. He is captured and placed in a stockade, ironically on the very execution stand upon which the Pirate King died. There, he proclaims that he will be the Pirate King, and as Buggy's sword came down to end his life, he apologizes to his crew...and smiles, echoing the death of the previous Pirate King. At this point, Luffy is saved by dumb luck (lighting strikes Buggy), and his act of defiance spurs Smoker, a marine captain, who witnessed the Pirate King's execution decades before, to chase after him. Thus, Where It All Began is where the adventure begins again, but this time, with a new Pirate King.
  • The obsessive collector in Pokémon 2000 quotes this at the end, when he finds the first card he ever collected in the smashed ruins of everything else he collected.
    "How it all began. And how it will begin, again."
  • In Ranma ½, the eponymous hero (and quite a few of his friends/rivals) first acquired his curse at the Cursed Springs of Jusenkyo. The final arc involves returning to Jusenkyo to prevent the villains from draining it (and thus destroying a possible cure to the curses).
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, the secret behind the Rose Gate turns out to be Anthy's resting place as the witch impaled by the million swords...which is where Utena first made her pledge to become a prince and save her as a child. Since the series is a bit of a Mind Screw and full of Character Development, even Utena doesn't remember the importance of it until about three episodes before the finale.
  • The Promised Neverland: The final act occurs with Emma and the other returning to confront Peter Ratri and end the conflict with the Demons at Grace Field House, where they escaped from at the beginning.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- ends in Clow Country, where it all began. Specifically, at the eponymous reservoir, where the wheels of fate were torn asunder by the foolishness of love gone astray in the backstory.

    Comic Books 
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: In many stories where the heroes have to travel across the city or the world, the last chapter takes place on the T.I.A. headquarters, where they were assigned their mission.
  • "Everything You Know About The Powerpuff Girls is Wrong" (DC run) has the kids of Pokey Oaks Kindergarten swapping stories of how the girls first came about, using the origins of Superman, Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four as parallels. When the girls themselves interject how the really came about, they get a failing grade as the kids were taking part in a creative writing lesson.
  • Red Sonja's Queen of Plagues arc opens with Sonja and Annisia in the fighting pit of the King of Zamora and stages the climactic fight in the same place under similar circumstances.
  • Dynamite's The Shadow Girasol arc started in New York City, and after traveling the world, returns to NYC for the finale.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Home on the Range, the final battle against Alameda Slim takes place on Little Patch of Heaven, which Maggie, Grace, and Mrs. Calloway all left at the start of their adventure in order to save it.
  • In Kubo and the Two Strings, Kubo fights the Big Bad, the Moon King, in the ruins of the village where he used to spend his days. The battle actually ends at the nearby graveyard, however — which also happens to be where the Moon King's forces first go after Kubo.
  • Kung Fu Panda almost ended like this. The Wuxi Finger Hold was still going to happen, only Po and Tai Lung would crash land in Po's bedroom, where Tai Lung would see all the Furious Five merchandise, and be confused. Basically the script would not change aside from taking place in a different location. The writers moved the final confrontation to outside Ping's noodle shop, since the original version did not make as much sense.
    • Played straight in the third film. After defeating Kai and being made the new master of the Jade Palace by Oogway, Po trains the others to use Chi in the Palace Arena, the same place where he was chosen to be the Dragon Warrior in the first film.
  • The Lion King ends with Simba returning to the Pride Lands to defeat Scar and take his rightful place as king.
  • Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted has the climax take place at the Central Park Zoo, the same place that Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria left in the first movie.
  • The final battle in My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) takes place in Canterlot, which was the starting location of not only the film, but the series.
  • In Puss in Boots, the titular cat's journey ultimately leads him straight back to the village of San Ricardo, his hometown. And it's there, on the same bridge outside of town, where Puss once again finds himself having to choose between his loyalty to the village and his brother Humpty.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The protagonist of 28 Days Later is introduced lying in a hospital bed and ends up in a similar setting towards the end of the film. The DVD commentary explains that it was deliberately done to invoke this trope (i.e., going full circle).
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron opens with the Avengers attacking HYDRA at Sokovia. The final battle with Ultron also takes place in Sokovia.
  • Marty's destination in Back to the Future is to get back to where the movie started. We even get to see a scene from the beginning of the movie again at the end.
  • Both versions of The Butterfly Effect. The original does it well when the main character goes back to the birthday party where he first met the love of his life and gets her to not want to see him again effectively erasing her from his life, but the director's cut takes it to the ultimate extreme where the main character commits suicide by strangling himself (in utero!)
  • In a cruel twist of fate, the test subjects in Cube learn that the exit room was the very room they started out in, making their trek through the titular deathtrap dungeon a pointless waste of time and human life.
  • The Fugitive starts out at a hospital benefit at a swanky Chicago hotel, and ends at a similar conference at another one.
  • The first and third films of The Hangover trilogy mostly take place in Las Vegas. The Wolfpack even shows some annoyance that similar crap is happening to them for the third time.
  • Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers: Loomis and Jamie set up a trap for Michael in Michael's childhood home, the place of his Start of Darkness.
    • Similarly, Halloween Kills also climaxes with a confrontation with Michael in the old Myers house.
  • The final fight of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters takes place right at the gingerbread house where the original story and the movie's prologue ended. The witch even uses the trope name when she comments on it. Hansel and Gretel react with an understandable "You've gotta be fucking kidding me."
  • Highlander ends with Connor returning with Brenda to Scotland, where he was born.
  • Highwaymen: In the opening, a Serial Killer named Fargo uses his car to run over the protagonist James Cray's wife. To spite Cray, Fargo kidnaps Molly, a lone victim whom Cray saved, and returns to the now abandoned motel (which Fargo bought in the intervening years) where he initially killed Cray's late wife to play the murder out again.
  • The film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has its climax and ending in Arthur's home.
  • James Bond film The Living Daylights begins in Gibraltar and after much business in Czechoslovakia, Austria, Afghanistan and Pakistan ends in Tangier, just three dozen miles southwest.
  • The Last Sharknado: It's About Time 's last scene takes place in Fin's bar from the first film, but because they've been erased from history, there's no sharknado this time around.
  • Lord of Illusions opens in the Cultists' compound in the Mojave desert before moving to Los Angeles, and the climax takes us back there when Nix is revived.
  • Resident Evil: The Final Chapter sees Alice return to the Hive underneath Raccoon City, where the series started.
  • Happens a ridiculous amount of times throughout the Saw franchise.
    • Saw features detectives David Tapp and Steven Sing attempting to arrest Jigsaw at his hideout, which is where the now-solo Tapp (after Sing died in the first attempt) pursues Jigsaw to again in the climax.
    • Saw II drops the bombshell that the movie's main game took place in the same building as the first movie, and that the Bathroom (the first film's centerpiece) is merely one of its many rooms.
    • After being absent since the first movie, Lawrence makes a return in Saw 3D, and the climax reveals that the reason for his survival was because he was nursed back to health by Jigsaw to aid him as an accomplice (though not an official apprentice). His final task was to lock Hoffman, an apprentice who went out of his way to continue Jigsaw's legacy with his own ideals, in the same aforementioned Bathroom.
  • The Secret of Moonacre's climax takes place at the clifftop where the Moon Princess married Sir Wrolf Merryweather.
  • Star Wars:
    • The first movie of the Original Trilogy, A New Hope, begins on Tatooine, and the last movie of the Prequels ends there, so that probably counts, if you look at the films in order of production rather than in terms of in-universe chronology. Of course, the fact remains that we end up going to this desert middle-of-nowhere in five out of the six movies means we keep going back to where it all began.
    • It doesn't conclude the movie, but Luke returns to his home planet of Tatooine for Return of the Jedi.
      Luke: I used to live here, you know.
      Han: You're going to die here, you know. Convenient.
    • The Rise of Skywalker brings the whole Skywalker Saga full circle, as in its last scene, Rey returns to the moisture farm on Tatooine to bury Luke and Leia's lightsabers, with the very last shot being her and BB-8 looking out at the setting suns just like Luke did back in the original film.

    Literature 
  • Happened in the Codex Alera series. In the first book, Tavi is a young, powerless shepherd who takes shelter from a storm full of angry air elementals in a prince's tomb. In the final book, he has now learned to use his vast power and learned his true identity as the son of that very prince, and he pursues the Vord Queen across the landscape, finally killing her at his father's tomb, using two immensely powerful elementals to weaken her.
  • Curtain, the last Hercule Poirot novel, is set in Styles Court, where the first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, took place.
  • The Da Vinci Code starts out in the Louvre, and we end up back at the Louvre only to discover that the museum is the final resting place of Mary Magdelene.
  • In the first Deltora Quest series, Lief and co. traveled back to Del after they gathered the seven gems of the Belt of Deltora to drive back the Shadow Lord from their land with the power of the belt and heir, Dain.
    • In the third series' last book, The Sister of the South, Lief and co. came back to Del once they figured out the last deadly Sister was inside the capital.
  • In Dragon Bones the protagonist leaves castle Hurog, travels far away from home...and in the end, it is all about the eponymous dragon bones, which he has already seen at the start of the novel. The villains meet their end in the very cave where Ward found the dragon bones.
  • The final showdown in Eric Nylund's A Game of Universe takes place in the same casino where the novel started.
  • In the Harry Potter series, "where it all began" is Hogwarts. For both Harry and Voldemort it's the place where they first felt at home and free from their confining upbringings. Of course, Hogwarts is where 90% of the series takes place, but Harry spends the last book, Deathly Hallows, away from school on a MacGuffin hunt, only to eventually realize he must return there for the last one. Voldemort figures out what he's up to at the same time, and events snowball into a Grand Finale Battle Royale.
    • When Harry is hit by Voldemort's killing curse in the Forbidden Forest, he finds himself in King's Cross Station, where his new life truly began.
  • T. S. Eliot's poem "Little Gidding" (the last of his Four Quartets) includes these lines:
    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.
  • The One Ring in The Lord of the Rings can only be destroyed in the same place it was created.
    • Also, the Scouring of the Shire (for the books only), in which Saruman is defeated for good in the hobbits' homeland.
    • Sam speaks the very last words of the story in Bag End, where Bilbo was right at the beginning of The Hobbit.
  • Simon, the lead of Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, starts out as a kitchen boy in the Hayholt and is forced to flee when his mentor is slain by The Dragon. He finally returns after a long and circuitous path to confront the Big Bad who has taken the place for his stronghold.
  • The Saga of Darren Shan has the protagonist going back to his hometown to battle Steve in the 11th and 12th books. Same with The Movie, although much, much sooner.
  • Downplayed in The Seven Citadels. The final sorcerer Kerish needs to find is in his homeland of Galkis — but living deep in an unexplored jungle, nowhere near any place Kerish has been before.
  • This happens twice in Soul Music. Susan goes back to the mountain road where her parents died in a coach accident in the prologue of the book: the first time using Time Travel to witness the crash and confront Death (her maternal grandfather) about his letting her parents die; the second time to save Buddy and his band from going over the edge in the same spot.
  • Lampshaded in-universe in Robert A. Heinlein's Space Cadet, when Matt and Tex return to the academy ship PRS Randolph:
    Matt and Tex showed their orders to the officer of the watch and left with him the inevitable copies. He gave them their rooming assignments—in Hog Alley, in a room with a different number but otherwise like the one they had had. "Seems like we never left it," remarked Tex, as he unpacked his jump bag.
  • Two of the books in the Shatnerverse of the Star Trek novels end this way. Star Trek: Avenger goes back to Tarsus IV, where a very young James Kirk survived the purges of Kodos. Star Trek: Preserver is the ending of the "Mirror Universe Sage" and ends at Halkan, the planet where Kirk first encountered the Mirror Universe.
  • A character arc went like this in Opening Atlantis by Harry Turtledove. Francois Kersauzon's story starts in the fortress of Noveau Redon. One long military campaign against the English later, and he is waiting out a siege. The siege ends with the English destroying the source of the fort's spring. This forces Kersauzon to move against them. He dies.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 novel Faith & Fire, Vaun's Back Story brings him back to where it all began; he explains, early in the novel, that he has been brought back to his birth place to deal with unfinished business.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • The Clans settle by a lake when their home is destroyed. Turns out that their ancestors (from way before the Clans ever formed) had lived in the exact same spot.
    • In Graystripe's Vow, Graystripe, the only cat that's been around since the first book in the series, decides to travel back to the place the Clans originally lived, where he was born. It's nostalgic and bittersweet for both him and the readers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The series finale of Alias involves a return to Mount Subasio, which was last featured in the first season when it played a significant role in launching the series' Myth Arc.
  • Invoked in the Season 5 finale of Arrow, as Prometheus kidnaps all of Oliver's loved ones and takes them to Lian Yu, the island Oliver spent most of his "five years in hell" on; Prometheus' plan is to kill Oliver where his journey towards becoming a hero began. The episode also brings the flashback storyline chronicling those five years to a close, by showing the events leading up to the series' opening shot of Oliver being rescued off the island.
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead: The Vision Quest Ash has halfway through the first season tells him that he needs to take the Necronomicon back to the cabin from the original movies and bury it there in order to stop the Deadites for good. The final episodes of the season take place there.
    • The final episodes of Season 2 take this even further, as Ash and co. go back in time to the 80s, to the days before the events of the original movie, to try and prevent it all from happening.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The first season centers around The Master attempting to open the Hellmouth. From then on, no seasonal Big Bad cared about the Hellmouth itself until the last one, who once again attempted to open it. The high school was even rebuilt on top of it at the beginning of the season, allowing the heroes to return there as well.
    • Buffy also had one other Where It All Began with the same location; in "Doomed", a trio of one-episode baddies tries to open the Hellmouth, necessitating a return to the ruins of the original high school. All of the characters comment on the memories, mostly painful, this evokes.
  • Cheers. The series begins with Sam coming out of the backroom and opening the bar. The series ends with Sam closing the bar and walking into the backroom.
  • Bryce's storyline on Chuck ended the second season finale Where It All Began in the pilot: jumping into an Intersect control room to implant a powerful computer in Chuck's brain to keep a Nebulous Evil Organization from doing it to their own people first.
    • The series finale also ends on the same beach where Chuck and Sarah ended their first date, only this time Chuck is telling an amnesiac Sarah to trust him, rather than her telling him.
  • The 20th anniversary episode of Doctor Who, "The Five Doctors," notes at the conclusion, after the newly-appointed president of Gallifrey — the Doctor — bug off in the TARDIS with Tegan and Turlough:
    Tegan: You mean you're running away from your own people in a dilapidated old TARDIS?
    Doctor: Why not? After all, that's how it all started.
    • This seems to have happened in all 10th anniversary specials. "The Three Doctors" ends with the Doctor regaining his freedom to travel in time and space. In the 30th anniversary story for Doctor Who Magazine the First Doctor and Susan are shown leaving Gallifrey. The 40th anniversary story "Zagreus" from Big Finish Doctor Who has the Doctor again leaving Gallifrey, for new adventures in the Divergent Universe. For the 50th anniversary, "The Name of the Doctor" shows the Doctor leaving Gallifrey, while "The Day of the Doctor" reverses this with the Doctor departing to find Gallifrey and saying he has always been going "Home. The long way round." And in the story that started the 25th season "Remembrance of the Daleks" the Doctor returns to Totter's Yard and Coal Hill School where the series began. Also "The Day of the Doctor" begins with a Policeman walking past the Totter's Lane sign and Clara being a teacher at Coal Hill School like the Doctor's earliest new companions. Also a clock she passes at the beginning says 17:16, when the first episode aired.
    • The RTD era of Doctor Who (2005-2010) basically began with the Doctor meeting Rose in the Powell estate in 2005. It ends roughly with the Doctor meeting Rose in the Powell Estate earlier in 2005, though only briefly to prevent her recognising him later.
    • Amy Pond's time on the show began with her meeting the Doctor in her garden at the age of seven. At the end of her final episode, the Doctor goes back to meet the young Amy just after he left and she is shown waiting in the garden for him.
    • After nine series, the Doctor returns to Gallifrey in Hell Bent. Specifically, the barn he lived in as a child.
  • Eureka opens with the protagonist sheriff and his daughter driving into town and seeing themselves driving out of town. In the last scene of the last episode, as they drive out of town, they see themselves driving in.
  • The final showdown of The Fugitive takes place in Kimble's home town of Stafford, Illinois.
  • Kamen Rider Kuuga's Final Battle occurred at the mountain where the Grongi were originally sealed.
  • It has been revealed that the final goal of the heroes of Lost is to protect a magical light that is located in the same bamboo grove Jack awoke in in the first episode.
    • The final scene of the series mirrors its beginning, with Jack lying down in the bamboo field. Only this time he closes his eyes as he dies.
  • The Last Kingdom: In Season 5, Brida lures Uhtred to the ruins of Earl Ragnar's estate, their late adoptive father, where they grew up and fell in love as teenagers, for their final confrontation after a lifetime clashing on opposite sides of the divide between Saxons and Danes.
    Uhtred: You dug your own grave?
    Brida: Mine, or yours. I'm prepared. Either way, it ends where it began.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy's "Journey's End" ends with the inhabitants of space-station Terra Venture escaping from it to the planet Miranoi, where the Rangers escaped from in the premiere.
    • The ending of Power Rangers RPM has Dillon revisit the lone flower he passed on the way to Corinth now part of a beautiful garden in a healing world.
  • Squid Game: The area where the first game took place in "Red Light, Green Light" is the location of the last one in "One Lucky Day".
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • The Season 6 finale "Full Circle" was originally envisioned as a series finale. The series was renewed, so the plot was altered. It still however featured a showdown between SG-1 and Anubis on Abydos, the planet where both the pilot episode took place, as well as the movie.
    • "Moebius", which was also meant to be the series finale, revisited Ancient Egypt under Ra's rule, and Apophis's prison on Chulak from the pilot episode — the alternate timeline SG-1 even got to recruit Teal'c again.
    • Also the climax of Stargate: The Ark of Truth takes place in the City of the Ori, a place that Daniel and Vala visited early on in the ninth season. While not the start of the show itself, it was the start of the Ori storyline.
    • Within the show's story, when the Jaffa kicked the Goa'uld's asses once and for all, the final battle took place on Dakara and they chose Dakara as the capital of their new country; for the express reason that it was also the place where they first became slaves. It was also a significant religious site like Mecca is to Muslims.
  • The Enterprise (NX-01) visits the planet Rigel in the last episode, just like they did in the first.
    • The Next Generation not only had the same villain in the finale as they did in the first episode (Q), but they finished a story thread started in that episode, and through shifting timelines, we got to meet the Enterprise-D as it was in that episode, including the old crew. Picard and Q also face off in the same replica 22nd century courtroom that Q brought him to in that premiere episode. Picard even comments on this in the finale.
  • The Walking Dead (2010):
    • One of the final episodes of Season 3, "Clear", has Rick, Carl and Michonne return to King County (the place where Rick awakened from his coma and first encountered the undead) one last time in order to scavenge supplies to fight against The Governor, while encountering Rick's friend Morgan (who had stayed behind in the town).
    • In the "Red Machete" webseries, the final episode has the main character, Mandy, return to her old homestead, which she abandoned (in the first episode) in the wake of her father's death and subsequent raid by thieves, and encounters walkers when she goes back to examine the site.

    Music 
  • The final chord played in the song Octavarium by Dream Theater is the same as the first chord on the album. This is referenced by the final line "The story ends where it began."
  • Sabaton's "1648" mentions that Prague was both where the Thirty Years' War started (in the Defenestration of Prague, which kicked off the war) and where its last battle was fought.
  • The penultimate song in Green Day's album American Idiot, aptly titled Homecoming is about the protagonist, a young runaway, finally returning to his home after hitting rock bottom. In the final song he is presumably still there as he tries to move on with his life.
  • Dan + Shay's "19 You + Me" is book-ended by the lyric "It was our first week at Myrtle Beach, where it all began."
  • Many songs end with a repeat of the first verse, but here are two particularly noteworthy examples relating to this category. In "There's a Hole in the Bucket," each successive attempt to fix the hole requires something new to make the previous necessity usable, with the last one requiring water—but there's a hole in the bucket! The song "La romance du muguet" (The Story of the Lily of the Valley) lampshades this: The song begins "Voulez-vous que l'on vous chante 'La romance du muguet'?" {idiomatic translation—"Would you like to hear 'La romance du muguet'?") The succeeding verses tell the prospective listener all the virtues of the song, with the next to last verse is "Elle finit et elle commence" ("It finishes and it starts"), followed by a repetition of the the first verse.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The epic Dungeons & Dragons module Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil was written as a Spiritual Successor to — what else? — The Temple of Elemental Evil. The players visit a few of the locations in the original game there, including Homlett, Nulb, and the Moathouse, but very little happens in those places (except the Moathouse) and can even visit the infamous Temple if they want, but at first, it seems deserted. Most of the module takes place in another temple complex called the Temple of All Consumption. However, the finale of the adventure does indeed take the heroes back to the true Temple of Elemental Evil for one final titanic battle.
  • The Grand Conjunction adventure-arc for the Ravenloft D&D setting concludes at Castle Ravenloft: site of the award-winning module that originally inspired the game-setting, and of the in-Verse events that created the Land of Mists.

    Theatre 
  • The stage adaptation of American Idiot has the two protagonists who left town returning in the second to last scene and each of the play's storylines finally coming together to reach the climax when they do. Specifically Johnny comes home from the city, apparently sober or at least attempting to be, Tunny returns from his military service having lost his leg but with the Extraordinary Girl now his girlfriend, and Will and Heather appear to finally reach a point where they can be friends and raise their baby together despite no longer being a couple when they welcome their friends home.
  • In The Ring of the Nibelung, to save the world the Ring must be returned to the Rhine, from which its gold was stolen in the first scene of Das Rheingold. The final act of Götterdämmerung begins on the banks of that river, and though the scene moves away, the river ultimately moves back in as the Rhinemaidens recover the ring forged from the gold. Reprises of the earliest musical themes of Das Rheingold drive the point home.
    • Also the second act of Das Rheingold showed Valhalla having just been constructed. The final scene also shows Valhalla being burnt down.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • In Malê Rising, Paulo Abacar the ex-slave lived in a house at Oyo Square, Sokoto. 177 years later, his great-great-great-granddaughter Laila Abacar visits the house - now a museum and shrine - in the epilogue. She considers moving her family there at the end.
  • Sonic for Hire: In the Season 7 finale, Sonic realizes the answer to The Creator's final clue is by heading to the intro screen to input the password to select The Creator's location.
  • That Guy with the Glasses:

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: Season 1's finale occurs at the same location as Act 1 in the burned out ruin of the cannery factory where Powder accidentally killed most of her adoptive family, Vi's seeming abandonment of her, and the birth of the Jinx persona. There Jinx offers Vi the return of her old personality Powder in return for her killing Caitlyn. There Jinx shoots Silco in the heat of the moment to protect Vi, killing him at the same location where he adopted her. And its there that Jinx realizes that she and Vi cannot go back to their past relationship and chooses to blow up the Piltover Council with a weapon powered by Hextech crystal, the same item that she accidentally killed her family with.
  • The Beatles episode "Paperback Writer" has the head of publishing firm Dot, Clot and Blot telling each of the boys to submit a book telling how the group came together. The boys' individual takes are rather far-fetched (Ringo a Shakespearean actor, Paul a scientist, George a secret agent, John a World War I pilot, and each scenario with the others in supporting roles). They're so outlandish that the publisher kicks them out of his office.
    John: Say, how did we meet, anyway?
    Ringo: Same as now. We just sorta bumped into each other!
  • "Awakening," the first episode of Gargoyles, begins with the Wyvern Clan waking up from their stone sleep in Castle Wyvern. "Hunter's Moon," the final episode, ends with the Manhattan Clan going into stone sleep in Castle Wyvern.
  • The Hollow: The game ends at the same place it started: the bunker. Except that everyone now has their memories, knows more-or-less what's going on, and there's a big green button in the middle of the room that allows them to win the game.
  • The I ♥ Arlo Season 1 finale "The Uncondemning" has Arlo and his gang travel back to the Louisiana swamp where Edmée raised him for fifteen years before leaving for New York, where they find it under a dark curse by the evil Bog Lady who has Edmée held up as bait to lure Arlo to her and convince him to stay forever.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Return of Harmony Part 1", Discord tells the main characters that they can find the Elements of Harmony back where they began. In the next episode, Twilight Sparkle finds the elements in the book that she is reading at the beginning of the pilot episode.
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Mr. Mojo's Rising" is in effect a "where it all began" episode. The movie is essentially an inflated extension of the episode.
  • The conflict in Samurai Jack begins when Jack, in feudal Japan, fights Aku in his lair, only for Aku to open a time portal and fling Jack into the far future. After spending almost the entire series in the future, Jack is finally able to return to feudal Japan and finish Aku off once and for all in that very same place, and quite fittingly, shows up immediately after Aku had sent Jack into the future.
  • Basically, this is how Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated concludes. When the Nibiru curse is destroyed, it reset everything in Crystal Cove as if the curse had never existed, and the gang — once shunned by the townspeople — are now considered productive members of the community. But the reset means there are no mysteries to solve and Fred's van is a plain, white van. After getting a recorded message from Harlan Ellison, who had jumped the same timeline as the gang had, they dress up the van as their now-iconic "Mystery Machine" and set out on a road trip to solve whatever mysteries come their way.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: After Catra sets off the portal at the end of season 3, all of reality starts collapsing. Adora is told she has to go back "Where it began" in order to save reality. But she's already been to the Fright Zone (where the portal was set off and where she spent her childhood), the Whispering Woods (where she found the sword and became She-Ra for the first time), and Brightmoon (where she formally joined the the Rebellion and accepted the mantle of She-Ra). Since every "beginning" is already covered, she's at a loss for where she's supposed to go. She needs to go to where her life on Etheria started, back where Hordak's first portal brought her when she was a baby, a location only seen in flashbacks which otherwise has no significant role in the story.
  • Transformers:
    • In the original The Transformers cartoon, the story began on the nearly drained Cybertron in "More Than Meet The Eye: Part 1". The final episodes take place on a recharged Cybertron in "The Rebirth: Part 3".
    • The first season of Transformers: Animated ends where the adventure began: in the cargo hold of Optimus Prime's ship, with Prime and Megatron fighting for the AllSpark. Megatron even points this out.
      • The two battle on board the same ship yet again near the end of the third season premiere, though that's a looser fit for this trope.
  • The movie Turtles Forever essentially does this for the entire Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise; the third act is set in "Turtle Prime", the world of the original Turtles comic books.
  • The third season of the Winx Club uses this. When Valtor challenges them for the final battle, he deliberately chooses the very world he first invaded after breaking out of prison: the Omega Dimension.
    • Done again in Season 5 with the Sirenix Quest. After the Winx obtain the three gems, they find out the quest is not yet over and they must find the Source of Sirenix to officially earn the transformation; said source is found in the same place where the quest began: Lake Roccaluce.

    Real Life 
  • Salmon: These fish are born in high mountain streams, at times hundreds of miles inland, past rocks and rapids atop the bodies of their dead parents. They travel downstream as they grow in size, some but not many (relatively speaking) dodging gauntlets of predators on their journey to the sea. The survivors, the most fit whether by disease resistance, speed, strength or luck, are the only ones to reach the ocean, where they are further culled by merciless mother nature. It is here they continue their growth and development for a few years, honing their skills and growing in strength for what lies ahead. At some point, they are called to the place where it all began, to spawn and join their ancestors in the hallowed halls of salmon valhalla. So they return, the only way they can, the hard way, swimming and leaping up the rapids and short waterfalls the entire route. Overwhelming their predators, man, bears and manbearpigs with sheer numbers, rock solid determination and belly filling deliciousness, eventually enough of them make it back and engage in an orgy of death and babymaking before they shed their mortal shells and ascend into the heavens.
  • Eels: Their life history is in many ways a mirror image of salmon. Instead of being born in high mountain streams, they are born in the open sea. They drift with the ocean currents, growing in size and eventually swimming on their own while dodging their own gauntlets of predators on their journey to fresh water. The survivors swim up rivers and streams, where they continue to grow for as long as 15 years while avoiding a new set of predators. Then, they go downstream, even crossing wet grasslands, until they reach the ocean. Eels then cross hundreds or even thousands of miles of ocean, overwhelming their predators in much the same way that salmon do, with enough of them making it back to the breeding grounds before entering eel valhalla.
  • Sea turtles: They somehow always remember where their home beach is and always return there to lay eggs whenever need be.
  • Humanity: The oldest modern human skeleton was found at Awash River.
  • Evolution has done this many, many times, most commonly when a species whose ancestors left the oceans and adapted to land then returns to a marine habitat, with the most iconic evolution caused by this phenomenon being the whales.
  • Deliberately invoked by Adolf Hitler in World War II. During World War I, the Germans signed a surrender with the French in a railway dining car; this was followed by the Treaty of Versailles which helped lead to the Great Depression and hard times for Germany. After the German Army defeated the French in the second World War, he went out of his way to move the dining car (by then in a museum) to the original spot that the surrender had been signed in to drive home the severity of their defeat. The car was destroyed by an SS unit before V-E Day to prevent this coming back to bite him.
  • A pilgrimage to the city of Mecca, the birthplace of Mohammed and also the site of his first revelation of the Quran and thus the de facto birthplace of Islam, is de rigeur for Muslims.
  • Ichiro Suzuki was the first Japanese fielder to make it big in Major League Baseball, signing with the Seattle Mariners in 2001 following nine seasons with NPB's Orix BlueWave. After twelve seasons with the Mariners he was traded to the New York Yankees, with whom he played for two and a half seasons before signing with the Miami Marlins for three more. He re-signed with the Mariners in 2018, and finally announced his retirement from professional baseball after a two-game series between the Mariners and Oakland A's on March 21, 2019 in Tokyo, where the teams were playing those games.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Where It All Started

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The Campsite

After spending most of the episode trying to get to the Campsite; Elliot and his friends manage to reach it after sundown... right in the middle of Elliots' own backyard.

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