Mini Recap – Supernatural 5.07 “The Curious Case of Dean Winchester”

SN507-0002The CW should have titled this episode “No Country for Old Men.” Oh! Or “Casino Fatale.” Hehehe. I crack myself up sometimes.

Ahem. This week’s adventure has the Winchester Boys battling a He-Witch who’s gunning for the World Poker Tour. Instead of playing for money, the He-Witch (“Patrick,” a.k.a. Hal Ozsan) plays for years. Frankly, with his skills, I’m not sure why he chose a rinky dink little town instead of Las Vegas. Right? Plenty of desperate twentysomethings who think they know something about poker in that city. The boys get interested when a man shows up in the morgue who was only thirty years old, but died of old age. Sam and Dean flail about for ten minutes, trying to figure out what they’re up against (Hey! It’s like Season 1/2 again!) until Dean runs into Bobby, who’s still wheelchair bound, in the alley behind a bar. Turns out Bobby found Patrick before the boys. He also isn’t a great poker player, because he lost 25 years. Oops?

Dean, ever one to sacrifice himself blindly for others (I get it, writers! I really do!), corners Patrick, who has a lovely British accent, and gets him to deal a hand. Fabulous card shark that he is, Dean’s confident that he can bet fifty years and still come out on top. Except… he loses. Bobby’s back to normal, but Dean’s hovering in his eighties. The guy playing Old!Dean is a dead ringer, right down to Ackles’s facial tics and mannerisms. I found it highly amusing. So Sam, Dean, and Bobby try to figure out how to defeat Patrick. They try to steal his poker chips, but they come away with nothing but the Clap. Well, just Sam. Meanwhile, Patrick’s having a grand old time, allowing himself to be hit by expensive sports cars in order to steal them (yeah, because THAT makes a whole lot of sense), and generally being a charming con man. He’s also accompanied by a beautiful young woman who also apparently has demon/witch powers, but we’ll get to that later. All you have to know is that she shows up at the Winchester and Singer motel room with a spell that will defeat Patrick and undo all his work. Sketchy, I know, but apparently they have no other options. (Insert eyeroll here.)

Meanwhile, there’s a bit of in-fighting going on between Sam, Dean, and Bobby. Let’s take them one by one. Dean: grumpy old man with a bad sciatic nerve. Bobby: grumpy, suicidal old man who’s stuck in a wheelchair and doesn’t feel like a hunter anymore. Sam: slightly pissed off that he’s toting these two jackasses around and wants to get Dean back to normal so he doesn’t have to go on any more late night Bengay runs. So Sam runs off to play poker with LeChiff– I mean, Patrick (in order to either distract him, or just get something with his DNA on it, which is necessary for the spell… it’s not entirely clear) while Bobby and Dean slowly dig up bodies in the graveyard in order to obtain ingredients for the spell. Sam isn’t doing too well in the card game, and Patrick figures out what Sam’s up to with the DNA business and swaps a toothpick with his actual spit on it out for a clean one. Because of that, the spell doesn’t work, so Sam’s still stuck playing poker while Dean raids Patrick’s apartment for something with DNA on it. Dean has a stroke/heart attack in the process and Sam starts freaking out at the poker table, and Patrick thinks he’s got him, except BAM. Sam was bluffing and actually had a really good hand and was just making Patrick THINK that he was emotionally distressed with the big puppy eyes and trembling hands and it’s kind of awesome. Okay, it’s actually really awesome. Yay for smart boys! Except when they’re dumb.

In the end, Dean gets back to normal, Sam has his gonorrhea under control, and Bobby’s not ready to kill himself anymore because Dean gave him a heartfelt speech about how family’s supposed to stick together. It’s actually really lovely. Ackles and Jim Beaver nail the scene emotionally. As for Patrick and his Gal Pal, the backstory’s held a bit too close to the writers’ chest to figure out exactly what was going on there, but it looks like the girl was a witch as well, or maybe she won a crapload of years from a similar dealer, but she goes all in with Patrick and loses on purpose so she can be reunited with her (presumably dead) daughter, turning into a cold grey corpse as Patrick practically weeps. It would have been more compelling had the backstory been clearer, methinks.

All in all, as far as tangential non-Apocalypse stories go, this episode was pretty enjoyable. A little slow to get going (the first ten minutes could have been cut and we wouldn’t have missed much), but I really enjoyed the boys hunting random evil stuff and hanging out with Bobby. It was very Season 1/Season 2 in that regard, so yay! Slight quibbles with the writers’ continual reliance (that’s putting it mildly) on the “deal” theme, but whatever. I’ll take what I can get.


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