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Season 5, Episode 7
The Curious Case of Dean WinchesterWritten by Sera Gamble; story by Sera Gamble and Jenny Klein.Directed by Robert Singer.Air Date: October 28, 2009.Mysterious deaths caused by inexplicable aging lead Sam, Dean, and Bobby to a warlock named Patrick, who gambles for high stakes. He challenges people to a poker game in which they don't play for money, but for life years represented by magical poker chips. Bobby sees this game as an opportunity to escape his wheelchair and accepts Patrick's challenge. Losing the game, he begins to age rapidly. Dean wants to save Bobby and challenges the warlock to win back Bobby's lost years to prevent him from dying. He bets 50 years, of which he uses 25 to reverse Bobby's aging process. However, Dean can't keep up with the warlock's poker skills and loses, which causes him to age. Together, the Winchester brothers and Bobby try to find a way to save Dean. They get unexpected help from Patrick's accomplice, who thinks that living forever is not natural and causes too much pain. She gives them a spell, one which can reverse the effects of Patrick's magic. Sam challenges the warlock to a poker game while Bobby and Dean perform the ritual. One ingredient of the spell is a trace of Patrick's DNA, so they use a toothpick supposedly used by him. The spell turns out to be ineffective since the toothpick was not really used by Patrick. When frantically searching for another object with the warlock's DNA on it, Dean suffers a heart attack, but Sam wins the game just in time to save Dean.
Body countFor this episode = 2 humans (of which 1 was a witch).For the series so far = At least 332 humans (of which 6 were witches), 39 demons, 28 ghosts, 11 vampires, 6 changelings, 4 angels, 4 gods, 3 shapeshifters, 3 zombies, 2 ghouls, 2 werewolves, 2 dogs, 1 crocotta, 1 djinn, 1 rakshasa, 1 rawhead, 1 reaper, 1 rugaru, 1 shtriga, 1 siren, and 1 wendigo.
- Absurdly High-Stakes Game
- Affably Evil: Patrick is a perfectly nice and friendly guy despite being a warlock. He also seems to genuinely regret pushing Sam's buttons during their game, prompting Sam to go all-in immediately on Dean's behalf, simply because, as he stated twice, he actually likes Sam. It culminates in the simple, completely unironic exchange:Sam: Cash these in for Dean, please.Patrick: With pleasure.
- Anti-Villain: Patrick is more than willing to let someone turn back decades and return to their prime if they're good enough to beat him. He doesn't cheat, nor does he abide by it. If you get into a game with him and lose, it's simply because he's a better poker player than you. Of course, he's had centuries of practice...
- Berserk Button: Do not try and cheat when playing cards with Patrick. You will regret it.
- Breather Episode
- Chekhov's Gun: Lia's locket. When the boys question her motives for giving them the reversal spell, she simply touches the locket and says she has her reasons. At the end of the episode she opens the locket—to show a picture of her daughter as an old woman—and explains that she wants to be with her family again.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Patrick refuses to play Dean or Bobby because he sees taking their remaining years as murder.
- Famous Last Words: Played with: had Sam A) actually lost against Patrick or B) taken longer to win, Dean's last words (due to dying from a heart attack)? "...Sam..."
- Foreshadowing: Early on, after losing the game, Dean mistakes some acid reflux for a heart attack. Later on, after catching Dean and Sam in his apartment, Patrick nonchalantly mentions that Dean should've taken better care of "[his] ticker".
- Four Is Death: Inverted. The room where the brothers find the magically-restored Cliff Whitlow is labeled room 44, and Sam ultimately wins Dean's youth back with a four of a kind — all fours.
- Graceful Loser: Patrick, whenever he... loses... But, in particular, when Sam beats him.
- Happy Dance: Dean does one, complete with the classic heel click, once his youth is restored.
- Pet the Dog: Patrick plays cards with Hesh, an old man, and even though Patrick got two kings and would have won that round, he folds, and lets Hesh win 13 years.Patrick: Hesh here is gonna live to see his granddaughter's bat mitzvah. Isn't that right, Hesh?
- My God, What Have I Done?: Downplayed: Patrick is noticeably regretful after he (unintentionally) manages to make Sam go all in.Patrick: (checks his cards) ...don't do that, Sam.Sam: I can't leave until it's over? Fine. It's over. Now, where's my brother?Patrick: Look, there's poker and then there's suicide.Sam: Just play the hand.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Lia's daughter died of old age, presumably a long time ago. It's why she no longer wants to be immortal.
- Rapid Aging: Anyone who loses the game with Patrick ages rapidly, and it's presumed if they go "all in" and lose, they die, like the human victim.
- Shout-Out: The title of the episode is this to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
- Visual Pun: After Sam and Dean try to steal the He-Witch's poker chips, Patrick says Dean's condition is punishment enough, but for Sam... He then gives a Slow Clap, leaving the Winchesters and the audience mystified. Until Sam starts to squirm at the door to Patrick's hotel.Dean: Dude, I think our manwitch just gave you a case of the clap.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Lia no longer does.
- Wham Line: After Patrick realizes Sam bluffed him into folding on a hand:Patrick: Nice bluff. If we had time, I could make a real player out of you.Sam: I got time.Patrick: (grins) ...maybe. But I can't say the same for Dean. Your brother's gonna be dead soon.(Sam looks up)Patrick: And when I say 'soon'... (leans forward) I mean minutes.
- And then, when it seems like Sam lost:Sam: It was a great hand. (Patrick reaches for the chips) Just... (Patrick stops and looks at Sam) not as great as... (flips his cards over: two 4s) as four 4s...
- And then, when it seems like Sam lost: