The Curious Case Of Dean Winchester is the 7th episode of Season 5. It aired on October 29th, 2009.


Dean Purgatory Blade.png There was something about being there... It felt pure.

This episode summary is an official CW press release. It may contain errors.

Sam and Dean discover a witch (guest star Hal Ozsan) is running a high-stakes poker game where the currency is life years vs. money. Bobby (Jim Beaver) sees the game as a chance to get out of the wheelchair and bets 25 years, but loses. As Bobby begins to age rapidly, Dean steps in to save him but also ends up turning into an old man, leaving Sam holding the bag for their survival.



A woman is reading a tabloid newspaper when her husband rushes into the house and shoots up the stairs without acknowledging her. He is frantic as he rushes into the bathroom and stands in front of the mirror. He appears to be quite young, but watches as deep wrinkles form, his eyes cloud over and his hair grows thin. He stumbles backward into a glass cabinet and collapses. His wife races upstairs at the sound of shattering glass, throws open the door and screams at what she sees.


At 25, Xavier lived fast and died young.

Posing as CDC agents, Sam and Dean arrive at the morgue to view the body. The medical examiner is expecting them, and opens the morgue drawer to reveal an obviously elderly man, only she says that he's 25 years old. Having anticipated their disbelief, she tells them that she ran the DNA twice to confirm it's the same man who, according to his records, was born April 3, 1984.

Dean calls Bobby to confirm that he was right about this being a case. Bobby suggests that they check out any missing persons there might be in town to see if there is a connection. Dean asks, by the way, how Bobby's doing 'generally,' clumsily trying to ask about his legs. Bobby realizes this of course, and calls him an idjit before hanging up on him. They go to interview the wife of a missing man, Cliff Whitlow, and she shows them a photo of her husband. She tells them she knew something was wrong when he didn't come home last Tuesday, as he followed a pretty rigid routine. Dean searches the house for clues and discovers a receipt from Madame Liu's Golden Palace in the missing man's jacket.


Dean checks for the birthmark Cliff's wife told them about.

Dean and Sam identify Cliff's favorite room at the palace and are about to pick the lock when they hear yelling from inside. They bust down the door, only to discover a fit young man in bed with two women. They think they've got the wrong room and are ready to leave when Sam recognizes the tattoo on his forearm from the photo Mrs. Whitlow showed them. He asks the man if he happens to know anyone named Cliff Whitlow, and he unconvincingly denies until Sam retrieves Cliff's wallet from beside the bed. Cliff begs them not to tell his wife, but Sam and Dean say they will unless he tells them how it is that he's so much younger now. Cliff reveals that he won a poker game at a bar against an Irish guy named Patrick.


Bobby found the poker game first.

The boys split up to search because of the number of bars in town and the time constraint. Dean bribes a bartender $100 for directions to the poker game and is headed toward it when he runs into Bobby, who'd arrived in town unannounced and already found the game. Dean asks him if he'd stopped the game, and Bobby sheepishly admits that he played and lost twenty-five years. Dean angrily calls him an idiot, Bobby sneers at his tone and tells him that they are his years to do with as he chooses.


Dean interrupts Patrick's grift and demands his presence at the poker table.

Back inside the bar, Patrick is demonstrating his ability to "read people" (he says he's not a mind-reader; "No such thing") on a couple of marks and flirting with the woman. Dean interrupts and discreetly shows Patrick that he's armed and he comes along quietly to a private room. Dean demands that the he-witch restore Bobby's twenty-five years and threatens him with a pistol. Patrick refuses to give the years back and says that shooting would merely "tickle" him, but that if Dean wants years he can play for them. Dean agrees to play, cashing out 25 years for Bobby up front.


Sam is subjected to the bickering "grumpy old men."

When Sam returns to the motel room, he's startled to discover an old man there: Dean. Bobby shows up soon after. Together, they conclude that the poker chips are the key and that they should steal fifty for Dean. Before they leave, a young woman comes from housekeeping and Dean tries to flirt with her. She compares him to her grandfather and says that he's adorable as Sam and Bobby are amused at Dean getting rejected.

The three hunters are in Bobby's van shadowing Patrick when he gets hit by a convertible. The owner of the car runs to find help and Patrick gets up and steals the car. They follow him to a luxury apartment high-rise and when he leaves, sneak in. The elevator is out of order, so Bobby can't come with them to the he-witch's apartment. Dean huffs and puffs his way up the stairs. The brothers search the apartment and Dean finds a safe that he describes as a "dime store model; piece of cake" to break into, but his failing eyesight makes it impossible for Dean to crack it. Sam shoves him aside and opens the safe, but the woman who was half of the couple at the bar interrupts them and uses telekinesis to restain the boys.


Patrick gives Sam something to remember him by.

Patrick interrupts her, saying that the Winchesters are harmless and explaining to them that the chips and incantations are just plywood and showmanship. Its 900-year-old witch power that's really at play, and the only way to get years is to win them off of him. Dean is eager to go another round, but Patrick regards him as old, easy prey and he's not a murderer. But, he says, Sam's welcome to play. Dean orders Sam not to, so Patrick extends best wishes for Dean's twilight time and allows them to leave. As they go, he announces that Dean's already punished, but that Sam needs a parting gift. He stares at Sam and claps three times, but refuses to tell him why, saying that he'll find out soon enough. Exiting the building, Sam starts pulling at his crotch. Dean realizes that the he-witch gave Sam "the clap", aka gonorrhea.

Dean and Bobby doubt Sam's poker finesse.

The next day, Sam again says that he wants to play and Dean and Bobby again say that he's not good enough. Bobby, the acknowledged best player in the group, wants to try again, but Dean insists that he doesn't have enough years to spare. Bobby then bursts out that he's got no reason to keep living anyway and that if he wasn't such a coward, he'd have killed himself the day he got home from the hospital. Dean and Sam are shocked. Sam declares that he will not allow Bobby to play again; there must be another way. He leaves intending to find it.


Lia has her own reasons for reversing Patrick's magic.

When Dean and Bobby return to the motel room, Patrick's girlfriend Lia is waiting for them. She gives them the instructions for "the most powerful reversal spell you ever laid eyes on," saying that it will restore everyone who isn't dead to their original condition, including herself and Patrick. Bobby points out that her giving them this information doesn't make sense. She counters that she has her reasons, fondling her locket.

Patrick is playing an elderly man, Ash; there are two kings in the community cards and we see that Patrick's hole cards are the other two - a strong hand. Ash has two nines. Patrick folds though, calling it a night and letting Ash win a total of thirteen years. When Sam comes up, Patrick tells him that Ash is now going to live to see his granddaughter's bat mitzvah. Sam is somewhat baffled by this apparent altruism, but tells Patrick to that he wants to play.

Bobby and Dean retrieve a main ingredient of the reversal spell.

Meanwhile, Bobby and Dean are digging up a grave to get the jawbone of a murderer for the spell (well, Dean's digging and Bobby's watching). Dean whines about his various aches and pains and Bobby tells him it's Sciatica, which is normal with age, and to keep digging, as they don't have a Plan B. Deans digs as they insult each other, Bobby calling Dean "grandma", who responds with "Ironsides".


Sam delivers the should-be key to the spell.

Patrick asks Sam if his big brother knows he's playing and Sam doesn't answer. He then continues to poke at Sam's little brother status, saying that he's not treated as an equal but he's still trying to clean up Dean and Bobby's mess. Lia comes in and distracts Patrick, who asks for a short break. Sam takes the toothpick Patrick had been chewing and gives it to Dean to be used in the spell and then returns to the game.


Lia stops Patrick from throttling Sam by confessing.

Dean and Bobby do the ritual, but nothing happens. Patrick reveals to Sam that the toothpick he took wasn't the one he had been using and begins to telekinetically choke Sam. Lia stops him though, and confesses that she gave Sam the spell. Patrick is stunned, but he and Sam return to the game. Sam wins on a poor hand by bluffing. but then Patrick acknowledges his skill, but then vindictively reveals that Dean is going to die within the next few minutes. Sam tries to leave, but Patrick again grabs him telekinetically and tells him that the game isn't over until he says it is. Bobby and Dean have headed back to Patrick's apartment in search of DNA for the spell and Dean goes inside. He calls Bobby on his cell when he has trouble finding anything suitable for the ritual. Finally, he spots a used wine glass that would work, but collapses before he can reach it.


Dean got his groove back.

Sam is obviously upset over his brother's plight and Patrick mocks him about it. Sam then shoves all his chips in and Patrick matches his bet and reveals a hand to two aces, joined with the community cards to make a full house. Sam notices Lia's sadness and plays it off as if he actually lost. But he trumps it with pocket fours and a pair of fours in the community and cashes the chips in for Dean. Bobby is frantically trying to get Dean to respond to him on his cell phone when Dean suddenly comes bounding out of the apartment building, restored to his proper age. Before Sam leaves, Patrick compliments Sam's prowess at poker and his bluffing skills.


Lia starts to show her age.

Patrick and Lia are alone and she opens the locket, showing two pictures, one of an infant and one of an elderly woman, saying that both are of her deceased daughter and that she misses her family and can't go on, although she does love Patrick. He reluctantly plays her for all her chips and he wins with the king and queen of hearts. Patrick begins to weep as he watches Lia age before his eyes.


Dean blocks Bobby's exit and makes him listen.

Back at the motel, Bobby expresses disbelief that Sam won, but Sam says that he just got lucky. He heads out to "nowhere", but in response to the look that Dean gives him, admits that he's going to get a booster shot. Dean apologizes to Bobby for calling him an idiot and admits that he'd never stop complaining if he were in Bobby's situation. He says that Bobby hasn't ceased to be a soldier just because he's been injured on the battlefield. Bobby is family, and he and Sam don't have much of that left. He basically tells Bobby that his presence his required in order for him to carry on, and makes him promise not to talk about checking himself out ever again.


Main CastEdit

Recurring CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit


Featured Supernatural BeingsEdit


  • This episode corroborates Jo's statement that Hunters suck at poker, which was said in the Season 2 episode No Exit.


  • In this episode it is suggested that Sam is the weakest poker player among Bobby, Dean and himself, yet he is the only one of them that won. In real life, Jared Padalecki won the 2006 Bodog Fight Celebrity Poker tournament in Canada.
  • Hal Ozsan, who played Patrick in this episode, co-starred with Jensen Ackles in six episodes of The CW series Dawson's Creek.
  • The name of the episode is a reference to a Brad Pitt movie "the curious case of Benjamin Button" where a man ages in reverse.
  • Sam reveals Dean's age is thirty.
  • Bobby can be seen driving at several points in the episode, driving to the bar Patrick was holding the poker game, as well as driving Sam and Dean while tailing Patrick to his apartment. Being paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, this should be impossible.

Featured MusicEdit

  • Early Blues by APM
  • I Want All My Money Back by Loonie Brooks

Cultural ReferencesEdit

  • Referencing the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
  • Dean makes reference to the movie The Bucket List.
  • Sam compares the aged Dean to Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars franchise.
  • Dean also makes a reference to the movie Titanic.
  • Sam's CDC badge is signed "R. Bachman," referencing Randy Bachman, lead guitarist, singer and founder of legendary Canadian rock band Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Richard Bachman was also a pseudonym used by author Stephen King.


  • Coroner - You expect me to believe you're CDC?
    [the brothers exchange an uneasy glance]
    Sam - S'cuse me?
    Coroner - It's just that you're a day early. First time in history I haven't sat on my ass waiting for you people.
    Dean - New administration. "A change you can believe in."
    Coroner - ...Right.
  • Patrick - You're free to go. Oh, but, Sam. Your brother's situation, that's punishment enough... but I can't let you leave without a small parting gift...
    [claps three times]
    Sam - What are you doing?
    Patrick - You'll find out soon enough.
    [the brothers exit hotel; Sam crouches, feels obvious discomfort in pelvic area]
    Dean - Dude, I believe that he-witch just gave you the clap.
    [Sam's face goes blank, straightens up, walks away briskly]
  • Dean - How'd you get here so fast?
    Bobby - Brains trumps legs, apparently.
  • Dean - [digging up a grave] Jawbone of a murderer. Great. You know, this really sucks. How do we even know her spell's gonna work?
    Bobby - We don't. We ain't got a plan B. Now less flapping and more digging.
    Dean - Oh, god. My elbows. I'm all creaky.
    Bobby - Hurry up, you crybaby.
    Dean - Pound it up your ass, Ironsides.
    Bobby - One little grave.
    Dean - Then you do it.
    Bobby - Fine! I'll hop right in.
    Dean - At least your legs are numb.
    Bobby - Shut up and dig, grandma.
    Dean - Ow! Now it's my back.
    Bobby - Can you straighten up?
    Dean - Yeah, but a little sympathy wouldn't hurt.
    Bobby - Butt-cheek tingling?
    Dean - Well, that's kinda personal.
    Bobby - So, yeah? It's sciatica. You'll live. Keep digging.
    Dean - You know, Bobby, killing you is officially on my Bucket List.
  • Sam - Hey, uh, I'll see y'all guys later.
    Dean - Where you goin'?
    Sam - Uhm... nowhere...
    [awkward pause]
    Sam - ...A booster-shot. Don't say it.
  • Bobby - Now are we done feeling our feelings? 'Cause I'd like to get out of this room before we both start growing lady parts.
  • Dean - Bobby, what the hell you doing here?
    Bobby - Planting daisies. What's it look like?


  • Dean introduces himself to Patrick.
  • Dean plays to get Bobby's 25 years back.
  • Bobby continues to age as he watches Dean and Patrick play.
  • Dean watches 25 life chips burn.
  • The response to old Dean's attempt at flirtation includes the words "grandfather," "adorable," and "awwww."
  • Dean appreciates Patrick's skill in obtaining a new car.
  • Patrick prepares a "parting gift" for Sam before letting him go.
  • Sammy feels the burn.
  • Bobby and Dean attempt to cast the reversal spell.
  • Dean awaits the outcome of the reversal spell.
  • It's almost 'game over' for Dean before the game is over.
  • Dean celebrates his restored youth.

International TitlesEdit

  • German: Der seltsame Fall des Dean Winchesters (The Curious Case of Dean Winchester)


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