THEN: A possessed Bobby stabbed himself and ended up in a wheelchair while Sam, Dean and Castiel were out looking for God and the Colt. That makes me wonder: if the Colt can kill Lucifer, could it, theoretically, also kill God?
NOW: Supernatural continues to bring the funny with Dean turning into a grumpy old man. I’m expecting a ton of old people jokes. So take your heart pills, mash up your peas dust off your Bingo cards, because it’s about to get crazy. Or not. In fact, I’ll argue this is the worst episode so far of the season.
Supernatural starts with a young man getting home, running to the bathroom and then rapidly aging until he becomes a corpse. Sam and Dean come to investigate how a young man died looking like a senior citizen, and on Bobby’s suggestion, they find their second possible victim, only this is an old man who’s gone missing.
This first part was incredibly rushed, as if the show was just trying to hurry up and get to old Dean. The Winchesters find the missing old man in an Asian whore house (the second whore house of the season), only he’s a young, buff guy now. Sam and Dean interrupt a three-way, but as the Young Old Man says, he only paid for one. I think we found Dean’s new hero.
They learn about a traveling poker game in which you play for years of your life instead of money, so after checking in with Bobby, Dean goes to local bars in hopes of finding the game. He does, but Bobby beat him to the punch. Wheelchair Bobby was eager to change his situation because, in case you hadn’t guessed, he hates being in the wheelchair.
Despite the poor quality of the episode, Jim Beaver actually delivers an amazing performance, which is good because that’s the only thing saving this from being among the worst Supernatural episodes ever, on par with “Bugs.”
Bobby played poker for his years and lost, so Dean goes to try and save him. He buys in for 50 years and immediately cashes out half of them for Bobby. Ah yes, self-sacrifice, the official motto of the Winchester family
The game gets underway as Dean does battle with Patrick, or as Dean cleverly calls him, a Man Witch. The next thing we see is Sam coming back to their motel and finding an old man. It is, of course, Dean. Oh, now I get it, Jensen Ackles wanted a week off, so they a wrote an episode where he could be off-screen for half of it.
There are a few jabs at Dean being old, the best being that when he starts eating his standard lunch and dinner, a bacon cheeseburger, he thinks he’s having a heart attack, but it’s just acid reflux. Even with that warning, however, Dean will still eat bacon cheeseburgers at every meal after he’s cured.
Old Dean also tries to shamelessly hit on the hot young maid, but she shuts him down, laughing at the horny old grandpa. It’s funny, but are any hot young women really maids at seedy motels? I don’t think so.
They decide to do some research and try to steal back the supposedly magic poker chips by breaking into Man Witch’s apartment. The boys are caught by Man Witch and his lady friend, She Witch. But they’re nice witches, so they let the boys go without any problem, since it’s not the chips that are magical.
However, he does leave Sam with a parting gift and claps his hand together three times. Old Dean is smart enough to figure out that Man Witch just gave Sam gonorrhea, aka the clap. I’m pretty sure Sam wasn’t the Winchester I expected to see contract and STD, and I sure didn’t think he’d get it from a dude.
Later Sam, Old Dean and Bobby discuss other methods of resolving the problem. Sam wants to play poker, but the others think he’s terrible at it. Bobby offers to go in again, but Old Dean doesn’t want to see Bobby die. Bobby doesn’t care, which leads to a heartfelt speech that was truly the entire purpose of this episode.
Bobby admits that he wants to die because he’s stuck in a wheelchair, sidelined during the Apocalypse, and that he’s not a Hunter any more. He also claims he’d put a shotgun in his mouth if he weren’t such a coward. The boys are stunned, and my praise goes out to Jim Beaver, who was just perfect in this entire episode.
The three get some random help when She Witch stops by with a spell to reverse the witch’s magic. She says she has her reasons, but since we have no idea who she is or what her story is, it’s really hard to care. So Bobby and Old Dean gather the ingredients to make the potion, which include the jaw of a murderer. This leads them to the cemetery, where Old Dean bitches and moans about the aches and pains of digging a grave. Somebody needs some Ben Gay, stat.
Meanwhile, Sam tries to distract Man Witch by playing some poker, though the real motive is that they need some of Man Witch’s DNA, so Sam steals his toothpick. But the spell doesn’t work because Man Witch switched out the toothpick, knowing exactly what Sam was up to. As Plan B, Old Dean breaks into the apartment again to find some DNA.
Back in the poker room, Sam is proving more than capable, making a huge all-in bluff that stumps Man Witch. To speed things up, Man Witch tries to put Sam on tilt by saying that Old Dean is going to die within minutes, but Sam can’t leave until it’s all over. The very next hand, Sam rushes to put all his chips in, acting on pure emotion.
Man Witch calls him and reveals a full house, Aces over Fours. Sam pulls the biggest slow roll ever until he reveals that he has the world’s best poker face, because he has Quad Fours. Sam wins, Dean turns into his young self again, and everyone is happy.
Except for She Witch. It turns she’s disillusioned with eternal life after burying her elderly daughter, so she makes Man Witch play her and win so that she will rapidly age and die. This closing scene is frustrating because their storyline was pathetically underdeveloped, and since I didn’t care at all about who these random villains of the week were, I didn’t have to waste a scene giving them closure.
Also unhappy is Bobby, who’s still in a wheelchair and still feels useless. But Dean tries to cheer him up, saying that he’s the only family they have left and they need him. It’s just enough to make Dean think he helped, but based on the long pause and dead glare of Bobby at the very end of the episode, I don’t think his words did much good. What an idjit.
Next week: I hope to be in a better mood with a better episode of Supernatural when the Trickster returns and traps Sam and Dean in TV parodies. I love TV, and the Trickster episode “Mystery Spot” was my single favorite TV episode of 2008, so I’m feeling optimistic.