5.07 The Curious Case of Dean Winchester

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Title The Curious Case of Dean Winchester
Episode # Season 5, Episode 7
First aired October 28, 2009
Directed by Robert Singer
Written by Teleplay:
Sera Gamble
Sera Gamble
Jenny Klein
On IMDB The Curious Case of Dean Winchester
Outline Bobby and the boys get involved in a high stakes poker game that gambles with years of lives.
Monster Witches
Timeline November 2009
Location(s) Chicago, IL
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On Bobby's tip, the Winchester brothers look into the case of a twenty-five-year-old man who apparently died of old age. They broaden their search to include local missing persons cases. While interviewing the wife of a missing man, she shows them a picture of her missing husband and says he always works a bit late on Tuesdays. Dean searches the house for clues under the guise of going to restroom and discovers a receipt from an hourly hotel in the missing man's jacket.

Dean and Sam go to the hotel to the room the man frequents and are about to pick the lock when they hear yelling. They bust down the door, only to discover a fit young man in bed with two women. Dean is ready to leave, but Sam notices that he has the same tattoo as the woman's husband had and asks the man if he's Cliff Whitlow. He claims he's never heard of the man, but Sam's looking through the wallet by the bed, and it's Cliff Whitlow's. The man admits it and begs the Winchesters not to tell his wife, but initially refuses to tell them how it is that he's so much younger now. They threaten to tell his wife unless he tells them and Cliff reveals that he'd won a poker game at a bar against an Irish guy named Patrick and adds that Patrick had said that he doesn't like to stay in one place long. 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 already found the game. Dean asks him if he'd stopped the game and Bobby admits that he'd played and lost twenty-five years.

Below, 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. Patrick initially pulls out twenty-five chips, but Dean asks for fifty and gives twenty-five directly to Bobby before starting to play.

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. 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 injure the boys. Patrick interrupts her, saying that the Winchesters are harmless and explaining that the chips and incantations are just plywood and showmanship, that the power is in him and the only way to get years is to win them off of him. Dean is eager to go another round, but Patrick says that Dean's too old and that he's not a murderer, but that Sam's welcome to play. Dean orders Sam not to. Patrick allows them to leave, saying that Dean's already punished but that Sam needs a parting gift and claps three times, but refuses to tell him what he did. Exiting the building, Sam starts pulling at his crotch and Dean realizes that the he-witch gave Sam "the clap," aka gonorrhea.

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 a coward, he'd have killed himself the day he got home from the hospital. 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.

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 that those are normal and to keep digging, as they don't have a plan B. 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 the he-witch had been chewing out to Dean to be used in the spell and then returns to the game.

Dean and Bobby do the ritual, but nothing happens. Patrick reveals to Sam that the toothpick he took never passed his lips and begins to telekinetically choke Sam. The girlfriend stops him though, saying that she was the one who gave them the spell, again fondling her locket when asked why. Patrick and Sam return to the game. Bobby and Dean head back to the he-witch's apartment in search of DNA for the spell, but Dean can't find anything. Sam wins on a poor hand by bluffing, but then Patrick reveals that Dean is going to die within 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. Dean sees a used wine glass that would work for the ritual, but collapses before he can reach it.

Sam is obviously upset over his brother's plight and Patrick mocks him about it. Sam tells him to go to Hell and then shoves all his chips in. Patrick tells him not to do that, that there's poker and then there's suicide, but Sam insists. Patrick matches his bet and reveals a hand to two aces, joined with one of the community cards to make three. Sam, though, reveals two fours that join with two community cards to make four fours, a superior hand. Patrick congratulates Sam and cashes the chips in for Dean. Bobby is panicking into the phone when Dean comes out of the apartment building, the proper age again and literally kicking up his heels.

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 plays her for all her chips and he wins with the king and queen of hearts. Bobby expresses disbelief that Sam won, but Sam says that he just got lucky and heads out to "nowhere", but in response to the look that Dean gives him, admits that he's going to get a booster shot and stops Dean before he says anything mocking. 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 injured and explains that he and Sam don't have much left and that he needs Bobby.




  • "I Want All My Money Back" by Lonnie Brooks
(plays when Dean asks the bartender about the poker game)
  • "Early Blues" by Bear Cat Philips (CPM / Carlin)
(plays when Dean finds Patrick)


Sam: Well, at least he's consistent. Same room every Tuesday, hourly rates.

Dean: Hope I got that kind of kick when I'm his age.
Sam: Yeah, like either of us will live that long.

Dean: True.
Dean: It sounds crazy, right?
Bobby: No. There's lore on it. Goes back centuries. Traveling card player pops into town. You beat him, you get your best years back. 'Course, most folks lose.
Dean: Bobby? What the hell are you doing here?

Bobby: Planting daisies. What's it look like? Came in on the case.
Dean: And you beat me here?

Bobby: Well, brains trumps legs, apparently.
Dean: Hey man. [to patrons] Excuse me. [to Patrick] Can I borrow you for a sec? [flashes gun]

Patrick: Oh yeah. Of course. Great. Good to see you. [to patrons] Would you two please excuse me?
Dean: Sorry to cut you short with Mr. and Mrs. 'easy marks' over there.
Patrick: Oh, no big. Wasn't a total loss. [pulls out gold watch] Look, I don't know what it is you think I did to your wife or girlfriend, mother or sister, but, uh, I just want you to know, my feelings were real.

Dean: That ain't my problem, man-witch. You owe my friend some years.
Dean: You got me. I never been paralyzed. But I tell you something—I've been to hell, and there's an archangel there wanting me to drop the soap. Look at me! My junk's rustier than yours! You hear me bellyaching? Huh?
Sam: Uh, actually, yeah.
Maid: Ready for housekeeping, sir?

Dean: Born ready.
Maid: You're just like my grandfather. He hits on anything that moves, too. You're adorable.
Dean: And dangerous.

Maid: Aw.
Dean: Dude... I believe that he-witch gave you the clap.
Sam: No, you'll die if you lose, Bobby.
Bobby: So what if I do, huh? What exactly am I living for, huh? The damn apocalypse? Watching men die bloody while I sit in this chair, can't take a step to help 'em?
Bobby: I ain't a hunter no more. I'm useless. And if I wasn't such a coward, I'd have stuck a gun in my mouth day I got home from the hospital.
Dean: You don't stop being a soldier 'cause you got wounded in battle. Okay? No matter what shape you're in, bottom line is, you're family. I don't know if you've noticed, but me and Sam, we don't have much left. I can't do this without you. I can't. So don't you dare think about checking out. I don't want to hear that again.
Bobby: Thanks. Now, we done feeling our feelings? 'Cause I'd like to get out of this room before we both start growing lady parts.

Dean: Yeah, we're done.
Dean: Let's go, Ironside.

Bobby: Oh, that one's sticking, huh?

Trivia & References

The title is a play on the title of the 1922 F. Scott Fitzgerald short story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, in which the protagonist ages backwards. It was later made into a movie starring Brad Pitt.
At the beginning of the episode, the woman is reading the Weekly World News, although it ceased publication in 2007. It was last featured in 2.15 Tall Tales.
On their CDC officer IDs, Sam uses the alias "R. Bachman" - we previously saw evidence of his use of this alias in 5.03 Free to Be You and Me when he burned his Pennsylvania State Police detective ID. Dean uses the alias "W. Buckner" which is a reference to the Major League Baseball player William Buckner whom Dean also used as an alias in 5.03 Free to Be You and Me.
Dean: New administration. Change you can believe in.
Dean is referring to President Obama's 2008 campaign slogan, "Change you can believe in."
Dean: You got it. And, by the way, how you doing?

Bobby: Doing?
Dean: Yeah. You know, just... in general?
Bobby: Oh, you mean my legs. Well, I'm just weepin' in my Häagen-Dazs. Idjit.

Häagen-Dazs is a brand of ice-cream.
Cliff Whitlow's room number at the Asian-themed brothel is 44. Four is an unlucky number in many Asian languages because it sounds like the word for "death". This is later referenced again when Sam wins his poker game with four-of-a-kind fours.
Cliff: Okay! Okay! It was a game.

Sam: Like... Xbox?
Cliff: What's Xbox? No. Poker. High stakes. Instead of cash, you play for years.

Xbox is a video game console developed by Microsoft in 2001.
The chips Patrick uses have the Tunisian flag on them.
Dean: Shuffle up and deal.
"Shuffle up and deal" was a famous phrase used by Mike Sexton to open World Poker Tour events.
Sam: I didn't know what you were. I mean, have you seen you? You look like—

Dean: The old chick in Titanic. I know. shut up.
Sam: I was gonna say Emperor Palpatine.
Bobby: I see you met John McCain there.

"The old chick in Titanic" is a reference to the character Rose from the 1997 movie Titanic.
"Emperor Palpatine" is a reference to the aged-wizened character in the Star Wars films.
"John McCain" is a reference to the aged-wizened politician.
Sam: It's like Grumpy Old Men.
Grumpy Old Men was a 1993 film starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.
Sam: All right, then let's find out where he stashes his chips.

Dean: And steal me fifty. Benjamin Button me back into burger shape. What do you think?

Reference to the inspiration of the episode's title, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Sam: It's like Mission Pathetic. Watch out.
A play on the title of the TV series and movies Mission: Impossible.
Patrick gives Sam gonorrhea, a sexually-transmitted infection also known as "the clap."
Bobby: Hurry up, you cry-baby.

Dean: Pound it up your ass, Ironside

Reference to the famous wheelchair-bound lawyer portrayed by Raymond Burr in the 1960/70s TV show Ironside. Also, the actor who plays old Dean (Chad Everett) had appeared in an episode of the same series.
Dean: Y'know, Bobby, killing you is officially on my bucket list.
Bucket List was a 2007 movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman about two men who make a list of things to do before they "kick the bucket."


Daniel Arnold who plays Xavier also played "Ghostly Man" in 4.02 Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester.
Patrick: Lannraich gu dealrach a-nis.
The spell Patrick puts on the poker chips is Scots Gaelic. It translates to, "Shine brightly now."
Patrick: Las suas agus cuir ás an teine mar sin bitheadh.
When giving Bobby back his 25 years and lifting the spell from the poker chips, Patrick recites a spell in Irish that translates to, "Light up and put out the fire, so be it."
Sam, Dean, and Bobby stay in room 8 of the Cicero Motel.
Patrick drives a silver 2003 Mercedes 500SL with the Illinois plates "Q6U 0687".
Sam being a great poker player mirrors his real-life counterpart. On December 2nd 2006, Jared won the Bodog Celebrity Poker Tournament.

Bobby: Gairmidh mi air maponus, dia na hogalachd. Gairmidh mi air sucellus dia na time. Till an-drasda obair uile gu bheilair a bhith deanta. Mar sin bitheadh.
This spell in Scots Gaelic translates to, "I will call on Maponus, the god of holiness. I will call upon Sucellus, the god of time. Return immediately all work that is done. So be it."
This is the final episode we see Dean wearing his bracelet and his ring.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts


Episode Meta