Standalone episodes are always a mixed bag with this show. You'll usually find an equal number of fans telling you that episodes like "Wishful Thinking," "It's A Terrible Life" or "Hollywood Babylon" were totally brilliant or a big mess. I thought they were all brilliant, but then again, I'm hardly an impartial fan. "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester" falls in that polarizing category of "brilliant-if-you-got-it." This is easily one of the more unique episodes on this show and it offers so many gems.
One major gem comes from the performance of Chad Everett as the 80-year-old Dean Winchester. He must really watch this show for he had Dean down perfect. Every last detail, the mannerisms, the griping, the flirting with the ladies, it's all down pat. What's funny is when all those Dean Winchesterisms are done by an 80-year-old version, it goes from sexy and swooning to cute but pathetic. But that's me getting the joke.
It isn't just Dean's mannerisms though. Chad's chemistry with Jim Beaver is just awesome. Sam might have joked "grumpy old men" but that's exactly what they were — two cranky old guys trying to out bitch one another over who's in the more pathetic circumstance. It's brilliant. In the end, the audience wins.
Speaking of poor Bobby, it's his despair that starts this whole mess. He's obviously not coping well with his new handicapped lifestyle, hinted at when Dean first asks on the phone how he's doing. "Well, I'm just weeping in my Haagen-Dazs, idgit." I would have dismissed that as Bobby being his regular cranky old self too. It's his desperate act of finding the poker game where the chips represent years instead of money before Dean that proves how not alright he is.
Then there's Sammy Winchester, that sly dog. Sam is tasked in a sense to clean up Bobby and Dean's mess and in the process we see a new side of Sam we didn't know existed. He's quite the scheming shark. Not that we're all that surprised either. Sam's always been a quick study and a great liar.
A Curious Case Indeed
Things get rather twisted when Dean goes back to the poker game and bets 50 years, instantly trading in 25 to get Bobby back to normal. Predictably, he loses, and enter 80-year-old Dean, who much to his dismay can't eat those bacon cheeseburgers anymore. The three crusaders in Bobby's new handicap equipped van (I'm going to miss the Chevelle) track down Patrick, the 900-year-old witch with the very sexy Irish accent, played brilliantly by Hal Ozsan. He won't let aged Dean or Bobby play for the needed 50 years to get Dean back to normal. He'll only let Sam do it. Dean and Bobby are both vehemently against the idea since it's perceived that Sam is by far the weakest card player of the three. Sam of course does nothing to correct this perception.