Ah, the polarizing stand alone episode. You know, going through this one in detail, I did come up with some nitpicks I hadn’t noticed before. I still loved it though. So let’s get started.
First, there’s no “Now” segment, which instantly tells us this episode runs long. I have no objections whatsoever. The past couple episodes have been kind of short. It starts right away with the Monster of the Week teaser, so I’ll skim through this since it’s basically a young dude turning old and dying. However, it does open with some amusement. The wife is sitting on the couch reading The Weekly World News. How cool to see that come back to the show, especially since it’s no longer being published for real. She’s smiling over what she’s reading and the cover says “Leading Psychics Agree: The Apocalypse Is Here! Experts Confirm the End is Upon Us!” There’s also a few citizens there in a small town in Colorado that will back up those experts too. It’s great to see the apocalypse get a laugh.
Anyway, husband rushes in, goes into the bathroom, ages quickly and dies from old age. Wife puts down her Weekly World News, finds him and screams. There’s our teaser. Enjoy the title card this week, because when you see the one in the next episode, you’re gonna die.
Sam and Dean are the CDC this week. The lady doesn’t believe they are CDC. Why? Because they’re being way too prompt. As she puts it, “It’s just that you’re a day early. First time in history I haven’t sat my ass waiting for you people.” Dean has a clever recovery for that. “A new administration. A change you can believe in.” It can’t be a Sera Gamble script without one political jab. Good one! The lady doesn’t buy it and shows them the body. Out rolls an old man. The kicker, he was born on April 3, 1984. I don’t know but I’ve seen some people born in 84 look worse. She checked the DNA twice. It’s him, but he died of old age. She has no theories.
Sam and Dean leave and Dean calls Bobby. It’s a job alright. There’s a couple other missing persons, but no other dead bodies. Bobby tells them to check it out. Dean stops to ask how he is doing. “Well, I’m just weeping in my Haagen Dazs idgit.” Then he hangs up. That’s code for either Bobby’s being his usual cranky old self, or he’s so not doing okay. I vote for the latter, but more to come on that.
Sam and Dean talk to an older woman whose husband is missing. He works late on Tuesdays, but he didn’t come home this time. Sam looks at the picture of an old man and notices the “USMC” tattoo on his forearm. I noticed the bad photoshop of an old guy on a golf course. I look better on a course, and I’m the world’s worse golfer. My son is good though, so I golf in hopes that he gets better and becomes my retirement plan. Dean excuses himself with the old “facilities” excuse, which we know is code for snoop around. That leaves Sam to talk to the old lady. You ever wonder what one brother does while the other snoops around? I’m just going to recap what Sam is likely doing. The woman talks lovingly about the years with her husband and Sam sympathetically listens. There, wondering over. Oh, during that time Dean finds a receipt to a whorehouse.
Sam and Dean arrive at the “Golden Palace” and Sam says the guy gets the same room every Tuesday at hourly rates. “I hope I get that kind of kick when I’m his age,” says Dean. Sam scoffs. “Yeah, like either of us will live that long.” Dean agrees. Okay, I’m stopping here for a bit of commentary. Sam’s comment is not surprising, I know. I still find it sad though. A lot has changed since “Criss Angel Is A Douchebag,” but at least there Sam had some hope of living until he was old. Now he’s given up on that. It’s him being “practical.” I like the idea that Sam still clung onto hope like that. The fact he’s on the same page with Dean loses a bit of that unique Sam spirit for me. It’s minor though so I’m done fussing over it.
Sam asks what Dean thinks is in there. “A wrinkly gooey corpse.” Suddenly, a man is yelling for mercy on the other side of the door. They barge in and there’s a young, great looking guy being serviced by two women. “It’s gooey,” Sam says. Whoa, did that just come from Sam Winchester’s mouth? That is such a Dean line. Way to mix it up there Sera!
The girls scamper off and Dean apologizes. They go to leave and then Sam notices the same “USMC” tattoo on the young man’s arm. He asks him if he’s heard of the missing man and starts searching around. The man pleads ignorance. He’s ignorant alright. Sam finds that he has the man’s wallet and Dean is brave enough to check under the sheets for a birthmark his wife said he has. All there. “Well, you look great Cliff,” Dean says sarcastically. “Did you get some work done?” The man asks the girls to leave. Dean smiles and winks at the shocked women before going back to scowling at Cliff. I do so love his quick change of expressions. In this case, Jensen is likely happy since he gets most of this episode off.
Cliff pays off the girls and then begs Sam and Dean not to tell his wife. As far as she’s concerned, he’s dead. Dean wants to know how he can possibly be Cliff Widlow. He can’t tell them. Dean threatens to tell the Mrs. “It was a game.” “Like Xbox?” Sam asks. “What’s Xbox?” Cliff says. Hee! If he’s going to be young, he’s got a ton of catching up to do. No, the game is poker. High stakes. Instead of cash, he plays for years. The guy came up to him in a bar and invited him to play. He gives him 25 weirdo chips, chants some “humbo mumbo” over them. Cliff laughed until he came out up.
Sam wants to know what he was chanting. The dude doesn’t know and doesn’t care for his bad hip is good, he threw away his glasses and one of the girls was there for free. He calls the man a miracle worker. The mystery man is around 35, brown hair, Irish accent, and the name is Patrick. Yes, that’s a good Irish name. He keeps moving and doesn’t say in one bar long. Dean thanks him and then has parting words. “Stay classy.”
Sam and Dean are walking on the street now and Dean is on the phone to Bobby. “It sounds crazy, right?” Um, Dean, how much weird shit have you seen in your life? You’re entire existence sounds crazy. Bobby mentions there’s lore on it that goes back centuries. Traveling card player comes into town and if you win you get your best years back. Of course most folks lose. This guy has a lot of years in the bank. Bobby asks if they’ve found the bar he’s at yet. “There’s a lot of dives in this town,” Dean says. Where are they, Newark? I know, that joke’s been overdone lately. “Then why are you talking to me?” Bobby hangs up, pauses, and then grabs his keys. Ruh-roh!