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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.

SPN 0122

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!


# Karen 2009-11-05 03:49
Hi Alice
Thank-you for the recap. Once again I love your witty take on these recaps.
I really enjoyed this episode, I thought everyone was amazing in there roles. I'm anxious for tonigts, but I'll have to watch it Friday since I'll be at work.
Thanks again.
# Supernarttu 2009-11-05 07:47
Hi, Alice
Great recap, hilarious as usual (I esp. liked the whole son + golf = retirement -plan *smirk*).
I liked this ep too, it was funny and sad. I loved Patrick (the accent, the looks, the ambiguity) and the guy playing him was really good. I'm glad he didn't die and hopehope we see him again.
I thought the Chad-Jared chemistry was a lot like SamnDean. Kudos to Jared for making it feel like it was. And I loved that Sam beat Patrick fair and square and now magic involved... just plain old intuition *snerk* I love even the lying side of Sam. Heck, I love all sides of him, and Dean too 8-)
I LOVED Jensens little happydance, it was just cute and adorable and happy, and did I mention happy lol.
The Cliff guy was such a dick.. I hope the guys did rat his ass to his wife...or maybe she was better off, cheating moron (the guy, not her *g*). The way the olderCliff had been visiting that nice little establishment so regularly, I would have taken his years with pleasure, and then given him the clap on top... just kidding... but maybe not *shifty eyes*
The end scene was really sweet, glad that Bobby got some recognition from Dean, I agree, he is not useless.

I had few nitpicks too...
The whole Bobby miraculously getting to town (when boys were allready there) and finding the game before them and even playing and losing -bit was kinda stupid. They could have made it so that Bobby was allready in town, 'cause it felt a little like a set-up-job at that point.
Also, the dead guy in the beginning... If the buy-in (or what's the official term, I dunno) was 25 (years) and he allready was 25, then why was he playing? An addict or what? He might've be doing it for someone else but I dunno... felt shifty to me.
And Chad don't look like 80, so that was weird... But he was so dead-on Dean that I didn't really mind it that much.
Other than that, I really liked this ep, a lot of good dialogue and snarky comments, and the tragic romance that ended. It was all good.
# Sablegreen 2009-11-05 13:52
Hi Alice,

Great recap…and, of course, I LOVE the screencaps. I also LOVE stand alone episodes, and this is a good one. I love Chad Everett, but I still can’t see him as Dean…Sorry. I know almost everyone did, so I guess I have my eyeballs messed up! That was the only drawback for me.

I like the boys being on the same page again. That’s what makes the brothers so good for me. Just seems they are more like the earlier years, but more experienced. I also like Sam being more practical…he was always too serious. Now, he seems to have decided to just accept what comes along and meet it head on. I always felt, this was what Dean had to do as an older brother. The dinner thing is a fate of little brothers. I can’t remember when Dean brought Sam food either, but if they are taking turns, I guess we are to assume he does.

I have to say, I’m not a fan of Manwitch (LOVE Deans labels this epi). Maybe he’s not malicious, but he doesn’t seem to care about the years he takes and those he kills. And yes, both Dean and Bobby broke their own rules about how to play poker. You don’t go in with emotional baggage! Dean was just so intent on saving Bobby and Bobby getting his legs back.

I really was taken aback at how Dean lectured Bobby. Don’t know why, just seems he lost a little respect for him, but like he said in the end, him and Sam don’t have many people left and he just can’t lose Bobby. That is VERY understandable.

Sam and his poker! The bluff was great. And yes, he kept his wits about him and didn’t lose it emotionally…a t least not until he knew Dean was dying. Can’t help thinking that was NOT all bluff. At that point, Sam reminded me more of demon!Sam.

Anyone play poker? I don’t, but my brother says, the chips Sam cashed it were WAY more than 50 years worth. Course, that all flies out the window with Lucifer and Michael!

Highlights for me…Sam’s one-liners…gl ad he gets some occasionally, and Dean’s happy dance. Really need to find a video of that!
# Bevie 2009-11-05 13:55
Alice, that was a great and hilarious recap. I was giggling and laughing all the way through it. Thanks so much for brightening my day.

Sam is a great pool shark, isn't he? And he did learn it from the best. John. I suppose he was able to use everything he had learned from his dad, while Dean was so very upset with Bobby, that he got way too confident and lost spectacularly. And that gave us the awesome oldDean! Chad Everett was excellent in that role.

Loved the Grumpy Old Men exchanges. Yes, I really enjoyed this episode and am not apologizing for that.
# Randal 2009-11-05 13:55
Woe-is-me-Sam: after all the crap that he(they) have gone through in such a short period of time, I would fully expect a little doom-n-gloom coursing through the veins, mutilating the optimist along the way. 8-)

The over-the-top edit: if used sparingly, why not? I think melodrama and its permutations often gets, er, dealt an undeserved bad hand.

I was glad to get some truly sympathetic villains and Bobby/Dean at all points was spectacular, grumpy old men or growing lady parts.
# Bevie 2009-11-05 13:59
I seem to remember Dean bringing in the food one time when Sam was having a psychic episode. I'll have to watch all the episodes again to make sure I'm not dreaming. What a chore! LOL
# Suze 2009-11-05 14:26
Giggle ... Bad, wicked Alice ... Counting screen minutes, as if!

Actually that made me think ... You could install a Bro-ometer at the top of the page ( like that spiffy Hellatus countdown clock ) and help the excessivly-inve sted amoungst us stoke their grievences as to who's sneaking more screen time ... Or perhaps not, on second thoughts ...

I really liked this one. Sam doing sneaky stuff for the home team was great, even if I was totally convinced he was going to lose the farm ( just colour me stupid ) and the grizzeling old geezers were priceless right up to Dean's bit with Bobby at the end which left me sniffling into my keyboard ( for a change. In fact, that's probably what's been up with the computer lately ... The poor thing's water-logged )

I don't know what to think about the Manwitch, he looks and sounds so tasty one wants him to have a soft side to match but I can't help thinking that the letting the old chaps win thing is just a ruse to lure the young chaps in to be fleeced ...
# Jasminka 2009-11-05 15:43
Hi Alice,

was this episode really that polarizing? If so, I’m at the pole of ‘I like it’. And I love your review, great work, indeed. I find your mix of text and those great screencaps irresistible, you always find them to suit your words dead on. Great fun to read and relish.

You bring up some interesting issues, and, like you indicate, the change in Sam that has become evident throughout the story moves me. I don’t mean to fuss, but I sometimes miss the ever hopeful young man he used to be. He has been through some significant changes in his attitude, but he’s returned to a mind-set that looks for redemption, not revenge, which is in its essence a hopeful stance.

I like to call him an optimist in the sense Peter Ustinov once described as: ‘In order not to be a fool an optimist must know how sad a place the world can be. It is only the pessimist who finds out anew every day.’

Sam knows how hopeless everything can appear, and he faces it. I think he’s trying to do whatever he can to be delivered from his own demons… I’m very curious about what the writers will have in store for him. Okay, I’m done having my I-love-Sam-mome nt. ..
Though he has some great scenes, really. I totally agree with you – giving Sam the clap without the fun of getting laid, was a mean move of endearing bastard Patrick. Come on, when was it the last time the man had sex? And the poker game he puts up was a wonderful study of bluff and serious care.

I don’t think that Sam didn’t panic at all when he heard that Dean would have but a few minutes left (and old Dean’s only word, as he gets that heart attack, is Sam… that really got to me. In his moment of imminent death, Sam is all Dean thinks about).
And Patrick confronts him with issues Sam himself voiced in an episode not so long ago – that he needed Dean to allow him to grow up. That he’s done sitting at the ‘kiddie table’. I think the Irish bloke touched a soft spot, and perhaps he is indeed psychic to some extent…

Jensen moved me to the core in his scenes with Jim Beaver. It’s pretty clear how scared Dean is to perhaps lose this second father, after Bobby gambles away those years. He hasn’t many to spare anymore, as Bobby already is middle aged.
You ask whether they had not had that talk, yet, you know the stick-a-gun-in- my-mouth talk. I don’t think they have. To actually admit that the idea of suicide is whirling around in your head takes a lot of guts and an amount of despair that needs time to build. In the beginning Bobby probably still hoped that some angel or the boys would lay some mojo on him and change his situation. It must have dawned on him by now that he might die in that wheelchair.

I agree that this is not an episode that contributed a whole lot to the myth-arc here, but I liked it nonetheless. Jensen got a few days off (and I hope he enjoyed them), we were given a fine performance by Chad Everett, and some sweet and strange jokes, and – this time – a Gaelic ritual.

I haven’t found an episode in this season so far that I would file under ‘I don’t like it’. To me it seems as if the show is gathering momentum… which is exiting… ‘oh, goodie’

Bye, take care, Jas
# Jasminka 2009-11-05 15:52
hi, I don't think that Dean lost any respect regarding Bobby. Judging from my personal point of view - when someone tells me to consider suicide, I think it calls for a lot of respect, because it shows a huge amount of trust - to reveal such a shadow about oneself...

I think Bobby trusts the boys immensely, else he surely would not have let those words slip from his mouth... Dean is doing the right thing here - take it seriously and thereby entrusting Bobby with his own fear of losing him...

What a moving scene that was...

Love, Jas
# Jasminka 2009-11-05 16:08
oh, sablegreen, grammar-trap got me - I meant of course 'when someone tells me that he would consider suicide' not the other way around...
It's the middle of the night, and my brain is pretty much dead... :-?

Bye, good night, everyone, sweet dreams, Jas
# Sablegreen 2009-11-05 16:10
Jas, I read your reply, and realized my paragraph about Bobby and Dean was confusing. Sorry...I’m at work, and didn’t make sure I had my head on straight.

I didn't mean the lecture at the end of the show. That one was VERY respectable and moving and totally appropriate. I meant when Dean first saw Bobby leaving the game. I really was startled when Dean called Bobby an idiot. Just seemed disrespectful given Bobby's age. …just my old fashioned ways.
# elle2 2009-11-05 19:00

Great recap as always. I do love your wicked, wicked ways with the recap commentary. This was fun and touching and all that is great about SPN...without too much scary either.

Great job at the recap...
# Elle 2009-11-05 19:12
Another wonderful recap, Alice! I always think it would be such fun to watch an episode with you because of your witty commentary.
# Dany 2009-11-06 11:47
Great recap Alice! I'm still giggling about your comments. I would love to be watching an episode and earing your comments on voice off, something tells me it would be fun :-)

Loved Chad Everet as old Dean and is interaction with Jim (definitely Grumpy Old Men) and Jared was great. The old chick in Titanic? Seriously Dean? You actually saw Titanic? I prefer Sam's Emperor Palpatine (yes I'm a Star Wars fan). And after all the laugh I end up in tears with that talk between Dean and Bobby, but it's ok, in fact I think that Bobby needed that.

Loved the screencaps too, Sam as very beautiful smile doesn't he? And Dean too, loved that happy dance and that smile!
# Maria 2009-11-07 13:41
I can confess with every bit of shame I never even realised Sam was faking panic and all that. Ah. I guess I was too into the episode to even look at it thoroughly, but everyone caught on, which makes me feel like an 'idjit'. Then again, I saw it once. But is that really an excuse? :roll::

Patrick is one of the best guest stars. Seductive, I would gave played all my years for him! Handsome, intelligent, and empathizing when need be. What's not to love?