With "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester," the apocalypse is put on the back burner for an episode about a witch who gambles not with money, but with the years of a person's life. Bobby and Dean both lose, and we get a glimpse of what Dean would be like when he is old, if he manages to live that long.
The witch this time around is male, a charming Irishman named Patrick, played by Hal Ozsan. Patrick is not a typical Supernatural villain in that he sometimes seems to have a softer side, as when we see him throw a hand of poker in order to let an old man win back some years. He also does not take the opportunity to play Dean a second time, noting that Dean is not up for it physically. However, the cruel side of his nature appears more often. The episode begins with a man who has lost enough that he dies of old age in minutes, and later Patrick forces Sam to continue playing while Dean is dying.
When Dean loses to Patrick, Chad Everett steps into the role to play the aged Dean. Everett does a great job with Dean's mannerisms and way of speaking. It is uncanny to watch him interact with Sam and Bobby and be able to see Jensen Ackles's portrayal of Dean reflected in Everett. I was a little afraid Dean's sarcasm would sound artificial coming from a different actor, but the dialog is natural and even though Ackles is absent, Dean is not. A lot of fun is had with Dean suddenly experiencing the effects of aging, with all the aches and pains that come along with that process. He is characteristically unable to stop complaining, which leads to a few Grumpy Old Men moments with Bobby.
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