Sam and Dean discover that a witch is running a high-stakes poker game where the currency is life years vs. money. Bobby sees the game as a chance to get out of the wheelchair and bets 25 years, but loses. As Bobby begins to age rapidly, Dean steps in to save him but also ends up turning into an old man, leaving Sam holding the only hopes for their survival.
Sam and Dean investigate the mysterious case of a young man that dies of old age and soon they find an opposite case of a missing old man that has become younger. They find that a 900 year-old witch named Patrick is responsible, gambling life years in poker games. However, Bobby arrives first and bets twenty-five years of his life expecting to get rid of his wheelchair. He loses and gets older and older, forcing Dean to bet fifty years of his life to save his friend. Dean saves Bobby but ages himself, becoming a very old man. Now Sam is the only hope to save his brother.
- "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester"
A woman reads an issue of the always reliable Weekly World News. Cover story: "Leading Psychics Agree: The Apocalypse is Here!" As she smiles at the paper's winning prose, her husband runs into the house and rushes up the stairs without saying a word to her. "Nice to see you too," she sighs.
The man locks himself in the bathroom, rinses his face with water, and stares into the mirror...where he watches himself age from his apparent mid-20s into a very old man. He grabs his left arm, stumbles into a cabinet, and collapses to the ground. Hearing the ruckus, the wife comes into the bathroom, sees her old man --literally-- and screams her lungs out.
Cue the bloody credits...and cut to the morgue, where Sam and Dean are posing as CDC agents. The doctor doesn't believe it, but not because she doesn't buy the IDs -- she can't believe they're there in such a timely fashion. Anyhoo, she opens one of the drawers to show Sam and Dean a very old, freshly autopsied vic.
"Meet Xavier. Date of birth: April 3rd, 1984." They can't believe their eyes. "I know," says the doctor. "I ran the DNA twice. That's definitely him."
Yep, apparently this 25 year old man died of old age.
Dean calls Bobby for a consult, and Bobby advises them to check up on other stiffs and missing persons in the area. Then Dean asks Bobby how he's doing.
"Doing?...Oh, you mean my legs. Well, I'm just weeping in my Haagen-Dazs...idjit." Bobby hangs up on him.
Next stop: An actual elderly lady's home, Mrs. Whitlow. She shows the boys a picture of her husband, Cliff, and they notice a military tattoo on his forearm. She says he's been missing since Tuesday. Her husband usually works late on Tuesdays, she explained, but when he didn't come home, she knew he was gone. Dean asks if he can use the facilities, and uses the opportunity to snoop through Cliff's things. He finds a slip of paper with the name of a business and an appointment for Tuesday night. "Working late, my ass," Dean snickers. That's what we were thinking!
Cut to what looks like a bordello and a door with the same number as was on the card. The boys assume they'll find a rotting, gooey corpse on the other side of the door... and that's when they hear yelping. They kick the door in, and find a young man in a bed with two prostitutes. At first Dean and Sam beg their pardon and turn to leave -- that is, until Sam notices a tattoo on the young man's forearm. Just like Cliff Whitlow's.
Sam asks the guy if he knows Mr. Whitlow and he claims not to, which Sam finds strange because, he notes while thumbing through the billfold on the dresser, he's carrying Cliff's wallet. Dean rudely walks up to the bed and checks under the covers -- same birthmark in the, ahem, same place. Dean is amazed the guy looks so good.
Cliff shoos the two hookers from the room and Sam and Dean put the screws to him. Cliff begs them not to tell his wife, to just let her think he's dead, and admits that he won back his youth in a poker game. Apparently a man with an Irish accent, who goes by the name of Patrick, approached him in a bar and made him an offer. Cliff tells them that Patrick said a spell over the poker chips and explained that now the chips were years. So they played, and Cliff came out ahead. Now he's making the best of his second chance by banging hookers.
Apparently the game moves around from bar to bar, so Dean and Sam set out to locate it. Dean leaves Cliff with a sarcastic, "Stay classy."
They call Bobby, who confirms that this kind of mojo is very old, and the warlock has a lot of years in the bank. He urges the boys to get after them, then hangs up. We see Bobby contemplate his car keys for a moment, then grab them with determination.
Dean and Sam split up, and after a great deal of fruitless searching, Dean bribes a bartender $100 to tell him where the poker game is. He admits it's downstairs in back. Dean heads there and is greeted at the basement door by...Bobby? Yes, Bobby found the game first. But instead of stopping it, he played. And lost.
Dean chastises Bobby, who slaps back with, "Don't take that tone with me. They're my years! I can do with 'em what I want." His beard immediately silvers and he starts wheezing.
Dean asks how many years he lost. Bobby replies: 25. Dean decides to settle the score, and heads into the downstairs room where Patrick is sweet-talking a couple, an older man and a very attractive younger woman.
Dean interrupts by flashing Patrick a glimpse of the pistol in his belt, and the warlock ends the conversation and takes Dean to a table, where he sits him down. "You owe my friend some years," Dean snarls.
Patrick apologizes but tells Dean that's the breaks, since Bobby lost. Dean instructs the warlock to "un-lose" Bobby, cocking his pistol under the table, Han Solo-style, for emphasis. The warlock invites Dean to shoot him, adding that it's been years since he got a good tickle. Then he instructs Dean that if he wants Bobby's years back, Dean's going to have to play for them. Dean agrees.
Bobby rolls up. "Dean, no!"
"They're my years, and I can do what I want with 'em," Dean retorts.
The warlock breaks out the chips, says his magic over them, and tells Dean the buy-in is five years. "Make it fifty," Dean says. The warlock is impressed. Dean immediately cashes out 25 years and grants them back to Bobby, to the elder hunter's great dismay. The warlock says a spell, and the chips go up in flame. When the flame clears, Bobby is restored.
"That's 25 years you just pissed away. You better be sure you can win 'em back," the warlock says. Dean tells him to shut up and shuffle. Patrick says with a grin, "This is gonna be fun!"
Was it? Was it really? Because Sam comes back to their motel room to find a very old guy there. Yep, it's Dean. He found the game and lost. He's sulking in a robe and grabs his cheeseburger with extra bacon. Sam is appalled.
"Have you seen you? I mean, you look like --"
"The old chick in 'Titanic.' I know. Shut up."
"I was going to say Emperor Palpatine," Sam quips. On cue, Bobby enters the room and says, "I see you met John McCain there."
Dean and Bobby start arguing, and Sam grins. "It's like watching 'Grumpy Old Men.'"
"Shut up, Sam," Bobby and Old Dean snap at him. Dean starts in on Bobby for putting him in that position, saying he knows he just wanted to get out of the chair. But soon their argument is cut short by Dean's stomach loudly gurgling as his acid reflux starts acting up him. Put down the cheeseburger, Old Man Dean!
They retrace the events of the poker game and surmise that the magic is in the chips, and decide to follow the warlock to his place and steal fifty, "Yeah, Benjamin Button me back into burger shape," Dean commands.
They stake out the bar and conveniently catch the warlock trick a guy out of his luxury convertible by throwing himself in front of it and playing dead. Once they have the building where Patrick is staying, they head to the elevator...which is out of service, removing Bobby from play. So the Winchester brothers take the stairs, which nearly kills Dean.
The boys --er, boy and old coot -- break into the place and find the safe where the chips are. Dean moves to crack it, but can't see the numbers. So Sam takes over and opens it up, just in time to be interrupted by Patrick's companion. Say, it's the young woman from the bar! She clenches her hands and both the boys seize up, but Patrick steps in and stops them. He calls them idiots, telling them the magic isn't in the chips, it's in the 900 year old witch. He tells Dean and Sam to win back the years the old fashioned way, and Dean's ready to go...except his eyesight is awful.
Patrick offers Sam a shot, but Dean counsels him against it. Apparently Sammy's not so good with poker. The warlock lets them leave, advising Dean to make the best of his twilight years, adding he should have taken better care of his heart. Before they both go, Patrick stops them, saying that Dean's condition is punishment enough for breaking into his place, but he can't let Sam go without a small parting gift. Patrick claps three times. Sam, confused, asked what he just did.
"Oh, you'll find out soon enough."
As they're walking out of the building, Sam grimaces and clutches at his crotch. Dean laughs. "Dude, I believe that he-witch gave you the clap."
Later, walking out of the hotel, Sam insists that he needs to play Patrick, saying he's seen Dean hustle enough marks to know what to do. Dean and Bobby shoot him down immediately, and Bobby insists he can take the guy. But Sam reminds Bbby that he doesn't have enough years in the bank to risk that - if he loses, it'll kill him.
"So what if I do?" Bobby yells. "What exactly am I living for? The damn Apocalypse? Watching men die bloody while I sit in this chair, can't take a step to help 'em? It's the facts: I'm old. I'm broke down and I...I ain't a hunter no more. I'm useless. And if I wasn't such a coward, I'da stuck a gun in my mouth the day I got home from the hospital."
That shocked the boys silent. But then Sam assures Bobby that he's not going to let him play, that he'll find another way.
Dean and Bobby head back to their motel room, where Patrick's lovely companion is waiting with a powerful reversal spell. If enacted, it would reverse everything Patrick has ever done, and return everyone he's ever taken years from back to normal. The living ones, anyway. And that's everyone -- it would also reverse the spells keeping her and her 900 year old man so youthful and dewy.
When Bobby asks why she'd do such a thing, she tells him, "I have my reasons." She fingers the locket around her neck, then heads for the door. "Do it quick. We leave town tomorrow."
Sam walks in on Patrick playing a game with an elderly gentleman, just as Patrick lets him win. He gives him enough years to see his granddaughter's bat mitzvah. (Hmm...Patrick's an interesting character. Not good, but not exactly evil either?) Sam observes that it was a nice move.
"I'm a nice guy," Patrick replies. He asks what Sam can do for him. "Deal," Sam says.
While they're playing, Dean is digging up a grave and moaning about his creaky joints and bones. He and Bobby are bickering about the fact that Bobby has no sympathy. Dean informs Bobby that killing him is officially on his bucket list.
Patrick tries to psych out Sam, and perhaps it works a little. Then Patrick offers him a break. Sam runs outside to meet Dean, who needs some of Patrick's DNA to make the spell work. Fortunately Sam has grabbed one of Patrick's toothpicks. He hands it to Dean and heads back into the game. Dean and Bobby chant the spell and as the final ingredient, cast Patrick's toothpick into the fire. Nothing happens.
Back at the table, Patrick stops and asks Sam if he meant to give the toothpick that he's currently chewing to Dean...because the one Sam gave his brother never touched his lips. Patrick tells Sam he doesn't like cheaters and, as he clenches his fingers, Sam's breath catches in his throat.
Patrick's companion stops the warlock from strangling Sam, admitting she gave them the spell. Patrick sadly puts his hands on her face and asks why she did it.
"You know why," she says. "You know."
Patrick sits back down and, more angrily now, tells Sam to keep playing.
Dean and Bobby drive furiously back to Patrick's place to find a shred of DNA, and Dean breaks in. Meanwhile, Sam bluffs Patrick into a win, impressing the warlock. Patrick informs him that Dean will be dead soon -- as in, in minutes. At that very moment, Dean finds a dirty wine glass at Patrick's place...and collapses to the ground. Sam lurches out of his chair to go help him, but Patrick wills him back down...the game's over when he says it is. Dean is dying on the floor in Patrick's lair.
Sam and Patrick play on, Sam seeming visibly flustered. Patrick teases him for getting too emotional about his brother and making rash decisions, and ups the stakes. Finally, as Dean is taking his last breath, Patrick calls: The warlock has three aces and two fours. His companion begins crying. Sam observes that for a witch, she's so nice, it's creepy. Patrick moves to grab his chips, but Sam stops him and show him his hand: Four fours.
Sam wins. He cashes his years out, back to Dean. "With pleasure," the warlock tells him.
Bobby is frantically trying to get Dean on the phone and is just about to give up, when out of the lobby doors struts a young, very fit looking Dean Winchester. He dances and clicks his heels in the air. "Idjit," Bobby snarls.
At the poker table, Patrick sits across from his lover, Lydia. Patrick begs her not to make him do it. Lydia finally opens her locket. It's a picture of an old woman, and a baby girl -- both the same woman, her daughter. She explains that she buried her, and it's not natural. Patrick reminds her that she wanted to come with him, stay young and stay by his side. She says she thought she was cut out for this, but she's not. She misses her family.
He turns over his cards...a pair of queens. She has a three of clubs and a five of diamonds. She says goodbye, grows old and dies front of his eyes as he weeps.
In the motel room, Dean, Sam and Bobby enjoy their post-job banter, and Sam heads out to get a booster shot. You know, for the clap. "Don't say it," he says before Dean can come up with a snarky reply.
That leaves Dean and Bobby to have a heart to heart. Dean says he gets it: Getting old isn't a bachelor party, and if Dean were in his shoes --
"You'd never stop complaining," Bobby finishes.
Dean pauses for a moment and says, "Fair enough. You're not useless, Bobby."
The older hunter tries to brush him off, but Dean won't let him. "Listen to me. You don't stop being a soldier because you got wounded in battle, OK? 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 quietly agrees. "Are we done feeling our feelings? Because I'd like to get out of this room before we both start growing lady parts."
They quickly move back to joking mode. Dean picks up the cold burger, then puts it down again. "Let's go, Ironsides," he tells Bobby, and Bobby laments that the nickname is sticking.
Once Dean has left, Bobby stays back for a moment, stifling the urge to cry.