In another detour from the Megapocalypse storyline, Supernatural falls back into Monster of the Week format. The twist this time is that the monster in question actually has a heart.
A rash of young men turning up old brings the Winchester boys into contact with a Nathan Detroit-like He-Witch. Taking his game on the road from town to town, the 900 year old witch wins years from people who sit down to his card table and lose. As a result, he’s dewy and fresh, as is his female companion. At 900 years old, we see how good you look, yes? Mmm….
Sam and Dean place a call to Bobby and the first phase of the hunt leads them to an elderly woman whose husband has been presumed dead and missing for years. With Sam and Dean’s Spidey sense tingling, the brothers track the elderly woman’s husband, Cliff Sam and Dean follow the trail to a hotel room and bust in on a decades younger-Cliff getting in touch with his inner-Superfreak with two chicks… And he only had to pay for one of them! Recognizing Cliff by the tattoo on his arm in the photo, Sam asks him for info on the person who is stealing youth and giving it to others. On the condition that Sam and Dean not tell his wife that he’s alive and young, he lets them know that the creature in question is a witch who allows players to bargain for years towards or against their life. You lose, you age. You win, the He-Witch turns back the clock.
After being told to be on the lookout for a floating crap game at bars with a handsome, young Irish lad, Sam and Dean place a call to Bobby. Instead of doing research, angsty, paralyzed Bobby grabs the keys to his truck and makes use of his handicapped plates to get a good spot in the parking lot and get in on the He-Witch’s game and gain back the use of his legs..
After losing 25 years off his life and beginning to age, Dean spots Bobby wheeling through the lot and questions him as to what he’s doing there. After getting the scoop, an angry Dean finds He-Witch and buys in a hand attempting to win back Bobby’s years. He gains Bobby’s quarter century back, but after the commercial break, valiant Dean turns into Old Valiant Dean.
Back at the hotel, Bobby’s still middle aged-crazy and wheelchair bound, which is an upgrade over being paralyzed and old. Dean, on the other hand, is now played by Chad Everett and has aged about 30 to 40 years. After a bunch of jokes likening Dean’s new look to Emperor Palpatine (I *heart* Supernatural and all of its geek shout-outs!) and John McCain, ultimately, it’s Sweet Sammy’s likening Dean and Bobby’s dueling, irritable banter to Grumpy Old Men that earns a “Shut up, Sam!” in stereo.
Dean gets serious about coming up with a plan to get the witch to pull a Benjamin Button on him and reverse the age adjustment after being hit with a round of acid reflux while trying to consume one of his beloved Bacon Double Cheeseburgers. The combination of a need for Mylanta and Viagra after macking on the hotel maid and coming up with an epic fail jolts Ol’ Dirty Dean into action mode.
Bobby, Sammy, and OldDean head back to the bar to wait for He-Witch to come out and arrive in time to see He-Witch get hit by a car before getting up and speeding off in the sweet convertible that creamed him. .
OldDean chuckles his approval of He-Witch’s style, that is, until the elevator to the building they track him to is out of service. That leaves wheelchair-bound Bobby to sit this one out as Sammy and OldDean take the stairs, and OldDean gets winded.
OldDean attempts to crack the safe in the swanky, candle-lit pad of He-Witch (failing eyesight not withstanding) with a little help from Sam. Things are going swimmingly when they see a bunch of the playing chips they believe are the key to restoring their youth, but head south in a hurry when He-Witch’s girlfriend busts them. She tells He-Witch not to hurt them, and surprisingly, He-Witch obliges and tells the Winchester boys (well, one Winchester boy and one Winchester old man) that the chips aren’t magic, just a prop. The real magic comes from being a 900 year old witch.
He also cites that he’s not a murderer and has no desire to see Dean breathe his last and sends them away… Only not after giving Sweet Sammy a mystical case of the clap. (Which I’m honestly surprised he never contracted before, having played “hide the pitchfork” with a demon before.)
Seeing that OldDean is in rough shape and has already worn out his welcome to play with He-Witch, Sam takes it upon himself to come up with a plan to get back his brother’s lost years. Before he can concoct a plan, She-Witch is sitting in their hotel room and even more surprisingly, hands them a spell that will reverse all of the aging and Benjamin Button-ing of everyone (who’s still alive) that He-Witch had ever worked his magic on. When the Winchester boys question the She-Witch’s motives, she mysteriously fingers a silver locket and says she has her reasons.
While Sam keeps He-Witch busy with a round of Texas Hold ‘Em, Bobby and OldDean head to gather ingredients for the spell. The last ingredient they need is a strand of He-Witch’s DNA. Sam attempts to snap up the toothpick that He-Witch has been obsessively chewing and hands it off to Bobby and OldDean. As it turns out, He-Witch figured something was up and swapped the toothpicks so Bobby and OldDean got a bogus one, rendering the spell null and void.
Forced to find a new means of acquiring He-Witch DNA, OldDean and Bobby take off to the warlock’s apartment in an attempt to find hair, or anything else. On the way, Bobby and OldDean share a moment with Bobby breaking down and giving the Hunter’s version of Mickey Rourke’s speech from The Wrestler. Basically, that he feels like a broken down piece of meat, and useless to the team without his legs. OldDean is stunned and gives him a stern talking to.
He-Witch now knows for sure something’s up and shows Sammy his choke game is pro. She-Witch steps in and says she was the one who gave them the spell. Stunned and shocked by the betrayal, He-Witch asks why. Again, She-Witch touches the locket and again, insists she has her reasons.
Thoroughly cheesed off, He-Witch tells Sam that his brother is running on borrowed time. It seems those bacon double cheeseburgers have taken their toll on OldDean’s ticker and Dean-o has a heart attack while searching He-Witch’s candle lit pad for any sort of DNA.
Sweet Sammy ups the stakes and employs some demon spawn mojo of going out of his head to effectively play He-Witch for his brother’s lost years. He ends up winning the hand and YoungDean is back in action, emerging from the building, kicking up his heels and grinning like an idiot as he heads back to the BobbyMobile.
He-Witch, in turn, doesn’t lose any of his mojo and is quite thoroughly impressed with Sam’s madd poker skillz, not having lost to a mortal for quite some time. Sam goes forth in peace with 900 year old He-Witch’s blessings.
Revealing himself further to be not so bad ancient gambling guy, He-Witch tearfully grants his She-Witch companion her wish to lose to him in a hand of poker. She cashes in her centuries worth of chips after reminding him how much she misses her daughter, whose picture is in the silver locket she kept alluding to – a picture of her both as a child and as an old woman whom She-Witch had to bury. A sad little He-Witch bids her goodbye as she loses her hand and begins to age rapidly, leaving him without an eternal companion.
Speaking of eternal companions, Dean gets all emo on Bobby who is uncomfortable with this sudden (figurative) sprouting of girl-parts. While Bobby apologizes to Dean for calling him an idiot (or “idjot,” in Bobby-Speak), Dean goes for broke and tells Bobby he’s family to him. And that Dean doesn’t have a lot of family left. With or without the use of his limbs, Bobby is still an integral part of Team Winchester and he better not plan on checking out anytime soon.
Dean then calls Bobby “Ironsides” before they head off into the sunset.
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