5.7 The Curious Case Of Dean Winchester
Oh dear. It looks like the highs of Supernatural‘s fourth episode The End have not yet been matched. Episode seven’s title, The Curious Case Of Dean Winchester might sound familiar and that’s because it is. F.Scott Fitzgerald may have dreamed of critical acclaim when he penned the story of Benjamin Button in Tales Of The Jazz Age, but I’ll wager he never imagined a re-write starring two demon battling brothers. And while Fitzgerald may be dead, plagiarism is still well and truly among us.
The latest episode consisted of a high-stakes poker game, where punters didn’t gamble money, they gambled their lives. You see, a devilish nine-hundred-year-old witch had rolled into town, and his set of chips amounted to years, not dollars.
After investigating some strange deaths in the area (what a surprise), the Winchesters were all set to find the ‘he witch’ and put an end to his life stealing ways. That’s until Bobby decided to chance his luck at the game, only to end up losing 25 years to the tricky card slinger. It’s up to Dean then to heroically save the day because surely, like the suave bachelor he is, the elder Winchester must be the quintessential card shark.
Well, no. Not exactly. Dean gets royally screwed and ends up an old man. Hence the title, hence the plagiarism and hence Jensen Ackles stepping out and veteran actor Chad Everett stepping in.
It was strange not to see Ackles for a good 20 minutes throughout the episode and, although a main actor’s brief departure is nothing new in TV land, in the world of Supernatural, where two characters play such a fundamental role, it’s an unnerving experience. Still, Chad Everett pulled off the role of our junk food guzzling anti-hero with flair and comedic patter (but he has starred in three episodes of Murder She Wrote, so that’s some good credentials right there).
Truth be told, episode seven did have its moments. For a start, of course, the lovable and ever charismatic Bobby returned, still dishing out the one-liners and handing out the jibes to his surrogate sons. Confined to a wheelchair, poor Bobby has started to doubt his usefulness in the world of super fit, able bodied hunters and this is explored well throughout the episode.
Having kept up a fairly nonchalant attitude towards his disability throughout the fifth season, Bobby finally breaks, confessing that he has had thoughts of suicide and feels redundant and ‘broken down’. While this recurring theme was never allowed to cross over into nihilism, it was nice to see Bobby’s character acting in a realistic manner, fixed upon a harakiri attitude towards the job of a hunter.
Like Everett, the standard of guest stars continued with Hal Ozsan playing a good turn as Patrick, the Irish ‘he witch’. For a Turkish born, English-bred, American actor, Ozsan perfected the Irish accent with ease (something which is not always easily done.rRmember Brad Pitt in Snatch?)
There’s just one thing, though, that stood out about this character like a sore thumb and it was this: Why would you name him Patrick? It’s not like the name isn’t nice or anything. Sure, I like it, but it was just so obvious. Despite all the evidence which supposedly points to an apparent American obsession with stereotypes and simplicity, choosing the name just made the creative process look sloppy. Still, at least it wasn’t Seamus.
One other little niggle to mention was the inclusion of yet another ‘woman screams at dead body’ scene at the start of the episode and, in my opinion, these openers are starting to wear a little thin.
There have been some truly fantastic horror movies screams in Supernatural history, so much so that I once considered creating an ultimate list or, at least a ‘how to’ guide. From the research I’ve carried out spanning the entire five seasons, there seems to be three easy steps to perfecting your Supernatural scream. Firstly, run madly into a room flailing your arms. Secondly, shake your head wildly in a disbelieving manner and, last, but by no means least, scream “No!” very, very loudly.
It’s a shame that creator Eric Kripke hasn’t realised that simply copying every horror movie cliché doesn’t actually make a scene any scarier. It kinda just makes it look stupid. Still, let’s move on and try to forget this ever happened.
In the end, as competent as The Curious Case Of Dean Winchester was as an episode, it was impossible to ignore its flaws. From the obvious niggling irritations of ‘Irish character naming 101′ to the aforementioned horror movie scream, in the end, the whole 40 minutes seemed muddled and a little unnecessary.
As mentioned in previous reviews, the whole reason for season five’s existence was meant to be the huge matter of an impending apocalypse, which begs the question; where the Hell is it, exactly?
Still, let’s not give up hope just yet. Stay strong, have faith, and together we can make it through the filler and onwards to victory. It’s what dear old John Winchester would have wanted after all…
Read our last review here. Catch the show on Living in the UK.