(From Alice): I have elle's fantastic review for "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester."  Considering this is especially a polarizing episode, its always good to get another great point of view and she gives a good one.  

And now for elle's review.

Thoughts on The Curious Case of Dean Winchester
So, it was my intention to have this review done sometime on Friday. I came home Thursday night after class, watched my Supernatural tape, made my notes and even got part way through the second viewing when - BAM! There's life, knocking at my door. One of these weeks I swear I am actually going to have the review done in a timely fashion. Now, moving on"¦.
Episode seven. How in the heck have eight weeks already flown by since the beginning of season five? I'm thunderstruck that we're one third of the way through the fifth season. And as far as episodes go? This one was way up there on the Loved-It! meter.  The episode begins with a lovely shot of Weekly World News, headlining that the apocalypse is here. You don't say. Additionally, for the third consecutive week, the show is sticking to the tried and true MOTW teaser. It seems that we are sticking to this one for while now and I'm kind of happy to be returning to days of old.
 It was fabulous to have all our boys working together in this episode. I've been waiting for a juicy Bobby storyline for a while - ever since he was paralyzed actually. It's an interesting affliction to lay on a character, especially one like Bobby, and to experience the phases of dealing with the loss of his walking ability alongside Bobby is a very rich viewing experience. Dean was very sweet in his inquiry about how Bobby was doing - tentative and somewhat unsure of how to ask his question. Booby's response is all snark, but the shot after he hangs up the phone is very telling. This is one of my favourite shots because everything is very clear without any words being spoken. We have this lonely shot panning out of the main room in Bobby's home - dark and shadowed with Bobby being dwarfed by the size of the room, looking very small and incredibly sad.
Dean still hasn't completely shaken his penchant for deal-making and self-sacrifice when it comes to his family. He traded 25 years for Bobby without so much as batting an eyelash. Old!Dean was awesome! Now, I was not familiar with Chad Everett before this episode but I thought his characterization of Dean was spot on and hilarious to boot. Old!Dean was very whiny - "I'm all creaky" and had a flare for the dramatic - one of my favourite exchanges between Sam and Old!Dean: "Sammy, when you get to be our age..." "You're thirty!" Equally as amusing was the "mission pathetic" line from Sam as he shoved Dean out of the way of the safe. Jared did a great job of acting as though he was still opposite Jensen, the rhythm didn't change in their interaction. I especially enjoyed the time lag between Sam emerging on Patrick's floor and then Dean, wheezing and puffy like he was going to keel over any second.
Bobby was very touching in this episode. His confessional that he felt useless now was very, very real. The writer's did a very good job of capturing the emotional state of someone who has suffered what Bobby suffered - feeling invalid and having suicide ideation. He is a very desperate man, even going so far as to engage a witch to turn back the hands of time, despite the huge chance that he'd lose his life in the end - and would have if not for Dean's trade. The exchange at the end between Dean and Bobby very poignant. Dean didn't let Bobby's deflections turn him off the conversation that he knew needed to be had:
"You don't stop being a soldier because you got wounded in battle"¦.you're family"¦I can't do this without you. So don't you dare think about checking out. I don't want to hear that again."
Dean has grown up a lot - he recognizes that he needs to have this uncomfortable talk with Bobby because it's important; because Bobby's important and he needs to tell him that. It was exactly what Bobby needed to hear. I like to believe that Dean got through to Bobby, but his deep, shaky sigh and the expression on his face at the end makes me wonder. If nothing else, at least it seems as though Bobby will hold on for Dean and Sam. While ideally he should be fighting for himself, this is better than not fighting at all.
(There is one hole that shouts out to me how did Bobby figure things out before the boys? He not only had to get to the town, but then beat the boys, who'd been looking for a while, to finding the game.)
Did anyone else think cross-roads demon before we knew Patrick was a witch? I did. I kept waiting for some reference to a crossroads that would tip everyone off on what we're dealing with. I was certain that, as he was taunting Dean about shooting him, his eyes were going to turn black. Alas, not a crossroads demon, though in the end, I liked with he-witch idea better. The MOTW was rather interesting this time around; he wasn't black and white evil. The ambiguity of the character was quite enjoyable, as were his accent and cheek bones. To start with, Patrick reminded me quite a bit of Dean: "I don't know what you think I did with your wife, girlfriend, mother or sister." I can imagine that if wasn't for that witchy element, Dean and Patrick might have gotten on like old friends.
Unlike witches we've encountered in the past, Patrick didn't want people dead just for the sake of killing them, such as when he stopped his honey from obliterating old!Dean and Sam. He also seemed to have empathy for the very elderly - the old man that Sam sees him playing with is permitted to win thirteen years, which I found intriguing but in keeping with Patrick's word that he wasn't a murderer. This is the first witch we've seen who wasn't in it purely for personal gain- Patrick seems to have no problem taking youth, but at the same time allows the elderly to win, rather than steal their remaining years. A Robin Hood of time - took years from the rich and granted years to those coming up short on them. Patrick even sort of warned Dean about the heart problem, granted it was an off the cuff remark that wasn't paid much attention. The final game with Sam was heart wrenching and even Patrick seemed to genuinely not want to take Sam's years - it's rare that the boys encounter someone who doesn't want to exploit them fully, regardless of the cost.
Further, Patrick was clearly very in love with his lady - he loved her enough to let her go. I found their story very touching, we don't often see tragic romance on Supernatural (aside from Jess and Sam in the early seasons, or the back history of John and Mary), so it was nice to have this new dynamic. The actor responsible for Patrick was Hal Ozsan and I thought he had great chemistry with the rest of the cast, particularly with Jared in the final, emotional poker game for Dean's life. Like the trickster, this character is one I didn't mind seeing get away.
[Anyone notice that while Sam is constantly being nearly choked to death or some variation thereof - such as in this episode; with Dean his near death experiences invariably involve his heart. I cite, aside from TCCODW, Faith and Yellow Fever as two prime examples of this trend.]
This was a great episode for Sam. He was able to win and save his family based on pure skill (and a lot of luck) rather than anything supernatural. Sam had some great emotional moments and it was good to see him in a role of leadership to some extent. This was a very positive experience for his self-esteem and I like to believe that these episodes are helping Sam to be healed from his experiences and traumas last season, getting him ready to face Lucifer when the day comes. Finally, by far, one of the best gags was Patrick clapping thrice and Sam ending up with Chlamydia - especially the way it was carried through to the end with Sam off for a booster shot. The triple-clap was a clever way to cast a spell if you ask me. Imagine, striking your enemies down with ironic spell casting.   This episode looked like it was great fun to shoot.
                All told, I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. All of our characters were afforded some great material to work with (and I bet Jensen had a nice little break there too.) Season five, while not quite as smack-you-in-the-face-with-shocking-twists as season four, is nonetheless shaping up to be a very good season with some great character development in lieu of the huge plot developments that we saw last season. That isn't to say there haven't been hasn't been plot twists, because of course there has been, it's just nice to be refocusing on the core, the characters, for a little while. You know, until the apocalypse hits overdrive.
                "Changing Channels" looks like an incredible episode! I can't wait to see it - especially in light of the ringing endorsement for Alice and promise of a fabulous twist.  Let the countdown begin!