Supernatural “Ladies Drink Free” (12.16) | air date March 30, 2017.
The Winchester brothers hunt down a werewolf. Mick Davies tags along.
Overall grade : 6/10
This is the obligatory Claire episode of the season and I didn’t have high expectations for it. A good chunk of the episode focuses on Claire Novak. Her journey as a budding hunter, her fear of disappointing Jody, yet another instance of her being assaulted by males, her growth as a young woman and her realization that yes, people will show up for her, the traumatized and abandoned orphan girl who’s been alone too long. All this is fine and dandy, but ultimately of little interest to me, when it revolves around a character as off-putting as Claire Novak. Well, that’s it for the star of this episode. Moving on to the top-billed of this record breaking American sci-fi series!
The Winchesters, individually and as a team, had good moments, like Dean expressing his love for the three-star life, Sam geeking out about ancient lore, or kicking butt in a nice action sequence with the werewolf. Things became dicey whenever the brothers’ allegiance to the BMOL was thrown into the mix.
I noticed a general theme of opposites and compromises. The episode played a lot on Sam and Dean as opposites. It put Dean against Mick, and also, Sam and Dean against Mick. Each character had to soften their stance in order to reach a compromise with the others, a compromise that did not strike me as organic, a term I’ve used before to describe the Winchesters’ puzzling decisions when it comes to the British Men of Letters.
Hedonistic Hunter versus Geek Men of Letters : “Wow. Those three stars are wasted on you.”
Just as I anticipated, Dean doesn’t enjoy working for the British Men of Letters. He also didn’t miss an opportunity to tear Mick down. I found his jabs personal, hitting below the belt, and not even England was spared. Dean clearly had a problem with Mick. The way he chose to grieve his fallen colleagues: “Well that is some world class repression. You are British.” His personality: “Downtown Abbey boring”. Like the late Wally, Dean Winchester doesn’t respect a man who fights monsters from behind a desk instead of on the field, an “amateur hour” and a“dead weight”, in need of a baby sitter. Again, like Wally, with whom he had a few things in common as I noticed in “Stuck In the Middle”, Dean sees Mick is a “limey” son of a bitch, too delicate (“Your Lordship”) to withstand the rigors of the field.
Dean was also quick to reject the BMOLs’ innovations. “Fancy crap”, to which he prefers the silver bullets John taught him how to use. Even when Mick did something right, book a suite in a nice hotel where Dean slept like a baby, enjoyed complimentary chocolates and a dip in the pool, Dean flat out refused to “give him the satisfaction”: “I had better night’s sleep in my Baby”. Ouch.
Sam on the hand, has more experience with Mick. They’ve worked together before, experienced the terror of being under siege and survived to tell the tale. They’ve been in communication with each other, while Dean was being kept out of the loop, and as fellow research buffs, they have a few things in common. It explains why Sam was more comfortable and open with Mick. They had a friendly conversation about Mick’s academic background and even shared a Harry Potter reference. They listened to podcasts together and Sam spent the night devouring Mick’s books on post-medieval lore.
It’s no wonder Mick becomes a brief source of tension between Sam and Dean. Dean doesn’t approve of their little friendship: “It’s Sam’s best friend. They’re like nerd soulmates.” and he argues with Sam about what to do when Mick wants to tag along because he doesn’t want him around. During the course of the episode, Dean manhandles Mick to force the truth out of him and threatens to kill him if fails to protect Claire.
The American hunting tradition versus the British innovation: “What we do you can’t learn this crap in a book.”
At times, it seemed that Dean’s pride in the profession he sacrificed, bled and died for, was presented as stubbornness and a resistance to change. All of the sudden, our legendary hunter is set up to represent some sort conservative Old Guard because he’s not salivating at the thought of the toys, contraptions and assorted gizmos the BMOLs developed across the pond. Dean places great value on field experience and buddy, he’s one the best. He also has good instincts, and he proved it again by seeing through Mick’s charade and getting him to admit that he killed the teenage girl who was bitten by the werewolf.
Sam had to face yet another ugly truth about the BMOLs. They succeed in wiping out entire races of monsters in part because they don’t make exceptions. It’s their “code”, and it goes against what Sam stands for. We’ve seen Sam fight for the ‘good monster’ since the beginning of the show. Lenore, in “Bloodlust”. Madison, in “Heart”, and many others, including himself, and his brother when they each turned. At the beginning of season 11, he renewed his commitment to saving first and killing second. I wonder when Sam is going to find out what really happened to Magda.
I wonder if Garth is safe, now that the brothers have mentioned him, and I wonder why Sam continues to work for an organization founded on the belief that all monsters must go. It brings me to the realization that Sam’s dream of a monster-less world is incompatible with his philosophy of hunting. Some of those monsters he spared might reproduce, create monsters they can’t control (see the werewolf from “Bitten” who couldn’t get a handle on her sister’s hunger in “Paper Moon”), or end up falling off the wagon anyway, like Lenore. There will always be, monsters.
Compromise or Contrivance? “We’ll give you a second chance.”
Boys, please. Don’t talk about it. Be about it.
“I had orders.” By the end of the episode, Mick is questioning his beliefs after witnessing the “walking miracle” of a monster he cured himself. It seems the goal of the episode was to win Mick over to the idea that, contrary to what the BMOL code states, some monsters deserve a chance. Another goal was to soften Dean’s stance against Mick, a symbol of an organization Dean doesn’t trust. And finally, bring the brothers to a point where, they inexplicably choose the BMOLs all over again, after learning that the organization operates in accordance with rules that go against their beliefs.
Sam’s decision to enlist after being privy to the incompetence of the BMOLs didn’t make sense in “The Raid”. Neither did his repeated statements that the Alpha Vamp was dead because of them. Dean made it clear in “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” that he had one condition: if something stinks, we bounce. Where is the logic in Dean sticking around, when Mick smelled like a three-day old basket of rotten fish and lies throughout the episode. Sam and Dean were big and bad, barking at Mick that they were DONE, and then they decided to give him another chance.
Sure Sam was right, Mick had valuable knowledge, the werewolf cure. And? The Campbells and the Winchesters have the vampire cure. Mick was useful, he pulled his weight, helped track the infected victim, kill the sire, collect his blood, administer the cure. Okay, nice. That’s what he’s supposed to do if he fancies himself part of the monster killing business. That’s what the Winchesters do all day. I still don’t understand this alliance and I don’t feel the characters choices are making sense. Dean’s especially.
The way the narrative keeps twisting these independent, experienced hunters, into Play Doh puppets who cosign a storyline that turns them into hired guns, doesn’t sit right with me. Wake up Sam and Dean! At least when you sold yourselves in the past, it was to save each other. What are you doing, now? This wobbly BMOL storyline is limping ahead, at the cost of the lead characters’ integrity.
The BMOL prison: “Getting jobs from these dicks is one thing but I didn’t sign up for this reporting for duty crap.”
The minute I heard Mick’s pitch about “A new world, a better world.” I thought the BMOL sounded like a prison for hunters. Sure, a nice looking one, but a loss of freedom nonetheless, and it looks like Dean is already feeling constricted. “I didn’t sign for this reporting for duty crap.” Yet, look at him going back to his bunk for the nightly inmate count. I look at these two in this claustrophobic space made of four grey walls closing in on them as they’re “reporting for duty” and shake my head.
In what universe does Dean Winchester REPORT FOR DUTY. He hasn’t done this since John died and I hate to him see backslide and give up his freedom to follow an organization he doesn’t respect, like or agree with. “Good dogs”. That’s how Ketch describes the people who work for the BMOLs.” “The code.” Mick describes the American way of hunting and making executive decisions about monsters as a “luxury”, and yet John Winchester’s sons are signing up for the British camp like sheep! Johnny, if there was ever a time those two needed you to talk some sense into them… Look what your wife’s gotten them into.
Best Dean moments
Dean’s “You get good fast or get dead faster”.
This one doubles as Best quote, a perfect way to summarize young Dean. He got good. Fast. And then he got great.
“Three stars.” My Dean, he likes the finer things and he isn’t ashamed of it. I love his zest for life, his enthusiasm because he’s getting a nice hotel suite with complimentary chocolates and “baby shampoos” that he will be bringing back to the bunker. He’s also raiding the candy bowl. “I’m ruined, Sam. These limey sons of bitches ruined me.” I know he ordered some Casa Erotica Pay-per-view on Mick’s dime too.
Dean treating Claire to a nice meal. Not only is Dean enjoying the good life on Mick’s dime, he’s sharing the wealth, Mick’s wealth. He looks so pleased with himself. Adorable.
Dean’s reaction to the podcast. This is the face of a man who’s trapped in Post-medieval lore podcast Hell, and has to drive at night to the Sounds of Boredom. An extra pair of chocolates on your pillow, baby. You earned it.
Best Sam moments
Sam’s adorable reaction to finding out he and Dean get separate rooms. Aww, even if they each have their rooms in the bunker, they still rent one room every time they’re on the road and Sam doesn’t know how to react to the change. My babies.
Hero Sam to the rescue. Loved the way he swooped in. It reminded me of that time he rushed toward Charlie after she was injured from Cain!Dean beating up her Dark Double. Gentle giant…
On another note, are Sam and Dean sharing clothes because I swear Dean has this shirt too.
Sam enjoying his “educational” podcast and looking unbothered when he knows he’s driving Dean up the wall. That’s cruel, Sam, and funny, and probably the reason why Dean tossed those keys in your face when he finally reached the hotel.
Note to Dean. The tall guy’s not the valet, but how cute is Sam in that scene. Ugh, I can’t deal with how much I love these two.
“You brought a swimsuit?” And Sam’s preoccupation with Dean’s undergarments continues. Now help me out, friends. Does this means Dean recycled one of his briefs into a swimsuit? Or are we to understand he went into the water in his birthday suit? Either way, I’m going to need the camera footage, of Dean, in that pool.
Sam geeking out and Dean giving him the mother of all side eyes. A moment that captures the boys’ relationship with Mick Davies perfectly. Sam’s open to learning more about Mick and Dean judging Sam, hard, for connecting with Mick on a nerd level. Any level really. Mercy. Jensen’s face. He’s just so good at The Face. All The Faces.
“I’ve had better night’s sleep in my baby.” Dean being petty and hilarious as he refuses to give Mick the satisfaction. He’s a tough customer and just won’t give an inch. Ha!
Final verdict: “Don’t tell me how to do my job.”
There’s much I enjoyed about “Ladies Drink Free”. It’s one of those episodes that would have worked well for me without the supporting cast. Claire brought the grade down and while I’ve always liked Mick and enjoyed him in this episode, something in the writing of the BMOL plot and the way the brothers relate to it is simply not working for me.
So… the Winchesters are signing up for the “Terrible Life”.
The open road, the fight, the freedom to make decisions about their cases.
That’s the DNA of the show, and its history, written in blood, sweat, tears, and death.
I love the Hunter. The Hunter Winchester and everything he used to stand for and I don’t care about the British Men of Letters so called “better way”. I don’t like that the “librarians” (hey Cuthbert!) are trying to absorb symbols of American hunting into their silver cage of gizmos and regimented cases.
I find the Winchester way more admirable, messier sure, but so much more interesting, and I’m disappointed (not shocked but still) that the narrative is making Dean go back on his own word to continue to drink the BMOL Kool-aid. I want the brothers hunting renegade-style, not reporting to some dude who didn’t know which way was up, when a handful of vampires came a-knocking.
“You put on a flannel, you pick up a gun, you go out there. Either you get good fast or you get dead faster.”
That’s beautiful Dean. And that’s hunting. And you didn’t need overseers to stop apocalypses 1 through 15, so why start now?
I’m going hunting. I’m the hunter.
The Winchester Brothers Report by Vee
12.01: “If he is not in one piece I will take you apart.”
12.02: “The only thing we had was each other.”
12.03: “Family hunting trip.”
12.04: “I hate you so much right now.”
12.05: “What do you think this is? Tickle party?”
12.06: “Where is my brother?”
12.07: “The brothers that rock together.”
12.08: “Impeach LOTUS, find Rosemary’s baby.”
12.09: “We’re the guys who saved the world.”
12.10: “I can’t see, did you get a plate?”
12.11: “It was everything. It was us, it was what we do.”
12.12: “They got gear, but they tried to kill my brother.”
12.13: “Where does that leave us?”
12.14: “Sammy? Lucy, I’m―”
12.15: “We hate them. Us. Together.”