Ladies Drink Free! Supernatural 12.16

This week’s episode saw the return of Claire Novak (Kathryn Newton), who is a controversial character for the fandom. I thought Newton and writer Meredith Glynn did a good job with a lot of this episode. It won’t go down in history as one of my favorites, but I enjoyed a lot of it. And yay for Show being back! The opening scene was notable for its scariness factor, and also for the acknowledgment of what everyone is asking the characters in every single horror movie. Yes, why ARE you going off into the woods alone, silly boy?? The explicit question, of course, didn’t keep the brother and sister from being attacked by the creepy mask-wearing werewolf. That’s a new one, werewolves in masks! I guess that’s a smarter than average werewolf.

Soon Sam and Dean are summoned to the Men of Letters headquarters, and I may have squealed a little bit just to have Ackles and Padalecki back on my tv screen, looking mighty fine. Dean is still clearly not really on board, especially not with the whole ‘reporting for duty’ thing. And especially if they keep him waiting! I was glad to hear Dean say that out loud, because we all knew that wouldn’t sit well with Dean. Thanks, Meredith Glynn, for putting it in words. I was also very glad to hear Mick admit that if Mary and Sam hadn’t been there, he would be dead too – finally, someone admitting that SAM saved the day and killed the alpha vampire! More thanks.

Dean is also not down with Mick wanting to come along on the hunt, claiming that you can’t learn to hunt from reading a book. This has been the season of Sam prevailing, though, and once again Dean goes along with what his brother wants. I know some fans have been clamoring for a more equal partnership between the brothers for a long time, but I think it’s certainly there now. I like to think that Dean will still struggle with it from time to time, because being the big brother is ingrained in him (and I don’t ever want him to lose that, it’s a big part of why I watch the show) – but he absolutely respects Sam as an equal. They’re at a good place this season – they trust each other, respect each other, value each other’s intellect and strength. Would I like a little more emotion shown between them? Absolutely. But they are definitely a team, often speaking for each other with ‘we’ instead of ‘I’.

Dean isn’t amused that Sam finds some things to like about the BMoL, and I find that amusing.

Mick: Kendrick’s is the largest collection of occult lore in the world.

Sam: Cool! (Turning to Dean to share his glee)

Dean: (glares)

If words could kill, seriously.

Sam: O—o.

I laughed out loud. Sometimes I almost forget what a treasure it is having Ackles and Padalecki on this show – they can take a small scene like this one and make it into something hysterically funny, or heartbreakingly sad. Sometimes just with a look. This was one of those moments.

In fact, Dean is not amused at all every time Sam shows any enthusiasm for the way the BMoL do things. It’s endearingly like Dean and Mick are fighting over Sam’s loyalties, which warms my heart. I need to see more emotion between the brothers, Show, but this will suffice for now. Sam gets to do a lot of shaking his head, but there’s a fondness to it that I also appreciate.

Dean has to endure podcasts in the Impala and Mick in the backseat, and it’s during the drive that Sam and Dean learn that the BMoL have been killing whatever they deem as monsters indiscriminately, even ones who might not have done anything bad. Sam and Dean protest, citing Garth as an example of a so-called monster who can keep it in check, but Mick is not convinced. They are then conveniently distracted by arriving at their destination, but the conversation seems to foreshadow what fandom has been expecting for some time – the Winchesters will eventually part ways with the BMoL over this very issue. Sam and Dean started out also thinking in black and white, but over the years they’ve realized that not all monsters hurt people.

I actually tweeted #alwaysshadeesofgray after that conversation, before Dean makes it explicit a bit later in the episode. I love that about Supernatural, and am once again thrilled to have it acknowledged in actual dialogue (and without the help of anvils either). Thank you once again, Meredith!

The “3 star hotel” scene was also glorious. Dean’s glee about the “little shampoo bottles” was so very Dean – it always makes him look like a five year old no matter how old either he or Ackles get. I also love that neither of the Winchesters was all that thrilled about the separate rooms, though – they do their best work in their shared hotel rooms!

Has Ackles already said that Dean grabbing a fist full of the free hotel mints and trying to shove them in his jacket was an ad lib? My money is on it if not. Never change, Dean.

I love all those little reminders of the sort of life the Winchesters have to live off the grid. They don’t allow themselves luxuries, but on those rare occasions when they can have a taste of some “luxury”, Dean grabs for it with both hands. That also explains his dip in the pool, sans bathing suit.

FAIL, SHOW, FAIL! Where is this footage???

Sam’s face was pretty priceless though as he contemplates the image. Which Dean clearly enjoys way too much.

The Winchesters and Mick visit the surviving werewolf attack victim in the hospital, getting competitive about who gets to talk to her and her distraught mom. Mick wins out by pretending to be a doctor – he is a rather quick study, even adopting a Fleetwood Mac alias himself.

But then he flat out lies to Sam and Dean about the girl being bitten, and uh oh. We can see where this is going. Sure enough, Mick goes back and kills her, but Adam Fergus does a good job of foreshadowing the not black and white speech Dean’s going to end up giving him. It’s his first kill by his own hand, and it’s clearly not as easy as he thought it was going to be.

Meanwhile, Claire has been working the same werewolf case. And she’s also lying – to Jody. There are so many lies in this season it makes my head spin! Dean calls her on the phone she’s using for cases, doing his best impression from Yogi Bear, which cracked me up (and was probably a lot of fun for Ackles). They meet up and catch up over beer (which Dean won’t let Claire drink). Claire insists Jody is fine with her hunting alone and too busy anyway, which clearly neither of the Winchesters are buying. Dean’s still pissed about Sam’s enthusiasm for Mick and the BMoL too, much to my continued amusement.

Dean: Oh he’s Sam’s best friend. They’re like nerd soulmates.

Me: Soulmates! Nope. That’s already been settled on Supernatural.

Sam just rolls his eyes at his brother.

Mick lies again to Sam and Dean the next day, but that’s okay because we get a treat – we get Smart!Dean, my absolute favorite flavor! I adored Dean interrogating Mick as they’re supposed to be interrogating the bartender with the tattoos, clearly knowing he’s lying.

And then grabbing him by the hurt shoulder he’s trying to hide and slamming him up against the wall. Damn! Badass!Dean, wait, that’s my favorite flavor!

This episode kept reminding me of early Supernatural episodes, almost like I was having flashbacks. That pinch to the wounded shoulder threw me back to Born Under A Bad Sign, when possessed Sam does the same thing to Dean (who has been shot in the shoulder). That was one of the episodes that sold me on this show, so intense and so superbly acted.

Like I said, I loved Dean letting Mick know in no uncertain terms that this is NOT black and white, and not letting him off the hook. He tells it like it is: you killed that girl. That mother lost two children.

Dean: All you have is a case in front of you. But here’s a little tip – things aren’t just black and white out here.

Dean brings up Magda too, who Sam and Dean think they spared to go live her life. Mick, of course, knows that Mr. Ketch executed her. I wonder when the Winchesters will find out about that??

We also get some Badass!Dean dealing with the jerk of a bartender guy, who seems to think it’s perfectly fine to be grabby and disrespectful to “girls like that”. Dean getting in his face and warning him never to touch Claire again or “I’ll break your face!” was not only hot has hell, but made me want to jump up and yell YES! You tell him, Dean! Dean has come a long way in more ways than one.

I’d pay attention to this guy. Also, damn, those eyes…

Sam, meanwhile, is attempting a heart to heart with Claire, where he sounds oh so reasonable and she isn’t having it. Calling Sam an old skeezer seemed like a low blow (and didn’t endear the character to Sam fans…), but nobody who’s struggling to be seen as an adult likes being called childish I suppose. Sam nevertheless tries to convince Claire to tell Jody the truth.

Claire: Stop treating me like a stupid kid!

Sam: Then stop acting like one!

Predictably, Claire has a tantrum and runs off (with headphones on….definitely a rookie hunter move, Claire) and, as we suspected would happen, gets bitten by the werewolf. Sam comes running just a moment too late, and drops to his knees to gather Claire into his arms, frantically checking to see if she was bitten. Jared did an amazing job in this scene, conveying Sam’s desperate hope and then the moment he realizes with horror and despair that she was. I guess I’m thinking a lot about early SPN recently, because this scene reminded me of another of my most unforgettable scenes – when Dean arrives similarly a moment too late to save Sam in AHBL, gathering him up and having a similar crushing realization as he checks Sam’s injuries and feels all the blood. They even say the same things, murmuring “I gotcha, I gotcha”. Ouch. My flashback invested the scene with even more emotion.

Cap by jarpadprincess

The next scene was one of the strongest, as Claire begs to be killed, saying she knows she won’t be able to keep from hurting someone and she refuses to take that chance. I liked Claire more than ever in this scene, and Kathryn Newton did a great job – Claire demonstrates that maturity that she’s been struggling with, along with palpable emotion. Some of my own emotional reaction is also due to Padalecki and Ackles, who look absolutely devastated about what has happened. They’re both such good actors that the pain on those handsome faces just seeps right into me – pretty sure I had a similarly pained expression in empathy.

Dean: (desperately) You can live with this.

Claire: No, I can’t.

Cue the sad sad music, and me fumbling for the tissues.

Sam and Dean are a united front against Mick at this point, nearly speaking in unison.

Dean: Back off!

Sam: Shut up!

Sam: (steely) You killed a kid. We’re not angry, we’re done.

Damn boys.

Sam, super smart geeky research boy that he is, makes all that staying up reading pay off – the BMoL did have a cure for this, at least in mice. It killed 9 out of 10, in agony, but at least there’s a chance.

My twitter timeline always adds to the fun.

Astroglide: (who often wins the best tweet contest hands down): You know what sounds like a terrible idea? Were-mice.

Anyway, Dean says absolutely not, it’s too risky (though really Dean, how risky are the other options?) But Claire wants to do it. Kudos to Meredith Glynn for the next little interchange, as they try to decide whether to risk it.

Dean to Claire: You don’t get a vote in this.

Claire: It’s my life. I get ALL the votes.

Damn right. And another thank you to Glynn and to Newton, who nails that line.

Dean wants to disagree, but Sam backs Claire up and Dean reluctantly goes along. (Once again, that’s a theme this season. Dean is as emotional and passionate as ever, but he can also listen to other viewpoints and hear them. And he’s capable of understanding when his knee-jerk reaction, his long ingrained need to protect those he loves, is not the right way to go. That, right there, is character growth. Character growth that’s realistic and not superhuman miraculous)

Adam Fergus also did a great job in this scene of showing us Mick’s in-episode evolution. He’s still torn between what his orders are and the way the BMoL have always done things, but the Winchesters are already teaching him. Dean leaves Claire with Mick along with a threat that nobody has any doubt he’ll carry out if needed, but you get the feeling that Mick is also rooting for Claire at this point. He killed one young girl; I don’t think he wants to do that again.

Sam and Dean head out to find the werewolf sire. I love that at first they rough up the wrong guy – just because he has tats doesn’t mean he’s the bad guy! (Also, that guy’s gonna have some gigantic therapy bills after this.) Shades of Sex and Violence here, as my unconscious Supernatural retrospective continues…

Unfortunately that means the real bad guy is grabbing Claire out from under the hapless Mick and taking her back to his place to turn her. She manages not to gulp down the nice juicy fresh heart he tries to force on her (ewww, Kathryn Newton you’re a brave soul…) and while the dialogue in this scene didn’t ring true to me (really? Claire takes the time to wittily call the bad guy ‘Teen Wolf’ in the middle of all this?) I was intrigued with what we learned. The werewolf and his pack were peaceful until the BMoL started wholesale killing them. How much worse are they making things in the US? This is a lesson the Winchesters learned a long time ago, but I wonder if this will poke a substantial hole in Mary’s argument that they’re “doing so much good”. Maybe not.

The Winchesters and Mick track Claire down thanks to a bug in her pocket, there’s a fight scene that’s as well choreographed as all the fight scenes in Supernatural, Dean defends himself from were!Claire with pots and pans, and Mick manages to help save the day (and Dean). They have the means to inject Claire with her sire’s blood now, but how much do I love that Dean pauses before he plunges the needle in, looking to Sam. Dean has learned some hard lessons about consent. So has Sam.

Dean: She wanted this, right?

Sam: Oh yeah.

There are a lot of messages in here about autonomy that are right on point, can I just say? One more thank you to Glynn.

And then they wait. Wait to see if Claire will live and get better or die in agony. She definitely experiences the agony part – once again, the worst of that was watching the pain on Dean and Sam’s faces as they have to watch. Dean eventually can’t take it and goes out to get some air, reminding me of that time Sam was detoxing in the panic room and Dean couldn’t stand to listen. Dean can be ruthless and fearless, but he takes no pleasure in hearing someone else in pain – if it’s someone he cares about, his empathy literally won’t allow him to bear it. (And yes, I love that about him).

Sam calls his brother back inside when they think Claire has died, but I’m guessing none of the viewers fell for that. I wish I had, because then it would have had more impact when she opened her (human looking again) eyes, but the relief on Sam and Dean’s faces feels really good anyway.

Of course that scene and this episode in general reminded most of us of the classic episode ‘Heart’, where a heartbroken Sam has to kill Madison and an equally heartbroken Dean has to let him. Who will ever forget Dean’s flinch when the gun shot ran out, or the single tear that overflowed when it did, knowing how much it cost his little brother? Some fans felt that finding this new werewolf cure negated the intensity of that episode, but it wasn’t truly a retcon. They couldn’t have cured Madison back then, they had no way of knowing that the BMoL had been working on a cure. So for me, that episode remains just as tragic, and just as emotional. I’m sure poor Sam and Dean are going to think about Madison sooner or later, though, and find it even more heartbreaking.

Claire shows her newfound maturity again by thanking the Winchesters, gets some hugs, and heads to her car. Sam and Dean, showing their respect for the fact that she is an adult (I’m assuming she’s over 18, and to the Winchesters, that would certainly rate being old enough considering their own hunting history), leave the decision to call Jody to her. Claire actually did hear Sam though, even if she pretended she didn’t – she calls and leaves a message, acknowledging Jody’s impact on her as ‘her mother’.

I might have sniffled a little.

Also any time we’re reminded that Kim Rhodes will eventually be back, I’m a happy camper.

Sam and Dean decide to give Mick one more chance, presumably because he came through in the end, but that doesn’t seem like the best choice to me. They said one chance! Hmmm.

I have to quibble a bit with the end too. Claire drives off, on the nose rock music playing (Wild Child). That parallel was a bit too heavy handed for me – yes, we get it, she’s a hunter. But only the Impala gets to drive off screen at the end of an episode, Show. Got it?

The ending had Wayward Daughters spin-off feels all over it, which would be very welcomed by the fandom. If that was the intention, I’ll forgive that error this once. But don’t let it happen again. I like my endings with Sam, Dean and Baby driving off up the road.

While this won’t go down in history as one of my favorite episodes, I like how much evolution occurred for both Claire and Mick, and I like that we’re finding out more about the BMoL little by little. The theme of lies and deception continues, but I’m at least hoping that none of that will be between Sam and Dean. It was difficult to watch Sam not tell Dean about working with the BMoL, essentially telling him after they’d already been taking their cases. Not cool, Sam. No more of that.

Some of the cast live tweeted the episode, so we got a few behind the scenes pictures. Kathryn has to deal with plenty of big brother shenanigans, clearly – Jensen tied her shoe laces together in the scene where Claire is crying.

And even William Shatner was a bit put off by Claire’s insult to Sam.

Shatner: hey @jarpad, Skeezer??

Exactly.

One more little thing. Claire reads Batgirl. Nice touch, Supernatural.

Glad you’re back!

Caps by @kayb625

–Lynn
Who’s joining us for the book release party for
Family Don’t End With Blood? Rob Benedict,
Billy Moran and Mike Borja will make some beautiful
music, and some of our favorite SPN cast will
be there too! Get tickets here –
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fdewb-book-release-party-tickets-33180733467

17 thoughts on “Ladies Drink Free! Supernatural 12.16

  • I liked this episode because of the history of the show with werewolves. My first reaction to Sam and Dean talking to Mick about having a werewolf friend? Uh oh! Then Dean mentioned Garths name. Another “oh crap” moment for me.
    Although the Madison story line did come up in my memory, I don’t really think it would have made any difference in the end. She had already killed a couple of people, and probably consumed a heart ( don’t remember?) so the cure wouldn’t have worked anyway.
    I like Claire because she is pretty tough and doesn’t back down ( although like others, I didn’t like her comment to Sam) and she is a survivor.
    I have a nasty feeling that the boys are going to find out what the BMoL have done-to Magda and the soldiers and the sh*ts going to hit the fan. I just hope that one of the boys isn’t forced to make a choice between mom ( and her BMoL buds) and their brother. Pretty good episode but I’m looking forward ( and dreading) the inevitable showdown.

  • Always love your recaps, Lynne. I pretty much agree with everything you said. I am one of those fans that likes Claire – but I’ve about had it with the BMoL!

  • I enjoyed your take on this weeks show, as usual!
    I desperately need more between the brothers. I tweeted with @fanboy today about that. I think Show has had to give the other characters screen time and that is cutting in on our Sam and Dean time!
    I LOL’D at your dismay of lack of pool footage! How funny would it have been to see Sam walk onto the pool patio, yell for Dean, and see Dean pop his head up out of the water!! Or floating around in a huge rubber ducky. The fandom would have exploded! We really should leave our email addresses and phone numbers with the writers. For embellishment purposes, of course😜

  • I really liked this episode. Not loved, but really liked. MOTW episodes often make me feel impatient for so it was great for me to see Claire and Mick draw this werewolf saga into the Mythology. I also like Claire for many reasons but most especially for the affect she has on Sam and Dean. The “teen wolf” line was somewhat brazen and out of place for the moment but it didn’t seem out of character. One other thing I will confess is that when Claire called Sam a “skeezer” I laughed out loud. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to feel insulted for Sam. Amused yes. It was so ridiculous, nonsensical and yet so real to her annoyance with Sam. There he is, the reasonable adult but all he is doing is frustrating this young woman with his patient adult “I know what is best” tone so she attempts to sound derisive, to put him in his place and that’s what she comes up with. Sam is reasonable and seeks to be understanding so I thought his confused adult expression at being called a “skeezer” was priceless. Jared did a great job.

  • I notice that the defenses of Claire’s calling Sam a skeezer (and creeper) are confusing the sequence of events. Both insults occurred BEFORE Sam gave her the talk. They were completely unprovoked smartass insults from a cocky teen.

    • Ah interesting. I’ve only watched it once. Must watch it again to catch that sequence of events. Though clearly with the one watching my immediate reaction was my reaction. I can’t change that. It was funny (and ridiculous) from a sassy teen. Jody would definitely have had something to say.

  • Awesome thanks for Sharing your take on the Episode it really was good what ever happens in this episode will have an answer somewhere down the road. I really hated what happened to Magda I think that Wii come back to haunt Mick

  • Missed saying how much I love these re-caps Lynne, and most certainly your live tweeting during the show and the cons. I always connect with your reactions. I so appreciate your kindness and humour.

  • I have a confession to make. It took me till yesterday to watch the episode. I had been discouraged by some negative comments on twitter and was reluctant to be disappointed because, lets face it, S12 as a whole hasnt exactly been Supernatural’s finest hour. But as the episode developed, I found myself really enjoying it. Even though Mick was there, it was clear my boys were the heroes and thats how it always was supposed to be. I had all the same flashbacks to old episodes you mention and fell in love again with Sam and Dean’s silent yet deep undeniable emotions. I think Claire is transitioning ok to adulthood. Leaving the childish brat behind with some relapses in the process too. Lying to Jody, insulting Sam… I think by the end of the episode she was already growing out of it. I ended up really liking the episode. Maybe it will not go down in history as an all time favorite but it certainly wont go under the for oblivion list. To me, show redeemed itself a little from some previous let downs.

  • I enjoyed the episode back to what the show is about Urban Legends, Dean and Sam being the heros teaching Mick their way. Wonder what the brothers will do when they found out about Magda, and the federal people that Ketch killed for the thrill. Mick might be book smart by reading the materials, he’s not hunter smarts it’s one thing he can learn from atheism Winchesters. As for Claire not a huge fan of hers she to much of a brat, insulting Sam and giving Dean an attitude needs to grow up. If the want a spin off why don’t they do it with the Angels, Castiel/Misha would have his own show he is a fan favorite sk why not.

  • Liked your comment about Wayward Daughters–hope the Powers that Be are paying attention. It’s a natural progression and spin off show. 🙂

  • Hi there.
    Have never commented before coz I’m in the UK and we’ve always been sooooo far behind the US air dates that there didn’t seem a point. Now we are actually catching up for the first time ever – yay! So maybe there are other folks like me, who follow these amazing reviews religiously, but on a delayed timeline who’ll be tempted to join in … Anyway …

    Didn’t enjoy this ep much as it felt clunky – E.g. Claire strolling away with headphones, the image flashbacks to Magda and Claire’s recovery at the end (Dean walks out and Sam almost instantly calls him back again without checking for signs of life???). I’m not very good at this but I think it was more the directing or editing that caused that than the writing.

    I always appreciate a Claire episode, she is such a flawed character (who usually make the best heroes – right?) and it allows us to see a softer side of The Boys. I thought KLN did a super job. I really feel her acting is improving rapidly – but of course she is on the best show for refining her craft!

    I liked the episode better in retrospect, with the benefit of you hindsight, Lynn. For me, you pointed out 2 important series gems that were supported by this episode: 1) beefing up Sam’s role/ recognition in the partnership (reducing the number of times he kinda looks like a sidekick who needs rescuing) and 2) the closely linked growth in Dean’s willingness to hear and trust his brother’s opinion. I love the lying theme in S12 and how they keep knocking it on the head. I was so relieved that they didn’t drag out Sam’s deception about the BMoL. How many times over the years have the brothers lied to each other and then finally promised they won’t do it again? Each time fans have had to agonise and wail over it as they stumble on, deceiving and hurting each other and eventually, watch them painfully rebuilding their trust in each other. I really don’t think my heart could take much more of that – so bruised.

    Finally, like you say, I just need some PDAs from The Boys. Please! I don’t think there’s been one all series. It jars. It doesn’t quite feel like them.

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