After nearly a month off, Supernatural returned this week as the Winchesters head to Wisconsin to take down a pure blood werewolf stalking the woods; but they’re not alone. Mick Davies comes along for the ride, desperate to prove himself after the alpha vampire destroyed ops team. But things get a bit hairy when Claire Novak, the sister Dean never had, joins the hunt but finds herself under the gun after being bitten by the monster-of-the-week representative.
Like Grimm, Supernatural has made a living off the monster-of-the-week formula though, unlike the former, has generally done an excellent job incorporating a larger aspect of the seasonal narrative in many of those one-shot episodes. And though “Ladies Drink Free” is not the best monster hunting soiree, it provides a character-study into both Claire and Mick while once again hinting at the Winchester/British Men of Letters(aka BMoL) dustup coming once a particularly murderous secret comes to light.
Everything about the werewolf aspect of the hour is by the book. You have the two victims walking alone at night, the one survivor, the grieving mom, and the girl that was bitten. Pretty straight-forward. That is, until Mick and the Winchesters arrive. Though he’s talked a good game from the beginning, Mick was always the mouthpiece for BMoL, not a true field agent. He wants to rectify that aspect of his persona but isn’t truly ready to take center stage, as not only is Mick lacking in a fight (something Dean is adamant about from the start) but his BMoL training is all black and white with no room for gray. The fact that the Winchesters, Dean especially, are advocating those gray areas is a testament to just how far they’ve come. Mick’s faults, in this area and being in the field, come to light when, after confirming the first victim’s bite, he returns to the hospital to do his Men of Letterly deed and kill the soon-to-be werewolf. His hesitation nearly gets him killed and the kill is more in self-defense than the out-and-out hit that it first looked to be.
That small detail is similar to the smokescreen they deliver with the big bad wolf of the tale. Justin, the pure blood werewolf in the story, tells his unfortunate circumstance to Claire (more on that later). Turns out BMoL took down his peaceful pack with all but a few surviving the onslaught. He’s been on his own ever since and wants nothing more than to create his own pack, being as werewolves are all about the community. Though it’s a sad tale and the unnecessary slaughter of his pack hits home at the differences in how BMoL handles the supernatural, killing an innocent man and trying to turn two women firmly places him in the “KILL” category.
Now that the monstery goodness is out of the way, let’s talk about the primary through line for the episode. Both Mick and Claire have come to a crossroads in their lives. For Mick, it’s about getting onto the frontline against the supernatural and not just being satisfied as the mouthpiece. Claire’s on a similar path. For so long, she’s been on her own and despite the familial ties she now has with Jody and Alex, including nights out hunting with Jody, Claire still hasn’t quite figured out who she is. Even after facing a life as a werewolf and the excruciating experience of being cured of the lycanthropy (thanks to preliminary research found in Mick’s BMoL tome) Claire’s not yet ready to settle down, so to speak. In truth, her experience allows her to see even more clearly what she needs to do: and that’s to take to the hunt alone. She leaves a message with Jody, coming clean about her secret hunting nights but also that it’s something she needs to do and while she’ll eventually return to the fold, now’s the time to find herself.
Finally, despite some rocky moments, it seems as if Dean has reluctantly accepted Mick as a part of the Team Winchester. Whether that sticks after they find out that Ketch murdered Magda (Episode 12×04, “American Nightmare”) is anyone’s guess. But something tells me, the head of at least one Man of Letters will roll. For Mick’s sake, I hope it isn’t his.
- Since his introduction, Mick Davies has been the silver-tongued British Men of Letters representative. He’s always seemed to know what to say but after his ordeal in “The Raid”, the truth has come to light. Mick has always been the figurehead, so to speak. His understanding of this and refusal to be okay with it is one of the primary movers of the episode. He’s already faced his mortality but this time around, it’s by his own accord, not circumstance. Ever since Lady Antonia arrived, the British Men of Letters has been framed as the antagonist. Now, while they do not do things the way our friendly, neighborhood Winchesters do things, they still have the best interest of humanity in mind. With that said, one has to wonder, how far is okay when taking in someone else’s best interests?
- The whole pure blood werewolf plot line was more of a plot device to frame both Mick and Claire’s journeys of clarity. Both faced death and, in that, both discovered a stronger part of themselves and a clearer path to the future. In that, the monster-of-the-week was successful but its portrayal left a lot to be desired.
- Though good from a storytelling point, once Magda’s death at Mr. Ketch’s hands come to light, it’s going to be bad news for the currently shaky alliance between BMoL and the Winchesters. Let’s hope Mick chooses the right side and doesn’t get caught in the crossfire.
- From Kendricks, the BMoL school of learning, referred to as ‘Hogwarts’, Dean referring to Mick as ‘Harry Potter’, to revisiting how the past can and will affect the future, “Ladies Drink Free” hits many of the points we’ve come to expect. Dean’s relationship with Claire was especially tounching. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a supporting character has had such a strong effect on the elder Winchester and Claire represents the little sister Dean never had. Add to the fact that her sometimes rude ‘tude is very similar to Dean’s and you have two peas in a pod.