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Rewatch S12: Ladies Drink Free (12x16)

In keeping with the theme of the week, today's rewatch happens to be Claire's episode from last season...let's get to it!

Ladies Drink Free

Still snowy Vancouver for our unfortunate teaser death. I did like the fake out with thinking the dude walking into the woods was going to get it, but instead it was the girl...only to have the fake out again, where it IS the dude. Still, maybe I'm turning into my mother, but these teaser deaths make me so sad, even though I KNOW everyone in the first two minutes of an episode dies.

Dean is already chafing at "reporting for duty" with the BMoL

And we get our first mention of Kendricks - the BMoL's version of Hogwarts - which Sam thinks sounds cool, mainly because of it being the largest depository of lore in the world.

Mick wants to tag along on a hunt, because the vampire attack has already begun to school him in the difference between KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE. Mick has knowledge, but no experience. Sam and Dean have both.

Dean doesn't want to bring him. Sam first argument is to point out that Mick has knowledge they can use. It's true to their characters that Sam puts a lot of power in knowledge, while Dean puts a lot of power in experience...as with dualistic things in Supernatural, the true answer is that you need a balance of both in order to succeed.

Martin Luther was apparently a hunter - I love that.

Sam: "Wait a second, you killed them all? Even the ones that weren't hurting anyone?"
Mick: "Excuse me?"
Sam: "Werewolves aren't like other monsters - some can control it - we got a buddy got bit, nothing but beef hearts ever since."
Mick: "And you trust him? Killing is a fundamental need for werewolves, and monsters don't just stop being monsters?"
Dean: "Garth did."

- Okay, couple things.
- A)DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR WEREWOLF BUDDY'S NAME TO SOMEONE WHO JUST TOLD YOU THAT THERE ARE NO GOOD MONSTERS.
- B)This was a major source of disappointment for me with this episode - because this conversation SHOULD have been a foreshadowing to the boys finding out about the BMoL killing their survivors, and thus led to the falling out between them - but instead the Winchesters don't really argue. They're just like "huh, that's an interesting and dangerous black & white attitude to have. Oh well, guess we'll still just keep working with you."
- In terms of my rewrite: This conversation, and exploring this difference in attitude, would be a LOT more interesting if part of Mick's secret mission was to judge the Winchesters good or evil - the audience would be a lot more engaged in this conversation - as a)this is Mick discovering that the Winchesters can be and have been "tricked" into trusting monsters, b)they have a differing ethical and moral approach to hunting than is approved by the BMoL, and c)Mick would be affording the Winchesters a chance to prove themselves good, that he does not afford to monsters - so it'd be a great showcase of either his hypocrisy, or his firm dividing moral of line of human vs. monster. The Winchesters deserve a fair trial, because they're human - monsters do not.

The three star hotel.

Sam: "Wait, we're in separate rooms?"
- I just love Sam's face in this scene - like, he is clearly TRYING to play it cool and keep it together, and not give away the fact that all of his dreams are coming true. Jared does SUCH a good job. I mean, I don't know about you, but I think we've all been in a situation where we find ourselves outside our economic class (in a higher class), and we're like "oh, right, yes, this is normal" while on the inside, we're like "HOLY SHIT! I MIGHT CRY."

Dean: "... I even took a swim this morning."
Sam: "You brought a swimsuit?"
Dean: "No."
Sam: "Ugh."

- Listen, he COULD have been in his boxers, there's not that much difference, Sam. We've all gone swimming in our underwear at some point in our lives. And in any case, he was obviously alone at the pool if he was naked - and swimsuit or not, that water is touching everyone's junk regardless, why do you think they put chlorine in it?

We also get the introduction of the "cure" for lycanthropy... which, okay, I know we had something similar in the S6 episode with the vampires, what the heck was it called? ShOOt I can't remember. Anyway, when Dean was turned into a vampire, and suddenly it was like "oh, but there is suddenly a cure." BUT... that I think was done more organically than this. I recognize that they wanted the Winchesters to know about it beforehand, since Mick is the "kill all monsters" type and so it'd make more sense for Sam and Dean to argue for it's use instead of Mick when it comes to Claire... BUT, to me it's just annoying that Sam JUST SO HAPPENED to have read about it the night before. I think it'd make more sense if Mick, our stranger, mentioned it in passing when things were underway and Sam latched on to it as a possible solution and demanded to know more. But that's me nitpicking.

I like the scenes in the hospital, they're really well done.

And the Winchesters find out that Claire is in town... "blonde, bad attitude."

Mick finds the bite, and I do like his reaction, because it's when we start seeing him as a more complex character. Because he really is genuinely disappointed and upset when he discovered Hayden has been bitten. (Sidenote: I was way more of a Mick fan than a Ketch fan, it sort of annoyings me that Ketch gets to come back from the dead and Mick doesn't. But, I'll get over it.)

He promptly lies to Sam and Dean about it though, because they've already given away that they would try to save her.

Dean: "Young, blonde, pissed off? Sound like anybody we know?"
- Claire!

You know what I find interesting about Claire. A fundamental part of her character, the way Dean recognizes her, is that she is "pissed off" - I think there's a dearth of female characters who are fundamentally just pissed off. I suppose Veronica Mars was, and I think that's something I liked about her. She was just pissed off completely by the circumstances she found herself in. Anyway, off topic a little.

Dean doing a voice on the phone, that turns into yogi bear. And Claire knows it's him. I kind of like their weird relationship. Dean does sort of come across like the step-father that she never wanted.

Claire: "Your foreign exchange student is totally lame."
Dean: "Yeah, Sam's best friend. They're like nerd soulmates."

- Hahaha, awww. Dean and his exaggerations... but I do love how they go directly from "unwanted parent-child relationship" to "we're basically the same person."

Then Sam plays the part of the mother-henning uncle.

Dean: "Well, go nuts, it's on Harry Potter."
Claire: "Haha, cool!"

- SAME PERSON.

And then Mick goes to kill the girl. Does he do this because he doesn't think the Winchesters will? Or because he wants to prove to himself that he can?

Instead of peacefully going in her sleep, undetectable, she instead gets stabbed in the chest, and Mick gets stabbed - and he has to hear her mother's screams at discovering the body.

And because Sam doesn't have the same weird relationship to Claire that Dean does, Sam can question her more than Dean can, and actually get answers out of her.

Can werewolves get tattoos? I mean, technically tattoos ARE healed skin with injected ink - but on SPN they count as wounds.

I love how Dean turns Conner's interrogation into an interrogation of Mick.

Then he asks if Conner met Claire...
Conner: "What are you, her Dad? [...] Come on, girls like that - pfft."
Dean: "Yeah, you ever touch her again, I'll break your face."

- Dean IS her Dad, you idiot. Her weird step-father than neither of them wanted.

Dean: "You had a choice!"
Mick: "Did I? Killing monsters is what we do - or maybe palling away with demons and witches, you've forgotten?"
Dean: "Don't tell me how to do my job!"
Mick: "Then do it."
Dean: "You think it's that simple, eh?"
Mick: "I really do."
Dean: "Yeah, well, so did I, but here's a little tip - things aren't just black and white out here. All you have is the case in front of you, like Hayden...[launches into discription of Magda as well] so we gave her a second chance, because it was the right thing to do."
Mick: "Well, that's your luxury, we have a code."
(flashback to Ketch killing Madga)
Dean: "Well, now Hayden's mom? She gets to bury two kids instead of one. Thanks to you, and thanks to your code. Nice work."

- Again, this would be even more impact full if Mick's mission was to determine the Winchester's loyalties. It'd be him learning WHY they don't kill girls like Magda. It'd be him experiencing the decision he made - hearing the mother's screams, understanding the emotional impact of prioritizing a law code over empathy and mercy.

Back to Claire and Sam...

Sam: "How'd it go?"
Claire: "BFF found. Beans spilled...."

- I like how well they show us that Claire isn't a seasoned hunter by a longshot, she DOES have advantages that Sam and Dean don't. She can't pass as authority, but that means she can use her NON-AUTHORITY to her advantage, while Sam and Dean, who easily pass for authority wouldn't have as easy a time.

Sam: "Claire, why does Jody think that you're in Madison looking at colleges?"
Claire: "You called her?"

- Oh Claire... Sam may be like your awkward uncle, but he's also your foster mom's BFF. Actually, I take it back - Sam isn't her awkward uncle at all, what he is ACTUALLY AN EXTENSION OF JODY. 
- Seriously though, have I mentioned lately how much I love that Sam and Jody are friends... and friends to the point where Sam can call her just to CHAT, for no reason. Because he definitely didn't need to call her for the case, and he didn't tell Jody about Claire, and Jody isn't calling Claire all suspicious about why Sam was asking after her - which means that Sam must REGULARLY call Jody just to say "hey, what's up? How are the girls?" AND I LOVE IT!
- It also gives even more weight to Jody's line in Wayward Sisters about how she hasn't heard from "the boys" in a few days. Sam actually does keep her up to date.

Claire: "She wants me to be normal, go to nursing school, like Alex."
Sam: "Did she say that?"
Claire: "She doesn't have to."

- Human psychology is a funny thing. Claire believes that she knows Jody's mind, but she doesn't. She believes that Jody approves of Alex but not Claire's choices. While it's true that Jody has to worry less about Alex, and maybe she'd prefer if Claire didn't choose Hunting, fundamentally, I think Jody respects the decisions that Claire makes. The problem is that Claire sees all education/protectiveness as babying. Claire's been without parents for a long time, and probably, much like Dean, has some abandonment issues when it comes to parental figures. Claire is a)used to being independent, and b)is probably pulling one of those "you can't leave me if I leave you first" stunts that we all pull when we want to both feel in control of our own lives and also avoid feeling rejected.

Claire: "Screw you! I'm so sick of you guys, divebombing my life, pretending like you care."
Sam: "We do care."
Claire: "Then stop treating me like a stupid kid!"
Sam: "Then stop acting like one."

- Sam draws Claire's anger, but he doesn't respond to it with anger as Dean might have. I love the way he stays calm, so that Claire FEELS like a little kid having a tantrum, which just drives his point home. Getting angry with her would JUSTIFY her anger. Staying calm when she isn't, makes her anger seem ridiculous.
- I also want to talk about the "pretending like you care" line of Claire's, because I think it's really important to her character that she doesn't trust affection. I noticed this about myself the other day too, though to a less extreme extent and for a less extreme reason. BUT... let's remember Claire's history with adults "caring" about her. Her parents cared for her, but not enough to stay (mother) or to the point where it got them killed (father). We don't know what her relationship with her grandmother was like, but it was probably fairly distent, and only lasted a short time. THEN, and this is crucial, a man who supposedly cared for her manipulated her into stealing for him and then SOLD her in order to pay off his debts - both acts, undoubtably, prove that his "care" was a lie. It was at this point that Sam, Dean, and Cas, came back into her life, but did they care for her? Cas was there out of obligation and guilt. Dean and Sam were there seemingly solely because of Cas, and then they KILLED the man who, at the time, she still thought cared for her and who she cared about, and caused her great pain - something that someone who cared for her wouldn't do. And yes, he sold her, but I don't think she had processed that at the time - nor do I think she has now, really. I think she sees herself as someone that is cared for only as long as they are needed. And that's what drives her to be ANGRILY independent, because it is better to be not cared for at all, then to be lied to.
- I also think that she sees Jody as someone who cares for her only out of obligation to Sam and Dean - which is why Claire has it in her head that if she leaves, Jody will cease worrying about her... but I'll save that discussion for when I rewatch S13.

Sam does have a look of regret right before Claire stalks off after their argument, but I don't think he regrets what he said, or his approach - I think he regret that it's still no match for the extent of her anger - like, maybe he thinks that he should have tried a different tack, but I think he believes that only as a matter of self-blame when he realizes that Claire is going to walk away from him instead of arguing further. And I think Claire DOES walk away because she recognizes that he's not matching her anger with anger, and so there's no way for her to come out of the argument feeling on top - and more then likely, if she stays, she will only lose WORSE than she already has.

Then Claire gets bit.

Sam: "Mick, you killed a kid! We're not angry. We're done!"
- YEAH! This is what I wanted, eventually, from the Magda revelation - that NEVER CAME.

Claire: "Maybe some people can control this, but I can barely keep it together on a good day."
- This is where Claire's actual maturity pokes through her trauma - because she KNOWS that she's been traumatized. She KNOWS that she has a lot of anger issues as a result - and she knows that anger issues and lycanthropy do not mix well.
- Actually, I know I argue a lot that Claire is a Dean-parallel without the deference to authority of the co-dependency, but I actually see a lot of Sam in here too. Sam's anger issues was one of the things he struggled with the most in the early seasons, and he didn't even know if they were born out of the demon-blood or his traumatic childhood, but it took him until S5 before he fully acknowledged that they were a problem.
- Also, the fact that Claire would rather die than hurt her loved ones or ANYONE - self-sacrifice for loved ones of humanity is Sam's whole schtick.

Mick: "That study was on mice."
- I want to see werewolf mice!!!
- Actually, no I don't, on second thought, that sounds possibly horrible... little mice, eating hearts... I'd cry.

Claire: "Maybe second time's the charm?"
Dean: "No no, you don't get a vote in this."
Claire: "It's my life. I get all the votes."
Dean: "Sam, you want to back me up here?"
Sam: "It's her life."

- Man, knocking it out of the park this episode, Sammy. Respecting Claire's agency is not only the right thing to do, but it's going to go a LONG way to actually winning her trust. Which again, is a wonderful parallel, or juxtaposition, to Sam's history of NEVER having his agency respected.

I understand actor contracts and blah blah blah, Misha can only be in so many episodes, etc. BUT...in my opinion, realistically, if they were going to do something that involved Claire near dying, they should have put in a phone call at LEAST to Cas. THOUGH, I do realize that they had VERY limited time. Again, I think I'm just getting old, because I'm like "Someone call the angel wearing her father!!" even though now that I think about it, they're not even calling Jody. So, I think they were just like "either this works, or the phone call is that she's dead - and there's no point calling twice."

Dean: "He's a smart guy, so he knows that if anything happens to her, and I mean anything-"
Mick: "You'll kill me."
Dean: "Like I said, Smart."

- I'm interested in this play, because I think this is actually a test of Mick on Dean's part. I think Dean trusts Claire to defend herself if he DOES try something, and then Dean will have his final answer about Mick's character. That's just a passing thought though. I'm not wedded to it.

And Mick HAS been changed by being in the field... because even at Claire's request, he doesn't want to kill another young girl.

Claire: "I gotta call Jody. She's going to be so mad at me."
- Again, Claire DOES know the consequences to her actions, but her anger makes those actions feel justified anyway. It's only when something strips away the anger, or Claire is able to manage it, that she turns into an anxious mess about what she's done to her life and those that claim to care about her. I wonder if that's one of the things that makes me link her so much to Dean - that righteous factor. For Claire, it's a feeling of righteous anger, because she HAS been brutalized in her life and her anger IS justified. For Dean, well, he was the righteous man who spilt blood in hell - his righteousness didn't come from anger, but from the same code that he now scoffs at the BMoL for having, because he knows better NOW.

And we get the werewolf telling us how the BMoL drove him to bite people - which is the similar storyline that we got with vampires a few times, I believe. And so some might be like "yawn, boring" but this does drive home the fact that the BMoL haven't learned the lessons that Sam and Dean have. OR, alternatively, they knew stuff like this would happen and didn't care - either way, it reminds us that their presence in America is aberrant and Sam and Dean should not trust them to actually be the greater good that they claim to be.

Man, and this episode just keeps taking my Claire-Dean parallels and saying, no no, Alix, Claire-Sam parallels. Because the werewolf feeds her a heart, something that she's no doubt craving, and Claire has the strength to spit it out at him - where have we seen that move before, I wonder? Hmm? Maybe our beautiful Sammy in 5x03 Free to Be You and Me.

I really like fights where someone has to fight someone else without hurting them.

And based on Mick's help with Claire, and his WILLINGNESS to help with Claire. Sam and Dean give him a second chance - which continues Mick's journey into being one of many who are changed through association with the Winchesters.

Claire: "Look, what I said before. You guys are here when I need you, and that's all that matters."
- Again, this isn't a "I trust your affection as genuine" statement, this is a "I can trust that you will be there when I need you, even if it's only to serve your own ends." It's a LESSER trust, because it's Claire saying that whether it's simply out of obligation/guilt/or as a favour, Sam and Dean ARE interested in helping her. But she does not trust that they care for her as a person, independent of their obligations or the circumstance.

Sam: "You going to tell Jody what happened?"
Claire: "I don't know."
Dean: "Well, whatever you decide, we've got your back."

- And this is Dean NICELY, (when not angry in the heat of the moment), respecting Claire's agency and her ability to make decisions regarding her own life.

Claire (leaving message for Jody): "...but I'm ready, and I wouldn't have been, if it weren't for you being my mother. Well, I better go..."
- And this is Claire calling Jody her mother first, before we see Alex's casual acceptance of it in S13. It's actually pretty huge, because it shows us that even though Claire might still doubt Jody's affection, Claire clearly cares for Jody (I mean, her fear of harming them as a werewolf also told us that, but calling Jody 'mother' while not freaked out, just confirms it.) So, whatever tumultuous relationship Jody and Claire might have it IS a loving one, and one that is, slowly but surely, an important healing factor for Claire.

I think my interest in Claire as a character is the fact that out of all the gang that ends up at Jody's, she's actually arguably the most broken and messed up - because the others, not having anger issues, can take a more measured approach to their own trauma, whereas Claire constantly has to deal with clouded reasoning due to having such a hair-trigger temper, and her distrust of affection leads her to push away people rather than accept their help. So, Claire comes across as an obtuse brat, when really she's a beaten animal who isn't sure she can trust her new caregivers. She shows them her teeth to make sure they know that she can defend herself. She tries to escape, because constantly showing your teeth is EXHAUSTING and when she's alone, she doesn't have to do it, because she's with the only person that she trusts.

No real rewrites for this episode - I think the Magda flashbacks and whatnot could have been great foreshadowing for that revelation to have paid off later... so, I'll most likely be rewriting upcoming episodes, rather than this one.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you're not a fan of Claire, please don't go on about it in comments. I'm actually kind of sick of it after the Wayward Sister's episode aired on Thursday (and from the lead-up to the episode). It's just annoying at this point. If you are busting at the seams wanting to let me know that you dislike her, please keep it to a simple "I am not a fan of Claire." and that will tell me everything I need to know - because I honestly do not care why. I don't care if it's the actress. I don't care if it's the character. I don't care if it's some combination of both. We're all entitled to like or dislike whomever we please and I'm not going to argue one way or the other with you - so just, don't bring it up, because I don't care about any information beyond "I am not a fan of Claire" - my answer, to that or ANY further commentary on why, will just be "that's rough, buddy." Because it is, I'm sorry you don't like the character. I don't like Lucifer, so I know REALLY WELL how annoying it is to constantly have him be in episodes. I commiserate, but I don't want to talk about it.

And I'm finished disc 4 yay! Only two more discs! 

Next rewatch will be tomorrow, because I've got plans Tuesday night.

As usual, let me know what you thought in comments. This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/551381.html.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
borgmama1of5
Jan. 22nd, 2018 05:51 am (UTC)
Kind of amusing that this ep popped up on your rewatch right after Wayward Sisters aired.

I appreciate your nuanced understanding of what drives Claire to behave in what can be perceived as bratty and made her a little annoying to me in this episode. In fact, what I especially loved about Wayward Sisters is that it started to tone down some of Claire's abrasive behavior and her interactions with the others on the team started to become more layered.

Interesting how she parallels both Sam and Dean at different times.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 22nd, 2018 06:29 am (UTC)
Yeah, I think like all characters, Claire starts from somewhere and grows to somewhere - she's still growing. I think this episode was largely about getting to her a place where she could be in Wayward Sisters without being abrasive to the point of hindrance.

And yeah, I didn't plan my rewatch this way at all! It just happened! Of course, as a result of it airing so close, I DID have to put that note in about not being up for discussing people's opinions towards Claire. I'm just spent. :P
percysowner
Jan. 23rd, 2018 03:10 am (UTC)
I'm not NOT a Claire fan. I think Claire has been somewhat badly served on SPN, mostly because of Castiel. Basically, Castiel has become a main and (by many, not really me, but I'm an oddball) loved character. So Claire's extremely justifiable anger toward Cas has been downplayed and dismissed in show canon. When she did confront Cas, Sam and Dean went into "protect Cas mode" and told her that Jimmy died for a greater cause, to save the world. The fact that Cas's actions set Jimmy up to die and that, no matter how much good it did, Claire has every right to hate and blame Cas gets written as Claire "not appreciating" that taking her father away from her was a GOOD thing and so she shouldn't feel angry or violated. Not to mention that the show has not and probably never will deal with Cas getting an 11 year old girl to become his vessel, in all likely hood by telling her that if she didn't say yes, her Mommy and Daddy would die. The rape analogy is clear to me, but, I suspect, the show wants us to forget about that.

I would like to see Claire in a setting where they deal with her trauma and acknowledge that her anger is justified so that she can deal with it constructively. Frankly, I think Alex is probably hiding a lot of emotion, even anger somewhere, because she was brutalized for most of her life. She is just coming from a different place, including her guilt over being used as a honey trap for her vampire family. Both girls are really messed up. I really want to see a series dealing with the fact that, like Sam and Dean, there being messed up has made them into very different people with very different coping methods.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 23rd, 2018 05:48 am (UTC)
Agreed agreed. I guess I never really thought that the writers might be holding back because of fandoms love for Castiel. I suppose because I'm not the type to love someone to the point where I see acknowledgement of their mistakes as false or attacking - which seems to be either a resent trend in fandom or just a natural aspect of psychology that I don't share with the world.

But yes, Claire has JUSTIFIABLE reasons to be as upset as she is with Castiel. And in my opinion, has been FAR MORE FORGIVING than Cas has any right for her to be - I always put it down to the fact that he DID once possess her, and she WAS brought up by her father to be religious, until religion got him killed...so, there may be lingering mercy shown just because Castiel is an angel and she knows what it's like to say yes to one.

I'd also love to have that explored more, and for her trauma to be dealt with. I agree that Alex is much the same, but keeps her own trauma quite and unspoken. I think the new series would be really good for putting them in situations where they do have to address the issues they have and how their childhoods have affected them.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )