|To Beer or Not to Beer
a Bad Pun Title Essay
Ever since I first became inundated in Highlander fan fiction, I noticed an interesting piece of what appears to be fan canon, but I am puzzled at how it developed. It indicates that Methos is a beer guzzler par excellence, showing a marked preference for this beverage above all others. Did I miss something in the series to lead to this? In the matter of pure research, I reviewed the Methos episodes-- all of them. It was a tough job, but very necessary. So, here is a report of my findings.
In "Methos," the dark-haired divine one uttered the memorable words to Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod of "Have a beer," as he tossed a can to the surprised Highlander. Great first meeting and one that apparently set the tone. Methos is a beer drinker (warm beer, at that.)
Moving on the "Finale," MacLeod offers Methos and Joe a glass of scotch and Methos accepts without hesitation, establishing that he is just as willing to drink the more potent potion. At the end of the episode, Mac, Methos, Amanda and Joe celebrate Mac's victory over Kalas with a glass of champagne, so obviously the bubbly is okay as well, especially when celebrating. In fact, our five-thousand-year-old lad reached for a refill before Amanda stopped him and he was forced to retreat to a night on the town with Dawson. No statistics are available for the results of this escapade. But for those who need a tally sheet, that's one for beer, one for whiskey, and one for wine/champagne.
Next up is "Chivalry" and Methos definitely requested beer when MacLeod offered coffee. An early in the day beer drinker? Perhaps, but the time wasn't totally established although we can presume that, since Richie is still bouncing on the mattress with Kristin and Mac is offering coffee, it is most likely morning. Now this might have given rise to the speculation that beer is Methos' preference. After all, he was firm about it, saying, "No. Beer." Consider however, that Methos probably had just arrived in Seacouver and his body may have been on Paris time, about nine hours later and he'd had a very long day. Beer is far more relaxing than coffee. Then there's the end of the episode where Methos returns to the loft with a pack of beer. Which brings up another interesting point-- that of a free-loading Methos. What provoked that idea? Here Methos clearly brings beer to Mac's and shares it with the Highlander, just as he had in "Methos."
Score: Beer - 3, whisky - 1, wine/champagne -1
On to "Timeless" where, at Joe's Bar, Methos is so taken with the delicate Alexa. Bar, beer. Ah, but at MacLeod's, he shares a glass of wine with the Highlander as they talk about Alexa. It's a perfectly charming, candid moment in which a love struck Methos was as shy and insecure as a teenager. The wine was the perfect choice for this moment although I suspect it was motivated more by the presence of Claudia Jardine than by the sensitive Methos moment. Back at the bar, Methos once again orders beer as Alexa takes his request. Well, actually, he ordered a lot before beer "dinner, a movie, a sunset" but Alexa was prepared to fill the beer order, not the rest. At least, not at first. Now this may be an indication that Methos prefers beer or it may hint that Joe's Bar is a little pricey when it comes to liquor so it's less expensive to stick with the suds, especially when maintaining a graduate student/researcher persona.
Anyway, that's beer - 5, whisky - 1, wine/champagne - 2
Jumping to the next episode in which Methos imbibed anything, we find "The Messenger." Once again at Joe's Bar, Methos was with Mac and Richie trying to convince Richie he was really the five-thousand-year-old Immortal of myth. The evidence here is inconclusive, but the glass Methos was drinking from seemed to hold whisky rather than beer, but without positive confirmation, I just won't count the drink. Later on when Mac and Methos are with Joe in the bar discussing the false Methos, our boy is definitely drinking from a whiskey bottle. Maybe when he's helping himself, Methos prefers whisky or maybe he no longer has to keep his expenses curtailed since he is no longer a Watcher. But there's more as Methos, Joe and Mac discuss the integrity issue over scotch in Mac's office.
Okay, scorekeepers, that's beer - 5, whisky - 3, wine/champagne - 2
Next up is "Valkyrie" where there is yet another scene at Joe's Bar as the three Musketeers -- er, that is, Mac, Methos and Joe discuss the morality of Ingrid's vendetta. Now, what is that turning in the old one's fingers? I do believe it's a copy of coffee! Add one to the count for the non-alcoholic beverage.
Let's see, "Comes A Horseman" and "Revelations 6:8" -- who had time to drink? Certainly not Methos who probably would have liked to have crawled into the bottle as his whole world unraveled around him. So the next episode with a bit of libation was "Forgive Us Our Trespasses." As Amanda wakes him in the middle of the night, the boxer-clad old guy offers her coffee, but passes on it himself. No score there. Next, we have another visit to his flat as Methos offers Amanda a whisky or possibly a brandy from that lovely decanter while the willful, but charming, thief vents about MacLeod turning her in to the authorities just because she framed him. Yes, he also has a drink so that's one more for the whisky column. Later, at the end of the episode, we have Mac and Amanda sipping at whisky, but there's no glass in Methos' hand. Poor man, hugging himself in front of the fire and Mac didn't even offer a drink! What kind of Highland hospitality is that?
New score, that's beer - 5, whisky - 4, wine/champagne - 2, coffee - 1
"The Modern Prometheus starts off at "Le Blues Club" in Paris where Joe, Methos and Mac are sitting at a table drinking what could be beer or whisky. This is hard to tell. I've paused it and studied it looking for the telltale sign of foam that would clearly indicate this is beer, but I can't find it. The glass looks more like a whisky tall glass than a beer glass, so no score for either on this. In the flashback, Methos is clearly drinking wine -- what else would one expect in the company of great poets? He had a glass of wine in the solarium as Byron demonstrates how unbalanced and bored he is, then again in the drunken stupor scene in which Mary passes out. Later, at the club, Methos sits at the counter, sipping coffee and writing as Joe and his band practice. When the inevitable occurred, Methos mourned Byron alone, except for Joe who had his own sorrow, at the club with a bottle of whisky in front of him. I've counted one glass although if he and MacLeod, who joined him shortly after he poured his drink, split the bottle, there would probably be at least four drinks each.
The tab is beer - 5, whisky - 5, wine/champagne - 4, coffee - 2
"Archangel" was a sobering episode all the way around and the only thing Methos is shown drinking is the cup of coffee, expresso or something similar as he, Joe and Richie sit on top of a boat in the Paris chill and discuss demons and Mac's madness.
After a long period during which Methos did whatever it is he does when he's not around Paris, he returned for "Indiscretions." Methos and Joe were on the road quite a bit and even the oldest Immortal doesn't drink while driving, then he had to deal with Walker and he wasn't drinking before a critical fight. But at the end, after it was all over and Joe's daughter was safe, Joe and Methos sat down at the club for a drink, a whisky between friends as Methos wryly admitted he was "very old and very wise." Add another point for whisky.
Which brings us to the final two part episode, "To Be" and "Not To Be." As "To Be" opens Joe and Methos are chatting about ancient Rome over a cup of ...coffee? Methos? Joe? Bar? Coffee?!... at the club before Mac comes bearing bad news. Now, we move to "Not To Be" and the "MacLeod version of life without Mac" in which Methos orders a beer, but he leaves before he drinks it. Now, we can guess that he's probably had a few before Mac and Fitzcairn arrived on the scene, but we don't actually witness it, so no score for beer. So, in the final scene of the episode, Methos opens the champagne, another celebration with Mac, Methos, Joe and Amanda coming through a bad time together. It's reminiscent of "Finale" although so much different in tone. But the champagne is the drink of choice.
Final tally, beer - 6, whisky - 5, wine/champagne - 5, coffee - 4
So, what does this all mean-- apart from the fact that he drinks all of the above? Well, first, it means he's not an indiscriminate beer-guzzler. He likes beer, but he equally likes whisky and champagne and when appropriate, he drinks coffee. It might also indicate that as Adam Pierson, he was more prone to order beer in a bar than a stronger drink. With friends, the alcohol varies and once he gave up the Watchers, he was more likely to go for whisky. Decide for yourself.