Next week, Teen Wolf ends it current season, or the first half of its current season, or four-fifths of its current season—something like that. (I can’t keep track of all these weird new ways that networks break up their seasons nowadays, but my best information is that, after next week, the show is supposed to go away for almost five months, then come back for three weeks.) This probably accounts for how tonight’s episode can seem so jammed with action and information yet also feel kind of static. It’s like watching a caddy line up 15 or 20 balls on 15 or 20 little golf tees.
Early on, Stiles is confronted by a hatchet-faced FBI agent with whom he seems to have some history, and the two of them have a moderately seismic exchange of attitude. (“Think you can answer some questions without the usual level of sarcasm?” Stiles: “If you ask the questions without the usual level of stupid.”) The significance of all this becomes doesn’t become clear until the end, when Stiles abruptly tells Scott that his father is in town. In between these two signal events, Lydia kisses Stiles, Scott’s mother brings Stiles’ father up to speed on the supernatural, and Jennifer is planning to make a sacrifice of Allison’s dad. Somewhere in the midst of all this, it’s mentioned that the woman on the motorcycle who saved Isaac’s bacon and paid for it with her life in the season premiere was named Braedon. Hey, I’ve been wondering about it.
A lot of you are probably focused on that kiss between Stiles and Lydia. It’s a measure of what a shit storm everyday life on this show has become that Stiles seems to have forgotten that he’s in love with Lydia; he’s too busy wondering about her connection to the murders, and how she might be of help. Someone asks him if Lydia is “psychic.” All he can say is that she’s “something!” (For her part, Lydia describes herself as a “human Geiger counter for death.” She also has a wonderful scene with her mother, who is offering her cosmetic tips on how to cover up the marks on her neck. “Someone tried to strangle me,” says Lydia, “and I survived. I don’t need to hide that.” It’s seeing Mom beaming with pride that makes the moment.) When the two of them run into each other at school, Stiles has a panic attack, and Lydia helps him out by shoving her tongue down his throat. They both try to blow it off, but it’s the closest thing to a meet-cute as anyone’s likely to get on this show.
For the moment, Stiles is more interested in Lydia’s drawings; she’s been compulsively drawing the same image of a tree, over and over and over again, always in the exact same way. I think this scene is supposed to have some of that “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” boo-yah effect from The Shining, but until the show tells me specifically what to think about it, I’m going to just keeping wondering how many different ways there are to draw a tree. For real, stirring, “lay it on a plate for me” explicitness, you have to wait for the climactic scene in which the Mystery Vet tells our young heroes that, to save their parents, Scott, Stiles, and Allison will have to do that thing Isaac did at the start of the season, where they jump into tubs of icy water and die for awhile. It’s also essential that Lydia be there, so that Doc can bless their union by commenting on their special bond, and also Isaac, because after that business with the Taser, he can use a good laugh.
The Doc further explains that this procedure will help to empower the forces of darkness and really bring the creepy-crawlies out of the woodwork; they’ll probably be drawn to this area for years to come, long past the point where the cast has become embarrassingly old to still be playing high school students. But what they’re about to go through won’t just be a “magnet” for monsters; it’ll also have an effect on the kids, for the rest of their lives. “It’ll be a kind of darkness, around your hearts, and permanent, like a scar.” To which Scott feels compelled to add, “Like a tattoo.” Is it too early to suggest that, when this show comes back in January, its New Year’s resolution be, “Enough with the tattoo already!”?
- Having captured Chris Argent, Jennifer adds him to her collection, tying him up in the same cellar where she has Scott’s Mom and Stiles’ Dad. “You been tied up before?” Sheriff Stiles asks, as he watches the werewolf hunter struggle with his bonds. “Many times,” comes the reply. Say no more!
- Here’s a wrinkle to your werewolf mythology: “Argent,” Jennifer explains, is the French word for “silver,” and that’s how word got out that silver is lethal to werewolves. Whoever got the ball rolling on that one was referring to the family, not the element. “Interesting how the truth becomes altered by legend,” she purrs, sounding like a rejected draft of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence.
- Isaac, disgusted with Derek, tells him, “You can sit here and perfect the art of doing nothing.” He has his number, and it’s the smartest Isaac has ever seemed. Then he teams up with Allison and her father, the three of them walk into the abandoned bank vault, and Pops Argent pulls out his Taser. “I thought you only used those on werewolves,” says Isaac, and Argent says, “I do,” and gives him a good zap. One step forward, two steps back…
- Ms. Morrell accuses the Duke of having “piled up bodies in a narcissistically psychotic effort to form your perfect path.” Maybe so, but I wish she’d said “psychotically narcissistic” instead. I think it sounds better, and they’d probably mean the same thing.
- And now, while we prepare for the long wait until next week’s semi-finale/holding action, a word from my wife, who doesn’t really watch the show, but who picks up on a lot while crossing the set on her way from one room to the next: “Wait, they’re still going to school every day?” I did my best to explain that it does you no good to ward off the coming apocalypse if you can’t get into a good college afterward.