The first few minutes of “De-Void” are devoted to establishing that the Nogitsune-possessed Stiles is indeed a badass. Sergeant Stilinski slaps a pair of handcuffs on him, and he just snaps them off. Allison hits him with a Taser, and in a cool-looking effect that the remainder of the episode is hard-pressed to top, he quizzically toys with the electricity before shrugging it off. The Derek takes the direct approach, charging Stiles like an 18-wheeler made of muscle and bone, and Stiles casually flips him through the air. Finally, Pops Argent points a gun at Stiles’ head, which is Sheriff Stilinski’s cue to point his gun at Argent’s head. There are thrills to be had, but the most thrilling part of the sequence is watching the changes of expression on Dylan O’Brien’s face. The “Uh-oh, this is interesting!” look he assumes when the guns come out is priceless.
Nogitsune-Stiles just wants to have fun, and his idea of fun is messing with people. When Kira’s mother confronts him, he sneers, “What happened to the woman who called out for chaos, strife, and pain to descend on everyone and everything?” “I don’t want that anymore,” she answers weakly, as if she knows that he’s managed to maneuver her into sounding like a anti-marijuana crusade who everyone knows used to lead the league in unassisted tokes when she was in high school. It’s good to see O’Brien having this kind of fun in his role; he doesn’t see playing Evil Stiles as an excuse to pop his cork and chew the scenery while making crazy jack-o-lantern faces. He’s sly and self-amused, and confident in his ability to dominate the screen even when he’s paralyzed and gagged. He’s the calm, mocking center of this episode, and quite by accident, he makes much of what goes on around him look guilty of Trying Way Too Hard.
Stiles goes about unleashing chaos, strife and pain by slashing his own midsection and releasing a swarm of flies. One of them makes its way to Isaac’s hospital bed, waking him up and infecting him with a little C.S.P. Another couple of flies invade the systems of the Alpha Twins, who meet at the empty high school to exchange menacing looks. Then Isaac shows up and enthusiastically Tasers them, because Teen Wolf is a show that is committed to the notion that Benjamin Franklin flew a kite in a lightning storm so that future generations could settle their disputes by zapping the bejesus out of each other. As the twins are writhing on the floor, Isaac leers and says, “I guess this is the part when I say something witty.” Then he starts whomping on the twins, adding, “I’m not witty!” It’s like getting the Mad magazine version of the show while you’re watching the actual show.
The flies also claim Derek, who decides that it would be a good idea to hot foot it over to the Argent house, tie up Mr. Argent, douse him in gasoline, and threaten to light him up, to show him how bad it felt when Kate Argent burned up Derek’s family. Mr. Argent assures him that he doesn’t have to do that, because he already knows how it felt, because he has a terrific sense of empathy. Meanwhile, over at Scott’s place, all the cast members who aren’t busy Tasering and dousing each other with gasoline are hard at work performing an exorcism on Stiles, which involves projecting Scott and Lydia into his mind, which is a fluorescent-lit Matrix set piece where Stiles and the Fluke-Mummy sit on the Hellmouth tree trunk, playing an intense game of Go. Scott ponders over the question of how to break the demon’s grip on Stiles as he might ponder an especially challenging child-proof cap, but Lydia finally reminds him that Stiles is part of his pack, and how does a wolf lay claim to his territory? As God is my witness, for a second there, I thought Scott was going to march up to the tree trunk and take a leak on his best friend, but instead he howls, which does the trick. It might have been more effective if it were an isolated howl, but this is an episode in which just about everyone, wolf and human and anything in between, get a chance to howl; some of them howl and then go back and wait their turn in line and do it again. By the time Scott joined in, I almost felt like howling myself, but it was getting late, and I didn’t want to get my dog started.
- After the Mexican stand-off between Stiles’ dad and Allison’s dad, the Argent go home, and Allison asks her dad if he was really prepared to shoot Stiles, if he’d had the chance. He says he truly doesn’t know. She then informs him that, because she didn’t know either, she had taken the liberty of removing the firing pin from his gun. He smiles and says, “That’s why the women are the leaders in this family.” This is very sweet in theory, and I’m all for more action scenes on TV that don’t have guns in them. But… seriously, he’s all cool with this? Because if you’re out hunting monsters, and you have a gun as your weapon of choice, and you think the gun is loaded and ready to fire, and then you suddenly have to fire at something big and hairy and slavering, right this minute… I can imagine a few thoughts that might run through your head in the instant after the gun fails to go off, and they do not include, “Whoever screwed with my firing pin is absolutely my hero!”