It’s still August, but it’s hard not to feel as if summer has all but packed it in. What else is there to look forward to, with the Olympics over, both presidential tickets full up, and now Teen Wolf done for another year? We’ve got another five days of Shark Week, and then what? Sleep till September, I guess.
Sorry if I sound dramatic, but Teen Wolf can really bring it out of a person. Tonight's episode, more than any preceding hour of Teen Wolf since the previous season finale, is full of people making bold pronouncements and trying to rise to the occasion, and the spirit can be contagious. Certainly J. R. Bourne, who plays Allison’s father, Chris Argent, had the bug. Widowed, seemingly displaced in his daughter’s affections by his maniacal father Gerard, Mr. Argent wanders down to the basement, where Erica and Boyd are handcuffed and electrically wired. “My family’s done this for a long time,” he tells them, in one of several one-sided conversations that dominate the hour. “Long enough to learn how a certain level of electronic current will keep you from transforming. At another level, you can’t heal; a few more amps, and no heightened strength. That kind of scientific accuracy makes you wonder where the line between the natural and the supernatural really exists. When lines like that blur, you sometimes find yourself surprised at which side you end up on.” I’d never before heard the rule about how the judicious application of electricity can temper lycanthropy, and as I’m trying to process that, a prominent and pretty well-defined character announces he’s switching sides because of an existential crisis brought on by “scientific accuracy” as it pertains to werewolf handling. A lot of people, if they were going to turn on their own father, would have decided that the last straw was when he drowned that kid so he could take possession of his murderous lizard monster, but no doubt we should just be grateful that Chris has a breaking point at all.
Once Chris has thrown his lot in with Scott and Isaac, the three of them race to the big warehouse where Derek is waiting to confer with them, over the body of Jackson, who died on the lacrosse field, but now he’s better. Or, rather, he’s worse: He is, we’re told, “in some kind of transparent casing made from the venom coming out of his claws,” and is now on the verge of transforming into something so terrifying that the special effects department doesn’t even want to think about it. It’s kind of a moot point anyway, because Gerard doesn’t really want to use this “rabid dog” as his cat’s paw anyway; he’s just been using him as bait, to draw Derek out into the open. Why? Because Gerard is dying of cancer, and he wants the healing power that can only be gained through the bite of the Alpha werewolf, or something like that. The sad fact is that, as hard as I’ve tried to be attentive and learn how this show’s mythology works, the longer I watch it, the more I find myself just trusting that somebody in an important position understands how it’s supposed to work.
Gerard forces Scott to force Derek to give him the bite, but then Gerard’s veins turn black, and he pulls his plot-point pills out of his pocket, but they disintegrate into his hands, and he cries out “Mountain ash!” which would be a great name for a new entry in the Evil Dead series in which Bruce Campbell goes all Jeremiah Johnson. This observation aside, I’m really not sure what’s supposed to be going on in this scene, except that it ends with Gerard collapsing in a seemingly lifeless heap and then sort of getting lost in the chaos. Looking around once the inevitable crisis has passed, everyone agrees that he must have died, the key piece of evidence for this argument being that he sure deserved to. But perhaps Michael Hogan will be back; he wouldn’t be the first cast member of this show to return from the dead. He just might be the best-fed, though; he couldn’t have done a better job with some of the scenery here if it had been dipped in chocolate sauce.
That just leaves the matter of Jackson, who in the last few minutes is reunited with Lydia and redeemed by love. Literally: The two of them talk about their feelings and share a little smooch, and the shapeshifter side of him just drains out on-camera. This leaves poor Stiles out in the cold, even though he does get to make a speech to Lydia about how she can’t just traipse off and get herself killed, because of what that will do to the people left behind who care about her. The eventual outcome of the Lydia-Jackson-Stiles triangle remains open for further exploration in the next season, as does the state of Scott and Allison’s relationship. One might think that all should be smooth sailing for them, now that her dad and Scott are asshole buddies, and what her mom wants really isn’t an issue anymore. But instead, she decides it’s time to break up, even though her heart is breaking as she suggests it, and he, smiling sweetly as always, agrees to honor her wishes, in the spirit of “If you love someone, set her free.” He’s sure that, because they are fated to be together, she will come back to him when the time is right. That’s what he says, anyway. But maybe even he can’t help but notice that she’s gotten a little trigger-happy with her crossbow.
- How badly staged, edited, and assembled is the big climactic action dust-up? Put it this way: I don't for a minute think that J. R. Bourne was deliberately making facial expressions to convey how embarrassed he was at what he was seeing, but…
- The post-season rap session that followed the episode was hosted by someone named Layla Kayleigh Covino. Try saying that three times fast.