renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
[personal profile] renay posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Just when I think that Teen Wolf has gone over too many sharks and I'm going to shunt it aside for more quality television, they do something like "117". It's like finding a treasure chest or a health pack right before a surprise mini-boss. I had fun this episode, and thus, I am appropriately terrified for "Muted", which I'm sure will take all the good feelings this episode engendered, turn them into shards of my hopes and dreams, and sprinkle them at my feet.

Teen Wolf does amazing things when it embraces that its premise is silly and departs from that place rather than trying to manufacture drama. As long as it keeps its eye on the prize of "Maximum LOLs" or "Maximum TEARS", episodes tend to be enjoyable. It's obvious that Jeff Davis wasn't the main writer on this episode because although it gets lobbed at our eyeballs like a 45 minute youtube video by someone who's just learned how to use jump cuts, it manages to stay mildly cohesive. I know zilch about critiquing screenwriting, but seriously, the last ten minutes were exhausting. I want to ask Eoghan O'Donnell if this was on purpose. I had narrative whiplash. O'Donnell wrote "Galvanize", too, which was one of the excellent, tense episodes at the start of Season 3B, but I don't remember it being quite this high-strung.


Teenage Derek Hale went through so much misery and pain. This episode is yet another entry into Derek's misery journal of "Hey, Scott, maybe you should have listened to my advice about playing lacrosse, dating hunters, and trying to be normal after becoming a werewolf!" Derek's seen some tough shit, Scott McCall. He knows things. Although I'm disappointed by the retconning here, making Peter the central guiding figure in Derek's life rather than Talia. What's up, MTV? Couldn't get the actress to come back? Is this just yet another mark on Derek's Sad Backstory Checklist — absent parents? Is it a problem when you don't remember the dialogue from a scene because you're laughing so hard?


Of all the people to watch over Teenage Derek, Lydia is the best. I fell in love with the idea of Derek and Lydia being bros seasons ago, before our hearts were destroyed, and Derek rushed to her rescue when he heard her screaming. Together, with Lydia "Brains of the Operation" Martin and Derek "Scott McCall's #1 Fan" Hale, the McCall pack would be terrifyingly competent and loyal. Everyone is gung-ho about Stiles as an emissary, but what I want to see is Derek and Lydia double-teaming that job and reinventing what it means to be an emissary in a pack and making all surrounding packs nervous. A werewolf and a banshee? Doing what together? With who? We're all screwed.


I'm sure there will continue to be virtual ink spilled everywhere as the season progress about what it means that Malia is the supernatural creature sneaking through windows to do mysterious things to Stiles in the dead of night. Many people way more coherent on issues of consent than me will have a lot of say about the implications of giving this story line to Malia and Stiles, but I continue to be unimpressed with how they're playing Malia's return from the wild side. Unlike other characters, she doesn't seem to have a home base. Where is she staying? Who's watching out for her? If she's only just returned, why is she enrolled in the same classes as teenagers who've been in school their whole lives? It's not good comedy or even good commentary on societal reintegration, and I'm sure we're going to keep seeing it as the season progresses they continue to play that card without anchoring her in the narrative in any other way than through Peter. The idea of this show handling something as complicated as informed consent in a way that's sensitive and empathetic is the most comical thing about this entire series. Peter Hale reminds us of this by telling Scott that Derek knew Kate "biblically" as sarcastically as possible.

*   *

As per usual, the Stilinski's steal the show whenever they're on the screen. Linden Ashby continues to be fantastic. I mourn over the fact that he was brought into the fold so late, because his reactions to the supernatural bullshit of the week is glorious to behold. This is, hands down, one of the best scenes of the entire episode; perfect delivery, perfect timing, please let Sheriff Stilinski have an ongoing dramatic role on Teen Wolf where his job is to go, "WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?" and throw his hands up in the air, disgusted. LONG LIVE SHERIFF STILINSKI. What I haven't seen much of is the discussion of why he's getting notices from Eichen House. Stiles catches the clue, but I am desperate to know what this means! Is it financial trouble? Legal trouble (Stiles did, in fact, wreck some havoc while he was there)? Are Stilinski family feelings over all too human trouble about to make us all cry into our hands as the season progresses?


His scenes sort of made up for the randomly placed and utterly uncritical instances of police brutality. As Teenage Derek Hale finds the remain of his family's home and probably wigs out in mournful confusion, he's viciously tased three times by Excessively Angry Cop while baby face Parrish yells ineffectively. What does it mean for our country when show writers just casually throw in a hardcore tasing and then shrug, like, "Welcome to America!" Do some people outside the US watch this show in horror and wonder why in the hell Sheriff Stilinski allows his officers to torture children who are clearly emotionally distressed and confused? LOL TEEN WOLF.

Lydia's powers continue to creep me out, but in an awesome way. Although the moment at the gas station is heartwarming from Lydia and Kira, it all goes downhill when the real reason they've stopped is because Lydia's on DeathWatch™. Maybe one thing I appreciate about Kate's return to Teen Wolf is that they're not shying about how violent and malicious she is after failing to live up to the hunter's code. It would be easy to gloss over it (and we see just how easy when Kate and Teenage Derek appear on screen together, sob sob gag), but they don't do it here. Also, Lydia and Kira bonding over taking pictures of a dead guy in pieces will never get old.


When Derek and Stiles meet Agent McCall, this started two different threads for me. The first was that Teenage Derek and Stiles together are wonderful and I love that they just threw down some Spanish. DEREK SPEAKS SPANISH. I LOVE THAT THIS IS NOW CANON. I talked to [ profile] samjohnssonvt about the possibility of Derek knowing other languages, too. My contribution was French, because I like to think that while he was away from Beacon Hills Laura forced him into college and he discovered a love of languages, even if it meant having to talk to people. [ profile] samjohnssonvt contributed German, which also makes me happy mostly because it pleases me to sit around and think about Derek and Monroe from Grimm geeking out together. This scene really makes the episode; although I was dubious about Teen Wolf deploying a de-aging trope, if it leads to this kind of comedy, I'm all in. Derek's smug face! Stiles's dumbfounded expression, as he has to rewrite his past interactions with "Miguel". Why can't Teen Wolf retcon this way instead of all the other horrible ways they choose more often?

The second thread was that this episode went from cohesive to obsessed with jump cuts and I'm not sure why. It's times like this I wish I understood more about film and the way things are shot so I could explain why arranging scenes like this drives me up the wall. From the scenes with Derek/Stiles and Scott/Peter/Malia until the end of the episode, the constant back and forth seemed like a way for each additional scene to deliver the plot of the episode on a very shiny platter without forcing the audience to do much work. No, Teen Wolf! Your show is actually better when you let your audience do some work! It's better for everyone.


I am not particularly excited about the father/daughter storyline that they're setting up with Malia and Peter. I'm going to live in denial that they're not going to make it super creepy; Peter can be creepy all he wants, but I'm really tired of his gross stories with teenage girls, regardless of relation. Other than that, though, pretty much every scene Malia was in where she had lines to deliver was fantastic, and this scene was the best. Sign me up for sarcastic, sassy Malia every day. She could fill this function every episode and I wouldn't say no!


HIGH MOMENT #4 which is preceded by my inconsolable tears (KATE/DEREK KISSING IS FINE BUT STILES/ANY DUDE IS TERRIBLE): the Hale family vault is under the school and to make everything better, the Vault only opens using Hale werewolf claws. The Vault was there first, so clearly when the school was built, the Hales organized with the city to allow them to turn the school sign into a secret entrance to their family treasures, including, it turns out, $117 million dollars kept in a super obvious safe. Is this the source of Derek's money? Did he lurk around the school in past seasons taking withdrawals from the vault to pay for his car and sexy leather jackets and makeovers for his betas? I'm so into this idea. WHO NEEDS BANKS IN BEACON HILLS?


Peter is at his best when being his monologuing, villainy worst, so this episode gets a high Peter Hale score for me. I'm consistently impressed that Ian Bohen makes Peter Hale such a likable creep, because it's super fun to hate him and find him deplorable, especially when we're rewarded with him getting tricked by Kate, who I genuinely hope gets to be a nuanced villain this season. I have no clue where the plot might go at this point, but I really like the idea of Kate working with someone and playing on old grudges in order to double-cross everyone. I'm amused that Peter (via the writers) felt the need to explain very carefully that everything was leading up to a heist and that the theft of the money was always the intention. Thanks, Teen Wolf writers, I missed that while watching the black-clad mystery thief take all the Hale's family money while Peter writhed helplessly on the floor. Is this the Benefactor? Does Jeff Davis plan to dip into different genres every season? Because if season four is the con-artist/heist season, I'm pretty down for that.

Additional Notes

  • I'm so confused about the morals of these kids. We 100% have to tell de-aged Derek Hale his family is dead and his girlfriend killed them, but we're going to hide Malia's parentage from her because things are hard? WHAT IS HAPPENING? The way these jokers engage with levels of truth and disclosure amazes me.

  • Lydia calling the Sheriff on the phone for about a gruesome murder while traipsing through pools of blood as Kira clings to her is my stop.

  • Scott's continued ability to thoughtlessly blow off his father delights me. I really hope he is the last parent to get fully clued in to the supernatural shenanigans Scott gets up to on a weekly basis, while Melissa and the sheriff develop code words and hand signals and learn to communicate with their eyebrows when he's around. Still, his presence only reminds me how much I miss Hot Dad #2. CHRIS ARGENT, I LOVE YOU.

  • Although it makes sense, and although Scott and Kira were already a thing, the scene with Lydia and Kira totally made me tear up because Allison. I'm not over it. I said I wouldn't be over it and I'm not. WHY CAN'T ALLISON BE IN PARIS INSTEAD OF DEAD?

  • Has anyone mentioned Isaac at all? Is no one going to bring up the missing teenage werewolf? Did I miss a reference somewhere? Is this yet another example of Jeff "It Counts as Canon if We Share it At Conventions" Davis?

  • Upside: Teenage Derek imprinting on Scott! Teenage Derek rushing to Scott's rescue! DEREK HALE, LOYAL BETA. ♥ ♥ ♥

  • Downside: Adult Derek Hale realizing he got kidnapped and played by his skeevy ex-girlfriend and helped them steal his family's nest egg. Derek Hale, your lot in life is to suffer.

Date: 2014-07-07 08:12 am (UTC)
goodbyebird: Batman returns: Catwoman seen through a glass window. (TW poor creepy Uncle No Neck)
From: [personal profile] goodbyebird
A vault beneath the high school? lol teen wolf. I just hope Peter is reluctant to kill blood relatives, and is also creepy/weird protective when it comes to Lydia. He can be an outright bastard to everybody else :p

Date: 2014-07-07 01:10 pm (UTC)
copracat: Jim Brass from CSI, inset Brass and Grissom with text 'hard road' (brass road)
From: [personal profile] copracat
Baby Derek hanging Stiles out to dry for a beat and then smoothly slipping in to conversing with Dad McCall was fabulous. Baby Derek actor/his storyline was tedious the first time we saw him but his pro-Scott attitude and his epic shit-stirring of Stiles in front of Dad McCall has won me over. Love that Baby Derek's opinion of guys like Stiles is exactly the same as Derek's. To be fair to Stiles, Baby Derek has no idea why Stiles thinks it's so important to hide his identity from Scott's dad. (I mean, it's Scott's Dad, why would you lie to the Alpha's Dad?)


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