Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Teen Wolf, Season 2, Episode 5: Frenemy

Last episode we learned that the weregecko was Jackson and he has a new friend (aww). I predict there will be a lot less effort spent keeping him alive because, well, he’s Jackson.

Danny has finished fixing Jackson’s video, and as per his lord and master’s instructions, he hasn’t watched it – he puts his tablet in his car. Meanwhile, the weregecko is fleeing from Derek who wants to slice and dice him. Derek and the weregecko have a semi-good fight (a little too choreographed – lots of punching ridiculously at a shield and the weregecko completely forgot about his paralysing venom, but still pretty good) when Daddy Argent arrives and totally cheats – shooting the weregecko repeatedly in the chest. Yeah, that’s not going to work. That never works. Daddy Argent looks for Derek who has disappeared –leaving the fallen weregecko to get back up again (never turn your back on the monster. You’d think the professional werewolf hunter would have guessed this). The weregecko kicks him (yes that venom stuff? Totally out of it) and in the glare of the lights we see the weregecko bonding with his friend – Granddaddy Argent.

Stiles and Scott follow in Stiles’ jeep (wasn’t that requisitioned as evidence?) and Scott running ahead when the jeep meets a barrier. Scott takes a swing at the weregecko and ends up facing Granddady Argent who stands there looking menacing and/or constipated.

Allison is dropping of Lydia and need Lydia to promise not to tell anyone what happened. While Lydia is more concerned with actually what happened. Derek, Jackson, Erica – someone explain! Allison, rather than talk about the life and death issues, decides to talk about keeping her relationship with Scott secret (Allison, please, for five seconds, try to focus on something besides Scott. Like the weregecko? Look, there’s Lydia right there, you could at least take a stab at passing the Bechdel test? No?) and bringing up all the romantic gooshiness (oh nauseating teen crushes how I despise thee), with an extra side-order of “this is the wonderful romantic love I have that you haven’t.” I waited for Allison to bring out the thumbscrews to see if we could elevate Lydia’s suffering even more, but she refrained.

Scott runs into Stiles while looking for the weregecko and Stiles resorts to sarcasm – as he points out, the only weapon he has in this fight (poor Stiles). They wonder at Jackson passing the test and Stiles, the only person on the show with a working brain, points out that Jackson isn’t actually the Kanima weregecko when in human form so why would he be immune to the toxin (which, of course, is what I said. Yes, I am “I told you soing” sue me). They do see the weregecko sneaking into a club – and Scott smells Danny’s Armani aftershave and assumes that’s who the weregecko is after (possibly since Danny is the person who decoded the video and could know who the weregecko is).

They break in and lo, it’s a gay club (Danny, the gay guy going into a gay club? No! How surprising!) Danny is upset over his ex and being encouraged to hit on another guy by the bar tender (guess this explains why his boyfriend only made the briefest of cameo appearances). The weregecko enters the dancing crowd (no-one notices?! On a crowded dance floor? I don’t care how dark the place is or how much smoke there is – you notice a weregecko) clawing and paralysing random men, including Danny, leaving them helpless on the floor. But Derek is also in the crowd, and while Scott protests (why?), he slits the weregecko’s throat. The club empties, people screaming as they see the collection of bodies lying about.

Scott follows the trail of blood from the weregecko into the car park and finds – Jackson, in human form. They load him up in the car (apparently not to murder while he’s helpless and unconscious), quickly confirm that Danny didn’t see anything unusual and prepare to drive off when the sheriff, Stiles’s dad arrives. And Stiles has to explain to him why he’s there – especially since his dad doesn’t believe he’s clubbing there since it’s a gay club. Stiles actually starts to pretend to come out (ye gods… really?) but his dad doesn’t believe it – no way his son could be gay dressed like that. (Oh please. Really?)

Stiles tries to delay his dad while Scott knocks Jackson back out so he doesn’t draw attention (and because its fun to punch Jackson) and Stiles’s excuse is that they’re there to reassure Danny since he’s just broken up with his boyfriend.

They drive off and wonder what to do with Jackson. Scott wants to take him somewhere secure until they can convince him he’s dangerous. Stiles wants to kill him (team Stiles!) and after lost of banter (Stiles’s banter makes this show. In fact, this show should all be about Stiles). And Jackson wakes up chained up in a prison van – yelling threats against Stiles and Scott. Stiles explains the situation to Jackson – who brushes over the whole “I’m killing people” and points out his parents will be looking for him. But Stiles is ahead of him – and sent a fake text from his phone.

Which was spotted by Mr. Whitmore, Jackson’s father who is reporting him missing to the police. The text signed off “love you” and, since he was told he was adopted, Jackson never says that to his parents and hasn’t said “I love you” in 11 years (while this is some powerful character building for Jackson, I really question how many teenaged boys sign off their texts to their father with “love you”? or maybe that’s just me).

Stiles continues to try and convince Jackson that he’s the weregecko - Jackson is in complete denial, of course

Daddy Argent and Granddaddy Argent are talking about the weregecko – and how Granddaddy Argent just stood there and ignored it (he suspects what it is and it has to obey rules. Not that he’ll share that with anyone. Naturally, since Daddy Argent always does, he just lets this slide and ignores the evil guy). The Argents are more focused in fining and killing Derek and using the weregecko to do it than, y’know, actually saving lives by stopping the weregecko. Yet we’re supposed to believe they’re not evil?

Lydia, at home, is of course still a very troubled young woman (though everyone’s kind of forgotten that) and has a near panic attack when her dog runs off – but is brought back by a neighbour (so going to be evil) and some menacing music.  We see a lot of Lydia’s prejudice against mental illness – and why she’s so hostile to therapy and counselling and then the flirting begins. Lydia is fun during flirting at least, and spikey.

The next day at school, Allison gets to have another nasty conversation with her evil grandfather; about Jackson and “knowing your enemy” with extra bonus questions with him pawing her throat to feel her pulse. Her pulse jumps but she protests that’s because he’s scaring her (yeah y’think? Why is she not pushing back against this in the so-called “Matriarchal” Argents?). To make things worse, the school is now full of CCTV cameras – and their teacher has been replaced by Mummy Argent. Who tries to bond with her dear daughter, Allison, by revealing that she’s monitoring Allison’s phone. Evil Mummy Argent also claims that Allison staying away from Scott means they won’t have to kill a 16 year old boy – yeah more Argent morality shifting. If they kill a 16 year old boy, it’ll be entirely their evil choice to do so.

Allison runs to tell Stiles that everyone knows Jackson is missing and that the texts didn’t work – causing classic Stiles panic and them driving off with Jackson in the back.

And Scott questions Danny further about Jackson – learning about the video. A brief stop with his mother and we learn that Granddaddy Argent is attacking him academically as well, threatening to hold him back a year then runs to get the tablet from Danny’s car – which has already been stolen. Time for a group meeting – Stiles, Allison and Scott to discuss who erased the video, who stole it etc – overheard by Jackson using super-hearing. And they have another debate – Stiles’s research said the weregecko only goes after murderers – so was it really trying to kill them – or was it just trying to get them out of the way since it had many chances to attack and kill that it didn’t take? Stiles is still on team kill Jackson (and I’m still on team Stiles) unfortunately, Scott’s still on team Wet Lettuce and makes a moving speech about saving him, even though he has nobody to help him (which, as Stiles points out, is his own fault), whether it’s the loneliness of it or Scott’s willingness to help him but the eavesdropping Jackson sheds a tear. Then he starts to go scaley.

Allison and Scott discuss Argent endless surveillance and have a relationship moment while Stiles tries to apologise to Lydia for running out on her when he promised to talk to her. They get all gooey while Jackson keeps getting scales and we get some of the most blatant product placement I’ve seen in a long time. Wow, really, take time out in this tense moment to schill internet radio? It wasn’t even subtle! Scott also wonders why Lydia isn’t a werewolf – and if she isn’t, does that mean Scott can be cured? That means they can be together, forever (yes, these two 16 year olds are talking happily ever after here). We treated to rotating scenes of them making out and Jackson becoming the weregecko.

Stiles reports Jackson’s escape and they decide they have to tell people – Stiles’s dad and Allison’s evil father, because they can’t just let Jackson out to kill someone. But how can they make Stiles’s dad believe? Scott can. Except when they get there Jackson is there, with his father the lawyer

Allison goes home and finds Lydia waiting for SOMEONE to care about her issues. Allison declares that she doesn’t have time but can they work on her archaic Latin? Lydia reminds us how much of a genius she is and offers to do it (in vague hope that she gets to talk to someone sometime, maybe). And we learn the true translation – the Kanima doesn’t need a friend. It needs a master. Someone is controlling the Kanima.

Shall we guess who?

Y’know I was almost happy that the gay bar scene managed to limit its puerile humour to Stiles being surrounded by drag queens and Stiles having a drink bought for him while Scott smirked. That was impressively restrained, I guess – I expected a lot worse. And then Stiles’s dad arrived and there it was, because you just can’t have gay men on screen with the pathetic jokes showing up. There is no time when this joke would be appropriate, but remember that he’s the sheriff appearing at a crime scene where a number of gay men have just been attacked as well. Can we just not have these gay jokes, please?

Lydia’s disgust and contempt for her mental illness and mental illness in general is deeply unpleasant language which I don’t like -  but this does show one of the huge barriers for so many people when it comes to getting help – hostility and stigma towards mental illness.

The complete lack of any kind of pushback from Allison against her family is breathtaking. Monitoring her phone? Her grandfather pawing all over her? And she’s still bright and smily with them? What kind of teenager is she! Lydia, give her some lessons already. Can’t we at least get some passive aggression in there?

And can I nitpick the friend/master mistranslation? The therapist managed to translate enough to read about werewolves, packs, the need for companionship, the full moon et al – but she mixed up the words “friend” and “master.” My Latin is beyond shoddy but those words are not similar.

I only mention the nitpick because we’re getting elements like that a fair amount – from the translation, to the Argents being able to just step in and take over a school – the plot is developing frayed areas. On their own they’re forgivable – but if we get too many…