Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Teen Wolf, Season 3, Episode 12: Lunar Eclipse

The three surrogate sacrifices, Stiles, Scott and Allison, wake up from their ice baths – in a plain white room with lots of lights. And a the giant tree stump of the Nemeton, its roots punching through the floor. Looking at the tree stump, Scott sees his tattoo, the two rings, in the tree rings which he seems to think is significant. I didn’t see anything except, well, tree rings. All trees have rings.

Touching the Nemeton, he’s suddenly in a forest, looking at a younger version of himself (from season 1) on the night he was bitten. It happened next to the Nemeton. Stiles has a flashback to another event in the woods at night in the forest – next to the Nemeton, as does Allison.

They all come out of their ice baths – knowing where the Nemeton is. But they’ve been under water for 16 hours – the full moon rises in 4 hours. And Scott still wants to work with Deucalion to stop Jennifer the Darach and Deaton even agrees that it may be necessary (albeit to use Deucalion as bait. No-one else is thrilled with this.

Derek and Cora are all happy that Cora is alive – but Peter still worries that Derekk has completely drained himself before Kali arrives to kill him.

Then Ethan arrives at the vet clinic, looking for Lydia. He wants them to help him stop Aidan and Kali from killing Derek. They go to the werewolf loft with both Peter and Cora encouraging Derek to run. To confirm how bad it is, they ask Lydia how she feels – she feels like she’s standing in a graveyard. That can’t be a good sign.

Which means when Kali arrives with Aidan looking for Derek she only finds Ethan and Lydia. Lydia snarks and when Kali advances on her, Aidan growls at her? Derek and Cora have driven off – Peter telling them not to call until they’re a hundred miles away. While Kali snarls at Aidan, Jennifer the Darach drops in from the ceiling. She easily defeats Kali and Aidan so the twins quickly take off their shirts (I approve of this combat style. How come they can merge while wearing trousers but not while wearing shirts). Jennifer prevents them from merging and forces them apart – and knocks them unconscious. She confronts Kali, demanding she look at her face; Kali looks disturbed since she was the one who almost killed Jennifer, though she says she doesn’t care. Jennifer uses her power to levitate a storm of glass shards from the floor – and stabs Kali with them multiple times.

Kali dies – and Jennifer turns to Lydia – but she hasn’t been watching Aidan and Ethan and they merge to form werewolf Voltron.  He attacks Jennifer and, with infinite ease, she dodges his attack and breaks his neck. Voltron collapses, bleeding from the mouth.

Did she just kill the wonder twins and Kali in 5 minutes?  Uh… well, on the plus side, Scott doesn’t have to recruit the Alpha pack any more because… there isn’t one.

Isaac, Scott and Allison go to Allison’s home to find something for scent – and find that Scott’s FBI agent dad, is there waiting for them to ask questions. A delay they do not need. Allison is not putting up with this crap and first of all presents why her dad has so many weapons, impressively naming them all – before throwing a smoke grenade at the FBI and running with Scott and Isaac.

Stiles, speeding through the terrible weather on the roads crashes into a tree. And at the werewolf loft, Jennifer advances on Lydia and shows her her true face. Lydia unleashes her bean sidhe scream – which is heard by Cora and Derek driving away. Derek realises it’s Lydia – and that they have to go back (well, Kali’s dead).

Scott, Isaac and Allison arrive for their meeting with Deucalion – but Stiles is unconscious in his care and not answering texts. The plan is for Deucalion and Scott to keep Jennifer busy while Isaac and Allison rescue their parents.

Derek and Cora arrive at the Wolf Loft to get another sales pitch from Jennifer – Derek’s not buying. So she has a deal – she needs a guardian and for that she took 3 parents. She’ll release them if Derek will help her against Deucalion – which she needs despite her easy crushing of Kali and the wolf twins because Deucalion is a lot more powerful than they know. She needs Derek to help her get Deucalion in the right place at the right time. She doesn’t have a chance if he has Scott – not without Derek, especially since the eclipse only lasts 15 minutes.

Isaac and Allison head to the Nemeton and Isaac hears Chris’s super-sonic emitter. They untie the parents as the ceiling collapses – and the stairs leading out. Isaac desperately holds up the ceiling with werewolf strength to stop them all being crushed.

Derek and Jennifer apparently left, leaving Lydia and Cora – and the twins. They’re still alive. They hurry the twins to Deaton to see if he can save them. He rushes around trying to heal them (and Lydia is bothered by needles).

Scott sends Jennifer a message of where he and Deucalion are, calling her out. Big show down time. Jennifer & Derek vs Scott & Deucalion. And Deucalion transforms to his demon wolf – showing everyone why she had to sacrifice so many to face him – even Scott is taken aback. Derek attacks Deucalion – and does nothing. Jennifer unleashes her magic – and also does nothing. Oh dear. Both are completely helpless and he knocks them back easily – before gabbing Jennifer and taking her to Scott, telling Scott to kill her (which should screw up his “true alpha-ness”). Deucalion roars, driving Scott to his knees and making him shift. Deucalion demands he kills her to save his mother and parents of his friends while Jennifer tells him Deucalion will make him kill everyone he loves.

Scott stands up and says they’re not dead yet – Deucalion asks who will save them, his friends (he mocks) and Scott says “my pack.” Awesome line. Complete with golden glowey eyes. Deucalion drags Scott to Jennifer intending to force him to kill her like he forced Derek to kill Boyd and Scott pulls out a flashbang grenade – as Gerard (evil granddaddy Argent) said – Deucalion isn’t always blind.

They stagger back and as their vision clears, the eclipse happens – Derek, Scott and Deucalion lose their wolfy shapes. Time for Jennifer to go full Darach. Derek hides, she knows Scott across the room – and pounces on Deucalion, batting his head repeatedly against the floor, but Derek stops her (whyyyy?!). Telling her Deucalion has not seen what she really looks like – the price she paid for him bringing Kali into the pack (and we think Deucalion would care, why? He ordered the Emissaries killed, why would he be upset by one living but being scarred?) She uses her Darach power to restore Deucalion’s sight. He sees her and panics

But healing Deucalion makes Jennifer too weak to fight – just as healing Cora made Derek weak. She urges Derek to kill him but he refuses, as his mother used to say “I’m a predator, I don’t have to be a killer.” He grabs her by the neck and demands she let the parents go – unfortunately it’s still the eclipse and the weakness is temporary so she throws him back… and advances on him not Deucalion?! She smacks him a few times then gets all sad. She slams him into a wall while we recap all the injuries Derek has taken this season, including holding off Cora and Boyd when they were hunting Jennifer…

And the lunar eclipse ends, ending her chance to kill Deucalion. At the Nemeton, the ceiling gets too heavy for Isaac to hold  but just before it collapses Stiles rushes in with a baseball bat and uses it to wedge up the ceiling. That’s a strong bat.

Back at the fight, Jennifer throws up a circle of black ash to stop either Scott or Derek approaching her and announces that since Derek won’t help her, the parents will die and she won’t need any help, the sacrifices will give her the power to kill a demon wolf (and she needs a circle to hold off Derek and Scott… why? She killed Kali so casually).

Scott pushes against the ash barrier – we get lots of blue light and some awesomely dramatic music, his eyes glow gold then shine over to red and he takes a step over the line – making the terrifying-Darach-who-eats-werewolves-for-breakfast take a step back in fear. He takes another step – and breaks the circle, knocking the Darach to the floor. She gasps and asks how he did that – and Scott says “I’m an Alpha now”.

Ok, maximum points for epic.

Scott tells her to end the storm or he’ll kill her – and he doesn’t care what it does to his eyes. Deucalion’s eyes won’t change colour if he kills her – so he decides to do it and slashes Jennifer’s throat. She dies and the storm ends. At the Nemeton everyone is safe. At Deaton’s clinic Aiden and Ethan wake up.

As for Deucalion? Derek announces that his mother once said Deucalion was a man of vision once so they’re letting him go in hope he will be again. And, really – “man of vision once,” then he was injured and became blind – so now his sight is restored they hope he will be a “man of vision” again? Really? Are you really going to play that? There’s no way that can be coincidental. Scott adds the threat that if Deucalion doesn’t leave “you’ll never see us coming”.

What? You’ll pounce on him and he will beat you some more?

The next day Allison talks to her dad who is looking to return to retirement. Of course, Deaton said the Nemeton will now summon all kinds of gribblies – and she wants to learn how to fight as well as she possibly can. But she demands a new code “we will protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

Derek and Cora head into the sunset, possibly never to return.

Scott’s dad is hanging around. Scott doesn’t welcome this. This amuses Melissa.

Scott and Stiles do feel the dark ring in their hearts Deacon warned them about but so far no real hint on what that means. Aidan and Ethan are hanging around.

And Jennifer’s body disappeared, she didn’t die. She crawled to the Nemeton looking for it to heal her again – and is stopped by Peter. She accuses him of planning to steal Scott’s alphaness – Peter kills her and roars that he has always been the Alpha.

Well that was an epic episode and definitely an epic close to a mid-season finale. With extra epic. Did I mention the epic? Because I’ve been loving the epic. It has definitely made Teen Wolf one of my favourite shows this season.

While part of me wants to yell “NOOOOO DEREK!” The same part of me yells “NOOOO SCOTT!” I can see the logic in both sides. Jennifer has Scott’s mother so how could he support Jennifer? But Deucalion killed Boyd and is trying to kill Derek, so how can Derek support Deucalion? Neither side are worthy of support

If I had to support one – I’d probably go for Jennifer. Jennifer is a dangerous murderer, but she’s a dangerous murderer with a purpose – vengeance. Will she keep killing once Deucalion is dead? Ultimately, in the choice of Deucalion vs Jennifer, I would probably back Jennifer, if only because her evil and damage is narrowly focused while Deucalion has a full power complex going on.

But why, oh why, did Derek stop Jennifer killing Deucalion? Why get her to heal him?! Is there a reason why they’re not letting their two terrible enemies kill each other?! Then she spends 15 minutes smacking Derek around rather than killing her archnemesis!? No, I can’t sign off on this – it’s ridiculous and annoying and frustrating.

It’s annoying because I’ve loved a lot of this episode and the epic but there are plot points I can’t quite follow. And I think this is something we’ve seen in the whole series, or half-series

I’ve loved the epic, I’ve loved the story – but I feel that characters and events have been hammered to make them fit sometime. Like the Darach’s power level – one moment she’s so terrifying that any werewolf that comes near her is just going to be crushed – the next she cowers away from werewolf claws. Not just this episode, but in the hospital as well.

Or Deucalion. One minute demon wolf who laughs at the Darach, the next he’s pouty and lost in the face of Scott’s threats. It feels off.

I love how Scott’s character has matured and developed – he is a very different person than he was in season 1 and it has really worked. But I think that part of this development has come at the cost of other characters. Stiles has lost his niche, his role in the group. He’s no longer the ideas man and while we still had wonderful moments with him as Scott’s friend – like when he broke the hallucination that nearly had Scott committing suicide, but overall he’s a very expendable member of the group

Similarly, because Scott was clearly being set up as the new Alpha, there seems to have been a prolonged sinking of Derek. He just didn’t do an awful lot the whole series except mope and mope and mope some more. They couldn’t just let Scott grow, they had to turn Derek into a completely inept Alpha that culminated in him giving up his alpha-ness entirely. Isaac summed it up when he chewed Derek out for doing nothing about the Alphas or the Darach while Scott was out doing everything. I feel the character was sabotaged to make it fit and make Scott look good.

One element of growth I did like was Allison – strong, competent, capable, intelligent and she started working with the group after a couple of episodes of running off and doing her own thing.

What I don’t like is the “redemption” or complete and utter lack of it. What Allison and Chris did last season was evil, inexcusable, torturous evil but they’re both embraced back into the main cast – far more so than Peter. There’s never any attempt from Allison to apologise, atone or even acknowledge she’d done something wrong. It’s even more galling to see one of her tortured victims be set up to be her new love interest and I don’t think I can ever look at Isaac/Allison and not see a relationship that began “torturer and victim”.

But I cling to Allison because the women this season haven’t been great, again. Erica’s dead. Ms. Morrell looked like she could be able to do all kinds of shiny – then she died. We found some new shiny abilities with Lydia – but all that amounts to is more of her worried she’s going insane (AGAIN, this is like her base state of being!) and being a target and occasionally being able to scream REALLY LOUD. I love Lydia, she has some amazing snark and a brilliant brain – so can we see that more and less of every one in the world using or victimising her or her cowering and wondering if she can trust her own head.

Cora? What did she actually do? And Erica started the season dead

Even the female villains – as pointed out by Kiss My Wonderwoman –  have all died while the men have largely survived. Now, I actually don’t mind any of them being out of the picture because I hated them all – but Gerard needed to die. And Deucalion. Peter needed to stay dead. Maybe even
Chris as well

And this has been a bad season for POC as well; the death of the then-nameless Brayden, the death of Ms. Morrell, who never had the chance to be the character she was hinted to be – who died and no-one seemed to even notice, not even her brother. That brother who we know a lot more about now and people actually cared enough to rescue him. But he’s still a Black man with woo-woo who uses it entirely in the service of others. There’s a trope for that. And Boyd? Yes, dead. Danny still moves around the very fringes of the plot as a very minor character.

The one almost-sorta-close to improvement is Danny and Danny and Ethan – but only in that the bar was set so very low to begin with. Over the whole season I think Danny has had maybe 15 minutes screen time, if that. It’s more than the last season but… yeah that’s a very low bar. He and Ethan didn’t die at least. Yay? There’s nothing particularly wrong with the characters but they’re not there, they’re bit parts in a show that relegates most of the minorities to bit parts. Am I really supposed to praise a show for “has gay characters in the background who don’t die”?

I have my criticisms of the plot and story and certainly of the treatment of minorities, but I can’t deny that the acting, the scenes, the music, the themes and the general sense of epic to this series have been truly excellent. Despite my misgivings, I look forward to the second half of the season.