Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Teen Wolf, Season 3, Episode 13: Anchors

After the ominous recap – in which we see Scott is the new shiny alpha and all of them have activated a supernatural beacon with the Nemeton as well as causing all kind of darkness inside themselves  - we return to the second half of season 3 with Stiles in bed, having a bad dream. Of the school at night all empty, very spooky and very atmospheric (well done director) school – and the Nemeton in the middle of the classroom. Which grabs him with a vine

He wakes up – next to Lydia. It takes him a moment to realise that is odd – then the door creaks. As is the way of dreams, he feels the need to close it. He opens the door while Lydia begs him not to – which leads to the Nemeton again, this time lit by floodlights.

This time he wakes up for real – no Lydia present, but his father chivvying him to school. Hey the dreams may have had spooky dead trees all round but they’re better in some ways at least, Stiles.

At school, Stiles tells Scott about the dream and they worry if the whole Nemeton sacrifice could have effected them. Um, what part of “there will be a darkness in you forever” made you think there wouldn’t be long term consequences?

And he wakes up YET AGAIN, screaming and panicking until his dad rushes in to hold him and calm him down. Ouch, poor Stiles

Over to Scott and he seems to be awake – but his shadow has claws. Not his actual hand, just his shadow. Poor, insecure Isaac is still his houseguest and all kinds of worried that maybe maybe Scott is angry with him after the whole Isaac/Allison thing. Scott assures him that he’s totally maybe possibly not totally almost maybe angry? Yeah, even he doesn’t know. But it’s ok he totally doesn’t want to hit Isaac. No. Not at all, not even if Isaac says he can – wait, Isaac wants to kiss her? That’s it, you’re bouncing off the far wall. Melissa McCall, being awesome, makes it clear she’s not having supernatural teenaged boys test her supernatural levels of patience.

I know that’s kind of meant to be funny and it is in a way, until you remember that Isaac with his “do you want to hit me? You’ll feel better if you do…” has had a lifetime of physical child abuse… Isaac’s history makes this joke fall very flat (and it’s not like they forgot, because they’re randomly bringing it up later on).

Stiles is still having trouble, the title of his books changing to become gibberish – when his dad distracts him he looks back and it has turned back to English (the gibberish was an anagram). His dad is worried about him, but also wants the eternally curious Stiles not to notice the box of files he’s taken from work.

Allison has her own side effects – becoming freezing cold in the lift from her flat – and it opening to a disused and wrecked hospital corridor. The director who is really good at spooky atmospheres comes back. Aie and she ends up in the morgue with doors opening by themselves. The label on the door is “Kate Argent” her dead evil, murderous aunt. She opens the door and sees an incredibly long tunnel – and then down it scrabbles the body of her aunt all rage and flashing cameras. Yes, I nearly fell out of my chair, I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Allison turns and runs – and is suddenly in school, surrounded by people and Lydia

Also at school, Scott continues to see wolfy parts in his reflection and shadow – which he tries to run from. Running from your own shadow is never really successful – he runs into Stiles and tries to pretend he’s alright. Stiles isn’t a fool and guesses Scott is having the same problems he’s having. Lydia leads Allison to them, having also figured it out; they’re all hallucinating. They agree to keep an eye on each other – and for Lydia to stop enjoying their pain (she’s gleeful to be the one who ISN’T hallucinating for a change. I actually have to give her that one given how the story has treated her – I love a bit of lampshading).

And they have a new teacher, Mr. Yukimora who promptly humiliates his daughter, Kira, who is also in class. Aaah, parents, for some reason it’s a crime to drown them. She does exchange a glance and smile with Scott though (new love interest ahoy!)

Their problems continue, Scott’s shadows, Allison’s hands shaking and having flashbacks (helped by Lydia and watched by Isaac) and Stiles losing the ability to read. Scott uses his super-hearing to eaves drop in Kira arguing with her dad – and she notices. Which in turn sets Scott’s eyes glowing. He can’t stop it and Stiles hurriedly shuffles him into an empty classroom (am I the only one who went to a school that didn’t feel the need to have 8 times as many classrooms as it actually used?) for him to grow claws and get dramatic, gouging his own hands so the pain helps him focus on not changing. Stiles tells Scott his problems – the waking dreams, how he can’t read in dreams and can’t read while awake – he doesn’t know when he’s dreaming or not; looking around, he can’t read anything.

Lydia is more practical and takes Allison out to train with her bow to see if that gets her co-ordination back. But even with Lydia’s surprising knowledge of archery (though why anyone should be surprised that Lydia knows things by now…) Allison fails to come near the target. She then gets lost in another hallucination – then it’s night time, then she’s chased by zombie Kate (who is terrifying!) and shoots her… and only Isaac catching the arrow stops her shooting Lydia.

At home, Isaac explains what happened to Scott, that if he hadn’t been there, Lydia would be dead. Scott asks why he was there – an poor Isaac gets thrown across the room into a wall again. Melissa still disapproves of their supernatural shenanigans.

At work, Sheriff Stilinski is tracking a lot of old cases and adding them together (including some deaths/disappearances we’ve seen) – connecting them to the full moon. Including a close up on a picture of a girl called Malia Tate – which is probably relevant or will be.

Stiles drops in on him and sees the huge mess of cases being re-evaluated – all put into context of the supernatural he’s now aware of. He’s looking though old cases and realising he could have solved them if he had known the truth – especially the case of a woman and her two daughters dead and savaged on the night of a full moon. Oh and extra revelation – all the cases are going to the office of Agent McCall – Scott’s father, the FBI agent.

Next day, more randomness – Stiles going to class and everyone speaking in sign language, before he finlly snaps out of it and the Coach tells him to stop reminding him why he drinks, every night (I kinda love the coach). He assures a worried Scott that he was just asleep – but Scott tells him he wasn’t asleep; and the writing pad on his desk has “wake up” written on it dozens of times.

The gang gathers together to brainstorm and get nowhere (except for Isaac bringing up his abusive childhood and Stiles snarking it – which seems a little out of the blue for both characters) – when Kira drops in overwhearing their creepy conversation and apparently having some insight on the experience – what the Tibetans call Bardo; of course Lydia has heard of it, because she’s heard of everything. Kira describes hallucinations and being visited by peaceful and wrathful deities as part of Bardo (demons) eventually leading to death. Not so good.

Finally showing some sense, Stiles and Scott go to see Deacon. Why is Deatonalways the last resort when he always has the answers? Stiles shows him the sign language and it apparently means “when is a door not a door?” This boils down to them opening a big door in their heads when they did the Nemeton ritual and it’s still kind of half open. They need to close the door.

Of course, while Deatonalways has the answers, as ever what he has is a lot of “what” and “why” and not a great deal of “how”.

As they leave, Sheriff Stilinski wants to talk to them – he wants Scott to sniff out Malia’s body so they can see if a werewolf really killed her and her family. I assume the police department has a low budget for sniffer dogs.

Which means going to the surviving husband/father and distracting him while Scott and Stiles sneak in the back and sniff things to see if Scott can pick up an 8 year old scent, after an altercation with a dog and the surviving husband getting all agitated they call it a bust. Of course the Sheriff want to have one last case while he’s still sheriff (hey, if he gets the sack you could give him a first name and I wouldn’t have to call him sheriff Stilinski all the time)…

…which leads to Scott having a raging argument with his dad who he doesn’t get on with anyway. Melissa arrives and she’s also not impressed by Agent McCall trying to get Sheriff Stilinski fired (or impeached, rather) for failing to close cases. While definitely agreeing with Scott she has to quickly hurry him out of the room as he begins to shift. Melissa, the eternally awesome, does a great job in talking Scott down and being his own anchor – not focusing on Allison. When he’s back in control she follows up with further awesome advice – you fall in love more than once, and no Allison doesn’t mean he will never love again.

Cut to Stiles and Scott going on a midnight search for a body. Or possibly another dream of Stiles’s.

Isaac and Allison also aren’t getting any sleep – and Isaac being a little economical with the truth saying that Scott is perfectly ok with them being in bed together – and then zombie Aunt Kate appears behind him and garrottes him. This one is Allison’s dream (in case that wasn’t clear) – and while asleep, Allison acquired a knife.

Stiles and Scott are apparently awake and go midnight hunting, including their mutual agreement that if it turns out the people were killed by werewolf triplets who morph into Cerberus they’re not having anything to do with it (snerk), Stiles’s hatred of coyotes, until they find the wrecked car from 8 years ago which no-one has bothered to move because REASONS. Proof that maybe Sheriff Stilinski needs to be impeached is presented by the car having massive werewolf claw marks all over it – and they find a doll. But they’re interrupted by the sight of glowing eyes and a growling wolf.

Scott chases and it runs –it’s actually a full wolf. It growls at him when he lands facing it, but when his eyes glow red, the wolf’s eyes glow blue (showing a werewolf who has suffered incredible grief) and it calms. Scott calls her Malia. The girl whose body was never found. She runs off

Scott calls Derek… And we switch to a scene of a large number of horrible hardware being used of torture implements, the sound of someone in pain, and Derek’s phone. Derek and Peter are tied up shirtless to a metal fence being electrocuted (Derek spends an inordinate amount of time in this position), apparently this is Peter’s fault.

Teen Wolf has some really high quality acting (which has always managed to cut the cheese of the show and made it darker and edgier with some very real emotions to it) and some excellent direction – they could make some truly awesome horror films together. In fact, since the second half of the season is going to be horror-esque, this bodes well that they can do horror extremely well.

Especially since all 3 are being targeted in what seems to be their strengths – Allison’s awesome mastery of weapons, Scott’s ironclad control that not only makes him a dangerous werewolf, but also a werewolf that is in control of all his bestial instincts and less ready to run off and savage something as his first (and only) solution – even if his repeated peacekeeping between Deucalion and Derek. And Stiles loses his ability to read – now while Lydia is kind of replacing him as the brain, when it comes to research Stiles tends to be better because of his imagination and willingness to believe whatever he reads after an all night research session, while Lydia is more logical and less willing to work on the hypothetical (she’s excellent at skewering the silly in Stiles’s more extreme leaps of creativity).

As for the rest, I am intrigued. Plot wise I think we’ve kind of swept aside everything that happened in the first half of the season which, I think, is a little irritating because there were things unresolved but at the same time the first half was rather cluttered and it’s not a bad thing to move onto a whole new lot of plot lines, which we have. The question remains whether we have too many – and whether this new lot of plot lines means we’re going to ignore what a True Alpha means, where Deucalion has gone, exactly what it means to be a Druid (and more Deatondevelopment into something more than a wise oracle they will consult when needed) and what Lydia will do as a Banshee.

I’m curious to see where Kira will go as a character – but not invested yet because it’s too soon to have faith or hope in her being handled well, the same with any inclusion comments on this half of the season. I do quite like that Lydia dodged the whole hallucination bullet because we have had 3 solid seasons of her screaming and delusional and seeing things and being possessed etc and I’m kind of tired of all that.

I am wary of the way Isaac is being handled - specifically his history of abuse. Some scenes they completely ignore the context of it... and then it's dragged up? I'm leery

The rest is a great big wait and see – but wait and see with a lot of hope and expectation that this is going to be really well done demi-horror.