Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Teen Wolf, Season 3, Episode 20: Echo House

Starting with a trigger warning for mature scenes and suicide… this is going to be a rough one.

Stiles and the sheriff drive in very very moody silence, to a building surrounded by large gates and faces – the emotion, without a single word, is palpable. Scott arrives hurriedly on his bike trying to find out why they didn’t tell him. Stiles is going into the mental institution for 72 hours while the sheriff goes to LA to see a specialist about Stiles brain condition. Staying in the institution – the same place Burrows was imprisoned – is Stiles’s idea. He’s afraid he’ll hurt Scott and the others and he asks Scott to make sure, if they can’t find a way to fix him, that he never gets out.

The place is very grim, very dark and very ominous (really not very conductive to mental health – personally I’ve found such institutions to be more bright, white, light and eyeball searingly sterile or trying waaaaay too hard to be cutsey with a terrifying amount of chintz and pastels. Grim and dark may be an improvement). As Stiles checks in, the Sheriff is more and more panicky and clings to any reason to try and stop him – but Stiles settles him down and they hug in a cloud of powerful emotion.

As Stiles climbs the stairs to his room, a man above them ties a sheet knotted into a noose around a bannister, chanting as he does (“I can swim in the ocean yet still remain dry”). Stiles sees him and runs to try stop him but he’s too late – the man jumps and kills himself. Stiles see the nogitsune in a group of fellow patients.

Time for a meeting – Deaton, Chris (in prison by phone), Allison, Scott: confirming that the lichen is only temporary (and that Chris helped Deaton get it); for a shujinda scroll, an ancient scroll from Japan with knowledge of how to exorcise a nogitsune. They don’t have one but they do know who last bought it: Kincaid, Katashi Silverfinger’s assistant (that would be the silverfinger who is dead and who Chris and Derek were framed for murdering). Allison has an idea where it may be

But first we check back in on Stiles who is already trying to break the no phone calls rule and protesting her referring to the suicide as an “accident.” She threatens him with restraints (which his room mate, Oliver doesn’t recommend) if he doesn’t go to bed and to sleep. Uh-huh, so we’ll put this place down as an unethical hell-hole and have done with it. Oliver is quite casual about the new suicide and talks about them being more common on a Monday – yet more reasons to leave this place. For additional creepiness, the place is known as “echo house” because the acoustics mean absolutely everything echoes

Which is totally an awesome design feature in a mental institution, uh-huh. A restless night follows after which Oliver gives Stiles a tour of the place introducing several fellow patients and their com; apparently the place turns off the phones for 24 hours after a suicide – why to help cover it up? Which is when he runs into Malia – who is apparently a fellow patient. How promptly punches him, this seems to be a habit of hers. He’s pinned by some orderlies who rush in – over a window into the basement which he remembers from when he went wandering (and where the kanji self symbol is still present). This distraction is noticed by Ms. Morrell (Deaton’s sister, fellow druid, school guidance councillor etc etc) , who apparently works there – and apparently isn’t dead.

She’s also leading the group session, now with a less violent Malia – and Stiles keeps seeing the nogitsune which makes it really hard to focus on Ms. Morrell. As he rubs his neck in ever growing stress, markings appear – and Ms. Morrell calls a break. Alone with Stiles she calls the marks Lichtenburg figures apparently from the poison (though it’s unusual) and when they disappear the nogitsune will be back in charge. Sleeping will also accelerate the process so noooo sleep; have some wakey wakey pills. And if Stiles’s friends don’t find a way to cure him, she will kill him; this is Ms. Morrell after all, she exists to maintain the balance (though she has very odd ideas about what that means – stopping nogitsune good for balance! Helping Deucalion, also good for balance. For some reason.).

Derek and Chris are in prison and Derek uses his super-hearing to discover all the evidence is being moved from the police station since it was just bombed. And they discuss the biggy – how responsible is Stiles for the deaths and what should they do about it, referring back to Jackson as Kanima, being used to kill people and Nordic berserkers possessed by bears (including a teenager who got his hands on a bear possession cloak and Chris had to kill him). Ultimately it comes down to “should we kill Stiles for the greater good?” It all depends on how much of Stiles is left and how much is the nogitsune.

Anyway, the evidence being moved means that the evidence can be stolen and a) do some damage to the case against them name and b) find the scroll hidden in Katashi’s lock up.

These means Lydia planning to hit the armoured car full of evidence. Honestly, if I learned Lydia were plotting against me I’d just hand over whatever they wanted and give up. Especially since she’s backed by Allison, Scott and the Twins. Kira drops in on Scott and also wants to join in – because her magic powers come with magical katana skills, apparently.

All of that lovely planning fails, alas, because Kincaid has already hit the armoured van using a much less elegant but effective plan – knock the guards unconscious. They hold him at bow point, they want the silverfinger (where the scroll is hidden). So does he – it’s worth $3,000,000 apparently. Kira leaps on his back and he doesn’t even flinch – mental note, petite women jumping on top of huge men is not an effective combat strategy. Kincaid goes wolfy – another blue eyed beta.

Kincaid’s side apparently beats Scott being an Alpha; even Kincaid is surprised at what a weak Alpha he is (what happened to the Alpha roar, Scott?). The Twins enter the fray though and they’re bigger and much much better at fighting together (points to the choreographer for this scene)

Scott refuses to let the twins kill him though and claims the scroll. He tells them “we’re here to save a life, not end one” while Kincaid looks up almost in awe

Back in the mental instution, and death threats aside, Stiles decides to go exploring and the helpful Oliver tells him that to get into the basement he needs a key from Brunski the head orderly. But that would mean tricking him.

Not a problem for the fox man. But going into the bathroom to take his pills throws him when he finds Malia naked and showering (lots of Stiles nervous babble) – she’s quite unconcerned and is using the men’s bathroom because she thinks the water is hotter in there (since she’s spent the last few years as a coyote, nudity doesn’t bother her – but lack of fur and being cold does). Also the reason why she’s not Stiles’s biggest fan? She was quite happy as a coyote and her new reality of having to tell her dad how she killed her sister and mother by almost trying to eat them on a full moon is just not very much fun. She wants to change back – and Stiles decides this is an excellent time to recruit her to find the keys (hey he knows some werewolves, maybe they can help her shift again)

Plan is implemented, using Malia and Oliver as a distraction Stiles gets the keys. Alas the plot fails because no-one has the key to that room, as Brunski explains when he catches Stiles. Which ends up with Stiles being locked in a private room – and his wakey wakey pulls taken before he is sedated. Which is not a good thing. Stiles, you had ONE JOB, now you’ll have pissed off Ms. Morrell.

He has a dream of being stuck in a lawyer begging to be let out while the nogitsune hammers to be let in – until Malia wakes him up (she has lock breaking super strength) she has a plan B – they can get to the basement through the closed units where the “psychos” are kept.

This is a bad plan. A very bad plan. You don’t want to get in the basement that much.

Still they get through without problem and arrive at the “self” kanji. They find a lot of paperwork back to when the hospital was even worse than it is now, this leads to hand holding for the super cold Malia and then kissing and then making out; then she says she wants to try something else and takes off her shirt; at which point we have a fade to black (or cut from the making out to another scene)

Before returning to grinning, spooning and inspiration! The wall is hollow behind the kanji. Stiles bashes it open and behind which is a body – the nogitsune, complete with bandages. Malie pulls a paper (photo?) out of his pocket we don’t see and Stiles insists they have to get it to Scott – right when Oliver arrives and tases them both, sedates Malia and restrains them. He also has power tools and wants to play with them to let the “evil spirits out”.

He also coughs up insects and blood which is all kinds of nasty; the nogitsune appearing to tell them he’s adopted Oliver as a “Renfield”. The nogitsune makes a deal – let him in and Malia will be allowed to live; as Oliver is ready to drill into her skull, Stiles agrees…

EVIL STILES IS BACK! And capable of ripping restraints apparently. He knocks Oliver out (or maybe more?) and gets to look evil at the cameras for a bit.

At the prison Chris meets his lawyer – it’s the Hunter woman who was having fun torturing Peter and Derek; I wondered what happened to her. Also apparently Chris is short for Christophe. Back off from the extraneous storyline, Teen Wolf. She’s here to talk about the code which Chris is no longer a big fan of.

And the gang get the scroll to Deaton who finds himself right at home because the scroll is CRYPTIC and in a language he isn’t fluent in – he gets that to expel the nogitsune they need to “change the body of the host”. How do you do that? Scott  goes with “werewolf bite.”

At the mental hospital Malia is released to go looking for Scott – and Ms. Morrell tells her exactly where to look and she heads out – showing blue beta-eyes as she does.

This is my standard weekly awe over the quality of the acting in Teen Wolf. It actually makes me wonder about some of the other shows I don’t rate so highly, if they had a cast (and it is a cast – because while there are individuals who are truely awesome, there’s no-one on this cast who isn’t excellent) could they elevate their shows as much as this? I think there’s only one show with better acting I’ve watched and that doesn’t count because it’s Orphan Black and Tatiana Maslany has some terrifying acting mutant super power.

The mental hospital… is awful. It’s a throwback to the 50s with no procedures and... yeah just awful. The setting, the creepiness, the ridiculous echo, the darkness of it all, the complete lack of anything resembling ethics, sedating people against their will who aren’t even agitated (which makes no sense, even if the orderly is a sadist it’s not very sadistic of him) – I want some explanation as to why this place is so damn bad.

Also why do shows that take place in mental hospitals only ever use the actual mentally ill as background wallpaper for the sane-but-wrongfully-restrained hero maybe with the odd violent insane person to act as a minor villain?

Personally, I also think it’s a bad idea in terms of keeping Stiles away from hurting people (some chains and a 24/7 werewolf guard would be a better option than a building full of vulnerable adults) so at least part of his motive must have been investigation.

I am bemused at Morell being there but hey, she’s alive so I’m going to give it all a pass. Also that actress is sacrificing virgins or something because she NEVER AGES! Never mind Urban Fantasy, I think Bianca Lawson may actually be a vampire.

Kira Kira Kira… part of this show and Kira is very good, she’s a great character, there’s a real attempt to make the Japanese mythology have depth and for Kira and her family to be full characters that works really well. Then there’s yakuza and Kira randomly knowing martial arts – seriously, magical katana skills. It does a good job and then goes too far, pulling in all kinds of stereotypes that add nothing especially when they’ve already got a solid base.

Peter may be Malia’s father, we have this other pack of Hunters running round, Malia has her own issues… careful Teen Wolf too many storylines spoil the show. That being said, I want to see more development of Malia to see how much she has grown as a coyote… especially if she and Stiles are pursuing any kind of relationship.

As for the main plot – all my theories are shattered I’m just watching each week waiting for what comes next