The episode opened with Stiles slapping Derek a bunch, and I knew it was going to be a bad one. I could have tolerated Peter’s annoying presence and Derek’s angst about saving Cora’s life which was actually preferable to this episode’s fulfillment of Jeff Davis’ fantasy of making Stiles the main character of Teen Wolf in which he got his own fair share of angst, a kiss from Lydia and lots of screen time.
I’ve never had a problem with Stiles until this season in which he’s been placed in a role more significant than Scott’s. In the episode after Scott made a huge decision to ally himself with Deucalion to save his mom and Stiles’ dad, we barely see him. Most of the episode was devoted to Stiles and his anxiety over the clock ticking on their parents’ lives. We got multiple scenes of Stiles’ snarky interactions with an unnamed FBI agent who turned out to be Scott’s dad. On one hand it was nice to know that Stiles’ irritation with Scott’s dad was because of his bad relationship with Melissa and Scott, but it was another example of Stiles’ point-of-view being given priority that Scott didn’t get in this episode or even in this season.
Scott’s barely a blip on anyone’s radar, including the Teen Wolf writers who were unwilling to write for their main character this week. Scott’s time with Deucalion was an opportunity for character development for both of them plus some more insight into the Alpha Pack who are still shadowy after eleven episodes. Instead we got about ten minutes of Scott before the episode ended, and his scenes with the Alpha Pack were forgettable and told us nothing we didn’t already know.
Of all the scenes without Scott, Lydia’s with her mom was the best. Their discussion over Lydia not hiding the mark of her near strangulation made me long for the days of Teen Wolf when character was something this show cared about. After a quality scene like that one, we get Lydia’s first interaction with Peter since their abusive interaction throughout season two, and it was actually presented as being just another awkward encounter with a person you dislike in the grocery store instead of Lydia coming face-to-face with someone who violently attacked and later went on to mentally abuse her. But you know, it’s all the same in Teen Wolf.
Another parent who tried at being cool this episode was Chris. His sacrifice could have been a high point if I wasn’t left wondering why it happened. If his intention was to be taken to where Melissa and the Sheriff were to rescue them, that wasn’t well thought out. That’s another something to add to the list of “Things That Prove Chris Argent Isn’t Half As Capable As This Show Would Like Me To Believe” (right up there with his inability to successfully shoot targets). It would have made more sense to see the plan to find Jennifer fail and have Jennifer grab Chris. It wouldn’t have done a lot for Chris in terms of competency, but it would have made more sense.
After Chris’ abduction, we get an Isaac and Allison scene. The two of them continue to be confusing. After the decline in Isaac’s character this season, imagining him with Allison is an annoying but clear inevitability. More buildup would have been great before we got to this contrived business about Isaac having an emotional connection with her. They’ve only shared one meaningful conversation and that took place in this episode. I use the word “conversation” loosely as Allison was distraught about her dad being taken and Isaac hugged her and told her they had to leave. The most offensive part of this turn of events was the notion that Allison’s relationship with Isaac, and Stiles’ with Lydia, is stronger than that between Allison and Lydia though everything we’ve seen has proven the contrary.
The winner of this episode (let’s pretend for a moment someone can win an episode of Teen Wolf) was Marin Morrell. She finally got some play when she went up against the Alphas, proving how formidable emissaries can be. It made me long for more attention to be paid to them especially since Jennifer was one. Marin’s shades of grey are all hued toward “maintaining balance”, and the importance she’s played in this season so far (including sending mystery girl, Braden, to help Isaac) would have been better if we’d actually gotten to see some of it. I’ll try to be content with Marin still being alive.
I thought there wouldn’t be an episode I enjoyed less than the flashback episode, and I was right because that episode was awful, but this one was a close second. It suffered from the same drawbacks as the rest of the season – poor prioritizing – but on a bigger scale. Of the scenes that end up on the cutting room floor I suspect most of them would have served better in this episode. The Sheriff’s monologue about a woman who died holding his hand and knew about the death wife’s death was unnecessary. It slowed down an already slow episode and further cemented this show’s desire to focus on the Stilinskis over the Mccalls. With the return of Scott’s dad, a monologue from Melissa about something related to him that put this experience into perspective for her would have had made sense in the context of the episode.
With the midseason finale next week, I feel that the first half of this season has accomplished nothing. Loads of things have happened, things that should have changed these characters forever (the ice bath at the end is supposed to affect them forever) but everything’s laced with the distinct feeling of not being complete. After this episode, I’m feeling more and more like dropping Teen Wolf from my roster of watchable shows.
Tell me what you thought in the comments.