This week on the mid-season finale of Teen Wolf,
everything comes to a head as Scott finally fulfills his destiny and becomes a true alpha.
The literary reference made most often throughout this hour is to Joesph Conrad's Heart of Darkness
, but for my money the artistic work with the most influence on this half season was The Matrix
. Just look at the white room Allison, Stiles and Scott wake up in. Or all the talk about Scott unlocking his full Neo-esque potential. Or all the slow-mo. My god, this season had a lot of slow-mo. They were bullet-timing like it was 1999.
The first part of season 3 set up two parallel and intersecting threats: that of the alpha pack and the darach. The mid-season finale takes care of both of these enemies, clearing the way for more creepy beasties next year.Teen Wolf: 8 Reasons Derek Needs a Vacation [GIFs] >>>
There are some nice character moments, especially as Scott and Allison finally embrace their leadership roles. For those burnt out on the new anti-hero regime on television, Scott and Allison are a nice counterbalance to the millions of characters Breaking Bad all over the dial. This season, both have confronted their roles, stepped up to the plate and really accepted their responsibilities.
Scott and Allison have certainly matured in front of our eyes, which is one reason it's so fun to take an ice-bath down memory lane with them and remember what they were like in the first season. Back when Scott was floppy-haired and ready for an adventure he wasn't quite prepared for. And Allison was naive and under the thumb of her domineering parents.
Even Stiles is a more ingenious, grown-up version of the weird kid we saw in the pilot, although no one in the audience really wants Stiles to change too much. We still need someone ready with a good quip now and then.
To protect his parents and friends, Scott finally becomes the true alpha we've all been waiting for. While Allison, dropping some impressive French, decides the new Argent code needs to involve protecting the innocent. Hopefully, it will also involve less torturing teenagers.
Still, despite some nice character development, this is an action-packed mid-season finale where it often appears anyone can and will die at any moment. I for one am deliriously happy Jeff Davis and company spare the parents, as the show is already bordering on self-serious and I have no desire for an extra mopey season 3B. Also, please tell me I'm not the only one who desperately wants to see Sheriff Stilinski and Melissa McCall hook up and make Scott and Stiles brothers for real?
Derek Gets a Vacation?
By the end of the episode, most of the alpha pack is dead, except for the twins, because the show can't really afford to lose that level of consistent weekly beefcake. Derek and Scott decide to let Big D-Wolf have a mulligan on brutally killing most of Derek's wolf pack. "Sorry about that, bros! You know what it's like when you're blind and cranky, right?" Another great decision by Derek Hale.
Speaking of Derek, he once again has a horrible, rotten, no good and very bad day, which ends in someone ripping out the throat of his ex-girlfriend. At this point, "brutally murdered" is how all of Derek's relationships have ended.
But at the very least, it looks like Teen Wolf heard my cry through the Internet
, and Derek is indeed off with Cora for a vacation. Let's hope he picks somewhere warm, tropical and lacking sea monsters. With Derek's luck, the tropical paradise he picks for vacation will probably get hit with a Sharknado
Enter the Matrix to Find a Tree
During their 16-hour long ice-bath of death, the kids discover the location of the nemeton and also the meaning of Scott's tattoo. "You mean it wasn't just a post-breakup bad decision but the rings of an ancient murder tree? Do you think the Bad Ink guys could take care of this?"
Allison, Scott and Stiles wake up to basically no one at all watching them. So ... that whole thing about their anchors keeping them from dying and waking them up ... what happened to that? Were Deaton, Lydia and Isaac in another room watching America's Next Top Model or something? "Oh man, sorry! I guess the timer to revive you went off, like, 15 hours ago, but Tyra was in the middle of showing us how to smile with our eyes and then I guess we just forgot."
So I guess the whole point of hopping into the luxurious ice-baths of death (come out with an otherworldly glow powered by the newfound darkness around your heart!) is to pinpoint the location of the nemeton? But if so, this certainly wasn't explained very well in the last episode.
Last week, it seemed the kids were getting put on ice in order to die and take their parents' places as sacrifices. I understand Teen Wolf is dealing with a largely imagined mythology with only small ties to more established myths, but even so, this mythology should at least try to have some internal logic and consistency, right?
I'm probably asking too much of a show where I keep painstaking count of the number of times someone takes off a shirt to show off six-pack abs, but the mythology this season has gotten more inscrutable as it has become more complex. Maybe next season, the key will be simplification. I wouldn't mind spending more time on the character stuff, which the show does very well, and less time on the mythology stuff, which has a tendency to collapse upon itself under any kind of further reflection.
Once Allison attacks a federal investigator with absolutely no repercussions, she and Issac find the parents under the tree root. In a moment of "Seriously, come on!" they mostly find the parents because Isaac can hear Argent's werewolf emitter. So ... those ice-baths were just 16 hours of death and heart-darkening for basically no reason whatsoever then? Cool. Just so we're clear.
In the basement of falling earth and nearly-squished parents, Isaac tries his hardest to keep everyone from joining the circle of life as worm food. Thankfully, Stiles shows up at just the right time after his convenient car crash with his trusty aluminum baseball bat and saves the day. The parents are saved, meaning I can continue working on my as-yet-unpublished Sheriff Stilinski/Melissa McCall romance novel, Trapped in a Basement of Desire
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When Ethan has a serious attack of conscience about killing Derek, they devise a mostly useless plan to get Derek out of town. But Jennifer crashes the alpha in-fighting to do a little killing and then recruits Derek into her own dumb idea, courtesy of Lydia's powerful lung capacity.
Of all the cool super-powered creatures, being a banshee just seems like a drag. I mean, other than making you a really excellent horror movie actress, what exactly are the perks? "Under special skills, you only have screaming and finding dead bodies. Those are your only super powers?" "No, you skipped my superior lip gloss application."
Jennifer ropes Derek into helping her by presenting him with some faulty logic. Having dated Derek, she must know that the thinnest veneer of logic and the promise of being able to kill someone is pretty much all you need to convince Derek something is a good idea.
Soon, Derek and Jennifer are meeting up with Scott and Deucalion for a battle royale. Like the honey badger, Big D-Wolf doesn't care about Jennifer's flimsy powers. Finally, after a whole season, we get to see the DEMON WOLF (all caps forever) in action. And he is admittedly very creepy looking, like what would happen if you mixed a demon, a wolf and a particularly angry Smurf.
There is some back and forth with the lunar eclipse, and Derek manages to save D-Wolf by convincing Jennifer to heal his sight so he can see her Freddy Krueger face for himself. But it depletes her strength, allowing Derek to attempt reasoning with her. It does not go well, and he flashes back on another time he took one for the team when Boyd and Cora scratched him up. Under special skills, Derek has "human punching bag" listed.
"Your 15 minutes are up," Derek says. Earlier in the same scene, Deucalion tries to convince Scott to kill Jennifer to save the parents. "Who's going to save them?" he sneers. "Your friends?" "My pack," Scott answers to swelling music. For some reason, the heat of battle makes all the Teen Wolf characters speak like Saturday morning cartoon villains.
After breaking through her spell, Scott tells Jennifer to just chill. Knowing she never will, Deucalion rips out her throat.
What's Peter Got To Do, Got To Do With It?
As the episode wraps up, Scott talks to Deaton about the darkness that downloaded into him from the Matrix. Whenever he's feeling blue, he just looks around at his friends and feels better, even though Isaac is clearly macking on his ex-girlfriend in plain sight.
Among the other pairings present as the season wraps up: Lydia and Aiden make cute while Ethan and Danny hold hands. Stiles and Scott look on, forever bros and forever alone, like the Batman and Robin of Beacon Hills. Everyone has apparently forgiven the alphas for all that murdering they did earlier, because of the power of love and six-pack abs. I guess we'll have to wait a little longer for Stiles and Lydia to kiss again.
As the first half of the season wraps up, Jennifer pulls herself once more towards the healing powers of the nemeton. After the Gerard debacle, no one thought to check and make sure she was dead? What happened, were they so busy fist-bumping in the corner they didn't notice her slowly crawling out of the brewery, leaving a long trail of blood in her wake?
But Jennifer is stopped by Peter Hale, sassier than ever now that he's the only Hale in town. Jennifer realizes things worked out just peachy for Peter, since now Scott has some alpha powers for him to steal.
But Peter declares that he's always been the alpha, in a scene that makes Deucalion's earlier DEMON WOLF declaration look like a piece of subtle, understated acting. Hide your couch and hide your ottoman, because Creepy Uncle Peter is coming to chew on all the scenery next year.
The Shirtlessness Count
The last opportunity for shirtlessness of the (half) season is squandered, with Ethan and AIden the only ones to take off their shirts. And thus, they are awarded not just the Best Pecks of the Episode, but the Best Pecks of the Season for their fine contributions to shirtlessness.
What did you think of the Teen Wolf mid-season finale? Will Derek come back? Where did he go on vacation? Will Deucalion be back? Can the alpha twins be trusted? Sound off in the comments while we wait for the show to return on January 6.