regains its footing. We're treated with a series of flashbacks, some attempts at puzzle solving, an Isaac mention and some hero-building.
One of the things this episode does a lot better than last week's, in my humble opinion, is focus on character and plot that feels authentic. Stiles and the sexy mental hospital are one thing, but the sexy detainment camp works a lot better because no one is smiling like a madwoman at the end of the episode. Both are about loss, but this one works in unexpected ways. Mainly, it works because of Kira and Kira's family.
70 Years Ago
1943. Soldiers mutter riddles while dropping off bodies in the desert. What has a neck with no head? What has a mummy face but no shadow? The nogitsune has shown up, ready to kill and solve riddles by combining the two: by twisting and ripping the poor soldier's head off. Say what you will about the nogitsune, the trickster is creative.
We cut to school, where Mr. Kitsune (I shall call him this because he did take his wife's last name) is confronted by Stiles, who looks like he needs some sleep or some drugs. Even with about five minutes of screen time, Dylan O'Brien should just take my money for all the things I will see him in. Anyway, Stiles is searching for the knives, the physical representation of Mrs. Kitsune's tails. He does his weird fingering tapping thing again, but this time he doesn't stab anyone. He just pushes the last Oni fly into Mr. Kitsune's mouth, trying to choke him. It's this insanity that makes me love Teen Wolf.
The credits are rad. I wish they kept the remixed version of the theme song.
Scott and Kira arrive to watch her mother give her father magic mushrooms. Mrs. Kitsune asks where they got the picture with Kira's face on it (I would also like to know because ... how random). My questions are unanswered, but we learn it's not her grandmother, but her mother. Kira refuses to help out until she learns everything, so we get our exposition episode.
Let's cut back even farther to 1943, where Mrs. Kitsune is revealed to be 900 years old and nearly invincible. Share your secret moisturizer magic with me! That is the question I want answered most. Instead, the episode is set on sharing secrets of the past. It appears that Mr. Kitsune is in on the secrets, having been a history major fascinated with the covered-up Oak Creek detainment camp. Researching the camp is how Mr. and Mrs. Kitsune met.
This is how we get ... the real story of how I met your mother. What one show gave nine seasons, this show gives one sentence in an exposition-heavy episode. God bless Teen Wolf.
At the camp, a young Mrs. Kitsune is quite the trickster, stealing from supplies to distribute it out. An older lady suggests that the Young Fox knows the rules so she can break them. The Wise Fox knows the exceptions. I wonder if she will be some kind of Japanese sensei for Mrs. Kitsune.
The relocation camp/summer camp/detainment camp/prison must hide their "stolen goods" from the army men. One, who is too good looking for names, shall just be called Army Guy. Army Guy is nice to the prisoners and also getting it on with Mrs. Kitsune before she became a Mrs.
This is actually one of Teen Wolf's better flashback stories because the kitsune is more compelling than Derek's origin story or whatever was going on with the kanima. Except Kira and Scott disagree as they are totally over the Casablanca theatrics and stalling. Wolves and foxes tend not to get along, but Scott and Kira are very cute together.
Apparently, kitsunes do not get sick, but everyone in the prison is ill from pnemonia. Remember, this was penicillin days so it is a big deal. Doctor Listen of the prison camp was stealing the medicine to sell on the black market, thus killing several ill prisoners.
Rightfully, everyone is angered enough to riot. Remember Mrs. Kitsune's sensei figure? She was a bitten werewolf, one aggravated enough by the riots to unleash chaos and a handy fire bomb, which hits hot Army Guy but does not kill him just yet. You see where this is going, right? He is sent to Eichen House to be treated. A burn victim in Eichen House? That can only mean one thing...
The army has taken gunfire on the rioters, and even Mrs. Kitsune's near invincibility cannot stand all the bullets, slowing her down and trapping her. They collect her body and others to cover this up, and a nearly dead Army Guy, all bandaged up, is put in the trunk as well (there are so many plot holes, but I have to ignore them). Mrs. Kitsune had wanted the soldiers to be punished for their crimes, calling upon her ancestors for a powerful trickster spirit. It did not come to possess her, but instead her old flame (I'm so sorry for that last pun, I couldn't help myself).
The nogitsune has murdered the rest of the camp and it is up to its creator to stop it. Mrs. Kitsune, who happened to keep a sword under her bed this whole time, tries to take it down, but she can't fight the nogitsune alone. The fox and the wolf must work together to defeat it. In doing so, it shattered the sword, but subdued the beast. Now Kira must use her thunder powers to put it back together.
Here's why this is my favorite backstory ever featured on the show: we not only learn about the backstory for plot purposes but also more about the present day characters. We learn that Kira has backbone for demanding the truth, thus learning that she's a thunder kitsune. We learn she will never trust her mother again but will rise to the challenge to defeat her mother's mistakes. Are you not sold on Kira yet? Because then she heals the sword using thunder powers and her dress is super cute. Arden Cho shines tonight as Kira and as a young version of her mother in 1943. Kira is the best, y'all.
All of this backstory explains the nogitsune and the past, but what about the present? If history repeats itself, what is Scott to do?
You want to save Stiles? Kill him. Fate is conspiring against Scott right now. This is a really interesting dilemma, actually. Since Mrs. Kitsune buried the nogitsune in the nemitaph and Scott, Allison and Stiles woke it up by trying to save their parents last season, this whole mess is on them. In trying to save their parents, they got a lot of people killed. Will he being willing to save his brother with just as many fatal consequences?
Outfox the Fox
Derek and Argent have been released from prison by the good graces of the sheriff, who has discovered that Stiles' brain scan is exactly the same as his mother's. The trickster is using Stiles' psyche to control his body. The sheriff petitions their help to find Stiles. Again.
Allison joins in on the search team at her apartment this time, and then has a scene with the sheriff in the elevator, which sets me on edge. There have been rumors and theories that Allison is also possessed, but this scene just erases any idea of that for me. Allison is so quietly strong all the time, silently being this badass hero and soldier.
She puts up such a strong front. Except Allison is failing econ. Except Allison is not fearless. Except she feels she doesn't know anything. It is a powerful scene for me because Allison hasn't had much to do this season, but Crystal Reed nails it. Allison is honestly my favorite character. If the show kills her off, I'd be devastated.
With that out of the way, the sheriff gets a notification that someone broke into his house. Does it count as breaking in if you live there, though? Stiles waves at the camera, creeping everyone and their mother out.
By the time everyone arrives, Stiles is gone, but the chessboard is out. Remember the chessboard, where Stiles explained who and what everyone is to his dear old pops?
Here are some fun things about the chess board:
- Derek is the king. Now, before the Sterek shippers shriek, he's also one move from being in checkmate.
- Isaac is a pawn not even on the board. You'll always be in the game of our hearts, Isaac!
- Allison, Jackson, Argent and Kate are on the board, all white pieces -- all on the same side -- whereas Peter, Scott, Aiden, Derek, Ethan Deaton and Isaac are brown pieces, though with different colored sticky notes. (Aside: Kate's on the board! Wouldn't that make Jill Wagner's hosting duties on Wolf Watch weirder?)
- Allison and Argent are knights, which makes my heart swell three sizes.
- This could say some really interesting things about who is going to die. Also, where's Lydia on the chess board and this episode?
The sheriff makes the point to say that it could be a message from Stiles because the nogitsune is so bent on chaos and strife and being a trickster, it wants irony. Murder's just a by-product. They need to make another punch line and take the fight to him. Which happens to be at the loft.
Stiles stands there and whispers, "Hi, Dad." Thus completing Teen Wolf's journey into becoming as much like Buffy as it can.
The Shirtlessness Count
None. If that isn't the most horrifying thing this show has ever done,
I am not sure what is. No, I know what is most terrifying -- Wolf Watch. It makes my skin want to crawl underneath my tissue and bones. It is just so uncomfortable to watch that I keep it on mute until the preview for next week.
So what did you think of this week's episode? Did you like the flashbacks? Do you love Allison and Kira as much as I do? Excited to see what goes down at the showdown between Stiles and everyone next week? Do you like Wolf Watch? Sound off below.
Teen Wolf airs Mondays at 10pm on MTV.
(Image courtesy of MTV)