Welcome to the origin story of sad Derek, sassy Peter Hale, the Arduous Argents, the beginnings of the Alpha Pack and the mythology of werewolves.

I love origin stories. I really do. And this is about as close of an origin story as we are going to get on Teen Wolf. Strike that, this is the origin story. For those of you who are curious as to why Derek Hale is Mr. Grumpy Pants, Mr. Monotone, Mr. One-Facial-Expression, Mr. Derek Stilinsky, then this is the episode for you. But also, for those of you who are really interested in the mythology that the show has been frustratingly hinting at for the past three seasons, this episode is for you. And we get to see it from the perspectives of Team Werewolf and Team Hunters.

The really interesting aspect of this episode is how it plays with the unreliable narrators in both Gerard the Geriatric and Peter the Psychopath. I love both characters and it’s great to see how they make themselves the heroes in a story where we know them as the villains. The only people who might have the ability to really know the full story is us as the audience, but even then the story is somewhat sketchy.

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It starts with a young boy running through the woods, hunted by werewolf hunters. Young Peter Hale — aka the good-looking kid who fancied and tormented Lydia last season — saves Young Derek from a rather nasty looking arrow.

But we cut back to Stiles pumping Peter and Cora for information. As Stiles sadly notes, this is a dark time. Scott tried to commit suicide, there are ritual murders (including his childhood friend), Erica and Boyd are dead, Derek’s a wreck, and I’ll add a couple: Allison’s going crazy, Lydia is frustratingly not human (but I’m pretty sure I know what she is!) and I’m way too invested in an MTV supernatural teen drama. Sigh.

What happened to Derek Hale? He was a lot like Scott, actually. But the key to figuring Derek Hale is understanding this: why do some wolves have blue eyes and some have yellow?

We are transported back to probably the ’90s, given by the clothing and the fascination with basketball. I heard those things were popular back then. Anyway, a girl plays the cello with a metronome (a recurring motif, I suppose) and has a pretty sassy altercation with Derek over basketball and metronomes or something, and this is Paige. Firstly, these must be the youngest actors on the MTV payroll in about 25 years. Secondly, as every teen drama has taught me, every heterosexual pairing who starts off hating each other will eventually end up together.  

And look! They go make out in an abandoned distillery outside of Beacon Hills. Man, I wondered what happened to make the economics of this town so cursed. We know this Peter claims to be Derek’s BFF and closest confidante, but really he’s just a Peeping Peter. Remember how he stalked Lydia? He’s never not been Creepers Peters.

Also, and I don’t know where else to explain this, but Stiles is my spirit animal. When he asks how old everyone’s supposed to be, he is quite correct: that is frustratingly vague. Stiles, bless you. For eternity. I assume we are supposed to gather that one ages differently as a werewolf? Well, there was the Teen Wolf confusion I was looking for. I knew Jeff Davis would come through!
See, the Argents were hunting all of the packs. I mean, ALL of the packs back in the day. We see Deucalion with his sight and that guy he killed, Enis, and other people who will be dead by the end of the night. The Argents have long been feuding with the Alphas, each with their own packs before they killed them all and their All-Star pack. One werewolf in particular can shapeshift into an actual wolf. It’s gotta be Derek’s mother, right? Yep. 

Deucalion warns the dude Ennis (whom Deucalion later kills) not to kill. Irony, Party of Deucalion! We see the Celtic spiral, the pack’s symbol for vendetta. Ennis is upset that the Argents killed a member of his pack and wants to retrieve the body. So basically, that’s the show’s way of saying, oh hey, let’s flashback to Sheriff Stilinsky getting intimidated by the Alpha guy. Excuse me, he’s just a deputy here. Sort of a pointless flashback, but nice to see the Sheriff as always.

With the growing dangers in the werewolf community, Peter sees fit to manipulate Derek. Why, we ain’t sure. But Derek becomes increasingly worried about Paige and her safety while she plays cello … playing “Ave Maria.” I can’t handle Teen Wolf sometimes. I really can’t. It’s so over the top sometimes. Also, Paige cannot play cello for anything. I was in all those music things, and almost became an opera singer. Basically, I can’t. But it’s another scene to humanize their eternal love before an untimely end. Derek is really in love with Paige. And if she turns out to be a hunter’s daughter … Derek has the worst luck with women.

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Gerard the Geriatric

Alright, now’s a good time to say hi to Gerard the Geriatric. Hi! Okay, so Gerard is also telling the story of how this went down, but obviously from the hunters’ side. He tells this to Scott and Allison in exchange for Scott relinquishing his pain or some of his black ooze, I’m not entirely sure.

Gerard is just as unreliable as Peter, but he’s a good history teacher. In a flashback, we see Gerard and Chris just plot-dump a bunch about Celtic trees and Druids. This is hilarious, and I swear I am telling the truth, but I literally was just reading about this yesterday.

In the show’s mythology, werewolves are separated into two groups of origin. The story of Lycan is traced back to Greek Mythology. Some Greeks believed they owed their lives to Prometheus instead of Zeus for giving them fire. So many titan names … like Deucalion (who is the son of Prometheus). Those who defied the gods were punished by turning them into wolves. Lycan sought out the Druids, assumed shape-shifters, to help change back and forth. Druids became important advisers to packs, known as emissaries, like Morell and Deaton.  

Meanwhile, Deaton is forced to tell the story of the Scorpion and the Frog for Talya and Deucalion. And then Gerard tells the story of the Scorpion and the Turtle for Scott and Allison. Like we don’t know it. Sometimes, I swear, Teen Wolf ... the werewolves and the hunters are prepping for a meeting from war.

Gerard is another bad narrator as he says the hunters were attacked by the packs, but really he just poisons everyone and then hits everyone with a spiked mace. But he saves two arrows to do what I guess some of us had already guessed: he blinds Deucalion with electrocuted arrows.

Elsewhere, Deucalion’s sight is absolutely gone except for when he sees as a wolf. Okay … and we see Deucalion kill his beta Marco and go crazy.

But back to Derek Hale’s tragic origin story! See, that dude Ennis (the one who almost killed Derek a few weeks ago) decided to choose Paige to take the latest spot in his pack. Derek senses this, tries to stop it, but Derek isn’t ripped yet. Meanwhile, Peter’s there watching the whole thing — the creeper — and I really want to know why Peter’s sticking around this season.

According to Peter, most of the time the bite takes. But every now and again, despite the strength of the person, the bite does not take. As Derek holds Paige in his arms, the show laments Lacrimosa, Mozart’s Last Requiem, in case you didn’t know this is an important moment. (But I actually enjoy this campy moment because it’s cut back and forth with Gerard blinding Deucalion.)

Paige laments how she thinks she knew Derek was a werewolf or a supernatural creature, and it’s all the more sad. Paige is going to die, and I think we all knew how this would play out. In an act of mercy, Derek’s eyes turn blue and Paige becomes another in a long line of innocent animal attacks.

Derek’s never been my favorite character, by any means, but it’s nice to finally have an episode that explains why he is so sad and tortured. It’s a shame that Tyler Hoechlin couldn’t have played these scenes, but he just can’t pass for a teenager. However, I wonder if we’ll see just how broken Derek is in the coming weeks.

Back to the Future

Scott doesn’t believe Gerard because Gerard is an unusually good liar — his heart is too steady. And Scott, showing his true Alpha, almost, threatens him with certainty. See, while Scott uses his werewolf powers to determine the unreliable narrator, we see Stiles bring up Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. He also doesn’t believe Peter. It’s interesting to see why Gerard and Peter are lying and to what end. So Stiles goes into the lion’s den to visit the grieving Derek to find out the real story with more choral music. But that’s not until next week.

Thanks for letting me fill in this week, guys! I had a lot of fun on a show I started watching because of this website years ago. So what did you think of tonight’s episode? Did the origin story live up to what you wanted? Are you sad for Derek Hale? Who is behind all of this Druid mess?

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(Image courtesy of MTV)

Emily E. Steck

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV