“It’s always better when they know,” Lydia says to Stiles in the woods on Teen Wolf. While it’s certainly true that it’s always better for the residents of Beacon Hills to know that supernatural creatures are among them (remember the days when Lydia knew absolutely nothing? How frustrating!), I’m not sure that phrase really applies here, to the crux of the whole night, especially when you have one manipulative Theo there to break fragile friendships. Information is currency this season, and Theo is the one to dish out enough of the truth before anyone else can question it. It’s Classic Manipulation 101. 

In our recap for the previous episode, I lamented at how lame and terrible the Dread Doctors (and, by extension, Theo) are this season, but perhaps I missed the point: the real villain isn’t the Dread Doctors or Theo after all. Maybe it’s just senior year, of a group of friends separating. No, seriously. This season has a mission: break the pack up. And it’s going pretty well.

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The biggest hurdle to break up the pack would be between Scott and Stiles, brothers for life, one of the main draws of the show. The show is asking an interesting question: how far does your love go? Is it unconditional? For Scott and Stiles, there is a defined line: murder. Via Theo’s sociopathic manipulations, they can’t communicate where that line is. Surely, Scott could forgive Stiles for self-defense, but there’s also years of unresolved tension handled beautifully by the actors and by a scene written well enough to be plausible. Their final “break-up” is heartbreaking to watch, and if you don’t think it’s a break-up, then you’re wrong. It’s shot in the rain, for christ’s sake.

Breaking up is hard to do, but if that’s the main focus of this season, there’s still something seriously lacking, plot-wise — a phrase I never thought I would write in a Teen Wolf recap. The show has done a good job of establishing the kids’ hopelessness (particularly in Malia, who can’t handle not saving another dead body) and feeling of dread for the damn Dread Doctors. Scott’s opening monologue in this episode, “Lies of Omission,” both summarizes and shows that Mr. Perfect True Alpha is having a tough time. Things are looking very grim.

In all likelihood, Kira will be the one to save everyone (which is awesome), but until then, we’re stuck with the same fear and dread of the Doctors attacking and then retreating after winning. Besides establishing mood and jeopardy for Hayden’s life, Teen Wolf has relied on senseless killings of glorified extras and background characters. It’s becoming monotonous and tiresome. I wonder if that’d be the case if this storyline occurred in freshman year of college, but we must review the cards we’ve been dealt. 

Parrish is the Only Responsible Person in Beacon Hills

It’s been five days since the last Dread Doctor killings and the pack is due for another one. They are all distant and withdrawn from one another, mainly because everyone has their own baggage. Malia’s focused on looking for the Desert Wolf, Stiles killed someone in self-defense, Lydia is tied to Parrish this season and Scott has to carry around an inhaler. Clearly, some people have it worse than others, specifically Lydia — tied to the plot of a man once again. Sigh.

Since everyone is off on their own for a bit, now’s the perfect opportunity to drive some action. Stiles and Lydia are looking for the nemeton, which is funny because weren’t they all trapped underneath it in season 3? If they made a joke about how the magic keeps moving it, that’d be something, but you’d think these two nerds would mark it on a map or something.

After exchanging one former love interest for the current one, Lydia and Parrish survey the scene in hopes of finding it before breaking out into a little impromptu fight displaying Lydia’s newfound fighting skills, which are admittedly unimpressive. But they finally find the nemeton after Parrish’s eyes flash flaming orange, when he discovers that he’s the one moving all the bodies.

Almost immediately, he returns to the station and locks himself in a cell while explaining the whole thing to the Sheriff. It’s safe to say that Parrish is currently the only supernatural creature acting responsibly in this whole town, and he’s the one under crazy supernatural mind control. Especially with two more bodies at hand.

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Theo’s a Better Sociopath Than We Thought

All* of the precious information Theo is sitting on forces its way up. It’s implied that Theo has a deal with the Doctors, where he’ll give them what he wants in exchange for having access to Scott’s pack. It’s still unclear what his motivations are — does he want to get close to Scott to kill a True Alpha? — but he’s mayor of Shadytown and the closest confidant that Scott has.

In some regards, it’s brilliant to have Scott be such a dismal leader this season who internalizes all of his failures. Scott doesn’t have a Derek or a Deaton to turn to for advice, and he slowly pushes most of his friends away since he’s not confident about being number two. In other regards, it’s absolutely stupid that Scott would trust Theo so much, since he’s proven himself as quite capable of trusting no one outside his pack since season 2. The give and take, I guess.

Theo, of course, is able to use his status as Scott’s unofficial right-hand werewolf to relay that Stiles totally murdered that dude one time. As a seasoned sociopath, Theo knows that the best way to sell a lie is with the truth, with one final exaggeration. Theo’s story paints himself as the hero, while Stiles hacks away at Donovan. Scott can’t quite believe it — he’s in shock — but I wonder if there’s a part of him (the part that remembers things that happened a year ago) that remembers evil!Stiles. The thing that looked like Stiles that did murder people.

While Scott sits on this, Theo’s also busy spewing the same story for a different lie and guy. The Sheriff has finally caught whiff that his son wasn’t being completely honest with him. Theo’s smart enough to know that the Sheriff won’t be as easily manipulated. Theo pulls out the old trick from Manipulation 102 by painting himself as the one who killed in self-defense and Stiles as the hero. Hook, line and sinker.

Theo’s a better sociopath than we thought; he’s incapable of feeling empathy, but he sure can fake it. He’s still a terrible villain, though, but let’s not get into that.

Puppy Love Part 2

While the rest of the pack mopes around, Liam’s busy trying to save his girlfriend’s life. The two are sort of official and sort of boring, but they have some homicidal scientists following them around to spicen things up. Hayden and Cory — the two remaining chimeras the pack knows about — aren’t exhibiting the silver mercury signs of expiration yet.

Cory, who feels strong-ish, vomits up a ton of mercury in the arms of Mason before heading to the hospital, where he’s hunted down by a Doctor in another dimension. Dude can turn himself invisible, but it’s not enough to escape the termination phase of the Doctors’ plan. RIP Cory.

Hayden and Liam, meanwhile, plan to run away together since they are in danger of being in love or something. I’m not very fond of this romance at all because I don’t think either character is defined well. Liam had anger issues, but now that’s not a problem? Hayden is the chimera who looks like a perfect cross between Allison and Lydia, and exhibits no real traits besides holding a feud from sixth grade. 

What I’m saying is that they aren’t a great romance by any means, but they do serve a purpose: to allow Liam a reason to turn against Scott. Scrappy Doo is already annoyed at Scott for tying him up to a tree that one time (lol), but he’s really going to be pissed soon enough. After asking Scott to give his GF the true bite, Scott says no. 

And why wouldn’t he? If Scott is thinking with his head, he’ll realize that’s what the Doctors want. Or they just want to see one of his pack kill a True Alpha. Either way, drama is guaranteed.

Other Thoughts

  • Serious question: was Dylan O’Brien filming something else while he was filming Teen Wolf this season? It feels like he’s barely in it.
  • As much as I despise walking plot device and shit-stirrer Theo, I have to give props to Cody Christian for not going too over-the-top. He may rely on small little smirks, but he’s giving a much more subtle performance than Teen Wolf is used to.
  • Also, since Lydia’s been put on the backburner again, it’s way easier to break up the pack. 
  • I also really dug how Stiles saw himself as a corpse when he killed Donovan. Before Teen Wolf ends, I would like one episode completely from his POV.

Teen Wolf airs Mondays at 10pm on MTV.

(Image courtesy of MTV)

Emily E. Steck

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV