This week’s Teen Wolf answered some very important questions: Can Derek’s life get any worse? Are we ever going to find out what Deaton is? Was Peter a weirdo creeper even before the fire?
Answers: Yes. Yes. Heck yes.
The episode starts with a teenage boy—whom we later see is bb!Derek, and excellent casting, by the way, Teen Wolf—running through the forest being chased by hunters, among them Gerard and Chris Argent. He bumps into another werewolf who proceeds to get shot with a crossbow through the neck. The poor redshirt werewolf wasn’t who the Argents were looking for, though, so Chris demands that the others be rounded up, and alive, because killing them would violate the Code.
Ah, Chris/Code. Two-thirds of my Chris Argent OTP. I’ve missed you
(The other member, in case you’re wondering, is Aggressive Dessert Grabbing.)
Derek avoids being taken by the hunters and is shown huddling in the forest. Then we hear present-day Cora, who explains to her audience—Stiles—that Derek hid for two days, which is standard procedure in such a situation. It comes out that Derek’s been missing ever since he was forced to kill Boyd. Is he on another werewolf walkabout, Stiles asks. How long will he be gone? What exactly should we be worrying about with him?
Cora doesn’t know—she’s been MIA for years, and her brother’s different from when she knew him. Uh, yeah. I imagine having your entire family die in a fire will do that. Stiles asks how he’s different, and Peter, making a less-dramatic-than-normal entrance (to be fair, it’d be hard to jump down the spiral staircase in Derek’s loft), gives him the answer.
Teenage Derek, Peter explains, was actually a lot like Scott. What changed him was a girl, and what traumatic girl-related incident there was also changed his pre-Alpha eyes from gold to blue. If you want to understand Derek, you have to understand the color of his eyes.
Welcome, ladies and gents, to the flashback episode.
But Peter’s only one of the storytellers in this episode. The other is Gerard. Scott and Allison visit Grumpy Cat Gramps to grill him for information about Deucalion, which he only agrees to share if Scott uses some of his werewolf magic to take away his pain.
Going back in time yet again, we meet a girl practicing her cello in Beacon Hills High School’s music room. Or at least trying to practice her cello, because some basketball players are goofing off in the hall outside. Mystery Girl goes outside and asks them to be quiet, but their ringleader—none other than bb!Hale—refuses, saying basketball players can practice wherever they like and agreeing to give her some peace and quiet only if she can take the ball from him, which she’s unable to do.
Defeated by a teenage d-bag, Mystery Girl goes back to the music room… and is followed there by Derek, who apologizes and proceeds to get his flirt on, telling the girl he’ll leave if she tells him her name. She responds: I’ll tell you my name if you can play one instrument in this room. At this point I’m mentally urging Derek to go for the cymbals, but he goes for the triangle instead. The result is the same: Mystery Girl’s name is Paige.
So… young Derek was flirty, popular, and kind of a jerk when around his friends. How exactly is that like Scott? Granted, Derek was probably a decent guy under all that bravado, but… Scott’s a prince.
Back to Allison, Scott, and Gerard. It turns out the police found a third sacrifice after Deaton was rescued by a badass Sheriff Stilinski. Like right after. It almost makes you think that the Druid knew Deaton would survive, because maybe Deaton was in on it, Gerard growls. Scott says his boss wouldn’t involve himself in anything that would get people killed, but Gerard disagrees, saying many people would go pretty dang far to kill someone like Deucalion.
Or like you?, Allison counters. Touché.
Gerard denies knowing how to defeat Deucalion, so Allison’s all like “Well I guess you’re useless then” and proceeds to walk out. Gramps call her back, saying, hey hold on, he doesn’t know how to kill the guy, but he can still tell you something about him: He may have lost his eyes, but he’s not always blind.
(Let’s just take a moment to appreciate how Allison manipulated Gerard into giving up some information, pointlessly cryptic and completely unhelpful though it seems at first.)
Meanwhile, Peter and Cora give cryptic responses to Stiles when he asks how old they are. Oh, Jeff Davis, I see what you did there, joking about how no one in the fandom or the behind the scenes in the show can ever seem to figure out how old Derek is. Our showrunner does love to troll.
Peter explains that after Derek and Paige’s first meeting the teens took to making out in any abandoned building they could find. (And there are a lot of abandoned buildings in Beacon Hills, OK?) But their favorite spot was an abandoned distillery. Stiles asks how Peter knows so much about the romantic habits of his nephew. He says it’s because in addition to being Derek’s uncle he was also his best friend and confidant, and that might very well be true, but we also see in the flashback that Peter’s totally creeping on Derek and Paige in that abandoned distillery while they, ahem, get to know each other a little.
Ew, young Peter. Stop it. That’s gross.
Derek and Paige are having a conversation about, tee hee, liking one another: Paige thinks Derek only started liking her because she didn’t like him, and now that she does like him it’s only a matter of time before he stops liking her. Oh, teenagers. The CW drama is put on hold when Derek hears some mysterious sounds and smells blood. They vacate the premises just in the nick of time.
Ennis shows up, with him a whole bunch of other packs, including Kali’s and Deucalion’s. It turns out the beta the hunters were looking for at the beginning of the episode was one of Ennis’. The hunters found and killed him, and boy is he pissed about it. Kali doesn’t give a hoot—it’s not her beta, so why should she?—and a random werewolf named Marco points out that Ennis’ beta did kill a hunter, after all.
Among all the Alphas currently in Beacon Hills, Gerard tells Scott and Allison, there was one with a rare gift to shapeshift to a full wolf form. She was wise and a natural leader, and all the other Alphas welcomed her guidance. And there she is in the flashback, stalking up in wolf form and shifting into a red-eyed woman.
Her name? Talia Hale. Hi, Derek’s mom! I may or may not have shrieked “Mama Haaaaaale!” a little bit at this point.
Ennis says he’s done with playing nice with humans, but a surprisingly reasonable, not-crazy-evil Deucalion points out that seeking vengeance will just escalate the werewolf/hunter feud into an all-out war, and walking down that path would mean they’re no better than the people they profess to hate. Ennis ain’t give a damn, though, and he carves the Werewolf Vengeance Spiral into the wall of the abandoned building. Stuff’s about to get real.
One of the reasons Ennis is so ticked is that the authorities won’t let him see his beta’s body. We get a short scene of him at the hospital tangling with then-Deputy Stilinski, who tells him no matter how close he was to the deceased, he’s not family. There was absolutely no point to that scene other than giving us a quick glimpse of young Papa Stilinski, and I don’t even care.
Cora puts a the brakes on Peter’s storytime, asking how the heck Beacon Hills werewolf drama relates to her brother’s past relationship troubles and current angst parade. Peter says something cryptic about there being a “confluence of events” and how Derek saw in the Alphas’ presence an opportunity to “always be with” his lady love.
From there it’s back to the music room, where Derek and Paige have a soft-lit makeout session that frankly felt a little wrong to watch. Sure, Scott and Allison were sophomores in season one like Derek and Paige are now, and we saw them getting all smoochy-smoochy without too much weirdness, but… I don’t know. It was just uncomfortable.
And short-lived, thankfully. Peter plops down at Derek’s table at lunch despite the fact that he’s not technically a student and shouldn’t be allowed on school grounds. Nobody will ban him, he says, because he’s too attractive. Well, he is a looker, I’ll give him that. But shouldn’t he have a job or something? Or school? I can’t imagine creeping on one’s pubescent nephew pays well, though I suppose he could take along a textbook and study while lurking outside abandoned buildings. Regardless.
Modern-day Peter says past-Derek was obsessed with the idea of turning Paige, but in the flashback we see that it was Peter who put the notion in his head in the first place. She’ll find out eventually, he says. The only way to avoid the eventual “OMG MY BOYFRIEND IS A MONSTER” is to turn her into one herself. Um… I’m sorry, I imagine getting your girlfriend turned into a monster without her consent is probably more of a relationship-breaker than just admitting “Hey, I’m a werewolf.”
(Also in this scene: Conspicuous product placement. Peter: “She’s perfect for you. [Bites into a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup] Perfect combinations are rare.” But not in the candy aisle of your local grocery store, where you can indulge in the perfect combination that is peanut butter and chocolate, amirite?)
Later, in the locker room (a strange adult’s hanging out in a high school locker room? What the heck, BHHS teachers?!), Peter tells Derek his idea to get one of the alphas in town to turn Paige. Notably, present-Peter tells Cora and Stiles that that was allllll Derek’s idea, even though he probably convinced himself it was Peter’s. Someone needs to slap this dude before the end of the season, I swear. Preferably Lydia. Where is she, by the way?
Flashback Chris and Deaton are in an abandoned building, where they see an old tree with a Celtic rune on it. It means the Druids were there, and they probably weren’t playing Yahtzee, because there’s sacrificial blood on the floor, too. (Though I’ve heard Yahtzee can get pretty bloody.) Allison asks Gerard how Deaton knows about Druids. Turns out he’s one of their emissaries, a.k.a their go-betweens with the rest of the world, including werewolves. Gerard tells Scott and Allison the werewolf origin story (cobbled together by the writers from some actual Greek myths): Lycaen was a guy who defied the gods by trying to feed them human flesh. In retaliation, they turned him and his sons into wolves. They asked the Druids to change them back, but all the Druids could manage was to teach them how to shift from human to wolf.
Storytimes coincide then as Cora explains to Stiles that Druids have always helped werewolves connect to humanity. Deaton was the emissary for Talia Hale’s pack, and his sister Ms. Morrell is the emissary to the Alpha pack. “Our guidance counselor?,” Stiles responds, horrified. “Why the hell aren’t you people telling me any of this stuff? I shared some really intimate details with her!” Oh, Stiles.
Back into flashback land, where Deaton asks Deucalion and Talia if they’ve heard the story of the scorpion and the frog. Something tells me I’m about to, says Deucalion. The frog’s going to carry the scorpion across a river on his back, but first he needs some assurance that the scorpion won’t sting him. That would be stupid, the scorpion says, because then we’d both die. Also, holy crap, I can talk! But halfway across the river the scorpion stings the frog anyway. When the frog asks why, the scorpion replies: “It’s just my nature, bro. *dies*”
Deaton’s cryptic lesson here, as the werewolf-hunter feud heats up, is not to underestimate Gerard’s (evil, evil, evil) nature. If someone’s going to confront him, Talia says, they’d better not go in alone. Don’t worry, Deucalion responds. I never walk alone. *cue electric guitar wail*
Then we cut to Paige wandering the halls of BHHS late at night looking for Derek. Can we all agree that the school needs better locks, and has done for a while? Jesus Christ. She’s attacked by Ennis, whom Derek asked to bite her. (Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! And wrong! Ask first, Derek!) At the last minute Derek changes his mind, running from the locker room to save Paige… but it’s too late. Ennis has already taken a chomp.
(Oh, and Peter’s creeping on this, too. He creeps on all.)
Back in the present Gerard tells Scott and Allison that he knew things were about to get ugly in Beacon Hills. How did he know? Why, Scott, have you heard the myth of the scorpion and the frog?
Heck yes, thinks Scott. All those fables Deaton subjected me to finally came in handy. I know this one. Suck it, Gramps.
The point, Gerard says, is that werewolves are by nature evil, and that he knew when he went to meet with Deucalion he was walking into an ambush.
And he was. But he was the one doing the ambushing. He debilitates the werewolves using some sort of gas (I didn’t catch the explanation—I assume there was wolfsbane in it? But wolfsbane is bad for humans, too, and while the werewolves were writhing on the floor Gerard was completely unaffected. Ah, heck, I don’t even know.) and then proceeds to bash their heads in with a spiked mace. Deucalion manages to crawl away, but Gerard follows him, quieting the alpha’s protestations that he only wants peace by jamming electrified arrows into his eyes.
Ow. Ow ow ow ow.
I’m not sure what’s worse, though: Gerard blinding Deucalion, turning a previously good guy into the DEMON WOOOOOOLLLLFFF we know today, or the fact Gerard said Deucalion’s “vision of peace” was “a little short-sighted, wouldn’t you say?” before stabbing his eyes out.
That’s a really bad pun, after all.
(Maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve come to know the glory that is Gerard actor Michael Hogan‘s Battlestar Galactica character since starting Teen Wolf, but… I kind of liked Gerard this episode? Not as a person, don’t get me wrong. The guy set an ambush for werewolves, killing those who had never done him any wrong and being truly cruel to Deucalion. But, as a villain, he’s growing on me. I found him interesting here in a way I never really did in previous episodes.)
Edging away from controversial opinions about Teen Wolf‘s most hated character… not everyone bitten by an Alpha werewolf accepts their werewolfitude, and it turns out Paige is one of the unlucky ones. Derek’s carried his dying girlfriend to their favorite abandoned warehouse, where she tells him “I think I knew” about you being a werewolf, or at least not completely human. A ton of weird stuff goes on in this town, and you can hear things that people shouldn’t be able to hear. She says she still loves him and can’t take the pain anymore, so will he please put an end to it?
He embraces her, then delivers her a Death by Hug.
Peter tells Stiles and Cora that he helped Derek bury his body where no one would find it; she’d just be another one of Beacon Hills’ mysterious “animal attacks.” From that day forth Derek’s eyes were blue—the color that denotes a werewolf has killed an innocent.
I have a real problem with the whole Derek-forced-to-kill-his-first-love thing in this episode. First: Do we really need more causes for Derek’s angst? At first his constant manpain was a joke, like “Can Derek ever have anything nice in his life? Anything? Ever?” But we get it, writers. Having Derek carry around the baggage of killing his girlfriend on top of the baggage of being seduced by the woman who used him to kill his family is a bit much.
Plus, the character-development-through-dead-girlfriend trope is clichéd and problematic enough, but did you really have to do in the only not-related-to-the-supernatural-human who figures “Hey, there’s some crazy stuff that goes on in this town, plus my boyfriend’s senses are, in a word, inhuman—maybe he’s not human“?
On balance I liked this episode—I thought it was really well done, and even if I didn’t get to see all the Hale backstory I might’ve liked to (where was Laura? Tumblr says she was there putting a blanket around her mother’s shoulder for, like, a split second, but I missed that), that’s not what the show’s about. And heck, that’s what fanfic is for.
But the dead girlfriend thing…. I don’t like it. Nope.
But back to the story. Deaton tells Deucalion that, while his eyes will physically heal, he’ll never get his sight back. Deuc loses it, yelling at Deaton, Talia, and Marco to leave him alone. Marco doesn’t, though, saying “You are alone” (wow, dick move, Marco), so Deucalion kills him. As he shreds his fellow wolf, we see his eyes change, and finally we learn the meaning of Gerard’s cryptic “He may have lost his eyes, but he’s not always blind” statement from earlier.
Turns out it was fairly straightforward: Deucalion can see when he’s a wolf.
Storytime’s over for Scott and Allison, but before they go Scott proceeds to get his threat on, telling Gerard that if he was lying about anything, and if it gets people killed, he’ll be back to “take away more than your pain.”
In the Loft du Hale Stiles is sharing similar concerns with Cora about Peter. Something about him makes Stiles think he might not have been telling the truth about some things. What are you going to do, asks Cora, quiz him about his dead girlfriend?
Yeah, maybe, Stiles said. A million Sterek shippers just opened up their word docs and started writing fic.
For one last dose o’ pain we see bb!Derek, huddled alone in the warehouse, being comforted by his mom. She knows what he did, and though his eyes are different now, they’re still beautiful. Just like the rest of him. Then the episode closes with a shot of modern Derek in that same warehouse gazing significantly at Ennis’ vengeance spiral.