Teen Wolf Recap: Riddled
I don’t want to jinx things, but… I think Teen Wolf may be well on the road to recovery after a subpar first half of the season. We could still dive head-first into the maw of abandoned plotlines and logical inconsistencies, but after last week‘s great episode, and this week’s wonderful episode, I’m feeling proud to say I watch this show. It’s something I haven’t felt since season two. I missed it.
Stiles has gone on a nocturnal walkabout on the coldest day of the year, and he calls Scott to say heyyyy, buddy, I’m in the basement of an abandoned warehouse somewhere, and my foot’s in a bear trap, and there’s somewhere in here with me, so can you maybe get with the rescuing? He makes Scott promise not to tell his dad, and if this were another show and another character I’d want to scream, because your dad is the sheriff. You need to call your dad. Stop being stupid. But this is Stiles, whom we already know has some serious guilt issues regarding his father (see: Getting him almost fired, the season two hallucination scene about his mother that broke fandom’s collective heart), so him insisting that Scott not burden the Sheriff with his hopefully temporary missingness A) makes sense given his character, and B) makes me want to cry.
Lydia’s Banshee powers kick in while she’s hanging out in the high school after hours with Aiden. Her hearing Stiles’ half of the conversation interrupts the two of them getting their flirt on, and Stiles, I’m sorry that you’re in mortal danger, but thank God. Last episode Lydia was all “I don’t want to get with your thirsty self because you’re a jackass who killed Boyd,” and now she’s inviting him for some life drawing lessons? By the way, where was Ethan this episode? It’s like the twins have no development of their own—one or both of them get trotted out when one of the characters we actually care about (Lydia, Danny) needs someone to interact with, and when they’re done Jeff Davis puts them back in their box. Where do they live? Do they have any remaining family? What do they do for money? Do we care?
I swear I genuinely liked this episode, but I saw a post on Tumblr to the effect of “imagine if instead of the twins this season we had Boyd and Erica back,” and thinking about it’s making me bitter.
Anywhoodle. Lydia, Aiden, Scott, and Isaac have a confab in Stiles’ room, where they see Stiles has gotten a little funky with his red yarn and scrapbook wall of unsolved cases. Isaac, always willing to call it like it is, notes that it looks like “evidence of total insanity.” Lydia, Isaac’s partner in realness, turns on Scott because You didn’t call his Dad?! It’s the coldest night of the year! How stupid are you? Scott, realizing that Lydia tends to be right about everything, wises up and calls the Sheriff.
Pause for a People Making Smart Decisions Dance Party:
So now the Sheriff is on the case as well. With the help of a new Deputy named Parrish—whom we already knew will be joining the cast in a recurring role, though even if we hadn’t know we probably could’ve guessed, because he’s a cute white dude and this show loves them—they locate Stiles’ Jeep in the hospital parking lot, but Stiles himself is no longer there. Derek, who’s also been called in to look for Stiles, explains to Scott that there are a lot of Stiles’ “emotional scent markers” on the roof. Basically he was there, he underwent some sort of internal struggle, and he left.
Back in Stiles’ room Lydia and Aiden are trying to uncover any clues as to where Stiles went, though Aiden is being less with the helpful, more with the mocking Stiles—who’s missing and about to die, remember, because that’s the only time Lydia’s powers kick in—for his crush on Lydia.
Step back, Aiden. NOBODY WANTS YOU HERE.
With the help of her Banshee powers Lydia’s able to figure out that Stiles is at the Eichen House, the mental health center where Barrow was committed. Yeeeeah, Lydia, getting stuff done (even if it doesn’t always work out). Another thing I liked: Deputy Parrish getting his sass on with Agent McDouchebag when he comes to the police station to ask if there are any leads on the Demon Ninja epidemic. I know I was a little cynical about you three paragraphs ago, Parrish, but you were mean to Scott’s asshole father, and that’s the way to my heart. You can stay.
Meanwhile, the Nogitsune steps out of the shadows all OMG Stiles, I love you, you’re my favorite, except less fangirl and more scary-ass demon with razor-sharp needle teeth. He implies that Stiles is just imagining the bear trap on his leg (later on we find out that that Stiles was subconsciously trying to protect his friends from himself, ow), and tries to convince Stiles that he’s trying to save his—well, their, because of the possession sitch—life.
The calvary busts into the mental hospital, but Stiles isn’t in the basement, because there are still 22 minutes left in the episode. Agent McDouchebag realizes that the awful smell Stiles referenced in his call to Scott must mean he’s in the werecoyote’s den. He also figures out that Stiles is probably still asleep. Did… did Agent McDouchebag just do something helpful without being an asshole about it? He’s actually being nice, even when he and Mama McCall chat about his history of alcoholism.
Nope. Not gonna like him. Not happening. Because then he’ll die.
Mama McCall (and Agent McDouchebag helps too, I guess) rescues Stiles from the werecoyote den, but not before the Nogitsune can go all Gollum and initiate a game of riddles. “Everyone has it, but no one can lose it” is the one Stiles gets stuck on.
Isaac shows up at Allison’s apartment to ask her, Hey, everyone’s freaking about because Stiles is missing, and we called you for help because you and Lydia are the competent ones here, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Turns out someone turned off her phone. When she turns it back on she finds that someone’s left her a voicemail in Japanese. The next day she goes to Mr. Yukimura for a translation—pause for a People Making Smart Decisions Dance Party, Miniature Version
—and he tells her the message on her phone is instructions issued to Japanese internees during World War II. But the message is forged, because the internment camp the mysterious voicemailer references didn’t exist.
And that’s what there is for Allison this episode. I’m nervous. She’s the only main character who never got an evil spot-check from the Oni. And I don’t know if that’s relevant—there’s some Allison-specific weirdness going on this season, and the climax of that could certainly relate to some possession of her own—or if it’s just another example of Teen Wolf introducing a plot element and then ditching it. For example, the Darach attacking the werewolves in the motel last season. OK, I guess I’m not entirely over 3A.
So everything’s fine with Stiles now. He had a brief sleepwalking incident, but he wasn’t injured, and everything’s OK. Haha, no. Luckily everyone seems to know that that is not the case. Aiden tells Derek that he overheard Stiles talking about how he thinks he was the one who sicced Barrow on Kira. Derek’s initially skeptical that “skinny, defenseless Stiles” is the one possessed by the Nogitsune, but he has a lightning bolt (ah ha) moment and realizes that the Nogitsune used Barrow lighting up Kira as a way to give it power, allowing it to fully possess Stiles. That theory is confirmed when Derek and Kira go to the power station and Derek seeks Stiles’ bat magnetized to the wall.
OK, that’s… fine, whatever, I’ll go with it. I want to talk about Derek and how chill he is this season. Sure, it started out with him getting tortured. Par for the course. And later he was attacked by the Oni. But the rest of the time he’s been giving kids candy and swooping in to help people out during fights and being Scott’s werewolf Yoda and jump-starting Stiles’ Jeep. Can you imagine Derek circa seasons 1 through 3a getting his good samaritan on like that? He was too busy being angsty and broody and yelly! But it’s like he’s realized “Yeah, my life’s shit. I accidentally killed my first girlfriend, my second girlfriend killed my family, and my third girlfriend was an evil murderer Druid who tried to kill the only friends I have. On the Derek Hale Scale of Suckitude, me getting tied up and tortured—again—is like getting a splinter for a normal person. Might as well roll with it.” Beta Derek Hale is Zen.
The symptoms Stiles has been exhibiting are at least partially a result of demon possession, but they’re also evidence of frontal temporal dementia, an incurable disease that happens to be what Stiles’ mom died of. There’s an emotional moment between Scott and Sitles—my brooosssss—before Stiles goes in for an MRI. Scott tells Stiles that if he does have dementia then “we’ll do something”–like maybe turn Stiles into a werewolf? Erica’s epilepsy went away after she was bitten, after all. But the fact that there’s a potential magic cure-all waiting in the wings (that might not even work even if we’re meant to believe that’s what Scott was referring to instead of him just being generally reassuring, because demon possession) does nothing to mitigate the emotion of this scene.
Lydia’s still freaked out about how her Banshee powers led her to the wrong place. She knows something’s wrong—she keeps hearing things super-loud—but she insists to Scott that everything’s fine. Except when Stiles’ MRI starts she can hear every loud clang of it, and… that’s not good. Meanwhile Derek and Scott get a little bro time in while they wait for Stiles’ results. Derek tells Scott about his conversation with his mom, and how the Hales used to be the protectors of Beacon Hills. Now Scott, as the Alpha, can protect the town, and Derek can be his guide.
Scott realizes that the internal struggle Stiles was going through on the roof was against the Nogitsune, who must’ve been trying to make him do something bad. When he and Derek get back up there they discover that NogitStiles did something funky with a power line. Speaking of the Nogitsune, while Stiles is undergoing his MRI it threatens to kill everyone Stiles cares about unless he answers his riddle and lets the full possession commence. A crying Stiles agrees, gives the answer (a shadow), and…
Such a good scene.
At the exact moment Stiles’ consciousness “dies” (sorta) and is replaced by that of the Nogitsune, Lydia does her Banshee scream. Stiles (who does have frontal temporal dementia according to the test results, BTW), now Demon!Stiles, causes the hospital’s power to go flickery. He walks around a bit and is confronted by none other than
who, you’ll remember, had some sort of “special heritage” in her family that’s the reason her husband took her name. We found out in an earlier Kira scene that she, like her daughter, is a kitsune with electricity powers. Oh, and she’s the one controlling the Oni. OH, AND SHE’S STONE-COLD AWESOME.
She tells the Nogitsune that she’ll mess its business up, she doesn’t even care if the host is a teenage boy. And if the Oni can’t defeat him (which I’m guessing they can’t, because the Nogitsune took care of them pretty easily last episode), well, she knows someone who will.
CUE PROBABLY SIGNIFICANT CUT TO KIRA, who’s hanging out in the parking lot.
And who’s about to get hit by the rogue power line that Stiles, under the influence of the Nogitsune, cut up on the roof.
BUT SHE’S NOT GOING TO BE HURT BY IT BECAUSE SHE’S THE ONE WHO’S GOING TO COME INTO HER ELECTRICITY POWERS AND FIGHT THE NOGITSUNE AND MAYBE SAVE THE DAY.
Other Things That Went Down:
- We learn from Lydia that apparently all it takes to not get attacked if you’re at the high school after dark is to lampshade the fact that being on school grounds after dark is a pretty sure recipe for death. If only Deputy Tara had known.
- Derek makes an offhand mention to what happened with Cora: He dropped her off in South America, which is where she spent a lot of her time after the fire. That’s… that’s it? That’s what we get? Welp. I guess we just have to accept that that particular storyline, unsatisfying as it was (dammit, Gage Golightly, why did you have to leave?), is over. At least we got some closure. But then again, the hunter family earlier on in the season was interrogating Derek and Peter for information on a mysterious “she-wolf,” so… maybe it’s not over quite yet? Maybe they’re leaving room for Cora to come back if Reign, the show actress Adelaide Kane is currently on, gets cancelled? I’d say that’s a bonkers way of showrunning, but Teen Wolf hasn’t exactly proven itself to be good at planning ahead, so….
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