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Teen Wolf Recap: “Tattoo”



ERMAGERD, guys, Teen Wolf is back. I tried to curb my bucket loads of feels for this silly little MTV show turned surprisingly dark and deft take on supernatural lore, but I failed. Ohhh, how I failed. I just really missed Stiles’ face.

But we’re back, and just as dark, deft (sometimes daft), and sassy as ever. We’re back. Stiles winked at Derek, and there was body art. And birds*. Buckle up, we’re diving back in.

Where we left them off last time, our Beacon Hills gang of supernatural teenagers and non-supernatural badasses had gone through break-ups, deaths, and the harranguing a giant lizard-thing. The lizard-thing turned werewolf and moved to London (due to Colton Haynes‘ deciding to leave the show), and a new pack of alpha werewolves moved into town to stir some trouble.

Over the summer Lydia and Allison have been hanging out a lot, trying to get over their uniquely effed-up emotional baggage, Stiles has delved even further into his hobby of crime-research knowledge-gathering (he also has longer hair now, which I know is important because the Internet told me), and Erica and Boyd are still missing (uh-oh). In perhaps the most surprising but definitely the most refreshing, our lead baby werewolf Scott McCall had been on a mission to improve himself: Getting fit(ter), studying for the SATs, and even reading books. He’s learning words and everything!

But really, I’m proud of our boy. Tumblr did a collective gasp in last season’s finale when it was revealed that Scott had had a plan the whole time, because our Beacon Hills puppy doesn’t have a reputation for being the brightest bulb, but you can’t knock his intentions. He really does seem invested in making himself the best he can be; not just for himself, but for everyone who counts on him.

This season opens with one of our Beacon Hill scoobies–this time Isaac Lahey, who was only introduced last season but who has already crooked-smiled his way into our hearts–half-shirted and being hot-wired back into consciousness. Please note: Do not hot-wire unconscious people, I feel like in real life that might end in death, or at least a lawsuit. The girl doing the hotwiring is someone we’ve never seen before, and according to IMDB she is so far only known as “The Girl.” She drags Isaac along until they’re on a motorcycle running from something and looking attractive together. Their pursuers are a pair of twins, whom you can pretty much deduce are from the alpha pack we’ve been hearing so much about. Alpha Twin #1 and Alpha Twin #2 don’t seem very nice, but The Girl proves she’s a badass pretty quick by crashing them through a big glass window.

The alpha twins follow suit and things get WTF pretty quickly when they MERGE INTO ONE PERSON LIKE REVERSE HUMAN-SIZED AMOEBAS. We get no explanation of this, but you can bet one’s coming what with all the screentime Twinhulk gets this episode.

We cut from this to Lydia and Allison on their way to a double date which I’m going to pretend was with each other. Scott and Stiles ride up next to them, and it becomes clear that Scott remains all mooney over Allison (there are multiple levels in which that boy doesn’t know how to stop being mooney, and yes, I am sorry for the wordplay). He and Allison play the break-up avoidance game for a little while, but their awkwardness is interrupted by a kamikaze deer who charges horns-first through Lydia’s windshield.

Then we’re thrown to the hospital, where Isaac and The Girl have been taken, and The Girl reveals that she’s looking for Scott to warn him about something (because of course), and then we’re thrown into the title sequence, which has been infused with some new and approved creepies and pretties.

Now it’s the first day back to school at Beacon Hills High School, and everyone’s still reeling a little from last year. Stiles is obsessively researching the regularity of deers crashing through windows (247,000 cases of that per year, though the deers seem to rarely do it on purpose). We see Papa Stilinski’s face again, and I forgot how much I missed him–seeing him in a bit part in Iron Man 3 really isn’t enough. Lydia’s sexing a random shirtless dude in a no-strings-attached fashion, reminding us that this show is actually really adept at presenting female sexuality as (gasp!) a completely acceptable and normal thing. Scott’s got a brand new motorbike and a cool new jacket. On the more somber side, Papa Argent** comforts Allison, noting that that family’s had a pretty rough year and it would be completely understandable to want to play hooky for the day. It must be hard to be a single father when your wife commits suicide and your dad leads your daughter to a homicidal emotional break. It really is shocking how sane he is considering the family he comes from, and how sane Allison is when she’s not on a homicidal revenge bender.

Allison makes it to school, though, and she and Lydia discuss their desire for attractive boy-shaped distractions from the woes of last season. Just as they say this, Amoeba Twin #1 and Amoeba Twin #2 walk down the high school hallway all slow-mo, and I turn into a protective mother hen screaming at the screen to not push my precious baby Badass Female Characters into romances with what appears to be a set of twins that 1) are probably at least 40% evil and 2) seem to morph into one while trying to murder recurring characters.

Speaking of the results of their attempted murder, Isaac’s in the hospital with Mama McCall (what uuuuuppp Melissa, I missed your face and your quiet sass too), who’s a little concerned that his super-werewolf powers will lead to his major stomach wounds healing and confusing the doctors. Papa Stilinski stops by looking for The Girl and her stun gun, and it’s like my fangirl feelings about these two rush back all at once as I remember how much I ‘ship them. Just get married, guys. Scott and Stiles could share a room when you move in together, you know they wouldn’t mind.

Back at school we’re introduced to some new staff. Now that Mama Argent’s bit the dust and Gerard is hopefully also dead and gone the new people are confused as to who left all the random swords lying around. There’s also a new English teacher, Ms. Blake, who’s straight-talking and pretty enough to mean she’s probably sticking around for a while. Maybe she’ll be the key to the entire mystery this season, or maybe she’ll romance Papa Stilinski; either way you know she’ll get more screentime even if the kids never pay attention in her class.

And you know, when your world’s populated by werewolves and regular brutal murders, you can’t really blame the kids for being distracted. And as Stiles and Lydia discuss while they should be listening to a lecture on literature, supernatural signs of things to come usually come in threes, and they’ve already had two: The kamikaze deer, and the unusual anger of Lydia’s pomeranian. Just as they’re saying this they’re proven right, because BIRDS. So many birds. Like, apocalypse levels of birds. Multiple unholy murders of crows crash through the school windows and attack the classroom.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, a whole bunch of alpha werewolves are wandering the hospital, seemingly trying to get their hands on Isaac. So many werewolves, guys. Scott senses a disturbance in the force and heads there–though vowing that he’ll remain as strident about his education as his new school year resolutions demand. I can’t even recap every twist and turn this sequence took, because I can’t even keep track of who all these alphas are yet. There’s Lady Alpha (I think there’s only one?), Fake Blind Alpha (who I think might also be the leader), Bald Nuisance Alpha, plus the amoeba twins, who in my head right now are named Huey and Louie.

Scott gets mixed up in an elevator fight with Bald Nuisance, but that’s ok because IT’S TIME FOR THE RETURN OF DEREK HALE. As stubbled and sassy as ever. His emotional damage is still there, too, and you can just tell he’s semi-on-purpose following Scott around trying to brainstorm ways to get him to be friends with him.

Derek’s also moved out of his roofless ruin of a home (FINALLY) because the state seized the property (probably after all those fires and murders kept happening there). Don’t worry, though, he still hangs out there, because who wouldn’t want to play around in the same place their entire family died. Derek Hale certainly would!

This is also where Derek and Scott discuss the episode’s title–tattoo–and Scott expresses his intense desire for some body art of his own. In his efforts to become more literate he’s even looked up the word’s meaning in several different languages, and they may even be thematically relevant! According to Scott, in Tahitian the word tattoo means “to mark something”; in Samoan it means “open wound.” Derek nods sagely, and then takes a blowtorch to Scott’s arm to fulfill his wish.

The actual important part of this scene, though, is the reunion of the OT3 of Scott, Stiles, and Derek. Derek’s been keeping all this alpha ugliness off Scott’s radar the whole summer so he can live his life, but Scott’s newly sharpened brain picks up on it and figures out what’s going on: A pack of alphas. Promises of deadliness. Danger, basically. Schoolwork-distracting danger.

While they’re having their little bonding session the danger seems to focused on the Beacon Hills High School locker room, which while usually packed full of shirtless lacrosse players was at this moment packed with The Girl (looking for Scott) and–egads!–most (or all?) of the pack of alphas. We get the name and the face of the leader, Deucalion, who you can just tell is gonna torture and try to murder multiple people we love. As The Girl notes, Deucalion’s afraid of Scott, or rather “the man he will become.” It’s pretty clear through this episode that this season will be a lot about Scott’s growth; as an individual, as a leader, and as a werewolf. Plus Deucalion says that his gameplan is to get Derek to kill Scott for him, so you can tell that’s probably gonna follow this season’s tagline and hurt my feelings, well, a lot.

It also hurts my feelings that as their big-finish to the locker room intimidation they appear to have killed The Girl in her very first episode of screentime. She was pretty badass, and seemed cool, and I invested in her pretty quickly, so I’m gonna cling to my theories that they didn’t kill off their brand new awesome woman of color in her first episode, and instead totally intend on bringing her back. Give me this, Teen Wolf. You’re gonna bring me enough tears this season, I can tell.

Here are some bullet points on my thoughts on other tidbits from the episode:

  • The Girl squeezed the arms of Allison and Lydia and left a mysterious mark, one that matches the markings on where Erica and Boyd are being kept. On the one hand, it’s pretty exciting that they’re still alive (for now). On the other, where the hell are they??
  • I’m glad we got a glimpse of Deaton this episode; I’m still itching to know the secret behind his and Kendra Bianca Lawson Ms. Morell’s secret society of badasses.
  • Given how much the focus of some of the characters have shifted since last season, I’m wondering how (and if) they’re gonna work lacrosse back into the show. And will we ever meet Greenberg?
  • Stiles winked at Derek. I feel like if I don’t include this the Sterek shippers will be mad at me.

*so many birds.
**Also known as “He Who Stands Too Close to the Faces of Teenagers”

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Alanna is a pop culture writer who works as the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, an entertainment writer for Bustle, and a freelancer for everywhere. She has a lot of opinions about Harry Potter and will 100% bully you into watching the shows that she loves. Don't worry, it's a sign of friendship.