Two hours and twenty minutes, you say? Oh, broadcast television, you magnificent bastard.
Two hours and twenty minutes, you say? Oh, broadcast television, you magnificent bastard.
My decision not to make myself watch out of some weird sense of creator-loyalty has been handsomely repaid. Martin is fine; he doesn't need my support. I bought his books, so I think we're even-steven. I do, however, derive a weird pleasure from watching the rest of the internet lose its mind periodically over Game of Thrones. I recognize that is, at best, an eccentric hobby, but I can't stop. I *love* listening to other people bitch about this show that I don't even watch. Live for it.
So that being said, you can trust that I come from a place of some expertise in the field of frothing-mad-commentary-on-GoT when I tell you that this is probably history's best frothing-mad GoT mic drop -- and not even because the author agrees with me that Jason was the last thing on it that was fun to watch. It's just a crystalline thing of beauty in the scope and magnitude of its frustration and contempt. It is delicious. It is sublime. I want it tattooed across my back, Mad Max-style.
God, seriously. Fuck that show.
Allow me one final opportunity to say how much I love Dr. Deaton. I like that he's a gentle, unassuming man of science who is also a fearless samurai druid, and that he's so perfectly composed and self-possessed that he's a tiny bit terrifying – even knowing enough by now to trust him completely, it's hard to shake the slight creep-factor that had us wondering if he was safe in season 1. I totally want to watch the TV Movie Event about his doomed love affair with Talia. I need to know so much more about that!
Although I think it's sweet that Derek's reaction to getting the money back is, “Don't be so hard on yourself, kiddo,” that does make the entire season's harping on money issues and the ongoing drama of the stolen bearer bonds end a little anti-climactically. Like, why was that there at all? I mean, in life things just happen sometimes, but someone obviously wanted that plot arc in this season, enough to bring it up in like five straight episodes before it just wraps up in...nothing, really. It feels a little like my time has been wasted with this now.
I hope when Derek goes away, they get to keep the loft as a permanent pack den/orgy site. Hey, he owns the place! He could leave them the keys! These kids' parents have been extremely cool; they deserve to be spared the discomfort of knowing their prematurely traumatized offspring are having the Healing Sex in their childhood bedrooms.
Aw. Poor Malia looked so disappointed that she can't even have special-occasion deer. If Stiles doesn't find somewhere in northern California that serves venison by their anniversary, I will have lost all respect for his boyfriend-fu.
So now Scott is Actaeon, which can I just say, I said in the very beginning that the operative metaphor for Scott's whole journey is that he's fundamentally a deer who is transformed into a wolf. I think you can excavate layers and layers out of Kate's choice of myth there, and the idea that Scott will end as the prey animal he was from the beginning, taken down by the hunting dogs that he controlled for a time. I really do find it fascinating how many ways s4 has found to retrace and revisit s1 – not just in obvious ways, like Kate and Peter reprising their roles as villains, but in setting up the resonances between Liam's fear and Scott's when he was a new wolf, in playing with the roles of hunter/hunted, following the blossoming of a new relationship for Scott, returning to school not just as a shooting location but as its own site of conflict and obstacles, academically and on the lacrosse field, and many other ways I'm now forgetting, I'm sure.
None of which is to say this is a very good episode, because it's really not. It has no real purpose other than as a bridge between the end of the Benefactor plotline and the end of the Kate plotline, because one thing this season has not replicated like I wish it had was that ability to bring disparate plotlines together in one big grand guignol of conflict and cross-purposes. Other than both of them being sort of connected to Peter (in ways that still aren't totally comprehensible to me), the two major strands of danger our gang faces never really have much intersection at all, let alone impact on each other.
The last scene is pretty fucking unsettling, though. We'll talk more about the purpose of Scott becoming a berserker tomorrow, when I try to make some thematic sense out of a seasons that exists in a non-Euclidian universe where cause and effect mean nothing!
( s4 ep11: A Promise to the Dead )
Aw, that's a really cute fake-out there with the werewolf diving down on the fallen girl to pick her up. I have no memory of this sequence, and in fact I lost the thread on a lot of the end of s4. I remember that Meredith is – not? – the Benefactor, or she is, but also Peter has more to do with it than you'd think? Or something? Let's find out!
I really love that the show has given us an Everyman character who really is an Everyman in Liam – someone who bucks protagonist logic by just really, really not wanting to fight monsters, and not in a hilarious comedy-relief Shaggy-and-Scooby way, but who is just scared to die and it's not played for laughs at all. And I love that Scott, who has had reason to grow accustomed to people joining in with his borderline idiotic stunts, is completely understanding about someone who just doesn't think he's up to it. Scott wouldn't be volunteering for this stuff now if he hadn't learned that he could do it after being forced the first few times; I bet he rightly suspects Liam would also grow into the role, but Scott's not going to be the one to force him.
Wait, have Scott and Satomi really not met til right now? She knows everyone else he knows. I guess I'm going to take their word on this, though, because I certainly can't keep track.
Okay, Chris just did a thing where he hit something in the face with his gun without looking at it, and I have a lot of feelings about that. Pants-feelings.
Yeah, so no wonder I couldn't figure out the Peter connection. It's pretty bizarre, even now that I'm totally awake. I mean, I think it's actually a pretty neat idea, that Meredith is acting out the rambling revenge fantasies that Peter doesn't even remember having, but it's still a little opaque, watching Lydia watch Meredith watch Peter's fugue state.
Right, so that whole “bullet between the eyes” bit that Stilinski is trying to pull off – this would be a great time to introduce him to our friend Braeden, who can explain why pointing a gun two inches from someone's face is a great way to lose your gun. I'm sure he feels really badass, but let's be real, the only reason Peter didn't take the gun and then eat his face off is that he doesn't really want to fight his way out of the station and then be a fugitive.
This is getting more incomprehensible by the moment. The dead pool is being disseminated by a bank of antique computers walled up inside Lydia's lakehouse? Has that been running since the room was built, or did it just get switched on this season? And the key is inside a bottle of wine that is...not wine, that is like the one that Lydia opened at the party – or is the same one, but then it would be already open, so... didn't she drink some of the wine, and I... What. The. Fuck. Is happening in this episode? What the actual fuck?
And unfortunately between the impenetrable reveals on the mystery plotline and the overkill on the gunfire in the fight scenes, the climax of the plotline about Scott's fears of turning into a monster gets a little lost in the shuffle. (Nice of those hired killers to check their messages in the middle of a shootout, though, so they could receive the Benefactor's status update.)
There is nothing about the resolution to this that makes the slightest bit of sense. I don't even know what else to add about that. I really thought this time I'd track all the pieces and figure out how they were connected, but nooooope.
( s4 ep10: Monstrous )
Okay, this opening scene is disturbing as fuck, even now that I know it's not the End of Parrish. I think I've mentioned before that I have a visceral reaction to people being forced to beg for their lives. And Parrish is just such a sweetie! It seems crueler than usual. Like setting kittens on fire.
Also, though, seriously, Haig? You're going to use your work computer to confess to murder? You're the worst on every possible level. Harris was a more competent villain than you, and I don't say that lightly.
He was shot at work! In the line of duty! He's got a government job! This surgery has to be covered, it's insane to think that it wouldn't be, even in America. But that's not the point of this scene, I realize. It's actually a really good scene, and I think it's been a long time coming, with Stiles being all over both sides of the line in terms of appropriate and wildly inappropriate responses to his self-imposed responsibility to be his father's new life partner. It's a sweet impulse, but also super dysfunctional, stemming from his deep-seated fear of abandonment and the way that meddling in other people's lives has become Stiles' response to what must have been a terrifying and traumatic sense of powerlessness as a child watching his mother's mind slip away. I'm not sure yelling at him is the way to fix that, but I totally relate to the Sheriff's feeling that this is fucked up and that he doesn't know what to do about it now.
I suppose the burden of the alpha is that every party is an opportunity to patrol the perimeter. I also love that Scott is the rare kid who is both trusted by teachers to maintain some degree of order and liked by his peers. You know you're a true alpha if you can make that balance work of your, I guess.
They've been waiting all season to set up that “How'd you break your nose?” joke for Braeden, haven't they?
This is your daily reminder that being Lydia is the worst. Seriously, just the absolute worst.
Oh, yeah, listen to Haig's advice. He's great at this.
Also, speaking of Haig (tangentially), I think it's pretty great that Brunski chose a very bad day to try psyching Parrish out. I mean, maybe that would've worked, under ordinary circumstances! But I feel like being set on fire by a co-worker and healing within hours would go a long way toward putting you into “oh, fuck this” mode.
Satisfying twist, I feel. Four stars, would startle again.
(Also, Parrish-able? Really? This show and its punny episode titles, oy.)
( s4 ep9: Perishable )
Excellent callback to/reminder that Stiles is a big liar about the spooning. This scene works well as a little metaphorical encapsulation of their relationship, jostling awkwardly to get comfortable, Malia a bit impatient, Stiles a bit overly fussy, but eventually settling into something that feels cozy.
I can't tell if it's an intentional parallel or not, but I find it interesting that McCall uses the same language the Argents do – of being without emotion, like Allison remembered Victoria saying during her “Frayed” freak-out, and of “compartmentalizing” in order to deal with death, which I'm fairly sure was the exact wording Chris used with Isaac. I really like how consistently they've run this through-line in the series about Scott's – I don't want to say “frailty,” because that sounds far more pejorative than I mean, but this gentleness to his character that keeps him at arm's length from most of the Older Male Role Models in his life – his father and Chris and Derek, all of whom are more traditional proponents of the whole “his anger makes him strong/dangerous” and “I'll do what I have to do” schools of action-heroing. Four seasons on and a pack of his own, Scott still isn't that guy, and it's interesting to watch him struggle with the fact that they don't have any advice he can really use to deal with his problems, so he's on his own.
Aw! I don't think I clicked when I first saw it that the doctor who “fails to resuscitate” Scott is Liam's stepdad, and I definitely didn't catch that he's almost in tears while he's rallying himself to tell Melissa. Does that guy have a name? I like him. (Also, is it just me, or does that flashing “Asystole” on the monitor look like a flashing red “Asshole” to other people?)
I was all geared up to be so pissed at all of them for not telling Melissa, but happily that turned out to be a waste of effort. I bet the whole thing was cathartic for Melissa, actually. She's been spending a whole year trying really hard not to just start screaming her head off, probably.
I am cribbing this observation from a friend who has older siblings, but she's so right: Derek's “You cheated! That's cheating!” is an extremely little-brother-in-a-big-family thing to say. How many thousand times do you think he's said that, in that exact tone of voice, to Peter alone?
Scott's nightmares are just Scott's nightmares, really, but I think he is probably onto something about the “becoming more of a werewolf.” I know the rules don't seem to be standardized in this universe, but the creature that Peter shifted into in s1 wasn't startling to the Argents, and the fact that they could easily visually distinguish between him and the betas implies that his form was a, if not the, recognizable alpha-form. Presumably Scott will continue to take an increasingly Wolfman-like shifted form, graduating from funny sideburns to whatever the hell that thing was as he levels up. Which I could see being even more than usually disturbing, since it would both disrupt his sense of his own humanity and on top of that, feel like a connection to Peter. And no one wants that.
I'm not an expert on guns, but I know enough to be pleased that they got this tactical advice right. Attention, people like my mother-in-law who insist on keeping a handgun in your purse for “protection”! Unless you plan on identifying a deadly threat while he's still across the street and taking a shot at him, you cannot use that gun to defend against an attacker, because it is not a close-range weapon! You will get beat down and get your gun took, as we say here in the South.
You know, Derek, it's really a sad commentary on your life that “amoral hired killer” is such a huge step up for you, but nevertheless, it is a huge step up for you. So congratulations on finally banging someone who's more likely to kill your enemies than your friends, marginally!
And once again, Stiles is the biggest fucking badass on this entire show, because he steps toward Kate. Toward. Just roll that around in your head for a bit.
Pretty good episode, all in all. I appreciate that one of the other ways this season has rolled back around to resembling s1 is that there's more Scott in it than 2 and 3. I mean, obviously he's around a lot in those seasons, but I feel like they didn't hinge very much on his conflicts and his choices; he serves as more of a rallying point for this dysfunctional extended family to crystallize around. But at this point he's back in the protagonist's role, coming at the same basic question of s1 from the position of an alpha instead of a child: what kind of werewolf is Scott going to be?
( s4 ep8: Time of Death )
So I've been watching this episode for like three minutes, and two things that I already knew are abundantly clear: Dylan O'Brien is an excellent actor. And Tyler Hoechlin is a dreadful actor. I mean...bless his heart, in certain scenes he manages himself all right, especially when he's acting opposite Bohen, with whom he seems to have a nice, kicky sort of rhythm that suits him. And when he's called upon to act as though he's sad, he can do puppy eyes all right, and his habitual lack of expression comes in handy when he's supposed to be suffering torture stoically. But “She's been shot! I think she's dying,” is a pair of lines that any mostly competent dinner-theater actor should be able to infuse with something like genuine fear and pathos. It doesn't call for any complexity or nuance or any special artistry; it's just “pretend you're super worried and you need someone's help.” And he just botches it so badly that it's almost hilarious, and then I feel bad for laughing at him, because I'm sure he's a lovely person and his mother is so proud that her son is a real actor getting paid to be on tv. I have seriously been at D&D tables where the quality of the acting was better, though. He's really just hopeless.
I try not to stress the timeline on this show too much, because I don't think the effort will pay dividends, but – isn't the core cast in the second semester of their junior year, though? Season 1 began with the new lacrosse season, which seems to happen spring semester, and Scott was a sophomore. Season 2 began immediately afterwards, more or less finishing out that semester. 301 begins when they head back to school, after Scott's summer of Be a Better Scott McCall, happens at a quick clip, and 302 begins just before Halloween – junior year. Season 4 begins with the lacrosse season again, and in fact they take the trouble to mention that Liam is new “this semester,” having transferred in, not entering with the rest of the freshmen class. So they are definitely hovering somewhere around spring break of the gang's junior year of high school, and unless things have changed a very great deal in the two centuries since I was in high school, that is when you take the actual SATs, not the PSATs. When do they plan to take the SATs, if not during their junior year? You apply to college with those scores, and most deadlines are coming up fast for them. Freshmen and sophomores take the PSATs; everyone else needs to start getting serious.
(Okay, I just bothered to Wikipedia this information, and it says that every year 1.59 million sophomores and 1.55 million juniors take the PSATs, rendering everything I just said entirely false and pointless. I'm leaving it in the recap for the sake of transparency, and so you experience a tiny slice of my everyday life, getting overly agitated about things that turn out not to be true at all. It's fun, right!? In fairness to me, I, like Lydia, definitely took it my freshman year, because I'm a genius.)
I really like that Malia takes school extremely seriously. I mean, it's probably not good for her, because she always looks like a huge ball of anxiety when tests and homework come up, but I do think it's sweet that she wants so badly to be able to keep up with her friends, and that she drives herself to do it. I don't know if she worries that they'll go to college and she won't be able to and she'll be left out, or if she feels like being successful at school will help resolve some of the tensions between her and her father (which we don't know much about, but “Echo House” happened, so yeah, there must be), or what. Maybe she's just embarrassed and worries people will think she's stupid because they don't understand why her grades are what they are. But I think it would be easy with that character to go with “Malia is tough and cool and doesn't really give a shit about all this boring mathy stuff,” and I like that they let her have so much vulnerability around it.
So Ms. Martin is awesome, and that's why she's close enough pals with Finstock to know he's fifteen years sober, I totally get that. I do think it's interesting that he's apparently in recovery, given that he's frequently said things like, “This is why I drink every night” and the like. I wonder if he and Douglas Richardson attend the same AA meetings, where they sit around and don't drink but insist that they do.
Holland Roden is also a good actor, and I know I've said this before, but damn, being Lydia is the worst. I really hope something nice happens to this character at some point in the future. Like, at all, ever.
I realize Kira thinks Malia is onto the truth about her and Peter, but she really, really looks like she thinks Malia is trying to tell her Scott and Stiles are having an affair. And of the two things, Malia is far more likely to guess the latter than the former, just based on evidence.
The Hale house had an escape route? Stellar design job on that. I hope Laura was living all those years on the money she won from their contractor in the lawsuit. (I would've said Derek, but it's clear from having met Derek that he was living all those years under an overpass without human contact.)
Sell the house! Jesus, Melissa, sell the stupid house, it's too big for you!
Look, I'm just going to go ahead and admit this now: this episode really worked on me. I mean, I knew that nobody was going to die in that vault. Obviously. But they all looked so miserable and weak and uncomfortable, and there was an instrumental theme playing when Stiles and Malia's fingers pulled apart, and the whole thing just felt drenched in despair, and – I wouldn't say I was worried, but.... Fretting. Let's say I was fretting a little.
I mean, I did realize they were going to be saved, but I underestimated the sheer dumbness of the unbelievable, accidental way they got saved. Someone mentioned a mushroom for no real reason, which is a “remedy for sickness,” which explains her immunity, which is great because there's a bunch of mushroom in the dusty vault that no one ever goes into! Problem solved! Look, I know all shows need to grease the wheels with a little uncanny coincidence now and then, but this is just beyond.
Okay, though, I ain't mad. It's ridiculous, but I still treasure this episode, because it is my pick of the litter for Sciles-shippy deliciousness. Of course Stiles is going to take a bullet in the face rather than give up Scott! Oh, sure, you say, also his girlfriend and his other friend, so okay, you can have that one if you must. But come on! The other scene! With the door! With both of them plastered up against opposite sides of the door, and Stiles just completely freaks out shouting Scott's name and batters himself against the stone wall until he falls down in despair, and if this is not the exact shit that you live for, then you and I clearly just do fandom very, very differently. And then there's lilting piano music while they shuffle around on the ground, both still all sickly and full of feelings. Whatever, they could've solved this plot by having Kang and Kodos beam the antidote into the vault in the form of a mountain of cotton candy and I wouldn't give a shit, THIS. EPISODE. OMG.
It's also convenient that the mushrooms are effective in airborne form, because I can only imagine it would've been unpleasant for our heroes to have to swallow all that glass while blindly eating decade-old bits of dried mushroom off the dirty floor.
It seems to me like they've rushed this Malia revelation a little, or her reaction to it, or something. Seeing her name written as a Hale should be – mostly confusing, right? I guess she definitely knows that they knew something was up and hid it from her deliberately, but that still seems more like grounds for, “Guys, seriously, what the fuck?” rather than “You are all dead to me.” It's not like she knows it is specifically Peter, which admittedly, is terrible and traumatic news. But the Hales were a big family, seventeen years ago, she could be related any number of ways. Or it could've been some kind of mistake! I just feel like she'd be interested in answers, and it's played like she suddenly understands everything, because she saw a thing typed. It's another good song, though, and I enjoy a slow-motion angry-walk as much as the next person.
( s4 ep7: Weaponized )
- Long-suffering Lydia fans, especially those lamenting the scene-stealer’s lack of meaty material in seasons past, will love what the premiere has in store for everyone’s favorite banshee.
- At least one new ‘ship will likely be born when fans watch the premiere — while another existing ‘ship will get some much needed wind in its sails.
- Derek may be gone, but he’ll never be forgotten. He of the Legendary Eyebrows is mentioned several times throughout the premiere, along with another fallen favorite.
- Cody Christian fits effortlessly into the world of Teen Wolf, though it’s unlikely your final opinion of his new character will be formed by the end of the hour.
CHALL-- Wait, what? That's...ominous. Was I supposed to be praying for him all this time? I've fallen down on that responsibility, I'm afraid. I'm a polytheist, so I'm not even entirely sure who I'm supposed to be petitioning, here. Athena,maybe? She liked Odysseus quite well, and Stiles is rather Odyssean. Acca Larentia? Chernobog? How about Tyr? There's a man who isn't afraid to hang with wolves.
- Lastly, as always, pray for Stiles.
I enjoy having Kate back again. I don't like Kate in the same way I liked Jennifer – the way where I kind of actually liked her and harbored the hope that she'd be to some degree rehabilitated a la Peter Hale, rather than killed off – but I like her as a big, showboaty villain. She's a sadist and a sociopath, but some seasons, you're kind of looking for that. Not that I don't appreciate that weird Teen Wolf dynamic where the same guy who is shoving a gun into Scott's forehead later on becomes a beloved father figure, but it's nice to just take some time out from that kind of thing occasionally and just embrace Kate “Please, I'm bleeding to death” Argent.
So this may sound a little harsh, but I don't mean it to be at all judgmental, really. I just find it difficult to get super worked-up about Melissa's financial problems, because there's a pretty simple solution to this: sell the fucking house. That house is huge. It's vastly more square footage than a single woman with a nearly-grown son about to leave home could ever possibly need. Sell the house. Get an apartment. Pay off the debts, take the money that's now left over from not having to pay a giant-ass mortgage and outrageous utility costs, and use it to help your kid get out of college without a small nation's worth of debt. I realize that it's usually flippant and just a really bad idea to look at someone else's financial situation and be like, “That would never be a problem for me, because...” But. Is she really planning on keeping that house once she's alone in it? It's a huge house. She and Scott are both gone a lot; I feel like a nice two- or even three-bedroom apartment would be more than enough space for their needs. Presumably she feels an emotional attachment to it; it's the house Scott grew up in, it's probably the house she and her husband bought together during happier days, etcetera. I'm not discounting that there would be sadness involved with giving it up, but I honestly can't fathom that working constantly and still having months of bills piled up that you can't pay would ever feel better than just closing the book on that part of your life when you were a young family and moving on to something that meets your needs now.
This is an extremely quip-heavy episode. Malia guilelessly offering to try catching her friends' scent to help with roll call, Parrish briefly concerned that someone would try to assassinate him for five bucks, Lydia stressing that she only almost broke another banshee, Stiles' radiant delight at learning some shit about Brunski. The dead pool plotline isn't all that enthralling, but it provides a serviceable framework to hang jokes on, and I'm easy to please.
How do the berserkers not leave tracks, by the way? It seems like they'd be really heavy, with all that exoskeleton.
I find Satomi's pack really interesting in its implications. It's hard to see, but it looks like about eight dead bodies in the woods, plus Demarco and Carrie and Brett – so we're talking about twice the size of any of the three packs we've seen until now. We know they've been trained for control by the mantra method, only superficially different from the one Talia Hale used, and we know that they shared Satomi's ability to mask their scent. They're not new in town by any means; Scott knew Demarco, and Liam knew Brett, so they've been around long enough to have established histories in Beacon Hills. We know Satomi was in the area as a prisoner at Oak Creek, and there's every possibility that she never left, which means her pack was so flawlessly concealed that even the Hales were never aware of them. I don't know, it's just really interesting to me! All this sturm und drang has been going on for two years now, and here are these ten or twelve quiet Buddhist werewolves, minding their own business, never making themselves a target for Deucalion or for the Argents, peacefully congregating in the woods like an entire alternate universe from the non-stop gore and vendettas that have made Scott's life a tsunami of PTSD.
I realize that “I'm going to save everyone” is the kind of moment you can only have when you're a teenager or you are the lead on a tv show, but that's exactly why being young is kind of great and fiction is kind of great. There are types of realism that I value in fiction. I really hate it, for example, when you say, Well, why didn't the character just do X obvious thing, and someone responds, Because if they did that, there wouldn't be a story. Well, then it's a shitty story! Tell a different one, less full of stupid people! But there are types of realism that I think the world really just doesn't need any more of, like pretty much any type of fantasy fiction that's floating around now patting itself on the back for how grown-up and realistic it is. We know. We know power replicates power, people are endlessly inventive when it comes to ways and reasons to ruin each other, no one ever really saves anyone else, and our anger and our sadness are the poisons we drink hoping to make our enemies sick. We're all grown-ups; we know. And there's really nothing more futile than talented people frittering away their talent preaching to the choir, telling their audience everything they already know and congratulating everyone involved on being so clever. That is a recipe for a shitty story, too.
If you happen to have talent yourself, I humbly ask this of you as a favor: tell a less shitty story, one we don't already hear every day. Tell us one where no one else dies.
( s4 ep6: Orphaned )
I don't know if there's any way to deliver “Someone young. And male,” without sounding like a creepster, but if there is, Derek is not finding it.
The whole first act of this episode is just fantastic; I can't say enough nice things about it. It's great to see Our Heroes put back out of their depth – and I know earlier I said it was great to see them getting more competent, but that's the thing this show is getting right that so many others get wrong. It's great to get your characters all wrong-footed, but you do that by giving them something legitimately new to deal with, not by making them spontaneously suck at things they appeared to have gotten a handle on a season ago.
This sequence with Liam is just so praiseworthy. It's played for a certain amount of humor, but it's just fucked-up enough to make you feel bad for laughing, because holy fuck, they have a fucking child kidnapped and duct-taped in the bathtub. But really you're laughing in pure shock, because it's such a Coen-brothers level clusterfuck, and everyone is disintegrating rapidly to their worst possible habits: Stiles is running off at the mouth, Scott is too squeamish to take charge, and Liam is a fucking child. It's so startling when he begins to cry because you never see a character you're meant to like on tv crying from fear, and then suddenly you realize how weird that expectation even is, because this is totally something to cry about. And then the world's goofiest chase scene ensues, which really should not work, but it just does.
I didn't remember Peter taking a pickaxe to the sternum! So that was a fun surprise.
Kira's dad the World War II buff is probably pretty embarrassed that his daughter thinks the Enigma Code was an Allied code. Did nobody on this staff see The Imitation Game? Of course, to extend the benefit of the doubt, she does say the Allies “used” it, not that they invented it, which I guess is sort of true.
I don't think I have laughed harder at anything in this entire series than I did at Scott's shitty Derek impression on “We're brothers now,” and “The bite is a gift!” And Stiles' dismay watching him fail is also pretty priceless, although it's awfully rich coming from Mr. “Possibly You Won't Die.”
I bow to the humor value of Kira failing to be a vixen, but I can't quite understand why we're supposed to think Liam was instantly entranced by her. Don't get it twisted, Arden Cho is a knockout, but...that's exactly what she always looks like, right? I mean, she's in a pretty modest blouse, a miniskirt, and sheer tights. This school is full of girls who wear miniskirts. Lydia hasn't been able to pick anything up off the floor since the ninth grade. Can Liam hear the music? Is that how he knows he's supposed to look?
I like Derek's dubiousness on “How does a guy with no mouth say anything?” Um, WITH FUCKING MAGIC, Derek? Where the hell are you from?
I don't suppose it's worthwhile to ask why it's full dark and neither Liam nor Malia are showing significant signs of wilding yet. Didn't it used to happen at sunset? Lalalala.
Okay, there's a moment here that I think is very easy to miss, and if you've missed it, I want to encourage you to dial this episode up just to watch it. When Stiles is trying to get Malia downstairs and telling Lydia to treat this like an actual party, he makes a very Stiles gesture and expression, throwing his arm out and kind of looking like “Why are we still talking about this?” The great thing, though, is that with her fangs out, Malia also throws her arm out and makes essentially the exact same expression. It's pretty fucking priceless.
Since when does Stiles have the kind of social anxiety that makes him hate parties? He practically took a cattle prod to Scott to get him to Heather's party, and that was full of strangers from, I guess, Rival High. He didn't seem to put up a fuss about the black-light party, either. Maybe he's just trying to convince Malia not to worry about him? There's some weirdly inconsistent characterization with Stiles' anxiety, though, where they mention it a fair amount, but we've seen him in ten thousand and five stressful situations, and he's seemed overwhelmed/experienced a panic attack exactly twice, once when he thought his father was about to be murdered and once when he was legitimately losing his mind. Those seem like situations that would test someone without a diagnosed history of anxiety disorders! But for the most part, he's kind of jaw-droppingly fearless. I can't figure out if they're trying to say that Stiles has grown out of his old issues and hasn't fully realized that himself, or that he never really had as much anxiety as he remembers having, or if it's just a sloppy attempt to integrate what the writers' bible says about him with how they actually want to have him act onscreen, or what. It's odd, though.
I kinda liked Demarco. For whatever that's worth.
This whole thing about the Martins desperately needing money feels a little out of nowhere. Her mother didn't even seem that stressed about letting the kids hang out in it; even mentioning that she's holding Lydia accountable for damages seemed pretty off-the-cuff, and she mentioned that there were damages last time (from the “wild animals”) like it was no big deal. I'm not sure it makes sense to go from that scene to Lydia hyperventilating about the carpets, but I guess they figured if they were going to duplicate the Money Problems subplot between Scott and Stiles, they might as well file that sucker in triplicate.
The soundproof room has an interesting aesthetic. It's just late 70s enough and has those blocky square patterns that you can see when the camera pans it to make me think they were evoking The Shining. That's just a gut feeling; it isn't an obvious homage, it just...feels that way.
Hey, Scott, far be it from me to tell you how to do your job, but there's something not very alpha-ish about seeing a maddened baby werewolf about to go on a rampage at an inaccessible party full of kids and, you know...diving out of the way, then standing at the window with that kind of “Oh...huh,” look on your face. For a guy who's supposed to be Werewolf Jesus, that doesn't seem like best practices.
You know, I watched all of 302 and never really made that connection between Stiles' experience being inhabited by the nogitsune and what it must feel like to be a werewolf. I feel slow now. And with that in mind, it makes even more sense to me that he releases Malia – not really because “control is overrated,” but because he does want her to have the chance to assert her power to put limits around the werewolf and say no to it. He wants to spare her the complete helplessness he experienced – and let's face it, going through the full moon in literal chains is pretty complete helplessness. Whether or not it's necessary, it's inherently dehumanizing, and having had his own humanity stripped away, he's willing to err on the side of not doing that to someone else. I feel like that makes it work for me a bit more than Stiles just being a cockeyed optimist, and has the bonus of making it fit in with this through-line of the whole season, about what it means to be monstrous, to see yourself or be seen by others as a monster.
I don't know why “I got your text” is exactly the perfect line, but it is. I guess because Chris, that's why.
( s4 ep4: The Benefactor )
De-aging plotlines, in my humble opinion, don't really belong in canon. That's the sort of shenanigans that's all in good fun in fanfic, but “your plot sounds like some fanfic shenanigans” isn't really a compliment.
I do find it interesting that even though Derek told us that Peter taught him how to control his shift through anger, but this episode adds some fascinating detail to that. We see Peter attempting to use the Hale-standard mantra, although it seems clear that ultimately it didn't work. So it looks like anger is the back-up method when modulating your emotions doesn't work, in which case it's interesting to me that – unlike Peter – Derek used it as a first, not last, resort when he tried to teach his own betas. Derek: not that great an alpha, as I and many others have mentioned in the past.
I love Scott for his keen reflexes.
So...we won't be using the Hale house set anymore, I guess. I stand by my fondness for it. Goodnight, sweet burned-out shell of a murder house. You had a sweet-ass staircase.
Hey, look, a police force where you can lay hands on an officer and don't just get the absolute shit kicked out of you and a criminal record! I love supernatural shows.
This scene in the Sheriff's office is a definite contender for funniest of the series, I feel. Between the Sheriff gearing up to give them a stern talking-to about time travel (“I need you to be absolutely and completely honest with me...”), Stiles having the gall to act as if that's crazy talk, and just attempting to brazen his way through the story (“...in Mexico”), it's a very brief and highly concentrated dab of awesome. (Extra credit for the following scenes, with Stiles' “that's your plan, huh?” face and his sanguine feelings about Scott's ass. The tone of this episode really does remind me of something that would have fit in s1 – which is a compliment.)
At least someone on this damn show speaks Spanish! They live in California, and the only person we've seen not look terrified at the prospect of speaking Spanish is Lydia, who managed to get through a few sentences in the last episode, albeit with a heavy enough American accent to knock down an oak door. Good for you, Derek.
“Can't someone in this town stay dead?” Well, Allison, apparently! And Aiden. Boyd. Erica. Pretty much anyone you might theoretically want to be alive, yeah.
I always thought it was an odd choice to cast an actor to play young!Derek who's – no offense to whoever he is, but he's pretty doofy-looking, as well as looking far younger than the other ostensibly teenage characters on the show. And I have no idea if this was ever in anyone's mind during the casting process, or if “Visionary” was supposed to be a one and done for him, but this scene really pays off the choice of actors in a big way. Having Kate be seductive with this doofy-looking child really drives home that her motives were never sexual in the slightest; oh, she's totally capable of perving on teenagers, but teenagers who look like Jackson. This kid she's not perving on. This kid she's manipulating. Seeing these two actors together – even given that years ago Kate would've been years younger herself – really drives home how overtly predatory their relationship was, and strips out any misguided sense of romance anyone might have been tempted to project onto it.
I like the shot of the berserker chasing Scott and Malia up the stairs. Actually, I like the berserkers in general; they have good henchman physicality, and the weird combination of almost mechanized-looking armor plating and the bones. Good combat in this episode.
Well...hang on, now. Wait. Somebody planned the heist, but – who could that possibly be? Kate gives no indication that it was anything other than her idea; she's the one who was seen in the temple, she's always the one who has controlled the berserkers, she's the one who knew Derek and could reasonably have come up with this plan. So Kate had to be behind the heist...right? And yet she really, really seems to be upset about the triskelion; she doesn't react at all to that like it was a red herring, or like it was all part of her plan. She seems panicked about losing the thing she's pinned her hopes on. So she planned the heist but expected to get the money and the triskelion, too, right? I mean, I think that's what had to happen, but we also know there's a Benefactor, so.... Basically, bzuh? It's only ep2 and I'm mad lost, y'all. This doesn't bode well for the season.
( s4 ep2: 117 )