hth: recent b&w photo of Gillian Anderson (Default)

HALFWAY MARK, y'all! So exciting!

 

I love that the reason Scott is involved with this branch of the plot is...he was heroically bringing his mom dinner. Scott is such a good little guy! I just can't tell you how much I love him.

 

How cool is Dr. Deaton? “I do terribly apologize for disrupting your schooling, but if you would be ever so kind as to do something about my upcoming ritual sacrifice...?”

 

The scene where Scott and Stiles discuss telling the Sheriff everything is an interesting snapshot of Stiles at a point in his life when he's basically an adult, but still has these very childlike responses every now and then – not even just the don't take my dad away, I need him! But also, Scott's mom wouldn't talk to him for a week. A whole week! And he absolutely says that like it's a huge span of time.

 

It's nice of Allison to try helping Scott get over her. I mean, I assume that's the purpose behind that dress. I can't think of another alternative, unless maybe she's becoming a Mennonite.

 

Is this the first time we're seeing Scott's bike? I remember Melissa saying he was saving up for one, but I don't remember seeing that he actually has it now. Poor Scott – he didn't even get to have fun buying and playing with his new bike because it's high murdertide in Beacon Hills.

 

There's a lot of fun Stiles stuff in this episode, and important groundwork being laid for Lydia's future with the pack – I like that they begin by having Ethan explicitly say, “We know now that Lydia is a Big Deal for some reason.” Lydia is a big deal! It's fun to watch everyone – including Lydia – kind of flounder around trying to figure out how or why.

 

I feel bad for not feeling worse about Boyd's death. They made a nice set-piece out of it, and if you're more invested in Derek than I am, I'm sure it's especially powerful. It's a nice, dramatic death, from a storytelling point of view, which is certainly far more than Erica got. I mean, what I'm saying is that I can see that they tried. But all of this still very much has the feel of the show trying to clear the decks this season of all the characters they decided they didn't like enough to keep writing in even a half-assed fashion. And honestly, I appreciate that. The next string of characters that get added – Malia and Kira and Liam – you can like or not like, but I think it's clear that the writers had a stronger vision for all of them than they ever did with the Erica-Boyd-Cora slate of secondaries, and more enthusiasm for building stories around them. And as a writer, I think you can and should run with that, rather than succumb to the sunk-cost fallacy and keep plodding forward with characters you can't bring yourself to give a shit about, hoping something will come along to inspire you someday.

 

So let me go ahead and confess my mixed feelings about Scott being a True Alpha. I usually can't stand that kind of thing – I don't mind Chosen Ones with mighty destinies or whatever, but only when they've kind of blundered into their chosenness, due to an accident of fate or birth. I like that because it helps the audience slot themselves into place – maybe a freak accident of fate or a secret about your parentage or whatever could come along, and then it would be you! Not all stories have to be heroic stories, but I think that kind of thing is valuable on an emotional and metaphoric level: you may be just some schmuck, but so was this boring stableboy until blah blah blah, and so what it really reinforces, to me, is that you never can tell who is going to do great things until they do.

 

None of that works, though, when people are rewarded with magic powers for being just super-great people. That's not really a useful teaching story to me, because we already live in world that's always telling us that if you do everything right and are the very best at everything, you'll be rewarded. Maybe that's true and maybe it isn't, but it's an inherently uninteresting narrative. “Everything works out for you when you're pure of heart” is just a very bland, status-quo-favoring thing to bake into a story, and this True Alpha business is pretty much just that. Scott gets to level up past everyone else and be the character everyone's plans revolve around because...he's just so damn great. It's not really relateable – I submit that if you relate to having strength of character, virtue, and sheer force of will on your side, everyone around you probably thinks you're a jackass; people who do have all that stuff don't see themselves that way – and it undermines the sense of rooting for the underdog that this show really ought to have. Scott has always been the Most Unlikely Werewolf, an earnest and tender-hearted kid who by all rights should've been absolutely steamrolled when he got sucked into this new, dangerous world. The fun of the story comes from seeing him struggle to get his bearings and make good against vastly more powerful opponents.

 

The problem is that once they declare him the once-in-a-lifetime True Alpha, he's not that runt of the werewolf litter managing to get by on grit and good friends and good intentions. Now they've set him up as the one everyone fears and wants, the Most Exceptionally Gifted Werewolf, and that alters his story quite significantly in terms of tone.

 

However. All that being said – I think you almost had to do something like this. Scott is clearly functioning as an alpha and has been for some time. Since in this universe an alpha is defined as having alpha-powers and not just being the one other people look to, there comes a point when it's more of a limitation than it is a useful contrast to make Scott struggle forward as the alpha-without-alpha-powers. It makes sense that they just wanted to go ahead and bump him up so he could play in that field, and it makes sense that they didn't want to undertake the massive shift in character that would happen if Scott were to kill another alpha. So they had to come up with some reason that the usual rules of succession didn't apply in this case.

 

And as much as I theoretically dislike the device...on Scott it sort of works. I've been saying all along that much of the fun of Scott is that he is such an earnest do-gooder sort – that while all the other newbie werewolves are racing around having fun with their superpowers and letting their ids metastasize, Scott is urgently going, you guys! You guys! Someone could really get hurt here, you guys! He's a peaceful sort of dude who really just wants to moon over his girlfriend and dispense lollipops to sick puppies, but he's stuck in this hyperviolent world and trying to make the best of it while not letting down any of the people he loves. So from that angle, the True Alpha thing does fit nicely into the story – Scott's greatest weaknesses, the heightened sense of responsibility he feels toward everyone in his life and his inability to just let go and become the predator everyone else becomes once they're bitten, become the very source of Scott's power and prestige.

 

Also, it's just – Scott, y'all! Come on! Of course he's Werewolf Jesus. I can't fight that. You know I was always going to embrace it in the end.

 

Date: 2015-04-26 10:12 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] mific
mific: (Scott wolfy)
Yeah, Scott as the werewolf Jesus is kind of yawn, but hey - it also means he's got a big crucifixion target painted on him now.
Loved the Stiles & Danny schtick with the "take responsibility for your dream!" The plot's so all over the place that the show definitely needs more snarky humour. More Stiles generally.
I like Stiles/Derek in fanfic but I'm really not seeing it in the canon - maybe a bit in season 1, which is when it snowballed as a ship, I guess. Definitely seeing Stiles/Scott more in this season, but of course Alison's still lurking, and I think poor clothing choices aren't going to deter Scott for long.

Date: 2015-04-26 11:32 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] anatsuno
anatsuno: a women reads, skeptically (drawing by Kate Beaton) (Default)
So... on the one hand I totally appreciate what you say, writing-wise, about getting rid of characters you never found what to do with, and finding/making new ones you have more enthusiasm for... But on the other hand I DO like Erica, absolutely fucked over by the writing as she is, and I do like Boyd, too, so I'm mostly still ragey about the treatment they both received. And for Boyd's death scene, I *cannot* get over the fact that they chose to write this sick moment where not only the black dude dies, but he dies somehow without regret or anger, *thanking* Derek for what's happened to him.

I have a lot of pent-up rage about characters death scenes where people die without regrets, without seemingly any psychological pain, taking their last seconds to reassure and there-there-it's-okay the people around them; I've always felt that if it happens in real life it's probably likely to be a lot less often, statistically, than in fiction, and because it is designed to shift the pain of their death onto the pov characters (often used later as a cause of sometimes toxic manpain), I feel it robs them of some of their agency and minimizes the pain we're supposed to be feeling at their death - rather than what their death represents for the characters surviving the event. So, when all that happens to the underused, underserved black dude and he dies thanking and reassuring the white protag who is the proximate cause of his death, I just wanna hulk out. :((

Date: 2015-04-27 06:32 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] anatsuno
anatsuno: a TXT on an iphone screen, looking like a baby whale (baby whale)
This is full of insight and I totally grok what you're saying about playing the one note they had - it was always obvious, indeed, that part of Boyd's non-existence was writers trying to avoid writing The Black Thug (your comparison to the Strong Female Character is spot on) - thank you for making me stop and think about that. It doesn't salvage the black-guy-killed-by-white-guy-thanks-him issue for me; I think this scene was gross and will always remain gross; but it's good to see how they idiotically painted themselves in that corner. It *is* angry-making, because yeah, as you say, when this writer team cares to do better it can. Erica & Boyd both will remain the sad victims of the writers' lack of interest and inadequacy, I suppose. Sigh.

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