Friday, August 23, 2013

Teen Wolf - 3.12 - Lunar Ellipse - Recap

Note: In exciting news, enough people respond to Teen Wolf threads on SpoilerTV now that starting in January we will have favorite scene polls for it. Keep discussing and promoting SpoilerTV in Teen Wolf circles because the more people we have the greater the discussion. Plus I want a STV Teen Wolf Twitter button. :-P

Previously - werewolves are powerless in lunar eclipses, Argent kept Allison and Isaac from fighting Blake and then was taken, Blake had all 3 parents at the nematon, and Allison/Stiles/Scott willingly "sacrificed" themselves to learn where the nematon is located by taking a hypothermic bath.

Starting with a blank white screen threw me at first, but then Scott, Stiles, and Allison popped out of the baths into a white room of warehouse proportions. Insert Wizard of Oz joke here. It's silent, but at the end is the nematon. Wind rushes in, making the place even more foreboding. Of course knowing they will have "permanent darkness" in them and this acid trip will turn Beacon Hills into the next Sunnydale is foreboding enough. Scott pauses at the nematon to stare at his tattoo again, flashing back to episode 3.01. They sure got a lot of mileage out of 2 black bands and a vocabulary lesson. He equates his tattoo with the nematon's tree rings, but since the tattoo is basically 2 circles I don't find anything mystical here. However touching the nematon starts the first of 3 flashbacks to the series premiere. It's interesting to see how much more mature Scott looks than he did pre-werewolf. While his present-day self watches his former self be bitten by Peter, he backs right into the nematon. Next Stiles flashes to the same night, watching his dad catch him. He also backs into the nematon. Finally, Allison flashes to that night, where she is in the car with her mom. Mama Argent espouses the family's cover story in private security and I honestly forgot Allison did not know the family legacy then. She certainly took to hunting quickly. The conversation and car skids to a halt when Scott runs in front of them. Allison forces her mom to go back to check on Scott and she finds his inhaler in the woods. As a wolf howls in the background, Mama Argent tosses the inhaler by the nematon and herds Allison back to the car. Connection to each other and the nematon firmly established, the three emerge from their ice baths in the present day to a stymied Deaton, Lydia, and Isaac. The 3 were under for 16 hours. Say what? Are you kidding me? I can stretch belief a lot but no way I believe they didn't breath for 16 hours. Magic or no, that's ridiculous. Quite frankly I'm not sure why they mentioned it. They could have gone multiple ways to explain time passing to make the episode more urgent.

Speaking of being out for awhile, Cora now takes care of Derek who is considerably weaker after sacrificing his alpha power to save his sister. I'd rather she had died. Since Cora is actually nice to Derek this episode, Peter brings home the hard truth. Peter: "The moon is rising Derek. You drained your battery all the way to the red and there is a fully charged alpha on her way to rip you limb from limb." Wouldn't want Derek to have it easy for 10 minutes this season, right? Things aren't rosy at DumbleDeaton's clinic either, as Stiles, Allison, and Isaac try to talk Scott out of going with Deucalion again. Scott thinks they need Duke to stop Jennifer, besides Scott "made a deal with Deucalion." Stiles: "Does anyone else think that sounds a lot like a deal with the devil?" (Raises hand.) I do Stiles. Allison wants DumbleDeaton to talk Scott out of it, but he thinks Scott's right. Say what? He pulls the enemy of my enemy philosophy, but I'm with Isaac. Isaac: "So we're going to trust him? The guy that calls himself Death, Destroyer of Worlds. We're going to trust that guy?" Ha! No truer words. DumbleDeaton says to use Duke as bait. Sounds very risky. Conversation stops as Ethan drops by to ask for Lydia's help in saving Derek. Not sure how Lydia can help, but anyone putting Lydia in the action is okay by me. Back at Chez Nematon, Argent's supersonic dog whistle is running low on power and a phantom itch attacks. They seem in good spirits but it's an act as Melissa and Sheriff debate how Blake will kill them. Melissa: "Is she actually going to come down here and slash all of our throats?" Sheriff: "Nah, she'll come down, strangle us with a garrote, and then slash our throats." Much better Sheriff. The wind interrupts their banter, as dirt starts flooding the cellar. Love these parent scenes. Here's hoping they get more air time and no one dies!

That seems to be Ethan's plan too. He tells Derek they know about the lunar eclipse so Kali and Aiden are coming right away. Was it supposed to be a secret? If I knew there was a day I would be left vulnerable, I'd mark it on the calendar. Peter clearly thinks it's Derek's cue to flee. Derek: "You want me to run." Peter: "No, I…I want you to stay and get slaughtered by an alpha with a psychotic foot fetish." Bwah! Oh Peter, never change. Peter: "Of course I want you to run. Sprint, gallop, leap your way the hell out of this town." Cora agrees but Derek isn't sure until they consult Lydia. Aha! She does have purpose. She says it feels like standing in a graveyard, which pushes Derek to take their advice. He and Cora flee. Arriving at Derek's, Kali finds Derek gone but Ethan and Lydia in his place. Lydia snarks about werewolf chores to Kali's displeasure. Kali: "Who do you think you're talking to?" Lydia: "Someone in desperate of a pedicure. I'd be happy to give you a referral." Bwah! Lydia, Peter, and Stiles rock the snark. Kali menacingly approaches Lydia, but this time Aiden calls a halt. Kali questions Aiden's loyalty after he insists Lydia isn't a threat. Lydia: "Oh God, is this about to get really violent?" Ethan: "Probably." He has no idea. Blake crashes through the ceiling. It is on! Blake: "So, who wants to go first?" Blake easily takes down Kali, but Aiden interrupts the kill. He fares no better. The Alpha Twins shed their shirts as per their 'topless at least once an episode" contract. Since they take forever to merge, Blake simply pulls them apart and knocks them out. Back to the Kali-Blake fight which is far more interesting. Kali says she doesn't care about Blake's internal strife, but since Blake clearly has the upper hand, she probably should shut it. Blake summons all the glass shards in the room as Kali screams, "I should have ripped your head off." One power thrust later and Kali is dead. The Alpha Twins merge and try one last time to take out Blake but she snaps their neck, leaving Lydia alone with Darach.

Meanwhile Team Fight decides to use superior werewolf smell to track their parents. Bad plan since these superhero traits only work every third episode, then mysteriously disappear. No matter because Scott's FBI dad, who also tends to disappear, waits at Allison's. I presume they have a warrant because they certainly have Argent's guns. Deadbeat Dad (DD) tells them to have a seat, but they aren't giving answers. Still won't keep DD from wasting precious time. That must mean it's time for an Icebreakers mint. DD admits he is clueless but finds the choice of missing parents intriguing. Isaac: "Mine are both dead." Ha! Love the delivery. Scott dramatically looks at Argent's light bombs as his dad blathers on in the background before finding much needed attitude. But it's Allison for the win. She spouts the Argent firearm dealer cover story before skillfully naming the weapons on the table. Impressive! When she gets to the "smoke grenade with a pull-ring igniter," she tear gasses the Feds. Woo hoo! Smart, Kick Butt Allison is on fire tonight! Love it! Bet you didn't see that coming, DD. Scott, Allison, and Isaac run. At the same time, Stiles tries to navigate his way through a Darach-designed fog to no avail. He hits a tree and is knocked unconscious. No! I like Stiles-filled stories. It would have been awesome if he came to Lydia's rescue as Blake stalks toward her. Lydia asks what she wants and Blake says to scream. It captures Derek and Cora's attention and they head back while Team Fight heads to the forest. Worry over Stiles not answering his phone has to wait because they are late for an appointment with Duke and a cheestastic CGI city scene. Ha! No one else is coming to the party but Duke overconfidents enough for everyone. Scott sends Isaac and Allison to find Stiles and the nematon, while he and Duke distract Blake. Isaac questions Scott but he says he has a plan. Hmm, wasn't it just yesterday when he said their plans never work. Oh well.

At Derek's, Blake works on a plan of her own. She tries to sweet talk Derek with the dead alphas, but he isn't that dumb so she switches gears. If Derek fights alongside her, she won'tt kill the parents. He can be her guardian instead. Derek and I are both stymied since Blake seems to be doing well on her own and Derek's still weak from saving Cora. Honestly, I think she just wanted company. She blathers about Duke at his strongest but since the whole plan hinges on the lunar eclipse taking away his power it makes no sense. How can Derek lure Duke to Blake anymore than she can do it herself? Blake clarifies that the lunar eclipse is only 15 minutes long and she needs Derek to distract Scott while she goes for Duke. Okay, it makes more sense now. Derek's in to save the parents, whom Isaac and Allison try to find to no avail. Allison asks Isaac if he can smell them but this isn't the one in three episode where that actually works. Luckily he hears the nifty dog whistle. Three steps to the left later, and bingo. Nematron. They rush down the stairs where Allison has a nice reunion with her dad, only to get trapped when the whole thing starts caving in. Perhaps it would better to untie the ropes instead of chat. Cora feels similarly as she tries to convince Lydia to leave Derek's place. Frankly it's probably the safest place to be this night so I'm not sure why Cora is so freaked. Perhaps it's the 3 dead bodies. Er, make that one. SuperWolf separates into the Alpha Twins and suddenly they're alive. Seriously, did anyone think their abs wouldn't be seen in January? This is Teen Wolf. Off to DumbleDeaton's they go. Deaton's amazingly strong because he hoists one of the twins onto an examining table like a sack of potatoes. Still the diagnosis is grim. (Yeah right.)

In a tip to poignancy, Scott arranges for Blake to meet them in the Distillery of Broken Dreams via her product placed AT & T phone. It all started here for Deucalion so why not end it here too. Bonus points if Duke and Blake take out Gerard before killing each other since he started it all. What? I can dream. See Blake, I said texting kids on the first day would come back to haunt you. So will not carrying a knife because by the time Isaac, who doesn't use his claws, and Allison untie the parents, an avalanche destroys the stairs and the roof collapses. Buried alive is never good. Of course if they were smart, they would hoist Allison through the opening but then we'd have missed Isaac grunting as he werewolf lifts the ceiling so everyone can stoop a little longer. Meanwhile, Scott appears genuinely stunned when Derek arrives with Blake at the distillery. Scott: "What are you doing?" Derek: "This might be hard to believe but actually trying to help you." Duke: "Ooh, brother against brother. How very American this is." Ha! No time for Derek to explain because Duke hasn't given his weekly monologue yet. He throws aspersions on Blake, but it's a pot/kettle scene. Neither wins humanitarian points, but Duke goes full on leathery werewolf during it so score. He's downright creepy. Even Blake looks terrified and she's no picnic herself. For some reason, Derek charges Duke, which goes as well as expected. Shockingly though, Blake's druid magic has no effect on him either. He grabs them both by the throat and throws them. Not sure why he doesn't just slash their throats since the lunar eclipse rapidly approaches. He is clearly winning but stops to try to force Scott to kill Blake. The sound of his roar sends Scott to his knees, while both Duke and Darach make pitches for Scott's allegiance. Duke says killing Blake will make Scott an alpha which makes absolutely no sense in Teen Wolf lore. Scott refuses on the grounds that the parents are still alive. Duke: "Who's going to save them? Your friends?' Scott: "My pack." Scott stands with yellow eyes and even Deucalion looks a little shaken.

Back on the other fronts, things aren't going well. DumbleDeaton continues frantically to heal the Alpha Twins. Isaac continues to struggle under the ceiling. Stiles and Peter continue to be AWOL from the action. The latter is a real tragedy. Deep sigh as we head back to Duke who takes a page from Kali's playbook and tries to literally force Scott to claw Blake to death. Before he can succeed, Scott quotes Gerard, reminding us that "Deucalion isn't always blind." Hello lovely light bombs. Gerard may be sadly absent in person but his corrupted spirit is alive and well in the distillery. They incapacitate Duke long enough for the eclipse to start. Uh oh, now Blake has the upper hand. She sends Scott flying before pummeling Duke bloody. Sadly Derek stops her before she finishes. In a moment of brilliance, Derek convinces Blake to restore Duke's eyes so he sees what he did to her, the price she paid. She focuses her energy on Duke's eyes but the cost of repairing them depletes her strength so much that she can no longer kill him. Blake pleads for Derek to do it instead but he quotes his mama. "I'm a predator. I don't have to be a killer." Thalia's spirit is far more welcome than Gerard's. Derek tells Blake to release the parents but she beats the pulp out of him, leading to a major question. If no werewolf has any powers right now, how can she beat up Derek but can't touch Duke? Hmm, must be because Derek is contractually obligated to get beaten up every episode this season. Either way it makes NO SENSE. The power of love and black-and-white flashbacks keep her from killing him but the eclipse quickly passes, ending her window of opportunity. It however doesn't stop the nematon prison from crumbling. Just when they cannot hold the ceiling any longer, Stiles enters with a baseball bat to prop the whole thing up. Maybe now Isaac can werewolf toss them and the rope out. No? Oh well, back to the evil show-down.

For protection, Blake encases herself in a magic bubble and threatens to kill the parents for the strength to kill Duke sans eclipse. This of course doesn't go over well with Scott and leads to my least favorite scene in the season so far. Scott palms the shield and, by the power of his obvious moral superiority over everyone else, pops her evil bubble and in the process becomes a "true" alpha. The whole premise makes me want to vomit. I have real problems with this plot point on multiple levels. One, I dislike the boy king story line that has become one of the biggest clichés in genre storytelling. Two, I really dislike that Derek became a beta at the same time Scott becomes an alpha. This structure caters to the worst of boy king scenarios. Third, Teen Wolf canonizes Scott as the purest, most morally wholesome, most awesomest, super special werewolf that ever did live. After all he's a "true" alpha, something so rare even Deucalion stopped other pursuits to rush after Scott. To set Scott so far above everyone else makes him unbelievable and ultimately hard to relate to. Fourth, this episode pointed out twice that by "sacrificing" himself, Scott and the others would have a permanent darkness inside them. If that is true, how is he still pure enough to qualify as the saintly true alpha? Fifth, only Scott could stop Blake, not Derek and not Deucalion. Deucalion is supposed to be the most powerful werewolf around and I'm supposed to believe Scott is suddenly more powerful than him? I think not. The idea of other werewolves kowtowing to a relative newbie like Scott feels completely unearned and makes it hard to like Scott. Sixth, it also risks making other characters obsolete, or worse sidekicks, in the face of Scott's apparent strength. If Scott is more powerful than Blake AND Duke, he really doesn't need others to help him. In fact, they risk devolving into pawns used against Scott. Honestly, this scene encompasses all my fears for this show and makes me nervous about the rest of the season. I have no desire to watch King Scott and his lackeys. I'd rather enjoy all of Team Sane kicking monster butt together with ALL of them contributing and rescuing each other. Making Scott so powerful makes that difficult to remain plausible.

Scott threatens to kill Blake if she doesn't release the parents, but Duke slashes her throat before she can comply. It does keep the Cellar of Impending Doom from collapsing further so points to Duke for that. The nematon survivors celebrate life, but there's more good news. The Alpha Twins are well again too. As Cora helps Ethan, Aidan smirks at Lydia, "I knew you liked me." Aww. Lydia is all smiles. About time something good happened to her. Meanwhile Saint Scott calls Stiles, who delivers the superb news that all 3 parents survived as well. Yeah! I would be heartbroken if any of them died. Scott is coming to get them and Stiles tells him to bring a ladder. But before Scott can rescue them all, he has to LET DEUCALION GO!?!?!? Are you kidding me? He killed more than Blake and is completely psychotic. He kills for fun! This makes less sense than all else combined and leads to the 2nd biggest problem. I haven't read SpoilerTV comments about the finale, but I'm certain someone mentioned that both Kali and Blake died but Duke and the Alpha Twins survived. Now I'm not one to call shows sexist or to look for hidden agendas but even I call foul. Deucalion was worse than Blake in the evil department and to give him a pass is unconscionable. It also highlights a curious trend. In season 1, Peter and Kate were the bad guys. Peter returned from the dead; Kate did not. In season two, Gerard, Matt, and Jackson were the bad guys. Matt died, Jackson transformed, and Gerard is alive. In season 3, Blake, Duke, and Kali were the main bad guys. Duke is the only one left alive. I'm not a fan of keeping evil males around, but killing evil females off. Even worse because I can't stand 2 of the biggest offenders. Derek apparently believes Duke is the Grinch, whose his heart has grow three sizes that day. I see no evidence of this. Scott and he threaten that they will stop Duke if he continues his evil ways. The fact that Duke actually seems nervous about this makes me eye roll even more. Bah! Blake and Duke should have taken each other out.

Good thing the Argents are awesome! Allison confronts her dad about his no-hunting stance, apprising him of the new "Beacon Hills as actual beacon for evil" twist. Argent pretty much says it isn't their problem, but Allison disagrees. She wants him to train her to be a better fighter and I'm all for that. She even changes the family code: "We protect those who cannot protect themselves." Like I said, awesome! They are back in the family business again! Sadly, Derek and Cora are not. They left town and Scott doesn't know if they are coming back. Like the fandom would stand for Derek's absence for long! This was the finale's biggest shock for me. In voiceover, Scott is torn over wanting Derek to return and wishing him well elsewhere. He doesn't feel the same about his douchey FBI dad who sticks around. Bummer! Still it's hilarious when Mr. Moral Superiority closes the door in his dad's face. Have to laugh at Melissa's self-satisfied smirk too. Scott monologues about the "heart of darkness" and tells DumbleDeaton that Stiles and he feel it every day, but the love of friends saves them. Aww. In montage, Aiden flirts with Lydia, Ethan and Danny hold hands, and Isaac and Allison laugh. Hello love triangle. So bad to see you. Happily Stiles breaks in to pat Scott's back before his face transforms into something far more complex. I'm intrigued but far more puzzled that the epilogue feels more like a series' end than a hiatus. It's too mellow, NOT Teen Wolf at all. DumbleDeaton breaks Scott's reverie to ask about Blake, who mysteriously vanished from the distillery. Now we're back to Teen Wolf finale goodness. In flashback, Blake heads to the nematon. Right as she is about to draw from its strength, Peter hauls her hand away. Blake: "Of course it's you, everyone else suffers but somehow you come out on top." Yes, yes, yes! I have wanted him to be the master manipulator turning these events to his advantage all season long. She rightly supposes Peter wants to kill Scott to take back his alpha status. Peter counters, "Again? Again." He slits her throat, yelling, "I am the alpha. I've always been the alpha." It's scary and impressive and awesome in the way that Teen Wolf does best, leaving me once more eagerly awaiting the end of hellatus even as it begins.

This episode would have been a solid A+ episode if it weren't for three things. 1. Scott's bubble popping scene. 2. Letting Deucalion go. 3. The 16 hours underwater thing. Other than these and some glaring logic gaps, I was thrilled and on the edge of my seat the entire time. The pacing was breathtaking as always and the character moments for the most part seemed genuine. I adore Peter as the ultimate villain and I hope he keeps playing it subtly until the last season when he can be the final Big Bad. It fits perfectly with his character and would give the final season a more personal touch. I am also relieved that all 3 parents made it out alive. I thought they would but had some niggling doubt as the beginning. Another positive aspect is the Argent's father-daughter relationship. I like them bonding through training and it's almost positive Argent will play a bigger role in the future. I still think he should be the human leader of the wolf pack. He's smarter than all the rest of them combined. I am less thrilled about Scott's dad although it could lead to interesting drama, not so much between Scott and him but between Sheriff and him. Now that Sheriff knows the truth, how will he work with someone who doesn't? In fact, how will it change him period? I'm far more interested in the new dynamic between Stiles and Sheriff than any love triangle with Scott, Allison, and Isaac.

Grade: B+

Best scene - Peter kills Blake and reveals his true nature
Worst scene - Scott pops Blake's bubble
Best action sequence - Blake vs. Kali fight
Best villain of part A - Peter
Best cameo - Mama Argent
Best moment - tie - Stiles pops out to ask Ethan what he wants with Lydia / Alison reunites with her dad
Most Valuable Player - tie - dog whistle emitter stake and baseball bat
Most Improved Character - Allison for quick thinking and getting her dad back in the hunt
The "Say What?" Award - Scott, Stiles, and Allison were underwater for 16 hours.
Best use of continuity - the distillery
Worst use of continuity - the never-ending symbolism of Scott's tattoo
Best special effect - tie - Duke's werewolf form / Blake raising the glass to kill Kali
Biggest shock - Derek and Cora leave Beacon Hills
Biggest mistake - letting Deucalion go
Biggest fashion faux pas - Lydia's sudden urge to dress like the Amish
Best understatement - Isaac: "You guys were out a long time."
Smartest plan - tie - Allison tear gases the FBI / Derek gets Blake to use her energy to give Duke sight again
Worst turn of events - Stiles knocks himself out
Best turn of events - Derek and Cora come back at the sound of Lydia's scream

Best lines:

Derek: "I'll be fine in a few hours." Peter: "I sincerely hope so because a few hours is all that you have."
Stiles: "Does anyone else think that sounds a lot like a deal with the devil."
Isaac: "So we're going to trust him? The guy that calls himself Death, Destroyer of Worlds. We're going to trust that guy?"
Melissa: "Is she actually going to come down here and slash all of our throats?" Sheriff: "Nah, she'll come down, strangle us with a garrote, and then slash our throats."
Derek: "You want me to run." Peter: "No, I…I want you to stay and get slaughtered by an alpha with a psychotic foot fetish. Of course I want you to run. Sprint, gallop, leap your way the hell out of this town."
Scott: "Stiles, I'm not smelling your dad's boxers….Socks? Okay I'll smell the socks."
DoucheDad: "You too Isaac." Isaac: "How do you know my name?" DD: "Your name's one of the few things I know."
Kali: "Who do you think you're talking to?" Lydia: "Someone in desperate of a pedicure. I'd be happy to give you a referral."
Lydia: "Oh God, is this about to get really violent?" Ethan: "Probably."
Isaac: "Mine are both dead." DD: "Save the clichéd teenage apathy for your high school teachers."
Derek: "Stop talking to me like a politician. Stop trying to convince me of your cause."
Scott: "What are you doing?" Derek: "This might be hard to believe but actually trying to help you."
Sheriff: "I always said aluminum was better than wood."
Derek: "Like my mother used to stay, although I'm a predator I don't have to be a killer."
Aiden: "I knew you liked me."
Allison in French: "We protect those who cannot protect themselves."
Blake: "Of course it's you, everyone else suffers but somehow you come out on top."
Peter: "I am the alpha. I've always been the alpha."

Best wishes to all for surviving the hellatus.  This will be my first real Teen Wolf hiatus so I am very thankful that we get episodes again in January.  Hugs to get through it.

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