Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Teen Wolf - 3.11 - Alpha Pact - Recap



Previously - Jenny was Darach, parents were kidnapped, Scott allied with Duke to get them back, Stiles onjected, Jenny revealed her true visage to Derek, and Stiles found Derek unconscious in the elevator.

Previously , Part 2 - Since the writers are convinced you didn't see the last episode, they repeat its last 10 minutes in many different ways. In case you really did not see it, here it is. Allison distracted Shoeless and the Alpha Twins by running in Darach's shoes. Isaac went to the ambulance bay to pick up almost dead Cora, Stiles, and Peter during the distraction. Both Argents shot at the Alphas so Mama McCall could turn on the lights. Darach freaked Derek, knocked him out, and kidnapped Mama. Stiles figured out Guardians means parents and ran in to warn Scott. Scott realized Blake escaped. Isaac refused to leave without Scott until the Alpha Twins raced into the garage. Scott allied with Duke in return for the parents' safety. Stiles protested vehemently. A lot of manly tears were nearly shed. On with this episode….

Frantically, Stiles tries to return Derek to consciousness by slapping him. When that doesn't work, he goes for a punch, only to be stopped by a wakening and confused Derek. Even more so when Stiles recaps last episode. Stiles is frantic about getting Derek out before the police come but Derek's more concerned about Cora. Cue Isaac and Peter heading towards the Argents, who are by the ambulance. Since the moment is particularly intense, cue Isaac snark. "Not to bring up uncomfortable memories, wasn't the last time you saw them the time you killed Kate and they burned you alive?" Bwah! Sorry Peter ditches the conversation halfway through because I felt a Gibbs slap coming on. Isaac recaps for the Argents and then Derek shows up to recap again, so hopefully everyone's on board now. In case you missed it, see Previously, Part 2. Derek transfers Cora to his car. Not sure why they're playing musical vehicles, but perhaps it's advanced product placement. He says Stiles is holding off the cops in the hospital but basically it means he's cursing the FBI's existence. Fed: "A Stilinski at the center of this whole mess. What a shocker. You think you can answer some questions without the usual level of sarcasm." Stiles: "If you can ask the questions without the usual level of stupid." Yikes! He's going to get locked up as a material witness if he's not careful. Obviously they know each other. Fed talks about Sheriff's drinking, which is somewhat new and Stiles gets offended. Stiles: "Alright how about this. The next time I see him, I'll give him a field sobriety test. Okay we'll do the alphabet, start with F, end with U." Stiles claims to have been stuck in the elevator with no knowledge what happened, but is thrown for a loop when Fed mentions the word "Argent" graffitied on the elevator doors. Huh? I'm as confused as Stiles.

I'm not at all confused about Cora though. Let her die. She's been completely useless all season. Sadly, Derek disagrees. Isaac badgers him about his plans, but Derek was just walloped repeatedly by life. Back off, Isaac. Isaac: "You want to figure something out because while Scott and Stiles were out there trying to help people from being killed, you were in here, rolling around these sheets with the actual killer. You get how many people's she's killed? Erica and Boyd are dead, Cora's dying, and you are doing nothing! Why'd you do this to us, Derek? Is it all about the power? Were you bored? Were you lonely?" So what exactly is your problem here, Isaac? Are you mad that Derek has terrible taste in women? I agree by the way. Are you suggesting he ruined your life by making you a werewolf? Excuse me, but your life already sucked. Big time. And didn't you choose to become a werewolf? Just shut up! Derek: "I told Cora I wouldn't leave. I'll help the others when I figure out how to help her." Isaac correctly says there's no time to fuss around with characters who should never have existed, but she's his sister and therefore his main priority. Isaac brats out with one final barb. "You can sit here and perfect the art of doing nothing." Or you can Gibbs slap him. That would be my choice. Peter however picks at the wound, because he's evil. I do agree half of Isaac's tirade was feeling guilty about switching to Scott's side, but he's been doing that all season long. It wasn't exactly subtle, writers. Peter reiterates SuperSpecial Scott the True Alpha, but my eyes are tired of rolling so I merely sigh. You have worn me down show.

In happier places, Argent argues with Allison and Stiles about his potential as a sacrifice since he's too capable to be captured. I agree. Allison is naturally uncomfortable with this stance but given she thought her dad was sacrificing people last episode, she may be overcompensating too. Stiles brings up the word Argent on the elevator door, which he thinks is a warning. I don't think Blake would be stupid enough to announce her next target, but all the characters are off these days. Allison thinks Morrell did it to help them. Stiles and I: "Well she needs to get on that a lot faster, okay." All emissaries should be required to share pertinent info more than 10 seconds before it's needed. Argent tells Stiles to not give up on his dad, because he thinks Blake is still positioning her chess pieces. As long as it's not an idiom. He talks telluric currents and tries to rouse Stiles to the cause. Stiles: "You seriously want to go after her. I mean what if she just takes you like the others?" Argent is fairly confident in his .45. Ha! Argent: "Personally, I'd like to see how she holds up with half of her skull blown off." Hmm, yeah, I'd like to see the zombie special effects there too. Argent rallies the masses in a great speech and Stiles is on board…for more telluric exposition. Allison and Stiles fill Argent in on Lydia's talent, but the real shocker is the Argent arsenal. They could stock a small country. Stiles: "I thought you guys retired." Bwah! Argent: "Retired, yes. Defenseless, no." Not even in a zombie revolution. Stiles sad faces because Scott probably won't call, and Argent defends him. Could someone please defend Derek too? I swear he's this year's punching bag now that Jackson is gone. Isaac pops in to say he wants to help, but I'm still too annoyed at him to sway under his charm.

Meanwhile, Derek takes Cora's pain away by sucking black goo into his veins. It doesn't work for long and taking too much will kill him instead. Peter offers another solution, which generally means beware. He blathers about injured packs and wolf grooming habits. Derek: "If you're trying to tell me I can save her, just tell me." Bless you for cutting off this monologue. In a nutshell, Derek can save Cora in exchange for his own alpha "spark." I don't think the benefits outweigh the costs, but heaven forbid Derek and Scott be capable alphas together, or even have Derek mentor Scott in wolf ways. Nope, that would require Derek to be competent in something and no way we can go there. Only Scott can be Super Special Boy. (End rant) Peter says saving Cora could also kill Derek, but that's his baby sister so is there really a choice? Peter half smiles as Derek agrees, so he's definitely manipulating the entire spectrum, probably even outguessing Deucalion. This is going to get ugly fast. Kind of like that neck bruise Lydia is now sporting. And wait? Do my eyes deceive me? Why yes, Lydia does have parents? I was beginning to think they were a myth and that guy she called Dad was a fever dream. Lydia's mom gives her makeup tips on bruise hiding and offers the Argent get out of school free card. It's a wonder anyone shows up at Beacon Hills High. But I digress. Lydia has a mom! May she be as awesome as the other living Teen Wolf parents in the future. Or Lydia in this scene. "Someone tried to strangle me, and I survived. I don't need to hide that." You tell them, Lydia! Mom: "No, no you don't. But we're still going to do your hair right?" Ha! Mom with humor works for me.

Dad with guns works even better. Argent, Isaac, and Allison enter the bank vault, the most cost-effective setting this season given its constant use. Argent pulls out an electric cattle prod and Isaac questions its use on Darach. Surprise! Argent stuns Isaac unconscious. Ha! Serves you right. He also handcuffs Allison to the bars. Hmm. This is risky. After my ranting on how characters need to share info and work together, I'd be a hypocrite to not call Argent out here too. Yes, I know you don't want Allison in proximity of a crazy, vengeance obsessed, bug wielding, nature bending, dark druid serial killer. I get that. But remember how much smoother this went when people were sharing info. Remember how as a team you conquered half crazed teen werewolves on the lam, but everyone sucked and nothing worked when you all went solo. I'm just saying these solo adventures have gone the way of Winchesters keeping secrets from each other - it never ends well and no one ever learns anything from it. Why not change things up a bit? No? Oh well. Argent drops his gun (never a good idea) and reveals the last puzzle piece, Darach synchs her kills to the currents. Blake steps in right on cue. Blake: "Now this is a sacrifice." She Darachs out as everyone looks on in horror. Back at the high school, the only horror I feel is for Lydia's Amish dress. Oh how the mighty fashionista has fallen. Lydia is shocked that Scott went with Duke, but that's so last episode. Time to move on. Lydia: "Then what can I do? I mean I get that I'm some kind of like human Geiger counter for death but I don't know how to turn it on and off yet." I'm just glad Lydia is accepting her new role. Now if they actually do something with it. She tells Stiles she's a banshee, which shocked Blake. Now they need to figure out why and how it can help them.

But first Isaac has to free Allison from her handcuffs. She grabs on to Isaac for stability and comfort as the foreshadowing of unwelcome love triangle looms. Seriously? A love triangle? Those ALWAYS suck out loud. Isaac is Allison's rock, hugging out her fears. It's sweet and problematic. As is Cora's story, well problematic that is. Peter snarks about Derek's poor leadership skills some more, but then makes a valid point. Derek: "I don't care about power." Peter: "What about the power to fight back?" He warns Derek that losing his alpha powers when an Alpha pack is on his tail is a tad risky. I doubt Peter cares a jot about Derek, but he does a brilliant job of manipulating Derek into place. He can always say later that he tried to talk Derek out of it. But Derek doesn't care as long as Cora lives and Peter rants some nonsense about this being what Blake wanted all along. Yeah, how do you figure that? Why would she want to lose Derek's powers when there's no way he's joining Duke's death squad? Trying to cover up his own machinations here? He claims Blake is seducing Derek to her side because she needs him but I say she tried to do some good with her powers by tossing off the whiny brat. If she gets her powers from 2 episodes ago back, she doesn't need anyone. She was fully capable of kicking Alpha butt then. No idea what changed that now, but I want Batteries Fully Charged Blake back. She was ferocious.

However the real power of this episode lies in Stiles and Lydia's scene. I'm completely anti-shipping but this scene showcases the acting prowess of these young actors. Kudos on a job well done! Stiles receives a text from Isaac informing him that Darach has Argent too, putting him into a full panic attack. His hands shake so badly can barely put his phone away and his breathing shallows. Lydia tells him to not give up hope, but his vision blurs and everything starts to fade. Lydia gets him into the locker room as Stiles collapses. She tells him to think of happy things like friends and family. Seriously, Lydia? I thought you were smart. Stiles and I stare incredulously as she backtracks. It looks like Lydia is heading for a panic attack herself, but she pulls herself together, telling Stiles to pattern breathe with her to no avail. She grabs his face, demanding he look at her. He complies and she kisses him to the sounds of "Start of Time" by Gabrielle Aplin, for those keeping track. It works. Stiles is so shocked he stops panicking, while I am impressed by the lighting. Love how they break the light first on Lydia's face and then on Stiles. Stiles: "Oh. How…how'd you do that?" She stammers about reading in a book that holding your breath stops a panic attack. If Stiles weren't so out of it, he'd realize she's completely making this up. I applaud her instincts and wish she'd use them more. It's one of the few times something's worked this episode. Stiles heavy swallows and tells Lydia she's smart, another thing the show could utilize better. Lydia: "If I were really smart, I'd tell you to sign up for a few sessions with a guidance counselor." Ha! Just not the Beacon Hills High guidance counselor, who is currently missing. Duhn duhn duhn.

They race to Morell's office only to find Sassy Best Friend from 3.02 - Chaos Rising there. So much for attending that other high school in Beacon Hills never mentioned before. Perhaps Darach poofed it away in a freak tornado. Lydia isn't impressed by Sassy's sassiness. Sassy doesn't care, since she needs to talk out her murdered best friend angst. Sadly, she's probably not their only teen working out the same issues. Stiles finally recognizes her, as Flo the continuity fairy sticks around awhile. Lydia interrupts to question Morell's tardiness. It's not like her. Stiles plays the missing card while Lydia suspects she was grabbed for her knowledge. You know what keeps you from being kidnapped when you have vital info. Sharing it before people can resort to dire measures. Just saying. Secrets kill. Stiles rifles through Morell's drawers. Sassy: "Those files are private." Lydia: "Yeah, she's kind of right." Lydia backtracks as Stiles hands over her file. It's full of the same tree pictures she's been drawing all season long. Yeah, nothing freaky about that. Lydia: "It's a tree. I like drawing trees." Stiles: "No, but it's the exact same one." He flips through Lydia's notebook. Viola, lots and lots of the same tree. Sassy: "Okay, you can have my session. You've got bigger issues." BWAH! Smart lady. Too much crazy in that room. Stiles flips the tree upside down and realizes it's the nematon but before he can ask Derek where "the root cellar" is located, he's stopped by DoucheFed. Stiles sends Lydia instead. DoucheFed thinks he's hiding something about his missing dad, because he is. They talk in circles which ends with DoucheFed saying, "First, I have no idea what you just said." Frankly, neither do I. Basically Stiles outsasses even Sassy and even I'd have trouble not Gibbs smacking him. Since this is going nowhere, DoucheFed asks about Scott, Isaac, Allison, Ethan, and Aiden, all of whom didn't show up at school, but given recent history they're probably safer elsewhere. Even DoucheFed recognizes the high body count and doesn't want Stiles alone. Enter DumbleDeaton of the answers not shared.

Meanwhile Argent wakes up by the nematon with the rest of Team Parent. I've been waiting for these guys to team up but not in this circumstance. Three of the best characters are tied up together in the Cellar of Death and my anxiety almost blows into a panic attack too. Please don't let them die. Please show. No parent deaths. Ever. Argent recognizes the cellar from 3.08 - Visionary. Sadly Argent's plans A - D are shot since Darach can frisk someone competently. She got the ankle knife, sleeve knife, switchblade, and taser. Ha! That man knows how to stockpile weapons. Blake enters to provide our lesson of the week. Argent is French for silver, which we learned in season 1. She tends his wounds, word plays silver mythology, and shares the Argent family motto. "We hunt those who hunt us." Hmm. Not exactly how it's played out in recent history. Argent says his family is nothing like Blake, although Gerard and Kate weaken his argument. However, he is the shining morality star in his family so Blake better back off the comparison. She exposits sacrifices AGAIN and glorifies their death as making the world safer. Whatever honey. Dead is dead. She also threatens Scott to Mama, so she's not winning any points. Is she planning to kill off every werewolf? If so, she might want to team up with Gerard instead. He's a bat guano crazy as she is. Unlike Lydia, who is crazy with a cause. She arrives at Derek's only to get the unwelcome news that Peter is still alive. Does no one tell her anything? Lydia: "You." Peter: "Me." Come on Lydia. Kick him in the shins or banshee shriek. He totally screwed with you. No? Down to business then. Talia erased Derek and Peter's memories of the nematon's location. Why not just wipe SPNKrissy from Derek's memory, Talia? That's the douchey angel solution. Points for continuity though. Personally, I don't know why these werewolves aren't using their fabulous sense of smell to track the parents. Shouldn't that at least be explored as an option?

The screen goes dark as a woman races through the woods. Never a good sign. Oh, it's Shady Guidance Counselor (SGC) with an alpha pack on her tail. Kill the Emissary is still the go-to game I guess. Scott meets Duke in the woods to discuss fireflies and finally figures out that all the strange animal attacks are Darach-related. Welcome to the party, Scott. Duke blathers like usual about animal instincts and Blake's need to kill. Scott: "Are you willing to kill innocent people?" Duke: "I'll kill any living thing that gets in my way." Ha! Blunt, I like it. You really should reconsider this alliance Scott, especially since he wants you to kill SGC. Yeah, she's not innocent but still. SGC throws up a circle of magic werewolf dust before accusing Duke of fearing emissary powers. Shoeless accuses SGC of sending MMC to save Isaac, as I rethink my tendency to use acronyms for names. Glad to finally know something about Mystery Motorcycle Chick though, like her name - Brayden. She was one cool, too brief character. SGC talks about keeping the balance and questions Scott's choice to be there. So do I, honey. She outlines Duke's history to prove he's a bad guy, but do we really need more proof? The villain monologuing alone shows how narcissistically psychotic he is. She does however finally inform the pack that Duke killed Elevator Alpha, not Derek. Surprise! I wanted the pack to turn on him, but he accuses her of lying and spears his cane into her chest. Scott keeps the pack from killing SGC and she tells him to find the nematon to save the parents. Yeah, already knew all that. Your speech is useless, like all emissaries so far.

Back at the nematon, Sheriff calls Argent out on being a werewolf hunter and Melissa cops to filling him in. Sheriff: "Yeah, I was starting to feel a little bit left out." Ha! Argent says he already knew. He questioned Argent about a body years ago. Sheriff tells the story of an accident 8 years before. A teen was trapped under a car with no hope of making it. He held her hand anyway, but she told him he needed to leave to visit his dying wife, Claudia. He discounted it as illogical and stayed until the teen died. When he got to the hospital, Claudia was dead and Stiles was in the waiting room. Sheriff: "He was with Claudia when she died…but I wasn't. I wasn't with her because I didn't believe. I just did not believe." Egads, show. You're breaking my heart. If you ever flashback this scene, even I might cry. Thankfully, we get a break from the emotional onslaught as Stiles rallies the pack into finding the nematon. Unsurprisingly, DumbleDeaton has knowledge he didn't share earlier. Quite frankly, shouldn't all emissaries know where the magic druid tree is or have some way to figure it out? I'd think it would be a druid meeting place. But that's not interesting enough, so on to a far more risky plan. One that requires Scott, who still thinks he needs the alphas to stop Blake. I don't see this ending well for Beacon Hills. All is not lost though, as Argent literally has a solution up his sleeve. It's the ultrasonic emitter werewolf stake thingie. Woo hoo! Now, get your werewolf butts into the forest and listen for it.

Sadly the wolves don't know the plan, so it's DumbleDeaton's risky plan B. Stiles, Allison, and Scott must become surrogate sacrifices for their parents. Stiles: "But he can bring us back. You can…you can bring us back, right?" DumbleDeaton: "You remember the part where I said it was dangerous." Ha! Not only might it kill them, but it essentially turns Beacon Hills into the Hellmouth, a "beacon" for mystical energy and all kinds of baddies while powering up the nematon. Stiles: "It doesn't sound any worse than anything we've already seen." Yeah, okay. Just remember you said that next year when hell is unleashed and you're in the middle of your third apocalypse, Stiles. Buffy died twice. Scott: "Is that it?" Of course not. All 3 of them will feel the evil in them every day of their lives. DumbleDeaton: "It will be kind of a darkness around your heart and permanent like a scar." Don't say it, Scott. Please! Scott: "Like a tattoo." ARGH!!! Speaking of things best avoided, Cora is still dying and Derek still doesn't have a choice. He has to save her. Peter: "You always have a choice. It's whether or not you can live with the consequences." Very true, yet in some cases it doesn't feel like it. Dead family is one. Derek breaks Blake's lunar ellipse plan to Peter and it will presumably level the playing field between Derek and Shoeless. In theory yes, but we all know that the Teen Wolf writers will not allow Derek to win any fight. Derek must firmly remain a punching bag for the writers to wallop on. I think Peter's counting on that.

Over at the vet's, things aren't much better. Another metric ton of ice is put into 3 tubs, mimicking the Isaac plan earlier. I'm getting uncomfortable with DumbleDeaton's predilection for getting teens wet. All 3 bring something to tie them to their parents. Stiles brings Sheriff's beat up badge, which Darach bent and he hammered back out. Isaac points out the silver bullet Allison carries and she explains that Argent made it after becoming a full-fledged hunter to symbolizes their code. Aww. Scott chooses a watch his dad gave his mom when she got her hospital job. Scott: "She used to say that it was the only thing in their marriage that ever worked." Ha! Until it gets submerged that is. Love the foreshadowing here. The plan is for them to be held down by someone they have a bond with until they are dead. Great! Sure you don't want to try werewolf senses first? Sigh. Lydia heads toward Allison, but DumbleDeaton plays matchmaker. He sends Lydia to Stiles and Isaac to Allison. This is not awkward at all. Scott says it's okay but the pulsing of teen heartbreak pathos strums strong. Each teen gets into the tub in slow motion to verify that it is freezing. Stiles: "By the way, uh, if I don't make it back and you do, you should probably know something. Your dad's in town." What? DoucheFed is Scott's dad. That sucks out loud. Not the last thing you want to hear before dying either. DoucheDad sits on Scott's bed with tears in his eyes, but I am completely prepared to hate him for Mama McCall's sake and since he's been absent for 2 full years. Deadbeat. Good thing Teen Wolf makes its parents multifaceted, so there may be room to understand both in 3B. Yes, DoucheDad is not going anywhere. Sadly, Derek's alpha status is though. The sad strings ratchet up into full-blown opera as Derek sacrifices his standing to save Cora's life. It looks painful for both as Derek's eyes go blue and Peter looks on in glee. Ugh! Then Allison, Stiles, and Scott get submerged into water as Scott's eyes go yellow and oily water covers his face. Yikes! A lot happens in the last 3 minutes. The finale will be intense.

Despite some logic issues, such as why none of the teens' bodies naturally fight being drowned, this episode did a great job of both moving the plot along and good character interaction. I like how we saw a gamut of emotion from each character, a wide emotional range while not taking up a lot of time. Scott's dad was an utter shock for me since I rarely read spoilers for Teen Wolf. I like that it added a new character without taking away from the ones we already have. Plus his character lends itself to interaction with several others, which should make him interesting provided he doesn't become irksome first. The other big set up is of course the effect the sacrifice and awakening the nematon will have on our 3 protagonists and the town of Beacon Hills as a whole. Teen Wolf excels at creatures, remember the kanima, so I am eager to see its spin on the Hellmouth set up. Mostly though this penultimate episode does its job. It creates a need to see the finale on several levels. Will Scott really ally with Duke? What will happen to Derek now that he's not an alpha anymore? How will our 3 teens survive the incoming darkness? And of course, will they get to the parents in time to save them? The answer to that better be yes by the way. The parents are one of my favorite things about Teen Wolf and quite frankly their non-clich├ęd insertion into the story is a shock given this is MTV. This time "To be continued" is both a promise and a curse.


Grade - B+

Best scene - Lydia helps Stiles overcome his panic attack
Biggest surprise - Scott's dad
Best reason to watch - it sets up both the finale and 3B's main story line
Scene stealer - Sassy Best Friend
Line that needs to be used more often - Derek: "If you're trying to tell me I can save her, just tell me."

Screencaps by Screecapped.net

About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and creates polls for Sleepy Hollow, Arrow, White Collar, Grimm, Teen Wolf, and others. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, co-hosts the Sleepy Hollow "Headless" Podcast for Southgate Media Group, and guests on ArrowCast for DVMPE. Right now she is creating a Last Week in TV weekly segment for her blog and others. ~ "I speak TV."

Monday, December 30, 2013

Teen Wolf - Season 3 Recaps - List


To make it easier, mostly for myself, here's a list of links to my season 3 recaps of Teen Wolf. They are divided between my blog and SpoilerTV, but they are the exact same recaps. Hope this helps.


For my blog:

3.01 - Tattoo
3.02 - Chaos Rising
3.03 - Fireflies
3.04 - Unleashed
3.05 - Frayed
3.06 - Motel California
3.07 - Currents
3.08 - Visionary
3.09 - The Girl Who Knew Too Much
3.10 - The Overlooked
3.11 - Alpha Pact 
3.12 - Lunar Ellipse
3.13 - Anchors
3.14 - More Bad Than Good - coming soon
3.15 - Galvanize - coming soon
3.16 - Illuminated - coming soon
3.17 - Silverfinger
3.18 - Riddled
3.19 - Letharia Vulpina
3.20 - Echo House
3.21 - The Fox and the Wolf
3.22 - De-Void - coming soon
3.23 - Insatiable
3.24 - The Divine Move


For SpoilerTV:

3.01 - Tattoo
3.02 - Chaos Rising
3.03 - Fireflies
3.04 - Unleashed
3.05 - Frayed
3.06 - Motel California
3.07 - Currents
3.08 - Visionary
3.09 - The Girl Who Knew Too Much
3.10 - The Overlooked
3.11 - Alpha Pact - coming tomorrow
3.12 - Lunar Ellipse
3.13 - Anchors
3.14 - More Bad Than Good
3.15 - Galvanize
3.16 - Illuminated
3.17 - Silverfinger
3.18 - Riddled
3.19 - Letharia Vulpina
3.20 - Echo House
3.21 - The Fox and the Wolf
3.22 - De-Void
3.23 - Insatiable
3.24 - The Divine Move



About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and creates polls for Sleepy Hollow, Arrow, White Collar, Grimm, Teen Wolf, and others. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, co-hosts the Sleepy Hollow "Headless" Podcast for Southgate Media Group, and guests on ArrowCast for DVMPE. Right now she is creating a Last Week in TV weekly segment for her blog and others. ~ "I speak TV."

Teen Wolf - 3.01 - Tattoo - Retro Recap


Note - In honor of Teen Wolf's return on January 6, I decided to retro recap the 2 episodes from season three I was too lazy/busy to do earlier. Look also for articles, polls, and rankings - one new item each day up to the midseason premiere next Monday. Also coming, a preview to my new column, Last Week in TV, the first of which will be dedicated to Teen Wolf. Finally, I have attached a list of links for all my season 3 recaps below if anyone is interested or just wants to refresh what happened in season 3 so far. Until Peter snarks again….

Season 3 recap list


Previously - Derek made Erica and Boyd werewolves, Allison and Scott were drippy, and an Alpha Pack kidnapped Erica and Boyd. Boy those were short previouslies for a premiere.

In a badly lit room, someone drags Isaac and electroshocks him back to consciousness. This can't be good. A woman tells him to be quiet, but frankly lady, you're electrocuting him and you've got a 50-50 chance of being evil. Sorry, it's Beacon Hills. Make that 70-30. Isaac has been mauled and Mystery Chick (MC) says it was to share memories. Um, what? Try talking. Isaac doesn't remember anything and MC says it's an old werewolf trick. As if they didn't already have the advantage. MC: "Listen to me. No matter what happens, you hold on okay? You hold on tight." That's never good either. She gets them out on her motorcycle and an epic chase scene follows. A hot teen werewolf, aka the typical, tries to knock them down to no avail so his twin brother gets in on the action. Sadly Mystery Motorcycle Chick (MMC) doesn't know the area so it’s a dead end, not a werewolf that gets them. I'm okay with this plot device because one twin takes a flying leap off the other's back and it's flying werewolf time. Woo hoo! One small problem - once launched, it's pretty easy to avoid where he's landing and MMC is no fool. She heads through a glass door, but the shock is too much for Isaac who passes out, taking the cycle down with him. Terrible timing for blood loss to kick in. The twins find them and…start taking off their shirts? Huh? I know this is Teen Wolf, where eye candy naked torsos have their own salary structure, but this is beyond blatant. Of course, no other werewolves merge into one SuperHulk of a werewolf either. Yowza! That's one big mind meld. I particularly like the zipper face effect. Isaac crawls over to MMC and she shoots off an electric charge thing. Nice to know electricity still works on werewolves as they split back into two again. Love the weapon, lady!

The credits lead into a tattoo parlor where a walking billboard for skin art looks at a piece of paper with two horizontal bars on it. Tattoo Guy: "Boy, it's a good thing you drew me a picture." Snark from a random extra in the first 6 minutes. This is going to be a great season. Apparently Scott wants to use his vet money to permanently etch the lamest tattoo on the planet into his skin. Stiles suggests one that looks remarkably like the kanima as I laugh. Stiles: "Too soon." Yeah. Perhaps Jackson made rounds in Beacon Hills' tattoo district last year. Stiles, like a good best friend, tries to talk Scott out of this because he'll be explaining his tattoo choice forever. They banter a bit before Tattoo Guy gives us "tattoo" etymology. It wouldn't be Teen Wolf without at least one Word of the Episode and in-your-face symbolism. Luckily Stiles passes out from the needle in Scott's arm and I immediately flash back to the time I was at the hospital with an ear infection and my mom passed out, hitting her head on a trash can. I was done in minutes; it took my mom hours to recover. As they leave, Scott's arm starts burning as it heals itself of the tattoo. Hmm, werewolf as tattoo removal. It is cheaper if you can handle the pesky side effects. Stiles feels confident to share the majority's opinion: "Thank God; I hated it." Ha! Good riddance. Meanwhile Lydia and Allison banter about a not-date they are going on. It's complete filler so Cliff Notes version. Allison lived in France for 4 months. Jackson is a full-fledged werewolf, trained by Derek and living in England. Lydia: "Whatever. He left. And seriously, an American werewolf in London, like that's not going to be a disaster." Bwah! Stiles and Scott pull up to them at a red light. Both Scott and Allison freak. Wacky car hijinks ensue. It's all exposition crazy leading up to a deer running right into Lydia's car. Scott and Stiles run out, where Lydia justifiably freaks and Scott uses his werewolf senses to say the deer was scared. Duhn duhn duhn. Everywhere else that means hunting season. In Beacon Hills, the music of future doom portends something much worse.

Possibly connecting to Isaac's current hospital trip. Mama McCall is on duty, thankfully, as Isaac demands she check out MMC. She mumbles about finding the alpha, but Mama mistakenly thinks she means Derek. MMC: "No, not Hale. McCall, Scott McCall." Sadly Mama is too far away to hear it or we'd have answers right now. I'm distracted by Scott as an alpha and my dreams of avoiding yet another Boy King plot fade. Why do genre shows always need to make one character the most super specialest of all? Teams of differing specialties working together are far more interesting. But plot movement must wait as the teens prepare for the first day of school. Scott works out his body and brain at once. Got to love reading while doing pull ups. Saves time and provides ample eye candy. If the sheer volume of books is any indication, Scott is determined to pass this year. Coach will be pleased. Scott brings the word of the day - ephemeral, combined with wallpaper of him and Allison. Ha! Alas, Allison is not doing well if the sad strumming music in the background is any indication, but Argent enters so all's better. He asks if she's ready to start school, and offers to basically home school her if she'd prefer. Coming back to Beacon Hills was likely a big mistake for their health, but a show needs their main female protagonist I guess. Argent helps her off the bed and into a hug. Awww. They need more father-daughter moments. As the music suddenly shifts to synth pop, it's on to Stiles, who is researching deer related crashes, and a weary Papa Stiles, who just wants him to leave. Sheriff: "I'm not going to beg you." Stiles: "Yeah, good. I'm impervious to your influence anyway." Sheriff: "Would you consider a bribe?" Stiles: "You couldn't meet my price." Sheriff: "Extortion?" Stiles: "You've got nothing on me." That only leaves physical removal. Sheriff pulls Stiles chair away as he tries frantically to keep contact with the keyboard. BWAH!!! I love these family moments. Sadly, Lydia is parentally abandoned as she puts on makeup and dismisses the boy toy in her bed. How can we know so much about everyone else's parents, even dead ones, yet Lydia's are never to be found?

Arriving at school in a poor man's motorcycle, Scott still isn't over the tattoo thing. Derek has one so Scott's sure they can. Stiles points out Boyd and Erica's missing posters, which take precedence, as the principal yells about the library while holding a sword. Ha! Smart move to duck out of there guys. Of course, that happened last school year so shouldn't it have been dealt with by now? At the lockers, Lydia checks out the new freshman while Allison reminds her they're only 14 and that being single is a time for self-betterment and reflection. Sure. Lydia: "Allison, I love you so if you need to do that thing where we talk about me and pretend like we're not actually talking about you, it's totally fine." Ha! About time, since it happens a lot. While I'm the first to want Lydia to have an actual role this season, I don't think sexual predator counts. I was thinking more of being an active part of the team instead of the crazy best friend. You know, helping to take out the Alpha twins sauntering down the hall, not dating them. Especially after they sliced up Isaac, who is recovering nicely in the hospital. Too nicely in fact, given that he's scheduled for surgery. This is the time to help Isaac skedaddle but that's a no go with a cop outside. Isaac: "Can you do something?" Mama McCall: "Me do something? I'm relatively new to all of this." Isaac says to call Derek, while I wonder why he doesn't hop out the window. They've scaled buildings before. Melissa can't go a hold of Derek. "Do you have any other emergency werewolf contacts?" Ha! Just Scott. She goes to call but is stopped by Sheriff, who needs to talk to MMC. Sheriff: "Since the amnesiac in 215 can't tell us anything, I need the girl with the modified military stun gun in 216 to answer a few questions." Bwah! Great dialogue tonight. Actually MMC overhears the whole conversation since she's draining her IV. Wait a minute. Isaac's on the second floor? Man, jump out the freaking window. Problem solved!

At school, Allison and Scott continue their awkwardness, as she sits in front of him in English class. Oh boy. Stiles gives Scott a thumbs-up for suaveness, but he's saved by everyone's phone getting a text message simultaneously. Welcome to Beacon Hills, Miss Blake. Having all your students' phone numbers on the first day of school is not creepy at all. It's a cool way to introduce the first novel though, Heart of Darkness. Foreshadowing much? She has them turn off their cell phones, right as Melissa tries to call Scott. Urgh! An orderly gives Isaac a sedative before surgery over his objections. Instantly groggy, the camera pans to her barefooted claws. Screech! Nope, this stops right here. I don't care who Shoeless is, walking barefoot on a hospital floor is the height of nasty. You might as well tramp through urinals. This squicks me out so much I want Isaac's drugs. Blech. Shoeless' eyes glow red, so it's alpha territory. Why not kill Isaac here? Or me, since Allison and Scott resort to passing notes in class. Thanks Mama McCall for putting an end to that nonsense right away by calling Scott out of school. Before he leaves, Blake warns him about attendance and Scott swears he's going to change before incorrectly using ephemeral. You've got the denotation, Scott. Work on the connotation next. Stiles however is more worried about Lydia's leg bandage. Stiles: "Is that from the accident?" Lydia: "No, Prada bit me." Stiles: "Your dog?" Lydia: "No, my designer handbag." Bwah! All that genius, all that snark. I love Lydia's potential. Let's showcase it this year. Stiles flips out about the deer and dog acting weirdly as they talk about strange things occurring in threes. Lydia pooh-poohs the idea right as a bird flies into the window. Um, an entire flock of birds. As they break through, Blake screams for everyone to get down. Are you kidding me? Get out and close the door behind you! You have to have common sense in Beacon Hills or you end up as dead as that classroom full of birds.

Which Scott misses as he heads to the hospital. Good for him. He deserves a break. Not so much Shoeless who is disappointed MMC knocked out the cop to escape. More power to her. She's the most interesting thing in this premiere and I can't get wait for her to kick more butt. Perhaps she and Allison can team up. Scott arrives and Melissa worries the werewolf action will derail his Guide to a Superior You schtick. Scott: "It's not going to stop. I'm going to be better this year. A better student, a better son, a better friend, a better everything. I promise." I love Scott's earnestness, although something tells me his new resolve will be sorely tested. As Scott heads to Isaac's room, MMC sneaks out the back. Alas, Isaac is already in surgery and healed. Both the surgeon and I think this is pointless. Scrubs Wolf wheels him out of the surgery bay while I ponder about why they didn't take him before. I honestly don't get it. However music cues on Teen Wolf are hard to miss, so the seemingly harmless blind man in the elevator with Scott immediately gives me the wiggins, especially when he uses Scott as a guide dog. Random extras don't get a villain serenade intro. Scott finally ditches Blind Guy only to see Scrubs Wolf take Isaac in the elevator. Scott rushes in before the doors close and an epic fight begins around Isaac's unconscious body. For such a tight space, Scott gets the tar beat out of him. Just as Elevator Alpha goes for the throat, monologuing all the way, Derek bowling ball grips his back and tosses him down the hallway. Strike! That's what the villain monologue gets you. And welcome back, Derek Hale. I've missed you these last 28 minutes. Derek: "Aren't you supposed to be in school?" Ha! Is Derek now Scott's dad? Love the deadpan delivery.

Speaking of dead, the police ought to build a new station on the high school campus by now. Sirens blare as Stiles picks a bird feather out of Blake's hair. Yep, typical day. I strongly suggest you run Blake. At least transfer. Things will only get worse. Except Argent and Sheriff are on the scene, so immediate upswing. Argent checks out Allison, while she exposits the weird things afoot in Beacon Hills. I'm waiting for the day nothing weird happens and no one dies or goes missing. That will be truly frightening, signifying the end of the world. Sheriff asks Argent about the animals too since he overheard Stiles talking about Argent being a hunter. Argent: "Not anymore." You break my heart, Argent. You need to share your awesomeness with the teens. Stiles instead shares the bird suicide news with Scott as Derek carries Isaac, who suffers from internal alpha wounds, into his dilapidated former home. He tells Scott he's moved (minus basic creature comforts I'm sure) and that a rival pack is in town, before nicely telling Scott to go home. He also says he owes Scott one, which in teen speak I guess means stop saving a dying werewolf's life to give me a tattoo. Yeah, I'm not feeling the priorities either. Except MMC. She's laser focused on Scott and yet keeps missing him. She shows up at the school, questions Allison and Lydia on his whereabouts, bruises them, and then flees when she sees Alpha Twins. Yeah not weird at all. Allison starts to follow her but Argent pops in to give them a ride and reiterate that they are no longer hunters. At this point, Argent should adopt Lydia and end the charade that she actually has parents. That one time her dad showed up could have been a fever dream, right? No? Then ship them off to London with Jackson. She deserves better.

Like Sheriff Dad, who's having a bad day too. Stymied, he goes to Vet Boss for help. Alas, all he gets for his trouble is more weird animal behavior, an entire room of suicide cats. It's disgusting, which we trade off for boring. I know Tattoo is the title, but must we really spend so much time on it? Derek sees Scott's lame tattoo vestiges, Scott dust doodles, and we get tattoo etymology AGAIN. It means "to mark something" in Tahitian and "open wound" in Samoan, not that you care. Scott wants the tattoo as a reward for not calling Allison over the summer, so it's a symbol of their love and loss and tragic…sorry, the sound went all Charlie Brown on me. Wahn, wahn, wahn….Allison is his open wound. Biggest momentum killer of the season and its only the premiere. Thankfully Derek brings out a blowtorch to end the maudlin. Stiles tries to leave, but Derek stops him. Somehow scrawny Stiles is supposed to hold his in pain, werewolf best friend down. It isn't a fantasy show for nothing. Derek wasn't kidding when he said it would hurt. I've seen torture scenes less painful to watch. Yikes! That's some tattoo commitment. Scott eventually passes out but awakens to a bright, shiny, still ridiculous tattoo to confuse all future sexual partners with. Hope he comes up with a passable story quickly. He does use the word of the day, ephemeral, one more time so at least he'll have a good vocabulary. The anvils of title symbolism crash down so no one misses them. Tattoos are permanent; life ephemeral; this scene interminable. Yet it must not have taken too long or MMC stopped to take in a few classes in her flight. She heads to the locker room where her best defense is a broken broom handle. Odds are not in your favor, honey. Perhaps slipping out the back door is a better plan. No? Oh well.

Meanwhile Scott's distracted by new paint on the front door. Derek's hiding something so Scott practices for a job in paint removal, revealing an Alpha Nazi symbol. Derek explains an Alpha pack is in town. "Alpha pack" will never make sense, given the whole idea of alphas, but they have Erica and Boyd. Peter, Isaac, and Derek have been looking for them to no avail. Scott reasonably asks how to take down an entire pack of alphas. Derek: "With all the help I can get." Yeah, you guys are in trouble, but you're not the only ones. Isaac wakes to ask about "the girl." Derek: "What girl?" The girl who's currently kicking butt surrounded by alphas. I love this chick. Spoke too soon. Shoeless claws her across the face but former Blind Guy, now named Deucalion, is the real threat. He villain monologues as she spouts the super special Scott routine again, claiming Deucalion is afraid of him. Deucalion moustache twirls: "I'm aware of a certain potential threat, but then someone once taught me a very smart way to eliminate threats. Get someone else to do it for you." MMC: "Derek." Me: "Nooooo!!!!" An alpha rivalry between Scott and Derek? How lame! Why can't they both be leaders, strengthening each other's weaknesses? Gah! I'm so distraught over this reveal I almost miss Deucalion slicing MMC's throat with his claws. Really? She was a great potential character. I want to know more about her than the main characters frankly. Such a waste, especially as we flash over to Allison and Lydia and their mysterious pattern bruising. Yep, you heard that right. MMC is so skilled, she even leaves clues in bruises she creates. It leads to where Boyd and Erica presumably are being held.

Considering how rapid paced the pilot was and all the main event episodes after it, this premiere was a bit of a letdown. On any other show, it would have been exciting stuff, but there was far too much exposition, long monologues, and general taffy-slow scenes for this to be a quality Teen Wolf premiere. I understand the characters have had 4 months of healing and change since we saw them last but even the humor was few and far between. The saving grace was that much of the dialogue (not monologue) was well-written and the idea of an Alpha pack, no matter how bizarre, offers the show many directions to go in. How it ties to Animals Behaving Badly is intriguing as well. I still can't believe they presumably killed off a character who I thought would be recurring at the least, and an important player at the most though. Maybe it only looked like a death blow. Right? Perhaps as the story continues, we'll learn more about her and why she came. What info does she have for Scott? Who sent her? What do they know about Beacon Hills and how? This premiere did do its job in that it set up interest for the stories to come. I just wish it did it with more traditional Teen Wolf flair.


Grade:

For a premiere: C-
For Teen Wolf as a whole: B-


Best scene - Mystery Motorcycle Chick saves Isaac
Best reason to watch - sets up the alpha pack mytharc
MVP - Mystery Motorcycle Chick
Words of the week - ephemeral and tattoo
Most missed - Peter, then Jackson
Best reason to fast forward - tie - monologues / Scott and Allison awkwardness
Biggest Shock - Alpha twins combine ("Wonder Twin powers activate.")


Screencaps by  Screencapped.net


About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and creates polls for Sleepy Hollow, Arrow, White Collar, Grimm, Teen Wolf, and others. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, co-hosts the Sleepy Hollow "Headless" Podcast for Southgate Media Group, and guests on ArrowCast for DVMPE.   Right now she is creating a Last Week in TV column for her blog and others. ~ "I speak TV."

Monday, December 23, 2013

White Collar - 5.07 - Quantico Closure - Recap



Previously - Hagen blackmailed Neal into stealing the Musconi codex, Moz and Neal decided translating the codex first was the best way to get rid of Hagen, Peter found an FBI pen in Mozzie's chiropractor's office, El was nervous for Peter since Seigel's death, and Rebecca agreed to help Moz and Neal.

Outside a barber shop, Neal meets with a chipper and dapper Peter, all smiles because it's the anniversary of El and his first date and they're going to relive that date tonight. Awww. Peter: "I'm making it a point to remember all the anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, the day we brought Satchmo home from the breeders…" Obviously, Seigel's death didn't just affect El. Neal snarks but Peter counters, "Dec. 7th." Neal: "Pearl Harbor Day?" Peter: "Another day that will live in infamy - first time I arrested you." Neal: "And 4 years later, we did it all over again, but this time you gave me jewelry." Neal adjusts his pant leg to reveal the anklet as I laugh. Fun abruptly ends though as Peter questions Neal about the FBI pen he found. Neal denies any knowledge but he's shaken by how close Peter is already. Later that night Peter reveals what a romantic he is, wooing El with the surveillance pictures he took of her holding up the "I Love Italian." sign. Love that meet cute story. Peter asks if she used the sign approach often, but nope - only to ward off stalkers. El: "Did you ever think where you would be if you didn't walk into my gallery that day?" Peter: "Nope, never. Too scary to think about." Wow, Peter knows exactly what to say. I adore small Peter and El moments, away from the chaos. Sadly they must end. When the talk turns to Seigel, a waiter appears with 2 glasses of bourbon from Peter's ex during his Quantico days. Uh oh! Jill realizes she interrupted something, but El invites her to join them. Bad move. Jill and Peter chit chat about the past as El chokes down the bourbon with a wine chaser. I feel your pain, El. I do enjoy the Quantico toast though. Peter: "Truth, justice…" Jill: "…and stay out of our way." Ha!

Meanwhile Neal charms his own date by inviting a duly impressed Rebecca up to his flat. Rebecca: "It's like a good book I'm finally getting to read. I can't believe you live here." Neal: "I just rent the epilogue." Neal shows Rebecca the codex copy and she freaks out that it is a real Musconi. She exposits Musconi history as they deduce that the pages make a picture of a stained glass window. Not sure how Moz and Neal missed that, especially since it's reminiscent to how Kate communicated with Neal. Not buying this as anything but plot device. Rebecca however gets so excited she kisses Neal, and right on time, Mozzie walks in. Guess Neal and Peter both have unwanted visitors. I however am good with Moz interruptions. Rebecca not so much; she can't leave quickly enough. I still maintain that she is a con artist herself, because she makes all the long con moves Neal taught us over the years. I'm not sure if she is being blackmailed by Hagen as well though. That would be a good twist. Regardless, Moz is less than delighted at Neal's growing relationship. Moz: "You, business, and women - the unholy trinity." Ha, so true. Neal denies it but Moz is no fool. "Oh, like I've never seen this before. Kate, Alex, Sarah, now Rebecca. There's more behind this than the codex." Neal: "So you're an expert on romance now?" Moz: "One who has loved not wisely, but too well." Neal: "Othello." Moz: "Yeah, we all know how that turned out." About as well as Peter and El's anniversary date. Peter extols Jill's virtues, which doesn't exactly go over well so it's time for some backtracking. "But you’re the reason I'm the man I am today." Good save. Peter: "I couldn't have gotten through this past year without you…or any year." Aw! Reconciliation, and my favorite TV couple are back on track….for a hot second.

The next morning, Peter exposits a lead in the Seigel case. Someone is using an FBI badge to steal cars. Peter: "I want you and Jones on this, two people I trust. Well, one and a half." Bwah! Peter's not near so together though as Jill walks into the office and Neal turns the tables. Neal: "You seem nervous." Peter: "Just leave. Just leave." Yeah, that's got Neal's interest, especially since Jill knows all about him. Jill: "Neal Caffrey." Neal: "Do we know each other?" Jill: "Jill Stone. I stayed up all night reading the case files of you two. Couldn't put it down." Neal: "The good ones keep you up at night." Jill: "Um hmm, the bad ones even longer." Hmm. I kind of like her. She's sassy. Plus she leads to the funniest moment in White Collar history. As Peter invites Jill in, Neal and Jones read their body language from below. Jones: "Tell me we're looking at the same thing." Neal: "Peter Burke, uncomfortable." Jones: "That's not his natural state." They put clues together as Jill exposits the Geek terrorist case she's working and I gasp for breath. Neal: "Woah." Jones: "What?" Neal: "They slept together." Jones: "Peter?" Neal: "Not recently." Jones: "Ah, you know I heard he had a pretty serious relationship with a female agent down at Quantico. She joined SSG." Neal: "The CIA of the FBI." Jones: "Those are some bad a** agents." Best way to do exposition in a series ever. Jill leaves so Neal and Jones pretend they're doing something else. Jones: "She left Peter with a lot to think about." Neal: "Unh hnh." Peter, aware of their interest, yells down, "Get back to work." Neal and Jones both do innocent face as I roar. Funniest reaction of the year! Bwaahhh!!! Still business awaits and Neal suggests a sting to capture the faux Fed.

However, there's no dodging Neal for Peter. As they head out, he's got questions. Peter: "Jill's just an FBI agent who needs help on a case. That's it. End of story." Neal: "You never look at Jones like that." Ha! In desperation, Peter turns to the case, which Neal takes full advantage of. "Alright Jones and I are going to cruise Brooklyn tonight in sheep's clothing, but…" Peter: "What?" Neal: "The wolves need a sleeker wardrobe." And pow, Neal gets the BMW. Score! Things go less well for Peter as he starts telling El about Jill, but gets sidetracked by wine. Peter: "What kind of wine is this?" El: "Oh that's the bottle Mozzie gave us last Christmas, you were afraid to open." Peter: "Still am." Bwah! I would be too. Sadly Jill interrupts dinner AGAIN to gather Peter for surveillance. Not a great way to break the news to El, especially since Peter can't tell her what the case is about, a rarity for the Burkes. El says she's okay with it but it's a bald-faced lie. There's trouble in the Burkeville, which is a shame since I'd really like Jill as a character if her sole purpose were not creating contrived drama. Not cool. Jill and Peter banter about her living in her car and Peter's career aspirations before Jill brings up Seigel. She can relate; her partner died in the line of fire. She grabs Peter's hand in sympathy and I feel an imminent eye roll. Good thing Geek terrorist leaves his hotel at that moment. They plant a gun in his room while Geek re-enters. That's one oblivious terrorist. Good thing Jill and Peter aren't. They see a van tailing them and take a self-picture like a couple to get their faces. Yeah, this won't end well. Meanwhile, Jones and Neal cruise NYC in a much better vehicle. Jones: "Chasing the bad guys in a sweet ride just like Crockett and Tubbs. I am living the dream." Neal: "Did you base your entire future on Miami Vice?" Bwah! And that's a bad thing? After driving 3 hours, they finally find the right neighborhood. Neal product places the BMW's special features as the thief walks up, Jones busts him, and Neal confirms that he has Seigel's id. Back at the office, Peter and Jones grill the thief, but he found the gun and badge in the trash. Another dead end.

An obviously upset Peter returns home to a waiting El, but he says it's classified to El's chagrin. I get that he can't tell El about the terrorism case, but he could talk about Seigel. Just saying. It's evident El is off put by the whole ex scenario when she brings Peter's lunch the next day. Of course, he's in a private meeting with Jill when she does. My eyes roll so hard I'm dizzy. Neal sympathizes. El: "Why aren't you in there?" Neal: "Uh, scratched off the need-to-know list." El: "Yeah, me too." Neal: "Come on, let's go in." El: "No, Neal, I'm not that kind of wife." Neal: "Well I'm definitely that kind of CI." El nixes the idea to my chagrin. I'd love to see Neal stirring the pot like a pesky brother here. El surmises that Jill's lonely; I surmise that she's a plot device. Neal: "Well she lives out of a '86 Chevy. I doubt she throws a lot of dinner parties." Ha! Her social skills aren't stellar either. El waxes nostalgic about loving Peter as he argues with Jill about including Jones on the case. It's filler that's only purpose is for El to see the self-portrait of Jill and Peter from earlier while White Collar turns into a nighttime soap. Argh!!! Why? El leaves as Peter looks worried. He should be. Neal: "Did you call her?" Peter: "I did. El couldn't have been sweeter." Neal: "That's good. Right?" Peter: "That's terrible. When she's upset with me, she makes herself irresistible and unavailable." Neal: "Oh nice technique." Neal suggests he go home to talk to El, but Peter's worried he will be called away by Jill while there. Yeah, that would not be good. Neal then suggests putting another agent on the case, but Peter shoots it down too. Neal: "Okay, is it about the case or is it about Jill?" Good question. Peter: "I can talk to Jill about losing David. She's been through it herself." Neal: "And you don't want to worry El any more than she already is." Peter: "I don't. She's been through enough this year." While I see Peter's point, this is only backfiring on him. Time for a new approach.

Better yet, time for a Mozzie break. He suggests El follow Peter, but she says she trusts him. Moz: "You can trust truffles harvested in the Perigord region, bed linens hand-woven in Madeira, and for the most part, a teddy bear named Mozart…but people? Almost never." Aww, I miss Mozart. El: "You trust Neal." Moz: "Neal is the reason never was preceded by almost." And again, awww. Moz and El argue over tailing Peter until Moz goes for the jugular. "Then follow the woman or does your intrepid faith in the Suit extend to her as well?" This will NOT end well. El is sold, but for inexplicably Mozzie bails on the fun stuff. He says bunion removal; I call directing conflicts, but we get Neal in his place and there's never enough Neal and El time either. El tracks the hotel from the picture on a product placed tablet but Neal is skeptical. Neal: "I hear she stays at the '86 Caprice." Bwah! El isn't sidetracked by jokes though. El: "I saw a picture of them in front of this hotel. Close. Extremely close. I mean she looked smitten but he looked like he wanted to go home." Neal: "Cause he's in love with you." El: "I know that. What I don't know is her intentions with him. I mean he's not an ordinary man but he is a man." Neal tries to talk El out of going as the case could be dangerous but she emotionally blackmails Neal in a fair bit on con work herself. Everyone has picked up Neal skills these days. Meanwhile, Jones keeps track on the lunch-bound mercenaries from the van. It doesn't seem fishy to just Jones, but there's more Burke relationship talk as the action standstills. Jill asks about El leaving the office so quickly but Peter downplays it. Peter: "Yeah she was just dropping by a sandwich." Jill: "Sweet. I depend on the kindness of delivery guys." Ha! Again Jill would be a fun character if they didn't shoehorn her in for drama. They argue about Jones again and Jill gets antsy to jumpstart the meeting.

As Peter and Jill enter the hotel with a bag full of money, Neal and El arrive. Neal: "Look, they're probably not even here. Okay, they're here. That is not what it looked like." El: "It better not be." Talk about contrived timing. El and Neal follow but they aren't at the bar, making everything appear even more hinky. El: "You know I really thought I was going to see both of them sitting on stools so close to each other they were touching. You know, Peter having a beer and…and Jill having whatever women have when they're sitting with someone else's husband." Neal: "Alright, don't jump to conclusions." El: "Too late. Already jumped." I would too, El, if they weren't blatantly selling false goods here. Neal: "Wait at the bar. I'll pull a room number out of the desk clerk….if there is a room number." Good save, Neal. Love the reactions in this episode. As Neal tracks down Peter, Jones realizes they lost the mercenaries. He tries to call Peter but Jill turns off his phone in a stunning bit of idiocy. That doesn't even make sense. Urgh! The whole team does head to the hotel though, where El sees Geek and flirts badly with him because everyone is painfully awkward and brain dead this episode. It's one of the most uncomfortable scenes in the whole show. El comes off as a pushy high end prostitute and Geek makes Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory look socially astute. Thankfully the guy is kidnapped after putting a computer chip in El's phone. Neal finds the chip and they pursue Geek. Sadly, Peter and Jill find him with the mercenaries first and their honeymooners excuse doesn't fly. Unlike everyone else, the mercenaries aren't suffering from a case of Stupids so they change their story to rival buyers betraying each other and Peter bribes them into working for North Korea.

While Peter tries to grab the stashed gun without attracting attention, Neal and El listen outside in the hall. Neal wants El to get to safety but she's having none of that. They compromise. El goes in as a distraction while Neal sneaks in through the other door. A better plan would be calling Jones to let him know what's up but hey, I've never been kidnapped and these two are old pros now. What do I know? Best part though is that Mozzie and Neal have a gizmo to break into any electronic padlock. That's all kinds of future trouble. El marches in with the chip as Peter freaks out that she's there. Meanwhile Neal plans to take out bad guys holding guns with a room service knife. Um, not liking the odds. Good thing the mercenaries are distracted by El's tossed phone so Neal can slide across the floor, baseball style, to slice through Peter's restraints. He grabs the gun while Jill clobbers a bad guy with her chair. 10 seconds later Jones storms in with the cavalry. Peter: "El, that was incredible but don't do anything like that again." El: "I don't know if I can promise that." Neal: "Another typical day at White Collar." Bwah! And here I originally didn't think there would be enough exciting white collar crime to last 5 seasons. Back at the office, Jill and Peter wrap up the case and their former relationship nicely. They exchange compliments and banter about the past. More importantly they call each other out. Peter says Jill ran from their relationship 20 years ago and Jill says Peter is using excuses to keep from his dream job. They're both right. Jill leaves open the possibility of returning and I agree, provided she doesn't stoke Burke drama anymore. It was silly and tiresome. Jill: "Maybe I'll bring my El with me - male edition." Peter: "Good luck finding one. She's one in a million." Agreed and writers, please remember so as to not make her into a psycho jealous wife again please. She's better than that.

Jill ends the conversation by telling Peter to talk to El about Seigel and luckily Peter takes her advice. It was the elephant in the room, and likely a large reason why this whole episode went sideways. What I treasure about the Burkes is that they come off as a real life couple, but one that respects and roots for each other. The lack of communication and jealous female trope does not work in their relationship. Thank goodness the Burkes are really communicating again. Neal and Rebecca, on the other hand, are in the midst of game playing. Neal leads a blindfolded Rebecca through NYC, making her massively uncomfortable. Rebecca: "You know, you should know that walking the streets of New York blind is a recurring nightmare of mine." Hmm. A psychologist would have a field day with that one. However all is forgiven when Neal shows her the stained glass window from the codex. Rebecca leans into Neal, overcome by its beauty…or because she's a con artist making a play - you pick. She talks about her unprofessional response and Neal falls for it hook, line, and sinker before he kisses her back. There's absolutely no way Rebecca is as innocent in this as she's playing it. No way! But she's not the only mystery left. In his office, Peter takes out a business card he finds in Seigel's id case. On the back says "Cooper3?" and Peter stares at it intently. I really, really hope Seigel wasn't on the take with Hagen too. I liked that guy. It would make all Neal's machinations seem more justified if he were, and that is the White Collar way, but I'd rather have Rebecca working for Hagen under duress than Seigel.

Overall this was not my favorite episode of White Collar. The melodrama was far too contrived both in the Burke relationship and in the case itself. My logical side was placed on hold far too many times, so much that it made the show less enjoyable. I think Jill could have been a real asset, especially since Diana is on maternity leave, but they ended up going the typical ex route instead of highlighting the competent, kick butt agent she is. I wouldn't mind her becoming a recurring character but only if they use her as an asset, not a plot device. Also jealous El was way too much and for the first time I found myself wishing she had less screen time when usually I am crying for the opposite. Probably the best thing in the episode was Jones and Neal working a case together. I like how they are mixing up the pairs more this season so we get to see a wide variety of character interaction. It makes those scenes more interesting. I also love that Jones has a bigger part, even if he was relegated to the van once more.  Glad he doesn't spend too much time their anymore.  Last, a big shout out to Willie Garson for directing this episode.  While I have problems with its writing, I enjoyed the directing.

Grade: C

Screencaps by Screencapped.net and kanarek13


About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and creates polls for Sleepy Hollow, Arrow, White Collar, Grimm, Teen Wolf, and others. She's addicted to Twitter and co-hosts the Sleepy Hollow "Headless" Podcast for Southgate Media Group and guests on ArrowCast for DVMPE. Right now she is creating a This Week in TV weekly segment for her blog and maybe others. ~ "I speak TV."