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."

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