Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Teen Wolf - 3.13 - Anchors - Recap

Previously - Stiles, Allison, and Scott sacrificed themselves for their parents. This gave the nematon power so it attracts supernatural creatures. It also means that they will have a darkness inside them. Oh and Scott become a true alpha. Oh goodie. Moving on.

A restless Stiles thrashes on his bed, obviously distressed. He keeps whispering, "No, don't let them in." He "wakes" to find himself in a gym locker, which generally means bullies, but Stiles is alone…and barefoot. Nice. I thought we finished this squickiness with Shoeless' death. He enters a broken up classroom to find the nematon smack in the middle. When he goes to touch it, roots take hold of his arm which sends him gasping out of the nightmare and into Lydia's arms…say what? Lydia's spending the night? Yeah, I don't think so. "Dream within a dream" indeed. Stiles questions Lydia's presence as well but then the bedroom door opens so he goes to close it over Lydia's strenuous objections. It's like he hasn't lived a horror movie for 2 years now. Still, he can't let them in. Lydia and I wonder who "they" are. She begs him to come back, but Stiles opens the door leading to the woods and the nematon again. This time it's spotlighted by a ring of stadium lights. Stiles tells himself it's just a dream and starts rubbing his head frantically. It works. He wakes right as Sheriff Dad tells him to get to school. In Teen Wolf's brightest lit scene ever, Stiles delivers the lesson of the week to Scott. Sleep paralysis is the body's way of not actually moving even when moving in your dreams. If you wake suddenly from REM sleep, your body takes a few seconds to unfreeze your muscles (muscle atonia), making you feel paralyzed. Makes sense. Stiles and Scott talk about the nematon in the school hallway, again, and Stiles suggests it is still effecting them. Scott calls PTSD, but we all know its supernatural. Stiles: "You want to know what scares me the most? I'm not even sure this is real." The scene suddenly goes dark again as Stiles screams in terror. Sheriff Dad runs in to comfort him as I go find where my heart leapt off to. Yikes! Sheriff Dad holds him tight to calm him. Poor, poor baby! This episode is going to be brutal. Long for a Teen Wolf opener, this sequence showcases how talented Dylan O'Brien is. Amazing performance! Kudos for selling it the whole way through. What a great way to set up the darker mood of 3B and create tension immediately.

Happily Scott looks nightmare-free as he packs up to go to school. Um, but he has sprouted shadow claws. Huh? Scott flips out too but when he unclenches his hand, his shadow turns to normal. For some reason Isaac lurks outside his door, so I guess he still lives there. That will get awkward. This is very awkward. He asks if Scott is mad at him, which Scott denies but is unsure the second time asked. I'm unsure how much time's passed and what exactly Isaac is doing with Allison. This conversation clears none of that up. Isaac: "Do you hate me?" Scott: "No, of course not." Isaac: "Do you want to hit me?" Scott: "No." Isaac: "I think you should hit me." Huh? This conversation goes full-out bizarre, especially from a formerly abused kid. Scott is just as perplexed. "I don't want to hit you." Well, until Isaac admits he wants to kiss Allison. Then he goes flying into the wall. Enter Mama McCall: "Hey, you two supernatural teenage boys, don't test my entirely un-supernatural level of patience." Bwah! I hear you, Mama. Isaac to Scott: "Feel better." Ha! Stiles doesn't. In the aftermath of his terror-filled night, he packs up his books but suddenly the letters scramble. Allies and Axis becomes Dalesi Xis Anla. His hands shake like the beginning of a panic attack as Sheriff Dad enters. He's obviously worried but Stiles shakes it off. Stiles: "Dad, seriously I'm fine. It was just a nightmare." He deflects the conversation to the box Sheriff holds, the one with the "Sheriff's station, do not remove" tape on it, which Stiles points out. Sheriff: "Well yeah, unless you're the sheriff." Good point. Kind of. Not really. Hmm…. That's 2 parents down, one to go. Allison races out the door in a very short skirt. She yells back to Argent, but he doesn't show which is probably good for her. No time for a wardrobe change. The elevator suddenly gets frigid and goes dark, leading to an ominous hospital hallway. Allison, like Stiles before her, pushes into the darkest corners, leading to the morgue. A body cooler door labeled Kate Argent opens and Allison heads right to it. This can't be good. PsychoAunt was Deucalion level nuts. Recapitations show Kate's not so greatest hits as Allison resolves herself to look inside. I'd hightail it out of there, especially when PsychoAunt crawls through. Allison finally runs straight into…

Lydia at the high school? Lydia: "Allison, are you okay?" No one's okay. At least we're back in the land of overly bright lighting. Scott pulls in on his dirt bike in a nod to Tattoo. This time though it isn't motorcycle envy he's suffering from. His helmet's reflection shows glowing red eyes, although Scott's eyes are actually normal. His shadow however is not. It's more SuperWolf's evil cousin. Sucks to literally be afraid of your own shadow, but I'd freak too. Scott side steps the stairs, eyes on WolfHulk shadow in an intricate dance of terror until he literally runs into Stiles. Stiles: "Hey, hey, are you alright?" Can we all agree the answer is always no and move on. Scott tries to deny it, but it's time to lay all cards on the table. Stiles: "No, you're not. It's happening to you too. You're seeing things, aren't you?" Scott asks how Stiles knows as Lydia and Allison walk up. Lydia: "Because it's happening to all three of you." Perhaps trying to sniff out the parents would have been a better Plan A. Just saying. Speaking of parents, Sheriff creates his own wall of weird in his office. He tags the full moon on a calendar and tacks a picture of Malia Tate to it. It's a cold case that still haunts him. Back at school, the group continues their tradition of discussing the bizarre in the middle of a crowd. Lydia: "Well, well, look who's no longer the crazy one." I'm not sure why the entire student body doesn't find them deranged. Allison says they aren't crazy but evidence points elsewhere. Lydia: "Hallucinating, sleep paralysis…yeah, you guys are fine." Scott says its consequences of dying. Stiles: "We keep an eye on each other, okay, and Lydia stop enjoying this so much." Hey she deserves to bask in her newly normal status. She's played crazy for over 2 seasons now. I like this turn of events. Not so much the new history teacher who delights in mortifying his daughter Kira by highlighting that she has no friends yet. Thanks dad. That'll help. I empathize with the literal head-desk slam she does. Clueless doesn't cover it. Neither does starting at the turn of the 20th century yet having notes about World War 2 on the board. Sigh. Scott is distracted from staring at Kira by the re-emergence of ShadowWolfHulk, but blinks it away.

Suddenly, it switches to Lydia, Allison, and Isaac painting. Huh? Ah, Isaac plays the stalker role tonight and Lydia is an art therapist, helping to steady Allison's shaking hands. She hasn't been able to shoot properly because of it. ANOTHER recapitation of PsychoAunt later, Lydia suggests Allison start over. She refocuses, but clearly things are not improving for any of them. Stiles stumbles over his combination lock when the numbers change to symbols as Scott tries positive thinking. Stiles: "Yeah try not to forget we hit the reset button on a supernatural beacon for supernatural creatures. I think there's a pretty good chance of things never going back to normal." Yikes! That's dire. As Stiles freaks out, Scott overhears Bad Teacher thinking he helped Kira. How clueless can you be? She'd rather be set on fire than humiliated like that again. She looks over at Scott and he starts wolfing out. Stiles: "Whoa dude, your eyes." Scott: "What about them?" Stiles says they're glowing red and both panic because Scott can't control it. Stiles: "Alright, just keep your head down. Look down." Stiles covers Scott's head and they totally do not look suspicious at all walking into a classroom. Neither does Kira staring at them by the way. Yeah, she
knows something. As Scott and Stiles enter the classroom, Scott warns him to stay back because he doesn't want to hurt him. Reminiscent of season 1, it shows how much Scott still fears losing control and hurting those he loves. He claws his own hands and roars (which no one else hears), but it works. Season 1 lesson - pain makes them human. Stiles kneels by Scott, worried. "Scott this isn't just in our heads. This is real. It's starting to get bad for me too. I'm not just having nightmares. I'm having these dreams where I have to literally scream myself awake and sometimes I'm not even sure if I'm ever actually waking up." Scott asks for clarification and Stiles says you can't read in your dreams. Not true but let's go with it here. Stiles is suffering from instant dyslexia. He rises to pronounce, "I can't read a thing." From the extended word montage and wailing strings music, I guess this is should be as momentous as the Darach reveal, but it just comes off as cheesy.

Luckily, it's back to the cheery bright woods. Did turning on the nematon make it a sun source too? The contrast is glaring this episode. Lydia hangs a paper target on a tree so that Allison can practice. Allison: "Do you really think this is going to help?" Lydia: "I know that if you think it isn't going to help, it definitely won't." Since when has Lydia become a power of positive thinking guru? Even I know hands shaking that badly won't hit anything. Two in the dirt later and Lydia suggests Allison use a Mongolian Draw approach instead. Allison and I both stare. Lydia: "What? I read." Ah. Still it doesn't work, so she turns to sports psychology and visualizing techniques. When Allison opens her eyes, the light has significantly dimmed and she sees someone running in the distance. Lydia not so much. Allison tells Lydia to wait there as she runs off. Terrible idea. No more running off alone anyone and that goes for your MIA dad too. Lydia: "Are you serious?" Allison: "I'll be right back." Lydia: "You did not just say that." Yeah, not going to end well. The forest turns to night. PsychoAunt taunts Allison, who preps her bow. The scene instantly goes light again, as Isaac barely catches the arrow before it enters Lydia's eye. I'm usually anti-arrow catching, but nice job Isaac! Allison un-trances to her abject horror. Isaac recaps the incident to Scott, who misses the essential point of Lydia almost dying. Isaac: "Whatever's happening to you guys is getting worse, and if I hadn't been there then Lydia would be dead." Scott: "What were you doing there?" Isaac flies into the wall again. Way to prioritize the love triangle. Gah!!! Once again Melissa comes to my rescue before my eyes roll right out of my head. Melissa: "Aw you guys come on. This house does not have a supernatural ability to heal, so stop it." Isaac just sighs and smiles. Bwaaahhh!

Back at the police station, Stiles carries a gorgeous bouquet for his mom's grave. He complains that last time they were stolen. "A hundred bucks down the drain." Sheriff doesn't appear to pay attention as he's on the floor surrounded by files. Stiles: "Hey dad, I…what…what are you doing down there?" Stiles soft voices like his dad is nuts. Bwah! Sheriff: "Working and hey, if someone wants flowers that badly, they can have them. It's the gesture." Aww, he was paying attention in a Mad Hatter like way. Sheriff explains that he's going through cold case files "from a more illuminated perspective," and there's a kanima pile. Ha! Now both father and son worry about each other. Stiles: "Right but are you sure you want to go down that path?" Sheriff: "Do I have a choice?" He fixates on the Malia Tate case because her body was never found. He now suspects a werewolf because it was the night of the full moon. That is suspicious, but not near as suspicious as all the boxes packed up to be shipped to Scott's DoucheDad. Sheriff: "Yeah, we probably need to talk about that." Not good. So not good…what? No explanation here? Not fair, Teen Wolf. Stiles is back in class, but a deaf girl sits in his seat or perhaps he popped into a Stepford Kids scenario. The entire class is silent, including Coach. Yeah, something is definitely off. Coach signs while Stiles is stymied. Stiles: "I don't…I don't actually know sign language. Actually, I didn't…I didn't even know that you knew sign language or that…that was even an elective here. Well this has been good. I'm probably going to…uh, head out." As Stiles leaves, the entire class signs the same thing, picking up the pace as Coach looks terrified and a high pitch beep sounds. Ah now that's the Coach I know, blowing his whistle and shouting. Coach: "I asked you a question." Stiles: "Uh, sorry Coach. What was it?" Coach: "Oh it was uh, 'Stilinski, are you paying attention back there?" Bwah! Coach: "Stilinski, stop reminding me why I drink every night." Ha! I love Coach. Stiles tells a worried Scott that he was just napping but Scott counters. Stiles' whole paper is filled with the words, "Wake up!"

Finally it's so bad they can't pretend anymore. What's a bunch of kids losing their minds to do? Why talk about it on the quad so everyone hears, of course. Scott asks what happens to people experiencing their symptoms. Isaac: "They're all locked up because they're insane." Ha! Way to bottom line it, Isaac. Alas Stiles takes exception. Isaac: "For half of my childhood I was locked in a freezer so being helpful is kind of a new thing for me." Stiles: "Okay, do we…are you still milking that?" Isaac: "We are still milking that." Luckily Kira the new girl interrupts with a timely example of why these conversations are best in PRIVATE!!! About time someone nails them on loose lips. She blathers about Buddhist bardo, but the most important thing is Scott remembers her name. I mean it's not like she's giving them a clue on what's happening or anything. She talks demons and death with a smile, because she's new to Beacon Hills and doesn't get it yet. Some in the fandom are predisposed to hate her, but she's the first person to give answers right away. She can stay. Unless she's evil. We already have enough crazy. Speaking of He Who Rarely Shares, Scott and Stiles head to VetBoss. "It sounds like your subconscious is trying to communicate with you." Stiles: "Well how do I tell my subconscious to use a language that I actually know?" Ha! VetBoss interprets Stiles' crazy sign language brain clues into a riddle - When is a door not a door? When it is a jar. Stiles: "You're kidding me. A riddle. My subconscious wants to tell me a riddle." Better lay off those Laffy Taffy, Stiles. VetBoss says their underwater breathing exercise left their minds open and they need to close it. Cool. How? Stiles: "No wait a sec. I know that look. That's the 'we know exactly what's wrong with you, but we have no idea how to fix it' look." Great VetBoss. You're still no help.

Scott however is…at least to Sheriff Dad who wants him to track the scent of the girl who went missing 8 years ago. Honey, do you not watch this show? They couldn't even track a gutted and bleeding Derek back to his own house. You're aiming way too high here. Plus, you've hit Mama McCall levels of inappropriate. She introduced your son to his childhood friend's dead body in a morgue visit. Now you want Scott to find the mauled and decaying body of a little girl. Does no one think about consequences on this show? These kids are going to be scarred for life! The plan is for Sheriff to distract the girl's father by tearing open old wounds, while Scott and Stiles trample like elephants upstairs. Seriously, stealth needs to be a word of the week. Sadly Scott cannot track the scent because the whole place smells of dog - the dog that interrupts their noisy entrance, growling. Stiles: "Hi puppy. Get rid of it." Scott: "Me? Stiles: "Yes you. Glow your eyes at it. Something. Be the alpha." Ha! Scott can't control it so he tries to pet the dog instead. Scott: "Nice doggie." Stiles rolls his eyes at Scott's solution but I laugh so hard I can barely breathe. BWAH! The dog barks like crazy until Mr. Tate yells at it. Then it meekly stops barking and leaves. BWAAAHH!!! Stiles hands Scott an Series of Unfortunate Events book but nada. Not going to be able to track her that way. For some reason Stiles snaps a picture of Malia before they sneak out. Sheriff, however, gets kicked out. Mr. Tate has already suffered enough. Way to make a bad situation worse! Sheriff reconvenes with the boys to commiserate, but it's basically filler to ask one question. Scott: "Aren't there a lot of cases that go unsolved?....Why is it so important now?" Stiles: "Well he wants to be able to solve one more while he's still sheriff." Yeah. Family bombshell coming. Duck.

That night Melissa walks in on Scott yelling at DoucheDad, who returned to gather evidence to impeach Sheriff. Yeah, he won't be popular with anyone. While the show completely glosses over how this is not even in the realm of possible, my logical brain cannot let it go. Since when can the FBI impeach a county sheriff? They have no jurisdiction here. None. The last time Sheriff was suspended, the county council decided it. The taxpayers and they are the only people who can get rid of a sheriff and even then there has to be a vote. If they do not clarify and make this plausible soon, it will be my big pet peeve of 3B. You have been warned. Melissa has no sympathy towards DoucheDad either. Wonder why, you deadbeat. Things go sideways rapidly as Scott's claws come out and Melissa realizes she needs to get him away. Melissa: "Scott sweetheart, calm down. Come with me right now." They get to the stairs. Melissa: "You told me that you and Stiles learned a way to control this. You find an anchor right? Find your anchor." Scott: "My anchor was Allison. I don't have Allison anymore." Melissa: "Then be your own anchor. You can do this." Scott gets under control, but Melissa isn't done being awesome. She gives the best speech in Teen Wolf history. Melissa: "Sweetheart, let me tell you something no teenager ever believes but I swear to you is the absolute truth. You fall in love more than once. It'll happen again, and it will be just as amazing and as extraordinary as the first time and maybe just as painful. But it'll happen again, I promise. And until then, be your own anchor." Brava, Mama McCall! You rock! Don't ever change! Well, maybe install a home security system. Scott's out at night again. That boy needs a bell. Stiles: "Hi. What's going on?" Scott: "You and me, we're going to go out and find a body. A dead body." Thanks for clarifying, Scott. I thought you meant live body - a little clubbing, need a wingman. Isn't this what got you both in trouble in the pilot?

Guess Isaac doesn't need a wingman though; he and Allison get pretty hot and heavy. Well until she brings up Scott. Why exactly does that not phase Isaac? Why is he convincing her that Scott's moved on? Oh because we need shirtless Isaac tonight. And it's a dream. PsychoAunt puts a garrote around Isaac's neck, asking Allison to add a little knife action. How very Darach of her. This scene is definitely not worth the angst it caused online last summer. Allison wakes up gasping next to a crashed out Lydia, who does not even wake up. Really? Even more startling, the knife from the dream is under her back. How in the world could she sleep like that? Over in the woods, our intrepid body hunters debate the possibility of yet another werewolf in the area. Oh please no. Not again. Stiles: "And if it turns out to be something like triplets who form into like a three headed hound of hell, I'm seriously not up for that." Scott and I: "Me either." Scott cites transformation problems; I cite the last 3 seasons. A coyote howls, freaking Stiles out. Oh baby, you've faced far worse. It does conveniently cause Scott to drop his phone near the Tate's former car. Scott and I struggle with why the it's still there, one big rusting pile of tetanus. Gashes on
the side prove it’s a shifter. Stiles finds Malia's doll, which wins for creepiest item ever when it says, "I'm hungry." Aaagh! Man, that made me jump. Stiles: "I think I just had a minor heart attack." You and me both. Something growls in the distance and Scott chases it. Again, no more leaving people behind in the woods please. On a happier note, Scott can now run faster than a speeding bullet and jump tall buildings in a single bound, so he catches Werecoyote, whom he calls Malia. Duhn, duhn, duhn. I think I just saw this on Grimm. My leading theory is she didn't know she was a werecoyote. She caused the car to careen off and accidentally killed her family when she changed at the full moon, hence the searing blue eyes. She's been hiding out ever since, consumed by her own guilt. Or her dad is evil. Or she was raised by wolves. Pick your poison. Question is does she become part of Scott's pack?

No sorry, the question is why is it August 23, according to Derek's phone? Scott calls asking for help, while I wonder exactly how long they chased Darach and Duke because if it was an entire school year, these guys should have graduated from high school already. Did all of 3A really take place in 2 weeks or does Beacon Hills start school in July and have a really, really short summer school session? Oh editing staff. I can help. While I'm lost in Teen Wolf timeline details, everyone else on the planet is lost in shirtless Derek and Peter. Oh look, they're getting tortured again. How unexpected. Sorry Scott, Derek will have to call you back when there aren't several volts of electricity coursing through his body and the bloody tools are neatly packed away. Peter: "Why are you looking at me like this is my fault?" I can take a guess. Derek: "Because it is your fault." Yep. Peter: "Yeah, you're probably right." Oh Peter, what did you do now?

Anchors was everything I wanted it to be, even after the 4th rewatch, which is hard to do. I like how we have a creepier, darker vibe than usual and putting the main trio off their game will allow other characters to shine as well. I hope they do not solve this problem quickly because it will weaken the gravitas of their sacrifice in 3A. Plus while I love the insane pacing of Teen Wolf, some story lines need to breathe a bit to be effective. It's one of the criticisms I had with the Darach and Alpha pack mash up last time. Moving this plot a bit more slowly will allow characters to really react, which we have already seen here. Mama McCall and Scott were amazing together. Sheriff Dad and Stiles, no less. The only big glaring hole in the episode was the lack of Argent. I really hope Allison and Argent are not keeping secrets from each other and that he can help her get back to form, even fight away the demons together. Another reason this episode is superior to Tattoo is because while both have the chore of setting up the new plot line, this one was suspenseful and the time raced by. No dragging even in the filler scene this time. I am excited to see what 3B is going to bring, even more because of this episode. Kudos to all involved in delivering one amazing and suspenseful hour of TV.

Grade: A

Best Scene - Mama McCall's "Be Your Own Anchor" speech
MVP - Stiles
Scene Stealer - Mama McCall
Best Visual - Allison in the hospital hallway with Ghost Allison in the elevator behind her
Best Acting - Dylan O'Brien for his portrayal of Stiles' break down
Best Dance Moves - Scott going down the steps fleeing his shadow
Most Ludicrous - FBI has any power to impeach a county sheriff
Most Missed - Argent
Biggest Shock - tie - Allison almost kills Lydia / Derek and Peter chained up again / Malia the coyote
Funniest Scene - Scott and Stiles vs. the dog
Best Interactions - Sheriff Dad and Stiles
The "About Time" Award - Kira calls them out on always talking about the supernatural in public
Creepiest Item Ever - Malia's talking doll
Most in Need of a Spinning Top - Stiles
Most Normal - Lydia (so nice to see you NOT screaming for once)
Most Embarrassing - New history teacher
Best Awww Moment - Sheriff Dad holds Stiles after he wakes screaming from his nightmare
Most Melodramatic - Stiles: "I can't read a thing."

Best Quote:
Melissa: "Sweetheart, let me tell you something no teenager ever believes but I swear to you is the absolute truth. You fall in love more than once. It'll happen again, and it will be just as amazing and as extraordinary as the first time and maybe just as painful. But it'll happen again, I promise. And until then, be your own anchor."

Other Great Lines:

Melissa: "Aw you guys come on. This house does not have a supernatural ability to heal, so stop it."
Coach: "Stilinski, stop reminding me why I drink every night."
Melissa: "Hey, you two supernatural teenage boys, don't test my entirely un-supernatural level of patience."
Lydia: "Well, well, look who's no longer the crazy one."
Stiles: "Demons. Why not?"
VetBoss: "It sounds like your subconscious is trying to communicate with you." Stiles: "Well how do I tell my subconscious to use a language that I actually know?"
Peter: "Why are you looking at me like this is my fault?" Derek: "Because it is your fault." Peter: "Yeah, you're probably right."

Screencaps by

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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