Sunday, August 31, 2014

Teen Wolf - 4.10 - Monstrous - Recap and Episode Awards

NOTE:  If you've come looking for answers, I am fresh out.  Baffled is an understatement.  This week's season's Teen Wolf plot has me like:

Previously - Peter was a crazy vengeful loon, Kate burnt down the Hale House, Peter was in a coma, Stiles was a liar, Malia walked out, Granny Banshee drove Meredith insane, CrazyPants Douche Orderly died naming Meredith as Benefactor, and Meredith did NOT die.

Sometime in monsoon season, yet another new young blond runs from assassins at Beacon Hills High at night. She may be smarter than IED's Blonde Idiot, but is that really saying much? In true horror fashion, she trips and falls. Good thing Tall Prep Blond is there to help her. Yeah, him again. He gets winged by an arrow for his trouble while New Dumb Blonde runs for the lacrosse field, where all bad guys have a key to the stadium lights. At least 6 assassins train laser sights on them so TPB tells her to close her eyes. With the cold opens this year I expect their demise, but nope. Kick Butt Kira to the rescue - she slices arrows while the two blonds run. It is refreshing to see Kira so competent. May it continue the next 2 episodes. She evidently calls Scott as he rounds up Liam for the assist. One small hitch: Liam is in no way putting his life on the line again. Liam: "More assassins?" Right there with you, buddy. They've come out of the woodwork these days. Scott realizes his kid beta is fittingly scared and takes time from people saving to reassure him. Liam: "I mean how are you all still alive?" No one knows. Scott: "Not all of us are." Ouch! That hurts but I love how they aren't glossing over significant deaths this season. Scott stops to take Liam home causing most fans to aww but for me it slows the story. Mama McCall, however, tries to slow Stiles, whom I guess was concussed last episode although there's no physical sign of trauma. Not eve a bruise. Mama: "The doctor said you're not leaving without a CT scan." Stiles: "We still haven't paid for the last one." Sigh. She tries reason next. Meredith isn't talking yet so it's a standoff. Mama: "Even if I let you go, what would you do?" Stiles subsides but not before sending her on a scavenger hunt for a cassette player after they debate the difference between tapes and cassettes. For the record, tapes in Mama McCall and my generation usually means VCR tapes, thus the clarification. Stiles pulls out CrazyPants DoucheOrderly's cassette of Granny Banshee and methinks there's more to this whole thing. Or it's more filler. Take your pick.

At the police station, they also make zero progress so Kira, 2. Everyone else, 0. Lydia: "What did she say?" Sheriff: "Hard to tell. There were words. I'm not sure there were actual sentences." That's never a good sign. Sheriff: "I think we need a psychologist…or a medium." Lydia questions if Meredith is competent to answer. I question if Lydia has a concussion too. I agree with Sheriff. "This girl's practically a criminal mastermind." Oh I hope it's true Sheriff, since Meredith's the most intriguing character this season. She got Kate to open the vault, allied with CrazyPants, made a hit list, and arranged wire transfers. All from Eichen House. There has to be more than 2 players here. Lydia looks for motive, but Sheriff's more interested in stopping the money flow so no one else dies. As long as they continue teaming up Lydia and Sheriff, I'm good. Over at Deaton's, Scott and Kira share "missed you" kisses. MamaFox is better, so Kira's back to save the day. She brought the remains of Satomi's pack, who created a small army judging by the numbers. So where were they when Deucalion arrived? Together they'd have defeated him in no time and spared us Demon Wolf monologues and Derek torture. Alas this many people also means a high risk of discovery so time to move. Lydia's too busy sleeping at the precinct the morning Sheriff should have bullet removal surgery. Thought I forgot, didn't you Jeff? Sheriff isn't happy, but she won't budge without answers. Lydia: "Did they get anything out of her?" Sheriff: "Should have gone with the medium." Ha! CrazyPants' office is a bust too. Lydia wants to talk to Meredith but for once Sheriff says no, since she's a civilian and Meredith may be a criminal mastermind. Sadly he gives in and I wonder exactly how long it takes morphine to wear off. Is he still high? Lydia blames it all on CrazyPants while I scream at her not to trust Meredith, who's more fun evil. Meredith wants to help but will only talk to one person…Peter Hale. Suddenly my theory about Peter and an evil cabal rise from the cold, dead ashes of last week's arson for hire plot. If Peter's your go-to guy, you have to be evil.

Meanwhile at the hospital, Mama McCall pauses the scavenger hunt to bring Stiles….Malia. Good to see you before half the episode is over this time. They awkwardly recap last night's Benefactor horror stories before uncomfortable silence sets in. Malia is all matter of fact before heading out. Right until she finds the door locked. Hmmm. Is Mama McCall playing matchmaker all of a sudden? That's out of character. Malia: "I could break it." Stiles: "How about you not? Already owe this hospital enough money." Ha and oh how sad! Just when I thought things couldn't get more agonizing, Stiles takes a page from Allison's book and talks about Mama McCall but really means himself. Yes, it is as excruciating as it sounds. Suffice to say Stiles apologizes in such a roundabout manner a race track might be forming in that hospital room. Malia: "I don't have much practice in things like forgiveness. Some things I'm picking up fast, but other things are like…" Stiles: "Like math?" Malia: "I hate math." Stiles: "Do you hate me?" Malia: "I like you, Stiles. I like you a lot." Stiles: "Yeah, I can work with that." They mack too so we should get back to the story in 3, 2…what the heck? The hospital door opens by itself. Does season 5 revolve around the Ghost Shipper of Beacon Hills Memorial? I'm nixing that right now! Pour salt and burn the whole place to ash. Stiles leaves the hospital to track down the elusive cassette player in its natural habitat, his room. I give up on Beacon Hills teens. Malia and he listen to Granny confront CrazyPants about taping her and refusing to return to Eichen House since she knows he'll kill her. Malia and Stiles ponder where the tape takes place, but it's pretty obvious it’s the lake house if only to get their money's worth from that set. Finally Malia recognizes the record playing in the background. I guess that time with Lydia was fruitful. Granny was there when she predicted the dead pool list so maybe something there can stop it. Off to the lake house, they go.

Enter Argent kicking assassin butt. He finds a stash of weed…er, yellow wolfsbane(?), and glares at it before heading to the family factory where he stores the fancy flower in his safe. Yeah, that can't be good. Please don't be shady, Argent. I like you. He's startled midway by footprints in the dust and almost shoots Scott when a stray arrow comes his way. Maybe it's Allison's ghost because there's no explanation as to where it came from, just Scott playing interference with an irate Tall Prep Blond. Argent: "Scott if you're bringing guests, you could have called." Rude much, Scott. Satomi has past issues with Argent so it gets awkward once again. Scott intervenes but it's natural to be skittish when hunters are on your butt. Argent says they aren't hunters now that they are getting paid, but they probably are lying in wait to attack. So more good news then. Kira: "So we're not safe here." Satomi: "We're not safe anywhere." In Beacon Hills? Imagine that. Argent reminds Scott that he's the biggest dead pool target, but Scott has faith it will work out based on all those other plans that worked so well I'm sure. The pack prepares for a battle while Satomi's group trepidates. How did they survive without fighting skills of their own? Derek: "They've got claws and fangs but they're not fighters." Scott: "That's why I called you." Derek reminds Scott that he's pretty much human now, so Braden steps up as extra muscle. Kira: "Am I the only one still hoping this is all just a false alarm?" Oh Kira, stop talking and just yield a sword. It's better for everyone. Tall Prep Blond interrupts to be the voice of doom and gloom. You can die anytime now, sir. No new blonds. To counter the spirit of despair, Derek channels his inner Independence Day rallying cry. "Then let's send a message. Let's make tonight perfectly clear to anyone with a copy of that list. It doesn't matter if they're professional assassins, hunters, or an amateur who just picked up a gun. Anyone who thinks they can hunt and kill us for money is going to be put on another list, our list. They get to be a name on our dead pool." Derek, you are so much more awesome now that you're human. Can we keep you this way?

Back at the precinct, Peter is unimpressed by Meredith. Lydia reminds him that Meredith is a banshee, whatever that means, and I still hope she's a crazy smart villain. Peter not so much. "Oh I think that girl's pilot light went out a long time ago. Sheriff, not to question the unquestionably sterling reputation of your department, but are you absolutely sure you got the one?" Ha! I wouldn't take a Beacon Hills cop's word as gospel myself these days. Sheriff finds it less funny, so Peter starts the interrogation asking about his money. Peter, always with the priorities. Meredith just stares while dramatic music wails. She touches his face and I'm surprised Parrish/Peter doesn't stop her, but when Peter grabs Meredith's arm, Parrish jumps right in. Double standard much. As far as you know, Meredith is the Benefactor and far more dangerous than she appears. Still Peter isn't completely innocent because Meredith remarks on his burns being gone as an on-looking Lydia gasps. Peter goes on the offensive, calling Meredith out for putting his daughter and nephew on the list. It's very creepy to hear Peter call Malia his daughter. Let's not ever again. Meredith: "You said it had to be kept secret." Either Peter has been taking acting lessons from Mama McCall or he's genuinely confused. "Meredith, allow me to remind you yet again, we have never met. Ever." Meredith: "You don't remember?" Peter: "No, but maybe you do." He claws Meredith at the base of the neck and enters her memories. For some reason, I thought that only worked on werewolves but I guess not. They should have done that with some of the other supernatural creatures in Beacon Hills. Lydia races in and tells Sheriff and Parrish not to separate them or it could kill them both. Instead she leans in and interprets Meredith's rambling.

It all starts with Meredith's ears bleeding in the White Room, reminiscent to when she made Lydia's ears bleed at Eichen House. She's rushed to Beacon Hills Memorial, the oldest looking 11/14/16 year old ever. (The paperwork says she was born in 1998 but entered the hospital on 12/10/09. Even if the year is written first she'd be 14, when it clearly says she's 16. Makes no sense. She's also diagnosed with acute insomnia. I'd have gone with stroke.) Because even then the hospital couldn't afford private rooms, Meredith lies beside Peter, who is 38. (Again say what? In Visionary he's no more than a few years older than Derek, making Derek a very well-preserved 35 year old. At least the doctor confirms Peter'd be dead if not a werewolf.) Then Lydia says they were in the hospital together right after the fire, confirming Teen Wolf currently takes place in 2016 since the fire was 7 years ago. Oh forget it. Absolutely nothing makes sense in this episode, especially the timeline. Lydia: "Meredith could hear him." Sheriff: "Hear what?" Lydia: "Everything." Poor girl. Trapped in Peter's mind? No wonder she went insane. Meredith listened to Peter's unconscious rantings for weeks, as his stream of consciousness raving went straight into her brain and let's just say Peter was not in a good place. He blamed Talia for the fire because he felt she made them weak. "And what happens to the weakest in the herd? They get picked off by predators. We used to be the apex predators until Talia turned us into sheep." He wanted revenge and unconsciously created the dead pool plan, complete with hiring assassins with his bearer bonds. "I will obliterate the weak and remake the supernatural of Beacon Hills in my image." It's terrifying. He even goes so far as to suggest assassins, like Malia's mom, and then branching out to amateurs. "When it comes down to it, everyone can be corrupted by money." Just spit balling here but I bet Malia's mom is coming back since they keep mentioning her and Stiles is definitely taking Blond Assassin's blood money to pay bills.

Peter releases Meredith, falling to the ground himself while Parrish catches Meredith. For reasons I don't get, Sheriff pulls a gun on him. Peter: "Are you kidding me?" I second that. You can blame Peter for a lot of things but this isn't one of them. If it's true, it not only sucks out loud but it's as anticlimactic as it gets. A crazy person heard another crazy person's thoughts and did crazy things. Hmm, glad no one wasted too much time thinking up this plot. No wonder logic moved to greener pastures. Lydia: "It was your idea and you don't even remember." I'd forget too, though it's the only plan on Teen Wolf that actually worked. Go figure. They continue blaming him, but Peter's the only one making sense. "How the hell was I supposed to remember any of that?" Agreed until he says, "She was listening to the ranting and raving of a lunatic…a former lunatic. I'm much healthier now." Bwah! Um Peter, you still put the cray in crazy. Don't push it. He continues to plead his case, scoffing at the idea that he'd steal his own money. Valid point, but Sheriff is obviously still hopped up on "we postponed your bullet removal surgery" meds and isn't thinking straight. It's up to Lydia to figure things out. She decides Meredith wants 3 dead pool listers in the same room with Peter so he can kill them all and fulfill his raving. Peter: "Lydia's right. We don't want to kill each other." Sheriff: "The only person I'm pointing a gun at is you." Peter: "Then you better make it a perfect shot, Sheriff, because I don't go down easy." Sheriff: "Well I'm willing to bet that a bullet between the eyes doesn't heal real fast, not even for your kind." Whatever Sheriff's on, flush it because rational thinking left awhile ago. Lydia agrees and tells him to stand down. Peter: "This department is getting more corrupt by the second. What are you going to charge me with, Sheriff?" Ha! Good point. Finally Sheriff lowers the gun after more coaxing by Lydia. Peter walks out once Sheriff finishes spewing empty threats his way. Meredith however is completely unhinged by this turn of events, screaming that it isn't finished yet.

In the White Room, Stiles is equally upset as the record player isn't enlightening to non-banshees either. "Come on. There's plenty other things we can be totally useless doing." Ha! He turns it off but Malia still hears sound. No idea why she didn't hear it when they were with Lydia, but whatever. Stiles notices a wire in the wall and yanks the cord through the dry wall. (Mission accomplished - the lake house will live to be a teen rave again as buyers flee the damage.) He and Malia remove the drywall to reveal…a 70's computer. Face palm doesn't do it justice. Guess they built them better back in then; mine become obsolete and stop running after a few years of constant use. Perhaps Science Mom must sell the place because she can't afford the constant electricity bill anymore. Malia's solution is to punch it and to be honest that usually works for her. Sadly Stiles says no because they need to shut it off to ensure the dead pool list is over. That makes zero sense. It's on a trillion pieces of printer paper. No putting that genie back in its bottle. He proposes another cipher key to shut it down, but Malia suggests a real key. Time for Lydia's help. Stiles shows her Granny's room size machines via phone but Lydia's stymied since it has no monitor. Good thing she sees the carpet. Yes, the carpet. Sigh. There's no wine stain anymore. I give Mason a mental high 5 for making good on his promise, but Lydia freaks. Stiles is baffled as well. "What does wine have to do with anything?" Lydia: "Red wine doesn't just disappear." Um, neither does any red liquid on white carpet, not without major effort. Cleaning nightmare in 2 words - Hawaiian Punch. Lydia: "The ashes weren't ashes. The study isn't a study. The record player isn't a record player. So maybe the wine wasn't wine." Say what? And shouldn't you have noticed the missing stain the last time you were there. At least we now know Lydia had the $500 she gave CrazyPants to hire cleaners. Glad she doesn't regularly carry that much cash on her. She sends Stiles on a wine scavenger hunt, which is far less fun than it sounds.

Meanwhile at Camp Argent, everything's muted with a tornado-green tinted filter. No idea why. Argent and Satomi talk away from the others and he asks about the pack motto - the sun, the moon, the truth - which Satomi says helps them stay in control. "The truth for me is that we, my kind, are violent creatures, who eventually will not be able to control our violent impulses. The mantra helps us subdue our nature." Argent: "But you're still violent creatures." Satomi: "Aren't we all?" Another reference that Scott will kill this season? No time to ponder because the assassins are here and it's time for ACTION. Yippee! I missed you, old friend. A heavily armed SWAT team enters, throwing smoke bombs and shooting assault weapons. Game on. Argent takes first line as Derek comes out shooting too. Kira goes ninja warrior on some plastic sheeting while Scott plays ring-around-the-rosie with claws. It's all a lot more kick butt than that sounds - what with the strobe lighting and gunfire and banging. Best yet are the pairings as Derek and Braeden take out bad guys back-to-back, and Satomi and Argent clear out another section together. A bullet-strewn Scott tells Tall Prep Blond to get his pack to safety and then goes back in the fray to find Kira. Since no one dies on either side, it's a standoff. Luckily Stiles wins the wine scavenger hunt and asks Malia for a "wine opener". Oh Stiles. Since Malia's the only one common sense has left, she slams the bottle down. Stiles is lucky he doesn't damage his hand and end up in the hospital again as he casually puts his entire palm in broken glass to retrieve the key hidden in it. By the way I question Blond Assassin's intelligence, since he drank a bottle of wine with something rattling in it. (FYI - At this point my eyes officially go on strike and refuse to roll anymore, protesting this episode as cruel and unusual punishment.)

As music swells, Stiles dramatically turns the key and...psych - it's back to Camp Argent. New Dumb Blonde actually proves to be less brainy than Blonde Idiot, when she calls Tall Prep Blond's name in the middle of the SWAT Assassin strike. Way to get lost from the group and then let all the bad guys know exactly where you are, honey. Face Palm becomes Head Desk over and over again. Just die already. Alas Scott is a hero and slams into SWAT Assassin, wailing on him over and over again. Yikes! Scott isn't playing. With each claw swipe his werewolf face looks more and more like Deucalion, an alpha monster of nightmare level. Just as he's about to deliver a death blow, he stops. Blood pours from the assassin's mouth as he obviously pleads for his life, but it's the sound of a text message that turns Scott back to his normal werewolf self. In the middle of all this intense action that makes me laugh. (Shakes head and in Stiles' voice says, "Kids.") The SWAT assassins stop firing and withdraw, leaving their buddy behind. Classy. Scott picks up Left Behind's phone and shows him the text. "The Benefactor: all contracts terminated." Um, huh? Back to Stiles and Malia for clarification as the 70's computer stops running. Are you telling me it is compatible with the latest smart phones? Say what? Oh, I give up. I'm calling Granny 2000 the Benefactor and leaving it at that. Malia and Stiles exchange, "What the heck?" looks while Scott gives the warehouse serious side eye. They don't get it either. Luckily Kira funnels everyone's frustration at her. "Is it over? Really over?" Oh for the love of….Kira, sword out and mouth shut is really the best look on you. Even Scott is dumbfounded that you've been in Beacon Hills for months now and you really think things are good.

I, in turn, am dumbfounded that everyone treats Meredith like a little lost puppy. She hired people to commit mass murder. What about that says time to trust her? Why do they even take her story at face value? I hope she's brilliant and screwing them all over. If they drop their guard like this, they deserve it. Lydia asks why Meredith added her own name to the dead pool and she says she heard Lydia scream for Allison when she died. (Love how they keep honoring her.) Meredith: "That's why I knew it was the right time to start over." Lydia: "But with Peter?" Good point. Meredith: "He's the alpha. He's always been the alpha. He'll make it right. It never was with us. Too many people died because of us. We're the monsters, even banshees, even me." I may hate this story twist but the acting here is topnotch. All kudos to Maya Eshet. Lydia: "I don't believe that. Not all monsters do monstrous things." Meredith isn't ready to believe until Lydia mentions Scott. That resonates because Meredith says Lydia is good too and finally breaks down over her role in MASS MURDER!!! I refuse to excuse this like every single person in this precinct. I'd rather have Peter. Just not in Kate's sewer. I get money woes, but really there are plenty of abandoned buildings in Beacon Hills. Kate calls Peter out for sulking and Peter admits he's rattled. Hmm, that is a shock. The admission, that is. Kate reminds him everything is still on schedule. "Maybe every little piece of your game didn't move just as predicted but they still moved perfectly into place." She accuses him of wanting to bail on the plan, but Peter counters: "Not when I'm this close. Not when I'm this close to killing Scott McCall." There you go, folks - the infamous Teen Wolf cliffhanger. Peter wants to kill Scott and the entire fandom goes, "Yeah, so what's new?"

Oh this episode! How do I explain this episode? The entire writing staff got high on yellow wolfsbane and viola season 4 was born? No? Then I've got nothing. As in nothing in this entire episode makes a lick of sense. Printing a list of timeline issues, logic fails, unanswered questions, common sense problems, out of character moments, and generally all out bizarre story structure would make the Benefactor look like the biggest eco-reforming psychopath on the planet. Who exactly is the Benefactor now anyway? CrazyPants, Meredith, Comatose Peter, the computer….I've lost track. Since I have genuinely no clue what happened here, I'm filling this review paragraph with my general theories and grandest wishes. The biggest wish being that our hapless hero trio (Scott, Stiles, and Allison) wake up to find this entire season was a nightmare aftereffect of the nematon. Hey, it could happen. Just saying that an entire season retcon is fine by me, and I usually hate even small ones. Anyway, here's my last two episode predictions:

1. Scott will kill someone to save someone, probably Liam.
2. Peter will be revealed to the pack as evil.
3. Someone's life will hang by the balance.
4. The Benefactor stuff isn't really over. The real cliffhanger is yet to fall.
5. We will see Malia's mom.
6. Someone on Team Parent will be awesome, probably Mama McCall. (Yeah, I know that's a given.)

My hopes are different:

1. Meredith really is evil and provides the real cliffhanger of the season.
2. Peter lives to be the Big Bad in the final season.
3. Kate and Gerard Argent die…for real…forever this time. (This is a longstanding wish list item.)
4. All new freshman and all new blondes get shipped off to Tall Prep Blond's school, even Liam. Yeah I know he got kicked out but hey, second chances.
5. Scott does not have his own DarkStiles theme. It never works when the moral center goes askew.
6. Instead of Kira's Hem Haw Disease, Malia's common sense will rub off on the writers, erhm other characters.
7. All money woes end as suddenly as they began. In fact, don't even explain how the bills got taken care of. Just make them go away.
8. The season finale feel good scene (you know they always have one) does NOT take place at a rave.
9. Someone actually admits that nothing about the Benefactor made sense and they all just shrug and look forward to next season's baddie. If you're going to screw me over like this, I want some meta to chew on.
10. NO ONE IN THE PACK DIES!!!! Unless it's Liam.

Grade: D

Best Scene - Comatose Peter rants to Loony Meredith, who puts his crazy plan into action

Best Quote - Peter: "Sheriff, not to question the unquestionably sterling reputation of your department, but are you absolutely sure you got the one?"

Best Acting - tie - Meredith / Peter

Best Reason to Watch - ACTION!!!

Most Anticlimactic - Peter wants to kill Scott...still

MVP - non-wine non-stains

Most Improved - Kira

Best Character Interaction - Argent and Satomi

Biggest Mind Screw - tossup between every single thing that happens in this episode, but especially the wacky timeline and computer issues

Biggest Saving Grace - great pairings (Sheriff/Lydia, Satomi/Argent, Mama McCall/Stiles, etc.)

Most in Need of Ending - this whole storyline and the green-tint filter

Screencaps by EW, Geekiary, Teen Wolf Wikia, SpoilerTV, Le Noir Auteur, Parole Pelate, Beacon Hills Pack, and me.

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, and co-hosts the Warehouse 13 "Endless Wonder", Sleepy Hollow "Headless," and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Currently she writes a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."
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