Sunday, July 26, 2015

Teen Wolf - 5.05 - A Novel Approach - Recap

Previously - AP Biology was renamed Plot Device, chimeras were defined…twice, Kira almost beheaded Scorpio, Theo set Psycho on Stiles, who used his palm mouth to bite him

Picking up exactly where last week left off (as last week should have), Stiles screams in pain as Psycho uses his palm mouth to bite Stiles' shoulder. He then tries to choke Stiles but Stiles head butts him and hits him with the wrench. With Psycho momentarily down, Stiles races into the school and heads back to the library while Psycho's weird mouth thing moves to his neck. Apparently the library has no security worries since anyone with a school id can get in even in the middle of the night. Oh Beacon Hills High. Stiles tries to calm himself down as Psycho enters with a Beacon Hills High id too. Um, didn't you tell me a couple weeks ago that he was an adult. There's also a weird pan in to tracks on the floor going both ways; I don't understand but will probably be important later. Stiles hides in the stacks, gripping his wrench tight, but Psycho has his phone. Not good. Psycho babbles on about his personal trauma. In summation, he blames Sheriff for his dad being wheelchair bound because they were partners the night his dad was shot. It would all be more tragic if Psycho lost his affinity for limited cursing or I cared about him. Instead I've already decided there is more to this story and still don't care. Save Stiles! Stiles, however, gets increasingly distressed by Psycho's rantings but keeps it together until Psycho pulls him through the bookshelves. Stiles drops the wrench but elbows Psycho in the nose before trying to climb the scaffolding the shady workmen left behind. Psycho screams in rage and grabs Stiles' leg. Psycho doesn't plan on killing him, just having a little Stiles' flavored legs for dinner. Um, no thank you. Seeing the pin that holds the top half of the scaffolding together, Stiles reaches desperately for it. After several tries, he gets it and a pile of steel beams fall down on Psycho, one impaling him in the chest. Stiles sees a still alive Psycho and at first plans to take the bar out…because no one in Beacon Hills has the foggiest notion about emergency training, still. He hesitates when Psycho growls at him and then dies, silver liquid pooling from his body like with Tracey. I cannot stress how awesome a job Dylan O'Brien does reacting here in a brilliant sequence in which he has no dialogue.

Panicked, Stiles calls 911 but can't speak from the shock so the operator thinks it is a crank call. They send a cop to the high school and instead of calling his dad with the phone his fingerprints are already on, Stiles flees. He looks over at Psycho's dead body and heads for the door, putting a book in it so the body will be found. He's about out when his phone, still in Psycho's pocket, goes off. So not good. He rifles through Psycho's pocket to grab it but instead of letting Malia know what happened, he turns his phone off. Secrets are season 5's answer to money woes and have gotten old just as fast. Hightailing it to his Jeep, Stiles fixes it but instead of driving he breaks down. He is at the onset of a panic attack with shaking hands and deep breathing until the sirens snap him out of it. Shifting in gear, he turns off his headlights, backs up out of the light, and cuts the engine. Smart. Anyone fleeing would be automatically suspicious. The cop literally spends 33 seconds checking the school out . Who can blame him? It's Beacon Hills High at night and cops there don't even have good medical insurance. Meanwhile Stiles can't even look at himself in the rear view mirror. He hangs his head in shame as my heart breaks for him. It was self-defense. He freaks out even more when the cop calls it a prank call on the police scanner, giving him no choice but to head back to the library. Um, where's the body? Where's the blood? Where's the big mess that was this crime scene? Got to hand it to Parrish. When he snatches a body he does some freakishly good, quick housekeeping. Quit the police force, Parrish. You'd make a fortune in janitorial services. Again Stiles reacts in shock but as if to prove he's not going crazy, a spot of blood smears the bar now stacked neatly against the scaffolding. At this point, it will not surprise me if they are all in a lucid dreaming state instead of really living any of this. Regardless, that was some of the finest acting on Teen Wolf since 3B. Kudos, Mr. O'Brien!

Back at Scott's Den of Sin, Kira slept over. Yeah, not buying it. Mama Fox is far more aware than this. Just like there's no way MIA Tate wouldn't have Malia, who was missing for years, locked in each night. This plot device uses no common sense. Anyway Kira mutters in Japanese and wakens Scott, but the new nifty alarm app on his product placed AT&T phone informs him of a break-in at the clinic. Perhaps someone on Teen Wolf should get one….you know, for their OWN HOUSE, since the supernatural traipses all over their stuff on a regular basis. They head to the clinic only to find Tracey's body gone as is Scorpio's from the hospital. Meanwhile Stiles adds Psycho's death to his supernatural crime spree board. He comes up with 2 options: Psycho walked out or someone took the body. Since the steampunk scientists' weird buzz is in the background, I'd go with the "forget it and run" option. That noise seriously creeps me out here even if it's hidden by Dylan's brilliant silent acting again. He stares at the board, breaking down in little details before frantically erasing his guilt. As he grabs his shoulder where he was bitten, his phone suddenly buzzes and we both jump. It's Scott to talk vanishing bodies and Stiles speaks for the first time tonight. I wish Stiles would share his own body snatcher story, but nope. Season 5 = secrets. We do get the mandatory Parrish appearance, albeit actually clothed today, as he takes Psycho to the nematon. Awesome! I'm all for cremating this evidence. Um, provided it means Psycho does NOT come back in some rebirth ritual. He must stay dead.

The next day Malia shares the Dread Doctors book with Lydia while Kira violates a zillion copyright laws and depletes the library toner copying it for everyone. Lydia reads the synopsis, confirming Liam's hole theory. Bonus points for zero Liam, Mason, or holes this episode. I call shenanicanon though when the book says the teens are buried for days. No way Tracey's albeit sometimes clueless dad was so absentminded he didn't notice she was missing. Malia continues, insuring I'll never read The Dread Doctors since there is no ending. Malia: "I think we're living volume 2." Lydia: "Then maybe the real question is, is this a novel or someone's prediction." I still say it's fanfic. Scott has his own doubts the whole thing. "I don't think the Dread Doctors are the ones who are stealing the bodies." He logics it out with his AP Biology studying brain since the steampunk scientists keep leaving the bodies lying around for others to deal with. Kira: "Are we really calling them that?" Why no, Kira, this part of "we" will not because it is lame. Scott rattles about the dead being failures in case some tuned out last week's unending exposition and to set up the punch line. Kira: "So if the chimeras are all failures, what's a success gonna be?" Scott: "Bad. Probably really bad." Thanks, Deaton. Since I have not facepalmed one time so far this episode, Scott dramatically turns around now to say he smells blood. Argh! In a library full of teens. You don't say. I'd expect Scott to smell blood a lot. Does no one knick themselves shaving in Beacon Hills? Has no one scraped a knee? Dramatic pause is just so dramatic. Oh Teen Wolf. Scott pow wows with Theo about the book, who points out the dedication to Triclops at the same time Lydia sees it with Malia. Theo then heads to the steampunk scientists to say their evil plan to get Scott's pack to Eichen House worked. Mwwaaahhh haaa haaa! Triclops either knows the plan too or he's just feeling the 70's sweatband trend.

Back at the Stilinski residence, Stiles is frustrated. There's no way he's letting Lydia go back to Eichen House without him. Lydia protests because he said he was sick and exposits that Malia's nixing the crazy too. Or as Stiles puts it: "Malia's not going because she knows that that place is a nightmare asylum of insanity and death, okay?" Smart girl. It's also fan pandering to shippers (sigh) so moving right along. Lydia sees Stiles wince as he puts his jacket on so I now worry about just how bad that bite is. Let's get some Mama McCall here stat. I miss her awesome. Stiles brushes it off. "What was what?" Lydia: "You winced." Stiles: "I have a bad elbow." Really, Stiles? Lydia: "It was your shoulder." Stiles: "Pain radiates. It does that. You are not going without me. You remember what happened to Deaton when he talked to Valack?" Lydia: "Scott and Kira are going to be there." Stiles: "Okay, I'm not letting you go to a place where one of the orderlies almost killed you." Lydia: "He almost killed you too." Stiles: "And we're both still alive. See. Teamwork." Awww, I like this friendship a lot and how they take care of each other. They need more scenes together. They are definitely more appealing than the Scott and Kira missing belt drama. Kira, either join Malia and be awesome together or shut up with the passive aggressive behavior over Scott's "I love you." Even Scott picks up on it but instead of hashing it out so it can be done, Kira asks Scott to wolf out and see if she's glowing. That's one huge YES to that. Kira is so full on flaming fox warrior that it freaks Scott out. So of course…he lies about it because that's just what we do in season 5 even if it makes zero sense. Scott: "I found your belt. Everything else is fine." Uh huh. Okay. I'm not even going to ask why they were looking in the laundry hamper for it instead of under the bed in the first place.

Thank goodness it's off to Eichen House. While Lydia rings the bell with Kira, it's discussion time for Scott and Stiles. Maybe a little truth. Yeah, no. Psych! It starts with Stiles wearing his guilty face before he can blink it away. Scott: "You gonna be okay in there?" I love them asking if the other's okay. It happens so often it's a Bingo square but it still gets me every time. Scott realizes his best friend is off but Stiles, of course lies…because it's season 5 and everyone's stupid. This is the same guy who counseled Liam to tell Mason the truth because not doing so is always worse. You remember that Stiles/writers, because I do. Stiles says they're all a little off and clues in on Scott's anxiety over Kira, which triggers instant best friend mode in Stiles. It's a totally different body language. Scott tells him about Kira channeling her inner Matrix-style Rosetta Stone download, but Stiles isn't all that concerned. Scott: "She doesn't know any Japanese." Stiles: "It's still not terrible." Scott: "I also think I might have stopped her from killing Lucas." Perfect time to bring up Psycho. Stiles: "Okay, wasn't he trying to kill you though? I mean it sounds like self-defense." He rubs his shoulder. Scott: "It was more than that. I mean she nearly took off his head." Stiles: "Maybe she had no choice. There's got to be a point where self-defense is justified. Tracey killed her own father and Lucas would have killed you." Scott: "They're not the bad guys. They're the victims. We shouldn't be killing the people we're trying to save." While I love the bromance moments that are too few these days, this one hurts my heart and neither are to blame. They just don't understand where the other is coming from and another huge wedge comes between them. The people of Eichen House must be pro-Scott-Stiles rift because they finally open the gates, leading to an ominous overhead shot. As the gates clang shut, they all look back at the camera, assuring it's really, really going to suck to be them.

Oh joy, it's Creeper, the premiere orderly with the needle. He demands they empty their pockets and Scott give Stiles the silent eyebrow before they all comply. Creeper also demands Kira's nifty sword belt, all the while staring at Lydia. She's rattled and Stiles gives the dude serious side eye before getting sidetracked by the scaffolding pin he pulled out to kill Psycho, which somehow suddenly appears. I begin to think it's a Stargate/X-Files hive mind and they're actually all imprisoned at Eichen House under Triclops' control. Too much crazy going on. Eichen House Head (EHH) escorts them against his better judgment as favor for Deaton. Hmm, so he's more useful when he's away. Good to know. Stiles: "Hey, what's the etiquette for…uh, talking to this guy? I mean do you ever look at the other eye?" Ha! Ann Landers doesn't cover this situation. EHH suggests not looking at any one or anything so that's not ominous at all. Still Malia (or I) get the worse deal because Theo decides they should be study buddies. Oh great. A while later Malia packs to go and Theo offers her a ride, which she declines. Smart. Theo: "Haven't I seen you coming out of Drivers' Ed?" Malia: "I hope not." Theo: "I'm pretty sure I saw you destroy a couple traffic cones the other day and nearly take out a sophomore." Malia: "The sophomore shouldn't have been standing there." Oh Malia, you make me smile. Don't ever change. Theo offers to help her practice and she agrees. Good. Maybe Malia's driving can kill Theo and 2 annoyances can go in 1 episode. One can always hope.

Back at Eichen House, the first setback comes early in the form of…mountain ash. Not again. What wonky canon-crazy shenanigans do we get this time? Apparently the basement's laced with it so Scott and Kira can't see Triclops. Lydia has no trouble though. Hmmm? If nothing supernatural can cross it and Lydia is a banshee and banshees are supernatural, then 1 + 1 + 1 = 92. I know Lydia doesn't have the same powers as werewolves and kitsunes, but she is supernatural so either Deaton should clarify mountain ash "rules" or Jeff Davis threw canon out the window to please shippers. Just saying. Scott encourages Lydia and Stiles, who proceed down Eichen House's creepiest hallway and that's saying a lot. Stiles walks slightly ahead of Lydia as they pass No Mouth's female cousin and…Psycho? Huh? Ah it's the fan-created monster, basically a scarier boggart that changes into the people haunting your conscience. Triclops calls Stiles on seeing someone because he's the biggest psychic on the block or he reads body language. Stiles is obviously shaken by the encounter and calls everyone a lost soul in this basement. I agree. Triclops does not. "Don't give up on us yet. We're all works in progress." Ha!  Nice reference to Peter Hale there.  Lydia discovers Triclops is the author and he says the book is a conduit to help people remember previous encounters with the steampunk scientists. He exposits that they were scientists obsessed with the paranormal, who used energy, frequency, and vibration through electromagnetism to live longer and become powerful. Lydia asks what they want. Triclops: "A good question, Lydia. Everybody wants something, don't they?" Stiles: "Okay, so what do you want?" Answer - a recording of Lydia's banshee scream. Stiles and I vehemently protest. Stiles: "No way. Not happening. Sorry." Lydia: "He's the only one that knows anything." Stiles: "The guy is a nutjob who drilled a hole into his head." Yep, plus Trust Stiles is the real motto this season.

Meanwhile the mountain ash drugs Scott and Kira, who's about to pass out. Kira: "This was a bad idea, wasn't it?" For once I disagree. Coming was vital even if it played right into the steampunk scientists' hands. However what is a bad idea is Kira remaining down there instead of going back upstairs. She's obviously not doing anyone any good here so she might as well conserve her strength. She won't help in a fight without it. Scott: "No, they'll be okay without us. Those two, they're pretty good together." Agreed. In fact no need to push so hard, Jeff Davis. We all know they make a good, smart team. That does NOT mean they have to be a couple, by the way. I love them as good friends. I love Scott acknowledging them even more. "No super strength or samurai swords, but they stay alive." Kira screws up the Lydia and Stiles admiration fest by turning it to shipping, while I groan and wonder why the middle of Teen Wolf always drags. That's not how it used to be. Blah, blah, blah. Stiles and Lydia both grew into awesome characters. Lydia is better when she doesn't hide her brains. Things were good in season 2. Stiles is observant. Agreed. Move on. I have absolutely zero interest in a Teen Wolf love triangle if that's where this is heading. I prefer to think of them as 2 friends who care about each other because of their shared past. They almost died together and are good friends. Of course they care. Luckily we're saved from the rest of this conversation by flickering lights. Time to call the Winchesters and grab some salt. Kira does her best bug zapper impression. Scott: "Kira, whatever you're doing, please stop." Kira: "I'm not doing anything. It's just happening." That's never a good sign. You should probably…I don't know, get out now while you can!!! Nope. They stare at each other until Kira faints and when Scott goes to check on her, he gets zapped into the gate.

With Kira down for the count, things pick up with Triclops. He regains Lydia and Stiles' attention, claiming the steampunk scientists went on a killing spree before. Strengthening the nematon in season 3 allowed them to come back to Beacon Hills. Darn nematon keeps screwing with them. With a flair for the dramatic, Triclops rips off his 70's workout sweatband and reveals his third eye, which a foolish Lydia looks into. No matter though because Triclops freaks when he realizes a kitsune is in Eichen House. Lydia and Stiles freak when the light explodes. Apparently Eichen House is built upon telluric currents (see Danny's term paper in season 3) and uses them for supernatural defense. Kira unwittingly takes down the defenses so the steampunk scientists can enter the building. Triclops: "They knew you were coming. They're here and you unlocked the door for them." Since the exposition's lessening in favor of some action, this is a perfect time to…return to Theo and Malia's driving lesson? Ugh! I need Theo dead. Observing Malia's death grip on his steering wheel, he flirts by repositioning her hands and tells her to break the speed limit. You're totally going to regret that. Personally I would worry more about the fact that she's driving on the wrong side of the road than her steering wheel grip but that's just me. Still Malia is relieved to NOT have to follow the rules with this bad boy and relaxes, right until she's hit by a flashback to the car crash that killed her family. She picks up speed until even laissez faire Theo is nervous. He grabs the wheel (facepalm) but that only makes them swerve. Malia finally stops, gets out of the car, and perches coyote style in the middle of the road. She doesn't hear Theo calling her name as she's too busy watching the Desert Wolf shoot up the family car. What? They noticed coyote scratches on the car in season 3, but no one saw the bullet holes? I call shenanicanon! Bah! Theo pulls Malia away before a car hits her and she tells him that the Desert Wolf killed her family.

Back at Eichen House, Triclops flips out about the banshee scream recording and Stiles knows they have him on the ropes. Triclops: "Hit record. Do it now. It costs you nothing." Stiles: "But it's worth something to you so you're not getting it for free." Lydia: "What does the book do?" Triclops exposits AGAIN that it unblocks their memories and a recapitation of Lydia seeing steampunk scientists in the hospital flashes. Triclops hoped it would bring others who had seen them to him but it never worked since people weren't interested in his cheesy novel. The end all of this lengthy interview is that they need to read the book and remember. Thanks Triclops. Lydia is good with that explanation. Stiles and I are not. Still he hands over the tape recorder when she gestures for it. I'd say more info is definitely needed given that no one seems capable of asking the right questions. Seriously, how hard is it to ask about how to stop the villains before giving Triclops what he wants? Very frustrating! Lydia screams but it's way too late. Since the steampunk scientists are much more impressive than 4 high school kids, Creeper does not demand their hardware as they enter the facility. They head straight to the basement but Eichen House Head beats them down there. He asks Scott what's going on but flees when he sees the steampunk scientists. Survival instinct is strong in this one. Can't blame him. It is Beacon Hills. Desperate, Scott lifts Kira even though she keeps zapping him and struggles to get them both outside. It obviously takes a lot out of Scott as his burned body practically passes out on the steps, unable to go back in for Stiles and Lydia. He does have enough strength to tell Kira he remembers saying, "I love you," and to confirm that he meant it though. She in return summons enough strength to lie down on top of him and grab his hand. Priorities and all.

Meanwhile Lydia gives Triclops the banshee scream recording and THEN asks questions. Facepalm. She wants to know what the steampunk scientists' goal is but Stiles is more concerned about the blaring alarm now going off. "Lydia, I think we need to get out of here." Since all Triclops says over and over again is to read the book, I agree. He's as unhelpful as Deaton and they're still not one jot closer to what's going on than they were before they entered Eichen House to listen to his lengthy exposition on nothing. Stiles pulls Lydia away to hide in an empty room (hmm). Triclops instead makes his move by standing tall and glaring at the approaching steampunk scientists. I thought he wanted the banshee scream to protect himself, but nope. The pesky supernatural proof wall is no match for steampunk scientists though. They hand wave their way in and over his protests, suck out Triclops' third eye. Blech, blech, and triple blech. Triclops' scream rivals Lydia's. It also means the steampunk scientists were afraid of Triclops' psychic ability, which begs the question - why didn't they kill him too? They had zero problems killing teens so why leave a potential enemy alive? Or maybe it really was about the eye itself? Lydia and Stiles however have much more pressing concerns than my litany of questions, like blaming themselves for every single horror that has ever happened in Beacon Hills. After Scott's similar guilt fest last episode, this might be another theme this season. Lydia: "I think we're okay. Stiles?" Stiles: "No, it's not okay. All of this, it's on us. Everything that's happened, everything that's gonna happen, it's our fault." Lydia: "It's our responsibility." Yeah, no. It's not. It's those darn telluric currents and nematon. What is your fault though is that Former Triclops uses that banshee scream to crack his cell open. I knew that was a bad idea. Now you've got another foe on the loose and you still have no more useful intel than when you started. Great!

While the middle of this episode did slow down a lot for exposition as season 5 is wont to do, the real discussion of this episodes lies solely in Dylan O'Brien's ability to encompass all of Stiles fear and guilt. Having rewatched season 1 and 2 about a month ago, it is amazing to see how much he has grown as an actor. By letting him do the first 3 scenes without dialogue, the writers and Jeff showed how much confidence they had in that acting and it paid off big time. My particular favorite moment came when Stiles caught his reflection in the rearview mirror. He stares for a second and then slides his eyes away in guilt only to flash back to the mirror and then look away guiltily. Instead of a monologue, the anguish he feels flits across his face. It's there as he taps nervously with his hands and runs his fingers through his hair. It's there in the pause before he frantically wipes away what he's done from his murder board. It's there in the stifled scream before Scott calls and refocuses him. Everything about Stiles is spot on in this episode and it almost makes up for the lack of Stiles time we got last episode. I also thought the conversation between Scott and Stiles about self-defense, while being way too on the nose, hammered the key differences between them out. It is these differences and all the secrets that will drive a wedge between them, not Theo. In this, Theo was a complete success by sending Psycho after Stiles. In the end, the first 13 minutes well make up for the drawn out interview with Triclops and even the missing Team Parent. This was Teen Wolf at its best acting since Dark Stiles of 3B.

Grade: B+  (A+ for first 10 minutes)

Episode Awards:

Best Reason to Watch - Dylan O'Brien
Best Scene - Stiles breaks down in the Jeep
Biggest Hero - Scott gets Kira out
Best Character Interaction - Stiles and Lydia
Most Missed - Team Parent
Least Missed - Liam and Mason
Most in Need of a Thesaurus - Psycho
The "Say What?" Award - the library has instant access anytime of night as long as you have a student ID card?  How does that make sense?
The "I Don't Think So" Award - No way Mama Fox lets Kira spend the night at Scott's
The BeeGees Award - Triclops' Dance Fever head bandage
Biggest Blech - Triclops' third eye is sucked out
Most Memorable Moment - Stiles looks in the rearview mirror and can't look at himself

Worst Trend - keeping secrets / blaming themselves for everything

Best Quotes - 
1.  Stiles:  "You are not going without me.  You remember what happened to Deaton when he talked to Valack?"  Lydia:  "Scott and Kira are going to be there."  Stiles:  "Okay, I'm not letting you go to a place where one of the orderlies almost killed you."  Lydia:  "He almost killed you too."  Stiles:  "And we're both still alive.  See.  Teamwork."
2.  Scott:  "I don't think the Dread Doctors are the ones who are stealing the bodies."  Kira:  "Are we really calling them that?"
3.Scott:  "I also think I might have stopped her from killing Lucas."  Stiles:  "Okay, wasn't he trying to kill you though?  I mean it sounds like self-defense."  Scott:  "It was more than that.  I mean she nearly took off his head."  Stiles:  "Maybe she had no choice.  There's got to be a point where self-defense is justified.  Tracey killed her own father and Lucas would have killed you."  Scott:  "They're not the bad guys.  They're the victims.  We shouldn't be killing the people we're trying to save."
4.  Theo:  "Haven't I seen you coming out of Drivers' Ed?"  Malia:  "I hope not."  Theo:  "I'm pretty sure I saw you destroy a couple traffic cones the other day and nearly take out a sophomore."  Malia:  "The sophomore shouldn't have been standing there."
5.  Kira:  "So if the chimeras are all failures, what's a success gonna be?"  Scott:  "Bad.  Probably really bad."

6.  Stiles:  "Malia's not going because she knows that that place is a nightmare asylum of insanity and death, okay?  Let's go."  

Screencaps by Really Late Reviews,  TV Equals, Televixen, Instagram, TV Line, Teen Wolf Brazil, Pinterest, and DrunkenThieves.

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/or creates polls for Teen Wolf, The 100, Grimm, How to Get Away with Murder, The Librarians, and others. She also runs the annual Character Cup. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts The 100 "Red-Shirted", 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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