Thursday, July 30, 2015

Teen Wolf - 5.06 - Required Reading - Recap / Episode Awards

Previously - Triclops told the pack nothing new in an hour-long interview before having his third eye plucked out, Lydia remembered the steampunk scientists from her surgery, Kira went full-on lightning bolt, Scott told Stiles about Kira almost beheading Scorpio, Malia nearly killed herself and Theo by driving while hallucinating and remembered her biological mom killing her adopted mom, Malia tells Theo about the Desert Wolf, Psycho palm bit Stiles and Stiles accidentally killed him. The fandom (meaning me) cheered to be rid of Psycho.

In a scene repeated at the end of this episode (argh), a steampunk scientist takes out a gasping Scott "True Alpha" McCall in the worst hospital on TV. Apparently Scott's werewolf powers are wonky (go figure) since he grabs for an inhaler even though his asthma cleared up IN THE PILOT. That's some reverse doctoring there, buddy. The scientist does mix it up though and throws Scott down the hallway instead of against the wall, costing me one Bingo square. Thanks. Luckily Malia's here to save the episode along with Mama McCall. Nice. Mama makes everything better. Malia bares her coyote teeth but doesn't fully transform and takes on the steampunk scientist with a kick to the chest. While Malia tries to claw him, Mama McCall drags her son to the elevator and gives him a bronchodilator shot. With Scott finally breathing again Mama McCall calls for Malia to run, who after getting choked awhile, breaks free…and barely outpaces the guy walking. No Maze Runner for her. In Teen Wolf slow-mo she manages to get into the elevator before the guy in armor can catch her and Mama McCall shuts the door before he can get his hand in. Scott looks at these kick butt women in awe from the elevator floor and decides that maybe they shouldn't have read the book. Not since Hocus Pocus has reading been put into such bad light. At least that's 2 episodes in a row that open with action though. Thumbs-up there. Flashing back a couple days (making it a flashback within a flashback), Deputy Red-Shirt stands on the lacrosse field now filled with teen gopher holes. Less than 5 minutes in and I'm already calling shenanicanon. It's gonna be a rough one. The book clearly said teens were in holes for days and not even in Beacon Hills could there be that many suddenly missing kids without someone throwing up a red flag. Also, wouldn't the bus drivers and a bazillion others be a little suspicious about holes suddenly sprouting up in the middle of the field? This better be one huge mind game or why bother writing canon if you just break it the next episode.

Back at the police precinct, Sheriff says the word "chimera" like I say spiders. He's just done with all of the supernatural junk he has to put up with. Stiles and Malia helpfully use their math skills to inform us that 2 dead chimeras plus 8 others make a total of 10. Beacon Hills story problems suck out loud. Plus they set the bar too low. Better send Liam and Mason out into the woods to fall in more holes to get an accurate count. Of course, that begs the question as to why steampunk scientists would suddenly change from relatively unknown burial sites in the woods to a splashy bleacher-side gravesite on public school grounds. Logic takes one look at this mess and heads south to Barbados. She needs a vacation. I start to head out too until Sheriff puts a picture of Psycho on his crime board. Uh oh. Stiles looks away (poor baby) while Sheriff explains the breakout and why he thinks Psycho is a chimera too. Sheriff: "You said that…uh, these guys…" Malia: "Dread Doctors." Sheriff: "Are we really calling 'em that?" Thank you, Sheriff. Yet another person who agrees that's a stupid name. As Malia and Sheriff ponder Psycho's current condition, Stiles steps away, heart beating fast. Malia thinks Psycho's dead but Sheriff wants proof. Good luck with that. He's now part of Parrish's Hannibal-inspired fan art. Sheriff notices Stiles isn't joining the snark, so Stiles ducks the issue and says they need to figure out what the teens all had in common. Obviously if they took time to break Psycho out of prison, it wasn't random. Good point, Stiles. Now tell your dad the truth about Psycho. You'll feel better and so will I.

Lydia, on the other hand, feels better now that she's learning to protect herself. I feel better too. Parrish reminds her to keep her hands up and clocks her when she doesn't. He's all for taking a break and worries about Lydia's stitches but she's determined not to be another Beacon Hills victim. I love this attitude. Right until they strip off their outer layers and she leans back into him, squicking me out for the 964th time. Just stop. Thankfully Lydia's memories of steampunk scientists break the mood. I've never been so happy to see these guys. Right until Scott pals up with Theo again to find people acting weird. Really, Scott? Look around. There's Stiles, Kira, Malia, and oh yeah, you! Let's hope your observational skills are not needed to defeat the steampunk scientists. Theo tries to get Scott and crew not to read the book by using seriously faulty logic. According to Theo, Tracy became a killer because of the book and not because…say, she was literally turned into a monster. He also blames Malia's car crash visions on the book but I call shenanicanon on that too (second time in 7 minutes). Malia was seeing visions while driving with HistoryDad before she ever found the book. Theo keeps babbling but it's their only clue so there's not much choice. Theo: "Scott, I came here hoping to find a pack. I wasn't planning on watching one fall apart." Sarcastic hand clap to you, sir, for saying that with a straight face. He of course joins their book club after school. Lydia: "My mom's book club usually has more wine." You might need it to get through this episode, honey. Stiles: "Well they also probably didn't read books that cause violent hallucinations." Ha! Scott: "That's why Malia's here." Kira: "So none of us go running into traffic." Scott: "Or worse." Huh? Where's the logic in that? Wouldn't it be more helpful to have someone NOT read the book if you're that worried? What makes you think Malia won't be another vision? I wave as Logic's plane leaves.

Lydia picks up the book first. "Maybe I should have my mother read it. She might remember a girl with a tail leaping off the ceiling, attacking everyone." Ouch and yet so true! Stiles at least questions the validity of their assumptions but Lydia confesses to seeing them in her surgery because one person needs to NOT keep secrets. Lydia: "When I look at the cover of the book, it's almost like…" Theo: "A memory trying to surface." Not suspicious at all, Theo. Lydia though is tired of being a victim. "If they did something to me, I want to know what it is." Huzzah! The others pick up their million copyright violations copies as the music crescendos rapidly in the most dramatic book reading ever. I laugh. Theo pretends to read. Kira inherits Stiles' 3B instant dyslexia. The others are bored. Triclops is definitely not winning any literary awards here. Scott: "Anyone feeling anything yet?" Kira: "Tired." Bwwaaahh!!!! Kira, speaking for the audience again. As Malia pours coffee, she notices Stiles rubbing his shoulder while Theo wolf listens to their conversation. Malia: "What did you do to your shoulder?" Stiles: "What are you talking about?" Malia: "I can smell the blood. What happened?" Stiles: "The Jeep dies on me again. I went to check the engine. The hood fell on it." Argh! Avoiding the issue although Malia hears his accelerated heartbeat, Stiles asks, "Alright so how much…uh, how much do you remember anyway, about the accident? Did it play like a movie in your head or was it like being completely in it again?" Malia: "In it." Stiles: "Was it just the crash, nothing else?" Malia flashes back to the Desert Wolf. "Nothing." Argh! For mostly smart people, they're sure dumb here. Secrets help no one. Malia notices Theo listening as I contemplate smacking the smirk off his face. Kira however is just done. Like Stiles two episodes before this, she wisely decides to sleep through the episode. The rest, except for Theo, soon follow. Once again, Jeff Davis is the gift that keeps giving. If I have to be subjected to these snooze-worthy episodes, at least I get the sleeping screencaps to describe them.

Jeff Davis!!!! I take it back. How dare you subject me to more nightclub/loud music shenanigans! You only get one per season. My evil eye has marked you. Liam Hater, the underage sophomore, has graduated from alcoholic beverages to glow sticks and I don't care one jot. Suffice it to say Liam wants to pay her back for her season 4, erhm, season 5 money woes and puppy dogs his way into her life with $42 and the ability to turn the power back on. Liam Hater: "I've got to be honest, Liam. If you're trying to be a good guy, I really don't care." I love how all these characters are reading my mind. For once, I'm not even unhappy to return to Theo because at least he doesn't come with atrocious music. Instead he digs deep for his inner stalker and tapes Kira mumbling in Japanese. The next day, the gang freaks because they got a good night's sleep, a true luxury in Beacon Hills. Scott: "What if we need some kind of a trigger? Wasn't Malia driving whenever she remembered the crash?" Stiles: "Yeah but how are we supposed trigger a memory that we don't remember?" Scott: "Maybe it's a delayed thing." Me: "Maybe it's filler like most of this episode. Just saying." The lights flicker, prompting Scott and Stiles to stare at Kira. I stare because her weird striped shirt reminds me of Scott's tattoo. Then I laugh at their facial expressions as they all wig out. Scott: "We keep an eye on each other today, okay?" Stiles: "Yes, and keep an eye out for 8 other potentially homicidal chimeras." Kira: "And keep an eye out for the dread doctors." Stiles: "I'm starting to see the appeal of a third eye." Ha! Attending AP Plot Device, the suspiciously unsympathetic teacher squawks about invasive species while Theo points out Sydney's sudden hair loss problem to Lydia via text. Sydney flees the plot exposition to sit in the guidance office like I wish I could and Lydia follows. Waiting on Lydia's mom, a new potential theory hits me. Maybe she's the connection. After all, the other chimera kids we know have all had psychological issues. Of course it could just as easily be a hospital connection.

Anyway, Lydia is sympathetic in a way she would never have been in season 1. Love that character growth. Sydney explains that her hair falls out due to stress. "I've tried everything - medication, acupuncture, hypnosis." Lydia: "Have you tried not taking the hardest classes in school?" Bwah! And Lydia gets a zinger tonight. She offers to help but seeing Sydney's bald spot triggers a memory of seeing her dead grandma at Eichen House when she was a kid. Mama Martin stands over Granny, who apparently drilled a hole in her own head in a bath tub. Hey, wait a minute. I thought DoucheOrderly CrazyPants hung her in Perishable (4.09). What the heck! I don't even get this. Scott wakes Lydia up and put his hand over her shaking one, while the ever-present Theo watches. Seriously, this dude gets more screen time than even Liam did last year. Not acceptable. Lydia says she has no news about the steampunk scientists before lying to her panicked mom. Meanwhile Mason takes a turn as Stiles 2.0 (since he's already been everyone else 2.0) and proceeds to tell Kira about herself. You know, because she doesn't have an immortal mom with the exact same condition to explain things for her. Nah, that's be too easy. Essentially kitsunes have trouble with language , causing her Stiles season 4 reading issues and mediocre English grade. It however has never once stopped her from doing her own research in previous seasons. Scott's more concerned about AP Plot Device and has the first of 2 asthma attacks this episode while trying to drop it. This teacher inspires fear in all. His sudden return to asthma prompts him to remember having a bad attack that landed him in the hospital when his dog died. For the record, Mama McCall was awesome then too. Bio teacher, not so much, since she keeps asking Scott questions instead of…I don't know, calling the nurse! Sigh.

We interrupt this medical emergency for lacrosse filler. Welcome back, season 4. Didn't miss you. Liam and Former Liam Hater aggressive flirt by outscoring each other in soccer and lacrosse. Shockingly no one is shirtless. Moving on. Tall Prep Blonde returns to give Mason supernatural scoop again because he never apparently goes to his school. Although he attends the same prep school Liam did before getting kicked out, Mason fills TPB in on the great 6th grade debacle. Liam Hater hates Liam because he accidentally gave her a black eye right before yearbook pictures. She in return gave Liam a black eye too. Creepily, Mason has their 6th grade yearbook photos on his phone. I guess they don't have picture retakes at this school. Facepalm. Therein lies the whole very lame feud. Again, I don't care. Just turn down the freaking music. Random Teen #22 interrupts in search of an inhaler. Suddenly psychic, Liam realizes it's for Scott although Scott never had an asthma problem in the entire time Liam knew him. Running in with the inhaler, Super Special Derek-Approved Snowflake Liam saves the day by wolf eyeing Scott into awareness so he can take a hit off the inhaler, which still has the cap on it. Bwaaah! It doesn't work that way. Former Liam Hater now approves too so she can only be called Hayden. Sigh. And more Theo. Double sigh. He hears Malia enter the workout room so he takes off his shirt (Teen Wolf necessity) and lifts weights to impress her like the cocky douche he is. She double glances so the camera can dwell on his abs but is more concerned with why he didn't spill the beans about the Desert Wolf. Mid rep, she stops the butterfly equipment and leans in close. Malia: "You think you're doing me a favor, like I'm gonna owe you now." He says he just wants in the pack but Malia's not buying it. I'm just happy someone else finds him shady and she caused Pretty Boy to strain a muscle. Nice work, Malia!

Since there's never enough filler, it's time for the sub-sub-subplot character chat. Apparently Deputy Red Shirt is Hayden's sister. She exposits Hayden's expensive pills within Liam's earshot. Scott however sits forlornly in the locker room for his new best pal, Theo the Grand Douche of Doucheville. Theo is super proud because he learned how to work Google Translate and exposits that Kira's been muttering about her new role as "messenger of Death" in her sleep. Instead of freaking out about Theo stalking his girlfriend, he confesses his doubts about Kira and her new wonky powers to the enemy. I'm too tired to facepalm. The lights flicker again and I count down until the Winchesters come to Beacon Hills and put the whole bloody mess out of its misery. In the basement they find that someone chewed through the wiring. Can't blame Kira for this one. Meanwhile Stiles and Lydia road trip to the hospital…for reasons. Lydia: "If I read the book, why don't I have the full memory of my experience with them?" Stiles: "I'm not supposed to know that, am I?" Being the 6th freaking episode out of 10, we could only hope Stiles. Lydia figures her banshee powers are actually cuing into other people's memories of the steampunk scientists. Sneaking into the OR room/hallway (in that hospital he couldn't sneak in to see Lydia a few episodes ago), they too find lighting failures. Electrical problems like stupidity and secrets are spreading this season. Lydia sends Stiles to find someone to turn on the lights in the area they are breaking into. Okay. Stiles: "I thought this was more of an auditory thing." Lydia: "I still want to see what I'm hearing." Stiles: "Makes sense." About as much as "You're not going alone" Stiles leaving Lydia by herself in the unlit creepy hospital basement with monster-making loonies roaming around. Mama McCall explains the electricity problem to Stiles and also questions why Lydia needs the lights on, but never questions leaving her alone. Ugh!

While Stiles heads for the elevator, Lydia re-enacts Poltergeist. At the now functioning vitals monitor, she leans in to hear it whisper Hayden's name as I sit nervously, expecting the machine to suck her in. Malia though exposits the hospital power failure to Scott and Theo so they go to stop Current Chewer Chimera. A steady diet of functioning electrical wires can't be good for your digestion, honey. Neither is Douche Bartender as it's back to the underage bar AGAIN! At least they acknowledge there's no way in Hades that Hayden should be serving drinks. Liam stops by with more money and makes up with Hayden only to find that she's a chimera by shining a glow stick in her eyes. Hey, I don't make this up. I just report the facts. Also Hayden has a tragic kidney failure back story that demands additional money woes and a cop sister turning a blind eye at her job. Bah! She still has it better than Current Chewer, who Lydia banshee watches as steampunk scientists pull back his skin to reveal blue insides. Someone has an Avatar fetish. Meanwhile Stiles is stopped in the elevator by his own hallucination. He sees his mother leave the elevator and follows her to the roof. That cannot be good. Sheriff talks her down by reminding her that she's delusional. She in turn tells him that Stiles wants to kill her and then starts screaming at a 10-year-old Stiles. Are you freaking kidding me? This is the Claudia-Stiles interaction? You suck, Jeff Davis. You completely suck! Why must we always get crying Stiles pain these days? Claudia starts smacking Stiles but really it's Current Chewer. Theo of course saves Stiles while Malia saves Scott in the repeated cold open scene. Theo slashes Current Chewer's throat in the second best action of the night as steampunk scientists call him a failure. Then Theo tells Stiles not to tell Scott because Theo didn't tell Scott that Stiles killed Psycho. Oh joy! See what keeping secrets does. It puts you in league with the devil.

And so ends 41 minutes (with the same scene repeated twice) that felt like 41 hours. Again. What is up with these even numbered episodes? I promise I would much prefer to have 10 good, solid episodes than 1 good episode followed by one that's mostly filler in a never ending pattern. It's like Teen Wolf doesn't know if it wants to be season 1 or season 3 anymore and this script is all over the map.  I think there were more scenes in this one than usual but mostly they were short and patchworked, held together by loosening threads.  The opening was good if bizarrely placed but then it's all watching people read and fall asleep. Lucky them. The middle contains a dozen sub-subplots scenes for no reason. Do these actors have contracts mandating they be thrown in every other episode? That's what it feels like. I'm starting to get "not them again" syndrome. At least Malia and Mama McCall start the episode off right.  In fact Malia straight up rocked this episode.  Also the flashbacks added some character insight to the main trio, but the rest was utterly forgettable and not necessary. The pacing could best be described as needing Adderall to control its ADD and Ephedra to give it some energy.  I might need some too if the good-not good pattern of episodes continue.

Grade: D+

Episode Awards:

Character of the Night - Malia
Best Moment - Scott holds Lydia's shaking hand
Best Scene - Malia saves Scott from the steampunk scientist
Best Character Interaction -  Malia vs. Theo
Best Déjà Vu - Sheriff thinks dread doctors is a stupid name too
Best Reaction - Stiles to Sheriff pinning Psycho's picture on the wall
Best Plan - Lydia finally learns to defend herself
Most Kick Butt - Malia when she confronts Theo
Most Completely Done - Sheriff now having to deal with chimeras too
Most Specialist Snowflake Moment - Liam saves Scott from an asthma attack by wolf eyeing him
Wackiest Plan - Liam uses a glow stick to find out Hayden's a chimera
Worst Plan - secrets and lies / telling Theo anything
Worst Regression - Scott has asthma again
Worst Fan Argument - Since Parrish is maybe 6-8 years older than Lydia, their flirting is not in every way squicky.  A 16 year old is only 6 years older than a 10 year old but that doesn’t make that okay.
Least Interesting Competition - Liam and Hayden aggressive flirt to obnoxiously loud music
Least Interesting Subplot - Douche Bartender
Least Sympathetic - AP Bio teacher
Least Needed - Tall Prep Blond has zero purpose in this episode
Least Impressive Achievement - Theo found an app to translate Japanese
MVP - sleeping gifs
The "Hey I'm a Librarian But Still…" Award - While I'm always glad to promote reading, I would much rather read a book myself than watch other people read.
The "Are You Kidding Me?" Award - the whole Liam-Hayden feud is over a yearbook picture
The "Fountain of Youth" Award - Mama McCall in the flashback
The "Poor Baby" Award - Most Heartbreaking - Stiles sees his mom and she flips out on him
Biggest Creeper - Theo
Biggest Facepalm - Scott takes a hit off an inhaler that still has the cap on it
Biggest Side Eye - to Jeff Davis for his fascination with underage, half-naked clubbing
Biggest Eye Roll - Outside clubbing, why does Mason need to explain to Kira what she is?  Her mom's right there.
Biggest Logic Leap - that it is Scott who needs the inhaler
Biggest Reason NOT to Keep Secrets - Theo has bargaining power over Stiles
Biggest What the Heck - I thought Douche Orderly CrazyPants hung Lydia's grandma.  What is up with this flashback/nightmare?
Best Fight - Malia vs. steampunk scientists / Theo vs. chimera
4 Times the Characters Spoke For Me: 
1.  Scott:  "Anyone feeling anything yet?"  Kira:  "Tired." 
2.  Hayden in the club:  "I hate all ages now."
3.  Hayden:  "I've got to be honest, Liam.  If you're trying to be a good guy, I really don't care."
4.  Sheriff:  "You said that…uh, these guys…"  Malia:  "Dread Doctors."  Sheriff:  "Are we really calling 'em that?"

Best Quotes -
1.  Scott:  "We keep an eye on each other today, okay?"  Stiles:  "Yes, and keep an eye out for 8 other potentially homicidal chimeras."  Kira:  "And keep an eye out for the dread doctors."  Stiles:  "I'm starting to see the appeal of a third eye."
2.  Lydia:  "My mom's book club usually has more wine."  Stiles:  "Well they also probably didn't read books that cause violent hallucinations."
3.  Sheriff:  "You said that…uh, these guys…"  Malia:  "Dread Doctors."  Sheriff:  "Are we really calling 'em that?"
4.  Sydney:  "It's stress.  I've tried everything - medication, acupuncture, hypnosis."  Lydia:  "Have you tried not taking the hardest classes in school?"
5.  Stiles:  "I thought this was more of an auditory thing."  Lydia:  "I still want to see what I'm hearing."  Stiles:  "Makes sense."

6.  Theo:  "Isn't everyone a little weird in high school?"

VIPs of the Episode:  Sleeping and Malia

Screencaps by Piclist, Princess Haley, Take Me Away to InfinityInk 361, Igsta, Teen Wolf Wikia, Liam Dunbar Falls in Holes, Really Late Reviews, Amy Lillian, Team TSD, Peency, 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/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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