Monday, January 18, 2016

Teen Wolf - 5.12 - Damnatio Memoriae - Recap / Review and Episode Awards

Previously: Jordan and death held hands, Lydia's mom was tricked into admitting Lydia into Eichen House, Valack drilled Lydia's head and exposited the steampunk scientists' new pet, and Hayden came back for more Liam time.

Making her police rounds at night, my opinion of Deputy Red Shirt (DRS) plummets. First she drives Hayden to work, which means she knows Hayden works at the underage drinking club. Nice job upholding the law there. Not that Hayden wins any awards either because she says she's been with Liam to excuse being gone for 3 days. How exactly does that make things better? Hayden, I expect better lying from you. DRS agrees, "Which doesn't improve your argument. Maybe you think you can do your own thing now. I don't care. You still need me. We look after each other, remember? For all I know, you could have been dead." Wink-wink. See, what they did there. Sigh. Then DRS responds to a missing deputy call with her sister in the car, and does NOT wait for backup. Seriously, are all cops in Beacon Hills suicidal? Why would anyone ever check out anything without a small army and Kevlar everything? As if DRS poking around abandoned places at night by herself isn't bad enough suddenly Liam pops, scaring Hayden and annoying me with his mere presence. He's been trying to talk to Hayden. She's been ignoring him and weirdly blames him for her death. Look, I don't like Liam but that's nuts. Chill out, princess. Their conversation is thankfully cut short because La Bete, aka the Beast of Gevaudan, aka the cheesiest CGI on Teen Wolf so far, wants to play tag. DRS races out, warning Liam and Hayden to run but since even the deaf could hear it grunting, they already are. Being Teen Wolf, they run right towards a chasm. Facepalm. Hayden tells Liam to leap even though it is way too wide. Hayden clears it with no problem; Liam barely hangs on so he…pulls her down too? Huh? Hayden, being rightly ticked, punches Liam into consciousness and provides vicarious fun for the audience. Liam however can't move because his back is broken. Hayden shrugs it off and leaves him, causing me to wonder and laugh. Liam: "Are you gonna just leave me here?" Hayden: "You pulled me off a cliff. I'm lucky I healed." Ha! Hayden says Theo saved her and then heads off to find her sister.

For reasons unknown, the story switches from the biggest beast in Teen Wolf history to Tracey and Theo killing the driver who barely lived when she killed her dad. Perhaps the point was to show Tracey as a cold-blooded killer but we kind of already knew all that. So, filler. To fulfill the phone product placement quota, Parrish shows Scott a video of the scene we just saw, confirming La Bete is indeed the last chimera and checking out the scene together. They find nothing useful so more filler. Parrish questions why la Bete killed a random dude instead of Liam (I might have just added that) and Scott surmises that it’s a mindless killer. Say it isn't so! Beasts with no brain/no plan are only entertaining for a short time before they bore me. I'll take Theo instead. Scott: "Parrish, how many bodies do you actually see when you dream about the nematon?" Parrish: "Everyone." To quote Parrish, "That's terrifying." But it does make for one cool graphic. Heading home, Scott channels his inner Stiles and creates his own Wall of Weird, using only red string. Unfortunately that string hooks on his jacket and when he pulls it, the entire thing falls down. Oh Scott, you and Stiles really need to make up. Like now. Why don't you head over to the hospital where Stiles is sleeping? He must be exhausted because that chair looks highly uncomfortable. I guess with all the building damage, Beacon Hills Memorial can't afford comfy furniture. None of that matters because Sheriff is missing. Again. Oh, no, no, no. I just got Sheriff back so he's off limits, Jeff Davis. Stiles is equally startled but somehow tracks Sheriff to the morgue. How? Who knows? Maybe those wonky werewolf senses have now transferred to Stiles. He finds his father standing over the body of yet another dead deputy. At the morgue comes one of the best scenes Teen Wolf has ever done, right up there with the "You're my brother" speech in Motel California, the MRI scene, and "Be your own anchor." It's an instant classic and the most beautiful scene of the night.

It's so touching that I'm including all of it verbatim so you can sniffle too. Sheriff: "The story Theo told me about the library, that's how it happened except it didn't happen to him." Stiles hangs his head: "Yeah." Sheriff: "Stiles, I can't protect you if I don't know the truth. Did you really feel like you couldn't tell me?" Stiles: "I couldn't tell anyone." Sheriff: "Honestly, did you think that I wouldn't believe it was self-
defense? Stiles: "But what if it wasn't? What if I told you I wanted him dead?" Sheriff: "I'd believe you. I also believe that wanting someone dead and murdering them are two VERY different things." Stiles: "Yeah well, what if the judge didn't think so?" Sheriff: "Then the hell with the judge. Stiles, it was self-defense and I would destroy every shred of evidence to protect you if I had to. I would burn the whole sheriff's station to the ground." Stiles: "And what about upholding the law? What about Kira?" Sheriff: "Kira was a mistake. I guess I'm learning how to bend." Stiles: "So what? It just goes away?" Sheriff: "Not for you. Problem now is how to bear this burden. This kind of thing is not at all uncommon in law enforcement - a fatal mistake, a partner who dies, one who gets paralyzed. Stiles, you carry that with you and sometimes it doesn't truly feel okay again until there's…there's a kind of counterbalance." Stiles: "Like what?" Sheriff: "Like instead of taking a life, you manage to save one. Something like that can help, maybe only for a moment. Look the real conflict you're having now is between your head and your heart. Your head…your head knows that the only crime you committed was surviving but your heart…your heart still thinks it was murder. So I guess you…uh, you've got to get your heart to catch up to your head." Stiles: "I feel like it's more than guilt though. You know I feel like…uh, I feel like I lost something. You know I feel like I can't get it back." Sheriff: "You won't. Not entirely, but you get a little bit by forgiving yourself and since that's not always the easiest thing in the world to do, then maybe you start by forgiving someone else, someone who probably really needs it." Stiles: "Someone like Scott."

By the time father and son hug, I'm a mess. Oh, these two touch my heart. Team Parent rocks the world. Kudos to Linden Ashby for completely selling this scene. It's about time someone told Stiles the things he needs to hear. It's about time Stiles lets someone in to tell him. Happy, heartfelt sigh, especially since it leads to the restoration of the Scott-Stiles bromance. While at the morgue, Scott came by and overheard the middle of their conversation but backed away. Therefore it's up to Stiles to make the first move of reconciliation. Wisely the Teen Wolf producers understand we need time to process that Sheriff and Stiles scene so it's off for more filler. Theo tracks DoucheChimera to Sinema (burn it down already!), where he's been trying to get high/drunk to no effect. At least this part of canon is solid. Theo juices him with a car battery instead and viola, new addiction. It's completely pointless except that Liam oversees it. So yeah, filler. Argent also gets his pretty yellow flower out of the family safe, sparking me to wonder how any plant survives in a safe, even one with UV lighting. Then I realize even with Argent around I don't care, so moving along to…the Desert Wolf storyline. Woo hoo! Scott tries to get Malia back into the pack, putting aside past differences. Which were what exactly? Scott and Malia were solid in 5A until she pulled away. Malia flat out refuses to help. "I'm talking about something that's going to happen. Something I'm going to do and you're not gonna like me much after I do it." Scott: "Is that why I hear 2 other heartbeats in there, why yours is beating so fast?" Malia: "Scott, go home. I can't help." Realizing something big is happening, Scott…goes home? My head hits the desk, realizing this is exactly what got them all in trouble in 5A. Urgh! Malia goes inside where Braeden pins down an ex-Russian soldier. He vows that they cannot torture him into talking. So they give him $10,000. Ha! Brilliant! He tells them that the Desert Wolf is holding Deaton hostage. Who? Oh yeah, Deaton. Kind of forgot about him, just like everyone else it seems.

Liam and Mason meanwhile freak about chimeras being back, although math and Hayden should make it less astonishing. They run into Screamer, who does his civic duty by helping to fix that poor library. The structural damage seems fixed and it explains why the books have no organization at all. In Beacon Hills, they just randomly put them on shelves. To get answers about Theo's undead pack, Mason stumbles through a conversation with Screamer until he asks Mason out on a date. Mason feels he's done his job but Liam wants more info. Mason: "Sorry but Theo leading an evil chimera pack wasn't exactly a natural progression to the conversation." Ha! While they argue, Screamer leaves and hides from Theo. No dice. Theo calls him out and tells Screamer that he no longer has to be a nice, normal guy. Oh, Theo. Screamer refuses to hurt anyone and Theo assures him that it's more about protection. Of course he uses the threat of Screamer dying again to make his point so yeah, not so reassuring. Looking for Screamer, Liam realizes he left with Theo and Mason insists they tell Scott. Since the last time they met Liam tried to kill Scott, he's naturally hesitant. Liam: "You think he'll even talk to me?" Mason: "You're his beta. Doesn't he have to?" Liam: "Where would I even start? Sorry for trying to kill you? Sorry for leaving you for dead so that Theo could kill you?" Mason: "If you start off with sorry, the rest probably won't even matter." Since it's Scott, Mason's right. Anyone else would punch Liam in the nose just like Hayden, who pouts at the police station while DRS logs paperwork declaring a monster's loose in Beacon Hills. A totally new deputy thinks she's nuts. Doesn't matter. He'll be dead before the week is out. Welcome to Beacon Hills, sir. As Hayden waits, she chats with Theo by the newly fixed jail cell. Got to hand it to the Beacon Hills construction crews. They've fixed a lot of damage in a short amount of time. Theo demands Hayden tell him about La Bete and says she can't hide from anything from him. Keeping the pack through intimidation, that's Theo's style.

Meanwhile back at the hospital, Stiles sees yet another body come into the morgue so he borrows Sheriff's laptop while he's sleeping. Sheriff: "Is that my laptop?" Stiles: "Yep." Sheriff: "You got my password?" Stiles: "I have all your passwords." Ha! Sheriff seems surprised, but who's he kidding. This is Stiles. He snoops with the best of them. Sheriff wants Stiles to back off but again, it's Stiles. He realizes something's wrong about the same video footage Scott looked at earlier. Stiles: "I think there's some footage missing. There's something missing in the footage." Sheriff: "I think there's something missing in your head." Bwah! Sheriff grabs for the laptop but Stiles is faster. "You need your rest." Ha! How the tables have turned. Not so much for Lydia though, who's still catatonic in Eichen House. She envisions leaving the crummy room she's in and heads to the room where she saw her dead grandma. Something covered in blood (or black goo - it's hard to tell) crawls out of the bloody tub towards her. Trapped, she realizes that it's…Meredith. Wait, Meredith? Say what? Meredith: "Don't be afraid." Um Meredith honey, your bloody corpse is freaking terrifying. Of course she's going to be afraid. Meredith tells Lydia to wake up because if she doesn't everyone will die. No pressure there. Lydia doesn't feel up to the challenge but apparently Meredith came back to be Lydia's Creepy Yoda and teach her the ways of the banshee. Huh? So dead Meredith is going to teach Astral Plane Lydia how to use her banshee scream as a weapon and possibly how to kick butt like the 5A opener? Huh? Yeah, I don't get it. This falls under the "check your brain at the door and go with it" category. At least Lydia is going to be kick butt again, so there's a future wish list item to be checked off.

So is saving the bromance. As Scott patches up his still not healing wound, Stiles walks in. Scott asks why he's there and Stiles shares the same CGI scene we've seen thrice now. Scott's just stunned Stiles came over. "You want my help?" Stiles: "Yeah well, you said you can find the clues that I can't." And with that the bromance is back. Yes! Woo hoo! About time! I love the brothers working together, solving Beacon Hills' most dire threats. Rewatching the video, Stiles points out that the chimera never enters the building. Smart! They check out the crime scene and notice blood pooling underneath a set of fallen lockers. Scott tries to pull it up but his werewolf strength fails so Stiles helps. Aw, again the brothers working together always warms my heart. They find a sewer entrance and follow the mercury trail to where the episode title is drawn on the ground. La Bete can read and write? Hmm. Scott wants to take a picture of it but Stiles is injected with kanima venom again by Tracey. He has to hate kanimas by now. Still he yells out a warning to Scott, who takes down Tracey and Douchey with hardly any effort using their chimera attributes against them. He forces Tracey to claw Douchey with her kanima claws while Douchey shocks Tracey unconscious. And just like that Scott wins a fight. Woo hoo! It's about time they remember Scott is an alpha and should be able to defeat all lesser problems handily, including a bunch of newbie chimeras and Liam. Speaking of, he seems to think Scott will be at Deacon's. Ha! When's the last time Scott has actually shown up for work? I swear Deaton pays him to be a werewolf these days. Since Scott isn't there, Hayden shows up to commence their love struck romance. Blech. She's now up on the whole Liam killing Scott thing but since the music's talking about screwing with people's heads, I can only hope she's playing with him under Theo's orders because that would make this drippy scene more interesting in retrospect. Hayden says Liam is the only thing that feels right and they kiss while my eyes roll. Scene please.

Back to the action, Screamer wants nothing to do with the fight so Theo steps in to talk alliance. "Okay maybe they're not ready to take on an alpha, especially one that can smell fear." Screamer: "He's got fangs." Scott: "What did you do?" Theo: "Found some new friends. I don't take rejection well." Ha! This is why I love Theo. No villain speeches, just a snarky one-liner. Theo: "You're going to leave here thinking that you need to worry about me but you're wrong. We're actually back on the same side, because that thing…that's what we need to worry about - your pack and mine. We're gonna go back to school and pretend like we're normal teenagers but at night, we're gonna be fighting for our lives." Anyone NOT see this alliance coming? Didn't think so. As Theo leaves, Scott props up a still paralyzed Stiles, who exposits the title because he suddenly knows Latin? Okay. Damnatio Memoriae means that this chimera is actually the resurrected Beast of Gevaudan, which we already knew. No need to explain the titles anymore, Teen Wolf. Since I guess old is even more terrifying, Argent visits Gerard who should have died 3 seasons ago. Seriously if he's not beheaded by the end of 5B, my head will explode. Argent feeds him the pretty flower (yellow wolfsbane to be exact) and doing so cures Grandpa Evil. I call so much foul on this that everyone's kicked off the field. If that's all he needed, no way he couldn't have just bought it himself a few season's ago. Urgh, urgh, triple urgh! Basically he exposits that yes it is the same La Bete the Argent family killed years ago. Good, then use the same strategy as back then and end this storyline now. What? Not gonna happen? Sigh. Die, Grandpa Evil.

At least the situation makes Scott even more determined to get the pack back together. Scott: "We need help. If Theo's got his own pack now, then we need ours and we have to get the others back." Stiles: "The others? You mean Kira who's currently battling a homicidal fox spirit inside of her, Malia who isn’t even speaking to either one of us, Lydia who's stuck in Eichen House, and Liam who almost killed you?" Scott: "Also known as our best friends." Bwah! How sad, how true. As a show of unity, Scott makes the first circle of the new pack sign while Stiles and I pretty much think it's cheesy. Stiles: "You're not seriously gonna make me do it." Scott: "You're part of the pack, right?" He is and so Stiles draws the outer circle as my heart leaps for joy that they are united once more. It even outweighs this goofy symbol. Scott helps Stiles up and as they leave the sewer, Stiles speaks for the audience. "I still hate that tattoo." Scott: "I know." They walk arm in arm, Stiles leaning on Scott for strength as the kanima venom wears off. Just as I am content to leave the episode on this happy note, the scene changes to an undetermined desert where Kira and Mama Fox stop. Woo hoo again! Nice to have you both back. Apparently they are searching for skinwalkers. Why? Who knows? Mama Fox exposits skinwalker lore as arms pop out of the sand. Now that's some terrifying entrance. The skinwalkers don't look particularly happy to see them, so Mama Fox tells Kira to take out her sword. Kira does with flourish, although for some reason Mama Fox doesn't bring out one herself. I'm guessing this is more about the sword than wielding it but we'll have to wait until next time. I'm very interested about the skinwalkers' role in curing Kira's inner Firefox or maybe even helping take down La Bete. Surely that beast will require all hands on deck. Just not Kate. Please.

In all honesty if the only thing that happened in this episode was Sheriff Stilinski's speech and Scott and Stiles fixing the bromance, I would be happy. Sheriff said everything right, just what Stiles needed to hear. I'm glad he didn't say that everything would go back to normal but acknowledged that accidentally killing Psycho had changed Stiles for good. I hope they follow up on this with Stiles in a way they did NOT after VoidStiles. Not only does it make sense, but it will also allow Dylan O'Brien to get some meaty material again. Fixing the bromance is #1 on my wish list so having it happen so quickly is a dream come true. I'm good with slowly getting back the rest of the pack "one by one" as long as the foundation is steady. Scott and Stiles still need to talk about what happened to Psycho, as it will be cathartic for Stiles to explain and have Scott understand. I'll be sorely disappointed if we don't get to see that scene, especially since it will give Tyler Posey a chance to work his acting muscles too. Plus the more bromance the better. This episode didn't leave out the ladies either. The promise of Lydia becoming a kick butt warrior and Kira's plotline with the skinwalkers are pure bonus, while watching Malia and Braeden working together brought the comedy. As always I could have left Liam, Mason, and Hayden out of the mix altogether but even they aren't as bad as Grandpa Evil showing up on my screen again. That man has to die this season. No exceptions, no coming back from the dead. All in all this episode did a great job of setting up all the different plotlines, but I am worried that once again they are biting off too much at once. With the steampunk scientists, Theo, the chimeras, Grandpa Evil, La Bete, Lydia's Eichen House stay, Malia's decree against her mom, and Kira's skinwalkers, there's too much on the plate as it is. Time to cull the stories and bring everyone in to focus on one big goal, which at this point needs to be ending that terrible CGI they call La Bete.

Grade: B+

Best Reason to Watch - the bromance is back
Best Scene - Sheriff and Stiles talk about what happened with Psycho, guilt, forgiveness, and a parent's love
Best Character - Sheriff
Best Moment - Scott and Stiles lift the locker together
Best Awww Moment - Stilinski family hug
Best Hashtag - #ScilesIsBack
Best Return - Kira and Mama Fox
Best Entrance - the skinwalkers
MVP - background music, especially when Meredith rises from the bathtub
Worst Motivation - Theo always threatening while telling his pack that he's protecting them
Worst Supernatural Side Effect - banshee nightmares
Worst CGI - La Bete
Worst Teen Wolf Trope - explaining the episode title
Most Creepy - bloody bathtub Meredith
Most Pointless - Tracey kills the guard, Donavan Donati
Most Recapitation / Biggest Product Placement - the video of La Bete
Biggest Huh? - So what exactly happened once Parrish went to Eichen House? Did they forget about it or was that another flash forward?
Biggest Foreshadowing??? - Why does the orderly think Lydia is dangerous? She's been catatonic the whole time.
Biggest Question - Who wrote the title on the sewer floor and why?
Biggest Laugh - After the Soviet says they cannot torture him into talking, he totally spills for money
Biggest Surprise - When did Stiles learn Latin?
The "Well Duh" Award - of course Stiles knows all his dad's passwords
The "I'm with Him" Award - While I admire DRS' desire to be honest, I have to go with Random Deputy here. Turn in an official police report talking about monsters and even in Beacon Hills, you're therapy bound.
The "It's Not Working" Award - the more they talk about La Bete's history, the more it makes my eyes roll

Screencaps by BuddyTV, Teen Wolf Wikia, TV Fanatic, Whedonopolis, The Geekiary, Cogitary, See Next, Really Late Reviews, TV Equals, Hypable, Pinterest, Teen Wolf Tumblr, Iconosquare, and Forever Young Adult

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" 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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