Thursday, February 25, 2016

Teen Wolf - 5.18 - Maid of Gevaudan - Recap and Episode Awards

Previously - Parrish met his inner hellhound, bloody shoes because the vital clue, La Bête joined the lacrosse game, Theo got a steampunk scientist helmet for his cosplay fantasy, and everyone (except me) wanted to know who the beast was.

The flashbacks come fast and furious and with plenty of exposition tonight. You've been warned. Back in 1760 during the French-Indian War, a French soldier writes home to his sister and tries not to die. It doesn't go well given his buddy finds him face down in a puddle. The soldiers, Sebastian and Marcel, find shelter but La Bête finds it too. At least it eats all the British soldiers trying to kill them. The house owner exposits La Bête helpfully but only Sebastian cares. The two make it home to Marie-Jeanne, Sebastian's sister, who is an accomplished huntress. (Why hello, Crystal Reed? Good to see you in all your Teen Wolf slow mo glory.) Sadly your whole spiel is being narrated by Grandpa Evil so who knows if this is truth or fiction. Parrish is just done with exposition already and attempts to walk out mid-story. (Turns out, that's the smart play.) Parrish: "Maybe someone should resurrect her." Ha! While many fans would like this to happen, I am good with a dead Allison and a dead Maid. No need to bring anyone else back. We still haven't gotten rid of all these freaking non-dead chimeras. Lydia protests Parrish leaving…for reasons? I'm going with the shared pain theory. If she has to listen to Grandpa Evil babble on, she sure doesn't want to do it alone, but even Lydia puppy dog eyes aren't enough for Parrish to wade through all this exposition. Parrish: "My dreams are not like yours, Lydia. I'm not just a harbinger of death. I'm the cause of it." Good excuse. Bye Parrish. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Lydia wants to join him but Grandpa Evil must have his audience. Plus Lydia might actually get her own story here. We both perk up. Argent: "Because as much as we believe Parrish could take on the beast, neither of us think he's our only hope at stopping it." Lydia: "What do you mean?" Argent: "We think there's another." Gerard: "You." Alright, you now have my attention. I'm great with Banshee Lydia saving the town from La Bête. She deserves to be the hero too.

Over at the high school from hell, there's more running and hiding than hero work. Sadly La Bête didn't squish Liam like a firefly so he lives to annoy me another day. Sigh. La Bête did play operation with his guts though, as Stiles and Hayden find when they get Liam inside the school…where La Bête now wreaks havoc. How is this a good plan? While I ponder their thinking, Stiles looks one second away from vomiting. They pull back Liam's jersey to get up close and personal with his insides. Liam: "What? Is it bad?" Hayden: "No." Stiles: "Very." Ha! No need to lie. Liam's one teen fanbase from being a goner here. Hayden: "Okay, okay, what do you guys usually do when this happens?" Stiles: "Oh, I usually pass out. I still might do that." Bwaaahhh!! Don't blame you, buddy. Hayden pulls back more gaping flesh and Stiles' eyes roll back in his head until she snaps him out of it. Stiles suggests they try pain to trigger the healing process. Hayden points out Liam's already in pain. I'm the one in pain when she kisses his boo boos away. Argh! And viola, instant remedy. Why even bother making him hurt with an InstaCure on his girlfriend's lips? Stiles snarks, "Okay, next time I'll kiss him" while I quietly vomit in the trashcan once my eyes stop rolling so hard the world spins. If I'd known this was Stiles' last scene in the episode, I'd be vomiting still. You know it's bad when I want to go back to Grandpa Evil's monologuing. Back in Gevaudan, they play Explain Away the Supernatural and it's nice to see some things haven't changed. Since this is the most progressive 18th century French village in the history of them all, the villagers start a Marie-Jeanne rally led by her brother, Sebastian, newly home from the war. After the sibling reunion, Sebastian encourages her to lead the hunting party but she's skeptical. Marie: "I hunt animals, not rumors." Things change rapidly when a child is killed by La Bete. That's it. Game on. Marie: "Monsieur Tolbert, I do not know what creature did this but the hunting party leaves at dawn."

Just to clarify (for 6 minutes) though, Marie still doesn't believe in the supernatural although her brother claims to have seen La Bête himself…in North America. La Bête is quite the world traveler for the 18th century. Hmm. Marie: "And I have been through every inch of these woods and hunted just about every creature under the sun." Marcel: "But not the moon." Marie accuses them of trying to scare her but her brother counters that he's trying to prepare her. Her ordinary weapons won't work. As the hunting party heads out, Marcel mysteriously locks his cellar door. Nope, not suspicious at all. Neither is the fact that all these farmers make up the hunting party but not the 2 soldiers. Way to protect your village, gentlemen. No surprise, La Bête kills all the Red-Shirt Party except Marie-Jeanne who is rescued via mountain ash by Henri, who brought in the dead kid. Really? La Bête is stopped by mountain ash, second only to wolfsbane in wonky canon items? Even Parrish and the chimeras skirt mountain ash. I'm officially even less terrified of Smoky now, since I hoped the most terrifying werewolf around would be too powerful for it. At least Marie's on board with the supernatural now. Marie: "That, that was no wolf." Henri: "Of course not, you fool. It twas a werewolf." The smug douche takes Marie to his apothecary, where she plays with his plants to his disgust and her confusion. Marie: "Why do you have all this?" Henri: "To protect myself. I have spent half a lifetime gathering the implements and skills to survive a werewolf. I can teach you if you want to know." Marie: "I do not care about surviving one. I want to know how to kill one." Brava! If not for the terrible accent and Grandpa Evil voiceovers, I'd love more of Marie's adventures especially since she's smart enough to poison the wine with wolfsbane (I think) to figure out who La Bête is. Marcel cuts his hand so Marie cleans it in the well and he gives her the cellar key, where she finds a whole host of dead bodies. Outside Marcel begs her to kill him, but she realizes he's NOT the killer. Her brother is. Duhn, duhn, duhn.

Since even Gerard is tired of hearing his own voice, it's back to Beacon Hills High for a status update. La Bête throws Scott down the stairs and for some reason then runs off. Malia tries to find Stiles by slamming a random kid into a wall and decides they need backup. Malia: "Braeden, it's me. I'm at the school and we need you. Bring your shotgun. Bring all your shotguns." Ha! And hopefully all the mountain ash she has. In the utter chaos of every single person left alive in Beacon Hills screaming through the halls, Scott finds the one dummy who trips and falls. He throws her into a classroom and has her bail through the window. Apparently La Bête does want to play with Scott because it pulls him out into the hallway, door and all. That gets Lydia's spidey senses tingling. Lydia: "I can't stay here." Gerard: "You should hear the rest of the story." Lydia: "Why should I be listening to you?" Amen, sister. Finally someone asks the right question. This is Grandpa Evil, the one whose last interminable narration proved false on all accounts. At least he's got one thing right. The internet can't be trusted as reliable data. Lydia spouts that Jean Chastel actually killed La Bête, which fits the Wikipedia legend. Gerard: "Who told you that, the internet? If that's your most reliable source of information, then you might as well go." Flee Lydia, while you can….no? Urgh. Now we're both stuck…but still doing better than that poor library set. Scott takes the battle with La Bête to the library only to find his classmates hiding there with his non-wonky werewolf powers. You know, the ones that could NOT smell a bleeding Parrish in the exact same place last week. He manages to get them all in the upper balcony before outing himself as a werewolf in front of his teammates and everyone else. At least he won't have to rely on the Cone of Silence anymore. As La Bête busts in, Scott's eyes go red with teeth barred and full growl. Yep, you're gonna have some explaining to do, Scott.

So do the Teen Wolf writers because this new La Bête canon is so batty it makes all other canon seem intellectually sound. When Marie confronts him, Sebastian claims he became La Bête because…get this - he fell in a puddle in a wolf paw print and drank the water. Um…uh, WHAT??? That's the kind of sense that doesn't make any. I just can't even. Speechless. The logical side of my brain says this must just be untrue folklore because even Sebastian doesn't understand what happened. My eyes can't take all the rolling if this cockamamie story becomes canon. As Sebastian confirms that he adores being an indiscriminate killer and Marie calls him a monster, my thoughts to more interesting questions like is Marcel a hellhound? Why else would he be storing all those bodies in his cellar like it's a freaking nematon? How was the beast already common knowledge when the woman explained it if Sebastian drank from the crazy puddle not too long before that? Exactly how long was Sebastian hiding out before coming to town as there was already enough of a threat that the king sent out a La Bête proclamation? Either the provincial French government system was super speedy or Sebastian and Marcel were there awhile. Most importantly, did he purposely come back to kill his sister since he encouraged her to lead the hunting party? That's some serious family dysfunction right there. All these things float around my brain while the opening scene is recapped and Sebastian threatens to kill them all if Marie tells. Before walking out he plays the family card, as in Marie won't kill him because he's her brother. Hey, this isn't Supernatural and you aren't Winchesters. Family's fair game on this show. Sadly, Grandpa Evil keeps yapping. Blah, blah, brother woes. Blah, blah, Marie-Jeanne. Blah, blah, weapons. The gist of it all is Marie and Henri make a kick butt spear in the shape of the Argent crest in some predictably convoluted way involving mountain ash, wolfsbane, Marie's blood, and moonlight. It's never, ever things you can get from Wal-Mart and fashion on a Tuesday.

Since this show is ostensibly about Team Pack, it's back to the library where la Bête throws Scott into all the furniture. That poor library. They really need to rethink their all-hours access policy or start using milk crate chairs and plywood tables. As his classmates stare, Scott once again gets thrown and it looks like he'll die in the same place twice this year. (Perhaps Scott should avoid the library too.) Enter Liam and his super special snowflake fist of doom. He face punches La Bête, but it's Braeden with her shotguns that forces the creature to flee through the window. Beacon Hills needs more Braeden. Malia helpfully growls by her side before helping Scott up. Braeden: "You didn't seriously think you were going to have a chance against that thing, did you?" Scott: "No, but I got its scent." Um, perhaps werewolf powers are wonky tonight after all. Scott shouldn't have to bleed to catch a 9-foot creature's scent. The 2 storylines collide as both Marie and Team Pack chase La Bête. Three years later (literally), Marie corners it and gets it to attack her. However she has her trusty magic spear hidden in the snow and impales him, issuing the final blow to the sadist she called brother when she vows to erase all vestiges of the man he was. Marie: "No one will remember." Sebastian: "Damnatio Memoriae? You will have them take my name? Our name?" Yup! Take that you evil glory hound. Marie: "History might remember you, Sebastian, but only as a beast." Crushed, he croaks and the exposition finally ends. Argent reminds us for the 16th time that if La Bête remembers Sebastian, the teen inside will die. Lydia reminds them that even with Marie it was a team effort and questions why she shouldn't team up with Parrish, whom they call unstable. Lydia: "Why do you care? Why are you suddenly on our side?" Gerard: "Because it's my name as well." It seems Marie shacked up with Henri, had kids, and created his ancestors the Argent matriarchal system. Argent: "Marie-Jeanne was the first hunter." Gerard: "Our name will be remembered as well…for killing the beast." Lydia: "But I'm not an Argent and I'm not Allison."

Good point but Grandpa Evil and Argent stare long enough at each other that I expect Maury Povitch to soap opera attack us with some torrid affair resulting in Lydia being a bastard child of the Argents. Luckily, he doesn't and I can retain this basket of socks. Lydia heads out to hunt for Parrish, while I weep for ever seeing her working with the actual pack again instead always being saddled with him. (Does Holland have issues with the cast because I'm running out of reasons for why she's always sidelined?) Parrish resigns from the force with half a dozen police officers still at the station. What the heck? Has no one called about school crisis? Like Sheriff, who's actually there. Facepalm. Good thing Scott, looking the worse for wear, is there again to save them all. He doggedly follows the scent while I wonder if the Desert Wolf has used the chaos to snatch Stiles. Otherwise, where is he? Braeden and Malia play least in sight too, which makes even less sense. Scott tracks the bloody sneakers to Mason's trunk as I shake my head vigorously because: 1. The shoes are still bloody and not washed. It's not like La Bête took off the sneakers so obviously the teen had to put them in the trunk. 2. They're Mason's, who isn't much of a twist. In fact, it's so little of a twist that I'm skeptical about if it's him. He could just be another red herring. Scott and Liam stare as a confused Mason joins them. Scott: "It's you." Me: "Don't tell him anything or else he might remember everything." But no answers tonight. Screamer peels off of a car and magically makes Mason invisible again over Scott's objections. As Screamer and Mason disappear, I find myself…not actually caring. I'm far more vested in whether Dylan O'Brien's schedule made it necessary for Stiles to be absent or if we're going to split pack time between finding Mason and saving Stiles in the coming episodes. After all, he's not in next week's promo.

And thus ends the yearly flashback episode with all its heavy exposition about characters we've never met before and have little interest in. It comes complete with facepalm-worthy wonky canon and mostly bat guano crazy storylines. Hey Jeff Davis, as a present to me, could we just NOT in season 6? Please. These always drag down the momentum of the season as a whole and generally right when it gets good again. Ugh! Granted this is not the worst one. That's still Derek's tragic teen romance but it is even more boring than MamaFox's take on Romeo and Juliet, nogitsune-style. It's a tie between which is more annoying - Crystal Reed's attempt at a French accent or Mummy Mouth's mumbling. Both were irritating from the beginning and got worse as time wore on. It got so bad that the only way I can stand the idea of more Maid of Gevaudan adventure is if they all move to the United States and assimilate quickly. Other than that, she was an interesting character when Gerard's voice wasn't getting in the way too. Please kill him this season if only to avoid his storytelling in the future. The real saving grace of this episode was the possibility of Lydia as savior and the library fight. I love the idea that Scott's secret identity is now out in the open. They aren't going to be able to rewrite the spectators unless they pull some lame PCP-gang type explanation a la Buffy. It should be interesting to see how the human population of Beacon Hills takes evidence of the supernatural. To be honest, I'd think it would be a relief to be able to explain all the terrible things that happen in that town. Plus it's extra incentive to flee like a smart person. In the end though, there's not enough good in this episode to outweigh the soul-crushing boredom that most of the episode caused.

Grade: C-

Best Reason to Watch / Best Action - library fight
Best Scene - Marie kills her brother / students find out Scott's a werewolf
Best Twist - Sebastian is La Bête
Best Reaction - the students to seeing Scott wolf out
Best Possibility - Lydia could be the new Maid of Gevaudan
Best Slide into Home - Marie as she goes for the sword
Worst Accent - Crystal Reed
Least Reliable Narrator / Most Snoreworthy - Gerard
Most Dramatic Unveiling Since Liam Took Off His Helmet in 4.01 - Marie pus down her hood
Most Likely to Inspire Me to Put an Ice Pick Through My Eyes - Gerard's voiceovers
Biggest Red Herring???? - I'm not ready to call Mason as La Bête yet. He may be. He may not.
Biggest Huh? - So is Marcel the hellhound and the cellar is Gevaudan's version of the nematon?
Biggest Problem - sheer boredom unrelieved by Coach humor, Stiles snark, Sheriff or Mama McCall competence, Malia importance, Theo conniving, or a plot that makes sense
Biggest Laugh - still Smoky La Bête CGI
Most Likely to Inspire Me to Cheer - Braeden
Weirdest Remake - Save Tonight by Zayde Wolf
The "You Give AARP a Bad Name" Award - Gerard, aka Grandpa Evil
The "Say What?" Award - So you're telling me that Sebastian became La Bête because he drank "rainwater from the paw print of a wolf"? What the heck kind of nonsense is that?
The "Welcome Back" Award - Crystal Reed, formerly known as Allison

Best Quotes -
1. Hayden: "Okay, okay, what do you guys usually do when this happens?" Stiles: "Oh, I usually pass out. Still might do that."
2. Henri: "I have spent half a lifetime gathering the implements and skills to survive a werewolf. I can teach you if you want to know." Marie: "I do not care about surviving one. I want to know how to kill one."
3. Argent: "Because as much as we believe Parrish could take on the beast, neither of us think he's our only hope at stopping it." Lydia: "What do you mean?" Argent: "We think there's another." Gerard: "You."
4. Marie: "I hunt animals, not rumors."
5. Malia: "Braeden, it's me. I'm at the school and we need you. Bring your shotgun. Bring all your shotguns."

Screencaps by Teen Wolf Wikia, Teen Wolf Tumblr, Matthew Daddarios, AlohaNickk, Parole Pelate, and Teen Wolf Tumblr.

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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