Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Teen Wolf - 5.19 - The Beast of Beacon Hills - Recap / Review and Episode Awards

Note - As always, I combined certain scenes so some are out of order given Teen Wolf's tendency to quick cut to some other character briefly before going back to the main story it was telling,

Previously - every character mentioned/exposited La Bête and Marie-Jeanne, even more said, "damnatio memoriae," Mason is La Bête, and Screamer is an idiot who uses his invisibility to whisk Mason away

In the overused sewer set, Screamer and Mason take a comfy nap. Mason wakes confused as Screamer prattles about Mason being La Bête - after Scott and Liam try to convince him of it, which is after a billion people explain that if he realizes he's La Bête, he will turn into the serial killer of Gevaudan and no longer exist. Hmm, not sure what to think of the plan here. It's all blah, blah, I like you except for your inner serial killer vibes. They play 20 Shades of Where Were You When La Bête Appeared but Mason isn't convinced until steampunk scientists join the party. Hey guys, those elocution lessons are working. I could hear every syllable of your Mason chant. Perhaps I won't need subtitles for Bug language after all. They want Mason to join their crazy but Screamer and Mason run to no avail. The scientists are Dumbledore to Screamer's invisibility cloak. For reasons I don't get, they don't even kill off Screamer so they're no use to anyone still. Either kill the spares or die yourselves. There are far too many characters on this show as it is. Speaking of spares, Theo's dwindling pack and Duke, who should've died in 3A, exposit the evolution of the steampunk scientist helmet, which boils down to a hammer, electricity, fringe science, and throwing away anything resembling logic. Essentially, they want Douchey to don the helmet since he can handle the electricity it gives off. In a show of actually having brains, Douchey refuses. Plan B is the Day-Glo claws, but Duke finds them even less useful than Douchey. Theo tries to save us from another Duke monologue but Duke stands up and unplugs himself, revealing his own power. Theo is devastated. I'm frustrated by every breath Duke draws. Die already! But nope, Duke loves the sound of his own voice and explains how to take power in 3 easy steps (pain, life, power) to Theo like an idiot. Impatient as always, Theo uses his newfound knowledge to slit Douchey's throat. Huh? Woo hoo! Duke is not as impressed. "You just cost yourself one member of a small and inexperienced pack." Ha and true. Tracey though sticks by Theo…maybe. She challenges him to don the mask now that he has Douchey's power.

And just like that, one character down. 34 to go. With Parrish making good on his threat to leave town, I cautiously hope for a second but nooooo. Lydia screws up everything by getting Sheriff involved, whose employee retention plan includes using spike strips to blow out his tires. So that's the real reason no one ever leaves Beacon Hills. They physically won't let you. Sheriff: "I don't remember giving you any vacation time." Parrish: "Those were new tires." Sheriff: "Well, they're scrap rubber now." They banter until Lydia pulls up and Parrish and I both roll our eyes. Why is it a crime for Lydia to have a storyline WITH the pack? Parrish: "I can't stay. I'm a hellhound. I have the word hell in my name. Hell." Sheriff: "You're also one of my best deputies." Um Sheriff, at this point anyone alive and not in a coma qualifies. Parrish is a skeptic too so Lydia pulls death-prediction rank. Sheriff and she pep talk him about being a super special hellfire snowflake and therefore bound to save people instead of kill them. We were so close . He takes his badge back; I throw socks. Later Lydia continues to stroke his ego at the nemeton. When she touches his arm, the nemeton lights up while he sees a vision of Lydia with her throat slashed but we all know that's not happening. Good try, Teen Wolf. But then I am stopped by the presence of a genuine Teen Wolf miracle. Kira and Scott are on his bed in a crisis situation where time is of the essence and…you'll never believe it. They do NOT have sex. You heard that right. Hallelujah and crank up the parade. Instead they talk about finding Mason, college scholarship due dates (Scott's is past), and the fact that Scott's insides are likely on his outside due to the La Bête library fight. He needs rest. Stiles races in to see if his best friend is alright and we're only 10 centimeters from an actual bromance moment, but nope. He just shuts the door to give Kira and Scott privacy. But hey, no sex scene so I'll ride that high for awhile.

In the hall, Stiles runs into Braeden and Malia and automatically thinks he did something wrong. Well you were a crummy boyfriend in 5A but you've got bigger issues. Malia: "You know how my mother wants to kill me. I think she might want to kill you too." Huh? Why? I figured she wanted to kidnap Stiles and use him as leverage with Malia. Wouldn't that make more sense? Stiles: "Okay…uh, that's disconcerting. I should probably have a gun." Say what? How about asking for clarification on the situation? Braeden: "I'm not giving you a gun." Because she's smart. Stiles: "You have a gun. The Desert Wolf who is trying to kill me has a gun. I think I should probably have a gun." Braeden and I stare at him like he's lost his mind. Malia though silently encourages Braeden, who reluctantly tosses an unloaded gun at Stiles. He proceeds to drop it. I proceed to laugh. Bwaaahh!! Stiles: "I probably shouldn't have a gun." Duh! Liam shouldn't wander forests at night either, given he falls down each time. Luckily for him, Hayden picks him up and they try to find Mason together. They don't succeed. It's pointless but hey, theme of the episode. Fully restored, Scott wakes the next morning to a team planning meeting in his kitchen. Stiles: "My dad's got an APB out." Kira: "On a 5'8" sixteen year old." Stiles: "I recommended 9 foot tall rampaging werewolf." Scott and I chuckle before they exposit Plan Boring, where everyone splits up and hopes Mason just drops by somewhere for a chat. Oh and Malia wants to wander the woods by herself. Is the Desert Wolf actually a vampire who can't come out during the day? Scott pep talks the troops and pops Screamer Stalker out of his invisibility cloak like the kick butt alpha they occasionally let him be. Screamer keeps saying Mason being snatched is not his fault. I disagree. If you had let Scott take Mason to Deaton, maybe we could have skipped this episode. Instead Mason undergoes the kind of medical treatment best to be avoided, since the steampunk scientists hook him up to Tank Guy via a large hose pierced into his neck. Fun times.

Kira wants her own fun times by retrieving her broken sword. HistoryDad is skeptical. "As your father I'm obliged to warn you, this is dangerous." Kira: "As my father, I was hoping you wouldn't tell my mother." HistoryDad: "That's dangerous too." Not telling MamaFox? That's dangerous and stupid. Seriously, the woman was a kitsune for over 900 years. When's she going to train her daughter to be one? Kira seems just as clueless about her own heritage now as she was at the start. Ugh! Still it's good to see HistoryDad - far too little father-daughter bonding on this show. He reluctantly gives Kira the sword pieces but there's no town blacksmith so it's off to the desert again. Well after another annoyingly awkward scene where she leaves Scott a voicemail saying she will be back to help. I won't be happy if Kira's gone for another finale but the skinwalkers seem insistent she stay. They will help with the sword, but for a price. What price? Tune in next week. So it's back to Duke, who eggs Theo into donning the helmet by appealing to his love of power. Not willing to lose face, Theo does and promptly starts screaming. At first I thought Duke managed to kill him without raising a claw, but turns out it's just the pre-vision pain dance the steampunk scientists added to their wardrobe. Nothing says crazy like accessories that can kill you. It must work though since Scott and Liam meet Theo and Tracey in the Locker Room of Incredibly Awkward Conversations. Liam: "How stupid are we to be doing this?" Scott: "We're not stupid. We're desperate." Or both. Strangely, Theo thinks they're on the same side but Liam's adamant that they are not, which makes Theo laugh and Tracey channel her inner guard dog. Scott realizes Theo put on the mask and lived, but he didn't see Mason so time's running out. Theo: "We all want the same thing. We want Mason back." Scott: "Yeah but the difference is that we want him back alive." Theo: "Well I'm open to compromise." Bwah! That's the snarky, manipulative Theo I love. He wants the telluric map in exchange for helping, which actually makes sense. What does NOT is Scott being unable to sense Duke hiding in the corner. Argh, wonky werepowers. Tracy argues that they don't need Team Pack but Duke says Mason won't trust them without Scott. On to Plan D, which entails a full moon and Tracy using kanima venom on La Bête. She protests but Duke's insistent because it's basically his pack now.

Back at the police station, Sheriff, Stiles, and Lydia wait. Lydia: "Are we sure this is a good idea?" Stiles: "Uh no, no one thinks this is a good idea." Sheriff: "But you're trusting Theo anyway?" Stiles: "We're not trusting him. We're using him." Lydia: "What if he's using us?" Stiles: "Yeah well, that's probably a given." Yep. They reiterate the complicated "wait around until Mason shows up" plan and call everyone. Lydia: "Anything on your end?" Malia: "Not a thing and I'm going to lose my mind if I don't get out of this supernatural cage." Lydia: "The mountain ash is there to keep you safe." Malia: "I should be keeping Stiles safe." Lydia says Stiles is fine right as he walks into a wall. I see Comic Relief Stiles has returned. Eye roll or cheer as you wish. The Desert Wolf returns too. Her damaged weresenses, which work better than the pack's, pick up the conversation so now she knows where Malia is. I just want some action but we kick off the "characters waiting around doing nothing" part of the night, complete with phone progress reports. Mama McCall doesn't find Mason at the hospital. Screamer and Hayden sit dejectedly at school watching him not appear. Malia's barricaded in the McCall house as bored to tears as I am. Even Braeden takes a break from being awesome to eat nuts. She offers some to Malia, who just glares, while Stiles and Lydia sit mute on the police bench and Sheriff stares intently at the full moon chart on his wall. Twenty minutes go by…or it feels like it. At least Theo's still useful for exposition so he explains to Scott and Liam about Tank Man, the Nazi alpha werewolf the steampunk scientists use to stay alive. How? Who knows? Time to track down Mason via the telluric currents needed to keep Tank Man ticking so Theo, Scott, and Liam traipse the forest. Trying to add life to the episode, Scott tells Theo not to trust Duke. Theo: "Yeah, you're the one who let him live." Scott: "I'm not a murderer." Theo: "You still think you're going to get through all this without killing anyone." All this foreshadowing about Scott killing someone and I still don't buy it, not this season. I'm just glad someone called Scott out for letting Duke go free.

For once I'm glad Liam interrupts by picking up Mason's scent. He's naturally hesitant to share info with Theo, but Scott insists because Theo saw Sebastian in the mask so there's little time left for Mason. I'm okay with that. They head to a shack where they see the tube connecting Mason to Tank Man but don't call anyone to say he's been found so the pack waits around, except Stiles who falls asleep. It's a metaphor. Every time he naps it's an episode where I desperately want to as well. Lydia wakes Stiles by poking him. Stiles: "What happened? Who's dead?" Bwah! An appropriate response in Beacon Hills. Mama McCall joins to exposit that Mason had a twin which was absorbed in utero, making him a chimera. Comic Relief Stiles suddenly doesn't understand complicated words like absorption and vanishing so Mama dumbs it down for us all. "He ate his twin." Nice. Lydia hints that this might save Mason after 9 episodes of saying he'll die. At the library Argent and Grandpa Evil add fuel to the theory when they argue over if the bite will cure him. Great, another Scott beta. Trust me. Liam's more than too much. Talk turns to the pike and my interest is renewed. I knew it would come back into play. Argent wonders if the pike was melted down over the centuries but supernatural storytelling requires it to be tucked away in some obscure hidey hole for centuries. Frankly, I'm shocked the Argents didn't keep better track of their stuff. Without the pike, it's time for Plan G for "get all the guns". Argent: "If we can't, then we're going to need a lot more firepower to take on the beast." Cue Parrish, offering his services. Meanwhile Stiles calls Malia, probably on Mason's twin meal and she starts to leave…until she senses her mom's presence. Tracey got to the mountain ash barrier and the Desert Wolf is in but Braeden put the nut shells on the floor as her own alarm system. A fight ensues with shots fired twice through the ceiling, almost hitting Malia. Braeden knocks the Desert Wolf down, but for some reason doesn't take a pistol out to shoot her. Instead she repairs the mountain ash, trapping Malia and the Desert Wolf inside. DW: "Okay, I love a cage match." How is this a good plan?

In the woods, Scott also goes from smart to stupid in 10 seconds flat as I face palm. They decide the best course of action is pulling the tube out of Mason instead of…I don't know, slicing the hose and getting him the heck out of there. Oh, Teen Wolf. Liam holds Mason as Scott yanks on the tube, telling Mason to tell him if it hurts. Seriously, Scott? Of course it's going to hurt. In fact it hurts so much they can't remove it. No worries though as the steampunk scientists drop by to continue the night's meager action. But not before taunting Theo for being a commonplace failure and commenting on the narcissism of millennials. Okay then. At least they learned from Theo. They've decided that perfect evil doesn't come from making a bad guy worse. It comes from corrupting a good guy like Mason. Hence attaching him to the Nazi alpha. Liam tries to remove the hose too but Theo is done with the lecture and proceeds to show that stupidity is contagious when he attacks by pounding the scientist's helmet. Before long, everyone futilely attacks the least vulnerable parts of the steampunk scientists' outfits. Seriously, aim for the back of the knees or the freaking hose attached to the helmet? If this is your fight plan, you deserve to be beat. Watching Liam getting taken down inspires Mason to yank the tube out himself, which causes him to transform into La Bête. It's actually pretty cool, meh CGI and all. The beast takes down 2 steampunk scientists like they're nothing and guts the third but before he can off that one, Parrish and the Argents arrive. You couldn't wait one more minute? Between hellhound fists and Argent guns, it's enough to send La Bête running and changing into Sebastian. Grandpa Evil and he exchange greetings before he disappears into the night, proving that Sebastian is here. Mason is gone…until he isn't, which should take approximately 25 minutes in the finale despite frequently being told all season long that it is impossible.

In many ways this is a typical Teen Wolf penultimate episode. It spends all episode making progress on nothing I care about, adding filler and tying up a few of the loose ends. The only big difference this season is that instead of eye rolling over emoangst, I was struggling to stay awake. Welcome to Filler Wolf - The Waiting Game. Like most Teen Wolf penultimate episodes, this one was long on set up and short on delivery. We've taken our characters to the brink of…to be continued next week, where I am sure that despite being told that Mason could never, ever survive at least once every episode, he will with help from Parrish, Lydia, and Liam. In this episode though, we wait. Luckily Stiles returns to his roots as comic relief so there's some in-flight entertainment to break up the boredom. See Stiles drop a gun. See Stiles walk into walls. See Stiles sleep awkwardly on his dad's office couch. It's funnier than it sounds. Well, not the middle one and yet it is still better than the alternative of watching Sheriff stare at his full moon wall art in case you thought we were actually getting a Teen Wolf finale that doesn't take place on a lunar event. As if. It's not all tedium though. We do get two significant wins. La Bête takes out 2 steampunk scientists in such a way that if they do come back, I give up. Plus Theo kills Douchey for his power. I call both a victory. Next up, Gerard and Duke - after Duke kills off Theo of course. Mason's turning into La Bête was intriguing as well and we have confirmation that the Argents are looking for the pike as predicted on the podcast. The MVP though goes to Braeden, who continues to steal every single scene she's in. She's also the only one with a working plan that does not include 16 people staring into space helplessly all hour but does include nut shells. Simple and effective. Too bad she trapped the Desert Wolf in the house with Malia. Even worse, the entire fight took place and Malia didn't even come downstairs. Urgh! Time to let Argent make all the plans.

Grade: C

Best Reason to Watch - everything is set for the finale and the cast shrunk by 3
Best Action - Braeden vs. Desert Wolf
Best Weresenses - Scott knows Screamer's there
Best Reaction - Braeden to Stiles wanting a gun
Best Snark - Stiles
Best Plan - Braeden's nut shell intruder alarm system
Worst Plan - steampunk scientists, unless their plan all along was to create a beast that kills them
Worst Employee Retention Program - Providing actually decent health care is so first term Obama. In Beacon Hills, the police just slash your tires to keep you from quitting your job.
Worst Nickname - So the guy who created the helmet was called the surgeon? Wouldn't the engineer be a better fit?
Most Likely to Get a Bad Deal - Kira with the skinwalkers
Most Irritating - What? It's not Gerard. Look at you taking the crown, Deucalion.
Most in Need of a Grammar Tutor - Kira
Most Likely to Kill You Just for the Sport of It - Tracey, who actually makes a good padawan for Desert Wolf
Biggest Miracle - Kira and Scott are together on a bed and it does NOT turn into a sex scene
Biggest Facepalm - they keep punching the steampunk scientists in the helmet where it is has zero effect
Biggest Lecture - steampunk scientist schools Theo
Biggest Liar - Parrish, who promised he would go away but isn't even gone one episode
Biggest Laugh - Stiles drops the gun
Biggest Stalker - Screamer, who needs to go
Least Competition - Sheriff calls Parrish one of his best deputies. At this point, anyone alive and breathing on their own pretty much qualifies.
Least Surprising - A full moon is coming…in Beacon Hills. Go figure.
Smartest Cookie - Douchey for saying no to the helmet
The "Poor Baby" Award - Mama McCall's house
The "I'm with You" Award - For once, Liam, I agree with you. There is a thin line between desperate and stupid and I think the pack crossed it.
The "Welcome Back" Award - HistoryDad

Best Quotes -
1. Stiles (after being woken up from a nap): "What? What happened? Who's dead?"
2. Stiles: "Still nothing from Scott and Liam." Lydia: "Are we sure this is a good idea?" Stiles: "Uh…no, no one thinks this is a good idea." Sheriff: "But you're trusting Theo anyway?" Stiles: "We're not trusting him. We're using him." Lydia: "What if he's using us?" Stiles: "Yeah well, that's probably a given."
3. Theo: "We all want the same thing. We want Mason back." Scott: "Yeah but the difference is that we want him back alive." Theo: "Well I'm open to compromise."
4. Malia: "You know how my mother wants to kill me. I think she might want to kill you too." Stiles: "Okay…uh, that's disconcerting. I should probably have a gun." Braeden: "I'm not giving you a gun." Stiles: "You have a gun. The Desert Wolf who is trying to kill me has a gun. I think I should probably have a gun. (Braeden tosses him a gun and he drops it.) I probably shouldn't have a gun."
5. HistoryDad: "As your father I'm obliged to warn you, this is dangerous." Kira: "As my father, I was hoping you wouldn't tell my mother." HistoryDad: "That's dangerous too."
6. Lydia: "Anything on your end?" Malia: "Not a thing and I'm going to lose my mind if I don't get out of this supernatural cage." Lydia: "The mountain ash is there to keep you safe." Malia: "I should be keeping Stiles safe."
7. Parrish: "I can't stay. I'm a hellhound. I have the word hell in my name. Hell." Sheriff: "You're also one of my best deputies."

Screencaps by Teen Wolf Tumblr, Matthew Daddarios, Forever Young Adult, FYT Wolf, Really Late Reviews, Mason Hewitt, Fangirlish, and 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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