Teen Wolf Recaps: Superposition
This week my husband and I were so bummed out by the continuing collapse of the republic that we decided to relax by having a hot date night where he watches Teen Wolf for the first time, and I pause it every five minutes to write up the recap. Sexy!
In the cold open the obviously evil hot science teacher is talking about power and electricity and control while doing an experiment. There are a couple of girls doing dreamy gazes in the background which is weird because this guy is, as noted, obviously evil. The scene confirms his evilness because his talk about electricity is spliced with shots of a skinless guy in a tank who looks like he was leftover from last season when the Dread Doctors were doing their thing. The guy in the tank is flailing and beating the glass, and Mr. Douglas has a syncopated coughing fit. The guy in the tank breaks out and something is very wrong with his face. Mr. Douglas goes in the supply closet to cough like a tuberculosis patient/huff some helium. HELIUM WEIRD A HELIUM THIEF WAS JUST MURDERED. Seth: “won’t his voice be really squeaky when he comes out?” Good question! Credits!
Hayden is in the girls locker room where a black girl is freaking out/pissed off because her sister Phoebe’s stuff has disappeared and no one remembers her. Hayden doesn’t remember Phoebe. Phoebe’s sister is like, “well that’s just perfect.”
Scott and Lydia are looking up the word “Stiles” in the motherfucking dictionary. Seriously? Stiles would have a much better plan if he were here. I'm overly sensitive about this because my students are turning in their final papers and I'm in that place where I have said "scholars don't care how Merriam Webster defines 'identity'/'neoliberalism'/'aesthetics' fully one million times, but only once to each student offender. So I'm like "I've said it a million times WHY DON'T YOU GET IT" and if they could hear me, Scott and Lydia would be like "because it's the first time you told us." It's a fair point. In my defense, the dictionary definition of “stiles” is not helpful; I'm sure if they had looked it up in the New Princeton Encyclopedia of Teenagers Kidnapped by Supernatural Beings they would have gotten a lot farther. God. Millenials!
Meanwhile Malia is taking a calculus make-up test in Mrs. Martin’s office. Proctoring a make-up test for a single student seems like a weird use of Mrs. Martin’s time, if she’s the principal? But maybe this is just a protocol for students likely to turn into coyotes while taking tests, which is what Malia does because she is terrible at calculus and has a lot of anxiety about it. Scott and Lydia hear coyote-Malia yipping as she escapes and head after her. She’s hiding in a supply closet.
Scott and Lydia show up with Mrs. Martin and Stylinski close behind, which is weird, was he just dropping by the school on other business? I guess he could have been since it is a murder scene. Malia growls a lot and Lydia is like “hey guys maybe let’s back off” and Mrs. Martin is like “wait, are you saying it was a were-coyote that destroyed our lake house”. Nobody is sure why Malia is randomly shifting during make up calculus exams because they don’t understand anxiety. Lydia points out that Malia’s mom tried to murder her and take her power last season, so who wouldn’t have some issues. Scott is like “that wouldn’t cause random shifting,” as if he has any experience with his mom trying to murder him. They find out that “Stiles” is a family nickname in the Stylinski family. Huh. Maybe it’s a clue!
Scott and Lydia talk to Stylinski and his resurrected wife in their living room. Stylinski shows a photo of his dad, who went by Stiles; Scott hypothesizes that the missing “Stiles” is/was his best friend. No one points out that if Stiles is a Stylinski family nickname and the missing person is a kid Scott’s age, then the logical conclusion is that missing Stiles was Stylinski’s son. Also, FYI, reanimated Stylinski’s wife makes no freaking sense. I think she's probably evil. Anyway, there is a creepy-as-can-be old lady who wanders through the room and looks at Lydia all creepy, and then tells her “the following stops . . . . won’t be stopped at?” I can’t remember how she worded it, and neither can Seth. I also refuse to back it up and watch it again. I’m sure it’s not important, it's just a portentous comment from a creepy old lady. Lydia follows her and finds her staring at a blank wall, then she disappears when Lydia looks away. Stylinski is getting all pissy because his dad’s in a nursing home and he’s complicated to talk to. Scott is like “please” and Stylinski and his wife--who I’m going to call “the reanimatrix”--are like “we said no”.
Scott’s mom--Melissa? Is that her name or the actress’ name? (NB: It's both the character AND the actress' names) Anyway, she hears something in the kitchen and grabs a candlestick in case she has to bludgeon a supernatural intruder. I don’t know why she doesn’t keep a baseball bat made of mountain ash handy. The intruder is JR Bourne! Hi JR! He made coffee. He is the perfect intruder! He wants Mama Hale to get him into the morgue and look at a dead body with him. Seth and I are not the only ones having a hot date tonight! He tells Mama Hale the dead body is almost certainly supernatural. What a flirt.
The girl whose sister disappeared is named Gwen. She is looking to see if Phoebe still appears in old yearbooks in the library. Hayden asks her what’s up; she explains: Phoebe--and the rest of the family?--disappeared along with all the stuff in her room; she saw a ghost rider in the yard, and now nobody but her remembers her sister. Hayden is all “shit you saw a ghost rider you are next” and Gwen is like “I am not falling for your dumb ghost story you mean white girl.” I mean she doesn’t say anything about race, but there aren’t a lot of black kids at this school. I assume she is thinking it.
JR Bourne and Mama Hale check out the helium thief in the morgue. His head was bitten through. By POWERFUL JAWS. And this wasn’t his first victim! When you remember that JR Bourne helped his wife kill herself with a sword so she wouldn't turn into a werewolf, you realize this actually probably would be a hot date by his standards.
Scott and Malia are planning to go break in and talk to Stylinski’s dad, so Scott puts Liam in charge of taking care of Gwen because he wants Liam to grow and become a leader. Liam is terrible at being a leader. Literally anyone else in the group would be a better choice. In the library, the pack keep an eye on Gwen. Hayden suggests that Gwen will go to a hot lacrosse party happening that night to ask people about Phoebe. Mason claims to know a super-safe-no-supernaturals-allowed place they can take her. How will any of them get into this place? I guess I’m still not sure if Mason is a supernatural these days, but I’m leaning towards no.
Stylinski’s dad has dementia. I knew this because first of all I understand how plots work, and second of all the door to the nursing home said “home for the senile”. He thinks Scott is his son and it’s 1976. He claims to recognize the whole gang, but his claims are suspect.
Mason’s plan was to hijack the party and turn the Hale house into a nightclub. The logistics of pulling off this switcheroo are left completely unclear, but since the whole house is reinforced with Mountain ash, sure! Let’s say you can do this. There’s a bit with the guy who was throwing the original party, who is rightly irritated; Mason gives him some cash to shut him up. That is weird.
At the nursing home with Old Stylinski suddenly it’s dark and Malia is worried about waking “the other old people” even though they walked in like five minutes ago and it was full daylight. They debate using Scott’s claws, but Scott thinks it’s unethical even though Malia is all for it.
At the party, Hayden and Liam flirt and make out while semi-watching Gwen.
Old Stylinski starts to flip out, which Lydia says is “sundowning.” She calms him down with some math, though. Malia is disgusted. I think inside Malia is just hoping she never develops dementia and ends up in a home where they make you do math. Don't worry Malia! You can spend just turn into an old coyote and crawl away to die alone in a den the old fashioned way. It's not like we're going to have Medicare by the time you retire anyway.
Corey tells Mason he thinks they’ve forgotten something, so they’ve probably forgotten something. Mason is like “don’t worry we’ve got it” and they start to dance. Something is definitely wrong.
Old Stylinski recognizes the kids all of a sudden; when he’s snarky about Lydia’s mom losing her looks Malia flips out, which I don’t totally understand, but maybe she’s just protective? Yeah! Stand up for your girlfriend, Malia! Sheriff Stylinski shows up and he is PISSED, especially about the guy Malia assaulted. But after he chases the kids out, as he’s leaving, his dad is like “oh sure, act like I’m not here, go on back to your DEAD WIFE and your LOSER SON” and the Sheriff is like WAIT WHAT????
Gwen is upstairs in Scott's bedroom brooding (the party is at Scott's house, remember?) and a ghost rider shows up. Corey and Mason suspect the arrival because a black stain appears on the ceiling. How unsubtle. Gwen comes running downstairs and the rider follows her, but only she can see him . . . until Corey turns invisible and can see him too. Then, in a shocking fit of bravery/stupidity, Corey grabs the rider by the arm, and the rider turns around and smacks him, startling him into turning visible, at which point EVERYONE CAN SEE THE RIDER. Dude, has Corey just signed all these kids up for disappearing camp? NOBODY WANTS TO GO TO DISAPPEARING CAMP. Corey is like “everybody out!” He has a lot of ideas about what to do, but it’s pretty unclear whether any of his ideas are good or terrible. I can't decide if this means Corey would be a worse choice or a better choice for leader than Liam. On one hand Liam has made exactly zero suggestions and dealt with exactly zero problems. On the other hand, Corey has dealt with a problem in a possibly catastrophic way. I'm tempted to make an analogy to the Trump administration, but why bother? Any of these hapless teenage supernaturals would be a better steward of the republic than the BEST of the Trump appointees. (HA! Who is the "best" Trump appointee? It's a conundrum!) The kids start to run out; Mason dumps a bunch of mountain ash ash out of a jar in front of the rider, trapping him. Huh. Mountain ash does contain the rider, so how did he get in? Aren’t the windows upstairs framed in mountain ash?
JR Bourne and Mama Hale confirm that the bite marks on the other victim - a woman who I guess was camping? are the same as the ones on the helium thief. JR says her pineal gland was also missing, so Mama Hale is like “let’s do some dissection.” This date is really getting steamy now!
There is a fight with the rider at the Hale house that I don’t totally follow. The rider’s whip is breaking through the mountain ash barrier so Mason takes Gwen to run away but when they get out of the house she’s like NO LETS GO BACK IN because she can see the hunt ranged outside.
The helium thief’s pineal gland is missing! JR gets to hold a clamp for the dissection.
The rider inside the house grabs Gwen's ankle with his whip and has tug-of-war over her with Mason & company. Corey and Liam . . . prepare to do something? Parrish shows up and shoots the rider from the back which obvs doesn’t work. The rider turns around and walks up to Parrish and looks at him quizzically while Parrish polices pointlessly. The rider calls up a whirlwind of leaves and disappears into it and/or turns into a whirlwind of leaves.
Lydia’s mom is at the police station with Scott, Lydia & Malia, and she’s pissed. The guy whose nose Malia broke “decides not to press charges”, which seems unlikely. Lydia’s mom is like “well you’re still grounded until forever.” See, the thing about shows about teenage supernatural evil-fighters is that the idea of discipline on the part of parents is completely absurd. “What, you did technically illegal things in a desperate attempt to stop literal evil from walking the streets of the town? Well that is just not acceptable in our family, young person” is a lecture that's ALWAYS going to make you seem like a dick.
Liam explains the plan and the pack's big success in “saving” Gwen; Scott points out that the Wild Hunt keeps a shitty list and now EVERYBODY is on it. I think this is debatable. It's not clear if the Hunt takes you because you can/have seen them, or if you can see them because they are planning to take you, and Mason couldn't see the other riders when he went outside with Gwen, so if it's the later (which actually makes more sense to me), then everyone but Gwen is fine. Scott has mistaken correlation for causation. I suspect that Jeff Davis has also mistaken correlation for causation, and if the writer/producer believes it then functionally it is true, and everyone is in big trouble, but from a diegetic standpoint it's only like 50/50 that everyone is in trouble.
The most important thing about this scene is that Scott is Very Disappointed in Liam. Liam is not a TRUE ALPHA. Stylinski stops by house Hale and helps Scott to clean up the party mess for no particular reason. Has it occurred to anyone that it really makes no sense for Stylinski to have an affectionately paternal relationship with Scott anymore? Like, the reanimatrix is back because somehow Stiles not existing meant she didn't die, but Stylinski's relationship with his non-existant son's former best friend is unchanged? Reality made some strange picks when it was rewritten. The Sheriff exposits that Old Stylinski was an abusive dick. He has a scar full of ground glass! Yikes. He tells Scott about what Old Stylinski said, sort of, and about a weird dream/memory he has where he tells the reanamatrix that if they have a kid he wants to name him after her father who of course has the terrible unpronounceable name we still don’t know and she’s like, okay, we’ll just call him "Stiles". IT'S ANOTHER CLUE.
JR tells Mama Hale that the pineal gland is the SEAT OF THE SOUL.
At the high school a night janitor is in grave danger, indicated by the fact that he is cleaning the high school alone in a scene in the last 90 seconds of the show, a signed death warrant if I ever saw one! Mr. Douglas bites the back of his head, pulls out his pineal gland and eats it. It’s small, but he really relishes the morsel! Mr. Douglas is a helium huffing, pineal gland eating supernatural being! Seth wants to know if he is a werewolf. I doubt it.
Okay, well, that's it for Episode 3. Enjoy Episode four tonight, and I will remind you what happened next week!
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