Throughout the seasons of Teen Wolf, Scott McCall and his wolfpack have battled numerous formidable enemies . . . and the Alpha Pack, which was totally lame, obviously. They have fought Evil Alphas, Kanaimas, Daraches, Berserkers, and a really grumpy-old man, always ultimately reigning victorious.
But now, Scott McCall must face down a new evil, one much more terrifying than all the rest. And that evil is . . . a paperback novel at a fourth-grade reading level!
As a recapper who regularly joked about the thinly-veiled illiteracy of Scott and his wolf pack, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel mildly vindicated by the fact that Jeff Davis and co made this into an actual plot point. Let’s put it this way, of all the main characters in this series, the only one who was actually able to finish that crappy dimestore novel without taking a break for “naptime,” was the one who spent half her young life, eating roadkill and sh*tting in the woods . . .
But what really made Dredd Doctors: A Novel so horrifying, at least to our characters, was not that it was simply “too hard” for our heroes to comprehend (because it was!), it was the memories that attempting to read it brought to the surface of each of the main characters’ minds . . . (none of which actually had to do with the Dredd Doctors, like they were supposed to . . . but hey, why mess with a formula that works, in order to do something as silly as advance plot , right?)
That’s right Werebangers. “Required Reading” was this season’s “Motel California,” and “Party Guessed.” Like these two previous episodes, which, in my mind were two of the strongest in the series’ history, “Required Reading” utilized (though not quite as successfully as its predecessors) a mixture of hallucination and repressed memory to illuminate aspects of our characters’ (like Lydia and Stiles) psyche that wouldn’t necessarily be evident at first blush.
They also made Scott look like an even bigger doofus than usual. . .
Let’s review, shall we?
[As always a special thanks to Andre for all the awesome screencaps you see here. Without them, this recap would probably as much fun to read as Dredd Doctors: A Novel . . .]
Digging up those HOLES
The cops find eight holes dug up on the football field, and Sheriff Stilinski thinks they each represent new chimeras, i.e just enough freaks of the week for each new episode of this season. “Though in some episodes, we will probably have to double up on freaks, so everyone on Team Chimera gets a chance to play,” the Sheriff Muses.
I, on the other hand, think Shia LeBeouff dug up those holes, as part of his juvenile delinquent sentence, after he was falsely accused of stealing some sneakers that fell on his head .. .
The Sheriff and Malia then helpfully recap our past freaks of the week, by literally X’ing out pictures of their faces with red marker a la Emily Thorne from Revenge. Excluded from this board is that creepy black-faced guy from the premiere, because he is not an attractive Abercrombie-model looking teenager, and Teen Wolf, therefore, would like you to forget he existed. Or, if not forget he existed, at least forget what he looked like . . .
Donovan is hot and young enough looking to be included in this list though!
Sheriff S wants to put an X over his nemesis’ face, but can’t because he hasn’t seen is corpse yet. And he hasn’t seen his corpse yet, because our Friendly Neighborhood Naked Garbage man has already converted it to Evil Tree Fertilizer. “Every horror movie ever has taught me that ‘no dead body’ equals ‘no dead teenager,” Sheriff S helpfully offers.
“That’s generally true, except for those situations where said dead teenager, gets made into a shishkabob by a falling ladder part, and his innards erupt into a puddle of grey goo,” mutters Stiles under his breath.
“What?” Sheriff S and Malia ask.
“I said ‘I’m really hungry for shishkabobs, and I love you too,” replies Stiles.
Then Stiles pees in his pants, because his continued guilt over this asshat’s death is essential to the plot, even though it was totally done in self-defense, and if his dad had watched him do it, he probably would have cheered him on . . .
Briefly during this scene, the characters pose the question of what the chimeras have in common, that makes the Dredd Doctors seek them out, when they are still human. My theory . . . they’ve all had organs removed / transplanted. But more on that in a bit . . .
Punch me if you are horny, baby
Half naked, Parrish and Lydia, get hot and sweaty together to pop music under the guise of “jujitsu training.” The lessons don’t go particularly well, because every time Parrish tries to disarm and take down Lydia, she feels the need to sigh amorously and nuzzle her head into his neck. And he feels the need to take a break so he can sniff her hair and fondle her breasts.
Apparently, all this foreplay somehow managed to transform Lydia into the badass ninja we saw in the season opener. I suspect this is because Parrish transferred his ninja powers to the banshee by infusing them into her boobs, while the two were getting to second base . . .
Mid nipple tease, Lydia gets a Dredd Doctor flashback of some sort, which totally turns her off to future sex acts . . . er . . . I mean “martial arts training” with Parrish.
Don’t worry, Parrish. I hear bursting into flames on top of a corpse encrusted evil tree is a great cure for blue balls . . . better than cold showers and a self-inflicted hand job, even!
Scott McCall’s Book Club for Kids Who Can’t Read Good
Scott’s entire Scooby Gang meet to read the Dredd Doctor book together, while laying on top of one another on the couch, because apparently reading is contact sport in Scott McCall’s world. It’s also exhausting, obviously, because after reading exactly two pages a piece, everyone falls asleep. I suspect this is because most of the crew’s idea of “reading” is doing this . . .
(Kira, at least has an excuse, according to Mason, because foxes are like soooo illiterate. Everyone else is just dumb and/or lazy.)
Once the group is safely comatose, Theo helpfully changes into his “I am Evil” t-shirt, grows a black mustache from his baby face, so he can twirl it malevolently, and creeps up to Kira’s bedroom, so he can leer over her for a few minutes like a child molester, and tape her sleep talking with his iPhone.
“Hey Scott,” Theo says to his new/old pal the next morning. “You don’t know this, but while you were passed out last night after an excruciating twenty minutes spent sounding out the word ‘Doctor,’ I went up to your girlfriend’s bedroom and dry humped her while she was unconscious. Does that bother you at all?”
“No, should it?” Scott inquires, clearly confused.
(Other things that confuse, Scott: sneakers that come with shoe-laces instead of Velcro, double-sided tape, and doors that have the word “Push” written on them, even though they have handles . . .)
“Cool, well, I also taped her pillow talk, and then typed what she said into Google Translate. It turns out her and her fox costume want to murder us all!”
“Dude, you are so racist. Not every phrase in Japanese automatically means, ‘I want to murder you all. Only like 95 % of them do!’” Scott retorts.
“Did you hear me, Scott? I said I found it on Google Translate. And Google Translate never ever takes sentences out of context, or attributes to them American meanings that don’t jive with what they actually mean in other countries!” Theo argues.
“Oh . . . well, in that case, I hate Kira now. She is evil, and we are totally breaking up,” responds Scott.
“Then, you won’t mind if I have sex with her then, me being secretly evil, and really sh*tty at hiding it and all? I think we’d be a good love match.” Theo muses
“Didn’t you already have sex with her last night?” Scott asks.
“No, we just dry humped . . .” Theo offers.
“OK then, be my guest,” replies Scott.
“Thanks, you are the best!” Theo responds, before heading off to the gym to corrupt and steal Stiles’ girlfriend too!
Obligatory Shirtless Scene in 3 . . . 2 . . .
In the school gym, Theo sees Malia coming to visit him, and quickly disrobes, so that he can hypnotize her into submission with his sexy man nipples.
“I think I’m supposed to be having a conversation with you about how I’m lying to my boyfriend about how my mom, the desert wolf, killed my adoptive mom, but I am too intoxicated by the smell of your man musk, and the way your pecs look covered in sweat to really concentrate on what’s being said in this scene,” says Malia.
“Mwah-hahahaha,” Theo laughs evilly, wishing he didn’t have to be naked for Malia, so he could put on his ‘I am Evil’ shirt again. (How else will Teen Wolf fans realize this guy is up to no good, if they aren’t reminded of it every three seconds?)
That Will Teach You to Read Books!
Now is the part of the episode, where our main characters get punished for trying to be scholarly. First up is Lydia. While helping a fellow student, who she thinks is a chimera, but who actually just suffers from trichotillomania (Google it!) . . .
. . she flashes back to a time when she accidentally walked into Eichen House to find her grandmother bleeding in a tub, after having supposedly drilled a hole in her own head. (Though based on the scene where the Dredd Doctors threaten to do the exact same thing to Lydia, Poor Grandma might not be entirely responsible for her own mutilation.)
“They are coming for us, Lydia. They are coming for us all,” Grandma warns ominously.
I guess it’s pretty obvious why someone would want to repress an effed up memory like that, am I right? I mean, seeing your grandma naked? YIKES! But also the “hole in head” thing . . .
What’s interesting about this hallucination is that it actually tells us quite a bit about why Lydia might have subconsciously been hiding her own intelligence in the first season or so of the series. We all assumed she did it to be popular. But, perhaps, there was a part of Lydia that took her grandmother’s terrifying warning to mean that she should cover up those things that make her different from others (i.e. her genius IQ, her banshee powers, etc) at all costs, or risk being persecuted, or worse, hurt, for it . . .
Speaking of Lydia’s banshee powers, after hearing the name of Liam’s love interest chanted during one of her hallucinations, and seeing the gory operation done by the Dredd Doctors on this week’s nameless freak of the week, Lydia figures out that she is somehow able to tap into the memories of other chimeras.
So, Lydia inexplicably gets new powers every week that have absolutely nothing to do with her being a banshee, which makes her Super Girl, basically.
In other heartbreaking hallucination news, Stiles remembered a time when his mother, suffering from dementia caused by a brain tumor, tried to jump off a roof, because she was convinced that Stiles, who was only ten at the time, was trying to murder her. She even attacked Stiles when he tried to confront her.
Up until this point, we’ve heard bits and pieces about Stiles’ mother’s illness and subsequent death, while getting hints that Stiles felt somehow guilty or responsible for it. (A perfect example of this was his hallucination during “Party Guessed.”) However, this is the first time all those pieces are finally put together.
Clearly, there’s a part of Stiles that subconsciously wonders if his mother was right . . . if there is something in Stiles that is inherently wrong or bad. This part of Stiles may have been what made him such an easy target for possession by the Nogitsune. It also may explain why Stiles is so wracked with guilt over the part he played in that dirtbag, Donovan’s, death . . .
In Which Liam Appears to Be On a Completely Different Show Than Everyone Else . . .
While the rest of the cast is suffering from identity crises caused by violent hallucinations, Liam is making googly eyes at new love interest Hayden, while he practices lacrosse, and she inexplicably practices soccer two inches away from him, because, apparently, Beacon Hills High only has one sports field left, after the other one became infested with chimera birthing holes. Isn’t that . . . like . . . dangerous . . . or something?
Speaking of dangerous? I bet you all have been losing sleep at night wondering why Love Interest Hayden “hates” Liam.
You haven’t? Well, too bad. Because I’m going to tell you, anyway. Apparently, Liam got into a fight with someone at school, tried to punch him, and accidentally punched Hayden, so her picture for the sixth grade year book was all jacked up.
I get it. I mean, it’s totally understandable that Hayden would vow vengeance against Liam for life. After all, your sixth grade yearbook photo is the most important photograph you will ever take in your entire life . . . aside from your wedding photo, and your graduation from high school photo, and your graduation from college photo, and your “I just had a baby” photo, and your EVERY PHOTO YOU’VE EVER TAKEN AFTER THE AGE OF TEN!
During this episode, we also learn why Hayden needs money so badly that she’s whoring herself out as a bar wench every night at the local gay club. Apparently, she had a kidney transplant, and the medication she needs for it costs $200 a bottle, which she hopes to repay her sister, who is footing the bill.
So, Hayden is incredibly good at kicking balls, and vain, and poor. “She must be a chimera,” Liam decides for no reason whatsoever, as he heads to the club to eye screw her some more and pay her back for knocking over her glow sticks a few episodes ago.
(Actually, Hayden’s kidney transplant might actually indicate that she’s a chimera, as evidenced by the fact that according to her sister, she’s suddenly no longer taking her medication, yet experiencing no ill effects from it . ..)
Also, there’s the little fact that Hayden’s eyes get all ghostlike under a blacklight . . .
Speaking of chimeras, we meet another one at Club Cinema. (The Dredd Doctors must really like the gays.) Did you catch him? He was the one that complained to Hayden that his glo-stick burned out, then proceeded to effect the electricity of the entire town, by repeatedly eating electric wires, everywhere he went.
Dude! Just buy a flashlight, and be done with it . . .
We’ll talk more about this week’s Freak in a moment.
But first . . . we must talk about how much Scott sucked at life, this week . . .
While attempting to sign a drop form for his AP-Bio class, Scott, like Malia, Lydia and Stiles before her had a hallucination about a memory from his past. In the memory, Scott was attacked by a pack of wolves (who murdered his dog, Roxy?) and it caused him to have his first asthma attack.
Unlike his friends’ hallucinations, Scott’s says nothing at all about his psyche. It merely notes the irony that a wolf attack initially brought on Scott’s asthma, and a wolf bite cured him of it.
Did I say cured him of it? Because, apparently, much like herpes, Scott’s asthma is back . . .
Immediately sensing through Pack Mind that his Wolf Daddy is having an asthma attack, despite the fact that Scott has never had an asthma attack in the entire time Liam has known him, Liam rushes to offer Scott an inhaler from a classmate.
Of course, Scott is too dumb to save his own life, so Liam has to go all wolfy on his ass to get him to take a puff in front of a ton of students, possibly blowing his cover as a werewolf in the process.
In other Scott fail news, at the hospital, a Dredd Doctor crushes Scott’s pilfered inhaler, and he proceeds to lay on the floor and take the abuse like a b*tch, forcing Malia and his own human mother to fight his battle for him . . .
“We should never have read that book,” Scott exclaims, as he is cowering in the corner of an elevator like a toddler.
Sure, Scott. Blame “reading” for your problems . . .
Meanwhile, on a roof somewhere . . .
R.I.P. Electric Wire Eating Guy. We barely knew ye . . .
If Scott is a failure at life, Stiles fails at luck. I mean, the poor guy can’t even have a good old-fashioned traumatic hallucination from his past, without his life being put in danger once again. Stiles awakens from the memory of his own mother attacking him to find Electric-Wire Eating guy doing the same thing.
Fortunately, Evil Theo arrives just in time to quickly and brutally murder Electric Wire Eating Guy, like it’s no big thing. (Take note, Stiles!) As we know, most werewolves eyes turn perma-blue after they commit a murder, but Theo’s stay gold, indicating that he might be a chimera as well. “Don’t tell Scott about my chimera murder, and I won’t tell him about yours,” Theo promises Stiles. “You can trust me.”
“But you are wearing an ‘I am Evil’ t-shirt, drinking blood and murdering a tiny puppy with your bare hands while we are having this conversation,” Stiles muses.
“Yeah, but I’m attractive,” responds Theo. “And everyone knows that hot people are always honest.”
“Works for me,” replies Stiles, as he shakes the devil’s bloody paw.
And that was “Required Reading” in a nutshell. Until next time, Werebangers!