Game of Bones . . .
Have you ever seen a children’s magic show? By design, a children’s magic show has to be different from its adult counterpart. You see, children generally don’t have the patience for the pomp and circumstance of adult magic shows . . . the “mood music,” the attractive scantily clad assistant, the table that spins in the center of the stage for no apparent reason than to make the audience dizzy.
Because of this, children’s magic shows tend to consist of a variation of the same magic trick, over and over again. “Presto chango.” This hat is empty.
“Presto chango.” Now there is a rabbit in it.
“Presto chango.” We poured milk into a rolled up newspaper.
“Presto chango.” Now it’s dry.
“Presto chango.” This is a blank coloring book.
“Presto chango.” Now it’s filled with the colors the audience shouted at the magician, a moment earlier.
Season 4 of Teen Wolf, in general, and the aptly titled “Smoke and Mirrors” finale, specifically, felt a bit like watching a children’s magic show . . .
“Presto chango.” There’s a deadpool.
“Presto chango.” Just kidding!
“Presto chango.” Derek’s a man werewolf. “Presto chango.” Now, he’s a kid werewolf. “Presto chango.” Now, he’s dying. “Presto chango.” Now, he’s not dying, and is an actual wolf.
“Presto chango.” Scott’s a berserker. “Presto chango.” He’s better now.
“Presto chango.” Liam’s petrified of berserkers , and doesn’t want to be a member of the pack. “Presto chango.” “I’ll die for you, Scott McCall!”
Back in my early season recaps of Teen Wolf, one of the aspects of the show I always complimented was the way in which its writers never felt they had to underestimate their fans intelligence, by spoon-feeding them information they could figure out on their own. But there’s a difference between providing the audience with only some of the pertinent information, and providing them with none. When you do the former, you are treating your fan like she’s smart. When you do the latter, you are treating your fan like she’s . . .well, a child.
Let’s review, shall we?
[As always, special thanks to Andre, who faithfully recapped this entire season of Teen Wolf, without grumble or complaint, and even indulged my Deputy Parrish fantasies and thinly veiled requests for pictures of him naked, without judgment or mocking.]
Scott McCall and the Temple of Relationship Doom
Not to be a Debbie Downer (I promise I’ll try to make the rest of this recap more upbeat.), but I was so incredibly disturbed by the scene where Berserker Scott beat the crap out of Kira that I think it may have colored my perception of the rest of the episode. My main issue with the scene is that I have this sneaking suspicion that Scott’s actions will have no repercussions in his relationship with Kira, next season. “He didn’t mean it,” she’ll say. “He wasn’t himself at the time.”
“This is all starting to feel very Afterschool Special.”
In this particular instance, it may be true. But how many times have you heard an abusive boyfriend or husband use the same excuse? “I wasn’t myself . . . I was angry . . . I was drunk . . . I haven’t been sleeping.”
“I was wearing a funny hat.”
Even Stiles, who actually wasn’t himself, back in Season 3, when he was possessed by the Nogitsune, was willing to take some responsibility for the havoc “his body” wreaked on the town. “I was there. I saw everything. And a part of me enjoyed it,” Stiles admitted to Malia earlier this season.
If the writers were to have Scott make a similar confession to Kira, could they allow Kira to willingly continue the relationship, without sending a terrible message to fans everywhere?
Ummmm . . . .
Anywhoo, back in the Temple of Relationship doom, Kate is Villain Monologuing about how this cave has magically imbued her with the power to create Berserkers, and make them 100% loyal to her, because . . . um . . . bears really like jaguars, I guess.
“Are they still considered six-pack abs, if you have to wear them as a t-shirt?”
She tells her pet Scott to stab Kira in the chest, and he does.
“Good Bear / Dog. You get a cookie . . . or should I say, another bone.”
Has the Mexico Department of Tourism Gotten Wind of This?
In the season premiere, the Scooby crew all took a nice little road trip to Mexico to save Derek from Kate’s clutches . . . and also to tussle with a Mexican crime syndicate. Now, in the finale, they are heading back to Mexico to “save” Scott and Kira . . .
Apparently, if you are looking for a place where your adult friend can get turned into a teen, and your teen friend can get turned into a mindless bear zombie, Mexico is the Vacation Destination for you!
Did I mention they have Chimichangas?
Papa Stilinski is totally not cool with Stiles and his friends heading off to certain death in Mexico. “I get it. You need a vacation. But why not somewhere like Daytona Beach, Bermuda, New Orleans, Vegas . . . a Giant Maze where bug-like creatures chase you around for sh*ts and giggles . . .”
“Nope, viva la Mexico,” replies Stiles. “Also, I’d very much like some guns, please.”
“What’s that you say, Stiles? You would like to take your trustee bat to the Murder Church? Yes, you can take your bat,” replies the Sheriff.
“I said GUNS . . . G-U . . .”
“All right, sonny boy, now you run along and play . . .”
Speaking of guns . . .
All Paws on Deck
For trained bounty hunter, Braeden, murder is like playing golf. You bring every gun you own, everywhere you go, and then carefully select the best one for the circumstance at hand . . . hopefully, before someone shoots you in the face.
“You’re going to need a really big backpack.”
. . . which, I guess, makes Derek her caddy.
For a hero, Derek seems surprisingly cool with his impending demise.
DEREK: “They’ve got that little guy, with the pretty boy face now. Clearly, I’m being phased out, sent off on the ice floe, like the Eskimos do to old people.”
BRAEDEN: “But if you’re dead, we can’t have sex in your poorly furnished apartment, while Lydia screams in our ear anymore.”
DEREK: “You’re over 18, (I hope. I mean, you are, aren’t you? Because, I never actually asked). Maybe they’ll send you on the ice floe too . . .”
BRAEDEN: “Hmmm . . . I’ve never had sex on a block of ice before . . .
Also packing for the trip are Stiles and Malia, the former of whom helpfully offers Malia a pair of his besties dirty underwear so that she can pick up his scent . . .
. . . which would be very helpful, if Scott was trapped under something heavy, and the only part of his body out in the open air was his crotch . . .
Malia rolls her eyes, and decides to sniff his pillow instead. Smart girl!
Last week, Liam was all, “No thank you,” to the opportunity to be a series regular on a show that involved him willingly walking into the jaws of death every week. “Please keep me in mind when there’s an opening on Dawson’s Creek,” he said.
“I have soulful eyes. I can totally be broody like Dawson, or misunderstood and charming like Pacey.”
But then that other wolf guy gave him a pep talk, and he changed his mind . . .
(Also, he Googled Dawson’s Creek, and learned it’s been off the air for over 10 years.)
“I’d very much like it if you tied me up, and strapped me to the roof of your car, so that I can come along on this Super Fun Suicide Trip with you all,” Liam offers, shrugging off the second full moon of his werewolf existence like it no big deal . . .
“Hey, can I come too? I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to be good or evil in this episode Maybe I should go back into a coma, so Meredith can tell me what I’m really thinking,” chimes in Peter.
Now, THAT’S what I call a road trip. But wait . . . SOMEONE’S MISSING . . .
Not Without My Lydia . . .
“Kind of smells like Scott’s crotch . . .”
Back at school, Lydia is snorting one of Kira’s jackets, when this happens . . .
“Hey Lydia, I was hoping I could borrow your calculus notes. You see, I have this big exam on Monday, but Kate’s had me out late every night eviscerating innocent flesh, and I just haven’t had the chance to sit down and study.“
I get that it’s the weekend. But I love how no one noticed the GIANT BEAR BONE ZOMBIE THINGY wandering the halls in broad daylight . . .
Mason’s at the school too, because he’s human, and not friends with Scott, which means he still has to do boring things on this show like eat nasty cafeteria food, dissect frogs, and, in this particular instance, “attend Study Group.”
Also, because every cute red-headed high school teen needs a gay best friend . . .
Stiles tries to get the group to wait for Lydia. But Peter seems to be in a very big rush to leave her behind, so he can save two teens he doesn’t like very much. Yeah, because THAT doesn’t seem suspicious at all . . .
So, the Scooby Gang leaves without Lydia, which is pretty much what they’ve been doing all season, probably because she’s not dating Stiles or Scott . . . also, maybe, because of the Screaming Thing, which is super unpleasant . . .
Mason eventually finds Lydia’s cell phone in the hallway . . .
“Cool screensaver, is that from an app?”
. . . and then, he finds Lydia, just not in the way he would have hoped.
“Bet you never thought you’d wind up back in the closet, huh?”
“That guy, in the hallway . . . the one who beat me up. He had a really great Halloween costume. But I’m not sure if he was supposed to be Shredder from the Ninja Turtles movies, or someone from Game of Thrones. Think I should ask him?” Mason inquires.
“Not human,” Lydia remarks ominously of their burly captor . . .
Humanity is overrated . . .
As the full moon rises, all of our Scoobies appear to be becoming a bit more feral. En route to Scott, Peter is doing a pretty good job of convincing Malia that murder is totally OK, provided it’s for a good cause, like, for example, to help out the person you occasionally bone. “Also, losing control and becoming an animal is OK, if you want to kill the Bear-Looking thing, that may or may not be Scott, so I can become Alpha, because . . . wait for it.”
Meanwhile, in the other car, Derek is offering up a slowly wolfing out Liam, his very favorite cereal box toy, to help him control his animal urges.
“I think it was supposed to come with a matching decoder ring, but I accidentally threw it out with my box of Lucky Charms.”
When that doesn’t work, he teaches him the Latin Alphabet.
When that doesn’t work . .. it’s all about the Buddhism, baby! I’m thinking, The Sun, the Moon, The Truth would make for a great phrase to put on a Teen Wolf t-shirt, don’t you?
Meanwhile, back in temple, Kira is self-mutilating, because the spirit of her Mom told her it would make her feel better. And it works! She’s healed! (And the negative messages for kids, just keep on coming . . .)
“Thanks for making me a cutter, Mom. You’re the best!”
Derek gets sent on the ice floe . . .
Our gang barely manages to park outside the church, when Derek gets his intestines sliced open by a Berserker. It’s the kind of wound you see humans in movies suffer, and you just know they are about to bite it. But Derek . . . well, I guess he’s sort of kind of human now.
The Scooby Gang makes sure to put on their best sad faces for all of two seconds, before leaving Derek to die, and rushing off to rescue their REAL Hero, Scott.
To Stiles’ credit, he looks sad for at least FOUR seconds . . .
Braeden stays with the dying Derek, though . . . possibly because now she has no caddy to hand her guns in battle . . .
But then Kate and the Berserkers arrive, and it’s every man (and woman) for themselves . . .
And the CAVALRY IS HERE! Hello Deputy Parrish, Crazy Mexican Crime Syndicate, Chris Argent . . . We missed you! Well . . . at least I very much missed one of you!
I love how there are thousands off bullets being shot off in every direction, and every single one of these “trained shots” is totally missing the Berserkers. I get that the bone armor is probably pretty effective in warding off bullets. But there are enough openings in the Berserker wardrobe that one would think even a novice marksman could get in a few lucky shots on. . .
THE STOMACH . . .
THE ARMS . . .
THE EYES . . .
Maybe not all of these shots are kill shots, but they would at least do a better job at disarming the Berserkers than, whatever the heck it is they are doing in this scene . . .
“Pretending this is the carnival game where you have to shoot water into a clowns mouth until the balloon on his head pops . . .”
Having slightly better luck against the Berserkers on the home front. . .
Bombs Ove Beacon Hills
I’m pretty sure my favorite part of the episode was the scene where Lydia and Mason, kamikaze themselves (and their baseball bats) at the Berserker. I mean, Mason even came up with his own battle cry, which sounded like ArRRAHHIIAHIHIHI! It was awesome.
Then, Sheriff Stilinski added to the comedy, by engaging the Berserker in a friendly game of catch . . . with IEDs of course. I very much enjoyed the Wil E. Coyote facial expression the Berserker had while he’s holding on to the bomb and knowing he’s about to go kablooey . . .
“Front toward enemy? I don’t get it. Why would you want to play catch with your enemy? Wait a second . . . Awwwww sh*******t.”
S.O.S. – Save Our Scott
Inside the temple it’s a Berserker versus Scooby showdown. Stiles finds a newly-healed Kira, who warns Stiles that (1) Scott is a Berserker; (2) Lydia was left behind on purpose, so that she couldn’t warn the others before they killed Scott.
“My boyfriend physically abused me, which caused me to voluntarily cut myself, which, if this was another show, would make you very concerned for my well being. But this is Teen Wolf, so SAVE SCOTT!”
Meanwhile, everyone seems to be working pretty hard to murder our newly-turned Doesn’t Care Bear . . .
“STOP! It’s our fearless leader Scott, in that Shredder costume!” Stiles warns, just as “Scott” is attempting to strangle little lost Liam.
In that moment, Liam looks into the face of the thing he fears most and sees EYES . . .
“Hey, I’d know those bushy unplucked verging-on-unibrow eyebrows anywhere! That’s my surrogate daddy!”
Since mantras had worked so well on Liam, he decides to use one on Scott . . . the same one Scott used on him to help control his change, earlier in the season. “Scott, you are not a monster. You are a werewolf, just like me.”
And . . . presto chango . . . Scott has, once again accomplished the impossible, and broken the Berserker curse . . . now, if he could just wax those eyebrows . . .
Minutes after coming back to himself, Scott sees Peter and immediately figures out that HE has been behind Kate’s plans all along. (For a dumb-dumb, Scott can be pretty insightful, when its plot convenient.) And he’s PISSED! So, he runs toward Peter, and Peter runs toward him, and the two of them embrace one another in a snazzy dance move I like to call the “Flying Hug of Death.”
“Think happy thoughts . . . You can FLY. You can FLY. You can FLLLLYYYY.”
Meanwhile, outside . . .
Blah, Blah, Blah, Stuff Happens, Blah, Blah, Blah . . . NAKED DEREK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, just when everything seems like it’s going to crap, Derek turns into an actual wolf, and attacks Kate with what at first seems like puppy licks, but is actually gnashing teeth . . .
“Tee hee, that tickles. Wait. Why are you biting off my tit?”
He doesn’t kill her though, because . . . she hosts Wolf Watch . . .
Then Kate’s own brother, Chris, shoots her with a yellow-tipped bullet. Kate looks super offended, but this also doesn’t kill her . . . because . . . Wolf Watch.
“My feelings = hurt.”
THEN DEREK APPEARS NAKED, AND I START DROOLING, AND MY MIND TURNS TO MUSH . . .
(I don’t think anything really important happened at that point anyway . . . except for maybe that whole, Derek kills a Berserker by smushing his face with his bare hands thing.)
Back in the Church . . .
Scott and Peter fighting was like something straight out of the Mortal Kombat video game. Five minutes of, punch, punch, punch, kick, fly, punch, throw, fly, punch . . .
And I started looking at my nails and thinking, my nail polish is really chipped. I should invest in a better top coat . . .
Then Scott, had Peter on the ground FINALLY. . . and I’m like the announcer from the Mortal Kombat video game. “FINISH HIM . . . FINISH HIM . . . FINISH HIM.”
But he doesn’t . . . lame.
Also, lame is how Chris totally has a chance to, if not kill, at least disarm, Kate. And he willingly lets her go, only so he can leave the show head off with the Mexican Crime Syndicate to find her again . . .
“Feeling alone and emasculated . . . wondering if I remembered to DVR My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, before I left the house.”
How it ends . . .
Stiles comes back home, and gets grounded . . . big time.
Malia decides her favorite food is pizza, after all . . .
Coach tells the boys that he’s seen things in Mexico that would knock off their genitals. (I smell a prequel!!!!)
Kira gets a tail . . . well . . . actually a piece of the glass she mutilated herself with, but . . . details.
*sigh* Memories . . .
Lydia gives Parrish a book that looks surprisingly skinny for a bestiary (abridged version, perhaps?), and tells him she’d like to try and help him figure out
that he’s a phoenix what he is. (Meanwhile, Parrish patiently waits for Lydia, to leave, so that he can check his database to confirm that she’s had her 18th birthday, before he invites her over to his place for some . . . bestiarying.)
Peter ends up in Eichen House, and he has a roommate!
“I bet he snores and farts in his sleep too.”
(So maybe my guess about the X-Men Eichen House breakout is not so far off after all . . .)
Until next season, Werebangers!