Que pasa, Werebangers! This second half of the third season of Teen Wolf has been a bit of a whirlwind. Just thinking about how much has gone down in the span of twelve episodes makes me dizzy, and a little sleepy.
It was the season during which we learned a whole slew of Japanese vocabulary words like Kitsune, Nogitsune, Oni, and Go and Bardo, none of which will ever help us find the bathroom, if we ever find ourselves stuck in Tokyo . . .
[Special thanks to Andre who fearlessly and loyally provided me with the spectacular screencaps you see here each week. Without him, this website would be nothing more than my own often drunken ramblings about Derek’s abs, and how I find Stiles’ long fingers weirdly sexy . . . ]
Anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one will tell you that the initial Moment of Death is not the hardest part. I mean sure, you might scream, or cry, be frozen in shock or fear, laugh inappropriately, or feel oddly empty . . . void of any emotion at all.
But the real pain of that loss doesn’t usually come until hours later, after the dust has settled, the rush of adrenaline has faded, and you’ve stumbled back to your empty home. Its then, and only then, that the realization finally settles in. This person is really gone. They aren’t coming back. That’s the part that’s most devastating . . . the one that could truly wreck you, if you let it.
I think Teen Wolf portrayed that moment of understated, but excruciating pain, well, in the initial moments of the finale, as Lydia, Scott and Isaac had to sit in that police station and calmly lie to the police about what really killed their friend and lover. There are no screams or wails of anguish. Few tears are shed. But still the tragedy of the scene is palpable, and can be summed up in five short words . . .
“It all happened so fast.”
J.R. Bourne gave a particularly nuanced performance in this episode as a heartbroken father who has now lost his entire family to the Argent Code of Honor, but must lock away his grief beneath a wall of stoicism and steely determination. He does this because he still believes in a cause greater then himself, and because that Cause is the only thing that is keeping him from falling apart.
Holed up in The Lady Fox house, and in desperate need of some self-tanner, and maybe some blush, sickly no-longer-Nogitsuned Stiles is understandably a little ticked off that, while he and his friends seem to have mere hours to live, Kira’s mom seems more interested in drinking un-magical tea, and rambling on about a lame Board Game than in kicking some ONI ass . . .
“What is this ish?”
News flash, Kira’s mom! The Game of Go sucks! And nobody understands that better than Stiles, who was forced to play it in his trapped subconscious for days on end . . .
“Let’s go pay a visit to Everybody’s favorite Magical Veterinarian, Deaton!” Stiles offers helpfully. “He too speaks in annoying metaphors. But at least he doesn’t make me play board games, when I should be out fighting crime!”
Speaking of fighting crime . . .
It’s Oni Time!
At the sheriff’s station, Stiles’ dad and The Hot Sheriff Whose Probably Something Supernatural get paid a visit by a couple Really Pissed Off Oni. Why are they pissed, you ask?
“So, guys. I got this great joke. A ninja walks into a bar . . . wait, there’s a ninja standing behind me right now, isn’t there? Why is there always a ninja behind me, every time I try to tell a ninja joke?”
Maybe it has something to do with their party clothes being so binding. Don’t think that’s a good excuse to go around shooting officers of the law? Well, then YOU try to have fun at a rave while dressed as a cross between Darth Vader and Shredder from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Or how about having to work for a real slave driver of a boss, who never lets you take days off, remove your ridiculous uniform, or break for lunch, just because this one time the dude happened to break a stick in front of your face?
“It’s not easy being Oni.”
Come to think of it, the Onis may very well be the most misunderstood baddies on this show. Suck on that, Grandpa!
Stand up and Fight!
From a brooding badass mentor with dubious motives in Season 1, to a tragic, severely flawed antihero, destroyed by his own pride in Season 2, to a not particularly bright, has-been Alpha, with ridiculously bad taste in women and a peculiar blindness for large Neon Warning Signs placed right in front of his face in Season 3a, it’s clear that the character of Derek Hale has seen better days.
But this week gave us a glimpse of another Derek, one from another life, and another type of show . . . a show where he didn’t have to settle for being the Past His Prime Guy . . . or The Guy Who Hangs Out with High Schoolers, Because He Doesn’t Have Any Friends His Own Age. The Derek of “The Divine Move” coulda been a contendah . . . or at least a really inspirational drill sergeant or high school football coach . . .
When the Alpha twins, after being nursed back to health by Doctor Der contemplate blowing the popsicle stand that is Beacon Hills, Good Ole Der gives them a good old fashioned “Hell to the no,” and a speech that was clearly cribbed from this song . . .
(Just swap the word “Scott” in for “love.” And the similarities are truly uncanny.)
Truth be told, Scott has always struck me as more of a sweet dopey puppy, than a heroic Alpha wolf. But the dude IS loyal and persistent in the face of adversity. So, at least he has that going for him . . .
If I had to choose the most disturbingly powerful, and viscerally impactful scene of the season, my vote would most definitely go to Nogitsu-Stiles’ slo-mo hospital massacre to the tune of one of the most eerily awesome covers of the song “Bad Moon Rising” on the planet.
Jeff Davis and co. definitely didn’t pull any punches here. No one was safe. Nurses, interns, children, mommies, daddies, receptionist, young, old, fat, thin . . . everybody got eviscerated for no other reason than because Nogitsu-Stiles thought murdering them all would be fun. It was awful. It was bloody. It was oddly beautifully choreographed, and glorified its violence with the cool panache of a Tarantino movie. Do not try this at home kiddies.
A word about “Bad Moon Rising.” My dad was a major Creedence Clearwater Revival fan. So much so that I feel like a good portion of my childhood was spent listening to this song on long road trips to family vacations. To this day, it reminds me of that terrible feeling of really having to pee, while stuck in a car, and knowing that there won’t be a rest stop for another twenty miles. . . .
Say Hello to My Little Friend
Apparently everyone in Beacon Hills owns a gun with unlimited bullets, but is a terrible shot. So many shootouts in this episode. Cops shooting Oni, Oni shooting cops, Oni shooting Scott’s mom in the leg. No one shooting Scott’s douchey dad, because . . . been there, done that . . .
In Beacon Hills’ law enforcement’s defense, to the Oni, getting pelted with bullets probably feels like the way you and I would feel about being pelted with rubber bands. It’s annoying, and may sting a little, but probably isn’t going to leave you with much in the way of permanent damage. That doesn’t stop the cops from shooting though . . . and shooting . . . and shooting.
I hate to rail on Sheriff Stilinski, because he seems like such a nice guy. But I’m willing to bet Stiles got his brains from his mother’s side of the family, vulnerable to evil spirit possession and deadly disease though they might be . . .
All the shooting and murder packed into this hour left little time for plot exposition. So, they kind of threw it all together into about two minutes. At the same time that Isaac and Papa Argent clue in to Allison’s posthumous discovery that silver is poisonous to the Oni, and can kill them if it penetrates their bodies at the right angle, Lydia figures out that Stiles is dying (which Stiles confirms by popping up, looking kind of dead, and basically saying “I’m dying.”) Simultaneously, all the shot Scooby Gang parents (and Deaton, because you could bet the Oni found him too) figure out that the smoke blowing Oni-induced bullets in them are ALSO poisonous . . .
Divide, conquer, and mindf*&k. That’s always been the Oni’s game. It’s how Nogitsu-Stiles gets the Scooby Game to think they are all in the same place, but actually find themselves in two different places, both fighting two versions of Nogitsu-Stiles . . .
But as is usually the case with the trickster spirit who feeds on chaos, all is not as it seems . . .
You see, Stiles still has one move left. And it’s . . . wait for it . . . The Divine Move.
They are just outside the school. And the Oni . . . and toilet paper head they are fighting? Nothing more than mere illusions.
Face the illusion, head-on, of course. Wake up and smell the toilet paper head!
There’s a point in every narrative where the Bad Guy, whose been performing flawlessly up to this point, finally allows his own hubris to get the best of him. And so he gets his last Monologue of Evil. It’s both his theme song and his death rattle.
Because, it’s precisely when Nogitsu-Stiles is proclaiming his immortality that he is at his most vulnerable. Isaac and Papa Argent are silver sniping his Oni, left and right. Scott and Kira have pullen the fabric off his deftly created hallucination.
Stiles and Lydia . . . well, they aren’t doing much of the fighting. But they look pretty darn cute, spouting out sassy things to the Evil One, don’t they . . .
And then comes the clincher: “Change the Host, kill the Void.”
Then, magically all those dying people with festering Oni wounds are just peachy.
In the end, the Alpha twins were finally able to prove themselves to the pack into which they so desperately wanted membership. But membership just wasn’t in the cards for them . . .
Regression to the Mean
Back when I was a kid and I had a really bad day, I would always comfort myself with the knowledge that I was “owed” a couple of good days for my troubles, or at least some less crappy ones . . . because I believed that things generally evened out in the end.
Season 3A ended with an almost unrealistically cheery concluding montage, particularly after all the death and carnage the Darach had created in Beacon Hills. This season ended with a montage too, but it was a much more somber one. The Scooby Gang had lost members of its own tribe . . . important members that they loved and cherished. And though they will regroup and move on, they know, deep down, that it will never be quite the same.
It’s for that reason that Ethan decides to leave Beacon Hills, a place where the death of his twin will never be far from his consciousness. Danny understands. In fact, he’s actually pretty content about the whole thing. He knows there will be other guys for him . . . guys that don’t howl at the moon, and haven’t murdered their entire family . . . guys that aren’t werewolves.
Yep, that’s right Werebangers. Danny was in the know about the supernatural whozits and whatzits of Beacon Hills all along! He just chose to play dumb about it, because he’d prefer to stay alive and retain his humanity, thank you very much.
In other news, Malia has enrolled in high school, despite only having a third grade education. But it’s totally cool, because she has, as coach said, “Really good muscle definition,” and can make her nails grow at will, like Wolverine . . .
Speaking of returning She-Devils . . .
La Loba of a Different Color
Derek Hale is having a dream, in which he is in a gym locker room with Stiles, touching his “fingers,” which is pretty much the first chapter of every Sterek fanfiction I have ever read . . .
“That’s gross. But also kind of hot.”
In real life, things are much less rosy, however. He’s in his house, and those pesky Mexican hunters are there again, babbling on about “La Loba” “La Loba.”