Why does Teen Wolf hate happiness? At this very moment I'm collecting vials of my own tears to freeze into an ice-sculpture, which will then be mailed to dastardly showrunner Jeff Davis as a sign of protest regarding his unendingly cruel treatment of Lydia. Stiles trying and failing to get a comically huge box through Lydia's door was the one moment of respite in this episode's otherwise horrifying montage of violence, trauma, and mass hallucinations. (Note: Because Dylan O'Brien is a Hayao Miyazaki animation of a baby animal, he makes the action of pushing a box through a door completely hilarious and adorable.)
|DEREK HALE: CGI PERSON. (source)|
Is it bad that I laugh and laugh as soon as Derek comes onscreen, and can't stop until he leaves? Same goes for Erica, who after last week's uncharacteristically sensible rave outfit is back on form in a black lace shirt and about 2 lbs of makeup -- perfect for a night spent in Derek's Disused Tunnel-o'-Trauma. I love that Derek is such a malfunctioning person that his super well-thought-out plan to restrain the baby wolves during the full moon is to whip out this medieval torture device rather than, like, build them a cell or something. I mean, what does he do all day? Considering how much he must have work out to maintain his current godlike figure, you'd think that he'd welcome another chance to lift heavy things onto other heavy things. Of course, there's always the possibility that he's just as terrible at DIY as he is at everything else -- a very workable explanation for why all his hangout spots look like sets from a horror movie.
|DEREK HALE HAS A FACE. (source)|
|I'll never hear the phrase "telephoto lense" the same way again.|
This is one of those moments where I have to applaud Teen Wolf for including something totally basic that nevertheless rarely gets shown in most teen dramas. I'm so used to drawn-out storylines where the characters act like idiots that I assumed that Allison would remain unaware of Matt's creepiness for several more episodes, maybe even to the extent of her breaking up with Scott in order to date Matt. I could see it unfolding in front of us: multiple episodes of Scott failing to communicate to Allison that her new boyfriend is a psycho, as Allison blythely continues to date Matt because girls are idiots. But no! Instead we get this brilliant scene where Allison finds the photos in Matt's camera, accompanied by suitably creepy incidental music that illustrates just how disturbing it'd be to find hundreds of photos of yourself on the camera of some guy you've gone out with once. Matt instantly transforms from "that creepy guy who you don't like very much" to "holy shit, he's a serial killer". For once, we get to see a teen show that not only accurately represents how a girl would feel in this kind of situation, but also how she should feel. It's easy to make comparisons between Twilight and Teen Wolf, but when it comes to treatment of female characters -- particularly in the context of romantic relationships -- Teen Wolf is Twilight's polar opposite. And the scene later on when Allison confronts Matt at the party and he suddenly gets all angry and defensive, even though all she's done is say that she finds his photo collection creepy? Perfect!
Lydia is the most alienated kid in this show. Even Derek isn't as lonely as she is. (Does she even have parents?) The way the audience gets to see Lydia is one of my favourite things about season 2, and it makes smart use of the editing difficulties caused by an ever-growing ensemble cast. In some cases (Boyd; Danny) the fact that there isn't enough screentime for everyone can be frustrating, but with Lydia it helps to illustrate why no one has any time to realise how much trouble she's in. Young-adult supernatural fiction is brilliant when it comes to these kinds of great big clanging metaphors for adolescent angst -- werewolves dealing with strange new urges and bodily functions; vampires lusting after people they never used to notice; human characters being dragged under by mind-control or demonic possession while their friends fail to notice.
|FACE OF AN ANGEL.|
I'm an idiot and am still not 100% clear what was going on with the spiked punch, so, uh, hit me up in comments if you can explain it to me? It seemed like the purple petals in the punchbowl were meant to be wolfsbane, but Lydia's hallucinated wolfsbane in the past so maybe it wasn't even there? Plus, wouldn't wolfsbane only effect wolves? Or effect werewolves and humans in different ways? Was it Matt or Lydia who did the spiking? Or was it just one of the gatecrashers, drugging everyone with something more mundane? Either way, the spiked punch did provide me with my favourite Scott Is A Potato moment of the episode: his hallucination of Allison making out with a kanima. Everyone else gets to hallucinate an emotionally-scarring image of their greatest fear or worry; Scott McCall freaks out because he thinks his girlfriend might make out with a giant lizard.
I'm already desperately hoping that she'll return from the dead as a werewolf next week, because this episode made me love her. You know, in a "Victoria Argent is a terrifying velociraptor" kind of way, not in the sense that I want to get pedicures with her while we discuss our favourite homicide techniques. As soon as she was bitten last week I immediately knew that this was going to be one of the best plot-twists of the season, and this episode didn't disappoint. Up until now Victoria had been a fairly one-dimensional figure, a terrifying foil for Scott's dual roles as a werewolf and the boyfriend of a teenage girl, but now I've seen the tender relationship between her and her husband I'm suddenly being sucked in like the sucker I am. At first glance she's this evil cyborg Desperate Housewife but at the end of "Raving" we got this incredibly tender scene with Chris cradling her suddenly fragile-seeming body, bookended this week by the unexpectedly personal tragedy of her death.