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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Teen Wolf 2x10: "Fury".

Previously: Teen Wolf 101: An introduction to the eighth wonder of our world. (Now available in audio!) and Teen Wolf 2x09: Party Guessed.

So much happened in this episode that I'm still reeling, but the main thing I got from it is that Scott really isn't the hero character any more. Not only is the show more of an ensemble cast story these days, but Scott's betrayal of Derek's pack and reluctant allegiance with Gerard Hale wouldn't have happened offscreen if he was still the true protagonist. Instead we saw a couple of hints of it in previous episodes, with very little follow-through until this week's reveal. Were he a main character in the mould of Harry Potter or Buffy there would have been far more screentime devoted to him agonising about his inner conflict over assisting the Argents, I think.
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Teen Wolf is incredibly good at juggling its villains. Season 2 doesn't seem to be following the formulaic "face the Big Bad in the finale episode" plot structure of Season 1, and instead the characters are up against a far more varied and complex collection of enemies. Matt Cameraguy (WHICH IS FOREVER HIS REAL NAME, BY THE WAY. Matt's name will never be Daehler and will always be Cameraguy.) may be gone now, but the Kanima is in even more dangerous hands and Allison's allegiance has shifted away from Scott, not to mention the fact that we haven't really seen the newly-resurrected Peter Hale actually do much as of yet. Yes, Teen Wolf is a show featuring so many larger-than-life maniacal supervillains that there isn't enough time to fit them all into one episode.

I'm morbidly curious to see how Gerard Argent deals with becoming the Kanima's master, because if Matt is anything to go by then cosying up to the Kanima makes you go completely off the rails. We never saw Matt before he was in partnership with the Kanima, but in this week's pre-credits flashback we at least learned that he was always a creeper, secretly spying on Jackson's transformation from inside his car. But while Matt was far from a nice guy, I doubt he was quite in mass-murderer territory until he participated in Magic Friendship Handholding Time with Jackson and his Evil Manicure. God only knows what effect it'll have on Gerard. Can we hope for Gerard to slowly start turning into a lizard in season 2? Can we???


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Gerard looks like the reanimated corpse of an over-the-hill megalomaniac Roman emperor. Not only were all of his speeches straight-up, skin-peelingly nuts, his manipulation skills are A+. I loved the scene where he blatantly manipulated Allison into ordering a rage-vengeance killing spree, before standing back smugly and saying, "Make sure you make your decisions rationally" as Chris Argent looked on in dawning horror. I really hope we start to see some more conflict between Chris and Gerard soon. One of the fantastic things about the over-the-top villainousness of Gerard is that it's not really clear if anyone knows how evil he is. This show has an overabundance of fabulously evil bad guys, but while Peter Hale uses charm and deception to slide from Tom Riddle to Voldemort and back again depending on who he's talking to, most of Gerard's moments of genuine, calculated evil only take place in view of the camera, rather than in the presence of any other characters. To most of the characters he's still an enigma, and that's why he's the master of killing two birds with one stone: his birds are unaware that he's using them to kill each other.
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"Any pity I’d had for Derek and his pack would be burned down by a white-hot desire for retribution, a kind of blood and destruction that would have Derek and his wolves howling, not for mercy, but for their own sweet death.”  -- Gerard Argent.
At this point Gerard isn't so much chewing the scenery as ripping its throat out and spitting its still-beating heart into the camera. For Gerard, a bit of ominous Shakespeare-quoting is just an appetiser for a delightful evening of drowning teenage boys and storming police stations full of kidnap victims and mutant hell-beasts. I really hope we're going to get some more hunter backstory soon, because right now I don't understand how Gerard isn't in jail yet. I see him as a cult-leader type figure, which makes me wonder if he, like the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, has a flotilla of lawyers primed and ready to go at the slightest sign of (inevitable) legal trouble. Or will he just solve all future problems by having Jackson poison-manicure them into submission? I look forward to the point sometime in season 5 or 6 when the main characters look around and realise that they're now the only people left in Beacon Hills: everyone else is either dead, or has moved away in terror.
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Regarding the main setting of this episode -- surely we must be reaching a point now where outside law-enforcement has to be called in, right? I mean, at least three deputies at the Sheriff's office have been killed in one night (by an "animal attack" again? Plus people machine-gunning the windows?), and that's on top of Beacon Hills' already impressive murder rate. Maybe that's what Allison will have to deal with next season? I mean, as the new leader of the hunters she presumably has to factor in their ability to stay secret from the general populace, but considering how Gerard has already whipped her up into a frenzy of revenge fantasies I dread to think what she's going to do as the 17-year-old head of a militia army.
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Allison's character arc is fast becoming my favourite in the show. I think I've said before that her defining character trait is niceness, that she's a genuinely sweet person in a way that's a little baffling when you consider her parents, but this season has shown us that when she's pushed a real transformation takes place. Scott reacts to danger pretty badly, as do most of the other werewolves (Derek only gets away with it because he's more badass), but in this episode we saw Allison change gears from being a sweet, unhappy teenager to unleashing a tooth-grinding display of ferocity in the course of just one scene. Can we please all pause for a round of applause dedicated to Allison's feral snarl when she leaps over a car to stab the Kanima? Good luck looking Jackson in the eye in second-period English class next week, honey.

Oh, and I love how Teen Wolf is totally up-front about its gleeful use of cliches like the teen-girl-trashes-her-room personal transformation scene, and kitschy horror moments like the Kanima's hand reaching out to pull a corpse into a doorway. Honestly I just can't wait for the episode when we finally get to see a hand burst out of a grave a la every zombie/vampire movie ever.
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OH GOD, STILES. As per usual, every second of Dylan O'Brien screentime is a gem. Maybe I'm just delusionally over-invested, but I could totally see lingering signs of stress and exhaustion on his delightful forest-elf face thanks to the events of the party earlier in the evening. It actually took me a few minutes to even realise that this episode continued directly on from Party Guessed, because Teen Wolf is kinda terrible at fluent chronology. That's not a flaw that makes a huge difference in a show like this, but I would've liked it if they'd included some silly continuity detail like having the collar of Stiles' shirt still be wet from the pool or something, just so we know that only an hour or so has passed since then. This would've been particularly helpful in the field of making this episode EXTRA-SPECIALLY UPSETTING, because Stiles almost sees his father get killed just after he had that traumatising hallucination where his father drunkenly yelled that Stiles was killing him. Awful. Let's all gather together and holds hands and sing sad songs of the lives of Stilinskis, OK?
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This week on the Derek Hale Has A Face show, we saw yet more terrible things happen to Derek. This occurs with such regularity that I wouldn't be surprised if we learnt that Derek is cursed. In any other show a character like him, who is forever being all, "I don't trust anybody," and grimly ignoring advice from helpful mentor figures like Dr Deaton, would be portrayed as self-pitying and paranoid. However, in Derek's case paranoia doesn't necessarily rule out the likelihood of everyone being out to get him for realsies. "Trust Scott, he's a good kid," says Dr Deaton, but three hours later Scott betrays Derek without a backward glance, cementing Derek's long-held belief that the universe hates him and wants him to be miserable and alone. I actually rather like the way we're shown glimpses of Derek's manpain, because it's glimpses, never explicitly stated the way it would be if he was the main character. Derek Hale: Anime Prince is fun to watch, but if his Series Of Unfortunate Events life-story was in the foreground then I suspect that his angst would quickly become irritating.
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Tumblr says -- and I choose to take this as Gospel Truth -- that Tyler Hoechlin was annoyed because he'd spent SO MUCH TIME perfecting his 24-pack of abs and faithfully removing all chest-hair (NAIRWOLVES), but hadn't yet been given a shirtless scene in season 2. So they stuck in this semi-naked dream-sequence for more-or-less no reason other than to make all of Tyler Hoechlin's hard work worthwhile. A heartwarming tale, I'm sure you'll all agree.

Hopes for next week: I'm sure Scott will manage to screw up the whole "I'm a werewolf" thing with his mother, but I'm really curious to see how Stiles and his father sort things out. Surely the events of the police-station seige won't be explained away as some kind of hallucination, right? I feel like it's inevitable for Stiles and Scott's respective parents to become more involved in the supernatural side of the show because they were deliberately written in as having "useful" jobs, so hopefully next week's episode won't go for a cop-out solution to the werewolf/parent problem.

10 comments:

  1. i am DESPERATE to know whether mama mccall will talk to papa stilinski about her son, the supernatural beast. i was slightly MORE desperate before it turned out that scott was a vile betrayer, but seriously: how can we have stilinski and son: they fight supernatural crime if papa stilinski is still unaware of the events unfolding?


    but truthfully i'm mostly crazed with worry about lydia. :( i would take her turning actively evil and becoming bad touch peter's evil queen if it meant her being in control of the terrorizing, at least!

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  2. Actually, I've seen a couple of posts on Tumblr that argues that Dr Deaton didn't explicitly say "Trust Scott." In fact, there's one post that's saying that he might even be talking about Stiles (especially after the conversation in the pool in "Abomination") :)

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  3. Actually, I thought Gerard's was a solid entry in the Most Unsubtle Manipulation In The History of Ever sweepstakes:

    "Well, here is an incredibly Secret&Important letter from your mom to you that she spent her last minutes on earth penning, but I'm just not sure if I should give it to you... oh, you insist. Weeeell, if you're REALLy sure, I guess... Look, it's just super touching and loving and important and I wish I had your kind of relationship with my mom too and god, if it was me and this was from MY mom I think I would go spare and embark on a holy crusade of revenge, you know? I'm just saying, tee-hee!" ... "Oh, after reading the Super Uber Touching letter you want to embark on a holy crusade of revenge? Are you really, really sure in your rational mind that's the best idea? Well, ok, as long as you're sure..."

    Only thing missing was some mustache twirling.

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  4. Gerard Hale -- psst. Argent. :)

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  5. In the same vein as LAle's comment:

    In that letter scene Allison's expression struck me as a little off, and I actually think that was her realising how unhinged her grandfather truly is, and steeling herself to take this Hunter Empire apart from the inside. Possibly with her Dad's help later on! The show has certainly been clever just like that a couple of times, and I think it'd make for a great story arc.

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  6. I'm almost sure Gerard will die at the end of the season, because with the situation as it currently is, his first move should be to set kanima on both Derek and Peter to revenge Kate (I do hope that the hand you want to shot out of the grave won't be hers), and we know neither of them is strong enough to take out Lizard Jackson alone. I really do hope that Peter lives in season 3, only to see at what price the resurrection comes in this world - and I sincerely hope that paying it involves Lydia somehow. I also have high hopes for Jackson's arc: I liked him from the beginning but the glimpses of him we get to see this season are phenomenal: like the fact he doesn't say he loves his adoptive parents, and that we still don't now if he didn't turn into a werewolf because of his birth trauma, and Lydia's vaccination or is it simply because he's a bad, bad person. Plus, I really don't want to see Jackson as a tool in hands of others. As for Stiles, I really hope he tells his father the truth, but I remain unsure whether this will happen, as papa Stilinski was comfortably unconcious in the most crucial moments.

    To finish this longish comment, I wanted to thank you for writing the primer that hooked me on Teen Wolf last week and made me watch both seasons in four days. I wouldn't have had this pleasure without you.

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  7. That's my hope as well; I'm 200 percent Team Allison, and I think she's smarter than to be manipulated so obviously by Gerard. I definitely saw her as looking more than a little disgusted, but hiding it well. &allison;

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  8. Yes, exactly!
    Allison is totally better than this blatant manipulation. <3

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  9. I think I ship Scott's mom and Stiles' dad now. Anyway I'm looking forward to what happens to them next week. Too bad there's only 2 episodes left.


    lol, and maybe Beacon Hills is like Sunnydale in Buffy:tVS where people die left and right and everyone's like, whatever. And hey, does anyone else feel like Stiles is Xander or is that just me?

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  10. I don't think Dr Deaton meant Scott when he was talking to Derek about the trust thing. He didn't mention any name at all, and when Derek said "Scott" he said "He's with Stilinski". I think the Vet meant Stiles all along, especially with all the "I don't trust you, you don't trust me" talk between Stiles and Derek when they were in the pool.

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