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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Teen Wolf: "The Overlooked"

Previously on Teen Wolf: The Girl Who Knew Too Much.

After several episodes of mystifying characterisation decisions and weird, floundering plotlines, Teen Wolf has gone back to doing what it does best: silly action/horror sequences taking place in municipal buildings in the middle of the night. The only problem was that this episode seemingly confirms the fact that Derek did kill Paige, meaning that her flashback storyline apparently isn't some kind of weird Peter Hale fakeout. In case you've forgotten, the whole Derek-killed-his-first-girlfriend is probably the worst thing that ever happened on this show.
Shortly after watching last week's episode, I realised that I'm approximately 1000x more invested in Jennifer and Derek's relationship now I know that she's a skinless druid serial killer. Sorry if this makes me a human nightmare, but I personally think it would be a laugh riot if Derek was just like, "WHATEVS, everyone makes mistakes! And at least she loves me for who I am!" I support this pairing because it's exactly the kind of preposterous storyline that Teen Wolf would be able to make totally entertaining, if not actually "plausible". I mean, is it really that much weirder than Buffy/Angel? Angel doesn't even have a pulse.
The downside is that although I'm happy with the amount of time they spent explaining Jennifer's backstory and motivations in this episode (THANK GOD), I'm not wild about the way they've now given her so much more development and screentime than the as-yet nonexistent relationship between Derek and Cora. Jennifer/Derek is clearly far more important to the storyline than we thought (which: yay!) and I appreciated the nod to the Baldur myth (one of my faves), but nothing is ever gonna make up for the fact that Derek and Cora have had a non-relationship since the moment she showed up.
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MELISSA MCCALL. Despite the fact that she was landed with some truly idiotic expository dialogue at the beginning (look, we know that a thunderstorm is happening, you don't need to tell us), this was a great episode for Mama McCall. Defibrillator warfare! And a moment of satisfying attention to continuity as we remember that she doesn't know Peter is still alive! Also, she's clearly the most sensible, practical person in the show. She just tells Scott all the information she thinks might be relevent to the situation, and trusts him to do what's right. SO MUCH AMAZING TEAMWORK THIS WEEK. And everyone was uncharacteristically cooperative with their parents, perhaps to make up for the fact that Stiles is traumatically torn asunder from Sheriff Linden Ashby -- who you should all be following on Twitter because he's hilarious.
My absolute favourite thing this week was the amount of thoughtful strategising we saw taking place -- probably because Derek Hale, master of the impromptu Terrible Idea, was trapped in an elevator for most of it. After multiple episodes this season where character continuity was completely abandoned, it was great to see how much the main cast have developed into something resembling a functioning team. Every episode brings us closer to that ever-popular fanfic universe where the characters actually like each other, you guys! I would happily watch many more scenes where everyone debates the merits of opening the service hatch in a stalled elevator, or MacGyvers weapons from hospital supplies. Praise be to Jeff Davis for giving us anything as beautiful as Peter Hale lurching into a fight scene with a gigantic hypodermic needle poking out of his chest, helpfully exposed by his cleavage-baring Hot Dad shirt. (Although seriously, Peter Hale needs to tone down the Hot Dad outfits. Chris Argent makes it work, but Peter is definitely edging into aging rentboy territory.)
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As per usual, Dylan O'Brien's face, voice, body and tearducts were a major highlight. The appearance of fandom's favourite baseball bat was A++, and I am FULL OF AGONY about the fact that the Sheriff is still missing. My one criticism would be Stiles' bizarre CPR technique. Now, I know that CPR guidelines are subject to change, but I'm pretty sure that if you just blow into someone's mouth without doing chest compressions, you're basically gonna just inflate them like a balloon, right? (N.B. I am not a doctor.) EDITED TO ADD: Apparently it's called "rescue breathing! I have Learned A Thing today. I was hoping it was something "real" rather than just a bizarre CPR technique, and am happy that Stiles is apparently well-informed about emergency medical techniques. (Maybe because of Scott's asthma?)

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Re: the alpha pack, I'm still pretty puzzled about the whole concept. I really enjoy the idea of Kali/Jennifer (or Julia), partly because it's this absolutely casual reference to bisexuality, but also because it's a genuinely compelling reason for why Jennifer is in the place she is today. However, in many ways it makes the whole Alpha Pack thing make even less sense before. I understand the desire for power as a motivation, just as I understand some people's desire to follow a powerful leader without much care for morality. However, what the hell do the Alphas get out of this deal? Rather than being the leaders of their own packs, they have to kill everyone they know and love, in order to be subservient to Deucalion, who barely seems to care about them anyway. Presumably the Alphas killed their packs voluntarily rather than being tricked into it, otherwise why would they even be loyal to Deucalion? Kali leaving her girlfriend to die on the ground is an excellent origin story for Jennifer Blake's murderous rampage, but it makes Kali's motivations seem even more obscure than before.
The weirdest thing about this episode is that one of the best aspects was the exact same thing that was seriously terrible for the rest of this season: the balance between multiple character stories. Yes, "The Overlooked" was chaotic, but that chaos kind of worked in its favour. There are multiple factions of enemies and frenemies having to work together to defeat each other (much like in seasons 1 and 2), but everyone gets a mini-scene every few minutes to remind us of their goals: Stiles and his father, Scott and the Alpha Pack, Cora and the Hales, etc. There was more of that thoughtfulness in this episode than in most of the previous nine episodes put together, what with the fact that Boyd and Erica's deaths have sunk without trace, and the Cora/Derek relationship failed to materialise for nine episodes. So. Let's hope those issues are cleared up soon, and that future episodes are more like this one and less like the bizarre mistake that was "Visionary". (Although perhaps with, you know, more of an actual plot structure.)

Miscellaneous
  • Luv the music in the final scene. SCOTT/STILES FRONDSHIP!!!!
  • I feel like I say this every week (who am I kidding, I definitely say this every week), but SCISAAC/ALLISON THREESOME NEEDS TO HAPPEN!!
  • How many thunderstorms does Becaon Hills have each year? 200?
  • Has anyone else noticed that the Alpha Twins kinda have cartoon boy voices?
  • Peter and Scott in the laundry chute, LOLOLOL.
  • "She's kinda hot." -- This feeds into my headcanon of Isaac being a dude who is slyly attracted to literally every single person on the show. God, I love Daniel Sharman. Did you know he's playing a woman in his next movie? A movie about a gigolo in the 1950s, set in the French Riviera? Well, NOW YOU DO. Treasure that information. 
  • Really enjoyed the detail of using cellphone cameras to keep track of what was going on inside the hospital. Honestly, the whole sequence of group-strategy scenes in this episode was excellent, and genre-savvy to an extent that we rarely see in this show. It was such a turnaround from the previous couple of episodes that I wondered if it was by a different writer than before, but in fact it's the exact same writer/director pairing as "Currents" and "Visionary" (ie probably the two worst episodes so far): Jeff Davis and Russell Mulcahy.
Previous Teen Wolf posts.

Find me on Twitter @hello_tailor, and Tumblr at hellotailor.

18 comments:

  1. Wonderful recap. :) Your point about Derek being trapped in an elevator (and thus unable to come up with bad plans) is well taken.


    I have a feeling you may get a lot of messages about this, but I think Stiles was doing "rescue breathing" and not CPR. Cora's heart was still beating on its own, so she didn't need chest compressions. I have serious head cannon that Stiles learned how to do rescue breathing to help Scott in case of asthma attack.

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  2. Just wanted to point out - because hey, you never know just when such information might prove useful to someone someday, yay! - that what Stiles was doing wasn't CPR. It was rescue breathing. It's what you're supposed to do for someone who has stopped breathing, but still has a pulse, which is why they were no chest compressions. And he actually did it pretty much as perfectly as you could expect on TV. Tilt the head back, check for blockage in the airway before starting, and checking between each breath for a reaction. So extra A++'s to Teen Wolf for that, yay!

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  3. I love your head cannon and am planning to blatantly steal it and copy it as my own! :D

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  4. Also, by the way, I am fairly new to your blog, but I LOVE IT, which is probably what I should have started with.


    Also! *does first comment happy-dance*

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  5. My headcanon about Peter's outits is that he's aging rentboy thing on purpose, deliberately to scandalize the good citizens of Beacon Hills.

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  6. ...that he's _doing_ the aging rentboy thing...

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  7. Is it weird that I came away from this episode greatly encouraged about Sheriff's chances for survival (they're not going to kill three incredibly popular characters) and wanting to start a Parent Death Pool? Cause I did and I think it should be done, especially since the previews for next week imply Hot Dad Argent is guardian number three.


    We've got Sheriff, and killing him makes Stiles an orphan (something that should be dealt with in a major way, but, hey, it was ignored with Isaac--does he have legal guardians?--so that isn't a consideration I think they're considering). However, the writers are aware of how much fandom loves the Stilinski family feels and Sheriff gets them a lot of information they'd otherwise not get, so I'd rate his chance for death as pretty low.


    Then there's Melissa, and I'd say she'd be out of the woods out of sheer awesomeness, but she's a woman and she's a mother and the show has a serious history of killing the hell out of those (I believe she's the only living mother alive at this point?). I think she's safe, though, because if she died then Scott's dad ends up with custody and Scott ends up moving away from Beacon Hills to live with him and the show is...effectively over. So Melissa is low on the death watch totem.


    And finally, Hot Dad Argent, who it would honestly make the most sense to kill. We already know the Argents are a hunting family, so it wouldn't be unexpected to have great aunt Jenny or whoever show up to be Allison's legal guardian and investigate all the freaking murders in Beacon Hills. He doesn't really bring any information to the table that Deaton and Peter aren't capable of providing, levels of willingness aside, so they have the least to lose by killing him and hey, Allison could always use some more trauma, her and Scott are starting to get close again, better throw something in to drive another wedge between them. I feel like Hot Dad Argent gets top-billing for Parent Most Likely To Die Brutally.


    And this got...way too long. Augh, I'll just stop now and bottle up my desire to punch the next character that mentions Scott's ~One True Alphaness~ in the face.

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  8. That sounds like as good an explanation as any. I wish I didn't find him as disturbingly attractive as I do.

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  9. Agreed about Argent being the one who's most likely to go. I don't know if I agree with your analysis of the McCall situation though. I think, if anything, Scott's father would move to Beacon Hills so his son's life doesn't change so much, and with that we have an introduction to not only a new character, but maybe even a new plot line (not that we need any more of those, but whatever). And the tagline for this show is "This Might Hurt" so they may kill her off, even if she is awesome. They show has never really been afraid to kill off characters that you wouldn't expect to die.
    We'll just have to see though.

    Also, this episode ended up being my favorite in the season so far.

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  10. I remember noticing at the time how his to-himself nervous monologuing also served as a detailed primer on How To Do This Rescue Thingamajig, which had me pretty confident it was a real thing. It's nice when something sort of expository/educational can actually fit into the script so well!

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  11. No lie, he is #1 on my bang list from Beacon Hills and I am not disturbed by this at all. (Has a lot to do with the character, though, but based solely on post-fucking-with-Lydia character. The lack of patience with everyone and everything just does it for me, what can I say.)

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  12. Now I'm picturing all three parents dead and Deucalion getting approved as a foster parent in order to get control of Scott's True Alphaness, and accidentally ending up with Scott, Stiles, and Allison due to, I dunno, low number of available beds. Beacon Hills must have a lot of orphans.



    Is Deucalion strict about homework and curfews? Does Allison occasionally try to kill Kali at the breakfast table? Does Stiles get eaten by his guardian/'s pack, or do they come to respect his no-doubt-seriously-evil revenge plot against Jennifer? Does Scott's and Allison's romance take on an incest vibe once they're foster siblings? It would be hilarious.

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  13. I need to stop watching Teen Wolf because it seems like every episode leads me to purchase a whole album off of iTunes AND I DON'T NEED ANY MORE MUSIC, THANK YOU.

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  14. I, for one, appreciated Chris Argent's grim determination to Be A Good Dad, even when it means giving his daughter's new other boyfriend a lift. Just his gritted-teeth resolution, the way he clearly swallows back the urge to say "Really, Alison, another werewolf? The first one worked so well, you thought what, double or nothing? I thought we agreed we were going with nothing!"


    Because dammit, his family will have at least one good parent in it, even if it kills him.

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  15. I would like to ask what kind of beard Derek Hale is going for? What is that, a 14 o'clock shadow?


    The elevator scenes just felt like such an information dump. I was laughing rather loudly though, when Jennifer was like "Derek, I know the ONLY reason you don't love me anymore is because my real face is totally scary. I know all you're constantly thinking about right now in this incredibly dangerous and vulnerable situation, is whether or not you may have kissed me when I have no lips...." I never thought someone could out-asshole Derek Hale, but by god she did it! Even he was like "seriously lady, no one cares."

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  16. What do you think about the Stiles/Cora they're feeding us atm???

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  17. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Rescue Breathing is only used if they are not breathing but have a decent pulse, if they don't have a pulse or it's crazy irregular you should still do CPR... I didn't see him check her pulse at all, did anybody else see Stiles check Cora's pulse?

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  18. Very good points you wrote here..Great stuff...I think you've made some truly interesting points.Keep up the good work.
    laundry chute

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