Previously - Kira exposited foxfire, Lydia heard voices, and Stiles told Lydia to believe in her abilities, had a heartbreakingly beautiful scene with Melissa, and defeated the Oni with a flick of his hand. It was fantastic!
A phone call from Stiles wakes Scott, an ominous portend of how bad this day will get. Scott approaches the call with far more grace than I would if someone woke me up, but he's more used to living in a state of constant emergency. It's a Beacon Hills thing. Stiles says he's trapped with no idea where he is. Worse, his phone cuts out, leaving Scott and me in mid-heart attack. Stiles: "Oh no, there's something wrong with my…" No, no, no. After a few calls straight to voicemail, Scott finally reaches him again only to find Stiles' leg is bleeding. Scott wants to call Sheriff but Stiles begs him not to. Say what, foolish boy? Your dad's job is to find people. Scott agrees. Scott: "What if I can't find you? Stiles, I can't make a promise like that." Stiles begs some more and finally Scott relents. Not good. Even worse Stiles shuts off the call, so Scott yells for a confused Isaac for help. Isaac: "What's wrong with Stiles?" After the world's biggest dramatic pause, Scott punches out, "I don't know." BWAH! Sorry but that's unintentional humor at its best. Seriously, it's a 7 second pause in the middle of all out panic. I dare you not to laugh. Less funny though is Lydia practicing her artwork with Aiden at night in Beacon Hills High. The security there is too pitiful to laugh at. Lydia agrees: "The number of homicides in this school has seen to it that no sane person will ever take a night job here again." Of course that means smart people should avoid BHH at night too. Lydia, you disappoint me. It's not like your parents ever know you have males in your room. Practice nude modeling sketches there. Aiden starts to strip down but luckily Lydia hears Stiles' voice with her banshee powers. Stiles: "Come find me." While she's picking up Stiles radio, Scott gets another call. Stiles says he's freezing in an industrial basement and his phone is almost out of power. Scott: "Stiles, why are you whispering?" Stiles: "Because I think there's someone in here with me." Yeah, never a good sign. Never.
Meanwhile, Kira is crowned Most Helpless when she calls for her mom over a dead light bulb. Seriously honey, you can disable a motorcycle but can't change a light bulb? Hmm. It's an anvil scene to show both Kira and her mom effecting electricity. You know, in case you didn't realize Kira's mama is supernatural too. You already knew that? Good, moving on. Scott and Isaac head to Stiles' house, where they find Lydia and Aiden already there. Great security, Sheriff. Lydia says she heard Stiles' voice. Aiden: "Don't ask. It gets more confusing when you ask." Bwah! You've learned well, Aiden. The quartet look at Stiles' intricate wall of weird, complete with cat's cradle yarn tied to scissors stuck in the bed. It's awesome, in a creepy serial killer way. Lydia says red is for unsolved cases, but it all screams loco to me. Lydia asks about Stiles and Aiden ups the ante. “Tonight’s the coldest night of the year. It’s going to drop in the 20's.” Twenties, really? Sounds like freaking spring in the Midwest. When you hit negative numbers, then come crying to me. Luckily, the voice of reason chimes in. Lydia: "What did his dad say?" Scott: "He…kind of…we didn't tell him yet." Lydia: "Stiles is bleeding and freezing, and you didn't call his dad?" Scott figures Stiles didn't get far, but Aiden points out the missing Jeep and hammers it home. Aiden: "You guys remember she only gets these feelings when someone's about to die, right?" Good point. Scott agrees to go to Sheriff's, but Lydia wants to stay before rejoining them. Lydia: "There is something here." Isaac: "Yeah, evidence of total insanity." Bwah! Can't argue with that! Scott: "We can figure out what's wrong with him after we find a way to keep him from freezing to death." Can't argue with that either.
Back in the basement of every horror movie ever, Stiles' leg is caught in a coyote trap. Yikes! Really Teen Wolf? Sympathy pains shoot through my ankle as Stiles screams. The good news is Stiles already rescued Lydia from one, so this should be easy, right? Right? Nope. Apparently he forgot he can get himself out of this. It may have something to do with the creepy dude in the corner writing a backwards 5 in chalk. Stiles murmurs, "Self," as Creepy and the number vanish in a really cool effect. Remember when I complained about there being no scary TV these days. Um, problem solved. Anxiety is rampant all around, including Sheriff who does not take the news well. After giving his deputies orders, he pulls in Scott and Isaac for the paranormal 411. Sadly, the only plan is to use their ever failing werewolf senses. Luckily Sheriff had Stiles' blue 1980 CG5 Jeep low jacked, which is the only explanation for how they found it in 15 seconds. It is at the hospital, allowing more Melissa time. Good thinking, Sleepwalking Stiles. Mama McCall leads them to the basement, but Derek has already figured out Stiles is gone. The newly competent Dumbledore Derek teaches a lesson in chemosignals, scents emitted with strong emotion. They smell high levels of anxiety, and Derek surmises that Stiles had an intense struggle with himself. Speaking of evoking strong emotion, Douche Dad enters the sheriff's station for progress on his assailant. Parrish has zero empathy for him and they posted 2 wanted posters front and center, loosely based on DoucheDad's description. One looks like a samurai bug monster. The other is the Lone Ranger. Bwaaahhhh!!! Just the comedy break we needed. DoucheDad is not amused, but face it DD, no one likes you. Parrish: "Well you're not exactly the highest priority of the night, Agent McCall." Or any night. Ever.
Back at Stiles' room, the camera pans to a picture of Scott and him at a lacrosse game. Ah, simpler times of controlling the change and wanting off the lacrosse bench, when Lydia was not Crazy Girl. Aiden snarks about Stiles keeping Lydia's nematon drawing as a memento. Back off right now, douche. Stiles is missing and is quite frankly a thousand times better than you. Lydia tells him to shut it too before getting Cliff's Notes from Scott. Lydia: "Nothing at hospital. Derek headed to high school. Isaac's going to find Allison. Scott's with the sheriff." Aiden: "We're standing in a bedroom staring at walls." Ha! That you can snark, although Lydia doesn't appreciate it. Bored, he plucks a string, causing Lydia to hear voices. Lydia: "You didn't hear that?" Aiden: "Lydia, I'm not sure anybody hears what you hear." Very true and it's annoying. Embrace your inner banshee, Lydia. She deduces that Stiles is at Eichen House, the mental hospital where Barrow resided. They better hurry, because Creepy now stalks a pinned down Stiles, whose phone died. Creepy is heretofore renamed Mummy Mouth, since he's wrapped in bandages with a wicked set of teeth, similar to those the kumicho sported in last week's Argent flashbacks. He spouts signs of hypothermia, either to bore Stiles to death or PSA for the Midwest this winter. Either way, his use of "we" bugs Stiles, as it should. Mummy: "We're going to die if we don't get out of here." Dylan: "Stop saying that. Stop saying we." Mummy Mouth tells Stiles to get up, who is not amused given the ankle trap. But psych! The trap changes legs, signaling that Stiles is indeed going mad. Luckily, the whole cavalry descend on Eichen House. Sadly, Stiles is not there, confusing a very confident Lydia and causing Sheriff to melt down. As Aiden leads Lydia out, a backwards 5 can be clearly seen etched into a door. Go back, guys! It's important.
Meanwhile Melissa joins DoucheDad in the search. DD knows where Stiles might be based on his call to Scott. He theorizes Stiles called while still sleepwalking and is not really in a basement, based on that time he was drunk peeing in a laundry basket. Good times! I want to slap him for being a hypocritical douche in his first episode, when he snarked to Stiles about Sheriff's drinking problem. Good thing you know where Stiles is or you'd be pointless. Kind of like the riddles Mummy Mouth keeps spouting. Perhaps the door/jar riddle is 3B's answer to 3A's tattoo. Stiles plays the riddle game well until he's stumped by, "Everyone has it but no one can lose it." Mummy Mouth repeats the riddle in Stiles' face, sufficiently freaking me out again especially when he pulls Stiles by his trap-enclosed ankle. Ouch! Stiles screams as DoucheDad pulls him from the coyote cave. Mama McCall holds him as he freaks out until he wakes up. Man, I love these two together! Mama McCall: "It's okay. You're alright. Stiles, you're alright." The look on Stiles' face when he realizes it was all a nightmare is heartbreaking. Anyone questioning the acting on Teen Wolf needs to watch this scene. In fact, everyone did a bang up acting job tonight. Still, I'm puzzled about why Stiles is rescued 22 minutes into the episode. This pacing makes no sense. It's like plunging down that first hill on a rollercoaster and then being forced to stop on the tracks before hitting the second one. Basically Sheriff tells Scott and Lydia that Stiles will be okay and thanks Douche Dad for saving his son before everything grinds to a halt. It is a touching scene, as is Sheriff admitting to Melissa that he's been keeping track of Stiles' symptoms and thinks they need to test him.
With all else though the emotional momentum ends, including a pointless Isaac and Allison subplot. I'm sure it will be vital later, but it's completely tacked on here. Isaac catches Allison up as she says multiple times she did not turn off her mysteriously turned off phone, which now has Japanese voice mail on it. Kira's dad translates it as a fake recording of directions given in Japanese internment camps during World War 2. He knows it's fake because it says Oak Creek, which was not an internment camp. Obviously it's a huge development for something that happens later and could have easily been held for then. Personally I think Allison is possessed too and turned off her own phone. At the same time, Lydia doubts her abilities as loud clanking sounds surround her. She decides running away instead of sharing with Scott is a great idea. No way this goes wrong. As for Scott, he actually attends school but is in such a funk he can't hear Kira yell for him. Deaton is no help AGAIN, and Scott goes to visit Stiles during his tests that night. Really the only one useful is Aiden, who confronts Derek about his suspicions while they jump Stiles' Jeep. How sweet. Aiden: "So do you think he was just sleepwalking or was there something more to it?" Derek: "In this town there's always something more." Ha, so true. Aiden tells Derek he overheard Stiles telling Scott he left the clue for Barrow to kill Kira. I guess those true alpha skills Scott was posturing were a bluff. Still, Derek doesn't believe Stiles is the nogitsune. Derek: "You think Stiles - skinny, defenseless Stiles - is the nogitsune, a powerful, dark spirit?" Aiden: "I'm not the only one thinking it. I'm just the only one saying it." Yep. Derek stops midspeech, remembering the electricity incident so it's back to high school to get Kira. Since truancy is encouraged, Kira heads to the power place with a stranger, where they find Stiles' bat magnetized. Derek theorizes the power surge awakened the nogitsune in Stiles, which makes zero sense, but let's go with it. After all this 1/5 of the episode is just weirdly timed filler before the gut punch.
Back at the hospital Stiles prepares for an MRI. Doctor: "I'm not sure if I know how to pronounce this or if it's not actually a misspelling." Sheriff: "Just call him Stiles." Ha! Glad for the continuity and levity. The doctor explains that the machine will be loud, sounding a lot like what Lydia is hearing. Stiles and she are more connected than I thought. Melissa and Sheriff comfort Stiles. Sheriff: "Hey, we're just on the other side of that window, okay?" Now there's a "we" I can get behind. Sheriff smiles bravely at Stiles, but this has to be his worst nightmare. Stiles explains it best to Scott. Stiles: "You know what they're looking for, right? It's called frontotemporal dementia. Areas of your brain start to shrink. It's what my mother had. It's the only form of dementia that can hit teenagers, and there's no cure." Scott and the entire Teen Wolf fandom start tearing up. Scott: "Stiles, if you have it we'll do something. I'll do something." There is an advantage to having an alpha as a best friend, but I am not ready to see Stiles the werewolf. I'm also not ready for how hard the two of them looking at each other in understanding before hugging hits me. Every. Single. Time. Seriously, I have watched this scene probably 10 times now, and it is always just as touching. It's probably the best scene in Teen Wolf since Stiles talked Scott out of becoming a human torch in Motel California. It's made even more poignant when the camera pans in on Sheriff and Melissa's reactions. You are killing me here, Teen Wolf. Killing me sweetly.
Luckily for my sanity, it's more filler. Derek and Kira arrive at the hospital, but Kira wants to stay outside. Kira: "I don't know if I should go in. You're going to tell Scott that Barrow might have used foxfire created by me to jump start the nogitsune's power inside Stiles." Derek: "Yeah." Kira: "Basically that I helped the dark spirit take control of his best friend." Derek: "You should probably wait here." Good choice, since it allows Derek to mentor Scott again. Scott: "You teaching me again?" Derek: "Think of it more like sharing a few trade secrets." I am all for this because it could negate the worst parts of a Boy King story. Derek also exposits that Cora is in South America (woo hoo!) and his dead mom's claws reminded him that the Hales' job is to protect Beacon Hills. Hmm, I feel cheated we don't get more on this. Derek: "This town needs someone to protect it. Someone like you." Scott: "And someone like you to teach me a few trade secrets." I like this partnership, especially since they realize Stiles was on the hospital roof to protect them from himself. As they race to the roof, Lydia sits in her car while the MRI noise gets louder in her head. She goes to scream but we hear nothing. Did the Oni take her scream or was this just artistic license? Hmm. On the roof, Scott finds all the tools needed to create an explosion while the doctor confirms Sheriff's worst suspicions. Stiles is showing degenerative brain loss. The look on Sheriff's face is heartbreaking. It's a true power moment. He has already seen this disease take his wife and now he fears it will take his son.
Stiles is also freaking out as the claustrophobia of the MRI machine gets to him, so he hallucinates himself out of it with Mummy Mouth again. Mummy Mouth: "Have you figured out my riddle yet? If you answer correctly, we might consider letting them go." Stiles: "Letting who go?" Mummy Mouth: "Your friends, your family, everyone who ever meant something to you. We're going to destroy all of them Stiles, one by one." Stiles: "Why?" That's my question too. Why do this to Stiles and me, Teen Wolf? Anymore of this and I'm going to be both inconsolable and scared. Mummy Mouth continually repeats the riddle until Stiles finally figures out that it is a shadow. Mummy Mouth takes off the bandages to reveal Stiles himself. Dark Stiles takes over and the transformation in Dylan O'Brien is chilling. His half smile creeps me out more than anything else in this episode. Just then the power flickers and Dark Stiles disappears. Sheriff: "Where's my son?" Meanwhile the hospital power box explodes sending a live wire directly at Kira, who I guess has been standing there for over an hour. Huh? Dark Stiles heads out only to see Kira's mother standing ominously in the elevator. Mrs. Yukimura: "You know me. Then you remember that I won't be deterred by your choice of hosts, even if it's an innocent boy." DarkStiles: "You threatening us?" Mrs. Yukimura snaps the Oni into existence, but DarkStiles is unfazed. DarkStiles: "We're not really afraid of your little fireflies." Yukimura: "If the Oni can't defeat you, I know someone who will." Duhn, duhn, duhn. Guess Kira does some fancy wire dodging or absorbs all its energy because she is now Buffy, one girl in all the world to take down DarkStiles. This has just gotten very, very interesting.
If it weren't for the 8 minutes lull between finding Stiles and the MRI scenes, this episode would be a straight up A. As it is, they tried to cram too many things into the episode, which should have been left to breathe a little more. The acting was phenomenal, the best in the series so far, so giving the actors a little more time would have been a better plan in my opinion. I would especially have liked to see more of Scott's panic as the time ticked on with his best friend missing. Trying to use their admittedly shoddy werewolf senses and Argent and Allison working together with more human methods would have been nice as well. To be honest, I would have loved if Lydia and Aiden had found Stiles too, although we would have missed the awesome scene with Melissa. On the plus side, this was a highly emotional episode, but it did not feel manipulative or unearned. The brother relationship between Scott and Stiles is the foundation of the show and this proved why it is so effective. I adore how they are not afraid to be real with each other and just open up. I hope Siles' brain atrophy is actually just the nogitsune's control and not actually frontotemporal dementia. That would be too sad and precipitate Stiles move from human, which is part of his appeal. I also hope that next week we learn much more is going on with Allison. To be honest, all three of the "sacrifices" got off pretty light in their nematon consequences and I'd love if they really haven't conquered their demons yet. It would make the story much richer in my opinion. Of course, no review of this episode would be complete without a shout out to Dylan O'Brien's amazing portrayal. He was magnificent and I cannot wait to see him continue to play dual roles. I hope that he stays DarkStiles for several more episodes instead of resolving this quickly. It is a powerful acting position to be in and Dylan is up to the challenge. I can't wait to see how this storyline progresses.
Grade Average: A- (A in first watch, B in second, a combination of A- and B+ in subsequent rewatches)
Best Scene - the hug…..by a whole lot
MVP / "Oh Baby" Award - Dylan O'Brien / Stiles
Best Interaction - Scott and Stiles
Best Reason to Watch - all of the acting
Most Melodramatic - Scott long pauses over the most dramatic "I don't know" in history
The "Oh, Boo Hoo" Award - Beacon Hills is going to be in the 20's. That would be a spring thaw where I'm at these days. When you get to the negative numbers, then talk to me about it.
The "Do You Never Learn?" Award - Lydia practices art at night at Beacon Hills High, which still has no security
"Did You Ever Doubt It? Award - Of course Aiden is going to strip down. Neither of you have been shy about having sex in front windows, Lydia.
The "Thank God for Lydia" Award - getting Sheriff involved was the absolute right thing to do
The "I Guess He Has Lojack" Award - They find Stiles' Jeep in mere seconds
Most Truthful Reaction - Sheriff yells at Lydia for Stiles not being there, but then apologizes for it
Best Reaction – Sheriff to learning Stiles has the same disease that killed his wife
Biggest Hypocrite - DoucheDad snarked about Sheriff having an alcohol problem to Stiles but he had one too when he was still living with Melissa and Scott
Worst Visual - Mummy dragging Stiles by his trap-enclosed ankle
Melissa and Stiles Watch - Melissa holds a screaming Stiles until he wakes up from his nightmare
Snarkiest - Aiden
Biggest Shock - They found Stiles a mere 22 minutes into the episode
Lesson of the week – chemosignals and hypothermia
Screencaps by Screencapped.net