Previously - We panned in on yellow wolfsbane vomit (thanks for reminding me Teen Wolf), Derek knew about Satomi's pack (thanks for the retcon TW), Derek and Malia found Satomi's dead pack and an injured Braeden (glad you didn't kill her TW), Meredith died supposedly by suicide (I'm not buying it TW), Malia is Peter's daughter (URGGHHHH!!!! TW), and Scott and Stiles found a cassette tape in Blond Assassin's loot (cassette - say what, TW?)
In a room made from a lifetime supply of plastic wrap and mountain ash, an evil scientist takes notes and drinks tea. Inside the ash a werewolf bleeds out in a callback to Gerard's issues and traditional wolfsbane. Evil Scientist listens to instructions from the Benefactor on how to get his assassin money via a cassette at his desk, which can only mean one thing….it's the 80's. Or not. It's all visual confirmation of death and wire transfers on the world's least exciting mix tape. In the biggest shock of the night, Scott also has a boom box with cassette player. They really are poor or maybe they're just hoarders. We've never seen the attic. Just saying. Scott and Stiles listen to the same info surrounded by neatly stacked bills. Guess they finished counting it. Unlike Blond Assassin and Crazy Teen Assassin (may they stay dead), Scott and Stiles have no clue about the world of wire transfers. Come on, Coach. Teach some practical crime skills in Economics class, since half the population of Beacon Hills are killers. Scott raises the ante by saying he doesn't get the whole season. Welcome to the club, buddy. Scott: "Why would someone use all this money just to kill us?" Stiles: "Someone wants you dead, dude." Thank you, Captain Obvious. Stiles keeps the title by telling us the $500,000 is half a million. If there are any basic math conversions on the PSAT, Stiles will totally rock it. At first I thought Stiles was validly arguing that hiding 1/2 a million dollars under Scott's bed is ludicrous. I mean the entirety of Beacon Hills villainy has invaded the McCall house. Sadly though it's yet another Kira Hem Haw Disease moment. I'll spare you the dialogue. Basically both agree Derek should get his money back, but Stiles wants to steal Peter's share because he's a bad guy who shouldn't have access to that kind of cash. Of course Stiles only hints this instead of outright saying he wants to take up thieving. Scott: "So we should give Derek his money back but not Peter?" Stiles: "I didn't saying that." Scott: "Stiles, what are you saying?" Who knows this season, Scott? Basic communication is no longer a given in Beacon Hills.
Luckily Malia interrupts the inanity with an update on Satomi's pack, while Derek takes Braeden to the hospital and Deaton is waylaid at the vet clinic. Everyone is wet because Beacon Hills is secretly Seattle. As Deaton unlocks the clinic door, his spidey senses tingle and he flashes a baton right before a hooded figure attacks. It's awesome to see Deaton hold his own in a fight. Kudos! It ends abruptly when Deaton bows to his attacker, Satomi! Ha! She's spry for her age. Not sure how I feel about her appearance, given that the flashback episode was the worst of 3B. As a teacher I do know exactly how I feel about standardized tests, which is Saturday's agenda for all the pack minus Lydia and Team Parent. It's PSAT time. Huh? Shouldn't it be SAT or ACT time instead? They're second semester juniors. In my day, the PSAT was taken as freshmen or sophomores depending on your grades. According to Lilith, you now take it October of junior year to qualify as a National Merit Scholar status, which is idiotic, but still this isn't October and none of these guys will be National Merit Scholars. Lydia, who could, already took it as a freshman so she's a no show. Malia's offended she has to take it if Lydia got to do it another time so Scott reminds her that she studied harder than all of them. Stiles reminds her of the difference between well and good. The former English teacher in me applauds; Malia freaks out. Scott: "You're doing this because why we're trying not to die, we still need to live. Okay if I survive high school, I'd like to go to college…a good college." Scott's go team speech works until Kira jinxes it. "It's only 3 hours. We can survive three hours." The entire fandom facepalms while Stiles glares. Taking the PSAT is like clearing customs to enter the US…except more stringent. They're fingerprinted to prevent cheating and cell phones are taken away, the latter being standard practice for most major tests including some finals. It'll be a bit hard to get their phones back though since everyone apparently gets a #9 envelope. Ha!
Stiles promptly invalidates the test by opening it before time, while Evil Scientist plays Test Proctor. That's never a good sign. Plus Coach is missing, leaving Lydia's mom as the sole teacher present. She finds Coach passed out in his office, and immediately assumes he fell off the wagon. Coach is 15 years sober? Hmm, I guess Stiles didn't drive Coach to drink after all. Still loving the back story. Also, Lydia's mom's name is Natalie. Now to find out Stiles'. Since Lydia's mom is a featured player these days, she needs a nickname too. Any suggestions besides Mama Hot Pants or Sexy Mama? I refuse to call her either. Right now she's ScienceMom, which works well since she wants to get HistoryDad's help in the first break. Evil Scientist proves he's a complete douche by starting the timer before telling them to open the test. I knew he was bad news. The students look appropriately freaked out by the questions and I laugh at Stiles using 2 pencils at the same time. It's all stressful until SuperStudent, aka Sydney, falls out of her chair. (Trivia - the actress playing her is the director's daughter.) That's some massive test anxiety there. ScienceMom sees a rash on her wrist and freaks out. Her obvious worry triggers alarm in Scott and Stiles but they can't do anything during the test. She checks on Coach, who has the same rash sprawling over his back and then yells at kids trying to enter the school to get out. That's enough panic to bring the entire testing group into the hallway until she tells them to return to their seats. Amazingly, they do without question. I thought at least Stiles would ask questions. Instead Scott werelistens as she calls the CDC, who shockingly are the most prompt emergency unit in Beacon Hills, faster than the cops or hospital. Go figure. They renovate the high school in plastic sheeting just like Evil Scientist. After all is set up, Sheriff moseys along with some other officers. Argh! A CDC official tells Sheriff they are under quarantine. Sheriff: "My son is in there." CDC: "Is this going to be a conflict for you?" Sheriff: "Conflict no. Stressful, yeah." I feel for you.
Inside ScienceMom runs down outbreak protocol to Scott, including the need to isolate the infected from the healthy while both are inside the bubble with SuperStudent. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? No way Scott would be outside that classroom and ScienceMom wouldn't be allowed anywhere near SuperStudent, especially without the hazmat suits everyone else wears. Oh Teen Wolf. Then she leaves Scott with the sick girl, who freaks because…you guessed it, her family has money woes and she needs a National Merit scholarship to go to college. Should have taken it in October then. You're out of luck. Back in the testing room, Stiles worries about smallpox because that's the first disease you think of in an outbreak. Evil Scientist gleefully tells them smallpox was eradicated. Stiles: "So we should be comforted by that, right?" Evil Scientist: "Unless it's something worse." Okay then. Stiles starts scratching and Malia tells him that Sheriff is on campus so he reaches for his phone but they turned off all service and Wi-Fi to keep people from panicking. Telling students they have no access to their phones will do that on its own. Meanwhile Deaton treats one of Satomi's pack who is also sick. The disease keeps werewolves from controlling transformation, which raises the stakes for Scott and Malia. Plus his werewolf eyes go completely white. Deaton says they need to go to a hospital so enter Mama McCall. She strides purposefully through the hospital with syringe in hand. Don't even think of getting in her way when she's determined. She gives Braeden something to wake up so she can get answers now that Stiles and Scott are at risk. It works immediately. She tells them Satomi's pack was infected, not poisoned, and it targets werewolves. Is SuperStudent a werewolf too? Egads. More worrisome, ScienceMom bangs on the school bathroom where Scott refuses to come out. Uh oh. He's clearly sick and fang-ing out, so I guess hanging around the sick chick wasn't a bang up move. ScienceMom has HistoryDad take over, but all Scott wants is Stiles. Awww.
On the female side, Malia and Kira wait to get blood drawn so Malia asks if Scott and Stiles are hiding things from her. Kira stutters so much it's obvious she knows Malia's parentage though I have no idea why they told her and not Malia, who is listed as Malia Hale instead of Malia Tate on the dead pool list. Not like that won't come back to haunt them. Kira blathers on and anyone not living in the woods for years would know something's up. Malia however remains clueless and asks about the Nike bag Scott and Stiles awkwardly hid under his bed in the opener. Kira: "I have never been under Scott's bed or in it, just on it…wearing clothes." Oh brother. Thankfully CDC Lady interrupts, but when she takes Kira's blood an electrical charge burns a hole in her suit. She scoots outside, claims static electricity (um, okay) and heads off DoucheDad's questions. He also talks smallpox as I shake my head. Sheriff counters with assassins. At least someone's thinking. Speaking of, too-smart-for-the-test Lydia returns to the white room with Meredith's personal effects. That record player gets more wear than cassette players in Beacon Hills. She tries to communicate with Meredith through it because full-on séance is not banshee style. To be honest, my sympathy level for Lydia after the last 2 episodes is low. I know she wants answers and being gifted, she probably isn't used to having none. She's under a lot of stress to provide them before people die. That's why I wish they had kept Meredith as a mentor. As it is, Lydia's overloaded right now. "I don't know if you can hear me or what I'm supposed to ask you, but if I have this thing it's got to work some of the time. It's got to help someone." She apologizes to Meredith and I instantly forgive her. Holland Roden knocks this scene out of the park. The silence of the white room and the camera pan in on Lydia's face make it one of the best acted scenes of the season. In frustration, Lydia packs up Meredith's things only to find a picture of her in the white room. Duhn, duhn, duhn. I'm calling them as cousins or half-sisters right now. Plot twist of the night!
Because Beacon Hills CDC is almost as ineffective as those in Helix (think The Following Feds incompetence level), they let Stiles, Malia, Kira, and HistoryDad wander about to meet Scott in the locker room. Scott's eyes alpha out while Malia's claws stick around. Stiles: "You guys have to stay out of sight. We have to quarantine you…from the quarantine." Bwah! It's not just them though. HistoryDad stole the PSAT (again, oh Teen Wolf) and Kira missed the 'bubble in the circle" concept. She's infected too, but in a neurological manner. That's one powerful disease considering we learned last season that kitsunes never get sick. Even Stiles falls prey as he almost faints and sports an arm rash. Time to take this party elsewhere. Stiles suggests the Hale family vault. Scott: "The Hales always have an escape route. There has to be another way in." Since when? One instance doesn't make a pattern…but plot device dictates otherwise so they find a humungous triskelion etched into the hall. Really? Nothing like adorning your super secret entrance with a freaking wall-sized mural. Luckily Stiles and Scott distract me with another partially silent conversation. Stiles subtly asks if the vault can be opened with any claws but Scott indicates no, leading him to ask Malia to open the vault instead under the guise that her claws are already out and he doesn't have control with the virus. Malia: "Okay I'll do it but first tell me what you have been hiding from me." The other three look nervous. Alas Malia can't hold off 3 seconds longer and starts talking dead pool list. They sigh in relief as Scott urges Stiles to confirm she's on it. Malia: "How much am I worth?" Scott: "$4 million." Stiles: "Are you okay?" Malia: "Yeah, Scott's worth 25. Kira's 6. They'll take you guys out way before me." Stiles: "It's progress. It's progress." Bwah! Malia is my favorite character of the night. Mama McCall is high up there too. She helps Deaton get Satomi's pack member down and exposits about the school. Sadly the werewolf dies in the Hellevator no matter how many times she presses the freaking down button. Poor Satomi.
Scott's pack doesn't look much better. As Stiles holds a sleeping Malia, Kira paces and Scott sits hunched over. At least there's no sign of the black goo that was oozing from Satomi's pack, reminiscent of Gerard's bite. In the ultimate anvilicious filler, Stiles and Scott discuss money woes. Eichen House won't get paid anytime soon and Mama is about to lose the McCall house. Stiles and the rest of us don't get why Peter and Derek left bearer bonds in the vault all this time. Also why doesn't DoucheDad fork over more to keep a roof over his kid's head? Maybe Lydia can ask as she heads to school. Sheriff waves her in and asks about her banshee senses. "Do you have any kind of indication? Any kind of feeling about this? Is someone in there going to die?" Lydia: "Yes, and it's not just a feeling." Uh oh. Meanwhile the CDC finally noticed the missing kids so someone needs to leave the vault to delay them, which I guess means putting the wire bookshelf back in front of the huge symbol. Sigh. Stiles and Scott watch Kira comforting a sick Malia and exchange silent conversation again. I love the moments when Teen Wolf trusts its actors to deliver without words. It pays off each time. Scott tells Stiles that they need to tell Malia the truth, but Stiles says no while I resist the urge to Gibbs slap him. Stiles: "Try to remember that Peter's the one name missing on that list, which either makes him incredibly lucky or the Benefactor." Glad they noticed. Stiles worries Malia might try to establish a relationship with Peter. "Then he's going to twist his way into her head like he does with everyone, including us. We let him walk around like nothing ever happened, like he's one of the good guys. Scott, he's not one of the good guys. If she finds out about him, she's gone and that's probably what he's waiting for and then he wins, we lose." All very valid points but not making other people's choices is also valid, Stiles. Tell Malia but also give her Peter's history. She trusts you and your judgment while she has no reason to trust Peter. Will she want to talk with him? Absolutely, but prepare her in advance. Scott also disagrees. "We're already losing." He holds up his black goo accented fingertips. Time for a new plan.
Oh for the love of my lunch must it include a Deaton autopsy complete with scalp flap. Eww. Are you trying to make me vomit? Even listening makes me sick. At least he now knows it's a new strain of distemper. Alas he has no cure and tells Mama McCall all werewolves will die, including Scott. Great bedside manner, Doc. Since the vault dwellers don't know they're doomed, Stiles plays detective to find the assassin. He goes to Malia to say he's leaving, waking her by checking her forehead. Realizing she's cold, Stiles puts his jacket around her as I go awww and then check myself for fever. Between this and Kira holding a sick Scott, my heart is all gooey and I am about as staunch an anti-shipper as they come. There's something very touching in how they all care for each other. It's not even a romance thing but a show of great loyalty and I'm a huge sucker for that. Malia: "You're coming back right." He smiles, touches her hair, and nods. "Yeah, I'd never leave you behind." Awwww. That's the same thing she said to him in the pilot. She smiles as he kisses her forehead and I'm astounded again by how much I liked these two - together, on their own, doesn't matter. Dylan O'Brien and Shelly Hennig do a fantastic job in every scene. As Stiles leaves, he looks back at Scott, Kira, and Malia before the vault door closes, separating him from the others in a rather dramatic shot. Not to be outdone, Derek stages his own aww scene as he watches a sleeping Braeden. There's no subtlety on Teen Wolf. She wakes to question why he's there. Derek: "I'm protecting my investment. I've got a lot of money riding on you." Ha! Happily Mama McCall interrupts with news of Satomi before it turns full on Beauty and the Beast. Deaton exposits a form of distemper that wiped out wolves in Yellowstone. Mama McCall: "What's it going to do to our wolf population?" Let's just say it's not good as Evil Scientist altered it to work faster. The real question is why it didn't kill Satomi. She and Derek reminisce about old times and the stinky tea she always brought his mom. Yahtzee! We have a winner. Reishi tea is the antidote. Thank goodness there just happens to be some in the Hale family vault. Go figure.
Now to let the teens know without any cell reception. Back at the BHHS, Stiles increasingly looks like he's auditioning for The Walking Dead while ScienceMom looks increasingly confused. Oh honey for Beacon Hills High, this is minor. Stiles makes the connection that only teens and Coach got sick, not other adults. At the same time, Malia finds the dead pool list in Stiles' jacket pocket. Scott panics but psych, false alarm. Malia's gone blind and the vein in my forehead now throbs. Ugh! I hate characters keeping secrets that will end badly as much as I hate my favorite shows playing Gotcha. Just tell her already! I also hate canon breaking. Satomi's almost dead, blind werewolf had all white eyes. Malia's are just fine. Scott finds his vision going wonky as well. Better work quickly, Stiles. He trashes Coach's office but the clue is in permission slips on his desk. Once the red ink pad wore out, Coach started using the same ink pad each of the students used for the PSAT. As Evil Scientist barges in, Stiles sees the ink stains on Coach's coffee mug. Now that's the kind of smart villain Teen Wolf needs more often. He's looking for Scott, Kira, and Malia. That's $35 million in visual confirmation he's missing, so he's a little cranky as he puts a silencer on his gun. As badly as it is going for Stiles, things are looking up for the rest of the victims. Well, the human ones. Coach wakes a little groggy, but SuperStudent just wants to know if she can still take the test. I think outbreak and assassination attempts mar test validity, honey. You really should have taken it in October with the non-slackers. I have to wonder if Evil Scientist put the virus on a timer because I've never seen a virus begin and end so promptly. Generally body type, genetics, and other factors play a big role. Evil Scientist has a future as a bioterrorist. Or did. Once you threaten Stiles, you're pretty much dead. Just saying.
He marches Stiles by gunpoint, saying the virus won't kill him. "So don't you think you should tell me where they are? Shouldn't one of you get to live?" Really, buddy? You don't know this pack. Stiles refuses. "You think you can scare me?" Evil Scientist: "No, I think I can kill you." He puts the gun right on Stiles' forehead (anyone who watches Burn Notice, SPN, or any crime show knows it's a big mistake) and starts counting. Stiles quivers and shuts his eyes but stays resolute. He won't give up his friends and Dylan O'Brien once again gives an Emmy-worthy performance. As Evil Scientist gets to 3, a shot rings out leaving Stiles covered in blood and the assassin on the ground. Stiles spits out blood as a figure in a hazmat suit walks in. I was 95% sure it was Argent. 5% percent, Sheriff. Instead, it's….DoucheDad to the rescue? What? Man, I can't hate you anymore. That makes me sad. But you saved Stiles, so DoucheDad will not do. It's FedDad now. Well, until your douchiness is too much again. I can't even quibble with how risky shooting the guy in the head with Stiles' head right next to him was since the bullet could've passed through and probably did since there was an exit wound. Stiles is as shocked as I am by FedDad's rescue and stares wide eyed through all the gore at him. "Where the hell did you come from?" Just say thanks, honey. Apparently Melissa called him about the tea remedy in the vault. Guess they lifted that cell phone ban right in time. Stiles races off. Ever late to the game, Derek plans to go to the school but Satomi wants help with the others at Lookout Point. Satomi, there's nothing they can for them now. All discussion stops when the hospital Hellevator suddenly opens and reveals….yet another young blonde assassin. What the heck? Is the local assassin training school also an underground eugenics lab? Derek smartly jumps out of the way, but Satomi goes full on awesome, Matrix-style. She dodges bullets and pulls sweet ninja moves before skewering the assassin right through the neck. Take that, eugenics! Satomi: "I may have learned to control my anger, but I still know when to use it." Ain't no one messing with you!
Alas no human is opening that vault door either. Scott lies against it close to death as Stiles shouts about the mushroom tea from the outside, but can do nothing but frantically pound on the door. He screams Scott's name repeatedly until falling down in defeat. There is no answer. Scott lies unmoving on the opposite side of the door. Kira manages to tell Scott where she saw the jar, even though she's blind now too. Everything goes black but then Scott summons the strength to get up. With alpha eyes glowing, he pulls a Deucalion. Seeing the glowing mushrooms (yes glowing) he drags his body over to it, barely getting a finger on the jar. He accidentally knocks it over so dehydrated mushroom dust fills the air and covers them all. As Stiles pants and worries, the vault door suddenly opens and Scott falls right next to him. They stare at each other as Stiles grabs Scott's shoulder. They made it through, narrowly, once again - friendship intact and stronger than ever. Clearing the high school (much too quickly), the CDC lets everyone leave as Sheriff and Lydia try to get in. Lydia sees her mom and runs to her. ScienceMom: "I'm so sorry. I was just trying to get a little overtime." As money woe anvils crash on my head, I am equally touched by a great moment between Lydia and her mom and heading back to the vault for more Scott and Stiles time. Scott helps Kira up, while Stiles goes to an obviously troubled Malia. She won't even look at him when he asks if she's alright and takes his hand off her shoulder when he touches her. Eyes full of accusation and tears, she walks away still wearing his jacket. Stiles, Scott, and Kira are confused but Malia is resolute. While Stiles stares after her, she marches forward leaving him only the dead pool list with Malia Hale written on it. He crumples it in his hand. She knows and she has every right to be ticked at the whole pack. She's been betrayed by them and it is Stiles who is going to feel it the most. Good.
For all its CDC and other logic fails, I really loved this episode of Teen Wolf. It knew where its strength lies and allowed its actors to shine. It's a show of trust from a writer to back off the dialogue and let the actors portray the gravitas of a scene. Each moment of silent conversation proved that trust was earned. They could have had Stiles and Scott ask each other if they were okay when that vault door opened but it was far more powerful to hold their gazes a little longer. They could have had Malia scream at Stiles for not telling her the truth, but the sheer betrayal on her face said more than any dialogue could. Even in Lydia's monologue, it was the silent moments - the defeat in her eyes, the shock at finding Meredith's photo - that really made the scene. Over and over again, the actors brought their A game and made what is essentially a standalone, assassin of the week, episode into something far more memorable. The stakes are higher now and not just in keeping alive. By not telling Malia the pack is fractured and it is likely to backfire into Malia going to Peter, exactly what Stiles was wanting to avoid. Let's hope the writers do not turn this into another Allison manipulated by bad guys story line. I like Malia far too much for that. Still I don't want this resolved in one episode either. Malia had trust issues before and she finally let Stiles in, and through him the whole pack, so it should throw her off kilter. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if she avoided them all and went back to the woods before ever contacting Peter. Best case scenario, she goes to Derek who still doesn't know either, I think. If he does, heaven help them all because if Malia goes evil or hides out in the woods for multiple episodes, I'm going through the screen and Gibbs slapping the bunch of them. Maybe Satomi can adopt her and they can be kick butt females together.
Best Scene - Stiles yells for Scott outside the vault door and Scott uses his alpha eyes to save the day
Best Quote - Malia: "How much am I worth?" Scott: "$4 million." Stiles: "Are you okay?" Malia: "Yeah, Scott's worth 25. Kira's 6. They'll take you guys out way before me." Stiles: "It's progress. It's progress."
Best Reason to Watch - acting
Biggest Twist - Meredith has been in the white room before
Best Return of a Character I Never Wanted to See Again - Satomi, who completely rocked to my surprise
Best Action - Satomi versus Hellevator Assassin
Best Save - FedDad shoots Evil Scientist before he can off Stiles
Best Character - Malia
The "Avoid You Like the Plague" Award - Beacon Hills High (day or night) / Beacon Hills Memorial Hellevator
Best Character Interaction - Scott and Stiles hands down. There's no one else even close this episode.
MVP - Dylan O'Brien, who in a cast that all brought their A game, still stands out as exceptional
Biggest Shock - Scott has a cassette player
Best Humor - Stiles and his pencils
Spotlight on Dylan O'Brien:
Screencaps by Screencapped.net
, All Things Teen Wolf
, Forever Young Adult
, Teen Wolf Spoilers
, Never Love a Wild Thing
, TV Unfiltered
, Shell Shell Shell
, TV Equals
, My Life as a Fangirl
, and others I cannot find anymore. If they are yours, please let me know so I can credit you. Let me just reiterate how much I hate Tumblr and its inefficient searching mechanism.