Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)
110 is an episode in which we see into the eyes of many brothers, and I end up wondering who exactly the hero is.
There is a lot to love in this episode; it's a gorgeous, gorgeous piece of dramatic writing. It not only ramps the tension beautifully, but reveals several new facets of the characters. There's a great use of paralleling/doubling too, as always: Stiles and the Sheriff, Scott and Melissa, Derek and Peter, Allison and Kate, and, of course, Scott and Derek.
Stiles: Oh, man. The scene with his father. That's heartbreaking, in such a real way.
Jackson: Colton Haynes really is an amazing actor. The car scene with Chris Argent and then Scott was great, but all his acting choices in the sequence from the locker-room to the Hale house were brilliant. His range in this episode is beautiful to watch, and I couldn't help feel some empathy for Jackson, even as I loathed him.
Scott & Derek: I take back everything I said in my last post about starting to like Scott. Oh, my God, he's a dumbass. So self-centred, so short-sighted, so unthinking. A gorgeous portrait of a teenager, I guess, but given he's meant to be the hero of the story, I find very little to be admired in him. I can now see why fandom has taken to calling him a potato -- considering him stupid is the only way to like him. Because if he's not stupid, then he's... the embodiment of the banality of evil in the making? Or something very like it.
Let's look at the evidence presented in episode 110. Peter and Derek turn up in the locker room, Derek wringing his hands, and Scott immediately assumes Derek has joined Peter willingly and betrayed him, even though Derek has given him every fucking piece of the puzzle:
- Derek considers himself Scott's brother, and he has no other living/sane family.
- Derek has repeatedly asked for Scott's help, and offered to help Scott.
- Derek has said: that a solo Beta can't take on an Alpha, that werewolves are stronger in packs, that the Alpha will try to get Scott to kill in order to get Scott into his pack and cement his power, and that Scott will find it hard to resist on his own, but that working together with Derek they will be able to do so.
It paints a pretty clear picture.
So with all of this in mind, why does Scott take one look at Derek wringing his hands and jump straight to "Derek is willingly the Alpha's patsy"?
What on earth is going through that boy's brain?
On the reverse side of this dynamic, Scott has refused to take any responsibility at all for his own werewolfy actions, or think through the consequences of doing nothing. He wouldn't listen to Derek (or Stiles) until Derek found a lever, which was Scott's total self-interest: Scott will train in order to be safe enough to keep Alison as a girlfriend, Scott will work to take down the Alpha only on the promise of a mythical cure. (As a side note: I now think Derek exaggerated that myth, that he knows it's bullshit, but used it because he knew it would get Scott's interest.)
Scott also gives us the answer to why he thinks this way. Scott tells Jackson being a werewolf is a curse. It's ruined his life. He never wanted it. None of this is Scott's fault! He can run fast, but people are trying to kill him; he can hear, but it's bad things about himself; he can't protect anyone (ie. Stiles -- who has mostly been in danger from Scott). Really, this couldn't be a more telling list. It's all about Scott pushing responsibility for his own choices onto the curse of being a werewolf, while making it look like he's being the reasonable one.
Flip it, and we see this very clearly: he has awesome wolf-powers which he pretty much takes for granted by this point, he no longer has chronic asthma, he's now co-captain of the Lacross team, his social standing has improved at school, and he has a blood-brother who wants to help him (if he should care to claim him). Further, his best friend has proven himself not only the best friend ever during his time of need, but has saved both himself and Scott from the consequences of Scott's actions on multiple occasions.
This is where Scott's at -- if he admits that Derek is out of his depth and needs help, and has been asking for Scott's help should this very situation arise, then he can't just go on blithely blaming the werewolf curse for all the bad things. It would mean that Derek (ie. werewolfness) isn't intrinsically bad. It would mean Scott bears some responsibility for what's happening now, even if it wasn't responsibility he asked for or wanted. Just like, say, adulthood.
It's ironic, but Jackson totally nails Scott's flaws in the car speech. Because Jackson is an arsehole, we tend to believe Scott's summation over Jackson's, but this is a classic case of the speck and the log. When I was younger, I didn't understand that quote from the Bible; it used to really puzzle me. Right up until I noticed that people would accuse me of their own worst fault. They'd do it in such a way that I'd be left going, "Oh my god. Am I like that?" because there would be a convincing speck of truth in it. But the reason the person recognised that flaw so clearly in me is because they were defined by it themselves. This is the speck and the log, and once you recognise it, it's hard to miss.
So, Jackson accuses Scott of being a spoiled, privileged brat, who can't see what he's got and doesn't know how to use it. Of course Jackson is right, because he's describing his own flaws even more than Scott's.
That's not the best use of this device in the episode, though. It's used again in the crowning moment of Scott getting everything wrong, wrong, so very wrong, as he races off to save the wrong fucking person, and falls right into Peter's trap as he does so. Peter goads Scott into saving Jackson, knowing Scott will go fight Derek, kill him, and so end up cementing his place in Peter's pack -- just as Derek warned him he would. (It works the other way too -- if Derek wins, he's also killed someone for Peter, and so cemented his place in Peter's pack. All without any risk to Peter, while destroying the possibility of the two teaming up against him. Clever.)
The day is only saved, ironically, by Kate Argent. Hahahaha.
Derek: *hugs the stuffing out of Derek*
If he had a tail, it would be between his legs for the whole of this episode, start to finish.
Let's just revisit the speck/log idea as we look as this speech Derek gives to Jackson:
Jackson: Please, you can't do this! Please! I don't deserve it.
Derek: I think you do.
Derek: Look around you. Wouldn't there be someone here trying to save you? There's no-one here. There's a reason no-one cares you drive an expensive car. No-one cares that you have perfect hair, and no-one cares that you're captain of the Lacross team!
Hi there, Derek! Don't bother taking off your shirt, you're already naked!
Such a telling speech -- this is the script that runs through Derek's head every single day.
Just as telling is the fact that the minute there's a way out offered, Derek takes it, and so foils Peter's plan and saves the day, even though it means sacrificing himself to Kate Argent.
Linking this back to my discussion of Derek's age: his age may well have been retconned upwards, but I maintain that Scott was never meant to be read as the sole Teen Wolf in this show. In many ways it's Derek who is on the hero's journey, not Scott. Derek is the nineteen year old werewolf, about to become a full-fledged adult by facing his own demons and taking responsibility for his actions.
Scott on the other hand, is a selfish dumbass who, more than once, wins glory by doing the wrong thing but accidentally getting the right outcome.
Given how terrible so many of Scott's choices are, I wonder why the writers chose to make him the protagonist. I have a theory about it, but I'll write about it in a separate post. I need to re-watch S2 first. I suspect my reading of S2 will change somewhat in light of S1, especially Derek and Scott.
This entry was originally posted at http://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/388