cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,
cupidsbow
cupidsbow

Teen Wolf 309 - The Girl Who Didn't Know Enough (That's Me, BTW)

Hypothetically speaking, let's imagine that the number-one rule of the Teen Wolf 'verse is that Derek's life has to take the worst possible turn whenever it can.

Spoilers for 309 and speculation for 310-312
In this hypothetical situation, it would not, of course, be enough that Derek's previous girlfriends were the horribly fridged Paige (assuming Peter told any skerrick of truth about that) and racist psycho-killer Kate Argent. No, that is not anywhere near awful enough. Let's see how bad we could make it if we really put our backs into it...

Let's say Paige does not die. Instead her body is disfigured and dumped by Peter, but she is rescued and recovers. Yay. But then goes dark side and becomes the Darach and seduces now-adult Derek as part of her evil plan. Uh-oh.

Now, if this were not Worst 'Verse, she would merely be evil, and using Derek for vile vengeance, and would no doubt meet a swift end at the hands of the Beacon Hills High Pack.

But it is Worst 'Verse, so of course the Darach is both evil and also genuinely in love with Derek. Hearts in her eyes, all the bells and whistles, madly in love. You see, the Darach is the exact opposite of Kate Argent, but just as psycho and just as deadly.

In Worst 'Verse Derek loves her back; in Worst 'Verse her sweet-faced alter-ego makes him happy.

The only way to stop her will be to kill her, and it won't be he Beacon Hills High Pack who end up having to do so, because if Scott kills anyone he can't be werewolf Jesus anymore. In Worst 'Verse this means it will have to be Derek himself who kills Jennifer/Paige.

Again.

Obviously, though, that's not bad enough. It must be even worse.

The Darach has been sacrificing people for some larger purpose. Let's say one aspect of her purpose is to make Derek happy. Let's say she's killing people to raise the Hale pack.

As this is Worst 'Verse it won't be enough for her to do this by killing people Derek barely knows, of course. She has to end up sacrificing someone he cares about, because that's the way magic works. As Derek's pack is pretty much gone, there aren't many people he cares for left, so finding a worthwhile candidate is not that easy. Derek doesn't trust or like Deaton. Isaac is leaving him for Scott. Scott hates him. Derek hates Peter. Cora is dying already of some mysterious ailment, and is also disappointed in him. And the Darach is hardly going to sacrifice herself, assuming that Derek does actually care for her, which in Worst 'Verse he does.

But that's okay! Because there is someone who has been pretty selflessly there for Derek many times. The S3 narrative has conveniently reminded us of this, by showing us Jennifer and Derek's romance in a way that echoes of the relationship we've seen growing between Derek and Stiles. Foreshadowing! Rar!

So in Worst 'Verse, the Darach's final sacrifice will be the Sheriff and/or Stiles, because either way, that will destroy Derek's relationship with Stiles -- Stiles is either dead, or unforgiving because of his father's death.

So the choice: on the one hand, there's Stiles, and a relationship that is real, but hardly satisfying for Derek, plus being the ethical thing to do, because more murder is clearly wrong. On the other hand, the pay-off if Derek lets the final sacrifice happen is not only Jennifer(Paige) being his super-devoted girlfriend, but the resurrected Hale family, and a weird kind of guilt-balance.

See, if he lets it happen he can fix everything -- his mistake with Kate is undone! And he get a happy ending with his fridged girlfriend!

And all it will cost is his soul and the one person who keeps saving him! Bargain!

Welcome to Worst 'Verse, where all your shipping dreams can come true, as long as it tortures Derek past the point of humanity.

Romantic, yes?

Now that I have that off my chest, here are my thoughts on 309...
I mostly liked this episode while watching it, but had problems with it afterwards. We returned to the story proper after the detour to flashback land; I enjoyed getting back to our main characters, and there were some great character moments.

Stiles' Mountain Ash threat was great. Lydia and Scott, and Danny and Ethan were adorbs. And the show finally gave us a real scene between Derek and Jennifer -- you could feel the doom building with every adorable moment, but it was a great scene in itself.

Which brings me to my major issue with the season to date. We haven't had enough of those scenes, and the ones we've had have been rushed.
  • Compared to Kate, Jennifer feels like a cardboard cut-out. Why? Haley Webb has totally won me over -- she's talented and gorgeous. So why not give her something to work with? Why not let her character be more than a sketch? This is such a wasted storyline, because reading between the lines, Jennifer/Paige's story seems pretty interesting. So why did we get the Gerard/Peter show instead of the Darach's show? Why show more of two crusty old men whose stories have already been told, rather than an interesting new woman... oh. :(
  • Speaking of which, we barely know Cora -- we never got to see her relationship with Boyd in that vault, and it was clearly an important one. We never got to see her reunion with Derek, and I still feel the loss of that scene. Why is Cora even in this season? What is her purpose?
  • The scene in which Stiles finally tells the Sheriff what's going on... it was good, I liked it, but you know, it was flat because of the timing. I would actually have liked it more two eps ago, with the Sheriff scoffing and taking Stiles to councelling, and being concerned Dad, and generally awesome by any normal standards and just so, so, so wrong. And then we would have got a waaaaay bigger payoff on the Sheriff realising it was all true in this ep. The tension would have been delicious. *shakes fist at lost Stilinski awesomeness*
  • Lydia's banshee reveal. I like the idea of the horror-cliche of a woman's scream being given agency. I like it a hell of a lot -- in theory. In practice, all we've seen Lydia do with it so far is scream. It doesn't work as an inversion of the cliche unless Lydia actually gets to use it with agency. We've seen nothing of her learning how to use this except to find bodies, which (quite reasonably) creeps her out. There are other ways it could have been worked in and made interesting, so that the reveal had more power in this ep. She could, for example, have frightened something off with it. Or screamed so loudly she accidentally used it as a weapon, or called the pack to her. I wanted some small things like that seeded through the season. Fingers crossed we get that in the second part of the season.

Overall, the timing issues of the whole season, which aren't so apparent in individual episodes, are really starting to become cracks in the holistic narrative.

I do actually think there's a pretty good season buried beneath all the missing scenes, needless scenes and poor timing. You have to work so hard to find it, though, and that's a sign that the scripts really needed another go over.

We can see this really clearly in 309, as there are a couple of plot leaps that it's very hard to follow. For example, the Sheriff goes looking for the girl who was slashed, because Stiles said the Darach had been slashed up.

Putting aside the convenient records the Sheriff got hold of, which are the usual stuff of these kinds of shows, when did Stiles find out about the Darach being slashed up?

Thinking about it, I can see that Stiles has done his detective routine with the clues he's been presented with, as he has likewise done before -- notably in S1 by figuring out the Kate plot and telling Chris at the key moment, and also in figuring out Derek had Scott's phone. Stiles is good at this, but we usually see enough clues to be able to follow along with his sleuthing leaps.

This time, not so much, as there are too many gaps. The best I can figure it out is:
  • Stiles confirms with Deaton that the Darach is likely a dark Druid.
  • Lydia sees the Darach at Motel Hell and describes it to Stiles, complete with disfigured face.
  • Stiles learns about werewolf emissaries, and realises they are often Druids.
  • Stiles and Scott compare Gerard and Peter's stories, and Stiles realises that the genocide of werewolves and "wild animal attacks" in Beacon Hills have been going on for a long time.
  • Stiles puts all the clues together: he assumes the Darach must be a victim of the werewolf/Argent genocide taking place in Beacon Hills, likely an emissary who got caught in the cross-fire, was attacked and disfigured, and went darkside as a result. He may even have linked the oak in Peter's story with the Druids, and so to Paige.


See, I think that's a pretty interesting story, and instead of just getting glimpses of it, I would have really liked to see it unfold on screen, and see Stiles solve it. That would have been really satisfying.

As it is, the season keeps skating close to being something really interesting, but never quite making it. Most of the eps are enjoyable in themselves, but are not successfully building that bigger narrative. At least, not for me.

You know what I think the problem is? Davis is telling Derek's story, but thinks he's telling Scott's.

At this stage of the season, Derek is more central to the plot than Scott, but because he's not the main character, we keep seeing his story sideways and through filters, and with the angst knob jammed on 11.

This is so frustrating, because I'm more interested in Derek's story than Scott's. I'd love the show to actually tell us that story instead of pussy-footing around it. I wish the narrative would just mesh the protagonist and point of view character and be done with it. I'm yearning for some simple storytelling and character development, a nice straight through-line, and for the main characters to have some agency.

This entry was originally posted at http://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/406465.html.
Tags: derek/stiles, meta, teen wolf
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