Do you know what the word "ellipse" means? It has a mathematical meaning to do with cones and planes and stuff, but the root of it means "falling short."
It has the same root as ellipsis, otherwise known as these: ...
I'm very tempted to leave my review at that actually. It's pithy. Poignant. Dotty. Neatly encapsulates my bafflement.
It does not, however, capture the sexism, racism, or general illogic of season 3 so far, or my own mixed reactions, so I feel the need to say a few words more.
How my predictions turned out
In my recent post, Teen Wolf predictions and speculations, there were a couple of predictions outstanding.
Zombies = confirmed.
I predicted the plot was leading to people being raised from the dead due to the sacrifices. In the end, not only Jennifer/Julia, but Scott, Stiles and Allison were raised from the dead. Not exactly where I thought that plot was going, it's true, but there it is.
I'm pretty pissed off about this, as the plot device they ended up using was glorified teen suicide. It also made no coherent sense. I would have rather been wrong, frankly.
Sterek = I was wrong (in fact, now it looks like gay baiting).
Yes, okay, this could still be addressed in season 3B, and it kind of even makes sense they might do it then -- I doubt they'll get O'Brien and/or Hoechlin back for another season, so if they're going to do it, that's the time.
However, I've gone from thinking Davis was actually going to play this out, and the foreshadowing was meaningful, to thinking he's lost interest (or was gay baiting all along) and will go with Stiles/Lydia instead. I like Stiles and Lydia, but that plot-line would be so much more cliched than a gay romance between the leads, for so many reasons. And using the Stiles/Derek mirroring for nothing more than to deepen the connection between Jennifer and Derek was shitty writing, and a cheat as well.
Honestly, one of this show's genuine strengths was that it was really good at treating sexuality positively, and yet this has turned out to be one of the most egregious and deliberate examples of gay baiting I've ever seen.
I can't be bothered going through the rest of my predictions. Quite a few were right, but the big one -- that the plot would mostly make some logicial sense -- was entirely wrong, and I'm too apathetic to even list all the ways it didn't make sense. I'm just going to talk about a few of the "highlights".
So much fail...
Let's start with these excellent pie charts of character deaths by race and gender. Says it all, really.
Then let's consider this Stiles and Scott deleted scene, in which information is actually shared. They cut that. I mean, it's not actually great scene, but that was pretty key information right there, which we were left to deduce that they had shared. But who needs a plot that makes sense when there's slo-mo, amiright?
I feel like I should say something about Scott's dubious ethics, but take it as read that I'm as boggled as ever about why we're meant to think he's a hero, okay.
Missed Opportunities Dept.
So Morrell is an Emissary and a teacher at BHHS. And you know who else was both of those things? Jennifer Blake, that's who. Yes, yes that's right. It didn't even occur to you until now, right? Which is a travesty.
I want to know why was there not even one hissed conversation between them in the staff room? Just think about the possibilities for a moment.
HOW FUCKING HILARIOUS WOULD THAT HAVE BEEN???? And they would have kept stopping every time a student came by with a stupid question and acted all sweet and lovely, while biding their time for the next verbal attack. Hilarity, I tell you. But no, we got the episode Visionary instead.
So many, many, many questions were raised and not answered and never will be, including, but not limited to:
- What was the purpose of the Darach's sacrifices?
- Why was the Alpha pack in Beacon Hills?
- How was Scott suddenly magic enough to break the Mountain Ash circle and how does that have anything to do with Alphaness?
- Who the hell is Cora and where has she been?
After all my scoffing about the main villain of this season being an Evil Tree, I find that I'm most frustrated that we have been given no backstory for this character at all. I'm now on board with the Evil Tree, okay; I would go so far as to say I'm now a fan. I've cycled right around from ridicule to fascination, and I have so many questions!
- What was the role of the Tree before it was cut down?
- Was it Evil before or after it was cut down? Was the evilness why it was cut down?
- Who cut it down? Why?
- Who built the Nemeton? What did they sacrifice there? (Headcanon: it was a good, guardian tree, and the Emissaries did sex rites and sacrificed menstrual blood there, rather than killing things. Then Gerard cut it down and Beacon Hills went to shit.)
- Why didn't Deaton or Morrell know about the Evil Tree? (Headcanon: they did, and are lying liars who lie.)
- What relationship did the tree have with the Hales? (Headcanon: they were symbiotic, and that's why the pack lived there, and it's why so many Hales were wolf-form Alphas.)
- Why did Talia steal the memories of the tree? What else did she take?
Head Canon Dept.
Apart from my ever-growing Tree-based headcanon, I now also have a new bad guy in my sights.
Alan Deaton, please step forward.
Since season 1, I've thought Deaton was pretty skeevy, and I liked that, but wanted more characterisation so I could be sure it was on purpose and not just dodgy writing. Well, I got what I wanted. Not only has he lied on numerous occasions, kept back important information, put the kids nominally in his care in mortal danger (and some died as a result), broken his promise to Talia about watching over her family, and generally been sketchy, he's now done four things that well and truly tip him over into evil territory:
- He looked smoking hot this season. I mean, whoa. Definitely evil.
- Stiles doesn't trust him. Good enough for me.
- He let three kids attempt suicide in order to open the Hellmouth in Beacon Hills.
- When he forced the kids to team up in "romantic" pairs for the suicide attempt, he teamed himself with Scott. All the villains want in Scott's pants.
And speaking of Peter... is he in love with Derek or what? Because he's killed all three of Derek's love interests now. Then he drained Derek's Alpha powers to return from the dead (and the fact Derek was still Alpha after that makes me wonder about Cora's healing and whether Peter made her sick, and what all that is about -- does Peter just not want to have to kill Derek if he's still Alpha?).
There's definitely something fucked up about Peter's obsession with Derek. I wish we had enough actual plot to know what it is.
Something I actually liked...
That moment in the final confrontation, when Derek was holding Jennifer, and he said, “You don’t have to be a killer.” It should have been a cliched, throwaway line, but instead it made me feel for the first time in several episodes.
It got less screen time than the terrible monologues or slo-mo fight scenes, and yet it was the one moment that really rang true (kudos to the actors for that).
It felt like I was watching Derek again, not the weird golem with his face that's walked through most of this season.
In that moment, I believed he was genuinely offering her an alternative to revenge, and would fight the others to give her a second chance at a decent life, if she’d just take it, if she’d just let vengeance go and get on with living. Because in the end, Jennifer wasn’t Kate, despite their superficial similarities. Julia was a victim first, before she remade herself as Jennifer, and the root cause of Jennifer’s desire for vengeance was the Argents’ war on werewolves.
Jennifer used Derek (as everyone does), and had become a monster (just as Derek thinks he is a monster). She was a murderer and not redeemable (just the same way Deucalion, Peter, Gerard, Jackson and the twins are not redeemable).
Derek knew all those things, and yet in that small moment, I believed that if she’d shown any sign of listening, any sign of living for more than her revenge, any sign of still being human, he would have done his best to get her out of there alive despite the way she’d abused his trust.
The worst part about believing that is that it means her death was one final fridging, because she’s one more person Derek failed to save. It’s made more horrible, of course, because of the contrast with Deucalion, who was allowed to live, as his death wouldn’t particularly hurt Derek. (And because he was a white man. Ugh.)
Feminist ire aside, the thing that lingers about that scene for me is that after all the atrocities committed on Derek’s character this season, that one moment rang true. Of course he’d try to save her. Of course he’d fail. Of course no-one would help him.
Derek has so much heart. It hurts to look at him. I wonder how much of that is Davis, and how much is Hoechlin.
Derek's arc this season was awful, but I actually like that he's a beta again. I don't trust Davis with it, because I think he'll make Derek kneel to Alpha Jesus Scott (who cannot be trusted with people, omg).
But Davis' plans aside, the whole Alpha role is revolting (such a patriarchal idea, yuck), and the only thing that made it interesting was the triskele cycle -- that all werewolves could potentially move through Alpha/Beta/Omega at any time -- and that Derek so clearly found it a burden after the first flush of power. The triskele implied a more democratic and changeable structure within packs than the Werewolf Jesus plot we ended up with. I liked the feminist potential in that triskele cycle, and I like that Derek has moved through the whole cycle, and could now potentially decide what he actually wants, rather than being thrust into roles against his will.
So while I'm sure the potential will be fucked up pretty quickly in 3B, as an end point in Derek's arc, this is a better place than I expected to find him in this episode. If his story ended now, it would be okay. Not great, but okay.
What about 3B...
I still want to know what happens to Stiles. I still like Lydia and wish she'd get some agency with her screaming. The Sheriff and Melissa are great, and FBI Agent McCall has potential. I still have some interest in Allison and her new creed, but it's somewhat watered down by the upcoming Isaac/Allison romance (boring).
I want to know more about the Evil Tree. I'd like to see Deaton be scenery-chompingly evil.
That's not a lot to maintain my interest, so I'm not sure if I'll watch 3B yet. I would really like closure on Stiles' story, and that's the main seller for me right now. I guess we'll see how I feel closer to January.
I wish I had a more coherent review to offer you, but I don't feel very coherent in the face of such an odd season.
What about all of you? What do you think of 3A?
This entry was originally posted at http://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/409088.html.