cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,

Teen Wolf thoughts

For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, it's only now that I'm catching up on season 1 of Teen Wolf, even though I've already seen season 2.

I'm finding myself surprised by several things so far.

First, I have mentioned before that I find Scott somewhat dull. When I said that I didn't realise how well-rounded and developed Scott's character was in season 2, but in contrast to season 1... well, I'm frankly boggled. He's astonishingly annoying in season 1. He reminds me of Romeo, actually -- a perfect snapshot of the self-absorbed vapidity of the young.

Second, no wonder Stiles and Derek were shipped right out of the gate. They are the two characters who pop right off the screen from episode one, and they tend to mirror each other in terms of what they tell Scott.

Third, I have a bone to pick with fanon. The consensus in current fic seems to be that Derek is 23ish. I believe this is based on a blurry shot of the date of birth given on his New York driver's licence. I was happy enough to go along with that, until I saw this exchange from episode 1:

Stiles: Dude, that was Derek Hale. You remember, right? He's only like a few years older than us.

Scott: Remember what?

Stiles: His family? They were burned to death in a fire like ten years ago.

And now I don't agree with the 23-year-old-Derek theory at all! I think Derek is 19 or 20, 21 at the very outside. My reasoning:

Stiles has been shown to be a liar, yes, but only when there's a reason for it, and otherwise he is detail-oriented and accurate. Even allowing for his memory being skewed because the fire happened when he was much younger, when you're a kid, you remember the social hierarchy related to age clearly enough. Stiles is pretty precise here: he says Derek is around three years older. This is consistent with Stiles recognising Derek on sight -- the implication is Stiles has seen him around, the way younger students at school will know many of the students in the years above them. That leaves a pretty narrow age-window that Derek could fit into.

Yes, Stiles could have seen a photo in the paper or a police report, but it's much less likely. Ten years ago, Derek would have looked very different, and even more-so in a photo. Why would a 7-9 year old Stiles remember a photo of teenage Derek well enough to map it to the man? And if his memory is that good, surely there would have been pictures of the other surviving Hales too, and Stiles should have recognised Laura as well. He doesn't, though, even with the clear contextual cues of being at the Hale house and suspecting Derek of the crime, and the body being a wolf at first.

The conclusion I draw from this is that Stiles was much less familiar with Laura; it wasn't just the fire that made Derek stick in his mind -- Stiles knew him, at least a little.

Further, Stiles expects Scott to recognise Derek too. The best explanation is that they were close enough in age they were all attending school at the same time. Derek, as an older student, would have been popular grist for the school gossip mill after the fire. Laura must have been old enough that she had moved on to high school, or already left school, and wasn't on their social radar.

This puts Derek at around 19 or 20 in episode 1, and Laura probably a couple of years older.

Given that, it would make sense that Derek and Laura faked Derek's age up a few years when they got to New York: they didn't want to attract the attention of social services, both because it would leave a paper trail for hunters, and because Laura was young enough she might not get custody of Derek. It also explains why Laura seems to have made some really bad choices for her and Derek -- she was barely an adult when they left Beacon Hills.

ETA: Thank you to those who commented with the info that TPTB retconned Derek's age in later eps to make the Kate plot less icky. As I said in comments, I'm in two minds about that -- on the one hand, it's not cool to use child abuse as easy angst fodder, but on the other hand, the enormous silence and lack of stories about certain types of trauma make it even harder to deal with them. So I was actually really interested to think that it had been woven into the show.

I'm just about to watch Ep 4, so I'll keep tracking Derek's age and post new thoughts on it once I have them. /ETA

It will be interesting to see if I change my mind as I watch the rest of the season.

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Tags: discussion, meta, teen wolf
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