cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,

Pack, play and dominance

More thoughts about Season 1 of Teen Wolf. I've just finished episode 9.

So Derek actually tells us the fire was six years ago, and that he and Laura were in school when it happened. This doesn't affect my guesstimate of his age as being around 19-21, but it does affect how old he was when the fire happened. He was just 14-15ish depending on how the years fall, and Laura was in school too, so she could only be 2-3 years older.

Kate: kick-ass entrance! She could so easily be the hero of this story, with just a slight re-orientation of viewpoint -- no accident they cast her to look like Buffy, right? I kind of like that the Hunters are shown to be much bigger monsters than the werewolves, because the vigilantism of the lone hero story is worth critiquing. In this regard, the progression from Buffy (which ended up exploring this too, with the Scoobies and the introduction of moral ambiguity) to Supernatural to Teen Wolf is really interesting, and reminds me of the progression in the detective genre -- from detective hero, to criminal anti-hero, to team cop dramas. Anyway, Kate is creepy; I totally believe she's Gerard's daughter.

Scott: okay, he starts to become more interesting and less of an ass starting around ep 6. I'd almost think this was clever writing -- all the wolves consistently become assholes after being bitten or upgraded in rank, at least for the first one or two full moons. I say almost clever writing, because we didn't get to know Scott until after he'd been bitten, which means we never got to know and like him before he turned into an asshole. But I do like him here -- he clicks with Stiles in a way we haven't seen before, and he's started using his brain a bit more, linking the spiral to Laura's grave, using the car alarms, looking things up on his phone, etc.

Stiles and Scott: I also start to believe in their friendship from about ep 6. They're comfortable with each other, split up the work in a way that says they've done that a lot (probably with lots of crazy shenanigans). It's a good dynamic and I could watch a lot more of it.

Stiles: he's really textually bisexual, it wasn't just a throw-away joke the first time. Nice. He's consistently well written -- such a great mix of hilarious and decent. He pops off the screen every episode, and even moreso because there are so few characters who don't seem villainous at least part of the time.

Melissa and the Sheriff: are adorable.

Jackson: Colton Haynes is such a subtle actor at times, despite the OTT material, but my god Jackson is a noxious human being. It confirms my Season 2 conclusion that he was at least partly culpable in the kanima murders. The writers really are great at writing villains, but I really could have done without him being redeemed, especially by Lydia.

Werewolf culture: I love the hints we're getting that there is a whole heap of werewolf culture -- the tattoo, the spiral, the way wolfsbane is used in ritual, the story about killing the one who bites you for a cure. I want more of this!

And then we have this from episode 9, which happens just after the full moon, when Stiles and Scott save Derek from the police and the Hunters:

Scott: Can you try to trust us for at least half a second?
Stiles: Yeah, both of us.
Derek: *glares*
Stiles: Or just him. I'll be back here.

Interesting, because it implies Derek only trusts other werewolves, and maybe only those he considers pack, which gels with his actions and with him calling Scott his brother. Understandable too, maybe, given the way humans have tended to treat him.

Interesting too in light of the scene that follows later in the episode, in which Derek turns up in Stiles' room, the same way he's been turning up in Scott's room. A lot of fic talks about whether Stiles is part of the pack, and this is a pretty good case for Derek recognising Stiles as part of Scott's pack, and possibly part of his own by default. It's a risk for him to turn up there, and despite his threatening and posturing, he backs off pretty quickly. That confrontation is actually surprisingly playful too. They really do have such great chemistry together, no matter how you read it.

The head-bash: This has been turned into such a woobie-Stiles foundation stone: poor, poor Stiles, who is so hard-done by and abused by mean old Derek. Well, I disagree. It was certainly an asshole move, and assault is never okay. It's very Derek, though. This is all of a piece with the way Derek uses threats to try and get people to do what he needs them to do; Derek treats the whole world like it's out to get him. Apart from that, I find this moment interesting for two other reasons. First, Stiles isn't actually hurt -- there's no blood, no bruising. Derek really, really knows his own strength, and this was very finely judged to punish, but not injure. It's a cousin to play fighting, which Derek uses to train Scott, too; but in this case with a serious goal of asserting dominance, and taking it back after ceding it to Stiles in the Stilinski house. It makes me wonder what Derek's childhood and his relationship with Laura was like. Second, given what fic tells me is about to be revealed about Kate, Derek setting boundaries when it comes to someone exploiting his sexuality seems spot-on. I don't think Stiles really understands what he did, in anything but the most simplistic and gleeful way -- for all his smarts, he's still very much a kid when it comes to sex and its darker side -- so in Derek's mind this would be a pretty effective way to say, "Don't add this to your repertoire of tricks. I mean it!"

It will be very interesting to see how that dynamic continues to play out in the remaining episodes.

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Tags: discussion, meta, teen wolf
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