cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,

The problem of belief: Teen Wolf 308

Okay, I've needed a few days to come to any conclusions about Teen Wolf 308. Behind the cut are several things. First, an overview of all the major plot points in the seasons to date, to make the pattern of Davis' plotting in previous seasons clear, and then my prediction for what's going to happen in the next four episodes. Second, my thoughts on 308 itself.

Spoilers ahoy

Season 1
Act 1
1. Scott is bitten and Stiles figures out he's a werewolf; the audience thinks the Alpha is Derek; hunters are introduced.
2. Scott attacks Stiles, confronts Derek, and Scott and Stiles get Derek arrested for murder.
3. Scott's telepathic connection to the Alpha is revealed, Derek is harassed by hunters, and Derek is not the Alpha.
4. Kate arrives in town, Derek is shot with a wolfsbane bullet, and the Hale fire is revealed.

Act 2
5. The Alpha's body count rises, Kate electrocutes Derek, we learn some more about the fire; Deaton becomes new Alpha suspect.
6. Stiles trains Scott, Derek confronts Deaton, then is attacked and presumed dead at BHHS.
7. Lydia makes molotov cocktails, Scott fights the Alpha, Deaton is not the Alpha.
8. Scott goes on a rampage, Derek stops him, Jackson figures out the secret.

Act 3
9. Derek wanted by police, goes to Stiles for help, track Alpha to hospital -- Alpha revealed as Peter. Derek loses fight.
10. Peter tries to seduce Scott into the pack; Derek falsely offers Jackson the bite, gets interrupted by Scott and then kidnapped by hunters.
11. Derek is tortured by hunters, Stiles reluctantly agrees to help Peter to save Lydia.
12. Everyone converges on the Hale house, Kate is killed by Peter, and Peter defeated by the teens as a group (except Scott). Derek becomes Alpha, and bites Jackson.

Season 2
Act 1
1. An Omega wants to join Derek's pack; Derek is scouting for Betas; Jackson rejects the bite. Gerard kills the Omega and declares war.
2. The Kanima makes its entrance and kills for the first time. Allison begins to use hunting skills.
3. Derek forms his pack; Lydia starts having visions; Allison's hunter training begins.
4. Stiles witnesses the Kanima kill; Stiles, Derek and Erica are attacked by the Kanima; it's an abomination. The bestiary/bestiality introduction. Gerard stabs and threatens Scott.

Act 2
5. Jackson ruled out as Kanima through venom test; Lydia is next suspect; Morell mis-translates bestiary; Jackson revealed as Kanima.
6. Derek hunts Kanima; Gerard seems cozy with it; Scott's pack kidnaps Jackson. Idea of Kanima Master revealed.
7. Jackson transforms into Kanima at school and attacks; Lydia's stalker is revealed as Peter.
8. Pattern of Kanima attacks revealed; Victoria tries to kill Scot and is bitten by Derek.

Act 3
9. Lydia uses Derek to raise Peter; Victoria commits suicide. Matt revealed as the Kanima Master.
10. Matt takes Sheriff's station hostage and goes on murderous rampage. Gerard manipulates a grieving Allison. Gerard murders Matt and becomes the Kanima master -- revealed as season's true villain.
11. Gerard threatens Scott; Allison attacks Erica and Boyd. Stiles kidnapped.
12. Everyone converges on warehouse. Scott double-crosses Gerard and Derek. Gerard poisoned by Mountain Ash and the Alpha bite. The Kanima killed by Peter and Derek, but resurrects as werewolf. Alpha pack foreshadowing.

Season 3
Act 1
1. Alpha pack arrive and commit general mayhem and mind-games. Scott foreshadowed as werewolf Jesus. Animals foreshadow Darach.
2. Heather kidnapped. Mind-fuck theme continues -- not clear whether Alpha pack, Darach or both. Cora revealed. Lydia screams.
3. Ritual murders revealed, and mind-fuck theme linked to them. Peter and Jennifer both act creepy. Derek/Jennifer begins.
4. Murders continue, Stiles and Deaton realise there's a Darach. Deucalion attacks and threatens Derek.

Act 2
5. Ennis killed by Deucalion and blamed on Derek. Wounded Derek passes out in front of Jennifer and Sterek parallels become obvious.
6. Darach targets werewolves and next ritual murders, and team human saves them. Jennifer seduces Derek after naming doomed lovers who fake death. Gerard is revealed as alive.
7. Scott revealed as werewolf Jesus. Boyd fridged by Alphas to cause Derek more manpain. Jennifer/Stiles parallel continued.
8. Gerard and Peter give history of werewolves in Beacon Hills, and both are revealed as evil, manipulative dicks. It's a pack of lies and mindfucks, but the evil shines through. Most likely bits: Gerard blinded Deucalion, was instrumental in creation of Alpha pack by destroying healthy packs, and has been committing deliberate genocide on werewolves all his adult life. Peter knows the location of Darach's oak, learned the revenge spiral from Ennis, and probably knew a girl called Paige (NoLastName, maybe Blake?) who died of the forced bite.


Act 3... I predict
9. One bad guy will finally be revealed properly, probably Darach (Jennifer Blake) and/or Peter; Sterek parallels and mind-fuckery may be explained. Lydia will probably do reveal.
10. Another bad guy will finally be revealed, probably to do with Alpha pack. Turning into full wolves and werewolf Jesus will likely be explained more. Morell and Nameless Girl from #1 will probably be explained.
11. Everyone but Scott gets kidnapped/tortured/mind-fucked/fridged and/or called a liar by the Sheriff, and Scott tries to turn into a wolf.
12. Whole team comes together to vanquish bad guys. Scott pulls improbable werewolf Jesus stunt that I will find super-skeevy. Bad guys suffer ignoble fate and/or redemption; one bad guy might escape. Foreshadowing for Season 3.2 will take place.

Right. Let's look at 308.

I think many of us would agree that there have been some problems with this season, above and beyond the usual cheese and melodrama we've come to expect of Teen Wolf. There have been some really enjoyable scenes -- enough to keep me watching to this point. But then there is the ever-growing list of what the everloving fuck? Why didn't we get to see Cora and Derek's reunion? Why was Boyd finally given a tiny weeny amount of character development only to be fridged? Why is Scott werewolf Jesus? And why is Derek so relentlessly paying for everyone else's crimes? Why, Davis, why?

Up to this point, I have mostly pushed aside all of those questions (and a dozen more just like them), hoping that most of them would be answered in due course; but now we come to episode 308 -- "Visionary" as Davis called it, or "Two White Men Talk Shit" as I call it.

I usually love the device of the unreliable narrator, but one of the joys of the unreliable narrator is that you must believe enough of the narrative to be taken along for the ride... until it all starts to unravel. That is not the experience I had with this episode.

Let's start with Gerard, because I thought his story worked best. It was the perfect(ly horrific) mix of genocide, bigotry, and pride. The background he revealed of deliberate extermination stretching over decades, and of his own self-righteousness in doing so, links pretty strongly to some meta I wrote recently about Teen Wolf using werewolves as a racism analogy, so yes, I mostly buy his horrible story. Of course he'd be gleeful about wrecking all those packs and leaving a toxic legacy behind to infect the werewolves who survived. Of course he would. It might even be fairly truthy, once you take into account the big-noting, exaggeration, and his horrible pleasure in his deeds. I think there are a few big and deliberate holes, too, of course. For instance, who was the hunter who killed himself at Motel Hell? If he's irrelevant, why was he in that episode? And if he's not, then who is he, and how did he affect what happened, and why didn't Gerard mention him? Also, why didn't Gerard just kill Deucalion instead of blinding him? Also, what the hell is Deucalion's motivation? Seeing that through Gerard's eyes cannot be trusted, but we've had bugger all else so far, so what are we to make of it? By episode 8, it would have been nice to get just a bit more insight into the character flaw that caused him to turn bitter so easily. (Also why were there so few women and people of colour in those packs, and why was it a character of colour who turned on Deucalion? Ugh.)

The other thing I bought about this scene was the return of skeevy Scott -- Hi, skeevy Scott, it's been a while; I've been expecting you. I actually liked skeevy Scott for the most part in this scene. I buy him as the villain of the show more with every passing episode, but he's starting to become an interesting villain. I'm liking him as the villain much more than as the tragic hero.

Anyway, moving on to Peter's story...

Total bullshit. It rang utterly false to me. There was probably a girl called Paige who died under the Darach's oak of a forced bite gone bad. She was probably bitten by Ennis. Everything else? Nope. I don't buy it.

The things I didn't buy: That Cora had no inkling of this history. That Paige was Derek's girlfriend. That Peter was Derek's buddy. That Derek let himself be talked into forcing the bite on Paige. That Peter was lurking around watching it all and egging Derek on. That even a hot-head like Ennis would force the bite on someone just on the urging of a sketchy teen. That Peter looked like a teenager when Chris Argent looked like a grown man.

(Aside: Where exactly did Chris learn to be a lesser bigot compared to other Argents? My explanation is that Mama Argent told Gerard to get lost at some point, as you would, and raised Chris and Kate until she was killed on a hunt. Then Gerard stepped in as dad again; Chris was old enough to have formed his view about hunting from his mother, but Kate was young enough she became daddy's girl and followed his lead. What else could it be?)

Anyway, when it comes to Peter's tale, I'm forced to conclude it's either really ineffective storytelling (on Davis' part), or it's all lies from top to bottom (on Peter's part).

One solution does present itself. In my meta on Season 2, I pointed out that Davis loves to use the mote/log idea when writing -- in other words, he has one character accuse another of a flaw they are more guilty of themselves. Jackson was usually the catalyst for this in Season 2. If Davis is using a similar technique here, Peter could have been telling his own story, cast onto Derek as unwitting protagonist. It would explain why Peter was an improbable teen in the flashback, why he was present at scenes he shouldn't have been present for. And if he's the Darach, it means he could have had another reason for the whole thing -- spilling Paige's blood on the oak for his own magical ends (although I now think it's more likely the Darach is Jennifer seeking revenge).

But if it's really Peter's story, why is the parallel love story of Jennifer happening to Derek and not to Peter?

Aye, there's the rub. Who is Jennifer Blake if she's not somehow related to Paige? And what is the purpose of the sacrifices if not to bring people back from the dead? Which people? Is it the Hales? The packs Gerard killed? Paige?


Which brings me back to the idea that this is simply terrible storytelling. The addition of the Paige romance makes Derek's backstory just too ridiculous, even by Teen Wolf standards. And for a flashback about Derek, I feel we've learned basically nothing of any value about him. We've learned more about Stiles from watching him type on his freaking computer. More about Lydia from her dialogue while making out. Sheesh.

The two things I did like about this episode (other than sketchy Scott, who I'm quite taken by) were Talia Hale, who was great and I would have watched a whole episode just of her being pack Alpha; and Stiles' summation of Peter's story as being a total crock.

You and me, Stiles, we are one on this.

In conclusion, I'm frustrated by this episode in a way none of the previous plot holes have frustrated me. I can't just nod and accept Peter's story as regular Teen Wolf silliness, and I can't reject it utterly as Peter telling lies because that doesn't quite add up either. Gah.

I just want the plot to start to gel, okay. THAT IS ALL.

Next episode is 309, the start of Act 3, and if we don't start to have some concrete revelations, I will be peeved. You're on notice, Davis. Lydia better kick ass in this episode.

So what do you think of the journey so far?

This entry was originally posted at
Tags: meta, rant, teen wolf
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