cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,

Arcs paying off in 3b

One episode from the end of 3b, and there are a few of the show's character arcs and themes which are actually paying off.

Agent McCall's secret

Quite a few people felt cheated by this, and I can understand why. With the theme of fatherhood this season, there was the red herring that Scott might have been adopted, or some other sensational reveal along those lines. This was helped along by Nogitsune's taunting of Melissa, which was clearly playing on her feelings of guilt (which are probably out of proportion to her actual guilt, but make no mistake, Melissa is actually guilty of a lie of omission) -- exactly as you would expect of a Trickster.

Yes, at first the reveal in light of all the build felt a bit flat. But the more I think about the actual reveal, the more perfect it seems in terms of theme and character development. Think about the Tragic Character Flaw that's being set up for Scott so far. He lies -- usually by omission, and often (but not always) in a misguided attempt to protect people. He blamed Derek for Peter's actions in s1. He didn't tell Allison about her mom trying to kill him in s2. He's accepted credit for other people's actions (eg. when one of the twins said Scott had saved them at Motel Hell in s3a). He didn't tell Stiles (when he was worried about being possessed) that he knew there was something wrong and was consulting with Deaton about it in 3b.

And now, we have both of his parents lying by omission to him, about something significant in Scott's life, and it was done in order to protect him.

Two things strike me about this. First, this was another chance for Scott to have a turning point and realise how problematic this kind of behaviour was. It's very interesting that he rejected the "lie" as the problematic part of what McCall did, or even the violence. It was the leaving that he was focused on, and that alone. In other words, he missed the point. It's obvious McCall does feel guilty about leaving, but it's also obvious he did it because he was genuinely scared of hurting his wife and son. He left to protect them. And he and Melissa lied about it to Scott to protect him, and probably for less noble reasons too, like shame and not knowing how to tackle it, and anger and betrayal and all those normal human things people feel in horrible situations. Both McCall and Melissa understand that their lies of omission about why he left are at the crux of the problem, Scott does not -- he rejected that utterly. He was focused on the effect, not the cause, of the rift.
That is very, very telling. This theme has now transcended the kind of character flaw you'd expect of inexperience and youth and become something else. And that is underlined by...

Second, it's clearly implied that Stiles understood why McCall's actions were wrong, both through what the Nogitsune said to Melissa, what Stiles said to McCall at the police station, and in his general attitude. It's why he takes such great delight in obfuscating when answering McCall's questions. It's why he's so anguished about not telling his father the truth -- he understands that lying to protect is not consequence free. It's why he calls Scott on his lies when he knows about them. At the same time, he understands the reasons for them, which is why he never told Scott the truth.

Again, it's very, very telling that canonically Scott is believed, while Stiles is so often disbelieved, ignored, and scorned, until he drops such a truth bomb people cannot do so anymore (eg. Chris at the end of s1).

Truthiness and Stiles

I don't have the time to go back and watch the whole series again now, but I think it would be useful to catalogue all Stiles' assertions which were brushed off as unimportant. Here are a few just for a start:
  • Deaton is on the suspect list
  • Derek is on the suspect list twice
  • Scott should watch Star Wars
Given his truth tends to be truthy, these may well pay off in unexpected ways. For example, the relentless focus of Derek on the suspect list may well cover up the real guilt of others (it did, in fact -- the Darach was using Derek and mojo'd him to trust her; also the Darach had a false face, so could anyone else on the list have been her in disguise?).

I do wonder if Stiles is an oracle. There's a distinct edge of Cassandra to a lot of his more prophetic statements.
Two other things Stiles has said: he'd rather die than allow the Nogitsune to kill people, and that Scott is not a real alpha. What does this mean?

The Sword (of Damocles?)

We have seen one death by the sword this season, with Allison dying in Scott's arms. Her death is more complex than that statement makes it sound, as the death itself was not a fridging -- Allison had agency until the end. Only after she was stabbed was Scott introduced for manpain purposes. I have many thoughts about this, but it's a subject for another meta; I raise it here because it's important to acknowledge Allison as more than a plot point in Scott's arc.

However, that Allison died by the sword is significant, as there are two other important swords we've seen this season -- Kira's and Malia's. The likelihood is very high that Scott will end up watching someone else he loves imperiled by the sword.

Some meta pointed out that Scott should have bitten Allison in an attempt to heal her, and other meta pointed out that the bite would have taken too long. Here is where our question of Scott's alpha powers becomes relevant to the finale. If someone he loves -- likely Stiles -- is wounded by a sword, but is dying a slower, more painful death than Allison did, will Scott bite him, and will it take?

There are several elements of foreshadowing this season which suggest Scott (or another alpha) biting Stiles in order to save him is on the cards. Creating a beta is also the next obvious step in Scott's progression as an alpha, if he is indeed to be a "real" one. We know alphas are more powerful when they have betas, so this may well be why Scott is currently such a weak alpha.

I have mixed feelings about this, because I do like human Stiles a lot. On the other hand, werewolf Stiles opens up some interesting new possibilities, especially as Stiles doesn't consider Scott a real alpha. We know that betas do not need to stay with the alpha who bit them. How Stiles' loyalties play out could be very interesting to watch.

As a writer (as opposed to a fan), I have to say the way werewolf Stiles would open up new ground for exploring werewolf dynamics would make it worth doing; it would add a whole new dimension to the character arcs of Stiles, Scott, and Derek. While I'm not ready to predict this as a certain outcome, I can certainly see it happening as this point in the series. I also think Dylan would love it, and that might well be a factor, as I doubt he's going to be in more than 1-2 more seasons of the show.

Finally, remember the trailer at the start of the season, which had (werewolf)Scott drowning (human)Scott? I've already written meta saying this was really Stiles' arc this season, and that's pretty damn suggestive.


If I had to make any prediction about the finale, it would be that Scott and Stiles will go through a moment of self-sacrifice (Stiles) before some kind of happy ending, while Derek is tortured as he does the majority of the dirty work of defeating Nogitsune!Stiles. (And I think the trickster will taunt Derek about his feelings for Stiles while it happens.)

The other characters will work as a team to do what Scott can't.

Scott will get the credit. Stiles and Derek will both wear much deeper scars, but will have learned something new about themselves.

Most of the rest of the plot threads won't be resolved, as they are the set-up for s4.

(Originally posted here.)

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