cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,

"I am your father": Agent McCall's secret and its importance to Scott

Anyone who has been following my Teen Wolf meta knows I've been struggling with Scott's place in the narrative since I first started watching. Well, with 3B I now think I understand where it's going, and I feel really excited about it.

There comes a point where the lack of focus on Scott making difficult choices and then having to face the hard consequences of how they turn out cannot be seen as an accident or bad writing, but rather a deliberate pattern.
For me, the real clincher in this reading came with the revelation of Agent McCall’s secret. I know fandom mostly thinks it was an anti-climax, but I do not. What we saw there was Scott completely misunderstanding the implications of his father’s confession (I’ve posted about this before here).

McCall senior basically admitted to three things:
  1. lying by omission (which Scott dismissed as irrelevant, and yet is something he has done to protect people he cares about with disastrous consequences — see lying about Allison’s mother’s death);
  2. alcohol-fueled domestic violence (which Scott said wasn’t important, pointing out dings in the furniture; but in context, this is after he had thrown Isaac, a domestic violence survivor, across the room in a fit of jealousy… twice, and played it off as rough-housing; not to mention his attempted attacks on people when “the wolf” was in control in S1, and that’s a pretty great metaphor for a drunken rage if you ask me); and
  3. leaving in order to make sure Scott and Melissa were safe from him (the only point Scott engaged with, because it’s the aspect he sees as actually affecting him in a negative way. But even this he doesn’t understand well — he’s angry about it, but doesn’t see connections in his own actions, like his creepy insistence about “waiting” for Allison.).
The absence of Scott’s father, and the importance of Agent McCall having made the null choice is absolutely crucial to our understanding of Scott’s character. Agent McCall chose to leave, rather than stay in town but not in the same house, and work hard to sober up and manage his anger where Scott can see him do so. Scott’s significant role-model in how to make hard choices and deal with these particular character flaws decided to make his choice where Scott couldn’t see and understand. And Scott doesn’t understand, and to an extent he willfully chooses not to understand because of his unprocessed anger at his father; he certainly doesn’t see the parallels with his own actions and choices. McCall’s choice left Scott not only thinking that leaving was the worst thing that could be done, but with a terrible blindness to the consequences of over-protective lies of omission, and domestic violence and abuse. He left Scott with no understanding that the monster inside him is not the werewolf, but a predilection towards abuse and violence and disrespectful over-protection. He left Scott with an entirely faulty understanding of cause and effect when it comes to personal choices and relationships — Scott thinks Derek is abusive and no-good because Derek reminds Scott of his absent father. It has nothing to do with Derek’s actual character or choices. Scott does not understand his own heart either, and never will if he continues to pout at his father rather than understanding him (I’m not saying forgiving him, that’s irrelevant, but understanding him is Scott’s quest, his turning point, it’s so important for his own growth).

This is the tragic flaw at the heart of Scott McCall, and it’s purposefully written that way — I have suspected so for a while, but the scene with McCall cemented it. There is no other reason for this kind of secret to be at the heart of Scott’s life. If it was just for drama’s sake, it would have been infidelity or adoption or something like that. But it’s about lying, domestic violence and not being around at crucial moments, and these are all things Scott has canonically done.

Every time Derek gets a choice with consequences and Scott does not, it’s a Tragedy (big “T” for the genre), because Scott has never been forced to face his central flaw. Derek gets to change and grow. Scott is stuck in place, reliving his father’s bad choices. And it’s written that way on purpose, it’s too consistent to be anything else.

Scott is turning into his father.

And now we’ve been told S4 will be like Empire Strikes Back. Davis talks a lot of red-herring PR rubbish in interviews, but that one strikes me as him letting a suitably disguised bit of truth slip. It fits pretty damn well with the arcs we’re getting on screen.

I think Scott is about to get to make some big choices, and he is going to fail at them. Spectacularly. And if we’re very, very lucky, then we’ll get to see him grow up and acknowledge where he went wrong.

That would be really satisfying in so many ways, not least in that it’s a much more useful and realistic coming of age story than a trite “he’s the hero just because he is” narrative we’ve seen a thousand times before.

(Originally here)
This entry was originally posted at
Tags: meta, teen wolf
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