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August 20, 2013

Teen Wolf Recap: Lunar Ellipse

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/teen_wolf_recap_lunar_ellipse/

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Last night's mid-season finale of Teen Wolf had plot holes you could drive a truck through-- or at least Stiles' much beloved baby blue Jeep, which may or may not have been among the episode's casualties. Entire plotlines were dropped (remind me again, was there supposed to be something about the Alphas altering memories this season?) and villains were dispatched in handfuls (Kali and Jennifer are both down for the count, though Deucalion was given an improbable second chance and the twins seem to be in Beacon Hills to stay, which, for those of us keeping count at home, means that three women and three non-white characters have been dispatched this season while not a single white male died). The episode wrapped up twelve episodes' worth of poorly developed arcs and good riddance to them, is my feeling. I'm ready to write the whole thing off and start fresh with the second half of this season in January.

It's too bad, too, because the episode is a waste of a gorgeous cold open: Stiles, Allison and Scott climbing out of white enamel bathtubs in a long white room and flashing back to their opening scenes on the show, Scott and Stiles wandering around in the woods looking for danger, Allison still innocent and naive and, as always, hellbent on helping. Those little left turns have changed everything for all of them, and Teen Wolf plays the moment beautifully, just letting us watch them watch themselve,  setting out on a path they didn't know, then, they would have to keep walking. 

Then, though, everything devolves into a mess. The trio emerge back into the real world certain they can find the Nemeton where their parents are being held captive but it turns out they've been out-- passed out in ice baths-- for sixteen hours. (What happened to it's dangerous, what happened to their anchors, what happened to Stiles and Allison's very human bodies? Nevermind that, I guess. Onwards with the plot! There are like thirty characters and a lot of them have to die!) There's almost no time left before the moon rises and then the lunar eclipse happens and then Jennifer can make her sacrifices and become the most powerful Druid ever in history and kill--whoever she wants, I guess.

Allison sets off a smoke grenade to distract the FBI, headed up by Scott's long-lost father, and she and Isaac head out into the woods. (Three officers see her do it, but there don't appear to be any consequences. Ever.) Stiles conveniently crashes his Jeep and spends the episode mostly concussed, which really can't be good for him on top of that sixteen hour ice bath but apparently Dylan O'Brien was shooting The Maze Runner when they taped most of the finale so we will cut them a break there. The kids find their parents, Jennifer almost collapses the root cellar they're in on top of them, Stiles saves the day with another, sturdier bat. That's a wrap on the family drama. There is no time to mine it for the deep vein of emotion that was tapped last week, because there are boring speeches and action sequences, apparently, that have to be dealt with instead.

Jennifer tells Derek he can save the parents if he helps her get Deucalion, who will be her sacrifice instead. Scott is on Deucalion's side because he promised, and Jennifer has his mother. They have the world's dumbest fight, with like five reversals of fortune and useless callbacks and a flash grenade and the lunar eclipse happens and anyway, eventually Deucalion almost kills Jennifer but then I guess they decide to leave her alone for a while and she escapes, again. (Don't worry, she's a woman, and Peter Hale slashes her throat for real at the Nemeton, howling I was always the alpha, which I guess means we know who to look out for in season three.) Scott comes into this True Alpha powers and that means he can break a mountain ash circle. Derek and Scott decide to let Deucalion go because he's a white guy and he used to be a visionary so maybe he'll just give up on the DEMON WOLF thing and play nice? Who knows.

The episode ends with a gratingly indulgent voice over, Scott explaining to Deaton that he does feel darkness around his heart, but he solves that problem with friendship. It's embarrassing for everyone involved.

The only good news is that Derek and Cora take off at the end of the episode. Adelaide Kain, who plays Cora, is also bound for better things, playing the queen in Reign, but I'm hoping this signals a bigger reset in store: that poor battered Derek will return rested and refreshed and ready to murder his psychopath of an uncle, and that where Derek goes, the rest of the show will follow. The newly reactived Nemeton will apparently turn Beacon Hills back into, um, a beacon, which probably means more monster-of-the-week episodes in store for January. Hopefully the structural change and fewer cast shakeups will help get the show back on solid ground-- because if the back half of this season is anything like the first, Teen Wolf might be too lost to ever recover. 

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