Previously on Teen Wolf, a Druid with a pronounced case of obsessive-compulsive disorder began axe-murdering Beacon Hills residents in groups of threes. Virgins, soldiers, healers, blacksmiths, alchemists, gingers, lefties, cat owners, people who say “supposebly.” The Druid zigged toward Melissa McCall then zagged toward Dr. Deaton, who, after being rescued by Scott, finally gave him some information in the form of a full sentence. The sentence was: “You are Jesus of the Wolves.” Unfortunately, Jesus still hadn’t mastered the miracle of controlling his erections. (#SomethingCameUp) Derek accidentally killed Boyd in a puddle of electrical water while fighting Kalli (and those tricksy little hobbitses Aiden and Ethan). And Danny almost died of homicide because of his science fair project that proves Beacon Hills sits on top of a Moonmouth.
Scott McCall is high on answers to questions. It felt so good when Dr. Deaton finally told him a thing that wasn’t a riddle or a parable, and so now he wants all the answers to all the questions, starting with: How come Deucalion is such a dick? Grandpa Argent knows the answer to that — and every other query in all the land! — and is happy to exchange his knowledge for the small price of some werewolf morphine. So, Scott and Allison visit him in his mythical beast bounty hunter retirement home, black goop still oozing out of his face holes, and settle in to be condescended to for one whole hour.
Stiles also has some questions, but they’re less about the origins of supervillainy and more about the shape of Derek’s heart. For example, what was Derek like before every day of his life ended with him murdering or getting murdered? Was there a pre-shitshow phase when he actually smiled sometimes? Cora can’t really remember because she was only a little pup back then, but Peter Hale knows, and it’s been a good two episodes since he got to exchange repartee with the only other dude who’s as clever as him in all of Beacon Hills, so he agrees to tell Stiles the story of Derek’s unblemished youth.
There are two ways to handle exposition: You can try to sneaky-weave it into your story and pat down the seams, or you can just be like, “Fuck it. Hop inside this Pensieve, Harry, and let’s take a literal walk through some backstory.” If you love a fictional world, you’ll dive into the memory juice without complaint because who wouldn’t want to see a five-year-old Tom Riddle explode some of his orphan friends as long as it means you can spend more time hanging out with Dumbledore? That’s the avenue Teen Wolf went down last night. It was a risky move because, I mean, if you’re going to devote a whole hour talking about Derek Hale’s yesteryear, you’ve got to assume most of your audience wants to enjoy that narrative history with a side of Tyler Hoechlin’s face. And also, these writers have never given a lot of what you’d call “answers” to “questions.” Like, “What do you mean ’Unpack the show’s mythology’? Hey, look over here! Keahu Kahuanui is naked!”
But this episode actually really worked for me, for the most part. There would have been no room for an expository hour in a 12-episode season, but we’re working with a full order this year, so why not try a new thing? Plus any amount of exposition is tolerable when you get to see Dylan O’Brien’s face (and hear Dylan O’Brien’s mouth) react to it.
This is a story of teenage love. It is also a story of eyeballs.
A metronome is clacking away in the Beacon Hills High School music room. On TV, that incessant tick-tock can never mean anything good, and lo! a beautiful teenage girl appears, playing the cello with a smile on her sweet cherub face, blissfully unaware that cherub faces very rarely last 45 minutes on this show. Her hard work is interrupted by the sound of some dillholes rhythmically playing basketball in the hallway like they’re in some kind of High School Musical situation. (Derek Hale has mad ball-handling skills, if you know what I mean and I think you do.) She scolds them for being so loud, their leader shows off for her/ribs her for being such a teetotaler, and five seconds later he’s dinging! the triangle while she fingers! the cello, which is a certain kind of foreplay. The girl’s name is Paige. The boy’s name is Baby Derek. They look like they’re from Degrassi, like they’re actual teenagers. It’s a bit disconcerting.
Baby Derek and Paige escalate to heavy making out pretty quickly. They sneak up to the old distillery — the process of which involves the separating of two elements by pushing them into their different volatile states, OK — to do some sexes with each other. Their canoodling funtimes are interrupted by Baby Derek’s heightened senses. He’s like, “The smell of blood lingers here. The steady cadence of three dozen beating hearts approaches from the east.” Paige goes, “That’s a totally normal human thing to say. Let’s bounce then.”
It’s a good thing they do, because three packs of werewolves have decided to meet up at the distillery to glower at each other for a while. The packs are lead by: A sweet-tempered, full-sighted Deucalion; the same old Ennis; and Kalli without the weird toenail stuff. Their problem is that one of Ennis’ pack members was shot in the neck by an Argent hunter and then chopped in half and now the police have the body and adorable Deputy Stilenski won’t release it to them. Talia Hale, the shape-shifting, caftan-wearing matriarch of the whole Hale clan, and wise council to werewolf packs everywhere, shows up and tries to speak some sense to Ennis, but no! He will not be appeased! He claws a loop-de-loop into the distillery wall, WHICH MEANS WAR.
Baby Derek starts feeling super anxious about Paige’s safety, because anxiety is sometimes a thing that happens when you are surrounded by people who make sport of literally ripping out each other’s throats. Luckily Past Peter Hale has the answers to all of Baby Derek’s woes. (“He probably thinks it was my idea,” says Future Peter. “Listen to my awesome idea,” says Past Peter.)
Past Peter slithers up to the picnic table where Baby Derek is staring and staring and staring at Paige and worrying and worrying and worrying. He unwraps a delicious package of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and goes, “Speaking of two great tastes that taste great together, I have an idea for keeping Paige alive. Just claw out her human insides and replace them with werewolf insides.” Baby Derek wonders if that’s the wrong way to turn someone, and Past Peter says, “Just like there’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s, there’s no wrong way to give someone the gift of The Bite. Look, she got her chocolate on your peanut butter, you got your peanut butter on her chocolate. The only way you’re going to feel better is if she stays beautiful forever.”
Derek agrees to the plan, so he sends Paige a letter and asks her to meet him at school in the middle of the night. She thinks it is for making out. But really it is for Ennis to attack her. The plan is: Ennis gets a new pack member, the Hale family gets an IOU, and Paige and Baby Derek get to live happily ever after. What could possibly go wrong! Well, never underestimate the impulses of a teenage boy sitting in a locker room listening to the love of his life getting her face eaten off by a monster. So Baby Derek bolts into the hallway and—
What’s that? You think now would be a good time to explain the myth of King Lycaon? Um, sure, OK. So King Lycaon was a real clown. He had 50 sons, which, I think you’ll agree, is one too many. He slaughtered one of those guys and chopped him up and tried to feed him to Zeus at a cocktail party. Zeus was like, “Bitch, please, I know this isn’t turkey legs.” As punishment for serving him a subpar meal, Zeus turned Lycaon and all his 49 other sons into a wolves. (Which is where the idea for Hell’s Kitchen originated.) Lycaon was very bummed out about being a wolf, so he went to the Druids and was like, “HALP!” And the Druids were like, “Well, we can’t turn you back into humans for always, but we can teach you to shape-shift back and forth, OK?” And from that day on, Druids always supplied emissaries to werewolf packs, with the only rule being that they can only ever speak in vague notions and brain-teasers. Dr. Deaton is the one for Derek and Scott’s packs. Ms. Morrell is the one for the Alpha Pack. Grandpa Argent and Chris Argent discovered that secret while doing arborist work one time in an abandoned cellar with a Celtic tree. You know, like the one Lydia has been drawing all over her Trapper Keeper for weeks and weeks.
We good? OK, so anyway. Baby Derek bolts into the hallway and finds Paige kinda slaughtered. He thinks to himself, “Man, finding half-dead ladies to date in the hallway of this school in the middle of the night is totally going to be my move.” Then he carries Paige away to help her heal. Only, she won’t heal. She’s got the Black Gunk. Sometimes The Bite just doesn’t take, see. Baby Derek holds her and sings to her and strokes her face and apologizes one hundred million times. She’s like, “I always knew you were a werewolf, dummy. We could have just had a conversation about my options instead of you taking away my autonomy and making decisions about what’s best for my body like a Texas Republican.” Baby Derek tries and tries to take away Paige’s pain, but ultimately it is too much, and she asks for him to kill her. So he holds her close and he kills her — like the scorpion did to the frog in that old children’s tale from the sea.
But that’s not the only shitty thing happening in Past Beacon Hills. Sweet Deucalion decides to call a truce with the Argents so they don’t get into some kind of multi-generational negative feedback loop like, “My friend’s pack accidentally kills one of your hunters so you purposefully kill a beta from my friend’s pack so my friend does the loop-de-loop wall art and murders some more of your family so your psycho sister who can’t differentiate between packs burns down a house with a whole bunch of innocent werewolves inside so then her uncle has to kill a bunch of people and then kill her and then his nephew has to kill him and then you have to impale his nephew on some steel rebar, etc. until the end of time.” Grandpa Argent is like, “A truce is an AWESOME idea, you guys!” So he goes to meet them in the distillery, but blasts them all with werewolf-neutralizing gas, and then clubs them all to death. Except for Sweet Deucalion. He stabs Sweet Deucalion in the eyeballs with sparkler arrows.
Sweet Deucalion assumes the position of Dark Lord Deucalion when Deaton patches him up but can’t restore his vision. He can see like an actual wolf when he’s in werewolf form, and so he uses that red-eye vision to kill a member of his pack for the first time.
In other eyeball news, Baby Derek’s eyes start glowing blue after he kills Paige. Talia explains that’s what happens when you murder innocent people. (Which: Blue is what happened to Jackson’s eyeballs at the end of last season, when he was the kanima, who could only murder murderers, which is the exact opposite of what you just said, Mama Hale. Oh hey, look! Shirtless dudes!)
And that is the story of Sweet Deucalion and Baby Derek, according to known sociopaths Grandpa Argent and Peter Hale. After the stories are complete, both Stiles and Scott are like, “OK, but bullshit.” Scott says, “Grandpa Argent, if you are lying, I am going to come back here and menace you so hard!” Stiles says, “Christ, I have got to go find Derek and give him a hug.”
Next week: The Druid figures since Derek already lost two girlfriends to murder, he’ll kill Ms. Blake and make it an even three. Stiles and Lydia combine their IQs for a grand total of a gazillion and then they combine their lips for a grand total of WOWZA! Boyd and Erica are never, ever spoken of for the rest of time. And Scott turns water into wine, shares a whole barrel of it with eager Issac, and they wake up the next morning smiling sheepishly in each other’s arms.