Previously on Teen Wolf, the Beacon Hills High cross country team went on a driving tour of the continental United States of America. The timing was good because the werewolves that mostly make up the team were all tuckered out after a slow-motion battle that lasted for one entire night, from dusk ’till dawn in the skeletal remains of a strip mall, and very nearly killed Ennis and Derek. (Moot point on the Ennis thing because Duke eventually rocked up into Dr. Deaton’s office and crushed Ennis’ skull just for funsies.) Scott almost bled out due to post-battle wounds, but Allison sewed up his torso with a needle and thread in a rest stop bathroom thanks to a timely coaching appearance from the ghost of her mother, who was just as batshit crazy amazing in specter form as she was in human form. And a barely alive Derek crawled to the school to throw himself against Mr. Blake’s car window like some kind of deranged baby bird.
In 1977, Alexander Argent checked into the Motel Glen Capri and blew off his head with a shotgun because he’d gotten The Bite and didn’t have the courage to cut out his own spleen with a Swiss Army Knife like is written in the instruction manual. We can’t all be Veronica Argent. 35 years later, Beacon Hills’ cross country team rolls up into the same motel and even though Lydia doesn’t like the look of it or sound of it or smell of it, the other students are just glad to be spending an unsupervised night away from home. Any other group of high school kids, it’s fornication and pilfered booze at the Holiday Inn, but of course this group of high school students lands at a motel that has holds the dubious distinction of having the most suicides committed within its walls. 198 is the record. But 201 is prophecy for tomorrow.
(Quick math tells Lydia and Stiles that 201 minus 198 equals three which equals one set of Druid serial killings which equals fuuuuuuck.)
Because Lydia is a homicide whisperer, she immediately starts hearing the voices of the people who have offed themselves all over the motel. A couple of young lovers with a gun. A baby being drowned in a bathtub. The newspaper clippings of their deaths are even conveniently filed away in the Bibles in the rooms where they died. Lydia chases down the ghosts for a while until she and Allison and Stiles put their beautiful noggins together and realize something a lot more sinister is going down in real-time. All their werewolf buddies have bed bugs in their brains.
Let’s do Scott first. Scott is feeling a lot better now that black goop isn’t leaking out of his abdomen. He and Stiles sleuth for a minute or two, but then Stiles decides he needs a candy bar and Scott decides he needs to stare at himself in the mirror for a little while. You can’t blame him, really. If I looked like any of the people on this show, I’d spend half my life flexing in front of a mirror. But Scott’s not interested in his pecs. Scott is interested in his eyeballs, which keep flashing Alpha red because Derek is hovering near the edge of death.
After Scott’s eyeballs freak him out, he hallucinates a call from his mom and then hallucinates Duke slashing her throat in the Motel Glen Capri parking lot. Scott goes looking for comfort from Allison, who is inexplicably naked in the shower in this half-Shining/half-Psycho hell hole. Every time any of these guys touches anything in this gross hovel — the sheets, the carpet, the shower curtains, literally anything at all — it tests my gag reflex. So, Scott just wanders into the bathroom for a chat and Allison’s like, “OK, but I’m not wearing any clothes or anything and you’re just standing there looking like a real creeper. What’s up, man?” What’s up is that he’s not embarrassed to see her naked because he’s already seen her naked, sometimes from the sexings they did together and sometimes from peeping in on her from her roof, but that’s not why he’s here. He’s here because he hopes they can be friends one day. He clamps his fist around her arm and stares at her with dead eyes and she’s like, “Well, this is definitely a good start!”
Boyd isn’t faring any better than Scott. After he punches a hole in the vending machine — allowing Stiles to steal three whole Kit Kats, easily the most delinquent thing he’s ever done in his life — he stops by the ice machine and hallucinates his dead sister under the frozen cubes. To make himself feel better, I guess, he goes back to his room and turns on the alarm clock radio, but the only station they get way out here in the bumblefuck is the one that broadcasts the audio of Boyd’s police interrogation after his sister was abducted from an ice skating rink. He unplugs the radio alarm clock, but the beat plays on. So he tosses that thing on the ground and smashes it to bits with his giant boots.
Things aren’t going well for Isaac either. He’s having serious PTSD flashbacks of his dad berating him for doing something wrong with a wrench and some lug nuts or something, and next thing you know, he’s hallucinated himself back into that freezer where his father used to stash him away for punishment. He cries and shivers and clutches onto his pillow and is the saddest thing you have ever seen in all your life. Can’t this poor lamb ever catch a break? Tortured by his dad, nearly hacked to death by the Wonder Twins, forced to take an ice bath in his jeans, kicked out onto the streets by his pack leader, and now Scott’s rooming with Stiles tonight which means there’s no one to tuck him in and read “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and get him a cup of Hawaiian Punch with a bendy straw. Sweet little Isaac. It’s OK, buddy.
Also distracted is Alpha Ethan. But his distraction is less about childhood trauma and more about the half-naked Danny Māhealani writhing around underneath him. You think sex with Ethan is going to be a lot of growling and fang play, but it’s actually the opposite of that. He nuzzles Danny’s nose with his nose, kisses him sweetly on the mouth and the neck and the chest and the nipple(!), and traces Danny’s scars with gentle fingertips. Feeling the raised flesh where Danny’s sternum almost crushed his heart and lungs reminds Ethan that Danny is mortal, and he’s so freaked out by the realization and so turned on by the way Danny is stroking his neck and so smitten because Danny is Danny that he straight up offers to turn him into a werewolf. But subtly. Sweetly. He’s like, “What if there was a way for you to get rid of your scars and also for me to keep you safe from the impending apocalypse that’s about to rain down on your town?” Danny says he likes his scars, says they make him feel like a survivor, and so Ethan dives back in for round two because it’s the sexiest thing he’s ever heard.
Unfortunately, his spine picks that exact moment to start twisting up into knots and the man inside him — er, the hallucination of the face of a man inside his abdomen — causes him to bolt from the bed and from the room. Danny’s like, “Uh, OK, cool! I’ll just be here doing Calculus homework … or other stuff.”
All of these hallucinations lead the werewolves into doing some dumb shit. Ethan tries to cut out the ghost in his gut with a damn chainsaw and is thwarted by Stiles who throws himself onto Ethan and wrestles the saw from his hands. Boyd tries to drown himself in a bathtub by dropping a safe on top of his chest in the water. Stiles saves him, too, by retrieving some flares from the bus and shoving one underwater into Boyd’s face. (Because burning the wolves snaps them out of their trances, see.) Darling Isaac is just hanging out under the bed whimpering. Stiles torches him lovingly.
And then there’s Scott. Scott douses himself with gasoline and lights a flare and stands in the middle of the parking lot and tells Stiles and Lydia and Allison that all the pain and suffering that came to Beacon Hills is because of him. He wants to go back to being the nobody he was before he got The Bite. He wants to go back to being nothing. You think it’s going to be Allison who saves the day. Two seasons this show spent drilling us in the brain about how his love for her is the anchor of his humanity. But nope. It’s not Allison at all. It’s Stiles. He steps into the ring of gasoline with Scott, tears in his eyes, and says, “You were never nothing to me. You’re my best friend. You’re my brother. I need you. So if you’re going to do this, we’re going to do it together.”
Shades of Willow and Xander, and some of the finest acting this show has ever seen. Stiles pries the flare from Scott’s hand and tosses it away. Unfortunately, he doesn’t toss it far enough. The wind blows it into the fuel trail and Lydia and Allison and Scott and Stiles run and dive and fall on top of each other and cover their heads to keep from getting exploded. In the flames, Lydia sees either Emperor Palpatine or Lord Voldemort. It’s not really clear. But it startles her for sure.
OK, but while all of this absolute Kubrickian amazingness is going on, Derek is dying. His face and torso and neck are all slashed to hell. Just open, gaping, oozing wounds. Ms. Blake manages to get him back to his apartment, and would you like to know what she does once she’s there? OK, I’ll tell you. First of all, she cuddles herself right up onto Derek’s bare chest. Black tar spilling out of his bellybutton, practically, and she’s like, “Aw, this is just how I imagined our first date would go.” And then would you like to know what this clown does next? Full sex! OK, Derek’s whole body looks like it has been mauled by a tyrannosaurus rex and this high school English teacher over here, she’s like, “Wouldn’t fucking you be a good idea right now?” I mean, you can’t blame Derek. The last person he boned was Kate Argent and he was hooked up to a car battery. But Ms. Blake? Lady, you are a psycho.
Oh! And speaking of psychos! Guess who is alive? Grandpa Argent! He’s sitting in a wheelchair in some kind of rest home, chewing on scenery and wiping the MOUNTAIN ASH!!!! goop from his nose when Chris comes a-calling. Chris wants to know what happened to Alexander Argent in Motel Glen Capri 35 years ago, and Grandpa Argent goes, “Pull up a chair and pass me my cancer pills, son. It is quite a tale.”
Oh, you old coot! I wish you were Victoria, but I do want to see you die again!
By the way, the cross country meet is totally cancelled. Team Human + Scott sleep on the bus to keep themselves and each other safe, and when Coach Finstock shows up the next morning, he whistles his whistle for the millionth time and says they’re going home. Stiles and Lydia’s brains tag-team again and they realize that his whistle is stuffed full of wolfsbane, which is why the werewolves all went bonkers last night. Ethan tells Scott that since Derek killed Ennis — which is a lie! — Derek either has to join their Alpha pack now or they’re going to kill him. Ethan scowls and growls and menaces, and then he skips to the back of the bus to canoodle tenderly with Danny.
Next week, Aiden is still suspended for riding his bike in the hallway while Isaac continues to be spared even ten minutes of detention for beating Ethan to within an inch of his life twice; the Alpha Pack and/or the Druid draw more symbols all around town like the Riddler to indicate that they’re coming; Ms. Blake invites Derek to dinner at her place, a delicate little college at the edge of town where the heads of all her boyfriends are mounted on her walls; and Stiles’ face does yet another thing you didn’t even know a face could do.