Friday, May 24, 2024

Teen Wolf Survives Against All Odds And Logic

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Teen Wolf ‘s “Relics” was dramatic and filled with tension, even though the plot armour proved to be rather uncomfortably strong in the end. Let’s take a look.


We open with Chris waiting in the woods with his rifle pointed, but the person who approaches him is Melissa. She decided to join him in his hunt, because she wanted to help out. They find two dead bodies. They also come across Malia, whom Chris shoots in the leg to prevent her from attacking them in her bloodlust.

Mason figures out that the Wild Hunt travels with the use of lightening, and so they can predict their approach. He and Liam wonder about how to protect all those people they exposed to danger. Mason suggests an underground bunker where they would be isolated from electricity. Liam, on the other hand, suggests making a lighting rod to draw the riders to one place. Scott comes in and, much like a computer game choice, selects the bunker option.

Meanwhile, Lydia realizes that the people taken by the Hunt sometimes leave relics behind, like the library card left after Sullivan. She goes looking for relics like these to the Stilinski house.

Liam and Mason manage to convince people from the party to go hide in the bunker. Except the lacrosse players, that is, who insist on playing. So Scott, Liam and Corey all go play as well. Hayden, meanwhile, goes…stand in the sidelines for some reason. That leaves only Malia and Chris to guard the people in the bunker.

Lydia has another vision in the Stilinski house, this time of a man. She starts tearing off their wallpaper in one spot before Mrs. Stilinski stops her.

Malia shows surprising ability to reassure one of the waiting girls who is getting hysterical. “We will protect you, no one is getting through that door,” she reassures. Only to abandon her the moment they notice Nathan (Liam’s rival for captain) is gone. Malia and Chris both go after him, with Chris stating that if Nathan leaves, he’ll “break the seal.”

The Hunt appears on the lacrosse field in the midst of torrential rain, and the pack gathers to protect the people who are in danger.

Mrs. Martin talks to Lydia about her possibly having a problem confirmation bias as regards Stiles’ existence, and offers to impartially judge what Lydia tells her. She is clearly convinced, because they go to the hospital to persuade Melissa to let them see Claudia’s hospital records.

The Hunt starts taking people off the field with their magic bullets, the pack completely unable to stop them. Mason on the sidelines realizes it was Parrish who made them disappear last time, and calls him.

Claudia’s hospital records show she never had a child, but that she did have frontotemporal dementia ten years ago. Melissa says she is surprised she is still alive.

Malia and Chris chase Nathan, only to see him taken by the Hunt and be attacked themselves. The pack on the field is overwhelmed. Parrish in his Hellhound form is sort of immune to the bullets of the Hunt in the sense that they don’t cause him to disappear, but they certainly slow him down heavily.

Cut to after the Hunt. Everyone in the bunker was taken. So was everyone on the field except the pack. Chris was heavily injured, Malia didn’t escape unscathed either. Both Liam and Scott feel guilty about it, Scott saying it was his fault for not going with both solutions, the bunker and the rod. Liam comes into the team’s locker room all depressed, and Coach mistakes it for depression over their loss at lacrosse and makes him captain. Everyone claps.

Lydia tells the senior pack she found no mention of Stiles in Claudia’s hospital records, and somehow, she regards that as proof that he wasn’t Claudia’s child and Malia and Scott see it as a confirmation that he likely never existed, and that they should be concentrating on the actual threat, the Hunt.

Meanwhile, Liam is determined to catch himself a Rider. We close with a shot of Stiles’ Jeep: a relic no one noticed.


So, let me ask the obvious question: how was not the entire sophomore pack taken by the Hunt?

I mean, they all saw the Riders at the party. They were all supposed to be doomed in exactly the same manner as the people they were trying to save. And, as they said themselves, they “barely slowed (the riders) down.” They were out on the field, surrounded by Riders with guns making people disappear, but still none of them is taken. Seriously?

Look, I don’t get a kick just pointing out all the way the narrative doesn’t make sense. I’d like to sit back and enjoy the show, but this breaks my suspension of disbelief.

The scene on the field was extremely well done. The despair of the pack as the people they meant to protect are taken one by one from under their very noses, the frustration at their complete inability to help or even interfere. It made my heart bleed.

But the after-effects of this, Scott’s and Liam’s guilt, were effectively ruined for me because the roaring question of “why are they alive?” distracted me from it.

It would have been nice to hand-wave it at least. To have Mason ask “why didn’t they take us as well?” and imply there was some reason behind it. Without this, it was just distracting.

My compassion for Scott’s and Liam’s guilt was also partly ruined because of the video game nature of the choice between hiding underground and making a lightening rod. In real life, there is absolutely no reason not to do both. In fact, it should have been very obvious that’s the best course of action, since they needed every advantage they could get. Scott only realizing this after the fact just makes me roll my eyes.

And speaking of failure to protect, there is Malia and Chris, too. They took about ten people in an underground bunker with the explicit promise of protecting them, and then when one of them leaves, they both abandon the remaining nine people to go after him. The reason for this? He’d “break the seal”.

No one knows what that means, and it makes little sense. The bunker that suddenly conveniently exists is supposed to be lined with mountain ash. How does a person leaving it break the seal? Mountain ash has never worked like this before. Non-supernaturals have always been able to come and go freely without affecting its protective capabilities. It looks like the writers simply needed a reason to let the people in the bunker be taken, and didn’t have too much time to think of one.

I mean, I guess it’s better than completely ignoring the problem and just making Chris and Malia follow Nathan “because.” But at least a one-sentence explanation of what breaking the seal means wouldn’t have been remiss.

In fact, there were a lot of wasted opportunities for heartbreaking ethical dilemmas in this episode. Chris and Malia could have been horrified by the necessity to leave the others to go after Nathan. They could have also split, and perhaps argued about who does what. In any case, there should have been some reflection of the fact that they were leaving the others unprotected.

The same goes for the lacrosse crew. They gathered people in a bunker to protect them and then only left them there with Malia and Chris, while they know it took five supernaturals to stop just one Rider last time. It’s perfectly in character for Scott to refuse to just leave the people who went to play lacrosse die. But again, there should be some realization that by going to protect them, he’s leaving the ones in the bunker at risk. Instead of just mentioning that those going out there are putting themselves at risk.

I generally liked Liam’s arc this episode, though. He’s finally transforming into a leader, and that abject failure would be what pushed him far enough is not unthinkable. I’m just not sure about manifesting this by the lacrosse team clapping for him. I understand captaincy is a metaphor for alphahood here, but it should work on the explicit level as well. And unfortunately, I think being clapped for after he feels like he failed to save fifteen people would only make him feel more terrible, not give him strength.

It also seems Liam finally learned his lesson about ridiculous overconfidence. At the beginning of the episode, he claims they can stop the Riders just fine. At the end, he doesn’t seem to be so blithely optimistic anymore. It appears he sets out to capture a rider while knowing fully well what he’s risking.

As for the other storylines, Lydia looking for Stiles would be nicer if there was some sense in her search. She literally says that Stiles can’t be Claudia’s son because there is not record of her pregnancy. This in spite of the fact that they know people taken by the Hunt are routinely erased from records. Malia’s point that the Hunt is the more important matter at the moment is a good one. As it stands now, they are mass killers operating all around them. Whether they remember Stiles or not, preventing other people being taken should be a priority, unless they suspect his rescue is a time-sensitive issue. But that doesn’t mean they have any indication Stiles never actually existed.

Another complaint about Lydia’s ole this episode is that the technobabble is becoming more babble and less techno. Lydia explaining that relics are being left behind because “conservation of mass” effectively amounted to a cool phrase drop that explained nothing.

Claudia Stilinski’s reaction to Lydia tearing the wallpaper makes me wonder. It seemed a little too overly angry, but I don’t know if it was a strange writing choice or if it’s actually meant to indicate something. Lydia suspects her, so probably it was indicative? Or Lydia is just being paranoid.

Speaking of the Stilinskis, perhaps my favourite little moment in this episode was the Sheriff saying that he snubbed his toe on a baseball bat and shouted Stiles’ name without thinking. It shows that Stiles is still there in the subconscious of the people who love him, and it shows Sheriff’s feelings about this whole matter of possibly having a son. Maybe it’s a pity the second wasn’t more explored. I would expect him to be considerably more freaked out by the idea that they used to have a son and now he’s gone.

As for the other adults, I was a little irritated by Melissa being the loud newbie at Chris’ tracking mission (even though Chriss/Melissa is looking even more likely now, and I like it). I understand she can feel like she isn’t contributing, but it should be pointed out to her that constantly patching up supernaturals or performing medical experiments on them certainly counts as contributing. It’s the Corey problem from last episode all over again. I mean, I know Chris was trying to be quiet at the time, but hopefully he’ll get around to mentioning her importance next episode or something.

I like that Malia’s issues with control are a constant presence. It’s interesting that they decided to build this in parallel to Kate. My impression with her never was that she was out of control. She executes very careful plans that involve seduction. That’s not bloodlust, that’s cold-blooded murder. I think a parallel/contrast between her and Malia could work, but ti would be better to build it around Malia’s frequent cavalier attitude about human life than around being out of control.

But still, I very much appreciated Chris remembering Kate. I like references to the past – plus it reminded me we’re likely to see her again, even though perhaps only in 6B – and Chris’ trauma from what Kate became is referenced rarely enough. It’ also interesting to have a peek, in this manner, of how it all started to go downhill with her. Even though I never imagined it would be by loss of control.

I also liked how Malia turned the tables on Chris in a way. Chris tells her she is dangerous and out of control, and she first reminds him it was he who shot her (at the beginning of the conversation) and then takes the gun from him saying he shot enough people for one day at the end of it. You tell him, Malia.

What was irritating, though, was Chris shooting down Malia’s suggestion to nick Nathan with a bullet when he is running away and endangering everyone. Chris implies that doing that would make him just like Kate, and that he only did so to Malia because she would heal. Well, newsflash, Chris: humans can heal too, though not as quickly.

There are nine other people in this bunker whom Nathan is putting at risk. I hope that when you hear about them being taken, it helps you sleep better than at least you didn’t injure Nathan (who, let me remind you, ended up being taken as well). That this is presented as the ethical choice seems absurd. To me, it looks like Chris is returning to his prejudices about shapeshifters. He will shoot one, but he won’t shoot a human! Not even one actively endangering other human lives! Chris, why would you stop being perfect?

And now, just the closing points…a little more of them than usual.

  • Mason took very long to realize Parrish was the key to make the Riders retreat last time. I mean, the Rider disappeared after he was faced with Parrish with a gun. Either it’s Jordan, or the Riders are afraid of guns. Which is more likely?
  • “You can’t just erase people, they leave stuff behind,” Lydia tells the Sheriff. Right. So I guess bringing Claudia Stilinski back from the dead is fine, but a baseball bat is beyond their capabilities.
  • Couldn’t Melissa have looked at Claudia’s hospital records herself, instead of inviting Lydia and Mrs. Martin to join her? But I forget, the only ethical question Teen Wolf ever deals with is killing people. Everything else is fine.
  • I wonder why they hid in the Argent bunker, which had to be invented for this episode, instead of the Hale vault, which is already established? It seems to be more fooproof than the bunker. But that’s probably why. We know there are only two ways out of there, and they needed Nathan to get out somehow…
  • Which reminds me, how did Malia and Chris not notice Nathan getting away through ventilation? With this level of guarding the kids, they might have missed a Rider just as easily…
  • And let me say something about the magic bullets, that suddenly became so much more magical this episode. Until now, the bullets were a tool of intimidation and destruction, but they had to physically drag people. Apparently, the Riders have just levelled up. If they had this skill before, Gwen would have been taken last episode, no problem.
  • Speaking of Gwen, Hayden says “where you go, I go”, and five minutes later is all “where is Gwen?” Great job, Hayden.
  • In the final shot of the sophomore crew, the two couples look at each other. Corey is the last to look away. <3

Images courtesy of MTV.

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