Teen Wolf‘s Tuesday episode, “Heartless”, finally had Liam succeeding in his self-appointed task. Let’s see how it went.
We open with the particular hell Theo’s been through, which is his sister ripping his heart out over and over again, with flashbacks to how he did the same to her. Fitting.
Back in the real world, Malia beats him to a pulp. When she tries to kill him, however, Scott stops her, saying that they’ll send him back into the ground instead. He and Liam argue and Liam wins, Scott accepting that they have no better plan to get Stiles back.
Theo brings them to a big transformer, where they build a Faraday cage and a lightning bolt and set out to trap a ghost rider.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Stilinski tears down the wallpaper and the wall in his house, and find a room behind, room he had no idea about. His wife asks him to leave this be, but he can’t, convinced this could have been Stiles’ room.
Malia, who disapproves of trusting Theo in any way, goes to Peter instead. He’s in hospital, and Malia asks Melissa to cure him. One injection of Nine Herbs, and he’s basically as good as new, and promises to help Malia in turn.
The ghost rider is caught, but attempts to communicate with him fail. Mason realizes that is what was happening with Parrish: the Rider wasn’t scared of him, he was trying to communicate with him.
Lydia thinks about the dead boy from Canaan, and how his mother conjured him back to fill the void let by all the people the Riders have taken. She wonders if the Sheriff did the same with his wife, and remembers how she looked scared when Lydia began to tear off the wallpaper.
Parrish arrives to speak with the Rider, but doesn’t really get anything sensible out of him apart from lines like “we are the Hunt, we hunt forever.” Then the Rider begins to control him, and Scott and Liam have to push him away.
Peter tries to convince Malia to just get the hell out of Beacon Hills, but she says she refuses to leave without Stiles, who is her anchor. They go to the preserve, where they originally found Peter, to try and find the connection to the train station. Peter hears the Riders coming and tells Malia to run. She does.
Mason, Corey and Hayden are patrolling outside the transformer station, looking for other Ghost Riders, so Theo is left alone with the Rider at this point. That’s when Mr. Douglas comes in, and forces Theo to break the Mountain Ash barrier. He then kills the Rider, steals his whip and eats his pineal gland.
Peter waits for the approaching Hunt, wolfed out, and they ride at him, but suddenly – probably as they feel their companion dying – they turn and ride away.
Lydia speaks to the Sheriff in Stiles’ old room and tells him he conjured his dead wife. He refuses to believe her. She sees all of Stiles’ old things around, and manages to bring one over the barrier, giving the Sheriff Stiles’ old lacrosse jersey.
The pack figures out it was Mr. Douglas who was killing all those people and eating their pineal glands the whole time. Well, the pack minus Corey, who is walking alone in the forest for some reason and encounters Mr. Douglas, now with green eyes, who uses the Rider’s whip to make Corey disappear amidst green smoke.
“Heartless” was, generally speaking, a good episode, because the central plotline worked very well. Catching the ghost rider integrated the powers of all the pack members, made sense, and was well delivered. The idea of using the Faraday cage was not just fancy name-dropping of science, but actually sensible and functional. In their reactions to the captured Rider, too, the pack members showed their individual characters.
That being said, though, the two minor plotlines were a little less satisfying.
Fist, my prediction – well, it was pretty obvious – about Claudia not being real came true this episode, and yes, the problem I mentioned last time still remains. Caleb, the boy in Canaan, acted like he wasn’t actually a normal child. Claudia acts completely like a normal woman, including having her own subjectivity – she feels and wants things independently of the Sheriff (contrary to Caleb and his mother). She was afraid when Lydia tore down the wallpaper, and the Sheriff didn’t even know about that. She would pass the Turing test with flying colours. How can you say, then, that she’s not real?
Sure, she died, and the Sheriff conjured her back. But the same is true about Theo and Liam, and no one would say Theo isn’t real. If the Sheriff remembers Stiles and makes Claudia disappear, it won’t be choosing the real over the imaginary. Claudia, the way she is written, is as real as anyone, and making her die would simply mean killing her all over again to save Stiles.
It would also be nice to get an explanation for how the Sheriff was able to do this. A banshee conjuring a dead person is one thing, but the Sheriff is not supernatural at all. Is it the energy of the Hunt that makes this possible? If so, how many others have been called back in this way? Does the Hunt work more like a tradeoff, then? Someone is taken, but someone else comes back in turn? That would change everything! It wouldn’t make it okay, mind you, but it would change everything.
Secondly, the Nine Herbs were very deus ex machina. Suddenly shown in the previous episode via an injury of Chris that made no sense in the first place (once again, why wasn’t he taken?), they now serve to cure, within an hour or so, severe burns on 90% of the body, i.e. the very same injuries that Peter spent six years healing from before. A pity, isn’t it, that no one knew about Nine Herbs then? Alan Deaton must have really hated Peter, and Derek and Laura too, for that matter. You would think a miraculous medicine like that would be widely known among the supernaturals, especially as it seems so easy to get at.
And all this just so they could have Peter up and running int he script. Couldn’t they just, I don’t know, not have burned him so severely and let him heal in a few days? Or wasn’t that punishment enough for evil, evil Peter?
And if it was at least to serve a meaningful storyline, but no. As much as I adore Peter, I have to say that his whole gig in “Heartless” was completely pointless. Malia going to him instead of Theo made excellent sense, but that’s where it ends. She took him to the forest to find the bridge, but when they actually found it, she ran away? What did she think? What was her plan exactly? And speaking of which, what was Peter’s? Why didn’t he run as well? It’d make sense if he was protecting Malia, but he stayed long after she was gone… Peter’s comments were in character enough, but his behaviour was completely off.
Liam’s arc continues strong, and his showdown with Scott was great. It was a good crowning moment of his independence and capability as a leader. Even though the arguments he used were stupid. (Scott made a lot of mistakes. Yes. That’s why he’s trying to prevent you from making them…it’s the kind of mistakes when people die, Liam.) I mean, it’s Liam, so it’s not like I expect sophisticated argumentation skills from him. Neither Mason nor Stiles were there to point out their weakness, after all. It worked.
But just as Liam’s arc continues to be good, what they do with Lydia continues to stink. Lydia, who was the queen bee of her school in her freshman year, would not have enough social intelligence to know that starting out with claiming that Claudia wasn’t real wasn’t the best way to go? Seriously? Why not start from Stiles, the argument we know the Sheriff is open to? It’s nice that they throw in a line about her thinking about how to prove a mathematical theorem, but having her actually act smart for a change would be nice, too.
It’s also sad that Scott insisting to Liam that he can’t lose Stiles and he would do anything to get him back is one of the rare cases where we actually see him being insistent, see him care about Stiles’ absence deeply. This is what I wanted to see, much more than Lydia pining after Stiles, because this friendship has been the core relationship of the series the whole time. It’s the one we’ve actually watched develop, and so it’s the one where it would make sense to see the loss of Stiles reflected most, and not in some hastily-cooked romance.
Scott telling the Rider that he will come for the others and won’t stop until he got them all back, though, was all kinds of perfect. That’s my boy.
And speaking of “my boys”, keep your hands off Corey! Beside the obvious illogic of having him walk alone in the forest where they know the Hunt could be while everyone else is huddled together at the same place, his disappearing in itself is very upsetting. The only thing that cheers me about it is that it gives me hope that the next episode could contain his and Stiles’ encounter at the train station. That would be brilliant.
The short scene when Mason said that he could always find Corey, that it was his only superpower, deserves all the love too. Poor boy, I wonder what will happen to that superpower now that Corey has been taken.
It’s a little irritating, though, that not only were Corey’s powers to see the Riders and the like not used more. Apparently Lydia can now bring back things over from the shadow world too. It does make sense for her, but like I said, it would have been nice to do more with Corey’s skill in this respect.
But hey, maybe it’ll be useful to him in getting away from the way station!
- Hayden supporting Liam was nice, I guess, though I can’t help feeling it would also be nice if she had an arc of her own, or at least if we saw a little deeper into her reasons. But I do understand that Liam is the focus for the moment.
- Oh and I loved they brought back Parrish, even if he was ultimately unsuccessful again. I miss him.
- It was nice to see Theo attempting his old manipulations again and everybody just telling him to shut up. Character development!
- The next episode is called blitzkrieg, so I am assuming Mr. Douglas will progress rather rapidly through Beacon Hills and send people to the way station. My only question is, why? The Riders don‘t need motivations, they are spectres. He sure as hell does, and “he’s an evil nazi” is not enough, so I’m curious.