A.k.a. The Classy Episode. Why “classy,” you ask?
In this episode, there’s a near-constant score of crescendo-ing classical music and Wagnerian choirs as various characters recall sad backstory. Really, you can’t miss it. Not even if you’re deaf. We also learn that Derek’s doomed first love played the cello and read books voluntarily (whaaaaa?). There’s talk of fables, which come from books. And there are still more books. Old mythology books accompanied by arty illustrations. We’ve also got dueling unreliable narrators in this episode, something for which we have classical author Joseph Conrad and his classy literature to thank, according to Stiles…later. We’re up to our (CGI-highlighted and glowing) eyeballs in classical music and books and art today.
We start with a young man running from hunters in the woods. Meet Baby Derek – or so the MTV hashtag will eventually dub him. He bumps into another young man in the woods. “You’re Hale, aren’t you?” this second young man asks. No time for names. He’s promptly taken down by an arrow to the neck.
Now meet Baby Uncle Peter – who grabs the next crossbow arrow that was inches away from introducing itself to Baby Derek’s face. Where there’s a crossbow arrow, there’s a crossbow not far behind. Baby Derek and Baby Uncle Peter flee the scene. And here come the crossbows now, which happen to be attached to Gerard and Allison’s dad and their posse. Allison’s dad looks down at the body of the young werewolf they’ve just felled and is doing his “we do this by the code” thing. Gerard sneers. Meanwhile, Derek and Peter have found a secluded spot to hide out.
Cut to Cora, looking out the rainy window of Derek’s loft, who is relaying this story to Stiles. Cue the swelling orchestral choir for the first – but not the last – time!
We learn that Derek’s gone into hiding to heal from last week’s smackdown. Stiles is demanding backstory because shit’s getting really weird for his bestie, Scott, and he wants to understand why.
Cora says Derek has changed, and she’s not sure why.
Cue the first unreliable narrator of this episode’s backstory. Oh…… hi, Peter! It’s you.
Peter explains that Derek used to be a lot more like Scott. What changed? queries Stiles. Love, of course. Oh, and Peter’s also gonna tell us how different kinds of werewolves earn their differently colored CGI eyes. In fact, Peter’s gonna tell Stiles everything he needs to know about Derek. Well maybe not everything…..
Wait…so, no Derek in this episode? This moll’s raison d’etre – or at least raison de voir le Teen Loup? (Pardon moi French – I’ve barely spoken it since high school myself…..). NO DEREK? Fine. I’ll try not to wander away toward the fridge for too many ice cream breaks here…
Cue the second unreliable narrator of the episode. Oh, hi, Gerard! It’s you.
Scott and Allison visit Gerard in the
psych ward assisted living facility. The first thing Gerard wants from Scott is for him to “give an old man a little something.” (Um….ew.) If Scott will give Grandpa Argent some of that hands-on cancer-easing juju, Argent will tell these two the tale of Deucalian and his alphas. Everything they need to know! Well, maybe not everything….
Flashback to a pretty young cellist practicing in the high school music room. Meet Derek’s doomed first love, Paige. Derek’s basketball playing interrupts her classy music playing. She’s not impressed with Baby Derek’s jive-talking, or lack of appreciation for classy music. He pours on the charm in the music room, trying to redeem himself in her eyes and show proper respect for classy music by playing the…..triangle. (Good-looking guys don’t have to try very hard, after all.)
Cut to present-day Gerard, who is leaking copious amounts of that black spoodge from his facial orifices. He’s surprised they found a third body in the latest trilogy of sacrificial Druid killings, immediately after Deaton was saved by Scott. Gerard says it’s almost like Deaton was expected to survive. How do we know Deaton isn’t the rogue Druid in question, he asks? Also, Deucalian isn’t always blind, by the way.
Flashback to Baby Derek and Paige, who eventually found a great place to
discuss classical music make out, according to Peter. A dirty, abandoned building on the outskirts of town. SO romantic. (Not. But remember…good-looking guys don’t have to try very hard.) Anyway, Derek’s wolfy senses are tingling. He grabs Paige. They get out of there just in time to avoid several packs of werewolves who have decided an abandoned building is an even better place for a secret emergency werewolf summit. Oh, hi, Baby Ennis (who is still huge). Hi, Baby Kali (who was always bitchy). Ennis is mad that the Argents killed one of his pack. Cue Not-So-Baby Deucalian, who once upon a time, had eyes, and…..was the pacifist voice of reason???
Gerard via narration mentions that there was once an anomaly among these werewolves – one with excellent leadership qualities and a rare gift for shape-shifting. Who…is the dog-ish kind of werewolf? (Boring. This kind of special effects cop-out is not why we watch Teen Wolf.) Oh…hi, Derek’s mom! (I guess the moms of good-looking guys don’t have to try as hard, either.)
Some werewolves, like Ennis, want to declare war on the Argents! But idealistic, kind, gentle Deucalian says this is the wrong road to take, this “eye for an eye” approach. (Least. Subtle. Foreshadowing. Ever.) Ennis is so mad, he doodles a spiral on the wall with his bare claws.
It’s the mark of the vendetta, explains present-day Peter. Once you doodle it, there is no going back.
Cue some seriously classy cello playing by Paige (intermixed with a modern-day trendy indie band ballad, because this is MTV, and we have to make classy music seem more relevant to youths). She and Derek make out some more.
Derek was obsessed about Paige growing old and dying, insists present-day Peter. Peter forgets to mention how it was him, Baby Uncle Peter, who was Iago-ing in Derek’s ear about how Paige won’t understand Derek’s secret….unless she was one of them, maybe? Hmmmm? By “turning” Paige, she and Derek would always be together as equals forever, riiiiight?
Present-day Peter says he hopes Derek hasn’t convinced himself that turning Paige was his idea or anything. Just to drive home that whole “unreliable narrator” thing.
Present-day Gerard starts to tell Allison and Scott about this whole Druid thing. Have they heard the myth of Lycan? No? Gerard’s got just the book for that. A special edition mythology book! (Edith Hamilton and Joseph Campbell were really holding out on us, it turns out.) Back in the day, not everyone was impressed by Zeus and his fellow gods. Take Prometheus. And the less-heard-of Lycan was another such upstart. Deucalian (the Titan) was another. Dissing Zeus? Gasp! The impertinence! Zeus decided to teach them all a lesson by turning them into…… werewolves. (Turning them into super-charged, semi-immortal, impossibly good-looking demigods? Not the most well-thought-out “punishment,” eh, Zeus?)
So Lycan and his followers sought out Druids in order to mitigate the “curse.” Druids know how to shape-shift, you see. With the Druids’ help, Lycan and his clan wouldn’t be stuck with being werewolves all the time. Druids and werewolves have been friends ever since. Secret friends. So secret, usually only the alpha wolf knows who their local Druid emissary is. Like Deaton, who has been the local Druid emissary for a long time. He and Derek’s mom used to counsel Deucalian. About how batshit-crazy Gerard was, for one thing.
But Deucalian doesn’t want to listen. Naïve Deucalian just wanted to give peace a chance. Hey, have you heard the one about the scorpion who asks the frog and/or turtle for a ride across the river? No? You’re gonna. So is Deucalian. Flashback Deaton is going to tell naïve Deucalian all about it.
A scorpion asks a frog to carry him across a river. How does the frog know the scorpion won’t sting and kill him? He doesn’t. The frog is stupid and trusting. You know, like Deucalian. While they are swimming across the river, the scorpion does sting the frog, and it appears they are both going to drown. The frog asks why? The scorpion says,”It’s in my nature.”
Deucalian still wants to negotiate peace. He’s no gullible frog, damn it. He’s an alpha werewolf. With a heart of gold.
Cut to Paige. Who meets Ennis in a darkened hallway. Nobody wants to meet Ennis in a light hallway, never mind a darkened one. Turns out Baby Uncle Peter thought Ennis was just the guy to turn Paige. Oversized, rage-aholic Ennis. Good choice, Peter.
Will it shock you to learn that things don’t end well for Paige? Not everyone responds to the bite, after all, as present-day Peter reminds us. With dramatic crescendo-ing music and operatic choir in the background.
Cut to present-day Gerard, who is relaying how “evil” Deucalian requested a meeting so that he might ambush Gerard. Sweet, innocent, teenager-dissecting Gerard!
Oh, and Gerard wants to tell Scott and Allison about a fable. Involving (this time) a turtle and a scorpion. Different fable? Oh, no, wait…there’s that, “It’s my nature” moral of the story again. And Gerard insists he knows all about a werewolf’s true nature. Even if he has to prove it by framing one.
[“It’s my nature” is a handy moral of the story to refer to in a series filled with hormonal alpha males, by the way. Carte blanche to keep waging testosterone-fueled vendettas, right? No one here wants to hear any girlie fables involving caterpillars transforming into butterflies accompanied by a moral of the story like, “Good things come to those who wait.” As if. If there were a fable with a moral of the story that went, “Fuck this shit!” they’d probably be quoting that one.]
Wait, no….this IS the Classy Episode, after all. “It’s my nature” is pretty good for our purposes here.
Deucalian and his pack, and Gerard and his hunters, meet up in the abandoned distillery for the “peace summit.”. (You can practically see the sarcastic quotation marks around the words “peace summit.” Gerard put them there himself.) Deucalian thinks it’d be a good idea if they all take things down a notch. Gerard has other ideas. It’s his nature to gas everyone – including his own men, apparently. It’s not in his nature to need any pacifist sissies who’ll just slow him down, either. And he’ll need bodies of the hunters to make the story of a werewolf ambush seem more convincing. Hey, look who brought his own spiked mace along because the gas didn’t seem like enough!
More swelling of the dramatic orchestral score, complete with operatic Wagnerian choir! Again! Gerard starts swinging that mace. Good thing that Wagnerian choir is here to remind us just how much of a tragedy this is.
Deucalian, crawling out of the ambush, begs to explain his “vision of peace” to Gerard. Gerard quips about Deucalian’s “short-sightedness.” (Michael Bay’s top screenwriters would be so proud.) Because gas and a spiked mace weren’t enough, Gerard stabs Deucalian in the eyes with arrows that turn into sparklers. Only in present-day Gerard’s version of the story, Gerard is playing the role of Deucalian (minus the blinding arrow-sparklers), and Deucalian is playing the role of Gerard.
Paige lays dying in Baby Derek’s arms after Ennis’ attack. Paige was a good girl – she deserves a classy death. Can we get some more of that Wagnerian choir thing? Louder? Thanks. She can’t take the pain anymore. Derek puts her out of her misery. His glowing yellow CGI eyes are replaced with an icy Blue Steel. That’s what happens when you take an innocent life.
Present-day Peter shows off his own pair of icy blue peepers to Stiles and Cora. More classical crescendo-ing in the background. MORE, I SAY!
Elsewhere, a severely-wounded and now-blinded Deucalian is ambushed by an impertinent beta upstart from his former pack who spots an opportunity to get promoted. Only – turns out Deucalian can still see when he’s wolfing out. Deucalian smacks the upstart down. Hard. And definitively. Cue the emergence of the bad-ass Deucalian we’ve all come to know and love.
Classy Episode was doing a great job keeping it classy up until now, for the most part. Only now present-day Gerard has told Allison and Scott “everything” he knows, and he wants some more sugar from Scott. Scott puts his hands on Gerard again while Gerard shudders and moans ecstatically. You know…..to “cure his cancer.” Gerard tells Scott he’s been thinking about him. A lot. (Way to rachet up the pedophile subtext, MTV. Yes, the classical crescendo-ing choir was growing tiresome, but the skeezy old man detour is like the record needle scratching across the vinyl here ……and it sounds like Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” is on the turntable.)
Scott gets angry with Gerard. He knows Gerard was lying about this whole story. (And/or…maybe Scott just got tired of being groped?) And if Gerard’s lies result in anyone getting hurt, Scott promises he’ll be back. And it won’t be as fun for Gerard as this whole groping thing has been.
Stiles and Cora are debriefing after Peter’s recap. Stiles doesn’t trust Peter’s version of things, either! (These young whippersnappers are so smart.) Stiles even refers to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to explain the whole “unreliable narrator” concept to Cora. (Here’s where it’s handy to have a TV series set in high school. Classy literary references are just a “we’re reading that in English lit right now” quip away!) It’s helpful to define what an unreliable narrator is at the end of an episode narrated by not one by two unreliable narrators, yes? Just in case you missed the fact that both Gerard’s and Peter’s words weren’t jiving with the flashback footage.
Flashback to Derek’s mom, who comforts Baby Derek after losing Paige. MORE! DRAMATIC! OPERATIC! WAGNERIAN! CHOIR! CRESCENDO! STUFF!
And finally, at episode’s end, we see present-day (and sadfaced) Derek staring at the swirly vendetta doodle symbol on the wall of the abandoned building. Cue the swelling cello solo of ‘Ave Maria!!!’ His dead girlfriend played the cello! REMEMBER?! NO?! HOW ABOUT SOME CRESCENDO-ING CELLO MUSIC TO JOG YOUR MEMORY?!?!
(OH MY GOD, Classy Episode! Swelling classical music crescendo overkill, much? You’re classy. We get it.)