I’m always intrigued when shows seem to follow a bible where the Xth episode of the season mirrors that same episode the prior season. Teen Wolf almost did that. Last year, we had the cast locked in the school with a big bad looming outside in episode seven, “Night School,” and this season, that episode fell at number five with “Venomous” and had the Scoobies trying to protect Lydia at school and then barricading themselves inside Scott’s house as Derek and his posse loomed in the street, ostensibly to do her in because they believed her to be the Kanima. Score one for me because I called it that it was Jackson.
For me, “Venomous” paled in comparison to last week’s follow-up, “Frenemy” which had Jackson genuinely seeming to have no recollection of his transformation and Stiles and Scott struggling with keeping him confined while also looping him to what he is.
It was also a particularly telling episode for the Scott and Allison arc, because we get two pretty emotional scenes where Allison lays it all out exactly what Scott is to her. In the first scene, she begs Lydia to keep silent about the situation they just escaped at Scott’s, which Lydia doesn’t have a grasp on anyway. Allison explains how breathless she is at the sight of Scott and that she can’t wait to be with him when she sees him, and none of this (about Derek) can come out. Lydia is moved but also admits that she’s never had a relationship like that.
In the second instance, when Scott questions Allison’s loyalty because her dad showed up right after Jackson transformed, she rather seriously pledges her troth to him—that he’s much more than a high school boyfriend to her. He thinks she’s talking about college and she quickly makes it clear she’s talking about forever. I completely believe that Allison believes that but I didn’t get a bead from Scott that he’s right there with her yet. We know Allison is a year older than Scott and maybe that’s part of it. But I’d also like to know more about what her history was before she came to town.
On the Kanima front, after Jackson transforms, he fights it out with Derek (who we don’t see again after this scene), Papa Argent (who unloads a gun into him), and Scott while GPA watches. Then “Jacksima” gets away and climbs a wall and goes into a gay bar after Danny, who has restored the surveillance tape. This makes for a fairly hilarious scene where Stiles and Scott sneak into the club and Scott picks up an admirer while Stiles doesn’t. Jacksima strikes and paralyzes several of the clubgoers but doesn’t kill anyone.
The boys find an injured Jackson outside afterward and hustle him into Stiles’ jeep and then Stiles has to tell his dad why they were there. This is also pretty funny because Stiles starts into a very special conversation and his dad cuts him off with “You’re not gay,” and Stiles seems mildly hurt that he couldn’t pull it off. Then Stiles tells him he and Scott took Danny out because he was recovering from a breakup and his dad is proud of them for being good friends.
Then we have the Jackson deprogramming scenes with Stiles and unfortunately Stiles texts Jackson’s parents too familiarly, which rings a bunch of bells that Jackson isn’t sending the texts, so they move Jackson (in a stolen police van) out to the woods and that goes fine until he starts to transform and a distracted Allison and Scott don’t see him escape.
As for Lydia, she’s still hallucinating about the Alpha in terrifying ways. The newbie student comes calling at her house to pick her brain and she winds up at Allison’s. Turns out she knows enough of the bestiary language (after being bored with Traditional Latin, she moved onto Archaic Latin, to which Allison asks, “How smart ARE you?”) that she gives Allison a different take than the guidance counselor that the Kanima seeks a master, not a friend. And true to that, at the end of “Venomous,” when Jacksima has fled Scott’s, he encounters a car on the road and touches webbed hand to gloved hand through the window but we don’t see the driver before he drives away, only a bumper sticker about Einstein. Guesses? The counselor or creepy science teacher.
In addition to her emotions being on high alert about Scott, Allison also has to deal with GPA being extra creepy. He asks her about Jackson, who’s technically “missing,” and keeps his hands on her neck to gauge her pulse as she responds. She of course fails and then jumps up on the defensive that he’s being inappropriate. Also creepy? GPA has installed cameras all over the school, and Mama Argent shows up as a sub teacher to keep an eye on Allison with Scott. When she tries to play good parent and commiserate about the goofy girls who go to school with Allison only obsessing on prom, Allison asks why she can’t do that too, and her mother says that’s fine with any other boy but Scott but don’t make them kill a 16-year old boy (i.e. Scott). I so want to see what happens when Allison snaps and I hope it’s in defense of Scott and not against him.
Finally, when Allison, Scott, and Stiles are faced with an escaped Jacksima, they decide to come clean to Papa Argent and the sheriff about everything, and Scott’s even ready to wolf out to prove they’re not kidding, but they find Jackson and his dad already in the police station. We don’t follow Allison home so we don’t know yet what she may or may not have admitted. Oh, and Danny’s tablet with the unscrambled video is missing.
Also a tangential thread—Scott’s almost failing his sophomore year. Not sure what that’s relevant to but they stopped the action for a minute for his mother to have a conversation with him about it.
All in all, I found “Frenemy” a much stronger episode than “Venomous” and a lot of that has to do with Derek and his posse not being clearly defined yet. Right now they’re just a bunch of hormonal ragers, which I greet with my very best “bored now.” I’m open to them weaving into the show, but right now their arc isn’t as strong or interesting as that of our core characters. We’re halfway through the season, so they have time to get it together.
Aside from that, I am still really enjoying the season. One funny aside—similar to TVD, I‘m sort of distracted by how overdressed they all are. I didn’t think Atlanta (standing in for SoCal) ever got THAT cold at night.
Photo Courtesy of MTV