Teen Wolf: “Chaos Rising” 
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Teen Wolf: “Chaos Rising” 

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Teen Wolf

“Chaos Rising” 

Season 3, Episode 2

In tonight’s episode, the villains spring a trap on Scott and Derek, Boyd re-enters the picture, several new wrinkles are introduced to the show’s werewolf mythology, and Allison comes dangerously close to learning a terrible truth about her dead mother. Also, Coach Finstock is back. But the big news is that Stiles almost gets him some. To help get Scott’s mind off all their soul-destroying troubles and miseries—did I mention that Coach Finstock is back?—Stiles drags him to the birthday party of his old friend Heather, who has apparently done nothing since they saw each other but grow up. Scott wants to know “what kind of party” this is going to be. It’s a rager, and at its center is Heather, who announces that what she wants for her birthday is “to not be a 17-year-old virgin.” She thinks Stiles might be her man. Well, not her man in that sense, but as a good friend she sees infrequently who has no flexibility issues, she would like him to be her first. When a friend asks if she wouldn’t rather lose her virginity to someone she loves, Heather scoffs: “When I fall in love, I want to be good at it.” I hope that whoever came up with that line tried it out a few times in real life before throwing it away on this show.

Heather pulls Stiles down into her parents’ wine cellar, puts the offer on the table, and in what looks like the first serious planning misstep of her young life, sends him back upstairs to swipe a condom from her brother’s room. As soon as Stiles leaves, it’s as if poltergeists take over the room, and they’re apparently members of the temperance league. Wine bottles start flying around the room and crashing to the floor, reminding Heather, too late, to always wear shoes when you go down to the wine cellar to ask your old play-date friend from second grade to initiate you into womanhood. Then things appear to calm down, but that just means we’re in the eye of the storm, because suddenly, the transom window above Heather flies open, and something unseen pulls her, screaming, out into the darkness. Then Stiles returns, condom in hand, looks at all the broken glass on the floor of the empty room, and figures, huh, she must have changed her mind and left her own birthday party to go hang out somewhere with her other friends. I guess he’s just not that into her.

This episode also marks the welcome return of Dr. Deaton, the mystery vet. Isaac still has vital information in his head that the poor cluck can’t manage to dislodge by himself, so to help him out, Doc, Scott, and Derek submerge him in a tub of freezing water. He has to go into a trance in a “half-transformed” state, and to pull that off, Doc explains, he has to be “nearly dead.” (He has to say “nearly dead” because if he says “mostly dead,” whoever you’re watching the episode with will be doing Billy Crystal imitations and going “Inconceivable!” for the next 30 minutes, and you’ll probably miss something important.) “It’s safe though, right?” asks Isaac. I don’t know if this is the kind of thing that automatically wins you a scholarship to Julliard, but give Daniel Sharman credit: It can’t be easy to deliver a line like that in response to hearing the phrase “mostly dead” and not burst into giggles.

The big climax comes in the vault of an abandoned bank, where the villains have arranged for a showdown between Scott and Derek, in one corner, and, in the other, Boyd and a woman named Cora. (Cora, Derek explains, is his sister. He is very surprised to see her, because Derek, being Derek, had just naturally assumed she was dead.) The bad guys have been keeping them out of the moonlight and denying them the chance to transform for the last three full moons. Good-guy werewolf characters in horror fiction have traditionally hated transforming so much that you might think they’d been doing them a favor, but you would be wrong: As Uncle Peter explains, the longer a werewolf goes without transforming, the wilder and more uncontrollably dangerous he’ll be when he does transform, kind of like when a Vulcan reaches the end of his seven-year mating cycle and Heather doesn’t return his calls. (Death, by the way, has been good for Uncle Peter; he’s returned from the afterlife as a dependable dispenser of dry putdowns and one-liners, and he brings out the best in Derek, especially when Derek and anyone who’s handy are discussing how much they don’t like him.) 

Boyd and Cora are so dangerous that Derek and Scott are willing to allow their enraged opponents to tear them to pieces rather than break the protective barrier they’ve set up and unleash them on the world. Luckily, Allison happens by and breaks the barrier herself rather than stand by and watch her ex-boyfriend get torn apart like fresh bread while rending the air with his dying screams, so maybe she still has feelings for him or something. This lively episode—which, coming on the heels of last week’s season premiere, may confirm that this show looks less like a public access series with money than it ever has—comes to an end with Lydia, sitting up in her bed, screaming. Did she just get a psychic flash and realize how close she came to losing Stiles to some hussy? Stay tuned.

Stray observations:

  • For the moment, Heather’s fate is up in the air, along with the other current unsolved mysteries of Teen Wolf—including some that, depending on the whims of the casting director and some of the actors, may never be solved, such as whether Michael Hogan’s character from last season is alive or dead, and why when Jackson (played by the now-departed and much-missed Colton Haynes) turned into a werewolf, he had blue eyes.  My favorite of these: I’ve read on the Internet that Uncle Peter’s motive in pulling off his own resurrection remains “unknown.” Like any guy who’s that big an asshole would need a reason to come back from the dead to piss everybody off some more.
  • Feeling frisky, Lydia eyes the werewolf twins, who are doing what they do—i.e., just standing in the corner, looking hunky without saying anything or projecting much in the way of personality—and, her eyes misting over slightly, purrs, “I want one.” Allison, still minoring in unnecessary questions, asks, “Which one?” Lydia looks at her funny: “The straight one, of course.”