Last week’s episode, which was confidently over-the-top in a way that worked, was a lot better than this week’s, which at its worst was both confusing and dull: I couldn’t figure out what was supposed to be going on, and the fact that I didn’t really care provided minimal consolation. It’s too bad, because there were points when the elements seemed on the verge of really clicking, as when the Argents and Derek’s werewolf posse set out to hunt the shapeshifter and found themselves on a collision course. It’s Chris Argent who gets to officially declare that match-up a win for his side, asking Derek if he really thought it was a good idea to have brought “claws to a gun fight.” Meanwhile, Gerard continues to look fit and threatening and to look for a strategic moment when the camera is on him, so he can shovel pills into his mouth in a way that hollers “Plot point!”
They’re not the main players, though. That dishonor falls to the easily distracted Scott and his buddy Stiles, who is in desperate need of some fresh material. (Neither Lydia nor Jackson are any help; she’s M.I.A., and he’s in a bug-eyed zombie trance throughout.) After a tutorial from Seth Gilliam’s Mystery Vet—who explains that their mission is “to catch two people, the puppet and the puppeteer,” and that damage inflicted on one will affect the other, like the Corsican brothers—our heroes set out to trap the shapeshifter. They’re armed with drugs that make the possessed Jackson easier to control and some magic dust that will contain the perimeter, and the main source of complication is that Stiles runs out of magic dust and the drug wears off. How lame do you have to be to keep your adventure barreling along to the next chapter by making your heroes too inept to bring enough supplies?
To give Scott some credit, he has reason to be distracted, what with his girlfriend’s terrifying, henna-haired mother giving him that stare of hers that could frost over Hell while sharpening pencils in a way that would make Sigmund Freud cross his legs. The site of the big showdown is a secret electronica warehouse party where the shapeshifter’s next designated target will be in attendance, so to throw Mom off the scent, Scott urges Allison to go there as Matt’s date, and even kiss the fish-lipped bastard, if necessary. Crystal Reed’s responses in this scene are so uncharacteristically hard to read that I thought maybe she was supposed to be doped up on something herself, but maybe she’s just young, confused, and in love.
It doesn’t matter; Scott, the poor sap, allows Allison to give him a kiss so as to buck her up before sending her off to endure the company of another handsome young man—a really hot, lingering kiss, the kind that melts the snow right off the sidewalks—and Allison’s mom sees them, because like Chickenman, she’s everywhere! She’s everywhere! At the climax, with all the other characters shooting it out or holed up having Twin Peaks-level-weird interrogations of the gaga Jackson, and the action in need of all the tightening and focusing it can get, damned if Ma doesn’t go full-on Bond villainess, knocking Scott out (by the subtle method of plowing into him with her car) and hauling him off to a quiet spot where she can quietly murder him. “What are you doing?” Scott mumbles, sprawled face-down, and she flashes a big dominatrix smile as she replies, “Isn’t it obvious? I’m killing you.” Her murder weapon is some kind of aromatic wolfsbane potpourri that’s meant to simulate the effects of a lethal asthma attack. To watch Tyler Posey trying to credibly look as if he can’t just get up and walk out of the room because he’s breathed in too many wolfsbane fumes is to see an actor who’s been handled an impossible mission and has decided to just run out the clock and hope the next script is better.
- The most entertaining part of watching this episode tonight was the commercial featuring Tyler Posey and Crystal Reed, in character, at a drive-in horror movie. (They use their car’s search engine to go look for something more fun to do.) It’s nice to see them getting to do something normal.
- Trying to remind his daughter which side he’s on, Chris Argent takes Allison to look at some dead bodies and reminisces about when Gerard told him the facts of life about those who are fated to be werewolves and those who are fated to hunt down their hairy asses. “Why us? Why our family? Quoting Winston Churchill, ‘The price of greatness is responsibility.’" So to add to everything else about this episode that’s a bummer, now I know that Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben was just misquoting Winston Churchill.