Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Teen Wolf: “Echo House”

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A lot of stuff happens this week, and not all of it is compelling on the same level. It may even be that too much stuff is happening. But the important thing is, a young woman plants a kiss on the Stiles-monster. Stiles, true to form, reacts by acting if that was her first kiss ever, which is awkward of him, though it does give her the chance to confirm that, yep, it sure was. Just before the kiss, Stiles’ new friend is complaining that her hands are cold, and Stiles laces his own fingers around them and gently warms them up, in a way that makes it absolutely clear that this is not intended as a move. That sexy-male-virgin thing is devastating for those who can pull it off.

The big makeout scene is set in a basement of Eichen House (nickname: Echo House), which is Beacon Hills’ answer to Arkham Asylum. At the end of last week’s episode, the fox-demon called the Nogitsune had taken full possession of Stiles, but Dr. Deaton managed to shoot him full of extract of lichen. This, it turns out, is not a cure; the doc ruefully confesses that it’ll “wear off in a matter of days”—so Stiles volunteers to have himself checked into the booby hatch, so that he won’t be able to cut up and cause problems for his friends and family when the spirit returns. Stiles manfully keeps his composure as he settles into his new surroundings, even when a patient hangs himself practically in front of him. The same cannot be said for his father, who panics when, during the checking-in process, he realizes that they’ve forgotten Stiles’ pillow. While Stiles urges his dad to cool it, Sheriff Stilinski babbles about wanting to rush home and return with the precious cushion: “You’re never going to be able to sleep without it.” Leave it a parent to make the process of voluntarily checking yourself into a mental hospital more embarrassing.

The loony bin turns out to be a bit of a Teen Wolf reunion center. The mysterious Ms. Morrell, last seen shoveling exposition with both hands toward the end of the summer, 2013 season, is here, having abandoned her (pretend?) high school teaching career for one as a (pretend?) therapist. So is Malia the were-coyote. That storyline had seemed to have a happy ending, but no such luck: Not only has she been consigned to the cracker factory since regaining her human form, she misses her four-legged form and wants nothing more than to be a coyote woman again. Stiles is also plagued by visions of the Fluke-mummy slithering about the premises, taunting him, though he hasn’t come up with any new riddles worth sharing. There’s also a new character, Oliver, a twitchy nut who shares a room with Stiles. He basically serves as  oddball sidekick to Stiles, thus confirming that Stiles is now pulling double duty, serving as this season’s Big Bad and as its real hero, too.

That leaves Scott holding his end up by arranging for a mass assault on the armored car containing the murdered yakuza’s prosthetic finger which, in turn, contains the scroll that the heroes need to conquer the Nogitsune. (Look, if you’ve come in late, just smile and nod, all right?) Scott and the Alpha Twins have to defeat the big bruiser Kincaid in order to lay claim to it, and before he goes down, Kincaid sneers at Scott: “You have the eyes of an Alpha, but where’s the strength?” That turns out to be the twins’ cue to jump in and kick the guy’s ass, which, if I were Scott, I would find almost as embarrassing as having my dad tell the people in charge of deciding whether I receive electroshock that I can’t sleep without my My Little Pony pillow. But I get the impression that Scott is supposed to get full credit for the success of the heist because he planned it, and also that he proves his inner strength and fitness to command the pack by his decision to let Kincaid live. Meanwhile, Stiles and Malia have their make-out session interrupted by Oliver, who knocks them out, trusses them out, and declares his intention to take a power drill to both their heads, all of which indicates that he still has a hell of a lot to learn about being a sidekick. By the end of the hour, Stiles is marching about with a smug, sinister smile that indicates that the Nogitsune is back in the driver’s seat, so maybe Oliver will get an education in serving a master more engaging and suavely evil than himself. Those who were disappointed by the revisionist portrait of Renfeld in NBC’s Dracula may yet get to see a crazy assistant villain groveling and eating flies before this TV season is over.

Stray observations:

  • Oliver, walking Stiles through the grounds and identifying the other patients according to their dementias: “You’d be surprised how many Jesuses we get.”
  • Allison’s father is in jail, where he receives a visit from a mysterious woman who represents the werewolf-killing guild, and who has issues with him. Presumably this is the start of something that the show will break a sweat trying to shoehorn into the last four episodes of the season.
  • Dr. Deaton, apologizing for his inability to easily translate a passage written in a foreign tongue: “My Japanese isn’t great.” Coming from him, that’s pretty disillusioning. The next thing you know, it’ll be revealed that he got to Japan last week by taking a plane, instead of just flapping his arms.