Teen Wolf Season 3 “Riddled” Review – S.O.S.

Fellow Teen Wolf fans, let’s gather ’round the Nemeton, join hands and conjure up whatever supernatural powers we have in an effort to Save Our Stiles (S.O.S.). What . . . an . . . episode! I haven’t been hit so hard in the feels by Teen Wolf since Motel California in the first half of this season. In fact, let’s just get those out of the way now.

Pow! Right in the feels.

Gif from pandawhale.com.

In no particular order:

This, by the way, nearly killed me – in a good way.

Lalalalalalalala. I can’t hear you!

I found myself really distracted at times by how great these two are together.

This moment of brotherly love gave my everything I needed. Thank you, Talia Hale, for guiding your son from the great supernatural beyond.

Riddle me this . . .

Okay, let’s get down to the business of this week’s episode. As a general observation, I can’t say enough good things about Dylan O’Brien as an actor. We knew that he could do funny, witty and sarcastic, but the instinct Jeff Davis had to push O’Brien to do dark, twisted, tortured and evil has really paid off. I want Stiles to be okay and I certainly don’t want Kira’s mom to murder him in order to stop the dark spirit, but until we get to that point I’m going to wholeheartedly enjoy watching O’Brien dabble in the dark side.

In addition to the great performances, “Riddled” really felt like Teen Wolf hitting its stride. The episode made great use of almost all of the cast members without it feeling forced. In particular, I’m glad the writers didn’t feel it necessary to have both twins involved in the search for Stiles. The major players all made sense. Okay, I got a wee bit annoyed when Aiden wanted to spend time reflecting on how much Stiles liked Lydia, but even that feels right for the character. Being a good guy is new to him.

My only frustration about the characters featured in “Riddled” was the absence of Dr. Deaton. We got confirmation that Scott has been seeking counsel from his emissary via text messaging. Stiles and Deaton have developed their own relationship this season and I would like to see the writers build on that by actually having Deaton present. Further, I am a huge fan of Seth Gilliam and would like to see his lovely face from time to time.

Interestingly, Derek has been the voice of supernatural knowledge in Dr. Deaton’s absence. I love the idea of Derek using his “trade secrets” to help Scott, but I would prefer it not to be at the cost of also having Dr. Deaton involved in analyzing our weekly supernatural mysteries.

Along with Derek, the writers have continued to make good use of Lydia without it becoming too gimmicky. We learned during the death ritual last year that Stiles and Lydia have a connection that is deeper than his unrequited love for her. “Riddled” deepened the bond between the duo in two key ways. First, we saw Lydia being a good friend to Stiles. I’ve never questioned Lydia caring about Stiles as a friend, but it was nice to see her sense of urgency and concern. Second, there was a very interesting parallel between the disappearance of both characters on the show. Both of them disappeared mysteriously on the “coldest night of the year” in Beacon Hills. Lydia got an opportunity to return the favor to Stiles from season 2 when he was heavily involved in looking for her.

Everyone has it, but no one can lose it.

We might not be able to lose a shadow, but I’m sure hoping that Stiles can lose evil, possessed by dark spirits Stiles. If Scott’s pack can’t figure out a solution, it looks like Kira’s mom has a few ideas in mind – none of them that bode well for the sweet, witty, loveable Stiles who has been taken over.

There were some pretty serious words exchanged between Stiles and Kira’s mother. She’s not deterred by the “host” and Evil Stiles isn’t afraid of her fireflies. If the Oni can’t defeat Stiles, will Kira be charged with the task?

Other supernatural thoughts and observations . . .

*Gif from Gif-A-Day.

– Is it safe to say that Stiles is the new Isaac in terms of suffering and pain?

– Who turned off Allison’s phone?

– I’m loving Jeff Davis’ use of both mythology and history in this second half of the season.

– Rafael McCall made a nice step in the right direction by helping find Stiles. On the Wolf Watch after show, Jeff Davis indicated that we still have a long way to go before we stop thinking about Rafael as being an asshat and total pain in the butt. This is probably not surprising to fellow Teen Wolf fan, Melody Paris.

– Speaking of Rafael, looks like he was a bit of a drinker. Interesting tidbit. I wonder if he and Sheriff Stilinski were drinking buddies?

– Jeff Davis shared on Wolf Watch that Lydia is not the only banshee in town. Interesting. Is it possible that we’ll add another parent to the supernatural mix and discover that Lydia’s mom, who conveniently popped up at Beacon Hills High this season, is also a banshee?

– I like Scott and Lydia together – in a platonic sense. It’s fun when a cast is talented enough that you can switch characters around with good results.

– We got a little closure with regards to Cora’s whereabouts after the fire at the Hale house.

– Although the night truly belonged to Stiles, honorable mention should go to his bat for expanding its role from weapon of choice to major clue in the demonic possession mystery.

– I think it’s safe to say that Kira’s mom knows something is going on with her daughter. That look after she screwed in the replacement bulb said it all.

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– Are we really done with Kate Argent haunting Allison? Was she the one playing games with Allison’s phone?

– Likewise, are we done with Scott’s fear of becoming a monster? Have they both closed the door opened by the Nemeton?

– No Peter again this week. I don’t think he was necessary to the story, but it does make me question the character’s utility in general. It has been hinted that next season will be all about the banshee, which might require more Peter. We’ll see.

– That bandaged thing was just gruesome and the stuff of which nightmares are made.

– Stiles putting Lydia’s Nemeton drawing in a frame was so Stiles and so freaking adorable.

Until next Moon Day!

Sound off below on last night’s episode and let me know any theories you have after “Riddled.” Stiles, Evil Stiles and I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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*Teen Wolf gifs courtesy of the show tumblr, Never Love a Wild Thing.

  • chrisjozo

    Ha ha ha. Very funny pictures. While in general I think we need more Deaton in this case we really needed Ms. Morell. Stiles needs some serious counseling. She’s the one who has talked with Stiles about his mental state and the one who told what to do when he feels like he’s going through hell. Plus I just like seeing Bianca Lawson.

    It’s funny though how they must not have wanted to pay Seth Gilliam to be in the episode yet still needed Deaton to be in it.

    I don’t think the Oni expected Stiles to put up such a strong fight for control of his mind. He thought he was getting the weakest person and while that may be true physically it’s not the case mentally. Plus I think the Oni wanted a host that no body would suspect and more importantly one he didn’t think they would be willing to kill.

    I love the standoff between Kira’s Mom and the Nogitsune. They were both very calm and yet each exuded power. Plus her mater of fact way of telling him she wouldn’t hesitate to kill his Stiles if she had to. Me thinks the gang better think up something quick.

    I think Lydia has more feelings for Stiles than she’s wiling to admit and it’s clouding her powers. I think she wants to be wrong. As Aiden stated, Lydia being right means Stiles is at risk of dying. I don’t think she can accept that fact. Agent McCall was successful because he thought clinically about the situation. He ignored Stiles verbal pleas and focused on the background of the case. Stiles sleepwalks and has nightmares what if they were combined.

    • I guess I’m lost a bit on the whole possession thing. I thought that Doug Jones character was possessed, and during the electrical thing the nogitsune got passed onto Stiles. My question is, did they want Stiles or were they after someone bigger and badder like Derek suggested: Scott or Kira? I’ve read some suggestions that the door open in Stiles mind let the nogitsune in and the electrical thing just unleashed it. Curious, very curious. I do want answers.

      Chris, I so agree, where the hell is Morrel?

      • It’s time to make some missing signs featuring Morell, Deaton and Peter Argent. I’m starting to think Talia shared a lot with her son and some of it might have been about Peter. I find it very curious that he disappeared shortly after Derek reached out to his mother.

        I also think you’re right about the connection between Stiles ajar door in his mind and the Nogitsune needing a host. If I think too hard about it, a lot of things had to fall into place for the Nogitsune, Kira and Stiles to be in the same place, but I’ll cut the writers some slack.

        • Correction: Peter Hale
          Also, where is Grandpa Argent? I miss seeing him in pain, because he deserves it. And with all this knowledge, right now he could be useful.

    • We definitely could use Morell. She does seem to have a keen insight into Stiles. I thought her scene with him towards the end of season 2 was great. It’s both funny and sad that they have reduced Seth Gilliam to a text message. I’m sure we’ll see at least one of them again as things continue to escalate. And yes, it’s always great to see the eternally youthful Bianca Lawson.

      I think you’re on to something in terms of why Stiles was chosen. The standoff between Kira’s mom (I really need to lookup her name) and the Nogitsune was great. Dylan O’Brien is spectacular at playing this alternate persona.

      I love your callback to looking at a situation clinically. How very Victoria Argent of you, chrisjozo. 🙂

  • You are so right, Jocelyn, I’m not impressed. He’s done one thing right, that doesn’t make up for all the shit he has put and is putting people through. Stiles doesn’t need the stress right now of his father losing his job, while Stiles is both losing his mind and is possessed. Seriously, dude, Agent Asshole needs to go!! If I’m completely honest with myself, I don’t want him to go. I would like to see some resolution for Scott, it can’t be easy with his dad back having to face whatever hell his father put him and his mother through in the past. We know from some comments in season 1 that they think they are better off without him in their lives. We know from how he treats Stiles, that he’s just an ass in a suit – I love, love, love their scenes together, so much snark! He isn’t helpful, he’s always at the wrong place at the wrong time (with one exception, I know), and he’s out to destroy our favorite father – Sheriff! No matter how much he annoys me, he’s a great foil. I love when they do things behind his back, like erasing the pictures on the phone or lying about what happened at the power plant. Of course the best scenes have been when he first arrived and kept pulling Stiles aside and Stiles just ran circles around him with wit and cleverness. As frustrating as he may be, one thing is for sure: he can’t leave until we get some answers.

    Kira’s mom is a bitch! Nothing annoys me more than lack of communication for no good reason. I’m specifically thinking of the recent reveal on The Tomorrow People about Stephen’s mom having powers. The stress she caused by not being upfront with her son was just ridiculous and completely unnecessary. I’m also reminded of the many times in the Harry Potter books when Harry or Dumbledore knew something and would not share it with the other. Had they just been honest, so many issues could have been resolved. The excuse: we are protecting them. But, Kira took out an entire power grid, her mom should be opening her mouth and vice versa. She and the town are in mortal danger, not sharing is causing people to be in much more danger. Scott learned this lesson in season 1 when his mom started dating Peter. If he could have told her right away who he was, imagine how much easier things could have been for him. I know, the writers excuse: drama.

    If you can’t tell, I’m deflecting my pain over what we saw Stiles, Scott, Sheriff and Melissa go through this episode, into anger against all those people who annoy me. For example: Aidan, what an arrogant dick. Chris, is a jackass for not just being upfront two weeks ago about the masked men. Lydia’s stupid powers are a freakin’ nuisance that don’t seem to work. Okay, okay, okay…I’ll focus and clam down. Maybe.

    Ah crap. This episode was so emotional, and I don’t like facing my emotions. They make great drama, but when you get so attached to these people – hours and hours and hours spent in their lives worrying about them – it’s hard. I know they are fictional, but we have invested in their lives and so what happens to them affects us. It was hard watching Stiles go through that experience of being stuck in a basement, but the moment I saw the mummy dude, I knew it was all in his head. The stuff in his head doesn’t scare me. They’ll solve that, Scott promised. It’s the heart that hurts. It’s when things touch us deeply. What killed me, has ripped my heart from chest is the amazingly acted, beautifully written, and extraordinarily directed scene in the hospital MRI room. Everyone involved….uh….it’s hard to describe because it was all so touching. I cried. No shame, how could you not cry when they hugged? I’m welling up now. I was brought right back to the same pain and sorrow we felt in Motel California when Scott nearly killed himself. Our connection to these characters and their connection to each other is so strong. Just. Simply. Amazing.

    Yeah, I know other things happened in the episode, like Kira is unintentionally the cause of all this, her mom is going to kill Stiles, and Derek is awesome, but eho cares once you’ve seen that devastated look on Sheriff’s face when the doc gave him the news, Melissa’s ashen face when it hits her that as much as she is a healer she can’t do anything to help here, the fear in Stiles eyes as he is explaining to Scott what they are looking for, or the steely determination on Scott’s in his voice about finding a solution. Damn, did anything else happen that can come close to the impact of that whole scene? Maybe next week I’ll be up to theorizing what’s going on. Until then, I’ll just grab a box of tissues and replay the episode, because it deserves many more rounds of viewing.

    • Brace yourself, Melody. I think I may have read somewhere that
      Rafael will be back next season. I think the actor may have confirmed
      it on Twitter. I try not to be too spoilery, but I’m sharing anyway so
      you can work to a place of begrudging acceptance. I completely
      understand how you feel about him. I have the same strong feelings
      about a character on Sons of Anarchy that I wish would have died in
      season 1. As you noted, at least his continued presence will mean we get some answers. I still find it very intriguing that he was a heavy drinker, considering how judgmental he was about Sheriff Stilinski’s drinking.

      I feel your pain, Melody. It was a tough episode. I totally teared up when Scott and Stiles hugged. Dylan O’Brien has always been a strong actor, but I think Tyler Posey deserves a lot of credit. He has grown tremendously over three seasons. Jeff Davis promised us that Stiles would remain human, so I’m holding out hope that the pack will find a solution to this problem that keeps Stiles from dying or becoming a werewolf. Knowing the poor luck Stiles seems to have, he’d be the rare teen that would die from the bite.

      I’m going to give Kira’s mom two more episodes to spill the tea. In
      addition to keeping secrets from her daughter, I get the distinct
      impression that her husband is completely in the dark as well.

      And yes, Melissa Ponzio and Linden Ashby were SO good in the hospital
      scenes. There was a lot of good stuff in the episode, but those last 10
      minutes were just crazy.

      • NOOOOOO!!!!! Why does Jeff Davis hate me?!?!? Seriously, we don’t need Agent Asshole after this season. I want answers, I want snark from Stiles, but then again I also want him dead. I’m so conflicted.

        I’m curious, which SoA character?

        What I found interesting about his drinking, although it didn’t surprise me, was the continued connections between Stiles and Scott. In regards to their parents: both are being raised by single parents, had parents with drinking problems, have parents in law enforcement, and lost a parent (in one fashion or another) at a young age.

        I completely agree about the acting. Dylan is always amazing, and Tyler has grown into this incredible actor. Just watch him in “Frayed,” “Motel California,” “Riddled,” or so many others from season 3.

        • The SOA character is Wendy. Words cannot express how much I hate the character. It’s not really what she did in season 1 as it is the way the writers are forcing her into the conflict in the last two seasons. She’ll be back for the final season and I think I’m just going to FF her scenes.

          • Agreed, she is terrible. And for me it is because of what she did in the first season, nearly killing her kid and then abandoning her kid by trying to kill herself. I don’t care if Gemma gave her the stuff, Wendy made the choice to use it. They killed Tara, but Wendy is still around. Just doesn’t seem fair. Of course, this is SoA, nothing fair about it.

            • This pretty much sums up why I hate her. I’m also annoyed with the 180 the character did between season 5 and 6. In season 5, she was beginning to sound like the voice of reason. In season 6, she was weak, nostalgic for the club and blinded by her need for Gemma’s acceptance. Such a useless character.

  • chrisjozo

    I think Kira’s father knows exactly what her mother is. He told Scott he took his wife’s name because she was the last of a prestigious lineage and they didn’t want it to go extinct. I think he was alluding to the Kitsune heritage. Much like how Derek has his mother’s last name. I’m asuming people in their old town would have known what it meant to belong to Kira’s family.

    I get the sense that they were hoping to give her a normal life as long as possible. The overt attempts at getting her to make friends seemed like her dad was overcompensating. He knows his wife and daughter are different but doesn’t want her anymore isolated than she has to be.

    I don’t have a problem with Kira’s mom keeping secrets. Telling her when she’s too young to understand might have her blabbling to the wrong people. Obviously Kira is exhibiting powers now so she should be told but that works both ways. Kira hasn’t been in any hurry to share her secret with Mom either.

    • Great point about the father and the secrets. You know, do we know anything about Derek’s dad? I think Kira’s mom may say something soon, as I think Kira is part of her plan to fight the nogitsune.