Teen Wolf Season 3 “Echo House” Review


Previously on Teen Wolf, this sweet, precious – albeit possessed by a demon spirit – cargo

was stirring up the kind of pain

confusion

and chaos

that would make Petyr “Chaos is a Ladder” Baelish over on Game of Thrones proud.

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From the Creepy Littlefinger Tumblr.

So when we learned that Stiles was voluntarily checking himself into Eichen House, I was intrigued. On the surface, it looked like a loving friend and son desperately trying to keep himself from causing any further harm to those around him. However, I was equally concerned that Eichen House was the perfect place for an evil, dark spirit who thrives on pain and suffering. What would likely be a difficult place for most people, would be like an all you can eat buffet to the nogitsune. I was trying to prepare myself all day Moon Day for a dark, twisted episode that was certain to cause nightmares. Instead, we got an okay episode that didn’t quite tug at the heartstrings like I thought it would. Let’s get those moments out of the way now . . .

Pow! Right in the feels.


Gif from pandawhale.com.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
All Teen Wolf gifs are from the show tumblr, Never Love a Wild Thing.

The episode got off to an emotional start as Scott, Stiles and Sheriff Stilinski arrived at Eichen House. Linden Ashby was great at capturing the grief and worry of a father over his son – who he believes is suffering from the same condition that killed his wife. The moment he realized that they’d forgotten Stiles’ special pillow was heartbreaking in all the right ways.

Of course, it was also moving to see Scott realize that Sheriff Stilinski was suspending his belief of the supernatural and convinced that Stiles was suffering from the brain condition that took Claudia’s life, which also meant that the Sheriff did not believe that Scott’s pack could solve this problem. This had to have been particularly difficult for Scott, whose character has been built on a foundation of helping others. What good is it being a True Alpha if you can’t save one of the people you love most? Equally touching was Scott’s realization that Stiles was voluntarily checking himself into Eichen house, which in theory should have been Stiles turning the tables and doing what needed to be done to save everyone else. Of course, as we learned later, things didn’t go as planned.

The kick in the feels, for me, were done by the time Stiles witnessed a horrifying incident, met his new roommate and spoke about the pillow again. After that scene, the episode took a decidedly different turn and tone . . .

OCEANS 11 – BEACON HILLS STYLE

I’m always a fan of crowd sourcing solutions to supernatural problems, so it was great to see Deaton and Chris exchanging notes about the vet’s trip to Japan and the location of a secret scroll that might hold the key to getting the nogitsune out of Stiles without killing him. The pursuit of the tiny scroll led to an Oceans 11-like plot to take down an armored truck holding federal evidence from Katashi’s death – including the silver finger where the scroll was hidden.

This plan was completely over the top, felt a little random, added to the sense that this episode was mostly filler – but I didn’t hate it. Nor did I hate the completely ridiculous confrontation that followed once Kincade interrupted the “heist.” Lydia as the mastermind behind the plan was lots of fun, particularly as she and Allison kept reminding the twins that the goal was to distract – not attack.

I also appreciated that the writers didn’t bog the story down with unnecessary tension between Allison and Kira, once Scott added her to the heist team. I think it’s safe to say that Allison and Scott are comfortable with the idea of moving on – for now. Teen Wolf is, after all, a show about high school students. On their behalf, I will reserve their right to change their minds somewhere down the road. It wasn’t exactly a kick in the feels, but planning such an elaborate caper without Stiles, Isaac and Isaac’s scarf was bittersweet. It looks like it will be awhile before the entire pack reunites, as the scroll did not provide the answers the group needed. And there is the issue of the nogitsune taking full control over Stiles by the episode’s end.

Interestingly, the heist helped warm me up more to the idea of the twins in Scott’s group. I’ll never forget their misdeeds of 3A, but they deserve credit for being by Scott’s side during this crisis. Eithan and Aiden now know what the oni want and it’s not them. Although anyone could become collateral damage to the nogitsune’s need for chaos, there’s nothing stopping them from leaving Beacon Hills and letting Scott’s pack handle this mess on their own. I begrudgingly admit that the twins were one of the good guys last night. And sure, they wanted to kill Kincade, but I actually think that might have been the right call. Kincade does not look like the type to me that would go away quietly because Scott was kind enough to spare his life. Time will tell.

BACK TO THE HOUSE HAUNTED BY ECHOS

The events at Eichen House were the parts of the episode I struggled with most. It wasn’t all bad – at least we got a long overdue return of Ms. Morrell.

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The moment that we learned that Stiles was being troubled by the ajar door in his mind and an evil demon spirit taking him over, I suspected we’d check-in with Ms. Morrell and learn what she’s been up to after taking a cane to the chest from the Demon Wolf. As always, Ms. Morrell remains committed to maintaining balance.

As an aside, I could write an entire article about the job duties performed by Ms. Morrell and Melisa McCall. Seriously, these women show no limits in the types of jobs they can perform.

Of course, I’m curious about Morrell’s new job at Eichen House. I think we can all agree that her placement there was not coincidental, which leads me to wonder if Deaton asked her to go there and keep an eye on Stiles. Even if I was willing to accept that, it doesn’t quite explain why Deaton would trust Morrell to be involved in this situation. He knows that his sister has an unwavering dedication to maintaining balance and does not let her feelings or sentiment get in the way of that. He would also know, better than most, that if Stiles became a serious threat Morrell would not hesitate to put him down. In fact, I’d bet that she’d be quicker to do it than Chris, the twins or Derek – all of whom believe that murder of one is necessary to save others.

Deaton, on the other hand, is not unlike the Teen Wolf working for him. Their relationship is part of what has made Scott’s transformation from teen to Teen Wolf to True Alpha enjoyable. I’ll assume that Deaton figured it was better to take his chances while he and the pack worked on finding a solution. If I’m being honest, her placement felt like a bit of shoehorning a popular recurring character into a storyline in order to prevent going an entire season without seeing her.

HAUNTED BY BAD USE OF TROPE

And then there was this . . .

I’m willing forgive shoehorning Morrell into the show this week, but I’m much less forgiving of Malia’s placement in the episode. For some reason, which was never revealed, Malia Tate/Hale was also at Eichen House and not at all grateful to Scott and Stiles for shifting her back to human form and returning her home to her father. Missing her fur and longing to be back out in the wild, Malia wants to return back to her coyote form, but has no idea how to do it. Best guess is that this is what led her to Eichen House. I only assume it was voluntarily because she departed the facility without incident and with a tip from Morrell about finding Scott.

Scott has a LOT going on right now and I hope things don’t get bogged down with Malia’s human/shifter crisis. Maybe Lydia and Allison’s discovery that Malia is Peter’s daughter last week, which was completely random and still unexplained, will serve some purpose next week. Send her ass to her daddy and let him teach his daughter the ways of the shifter. By the way, do werewolves produce werecoyotes? Maybe the answer is related to the identity of Malia’s mother. You know what? I don’t care. I will not criticize the show if they send Malia over to Peter and we don’t see the two again until season 4. There is simply no time for this.

Speaking of time . . . Stiles and Malia spent less than a full day bonding and somehow that culminated in him losing his virginity. There is a lot of debate over whether or not the pair “went all the way” or just made it to “second base.” After a few re-watches, I think the two had sex. Frankly, I don’t care what they did. Whether it was kissing, heavy petting or intercourse, one thing was clear – it was poorly timed. This was horrible use of the good ol’ “the world is ending, so we might as well have sex” tv trope. I took issue with the show for doing this in 3A when Derek was having sexy times with Jennifer while everyone else thought he was dead. Derek barely knew Jennifer and the sight of him playing kissy face with her while everyone’s lives were on the line was just infuriating. Or as I noted in a 3A review:

Somehow, the writers managed to find a much worse way to demonstrate ill-timed hooking up between two characters with little to no real knowledge of each other. Look, I’m no prude. We’ve seen Lydia bring home a random guy that looked like Jackson – but it was clear that it was a fling. Here, the writers are trying to give more significance by creating this tenuous at best connection between Stiles and Malia because of her placement in the supernatural world and to a lesser extent, by revealing to viewers that she is Peter Hale’s daughter. None of this, however, is enough for this to work.

The Stiles/Malia “hook up” is further complicated by the fact that we know Malia spent 8 years of her life in werecoyote form. Aside from being cold and her guilt over what happened to her family, we got no real insight as to how being in were-form for so long impacted her mental development. I don’t think the writers intend to explore the issue – at least not now. Understandably so, as there really is no time this season. Without that insight, Stiles and Malia having sex raises some troubling questions of consent that I guess the Teen Wolf writers want the audience to look past for the moment. I’m not sure I can take that leap, but my issues with this entire storyline will not sully my otherwise favorable impression of the second half of this season.

There has been a lot of outcry from fans about this and the show’s overall handling of mental health issues. The show issued a very stern warning to viewers at the start of the episode, but many are complaining that the issue wasn’t just the potential triggers – it was also the depiction of mental health facilities in general. I don’t anticipate that the show will deal with all of the concerns raised by fans last night, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we get some hindsight context about Malia’s mental development in season 4.

WRAP IT UP!
Okay – one more issue on the Stiles/Malia relations.

If they did have sex, most would agree that it was very likely unprotected sex. Although Teen Wolf is not responsible for teaching kids about safe sex, the show has done a good job at highlighting it in past seasons. I’m sure no one can forget the sight of Scott’s huge box of condoms that was nearly empty. We also watched Stiles scramble for a condom in 3A when he thought he was going to get lucky with a childhood friend. I particularly liked the scene in season 1 when Allison went through her Aunt Kate’s belongings in search of a condom, which was a reminder that the responsibility does not solely fall on the guy. I’m not asking for an after school special, I’m just asking for consistency. Given the split in opinions on whether or not Stiles and Malia actually had sex, the show could patch this issue up by saying they didn’t. We’ll see.

Other supernatural thoughts, observations and a wee bit of speculation . . .

*Gif from Gif-A-Day.

– I need a wiki or “Books for Dummies” on how werewolf strength works. It was at times comedic and other times tragic to watch Kincade beat the stuffing out of Scott. I’m guessing that being the Alpha of a motley crew of hunters, banshees, kitsunes and displaced Omegas does not give Scott the same strength he would get if he actually went out and bit a few people.

– I’m sure it is a misdirect, but I want to officially go on the record with my objection to Stiles becoming a werewolf. It’s one of those things Jeff Davis promised us we wouldn’t see. He also said we’d never see Stiles kiss a girl or play lacrosse.

– If Stiles makes it out of 3B alive, exactly how does he move on past the murder and pain he caused while possessed by the nogitsune? It’s not his fault and I don’t think that he’ll have a hard time reintegrating himself with his family and friends. However, I wonder how they explain everything to those not in on the supernatural secret – especially Rafael McCall. This could actually be a very compelling storyline, if the team behind the Motel California episode took the lead. Just FYI, that episode was written by Christian Taylor (according to a recent Wolf Watch). Last night’s episode was written by Jeff Davis. Teen Wolf isn’t exactly known for exploring consequences. Case in point – Ethan and Aiden. They went from murderers to high school students and only have to be reminded about their bad acts every now and then.

– I would totally watch a spin off where Deaton, Derek and Chris go around investigating and solving supernatural mysteries.

– Speaking of Chris, the hunters from Latin America are back and not pleased with Allison’s decision to change the code. Much like the Malia storyline, I suspect this is planting a seed for season 4. No one has time for these hunters and their grievances right now. Although, I will forever think of Chris as Kristoff now.

– On the topic of other season 4 seeds being planted, does anyone think Meredith (patient on the phone at Eichen House) might be the other banshee? Like the other hunters, Jeff Davis has shared that there is another banshee lurking about this season.

– Returning to my need for a “Supernatural for Dummies” guide, are we to conclude that Kira’s sword-wielding abilities are part of her being a kitsune?

– One last thought on the time spent at Eichen House – this episode could have been much more compelling if it focused on Stiles and Claudia. The similarities in their condition is much more compelling than a girl we’ve seen in one episode and think is the daughter of Peter Hale.

Sorry for the long review, Teen Wolf fans. I had a lot to say about “Echo House” – mostly because of my mixed reception to it. As always, I’d love to hear what you think. What do you think about the sword that was with the nogitsune, which I’m pretty sure Malia left with at the end of the episode? Also, enjoy the trailer for the final four episodes of the season. I can’t believe we’re so close to the end! I really hope the writers stick the landing on this part mythology, part history lesson as we explore more about the Japanese internment camps during World War II.