TV Reviewer Katie Young growls her way through Teen Wolf season four, episode six ‘Orphaned’…
New alliances and shock deaths abound this week as we reach the midway point of the season. I’ve always preferred my Teen Wolf on the darker side, so this episode really delivered for me.
We open with a flashback to Kate Argent four weeks previously, finding a cassette tape in a car which tells her about the supposed power of the Triskelion, then jump back to present day and her interrogation and slaughter of a number of The Benefactor’s hired assassins. The scene is bloody and chilling, and serves as a timely reminder than this show can deliver the horror when it has a mind to.
Back at the school, the residents of Beacon Hills are dealing with the aftermath of Violet and Garrett’s attacks during the lacrosse match. Papas McCall and Stilinski take smirking Violet into custody, but Garrett is still on the run. It seems they are part of a murderous gang of teens known as The Orphans.
This harks back to last season and the events with the nogitsune at the WWII Japanese-American internment camp Oak Creek (which Eichen House was part of). While this plot twist is a little too convenient a nugget for my comfort, I do like the fact that the writers seem to be weaving the mythology from previous seasons together, and personally I loved the nogitsune storyline. I also love catching up with one of the show’s emotional anchors, Melissa McCall, who is having some very human problems of her own. Money is tight and Mama McCall is reduced to begging the electricity company not to cut power to the house, little suspecting that Scott has a holdall full of Violet and Garrett’s Benefactor cash stashed under his bed.Stiles and Derek rush Brett to Deaton to recover from effects of the wolfsbane poison, and in the throes of delirium Brett repeats the recurring Buddhist mantra we’ve heard Carrie the werewolf and other characters chant, about the three things which cannot remain hidden – the Sun, the Moon and the Truth. Luckily Deaton is well versed in Buddhism, as he is on every other subject known to man (and non-humans), and Derek realises Brett, Carrie and Demarco were all part of the same pack, led by the Japanese Alpha werewolf Satomi.
Liam is kidnapped by Garrett while out for a run. Garrett calls Scott and demands the money and Violet in exchange for ‘his boy’ Liam who, unbeknownst to Scott, is languishing in a deep well with wolfsbane poisoning. Garret tells Scott they need to ambush the vehicle transferring Violet to a federal facility. However, when they try to intercept the car, Kate has beaten them to it, and Garrett is impaled by one of Kate’s Berserkers. That’s not a euphemism. Scott also gets stabbed with a Berserker blade, but is healed by Deaton. There’s a moment when Deaton is leaning over Scott as he regains consciousness that seems like foreshadowing, and made me think perhaps Beacon Hills’ most wise veterinarian is not to be trusted after all. Could he be the mysterious Benefactor? It certainly would be an emotional blow at this stage in the game if one of Scott’s most trusted confidantes turned out to be a baddie.
While Stiles’ new squeeze is running about the woods with his best frenemy, he and first love, Lydia, show Parrish that there’s a $5m price tag on his head, but the deputy seems clueless as to why he’s even on the list. Nevertheless, he agrees to take Lydia and Stiles to Eichen House to see Meredith again so that she can help with the third and final cypher. Parrish blackmails the mean orderly from last year into letting them see Meredith, and my favourite light-hearted moment of the season so far is Stiles’ declaration, “I like you. I’m gonna keep you.” Further proof, if ‘twere needed, that Dylan O’Brien is worth his weight in gold. But once in her room, they find Meredith distressed and unwilling to help. When Lydia presses her, she screams so loud she makes Lydia’s ears bleed.Stiles, Scott and Lydia are absent from school and Derek is lurking in the corridors so it must be a day ending in ‘Y’. He uses his dwindling powers to telepathically pull Malia out of class. I love her attitude in this scene. Her “Yeah!” when the teacher asks, “Do you need to be excused?” is a perfect mix of guileless and sassy. I am starting to see how her and Stiles could have some genuinely brilliant interaction. Derek asks Malia’s help in tracking Brett’s pack to warn them about the dead pool, and they head off into the woods together. Malia has no luck scenting Brett and Derek explains that, conveniently, some werewolves can mask themselves, hence so many of them living anonymously and quite literally under their noses. Malia suggests they think more like Stiles and Derek, not one for political correctness apparently, shoots back “like a hyperactive spazz?” Maybe he’s just sore that Malia is the one growling and nipping at Stiles these days. Oh Derek. Jealousy is not pretty on you, baby. But Malia’s advice to ‘think like a detective’ works and Derek decides the Buddhist wolves might be hiding out at the furthest east point of the woods. Because Buddhists like being east…or something…On their way to check it out, they practically trip over a gruesome trail of dead werewolves. Malia’s “You don’t smell that?” expresses my own incredulity. Come on Derek! You may be losing your powers, but surely you can smell ten decomposing corpses lying a few feet away! Malia sensibly suggests that maybe all the Beacon Hills supernaturals should be getting the fuck out of Dodge just as Derek finds Braeden among the casualties, still alive.
Meanwhile Liam is having an epiphany in his well. He thinks about Scott (in soft focus) and decides to man up. Or wolf up. Whatever. He focuses his power and starts the climb to the top of the deep well.
Scott teams up with Papa Argent to track down Kate who is still having problems controlling her inner wolf. She sets her Berserkers on them, but stops them from actually killing her brother and flees. I have to say I am really enjoying the relationship between Scott and Chris these days. They are joined by their shared love and grief for Allison, and both actors are doing a lovely job of conveying their growing bond and the unspoken sorrow which hangs between them. They find Violet dead, but Chris assures a despairing Scott that there is still time to find and rescue Liam. Liam uses his new control over his shift to roar to his Alpha, and Scott & Papa Argent follow his howls to the well, were Scott pulls him out just before his strength fails. At least he does it with his hand rather than his teeth this time. Scott hugs Liam in an Alpha-Beta bonding moment, and I have to admit Tyler Posey is so tender in this scene, it unexpectedly tugs at the strings of my black heart.
Back in Lydia’s room, Stiles suggests maybe the third cypher might be someone who isn’t yet dead and Lydia harnesses her banshee powers to type the name in her subconscious – Derek! Seeing Meredith’s name on the third part of the list, and feeling bad for having pressured her, Lydia calls Parrish only to be told Meredith has hanged herself in her room.
Let’s take a minute to mourn the loss of poor Meredith. Not only was the girl inexplicably saddled with Art Garfunkel’s hair, but she lived under the burden of terrible knowledge, which drove her to madness and eventually to take her own life. The thought that she may have pushed a fragile girl over the edge is sure to weigh heavily on Lydia too. Perhaps her distress will rake up old feelings in Stiles?
Peter finds Kate hiding in a sewer and although he thinks their relationship is one of ‘mutually assured destruction’, he offers her some lessons in self-control in return for her help. Kate wants to restore the Argents to their former glory, and Peter wants his money back. He also wants power. I have to admit that while I am not sure how much gravitas he has a villain at this point, Peter Hale knows how to deliver a sound eye-fucking. He is so self-satisfied, and slimily sexual, you shouldn’t look directly at the screen when he’s on or you might get pregnant. Even if you’re a boy. I’m looking forward to Peter’s power grab. It’s bound to contain levels of ham even Derek Hale and his failing nose can smell. Scott vows to put a stop to the deaths in Beacon Hills, and though Deaton tells him it’s a terrible burden to take on, he seems ready to become the True Alpha and guardian of the town. Back at home, he and Stiles find the other mysterious cassette in the bag of money, and miraculously know what it is even though they were born in the 90s. What message does it bear? Who recorded it? And WHAT are they going to play it on, given that it’s 2014 and no one has cassette players anymore?
I am getting a little concerned about missing characters though. Still no mention of Danny or Isaac and now Kira is AWOL. Those pesky kids.