Teen Wolf: Lacrosse to Bear (PHOTO RECAP)

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Teen Wolf S02E11: "Battlefield"

Not that you came here for insight into my inner workings, but if I'm photo-recapping something it's because I genuinely enjoy what I'm watching. Okay, some of the Syfy Original recaps might've verged on hate-watching, but for the most part if you see white words beside handsome faces it's because I'm enjoying myself. That's why these intros have become HECKA redundant: How many times can I possibly rephrase how much I love Teen Wolf? Question is rhetorical: Teen Wolf makes it easy because this show STILL finds new and exciting ways to delight me each week. This week's episode? So good. But good in a different way than previous episodes. We already knew Teen Wolf is well aware of its own ridiculousness, but it's still fully capable of serious, emotionally charged storytelling. The cold open of "Battlefield" was a truly beautiful piece of writing. Elegaic, poetic, expositional, and really well-shot. But in typical Teen Wolf style, much of the rest of the episode revolved around one of the most ludicrous portrayals of a sporting event since the Tri-Lambs and the Omega Mus teamed up defeat the Alpha Betas in the Adams College Homecoming Greek Games. (Ask Jeeves.) BUT THEN Teen Wolf capped off the episode with some truly frightening character moments that threatened to upend the entire premise of the show! This thing was all over the place, but on the upside, the entire place was awesome.

So yeah. Teen Wolf's still killin' it, you guys. Let's talk about it.

Right, so like I said, this opening was beautiful. All lens flares and handheld close-ups. It reminded me of this other sports-minded drama I really love. Can't remember the name. T.G.I. Friday Nights or something like that?

Anyway, Stiles was in the guidance counselor's office (I think she has a name, but let's get real, she'll need to stick around for at least a few more episodes before I remember it) discussing the recent trauma involving Matt's bludgeoning of Stiles' father in front of a paralyzed Stiles and also Matt's subsequent drowning death. In addition to filling us in on how the rest of the characters were doing (via artsy montage), Stiles' speech demonstrated that he'd more or less reached his breaking point as a comparatively helpless member of the Beacon Hill supernatural clique. His explication of what it feels like to drown was not only terrifying (and creepily comforting?), it suggested that these teens aren't handling catastrophe quite as cavalierly as we might've thought. Nightmarish violence and unnerving paranoia had begun to take its toll on these gentlehunks and gentlebabes.

For her part the guidance counselor DID seem very interested in helping Stiles (how great is Bianca Lawson, btw?). I particularly dug her Winston Churchill quote: "When you're going through hell... keep going." I know she looks like a teen, but this guidance counselor has the gravitas and wisdom of a seasoned pro, and now that we know she's fully aware of what's going on in Beacon Hill, I found it touching that she seemed so invested in the well-being of our heroes.

WHEW, a towel scene! I was getting worried about how long it'd been since our last proper towel scene. I had been like, "You okay, Teen Wolf?" But here we were with an Original Recipe Towel Scene: A post-shower mom encounter!

Unfortunately it wasn't quite as fun-loving as usual. Mrs. McCall—still presumably getting over the fact that her son is an abomination—was suddenly pinned to the ceiling by a lizard creature! But because of the dream-like nature of the cold open up to this point, part of me wondered whether Scott was just having a stress-related nightmare.

NOPE!

It was all happening. Grandpa Argent was chillin' in Scott's bedroom making the Kanima terrorize Scott's mom all because Grandpa Argent needed more favors. Relax with the favor-begging, Grandpa. Isn't that what your lizard servant is for? Jeez.

Poor Mrs. McCall. The lady could barely even look at her son. Although, maybe his towel had fallen off or something and she was just being polite. This family is awkward.

After roaming around in the woods and hearing the distinct calls of another pack of werewolves, Erica and Boyd made a decision that they wanted to biggity BOUNCE. And honestly, who could blame them?

Derek, that's who! Derek was NOT happy about losing his new werewolf buddies. Frankly, I found this slightly out of character for him; Derek may not be a genius, but he DOES generally seem to be a reasonable guy, so wouldn't he have recognized that perhaps TWO separate factions out to kill werewolves were probably creating a hostile environment in Beacon Hill? However, he had a pretty good working knowledge of other werewolf packs and probably had the sense that the howls in the woods were fake. Either way, these kids were dunzo.

Poor Derek! He learned the hard way that the Big Werewolf Brother, Little Werewolf Brother Program has a high drop-out rate. But he didn't have to drown his sorrows TOO long, because suddenly he wasn't alone!

Oh, it was Uncle Peter! What was funny about this reunion was how glossed-over Peter's explanation was for why he wasn't rotting in a grave anymore. And while he did confirm that he was no longer an alpha, did we get confirmation that he was even a werewolf anymore? Like was he resurrected as a normal human and he needed to get bit again? Or no, wait, he was born a werewolf, right? I'm guessing he probably is a werewolf still, but it seemed weird to not get confirmation on that. I don't know. Miss U, CGI alpha-beast.

Meanwhile the Isaac redemption arc was going full-blast over at the vet's office. Everyone's favorite delicately boned dreamboat orphan arrived in need of some advice and/or friendship. But in the process the vet demonstrated that werewolves have a heretofore unknown (but kind of major?) supernatural ability: The power to absorb others' pain:

It was charming how excited Isaac was to be able to do a NICE thing for once. Seriously, this was a great moment. But also, in my opinion, this was a very cool new addition to the werewolf playbook. I love whenever Teen Wolf departs from classic werewolf lore. Who knows how this pain-absorption development will factor in in the future, but I'm guessing it WILL. That's just basic Chekhov's Pain Absorption Skill.

As if the clingy sweatshirt duo hadn't completely O.D.'d on bromance yet, Isaac and Scott definitely took their friendship to the next level: Talkin' about their werewolf feelings. Specifically, Scott reassured Isaac that despite having a track record of doing the right thing, Scott still had a hard time making sound decisions, a struggle that seems to be a hallmark of becoming a werewolf. Also Isaac wanted to warn his new bestie that something bad was probably going to happen at the lacrosse game that night, and just please be safe BB.

That something bad? Just Jackson.

Classic Jackson. By the way, I'm glad this show has decided to go the split-personality route with him. It means he can be terrifying—and even commit straight-up murder—but still be a tolerable presence after this Kanima thing is cleared up. You know? That way next season he can still hang out in various states of undress and we won't have our arms all crossed, like, "Shut your mouth, murderer." Overall, Classic Jackson is just too important to lose.

Still LOL-ing at this:

Which high school athlete WOULDN'T want his mom barging into the men's locker room before a game? To his credit, Scott DNC did not care.

Guys, I'm worried about the coach. He for sure has mental problems, right? Like maybe his only friend is a plastic flower and he sleeps under a car? His favorite beverage MIGHT be contact lens solution? His favorite hobby is possibly just shouting at an empty McDonald's cup? I can believe that there are no other accredited teachers in all of Beacon Hill, so allowing him to remain employed at the high school is beyond anyone's control. But still, maybe he'd be better off in a facility somewhere? And not shouting Bill Pullman's speech from Independence Day at a group of teenagers who clearly haven't yet been briefed on even the most rudimentary aspects of lacrosse? Guys, that whole scenario was worrisome to me.

It made me laugh that Derek beat up Peter for SEVERAL HOURS. Seriously, the last time we'd seen Derek throwing Peter around it was daytime and Scott was still at the vet's office, but now here we were, nighttime, and Peter was STILL getting the bejezus beaten out of him. Luckily he still looked okay:

Peter was trying to tempt Derek into not beating him up with, I don't know, knowledge or whatever. Relax, Derek. Free knowledge!

Oh, and look what happened: Stiles got to play lacrosse!

Well, "play lacrosse" in the loosest sense, because this game was simply ridiculous. Scott wasn't allowed to play because he was failing his classes and ditching practice, so it fell to the third-stringers to run aimlessly around the field getting sticked in the face. Like, correct me if I'm wrong, but there was once a time when it seemed like this show took lacrosse seriously, right? Where it looked like the players were actually playing a legit game of high school lacrosse? Did I dream that? Maybe. Anyway, this episode made it clear that the writers are about as interested in lacrosse as we are, i.e. not very. But still, this game was a live-action cartoon and it just kept getting sillier.

I did love how we revisited the werewolf walkie-talkie element of this show: In this case, Grandpa Argent whispering unsweet nothings into Scott's supersonic ear canals.

The deal was this: If Scott didn't somehow produce Derek by the time the lacrosse buzzer zeroed out, Jackson would morph into the Kanima and SOMEONE would die. Could've been ANYONE. Unfortunately this was not a situation in which Scott made good decisions, so his plan was to somehow JOIN THE GAME so that he could, I don't know, knock out Jackson? Joining him in this weird plan was Isaac, who'd decided not to run away after all!

Isaac's plan to get Scott back in the game ended up being pretty clever: He ran onto the field and physically assaulted four of his own teammates! Okay, just kidding, that was not clever at all. It was honestly the most ridiculous thing this show could've presented to us. The crowd barely minded that one of their own was systematically injuring his own teammates. To his credit, the coach looked borderline annoyed about it, but then again he was probably distracted by the thought that airplanes' shadows had been following him everywhere. Knock it off, airplanes!

Anyway, maybe it was good for Isaac that he decided not to run off with his werewolf brother and sister, because they encountered a newborn BITCHFACE out in the woods:

Allison had more or less converted into a full-on VILLAIN in this episode. As it turned out, she and her father had been playing recordings of a fake werewolf pack in order to draw out the baby werewolves and Allison had decided to MURDER THEM.

Seriously, she went all TERMINATOR on them. (If Terminator had used a bow and arrow.)

But just when it looked like Allison was about to gleefully massacre classmates that had only been tangentially involved in the (accidental) biting of her mother, the generally pretty noble Mr. Argent stopped her by SHOOTING the bow and arrow right out of her hands.

It was awesome, in other words. Mr. Argent is basically the best now.

Allison, was definitely not the best. I was tempted to opine that her transition into madwoman was kind of abrupt, except that the way Crystal Reed played it made it work. The whole time she looked like she was in meltdown territory, so I bought that she'd been pushed past the limits of sanity. Plus, if we were to believe that a near-drowning could cause Matt to become a mass murderer, then it makes sense that the sudden death of Allison's mother could drive her to make some cold-blooded decisions. But still, seeing the erstwhile romantic LEAD of this show go so overboard into darkness (and unlikeability!) was both jarring and thrilling. Something tells me it'll be a while before this supernatural teen romance feels very romantic again.

To bookend their earlier awkward interactions, Mrs. McCall ran onto the field and told Scott that she'd changed her mind. Scott should no longer do what Mr. Argent commanded; he should do the RIGHT thing instead. So um, thanks?

Anyway, the right thing in this situation involved preventing Isaac from getting chopped in half in the locker room:

I mean, I LOVE that Grandpa Argent busts out a sword every now and again. But could all you Argents just RELAX please? We learned that he'd been plotting to take control of the Kanima so that he could finally get revenge for Aunt Kate's death, but it takes some pretty serious hypocrisy for a werewolf hunter to use a supernatural creature as a weapon. Just sit down and think about yourself, old man. You are doing a bad job at life!

Hey guess who suddenly began to SCORE ALL OF THE GOALS?

Stiles was killin' it out there! And because of that, a million tiny hearts floated up around Lydia's head while she watched from the stands. Aw, Stiles was in there.

Unfortunately the buzzer reached zero and Jackson's eyes were all "PLIP!" because he was about to HURT somebody.

Scott got all stressed: WHO would Jackson kill?

That's when we cut back to the decrepit burnt-out mansion where Peter was still tempting Derek with a big dose of 411. Specifically, he had a solution to converting the Kanima back into regular ol' Jackson: Using Lydia to appeal to his heart. LOL fine.

Anyway, back on the field, the lights CUT OUT! And when they came back on, a man was down. That's when we found out just who Jackson had killed: HIMSELF!

He wasn't breathing, his heart had stopped, and his hands were bloody from an evident self-stabbing. Had he stabbed himself out of protest against his master's evil plan? Or was the whole thing just a big diversion?

Probably the latter because STILES WAS MISSING! Oh hell no. OH HELL NO. Leave Stiles alone, you villains!

Oh gosh, oh jeez. ONE MORE EPISODE? How is this even possible? Only ONE? Guys, the season finale is next week and that is upsetting. Is Summer over? What on earth are we supposed to even do with ourselves after Teen Wolf ends? Wait patiently for Season 3? GET REAL. Man, I liked this episode. Its cold open was this elegant quiet before the storm and its conclusion set up some pretty high stakes for the finale. How will it all come together? Who's good and who's bad? I need to know, pls THX.

BYE.


QUESTIONS:

... Who took Stiles?

... Are you mad at Allison?

... Will Isaac ever invite Scott to come chill in his subway car?

... Body language experts: Mrs. McCall and Sheriff Stilinski... Anything going on there?


IN CASE YOU MISSED THEM...
Teen Wolf: Frownin' & Drownin' (Season 2, Episode 10: "Fury")
Teen Wolf: Werewolf Witchcraft! (Season 2, Episode 9: "Party Guessed")
Teen Wolf: Rave to the Grave (Season 2, Episode 8: "Raving")
Teen Wolf: Snake Snacks & Schisms (Season 2, Episode 7: "Restraint")
Teen Wolf: Up in the Club (Season 2, Episode 6: "Frenemy")
Teen Wolf: Scaling Back (and Neck) (Season 2, Episode 5: "Venomous")
Teen Wolf: Paralysis Analysis (Season 2, Episode 4: "Abomination")
Teen Wolf: Makeover Takeover (Season 2, Episode 3: "Ice Pick")
Teen Wolf: Crazy, Good, & Crazy Good (Season 2, Episodes 1 & 2: "Omega" & "Shape Shifted")
Comic-Con 2012: Teen Wolf Cast Q&A;
Comic-Con 2012: The Teen Wolf Cast Announces a Mega-Sized Season 3 Renewal
Teen Wolf: Season 1, Episodes 7-12 (still to come)
Teen Wolf: Howls, Growls & Towels (Season 1, Episodes 1-6)
What Teen Wolf Gets Right

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