Probably the most outrageous lie superhero narratives love to tell is the idea that having super powers is a burden. Oh, poor Spider-Man, now you have to stop all the crime. Oh, poor The Thing, now you have to shop at a Big & Tall store. Oh, poor Rogue, now you have to kiss people through a dental dam. Get over it, you guys! We all have our issues, but we DON'T all have super powers. Super powers are great, enjoy them!
For example, is it just me or does it seem like being a werewolf on Teen Wolf isn't all that bad? I mean, you develop sensational sensory skills; you don't even get all that hairy, you just grow cool muttonchops every now and again; and you don't have to do anything icky like drink human blood to survive. Sure, there are some initial difficulties, like you probably have to double-down on the deodorant and also keep your thirst for murder at bay, but Scott seemed to get control of himself after what, three weeks and the help of an iPhone app? Seems pretty doable!
I bring this up because "Ice Pick" was a welcome exercise in embracing super powers rather than shying away from them. TWO new characters weighed the pros and cons of turning into a werewolf and immediately opted for lycanthropy, plus another two characters continued to explore their burgeoning other-ness. Everyone knows that the only thing better than a makeover is a SUPERNATURAL makeover, so the various how-ya-like-me-now? moments in "Ice Pick" were like an arrow shot directly into our brains' pleasure centers. Yes, please!
Quick question: Can we talk about this episode? That cool?
Because Teen Wolf is the boss of cold opens, we began with a spooky sequence set at an ominously underpopulated gas station where Allison was pumping gas and exchanging glances with strangers. It was unsettling in an '80s horror movie kind of way. Then the lights went out!
And then whoops! Allison was abducted with the ol' bag-over-the-head trick! Pretty soon she found herself back in Derek's old lair:
Apparently her father had also been captured!
Except nope, this was all just some kind of tough love exercise that Mr. Argent was using to teach Allison how to be a better werewolf hunter. Everyone knows that the best method of education is coercion and behaving like an a-hole, so Allison seemed very appreciative of Mr. Argent's "lesson." He did shed some more light on hunter life, specifically that men were warriors and women leaders, and he seemed pretty disappointed that Allison had prevented Isaac's murder the night before. But I dug that he also seemed to kind of understand why she'd done it and seemed to respect her for it. The whole code thing, I'm guessing. Anyway, next thing we knew he was placing an arrowhead in her bound hands and leaving her to spend the night cutting through her ropes. On a school night!
Meanwhile, outside a werewolf hunter henchman (isn't it refreshing that this show doesn't separate its factions along racial lines? Just sayin'!) was having a run-in with a certain reptilian abomination. It was kind of hard to make out, but I'm pretty sure the creature STUNG him on the back of the neck! Man, that is what nightmares are made of.
The next day Scott's P.E. class was gathered around Beacon Hill High's expensive-looking rock wall for some character-revealing hijinks. First up, Scott and Allison bantered their way up that wall. We didn't see the other students waiting below, but I'm pretty sure they were all rolling their eyes and/or reflex-gagging at all the verbal PDA.
But then we met a new character, Erica, who was sooooort of a mess.
It wasn't just her frizzy hair, bad skin, and unease around her peers, apparently she was also severely epileptic which meant she probably should've just gotten a doctor's note for the day. That first climb alongside Stiles did not go well. But because she had moxie, she waited until the gym was empty so she could try climbing up again. From the locker room, Scott somehow detected that she was about to fall and he rushed out to catch her just before she had a seizure.
It wasn't exactly clear if Scott now had psychic abilities or if he was somehow linked to Erica mentally, but it was a pretty scary moment regardless. Oh, and just FYI if you are a Stiles-phile, then you LOVED this episode's locker room fakeout when he changed clothes just as Scott opened his locker to obscure it. Haha, this show.
Anyway, after her seizure Erica found herself at the hospital exchanging pleasantries with Scott's mom and also getting secretly wheeled into the morgue by a suddenly interested Derek. There he offered Erica the choice of remaining an epileptic nobody or somebody a lot more fun.
It's pretty obvious which option she chose. But what was with that part where she admitted that prior to her seizures she'd taste blood in her mouth and that seemed like a big reason Derek wanted to turn her? Is Teen Wolf suggesting that epilepsy is somehow related to lycanthropy? I don't know.
Meanwhile Jackson was still all butt hurt about not turning into a werewolf the previous night and he decided that Lydia's immunity to the bite was somehow contagious. Cool, well-supported conclusion, Jackson!
She seemed uncharacteristically rattled by Jackson's anger and retreated to a bathroom stall to have a cry, only to have an encounter with THIS monster:
I mean, what kind of maniac goes BAREFOOT into a public restroom? Of all the sick things the creatures of Teen Wolf have done, this was by far the grossest.
Haha I will never not point out bad signage. Like, there are typos and then there are typos that somehow change the sentence to mean the exact opposite.
Anyway Lydia chased this barefoot ghoul out into the hallway and (A) it was obviously Peter Hale, and (B) apparently Peter Hale was feeling nostalgic for an old trophy he once won and just wanted a quiet moment to paw at the trophy case.
Oh and (C) why the (F) was he barefoot? I get that this was just a hallucination and Lydia was somehow still haunted by the werewolf who bit her, but why the bare feet? I may not ever know the answer to these questions.
So here's new character #2, Boyd, a dude who eats alone and drives a Zamboni for a living. I liked him immediately and here's why:
In the screenwriting world, this is what's known as a Save the Cat Moment, an event or action in which a character does something that'll make you like them immediately. Anytime a character eats a Dorito in one bite, I'm like, "I care. I'm on board." This was actually a pretty funny scene between Boyd and Stiles in which they negotiated just how much money Stiles would have to pay Boyd for the keys to the ice rink at which Boyd works. Or something, I'm not sure. I just like it when two smartasses sass each other a ton and that's what happened here.
But RECORD SCRATCH! Guess who was back at school?
Haha Erica got a slow-motion full body pan-up that for some reason stopped at the neck. Welcome back, girl!
Yep, she was a bad girl babe now and the whole cafeteria froze in appreciation. But she didn't have time to hang out, she just needed a bite from an apple before she had to go outside and get in Derek's car.
My favorite thing about Derek is what a loser he is. I mean, yeah, the face kind of distracts everyone, but he's still just some dude who squats in low-rent housing and hangs around the high school. He's like the Matthew McConaughey character from Dazed and Confused but less fun.
Haha I had forgotten about this, but Scott and his veterinarian boss STILL hadn't discussed all their various shared werewolf run-ins. Like the time Derek abducted the boss and they all got terrorized by the alpha. Or the time the vet saved Scott's life after he'd been shot with wolfsbane bullets. I don't know why, it just makes me laugh when characters cease to exist when they're not onscreen. I mean, duh, that's how fiction works, but you kind of watch these shows thinking that each character has a full and vibrant life, but then you learn that weeks can go by and they don't talk to anyone about any of the things you or I would talk about. But what was charming about this way-too-late confrontation was when Scott wanted to get real with the vet and the vet distracted Scott by offering him a raise and Scott forgot about the issue at hand and was just super stoked about getting that raise. That struck me as accurate. Teens!
Meanwhile Mr. Argent was still all uptight about who Allison's hanging out with. Guy, you moved your daughter to a town where A LOT of the teenagers tend to get mixed up in supernatural hijinks. She is going to have monsters for friends. Deal w/it.
HOW DARE YOU, Teen Wolf? This product placement was so egregious, so outrageous that I— Hold up, I honestly would like some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups RIGHT NOW. BRB gonna go get some, I want to eat all of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! To be honest I LOVED this product placement. It seemed so '80s! Candy? Your product placement is candy? Not some terrible cell phone or goddamn Bing? <3 U TEEN WOLF.
Anyway, Stiles had somehow arranged a double date of sorts with himself and Lydia along with Scott and Allison. What followed was a weirdly long montage of everyone having a good time and Scott being comically bad at ice skating.
Oh, and a cute photobooth scene was made slightly less cute by the fact that Scott's glowing demon eyes ruined most of the pictures.
This moment reminded me of why I'm enjoying Season 2 so much: The less Scott's condition is a secret, the more fun it is. Like, it's nice that Allison isn't all that bothered by it anymore and in fact we've been spared having to see her be angsty about anything. She still seems pretty on board with her family's history, but she's also Team Scott. Just a pretty chill free agent, basically. It's nice!
Meanwhile Lydia was off hallucinatin' again.
Who even knows where this plotline is going. It definitely seems less likely that she's a reptilian creature, that's for sure. But it's nice to see Peter again! Even if he is just a werewolf ghost or whatever.
Haha this lady:
Mrs. Argent discovered a note in Allison's textbook that more or less tipped her off that Allison and Scott were still together. So she proceeded to CUT HER ARM OPEN and go to the E.R. so that she could be super intense around Scott's mom and discover what SHE had to say about it.
I guess Mrs. McCall kind of confirmed Mrs. Argent's suspicion? Sort of? I don't know. Good plan, though! Oh man, I hope this lady gets a spin-off. She is the best.
This was a pretty cute scene: After Allison had spotted Scott being sexily accosted by Erica, they had a heart to heart in the cafeteria that took advantage of Scott's werewolf hearing. I'd forgotten that they were keeping their relationship under wraps at school, so this was just a good idea (assuming Scott could hear anything over the deafening crinkling noises made by Allison's enormous, crispy hairdo). She correctly pointed out that if Derek kept building up his pack, her family would be building their army and everything was leading toward some kind of terrible showdown. Good assessment! It was no wonder why Scott was starting to get so stressed out about everything. Later there was a funny moment where Scott lamented how every bad thing was now his responsibility and Stiles joked that his newfound heroism was sexy and they should make out. Stiles wins this episode!
Meanwhile Jackson was still toolin' around town yelling at things, and that included the front door of Derek's old home. Like, didn't you get the memo, Jackson? Derek lives in an abandoned subway station now! (All small California towns have subways, right?) But it was especially awkward when he discovered that Mr. Argent and his buddies were operating out of that house. Fortunately Mr. Argent just gave Jackson a stern talking-to and sent him on his way.
At some point Stiles and Scott deduced that Boyd (the Zamboni-driving Doritos enthusiast) was probably Derek's next pick for the bite, so we got a pretty funny confrontation between Stiles and Erica on Boyd's front porch.
She ended up hitting him over the head with a car part and leaving him in a dumpster. Teens!
So later on Scott finally confronted Boyd about NOT becoming a werewolf and he found himself confronted by Derek's new gang.
And then a werewolf fight broke out... ON ICE!
FIVE SECONDS LATER:
Yeah, Scott had a three week (?) advantage over these two so he handily threw them around bit before they backed off. It was slightly disappointing that we didn't see Erica going full werewolf with the muttonchops (is that a full-moon thing?) and I was even more disappointed that Derek didn't turn into a CGI creature when HE wolfed out. Come on, get it together, alpha! But long story short, Derek beat up Scott real bad and we learned it was all for nothing anyway because Boyd had already been bitten. Welcome to the club, Boyd! It's probably not as bad as you'd think.
Meanwhile the vet arrived at work to find that Mr. Argent had dumped a body on his examination table demanding to know what kind of creature had done it. Mr. Argent was like, "I know what you are," or whatever, but the episode declined to let us in on that. Was the vet a reptile or just highly knowledgeable of arcane supernatural zoology? Anyway, later on when Scott arrived it seemed like the vet was ready to finally start talking. About time!
First of all, Jackson's a jerk for driving his truck (he has a truck now?) onto the lacrosse field and then tearing up the grass with it. But on the bright side it did reveal that he has SUPERHUMAN STRENGTH now. Yes!
Jackson's rejection of the bite did imply some kind of strange condition. I love that this show clearly isn't finished introducing fantastical creatures. What IS Jackson? Personally I've got my fingers crossed that as a baby he crashed to earth in an asteroid à la Superman. In retrospect this episode didn't have a ton of story to tell, but it really excelled at building a comic book world where the stakes raise as everything keeps getting weirder. Seriously, it's such a relief to know that a show called Teen Wolf won't always be just about werewolves. How soon can we expect time travel or cyborgs?? I don't know and I can't wait. Bring it on. Bring EVERYTHING on.
BYE. [Hushed whisper]
... Would YOU willingly become the kind of werewolf seen in Teen Wolf?
... Any updated guesses as to the identity of the reptile?
... How many of YOUR everyday investigations involve self-inflicted knife wounds?
... What is the hair extension budget on this show? $1 million? $2 million?