Teen Wolf PHOTO RECAP: Scaling Back (and Neck)

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Teen Wolf S02E05: "Venomous"


Guys, there is a GOOD chance I MIIIIIGHT NOT be photo-recapping this episode of Teen Wolf! Can you believe it? I know you probably clicked on this article thinking there would definitely be a photo recap of "Venomous." It even says "photo recap" in the title! You were probably like, "I am going to read this in my cubicle, I can't wait to see what broken English will be written across screengrabs THIS week." All out loud and everything. Well, I don't know what to tell you. Whatever reasonable thing you THOUGHT was going to happen, MIIIIIIGHT NOT be happening anymore. Instead of photo-recapping this week's Teen Wolf, I think I'm just going to put on my shoes and, I don't know, go outside? Sorry, but you're just going to have to deal w/it.

TWIST: I'm going to photo-recap this week's episode. ARE YOU SHOCKED? Probably, and let me tell you why: I made you expect that there wouldn't be a photo recap, but now there WILL BE. So the #1 most expected thing happened yet it still felt shocking, right? See, expectation is a heck of a thing! That's an old trick that great TV writers know full well: It's one thing to come up with inspired plotlines and clever twists, but it's way harder to successfully manipulate audience expectations, especially in 2012. We so smart!

So "Venomous" answered the first big mystery of the season—the Kanima's identity—and the most shocking part about it was that the answer ended up being the #1 most likely option all along. Oh, you crafty writers, throwing us off the scent with all those other possibilities! I'm definitely paying this show a compliment: Teen Wolf actually made me believe that Jackson couldn't have been the Kanima. He was just too obvious! Now I just feel like a horse's patoot. But a horse's patoot who can still be reasonably surprised by Teen Wolf!

We began in an absolutely dark locker room with a surprisingly non-homoerotic workout scene between Jackson and Danny. Jackson was frustrated that his superhuman strength wasn't happening during his bench press sets.

Then Danny left the room and Jackson could suddenly hear ALL of the sound effects. So yeah, still reason to believe he was supernatural somehow. That, and also the OPENING SCENE of the season. And most other scenes he's been in since. Anyway.

But it didn't matter for the time being, because blonde werewolf lady was grabbing him by the neck and dragging him to that abandoned subway station where Derek lives.

Derek explained that Jackson was his #1 suspect for being the Kanima, but don't worry, reader, he had an EXCELLENT method of verifying this. Derek claimed that predators are always immune to their own venom, so if Jackson were the Kanima he wouldn't become paralyzed by his own venom-slime. Because huh? Sure, Dr. Derek. Great science. Ugh, werewolves.

I loved how disco that slime looked.

Honestly, I do NOT do drugs and never have, but I'd have to imagine that this lizard goo would probably sell pretty well on a black market, don't you think? One drop and you just lay on the floor for a few hours? It doesn't sound totally awful, is what I'm saying. Fewer calories than a party cube. Whoever this Kanima was (and it wasn't Jackson because he became paralyzed and Derek's plan was 100 percent BRILLIANT), he/she/it was sitting on a goldmine! Or at least secreting a goldmine.

Well, anyway, Derek and his crew were NOT happy that Jackson wasn't the Kanima. I guess because it meant they'd have to do a lot more kidnapping and goo-feeding? Total hassle.

But since Jackson was still paralyzed on the floor, Isaac took the opportunity to ask a favor. Turned out he was still on the run from the law (for PATRICIDE) and he needed Jackson to go commit a bit of perjury to get him off the hook. And it worked!

So yeah, welcome back you dreamy, parentless gravedigger!

Later at school, Jackson's super-sensory hearing was still in full effect and he overheard Erica and Isaac openly planning to goo-poison Lydia during chemistry. He'd been pretty out of the loop up until this point so it was refreshing that he immediately knew what was going on and spread the word to Scott and Stiles about it.

Lydia was having problems of her own, the main one being that she'd hallucinated Peter drawing spirals on the chalkboard and throwing desks all over the place and THEN blowing chalk dust in her face. At which point she woke to discover that she'd been scribbling nonsense all over the chalkboard in front of the class.

Which, I mean, how long was she up there doing that? Ten minutes? While everyone just watched her write "SOMEONEHELPME" backwards over and over? Anyway, everyone had a good laugh about it.

Except this dude, because whatever. He's definitely a thing now. But Lydia's incident kind of verified that she did indeed black out, which obviously made it seem like she could be the Kanima.

The centerpiece scene of this episode was the chemistry class sequence which rivaled last week's lacrosse game for sheer choreographic insanity. We knew that Erica and Isaac were going to somehow expose Lydia to lizard goo during this period, so they must've been stoked when the creepy chemistry teacher suddenly decided the whole class would be doing some kind of lab-partner speed-dating scenario and everyone would be switching seats every ten seconds. Just total chaos, basically. But it WAS pretty cool seeing how all the match-ups went down.

For instance, Erica immediately began hitting on Scott.

It was pretty clear he wasn't having it, though.

More interesting was Isaac's admission to Stiles that he too had been rejected by Lydia back in the day. But whereas Stiles seemed to be making progress with her lately, Isaac seemed eager to murder her. Uncool, Isaac!

I loved this bit of lady homoeroticism, with Erica aggressively coming onto Allison just to get on her nerves.

She even tore Allison's tights with here werewolf nails! How rude. And sexy? Probably just rude. Anyway, the whole sequence culminated in the teacher instructing the students to EAT the crystal they'd created because LOL. Isaac had obviously put goo on Lydia's crystal which seemed like an overly elaborate plan considering he only needed to put it on her hand or whatever.

So yeah, Lydia ate the gooey crystal, nothing happened, and she was definitely in trouble. It actually made me laugh because the camera panned up to the window and Derek was just outside chillin' in the parking lot like always. Quit loitering, guy!

Anyway, after class Scott, Stiles, and Allison decided to mobilize. Scott got real intense about it, making Allison promise to be careful. In response she brandished the world's dinkiest crossbow and swore she'd be fine. At which point she, I guess, put down the crossbow and let Stiles play with it and he accidentally FIRED IT at Scott's face. But FYI werewolves can catch arrows with their bare hands, so no big deal.

Meanwhile Lydia was having another session with the school psychologist. A pretty funny scene transpired in which Lydia took a Rorschach test and claimed every last inkblot looked like a butterfly. Even this one:

I mean, HAHA. How did she know what Peter looked like when he burned to death? Wasn't she in the hospital? I don't know. Anyway, it ended up being a hallucination, but check out what the REAL inkblot looked like:

Whaaaaat? I don't even know, guys. I really don't.

A little bit later Allison decided she'd consult with her grandfather's ancient PDF to find out more about the Kamina, but then realized she couldn't speak Latin. For some reason she knew the school psychologist COULD speak Latin and suddenly we were back in the psychologist's office. (By the way, as you guys pointed out, this lady's resumé is NUTS! Emily Bennett? Kendra?? Random girl in the My So-Called Life PILOT? Holy jeez! Now we can't NOT expect big things from this character, right?)

Honestly, if you are a school administrator—or any kind of grown-up, really—and a student rushes in and demands that you translate ancient Latin texts about supernatural creatures, then MOVE OUT OF TOWN. Nothing good will come of it. Just pack it up and go. Get out of there. In case you're wondering, here's what this little exercise revealed about the Kanima: It's a lot like a werewolf except it's LONELY. Because of course it is.

Meanwhile out on the lacrosse field, Scott was steppin' to Derek over why he was trying to kill Lydia. To his credit, Derek pretty reasonably explained that Lydia seemed a likely candidate for being a murderous abomination and he aimed to save lives by ending hers.

Scott didn't have a lot to say to that aside from just general inarticulate frustration (typical Scott). But he DID point out that Jackson had also been bitten without turning so he was just as much a candidate for being the Kanima as Lydia was. But the most interesting part of the conversation was when Derek touched on the notion that sometimes a person will turn into the shapeshifter they most resemble INSIDE. So even though either of the two suspects were bitten by werewolves, they wouldn't necessarily wolf out themselves. Science!

Danny's role's been getting bigger lately which is fine by me! In this episode he was tasked with getting to the bottom of Jackson's looped-footage situation. There was also a weird moment when it seemed like the new photographer kid, Sufjan Jr., overtly hit on him? Kids these days. Anyway, Lil Sufie was still pretty late to the party when it came to the supernatural goings-on at Beacon Hills High, so he was just now noticing that Scott had werewolf eyes in every photo.

Uh-oh! What was going to happen if the photographer kid found out about werewolves? Just kidding, nobody cares. Slightly more interesting was what was on the recovered footage Danny found:

Whoops, those glowing eyes looked pretty familiar! (Assuming you noticed the eyes.)

Meanwhile the gang STILL hadn't clued Lydia in that she'd been marked for death by a werewolf squadron; instead they'd decided to whisk her away from school in the most grim/intense manner imaginable.

I loved this:

Who DOES this? Next time any of you are in my car, please do not turn around 180 degrees in the backseat and place both hands on the back window like you've been kidnapped. It's just common courtesy.

After everyone took shelter in Scott's house (without Scott?), Derek's werewolf pack arrived to, I don't know, stand around in matching outfits looking cool.

Jackson decided to take a moment to freak the F out at Lydia, as he'd decided that she was the only one who could've tampered with his camcorder since she had a copy of his house key. Even though she'd spent that night wandering around the forest NUDE. Anyway, it turned out that she did indeed still have the key and she lied about it because she still loved him. Or something. Look, I know there were tears and then they suddenly made out. That's all I know.

But if the glowing eyes from the footage weren't convincing enough, then whatever was happening to the back of Jackson's neck really clinched it:

Whoops! Jackson was the Kanima! Jackson!! That was honestly unexpected! I mean, it was unexpected mostly because of how expected it was. But still, whatever works! (Kinda bummed he's not from Krypton, though.)

Meanwhile Erica and Isaac busted into the house. She confronted Allison while Isaac and Stiles tore up the downstairs living room. Erica continued the tack of claiming she wanted to break up Allison and Scott, except she didn't really make her case seeing as right now there is a ZERO percent chance of Scott ever going for Erica over Allison. Them's the facts.

And Allison SHOT Erica with her crossbow! Obviously, Erica caught the arrow because that is such a basic werewolf skill that someone who hasn't even fully transmogrified yet can still do it.

Fortunately Allison's a smart cookie so she'd thought to smear the arrow with lizard goo (because the Kanima was now on the loose and leaving goo on window sills). Before she knew it Erica was paralyzed on the floor!

Victory: Argent.

Pretty soon Scott arrived home and took care of Isaac, which meant that in a matter of seconds both Isaac and Erica were incapacitated on the ground YET AGAIN. Get used to it, guys.

There was a nice moment where Derek seemed genuinely impressed at how Scott had put together a makeshift pack of his own. It made sense since the two sides were essentially working together: They both wanted to find out who that Kanima was and then stop it. But also one of my favorite things about this season is just how essential each of the main characters has become with regard to all of them working as a team. Even Allison the love interest has come into her own as a formidable opponent. It's truly fun to watch these kids band together like they did here.

Oh but the camaraderie was short-lived because there was some awful monstrosity up on the roof! Get down from there, you big creep!

Around that time Lydia ran out of the house, which seemed to prove once and for all that Jackson was the Kanima, not her. So, yeah, Derek had some apologizing to do. Especially for how wrong he'd been about the self-poisoning thing! But also, this SHOW had some apologizing to do what with the Kanima's split-personality thing making NO sense. So, let's get this straight. Unlike werewolves, Kanimas shift but don't remember it at all? The Kanima had shifted a few times now, but during none of those times did Jackson experience his skin turning scaly as it had just then? And don't even get me started on the whole "looped" footage thing. What even? Doesn't matter! At least the mystery wasn't drawn out too long. Now we get to have fun! Monster on monster combat!

The final scene was actually pretty chilling. The camera panned up on some idling car with a VERY interesting bumper sticker. (The chemistry teacher had conspicuously quoted Einstein earlier in the episode—so obvious that it's impossible or so obvious that it's obvious?) Anyway, Jackson/Kanima placed its claw on the driver's side window and whoever was in the car placed his or her hand against the glass also.

It looked like the Kanima wasn't gonna be lonely much longer! Dang, what was going on? Oh, and LOL at that "TO BE CONTINUED" tease. Um, isn't that implied by the ending of EVERY episode in a serialized drama, Teen Wolf?

What did you guys think of this episode? I liked it a lot. I don't know if I'm misremembering Season 1, but I'm starting to get the sense that Season 2 is a little more loose and ridiculous than Teen Wolf used to be. Even the camera work seems a lot tighter and more handheld, plus the editing is kind of off compared to the relative low-key style of Season 1. I don't know, my brain isn't the best these days! But I'm definitely enjoying all the characters and storytelling so far, and I'm excited that we've gotten past this big reveal and can look forward to the next big twist(s). Exciting times.

BYE!


QUESTIONS:

... Who was in the car? The chemistry teacher? Or better yet, Mrs. Argent??

... Does Erica have a chance in heck with Scott?

... How will Scott explain all the broken furniture to his mom?

... Did you know that the actor who plays Isaac has a British accent in real life? (Thanks, Teen Wolf Revelations!)

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