Teen Wolf never ceases to surprise me. Whenever I have the audacity to presume I know what to expect from this show, WHOOPS! A snake pops out of a man's eye socket! I know I've said this before, but in the year 2012 few things make a TV show great than (A) surprise or (B) originality and Teen Wolf Season 2 will not stop rubbing our noses in both items. Haters might write this show off as some derivative mash-up of fashionable teen supernatural tropes, but we fans know better: Teen Wolf is a borderline experimental acid trip nightmare that just so happens to have some of the funniest dialogue and attractive castmembers on television. At the risk of overselling it, I can't help but feel like this show is getting away with something somehow. Seriously, it's so rare to see a big, popular, multi-conglomerate corporation-backed TV series be so straight-up weird and off-putting half the time. It's so subversive it feels almost punk rock in a way. I love this show so much, you guys, and "Restraint" was another winner.
Let's talk about it! Or, you know, allow me to yammer and throw some spicy screengrabs your way. I'm in the mood!
So "Restraint" opened with a classic Teen Wolf horror film intro, this time set in and around a trailer parked in a secluded neck of the woods.
Inside a couple of down-on-their-luck (but still sexy?) married types bickered about bills before hugging tenderly. Then the power went out! So the dude half of the couple decided to go outside to investigate and within seconds the wife witnessed this scene:
Yup, the Kanima and its hoodie-clad "master" were up to some deadly shenanigans that got even creepier when the master turned and pointed directly at the wife.
Next thing we knew, the Kanima was tossing her husband's dead body through the window and sniffing her neck a bunch. But when it was revealed that the lady was VERY pregnant, the Kanima opted not to kill her and disappeared into the shadows. What did it MEANNN? Doesn't matter because look:
It's kind of hard to think about complicated motives and whatnot when Jackson's showering. Just a fact of reality. Anyway, this was all a flashback to, I guess, the first night Jackson ever turned. As Scott and Stiles discussed in voiceover, it was clear that Jackson had had assistance from the very beginning, first in tampering with the camera, and also controlling him like a puppet. In fact, it seemed that Jackson was dealing with a severe split personality situation in that he still had no idea he was turning into a reptile. A werewolf maybe, but definitely not a reptile. That would be too far-fetched!
Anyway, my suspicion last week was proven wrong immediately: Jackson wasn't about to forgive Scott and Stiles for abducting him, and he ended up throwing the book at them basically. Both Stiles and Scott were handed a restraining order to stay away from Jackson, and they each got chewed out by their parents real good while Mayor Lockwood looked on disapprovingly.
Nearby Jackson seemed pretty pleased with himself. Cut it out, Jackson, you big tattle tail!
Meanwhile in the abandoned small-town subway station, Derek and his crew were getting ready for an impending full moon, which meant he had to bust out his steamer trunk full of S&M; gear. But Derek also made it clear that their #1 priority would be to capture the Kanima and it was Erica's job to start sniffing around school for more clues as to his identity. Better luck next time, Isaac!
At school, our main trio attempted to exchange intel in the library away from the prying eyes of the security cameras. That mostly meant just showing Scott and Stiles an expensive piece of product placement on which Allison had stored Lydia's Latin translations of the Kanima legend. According to the ancient document, the Kanima can only be used to kill murderers initially, but after a while the master will gain full control over the Kanima. So, if I'm following this correctly (and I'm probably not), then in the opening scene the master tried to make the Kanima kill the pregnant woman, but the Kanima recognized the presence of an innocent and declined. Something like that? Yeah something like that.
I just liked this moment where Stiles popped his head through the bookcase. Just look at him there! Stiles was really funny in this episode no duh, but especially in this scene where Allison flippantly explained how she'd told Lydia that the description of the Kanima was for "an online gaming community that battles mythical creatures," and Stiles responded totally earnestly, "I am part of an online gaming community that battles mythical creatures." (It was all in the delivery.)
UMMM OKAY. We need to talk, reader. This part was INSANE. I don't like snakes, never have, not even CGI snakes. Count me out. So it was weird enough when Jackson walked into an empty science room and started staring at the snake. And then he TOOK IT OUT? And let it crawl all over him? AND THEN THIS!:
NOOOO. OH NO. NO NO NO. What. ON. EARTH, Teen Wolf? You know what, I can't.
I just can't. I'm outta here. Nice knowing you, everyone. I'll be living in a shanty somewhere off the grid. Just meditating and bird watching and junk like that because my brain is RUINED now. A snake went inside of a man! Why did I need to see that? Holy Lord, I am packing my duffel right now, I am too tired for this. I work so hard, I lead a decent life. You know what, no, I'm staying. I'm gonna work through this. I gotsta. But DANG! Awful. Awesome. But awful.
Anyway, back at the McCall joint, Scott's Mom struggled with some urges to ransack Scott's room looking for evidence of him being a teenager and after ten minutes of emptying drawers and overturning mattresses, her eyes finally came to rest on the ENORMOUS BOX OF CONDOMS sitting in plain sight. And whoops! Only one left. Hold up, let me do some quick math... Whoa, Scott has had A LOT of sex. Don't hate, Mrs. McCall!
Meanwhile at school, Erica overheard Stiles and Lydia talking about Jackson's adoptive parents and immediately offered up the fact that SHE knew all about Jackson's background and—Wait a sec, was Jackson the Kanima? Yeah, she figured it out. I liked that she even acknowledged the failure of Derek's self-poisoning test but was smart enough to guess correctly anyway. I like Erica! I know some of you guys don't think she's developed enough, but this episode really gave her more dimension. Here's a method I use to determine if someone is a well-written character or not: Is he or she different from all the other characters? I think Erica definitely is; there's nobody else like her on the show, and just that basic differentiation is surprisingly hard to pull off. Anyway, suddenly Erica and Stiles were working together! It was a nice touch having her admit that she used to be in love with Stiles and he never noticed. I liked that reveal.
Then, in one of the crazier scenes of an already certifiable episode, Allison followed Jackson into the boys' locker room for a FULL-FRONTAL confrontation!
And before she could adequately explain what she was doing in there, Jackson was all up in her face taunting her over her relationship to Scott and how she knew they were headed for heartbreak, etc.
And also his claws got sharp and he didn't seem to be surprised about it:
Allison was able to push him away, and Jackson seemed to snap out of it, thereby confirming that he had a pretty serious split personality thing going on. So while Jackson IS a total dick, he wasn't usually THAT mean.
At the same time Scott was trying to take a make-up science test and he was interrupted by the sound of Allison's heartbeat! Haha sure. Anyway, he did what any heroic werewolf would do: He marked all the remaining answers "B" and ran into the locker room for a good, old-fashioned, sink shattering tussle!
This fight was brutal! Like something out of Bourne Identity or whatever. Shout-out to Jackson's poor stunt double who didn't quite have the same physique as Colton Haynes. Not that we're paying attention THAT closely. (We are.) Tough break, kid!
At that point the fight spilled out into the hallway just in time for the entire gang to show up! I loved when Erica restrained Jackson. Look at her! See, this is why she's starting to become my favorite.
Hilariously enough, in the tussle Allison dropped her tablet into a puddle of water and the photography kid picked it up, saw the Kanima translation, and secretly emailed it to himself all while the tussle was still going on. Um, quick thinking, weirdo! Anyway, the creepy science teacher was NOT happy with everybody and he announced they'd ALL be pulling a Breakfast Club in the library as punishment.
Meanwhile Lydia faced a full-on flirtation attack from the new kid. Whatever he was, he wasn't shy, that's for sure.
So then Mrs. McCall showed up and confronted Mrs. Argent, who just FYI, works at the front desk now, because why not? Mrs. M decided to just out their children for still being in a relationship and also having tons of sex. Mrs. Argent was, as always, perfect:
Can you imagine trying to say ANYTHING to a face like that? I'd be straight-up flummoxed. <3 this lady so much.
Oh look! Snack-based product placements were back! I am definitely more forgiving of those kinds. Don't need to know about whatever off-brand electronic horseapples AT&T;'s trying to sell behind Apple's back. Leave me out of it!
So then Jackson started to have second thoughts about his little snack from earlier and he excused himself to the library bathroom (where the chem teacher creepily and conspicuously followed him out of concern). And then THIS happened:
Whuuuuaaaaooooooohhhh NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! HOLY MOTHER OF—I'm outta here GOODBYE. Goodbye.
Okay I'm back. I just— I mean. I kind of just have to move on, you know? Because I just can't right now with this. Mercy.
So, after concluding that Jackson was SUPPOSED to turn into a werewolf but some unresolved drama in his life had momentarily sidetracked him into Kanima territory, the kids banded together to figure out who Jackson's birth parents were and WTF happened to them. As it turned out, Jackson's parents were killed in a car accident while he was still in the womb and he had to be surgically birthed into the world. Apparently the cause of the crash itself was what constituted the unfinished business in his life, so that'll probably be pretty important later. Right? I don't know.
Meanwhile Mrs. Argent summoned Scott to the front office via the loudspeaker and pretty soon he was face to face with one angry mother.
The whole scene was great because (A) it involved Mrs. Argent, but also (B) the whole time they were talking she was jamming pencils into a pencil sharpener all menacingly. Ugh, so good.
Then the chemistry teacher excused himself from Breakfast Club and went home, but not before an UNSEEN passenger got in the car—the SAME car with the Einstein bumper sticker. So it either confirmed that this guy was the Kanima's master, or they at least carpooled together.
Anyway, back in the library the kids were all shelving books as punishment and suddenly Jackson started hallucinating that the book jackets were hassling him and he transformed just enough to paralyze both Erica and Photographer kid.
Then we saw him move all herky-jerky like a puppet of some kind as he wrote THIS on the chalk board:
So yeah, it was a pretty convincing demonstration of Jackson/Kanima not being fully in control of himself, not to mention a fair warning to people who might get in his way of righteous retribution.
But it was still pretty amazing just how destroyed the library got during the brief tussle. That's in addition to the destroyed locker room! Mrs. Argent made a comment about how Scott's lucky she's in the know about everything and can therefore cover up for him. Which was nice. But still, how much longer can this school keep the monster carnage under wraps? This scene was also weird in that it had two paralyzed people, but Scott tried to turn it into this weird Sophie's Choice scenario where he wanted to stay with Allison but he also needed to get Erica back to Derek in order to stop her werewolf seizure. I don't know why it was so dramatic. Deal with it, Scott!
Dr. Derek knew how to fix Erica, and there was a nice moment where she found herself in Stiles' arms and joked that he made a good Batman. (Earlier he'd joked that he'd be the Batman adversary to her Catwoman. I don't know, nerd stuff.) I liked this part.
So then Lydia realized it was time to hang out with the mysterious kid, but rather than meet up at a Starbucks or whatever, she just sort of wandered outside barefoot into a hazy forest and then entered an abandoned house.
He was there. And for at least a split-second, there was a big romantic moment between them!
Now obviously we barely know this guy and Lydia didn't know him that well either, but it was momentous in that up until now she'd never really been treated like a legit romantic figure. She'd mostly just been a one-liner machine and/or unrequited love interest of Stiles'. So it was nice seeing her get sort of swept up off her feet here. Alas and alack, it wasn't to last:
And THAT's when we got the big reveal: The new kid was NOT real. (As many of you predicted.) But what I DIDN'T see coming was that he was essentially the GHOST of Peter Hale, in the form of Peter as a teenager. Oh, and that creepy house was actually the burnt-down abandoned one where Derek used to live before he upgraded to some other dump. Now, it wasn't made 100% clear what was going on here, but a few things were laid out: Peter confirmed that Lydia was immune to his bite, and he'd used that knowledge to create some kind of "Plan B" for himself in case he died. Which meant, in essence, he'd created some kind of psychic bond to Lydia. And he'd probably take advantage of that bond in order to be brought back to life or something. And oh yeah, his body was just under the floorboards:
Yikes! There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the specifics of what Lydia's up to. Was she some kind of clairvoyant? Why the fugue states? How did Peter know about her immunity before he bit her? Tons of questions, basically! But we still have a grip of new episodes left to answer them, so I'm not even mad. Ultimately this was another fun, scary, surprising, and batsh*t insane installment of an already must-watch season. So good! Okay, now off to have the snake scenes wiped from my memory by a team of psychiatrists.
... Saddest failed crush: Lydia/Young Peter, Erica/Stiles, Lydia/Stiles, or Lydia/Isaac?
... Did Allison's trip into the locker room make no sense or did it make A LOT of sense?
... How many rooms of YOUR high school did you and your friends destroy?
... Was that snake sort of a jerk for choosing to exit out of an EYE SOCKET? WHO DOES THAT?