Teen Wolf's Season 2 Finale: Body Shock (PHOTO RECAP)

Teen Wolf S02E12: "Master Plan"

Ah, summer flings. Is there another combination of words that conveys as much magic and possibility as that one? Who among us hasn't fantasized about spending our hottest months all swirled up inside a new, exciting, and painfully fleeting romance? That longing applies to more than just hook-ups, though. It happens with TV shows too! Say, for example, your really smart/awesome/attractive vampire-themed girlfriend or boyfriend went on hiatus for the summer and then one day at the recreation center you laid eyes on the hunky new lifeguard. (Because Teen Wolf is definitely a guy, let's be real.) And then you're like, "Okay fine, he's easy to look at. Might as well pass the time with someone who looks good. I'll try not to use big words."

But then before you know it this supposedly no-substance-having himbo is playing you Iron & Wine songs under the stars while fireflies dance around you, and then he's reciting Blake poems and showing you his photographs of Big Sur, and later he's helping your mom in the yard, and teaching your little brother the quadratic equation, and he's holding your hand when you walk by your mortal enemy Heather Malone and she's looking at you all jeal, and the fact that he barely ever wore a shirt all summer is not even your favorite thing about him anymore, and— Whoops! Now you're in too deep! You had low expectations and suddenly the person you thought you'd just pass the time with—a rebound, a surrogate, a consolation—is actually A TOTAL CATCH and now summer's over and even though your cool/hot boyfriend or girlfriend is coming back, OH LORD, THE HEARTACHE.

I miss you already, Teen Wolf.

Guys, "Master Plan" was a fitting finale for Season 2. It was terrific, basically. Not as much all-out carnage as I'd expected and/or feared, but that is fine! A relief, even. I like these characters so much that I'd be hard-pressed to find any of them expendable. To be honest I was still a little raw about Mrs. Argent's passing (via steak knife) and I don't know if I would've been able to handle another big death. The heart can only deal with so much. It is not a punching bag!

Okay, let's just do this.

"Master Plan" picked up immediately after the events of "Battlefield," in which Jackson had murdered himself and Stiles went missing. It's amazing that any of these characters could ever believe that death still exists for supernatural creatures, but here we were, loading Jackson's bodybag into an ambulance. For her part, Mrs. McCall definitely knew something was up and decided to ride to the hospital too. We had a real Jessica Fletcher on our hands!

The mystery of where Stiles had gone ended up getting solved right away when we saw Stiles get thrown into the Argent basement by one of the hunter goons. That's where he encountered a pair of bound and gagged baby werewolves and one particularly cantankerous old man.

Stiles correctly deduced that his abduction didn't make any dang sense, except as a terrorism tactic against his friends. He then incorrectly deduced that he—a star lacrosse player!—could beat up a super old man:

Poor Stiles! That growly, terminally ill (spoiler) old man really got the best of him!

Meanwhile in the locker room, Scott had applied a fresh coat of maroon body paint and was taking meetings with some of the grown-ups. First he tried to help Stiles' dad the best he could (without spilling supernatural secrets), then he promised Coach Crazycakes that he'd focus on bringing his grades up so that he could rejoin the team. But within seconds after everyone disappeared, a pair of werewolves showed up for a pow-wow! (That means "meeting" in archaic, politically incorrect Native American slang.)

There was a funny bit about how the casual reappearance of a murdered werewolf kind of threw everyone off their game, but the writers managed to keep everything on course by focusing on what was important: The Jackson threat needed to be DEALT with. By the way, if this episode was to be believed, the ghost of Peter conspired to get the teenagers to resurrect him so that he could then save the teenagers' lives? That's just helpful!

Back at the Argent home, Mr. Argent had had it up TO HERE with Gerard's foolishness and his own daughter's 'tude. It wasn't clear whether he knew Stiles was in the basement all beat up for no reason, or if he didn't even NEED to know that because he was already so mad at his family. Either way, these guys were being real drama kings.

Allison was being a real peach, too. The best was when she sassed Mr. Argent to buy her a new bow after he'd shot it out of her hands before she could murder her friends from school and he responded by destroying her crossbow. TOLD!

The thing about this episode was that so much happened that it essentially OMITTED a bunch of important connector scenes. This is not a complaint, but something I wish MORE shows did. In this case Stiles made it out of the Argent house and no explanation was given. Suddenly he was just back in his room and telling his dad that he'd gotten jumped by some angry lacrosse players NBD.

Because the Stiles-Mr. Stilinski relationship is the heart and soul of this show, it should go without saying that this hug was crazy-emotional and perfect. Is Sheriff Stilinski the best dad on TV since Coach Taylor? Discuss.

Meanwhile at the hospital Mrs. McCall was nosing around a certain dead teen's bodybag and discovered tons of ooze had pooled on the floor. Not only that, but a CHRYSALIS was forming around him! Icky! But awesome!

I don't know about you, but I love that Mrs. McCall is in the mix now. Her transition from no-nothing collateral to clever, curious minx is really satisfying! To my way of thinking, these shows only benefit from characters getting in the know. The more people who are on the same page, the better.

So anyway, obviously Jackson's body started convulsing. He clearly wasn't dead! I really liked when Scott made his mom zip up the body bag just when Jackson was getting all bitey. Was Scott hazing his mom or something? YOU do it, werewolf.

As for Jackson's chrysalis, we learned a bit more about Kanima physiology. The reason Gerard had forced Jackson to murder himself was to initiate some kind of metamorphosis into an Alpha Kanima. Based on Peter Hale's research (Werewolf Google), the Alpha Kanima was bigger, badder, and winged! We didn't get to see an image of it, but we saw the Hale bros pull up an animated .GIF of one and totally flinch. It probably looked unpleasant! Too bad we'll never find out what it looks like. (Spoiler.)

This was pretty great:

Lydia showed up in Stiles' bedroom! But just when we were wondering if his sudden lacrosse prowess had won her over or not, she immediately made it clear that she was there to figure out how to help Jackson. And while she didn't seem too fazed by all the expensive MACY'S gifts Stiles had purchased for her from MACY'S, she did seem pretty put off when he got up in her face about being a dummy for tempting danger so much.

Oh, Stiles. Fortunately just when he was feeling all low about messing up his chances with Lydia, Sheriff Stilinski reminded him that, hey, at least he was a star lacrosse player now.

And you know what? He was right. In real life Stiles would've ALREADY had his pick of the Beacon Hill ladies, but now he's even a jock? Forget about it. Install a turnstile in front of that boy's bedroom and move on.

Haha how much would YOU like wake up to that? Gerard woke up Allison with some kind of ominous tone, "It has begun." But it just made me laugh that Allison tried to go to bed with full knowledge that there were two werewolves chained up in the basement. Meanwhile I can't sleep if I know that my cats are wrestling each other for a rubber band. You know?

Oh, but anyway, the werewolves-in-the-basement issue was a moot point anyway because Mr. Argent totally freed them! That's right, after his tiff with Gerard, he was definitely Team Werewolf (temporarily!) at least until the Kanima thing was handled. And THAT is why Mr. Argent is such a great character. His moral code has now factored into both season finales, in both cases siding with monsters over his own family. Nice parallel!

So after Mr. Argent met up with Scott and Isaac to help sneak Jackson's body out of the hospital, they went to that old rave warehouse where Derek ran up in that ridiculous all-fours sprint that werewolves do. It seriously looked so silly! Even Peter Hale—watching from the shadows because of Mr. Argent, I'm guessing—rolled his eyes at Derek's saunter. But, guy, when YOU ran you looked like claymation on a budget, okay? Glass houses.

Anyway, after everyone had assembled to try and murder Jackson (but BEFORE anyone could order pizza), Derek suggested to Mr. Argent that Gerard had been controlling the Kanima. Mr. Argent was like,"Hey that's my daddy you're talking about, Mister!" But then, speak of the devil, guess who showed up?

A sad old man looking for a fight, that's who. And THAT'S when things turned into this elaborate Mexican standoff, but with monsters.

First Jackson awoke and attacked Derek.

Then Allison sprang out of nowhere and shot Isaac with a crossbow? Harsh! The world's prettiest gravedigger wasn't causing any trouble at all!

Then Mr. Argent got out his huge gun.

But the Kanima whipped it out of his hand!

Suddenly it turned into this big fight! Three wolves against one lizard.

It made me laugh how Peter just watched from the shadows. So I guess he didn't have werewolf powers anymore? Or was keeping his existence a secret from Mr. Argent THAT important?

Haha and then Allison ran out and targeted Isaac AGAIN. Dang, lady. She totally two-fist gutted him! No me gusta.

Just when she was about to go after a paralyzed Derek, the Kanima grabbed Allison and all was revealed:

Here goes! All season long Gerard had been conspiring to become bitten by Derek so that he could become a werewolf and it would cure his terminal cancer. Hence the pills. That's all there was to it! I don't know, I'm no great schemer, but do you think there was an easier way of going about getting bitten by Derek? Like, for instance, saying "Hey Derek, you're trying to build a pack. I want in." Or maybe pulling a Mrs. Argent (R.I.P. BB) and coming at him with a knife? Or maybe sneaking up on Derek when he was asleep in his abandoned subway car and sticking a finger in his mouth? I don't know. I just think that if it were me, I probably wouldn't spend weeks tracking and then coming into control of a secondary supernatural creature and also manipulating a handful of teens into helping my cause. It just seemed like a lot of work!

Anyway, Mr. Argent was not particularly stoked to hear about what a freak his father was. Especially when Gerard admitted that he'd stop at nothing—not even the deaths of his son or granddaughter—to get that bite. So then Scott was tasked with dragging Derek over like a werewolf puppet and biting Gerard's arm. (In exchange for that, Scott would have permission to date Allison? Whatever, gramps.)

So then he finally got what he wanted! A dozen puncture wounds and some supernatural drool.

Unfortunately, as is often the case in life, things didn't necessarily go according to plan.

Scott had double crossed Gerard and replaced his pills with Mountain Ash! The oldest trick in the book, basically. Next thing we knew, Gerard was a fountain of black goo in the shape of a geezer. Then, as he writhed on the floor clearly not lookin' so hot, he commanded the Kanima to "KILL THEM ALL!" before passing out pathetically. To its credit, the Kanima basically just gave him the side-eye and looked pretty over it.

And THAT'S when Stiles' Jeep BUSTED through the wall and slammed into the Kanima!

In another important Stiles scene that had been seemingly omitted, he'd somehow caught up with Lydia and they'd agreed to go burst into a warehouse and return Jackson's house key to him.

This was apparently the token of love between Lydia and Jackson. The thing that would remind him of his humanity and, according to Peter Hale, cure him of his lizardlike tendencies.

But THEN we got a flashback to explain the key's significance, and it was hilariously non-touching. Basically one time Jackson and Lydia did the dirty and he gave her a key so that she could come over whenever. I actually appreciated how basic this explanation was, because let's face it, this love affair between Jackson and Lydia had been pretty much retconned from what we knew about them previously. They were only ever really dating because they were popular and they didn't seem to like each other very much. Remember when Lydia made out with Scott for no reason in S1? Or when Jackson dumped Lydia in the most coldhearted way imaginable and she was more annoyed than anything? Yeah, so I'm not really buying that their love is one for the ages.

But Jackson sure did! And presto, his scales began retracting:

And THAT's when Derek and Peter Hale made their move! A double clawing. Front and back! I loved that Mr. Argent managed to be out of the room when this happened, right up until Peter Hale scurried back into the shadows.

Yeah, that's when Jackson died for what, the sixth time this season? Lydia cradled him in her arms and lowered him to the pavement while everyone stood around kind of shocked. Scott even held Allison's hand. Isaac was probably still chillin' on the floor trying to heal the kidneys that Allison stabbed. But yeah. Drama.

And that's when something amazing happened. Jackson finally turned into the werewolf he was meant to become in the first place! And I mean... WHAT A WEREWOLF:

I love you, Teen Wolf.

So yeah. Jackson was BACK. And front. Mostly front.

He'd been through a lot this season, but not as much as the people around him. So this reaction was pretty accurate:

Yikes, Stiles wasn't looking so hot here. But yeah the heartache was palpable. They were probably also frustrated by the fact that Gerard had run off somewhere. That's fine, go bleed your black goo in some alleyway, you old creep!

Speaking of heartache, it turned out Scott's promised relationship with Allison was only as long-lived as Gerard's lycanthropy. He was weirdly pathetic about it too, basically saying that it was okay that Allison wanted to dump him; he'd wait for her. Ugh, don't wait for her, Scott. She was the one who went psycho, okay? But, you know, I guess they have to have somewhere for this relationship to go next season, right?

Oh, right, these two! So after Boyd and Erica escaped the Argent basement, they ran around in the woods all night before finding themselves surrounded by a shadowy pack of werewolves!

Maybe those howls in the woods had been genuine after all! But again, no concrete answers as to what happened here. Consider it a cliffhanger!

Speaking of Season 3 setup, the next day we saw the vet out at the rave warehouse investigating the black goo alongside the guidance counselor lady.

They continued to speak cryptically about who or what they were exactly, but they seemed to be supernatural agents or investigators of some kind. And it definitely looked like they would be getting back into the swing of things soon.

Meanwhile we got a little more clarity on those werewolves that had surrounded Erica and Boyd in the woods. They were a pack of Alphas!

A whole PACK of alphas? Get ready, CGI team! While I'm not positive that is the most thrilling Season 3 threat (still holding out hope for a new species of creature), it definitely should mobilize and solidify the team of werewolves we already know, right? A battle could be a-brewin'!

The episode ended on a pleasant note, with Scott and Stiles enjoying an old-fashioned game of lacrosse catch. (Is that a thing?)

Scott noted that he was back to being single and benched, while Stiles reminded him that the main difference between now and before he became a werewolf was that he was now A WEREWOLF.

Those two! But yeah, a poignant closing scene. Just two friends spending time together after a truly insane few months. It capped off an impressive season that saw Teen Wolf grow leaps and bounds beyond what it originally was. But also—and not to sound like a regular Nikki Finke or whatever—this show will be moving its production to Los Angeles for a twice-as-long Season 3. The visual change may not be as jarring as, say, when The X-Files moved from Vancouver to Los Angeles, but the super-sized Season 3 means the show will extend into non-summer months and therefore possibly air at an earlier hour (before the target demographic's bedtime on school nights)? Which could have any number of effects on the substance of the show. Not to mention the fact a longer season opens up more possibilities for narrative wheel-spinning. Don't get me wrong, I definitely don't know these things will happen for sure. I'm not a scientist! I just loved Season 2 so much that I can't help but fret about possible changes. Oh well.

Golden Era of TV, folks. We're in it, and Teen Wolf is part of it. I realize that's a bold statement in an era of Breaking Bad and Louie, but hear me out. Someone took a run-of-the-mill teen show concept and turned it into an esoteric passion project. It's odd, unexpected, and thrillingly perverse. And while self-conscious cheese may not be everyone's definition of strong writing, you'd be forgiven for overlooking the incredibly strong and emotionally correct storytelling buried beneath. Like many prestige cable dramas, this show actually engages its characters on a human level which is why a simple hug or wordless assent feels as powerful here as a well-worded speech. And if we're talking originality, try and name even five dramas in history that have so casually and unashamedly featured its actors' physical aesthetics as a stylistic choice. And how many of those actors were men? Teen Wolf's saying there is no shame in beauty of any kind, just as there is none in shooting an exploding arrow tip directly into our brains' pleasure centers. True crowd-pleasing entertainment can be a fine art and in that genre Teen Wolf is the statue of David. (David worked out, right?)

That's all. I loved this season very much. Thanks to everyone who made it, and thanks to those who came here to talk about it with me.



... Did YOU predict that Gerard wanted Derek's bite?

... Were you kinda-sorta expecting a higher body count?

... Okay, what is the DEAL with the vet and the guidance counselor lady?

... Not so much a question as an animated .GIF:

Teen Wolf: Lacrosse to Bear (Season 2, Episode 11: "Battlefield")
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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