It's been a while since a psychotic child murderer busted out of a hospital and roamed my neighborhood on Halloween so forgive me if I'm a little out of touch on this subject, but don't people usually tend to get uptight when there is a psychotic child murderer busting out of hospitals and roaming around on Halloween? Beacon Hills' utter chillness about this scenario was literally the only quibble I had with "Galvanize," this week's VERY STELLAR episode of Teen Wolf, an MTV True Life spin-off about monsters. No just kidding, I don't have any quibbles. I really mean it: This episode condensed and crystallized and in several ways IMPROVED upon all the most beloved Teen Wolf tropes, leaving us with a very tight and scary and effective hour of television. You know it's going to be a good episode when there's a romantic pizza party and a shirtless hug (almost) and a jack-o-lantern eats the camera. Also a dog jumped onto a tree stump and delivered a psychic message to her son, a werewolf hunk. Also a banshee screamed at a street light until she remembered that bugs make the same noise as electricity? Also Doug Jones creeped his way back into our worst nightmares after we'd successfully blocked out most of Pan's Labyrinth or the final scene from Quarantine from our dear, sweet brains. Why am I even listing these things when we could be talking about them? I'm a idiot with mental problems probably! Anyway, let's do this:
It all started on the night before Halloween. Which meant that yep, in case there was any doubt, this entire season will only be the first semester of the school year, Vampire Diaries-style. That honestly makes sense considering these characters need to be in high school for a long time, but disappointing for anybody hoping to see more lacrosse action soon. OH WELL. (There can still be locker room scenes right??) Anyway, we were at the hospital and Mrs. McCall was setting out a jack-o-lantern to, I guess, remind all the patients of their own fear and mortality.
That's when things got scary.
In rolled a man strapped to a gurney and accompanied by policemen with AK-47s. He did not make a great first impression, and as Agent McCall elaborated to his ex-wife, the dude had attempted to suicide-bomb a school bus (!) and now needed life-saving surgery. Also it would be Mrs. McCall's job to do all the in-person medical interview stuff and Agent McCall was honestly a bit of a dick about it. Classic Agent McCall.
Anyway. Guys, you know I truly hate those suggested hashtags that seemingly all TV shows do now, but Teen Wolf is especially obnoxious about it. Suggested hashtags might even be worse than the constant music listings at the bottom of the screen, because at least those ones are informational. In my opinion suggested hashtags over-highlight the jokes too much and render them way less funny, but also they take away creative agency from the fans who should get to come up with their own hashtags, you know? Anyway, this one was insane:
Haha obviously it made no sense when it first popped up considering this was an actually very terrifying scene in which the great Doug Jones creeped out Mrs. McCall so much. But it turned out someone had just placed this hashtag incorrectly in the episode and it would be more relevant later. But on the positive side at least it didn't appear during the actual "#TheHottestGirl" scene because that was one of the best and funniest moments in Teen Wolf history and now it wouldn't get marred by a suggested hashtag! #SmallVictories
At that point Doug Jones sat up and got creepily close to Mrs. McCall's face and told her that he'd tried to kill those kids because they had glowing eyes. Which was a legit brilliant twist! Here we'd been introduced to a madman and terrorist, but in fact he may have had an understandable reason to be taking action against actual monsters. It's unclear if he meant werewolves or other creatures who'd maybe emerged from a tree stump like CGI members of TLC in "Waterfalls," but still: It's rare that this show acknowledges that the regular townsfolk of Beacon Hills might have supernatural encounters and then snap mentally. So not only was it surprisingly compelling, it was still very disturbing inasmuch as most of our favorite people on this show have glowing eyes.
Then the camera was eaten by a pumpkin.
That was clearly the best. I love Halloween and I love this show, so everything was perfect.
Oh, and by the way the fellas were doing night-before-Halloween pranks at the high school and Stiles put a flashlight in his mouth and then Scott scared him.
Hey look at those glowing eyes! Scott was exactly the kind of abomination Doug Jones wanted to 'splode.
I really loved this scene the next day with the twins: It had only been two weeks since THE DEMON WOLF got his butt kicked so bad, so now the twin hunks were Omegas looking for a new pack!
Stiles and Isaac were especially ticked at the twins for their roles in getting Boyd (and probably also Erica) murdered. That was honestly a good point. It had only been a few weeks since that happened! Nobody trusted these buncha fisting werewolves and for good reason. On the other hand, they were definitely seeming more human lately, especially where matters of the heart were concerned:
Aw, Danny had gotten back together with his prom date! Is that technically a rebound? Or was the twin a rebound from Danny's prom date? I don't know. Danny sure is knee-deep in hunks lately. But I loved this moment where the twins decided to re-enroll in high school just because. They laid out a bunch of reasons why high school sucks but decided to go for it anyway, mostly for the sexy times I guess. But again, this is a trope that other shows don't really comment on: Why powerful, seemingly immortal creatures are willing to go through a rigorous college prep curriculum for no reason. At least Ethan was up front about not wanting to take math class anymore. Yeah, these guys are getting way more likable now. I'm rooting for them to redeem themselves, how about you?
Whoa, check out Kira's Air Jordans!
Kira is a real klutz and that's probably why Scott likes her so much. What a bunch of sweet kids. Also this scene was Pulitzer-level writing, for real. Scott was expressing doubt about his chances with a hottie like Kira and Stiles tried to convince him that SCOTT was the sought-after one. In other words Scott was essentially hashtag-the-hottest-girl in school.
Which was already cute enough when Stiles said it because I love when these guys think nothing of saying heartfelt things that high school boys would probably never say. But then look who showed up to co-sign?
AAAAAHHH! Sorry guys I can't help myself, this was the best! I mean look at what Scott did when Isaac told him how universally lusted-after he was:
And then look at what Isaac did when Scott looked so happy:
Oh boy. I'm just straight-up weak in the knees now. Call me lonely but THIS WAS THE BEST. I love this show. Put this scene on my tombstone. Just loop it on an iPad or something and glue it onto the headstone, I don't know, you figure it out pls.
Meanwhile in class the Coach was having a mild drug freakout (they might've given him too much methadone at the facility where he lives) and broke a coffee mug and started crying and then Lydia started to hear buzzing but it was only invisible bugs, no big deal.
Speaking of bugs: Doug Jones' surgery did NOT go well.
AAAAAAAAAAHHH NOOOOOOOOOO. How could you do this to us, Teen Wolf, that was DISGUSTING. A sac of flies IN HIS BODY popped and swarmed the doctors! And then he woke up and scalpel-attacked one of them. (One of the doctors, not one of the flies). What a nightmare! Just truly gross. How dare you. How dare I? How dare any of us?
I don't know why I did this. I'm very, very, very sorry about it.
Anyway, Derek sewed his uncle's finger back on, so now they can do regular high-fives and low-fives again. Meanwhile he cracked open that canister with his personal tattoo logo on the lid and shook out some werewolf press-on nails.
It wasn't clear yet what Derek was going to do with those crusty fingernails but Peter Hale looked WARY as h*ck. So it was probably not a fun thing.
Then Aiden successfully talked a reluctant Lydia into a sexy rendezvous in the coach's office, but a Halloween prank made everything fall off the walls and it was a real boner-killer. So they went somewhere else! But guess who was hiding behind the door?
It was Doug Jones! He came to the high school! And there was still the matter of a gaping surgical wound to deal with.
NO NO NO NO NO NO. No.
But you know what happens when an escaped killer invades the high school during school hours? The WHOLE GANG gets together!
It was honestly so wonderful. I love teamwork so much. Everybody, even the twins, got together and used their special strengths to help get this guy. Allison busted out her Bestiary PDF and Lydia threw out some Latin skills and turned on her banshee 'dar. Meanwhile Scott's mom brought Doug Jones' clothes from the hospital so the wolf boys could find his scent.
But almost immediately Ethan got all frowned-up because look what they found in the boiler room:
Aw, poor Ethan. All he did was help murder one of Danny's classmates and then ignore him for two weeks. We all make mistakes. Oh well. Hang in there, E.
So then Lydia deduced that Doug Jones was very likely trying to lure all the werewolves into the basement so he could blow them all up, and that's when Stiles took matters into his own hands: He set off the fire alarm!
But then he got busted, of course. To be honest, uh, shouldn't the authorities have evacuated the school anyway? A roaming child-murderer in the vicinity? So really what Stiles did was just the most reasonable thing possible. But you know what? I don't run a high school let alone a high school on TV.
Meanwhile in the library Kira had her headphones in and the Coach had to personally get her to go outside.
AAAHHHHHHHH!! This part was a nightmare! Doug Jones just chillin' in the stacks! (Remember when the Kanima ruined and/or ate most of the library? It's mostly fixed now, just FYI.)
So then Scott took a break from his tense/urgent goal of finding the killer so that he could have a bizarro-world reenactment of the super awkward dinner scene from Season 1. But this time it was the father who WANTED him to be there.
Haha Kira was embarrassed because her father continued to be a reverse-c*ckblocker and it was really cramping her style. But it still led to a pretty fun dinner scene involving Scott's first time eating Japanese cuisine:
Yeah, first Kira had to help Scott use chopsticks (sometimes Scott seems developmentally disabled and this was one of those moments) and then she literally fed him sushi and then he ate all the wasabi in one bite because he thought it was guacamole. Oh, Scott! Just classic Scott, really. And I'm not quite sure what the significance of making Kira's dad a Korean who had taken his wife's Japanese name, but it did lead to an extremely touching moment where Scott asked why his mom still went by McCall and she replied because it was Scott's name also. Scott's mom is kind of the secret MVP of this season so far. Have I mentioned how much I like her? She is probably my favorite TV mom in recent history.
Meanwhile Lydia was feeling stressed because of low banshee mojo or whatever. Basically she felt that she should've found that murderer but didn't and now she felt super bad about it.
Fortunately she was with Stiles and he complimented her so much and it was EXTREMELY touching. So far these two have had the best and most romantic moments of the season and it seems like they probably need to hook up finally because I don't know how much more our hearts can take of this stuff. They just get each other, you know? I realize they are fictional characters created by writers and exist via actors' contracts and union fees and, I don't know, market testing? But I AM INVESTED. Stiles and Lydia are wonderful. Anyway, to cheer her up, he took her back to the high school so they could investigate more and prove that her instincts were correct. And look at the clue Doug Jones randomly left for them on a chalkboard!
Kira. He was after Kira. But why? And more importantly, why would he randomly leave those atomic numbers on the board? Did he WANT some nerdy monster to figure out his scheme? Guess so. Anyway, now they knew.
Meanwhile, the Hale plotline remained very weird. Basically those werewolf fingernails belonged to Derek's dead mom and he needed to ask his mom some questions, so that meant Peter Hale needed to stuff her fingernails underneath his own fingernails (an obvious nightmare scenario) and then he had to poke Derek's neck so that he could have some kind of brain-link with a werewolf ghost. DUH.
And guess what? We didn't even learn what she had to say! But when Derek snapped out of it he seemed super troubled, so stay tuned.
I'm not going to lie, I found the anti-sushi stuff kind of offensive, but WHATEVER. Any discomfort I felt about it was quickly made up for by the presence of pizza which solves 100% of all problems. (Pepsi is brackish garbage water though.)
#SCIZZA & #KIZZA 4EVER!!!
Yeah what do you want me to say? This scene was sexy as hell and a lot of that was because of the pizza. So much human-pizza chemistry going on here. VERY into it and VERY hungry now.
Um, hold up. This next scene was a life-ruiner:
Haha Isaac tried to kiss Allison, she seemed totally into it at first until she wasn't and then lady doth protested SO MUCH. And when she explained that she couldn't be kissin' on any werewolves anymore, Isaac reasoned that they should just hug without shirts on instead. PERFECT REASONING.
I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT WORKED. But then again, of course it worked. Isaac is not a dummy and Allison definitely isn't either. These teenagers just get it. This guy was a total bummer though:
Wow, Mr. Argent was back! And just in time to c*ckblock his daughter! Still though, this scene was perfect in every way. I would say more but come on these characters are underage and I can't keep going to jail for being creepy in recaps.
So then Kira thanked Scott for "eating her pizza" if you catch my drift, and then WHOOPS!
He got straight CONKED by Doug Jones! And when he woke up Kira was gone and Lydia had to resort to banshee screamin' in order to figure out where he'd gone.
Because "I Got The Power" oh nevermind. Yeah I guess that's how Lydia's banshee power works: Screaming helps her clarify her clairvoyance. Or something? That's what that buzzing sound was earlier; not bugs but rather electricity. That meant Doug Jones was definitely at a nearby power plant!
He had rewired the whole room to turn it into some kind of weird tesla coil hellscape! And to add insult to injury Doug Jones started snapping pictures of Kira with HER VERY OWN PRODUCT PLACEMENT.
And in case you were like, "Oh Scott and Stiles will bust in there and save her," YOU WERE WRONG. They arrived a little bit too late.
But also if you were like, "Oh, the human body can only withstand so much wattage before burning to a crisp" WRONG AGAIN.
Kira stood up and sucked up all that electricity into her tiny Korean-Japanese body and then just kept suckin' and suckin' all the power until Beacon Hills went BLACK.
What a surprise! So unless Air Jordans have some kind of new feature I haven't heard about, Kira's definitely a supernatural creature (and that was the reason Doug Jones wanted to murder her (although her eyes didn't glow)), but it's still not clear what kind. Maybe she is like Electro from the new Spider-Man movie. Or like, I don't know. Storm? I'm drawing a blank on lightning-powered superheroes. Still, I'm excited to have a new creature in the mix. Coyote Shelley Hennig was cool (wait was she a one-off? Oh no!) but that was still just another variation on a dog. Kira seems way cool.
What was not cool? Isaac finding himself plunged into darkness while Allison's dad yelled at her for dating too many werewolves and suddenly he was surrounded by three be-cloaked intruders!
OH HELL NO. They better not mess with Isaac! He was screaming and fighting and the Argents were trying to bust down the door but then the credits busted down OUR door and we'll never know what happens next. Okay we will know next week, but that's an eternity away. I'm very upset right now. Teen Wolf, you dirty trickster. Not Isaac!
"Galvanize" somehow mustered every single strength Teen Wolf has and blended them perfectly into a tremendous hour of television. There was teamwork; each character contributed important things (even the twins!); the horror was top-notch and genuinely unsettling; a stand-alone villain still contributed to the bigger picture; the serialized storylines have begun to reveal themselves; the parents were involved in crucial ways; romances were blossoming and they weren't annoying; that instantly classic Scott-Isaac hallway moment; the shirtless hug scene; PIZZA. Guys THERE WAS A LOT TO LIKE HERE. This writer did a great job and deserves at least one ice cream sandwich or some other delicious treat.
I am feeling really good about this season, how about you?
Question is rhetorical OK BYE
... What is Kira?
... Which pair of characters gave you the most "feels" aka "feelings" aka "emotions"?
... Do the masked intruders seem like bad guys, and if so why do you say that?
AIRED ON 3/8/2016
Season 5 : Episode 20