I'm confused, and I definitely mean that as a compliment, why do you ask? Confusion is the most underrated emotion in entertainment, but especially when it comes to horror. Few things are as scary or suspenseful as things that don't make sense. Like, take a look at a newspaper (what is a newspaper?) and ask yourself what's scarier: a person who gets murdered by somebody they know and for a specific reason, or a person who gets murdered by an unknown killer for no apparent reason? Or what about a person who is just a pile of guts on the sidewalk and nobody knows what happened to him or her at all? Sorry if you read that while trying to eat a Lunchable, I'm just trying to make a point about how scary unknowable threats can be. Whenever I hear people criticize a story for being "confusing," I think they're not so much mad at that work as they are unsettled by it in an existential way. There's something so dark and upsetting about now knowing the how or the why, and it's easier to get mad at the artist than to stare into that abyss, you know? Anyway, "Monstrous" was a taut and satisfying episode, but more importantly it revealed the utter pointlessness of all the murder going on in Beacon Hills these days. So... pointlessness and confusion. How do things link together? What if they don't at all? To me that's not a letdown, it's a deeply unsettling concept. I approve.
Shall we talk about "Monstrous"? Say yes.
I knew we were off to a good start when the episode began with my favorite new shirtless jerk running around getting shot with crossbows. Apparently he and a little werewolf girl in a '90s choker necklace were on the run from another gang of assassins!
I am honestly not sure why the assassins were using crossbows with laser sights in the pouring rain, but fortunately for those of us members of the Society for the Preservation of Shirtless Hunks, a heroine with a sword was about to save a sexy life or two!
It was Kira! Back from the hospital where her mom was probably eating so much tapioca pudding and watching Seinfeld reruns. And even better, she'd apparently sharpened her sword at some point!
Meanwhile Scott got word that stuff was goin' down, so he recruited his #1 son to come hop on his motorbicycle with him.
But Liam didn't wanna go. He'd had enough of all the near-death experiences. After all, he was still a freshman. Well, a freshwolfman. Get it? You get it right? Freshwolfman. Do you get it now? Okay, just read it now and get it later, but that was a werewolf joke. Let me know if you get it. Liam was a freshwolfman. You know what, forget it.
I actually really did love this moment, mostly because I definitely related to Liam not wanting to go get murdered by nightmare creatures. Also then he marveled that Scott does this stuff all the time and asked how everybody could've survived for so long, and Scott reminded him that not everybody had. Man, I love moments like that. This show knows its legacy and refuses to sweep anything under the rug like a lot of other serials do. So good.
Meanwhile at the hospital Stiles needed another scan because of all the times he got punched in the head at Eichen House that night.
But yeah, honestly just put Mrs. McCall and Stiles in a room together and I'll immediately start getting misty. These two. Also he wanted a tape player but she kept calling it a cassette player and it was a cute moment between a teen and a grown adult disagreeing about obsolete technology. This is neither here nor there, but wouldn't it be funny if instead of a tape player she brought in a Teddy Ruxpin, like, "I just stole this from a cancer kid" or whatever? Me and my brother used to put my mom's Phil Collins tape into the Teddy Ruxpin and make him sing "Against All Odds" to us. Whoops gotta go.
Back at the Sheriff's station, Lydia and Sheriff Stilinski were comparing notes about Meredith.
They also agreed that the dead pool was probably automated at this point, so even though Meredith was in custody, tons of assassins were probably still lurking around trying to stack those bills. So to stop them they'd have to stop the money. Seemed pretty reasonable to me.
Then Scott met up with Kira at Deaton's workplace!
And there he discovered that she'd been a busy beaver and had rounded up that whole pack of Buddhist werewolves, or at least the ones that didn't die of smallpox.
Meanwhile Argent was out running errands, and he stopped by what looked like the agricultural exhibit at Epcot Center.
And look what he stole! Some yellow Wolfsbane. What was he up to? Maybe he was going to play a prank on his sister, who knows.
I liked this scene. Malia came to visit Stiles at the hospital after she'd heard what happened, and the door mysteriously locked both of them in his hospital room, and then they turned an argument about that into an argument about how he'd messed up for lying to her and he told her he missed her and all that stuff.
And you know the rest.
Phew, they're back together. It made me sad when they broke up. I like that their relationship hasn't been too front-and-center, just sort of a casual situation where two cute and likable people dig each other a lot. I kind of don't need a splashy romance at this point, you know?
Then Argent did that thing when you go to your own home and there's strangers there and they don't know you live there and they give you 'tude and you're like, "Um excuse me, but I live here."
So anyway here we were, back at the Argent ballistics factory. I guess Kate and her roommates moved out? I don't know. Maybe it's because there wasn't any running water which is why she'd been taking showers in the sewer. Kate is a hobo.
So then Scott ran out and convinced Argent not to murder Brett. Phew! Oh Brett, you big jerk, why don't you transfer to Beacon Hills High already? That would be fine with me.
Meanwhile Stiles and Malia found a tape player and did some investigations of their own.
Apparently on the tape that Brunski had left behind of Lorraine Martin, there was a mysterious noise in the background. And because Malia has coyote super-hearing sensibilities, she was able to figure out that the sound was actually the banshee record player from Lydia's lake house! Bingo, dudes. That's where they had to go.
Back at the station, Lydia was trying to get Meredith to spill all her secrets, but Meredith pulled a classic Meredith move and demanded to speak to a hunk!
PETER HALE. Obviously. Because obviously. No uhhhhhh doy.
Meanwhile at the munitions factory (is that what it is?) the seasoned pros were getting ready for an invasion of assassins and Derek was NOT about to pass up the opportunity for a pep talk.
Boom. Let's do this.
Meanwhile I liked this prescient exchange between Satomi and Argent about their respective clans' reputations. Specifically how both of them need to struggle to not be murderers (the invading assassins appeared to be former hunters).
But I gotta hand it to this lady, sure her werewolves are definitely lacking in the unnecessary buffness arena, but at least none of them seem to have killed anyone yet? That's a pretty big feat, if we're being honest. Especially in Beacon Hills, where murder is more common than the sunrise. Clearly these Buddhist werewolves were onto something.
So then Peter Hale showed up to deal with the Meredith situation.
So, at first glance it seemed like Peter Hale had no idea why he'd been called in to talk to Meredith, but then she started feelin' up on his face and things started to become clear.
They had met before! Back when he was a scarred vegetable before Season 1. So at this point he had no choice but to stick his fingernail into Meredith's neck and download all the 411.
But Lydia could hear her whispering everything, so we got the full picture via flashback:
According to the flashback, at one point Meredith and Peter Hale were both in comas and shared a hospital room and formed a two-person psychic friends network and he convinced her to help him set up a dead pool! Something to do with how all monsters were weak and he wanted to have them all killed so he could start a new world order of strong monsters. Or something like that, don't come to me for facts. But another interesting thing about this was that when he rattled off the names of the assassins he wanted to hire (the Mute, the Chemist, the Blonde Twink-Hunk Who Is Probably Only Like 12 at This Point in Time), he also mentioned the Desert Wolf a.k.a. Malia's mom! So Malia's mom is an assassin! That is pretty cool right there. Anyway, yeah. Just as we thought, Meredith may be the Benefactor, but the Benefactor was merely the puppet of whatever scheme Peter Hale had set into motion all those years ago.
Meanwhile Stiles and Malia were at the boathouse listening to some vinyl because the sound quality is just better, you know?
But of course banshees have bad taste in tunes and this record was just another mess of white noise. Except, when it was turned off, Malia could still hear humming behind the wall—so next thing we knew, Stiles noticed a cable connecting the record player to something behind the wall and then this happened:
Oh THAT'S why we saw giant computers during Lydia's flashback last week. Those are the dead pool main frames! So yeah, it's an automated system for dealing with assassins! Meredith had somehow set it up to use Lorraine Martin's banshee code and then also fed the monsters' names into it and—you know what? I honestly am not even sure what exactly Meredith did or how Lorraine or Peter Hale factor in. But like I said, I don't mind not having a clear picture. I just know that it all seems kinda scary because it's this cold, automated process rather than a devious villain. So unsettling.
Speaking of unsettling, what happened next was that a gaggle of assassins arrived at Argent's old office building and started shooting indiscriminately in every direction. Classic assassin tactic!
Luckily our heroes were able to hold them off with some good, old-fashioned shootin'!
This was just your typical Teen Wolf shootout, no big deal. Guns and werewolves go together like gas station candy and my tum-tum.
So back to Peter Hale, the amusing part about this big Meredith revelation was that he didn't seem to remember making that plan with her in the first place!
He seemed pretty surprised about it, to be honest. I guess his subconscious had done all the talking and he forgot all about it. But Meredith didn't. And that makes it especially funny that she stole all his bear bones to make it happen, and now Peter Hale just wanted his bear bones back. Or maybe he was lying, that's possible also. Especially when Sheriff Stilinski threatened to arrest him for creating a monster hit list and Peter Hale was like, "Okay, so is it against the law to create a monster hit list?" And Sheriff Stilinski realized the American Justice System probably hasn't reached that point yet. Anyway, then Peter Hale left and Meredith freaked out that they had unfinished business.
So then Stiles helped Lydia FaceTime with the computers. The main thing was they just wanted to turn them off, but Stiles wasn't sure how to do that.
But rather than look around for, I don't know, a circuit breaker or whatever, they figured out this whole thing about a secret key to the computers being kept in a wine bottle, which Lydia knew about because she once spilled wine on the carpet a million years ago and it washed out so it couldn't have been wine (I guess she didn't sip it, or maybe she did and just thinks that all wine tastes like melted popsicles). Anyway, this was insanely complicated considering they could have just thrown a pot of coffee at the computer to turn it off. But oh well. They found a key!
And just like that, the computers were turned OFF. No more dead pool.
But the assassins at the haunted office park hadn't gotten the memo yet, and this little girl almost got SHOT. UP.
But at the last second Scott saved her life! There would be no bloody '90s choker necklaces lying on the floor this day. On the downside, he lost control of his temper and started morphing into this thing:
Just kidding, this was not a downside, it was an AWESOMESIDE. Scott might be turning into the CGI creature that Peter Hale used to be! Oh, glorious day. Yes. Yes, please. That would be amazing. What if the season finale was Scott turning into a CGI monster and all next season was about preventing him from eating Blockbuster Videos? I'm there, guys.
Anyway, THEN the assassins all got texts from the Dells (which send texts even after they've been shut down) informing them that the dead pool was finito.
And then our heroes breathed a sigh of relief, stepped over all the dead bodies, and headed out to Dave 'n Busters for a relaxing night of jalapeño poppers and skee-ball. Because they DESERVED it.
Even though Meredith had put a plan of mass murder into action, everybody was being pretty chill about it. Like in this scene, where Lydia just wanted to know why she'd done it and Meredith answered that it was because she realized she needed to murder all the monsters after a bunch of them killed Allison and Lydia had screamed about it. In her mind, all monsters were bad news, including banshees. So, at least she meant well?
But all Lydia had to do was point out that certain monsters, like specifically Scott, didn't go around murdering people normally, and in fact sometimes saved a lot of lives. Meredith immediately realized she'd been moded and then totally backtracked. She now seemed to regret trying to murder dozens of people using stolen bear bones and old Dells.
Meanwhile in the sewer, Kate Argent and Peter Hale had a pow-wow.
And then he confirmed what we already suspected: He WAS trying to murder Scott. This played into Meredith's earlier claim that Peter Hale was the true alpha (which was either a prediction for the future, or just one of Meredith's silly yammerings). But yeah, even though Peter Hale may not necessarily have wanted the dead pool to happen, it seemed to be working out in his favor anyway. I guess sometimes our subconscious minds AREN'T dumb idiots? Peter Hale should write his a thank-you note. So yeah, this officially ends the reign of Helpful Peter and ushers in a new era of Evil Peter. I think I liked it better when Peter Hale was working with the good guys, but who am I kidding, Peter Hale is great either way. I'm excited.
"Monstrous" was a very good episode of a season that's proving to be surprisingly weird and off-beat. Again, not a complaint, only an in-progress assessment. Because this season is definitely weird so far! Very into it.
... Do you believe Peter Hale's claim that he didn't intentionally start the dead pool?
... Does Meredith owe a lot of apologies to dead monsters?
... Should the Buddhist werewolves offer to clean up Argent's factory?
... Have you ever woken up with a double eye infection and decided to go on national TV anyway?
AIRED ON 3/8/2016
Season 5 : Episode 20